The year 2019 has been a pretty momentous one for us. I say that for a few different reasons. There were a lot of events that happened this year that were very impactful on me and also there was a lot of growth in areas of my personal life and my business. You can go on my Instagram or Facebook page to see all the stuff I did with my art this year but here I wanted to mainly focus on my life and my bigger business lessons and such here.
At the beginning of this year with the encouragement of my husband I made improving my teeth a reality. I’d had that at the back of my mind for a long time and it was just something that I really wanted to do for a few different reasons. Though braces are difficult I’m super happy with the difference they've made already!
In January we cat-sat for a friend and though we didn’t fall in love with that particular cat (he was a bit of a wild thing) we realized that we wanted cats. A few months later a friend of my mom’s had kittens available. We went to see them and they stole our hearts immediately. We had the intention of getting one but we couldn’t imagine taking one little kitten away from all his siblings so we took two brothers - and that was definitely the right decision. They love each other to pieces and play and run around our house and just bring us a lot of joy and entertainment. We’re only a little obsessed.
I started rock climbing at a gym with a couple friends near the beginning of the year. I haven't been there in a while because of other things that took priority in the warmer months but now that it's cold out again I'd love to get back into it. It's a great workout and mind and body exercise.
So, technically I was working three jobs at the beginning of the year because I was working part time at a daycare and part time at a grocery store where I created chalkboard signs plus I was running my own business. I decided to quit the third job at the grocery store and though I didn’t have many hours there getting rid of that job helped to make my life feel less chaotic.
We went on three backpacking trips all to places we had never been before. One in Pennsylvania, one in West Virginia and one in Southern Ohio. Those trips were all super cool and fun in their own way. My favorite was Dolly Sods in West Virginia. It was by far our most challenging hike yet but it was good because of the challenge and also because of the beautiful and unique scenery and plant life we saw in that area. We experienced camping in the cold in Oil Creek, PA - something that we were slightly unprepared for and when we camped in the cold again in Southern Ohio in November we knew what we needed to bring and we were cozy warm in our tents. It also helped that it didn’t rain in Southern Ohio like it did in Oil Creek. I’m still not comfortable with some parts of backpacking (*cough cough* no bathrooms) but I think it is the best way to experience the outdoors and to get away from the day to day. I can’t wait to go even deeper into the backcountry and see new places.
Over the course of 2019 I started to de-clutter our house. When Joshua and I got married and moved into our house 2.5 years ago we didn’t realize how much stuff we had. It seemed like a lot but it all just kind of stayed there and I tried to organize it best I could for the first couple years. This year I took a new approach, inspired by some minimalism videos on YouTube and family doing the same thing I started getting rid of things that we don’t use. It is amazing the amount of stuff that we had that we didn’t need and it had just stuck around because we didn’t know what to do with it. I could go on about this topic but I’ll just say that after de-cluttering my house and my art studio, I feel so much better just living in my own house. The space feels more clean and inviting and it makes me happy to have less stuff and to buy less stuff.
God has been teaching me to release control. I have a tendency to hold tight to my plans and the things in my life so much so that I don't allow God to do His thing. Even though I know that "His ways are higher than my ways". That's a lesson that He's been teaching me for years now and I am still working on giving up control. This year specifically it was my business that I needed to let Him have to work on. I had an idea of what my business "needed" to be. And it's pretty crazy looking back now because once I started praying that God would take my business into His own hands and take it in the direction He wanted, that's when I discovered a true passion for my business and I discovered a focus for my art. I thought that I had to sell t-shirts to succeed. I'm giving that up. God is allowing me to do what I absolutely love which is to paint and share my art with others. I'm amazed at His grace in the face of my weakness and sinfulness. As I read His word and seek his will more and more He reveals to me what I should be doing and He truly does bring life abundant.
This year was really meaningful and I learned a lot of lessons throughout it. I learned to slow down, but I also learned to be more adventurous. I learned a lot about art and business and in that I learned to ask for help and seek others who know better than me. I learned to find peace in God in times of anxiety. I'm starting to learn more about my relationship with God and that's something that I really want to continue to dive into in 2020. I'm super excited for all that God has in store for the coming year. Keeping in mind that though I can make many grand plans God's ways are higher than my ways.