It’s hard to believe that 2017 is finally coming to an end. For some of us, we’re thrilled and can’t wait for 2018 to start. For others, we have a lot to be thankful for and just want the final days of the year to slow down so we can reflect.
This year-end reflection will be different. I don’t want to talk about the things that dominated the news cycles, the tragic stories that left us questioning our faith in people and God, and other stories that left us feeling a whole range of emotions. Instead, I want to talk about the things I learned, the reminders I received, and the lessons that helped me remember that nothing is impossible.
Good things still happen to all of us in this life. We just need to look for them.
In terms of writing, I have been blessed with new opportunities to find my footing again through my current work as a Contributing Writer for HEAL(er) Mag and as a Content Creator for YAYWORLD. Having the opportunity to write for an online literary magazine and content creation marketplace where stories of positivity, healing, sharing your voice and opinions, creativity, and finding light are encouraged has been an absolute gift. These opportunities helped me dig deeper, consider my audience, and find reassurance of the route I want to take in writing my first novel. I want to thank Isabelle Marsh and Colette Bellier for these amazing opportunities and encouraging me with my gift of writing and story ideas. I’ve also been blessed to tutor my pastor’s daughter in English and see her blossom in just a short amount of time and do a 3-month internship with CourseWorld.
Another great thing writing related has been reading more books. Once again participating in the Goodreads Reading Challenge, I read 38 books, 10 more from last year. Some of my favorites included The Little Paris Bookshop and The Little French Bistro by Nina George, Cross Roads by William Paul Young, Stardust by Neil Gaiman, The Mistletoe Inn by Richard Paul Evans, Her One and Only by Becky Wade, and The Tomb: A Novel of Martha by Stephanie Landsem. I also looked into eBooks more courtesy of the Kindle store, BookBub, and some great deals on Amazon. Audiobooks have recently piqued my interest, too, after receiving a free copy of Me Before You by Jojo Moyes (which I hope to finish later today) in exchange for a free trial on Audible. Thanks to an unused iTunes gift card, I found 5 audiobooks that I can’t wait to start listening to in the new year! I can’t wait to see what books will be memorable for me in 2018.
On September 16th, I became a believer in the impossible coming true through God’s Grace. As some of you may know, my dream of seeing my favorite musician and role model, David Archuleta, was put on hold in 2016. Frankly, I wanted to give up altogether. Where some dreams and prayers were being answered, this one seemed to elude me. Yet, I didn’t want to quit. I somehow dared to hope in the impossible when at that point, the dream was, well, just a dream.
After 7 years of praying, hoping, and doubts, the hard-fought dream finally came true. I was blessed to see David at a conference he’s spoken and performed at in the last few years called Time Out for Women. Along with him, I was inspired by the other incredible speakers/presenters there including Brad Wilcox, Laurel C. Day, and Alissa Parker. I also made some new friends! For the first time in over a year, I was smiling, laughing, and feeling really good about myself and my relationship with God. I would drive home that evening filled with peace, closure, hope, joy, and…some much needed perspective. Now over 3 months later, I still process that day and how God took a dream I wanted so much and transformed it into an experience that I will remember for the rest of my life.
But that wasn’t all that happened. Besides seeing David perform and speak…I also met him. After 7 years of seeing him just through pictures on social media and videos on YouTube…I was finally standing before him myself. He was worth the long wait. Plus…he really is one incredible man. If you ever get a chance to see him near you, go. You will be glad you did. You can check out his official website for his upcoming tour dates for 2018. Thank you, David, for being one of the people to restore my faith in goodness and in the impossible. Again, it was an honor and privilege to finally meet you. Also, a special thank you to the organizers at Time Out for Women for coming to Worcester and being awesome!
Another big highlight was a little article I wrote on LinkedIn. As I found myself becoming more and more frustrated with the job search, I decided to write about it. I didn’t think much of it because I also felt my words didn’t matter to people, that unless you were super famous no one would care. I wrote what I did to get it out of my system and finding no other way to really express myself.
The response was unexpected. About a week after posting the article, it went viral in a sense. Soon, I was overwhelmed by numerous comments, views, and likes of my post!! For those who love numbers, here are some stats as of this writing:
- 8,287 clicks/views
- 807 likes
- 90 comments
- 111 reshares
But that wasn’t what caught my attention when my article was gaining traction.
The stories did. People from all walks of life, whether a recent college graduate like myself to mid-career professionals, read my post and shared similar struggles in the comments. Others offered me encouragement and spoke about the feelings they’ve had during the job search. I even had one person say my article gave them a boost to try one more time.
I cried at my desk. That article, for me, was reassurance that my words mattered, my words impacted many people, and my words helped others. My article also helped me make a connection or two to redefine my career going forward. Like those who shared with me that they felt heard and less alone, I felt that as well. We really never know what struggles people are going through with certain things, and it takes quite a bit of courage to express those thoughts at the risk of receiving a negative reception. To all who read, commented, reached out, and so on, thank you. I am forever grateful my words were a comfort to you just as yours were to me. Please keep going.
Things will work out.
A few other highlights of 2017 include my best friend returning home safely from studying abroad in Italy, stepping out of my comfort zone and getting more involved in my church, and some much needed cleaning. I’ve also been checking out opportunities book and writing wise to help me get writing again, including Hallmark Publishing. I look back on this year as the year of adversity; some things fell apart but others came together.
But the biggest lesson was appreciation for the little things. After catching up with my best friend before Christmas, we spotted a gentleman playing Christmas songs on the saxophone. He was amazing! After donating some money, I found myself saying to my best friend how things in my life could be a lot worse than they were, realizing how grateful I need to be for some of the things I have. I may not have gotten everything I wanted this year, but there are people who have little to nothing right now, and they deserve as much love and compassion as everyone else. My problems will never compare to the ones others go through every single day, and that’s been one lesson I really needed to understand.
My final highlight is this blog. Over a year later and this blog is growing, had a makeover, will be looked over for further improvements, and so on. I am thankful to all of you who read and check out this blog. It is much appreciated and I hope you gain insights into your own writing life, find some books to check out, and feel comforted when times get tough and find the strength to try again.
I’m not sure what 2018 will hold for me, and for once I will not worry or dwell on it. I will not make resolutions or plan anything. I do have opportunities to consider and will do my very best. I will find my heart in writing again. I will become stronger and grow from all this.
This is a time to trust in God. I’ll end this with some lyrics from one of David’s new songs, “A Little Goes a Long Way,” from his latest album Postcards in the Sky:
“Oh, it’s been a long road
To learn ‘bout the little things” (Source: genius.com)
Oh it certainly has been that’s for sure!
God Bless You all this New Year’s weekend, and I wish you the best for 2018.