Friday, December 30, 2016

Putting 2016 in the Books


Am I the only one who looks up at the end of the year and wonder there the heck it went? And is it just me or is time speeding up the older I get?

Let's all take a deep breath to stave off our panic attack...

It's that time of year when we look back and hope we accomplished something besides just getting another year older. Does anyone else feel the pressure? It's like WHAT WAS I DOING ALL YEAR?

So get out your calendar, open Instagram on your phone, or grab your journal and let's take stock of a few things. It'll be fun, I promise. Plus we are going to use this exercise to make a plan for a productive 2017 in the next post.

Do you have that feeling that you are supposed to be running your own business or writing a book because the current culture makes you feel inadequate and unproductive? You know, since you haven't invented an app worth a bazillion dollars this year. Don't fall for it. If we look at all the things we did get done it can look pretty good on paper. Here's my end of the year list for non-goal setters.

Here we go:

What did you learn? It's probably more than you think if you give it some thought. If you know me, you know that I LOVE learning to do new things. I do this without definite goals in mind. I'm not looking to learn to garden better to start a farm or to do lettering to open a sign business. For me, there is a vast intrinsic value in gaining new skills. Why kill that excitement with a goal? Here are the 3 biggest things I learned this year:

1. I can make a video and the world will not spin off its axis at the sound of my voice. I was seriously worried that my voice would break the internet. In a bad way.

2. I'm an ambivert. I generally think of myself as an introverted homebody, but in reality, when I'm with people I don't hate them. Usually. Okay, it depends on the people.

3. I'm not as snarky as I used to be. Ignore number 2. I no longer feel like I have to be the funniest person in the room. Now that everyone thinks they are hilarious I'm less interested in making people laugh. Kind of like I lost interest in homeschooling when everyone started doing it. What's the point if you don't think you'll be arrested? I'm a rebel that way.

What did you eat? How self-absorbed can this list be, right? But eating better is on a lot of our lists. You get credit for any progress you made! This was the year I focused on adding protein, drinking the 8 glasses of water a day, and eliminating sugar. Even the sweet coffee creamer I'd been using for 20 years. Can we have a moment of silence, please?

indian yogurt

What did you make? Was it a new resume? Redecorated room? Maybe it was a big decision! I got out the sewing machine and sewed my first stitches in two decades. I learned to knit. I'm terrible at it right now but I know how to do it. I made adorable mailegs. I hand lettered windows and doodled and made home-made skin care products. Yes, I know it sounds like there is something wrong with me.

beeswax hand cream

What goals did you reach? Give yourself credit for absolutely anything that you achieved. Sometimes those are internal things no one will ever know about but you. Write them down. Go YOU! I became a certified Tennessee Master Gardener. Marked Norway and Iceland off my travel list and doubled my number of beehives. But complaining less and practicing gratitude are things I worked hard toward.

Cruise ship

What did you focus on? Our energy follows our focus so this is a big one. If you struggled with what you let get to you, then use this as a catalyst for change in the new year. Changing my thinking was something I worked hard on this year and I started almost every day with a motivation video, positive reading, or meditation.

ship ligh

Now, on to Pen & Hive.

What was the most read post?

You shocked me by making How to Prune Hydrangeas twice as popular as the next most read post!

pruning hydrangeas

It was followed by the Introduction to You: Sustainable. In third place was The Power of Ordinary Days, which may be my personal favorite for the year.

The most like photo on Instagram was this pic of a turquoise filing cabinet my husband bought me for my birthday. It was one of those "Honey, look what you got me!" (as I'm dragging it in the house) scenarios.


It was an outlier because all the most popular IG posts were bee related, like this one of beeswax before and after.


One of my favorite things to do (since I am somewhat goal challenged) is to make an I did list instead of a to-do-list. Take a few minutes over the weekend to go over what you accomplished this year. I'll bet you did more than you think.

Still not satisfied and hope to do better next year? Which is literally next week! Then meet me back here on Monday for the first blog post of the new year.

Meanwhile, have some champagne and pat yourself on the back. You deserve it!

Happy New Year!


  1. Happy New Year to you too. Very impressed by all you've achieved - enjoyed reading all your posts.

    1. Thanks, Emily bee! But no one accomplished more than you did by creating a human being! I hope that you and yours have the most spectacular new year. I so appreciate you reading along. Cheers!

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  3. I am super impressed that you cut out sugar. I have arthritis and know that sugar makes things so much worse. How did you do it?

    1. It's not as impressive as it sounds! I thought I had a cavity and immediately stopped sugar cold turkey to deal with it. I did it for a week even attending holiday parties and having the saddest little plate there with only turkey and green beans, because carbs also cause cavities.

      When I got to the dentist a week later he told me it wasn't a cavity, but just a very sensitive tooth. But by that point I had let the sugar go. Over the past few days I did have some but am getting back on track now. I never thought I could do it but when faced with a big enough problem I guess we can do anything. Now that I know it's not impossible I'm going to keep it up.


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