The year has long ago come to a close, and I can’t help but be a pessimist.
Oh, I know, that’s not the RIGHT thing to do. But I don’t always do the right thing. I’m a human, and despite my knowledge that trust in God is the way to go, pessimism sneaks in, the voice of the Devil (or is it my own sin nature?) tempting me to look back at 2022 with a mix of indignation and depression.
Yet I know that’s not the godly way to respond. So I force myself to look back on accomplishments. I mean, I published three full-length novels and a short story in 2022. Honestly, my pessimism wasn’t even allowing me to see that, but it’s true.
God takes care of me. I see it in the little moments, when I pray for help and am met with a clear answer. I see it in the big moments, when I scream and, even if I don’t like His answer, it is the one that is for the best.
I see the way my needs are met as they arise. I can’t stand the apartment I’m living in? A beautiful new living situation was provided. I couldn’t find a job, and after struggling for several months, God provided me with one. I wasn’t sure I could realistically get projects done in time so many times, and yet, God pulled me through.
Yeah, I suffered a lot … and with God’s help, I hope I grew up a lot.
With all this in mind, let’s talk about 2022 and move forward in 2023 with joy and purpose, ready to tackle whatever God brings us.
Looking Back at 2022
2022 was a rough year for me. I had a number of moments when I didn’t feel like I could keep going, or when I feared that God was not with me after all. I had failures and triumphs. I often felt torn and unsure what I was doing. It was so, so easy for me to lose sight of all the amazing things that had happened, even recently, in all the mixed up emotions and thoughts I was experiencing.
I feel like I didn’t come as far as I wanted, but in some ways, this was a huge growing year. The fact that I didn’t make a ton of forward progress means that I learned a lot of new skills, did a lot of thinking, and reflected on every moment that passed me by.
Though I am disappointed in the way 2022 went, I know that God created this year to a purpose, and the incredible things He did throughout this year despite the overall “blah” feeling I have about it cannot be discounted.
Where I see dead ends, God sees me walking along the path He has intended me to walk on all along. He is guiding me toward a perfect future—and though I can’t see it now, I am grateful for what blessings I can see and excited to discern how He will use me through the good and the bad of the year to come.
On the Blog
Just 10 days in 2022, I posted this blog post about conundrums. This is one of my favorite posts to look back on, actually, because it’s rambly and introspective in a Very Kell Way, and it’s just … well, a snapshot into my life.
To quote that post:
Right now, in this period of my life, it is enough to trust God.
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”
And, for today at least, that is enough.
A year and some later, that still is true.
I went right into the Beyond Her Calling relaunch then. I didn’t feel like the launch went as well as I’d have liked, but it was still fairly successful. I think I wasn’t in a headspace, though I didn’t know it at the time, to really launch product. I was very lonely, very unsure what my direction for the next five years or so was going to be, and very sad about a variety of things.
I also got sick, so that doesn’t help.
But anyways, here’s the wrapup for the launch period, if you want to see it.
With book 5 coming out in that year, after that launch period, I decided to share about the story behind the rewrites of The Dressmaker’s Secret. If you’re a fan of the series and missed this post, definitely give it a read!
After this, I accidentally went on a significant break, apologized for the accidental break, and then shared this amazing guest post by Grace A. Johnson about writing romance which is actually one of the highlights of my blogging year! It’s also just an amazing post about romance in general. A follow-up post to this is my “enemies to lovers” trope post, which was so much fun to write and share!
And the year was challenging, so here’s another post that had be talking about challenges.
One of my favorite quotes from that post is:
“Never would I imply that hope comes simply from an emotional response. In fact, quite the opposite. Hope comes from being firm. From standing up for the light, for what’s right, and turning away from the dark, the evil. From taking small steps and being faithful to your calling.”
And this post is honestly great because it summarizes, in a baby way, one of the big lessons that has stuck with me throughout 2022. Things don’t go as planned. I know this—things rarely go as planned in my life. However, there is a way to roll with that that DOESN’T require me to either not care or slip into depression.
I learned to trust God a lot more in 2022. Before, I assumed that my own weakness WOULD lead me to slip into spiraling thoughts, and I WOULD find it impossible to get on my feet for months and months, and I WOULD always end up in a place of ongoing sickness for a period of time before getting halfway up the “healing” ladder … and then failing again.
But that’s not true.
Last year, my word was “sustained.” I forgot about that literally a couple months into it, but somehow, God still sustained me.
Isn’t that funny?
I chose the word hoping to keep it at the center of my heart. Yet I quickly forgot it. And yet …
Here I am. Totally in awe of how sustained I was.
Anyways, moving on, this went right into the A Prayer Unanswered launch. This is an underappreciated post which introduces the new characters who appear in book 5, so give it a look if you’ve read the first four books and want an intro to some of the newbies before diving in!
There were only a few miscellaneous posts in between before we dove right into the After Our Castle launch in October, but here’s a post I really enjoyed writing that is a great one for those who want to know about Victorian birth control/family planning without having to read the dirty details.
As has been my pattern, I posted another melancholy post right before the After Our Castle launch. This one was called: “What I Do Have I Give You: A Tale Of Paralyzation And Ongoing Healing.”
To quote the post:
“It’s not been an easy couple months. It’s not been an easy year. But that’s not surprising, because human life is not easy, and if you expect it to be, well, you’ll be disappointed.”
This post talks a lot about my worries over publishing After Our Castle, which was honestly a huge challenge for me.
But nonetheless, I went into the launch. Here’s the wrapup, in case you’re curious about what people said, what I did, etc. (Also, this is my favorite launch post because it tells you what some of my future plans are!)
As you probably know, one of my post popular (and only) posts lately was a review of Redeeming Love. It was … interesting … for sure.
And that’s about all I did last year. (Obviously I skipped some blog posts in between, but that hit the highlights for sure!)
Wrap-Up of My 2022-Is-Beginning Post
Okay, let’s start with some things I thought were coming up in 2022.
- Going to the Writing Retreat
That was so much fun! I was blessed to be included in the February Glory Writers retreat, and I enjoyed it so thoroughly. It really helped me solidify my desire to spend more time with Christian writers.
- Going to the West Coast Christian Writers Conference
This didn’t happen in person, but I did attend online, and I was able to pitch a couple times, which was great because I’ve been wanting to “practice pitch” for a while. It’s a great skill to have as a writer, regardless of your career plans!
- Year 2 of the Author Conservatory Program
The remainder of Year 2 of the Author Conservatory Program was pretty crazy for me, plus things changed up a number of times. It was an exciting adventure and had lots of plot twists. However, I’m excited for Year 3, whenever it officially starts, and wrapping up the Author Conservatory journey.
- A baby … or health testing
This is the thing that really didn’t happen. Obviously, we don’t have a baby, but we haven’t done a lot of health testing yet. I assumed we do that in August, but a variety of factors have put it off. I hope that we’ll be able to get a little testing done in the New Year to hopefully figure out if there are any obvious factors at work here other than God’s will.
I haven’t talked about this a ton, but obviously this weighs heavily on me. Sometimes I’m okay with it—and other times I am an emotional wreck. Regardless, it’s never far from my mind, and Matthew and I could absolutely use prayers about it.
(^ Above are pictures of our new house! Do you like? I certainly adore it!)
- A house to rent? A dog?
I wasn’t sure what the year would bring, and at the beginning of the year, I’d probably have been less than pleased about what it did bring. We did not end up taking Bonnie home—instead, we have a border collie named Stanley who is a special fellow we really love. We didn’t end up renting a new house, but we are instead renting a cabin from Matthew’s parents. At the beginning of the year, I probably would’ve considered this a step back, but it’s been amazing and has presented us with so many opportunities we wouldn’t have had otherwise.
(^ Stanley! Isn’t he the cutest pup?)
- More time outside, more time with friends and family, and becoming more helpful to other people!
I’m not sure I did a great job at this! I tried, certainly, but I probably could’ve done more to be out of doors. That said, I was happy with the way my relationships have proceeded in 2022, and I’m hoping to be more and more helpful to people as time goes on.
- Speaking at the 2022 YWW Conference
This was honestly such a blast! And another huge highlight of the year.
(That’s ^ me with my fellow student speakers, Charis Rae and Juliet Artman!)
My 2022 Goals Recapped
- Publish Beyond Her Calling (January), A Prayer Unanswered (July), and After Our Castle (October). YES!
- Relaunch the Kees & Colliers series with new covers. YES!
- Attend writing events! YES! x2!
- Wherever possible, prioritize physical health (exercising, eating, etc.), using my bullet journal to keep track. Somewhat. I didn’t use my bullet journal, and in terms of progress, I didn’t make much progress. 😛 But I actually am happy with where I am now, continuing to slowly improve.
- Write the McAllen Brothers series. Didn’t happen. I didn’t write much in 2022, actually.
- Get a job! Whether this is pursuing an old job, if the opportunity presents itself, or taking on a new one, I need to earn income in some way. YES! I ended up doing a few part-time things, getting an old job back, and then starting a brand-new job!
(^ Christmas 2022)
2022 Word of the Year
My 2022 word of year was:
(Past tense, because I already am sustained!)
Sustain me, my God, according to your promise, and I will live; do not let my hopes be dashed. (Psalm 119:116)
As I mentioned, I forgot my 2022 word of the year just a few months in … but it nonetheless became an interesting theme as I navigated those twelve months.
It seems like, at every turn, when I expected the worst, God turned it into something good—or better than I could have even imagined. This was never more exemplified that in the case of the cabin, the puppy, and more. There were many times when I was behind on deadline and stressed beyond all belief, and God still sustained me through those times.
I’m so grateful for the ways in which God sustained me through 2022!
In 2023, I hope to:
- Write at least three books.
- Publish one book.
- Complete the launch of Wild Blue Wonder Press.
- Publish two anthologies with Wild Blue Wonder Press.
- Have a successful NaNoWriMo and Camp NaNoWriMos (April/July).
- Successfully host a writing conference (YWW 2023!).
- Pitch my Regency romance novel.
- Progress in the Author Conservatory.
- Exercise regularly.
- Learn to cook.
2023 Hopes & Expectations
In 2023, I hope to write more and stress less.
That is an oversimplification. However, I still have hopes that the contents of 2023 will resemble that simple sentence. 😉 After all, I definitely do need to write more, and I definitely do need to stress less.
I am also undertaking a crusade of personal health. More and more, I believe it is vital to prioritize physical, mental, and emotional health, with the fourth and most vital part of this equation being spiritual health. Of course, this is not an easy assignment. There’s a lot that goes into every one of these factors.
But I am determined. So much so that I’m even meeting with a health coach! And waking up at 6 AM! I mean, for me, can you get any more DETERMINED?
which brings me to my 2023 word of the year:
2023 Word of the Year
This word means two different things to me.
First, there’s the Job 14 version:
“Man who is born of woman
Is of few days and full of trouble.
He comes forth like a flower and fades away;
He flees like a shadow and does not continue.
And do You open Your eyes on such a one,
And bring me to judgment with Yourself?
Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean?
Since his days are determined,
The number of his months is with You;
You have appointed his limits, so that he cannot pass.”
Not only am I sustained throughout all my days; my days are also determined. In spite of all my planning, I am living within certain wondrous limits appointed by the Lord. I can but do my best to serve Him.
However, I also think of 1 Corinthians 2:2:
“For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.”
My focus this year is on living God’s plans out for me, but also focusing on serving Him and “niching” my life down, if you will, to be more focused on Him.
Further, without knowing it and before I chose this word, I added this line to my laptop background:
“God decides the timing; you just determine your responses.”
Is seemed so fortuitous when I saw that! How did I know? Well, I didn’t, but God did. And I certainly need to learn to temper my responses to God’s movement in my life.
So, with a feeling of hope, I look toward 2023, determined to take what God brings to me with joy and perseverance.
May all you be blessed in the year to come.
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