Farewell, 2 0 1 7 // YEAR RECAP

by - 5:04 PM

2017 is gone.

It was a year of joy. Pain. Discovery. Loss.

But above all, it was a year of exploration. I'm a different person now than I was a year ago. That's just incredible to me, that the span of 365 days can CHANGE me. I explored so much in 2017. In writing, in music, in art, in reading...

But also who I was as a person. This was a hard year, guys. I'm not going to pretend otherwise. You saw some of that pain, but some of it, I've hidden inside. I hit a bout of depression this summer. I think I was the saddest I've ever felt this summer, honestly, but it was also one of the most memorable, life-changing summers I've had. I wouldn't change it.

I've realized more and more as I grow older that the ugliest messes produce the most beauty. We're refined, perfected, grown, shaped. In the midst of the fire, we're blinded. But once we emerge from the flames, we can find clarity. There's beauty in brokenness. In trusting Someone else who can see what we cannot.

I'm rambling here, but I don't know what to say except that I'm so grateful for life in all its messy, hurting, lovely, vibrant existence. 2017 was hard, yes; but I'm not regretful at all. God made me stronger through it. I grew so much. There were so many good moments last year. I can laugh and smile and thank God for all my blessings. He is so faithful.

So...specifics? Let's get into those. :)

:: 2 0 1 7 ::

Books //


Total books - 85

Total pages - 24,975 (ughhh so close to 25,000. I'm dissatisfied xD)

Shortest book - 9 pages (Red Boots by Kate Willis; it was an absolutely darling short story)

Longest book - 777 pages (my MASSIVE tome of Little Women; lovely book)

Average length - 294 pages

Average rating - 4.1 stars (surprising, since I read a decent amount of "meh" books last year)

Top Five Favorites:

*is physically in pain right now* OKAY so if I haaaad to narrow it down... 

Despite the fact that I read more "okay" books than usual...I actually discovered some of my favorite books of all time. No kidding. You guys need to check out all of the books listed above. THAT'S AN ORDER. ;)

Top Five Least Favorites:

My top (bottom?) least favorites were all 2.5 stars or less. I guess it's just natural that the more books I read, the more books I'll discover that I don't like. Darn it. xD

Princess of the Silver Woods by Jessica Day George

Unblemished by Sara Ella

Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay

The Ryn by Serena Chase

Moonblood by Anne Elisabeth Stengl

Runner-ups: Nyssa Glass and the House of Mirrors, Black, Edenbrooke, all my college textbooks :P

New Authors:

Some favorite authors I've discovered this year are Joanne Bischof, Kristy Cambron, Natalie Lloyd, and Roseanna M. White. (Most of them are actually historical fiction writers...apparently that's one of my new favorite genres.)

Top Five Favorite Covers:

CUE MY SHALLOW BOOKDRAGON SELF MAKING AN APPEARANCE. I just really love beautiful covers, guys. I can't help it. xD

The Girl Who Could See by Kara Swanson

The Lady and the Lionheart by Joanne Bischof

The Butterfly and the Violin by Kristy Cambron

A Note Yet Unsung by Tamera Alexander

*awkward cough as I realize most of these were in my favorite books section* What can I say, these books are all fantastic.

Writing //

It was a much different year for writing. I think I wrote around 150k? (Who knows at this point? xD) It was a year defined by testing my limits, breaking past self-imposed boundaries, and experimenting with different techniques. It was a year of exploration.

- I participated in ALL THE NANO EVENTS. Camp NaNo April (50k), Camp NaNo July (10k), and regular NaNo in November (50k). How this even happened is a mystery, but I'm glad it did. It was one of my New Years resolutions, actually. I doubt I'll be able to do all three this year, but who can say? I can't seem to resist the phantom call of NaNo. :P

- I wrote over 65k of The Scent of the Sun, my heartfelt contemporary fantasy novel. (I CAN'T DESCRIBE IT. )

- I wrote my steampunk short story, Along the Lines of Lawbreaking, and started a sequel. (Have I mentioned the sequel? If not, SURPRISE!! *grins*)

- I wrote my entire 33k novella, Behind the Velvet Curtain. It's a Snow White retelling set in a steampunk/Victorian setting. Again, my novels have the tendency of being indescribable...ahem.

- I wrote over 15k of my futuristic fantasy novel Vagrant Embers. It has big families, murder plots, conspiracies, and snark. (Always snark.)

- I tried my hand at poetry. The end of the year brought with it a total of around 10 free-verse poems. If you're interested, a bunch of them are on my other blog.

SO YES. This was an exciting year for me writing-wise! I, uh, started more projects than I finished...but that's okay...right? *nervous chuckle* Getting to play around with different writing styles, characters, settings, etc. was a really great experience. The thing I took away in 2017 for my writing was to write bravely. Don't be afraid to write the crazy, far-fetched dreams that peck at your brain. Those are the stories worth telling and worth all the struggles that come along with it.

Life //

LOTS OF THINGS HAPPENED. I'll just give a summary because otherwise we'll be here all day.

- I did SO MANY "adult" things. First time driving, first debit card, first job, college classes...goodness, I feel like I aged significantly in 2017.

- I saw the world. Granted, I didn't leave the country (hopefully that will change soon!) but I got to travel and see more of the world and it was lovely. <3 I took several road trips, visited California and Arizona (my childhood home), went back to my heart's home (Virginia), saw the Smoky Mountains, and went to Nevada and Lake Tahoe. Travel makes my heart happy.

- I went to my first writing conference and met blogging friends. This was...such a fantastic experience. It will go down in history as one of my favorite trips. Ever. I can't even put into words how much I loved attending Realm Makers and meeting my dear friends for the first time. <3

- I had a lot of struggles. Emotionally, this was a hard year. Like I said earlier, I'm not bitter or depressed about it...just being honest. It was hard. I DID struggle with depression and heartache and loss. I DID feel insignificant and selfish and stressed. My feelings were very real and poignant and raw. There were a lot of valleys. But ultimately I'm stronger for it. I had an incredible, life-changing event happen while visiting my dream school. (Still need to post about that!!) I witnessed the miraculous healing power of God. I grew closer to my Savior and was free to explore more about who I was meant to be. It was a year I'll never forget, for all its flawed beauty.

/ / / 

To sum it all up: 2017 was an unforgettable, life-changing, difficult year full of exploring and growth. Every part of my life was changed as I discovered + explored. I didn't even get to touch on music, art, and photography...but needless to say, my whole life was impacted last year.

I'm ever so grateful to have you all along with me on this journey. Thank you for bearing with all my emotional braindumps, lack of communication, and spontaneous hiatuses. I will hopefully have a post or two up sometime this week as I try to get back into the swing of blogging. :)

YOU ALL MEAN THE WORLD TO ME. Let's create some beautiful things in 2018.

With all my love,

P.S. This is my 100th post!! I'm in shock right now. 

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  1. Awww, Mary. *huggles* I'm so sorry that this was a tough year. 2017 was a refreshing year for me, in all honesty; but I had the depression and crashing and brokenness for most of 2016. So. :P I hope 2018 is a more restful year for you, spiritually and mentally!

    Your covers! Your favorite books! I just love them ALLLLLLL. XD I have to read To Get to You like yesterday. Thanks and you're welcome. XD

    And you wrote so many booooooks! Congrats on that, Mary <3

    Have a lovely 2018, my dear, and I hope you discover many more excellent books and grow in grace over the next 351 days! ;D

  2. BLACK? Black!!?? Whaaaat??? Yeah don't worry I'm not offended (*whispers* but like how could she not like it??)

    I LOVE THIS RECAP. I'M SO PROUD OF YOU! YOU DID SO MANY THINGS! YAY! Gimme all the books you wrote though bc I need them right now!! ^.^ And ahh yes, I think so many of us had both a tough/good year. I mean, how can we not? We're us! Humans, and so, obviously, everything is a mix, but IT'S SO GOOD TO SEE THE SUN BEHIND CLOUDS :D

    YES HAVE A LOVELY 2018 and can't wait to see where the new year will bring ya! (Or where you will bring it?? idk) XD


  3. Great post! I feel you on the adult things. XD I don't have a debit card yet, but I will soon. But I have been driving. It actually is fun! XD I have yet to get on the highway, but I'm pretty much ready to. We're hoping I'll take the actual driving test in February. I can drive the back roads, though. XD

    God is good. It is an amazing feeling to grow in His love. <3


  4. MARYYYYY! *huggle-glomp-attack* I've missed you and your posts! This was a delight!

    It breaks my heart to hear you had so much depression and hardship in 2017. But it is SO beautiful that you wouldn't change it. That you chose to grow and learn from it, instead of wallow in bitterness. You are such a beautiful person and I know God is proud of His servant. <333

    Oh my goodness, girl. YOU WROTE SO MUCH IN 2017!!!!! :O I'm just sitting here in awe at all the stories you worked on. AND you participated in all 3 NaNo events??? YOU ARE A WRITING NINJA. And there's a sequel to your steampunk story? I NEED ALL THE THIIIINGS! *grabby hands* You just did so amazing!

    That's so fun you got to travel a lot! It definitely sounds like it was a roller coaster of a year! But I'm so inspired by how you pushed through and became stronger and saw the beauty in the hardships.

    I do hope this 2018 will be as beautiful as you are. Happy New Year, sweet Mary!!!!! <3333333

  5. *all the hugs, girl* It breaks my heart to see so many of my sisters in Christ suffering from depression, but I know from experience that he never leaves us alone. I'm praying that he continues to help you through your struggles.

    But congrats on experimenting in your writing! That's so awesome! It's always good to try new things. Writing bravely is a great thing to aspire towards! Keep up your hard work.

  6. Wow, you did a lot of writing! And a lot of growing, it sounds like. I don't think I'll ever get used to the fact that one year can go by and I feel like a completely new person. It's really quite odd.

  7. Wow, I don't know how you managed to do all three NaNo events, but kudos to you! That's amazing! I hear you about struggles and "adulting", I got married and had to move out this year and that has been both awesome and ROUGH. I am pretty bad with change, even if it's really cool and special, and living in the city vs. the country is awful for me. I can't imagine going off to college alone though, that would be terrifying! Good luck in your new year! Also, congrats on reading 85 books! #jealous

  8. Lovely post, Mary!! SO nice to see you back!! I've missed your posts! ^_^

    The Girl Who Could See is possibly one of the most gorgeous covers EVER. *drools* :D

    WOW, you got so much writing done!! THAT'S AWESOME! *sends you cookies and milk* And GOING TO REALM MAKERS. THAT'S AMAZING. I'm really considering going this year...All my blogging buddies who went had SO MUCH FUN. :D

    Have a beautiful 2018, Mary. <333 ^_^

  9. Happy 2018 (and happy 100th post!) I love, love, love Anne of Green Gables.
    I started reading 'Dear Mr. Knightley' and stopped; mainly because it was drifting away from my book moral code.

  10. 100 posts??? EPICNESS!!! *trumpets sound*

    But seriously, The Phantom Tollbooth is absolutely hilarious. I read it a long time ago and recently my sister put it on our bookshelf, so I may be re-reading it again this year....

    I'm interested as to why you didn't like Moonblood. I've been thinking about reading the Goldstone Wood books, but I'm still piddling...any opinions you have would be great!

    And it's so cool that you write Steampunk. I would love to try that genre out someday, but I don't even think I've read a book in that Genre?? Any good, clean ones you might recommend?

  11. It was so great to meet you in person this year! I'm glad you had a lot of highlights this year. Depression is tough. I've struggled with it extensively, but I'm glad you're doing better. Here's to a great 2018!


  12. Happy (v late lol) new year! All of your favorite books are either my favorites or ones that I've heard lots of good things about. Congrats on your 100th post and on adulting: I did a lot of that in 2017 and will do a lot more in 2018!


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