Another year has passed, leaving behind mere wisps of memories. Although the rest of the world continues to hail 2016 as an atrocity of a year, I can't help but think of all the myriad ways God has blessed me.
2015 was an extremely tough year for our family. It started off with a scare that sent one of us to the ER. There were three car crashes. I went to the hospital and endured one of the scariest days of my life. There were other family problems as well. In short, it wasn't our brightest year.
Yet somehow, God gave us another year. A fresh canvas, just waiting for the Painter's touch. Yes, there were splotches and splatters along the way as paint dripped outside the lines. But every moment was planned by the Master. Every stroke calculated so that in the end, a brilliant painting would be unveiled. Each year, month, day, and second adding to the masterpiece. Those seemingly glaring "mistakes" were just shadows in the painting, adding depth and dimension.
All those hard times in 2015 were not without purpose. As difficult as the year was, I know God has a way of using even the most trying times for our good and His glory. And he certainly blessed me greatly in the following year.
2016 may best be described as a year of discovering my identity. Of course, it's easy enough to say that my identity is found in Christ; but 2016 pushed some deep, haunting thoughts out of the shadows and brought them to the forefront of my mind. I had so many doubts that year. Times when I wondered why God even bothered creating a mess like me. I was looking for my identity in anywhere but God. I looked to the world and its expectations, retreating from my Savior and saying I was "too busy" for Him.
So you may be thinking, "Why did you say you were so blessed in 2016? It doesn't sound like such a great year."
Well, if I'm simply looking at the surface of all these things, then yes, it was not the greatest year. But God has been trying to reach out and draw me closer to Him for so long, and I feel like 2016 was the breaking point. Yes, it was a difficult year emotionally as I struggled to find my identity; but it pushed me back to my Savior and for that, I am ever grateful.
And besides pointing me back to my Creator, 2016 was full of so many other good things.
// I started Sunshine and Scribblings and met countless amazing people whom I loved dearly.
// I wrote my first real book.
// I did NaNoWriMo for the first time...and wrote 90k. o.o
// I read 52 books, an accomplishment for this busy student.
// I grew even closer to my bestie. <3
// I saw Rend Collective in concert. (#yes)
// I garnered so many books that I have piles of them sitting on the floor of my room. (That may be a problem? But it's a good problem to have.)
// I spent over a week with my wonderful grandparents during the summer.
// I had the best birthday in I-don't-know-how-long.
// I survived my speech class and discovered that public speaking isn't as bad as I originally thought.
// I met an old friend of mine for the first time in almost 2 years.
All in all, I will say that 2016 was a good year. It was stressful and emotional, but there were so many good memories as well. God has indeed blessed me beyond measure, and He's given me a fresh start in 2017, the year I hope will be defined by a stronger relationship with Him.
Now for the second part of this post. I was tagged by my friend Kaitlyn for the 2016 Bookish Recap Tag. (Thank you so much, girl! ^_^) AND LOOK. I'm actually doing it right after I was tagged! #soproud (Actually, I was already planning on stealing the tag so that's why I'm doing it right now. *cough, cough*)
How many books did you read in 2016? (Exact if you know, or approximate if not.)
Did you set a reading challenge for yourself and, if so, did you meet it?
What was your most read genre this year? Least read?
What's five of your favorite books from 2016?
OH MY STARS, WHAT A QUESTION. *bangs head against the wall* *groans in pain*
Okay, okay. Lemme think a minute, you cruel question-maker.
// Paper Crowns
// Peter Pan
What's five of your least favorite books from 2016?
2016 was such a good reading year. Seriously, there were only 4 books that I rated 3 stars--the rest were either 4 or 5-star reads. O_O IT WAS A GOOD YEAR, FOLKS, I'M TELLING YOU.
Soooo...I can only give you the four books that I rated 3 stars. #sorrynotsorry
// Veiled Rose
// Plain Kate
What new favorite author did you discover? (Not necessarily that the author is 'new', but that they became new to you this year.)
Pssh, what is this singular case you speak in? There were many favorites I discovered, not just one. If I had to narrow it down to three (I told you I'm a rebel), I would pick Sharon Cameron, Heather Dixon, and Diana Wynne Jones. Their books are masterpieces.
What's five of your favorite book covers from the year?
YESYESYEYESYES. I looooove book covers. *hugs them gently so as not to bend them*
How many books did you purchase for yourself in 2016? (Exact if you know, approximate if not.)
One does not simply count the books one has collected in a year.
SERIOUSLY, I BOUGHT SO MANY BOOKS IN 2016, AND I'M NOT EVEN SORRY. Like...like I probably bought at least 50. o.o I'M NOT KIDDING. Thankfully, most of them were bought really cheap so I didn't completely murder my bankbook. *looks at exploding bookshelves* *chuckles nervously*
What's the longest book you read in 2016?
Emma by Jane Austen was 474 pages, so it cashed in as the winner.
What's the shortest book you read in 2016?
The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry was only 32 pages...according to Goodreads. (It was actually waaaay shorter. Yeah, it was a very short story. XP)
What's your reading goal for 2017?
I'm going to try to up my reading challenge by a few books every year so this year's challenge is to read 60 books. *grins and raises book sword in the air* *which is totally a thing, don't doubt me, peasants*
I know the rules say I have to tag people...but I feel like a lot of people have been doing yearly recaps and book recaps and such so I'm not going to tag anyone specific. But if you want to do it, by all means, follow in my pirating footsteps and steal it. (I'm such a good example--I learned everything I need to know from Jack Sparrow.)
|Oh right...sorry. XP|
Well, there you have my very much belated New Year's post. (I'm a wizard, though, so I'm never late, remember?) It's been such a wonderful year in terms of friendships, and I'm infinitely grateful to know you people. <3