Friday, January 1, 2016

Reflecting on the Year Gone By and Looking Ahead

The year 2016 has come. My family didn't do a big party for New Year's Eve, but we did have yummy snacks and root beer floats while chatting, laughing, and looking through old photos (some of ancestors who lived long ago; which is always so intriguing!). It was a very lovely time with my parents and siblings! ^_^

I don't generally do "new year resolutions" or get all excited about a shiny new year! (Maybe I should try harder to ... ) But it is kind of fun to mark books on Goodreads as Books-I've-Read-In-2016 now! *grins* I know I'm strange. You don't have to continue reading my blog, you know. Haha.

When I ponder on it, there is something hopeful about starting a new year. Like some things might be different this year. Exciting happenings may occur. Perhaps this is the year that you'll ...
     And it is helpful to reflect upon the year gone by.

2015 was a fairly eventful year for me! In January, I was in Minnesota (which my family had just moved from a few months earlier) with my older brother, at our cousin's wedding! A fun little trip!
I started baking more, gluten-free and sugar-free ... trying out fun new recipes. I actually found a lot of tasty snacks that I really enjoy! Such as Chocolate Oatmeal and Easy Banana Pancakes!
In March I went with three of my younger sisters to watch Cinderella {2015} in theaters! Just had to mention that memorable event. *grins and winks* It was lovely sister time! <3

April, I made a Facebook Author Page! That was an exciting day! I also added A Dream Not Imagined to Goodreads, set up a Twitter account, and the like. Getting ready for my publishing journey! Meanwhile, my fourteen-year-old sister was busy drawing the cover for my soon-to-be first published work.
May 28th, I officially published the kindle version of A Dream Not Imagined ... a novella I had actually written and entered into a contest at least a year before. All polished up and sporting a beautiful cover, it was offered to the world! Soon after, in June, I got the paperback version out.
I was hugely supported by family and friends, with encouragement and amazing book reviews flooding in! There was definitely some stress, but ultimately, this was one of the loveliest times of my life!! Thrilling, and beautiful, and quite simply a dream come true. Something I had talked about since I was about ten-years-old had come about ... One of my stories was published! What a feeling to hold my very own book in my hands! I still sometimes pull A Dream Not Imagined off the shelf (mine or the family bookshelf) and this incredible feeling of giddiness and joy fills me - just seeing my words in print. My story in its own cute little book.

During June and July, I very much enjoyed short visits from cousins and friends out of state.
Come August, my older brother and I were headed for Minnesota again. We attended a young people's gathering called Watersmeet, which was a delightful experience! I got to see so many people (relatives and friends) from lots of different states! So enjoyed it. My brother and I proceeded to stay in MN for about the next two months! I got to visit my old library a lot, play Ultimate Frisbee & disc-golf, watch War Room {2015}, go on a beautiful camping trip, and just hang out with really awesome friends. It was simply the best to be part of my old Bible study group once again.

I had a very wonderful time there; but then it just came the time to head home. And I can't deny it, I was missing my family. Just had to give that irresistibly sweet baby brother of mine a big squeeze! <3 <3
During October, I got to be part of a Book Launch Team for the first time! It was such a neat experience! Yay for author Nadine Brandes, her amazing dystopian books (A Time to Die and A Time to Speak), and her willingness to let me be on her team! *smiles*
Also got to be part of one of my favorite authors, Tricia Mingerink's, launch team as well, soon after that.
Some of my favorite people came to visit from my home state, which was sooo lovely!! Now I just want to go visit them for a (long) while.
And December was a sweet and cozy month of Christmas music and family and happy little things. I celebrated my 19th birthday on the seventeenth, with my family and chocolate cake! *smiles*
We made a gingerbread house ... family time! <3
And had a lovely Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with family, and eating yummy food and opening sweet little gifts from each other.


I found a lot of fantastic NEW (to me) authors to follow this past year! Gillian Bronte Adams, Nadine Brandes, Angie Brashear, Christine Johnson, Kathrese McKee, Tricia Mingerink, Rachelle Rea, Shonna Slayton, Ashley Townsend, Mary Weber, and Jill Williamson all delighted my reader self in 2015, and I can't wait to pick up more of their books!

And I read more novels from some of my favorite authors such as Lori Benton, Serena Chase, Melanie Dickerson, Jaye L. Knight, Anne Elisabeth Stengl, Sarah Sundin, and Jan Watson. Amazing authors, all! ^_^

Some books I hope to read in 2016 are:


I was blessed to watch some amazing Christian movies such as War Room {2015} and Beyond the Mask {2015} this past year! I also enjoyed Cinderella {2015}, and tv shows like When Calls the Heart {2014-}, Poldark {2015-}, and Call the Midwife {2012-}.

Some movies I hope to watch in 2016 are:


I published a novella. I wrote a little. I rewrote a little. I edited a lot. All in all, I don't feel very accomplished in my writing of 2015. But, I really hope to finish re-writing, and editing, and polishing my fantasy story, Silver Rose, this year of 2016!! Perhaps another book published? *hopeful look*
I also would dearly love to began re-writing an old historical story that I wrote when I was about 12/13. It's about a girl named Ruby Jens, and ... I don't know. I just love it for some reason, and would very much like to rewrite and publish someday! ^_^


So, we shall see! Most of all, my hope for this year is that I will be brave enough to surrender all to the Lord, and go wherever He guides me! May we all be in the center of His will this year! <3

"Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen."
Ephesians 3:20-21 NKJV


  1. Wow, that's a lot!! And best of luck with rewriting/editing/publishing with Silver Rose!! It's an awesome story, and I can't wait to have it on my shelf!! *smiles*

    1. Yeah, some exciting things happened this past year!! ^_^ Aw, thank you, Alyssa!! That is so encouraging! *hugs* I'm hoping to get started re-writing again soon!

  2. It sounds like you had an amazing year. :) Minnesota looks sooo pretty! I've never been there, but I have family that lives there!

    I cannot wait to read "Anchor in the Storm"!!! :D Sarah Sundin's books are the best! ;)

    And "God's not Dead 2" look amazing! Seriously, I need to set it on my calendar so I don't forget when it releases. :D And of course, who's NOT excited about the 3rd season of "When Calls the Heart"?!?!? ;)

    Oh, and I can't wait to get a copy of "Silver Rose" on my shelf! It is so, so good!! :D Hope everything goes smoothly with the editing/rewriting process!

    1. It was a pretty great year! ^_^ Ah, the scenery in MN during my camping trip was so beautiful! Cool! I have family there too. :)

      I know!!! Sarah Sundin is an amazing author! Anchor in the Storm is high up on my can-hardly-wait-to-read list! ^_^

      It really does! Looks like it's going to be a great movie, just like the one before it! And right??? I'm thrilled the 3rd season is coming next month! EEP! I loved 'New Year's Wish'! <3

      Aw, thank you, Jesseca!! That's so sweet of you! ^_^ I hope so too!!!

  3. Sounds like you enjoyed an amazing year, Shantelle; family trips and family time on New Year's Eve at home is always the best! :)

    Yay for Laura's and Sarah's books; hope you enjoy them as well as Mockingjay, and I too am anxious to watch Mercy Street. Generally, anything PBS puts out is a masterpiece. :)

    1. I did, Rissi! So many good memories! ^_^

      Yes!! I always put those two's books as must reads! Eep! I can't wait for Mockingjay: Part 2!! I don't think it's in theaters anymore, but I can't find it at redbox either! Ah well.

      I agree! PBS has put out some lovely shows (like Downton Abbey and Call the Midwife), and I'm hoping Mercy Street will be another! :)

  4. Hi Shantelle, just dropped in read the posts I've missed and I wanted to say: you're going to like Poldark's series! I've still not read the novels (don't want to get spoilers!!!) but I liked the series very much!

    Hope you'll have a great year this year!

    1. Hello! Thanks for stopping by! I very much enjoyed the first season of the Poldark TV series, and hope to read the books! Hope you have a lovely year too! :)