Happy end of December, friends! We’re officially past Christmas and gaining momentum as we head towards the New Year! Can you believe it? I’m a little bit shocked at how quickly 2016 has concluded…and how soon we’ll be in 2017!
First, I hope you all had a very merry Christmas! Whether you were busy with family and a flurry of activities, or you found yourself with more quiet time to rest, I hope it was a refreshing, wonderful break from the normal routines of everyday life.
Reflecting on the Blog This Past Year + Future Thoughts for the Blog
Like many people do at the end of a year, I’ve been reflecting back on the past 12 months and all they have brought for this blog. I’ve had a blog of some sort or other since the start of college, but I finally decided to take blogging seriously the summer of 2014. A lot has changed over the past 2 and a half years, and blogging has been such a rewarding outlet for me! My hope is, this space has been an encouragement and help to you, too.
Content-wise, I’m still just as happy having a lifestyle blog as ever. It’d be difficult for me to nail down a super-specific niche, since I am passionate about many facets of life, like marriage and home and cleaning/organizing and food and travel and faith. So, I do plan to continue posting on a variety of topics, including an increased number of homemaking posts, hopefully. I do love sharing about my little hospitality and cleaning routines, and other ways to make a home run efficiently and cozily. 🙂
I felt inspiration ebb and flow a bit this year — I have a drive to create actionable, useful content and sometimes it can be tricky to make sure it is also meaningful and an outlet for me as well. I intend to share even more from the heart in 2017, while keeping similarly outlined posts on topics like homemaking and marriage.
In terms of posting frequency, I have stuck with a Monday/Wednesday/Friday posting schedule pretty well. When things got busy and I was dealing with some difficult stuff this fall, the frequency backed off a bit, but I do hope for now to stick to a 3 posts a week schedule.
I’m thrilled that I’ve been able to work with an increasing number of companies this past year — as a full-time teacher, obviously blogging isn’t my main source of income, but it’s always nice to bring in a little extra. Sponsored posts are something you’ll still see around here, although I will only promote products I actually like and I’ll work to keep these posts authentic, of course.
I’ve always enjoyed chatting with fellow bloggers via email, texting, Facebook, and letters — but this past year brought a whole new meaning to the words “blog friend.” I am so grateful for those of you who I’ve been able to establish friendships with. I’ve got your Christmas cards hung up in our kitchen, and I mention you in conversation just like we met for coffee last week! I’ve even been blessed to receive a card from one of you who knew of a difficult time I walked through, and brought me encouragement via snail mail.
The Internet CAN and DOES have the ability to foster beautiful friendships, and I’m so glad I’ve found sweet friends through the blogging world. 🙂 THANK YOU for being there for me.
The Best of Just Bee 2016:
I wanted to share some of my favorite posts from Just Bee this year. I’ve divided them up by category: home, marriage, travel, food, and faith.
Apple Feta Salad – a recipe by my friend Jordan!
Well, there you have it! I just kept adding to these lists because I have so many favorites from this past year! And I’ve taken my time adding to them, since it’s an encouragement to me to go back through these posts, reread them, and soak up your comments, too!
Some Life Updates
As I type this, the church bells across our little town are ringing a beautiful hymn and birds are calling to each other outside. This house has always been called “The Peace House” by family members, because there is such an air of peace about this place. It used to be a parsonage. I’m so grateful to get to rent this place for this season of our life.
I know that I haven’t shared life updates lately, and honestly, it’s because I didn’t really have the heart to. A lot has been going on these past couple months and I feel I need time to process it all and just plain move forward. Some things, I still haven’t decided if I’ll be sharing on the blog.
Work has been busy, with all of its typical (and sometimes surprise) stresses. As a Title I teacher, I teach small group reading/phonics and math. I’ve been assigned to 2nd graders this year, and I really enjoy that grade level. But the nature of being a Title I teacher means that you can randomly get assigned to a different grade level (or type of position) each year, so this is my 4th year and I’ve essentially had a different job every year I’ve taught! It can be a bit overwhelming. I’m also in charge of a para who has 5th grade small groups, so I plan 22 small group lessons per DAY: 11 for me, 11 for her. It can get to be a lot.
Bjorn was voted mayor of our town(!!!) and we’re excited about this opportunity to make a difference in our little community. We hosted a teen movie night at the library last week, which was a blast.
I’m still loving the side job of being a Rodan + Fields consultant. The products are amazing, and I really like this company! Pssst — there’s still an awesome deal going on right now!! If you buy Lash Boost, you will receive a travel pouch AND a mini Multi-Function Eye Cream as a gift! If you email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and end up becoming a Preferred Customer after we chat, you’ll also receive a free gift from me!
I FINALLY got a Tumblr! It’s called “The Peace House” and I’m obsessed with it already. I’ve been aching for a creative photo inspiration space to call my own for a while now, and it is so fun to be able to post about the simple, peaceful life there. Please come on over and check it out – I’d love for you to follow along! 🙂 If you’ve liked my Rustic Simple Life board on Pinterest, then you’re gonna love my Tumblr site!
I’d appreciate some prayer regarding the difficult time I mentioned earlier. Life throws curveballs sometimes and I would really be grateful if you prayed. This fall I sometimes felt like I was just treading water, and I’m sure ready for the fresh start 2017 will bring.
I’m personally really grateful for a break from work and our typically very busy daily routine. Life feels like it’s been a blur of work, Bjorn’s masters classes, army drill weekends, Rodan + Fields stuff, health stuff, and more. It sure is nice to sleep in past 5:40 am this week! 🙂 And longer breaks like this one allow me to work on projects and organization around the house – something I totally love, but I don’t have time for the bigger projects during a typical weekend.
Bjorn and I will have been married for THREE whole years this coming March – can you believe it? It feels like just yesterday I was posting our wedding photos. 🙂 I absolutely love doing daily life with him. I’m so grateful for him. He has been a rock for me to lean on when life throws curveballs, and I love how we have the same silly sense of humor. God shows us more and more each day just how perfectly He molded us for each other. <3
I hope you’ve enjoyed reviewing the year with me: Just Bee and some life updates. It’s been wonderful having you along for this adventure, and I’m so grateful you’re here!