Wednesday, January 3, 2018

This is Me: 2017 Edition

This is me.  I'm a 29-year-old successful small business owner, slinging ink and drawing funny faces for the crowds as a caricature artist since I was just 15.  I've been married to my high school sweetheart for nine years, together for over 13, and we bought our first house in 2016!  We also have four fuzzballs, three cats and a dog, all loving rescues.  As the Circle Coordinator of Circle of Fountains, I cooperatively lead a group of well-rounded, elevated spiritual beings I'm proud to call my family.  I'm active in the greater pagan and witchcraft community and utilize my own personal knowledge and photography skills as a blogger here at Witchy Words.  I certainly lead a charmed life!

Every year, I've used a specific format to track my goals in eight different sections of my life, to varying degrees of success and non-success.  Past years has seen it repeatedly interrupted by moving.  This past year, I had hoped, would be different.  Instead, a variety of new and unexpected factors stalled my ability to focus on myself.  For this upcoming year, I'm focusing on just eight goals with one primary one as I take a step back from the community and surrounding factors that may hinder my ability to move forward.   But before I can focus on the new year ahead, let's take a quick look at where 2017 took me:

I began the year by chopping off all of my dry, damaged hair from 2016.  Between seeing a stylist who destroyed my hair and then not having it cut or treated for months as I saved for a house, my poor mane was destroyed.  I also learned over the course of 2016 that I'm definitely a redhead at heart and returned to my "roots," so to speak.

A huge storm March 5th-6th took out our front tree and caused $20,000 worth of damage to our house.  The downside was the damage, of course, but the upside is that it moved up our ability to renovate the exterior of the house.  We knew we would need a new roof this year; now our insurance could cover it!

Our cat, Zeus, had a horrible heath catastrophe in April.  We saw three vets and spent over $1500 which still did not remedy the issue.  After just moving and settling in, we had barely begun to save.  With help from readers, we were able to save his life and resolve the issue completely.  We couldn't be more grateful!

I reached a new height in my career - literally!  I began flying out for events this year and reached many new states in the process.  During the height of the season, I'm often up in the air two to three times a month on top of standard work.  I don't ever think I thought my job would take me here!  I'm excited to see where I get to go this year.

I started working on a variety of new media at work, including t-shirts, hats, mugs and magnets!  Magnets are by far my favorite, but t-shirts run a close second!

By May, I began vetting out contractors to decide who would be the lucky winner of renovating our home.  The mock-up above shows my idea (top) and how our house looked prior to that (bottom).

I also finally completed our coffee nook, a staple with my circle during rituals and meetings.

And I finalized our entry way decor!

We also were given - GIVEN - a new kitchen table and purchased desks for our office!  Things were really coming together!

Things took a sharp turn when racism was brought to a head by an author coming to our local pagan community.  I ended up publicly speaking out about it at length and being interviewed by the Star - things I absolutely never expected to do but which I simply couldn't not do.  Many in the community spoke out about it but others chose to remain neutral.  Neutrality in the face of racism is no better than racism itself.  I fought to the bitter end to ensure the safety of the community and its members but lost my social footing in the process.

Not everyone likes me.  Not everyone is going to like me.  It was never about being liked anyway.

Nonetheless, on the tail end of that scenario, I still participated in Kansas City Pagan Pride Day...

... and Gaea Goddess Gathering!

GGG was the most hectic four days of my year.

I managed the Temple to Demeter and led a blessing ritual impromptu for it.

I taught a class on domestic familiars.

And I led the main ritual to Demeter for the event.

How did I not just keel over?  I will honestly never know.

It felt like it took forever, but our house renovations were finally completed in late October and early November!

And just days before our

Then we had another setback:  My poor Artemis was suddenly diagnosed with cancer.  A pustule he had on his leg since 2012 had somehow been misdiagnosed by three vets.

But between diligent care...

... spell work...

... reader participation...

... and surgery, my baby boy

The tumor was diagnosed as a low grade stage 1 - the absolute best possible outcome - meaning no chemo, no radiation, no checkups and a clean bill of health.  Artemis has some more time on his paws!

In 2017, I entered the year:
28 years old.
Fur-mama of four.
A successful small business owner.
A home owner.
A professional blogger.
Coordinator for Circle of Fountains.
Volunteer witchcraft photographer.
Gemstone haired.

And I left 2017:
29 years old.
Fur-mama of three healthy cats and a dog who beat cancer.
A successful small business owner who flies out to her events.
A home owner who renovated her house.
A professional blogger.
Coordinator for Circle of Fountains.
Red and blonde (yet again!).


2017 GOALS

Before we can put 2017 completely behind us, I need to take a final look at my goals I set at the beginning of the year:

For my career goals, I succeeded in all areas.  I now have a binder and a digital system for tracking all of my records, I have all I need to do a digital caricature gig, I added three new agencies to my list and I purchased signage in September!

Financial goals were also completed for the better part.  We not only maintained a budget and rebuilt our medical savings but added onto that.  We targeted areas for improvement and resolved them.  My husband has a 401k through his work and I have a CD bond for my retirement.  We did not, however, add any money to his student loans beyond what was required of us - and I think, at this point, we're not going to.  I would love to pay them off sooner but it's just going to make us scrape every year, unable to do the things that need to be done in our lives.  We're paying more than just interest, but I don't anticipate adding more to that payment will be a goal in the upcoming year.

My health goals suffered considerably this year.  I didn't gain any weight but I also didn't lose any either.  I didn't have time to add recipes and my circlemates fell through on creating an exercise schedule.  I did, however, maintain my medication.  So, woo?

In home goals, I only had household systems - a series of binders that would help me track everything.  I did get most of the binders done but not all of them.  I plan on adding the remaining binders to my list of home goals this year.

Knowledge goals also suffered as I don't think I touched on any of these.

For my personal goals, I did implement a few things for a daily schedule and, aside from my health, completely recovered from moving.  It wasn't a perfect success but it wasn't a total failure either.

And for my spiritual goals, I simply wanted to crate a Witchy Words posting schedule.  I don't always hit the same days every week but, for the better part, I'm posting 2-3 times a week standard.  I'd call that a success.

So, overall, did I hit my Big 3?

I did find financial security this year for the first time in a long while.
To maintain a schedule, I needed a standard sleep and wake time and a general weekly schedule down.  I do just that, so I'd say that I fulfilled that pretty well, even if I didn't hit the kind of daily schedule I wanted.
I did not succeed, however, in my health goals.  For some reason, my health always sits on a back-burner when crap hits the fan.  Between Zeus, Artie, renovations, racism and all the new things my 2017 entailed, my health did not get better.  It didn't get worse, so that's a bonus.  But we're still at the starting point.

To be fair, two out of three isn't bad.


Goal-setting for 2018 will work a bit differently than it has in the past.  Typically, I go through each of the eight areas of my life and set as many goals as I postulate that I need through a series of worksheets.  I have never been able to complete all of my goals in the past several years, so I'm cutting it down to just one goal per area this year.  I'll post these goals in a single post rather than eight or more individual posts.  Obviously, by culling it down to eight, three would be almost half of that, so instead of a "big three," I'll focus on one particular area.

Three guesses as to which one and the first two don't count.

See you shortly for my 2018 goal list!


  1. I adore readying how you set goals and schedule and plan for the year. Your house decoration is such an inspiration for me.

    1. Thank you so much, Stephanie! The goals post is set for tomorrow but it's going to be significantly different from years past. I hope you enjoy it!

  2. I'm looking forward to your goal setting and planning. I fail miserably in this area. Looking for inspiration!

    1. Thank you so much, Kim! The goals post for this year is going up tomorrow morning but you might find it differs greatly from the previous years. I hope it still helps!

  3. What an eventful year! I’m so glad it ended on a good note for you guys. Thanks so much for speaking out against racism and bigotry. I can’t believe we are still dealing with that in this day and age but it’s always something I guess. I have to say though, how could anyone not like you? You seem like such a caring person! Sometimes I wish people could just set aside their differences, but I guess it’s better to not be liked by certain people (I know you’re talking about the racism again and I’m not sure how I would want someone with those beliefs to think of me). Well anyway, thanks for the look back at you year! Best to you in 2018!

    1. Thank you so much, Liz! The community racism issue was... in a word, complicated. It was easy when things were black versus white - us versus them - but when we had to turn the magnifying glass on our own, when local organizations refused to take a stand, that's where things got muddy. I'm incredibly vocal and have a hard time standing down but I also greatly detest neutrality on issues like this. I don't believe neutrality is an option.

      Things have blown over for the better part but my ability to join the community like I once did has been damaged. That's okay. It was never about me. If anything I did makes others feel more comfortable in the community, that's what matters.

      Here's hoping 2018 builds off the lessons we learned in 2017 and paves the way for a brighter, and more inclusive, future! <3

  4. Congratulations on you and your household getting through 2017! Here's hoping 2018 is as awesome for you all, with a lot fewer problems.