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Reflections on 2019 – A Year of Beginnings

By Jenny Fulton

The end of 2017 – 2018 was a year of loss. We went through two miscarriages, 2nd degree-burns on our 18-month-old, and stepped away from an abusive church situation, which also resulted in a loss of community. While there was life in the form of our third daughter being born, most of that year feels like a daze. We were doing all we could just to survive.

2019 didn’t feel much different. We were still trying to regain our footing. However, when I looked back over the year, I realized something. Although it didn’t seem like it in the moment, 2019 was very different than the previous years. It was full of beginnings.

The interesting thing about new beginnings is they often don’t feel much different than the old endings.

New beginnings are like a seed that’s been planted in fertile soil. For a long while, you don’t think about the soil and you can’t see any evidence of growth. Beneath the ground, however, things are happening. Small roots are breaking out of the seed and anchoring it into the earth. Nutrients are being absorbed. Beyond the reach of our view, that seed is very much alive and active in its quest to become the fruitful plant it’s meant to be.

Such was 2019 for us.

In Terms of Writing

On January 15 of last year, a good friend challenged my assertion that I didn’t have time to work on my own ideas because I was too busy helping other people with theirs.

“Of course you have time,” she said. “Do it little by little. Invest in your work.”

This Blog: I took Jasma’s advice and soon made the jump to create a website. Why? In addition to her encouragement, there was the sense that it was time. John and I needed a place to express and share our thoughts, our experiences, our lives. Although I’m not, and have never been, a computer person, I enjoyed the process of figuring out how to make the webpage design template work for what I envisioned the site to be. I loved choosing the pictures and deciding which elements to put where. The end result filled me with joy. Here was a place where we could share the love, knowledge, and outpouring of God’s presence in our life.

John’s Writings: For the first time ever, John shared his writings online.

Invisible Battles: Oftentimes, new beginnings require letting go of one thing so you can concentrate more fully on another. After following an editor’s recommended revisions, I released the second book of the Invisible Battles series into the hands of my client. Though there were talks of entering into a greater partnership with the books, in the end it seemed better to step away and allow him to manage the series in the way he deemed best. I trust God to bring me back on board when, how, and if the time is right.

Zoe the Youngest, Greatest Fairy Magician Warrior: Without the Invisible Battles books taking up so much of my attention, I turned my energy to developing a children’s book series. The concept had been jumping around in the back of my mind since 2009. With new permission to be heard, ideas and details began popping up all over the place. When my artistic sister Chelsea arrived, the vision found an illustrator. We hope to find a literary agent and/or publisher for our first picture book, Zoe the Fairy. We’re also staying open to the possibility of self-publishing.

Non-Fiction Book: Another book that came surging to the forefront of my mind is a non-fiction one I’ve been researching, gathering information for, and thinking about since 2012. In 2019, I finally began working on it in earnest and now have the first five chapters drafted.

Critique Partners: I’d been praying about finding a writing mentor who could help me progress in my craft and last year God brought me one in the form of a more experienced critique partner. In case you’re not familiar with the term, this is someone with whom you trade material and provide feedback on each other’s work. It was definitely a learning curve at first, and I’m so thankful she stayed with me through my initial knee-jerk responses to her critiques.

If you want to know what its like to have a critique partner, think about the most strenuous workout you’ve had. It isn’t easy to push your body farther than you’re accustomed to going – than you even know you’re capable of going, and the pain is excruciating. But you appreciate the experience and push on because you know it’s making you stronger.

Twitter: I joined! While I know it has the potential of being a toxic environment, I’ve been having really good experiences so far. I’ve found other moms and writers to connect with and am planning on participating in some of the pitch parties to promote my children’s book. If you’re on Twitter, look me up and let’s connect. Twitter handle: @AuthorFulton

In Terms of John’s Work

After months of debating whether or not he wanted to and should apply for the position of department manager, John decided to go through the application process. He was officially offered the job, and accepted it, in September.

Curiously enough, in the midst of being obedient to what it felt like God was asking him to do in regard to management, another interest started to make itself known. John realized his true passion lies in teaching. Time will tell where this newly discovered interest takes us.

In Terms of Family

New School: In January, John and I began discussing the possibility of enrolling Chloe in a full-time traditional school setting rather than having me teach her at home. Several factors played into this decision and ultimately, it felt like the right move to make. We started looking at schools with the intention of enrolling her at the start of the next school year. However, when a spot opened up in a Kindergarten class at a school we really liked, we opted to start her there immediately.

New Member of the Household: After completing her master’s degree in Kansas, my youngest sister Chelsea came to live with us. While there have been the standard challenges that come with acquiring a new roommate, we’re improving in our ability to communicate and have truly loved having her as part of our family. Chelsea is currently teaching art at a Christian preschool and working on the illustrations for Zoe the Fairy.

In Terms of Community

With the old community of our former church gone, we’ve been in desperate need of a new community. While we’re still searching for a church home and it has proven difficult to find a consistent community for John and Chelsea because of their work schedules, God has provided me with various forms of fellowship.  

MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group: I decided to reach out and join my second MOPS group, knowing I needed connections with more moms. God led to me to find a group full of fun, authentic women who, like me, are striving to raise their young kids in the best way they know how.

Women’s Bible study: My neighbor invited me to a women’s Bible Study at her church. Where the MOPS group provides women who are close to my age and in the same stage of life, this Bible study has given me the opportunity to be in the presence of women older than myself.  Many of these have raised young children and survived to emerge with more wisdom on the other side.

Other Moms from Chloe’s School: In the frequent franticness of dropping kids off and picking them up, it’s hard to build new relationships. However, I’ve been fortunate enough to get to know a few of the moms better through morning after-drop-off coffee and playdates.

Reconnections: In addition to new friendships, this past year has also brought several opportunities to reconnect with women I’ve known but had drifted away from. These women include a neighbor, a good friend from my single-woman days, a teacher I used to work with, and a woman I volunteered with when she was the director of a local non-profit.

Moving Forward

New Blog Features: This year, I have added two new features to my website.

  • Welcome Wednesday is a time when I can introduce other authors and give them a chance to promote their work. If you’re a reader, you can search the genres to find new books to read and new authors to follow.
  • Fiction Friday is a time when I’ll post short (less than 800 words) fiction/fantasy stories that can be read for enjoyment. These can also be searched for according to their genre.

Zoe the Fairy: It is my hope to either find an agent and publisher for the picture book or to self-publish it.

Non-Fiction Book: I plan to continue writing and editing chapters and handing them off to critique partners for feedback. One goal is to finish drafting it by the end of the year.

Family Life: We look forward to continuing to pursue God and follow Him as He reveals the next steps for our life. We trust He knows and cares about our needs and our hearts’ desire, and will care for us accordingly.

Thank you so much for reading! Your support is truly invaluable. May God go with us all into this new year. May we begin to see the growth and further evidence of the seeds He has planted. God is good. Praise be to Him.

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* Image by 41330 from Pixabay

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