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hello, 2023 {a year in review}

Hello, my friends!

It’s almost 2023. o.O Goodness, that feels weird to say, doesn’t it? In a way, it does, but also. . . 2022 was such a massive year for me and when I think back, so much happened. I ran my first year of cross country, wrote two novels, became a Community Assistant for The Young Writer’s Workshop, launched this blog, became a much more skilled photographer, had countless hangs out with friends, moved into a new house, and grew not only as a person but as a Christ-follower. <3

Anyway, this post will be reviewing things that happened this past year, goals for the new year, blog stats, and a few photos. Please enjoy!

2022 highlights

We moved into a new house ~ I don’t know if I can actually say we moved yet since we’re working on our old house and fixing it, but in March, we started living full-time at a home my parents bought a few years ago–primarily for land but they thought that we might sell it and fix it up–and honestly, I love it here. In the spring, we’re hoping to add some extra bedrooms to the house, but for now, we’re settled. A tad crammed, but we’re fitting in here all right, and living-wise, it makes a lot more sense for us.

Made a lot of new friends and became closer to friends I already had ~ Through blogging, pen paling, emailing, and YWW, I became close friends with quite a lot of lovely people online. But also, my real-life friendships grew a lot. I’m so thankful for each of the wonderful people God has put in my life! <3

Spent a lot of time with my siblings ~ Between ski trips each week, two vacations, lots of day trips and adventures, and just hanging out, my siblings and I spent a lot of time together and I’m very blessed to have such wonderful people to grow up with.

Participated in many photoshoots ~ One of my younger sisters favorite things to do is go outside and do a sisters’ photoshoot, plus, my cousins and I enjoy it too, so I’ve learned a lot about posing and photography, in general, this year.

Became penpals with 6 lovely girls ~ I love being able to chat and communicate through letters with some of my dearest friends. It’s such a sweet way to be able to be artistic and get to know people who live miles away, with still staying off a screen.

Went on two wonderful trips with my family ~ We went to Lutsen Mountains to ski last year, and we have a trip planned for sometime this winter, and then we also went to Lake Michigan in the summer with my grandparents and aunt.

Improved my baking skills ~ I tried a lot of new desserts and feel much more skilled as a baker than I was at the beginning of the year. I tried out a new recipe of pecan fingers for Christmas as my Grandma’s gift and they turned out great. Some of my favorites were cheesecake, pumpkin bars, and snickerdoodles.

Read 40+ books ~ That seems like a little number, but I did a lot of re-reading of my favorite books (I realized a few days ago that I read the same book 7 times this year. o.O) and listened to a lot of audiobooks as I worked on a letter for a penpal, baked something, or did chores. But one of my goals for the new year is to read more new books and stop re-reading my favorites over and over again. XD My blogging friend, Erin, is actually hosting a book club this year, and I am so excited to participate.

Hosted quite a few church and family gatherings ~ We had a surprise birthday party for my aunt with all my cousins, aunts, and uncles which was so much fun and my aunt was very surprised. We also hosted a few Sunday dinners, youth group sledding parties, cookouts and bonfires, and plenty of other things at our house. All of them were so much fun and I love ha

Started bullet journaling ~ I used my bullet journal on and off the whole year, but my one for the new year is already ready and in use, so I’m excited now that I know what I want to do and how I want to do it.

Getting a new camera and taking lots of photos ~ Last year at this time, I was taking hardly any photos, and only using a phone camera. In February, I asked my mom if I could borrow her 15-year-old Canon EOS Rebel, and in September, I bought a Canon T7. I love it so much, and even though I’m still experimenting with shooting out of manual mode, my photography has improved immensely. My average number of photos taken was about 500 per month. o.O

Participated in lots of youth group activities and served in my church ~ We had quite a lot of activities in our church this year like rollerskating, and going on a trip to the lake, among others! Plus, as I mentioned above, we memorized Ephesians 6 as our church, and during our church day camp where we focus on the armor of God, we held an egg drop to test our egg’s “armor.” We tested my egg by dropping it off our deck, and then it survived by getting dropped off the roof at church. It was a pretty fun year!

Made 15 gallons of maple syrup ~ This was the first time we boiled our own sap, and we ended up with 15 gallons by the end of the sap season.

Planted 600 trees ~ This was quite the job, especially since we ended up with COVID in the midst of it. But most of the trees are still alive and growing (except in these terribly ugly tree protectors to keep the deer away *rolls eyes* — You can tell how I feel about them. XD) and it was quite the experience to plant them.

Took lots of walks around our land & explored ~ We already has explored most of our land, but it was enjoyable to go for walks and see places that we hadn’t already been to over a thousand times. Summer here is probably my least favorite season thanks to all the bugs and heat, but the loveliness of autumn and winter here make up for it.

Decorated my room ~ Honestly, the best part of moving was getting my own room and being able to decorate it. As someone who’s shared with at least two other sisters my entire life, having my own space seemed strange at first, but so, so nice for the extra space and quiet. (On that topic, would any of you like to see a room tour in the coming posts?)

Grew a lot as a sister, daughter, and friend ~ Overall, 2022 was quite the year, and I grew so much. <3 I’m so thankful for the things that pushed me out of my comfort zone, even if I wasn’t in the moment, and I’m looking forward to the things to come in 2023.

writing highlights

  • Wrote two novels! — I find it funny that last year at this time, the idea of writing a novel terrified me, and right now, I’ve already written two, haha. It was a goal of mine to do it, and so, I did it. Next year’s goal is to write 3 novels which might be the end of me but we’ll see. Anyway, I’m so glad that I had the opportunity to do this and had so many wonderful friends cheering me on along the way.
  • Participated in CDubs & wrote 24K words! Goodness, CDubs is one of my favorite but also least favorite weeks of the whole year. Writing that much in one week, and then also helping run the competition is crazy, but so, so much fun. (Psst, CDubs is happening again in a little over a week!!)
  • Became a Community Assistant for YDubs! Ahh, I became a CA in August, and I am still also thankful that I get to serve the YDubs Community in this way. It’s such a lovely way to be able to bless others and work beside other uplighting and encouraging writers.
  • Won Go Teen Writer’s 100 for 100 challenge! My friend, Rachel and I both ended up writing 100 words every day for 100 days and won the challenge through lots of cheering each other on–On many long and hot runs, we chatted about our writing and it was one way to escape the pain, haha.
  • Launched this blog & reached 175+ followers Goodness, I’ve come a long way as a blogger. I wrote these two posts last year at this time (here and here {there is a great lack of photos in those posts, haha}) and cringed over how awful they were. o.O But honestly, it was just a reminder of how much I’ve grown and learned in the past year launching a new blog and growing my platform from 50 followers last year, to 170 in one year is a bit crazy. You guys are amazing and I’m so thankful to be able to create posts and share a bit of my life with you all. <3

blog stats this year

  • Posts: 66
  • Visitors: 2,795
  • Views: 10,836
  • Comments: 1,162
  • Likes: 953

favorite posts

Goodness, this has been quite the year, blogging-wise. Thank you so much to each and every one of you for your comments, for reading my posts, for liking my posts, for responding to my emails, and following me. Blogging brings me so much joy and having you along for the journey is something I’m so grateful for. <3

goals for the new year

Honestly, I hit almost all of my goals for 2022, but I also took on a lot more. I became a Fellowship Leader and Community Assistant for the Young Writer’s Workshop, took on the job of building and maintaining our church’s website, running as much as I can each week, keeping up with my blog, email list, and growing my platform, writing every day, and on top of all that, the usual school, chores, serving in my church and spending time with family and friends. I love all those things, but they take a lot of time. In 2023, I want to focus on balance.

I want to focus as much time or more on being outside, spending time with my siblings, writing letters to penpals, hanging out with friends, and lastly, growing in my relationship with Jesus. <3 So, I’m building my goals off of that.

  • Stay consistent in my time with Jesus every morning ~ This was something I’ve been really good about at times but also struggled with on other days. My goal for the new year is before I do anything else in the day is to get out my Bible and spend time with Jesus.
  • Memorize more large parts of scripture ~ Thanks to my mom running the youth program at our church, through the last 5 years I’ve memorized at least 200 verses. This summer, our church memorized the entire chapter of Ephesians Six, and this year, I’m hoping to memorize more large passages of scripture and maybe a whole book (probably Third John. XD), starting with Ecclesiastes.
  • Read (new) 50 books ~ I usually read a lot, but lately, it’s been books I’ve read before. I recently realized I read one book seven times this year. o.O So, my goal for this year is to read more books that I haven’t read and more classics. I’m currently reading Little Women, and a few other books on my list include Heidi, Anne of Green Gables, A Little Princess, and other nonfiction books.
  • Edit more photos and experiment ~ I’ve started editing a few of my photos this year, but I want to edit more and experiment with different styles.
  • Launch a business ~ I have a lot of ideas // plans, and I’ve been hoping to do this for a while now, so I’m hoping to launch a small business in 2023. I’m sure I’ll share about this goal more in the future.
  • Improve my hand-lettering ~ My lettering is decent right now, but not what I want it to be. I want to practice more and improve, especially since I have quite a few books and resources on how to improve.
  • Print The Bensons ~ I wrote The Bensons back in May, and I’m currently having a cover designed. I’m nearly finished with the first round of edits, and I have a few alpha readers reading over the first draft. I’m excited to see where this goes!
  • Write three novels ~ My plan is to hopefully write a novel every three months. . . will I hit this goal? We’ll see, but since the novels, I write (middle-grade) don’t have to be full-length novel, it’s certainly possible.
  • Reach 300 followers on my email list ~ This year, I want to focus on my email list more, I’m still going to continue posting on my blog, but I want to work more on my email list and focus on producing quality content for both it and my blog.
  • Establish a solid brand ~ I’ve already started implementing this, and began to update my blog and email list to fit what my writing is. There won’t be many changes to the content I’m posting, but just to the looks of my website, as you can see.
  • Pursue goals with grace ~ Some people can’t keep their New Year’s resolutions, but I have the opposite problem – I’m more likely to keep them at all costs, even costs that aren’t worth the goals. I am very productivity-driven, which I’ve discovered is not always a good thing. With God’s grace, hopefully, I’ll remember that how many boxes I check does not define me, or even my life or my year! I will never get everything done, and that’s okay.

your turn!

How was your 2022? What was the best thing that happened? Are you excited for 2023? Do you have any goals for the New Year?

Have a wonderful day, my friends, and I hope that you have a lovely 2023!


  1. room tour would be awesome! i recently re-did my room that i share with my sister, but i’ve wanted my own room for a while XD. sounds like you had a great year!

    1. Ooh, that’s so cool! I’ll definitely make one, then. I did! <3

  2. This is awesome! Also, a room tour would be lovely!
    It’s so exciting to see your blog growing so much! That inspired and heartened me a great deal 😊
    My 2022 was pretty good, although not as much writing as I would have liked 😉 Next year I’m buckling down on it though!

    1. Aw, I am so glad to hear that!
      You got this, Ariana!

  3. I would love a room tour! I just got my own room too! What an awesome year Pearl!

    1. Perfect! I’ll definitely do one, then.

      1. Yay! I’m excited for it!

  4. “…how many boxes I check does not define me, or even my life or my year!” Such a needed reminder. ❤️

    1. Mhm, it’s definitely something I need to focus on more. <3 Thank you for reading and commenting, Autumn!

  5. I love this! It looks like you had an amazing 2022! I love all the photos you took!
    Will you be publishing The Bensons next year? That is so exciting!!!
    I had a really wonderful 2022! So much happened and I am so excited to see what 2023 has in store! ♥️

    1. Taking photos was definitely a highlight of my year.
      I’m not planning on publishing it, but just printing it for myself and my family. That’s in God’s hands, though, so who am I to say no to Him? 🙂
      Ahh, I am so, so glad to hear that! <3

  6. Aw, loved reading through this post, Pearl! <3 Your blog posts have been a highlight of my Fridays, and I can't wait to see where 2023 carries you & your writing. 💛
    (And yes, I would absolutely love a room tour. 😄)

    1. Aw, thank you, Zo! I know God has wonderful plans for both of us in 2023. <3
      (Eeep, yay!)

  7. Charlotte Mills says:

    I loved this blog post. 🙂 A room tour sounds fantastic!! It’s been such a pleasure, becoming your friend this year, Pearl. You are so kind, resilient, and hardworking! Keep writing, loving, and living for Jesus, my dear. You are such an inspiration to me. 💛

    1. I had a wonderful time making it and I am so happy to hear you enjoyed it! I am so thankful to have met such a wonderful friend like you ~ between chatting on YDubs and video calls. Thank you for always being someone I can always go to, no matter what, and I can’t wait to see where God takes both of us in the future, Char! *hugs*

  8. I’d love to see a tour of your room. I love that kind of posts. Sounds like you’ve had a good year, Pearl, and I can’t wait to see what posts you have planned for 2023!

    1. I’ll definitely make one then, Lilly! Thank you so much for being a sweet reader this year ~ your comments are always so kind.

  9. Rachel H2ofall says:

    I loved reading about your year and your goals! One of my favorite things from 2022 was traveling and getting pushed out of my social comfort zone. I also loved seeing your blog grow!
    I want to get better at braiding and be able to decently braid my hair for the track season. 🙂
    Thank you for sharing your light, Pearl!!

    1. Mm, that definitely was something that grew me too. <3 Thank you so much!
      I need to figure out braiding my hair, too. XD I already think your braids are lovely, but I hope that goal goes wonderfully!
      Thank you, Rachel, for being such a dear friend this year! I am so, so thankful for all the fun we had and that I was able to get to know you better.

  10. Great post, Pearl! I’m so excited for the book club and to read new books with you! I can’t believe that The Bensons is done! I cannot wait to read it! I’m so excited! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Eeep, I am just as excited! Thank you so much for your sweet comment, dear!

      1. Of course! 😊

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