I had one of the most interesting years of my life in 2017. The year was full of every kind of craziness—success, excitement, frustration, fear, anxiety, joy, grief, and love. It was a whirlwind of emotions all wrapped tightly into a package, then dropped into my lap at the end of the year so that I can finally unwrap it and, in return, wrap my head around it all.
Happenings in 2017
I planned and hosted the Homesteaders of America Conference
…and it was a major success. I was very surprised, to be quite honest with you. Leading up to the event I had horrible nightmares that no one would show up, that it would rain profusely, or that something would go wrong. The complete opposite was true. It rained the day before, it was overcast the day of, making it the perfect October day. We had over 1,500 people show up (300+ of which were children), and our speakers had the most success at this conference than any other event they had attended in 2017. For a one day event, I’d say that’s pretty amazing.
From an education standpoint, we were on point. Attendees walked away with words flowing from their mouths such as, “I feel confident in raising meat animals on my homestead now,” and “wow, this was an amazing experience.” We learned right alongside of them. After all, it’s Homesteaders of America…not “Amy” of America. It’s all about learning, growing, and loving the community you’re part of.
At one point a man with a child in his arms came up to me and began crying. He expressed how he and his wife have 10 children, live a simple lifestyle, and have lost numerous family and friends because of the life they live. For the first time, they finally “fit in” somewhere.
That, my friends…that made the entire event worth it.
The Shift: I got to meet so many new people and make so many new contacts. I even got to visit Eustace Conway’s Turtle Island Preserve in April, and shake Joel Salatin’s hand…and listen to him speak his heart out to homesteaders from across the country. The shift happened in time management and business attitude. I became an instant entrepreneur, and was even nominated as a potential candidate for the 2017 Entrepreneur of the Year award through our county. I had to sit down and be more organized, but I also touched so many lives throughout the entire year….and those lives touched my life even more. It caused me to shift my focus from frivolous things to more important work. But also, I made some amazing life-long friendships that I could’ve never made on my own.
I received my very first book contract….and my second…
In June I received my very first book contract from Lyons Press. In fact, I was approached by two other publishers to write this book as well. I was offered a contract from Quarto Publishing, another homesteading publisher, but decided to pass on it. It just didn’t feel right. I even had Storey Publishing interested in the book, but I just connected with Lyons Press the most out of all the offers.
I had a health scare…
We had a second health scare…
I began my Master Herbalist certification
For years I’ve wanted to take some of the herbalist courses that I’ve seen, but I always came back to the same set of courses through The Vintage Remedies Learning Center. So in 2017, I started my very first courses through them, and will have completed my Master Herbalist certification in the beginning of 2018. The first half of the Master Herbalist course begins with the Confident Family Herbalist course, and it is absolutely worth it. If you’re wanting to learn more about herbs from a scientific and modern standpoint, this is the course for you!
The Shift: I realized that a lot of the things I believed about healthcare weren’t true, and that some were. Some of the things I’d been saying for years were complete fact, others were only half-truths. However, this course launched me into a thriving mindset of being ‘aware’. Being aware of my surroundings, being aware of preventative medicine, and being aware of using herbs and essential oils properly. I’ve learned so much from these courses, and it has changed my life forever.
We planted a bigger garden
We renovated our kitchen
Over all, 2017 was a simple year with lots of stuff packed into it. But things just seemed to come so easily. And often times, after an easy year, you get a more complicated year. That’s why this year our word for 2018 is “trust”.
God was faithful in the scary times, the hard times, and even the easy times of 2017. But in 2018, He wants us to remember that and trust that, just as in the past year, He will provide and take care of us in the New Year.
Goals for 2018
- To exercise at least 4 times each week. To lose 30 lbs by October 2018.
- To only spend 1 hours worth of screen time each week, besides the time when writing my book and working on marketing. In other words, I only want to look at a screen when I’m working. I don’t mind talking to friends, I’m not going “off grid” with my phone ha! But I want to spend less time on social media.
- To allow the Lord to place blinders on my eyes from the things that could distract me, hinder me, or make me angry and irritated.
- More time with family, less time being “busy”.
- To expand our garden.
- To set up breeding pens for new chicken breeds. (oh, and to buy new chicken breeds)
- To can and preserve more, especially meat charcuterie.
- To grow at least 10 new herbs in the garden.
Happenings in 2018
- We’re taking a long vacation in March, Lord willing, to see friends in Mississippi! We’re excited to drive through a couple of different states.
- My first book, The Homesteader’s Herbal Companion, comes out on April 1, 2018.
- My second book manuscript is due May 1, 2018.
- The second annual Homesteader’s of America conference is October 11, 12 and 13 of 2018, which I plan to speak at for at least one day.
- We may attend a Mother Earth News conference with friends in the spring or fall.