The Year in Review

I went to bed early last night, and woke up at 8am….I missed bringing in the New Year but I needed the sleep!  This morning I have this overwhelming feeling of emotion that 2012 is going to be a most amazing year. It’s the first day of the rest of our lives.

I look back with a little bit of shock that so many life changing events could be wrapped up into 365 days:

My father passed away.
I had a miscarriage.
I was diagnosed with cancer.
A 6-inch tumor invaded straight through my uterus.
I came close to death on an operating table.
My cousin-in-law Cole was in a car wreck and is learning to walk and talk again.
I started more aggressive chemotherapy.

I hear all the time: how much more can your family take? I don’t view it that way. I know that God has a plan for us and all of these things are part of it. I look at how much my family has been blessed….many times over. SO many times over. I know I’ve said it many times, but I can choose how to let these things affect my life…..and I choose joy. My dad is in heaven waiting for us, I’m strong and healthy and ready to battle this cancer, the rest of my family is healthy, loving and supportive, we have a roof over our heads and food on the table…..what else could we possibly ask for?! My heart aches for those who are in abusive situations, homeless, hungry etc in this new year…..and I pray for them fervently.

Most of all…..I’m thankful for all of you! The blog took a big personal turn this year…..and I’m so thankful that you’ve kept following. Who would have ever thought I’d be blogging about poop and oral sex and sharing photos of my bum? So much has happened here at Lil Blue Boo and I never could have imagined I’d be so close to so many people I’ve never met in person.  You are so supportive and encouraging and thankful…..you provide the positive energy that gets me up in the morning to create, blog and give back. Thank you from the bottom of my heart! I am truly humbled. Thank you for helping me to spread the message of “Choose Joy”….to date there are SIX THOUSAND Choose Joy bracelets floating around!

Okay, enough of all the sappy talk….let’s look back at Lil Blue Boo this year:

2011 started out with some of my favorite projects and photo shoots to date….all associated with the Project Run and Play competition. I never turn down a good challenge….so I was completely on board to come up with a new outfit each week:

 

 

Early last year, Lisa had just started working full time for Lil Blue Boo. I don’t know what I would have done without her. She’s the glue that has kept Lil Blue Boo running so smoothly: making sure my tutorials are posted right, helping to keep up with email, doing ALL customer service and managing the clothing line. I love her like a sister…..although sometimes she acts like she’s my mother haha. Gicela joined the team to help produce the clothing line.  I’m so proud of everything the team has done!  Along with countless limited editions, we launched the following lines…..all produced in-house…100% handmade this past year:

What the Folk (2011 Spring)
LBB Nautical (2011 Summer)
Boom Town I (2011 Fall)
Boom Town II (2011 Fall)

 

No idea how, but I managed to publish six new patterns this year:

The Pieced Tunic
The Maliboo Romper

The Perfect Short
The Casbah Carryall
The Reversible Bubble Hoodie

The Sweet Aline

I started writing daily for Babble.com’s The New Home Ec…..it’s been a huge workload….but one that I’ve enjoyed because it’s forced me to leave my comfort zone of writing!

I started a few new personal series: Photo of the Day, Boo Style, My Li’l List



And a few ongoing series were started:

 

I put together ONE HUNDRED AND FOUR tutorials and downloads for the blog in the last 365 days…..that’s an average of 1 tutorial every 3.5 days (you know I love statistics):

 

 

A few of my very favorite tutorials from 2011 include:

Ombre Dyed Streamer Garland
Box o’ Princesses and Boyville

Hand Stamped Leggings
The Knit Headband Pattern
The Cascading Ruffle Skirt
The Travel Map Bulletin Board
A Wine Cork Sculpture
Vinyl Tablecloth Rollup Diaper Changer
Folk Art Spin-spiration

A Wine Barrel Lazy Susan
Bohemian Leather Button Cuff

Doodle Shoes

 

With your help Lil Blue Boo was able to give back this year too!

Your support of Lil Blue Boo allowed us to mail out clothing care packages to over 20 families for Christmas this year.
Your votes helped me raise $5,000 for Shelter for the Storm by winning the Babble.com Mominations.
We collected over 300 pairs of handmade bobby socks and 100 bows for the children at Three Angel’s Haiti.
You bought $1,365 worth of patterns to help the efforts in Japan.
You donated yards and yards of fabrics, notions and patterns for the children at Three Angel’s Haiti to use in their sewing classes.
You helped me raise $200 for the Liz Logelin Foundation by purchasing Valentine’s dresses.

Amazing. Thank you.

 

So how will I approach this next year? The same as I did last year: day by day. I never try to plan too far ahead…..I make “bucket lists” of things I want to do and accomplish but I don’t put a timeline out there. The best I can do is try to get through today….and enjoy every minute of it whether I’m sitting in an infusion center getting chemotherapy or spending the day with the family finishing a fun project. I know I freak a lot of people out by walking into my doctor’s office excited to be there…..but I am. I’m happy to just be here on earth for a short while or a long while…..I’d prefer the long while but you never know so I try to live like it’s a short while. I don’t know what God has in store for me and for you this year but I know he has a great plan. Bring it!

Oh….and most importantly:

 

 

 

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Comments

  1. 1
    Jennifer D. says:

    Ashley, I hope this year is your best yet!! Happy New Year to you and your family!

  2. 2

    And there’s really nothing else to say! You summed it up perfectly and gave me even more motivation to be more positive in the new year!

  3. 3
    Ashley Barker says:

    You are amazing! Your year has really been a test, which clearly you have passed! :) You are an inspiration!! I hope to support you even further this new year, by actually buying something for my daughter. :)

  4. 4

    Well spoken as usual and always amazing!

  5. 5
    Jennifer Goldberg says:

    Incredible to think all of that was done in one year. I don’t know how you do it but you are a true inspiration to many out there. I strive to be as good as you are….one day I will do it. I loved reading all your tutorials even though I have not done many. I would love to one day. I hope the new year is your best year ever. Happy New Year to your family and LBB team.

  6. 6
    Kelly says:

    Thanks Ashley for spreading the message of “Choose Joy” I try to be as positive as possible and look at every task as a gift. I “get” to do the laundry instead of “have” to do it. It helps me to remember that some people would just be happy to have some laundry to do. I am inundated daily by people who complain about what they don’t have and yet are surrounded by so much that others do not have. Your blog is so refreshing and uplifting. Thanks for sharing. Not only your stores but your amazing attitude. Happy New Year and God bless you!

  7. 7
    Carrie says:

    Wishing you a happy and HEALTHY New Year!!

  8. 8

    I just had a talk with my older (and very wise) brother about this past year and all the events that have happened in my life and in the life of my little family. And you know what he said? He said that he can see light in my eyes again. That I’m happy. And that I am hopeful. That made me SO happy to hear that because this past year has NOT been fun, or enjoyable, but I have decided (and you’ve helped) to choose joy. Especially in trials. We all go through things, but it is how we react that makes all the difference. I just love ya to death and I have lots of happy thoughts about 2012 too!!

  9. 9
    Dawn says:

    I don’t know how you do it — but I’m so glad you do!!!
    Sending love. :)

  10. 10
    Christie says:

    Your ability to keep going and choose joy is amazing and has been a great inspiration. I wish you all the best for 2012, Ashley.

  11. 11
    becky says:

    just a teeny little thing for you………….May The Lord Bless You Always
    sending hugs to you from Malta

  12. 12
    Effie says:

    All my best wishes for you for this next year. I will also remember to choose joy and to feel blessed!

  13. 13
    Shawn says:

    Ashley,
    Your positive outlook is simply astonishing in the face of everything you’ve had to endure. It’s I who should be thanking you for all your infectious positive energy.You are truly an inspiration.
    All the best for the new year,
    Shawn

  14. 14

    You are an amazing inspiration. Thank you for sharing your life with us. Happy New Year and all the best in the next 365!

  15. 15
    Kayley says:

    What an amazing post! <3

  16. 16
    Beth Morrow says:

    Wow…I knew I was impressed with you, but since I have only been following your blog for a short while, I didnt realized you had done so much prior to me finding you…girl…you are a hard act to follow, but you have definitely challenged me to DO IT! “It” being what drives me, to dream, to start, even if it’s small…just start! Today, you confirmed that I need to clean out closets…I mean, if you can clean your closets out, while going through everything you’re going through, what excuse could I possibly come up with?
    So, this year I will be staring my blog, opening my Etsy store, cleaning out my closets and continuing to pray for you and Cole.
    Thank You Ashley!
    Happy New Year!
    Love Ya!
    Beth

  17. 17
    Shelly says:

    Meh… I suppose you did all right.

    Bwahahaha! Love LBB and your Lil family too.
    Xo here is to an amazing 2012

  18. 18
    Jenny Wenzel says:

    ashley…thank you for your honesty! i started reading your blog for your creativity, then realized you were a fellow believer in Jesus! you’re attitude on everything you go through is such a challenge to me to be thankful no matter what is happening! God truly does have a plan for us all and it is so easy to sometimes forget He is there every step with His hands on us!!! We have chosen to “Choose Joy” this year in our family…along with this verse…Habakkuk 3:18…Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. blessings to you this new year!!!

  19. 19
    Leigh Anne says:

    What an amazing post! I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the turn that your blog has taken as it has made me think more about Choosing Joy each day. I’m bummed it has come through cancer & loss for you, but you are truly an inspiration in the way your are walking out your faith. Thanks and May God continue to Bless you and your family in the New Year!

  20. 20
    Karen says:

    Ashley, your post is the best New Year’s message I have read. I am hoping that 2012 turns out to be a great year for you, you deserve the best! I love your spirit, honestly I am learning a lot from you and I am old enough to be your mother!!!!

  21. 21
    Linda L says:

    So glad I found your blog in 2011. I think God surely works in mysterious ways! Your blog has been so inspirational for me and I feel a very personal connection to you.
    You have made me take focus off the small things and concentrate on the important things! God IS using you to help so many people! You are in my thoughts and prayers many times a day!! I too am excited to see what God has in store for all of us in 2012. Here is my favorite New Year’s quote:

    “Leave the broken, irreversible past in God’s hands, and step out into the invincible future with Him.”~Oswald Chambers

    There is an infinite amount of wisdom in this short sentence. Let’s step into the invincible future together!

  22. 22
    Rhonda says:

    Ms Ashley, thank you so much for sharing with all of us, your Joy. Creatively you’ve inspired me, but you love of the Lord, your spirit of giving, and the joy you choose to embrace have. been the greatest gift I have gained from finding your blog. Praying the Lord blesses you and your family even more this year.

  23. 23
    Jenn E says:

    Happy New Year Ashley & LBB team :) .

  24. 24
    little love says:

    I wish you all the best for this year! Your positive nature during such a hard time in your life is so inspiring, we could all learn a thing or two from you. Thinking of you & your family & looking toward to the post where you tell us you’ve kicked this cancer’s butt! xx

  25. 25
    Natalie says:

    Ashley, you have been through so much this year and yet YOU are the one bringing us up. This made me teary because I needed your positive message so much today. We have had a rough few years in a few ways, and it so, SO refreshing to have someone say what you did at the beginning about this being an amazing year. I love it and I needed to hear it! Blessings and Happy 2012!!

  26. 26
    Carolyn says:

    Ashley..may the new year bring you JOY and DAFFODILS. The daffodil is a pretty flower that in addition to being the flower used for the American Cancer Society is believed to bring good fortune,, extra wealth, symbolize friendship, rebirth (which is why it is an Easter Flower), new beginnings. A gift of A BOUQUET OF DAFFODILS is said to bring HAPPINESS and JOY…..

  27. 27
    Tleshia Farrar says:

    Happy New Year! I feel so blessed to have found out about you Ashley and Lil Blue Boo! I wish I could capture into words the feeling I have every time Lilly Kate wears lil Blue Boo, it is priceless to me, I feel so proud to be able to support such a lovely company. Bring is 2012!!!! Looking forward to being a part of it with you! Your family continues to be in my prayers!

  28. 28
    lisa jack says:

    Oh ashley!!! God bless you & everyone in your circle. My church message today was all about living for each and every single day & not holding back. Can’t wait to see where God takes you! …. and my lil family!

  29. 29
    Dawn Dayringer says:

    I’ve just recently started following creative blogs and stumbled upon yours, not knowing the challenges you have been facing this past year. Your optimism and determination are truly an inspiration! I wish you only the best in the new year of 2012.

  30. 30
    Dana says:

    Wonderfully said! Choose joy!!

  31. 31
    terri says:

    Ashley you are an amazing girl and so so so inspiring! I truly wish u a happy 2012! Blessings to you and your family! XOXO

  32. 32
    Mariel says:

    Happy New Year Ashley and team. Thankful for everything you add to blogland. Wishing you a wonderful 2012.

  33. 33
    Joy Eballar says:

    You leave me speechless………..you are pure love and inspiration.
    Happy New Year Ashley!!
    xoxo from Joy (in Seattle)

  34. 34
    Claudia says:

    Hola querida Ashley, he leido tu recuento del tu año 2011 y veo que has hecho mas cosas que yo en 10 años : ( Quiero que sepas que eres un gran ejemplo de lo que somos las mujeres: valiosos seres humanos que somos dadores de vida.
    Espero que la vida este año te restaure la salud y te tengamos mucho tiempo con nosotros. Sinceramente Claudia. Un gran beso y abrazo.

  35. 35
    Shannon says:

    Thank you so much for your post! I hope that 2012 brings you peace & happiness. You are always so optimistic and joyful!

  36. 36
    Norma says:

    Ashley – I have little bits and pieces of you all thru’ my life. I open my old linen closet and have a wonderful organized kitchen pantry. I open my purse and there’s a darling grosgrain ribbon wallet. My granddaughter has been clean and fairly germ free from her new changing pad. My grandson has four tee shirts with really cute dinosaurs on them. Soon I’ll drag out my beloved tee shirt and make some really cute tunics for summer.

    You make me laugh and I’ve loved watching your darling Boo in the last year. I’m thankful you’ve shared your life and this hard journey. It’s all for God’s glory.

    You are in my prayers and I know that whatever God has for you it is good!

    xox – Norma

  37. 37
    Amy V says:

    What an amazing legacy of a year. You have already left such an impression on so many people’s lives and I know this year you will on so many more! You are an incredible person and an inspiration to me! What a blessing God has given you and what faith you share it with. Thank you for being you! Happy New Year!!

  38. 38
    Leanne says:

    Happy New Year Ashley! May you and your family be blessed beyond measure this year.

  39. 39
    Lizelle says:

    Awesome… just awesome! xxxxx

  40. 40
    Hanna says:

    It’s amazing and utterly mind-blowing what you have accomplished and experienced in one short year. There’s a saying in Estonian that some people burn with a bright flame and you are certainly one of those people. We can all only hope that your flame will brighten and last. I hope the new year has a lot of joy in store for you and your family. Happy new year!

  41. 41

    Choosing JOY!

  42. 42
    Kathy says:

    WOW If you can do all that in one year, with cancer, passing away and everything else, I can’t wait to see what exciting things you bring us in 2012. I have enjoyed every single post—THANK YOU and as a true southerner I have to say” BLESS HER HEART”.

  43. 43
    Karen says:

    Happy New Year! I just found you a few weeks ago. I can feel your energy and am glad that you feel all the well wishes that are sent to you each and everyday. Thanks for all that you do.

  44. 44
    Monica says:

    What an inspiring post. Happy New Year! I wish you nothing but more blessings in 2012! :)

  45. 45
    Terry Carter says:

    Happy Best New Year Yet!, Ashley! The whole world should read this blog, it would get straightened out PDQ. xoxo

  46. 46
    Kalle says:

    Happy New Year, Ashley! Hope it brings abundant blessings to you and your family and the LBB team. Thank you for sharing last year… and the next… with us!

  47. 47
    Heather G. says:

    This is by far the best year in review post I’ve seen yet. Praying 2012 is an absolutely amazing year for you and your sweet family! Big hugs to you, Ash!

  48. 48
    Noel S. says:

    I’ve been following your blog since my SIL showed it to me earlier in the summer and have followed it ever since. I have 2 little girls (under 3) and it just appealed to me so much through your tutorials and your down to earth posts. I have since then been reading the blog at LEAST once a week and talk to my husband about you as if you were a dear friend of mine! I am a silent follower but thought now was a good time to let you know you are often in my prayers, and your attitude is encouraging as it is only something that can be attributed to the Lord! You bring to mind this verse in Corinthians: “And He (Jesus) said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. ” -1 Corinthians 12:9 Praying that His strength continues to be made perfect in you in the coming years :)

  49. 49
    Sandra says:

    I’ve only followed your blog for a little while – just read this post and am in awe … You are such an inspiration, making me thankful for what I’ve got, health, happiness, fun, a wonderful husband and daughter. It is amazing to see what you’ve accomplished in the last year (congratulations!) all the while enduring one blow after another. I admire your strength and unfaltering positive outlook. I pray for you to keep up your spirits and for the new year to be full of health, wonderful surprises and memorable happy experiences for you. Sending you a big virtual hug from Germany!

  50. 50
    Tamera says:

    This post got me all choked up. I think you are on to something here. My pastor, who is much like you in that he is involved in many things & accomplishes much, gave a sermon on New Years Day about working hard for the Lord, & taking things day by day so as not to get overwhelmed. Keep up the great attitude & God bless you!

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  1. [...] we were able to launch 2 clothing lines this year (in comparison to last year’s 4 lines). This was probably one of the hardest things I had to do. It’s hard to design and feel truly [...]