2017 in Review...

I debated doing a "year in review" post but I think it seems fitting. Sure, it's been a long time since I've posted regularly, but I thought I should look back over the past year and tell you how much the Lord has helped me and changed my life around...

2017 Goals In Review

First off, let's look over last year's goals and see how those went...

To change my Bible reading from evening to morning
This actually went a little different than I had planned, I ended up changing my routine to reading both morning and night. It's helped me a lot to be able to go to sleep right after reading the Lord's word and start each day reading His word, it helps me sleep and it helps me start off well. So that's nice!

To have a prayer/Bible journal
I did it and finished it, I am trying to decide if I should start a new one or add a new devotional for this year. I think I may do a new devotional.

To journal every night in my regular journal
Continuing that, that's two years straight with every day journaling, starting my third year!

To write 500 words every day
Heheh, no, this didn't happen...

Be a better communicator, be it email or messages or just talking in general, being honest in how I feel but polite as well
Wow. I forgot this was a goal of mine. Let's just say this was something the Lord really did a lot of work in me over the year, and He's really blessed me in this area. I'm still learning so much in how to do this correctly, in how to be honest about how I feel but to do it respectfully. I'm a horrible enabler so this has been a big deal to learn how to be honest with people. God's been really good in teaching me this, I forgot this was a goal of mine. 

To spend as much time with Bodie as I can and do what is best with him, no matter the cost or the time.
This became painfully true this year... When I had to choose to do what was best for him and put him down in November. I didn't spend nearly as much time as I wish I could have, but I'm learning not to pine away for the past and to remember the good things. Make decisions with no regrets. <3

Complete Mornellys and publish it
Heheh. Nope. Didn't happen.

Complete third/fourth Mornelly book
Nope... I didn't do a good job in writing this year...

To actively pursue a better relationship with the Lord,
not think everyone is judging me, to be able to accept who I am in Christ and not try to be like everyone else simply for the sake of being seen as a good Christian, to truly be strong and at peace with who I am in Christ.
Wow... this is another thing I don't remember as a goal but another thing that God's really worked on me. This past year He really stripped me down of who I saw myself as, who I believed I was, and has been teaching me who I am in him and losing my identity to His identity. It's been huge, and such a blessing, and learning to not care about what people think about me is really big. I still really struggle with it but it's been life changing what God's been teaching me in this area.

Post a blog post at least once a week

Complete the 2017 Book Challenge
I did! I read all 25 of my books. :) I was very happy about that, I read more this year than I planned to and I was very happy about that.

Get my driver's license
Praise the Lord I did that, too! :D

Possibly, a trip to a certain state to see a certain friend
And yes, I did make that "trip" to a certain "state" to see a certain "friend." I went to Kansas to see Jesseca and that was such a huge blessing, and, as it turned out, just the right time for a need I had. <3

2017 Pictures in Review

Here's some of my favorite pictures from each month last year. :)

Spending those couple days up at the camp with Rose and her now husband Joe, and getting to work with this wonderful gentleman, Luka, who has come to play a big part in my life..

Playing with Bodie in the snow. <3

Working at the stables in negative degree weather. One morning it was -20 when I
went out to start the ATV. :')

A proud moment--- little sister "R" finally had enough hair grow back from
cancer treatment we could do her hair in ponytails. <3

I enjoyed writing messages in Russian around the horse stables I worked at to scare the boarders.
This one says "I love horses". The other barn manager saw it and wiped it off. XD

This girl, Ivy Rose, has become such a wonderful and close friend of mine. <3 I remember this day
so clearly as we shared deep secrets we had, and also had a great laugh over a hilarious photo. XD

Having another heart-to-heart talk with my best listener (besides God), Bodie.
March found Bodie hearing my struggles as I tried to figure out why I was feeling
so anxious and was dealing with a lot of health issues and heart matters.

Enjoying a moment with my brave little sister, R. As 2017 rolled by,
she grew stronger and healthier and happier!

Claiming bragging rights over my favorite kitty, Ebony, for being
such a sweet and "scarfable" kitty. She belongs to my sister
Melissa, but Ebony and I share a special friendship when Melissa isn't home.


April... a month of promises, and an amazing time getting to know the Lord better
as I sought His will over my concerning health issues and my anxieties. <3
I grew so much in my walk with God that month.

I had so much fun spending time with Jesseca, and getting to meet "Krispy" and her little sister,
and was so blessed by their friendship. It was a fantastic trip to Kansas!

April also marked some really amazing one-on-one time with my amazing mother.
I love her so much, and everything she's teaching me and continuing to teach me to
be. She is my inspiration and the perfect example of a Proverbs 31 mother.
I hope to be just like her someday. <3

May brought some of the worst allergies we'd seen in years, there was pollen everywhere.
Of course, we mature adult children made sure dad knew exactly who messed with the car
and wrote all over it. XD

I got to spend a lot of time with little sister "R" during the month of May. I was
so blessed to see her grow stronger and become healthier as her treatment
progressed. We went on many walks together and prayed a lot. <3

May marked Bodie's twentieth birthday. We celebrated with apples and oatmeal
cream pies. I'm really glad we did, as this would be the last birthday I celebrated
with him.


June marked a busy month for us McConnells. We had to get all the hay in as quickly as possible,
due to the possibility of a prolonged fire season and because the crop would be ruined if it rained.
We had several young men who are friends of our family show up, including my good friend Luka who volunteered to join us.  *Cough, cough* More like voluntowed... ;P

I took Bodie on his final walk in June. It was after this particular walk,
as nice as it was, that I knew he wasn't doing well. He had trouble walking on the
pavement due to his legs hurting so much. I'm glad I snapped this picture of him,
though. <3

This picture may not seem significant, but when I snapped it,
I was marveling over how blessed I am to have such wonderful parents.
My father is the kindest man I know, and he's set the standard for me to
look for a kindhearted man who isn't afraid to show emotion, and yet is
strong in his faith. I love him dearly, and I'm so glad I got to spend so much time
this past year getting to know my parents better and cultivating a better relationship
with them. <3 Also, Whitney is my Dad's Barbecuing buddy, she hangs around while

he cooks. ;)

July I was back at work, but also got to spend a lot of time with my family. It was a rare night
when all of us found we didn't have work one evening and had a family game night, courtesy
of my sister Amy, who planned it all. I sat back that night and contemplated how blessed I was
to live in a family as supporting and loving as mine. <3

I also got to spend a lot of time with my niece and nephew
during our annual family camp trip, along with Luka,
who came out to visit several nights in a row since we
were camping not far from where he lives/works. I was
very blessed to see how well he got along with my family,
and how caring he was of the little kids.

I also found and played with lots of animals in July, including this adorable
baby field mouse who I befriended. It wasn't even afraid of me, I loved it! 

August brought so many new changes to my life. My second niece was born!
And I have gotten to enjoy being an aunt all over again. <3

I also went on my first work/day trip ever with my best friend, Luka.
We had to go pick up some supplies for my work from Montana,
so Luka came and got me in his truck and we left at five
in the morning and sang all the way to Montana
and just enjoyed a wonderful day together. We also
got to visit with Luka's mother, which was really nice and wonderful. It was a
wonderful day getting to know each other better. 

I also went on my first ever, week long trip with Abigayle and Ivy, along with these lovely girls
from the West Side of Washington. It was such a huge blessing and a great time to get to know
these lovely ladies better. We went to the Oregon Christian Writer's Conference and then
to IKEA to enjoy just being young women together. I had so much fun! I love these girls. :)
I definitely felt very Aztec compared to all these Scots and Germans, though. ;P

September was another month of great family time, as my mother took all
of us girls on our annual girls camp trip. It was also the month of "animals" for
me, I spent a good portion of our camp trip taming this squirrel dubbed "Twitchie".
By the end of our trip he was eating out of my hand. I also caught several wild
birds in September, but I let them all go.

I never lacked help all summer whenever I needed to clean out the horse trough, I always had
Bodie "assisting" me and Ebony not far behind. Ebony and Bodie had a very strange and special
friendship, she would come out and sit on him while he grazed and he would sometimes itch her head with his lip. They also loved to help me clean the trough out, Ebony so she can watch over the fish in the holding container and Bodie so he can knock the trough over. :P Needless to say, despite how little I could accomplish with them there, it was still really fun. <3

I am a huge bird fan, and of course spent lots of time with my brother's
new cockatiel when he got it. His name is "Feather", though big brother
promised if I teach Feather a Russian song he will be dubbed "Comrade Feather".
You can imagine I'm working very hard on teaching Feather "Polyushka Polye". XD

October was the height of apple season at my work, so I was busy, busy,
busy! In this photo I was picking apples for a bin that, when full, weights about 800 pounds. 

I was a bit hungry so I brought my jerky along. Nothing like eating
on the job, I could survive on meat and fruit alone! XD

One of my many afternoons in the kitchen at work, prepping for our famous Hansen Applesauce.
I spent lots of fun time in the basement with my coworkers and enjoyed many good conversations.
Fall season is one of my favorite seasons at work.

And what a way to begin my October than with beautiful flowers from my best
friend, Luka, to celebrate one year of us being friends.
He certainly knows how to make a girl happy. ^.^


November marked the end of an era, I said goodbye to my first and only horse,
Bowdie Bow Bar, as you all know. I would rather not dwell on that too much,
but I can rest knowing I did the right thing despite how much I miss him. Bodie
is and will always be an inspiration to me. I miss him dearly. <3

Despite the hardships of November, it also found my sister Amy, myself and Luka on a grand journey
to Montana to visit Luka's parents for an early Thanksgiving. It was a wonderful, wonderful trip, and I was so blessed in the time I got to spend with that dear gentleman and my amazing big sister. We all had a grand time, and it was a lot of fun to get to know Luka's parents better.

It was also just a good time to spend with my best friend, who stayed with me when Bodie had to be put down and hasn't left my side during the many hardships of this year. I am truly honored to call Luka "my gentleman" and humbled to be his "lady friend" as of July. ^.^

December, what a blessed month! It marked the end of treatment for this brave
little girl and she is officially cancer free! Little sister celebrated with hamburgers
and lots of nurses and doctors congratulating her. It was a very special day. We all
cried. <3

December is also Christmas tree season at the farm. While we didn't have lots
of customers during the weekdays, my boss and I enjoyed building very big
bonfires out of apple and cherry wood. It was a blast and we had fun.

And what better way to write stories and letters than on a real Remington typewriter
from the fifties? Luka knows this girl's idea of a grand Christmas present! <3

The last year has been filled with trials and blessings, but I choose to see the blessings of what has happened and share those with you, readers. There were so many wonderful things happening, so many things that God worked out for the good, and how can I tell you anything else but how great our Lord is? How wonderful He is, and what He has done for me? Yes, it is hard to live with my food allergies, yes, there was a lot of pain and heartache losing Bodie, but there was so much more good that I choose to see.

And I hope you choose to see it, too, in your own lives. There is always heartache and trial, but there is so much good out there, too. Because God is good. 

So here's to the New Year and my goals for that...

May the Lord bless you and keep you, and may you be richly filled with His love and assurance of His love for you this year!

God bless all of you, readers!

My love for animals hasn't diminished a bit. This is Ferdinand, a crab I met
at the beach in Oregon. He was a tourist from Spain, according to what he told me.


  1. What a sweet, sweet post, dear friend! Such an incredible testimony and what a great example you are! So blessed to watch you come through on the other side of these hardships a stronger Christian and brighter light to those around you. <3

    1. Thank you so, so much, Rebekah! I'm glad to be your friend as well, and I enjoyed your post (I'm pretty sure I commented on it!?) about your year in review. :) Thank you for reading and commenting, if I encourage one person is just so special to me. <3

  2. Aw, I'm so happy for "R"!! God is good! <3
    It was great getting to see you this year! That, and the Writer's Conference was definitely a highlight of my 2017! :D
    I'm blessed to call you my friend, Emily! You're such an amazing person. I know God has great plans for you! <3

    1. Thank you sooo much, Megs, I'm so blessed to call you my friend as well! Man I really need to find time to sit down and chat with you girls, it always seems I'm running in circles. ;P It was so good to see you last year too! So many fun memories! And sour watermelons. XD Blessings to you!

  3. OMIGOSHHHH! I'm so happy that your sister is cancer freeeee! God bless- I'm so thrilled to hear that. :D

    Awesome to hear that you accomplished a lot of your goals this year as well as being able to enjoy a lot of time outside. It sounds like God gave you an awesome year this year, even though it's definitely had it's downs.

    Here's to an incredible, God-lead New Year as well! :D <3

    1. Felicity! Boy howdy we haven't talked in a long time! So good to hear from you! Thank you so much, I hope you're doing well and you're taking care, too! Good to hear from you and many blessings to you! <3

  4. This is amazing! Emily that was such a fun post to read!
    I didn't know you spoke Russian! I do too! My mom is from Siberia and my dad is from Estonia. Do you're parents come from Russia too or how did you come to learning Russian?

    Isn't God amazing!

    I hope you have an amazing New Year this year as well!

    1. Oh I didn't realize you were a Russian, Libby! That's really cool, and Siberia, too! Ура! Estonia is a fascinating country as well, was your father from the Russian settlements in Estonia or is an actual Estonian?

      I actually have only ONE percent Russian in me, but I live in an area where Russian is the second language so I took a crash-course on it and can speak and write beginner's Russian. It helps a lot with my work. It's very basic. I would love to allot myself more time to learn it and get it down, so hopefully someday I will. :) That's so cool you're a Russian!

      Thank you so much for commenting and reading and God bless!

  5. It's so good to hear from you Emily! I am glad you made this post.
    I'm also pleased to see that you are doing well. May God continue to bless you!

    1. Thank you, Arnica, I am pleased to have you on the blog and reading it, and thank you for your encouragement! May the Lord bless you as well!

  6. This is one of the awesomest year-in-review posts I've seen yet! So much happened for you (and me) this year and I'm so glad for all the levels we have been able to connect on. My year would have been a lot rougher had it not been for you! I can't wait to see what 2018 holds for us, but especially you! ;-)

    1. *Squeals* Sank yoooo Ivy, I have so many great wuvs for yooo and your wonderfeeness and everything! It was a fantastic year with you as we both learned so many things together, and I look forward to more adventures with you as well! Thank you for being there for me through the thick and thin! <3

  7. So, I read this like, the day you posted it and . . . of course I took forever to comment. xP
    I was actually hoping you would do one, because wow, a LOT happened this year.
    I SO loved seeing you and your visit was a huge highlight of my year. <3 I can't wait to see you again this year . . . sometime. ;)
    I'm so looking forward to seeing here 2018 takes us both. :)
    Love ya! <3


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