When I think back over 2020, it was an emotional roller coaster of highs, lows and everything in between. My emotions, which I wore on my sleeve more often than not, ran the gamut as I found myself caving into my circumstances. But when I reflect over the entire year, I find lots of change that resulted in quite a bit of personal growth. And for all those growing pains, I am thankful. Because a stagnant life is no life at all.
So here’s a look back at 2020 and all the changes it brought our way:
Spring quarantine yielded my husband’s business’ worst and best month ever—back to back. Talk about an emotional roller coaster. But God is faithful and we are beyond grateful. To be honest, I’m a little nervous about business in 2021, but God is teaching me to lay my worries down.
As soon as our local gym shut down, we launched quarantine track workouts several days a week. At first, it was just Team Hobson with a rowdy audience of our four kids. But soon, we conned others into joining us and had a wonderful time working out with a group outside. We still get together with a group for track workouts every month or so because we all enjoy it so much.
This year, the husband perfected the art of delicious sourdough bread and waffles. I’m fairly certain I gained the quarantine 5 back in the spring thanks to daily sourdough grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch. Thankfully, it all balanced out with those track workouts and the stress of buying a house (see below!).
After searching for what felt like forever, we finally bought a new house and moved to a new town. Change is never easy at first, but we have embraced our new area, enjoying the small town feel, taking advantage of all the nearby outdoor activities and digging into our community. We have completed many, many home projects in the 5 months we’ve been here—both inside and out—and we still have a long way to go to get this property the way we want it. But all in due time, right?
Two weeks after we moved into our home, we began renovating our pool house—and within two months of our move we listed it as an Airbnb rental. We weren’t sure how it would fare, but have been floored and blessed by the ongoing bookings. We recouped our initial renovation costs in the first three months, which was a huge blessing that exceeded our expectations. Beyond that, we are simply excited that others feel the same way about our wonderful area at the foothills of the North Georgia mountains. Quaint towns, beautiful wineries and wedding venues, and too many outdoor hikes and adventures to list.
Early this fall, I stepped away from my social media freelancing to help my husband with his business and to manage the Airbnb rental. I had been freelancing in this capacity for 3.5 years, so it was hard to break from it. But a few months ago, the timing was right as I was beginning to get overwhelmed with all my tasks. I feel very blessed that our Airbnb earnings have exceeded my freelancing income.
This year marked our first time coaching our kids’ team. Our oldest boys were on the same soccer team and needed a coach, so we stepped up and tag teamed it. Team Hobson! It was fun and frustrating at the same time. It’s humbling to try to explain rules and strategy to a group of 7 and 8 year olds. But our kids had a blast so we plan to coach again for the spring season. At the end of the season, we orchestrated an end-of-the-season players versus parents scrimmage. And that was such a big hit that we have since launched pop-up soccer games each month for the community.
And though we are new to this community, we are passionate about it and are diving in headfirst to get involved. We held our first neighborhood block party this fall and plan to hold many more in the future.
Admittedly, we are not pet people. And beyond that fact, some of our kids are allergic to cats and dogs. BUT, that didn’t stop us from getting backyard chickens. We are basically considering them their first pets since a traditional pet is not in their future. My husband built a chicken tractor and my boys are learning responsibility getting the chickens water and food, as well as corraling them back into safety each evening. Though they are not laying eggs yet (hopefully soon!), they are hilarious to watch as they wander around our property exploring. I tried my hardest to put little Santa hats on them for a festive picture, but the girls just weren’t having it.
It took us a while to find our workout groove in our new town, and after trying out one gym, we finally settled on joining the local college wellness center. Though it doesn’t offer childcare, it’s been a great place for the whole family. We use the indoor track, the weight room with lifting platforms, the pickleball court and the pool every week. And the kids love playing basketball, foosball, ping pong and swimming. It is our go-to place for entertaining our kids on rainy days.
This year was one where I had a lot of personal growth, even though it may not be obvious on the outside. Throughout the year, I learned to look more introspectively and come face to face with my own flaws, while working to admit and eventually overcome them. Though it’s still hard, I am learning to let go of control and my own skewed version of self reliance.
Though our hydroponic gardens did not fare well with our move (still working on sorting them out), our kombucha brewing did not skip a beat. Thanks to the husband’s continuous efforts, we have not had to go without kombucha at all in 2020. We have tried so many flavors but my favorites are blackberry and muscadine.
Despite Coronavirus, we have made the most of 2020. We have missed many get-togethers throughout the year, but we’ve also embraced new things. Just before Coronavirus stopped school in the spring, we decided not to enroll our kids in any team sports and instead bought a state park pass. We planned to spend the time the kids would have been at practices or games out hiking in Georgia. Little did we know that team sports seasons would be cancelled but hiking would be one of the few things allowed. So we embraced it and have hiked all sorts of trails in 2020.
On Christmas Day in our new town, we set out to make a new Christmas tradition. Despite the 20-something-degree temps and the tail end of snow flurries, we hiked Yonah Mountain with our kids (carrying the toddler on our backs about 90% of the time). It was beautiful and breathtaking and a wonderful culmination to a year of hiking in our state. Don’t get me wrong, there were tears from cold feet and numerous slips on the iced-over trail, but hiking in scenery like this (rare for Georgia) also made me reflect on the blessings of life surrounding me right now. So despite the pandemic or the political environment, it was a beautiful reminder for me to keep focusing on the good from 2020 and God’s unexpected provisions.