Year End Recap - Grateful for my family

It's already January 5th and I am just now recapping the end of my year.  Like some people, I rush to create new years resolutions on January 1st, I have started as early as Dec. 26th.  Rarely do I stop to give thanks for the year that just concluded.  

Last week, as I sat down to write my 2016 goals, my first step was asking myself how I can improve from the previous year, but my husband, Blake stopped me in my tracks and suggested, "instead of focusing on what went wrong, why not look at what went right." 

Well, given I started my business last January, and it has sustained itself for a year, it wasn't a bad idea after all to look back on the year.  When I started writing down all that went well, it was evident how richly God had blessed the year, so I should begin this year by first saying thank you, and the first thank you goes to God. 

My career journey has certainly been interesting.  It was amazing to look back on the year to see and acknowledge how God had perfectly orchestrated everything.  After getting over my own ego and quit pitying myself for all that went wrong (several doors closed on the career path I was determined to pursue), God opened the most amazing door of all, but it took complete humility, giving up control, my excessive planning, and to earnestly seek His help, he delivered me a dream so great I dared not even dream it. 

Once that door opened and I walked through it, many great and unexpected things started going right.  I am someone who needs, at times to my own detriment, craves validation.  I certainly always sought that from my family, and I never thought I would get their support when I told them I wanted to be an entrepreneur and create art.  I come from a family of doctors and engineers.  They live life by reason and logic.  I was shocked when they decided to support this idea, and wholeheartedly nonetheless.  

My Mom and Dad on my wedding day (I painted this in Dec 2014 as my Christmas gift to them)

Then there are my in-laws, who are wonderful and kind people, but I still feared they would think I was reckless to quit a good job and try my hand at art.  But they didn't.  Instead, they encouraged me.  They were some of my biggest advocates and shared with all their friends my work, and they shared with me stories of other successful artists they knew.  That kind of encouragement helped me get through my own self doubt.  

The Martins (on the day I became a Martin :) )  I painted this in Dec. 2014 as my Christmas gift to my Mother and Father in-law

Left to right:  Sheppard Martin (Blake's older brother), Blake (my husband), Jamie and Steve Martin (my in-laws) 

The most surprising of all, I received a gift several months ago from my grandparents.  When I opened it, it brought me to tears.  I spent a large part of my life with my grandparents, which is pretty traditional in Chinese culture.  I had utmost respect for them and always wanted them to be proud of me.  Art is not typically a career Chinese families encourage their children/grandchildren to pursue.  My uncle studied science, my Mom is a doctor, and my cousin is training to be a doctor.  I thought I would be considered the black sheep in my family for deciding to be an artist.  But when my uncle returned from China after visiting my grandparents, he brought me back two books - One was a coloring book of fashion illustrations, the other was a how-to guide to drawing cats.  They had found it at their local bookstore and insisted my uncle bring it back to me.  

The two books my grandparents gave me

As I sit to write this, I am filled with gratitude all over again.   I don't stop often enough to reflect on just how fortunate I am for my family, and now to have their complete support as I pursue my dreams.  This is one of the best aspects of what went right last year. 

With deepest gratitude, 

Serena