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That's a Wrap: Lessons from 2021

Over the 2020 holidays, I found myself anxious and impatiently waiting for  …. something.  Somewhere in my gut, I could feel that 2021 was going to be – no, needed to be – different.  The second week of January, it began.


With 2020 being almost surreal through all of the “novel-ness” that literally plagued us, the unrest, and political turmoil, I chose to focus on all that it gave us.  This for me was exclusive, secluded, intentional time with the humans in my house. I knew that, come 2021, our household would change since our oldest son would be going away to college. To where, we didn’t know; we just knew it would be “away.” 

I could hear and feel the descent of every grain of sand.  So many “last” moments I paused to take a mental snapshot:  My three boys singing and swimming in our pool (click).  The “Fork vs. Knife” cooking competition between me and their dad that they created and judged (click).  Looking out over the Little Pidgeon River from the Bean Tree Café after rafting on our last family vacation (click). Playing Drawful (click) (click) (click).

2020 also sucked.  Like many, I found myself among the casualties of workforce layoffs.  It was time to regroup, to ask some hard questions of myself, and bootstrap because I determined I needed to show up for my family in a different way.

While I’d begun some research and concept development on business ideas in 2020, I hit an emotional wall and also joined the anxiety/depression statistic of the year that shall not be mentioned.  

Then God put someone in my ear on the phone who asked “Do you need to force this now?  Can you give yourself permission to ‘just be’ for a couple of months, maybe at least through Christmas?”  For better or worse, I took that advice.  I gave myself some grace and permission. Looking back, I'm certain it was for the better.  Had I not, I might've missed my gut feeling.

Over the 2020 holidays, I found myself anxious and impatiently waiting for  …. something.  Somewhere in my core, I could feel that 2021 was going to be – no, needed to be – different.  The second week of January, it began.

I enrolled in a course and joined a community that believes in creating your own e-commerce business with a service-centered heart.  These are my people.

By April’s end I publicly opened Xenia Box, an online gift boutique focused on the experience of gifting.  I say publicly because you’d be surprised about online businesses your friends have opened, and they’re too afraid to tell you.  I chose to go personally public because showing up for you, for my customers, for my friends and family, and for my sons and husband means accountability.  And I pray, it also means it’s an inspiration for someone.  I’m showing up for that person, too. 

I won’t go into great detail on “all the business start-up things” – your brain will melt.  But I will say, I had to be intentional, persistent, and to keep doing the next thing.  I also had to do quite a bit of karate on fear.  That “scuffle” stills happens every day.

Oh, and I was as uncomfortable as sleeping in one of those tiny 2-seater electric cars.  For a long time.


Lessons from 2021:

  1. Find someone who’s done what you want to do, and learn from them.
  2. Find a community working through and toward the same goals. Join them. Engage with them. Cheer for them. Ask for help among them.
  3. Find a smaller tribe to hold you accountable.
  4. Know that you now have the power to turn the open & closed sign on … or off.
  5. Also know that how often you turn it on or off is directly proportional to your momentum.
  6. “What’s Next?” is not a strategy.
  7. I have A LOT to LEARN!

This “Lessons” list is by no means exhaustive!  Regardless, it leads me (especially #6 and #7) to my outlook for 2022.



I’ve never been a “New Year’s Resolutions” setter/achiever.  I always thought it was a lack of ability to commit, maybe?  Now I know (and through clenched teeth admit) that it has to do with fear of failure, unwillingness to change, even fear of success.



2022 – BRING IT

These goals are stated in present action tense, as if done or being done.

  1. I’m using the Gratitude Journal my sons gave me for Christmas.
  2. I’m very uncomfortable as I write down the business goals I’ve set.
  3. I take the steps to achieve them.
  4. I’m learning how to choose and set those goals, how to begin at the end to achieve them.
  5. I’m clarifying my purpose - what I’m doing and for whom I’m doing it.
  6. I’m weighing each task and asking “Does this move me toward my goal?”
  7. I’m finding a balance between the hustle and the home.


Wow, this particular draft was very “me-centered.”  It also puts me in a vulnerable place of accountability. 

But maybe you’ve seen a bit of you in this “2021 Wrap Up” epistle.  And maybe we can do something about 2022 together.  


Lessons from 2021 were essential to my metamorphosis as I head into 2022.  I'm looking better already, though, don't you think?

Me 2021 vs 2022

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