2016, You’re Done. 2017…Here I Come.

Last year I skipped the whole 2016 wrap-up + 2017 goals post. I love reading other people’s resolutions and it’s about time I did one of my own again. (Actually, I think I skipped only last year, so really it hasn’t been that long since I did this.)

So . . . did 2016 try to murder anyone else? I know I’m not the only one. I remember thinking in February, “Wow…this year is already one of the toughest years EVER.” And that was only two months in! Little did I know there were still 10 more months of wading through lava. *deep breath*

But today I’ll be focusing on the good stuff:

~2016 Wrap Up~


Confession: I didn’t love 2016’s movies. (Just another thing about this great year. 🙄 ) Usually I have a long string of favorite movies, but the only ones that made the list this year were:

  • Risen (I give this movie an A-)
  • Doctor Strange (This one gets a B+. I really enjoyed it, but didn’t feel drawn to watch it another 100 times. 😉 )
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (This movie was a B for me, and made the list mainly because I loved the music. And the baker. 😛 )


  • Unblemished, by Sara Ella — portal fantasy that inspires me to write every time I read it. I actually read this one twice this year. <3
  • Passenger, by Alexandra Bracken — Time travel that will twist your mind and take you all over the world. *swoon* And book two releases next week!
  • A Darker Shade of Magic, by V. E. Schwab — People. Read this. A fantasy book set in three parallel Londons. It is fascinating.
  • Heartless, by Marissa Meyer — if you like Alice in Wonderland at all you must read this book NOW. I don’t like Alice in Wonderland. Not one bit. And I still loved this book.


I have a hard time believing people. I recently wrote a blog post about this and it’s been such a relief to pinpoint the problem and the solution. 🙂 Yay!

I enjoy doing dishes. If hubby is reading this, he may not believe me. But I do. I enjoy them when I do them. 😛 Which isn’t that often.

I can teach writers. I was invited to speak at the One Year Adventure Conference Summer Workshop this year, and I was biting my nails for months leading up to it. I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to stand in front of people and talk. A lot. About important stuff. Then I did it . . . and I loved it. I mean, the stage fright is still there . . . and the panic that I won’t be able to teach anything worthwhile, but God chips away at that. I’ll be teaching at the OYAN Winter Workshop this weekend!

I learned I think I’m a plotter. *gasp* I can see the pantsers fleeing my blog right now. But my friend, John Otte, told me about this magnificent book called Write Your Novel Using the Snowflake Method by Randy Ingermanson. I bought it. Read it. Bought another copy and threw it at a friend. Bought a third copy . . . for myself. Again. 😛 IT CHANGED MY WRITING LIFE. And I’m now currently obsessed with the success of plotting.

I learned I can’t survive off “halfsies” with God. Here’s what happened to hubby and me in the second part of 2016: Imagine that you’re drowning . . . and juggling at the same time. Yup. We became excellent dog-paddlers, but I was trying to juggle life, writing, book launching, and God. Then I realized that I was treating God as one of the four juggle balls instead of the air in which I was juggling. And putting God in a box (or ball, if you will) wasn’t enough for me. I had a couple weeks of being lukewarm and I’m ready to never do that again. I know that all of us have spiritual deserts, but I learned that I seriously cannot function if I short-change my time with my Jesus. I needed more of Him. And He’s always there. So I got my toosh in gear and am breathing again.





  • Write a new book. 😀 I’ve already started on a couple ideas–it’s settling on the right one that’s taking so much time. But I’m hoping to get a rough draft of my new manuscript finished by May.
  • Read through the Bibliotheca Bible. We just received our Bibliotheca version of the Bible (the Bible with no verses or chapters) for which we’ve been waiting for over 2 years! *happy swoon* I can’t wait to read through the whole thing. There will probably be a blog post on it.
  • Only buy books I know I want to own. That means I know I want to re-read them or lend them out, etc. I’m tired of ending up with books on my shelves that I then want to go shove in a deep dirty hole somewhere. 😛
  • Start a bullet journal. Katie Grace from A Writer’s Faith gave me a bullet journal this year and I’ve been dying to start it. I, of course, have been stalking all bullet journal posts on Pinterest and drooling non-stop. 😉
  • Read 60 books. I’m trying to up my yearly reading number a bit each year. I think 60 would be a nice cap, but I barely made 52 this year. However, I’m hoping 2017 will allow for more reading time. *crosses fingers*


This wrap-up and goals are mainly book or writing related (what did you expect?) I had to limit myself to one area of focus otherwise you’d end up reading a novel-length blog post. I decided to be nice and spare you. (You’re welcome.)

What were some highs from your 2016?

What is one goal you’ve made (or one thing you’re looking forward to) in 2017?



About Nadine Brandes

Nadine Brandes is an adventurer, fusing authentic faith with bold imagination. She never received her Hogwarts letter, but rest assured she’s no Muggle (and would have been in Ravenclaw House, thank you very much.) This Harry Potter super-nerd has been known to eat an entire package of Oreos (family size) by herself, and watches Fiddler on the Roof at least once a year. She writes about brave living, finding purpose, and other worlds soaked in imagination. Her dystopian trilogy (The Out of Time Series) challenged her to pursue shalom, which is now her favorite word (followed closely by bumbershoot.) When Nadine’s not taste-testing a new chai or editing fantasy novels, she and her knight-in-shining armor (nickname: “hubby”) are out pursuing adventures.
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  1. Hey!!!! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!!
    For one second lets all appreciate the amazingness of Risen.
    And I agree with you on Fantastic Beasts. It was eh, but the soundtrack was AHHHH.
    I am literally obsessed with soundtracks.
    And have you seen the new Ben-Hur. Not only is it an insanely amazing movie, but the soundtrack is to die for.

    Anyways my goals for 2017 is to finish one of the many “books” I’ve started writing.
    Another is to visit Europe again with my fam
    Maintain good grades.
    Improve at my instruments (and maybe have my friend record an album or something)
    Not die while waiting for your next book (EEEEK SO EXCITED!!!!)
    But most of all, get back to God. Its been tough finding time with school and bands and family, and I feel dry unless I am at church. It really isn’t how I want it to be. I know God can reach me wherever, but I know I have to reach out to Him first. He’s waiting, but I’m holding myself back. I don’t like New Year Resolutions personally because they are too much like promises you can’t keep. Thus, in 2017, I will ask God to give me peace and guidance and most of all his spirit.

    And I might start a bullet journal too

  2. Haha. I ALWAYS want to write a wrap-up post, but never do. Maaaaybe I’m too intimidated.

    And I TOTALLY agree about dishes!!!

    I’M SO EXCITED FOR ALL OF THE MOVIES THAT YOU MENTIONED FOR NEXT YEAR!!! Beauty and the Beast comes out 2 days before my birthday … so I’m REALLY hoping to see it for my birthday. 😀

  3. You are a book reading beast! Cannot believe you read a book a week while writing and launching. Reading MORE is one of my goals. A book a month would be miraculous.

    One of the highlights/stressors of 2016 was writing two entire novels (hence no time to read!). It’s nice to catch my breath and think about enjoying someone else’s creative endeavors (will be referring back to your reading list for ideas), and muse about my next possible story. I’ll have to look into the bullet journal. I don’t keep one at all even though people give them to me left and right since I’m a writer. Always seems like a nice idea but that’s as far as it gets.

  4. Wow, 2016 has been crazy for me too! I’m glad I’m not the only one 😉

    Ohhh my goodness, I’m SO EXCITED for Beauty and the Beast!! I just love the story by itself, and I can’t wait for the live action version ^.^

    I just saw Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them yesterday, and let me say, it was very confusing. I liked it, but at times I was wondering why it was so creepy O.O

    (And I believe the proper Roman numerals should be VIII ;P)

  5. Awesome! I super duper love time travel books I must read more of them. more more MORE. Isn’t Passenger a movie now? Or is the movie something completely different than the book?
    Also I am very excited for Beauty and the Beast as well because that was my favorite childhood disney movie (and The little Mermaid was my other fav – which would ROCK IN LIVE ACTION AH! Heard they have been having a lot of difficulties with finding a director, and some other stuff…

    OH yeah, and my other super favorite fandom…Pirates of the Caribbean 5 is coming out. yey!

  6. Bullet journals scare me. Although, I think I have gotten to the point where I am going to design my own planner this year.

    Highs of 2016? It’s like my brain shuts off when it comes to such thought-provoking questions, ha! Published Darkened Hope, costume party at the library, our trip to MN, Legoland for the kids’ birthdays, I’m sure there was something else in there, but I forget. Most of 2016 I was struggling to accept something that I did not want to, something that for most of my life believed to be God’s design for me.

    Oh, and a friend of ours gave us Settlers of Catan for Christmas!!! 😀

    I look forward to seeing what God does in you and through you this year and what will be next for you on your journey!

I love hearing from you!