• Jill O. Patrick

A Year in Review

As 2019 has come to an end, and 2020 seems to have been welcomed with open arms, how quickly I have began to think back on the many people, places and things that have happened during the past year that impacted my life in one way or another, including becoming a new Godmother.

Although 2019 overall was what I would consider "a good year," much sadness had come along as well, including the death of relatives and a special friend. There have been other moments that have caused a wide range of emotions, some laughter, some tears. Reflecting on 2019, some of the highlights include my visit to New York to attend the Society of Children's Book Writer's and Illustrator's (SCBWI) Winter Conference, and an opportunity to meet actor Boris Kodjoe at an event sponsored by the Arts Council of Fayetteville/Cumberland County. Imagine my surprise when at that very same event, my name was called and I won tickets to a concert featuring jazz great Najee and his band. My husband, Darryl and I had a great time at the concert several weeks later as seen in the next two photos.

Some of the other moments to reflect on is my being given a chance to participate in the 2019 Black History Cultural Art Experience and Darryl and I visiting California for spring break. Wearing my gold jumper and a smile on my face, I couldn't hardly believe that I was sitting in front of the iconic Beverly Hills sign and standing (at a distance) in front of the famous HOLLYWOOD landmark.

During 2019, we were delighted to attend Tyler Perry's Madea Farewell Tour and our nephew, Sean, came for summer vacation. So many memorable moments.

Having an opportunity to discuss art and how incorporating it into our daily lives offers many health benefits at the Neighborhood Resource Center and again at Dr. Shari Herring's October Inspiration Retreats was phenomenal. Having videos to reflect on these kinds of events is a great way to be reminded of opportunities that could be easily forgotten in the hustle of everyday life.

I am always delighted to visit Florida, whether spending time with family and friends or a long and exciting day at the Magic Kingdom. Last year was the first time we had ever been to the state of Florida four times within the span of one calendar year.

In 2019, I had an opportunity to do a book reading and I also took part in school career fairs as an author. I am always grateful to take part in events which allow me to share my children's book Chevy, the Perfect Pet. I was featured in the Arts Council of Fayetteville/Cumberland County's electronic newsletter, The Muse, as well as at my church's weekly bulletin for Business of the Week in September. Continuing to blog, maintain my website and share my life's experiences on social media have provided me a creative and inexpensive way to express myself.

Continuing to share my passion for art with children and adults is relevant in my life. Hosting our second ART WITH KIDS event at the Lake Rim Recreation Center in August and the Holiday Crafting for Kids last December, are the kinds of events I feel honored to be a part of. We'd love for you to check out our videos.

As the year began to get closer to an end, on November 24, my friend, Eva, and I took an unplanned, relaxed one day road trip. During our mini excursion, we went to a few supermarkets, purchased a few things here and there, and sat down for girl talk and lunch.

Along the way, we took several photos, posing and making memories on that chilly fun-filled day. The leaves were still representative of the beautiful fall colors easily visible in North Carolina during that time of year.

After returning home, I had time to look over the many photos Eva and I had taken. As I began to browse and select a few favorites, one particular photo of me stood out. The photo reminded me of this line "And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance, I hope you DANCE," The lyrics are from the song "I Hope You Dance."

In this photo at that time, I did not feel the way I interpreted the expression on my face and my body language, but I did see a lady (me) who believes that dancing or the meaning behind the song could, if only for a moment. make life a little bit better, when given a chance to--dance.

I'd like to paraphrase some of the content from the song, "I Hope You Dance,": "May we never lose our sense of wonder, take once single breath for granted, promise we'll give faith a fighting chance and when we get the choice to sit it out or dance," I hope we'll DANCE.

I'd like to wish each of you a very happy New Year, and as we continue to live, let's continue to take good care of ourselves.