2021 YEAR IN REVIEW

     
Happy almost 2022, friend! It’s been that week in between Christmas and New Years — you know — the one everyone wonders what do as our normal routines are still out the window. What day is it? Where did all that leftover Christmas dessert go? Those are the questions we ask! I’m right there with ya. 
  
In the midst of living the busiest of days this entire year, it has been harder than ever to process, reflect, and well, take a deep breath, for all that has come this year for me and Winnefred Austin.
  
In Philippians 1, Paul wrote a letter to the people in Philippi and this phrase from the passage circled in my mind as a began thinking back on this year. 
  
“Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God.” (Verse 3)
  
When I think of the people — family, friends, customers — the Lord has put into my path, I cannot help but be filled with gratitude. Getting married, moving to a new state, getting settled into a new house, and all the while working and running a business took an absolute village. You know who you are — thank you, thank you!
   
    
Paul goes on to write in his letter, “Whenever I pray, I make my requests for all of you with joy, for you have been my partners in spreading the Good News about Christ…” (verses 4-5)
  
That’s the heart behind every Winnefred Austin product — everyday tools to equip and encourage others to share the Gospel in their corner of the world. Joyful Noise Advent calendars, 2022 Seasons of Faith calendars, Daily Bread books, Joyful Noise books, and more reached customers worldwide this year! I truly believe the Gospel goes everywhere God sends it and it prospers (Isaiah 55:11) —  not because of my own skills, creativity, or the product itself — but all because of the Lord’s purpose and the renewed breath that comes in living from His Word. And He uses us together, you and me, to take part in sharing this Good News.
    
      
“And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue His work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” (Verse 6)
  
What amazes me most is these words of encouragement and joy from Paul in Philippians 1 are written from his time in prison. Many of us here (me included) cannot even begin to imagine a day in Paul’s prison shoes. This reality sends me right back to the cross as Jesus suffered on our behalf. Paul’s life was radically changed by Jesus — a complete transformation from persecuting Christians to believing and sharing the Gospel with his whole life. He went to prison and suffered greatly for sharing his Jesus with others. And yet his hope and faith were unshakable. What was meant to tear him down and discourage other believers spread faith among the nations even more. What a gift and extraordinary privilege we have to share our Jesus with others — when even still parts of the world do not have this freedom today. Paul’s joy makes me want to share joyfully all the more. Would we have the strength, heart, and resilience of Paul as we live as believers in this year to come. As we look into uncharted days (ones we perhaps thought would finally be some kind of “normal”), it may look pretty foggy out on the horizon. Some of us may feel suffering and fear stirring yet again. Would we grab onto hope to steer our ways, confident that it is all finished in Jesus. Our healer, redeemer, strength, and shield lives.
  
I am thankful this year brought a whole lot of joy and new things at Winnefred Austin. We updated our logo to that just right shade of green. We launched several new paper goods (and our first leather good!)  — Little Blue wedding journal, The Magic Word password book, Joyful Noise kids book, 2022 Seasons of Faith calendar, and The Winnefred tote. We sold a record number of Joyful Noise Advent calendars and sent them worldwide! We gained a big happy handful of new retail stores across the country, and our first international store in Canada. We are oh so grateful for our retailers who have included our products in their shops!
   
     
So why have I been writing about Paul and weaving Winnefred Austin, this year, and us into all of it? Paul lived joy and suffering — resilience and imperfection — encouragement and bondage — all at once. In some way I believe we can all relate, especially in these days. There has been a lot of joy, a lot of unknown, a lot of everything at the same time. Like Paul, we have the opportunity and the capacity to stand firmly in our faith in all things because Jesus lives in us
    
Friend, I truly believe good things are coming in 2022. I cannot wait to share with you more new things we've been working on! Circumstances aside, come what may, Jesus is our light and our hope in every season. May it be so.
  

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