Updated: Feb 17, 2020
WOW. Another whole year has passed already? I can’t even believe it. This year has FLOWN by. I mean seriously. It seems like it was just yesterday that I was recording my first single & recovering from throat problems, but that was back in January.
This year has been a learning year, a growing year, a FUN year. I started out at a low. I almost lost my voice & had to find a way to help gain its strength back in a time where my music was just starting to take off. I ended with 5 songs out for the world to hear & shows under my belt. I picked the word EXPERIENCE for 2019 because I wanted to do it all. I wanted to stop being afraid of everything & just trust God with the opportunities He was giving me. Y’all- it was SO good. In everything that I was presented with, good & bad, I learned so much. So today, I thought I’d share with y’all 19 things that 2019 has taught me.
1. Releasing music independently is one of the most stressful, yet rewarding, experiences.
This year, I have had the opportunity to release my music independently. I worked with two amazing producers, Steven Bacon & Garrett Victor. Along with some uber talented musicians, we created and released 5 songs this year (2 singles, 1 EP). Releasing my own music for the first time has taught me all the different roles that are involved in releasing music. When you release it independently, you do it all. You are your own artist, manager, marketing team, visual team & so much more. It can be stressful, but learning to do it all & then seeing that the final outcome is exactly what you had dreamed of for so many years is worth it 1,000%.
2. It’s okay to not be okay all the time.
While this year was a very exciting one for me, it wasn’t all sunshines & rainbows. I tend to overlook the “bad stuff” or just twist it into something good. I’m a 2 on the enneagram (if you don’t know what that is, look it up. That will be MUCH easier than me trying to explain it), so I have a habit of helping others to make everything better. I can handle it, but I don’t always realize that I’m doing it. It wasn’t until September this year that I realized that. My friend Becca looked at me & said, “Are you okay? Answer honestly. It’s okay to NOT be okay all the time.” In that moment, I heard God talking through Becca & telling me that I don’t always have to be everything for everyone. I’m allowed to be upset & cry or scream if I want to.
3. God is REALLY freaking cool.
There have been SO many opportunities that God has given me this year. I have seen Him working in incredible ways, both in my life & others. Dig into the word & LISTEN to Him, y’all. He’s really cool. I promise.
4. It’s better to have a couple of close friends than a ton of “half-friends.”
I have a lot of friends, but this year has really taught me that you don’t always have to have a houseful of people to be satisfied in your friendships. Sometimes, the best thing for you is a trip to Sonic at 9 p.m., a day of running around taking photos at random places in Nashville or simply just talking in the car for hours about whatever the heck is on your mind until it’s all a mess on the floor. Those moments matter a LOT more than the number of friends on your “list.”
5. If people don’t like you for who you are, you don’t have to change yourself to fit in their lives. Sometimes when a door closes, it’s for a reason. Keep it closed.
GOSH this was a hard thing for me to learn. Growing up, I wanted to be friends with everyone, even if it hurt me. This year, I’ve heard God clearly say, “Let them go, Grace” multiple times when I’m trying to hold on too long. You can still be friendly, but you don’t have to be their friend.
6. Trips to Disney World are a LOT more expensive when you’re the one paying for it.
My best friend, Chandler, & I decided to go to a Miranda Lambert concert in Orlando this year. We decided that back in April. The concert was in November. We got the tickets, then decided to go to Disney while we were down there because why not, right? Yeah...Disney is EXPENSIVE. I knew it was expensive since I was little, but I really learned it when I was paying for the entire trip by myself for the first time. So mom & dad, thanks for taking me to Disney growing up (& for not making 7-year-old Grace pay her own way. That would’ve gone downhill REAL fast).
7. Having a community is crucial.
I got plugged into a small group at my church this year. I also started serving on the worship team. These people in my small group & on worship team have become some of my closest friends & people I go to the most for help or advice. Find your people & stick with them, folks. They’re great.
8. Writing what hurts until you’re better is great therapy.
Like I was saying earlier: it’s okay to be angry or upset. But, it’s also good to get those feelings out of your body/ system. For me, writing helps. A lot of times, that’s songwriting. Other times, it is as simple as writing it all down on a piece of paper, then cutting it up into a million little pieces & throwing it into the trash can. It’s a visual representation of me allowing myself to be mad & then throwing it away because I don’t need to worry about it anymore.
9. Always keep the Live Photo feature on your iPhone camera. The videos that come from it are pretty dang funny.
I have acquired some of the FUNNIEST short videos/ GIFs out of the Live Photo feature this past year. I just watch them over & over!
10. Speaking of photos, disposable camera photos are so fun!
My producer/ friend, Steven, got me a disposable camera for our secret Santa last Christmas. I carried that camera in my purse/ backpack until it ran out of film (which took longer than I expected because I was too stingy on when to take photos/ what to take photos of at first). Once I got the photos developed, it was fun to be able to relive the memories for the first time since the day they were taken! I immediately bought another disposable camera after I saw how the first ones turned out. I love the surprise in it!
11. My coffee flavor of choice is apparently caramel.
Last year, one of my things that I learned was how to drink coffee. This year, my thing is what KIND of coffee I like. I’ve tried lots of flavors over the past year, but I always gravitate towards the caramel flavored ones. An exception to this is the White Bison Mocha from White Bison Coffee (mine & my bestie girl’s fave coffee shop). Seriously. If I’m ever in a funky mood, just get me this (& cheap flowers from Publix. Carnations & hydrangea) - I can guarantee you my mood will start to get better instantly.
12. Co-writing is magical!
I started co-writing this year. If you don’t know what co-writing is, it’s when multiple songwriters get together to write a song (pretty simple). Anyways. Co-writing has taught me to open up more with my stories. It also helps you as a writer because you have other writers to bounce ideas off of & get suggestions from. Co-writers can help you take your little heart & grow it three times bigger like the Grinch.
13. Getting cake smashed in your face is a weird feeling.
I turned 20 this year. I entered a new "age decade." Hello, adult years, goodbye teens. I had a bunch of friends from church & a few friends from school over to my house on my birthday to hang out, eat cake & play a game (thanks again for bringing What Do You Meme, Kels!). We bought my birthday cake at Sam’s, but I overestimated just how much cake we would need by a LOT, so there were tons of leftovers. Chandler decided to take advantage of that. We got a huge piece out of it & she smashed it in my face… 3 TIMES.
14. Going to CMA Fest all 4 days is the best.
I was hesitant to go to CMA Fest all 4 days my first year back in Tennessee in 2017. I had fun, but one day was enough for me. In 2018, I wanted to go to more days than I did, but my family was going to Washington, D.C. for vacation. This year, Chan & I buckled down & went to all 4 days. We got rained on, saw tons of artists we love & had the time of our LIVES. I’ve been counting down the days to CMA Fest 2020 since the day after CMA Fest 2019 ended. I am READY.
15. You just have to GO FOR IT sometimes. Talk to that person. Go to the audition. Order that thing off Amazon. Be the girl boss. Do the dang thing.
If 10-year-old Grace heard this, she would be hesitant. If 15-year-old Grace heard this, she would be laughing. If 18-year-old Grace heard this, she would be questioning. I say this to say that people evolve. I’ve evolved. I used to be SO afraid to talk to the “big shot” in the room or to go to an audition because I didn’t think I was good enough. This year? That’s changed. I’ve learned this year that you never know unless you go for it. Why not try while you have the chance?
16. If you have a toothache, get it checked immediately. Don’t blame it on the weather pressure for too long. You may regret it one day when you are sitting in the dentist chair waiting to get a root canal & crown.
I put off a toothache for WAY too long. I kept thinking it was a result of the rainy weather or the air pressure changing because my teeth get sensitive with weather changes sometimes. This wasn't the case. I ended up in excruciating pain the night of Fourth of July & we called the dentist for an emergency root canal the next day. NOT fun.
17. The Jonas Brothers put on one of the best shows I have ever seen.
I didn’t get to see the Jo Bros their first time around; I was NOT about to miss them again. I went to see them when they came to Nashville in September & holy crap it was SO GOOD. They had a fantastic mix of old & new songs, as well as some of Joe & Nick’s solo/ side project songs. Every element of the show was engaging, yet didn’t take away from them or the music, which can sometimes be hard to do. 3,000 out of 10, would TOTALLY recommend.
18. I have solidified the fact that my “things” are stars & leopard print. I am so okay with that.
I accessorize almost everything with stars, leopard print or both. It’s just become a thing at this point, but I’m not complaining. People have started noticing that it’s my ‘“thing,” which makes me feel very “on brand.” Thanks, y’all.
19. 2018 was all about discovery. 2019 was all about experience. 2020 will be all about ZEAL.
2019 has been a year for the BOOKS. I feel so thankful to have had the year that I have had, both the good & bad, because it has helped me grow tremendously. I picked the word ZEAL for 2020 because I want to start this new decade off with a strong & passionate mindset.
The definition of zeal is “great energy or enthusiasm in pursuit of a cause or an objective.” Having this as my “word” for 2020 will help me with just that. I am so excited to start a new decade soon & to bring y’all along with me on this crazy ride! So get ready for more music, more blog posts and more photos/videos because it is ALL coming your way very soon.