Thursday, December 31, 2015

Happy New Year's Eve ...

Looking back over this past year, the first thing that jumps out at me is all of the goals I didn't meet. But rather than dwell on what I didn't do, after all, I can't get that time back, I've chosen to embrace the things I did accomplish.

1) I attended an author signing in Biloxi, MS, a city I'd never been to, and met some wonderful people like Amanda Lanclos, Anna Kristell, Anne Welch, and Lila Felix. I was also able to catch up with friends I hadn't seen for several months as well as meet lots of readers.

2) I wrote and published a novella and a non-fiction short story. While that isn't even close to the goal I'd set for myself, I'm proud that I kept writing and didn't give up.

3) I learned that I'm not as invincible as I once thought. And, yes, that's something I embrace because I was able to let go of a lot of thought patterns and feelings that hold me back. I still have a long way to go but it's a start.

4) I've continued to grow as an author, and the audience for my books has grown as well. Nothing makes me smile more than hearing from a reader who liked one of my stories. Sales are great, reviews are nice, but it's hearing that you made a difference in someone's life, that you made them smile or laugh or cry, that pleases me most as an author.

5) Not that I've ever doubted this one but the knowledge that my husband is always there for me, literally in sickness and in health, was reaffirmed. I'll admit, I like to be the one in control (stop laughing, those of you who know me). I like to be the person who anticipates needs and gets things done. I've acknowledged that this comes from a need to fix something in myself. I'm not sure what that is yet but I'm enjoying the journey of discovery. I think learning what makes me tick, and adjusting my behavior accordingly, is the greatest gift I can give myself.

6) Back to the goals thing, I've realized that not meeting a goal is not the same thing as quitting. I don't see myself as a failure; I see a determined, non-quitter who will pick herself up and continue on the path I've made. I am only a failure if I never try in the first place.

7) I've come to the conclusion that life's too short to keep putting off simple pleasures. Have I mentioned how much I love pie??

8) I've accepted I'm where I'm supposed to be at this moment in my life. It might not be where I want to be, but it's where I am. That has to be enough.

9) I decided to take the plunge and host my own author event in 2016. I'm so excited for the chance to meet new authors, welcome ones I know, and generally, have a blast. It's called Pages in the Caves if anyone wants to come. Here's the website - (I never said I was above self-promotion!)

I'm looking forward to a wonderful year but I also realize it will only be as good as I make it. And I plan on making it a GREAT one!!!

Happy New Year everyone! Here's to health, happiness, and prosperity.

One more thing ... 2015 gave us a Triple Crown winner for the first time in 33 years. I've never missed my dad more <3

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Do most people grow more reflective this time of year?

I do. Even though I'm not much into celebrating Christmas (my hubby could take it or leave it, and we have no kids, so...)I still get caught up in the remembrances of my childhood. My mom did all holidays up in a grand way but I think the one she went over the top with (in a good way) was Christmas. In our household, the holiday began on December 1st. As kids, we would go to school in the morning, leaving behind an ordinary house, and return to a winter wonderland. Every room was decorated, with garland and lights decking the halls, figurines and villages adorning every flat surface, spray snow on the windows, and Christmas music playing on the stereo. It was magical!

Recreating those enchanting moments were one of the things I missed most when kids didn't happen for us. For decades, I'd looked forward to bestowing that magic into my children's lives. My first few years of marriage, I tried to keep the spirit alive, if only for the hubs and myself, but his lack of enthusiasm - not that he minded if I decorated or not, it just made no impression on him - gradually dampened my passion. Add to that the addition, over the years, of dozens of furry 'children', and dangling lights and a live scratching post in the shape of a tree didn't seem to make much sense.

But as I get older, the desire to recreate my childhood Christmases grows stronger. In a few years, we'll be able to reclaim our home from our furry rescues (not that I begrudge one single moment, cat, dog, ferret, puppy, or kitten that has enriched our lives) and at that time, I'm hoping to rekindle the spark of magic that glows inside of me this time of year. Because to me, it is magical, this season of giving and loving one another just a little bit more. Laughing a bit easier and showing appreciation for what we have in our lives.

Whatever meaning one associates with Christmas, whatever traditions that find their way into homes around the world, I wish you peace and happiness, not only for this month or that one day which most of us celebrate. I wish you peace and happiness for the entire year, and the one after that, and the one after that. I wish it for myself, too. I love this nostalgic feeling and I want to keep it with me every day.

That's my Christmas wish. What's yours?