I always like to take stock as a year draws to a close, just to see where my journey in life has led me during the past year. Some years are quiet ones; others have seen huge milestones.
2014 started off with me being apart from my husband. In all our years together, we’d never been separated as a New Year began. We wound up a huge distance apart as we both attended our college team’s bowl games. He was in Atlanta at the Chick-fil-A Bowl, while I was in Phoenix at the Fiesta Bowl. It seemed weird not ringing out the old year and seeing a new one in together.
Boy, did that change, as we spent a huge amount of time together—for a very unexpected reason.
Five weeks into 2014, he suffered a huge health crisis. He was hospitalized a week, transferred to live-in rehab for another, and then went through another six weeks of rehab on an out-patient basis. We spent a lot of time together, and I believe it strengthened our relationship in ways we’re still discovering. He’s come out on the other side now—healthier, stronger—and I couldn’t be more proud of all his accomplishments in this very difficult year. I don’t think either of us will ever take for granted something as seemingly small as our good health that allows us to enjoy life in a way so many people can’t.
Another huge event in our family was the engagement of our daughter. As an only child who’s marrying an only child, I feel we now have the son we never had. Her fiancé spoke to us of their relationship and the great love they have for one another, and I know she will be very happy with him in the years to come. Marriage is a lot of hard work, but they have a firm basis of friendship that is wrapped in layers of love. Planning the wedding has been a blast. Many moms dread something like this, but I’m savoring every step of the way.
For me, this has been a year of personal satisfaction with my writing career. Publishing a novel had always been a goal of mine for a number of years. In 2013, I saw my first “baby” released in May, and another followed in October. I wanted 2014’s production to match that output, and it actually surpassed it! The year was a week old when A Game of Chance came out. May saw the release of Written in the Cards. I closed December out when A Bit of Heaven on Earth saw publication. As a writer, seeing three books come out in a single calendar year brought a tremendous sense of accomplishment. I really enjoy creating characters and telling their stories, hoping somewhere along the way that I’m entertaining readers out there.
Some of the best advice I ever received came from my dad long ago. He told me every night to think of five things to give thanks for. It could be big things that occurred that day—a promotion at work or buying a new car. But it could also be the small things—the nice weather that day; being able to take an hour-long walk; getting to sink my teeth into a grilled cheese sandwich; hearing a song on the radio that brought back sweet memories.
I still do this every night, and I think it helps me enjoy each day—and month—and year—even more. And as I think back on 2014, it is the little things that have meant so much. The small, sweet moments that all added up to be the year that’s almost now complete.
Thank you, 2014, for showing me all you did. Here’s to 2015!