2018 in review

Hi Everyone, Can you believe that in a few short hours it will be 2019? This year sure has flown by for me. It’s been a year of ups and downs, but at its close, I want to focus on the positive–the things that have stood out for me this year as highlights, events that I am especially grateful for. So here’s my top five:

5.  This was my complete year of writing full time. I loved being able to follow my passion on a daily basis. I finished and published four full-length novels, a record for me, and had many more sales than in the previous years of my writing career. I finished book eleven in my Peakview Series and the first book in my new Aspen Ridge Series.

4.  I was able to travel to Denver this summer to attend RWA (Romance Writers of America Conference). What a wonderful experience being around so many talented authors and members of my tribe. The classes were excellent and I came home renewed and excited about my career.

3.  Lost Valley Ranch–my favorite place on the planet. This November I got to spend a weekend at this beautiful resort high in the Colorado Rockies. I started going to Lost Valley in 1967 with my family on vacation, later worked there when in high school and college, and its been a favorite weekend retreat for me and all three of my children and granddaughters. This time was especially great because I was there with both my daughters, my brother, who had not been there since 1973, and my sister in law and son in law who were first time visitors. What a great family weekend.

2. Time with family. This year one of my biggest blessings was time with my family. I was able to travel to Colorado four times this year to spend time with my son, my granddaughters, and extended family members. I traveled to San Diego for a week this summer to spend time with my oldest daughter at her home on the beach. I got to meet her boyfriend and experience her lifestyle. Most precious of all, I got to spend an entire year living only a couple of miles from my youngest daughter. Whether it was meeting at Starbucks, taking walks with our dogs, or enjoying local events, we had a great time spending moments together. I cherish the time I get to spend with those I love.

1. Merlin came into my life 🙂 Anyone who follows me on social media is well-acquainted with Merlin, my toy Australian shepherd. Merlin joined my family just twenty-four hours after the sad event of the passing on my dog, Laddie, who had been my best friend for sixteen years. Merlin had brought such joy into my life. He’s gone from 3 pounds to almost 15, where he should stay for awhile. He gets me moving–we walk four to five miles a day to try and use up some of his never-ending energy. Not a day goes by that I don’t laugh out loud at some silly thing he does. And at night, he’s there curled up beside me his head on my body. Who knew something so small could bring so much joy.

There you have it, my five highlights of 2018. I’d love to hear yours 🙂 Happy New Year and cheers to an even better 2019!!

Merlin 2019

Good people and Happy Endings

LoveI write romances because I love happy endings. That’s one of the criteria to be a romance novel there has to be a happily ever after. Why do I like this so much? Well, I’ve always been an optimistic person, but at my day job I’m a divorce attorney. Yep. Not many happy endings in my line of work, rather I see on a daily basis love that once existed turn to bitterness and even hate. It’s sad and wrong. So I escape and write romances where happy endings do exist. Where people are loving and not hateful.

Sometimes in the real world we can lose sight of that. Especially with some of the things that have happened in our country and the world in recent days. We could start believing that there is more bad than good, more sadness than happiness. I watched in horror as the Orlando shootings rocked our country. But then, a week later I had the privilege to be an adult leader for a mission trip to San Francisco with an amazing group of 21 high school aged kids. These kids gave up 10 days of their summer vacation to travel long hours to work with the homeless population in a big city. I was overcome with pride each and every day as I watched their compassion, caring, and hard work. They were truly making our country a better place by their actions.

Then this week, once again, horror unfolded in our country. This time with the seemingly unnecessary shootings of two black men by police and then the unthinkable massacre of police officers in Dallas. What is our world coming to? I asked. So much tragedy and killing. Where were the good people? Then I got my answer once again. My daughter is an ER doctor at Parkland hospital in Dallas. These amazing doctors were tasked with helping save slain police officers, many of whom were their personal friends and colleagues. Some who  didn’t make it. But then in the midst of tragedy, good people once again showed up. On Friday their ER was inundated by the good people of the Dallas area, total strangers bringing food-packages of candy, cookies, tacos, donuts, pizza, all to express their support and gratitude. They even received 200 sandwiches from the Orlando hospital who had dealt with their own shooting a few weeks earlier.

There’s good in this world if we look for it. Good people will prevail over evil ones. And I’ll always believe in happy endings.

 

 

Love is being there

It was a pretty uneventful Mother’s Day for me this year. My son did cook me a nice dinner, but the fact that my two grown daughters both now live out of state and were not here to celebrate was sad. The cold wet weather outside didn’t help my mood. I sat and reflected on all of my years as a mother. (This was my thirty sixth). As a single mother of three children money was often tight and I wasn’t able to always buy my kids the fancy things they wanted. Despite my shortcomings, they have all turned into amazing and successful adults. People often ask me how I raised such wonderful kids.  I think the secret is just being there–for all their events and activities. Letting them know day by day that you support them in everything they do. That you are their biggest fan. That they are stars! This was really brought home to me this Mother’s Day, when I got the Facebook post from my youngest, now an Emergency Room doctor in a big city. Along with the several cute pictures of her and I throughout the years this picture was attached. mother's day notes

You see through all those years, I always managed to stick a little note in my kids backpack or athletic bag the day of a big game or meet. Just to let them know I loved them and would be there cheering them on. As you can see they were written on little sticky notes of scraps of paper. It didn’t matter, it let them know I cared.  I had no idea my daughter had hung on to them for all these years. It was a great Mother’s day just knowing the love that is there, no matter what the distance in miles separate us. I love being a Mom!