Sunday, December 29, 2013

LOOKING BACK ON 2013

While it's not good to dwell on the past, occasionally I need to take stock of where I am and where I've been in order to see where I'm going. This has been a difficult year in many ways, but good things have happened too. Fortunately, the good outweighs the bad. At least, I choose to believe that.

I lost a good friend, a cat, and a beloved niece this year. Losing Rachel, my friend, was hard, but she was elderly and had told me that she had prepared her mind and soul to face death. She looked forward to being with her husband Jim again. The cat Bailey's demise was unexpected. She was not fond of people and would let no one but me pet her, and then only seldom. Perhaps she is now happier frolicking with other pets over the Rainbow Bridge.

Joyce in Portugal
with her sister and mother
(unknown woman behind her)

Even though my niece, Joyce Lifquist, was older than me by a number of years, her loss to rapid cancer was unexpected and a shock. I still can't quite make myself believe she is gone. Her memorial service is January 4th in her hometown of Bakersfield, California. She was a wonderful person, and the eldest of my nieces and nephews. Her parents and siblings made the Cleavers, Father Knows Best, and the Brady bunch look like grumpy slackers. My half-sister and her husband and their two daughters and one son were absolutely the perfect family, an opinion shared by most people who knew them. They helped so many people--not only in our family, but friends as well. Anyone who needed a place to stay while looking for work or looking for a place to live went to their home. As far as I know, they never turned anyone away. When I was small and loved to draw and color, all the girls I drew looked and dressed as much like Joyce and her sister as I could make them. The two were always my ideals and I have looked up to and admired them all my life. I still do!

Our new-to-us house in Hurst TX
Hero and I way downsized this year. That sounds so much easier than it has proved to be. We moved to the perfect size house for us, but we are still having trouble fitting what we want to save inside our new-to-us house. The home was built in 1965 and is somewhat dated. We like it, but have a few changes we'd like to make when we get to them. We absolutely love living here and know we will eventually get everything arranged to suit us.

Also on the plus side, this year brought prizes and awards for my writing. BRAZOS BRIDE won first place as well as Best Overall Book in the Winter Rose Contest. HIGH STAKES BRIDE won second place. WattPad gave me an award as one of the authors with the most followers. Smashwords founder Mark Coker included BRAZOS BRIDE on the jump drive he gave to every person who attended the Romance Writers of America's National Convention in July. (I wonder if anyone who received it actually read it?) I published BLUEBONNET BRIDE, TABITHA'S JOURNEY, THE MOST UNSUITABLE COURTSHIP, and included THE TEXAN'S IRISH BRIDE in the boxed set NINE WAYS TO FALL IN LOVE with eight of my friends. I also boxed the first three MEN OF STONE MOUNTAIN books into one discounted set.

A new venture for me is audio books. BRAZOS BRIDE is available at Audible.com, Amazon, and iTunes. Very soon, HIGH STAKES BRIDE will also be available at those sites.

Max in a quiet moment in Hero's lap
We have a new cat, Max. He's a Manx cat. If you read my blog earlier this month, you know he is also full of mischief. He is a joy and likes to sit beside my keyboard and watch the cursor on the screen. He especially loves Facebook. He's made friends with our 7-year-old tuxedo cat Sebastian and with our little black Shih Tzu Webster. Sebastian is a bit jealous but is coming around. Of course, Hero and I adore Max. Even Darling Daughter 1, who is convinced dogs rule, fell under Max's spell at Christmas.

My critique partners are the best. They encourage me as well as catch my goofs. They make me a better writer and keep me sane. Well, mostly sane. These three women and I meet at a restaurant about every two weeks to critique, eat, laugh, and share what amounts to group therapy. Laughter is a very good medicine!

My younger brother and his wife visited from North Carolina. We hope they can move near us in the next year so we can all be together at Christmas 2014. Their widowed daughter lives with them, and will make the move with them when/if they can manage it.

My family encourages and sustains me. Hero is exactly that, my hero. He does everything he can to facilitate my writing and enjoying life. Both our daughters do their part to encourage me and help me as well. I am very blessed!

I hope that as you look back on this year, you count blessing after blessing. Hold the good things close and let the bad slide away. 2014 approaches. Who knows what wonderful things lie in store?

Thanks for stopping by!

3 comments:

Cheryl Pierson said...

Caroline, I enjoyed reading this recap of 2013. I'm so sorry to hear of your losses--that's always so hard to say goodbye to loved ones and pets--but you had some good things happen, too! I've long thought it's time for us to start thinking of downsizing, but with an attic full of stuff, I think it's the most daunting thing ever to even consider. If I have a goal this coming year, that will be it--to start culling out and getting rid of things. I HAVE stopped buying anything much. I have everything I need. Now I need to start letting much of it go. It would be easier if my kids were settled where they could take their keepsakes, etc. but I will hang onto those a few more years! LOL Thanks for sharing your year--I hope 2014 will be a wonderful year for you!
Hugs,
Cheryl

Karren Lucas said...

Thank you for sharing your past year with us! I am glad you found Max to help fill the void left by Bailey. It is always when you lose loved ones. I can only say "I'm sorry for your loss.". Your career has really exploded! Congrats on all the well deserved honors! I want to wish you and Hero a wonderful 2014.

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