Friday, January 1, 2016

2016 Begins

Happy New Year!

On my main blog, I posted pictures and highlights of the variety of trips we took this past year with our new travel trailer. Ed and I really liked being explorers with our tiny home on wheels. Between those trips, life rumbled along with home and landscaping improvements, enjoying our new Jack Russell Terrier, and some advancement in my career as a published author. However, close friends lost their son during the Easter season in April. That loss has made us simplify our activities to savor quiet moments and family fun.

In September our fifth grandchild was born, then my brother-in-law suddenly needed quadruple by-pass surgery, two more reasons to increase hugs in all our greetings! No life is all sunshine and happiness but the trials will eventually make every day sparkle a bit brighter and the annual celebrations become sweeter.

Our Christmas Eve multi-family Mexican Dinner tradition has evolved over decades even though none of us have a trace of Mexican ancestry. This year there were 23 for dinner and it could easily have been 30. My brother-in-law was recovered enough after his recent open-heart surgery to be at the party! He's doing great and this made us remember that he was the pivot person that enticed most of us to move to Oregon.

It is now ten years since my parents died and the holidays rituals are comforting, as well as fun. I like to reminisce over how they have changed while remaining the same. One ritual that has not changed is my personal chores the morning of New Year Eve, it started in my childhood, I make sure there are freshly washed sheets on the bed to begin the New Year. Another thing I do as the old year closes is to pay all the bills already in the house. There were many years in the past when bills couldn't be paid, but the bedding was always freshly washed.

A major wind storm is currently raging outside our home. One of the tall trees broke in half but instead of the top half of the tree crashing down, or onto one of our structures, it dropped vertically so the broken part implanted itself into the soft, damp ground. It's like it's two trees now, one a broken trunk and the other with branches sprouting from the earth, ten feet apart, the strangest thing we've seen in our trees. I wonder if it is some type of omen as the new year begins. If so, it's a pretty cool one!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Annual Holiday Newsletter

Robert and Kaedence - my youngest grandchildren.
Grammy-nanny duties have been my full time job this year.
They are cousins, 7 1/2 mos apart in age.
It's that time of year where my mailbox is filled with cards and a few holiday newsletters of friends and family.

I used to include newsletters in our holiday cards. They were really important to me before social media.

Annual newsletters were how I remained connected with friends and family. I was the one out of town, my family was out of the loop. We were long distance, living out of state. My cousins and friends didn't do annual family newsletters because they saw each other and talked on the phone often during the year. The only way to combat my disconnect by distance was an annual family newsletter.

Since the early 1990's I was tucking a one page newsletter into the holiday cards I sent out once a year. These included grainy (dot matrix) pictures of our four girls on that paper. In the following weeks, both Ed and I would get phone calls from friends and family who we hadn't chatted with since the previous year. We could catch-up on life events, reconnect, and get all warm and fuzzy with virtual hugs that spanned hundreds of miles.

I spent a week or more getting those newsletters just right, with poignant statements and clean designs, to say a lot in the fewest words. Eventually the annual updates became more pictures than words, then there was that year I couldn't do either pictures or words. Parental funerals are tough times. And my children were designing their own lives. I was ready to move into the stage of impersonal holiday cards. Something decorative for the moment.

That's when I learned how important it was that I had made our annual newsletters personal. I had to redefine what mattered to others in relation to how much I was willing and able to do. This was a primary lesson from my childhood. Now social media has made my annual newsletters a lot easier to share!

So here is my news for 2014:

My first contemporary romance novel Checkmate First Mate has been published! And my first How-To book Author Marketing 101 is also available!

Here's a glimpse at my family today - only one son-in-law is missing, but you can read about him here - and also get advice from me on creating a business plan as a novelist. :D

Happy Holidays from my family to yours!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

News for 2013

We have a new granddaughter. And she's Awesome!

Kaedance Grace was born on July 29, 2013

My first Contemporary Romance novel Checkmate First Mate will be released in digital format in September 2013.

The Author Marketing 101 Guide and Journal that I've co-written with C. Morgan Kennedy will be available by October 2013.

Ed and I just returned from a vacation in Newport, Oregon, with our two grandsons, aged ten and four. Fun but exhausting!

For more excuses as to why I haven't given any attention to this website or completing this memoir - there's plenty to read over at Terri Patrick's Blog. There was also an Oops or two regarding my new business cards and I had to add my email address to all 1,000 cards - as I shared with my fellow Soul Mate Authors.

The journey to write this memoir - which I expect to complete and publish someday - has been a catalyst for all kinds of amazing opportunities. It's as if my parents want me to be very aware that I am more than just their daughter, and that's why their story will have value.