How do you sum up 2017? Hard? Difficult? Lonely? Trying? Eventful? Perhaps you faced a lot of changes or challenges. Maybe it was a year of renewal and inspiration. Even a season of prosperity.
I don’t typically think of a “word for the year” unless it comes to me in contemplation or prayer, or maybe out of the blue, and it feels right.
At the end of 2015 my husband asked if my art tablet was nearby. Now I do NOT draw but I like to doodle.
“It’s in the other room. Why?”
He shrugged. “Just wondering.”
That evening we were in the living room with friends talking and watching TV — yes at the same time. I was drawing in the tablet and I wrote the word Freedom.
My husband leaned forward. “I was going to tell you to write that word and draw around it.”
It seemed Freedom was on God’s heart for 2016.
For 2017, I wrote the word Peace. The Lord continues to bring us to places of freedom and peace in this season of our lives. And I am grateful.
I’ve dubbed 2017 the year of family. I’ll give you the run down.
January — My maternal grandmother died at 102 years and seven months. It was good to see the extended family at her funeral and remember her together. Even cousins from my dad’s side came to honor her. Also, my husband’s sister and her husband moved down to spend time with my mother-in-law. We’ve not had this much family in our neck of the woods for over 17 years!
I started a new book, The Love Letter. Our “girl” Cassie came for a few days. She’s not technically ours but we like to claim her. 😉 #childrenofourhearts
February — My annual trek to Destin Florida for the Deep Thinkers Writes Retreat. Always a busy but lovely time. I stopped in for a night with my big brother in Tallahassee.
March — This month was a flurry of writing, reviewing galleys for The Writing Desk, and preparing for my youngest brother to visit with his wife and children, along with my mom! We had a great time. No sooner had they gone when my sister came down with her family. We had a great time going to the beach and eating my BIL’s biscuits and gravy.
Oh yea, Hubby and I had our 25th wedding anniversary. We were so busy we didn’t have time to do something grand so we ordered from Carrabbas, ate in, and watched a movie! It was so relaxing. Our gift to each other was a list of 25 memories or things we loved about each other. It was more special than diamonds.
April — We had a fast visit from Hubby’s brother Jim. Most of the days were devoted to writing. Deadlines don’t wait.
May — Went into Deep Dark Mode. Translation: Last month of deadline. Don’t bother me! Ha!
I attended a readers conference in Atlanta as well as prepared for a small local speaking engagement and two classes for a conference at Princeton — yes, the Princeton — ha!
Also, I decided to jump into a new diet that knocked me for a loop. Keto. I managed to keep writing even though I had no energy, giving the diet a chance, but when I woke up two nights in a row shaking and anxious, having to eat at one am to raise my blood sugar, I knew this was not the diet for me. It was sad though because I’d invested in a cookbook, food stuffs, etc but as Hubs said, “This is not worth it and I’m not doing it with you!” Okay then…
In the midst of this, we hosted long time friends from Michigan for their 40th wedding anniversary and had a house full.
June — Started out with a trip to Princeton. It literally took a plane, train and an automobile to get there. I had a lovely time and the Princeton campus was beautiful.
Next Hubs and I headed to Tennessee for annual family vacation with my mom’s side. Always a good time and I love hanging out with the nieces and nephews and my little cousins!
We left that venue for a cabin in North Carolina. A week of viewing five mountain ranges from our front porch wasn’t too bad. While I loved it, I missed our lake retreat from last year. We tried to book for this year but they are all filled up! Rats. I think we should book now for 2019.
My beloved gym closed so I lost my Tuesday, Thursday morning spin class. We were small group but we had fun together. Miss those guys.
July — Worked on new story ideas for my publisher, then had a prayer day at church. Was such a sweet, lovely time and I want us to do more.
Started rewrites on The Love Letter, one of the hardest books I’ve ever written, and attended the RWA conference in Orlando.
Had another visit from darling Cassie! She fills the house with blessing. #blessed.
Of course I was excited for the release of The Writing Desk which landed on the CBA Top 50 books for July.
Hubs and I joined a new gym and jump started our workout routines. We’ve been staying steady three days a week!
August — Rewrite city! But of course the time was broken up with trips. Met my writing partner Susan May Warren in Cincinnati for a reader’s retreat. Then the following weekend flew back to Ohio for a reunion on my father’s side. It was so good to see my aunt and uncle, and all but two of the cousins, and the kids of cousins. I’d dedicated The Writing Desk to my Aunt Carol and how blessed to hand her a copy personally! We had a great time and look forward to doing it again.
Our sweet girl Carrie came at the end of the month. She always fills the house with peace.
September — Finished edits of The Love Letter then flew to Atlanta for Hub’s nephew’s wedding. It was great to be with that side of the family. They are fun and loving. Of course Hurricane Irma was bearing down and we flow home from the wedding weekend to be here during the storm. Crazy, right? There were 14 of us on the flight in. It was overbooked on the flight out.
We survived Irma well enough though the first half of the neighborhood flooded. We came within inches of having water in the house ourselves. We lost power for 12 hours but had the generator to keep the fridge and fans going. I bought two things as hurricane prep: water, which we didn’t need, and fans. Boom! How we needed those fans.
Prepped for two workshops I was to teach at American Christian Fiction Writers and headed to Dallas right after Irma. Came home and dove into a final pass at The Love Letter. You’d think this book would be brilliant after all the rewriting! Ha!
October — Started planning the next book, researching, dreaming, catching my breath. Since one of Hub’s sisters is here with her husband, we try to get together with them once a week or every other. They bring my mother-in-law over and we watch a movie or something. It’s been lovely having them here.
This month I preached a four part series on Song of Solomon. I was concerned preaching every week would cut into my story prep time and I almost cancelled the series. But I knew the Lord was tugging on me to do it, so I trusted Him for the grace to get it done and left the outcome to Him. The series went well and I’m so glad I stuck to it.
November — Start writing The House On Memory Lane. It’s ready, fire, aim in the book writing business. I prepped until November 1st and ready or not, it was time to write, let the story come alive and speak for itself.
November was peppered with various fun interruptions. I flew to Nashville for a night to attend the Christy Awards. I wasn’t nominated but I was asked to present an award. So honored.
Then another of Hub’s sisters and her husband came down for their mom’s 91st birthday. Always a delight to have them. #familytime.
My good friend Stuart was with us for a few days and then his wife Esther came for a week. Laughter! Fun. A new hastag #wedonthavekids was invented. ;0
A brother and another sister and their families came for Thanksgiving week. Even with all the goings on, the Lord gave me so much grace to keep writing. So much peace and joy. I was having a blast. Sure the book was fast drafted, not polished and full of plot holes, but I can see it. Feel it.
ALL FALL LONG Saturdays were set aside for college football. Hubs an I have fun discussing the sport and rooting for Ohio State every week.
December — Finished my rough draft between birthdays — Hubs and I are three days apart — and a fast research trip to Fernandina Beach FL on Amelia Island.
I’m taking a holiday break before jumping back into writing in the New Year and I wanted to say Hello to you! Writing this post reminds me my year was full of peace, faith and hope. And family!
What was your year like? What are your thoughts looking toward next year? I have an excitement in my heart for 2018.
No matter what your year was like, no matter what lies ahead, let’s lean into Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith. How He loves us.
As you remember His birth this time of year, remember his life, His death and resurrection. There is truly power in the name of Jesus.
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