2017 is almost behind us! A friend of mine wrote a blog post of the highlights of each month of her year, and I enjoyed it so much that I thought I'd do the same thing! It's been a busy year! A fun year! And in some cases, a heartbreaking year. So, here we go:
I started out the year with an Amazon #1 Bestseller! Always an excellent adventure, every single time, but what a great way to start out 2017.
I've done some fun, entertaining Girls Nights Out with friends. I saw some great country concerts with my friend Pam -- Jason Aldean, Garth Brooks. I saw some great plays with a variety of friends. But this event I did in February with my friend Beth was a lot of fun -- a live stage production of The Price Is Right, hosted by none other than Jerry Springer! What a night. We even had these matching shirts custom-made.
March introduced my adorable little grandpuppy into our lives ... IZZY! My son wanted to become a dog owner, and picked out a beautiful yellow lab puppy. This was the day we got her and I made the traumatic mistake of giving her a BATH. She's avoided the stairs that lead to the basement (and washtub) ever since. At this writing, she has grown from 8 pounds to 72, is energetic, crazy and fun. She's added a ton of excitement to our lives. Although I think we're all looking forward to a day when she's calmer and easier to manage.
We've been making a lot of trips to our new beach house in Murrells Inlet, SC and this year we've especially enjoyed welcoming our friends and family for visits too. In April I welcomed Marta and Harriett, two special women I've been friends with for over 30 years. We all started our careers at a big corporation on or around the same day and wherever our careers have taken us, we've stayed in touch. I was thrilled when we planned a vacation in my neck of the woods. We had a ball.
May was a huge month. Our youngest son, Jeff graduated from college. This was a milestone, not only for him, but for us as parents. We'd been raising our sons for 25 years, and this event marked THE END to the formal education of our two boys. We're fortunate that both our sons are now working in their chosen fields and independent. A parent's
Another monumental month. Jeff's career begins in Dallas, TX, 800 miles away from home. So, his dad and I rent this cargo van, and the boys load it up with all the stuff he'll
need for his one-bedroom apartment, and off we go. We got him settled in and he's doing great in his new life. So happy for him. He's working hard, enjoying his new city and experiencing life.
June also saw the publication of the launch of my new series, Murrells Inlet Miracles. Book 1 is Sanctuary. As it turned out, this was the ONLY book I published in 2017, a problem I intend to remedy in 2018!
Later in June we celebrated another big event: my parents' 60th wedding anniversary! My parents have been my beacon and guide for a happy, successful marriage my entire life, and I was so happy that twelve of our family members all met out in Murrells Inlet to celebrate for a week of sun and sand. Here we are at their anniversary dinner. Couldn't have been more beautiful.
Amidst the happiness 2017 brought was one devastating event, the loss of our beautiful, happy, sweet, lovable dog Grace. She was a one-of-a-kind dog, a member of the family, someone we shared our lives with, who shared her love with us. She was 15 1/2 this past summer, and although she had been deteriorating for two years due to a variety of health issues, one Friday night, she started to shut down. She could no longer get up on her own, she wouldn't eat, she needed help with the most basic of functions. We made the decision
to help her end it, and the vet came out to our house so we wouldn't have to stress her out by a last trip to the vet. My husband and I provided hospice care for her that final weekend until her passing Tuesday at noon, never leaving her side. I know she appreciated our tender loving care. I snapped this beautiful shot of two souls who loved each other deeply clear through to the last moments of her life.
August found us back at the beach house enjoying the sights, sounds, tastes and smells of our Happy Place. This time, we hosted two of our very good friends from Pennsylvania, John and Kristine.
September was the month of a huge, fun and exciting alumni reunion of my college alma mater, Blackburn College. Blackburn was a wonderful experience for me as a college student, and I've
always enjoyed taking part in Homecoming and other reunions. But this one was the mother of all reunions, called Pigger 2017. It featured a dance, a pig roast, an open keg and over 300 alumni, all over a beautiful central Illinois weekend.
So much happened in October, I have 3 photos. The first is the view from my office building at 4 AM on a Sunday morning. It represents the
culmination of two years of work to build and implement a world class computer system. In my day job I manage IT projects and this one was a doozy. Big, complex, intricate. I had a Dream Team of smart people and the project was prioritized as one of the most important efforts in our entire enterprise. It was an awesome experience and it went extremely well. (Hallelujah)
I participated in a few booksigning events in October at
libraries across the area. Those are always fun and a great chance to connect with other authors and with readers who either know my work, or are just being introduced.
I also took a trip out to visit Jeff in Dallas. It was so
much fun to experience his new city, his favorite restaurants, and also he and his girlfriend Becca took me to the Texas State Fair!
In November I went through the exercise of reformatting all
my ebooks, as well as adding consistent back matter to all of them. It must've been a good thing to do, because I was rewarded with ANOTHER #1 Amazon bestseller on my boxset. So yes, I started and ended my year with a best seller.
I was excited to get to see HAMILTON on stage in Chicago in December with my buddy Tina. A year ago we tried to get tickets, and they were $365 a seat -- waaaay out of our price range. But this year, they were about half that, so we bit the
bullet and bought them. Look at the view that $165 buys you!
What a year! And so many more highlights that I had to leave off. And 2018 is going to be even better! Happy New Year everyone!!