The older I get the more I appreciate priceless gifts.
No, I don’t mean the grand English estate of my dreams
The perfect dress size despite the food intake (though this one continues to vie for top on my Christmas wishlist every year)…
or the one publishing contract to rule them all 😉
I mean the sweeter, longer lasting, more eternal type things, like…people, kindness, laughter, memories…time.
There are SOOOOO many precious people who’ve joined the journey of my life with me.
My family is awesome – and I’ve really had the opportunity to watch my kids bloom this year after recovering from a really hard move in 2014 – yeah…it took this long to recover!!
I’ve watched hubs blossom in his calling as a music minister. He truly has a gift to not only create beautiful music, but also encourage the hearts of the people he ministers to.
I’ve seen God save my brother’s life from a horrible car accident – and though there’s been a long recovery, God’s grown my brother’s faith and his family’s closeness in the process.
I’ve experienced another year of awesome sisterhood with the Alleycats, who have added more books to the world, but (more importantly) more sweetness to my heart.
I’ve developed some of the most wonderful friendships through the writing journey – with amazing people like Carrie, Beth, Rachel, Marisa, Meghan, and Rachael…and got an amazing virtual assistant in the process.
I’ve met new inspirations – like Kim Duffy, Hope Welbourn, Denise Hershberger, Erica Hogan, Amanda Wen, Jennifer Rodewald, Becky Hrivnak and so many more… and been inspired by faithful inspirations like Rebecca Maney, Ane Mulligan, Deb Rainey, Mikal Hermanns, Laura Frantz, Beth Vogt, Rachel Hauck, Caryl Kane, Lindsey Brackett, Rachel McMillan, Sarah Monzon, and tons of others (too many to name).
I’ve been able to bathe in the beauty of long-time friendships from sweet friends like Teresa, Marie, Lindsay, and Jessica.
I’ve enjoyed finding ways to ignite my day job with creativity for my kiddos who have social communication disorders (and work with a few of the BEST spec-ed teachers on the planet)
I’ve been boosted, encouraged, and loved by an AMAZING street team of AMAZING ladies 🙂 (You ARE AMAZING!!!!!!) They’ve celebrated two novel releases and a novella release with me this year – and they’ve put up with my craziness like the champs they are!
I’ve gotten to celebrate a big contract with my super-encouraging agent, Julie Gwinn (and have hopes for more exciting stuff in 2018)
And my extended family from the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia have just wrapped their love around me with encouragement, sweetness, and loads of prayers.
None of these things are tangibly measurable, but they’re more precious.
I suppose Dr. Seuss says it best:
It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags.
And he puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before.
What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.
Thank you so much for being a part of this journey with me in 2017 – whether through emails, conversations, hugs, notes of encouragement, a listening ear, talking me off ledges (Carrie, Rachel, and Krista), guidance, reviews, prayers, or a varied number of other ways. Presence (through your kindness) trumps presents any day!!
I’m looking forward to journeying into 2018 with you all!!