Ah, it’s that time of year again.  Many people are thinking up resolutions and starting new planners and calendars for the year.  Although I’m not one to make up resolutions, I did have a hard time falling asleep last night.  As I snuggled into my pillow, I could not help but think of how blessed I was in 2013.  It was an amazing year, and one I won’t forget.

2013 was a year of healing for me.  You see, 2010 and 2011 were hard years filled with many difficulties life can throw at a person.  In 2012, I was completely broken and found myself in a dark place, which is where my first novel came from.  At the beginning of last year, my husband and I agreed that I would focus on trying to relax and let myself heal.

As 2013 rolled in, I was locked in my bedroom editing Unexpected Metamorphosis, filled with determination to finish.  Then, in early January, one of my childhood dreams came true.  We took a family vacation to Costa Rica, where we rode horses to a waterfall, hiked to the edge of a volcano, got rained on in the rain forest, swam in the ocean, and saw some amazing scenery.  Although I have been to other countries before, I am a true nature lover, and I fell even more in love with Costa Rica.

Unexpected Metamorphosis was finally published in late July, and I even went to an author’s convention in Las Vegas in August.  Being surrounded by other authors that understand the writing process and the mind of a writer was worth so much more than I had expected.  If you are an author and you’ve never been with a group of other authors, I highly recommend it.  All of the authors I have met this past year have been extremely kind, and I’m highly impressed with the writing community.  I also participated in book signings and found that I love public speaking.  (I’m really not a shy person.)

I retired from home schooling and sent my children to school, so I now have time alone throughout my day, which is something I have not had in many years.  It is amazing how starved I was for some alone time, and I even acquired a taste for hot tea for the first time in my life.  My cabinet is now filled with many varieties.

2013 ended perfectly for me.  We celebrated two Thanksgivings at my home.  The first with my family and then with some friends that stayed with us.  Having my home filled with the people I love and laughter did much to soothe my soul.

As for Christmas, my dear husband gave me the perfect gift.  He and the children went to visit his family for three days, while I stayed home for a writing binge.  That one gift put me near the end of my second novel due out this spring.  When they came home, we celebrated Christmas as a family and spent an entire week at home sleeping in and doing things around the house.  It was simple and relaxing.  My husband even surprised me with a new MacBook Air since my old laptop was beginning to act up.

If you are in the midst of life’s trials, I hope you’ll realize that there is a season for everything.  Maybe you’ve lost someone you love or you’ve been diagnosed with a life threatening disease.  Although the situation is not temporary, you will eventually learn to live with whatever you are faced with.  I still carry a deep wound within my heart over some of the things that happened recently in my life, but I made the choice to not let any of it destroy me.  I had to forgive myself and others, and I also had to make the hard decision to stay away from someone I love dearly as a mother.  You can only control your own thoughts and actions, and sometimes you have to walk away out of self-preservation.  But, if I’ve learned anything from 2013, it’s that we can heal, and no matter how broken we become, we can smile again.  The darkness will eventually pass.  Who knows?  Maybe 2014 is your year of healing.

I truly wish each and every one of you the best in 2014.  May it be even better for you than 2013.  If not, don’t ever forget that there will be another year and even another.  Life goes on.