I was close to my dad and I learned a lot from him about running my own business. He had an upholstery shop and built furniture. One thing he did was surround himself with top notch professionals. It was a lesson I took to heart and have done the same. I work with an amazing team.
My office staff team and I will be in New York this week for publisher meetings. I'll also be meeting with the producer of the Cedar Cove series and my both my film and book agents. And who knows, there might even be a Broadway show thrown in for good measure. New York has so many possibilities!
I know I inherited my love of craft from my paternal grandmother, although I have no memories of her. She died when I was around 5 or 6 years old. My older cousins tell the story of sitting in front of her rocking chair in a semi-circle with their legs folded beneath them and watching her crochet. What fascinated them most was the fact that she would be rocking and crocheting at the same time, while sound asleep and snoring! To the best of my knowledge none of my cousins share my passion for yarn and knitting.
I've been working on my goals the last few days. Because of my busy career Wayne and I know that unless we set plans into motion at the first of the year they simply don't happen. The days and weeks fly by far too quickly and I want to live a life of intention. Years ago when our children were still at home I made up goal worksheets for us to fill out the first of the year. I'm happy to share those with you along with a fun recipe that I always served January 1st.
For as long as I can remember I've started the New Year with a lengthy journal entry in which I wax poetic about the upcoming year, comparing it to a journey to be taken or a voyage on which I was about to depart. One year I compared it to a blank canvas awaiting a scene to be painted. I would sort of get carried away, writing several pages.
This morning as I sat at my desk and looked forward to 2015, I saw it as a gift God has given me. A special present that will be unwrapped one day at a time. This year is a gift we all share--the gift of family, friends, love, joy, laughter and so much more. It's all tied up with a bright red bow. Are you ready to unwrap it?
'Twas three days before Christmas and all through the house . . . there was frantic activity as I'm rushing hither and yon to finish up the last of my gift shopping, grocery shopping and cooking. It's Christmas craziness times ten as the hours tick away. Yes, it's frantic and more than a little nuts with family and friends visiting.
Still, I love it. On Christmas Eve we will meet as a family and Wayne and I will be surrounded by those we love. This is my Christmas wish for each one of you--that you will love and feel loved as we gather around the manger and give thanks that He was born.
I married young and thankfully had sense enough to marry a good man. Years later, after our children were born and that desire to be a writer continued to plague me, I attended classes at Highline Community College. I was older than many of the students and felt decidedly out of my element, but the welcome and encouragement I received helped me to hold onto what seemed to be an impossible dream. When it came to creating a setting for Mr. Miracle I could think of no better place than a community college where students like me could receive that same encouragement and hope.
Last August my husband, Wayne, and I, along with our daughter, Adele, and two of our granddaughters, made the long journey to Kenya with a team from World Vision. I went, in part, to distribute the sweaters generous knitters from all around the country had sent as part of the Knit for Kids program. We left with fifteen suitcases stuffed with sweaters.… Fifteen suitcases! I felt honored and privileged to be able to deliver these knitted items. The most amazing thing happened, though: I went to give away these sweaters and instead I received one of the greatest gifts of my life. Those who have so little gave to me. They gave me their hearts, their smiles, their love. They sang songs of joy and danced in welcome. We distributed the sweaters but we received so much more.
My mother always made Christmas special in our home. She made sure we never forgot the reason for the season.
One of my favorite childhood Christmas memories revolves around Christmas Eve. It wasn't the same every year—sometimes we would open our gifts that night or wait until Christmas morning. The one constant was Midnight Mass. I don't remember if it actually took place at midnight but I certainly remember attending the church services, holding a lighted candle and singing glory to God at the top of my lungs as the trumpets played and the choir sang. That is one of the memories I will long treasure from my childhood.
Christmas is my favorite time of year, but it can have a double-edged sword, or as Charles Dickens once wrote, "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times."
For those of us who insist upon doing it all: cooking, baking, shopping, decorating . . . need I continue? This is a crazy, wonderful season. I'm right there with you.
So what do I do to relax? When I get doubly stressed out, I take a long, hot bubble bath, wrap myself up in a warm quilt, sit in front of the fireplace, and read. It works every time.
By the middle of December Wayne is anxious to head to our winter home in Florida and we almost always arrive just before the holiday. Not so this year. We're staying in Port Orchard for Christmas and I'm looking forward to spending the day with our children and grandchildren. We are planning our family progressive dinner, which will be the last weekend before the big day with our bingo game and fun gift exchange. There is no greater joy than being with those we love, but especially during the holidays.