2016 is upon us, and I have found myself looking back with memories, both sad and happy, and looking forward with excitement and hope. For some reason, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking of my past, and not just this past year, which has been filled with so many wonderful moments, but of years long since gone, when I was just one of seven children growing up in a middle class family in a small town in Illinois. Thoughts of Christmas’s when I was a little girl surfaced and I remembered the unique things my own mother did for us, making the smallest of moments seem special. Thoughts of how I’ve changed with years of life experiences and now, seeing things through the eyes of an adult and a mother has shifted my focus. My own children’s dreams and their futures has entered my mind. My thoughts jumped from my childhood of the endless days spent in the hospital with my sister who was sick her whole life, and how that transformed a scared little girl praying her sister would get better, into the nurse that I am today. I recall the loss of my father, and just five short years later, losing my mother. I thought the pain of their loss would never leave. But it did and life goes on. I met my husband, had six beautiful, healthy children and have been blessed with a life I feel almost too guilty to speak of. The loss of my sister Penny three years ago was unexpectedly, expected. I think we all knew the past few years was just borrowed time, but none of us could ever think of our lives without her in it, so we pushed those thoughts to the back of minds. And when she died, it was like a slap in the face because she ALWAYS triumphed over anything she was faced with. I’ve always felt like life is short, and I think that was instilled in me because of Penny. It was because of her I became a nurse, but have always felt that I was a “closet dreamer.” I was always unwilling to share what I would love to do with my future because, in my family, dreaming was impractical. The idea of acting, writing or doing anything in the Arts when I was younger just wasn’t spoken of in my family. So, going the practical route and becoming a nurse has supported me and my family and I haven’t regretted it one bit! But the dreamer in me kept tugging at my subconscious, until I nudged. The diagnosis of auditory processing disorder for my oldest son George opened the door to my writing, which led me down the road to where I am today. The offering of a contract by the Publisher I signed on with was a dream come true! And, this past year has been filled with headaches, excitement, anxiety, moments of doubt and relief when I sent in my revised galley to them in October.
Experiences of my past and where my life has traveled, are all cherished memories that reminds me of just how lucky I am. I spoke with my children just yesterday and told them how much I want them to realize that, if you have a dream and believe in yourself, anything is possible. I am hoping that when they look back as adults, they will recall the fond memories of family, their mother who had a dream of getting published and the love we all shared in supporting one another and each others dreams, and they won’t be afraid to travel the road others wouldn’t.
As I look forward to 2016, I’m anxious for the experiences to come with the release of The Wish, digging my heels into our decision to home school our six children, and finally, a family decision to get healthy once and for all and go VEGAN! We’ve already started by cutting out meat and dairy, and to tell you the truth, it’s been pretty easy. One of my favorite lines from one of my favorite books, Lord Of The Rings, resonates with me as I reminisce of my past and look to my future, “All that matters is what you do with the time you have.”
May all your dreams stay alive in your hearts and the New Year bring happiness and good health to you and your families!
Til Next week…