I don’t know about you, but I feel like 2016 aged me about 15 extra years.

That’s not true, of course. And not all of 2016 was bad — well, apart from feeling like the universe deliberately vacuumed most of my childhood into the afterlife, and enduring the most over-the-top absurd presidential election in the history of Existence.

School. Family. Finances. Work. Nearly losing my family to a horrendous car accident this past September. Ugly crap hitting the fan at my nephews’ respective schools. Wising up to a financial screw-over that did me no favors. Just plain not getting enough sleep.

2016 was one for the books, and one that I’ll gladly padlock closed, put in a lead-lined box, and drop into the depths of the Laurentian Abyss.

And yet.

2016 was not all bad.

  • I still have my family, after that awful wreck. Miraculously (and yes, I DO believe in miracles, and this was one) no one was injured. Not a broken bone, not a scratch. Some stiff bruises, and my dad didn’t do a lot of walking or flights of stairs for a couple months, but still.
  • I did my first round of serious queries on a manuscript, and had several positive rejections*, including one full manuscript request.
  • I participated in NaNoWriMo this past November, and won for the 7th straight year in a row. I’m pretty excited about the direction this manuscript is going, too.
  • We decided to start homeschooling my nephews in 2017. We’re still transitioning into that new schedule and mindset, and we’re all on a learning curve for sure, but so far it’s been a very, very good thing for everyone.
  • I was able to help several new disabled babies via my contract work as an in-home therapist for deaf, blind, and deafblind babies and toddlers. (You want a rewarding day? A giggling baby doing something the doctors never said they would do — that redeems any crappy day ever. EVER.)
  • My 11yo nephew made it to regionals in CrossCountry, and participated in a big meet in Tallahassee, Florida. He was pretty darn proud. We were, too.
  • My 9yo nephew nailed some gymnastic techniques this year, qualifying him to train once a week with a bonafide+ male gymnast** starting next week. He’s pretty darn excited. We are too.
  • Several good friends got engaged and/or married. Yes, I’m single and no, this doesn’t make me bitter. I’m ecstatic for all of them.
  • Several good friends made headlines with book deals, agent signings, and runaway bestsellers. In each case, it was a well-deserved accolade and I am delighted for all their successes.
  • I became an aunt again – twice – this year. Once by blood, and once by you’re-good-as-family bond. I’m telling you: BABIES. Even if they’re not yours, they make everything better. Also, some people make ridiculously good-looking babies. (My sister is one of them.)

So. Did 2016 suck? Yeah. But not totally.

And that lead-lined box that got sent to the crushing depths of the ocean?

It doesn’t have all of 2016 in it. I kept the good parts.


Because the good parts are why we tough it out through the hard times. And sometimes, the harder, wilder, and crazier the season, the more glorious the rewards of the beautiful things that happen to us.

I have my family. I have my health. I have fantastic friends and coworkers and students. I have a roof over my head and food to eat, and a loving community that has my back, even when Life doesn’t seem to.

And really….I can’t ask for more than that.

* I hope that makes sense. Maybe I should write a blog post on this, too.
+ bonafide = a true gymnast, not a tumbling/cheerleader coach. He’s had male tumbling/cheer coaches before – and adores them – but he wants to do the hard-core gymnastics. Rings. Pommel horse. Vault. The works.
** Yes, I know gender doesn’t matter when it comes to coaching, etc. But considering gymnastics – at least in this area – is so female dominated and driven, it’s made a big difference in our little guy understanding that it’s A-OK for boys to do gymnastics or tumbling/cheer – whichever he chooses. His coaches rock, male and female; but we especially love it that he has male role models in this discipline. (Maybe I should write a blog post about this, too.)