Monday, December 30, 2019

2019- Look Back in Gratitude

 JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: Whoosh! Here we are. The end of 2019, the end of the decade, the end of the teens or tens. (Aren't we all glad we're about to move into the much more easy to say twenties?) We have a theme for this week, and it's all about the transition from old year to new year, from past to future. First up: a look at the year that's just about to pass into the history books.

I have to confess, I started doing this "thing" after Ross passed away. I would ask myself, "If I could relive one year, what year would it be?" I'd go over the highs and lows, the achievements and disappointments, and I found quite a few good years I'd be happy to have all over again. Then it struck me - what if I'm living in one of those years right now? Ten or twenty years from now, would I think back to 2018 or 2019 and say, "I'll take that again, please." 

So I began to notice and be grateful for the good things that were happening to me and to my loved ones, from the big - I finished the book! - to the small - I read a good book! I've been trying to practice gratitude, or mindfulness, or conscious observation for some time now, as an antidote to depression and as a technique to make life better and happier overall. And what better time to take stock of what we've been grateful for than at the end of the year?

First, for me, it's definitely the aforementioned book. Completing HID FROM OUR EYES after six years felt huge, and was a shot of much-needed confidence that I could step back into my career. I'm filled with gratitude for the travel and conferences and meetings I've taken part in, as a confirmation that the publishing world hadn't forgotten my name. 

On a personal note, my son was deployed to the Persian Gulf for seven and a half months this year, and returned home safe and sound to spend Christmas right here in Maine with us. Grateful? You bet! I'm happy my daughters are doing so well at their studies and professional lives, and while we had a bit of a bump this past month when the Smithie and her boyfriend broke up (we're sad) I'm thankful I was here for her and was able to provide a home when she had to leave her apartment. I am trying to be grateful for the dog, cat, and 57 bags of clothes she brought with her. 

And of course, I'm grateful for the community I find here, with the Reds, and all our commenters, and the people who start out as guests and become friends. How about you, Reds?

JENN McKINLAY: Things that I’m grateful for always seem to start and end with family and friends. When I look at my life, I am truly blessed by the amazing people I get to share my journey with and I am ever grateful for all of them, including the fabulous Reds and the Jungle Red community. 2019 was a rollercoaster of a year, a case of Shingles and a trip to Paris, an opportunity to try another genre, along with an endless truck load of revisions. Thankfully, the awesome always outweighs the not so much, and I try to maintain an attitude of gratitude and look forward to what the next year will bring! 

HALLIE EPHRON: I can only hope next year is as good as this one’s been. My book did as well as any I’ve written (Careful What You Wish For - third printing just before the holidays!). watched the grandbabies grow and marveled at what fabulous parents they lucked into, enjoyed watching my daughter discover which of her considerable talents she’ll choose to nurture… And mellow out. We’ve had some health scares that fortunately fizzled.  And are planning a busy January. It’s an adjustment for me, looking just a few months ahead instead of having a year planned out.

HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: What an amazing year! THE MURDER LIST was such a hit, yay, and I had been SO worried. I was a Guest of Honor at Bouchercon, wow, something I wonder if I even ever more than imagined. I was floating the entire time! The grandkids are hilarious and grownup, 10 and 16, which is shocking and they are both cool as pie.  Jonathan continues to be adorable and such a warrior for justice. 

Writing is becoming such a passion, and I am working so hard to get better and better--I can really feel myself changing. And at age 70 , yes, that happened in 2019, I am learning that it’s a now or never kind of deal, and that it is now time to let go and be happy and say what I want and continue to be so incredibly grateful for everything.   My new book comes out on August 4, and I am already excited. What will I say in this place next year? You reds and readers are such treasures...and what a joy to share it all with you.

LUCY BURDETTE: Like many of you, highlights revolved around family and friends and books and readers--we especially love watching our grandchildren grow and wish we lived closer. In January there was the arrival of T-Bone the wonder cat! With a lot of help, I selected him at the Florida Keys SPCA and he’s been a joy ever since. In fact he makes his debut on the cover and pages of THE KEY LIME CRIME in July. I also adored a trip we took to Ireland and Scotland--music, family and friends, gorgeous scenery, and inspiration for another book. I feel so fortunate to be a part of this Jungle Red community--and oh was it ever a treat to meet in person with all seven reds for the first time at Bouchercon. This writing life is not so easy, but the rewards have been amazing!

RHYS BOWEN: I have no complaints about this year, apart from some small health blips—enough to remind me how grateful I am for my usual good health. I’m still amazed at finding my books on bestseller lists and having the chance to write what I want. The best parts were sharing time in France with my daughter and family, doing research in Venice and getting together with college friends as well as with the Reds. I’m now gearing up for my next stand-alone novel in February. Who’d have thought my twilight years would be full of fireworks!



DEBORAH CROMBIE: Wow, what a year! Topping my list, as for all of us, is gratitude for family and friends, and readers, and especially our Jungle Red community. I am so thrilled that A BITTER FEAST did so well. Getting to meet readers and booksellers on book tour was fabulous, and a special highlight was my daughter flying to Phoenix for just one day for my event there. 

Then, Bouchercon. It was such a thrill to be a guest of  honor, and in my own city. I loved spending time with ALL of the REDs (our first time ever) and I loved getting to show friends a little of my city. (Still apologizing for the weather the first couple of days!)

London in November was cold and rainy and I loved it no less. I’m always so happy to see my UK friends, and to soak up the atmosphere. A really special treat this trip was my first ever visit to Liverpool with a dear friend. 




JULIA: Now it's your turn, dear readers. Share the people and events of 2019 that you're grateful for in the comments!

71 comments:

  1. There’s much to be grateful for: family and friends, grandchildren, good health and all the “little stuff” that makes for a perfect day: good books, this blog, a cup of coffee, daffodils in the spring . . . .

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    1. Well said, Joan. Isn't it amazing how the older you get the smaller the thing is that can make you happy? I've been annoyed with the frat house as I'm the only one working over the holidays and then this morning I realized I was so grateful to have them all popping in and out of my workspace, bringing me water, snacks, or a much needed laugh to lighten my mood. It really is the small moments of joy that make up a wonderful life.

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  2. Wow. Thank you, Reds, for being here and for being honest. I'm glad all the health scares fizzled or were minor, and that we get to keep reading your fabulously put-together words.

    I had an excellent writing year, with four books, a novella, and a short story out, and three (or four?) more books and two short stories written. My writer friends, including the Wickeds, are incredibly supportive. My sons are healthy and happy and doing good work (and one is moving back to New England next year, yay!). Hugh and I hang onto our health, too. I did lose a very close friend, another one is quite ill, and we lost our last two cats, so 2019 wasn't all rosy. But I know I'm one lucky woman, and I am grateful.

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  3. I have a roof over my head, a job and food in my belly so I'm grateful for that.

    I'm grateful for the few friends that I have, the friends that I've made (however entry level they may be) with the authors and musicians I got to meet this year.

    Being able to write about books I've read, albums I've heard and concerts I've seen has always been something I've been grateful for as well.

    Taking part in the Jungle Red and Wicked Authors communities is another highlight.

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    1. We're glad to have you here Jay! I love the description "entry-level" friends...

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    2. You're one of OUR highlights, Jay!

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    3. You are wonderful, Jay! Thank you for everything!

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    4. Love "entry level" friends, Jay:-)

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    5. Remember, you can't spell "Jungle Reds" without J(ay)!

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  4. Like most years, good and bad. The good: Daphne unpub mainstream mystery finalist, my daughter's Cape Cod wedding, a 3 week trip to Egypt and Jordan to celebrate a major wedding anniversary. The bad: my debut needs another round of revisions and the water heater leaked all over the finished basement.

    I dropped a particle board book shelf on my foot a month ago, and can finally wear an old, stretched out loafer instead of the moccasins I've shuffled around in since Thanksgiving week.

    Happy New Year!

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    1. So discouraging to look down and see slippers where shoes should be... Hopefully next year will feature your debut, revised and polished. We'll be awaiting it!

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    2. Cape Cod wedding? I was a bridesmaid at a Cape Cod wedding...annnnd I think you've just given me a romcom book idea, Margaret!!!

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    3. Jenn, the four day wedding weekend was an adventure, starting with the six single-spaced pages of my "itinerary" from the bride, my TV producer daughter. Some mishaps, gale-force winds on the beach, blowing sand, two hotel employees holding the musicians' tent in place. And more.

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  5. Echoing the Reds, my gratitude list begins with family and friends...and a lot of great readers who have become family and friends. Hubby and I made abundant use of our health insurance (which I'm grateful to have!) but are both doing well now. Having Hubs off work and recouping for SIX MONTHS was a trial but also a blessing. I didn't kill him, and we've actually grown closer, as if that were possible. And after hitting the big 6-0 this summer, like Hank, I've come to recognize a now-or-never aspect of life that is at the same time terrifying and freeing. Bring on the 20s!

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    1. Health insurance is a wonderful thing... Seriously, now or never.

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    2. Hurray! ANd yes,the birthdays with a zero are contemplative...but you are still a youngster! xoxoxo

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    3. So glad it all worked out, Annette. Six months with the hubs underfoot? You're up for sainthood, no doubt.

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    4. Annette, impossible for you to be 60! Glad to know you are both healthy.

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  6. Like most, gratitude starts and ends with friends and family. My kids are continuing to thrive and The Boy may even finish high school (he was accepted into a college, so he'd better). The Girl came through her surgery for a deviated septum with flying colors. The life I envisioned as an empty-nester will not look exactly like I thought, but then again, what does?

    I adopted the dog of my dreams, a retired racing greyhound. I've only had Koda for 9 months but I can't imagine life without him - and he's definitely the star of my Instagram feed.

    And books! I released my second Laurel Highlands Mystery, signed a contract for three more, and a separate contract for three historicals, the Homefront Mysteries.

    As I am now 46 and officially closer to 50 than 40, I've decided to let my hair go gray. We'll see how it turns out. Bring on the 20s!

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    1. Gray is good! I didn't have to let my hair go gray... it did it all of its own accord. One less thing to worry about.

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    2. Liz, I stopped coloring my hair right around your age, and I was delighted with the results. Admittedly, not during the total of to years it took to grow out my red - I resembled an old white wall tire at that point. But once it came in silver and so much softer and healthier without getting a chemical bath every month? I never looked back.

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    3. I'd be happy with silver hair, it would match my age better but alas my artificially colored blond hair reverted back to dark brown with very little silver. At least the receding hairline has filled in.

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    4. I'm not sure what I'm going to get. Right now it looks black with a healthy dollop of silver. We shall see.

      And yes, it's gonna take a loooong time to grow out the brown.

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  7. Like most of you I am truly grateful for my sons and my grandchildren who are no longer babies but they make me happy all the time! I'm also grateful for all of the wonderful books I've read this year - thank you, Reds - and just as grateful for the friendship you all provide. I'm also grateful for my local library because I would never be able to afford to buy all the wonderful books I have read and then where would I put them anyway? Don't worry, I do and will continue to buy a few select books, sometimes after reading them from the library.
    I have to say I am also very glad that Chobani has made Coffee and Cream Greek yogurt - I simply can't get enough of it!

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    1. Oh, that sounds YUMMY--thank you! xooo

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    2. Judi, one thing I've learned about gratitude practice - there's truly nothing too small to be happy about!

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  8. As others have said, a year of some bad to go with the good. Two deaths, neither unexpected but still hard and the apparent break-up of the marriage of two people I love deeply (I still have some hope there, but I think I'm the only one who does). But, much good -- a trip to France that doubled as a college reunion, two weeks taking in the peace and inspiration that is the Chautauqua Institution, lots of great family and friend time, good reading, and Bouchercon. And I live with two of the cutest and craziest cats on the planet who keep me entertained every day.

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    1. Chris, in my experience, focusing on the good things is even MORE important when you have unhappy events taking place.

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  9. Grateful for family and friends and for good health.
    Grateful for my first year of retirement. I enjoyed it so much, meeting new friends, discovering new activities and volunteerings
    Grateful for good books , for Bouchercon Dallas where I met other greats fans of books and authors including all of the Reds.

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    1. Retirement is such a game changer, or so I've been told. Enjoy every second, Danielle!

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  10. Overall I've been saying I will be happy to see 2019 in the rear view mirror, but of course there are always many things to be thankful for! Our immediate family and most of our extended family is in good health. After a year of terrible turmoil in my church family, things are getting back on track, and we got a wonderful new choir director whose youth and talent and good nature have brought the joy back to that activity for me. My only son left a career job that was slowly stifling him and is working in retail and living with us while doing the necessary work to figure out what next --and we are finding that having him live with us is a lot less disruptive than we had feared, since somewhere along the way he actually became a responsible adult. Who knew? And I remain as grateful for my wonderful husband/best friend as I was when we married in 1987.

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    1. 32 good years is definitely something to be grateful for, Susan! And you and I can be re-nesting buddies - I'm getting used to having the Smithie back at home. Thankfully, she's also become a mature, self-sustaining adult, so i think things will go well.

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  11. I survived a surprise stroke and walked away with no lingering effects. That was both my low light and high light.
    I had five short stories published, several essays, and self-published a how-to workbook for writers.
    I went to see Hamilton! We spent a fabulous week at the beach with the whole family (a first), I enjoyed some road trips with my husband, and I organized several writing retreats, one of which got very exciting with a power outage and lightning strike.
    My mother, who is pushing 88, had a very close call last week and we nearly lost her. I am grateful she's still here for as long as she'll put up with us.

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    1. Ramona, so happy you are back… What a terrifying thing! and a power outage, a lightning strike, and Hamilton! Yikes.

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    2. Wow, Ramona, I had no idea! You are a warrior! I'll stop whining about shingles now...really.

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    3. Jenn, shingles is awful, awful, awful! Whine away.

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    4. Ramona, so glad that you are okay. That's very scary.

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    5. Ramona, sorry to hear about your mother and glad she is on the mend. You are at the time now when every minute she is well and present mentally is to be cherished. As you do.

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  12. 2019 was a bit of a roller coaster up here on the tundra, but we've lived thru it. Highlights were having my children, their spouses, and my grandchildren all under one roof for the first time in 12 years, and we've added three grandchildren since that time, not to mention the two oldest got married. Headcount was 16 around the early Thanksgiving dinner at Melinda's home on the lake formerly known as Lake Dallas.

    Then there were the days at Bouchercon, meeting all the Reds for the first time -- Julia, you are amazing -- and sitting at the Kool Kids table in the bar that first night. NB: Jim Ziskin is great bait if you want to meet tons of people. Be prepared to support the bar bill. It's worth it.

    I started the year with a reverse shoulder replacement, which is a good thing to be on the other side of. And then a couple of bouts of pneumonia, also done and dusted. The only health concern at our house presently is our Toby, going on fourteen. He has congestive heart failure, well treated with meds so far, but we know our time together is limited and we're enjoying it to the hilt.

    Julie completed her first year of retirement, and we've loved every minute of it. Almost. But we won't talk about that here! It's so wonderful to be able to do things midweek if we want, or to spend an entire Sunday with the NYT and the Buffalo Bills with no Sunday night dreadfuls.

    I had a birthday this month, and am 79, have entered my eightieth decade. Try that one on for scary. On the other hand, I know I'm lucky to be coming from a long line of women who live nearly forever, no Alzheimer's in sight.

    I look forward to 2020 for the obvious reason, the elections and a chance to begin to clean up the cesspool. I'm sad for the national losses of the past three years, but we've been thru worse, although not much worse, except for the civil war. I know we'll come out the other side, and it won't matter ten thousand years from now anyway.

    Happy New Year to all the Reds, both writers and readers, my first stop every morning, one of the many joys of my existance.

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    1. Happy New Year, Ann! To you and Julie and all the hangers on... (A REVERSE shoulder replacement... I'm afraid to ask.)

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    2. Thank you for being one of the backbones (I won't say shoulder!) of our community, Ann. We just do the upfront stuff; the real magic happens down here in the comments.

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  13. Jim Ziskin will Howell with laughter! That is hilarious!
    And it is such a joy to read all of these… You all are so amazing!

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  14. From our dear DebRo, who is somehow still in Google jail..

    2019 was my first full year of retirement. I had the opportunity to take classes at the senior center and to get together with friends more often. I also ended up sicker than I have ever been in my entire life around three weeks after major surgery to remove part of my colon. I learned that I can survive a major illness and come out of it happier, more joyful and more peaceful than I have ever been in my entire life. I learned that even though I have no family living anywhere near me, my friends have become my family and were willing to make sacrifices to help me out during my recovery. I learned that I am more blessed than I ever thought I could be. I am grateful for my illness because of all that I learned from it.

    Now I’m trying to get caught up on all the reading I couldn’t concentrate on when I was sick! I’m grateful for all the authors who provide me with so much to read!

    DebRo

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    1. DebRo, it is so lovely to see you here, even by proxy. Surely there must be a way to spring you from Google jail! So glad to hear you are well!

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    2. We're grateful to have you here with us, DebRo!

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  15. 2019 was dominated by medical news for us, with me spending most of it on dialysis before receiving the wonderful gift of a kidney from my amazing wife. I'm grateful to still have my parents in their 90s. (I wonder if any of you know my mom, Maureen. She was involved in founding the Chessie Chapter many years ago and was the fan goh at Malice 10.)
    Like many others, I have enjoyed seeing our two sons become mature, responsible adults (who'd a thunk it?), and watching our two grandkids grow up. I'm grateful for the many new friends we've made in our new home, and I'm very grateful for all the thought-provoking entertainment that y'all provide.

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    1. Jim, I think I've met your mother. Would she have been attending Malice in the early aughts? My first conference was 2001.

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  16. It was definitely a year of highs and lows. We lost three more people from our lives. We did some travel for pleasure and scouting out places to move to. Both of us turned 70 this year, a situation I’m having trouble coming to grips with. It has hit me that I will have to take more things into consideration before we settle on a place to move to. I think this is the first time that a birthday has really bothered me. On other notes our granddaughter started a two year culinary school program here and moved in with us in October. Our son has been juggling both college and work parttime and living with us. He recently decided he wanted to rejoin the military for various reasons. It would have to be the reserves initially but later full time. I am holding my breath, praying it goes his way. He takes the physical in a week or so and other tests. Healthwise we’ve all been good. I had a small blip this fall, but it turned out to be nothing. Frank was asked to weed out the bad guys and start a loss prevention program at a company in the oil patch a month or so ago. It was supposed to be for a month or two but it keeps stretching. He loves the investigating but isn’t wild about being away from home. I’m happy he’s happy but I can’t plan any trips while this is going on. Thankfully I have an embarassment of riches in the form of books to read! I was happy to meet almost all the Reds at Bouchercon, other authors, and some of the Reds community too. 2019 was definitely eventful!

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    1. Pat, sounds like you've had a very full year! And forgive me, but as soon as you mentioned Frank investigating thieves in an oil field, I immediately thought, "That would make a GREAT premise for a mystery!"

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    2. Laughing. He’s written several mysteries based on corporate crime he investigated prior to working in the oil patch. He self published one and then got too busy to do anything more. I was hoping Bouchercon might inspire him!

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  17. Grateful for all of you, and for your continued success. And for your continued and gracious hospitality here every day. It means a lot to call so many of you friends, and not entry-level, either. Your books, and many others, continue to entertain, enlighten, and reassure me, in so many ways.

    Jim Collins, I'm grateful for the type of medical advances that allowed you to have a new lease on life. Congratulations!

    My mother turns 90 in a couple weeks, and I am so thankful to have her around and sharp as a tack. So many of our compatriots lost their parents so long ago, including my husband's.

    All our offspring are healthy and doing well, and have success in their careers and other pursuits. Again, so many of our friends can't say this, and we are lucky.

    Eternally grateful for the wonderful new home we have built, a place where we will be able to stay, hopefully for the rest of our lives, no matter how decrepit we become. I hope that's a long time off, though!

    And fingers crossed, grateful we have finally sold our old house, if the closing today goes well!

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  18. I am grateful for so so very much. We've both had a healthy year and we traveled. Best trip - Paris, of course! Where we continued photographing some of the Paris Carousels and found a publisher for the book we dreamed of doing. The book "Carousels of Paris" will be coming out (we think) in March. And THANK YOU Jenn for a sweet and wonderful blurb.

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  19. We've had many ups and downs this year, but it seems like they so often have balanced out. For example, our oldest son has really struggled with school. Also, my husband, although still currently employed, is looking for a new job as he will be laid off in May of 2020. He has nothing to do at work, though, and has been able to be at home most everyday for the past month. He helped get our son mostly back on track with school while I handled my other responsibilities. I can't say this year has been easy, but it has been full of many blessings.

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    1. Oh, Amy, watching your kid have difficulties at school is really hard. Thank heavens for peculiar blessings - who would think that impending unemployment would mean being able to help your child? Best wishes to all of you for the New Year.

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  20. Grateful, as a wise elder told me, that "Any day I see the grass from this side is a GOOD day" and for the Y, where I strive to "keep on keeping on."
    Grateful for the lovely authors who work so hard to give me worthwhile entertainment. I repay in my small way with reviews, but Amazon has decided I do not spend enough to review on their site. Bah, humbug.
    Goodreads is still good, and Bookbub, and I've added a page of reviews to my website (take that, big greedy corporation!)
    https://storytellermary.wordpress.com/2019/12/28/books-and-reviews-retirement-avocation/

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  21. I am grateful for this community which has really been a source of humor and inspiration this year! Life is good. The family is fine. Grandchildren are a blessing. Hank, I'm sure you've heard that aging is not for sissies, and that it's all about the attitude with which you face the passing of time. 70? Been there, done that! Health truly is the key and I wish all of you the HEALTHIEST of happy new years. Thank you all for your wonderful stories and this great community.

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  22. So enjoyed reading everyone's best thoughts. A few years ago, I had serious, recurring health issues and if you can wring a blessing out of that, it is the lesson that you cherish the good moments when you have them. A timely reminder from all of you, as the last few months have brought some stress that I can't fix. So - the blessings: 3 healthy,adorable and nearby grandkids. Grown kids who seem to like us.No one had weird health problems this year, just the normal time-eating ones so aging and monitoring. A trip to Egypt, unexpected and amazing. And a family vacation to Cape Cod- the 3 littles were ready to stay forever. A new book out and some people have liked it too. I have all of that...whatever the next year brings. The best to all of you too. (And special best to AMY - struggling kids is so very painful)

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  23. I agree that the practice of gratitude is something we should all be doing and a blessing that changes attitudes. I'm appreciating family and friends even more than usual as we get ready for a move for the Chicago area to the Phoenix area early next year. There are so many people and places I'll miss here, yet I'll be near my family for the first time since college (many, many years ago) and as my parents are 91 and 90, it will be a good thing. Lots of great places and things to see and explore in the Southwest as well. I'm always grateful for photography, travel, and books as well as more things than I could really mention here.

    A blessed and happy 2020 to all of you!

    janet

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  24. Grateful for friends, family, books, TV, gardening, cooking, and baking. Right now for a rental car because some man opened his car door right into my car December 15. I'm happy that we were both OK but don't have an accident around the holidays. I may not get the car back until January 24!

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  25. I'm coming in very late, and I'm not sure anyone will see my comments, but here they are. 2019 has been one of the worst years I've had, and I can't pretend otherwise by saying it was just one of those years. I lost three of my dearest friends, after losing my sister at Christmas last year. My health took a nosedive, and I've had tests and now have more doctors than I could have imagined. I was used to going to my family doctor maybe once or twice a year. But, I should counter the bad health issues with saying that at this point, I've been cleared of life-threatening diagnosis. I still have a colonoscopy to go in January, but that will be here in its own good time. My ophthalmologist gave me the bad news that macular degeneration has shown up, but there's no way to know when it might become a problem. The doctor said it could be fifteen years, and I'm going with that until otherwise determined. My mother had macular degeneration, and the thing that concerns me most is not being able to read, well, besides see my family and friends clearly. But, hey, I'm the person they will want to ask if they've aged, because I'll say no. Really though, with the sucky year I've had, I can still say that I'm okay and looking forward to 2020. One thing that losing friends and family and having health scares teach you is that you need to enjoy the present and do the things you kept putting off, and I so value being with the family and friends I love. I plan to keep putting one foot in front of the other and finding joy in life wherever I can.

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    1. Kathy, I've seen some of this in pieces but did not realize it was all in one year. Sending you all best wishes,which is all I can do, except to add that I've been there. I lost 2 friends in the same week, and at the time my mother was slipping away too.You already know how to think about it - I see it in what you wrote - and it does get lighter as time goes on. But wanted you to know I did see this and and am thinking of you.

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  26. It’s been a really rough year for me but guessing the next few will continue to be...husband was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease. �� I’ve also tried to focus on gratitude and referred back to a book I read a few yrs back as a book study with my staff. The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor is really a good read on practicing that positive and grateful mindset. Thanks for the post, Ms Spencer-Fleming. I am really looking forward to the new book!

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  27. My last year has not been a good one either, though my reasons are not due the loss of friends or major medical events. I lost my family friends in 2017 and had health issues at the end of 2018. I was hesitant to add a comment because I'm having a difficult time finding the positive but after reading Kathy's comments I remembered that this was a place I didn't have keep my "everything's fine" smile on my face or in my words so thank you all for that freedom. I also realized I'm grateful for actually taking a leap. I spent money on me, I traveled to Dallas, put out my hand out to say hello to those I would have watched from a distance. I am grateful that this apartment complex, that I hate living in, uses 3 inch screws to hold dead-bolt faceplates in their doorframes/studs. They probably saved my life or at least my physical wellbeing. I would like 2020 to be a year where I to try to do more me stuff, put me first more often and learn to say no with more ease. I want to be more comfortable being alone in this town of mine. I can't leave it yet and am not sure I want to. I'm at that age when starting over is seems to be for those who are strong, independent or have no choice. Anyway, so much for the negative. Here's to a more positive year.

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    1. So sorry for your struggles Deana. Sending positives vibes your way
      Have a good 2020

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  28. We moved my 89 year old mother into Assisted Living. She didn’t want to go, but she needed a different level of care. The move was actually a good one for us/me. No more tracking her meds, preparing them; worrying when she was driving; concern for her finances. No more lost hearing aids, checkbooks, clothing, keys (they check her trash before they empty it). My spouse and I are very active in our retirement community, which has been good for him. I am reading more and thinking about getting back to my quilting room. Our children and grandchildren are all healthy and happy. Hello 2020! We welcome you and whatever you have in store for us.

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