2013 is here.
2012 is gone like that plate of quesadillas you JUST remembered making and wonder where it went. I"m sure I made it...wait, why do I have salsa on my fingers?
Mountains and Valleys. Each year. Always.
The biggest valley of 2012 was not getting a child, for this was the year I was SURE that we would get one. If I told myself in 2011 that at the end of 2012 we would still not have a child then I would have laughed. And then maybe punched future self right in the mouth. Alas, we still have no child. A deeper valley within the valley (underground cave?) was when we thought we had a hospital call on Halloween. I thought, "THIS IS IT! This is our baby!" It wasn't. Our adoption counselor told me that she wanted to get all her families shirts that said "Adoption is not for wimps." I'll be honest - sometimes, I think I am too wimpy for adoption.
I pray that 2013 will be the year we are given the privilege of being parents. It has to be, right? Wrong. I thought that about 2012. One thing I know for sure - 2013 will NOT be the year that I say we will for SURE get a child. It will be the year that we hope. We will hope with our brightest and biggest blazing of hopes, but we will not be SURE about anything. I will no longer assume that this is the year, because that only leads to pain. That way, if we find ourselves in the valley again, this time it won't be like shards of glass in my chest.
There were smaller valleys throughout the year. Ryan had a car accident. Jobs were not always what they should be. There were times where I felt low or small. Times when I spoke out of anger, times when I doubted myself, my talents. When I worried too much what other people thought of me. When I didn't think of others enough. In other words, I was a normal woman in a normal valley, the ones that happen weekly, monthly to everyone.
The Mountains of 2012 were epic.
Our Alaskan Cruise definitely the highlight. The Cruise was something that Ryan and I have dreamed about for years. Ryan was not always into the idea of cruising. I think he saw, in his mind, old people doing the polka and eating bad steak. He always said that if we ever went on a cruise it would have to be an Alaska cruise. I never dreamed we would be ever to afford it this year, but for some reason, in 2012 we were able to pinch our pennies and wait. And wait some more. I watched the cruise prices EVERY SINGLE DAY. They were too much, too much...and then, one day, they dropped. Dramatically. For no reason whatsoever. I booked. We were able to go on a 7 day Alaskan cruise with the only cruise line I'll ever use: Celebrity. Alaska is everything they say it is: the last perfect piece of America.
We even invited my Dad and stepmom at the last minute, and they were able to go, which was a trip of a lifetime for them. It was wonderful to spend that time with my Dad, even if he did nap for about 30% of it.
Ryan cannot WAIT until we cruise again. As we were getting off the boat, he said to me "So..when's the next one?" (The answer? If we don't have a kid in 2013, let's just say, Mediterranean, here we come.)
I sort of look like a smurf gypsy in this photo.
Another highlight of the year was publishing Elly. This was truly a mountain-top experience.
Not quite "Tongues of Fire", but close. First, the hard decision to drop my current agent and go out on my own. This meant returning to Elly in Bloom when I was deeply entrenched in Queen of Hearts. It was hard to manuever my brain between the two. I know now that I will be a one-book-at-a-time kind of girl. Between dozens of books, websites and blogs, I found my way to and eventually signed with Amazon Publishing. On Sept 1st, Elly in Bloom was published. The release party, on Sept 15th, was one of the proudest days of my life. My parents cried. My sister maybe teared up, but that might have been because I accidentally smacked her in the face. My amazing friend Kim flew out, just so she could be there for that day. It was magical perfection, a once in a lifetime event for me.
And the book has done really, really well. I continue to be amazed at the milestones that Elly hits, and how it continues to grow over time.
My favorite thing, above all other book moments, has been talking with people who have read the book. I met my first "fan/person who finds me mildly entertaining" at church. She sought me out and wanted me to sign her book. I was like "Will you sign MY book??"
The valley: Getting rid of my flower company. I had owned it for five years, built it up from nothing more than an idea. I poured myself over it. The flower company was a part of me. My friends have all designed at one point or another. Sarah and I cemented our friendship over probably 150 deliveries. I have worked with brides that I have come to love. (And maybe just a few that I didn't love) I have seen magical moments between groom and bride (all while trying not to look like a creeper), mother and daughter. I'll miss these moments. But most of all, I'll miss the flowers. The plethora of gorgeous blooms, all for me to design and create. All for wholesale. My hands smelling like dirt. The way a sweet pea drapes so perfectly over a rose. Since it's the winter right now, I normally don't have weddings. When I think I'll really miss it is in the spring, when I know I should be booking brides, delivering weddings.
Mountains and Valleys, people. The mountains surround me with sharp, crisp air, that feeling of I made it. Sweet Jesus, I made it. It's a high that lasts...but the valleys are low. Swampy and destitute, lonely and miserable. They're like the swamps in the Princess Bride. But it is what it is. Life. We're all just trying to hold on to a corner of undeserved grace in a fallen world.
I've been trying to think of tiny, perfect moments to share. Here some of the best ones from 2012.
- Seeing a glacier as our cruise ship entered the Tracey Arm Fjord.It was huge and gorgeous and something that our children will probably never see.
-Walking with Ryan out onto the deck of the ship at 11pm, just to go see the amazing moon over the water. We were the only ones out there and it was so romantic. Until the security guard joined us. It makes sense - a lot of murders happen on cruise ships. Still, there was happily no murder, and just huge, raw beauty.
- The moment I held my book in my hand for the first time - and cried.
- The moment where I signed my first book.
- The moment where I did my first reading - shaky, but not terrible. I did repeat the word drive over and over again at one point, when my brain went on auto-correct. But it was still wonderful, and since I knew everyone there, I trusted that it wouldn't end up on You Tube.
- Finishing Queen of Hearts at Starbucks. Crying when I did something unforgivable to one of my characters. Typingn "The End" for the second time now.
- Singing silent night beside my Mom at Christmas Eve service.
- Getting lost in the dark Arkansas woods with Emily while our haunted GPS tried to kill us. Before that, rocking on huge white rocking chairs taking in the beautiful hills around Eureka Springs...and seeing the giant Jesus statue in the distance.
- Developing the entire third part of my book with Ryan on the way to Nebraska.
- Sitting around with friends that I love, playing Werewolves of Millers Hollow, at our Halloween party, our faces lit up by candlelight. Thinking, "I am beyond blessed. And I think my sister is a werewolf."
-Getting to experience it with all of you, all you readers and lurkers out there. If I haven't said it yet - I love you. And Happy New Year!