New Year’s Insights

I don’t believe in New Year’s Resolutions. Statistically, most of them are bad history by Groundhog Day (and what fool put Valentine’s Day within six weeks of all those anti-chocolate resolutions anyway?), and more to the point, if something is worth resolving, it’s worth resolving on December 17, or July 11.

I do, though, believe in focusing on insights that have befallen us, and on the new behaviors those insights can inspire. Here are a few of my recent insights:

1) When your house is not just the place you look after when the day job has wrung you out, it can become a creative refuge, and also a source of that creativity.

2) To quit the day job and become a full time writer will involve a lot of risk—as did becoming a single mom, opening my own law practice, marrying, divorcing, buying a house, or signing any publishing contract. I am good at managing risk and I had forgotten this.

3) Seeing new horizons is good for me.

4) Seeing Scotland was very good for me.

So, what am I going to do about this? Well, most of you know I rented a roll off dumpster, and I can cheerfully report that it’s mostly full now. My living room echoes, and I love that. I will move my writing space into the living room this spring, and spend the intervening months looking for the perfect rug, etc.

With respect to new horizons, I’m thinking of booking a trip to Scotland, to parts I haven’t seen yet, and with friends I haven’t met yet. This will cost much money, so I had better write some really good books. Fortunately, I love to write.

And with respect to the day job… that’s a tough one, but there are ways to readjust it that won’t involve as many days in court, which is a step in the right direction.

And steps in the right direction are all any insight can inspire us to.

How ‘bout you? Any interesting insights this year? Any resolutions you simply can’t resist? To one commenter, I’ll give a $25 Amazon gift card.

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78 comments on “New Year’s Insights

  1. The insight that I’m taking into 2013 is do the work. It’s a phrase I often used in teaching art – that we learn to do the work by doing the work – and a phrase that – if followed – will allow me not only to survive but to thrive. I’m more than eager to see the end of 2012. It hasn’t been a kind year and I’m exhausted. There won’t be any point by point milestones to tick off. Instead, I’m choosing to be mindful that if I want to accoumplish A, B, or C, I must do the work and that if I work steadily, I’ll see new horizons.

    • I think it was Voltaire who said no matter how smart you are, you don’t learn to write well quickly. Same thing is true with a musical instrument. Yes, there’s the matter of talent, but doing the work is necessary to develop that talent.
      May it be joyous work, Myrna, and here’s to a better year ahead.

  2. The one big concern that fell into my lap this year was time management. Following a tumultuous struggle between “rest” and “work” times, I had essentially exhausted my mental energy. In the end, what I came up with by the end of this year seems like common sense, but is much harder to accomplish in practice: determine what I really want to achieve in my life, and eschew all other distractions. I’m currently applying this on a small scale, but adding the baby steps would take me a huge step in my intended direction.

    • Prioritize… easier said than done, particularly for women. We have much stronger and more plentiful relational identities than most guys (wife, mother, friend, sister, coworker, boss, church lady…), which is a good thing in terms of developing a support network and flexibility, but a hard, hard thing when demands on our energy exceed the supply.

      My house is not a disaster, but it’s nowhere near the show case my mother maintains. I socialize rarely, and usually only one on one with people I treasure. I want friends, not casual tourists in my life.

      Good luck with the focusing and simplifying. One step at a time…

      • My first priority is to get some more sleep…which is hard when there are so many wonderful books for me to read!

  3. I found Pinterest a few months ago and for some reason, it has lit a fire under me that other things just haven’t. I see projects on there and I just want to DO THEM. I have done quick organizational projects, art projects, tried new recipes, made some homemade lotions for Christmas presents and am drawing up plans for a small remodel in the house-adding a reading nook. Today I am having my husband install two curtain rods next to my desk and I will hang baskets on them for mail and things. I used to be such a procrastinator, but seeing these projects on my boards every time I log in gets me off my bum and gets me creating. I think I will start doing something like Pinterest in real life. Pin something where I can see it every day until it gets done. Oh, new project…Off to Pinterest to look for cute cork board ideas.

    • Maybe you are a visual thinker? I tend to be, as well as relational and logical. The one thing I am not is a repetitive-structure thinker, like an accountant or librarian.
      When I started writing one of the things that surprised me was how many authors begin their creative process with something visual–collage, storyboard, bulletin board, star search… They had to be staring at their inspiration, and had to go through the visualization process to come up with the words.
      So thank goodness for Pinterest, right?

  4. In the Fall of 2011 I had a major medical issue occur from a simple medical procedure. 2012 has been a year of learning to live with these health issues while trying to take care of my boys, husband and house. Unfortunately, the house has suffered the most. So for 2013 I hope to be able to figure out a way to include taking care of the house along with my family. I know in the long run taking care of my precious boys and myself is the most important but I need to find some way to get back to doing things I used to do around here. We also need to find a way to get those pesky medical bills all paid. While we did have excellent health insurance in 2011, in 2012 my husband’s company made major changes to their health insurance and it hasn’t been very kind to us.
    I also want to make sure I get my “mommy” vacation this year. My husband has been so nice to make sure I get away from everything, including him, at least once year since we had the twins, but the my getaway in 2011 was cancelled due to my medical needs and instead I got a week in the hospital and this year we couldn’t afford it. So I am in desperate need of a getaway and this year it WILL happen.

    • idea:
      I hosted a girlfriend at my house for her long weekend mommy vacation. She lives just miles away, but at my place she became a guest. I cooked for us both, she did her nails, relaxed with a book, didn’t check her email or answer her phone.
      The price was right, and it was fun to catch up, to treat her.

      • Yo, Larisa! This is the rest of us, waving our hands, suggesting you invite us all over so we can have some of that Kitchen Witch Cooking. I’ll foot the grocery bill and bring a sleepy bag… somebody else can bring the vids (I vote for Pretty Woman or North and South)…

    • Sarah, sorry 2012 sideswiped your health. A week in the hospital is not a fair trade for one week a year to yourself. If there’s one casualty of the recession that I regret, it’s the emergence of the “stay-cation.” It’s just NOT the same, using up your leave to clean out the garage (or deal with your health). NOT.

      • Larisa, That is a great idea. I have traveled to friends houses and avoided the costs of hotel and car, but still had to pay for the flight. This past year my mom suggested coming to stay at their house for a few days, but then my brother lost his house and moved into their guest room and is still there. My husband has already requested a week off of work in May that is all mine, so I have 5 months to save and plan.

  5. I learned this year I need balance. I love what I do (employee benefits consultant) but I need a life outside of work, so I’m going to try and explore more of where I live and be a bit of a tourist in my own hometown.

    Plus, I decided that this is the year I go to the gym, like it or not. I’m approaching 40, and it’s time. It’s part of my “be healthy” lifestyle changes I began making in the past couple years (I’m a big fan of making small, incremental changes…it lasts a lot longer and the odds of success go way up).

    • Jessica, Sabrina (comment below) is onto something: If you can combine that “be healthy” with “be friendly” then the workout does some duty in the socializing department. Not sure Crossfit is for everybody though… My sister swears by what she calls her yacking yoga class. While everybody’s hanging in pigeon or pretzel dog or whatever, they catch up on the kids, the goofy neighbors, etc. Sounds kinda nice to me.

      • I’m going to give classes a shot too. Raging introvert that I am, socializing is always something I need practice with!

    • Jessica, even when I was doing something I didn’t like (weight machines!) I had a friend that I did it with. It was helpful that I couldn’t let her down by not showing up.
      A couple of years ago I started running. I’m not a team sport kinda person (no skills what-so-ever). I was scared enough after a medical diagnosis it wasn’t too hard to force myself to do it and with time I found that I really found it relaxing. I’m not fast but I enjoy my time out there.
      Now, I do CrossFit and I love it. I love the fact that it’s always different. I’m not the most outgoing of people when I first meet people (later on you can’t get me shut up). But I made sure that I got to know people in my box and there is a lot of camaraderie in shared misery. 🙂
      Take classes. People will begin to notice when you’re not there and you’re not going to want to explain that they were just too lazy to show up for an hour of work. Take a friend with you and step out of your comfort zone (kickboxing is fun!).

  6. Things I’ve learned in 2012:
    1) I enjoy working to get stronger and more important I love the people I get to do it with.
    2) I have let go of even more stress from my job. They’re not my kids and I can’t change them. But, I can change the way I do my job and hope that is enough.
    3) I’m even more stubborn than I thought. If I can survive Cadre Lou and his special brand of torture I can do just about anything.
    4) A relationship can collapse too quickly, but a little work and some honest communication go a loooong way.

    • Sabrina, I think you’ve heard me blether on about how when I meet kids I represented ten years later, and they’re grown ups with kids of their own, I ask them what they recall about my presentation of them. They NEVER recall the legal stuff. They recall that I listened, that I tried hard, that I meant well. That has helped me measure myself less in terms of outcomes, and more in terms of integrity.

      They’re your kids to teach, to care about, to let go of, and wish well.

  7. My insight is everything I wanted to, needed to, work on at the beginning of 2012 are the same things I need to work on now…and will need to every year. It isn’t change as much as consistency.

  8. Like a lot of people, I’m not keen about change but I’m trying to go with the flow more. After all, there’s usually not much of a choice anyway so why make it more difficult. I’m also trying not to be so sensitive to other’s remarks and to be my own person. People are way too judgmental without knowing all the reasons for people’s behaviors or actions. I think people should be a lot more tolerant than they are! I’ve always tried to embrace the differences in people and not expect everyone to want or be the same!

    • At some point this year, I came across the quote, “Never attribute to malice what can be explained by incompetence, fatigue, or misunderstanding.” A fancy way of saying the benefit of the doubt is probably more sensible than getting huffy.
      Now if I could only recall that when I’m listening to some buffoon sound off for the eleventeenth time in court…

  9. My recent insight includes that I am not selfish when I do things for myself: reading, being by myself, not working every waking moment, nor letting other people’s get me into a negative place. I am actually a happier and therefore better person when I am balanced not stressed.

    • Kathy, I think introverts understand extroverts–we GET that they thrive on the company of others, and sink if they have to be alone too much–but extroverts don’t GET introverts. They are CERTAIN we must be depressed if we’re spending time home alone, and they KNOW we’d really rather be out at the game with them and twenty thousand strangers.

      I need two things to be happy: solitude and unstructured time. Anybody gives you a hard time for needing a little of those same things, you send ’em to me. I’ll sic Westhaven, St. Just, Sir Joseph and few other of the fellows on them.

      • I have lost so many friends because I am an introvert and they just couldn’t understand my need for me time. I don’t want to out shopping and having lunch all the time, I don’t want to feel like I have to call someone every day, week, or month. When I have down time all I think about is being by myself. Thank goodness I have a husband who understands that about me! lol

  10. I love reading all these. Spent a week making a final happy Christmas to a Dad with dementia. Hardest and sweetest week of my life. Found out that yes, I have the best kids in the world….they have compassion…thank God…and that I have to do the passion thing this coming year…
    I will not wait for things to be perfectly aligned. That never really comes. I am starting a blog and I am looking for the right position this year, right for me at this juncture….no matter the pay nor title….

    And I again i vow to keep finding great reads, no matter what genre. I found Ms Burrowes and yes, no ego stroking….simply truth… of the best writers around! I love reading your books. They make me smile ……

    I will not say 2012 was a horrible year, for I stand here in fairly good health with many blessings but it was most definitely an eye opener.

    Thanks to you all for sharing …..good to read that we are all so similar in our needs and desires.


    • If your children are compassionate, it’s because their parents modeled compassion–like looking after Dad when he’s slipping away to his next home. If he’s losing ground quickly, then for him, the hard part is over–the in between time when he can’t retrieve names and facts, but he knows he used to able to. Now comes the part when his only job is to be loved. For you, the next year will be challenging, so yeah, fire up that blog, and let us all know when it’s live. Writing is good for the soul. Just is.

  11. I am contemplating a move.

    Scratch that. I have been contemplating a move for the past 2 years and am now making it GOAL. A beacon. A destination, if you will.

    When my sister moved to the other side of the country with her fiancé two years ago, I had a hard time adjusting to life without her. Having lived the past thirty years within fifty miles of each other, suddenly being three thousand miles away was quite the adjustment. However, making the move out there to be closer to her not a feasible idea at the time (that pesky job situation…).

    After 2 years of her visiting California (job hunting), her wedding (more job hunting), a weeklong visit to her in New York (and yet more job hunting), this year FINALLY seems to be the year it will happen. Job announcements are opening up in her neck of the woods and Sister and the Husband have been out there long enough to make some connections to help me out.

    The real kicker, my motivating factor is the Baby M who will come along this summer. How can I miss out on being the Fun Auntie to Baby M? How can I miss out on the Baby M growing up? I don’t want to be the Absentee Auntie who only sees Baby M every year or so.

    So I made up my mind: Job or No Job, I will be out there, PERMANENTLY, by the end of next year. I will NOT be absent in Baby M’s life (or Sister’s, but Baby M comes first!). Everything else, all other goals, resolutions or changes can wait.

    My expanding Family comes first.


    Happy New Year everybody, I wish you nothing but the BEST!!

    • Christina, things ARE opening up, and your skills are needed in every community. UP you shall get, OUT you shall go, employed you shall be. Our siblings know us longer than anybody else on earth (usually) which means our children learn things from them about us that nobody else could pass along. Get your Auntie on, and here’s a Happy New Year where you want to be!

    • That was my motivation to move 3,000 miles (the other direction…Virginia to California), and it was the best move of my life. Seeing that little one smile when he sees his auntie, watching him grow, and getting to participate in the fun (and not so fun) bits…there is nothing better than that.

      Have faith and it will happen.

    • Aww… Thanks so much Grace & Jessica! While I may miss out in all the Pregnant Sister things, at least I know I will be there for Baby M growing up! Knowing at least ine pereon did this (and survived!) is proof enough that I can do the same.

  12. This isn’t really a new insight, but a lesson learned from a ‘how to make and keep a resolution’ article I read a couple of years ago. The last part of the process said something like “find an hour a week in your schedule to work on/ implement/ focus on the change you want to see. If you can’t find the hour, it isn’t really a priority or a change you want”. That has really stuck with me, and helped me get moving on things I did want to change. I could find the hour, and stick to it. When I couldn’t seem to find the hour, I knew I wasn’t committed to the concept, no matter what I ‘thought’ I wanted.

    As an aside, I loved the comment about visual thinkers – so many of us benefit from the visual aspect of thinking and learning, and we don’t realize it. Keeping pictures around to remind us of what we want, or need, can be an amazing motivator.

    And – thanks for asking for insights, and keeping us thinking, Grace. Looking forward to the blogs (and BOOKS) of 2013. I have enjoyed all of your contributions to my learning and leisure in 2012.

    • Polly, that reminds me of Dorothy’s lines from the Wizard of Oz, something about looking for your heart’s desire right in your own backyard. Maybe I will try this: Try cleaning out the summer kitchen for 30 minutes each week, and see if there’s headway come spring. (Don’t hold your breath.)

      • Well – get a picture of what you want that summer kitchen to look like, hang it where you can see it, squeeze those thirty minutes into your week, and it shall be done.

  13. Bravo to you Grace for making changes and moving towards spending more time writing and less time in the court room! Some insights I gained in 2012: 1) I can do a lot more than I think I can. 2)I hate coloring my hair so I’m going to let it go gray! 3)Being grateful is something to do every day. 4)Enjoy beauty in all its forms each and every time you have the opportunity! Life is good. May 2013 be great!

    • My daughter is 24. She got tired of dying her (perfectly gorgeous) thick dark hair red, so she… shaved it all off. Fortunately, she can pull of that look, but me? Gray will do nicely, thank you.

      • Oh, I wish I could bring myself to shave off all the dyed hair! Instead, I think I’m just going to watch it all grow out (I’m going all Troy Palamalu). I don’t have a lot of gray but it’s shiny like glitter (honestly, like Christmas tree icicles!) and I’ve decided I want to see how much of it there really is.

  14. Grace being a single mother is a learning experience that many people don’t understand. Now that I’ve been widowed over 34 years and am drawing two checks,for the first time in my 63 years I have a decent income.
    I don’t make resolutions as I’m like you,they’re broken before the first week of the new year is over. Instead I hope to just improve my life slowly this coming year and love my family with all my heart.

    • Molly, I’ve seen the FB pictures of you with your grandkids. I don’t know how you could love them any more than you already do. Glad to know you have adequate moola coming in–a lady needs to buy herself the occasional book.

  15. Insight….I think maybe I should have had the insight all the years I was raising my kids that I needed to take care of myself, as well as them. I am now grossly overweight, needing knee replacements, and it is going to be hard to get back to a healthy and happy me. I don’t have weight loss as a new year’s resolution. I have finally gleaned the insight to take care of myself and get healthy so that I can be around to see my grandkids when they are born and go and see every civil war battlefield in the US (a dream that my husband and I share). I can’t do that right now as walking hurts so bad that the pain takes my breath away. I can hopefully give some other mothers out there insight. Take care of yourself, you matter, don’t wait until it is so late in your life and you need to be “fixed.” Take care of yourself now because if you do, you will be around to take care of others who may need you!

    • Susan, you did the best you could, and the idea that women are entitled to pursue happiness on their own terms and take care of themselves still isn’t universally accepted.

      When it hurts, it’s hard to move, and when it’s hard to move, it’s impossible to dump the weight. One of my brothers recently invested a year in four hip replacements, and NOW he can make headway on a lot of his health and happiness goals. You’ll get there, but be kind to yourself, and be patient.
      And if you need some books to read when you’re recovering from the knee surgery, you let me know. I MEAN that.

  16. For the last few years, the majority of my family has moved out of state, some even out of the country. While we agreed to keep in touch work, family, and life in general interfered. Because of my grandfather’s declining health, we decided to hold a family Christmas, which reminded all of us that no matter how hectic our lives become we need to make time for family.

  17. I don’t like to bring up facebook stuff, but there really should be a “like” button for the posts. They were all sweet and most of all, uplifting… It’s always good to find a place in the world wide web where decent, polite and warm people get together.

    This was a big year, both in good things and sad things. I have grown a lot, and yet it’s all precursory for more growing. I feel like in The Hobbit, out of the frying pan and into the fire. Everything I have learned in school now I shall put to practice this year and I must succeed. If I manage that feat, then it’s on to the fire: finding a teaching job. and then? doing a good job! So I’m very overwhelmed, but if this year has taught me anything, it is that all my complaining, insecurities and fears aside, I can do this. I won’t be the first nor last to overcome obstacles and grow, and I am fully capable to do it.

    This year has also taught me to step back when I’m about to pop a vein, and take a break. Take a shower. My best ideas, mind clarity and cooling down happen in the shower.

    The other biggest lesson this year has taught me was to spend as much time with family and friends as possible. NEVER to take ANY holiday or birthday for granted. I lost many people I love this year. From a 2 year old wonderful boy to cancer, to loving elderly relatives to sickness. We just never know when will the last birthday, father, mother’s day or Christmas be.
    I thought the thrill and importance of Christmas ebbed once you stop believing in Santa Claus. I find ridiculous jumping through hoops to get that one expensive present for Christmas day, as if you couldn’t get it the NEXT day (Sorry O.Henry, but your story is silly). But wanting a “perfect” Christmas spent with family for the sake of spending the day together, THAT, I think, is where the true worth lies.

    So! Those are my three big lessons, very heard to learn!

    • Gads, life is coming at you in volume and at speed. I’d ask you to recall this: Teaching is a vocation, and if after you’ve given it a fair shot, you decide it’s not for you, nobody should second guess that decision. Talk to Sabrina if you don’t believe me.

  18. These posts are killing me, in a good way of course. Awesome ladies…..I had a funny kind of day, reflecting and kept coming back here to see what great words were written….thanks all.
    I needed a blog like this to read today.


  19. I have learned over the last year or so, that politics has a tendency to enflame me. Funny that it took so many years for me to get to this point. AND, now that I am here, I truely believe that I must back off if I am to live a few more years! The benefit of this is I will have more time to read. Happy New Year!! ..and keep those wonderful books coming.

    • BETTY! Where have you been?! I’ve missed you. Politics pretty much had everybody inflamed, and I have to ask myself, who benefits from all that rabid rhetoric? Not the voting public, not the candidates, not the parties… certainly not the truth. Hmm, who or what does that leave, and will we learn anything as a result?

      Time to go write more books, lest you get ME inflamed.

  20. Grace my friend., you force me to remember what you want me to offer and this after a hard balancing day. I did understand that you were managing your future as well as your past in 2013. Sounds Great. You encourage me to work on some failings of mine for future benefits in 2013. I gosh darn it will sacrifice something important not seeing at the moment the permanence. I really hope to change that failing in my future. Post pic of that trip and enjoy every moment.

  21. In 2012 I finally got off my too large butt, looked in the mirror and said “I’ve got to lose weight”. And so far it’s worked I’ve lost 53 pounds on Weight Watchers since May and it hasn’t been a real bad struggle. The year 2013 hopefully means that I can get back to the weight I was in high school many long years ago. It’s hard to believe that I can fit into regular size clothes now. It’s kind of dangerous to go shopping at the mall and be able to going to any store and fit into the clothes though. Lol

    • Oh, Sandy, good on you! Many people swear by Weight Watchers, and my sister spent years working for them as a leader. For the vast, vast majority of people if you work the program, you can lose. Shop your normal size heart out, girl–you’ve earned it!

  22. Well, Grace, finally made it to the blog (I think!) from FB. I posted there about the importance of becoming happy with self-acceptance and something about how that can help to bring about good decisions….FB/blogs/pinning have been great connectors with like-minded or at least like-interested people this year. Plus, found some wonderful new authors and, in fact, a new sub-genre of books I enjoy – paranormal romance along with my tried and true historicals. Glad you, Eloise, Julia Q., Sherrilyn, and Thea are on our social media:)

    • Mary, I am a diehard fan of the Black Dagger Brotherhood. Found Dark Lover and missed WEEKS of sleep buzzing through the rest of the series. I’m wrecked for all other vampires, WRECKED I tell you…

      I like the social media stuff I do or I wouldn’t do it. I’m not naturally outgoing, but this lets me communicate in written words (always a plus), where and how I like to present myself, to people who are mostly lovely. What’s not to like?

  23. The things I want to work on this are: Working on my new business that I started this year, Working towards getting my grandchildren ready to leave me and start school in Aug and being able to spend more time on my house. I was a cake decorator for years, but had to stop working, because of two chronic illnesses. Now after not working for about six years I am starting my own business making wedding cakes at home. It has been slow, but I hope it will pick up in the spring and summer. I have watched my grandson(from my daughter) and my granddaughter(for my son) for 3 1/2 years now and I am looking forward to them starting Pre-K this year together. I will always be grateful for the time I have spent with them, but I am ready to have a break. I will still have them in the afternoon, so we will still have time together. With having my grandchildren and the illnesses I have I am sad to say that it is my house that has suffered, because when I do have some down time house work is not at the top of my list of things I want to do. It’s that darn “me time” thing that gets in the way! lol I hope all of you guys have a great New Year and that all the changes you want to make, happen.

    • Mary, the investment you made in those children is beyond any price tag. Some anthropologists believe that when as a species we began to live long enough that children could know their grandparents, that’s when culture arose. Because another generation of adults was available to help out with child rearing, to warehouse wisdom and know how, we had time to delve into the arts, to innovate, to experiment, to work out rudimentary medical treatment, to look after more than just the most physically robust in our families.

      So, big hats off for doing the grandma daycare schtick, but when you’ve got some pictures of your cakes to post, you MUST share them. Post them on my profile page if nowhere else. And please assure me you use butter in your frostings….????

  24. If you want to see more of Scotland, you should come along with us on Jim and Susie Malcolm’s music tour Sept 3 to 13. Jim is a well-known singer and he and Susie and their whole family take us to their favorite places in Scotland, teaching us songs to go with our adventures all the way. Jim sings traditional songs of Scotland and lots of Robert Burns songs, which is what I do to, accompanying myself on the harp, so this tour is heaven for me. Jim also takes us to play in sessions (Susie lets me take her harp on the tour!) and invites his friends, who are top Scottish performers, to come give us private performances. Info about the tour is on Jim’s website ( so you should check it out. It’s so worth the cost – the best 10 days of my year! So, come with us!! See gorgeous parts of Scotland, learn lots of songs from a gorgeous Scotsman, hear lots of good music. Listen to Jim sing “The Lea Rig” and you’ll definitely want to come! So, make a resolution to spend more time in Scotland in 2013! That’s what I’m doing.

    • BAD INFLUENCE ALERT! Carol is trying to get me to go to Scotland, sing the old songs, meet the current generation of Scottish balladeers, see the beautiful sights, and have a ton of fun. Quick, somebody lock up my Amex before I’m taken prisoner by

      And did you know I have a degree in music history?


  25. The last quarter of 2012 provided me with the insights I will carry with me to 2013:

    1. Health is wealth. I hadn’t realized how much I had taken this for granted until I made a trip to the emergency room with a blood pressure reading of 160/100. It was a wake-up call to me and my husband — we made changes to our diet and take time to walk every afternoon.

    2. Books and their authors = amazing. The trip to the ER made me realize just how big of a comfort books are. And then my blog made me a part of a bigger community of readers and authors and the daily entries and efforts of everyone (bloggers, authors, etc) continue to inspire me.

    This was a wonderful topic, many thanks, Grace!

    Happy New Year to everyone! Here’s to a better, brighter, happier 2013 to all of us!

    • Tin, my 57 year old, tough as nails, skinny as a rail, brother had a stroke when he was out for his morning jog. Got my chubby backside to the doctor directly thereafter, and have stayed close to my magnesium citramate ever since. Dick is fine now, but at the time, he was in compliance with all his meds and doctor’s orders.

      If it can happen to him…. so, yeah. Health IS wealth.

      And books are good medicine, for those who read them, and those who write them.

  26. I am ashamed that I haven’t given the new year a bigger thought. I have long given up on resolutions as they are sure to be broken. I am living or better vegetating on the fringes at the moment as I am still in the past, reliving the good times with my late best mate Fluser, the cat. My husband tries his best to accomodate my mood swings and to go with the flow. He is working his ass off to make me more comfortable and I should probably be more grateful for the life I am living. Well, it is what I make of it. So here is to the New Year, may it bring me joy again and happiness, lots of books to read and even more time to actually act on it, quality time with my family and friends , a financial boost for all the travels I have planned and good health for everyone!

    • Manuela, I put down my last, best mare, Sweetness J Horse, earlier this year. Hurt like hell, though she was old as dirt, not keeping well, and facing another hard winter. Still, we were old girls together, and she could help my daughter in ways a mom cannot. Unless we’re going to love sea turtles, our companion animals will often teach us about the grieving side of love–and yet, love them, we do.

  27. Inspirations for the new year:
    1. Get healthier … food and exercise combined!
    2. Start putting the novel in my head down in some sort of organized fashion. HOW do you start???
    3. Reclaim the basement from 10 years of “put it down there, we’re having people over” 🙂

  28. To start writing, you turn on the computer, open up a blank document, and let ‘er rip. Some people revise, polish and perfect as they go, having a clear sense with every scene where the book is heading and how it will get there. I am not so blessed. When I go to bed at night, I read over what I wrote that morning, and hope to heaven there’s another scene or two in my imaginative buffer by morning.

    If you’re a voracious reader, you’ve picked up a lot of craft passively, without realizing how much you know. The way to make that knowledge active is to WRITE. Don’t talk about writing, don’t worry about writing, don’t ask all your friends about writing if it means you don’t WRITE. The craft books are helpful–I think Donald Maass is a genius–but those books won’t get your story written for you.
    Now go write.

  29. There are so many projects I want to get done, and so many ways I’d like to improve myself. But I am simply going to resolve to be “better” in 2013, and take things one day at a time. Breathe in, breathe out.

  30. After 33 years in our home my husband and I have sold it! Moving will be quite an undertaking and I have decided that I will take this big change in our lives as the start of the rest of our lives. I will face forward, clean out and donate, and walk into my new future. If I don’t run at it that will be o.k. I will still head towards it and hope to have fun on the way.

    • My folks moved to Southern California in their mid-fifties. They’d been in the same college town for nearly thirty years, had many, many friends there, had raised their children there… Mom turned 89 yesterday, Dad turned 92 last month. They’ve been in their “new” home longer than they were in the last one, and their seven children are exceedingly glad they made that move when they did. The climate alone is more conducive to an active old age, and they have plenty, PLENTY of friends just as dear as the ones made earlier in life.

      You’ll be fine. You’ll be more than fine. Rent a dumpster (my new mantra).