Grace Under Fire

Compared to what many people endure, my life is a cakewalk. Lately, though, it has been a stressful cakewalk. My lawyer job went out for competitive bid, which it has done periodically for the past twenty years. Each time, I tell myself, “I am not putting myself through this again….” because the procurement process will pluck the last nerve of a cast iron saint.

racing startA few years later, there I am, on the edge of my legal seat, wondering if I still have a job.

My daughter has been on the edge of her academic seat in recent weeks too, as she’s come down to the final laps on an associate’s degree that will qualify her to work as a vet tech. The nice people tell you how easy it is to get a job as a vet tech, but they don’t tell you that the curriculum is set up so one mis-step out of about ten mandatory steps in the final term, and you have to repeat the entire term, and you only get one do-over.

No pressure… though you also have to pay all that tuition again. Did I mention that my racing twodaughter struggles with anxiety?

And because hard things come in threes, I’ve gotten at cross purposes with my publisher on a few issues too. Nothing major, but in my present mood, a hangnail could feel major.

My agent worked out the publisher issues and left things in a better status all around.

My daughter passed every test with flying colors.

The State awarded me another three-year contract to represent foster children.

I got all this good news in about a 24-hour period, and it hasn’t entirely sunk in even yet… I have manuscripts to work on, you see. But I did pass along the glad tidings to a friend, and he asked, “So how are you going to celebrate?

Huh?

racing threeCelebrate. As in, stop and smell the roses, be of good cheer, wallow in gratitude, and laissez les bon temps rouler. That kind of celebrate.

I am chagrined to say, I had to think about this. I’m not a big drinker, I prefer to socialize one on one or in small groups, and I’ve never been much of one for retail therapy. I can watch “North and South” or “Pride and Prejudice” any time I please…

Maybe I’m doing something right, if planting pansies qualifies as a celebration to me, or walking my dog, or calling my parents, but I think when this much good befalls me, the moment calls for something more extravagant.

Whatever that gargoyle is that’s trying to spoil your happiness—the tax bill, the noisy neighbor, the extra fifteen pounds that keeps trying to turn into twenty—how will you celebrate when you’ve emerged victorious, and the gargoyle has been sent packing? Chocolate? Date night? Mani-pedi? A book splurge?

I know how I’m celebrating. The first fifty people to comment get an Amazon gift card.

Let the wild rumpus begin!

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133 comments on “Grace Under Fire

  1. Awww… Congratulations!!! I was just given my birthday present early (all nine seasons of NCIS and all of Lara Adrian’s Midnight Breed series) so I probably will have a marathon… Can’t wait for ‘Darius’!

  2. Congrats on all your good news. When I get good news, I like to treat myself to a little something whether a book I’ve been keeping my eye on or maybe a new audiobook or a trip to my favorite store to check out the clearance section.

  3. Boy, you do have a lot to be happy about! Right now I have been pretty stressed out about my husbands health, but we are working on that and I have high hope that everything will work out. I tend to read a lottery when I am stressed, I think that is a good thing. Right? Lol

    • Mary, in the middle of all this my 92-year-old dad came down the shingles in both eyes, and at least one optic nerve is compromised. He’s recovering, but a fast relocation to San Diego was also under consideration, and I do NOT like that area. Nope, nope, nope.

      • It’s so difficult to become the care taker and reverse the roles from child to parent. My parents are in Spain where the economy…well there is none and my dad has just been diagnosed with a frontal lobe disease, like Alzheimer. Their retirement was going to be the house they bought years ago but they can’t sell it. Worries me sick. I miss them like crazy too!
        Slainte, Happy St. Patty’s day.

      • I have never heard of shingles in the eyes! That sounds so painful and the sad thing is that shingles does not go away quickly. I will be praying that all goes well with his eye. My grandmother is 97 and any health issue that happens with her is really hard on her. So my thoughts will be with your dad.

  4. My husband is in the Army, currently a Drill Sergeant. He is almost halfway through his time in this job and in this place. No one in our family likes where we are. I have 2 teenagers doing online school because they are not comfortable with the students in the schools they were at or the school failed my child somehow (One was bullied and ignored by teachers). I am dealing with “Allergic Sensitivities”, meaning I do not have allergies but my body is reacting as if allergic to something or some things (therefore medications do not help). I am feeling very out of place, disconnected from friends and my husband is working 5am – 9pm every day for 2 months straight, followed by 10-14 days of 7am – 5pm, then repeat the schedule. We have about 16 months left here and we are taking the kids to Disney World before we move to celebrate moving on to the next chapter of our lives and the next place the Army sends us! 🙂

    • Kylan do you have the slightest idea of where you will be going next? Can your husband put in a request for his next duty station? I know back in the late ’70’s that was possible, especially if his MOS is a high need one at the post he wants. Good luck!

      • Senior moment! Just realized that with an Amazon card I can order the books you’ve written that I don’t have yet. Duh!

    • Now, see, compared to you, my life is a cake walk, and every other square has a cake on it. Disney sounds lovely, particularly because it’s for the entire family, like this ordeal afflicts the entire family.

      Meanwhile, we’ll do what we can to keep you supplied with good reads.

    • You have my empathy Kylan! I’m going through my husband being at Recruit Training Command (Navy recruit training) for the second time in his career. The hours are truly horrendous for them and never seeing them awake is awful for the family. The first time my husband did this my boys were just toddlers. We are in a better position this time, the kids are older and my husband is senior enlisted so he only has to push one division and then he gets to sit behind a desk for the rest of his time at this command ;). The school situations for military families can be so difficult at times, I home school my kids now for that very reason. Life as a military family is such a crazy way to live sometimes. Good luck on getting a duty station you like the next time around and enjoy Disney World!

  5. Congratulations to you and your daughter, Grace! Definitely time to celebrate. Have an awesome weekend (and Happy St.Patrick’s Day to you!)

  6. Well Grace the more I read about your life the more you remind me of myself in some ways. I’m not a drinker either, haven’t had a drink in a good 4 years at least. I’d much rather have a big mug of cold water, or a cup of Earl Grey or Lady Grey tea and a cuddle with my cats. Kinda warm here so I’d go for the cold water, don’t need ice in it quite yet.
    As I said before, give my congratulations to your daughter on passing her tests with flying colors. Were they the tests for certification or whatever it’s called?

    • Molly, some of them were book tests, and some of them were practical tests–get blood from that horse, anesthetize this cat so he stays under between twenty and thirty minutes–that sort of thing. It’s a lot more technical than cleaning cages, sort of like being a physician’s assistant for a vet.

      She loves it, and it’s a career I would never have thought to steer her toward, though it suits her wonderfully.

  7. Celebrate? I had the same thought as you.. I call my mom to spread my excitement and/or relief, my husband and I go to dinner at our favorite sushi restaurant or I spend a weekend hanging with my friends at the beach. Although, I’ve made my husband promise me to take me on a beach vacation when I reach my weight loss goal, that will be a extravagant celebration!

    • Amanda, best of luck with the weight loss goal, and send us a silly post card (post on my FB page?) from the beach. We will all celebrate with you (though when it comes to sushi, I stick to the veggie variety).

  8. Gargoyle…yes, that is an accurate description. I also am a quiet celebrator. When the monster is van-squished, I’ll find a nice quiet corner and make myself be still enough to enjoy the glory!
    Praises for all the good stuff that worked out for you with your job(s) and your daughter.

    • Tracey, I’ve come through this with a much greater sense of empathy for those prone to anxiety. By the end of this week, I was so beside myself I wanted to stay home and play solitaire by the hour. Hard to think up happily ever afters when the hamster won’t get off her wheel.

  9. How do I celebrate reaching a goal I’ve set? I have no idea, maybe I don’t. Maybe I don’t set enough goals for myself

    I don’t remember celebrating college graduations. They didn’t feel like goals, just things that had to be completed. I never considered I wouldn’t finish.

    I have a goal now, training for the CrossFit Open next year. I guess I should think about how I plan to celebrate that. This is something to consider.

    So happy to hear that the bid process is over and came down in your favor. Always nice to know you still have a job isn’t it? 🙂 And congratulations to the Beloved Offspring!

    • Sabrina, we must have a few genes in common. My reaction to graduation was: why bother? I had the degree, and the loans were coming due, and my folks were on the opposite coast, and who wants to hang around one more DAY after spending five straight years on the same campus?

      Onward!

      Though you MUST do something to celebrate participating in OPEN beside walk funny for two weeks and buy stock in Tylenol. Survival is good, but you deserve to celebrate!

  10. Congratulations on all the happy news!
    The way I celebrate depends on what I’m celebrating. If it’s one of the boys’ achievements they like to celebrate by getting Dairy Queen. That also works as a good bribe. It’s how I got one of the twins to dress up like Paul Revere for their fifth grade history museum the other week.
    If we are celebrating a promotion for my husband or something similar, my husband and I might go out to eat or get take out from a favorite restaurant. As long as I don’t have to cook I am happy.
    For those minor everyday good news celebrations I usually just call my parents and maybe post about it on Facebook, if it is something the boys did like call me “Mommy” for the first time or attempt to run the hurdles at track and field day.

    • Facebook IS a good place to be happy, Sarah. Thanks for reminding me. We tend to think only bad news merits other people’s attention when in fact, the opposite is true. And being called Mommy is a BIG deal. REALLY BIG.

  11. For celebrating, I normally call my Sister on the opposite coast to share the good news. Then I call my closest friends and we go for ice cream or some other dessert that I’m avoiding in the hopes of keeping to my calorie goal (which I have been under ever since I started this program, yet another reason to celebrate!).

    However this year, in anticipation of the good things that have happened and will happen later this year (new niece or nephew this summer!!) I decided to give myself a gift: I am attending my first Writer’s Conference as an aspiring author. What better way to celebrate and improve a craft than learning from some very skilled artists and talented individuals. The welcome and positive energy from these Lovely individuals has been overwhelmingly positive and I am so fortunate to be getting back in touch with my creative self.

    I could think of no way better to celebrate everything good that will happen this year.

    • Wow! A writer’s conference is a wonderful gift to yourself. I went to my first one ready to lurk in corners and struggle through small talk, but realized in the first hour that I’d made two wrong assumptions. First, romance authors aren’t like lawyers. Duh, you say, except the only people I’d been to conferences with were lawyers, and they are a cagey, careful bunch when gathered in professional numbers (in my experience).

      The second assumption I’d made is that romance authors are all as introverted as I am, which, I am here to tell you, THEY ARE NOT. A friendlier, more supportive, outgoing bunch, you never did meet. Kinda restores the old soul…

      Keep us posted on the writing aspirations, Christina, and if there’s anything I can do to boost you into the pumpkin patch–read pages, suggest craft books–just let me know.

      The world will never have enough well told stories.

      • I had such an amazing time! I’ve never met such wonderful helpful people. So eager to help everyone out with whatever projects we were working on and tips on how to improve.

        Like you, the only conferences I had ever attended were work related. I’ll admit, I did spend some time looking around for the police officers. Needless to say, I didn’t see any. It was a little unnerving that first night not knowing anybody, but I did make some new friends both beginners like me and seasoned pros.

        I was so glad I went and can’t wait to go to my next one!

  12. I love to celebrate anything with my super girlfriends. We worry about each other, take care of each other, encourage each other, and CELEBRATE with each other. It’s so important to have good friends at this time of my life.

    So very glad that all of your worries worked out beautifully. It is such a relief when out-of-kilter things realign themselves. May things stay aligned for a long time to come.

    • Diane, it felt like some personal asteroid was in retrograde, as if my own private Idaho WAS rolling around like a wild potato. I could never have foreseen things righting themselves so quickly or so splendidly.

  13. I like to get together with friends and family have a backyard bbq & a bonfire – simple easy and fun for everyone

  14. Congrats!! It’s always nice when good news comes in groups :).

    This week has been interesting — it was the first week without my boss (his last day was Friday before last), we’re merging with another office at work that will involve a reorg, my credit card got compromised (the company caught it, thankfully), and to top it all off, I moved today.

    But…I moved to my first house, and as I sit amidst all the boxes and clutter (did I mention I was also having some contracting work done?), I am happy as a clam, sitting here celebrating with a glass of wine, soon to follow will be a red velvet cupcake and a glass of port. But the best part is sitting here growing roots and getting attached to the place already.

    So skol, as they say in Danish, and I lift my (plastic) glass in celebration and congratulations.

  15. Grace, CONGRATS on all the good things happening to you. Could it be the “Luck of the Irish”? It is almost St Paddy’s Day, you know?

    I could use some luck this month myself, so possibly if you find any lying around you might send it my way?

    And tomorrow (said St Paddy’s Day) is mine and hubby’s anniversary…of our first, and ONLY date! 29 years, now to just make it to 30!!!! LOL

    • Amy, I’d say you’re due for another date. Hope things smooth out for you, and that every Undertoad and Gargoyle trying to poach on your happiness get sent packing at a gallop.

      Hang in there, and why not go for fifty?

  16. Grace,
    It’s always worth celebrating when good things come together. I’m happy for you!
    And isn’t it great to have brilliant offspring? Both of my daughters leave me in the dust; and I’m proud of both of them!

    Bill

  17. Congrats on the good news! Whenever I get great news, I celebrate by savoring a glass of cabernet savingon. However, I save it for special occasions…between the (possibility of migraine triggering) tannins and the fact that I’m relaxed at 1 glass, tipsy at 1.5, and asleep for the night at 2, I wouldn’t get anything done if I drank it on a regular basis. I can’t spend my life sleeping; there’s too many books to read 🙂

  18. I’m a quiet celebration type of person. Sometimes just sending a prayer of thanks to God that I survived whatever was happening is enough celebration for me.

    • I’m a Gratitude Girl, Sandy. When I lay me down to sleep, I find something I can be genuinely grateful for, even if I have to start with the obvious–functional lungs, say–and the list grows from there.
      And grows,
      and grows…

  19. Congrats on the good having such a great day. I love to celebrate with fine chocolate and a good book.
    I love how your books are fresh and different, when so many historical romances seem interchangable these days. I can’t wait to read you new series.

    • Thanks, Sherri. Glad my books work for you, and if you do like my books, you might also enjoy Joanna Bourne, Meredith Duran, Carolyn Jewel, and Julie Anne Long, none of whom write fast enough for me!

  20. I definitely indulge in book therapy and a fun dinner at home with the hubs or sisters, complete with bad movie, chocolate, champagne, and popcorn. I am not really into bars or partying. Sometimes when I am feeling like I really accomplished something I celebrate with brunch or English tea at a nice place, it’s very civilized :). Hope this helps you pick something fun to do! Also congratulations on things falling into place, especially to your daughter!

      • Oh things like ‘The Covenant’, ‘Resident Evil: Retribution’, ‘Revenge of the Bridesmaids’, etc. made for TV Christmas specials are a favorite (though the hubs tends to bow out for those). ‘Planet Nine from Outerspace’ is going on the queue right next to ‘Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus’.

        It’s always best to watch movies like this whilst in a great mood. It makes them better, one way or another.

        I reserve things like ‘North and South’ and any Austen or Bronte adaptations for when I need a pick-me-up. 🙂

  21. Grace – this is my first visit to your blog. So happy to hear about all your recent good fortune . Here’s hoping for more of the same!

  22. Congrats!!! Just finished Darius and Lady Eve
    Loved them both. Can.t wait for the next 3. Lonely lords books.
    I’ve read all of your books since the Heir.
    I’m so glad that the foster kids have someone as caring as you in their corner. Just keep writing and planting flowers.

    • I have to ask where you found Darius. He’s not supposed to be on the shelves until April 2, but the guy is already seeing a lot of action (and him so shy and weary). How can this be, I wonder?

      Glad you’re enjoying the books, and yes, writing and planting flowers = bliss.

  23. Congrats on the anxious moments turning to a celebration. When I have something good happen, I usually celebrate by doing something for myself, like buying that iPad I’ve been wanting, or having that piece of cake that I’ve been avoiding during my weight loss efforts. I think it’s awesome that you’re celebrating by sharing with your readers, I’ll have to remember that for the future. What a great way to celebrate.

    • Good luck with the weight loss. I’ve been watching the calories and patrolling the neighborhood more regularly, and darned if the number hasn’t dropped a few pounds. Yet, still more good news, and I’ll hope the same for you. I have a Loooooong way to go, but any progress is encouraging.

      • Thanks Grace! And good luck to you too. I’ve been doing the Weight Watchers program and it has worked for me. I’ve lost 60 lbs and just have about 10 to go. It’s taken me two years and I don’t know who long it will be until I reach the goal I’ve set, but I’m determined. This is the best I’ve felt about my weight in 20 years. I’ll definitely have a celebration when I reach my goal, but I’ll try to find something other than food to celebrate with – like new books or a trip. 😀

  24. Well, it looks like I missed the wild rumpus, but I still had to post a big CONGRATULATIONS for you Grace…and for your daughter. 🙂

    • Marcy, I’m glad I have a job, but I am so pleased and relieved for my daughter I could about bust. She home schooled high school, not because the academics phased her in the least, but because the food fights, noise, crowding, and mayhem drove her ’round the bend.

      The past ten years have been constant struggle for her, three steps forward and two steps back, but she has persisted, and endured, and gotten astoundingly resourceful and resilient. I cannot convey in words how I marvel at her and all she has done.

  25. Oh my goodness. That’s the way to celebrate–by giving to others and letting them celebrate too. Love it. So happy everything is working out for you and your daughter.

  26. Grace, I can’t be happier for you. I celebrate good news by going out to dinner with my husband. However, work has been stressful and my back spasmed so I went to the chiropractor yesterday and celebrated less pain by going to bed by 10pm. You and some of my fellow fans are night owls since I checked FB before going to bed.

    • Martha, I’m often surprised at who I find online in the wee small hours. I try to maintain working woman’s hours, but there are some nights my brain won’t shut off, and other nights when I’m spared the restless leg, and I can sit still for the duration. Glad the chiro was able to afford some relief. I’ve had two back spasms in my life, and that’s two too many.

  27. Dear Grace: After a long, stressful, harried time which fortunately ends with good news, I would go for a walk, raise my face to the sun & breathe deeply. Just be. Celebrate coming through the fire intact. Let the stress go.
    I read your blog religiously, as well as your books. What I am struggling with right now, after three long stress filled, life altering years, is what will make me happy. So I try to celebrate by being peaceful, accepting, and aware of life’s pleasures. One day at a time.

    • Barbara, three years is a long time to bear arms against a sea of troubles. You put me in mind of the first time I won this contract. I had a mortgage, a child to support, and the vultures were circling financially and emotionally.
      I got word that steady employment–at least for a few years–was to be mine, and meaningful steady employment. I was in a park. I lay down right where I was, closed my eyes, and absorbed the sunshine. Blessed moment–soft breeze, birds singing, cool grass, gratitude.

      I will wish lots of same for you.

      • Grace,I’m Barbara ‘s sister and I have walked with her during these last three years. Part of her/our joys have been your books. We read them separately, separated by time zones and spend time discussing them by phone. We are both awaiting Darius!

  28. Many congratulations to you and your daughter! So good things did come in a three, for once (something wrong with that, but what’s the singular of “good things come in threes”?).

    I would also be at a loss to know how to celebrate, especially if the event I was supposed to celebrate was one I had little control over. I don’t particularly enjoy food, but going out for a meal is the default celebration in my family because everyone else does! At least it shares the happiness. I’d probably buy something I’ve wanted but felt was too expensive – a specific book, most likely; I’d look at my Wish List on Amazon, which is where I note big, beautiful history books!

    • HJ, I love coffee table books, and one of my favorites is a picture book called, “Weapon.” I don’t like studying up on killing technology, but so much art goes into these spears, knives, guns… makes me wonder what all the warriors are doing with their creative self-expression when the universal weapon these days is… the cell phone?

    • Nicole, it is no exaggeration to say horses saved my daughter’s life and my sanity. Riding was the happy place even before writing was, for me, and in addition to all the other good news, it looks like a horse might be trotting back into my life whom I’d given away a few years ago.

      A handsome young man whose trot I might be able to sit.

  29. Good morning, Grace! I’ve always said that my life is chaos interrupted by brief periods of calm. I’ve actually been told that I don’t know how to relax. Is that a shame, or what?? That said, when a particularly stressful period ends, I usually celebrate with a massage. If I can’t manage that, a leisurely hot bath with a drink of something yummy and a good book will do nicely. Glad your daughter passed her exams. (Mine are a dental hygienist and a registered nurse, respectively, so I can completely relate to that stress!)Glad your work contract was renewed and very glad your issues with your publisher have been resolved! Hope you do something relaxing and fun for yourself.

    • Cinthia, I have restless leg syndrome to the point that I cannot hold still on the massage table, and that was misery loss, because I do enjoy body work. Then somebody told me to put a bar of Ivory soap between my bottom sheet and my mattress, and change it periodically, and my restless leg symptoms would abate.

      I’m at the point where I’ll try anything with this nuisance (except heavy meds), and lo, there has been an abatement in symptoms. Who’d a thought?! So maybe there is a massage in my future…

  30. Grace, I just found your books a couple of weeks ago, and I have just got caught up. I read your blog just now, and felt compelled to share. My Anxious moments started with 1 week before Christmas finding out I had Breast Cancer. Two Lumectomys and one Masectomy later, yesterday the Dr called and told me that we are “Cancer Free”… Thank you lord and please keep writing so I have lots to read while I recover. Thank goodness your stuff all came out ok too..

    • Breast cancer qualifies as a Gargoyle from Hell. Glad you have sent that monster packing, and glad you found some books that work for you.

      Here’s something to keep in your back pocket: AARP did a study of depression in the aging population (that is, people over fifty. We’re not elderly, we’re “aging.” Right.) Seems depression is becoming a significant problem, particularly for older men, but for one population group: Cancer survivors are bullet proof when it comes to this particular ailment.

      You have fought the good fight, your priorities are on straight, and you’ve acquired a perspective that imbues all of your days with wisdom and joy. Congratulations, congratulations! “Cancer free” is one of the most wonderful and impressive phrases in the language–see that you stay that way!

      • Congratulations on being Cancer Free, Georgie!!! In the last ten years, my mother, her mother and my step-grandmother have all gotten and recovered from Breast Cancer. I know what a huge celebration that is!! Congratulations!!!! I can’t say it enough! 🙂

  31. I know the feeling of anxiety. I hate to admit that even when life is going smoothly, I am constantly expecting for the other shoe to fall. I like to celebrate the little successes with spending time with my family, grabbing a bite to eat. Going for a drive with no intended destination. It lightens the load of stresses.

    • Erin, I have that same “driving” thing, only I typically head from DC to San Diego. Once I cross the Mississippi, something shifts. Get me out to central Utah or on I-40 in New Mexico, and the Zen begins to sink in.
      It’s such a beautiful country, and there’s so much of it to see. I think up good stories when I’m driving like that. Maybe you will too?

  32. Why is it feast our famine when stressful moments hit? And they are all seemingly unrelated like yours with your attorney job, publisher, daughter (collateral stress)? But then the enormous relief when it is all resolved. Know that your writing relieves my stress! Thank you.

    • Thanks, much Wendy! I’m still very dependent on my keeper authors to dial down my brain at the end of the day. I’m gnoshing on Meredith Duran’s “That Scandalous Summer” now, and my, what a delightful read. Before that it was Kristen Callihan’s “Winterblaze…”

  33. There’s a really good tapas place in Baltimore that has become The Place we go to celebrate family moments and other happy occasions. Also, getting the entire fam-damily in one place for prolonged, sustained eating and drinking marks many good happenings. There’s about 14 of us now, so we’re a party unto ourselves.

    KB

  34. Congratulations, Grace! Hope you found a personally meaningful way to celebrate. I am trying to make shifts in my life to avoid retail therapy and food therapy – that would include both eating/shopping to feel better and eating/shopping as rewards. I also have a lifelong tendency to downplay my accomplishments while focusing on the next obstacle – that’s another cycle I’m trying to break. Overall, I’m in a pretty good spot in life right now. I’m going to just try to enjoy my week of spring break.

    • I’ve wondered, Amy, if the attraction of going out to eat, or shopping, isn’t that it’s public, it’s an external display of “I’m in a good place,” and sometimes, we need connectivity in our joy, but don’t know how else to find it. By coincidence, I was at Chico’s the first time I heard I’d made the NYT list, and the ladies there–all of them, customers, sales people–were ready to be happy for me.

      Nice moment–and I hate to shop for clothes!

      • I think you might be on to something there…I am an introvert and connectivity is hard. Being able to do something while connecting is essential for me. And connecting with strangers carries a lower risk in some ways.

  35. Hmmm, this blog made me think! I don’t think I’ve really ever celebrated making it through something. Perhaps I need to do that just to mark an end on one problem and the beginning of others! Right now, I have to make it through the daughter’s wedding in June–a happy stress, but a stress none the less. That will be a celebration in itself. Then I get to start finding a new job — again. I can’t even think about that right now. One stress at a time if I can manage it that way. I think a vacation would be my reward if I could ever swing it. Usually only happens every three years or so and I’m overdue!

    • My mom’s advice regarding weddings: Have a small wedding and a big marriage. I hope my daughter heeds her advice, but I’m not sure there is any such thing as a small wedding, only varying sizes of large.

      Take that vacay, Barb. Nobody dies wishing they’d gone on vacay every four years instead of every three, and looking for a job IS a job. The mama of the bride deserves some down time too!

  36. I lead a pretty simple life now that my children are grown. I celebrate most accomplishments with dinner out at my favorite restaurants. On a smaller scale, I make lists of things to do each day and once accomplished, it’s my time and I do my favorite thing…READ. Reading is my reward 🙂

    • Mine, too! I wasn’t unhappy when Beloved Offspring was underfoot, but I was busy! I love the peace and quiet in my life now, and I usually have three books going at once: A keeper novel, a writing craft book, and a historical reference.

      Bliss.

  37. The only thing I celebrated recently was yesterday with many people when Wales won the Major Rugby tournament in the Northern Hemisphere of the 6 Nations Trophy beating the old enemy England by 30 points to 3. We stopped them winning the Grand Slam and we won the title. It was wonderful and i had Red wine to celebrate !

  38. I’m glad things are getting better. I too have been struggling with stresses, but am also emerging from the dark cloud which given what other people are dealing with, really isn’t that bad. Thanks for your books and your contests!!

    • Oh, and how do I celebrate events? Buy more books or go out and explore someplace new. There are so many things to see and do here in D.C./Baltimore/Annapolis?Richmond!

      • Yes, more books! And for me, if it isn’t the romance novels, it’s the biographies, the social history, the autobiographies, the writing books… so many books, so little time to read.

  39. Just danced in the kitchen with hubby for no reason other than it’s Sunday, and some Irish music was playing in honor of St. Paddy’s day. A glass of Bailey will follow later. Congrats on all the good things happening. You deserve them.

    • I keep a bottle of Bailey’s on a high shelf, along with a bottle of The MaCallan. Never know when a dish of ice cream might need a little garnish. Perhaps I ought to have a hubby on hand for spontaneous dances, too.

  40. Grace, congratulations on the resolution of your stressful bits!
    I tend to celebrate in little ways that most often include Starbucks and a new book. At the moment I’m planning on celebrating the survival of buying our first house by … hiring a contractor to fix the unfinished and broken parts of the new house and moving :). In this case I think the celebration will be getting a chance to live the new lifestyle we’ve chosen. A house that isn’t cramped, lots of land to explore and enjoy, the addition of chickens and goats and a kitchen garden, working to start a home business with my daughter, looking forward to my husband’s retirement from the military.

    • Homesteading. It’s in our genes, and to me, it’s so much healthier than commuting. Don’t get me started on the evils of sending men, and then women, away from home to procure coin of the realm…

    • The wonderful thing about Amazon cards is you can use them on books, herbs, audios, garden tools… Amazon, for all my reservations about its vertical integration in the publishing sector, truly is the Last Whole Earth Catalog of Wonders.

  41. Congratulations on the new contract, your daughter’s success and getting things straight with your publisher! (Especially the last as I do so enjoy your books and am always eagerly awaiting the next story…)

    I’m celebrating 3 months of retirement after 50 years in the classroom –which also means I’m celebrating lots more time to read…

    • Wow! That is hordes and scads and platoons of young scholars who have passed through your classroom doors. QUITE an accomplishment! Hope you find many excellent books to reward yourself with in the coming years.

  42. Oh, what a celebration! I am so happy at your good fortune! You are right, we have to rejoice at each excuse to pass it on. You’re a star, Grace!

  43. Grace, I like your way of celebrating! I just read Eve’s story last week and I had a lot of fun reading it! I think spending time on entertaining reading is a great mood modifier. Hoping that the business of writing doesn’t get in the way of your fun in bringing your characters and stories to life. 🙂

  44. Ha, 50 prices is a good way of getting looooads of comments… (I wonder how many will follow now that 50 is far reached…)
    Congratulations Grace!!! I am so, so happy for you! I kind of felt you being a bit depressed (if that’s the right word) lately. You do deserve it!!! You do a wonderful job not only in writing but surely in saving children, too!
    I am waiting for very important news myself, so keep your fingers crossed, please!
    As to the topic: I often celebrate big ones with my husband in a way that we don’t want to be disturbed… 😉

  45. I missed the 50 but I just had to say congratulations on everything. I bet you are so thrilled for your daughter. I can imagine how much hard work she put into it. And kudos to you to on all your wonderful news! As to celebrations, I can’t remember the last time I actually celebrated for myself lol. But books are always my way of thinking of just me 🙂

  46. Dear Grace – thanks so much for the gift card! I appreciate it so much and will keep it to purchase your future books. I’ve read everything you’ve already published and have pre-ordered through the Kindle edition of Darius. This was an unexpected surprise in my email tonight and put a big smile on my face! Thanks again, Donna

  47. Dear Grace,

    What a nice surprise to get a gift card in my email account tonight! I immediately pre-ordered DARIUS. Can’t wait to start the new series.

    I’m also looking forward to hearing you and Joanna Bourne on DNAL on Wednesday.

  48. I most likely didn’t make the first 50 comments but I still want to convey my congratulations to you and your lovable offspring.

    And as to how I celebrate victories in life? New clothes and shoes normally is the norm. But cute, cuddly smooches from my own precious, little one is all it takes to savor my life’s triumph.

  49. I’m so relieved to hear it all turned out well for your daughter and for you, Grace! Funny about how we think we’re in bad shape and then we see the conditions of others and breath relief.

    After a hellish past 5 years of personal loss (death, loss of home, loss of family, loss of work, loss of health…yucky-yucky stuff), this past weekend was a huge picker-upper when I was part of a grand opening of an art museum/art institute/art studios complex. (This was an established and respected group of artists who had been displaced from another town where the shifting city council became more interest in making more money than in breaking even with the arts.) I now have a studio again-Yay! My main celebration was recognizing the joy on so many relieved faces, especially that of the woman who masterminded the move. (OMG, what a woman!)

    I celebrated again later with dinner out with husband and another couple, which actually ended up with me listening to the couple talk about their major interpersonal problems. My ego felt like this was a bummer after such a high energy and symbolic day… but then I realized I was one very lucky, lucky, lucky girl because I didn’t have this kind of partner stress at home. The way I see it, we can go through horrible loss, and we’re screwed up while we acclimatize, but with the right kind of attitude we pop back up bigger and better, just like that art museum complex. And that gets to the best kind of celebration: giving oneself inner pats on the back for seeing and acting with clarity and integrity.

    And yes, yay for you Grace, for doing this again and again in this blog and in your books. Wonderful role modeling.

  50. Thank you so much, Grace! I was sure I’d missed the wild rumpus since when I posted it said you already had 55 posts. 🙂

  51. Thank you so much for that golden nugget! I needed to see that today. I have been looking for a new author to read. I like historical romance and enjoy the way your story unfolds befor my eyes. You don’t tell your readers what happens, we just experience it. I so appreciate the challenge of learning new vocabulary. I have the dictionary at the ready!

  52. I celebrate by taking time for myself. Going to a spa or store I have wanted to visit but I have not had the time.

    PS. My favorite hero has been Valentine. perhaps because I love the piano.

  53. Just dropping by to say that I just discovered you due to you being the free book yesterday on the Nook. I loved it and am looking forward to reading more or your delightful books.