We say good-bye to 2017 and reflect on what the year has brought.

As 2017 draws to a close, I’m reflecting upon everything that happened during the year. It was a year of great joy, firsts, and a flurry of activity. My husband and I were talking about the coming new year last weekend, and neither of us feel like it should be December yet.
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My mom orchestrated a family vacation in June that encompassed several states. Mom, my husband, my sister, my nephew, and I all piled into a minivan and drove for hours and hours. We visited Kentucky, Illinois, Ohio, Indiana, and parts of Missouri we’d never seen. We visited four museums in three states in four days. We visited the Ark Encounter, the Creation Museum, Wright-Patterson U.S. Air Force Museum, and the New Madrid Historical Museum. We also drove by a castle in Lexington, Kentucky, which was one of my favorite parts of the trip. I love castles!

Shortly after returning home from our trip with Mom, my granddaughter was born in July. She is my precious princess whom I’m certain I will unabashedly spoil rotten. She’s already scooting around in her walker. The girl loves her independence. I have it on good authority that she’s fussy when she’s somewhere without her walker.

A month later we celebrated my grandson’s 1st birthday. That was the day he walked across the room by himself for the first time. Words cannot express my pride in him. He’s my little pistol. The boy only knows one speed – fast. He actually sat down beside during our Christmas celebration for about 45 seconds. I felt honored that he sat next to me that long. If I could bottle that energy, I’d never need to work again.

My husband and I took a little trip down south to celebrate our 18th wedding anniversary in October. We dug for diamonds in Murfreesboro, Arkansas. While we were there, my husband mentioned that he’d never been to Louisiana. We were very close to the Arkansas/Louisiana state line. So, I drove him to Shreveport, Louisiana. I had been to Louisiana before, but not to Shreveport, so it was a first for both of us. We saw some alligators and acted like the tourists that we were.

In addition to family events, I devoted the vast majority of my spare time to my writing. I attended three writers conferences and two writers retreats. I placed in 11 writing contests and enjoyed four publications. My latest publication was just released this month, Legends: Passion Pages. My story, “Once Upon a Winter Storm,” is on page 198. I just received my order of books yesterday, and this is a gorgeous journal.

2017 is also the year I finally started this blog, which has become my labor of love. Ozarks Maven has made a huge difference in my life. I love sharing with you, my readers. I look forward to writing my posts three times a week. Checking my readership map has become one of my favorite pastimes. Ozarks Maven has been read in 16 countries and has over 100 Facebook followers. Not too shabby for a blog that is only five months old. Thank you!

My family had great sadness in 2017, too. My father-in-law passed away last spring. He was a good man who always thought I rocked the boat too much. He was always telling me, “Go along to get along,” and “Find a job with a pension and work there until you retire.” As you know, jobs with pensions are pretty rare these days, but he was happy when I told him I was investing in a 401-K and then later a 403-B. He was a very smart man with a heart of gold. I miss him terribly.

We were very worried about my mother-in-law, but she has proven herself stronger than anyone gave her credit. She misses him, of course, but she has not shut herself away in the house as we feared. She still goes to the Senior Center for lunch nearly every day and to church on Sunday. She still comes to our little soirees as long as they aren’t outside her geographic comfort zone. Every once in a while she will tell me how long he’s been gone and that she misses him. We all feel his loss, but know that he is in a better place now.

I’m looking forward to 2018 and the new adventures it will bring. I usually keep New Year’s Resolutions to only one or two. At this point in time, I really can’t think of anything that I actually need to make into a resolution. Perhaps this year, I will play it by ear.

HAPPY NEW YEAR, EVERYONE!


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