2017 is here! And if you ask me, it couldn’t have come soon enough. It seemed every time I clicked on Yahoo news or Flipboard, there was more bad news: mass shootings, natural disasters, deadly attacks, Zika virus, police shootings, riots, drugs, violence, politics, conspiracies; the list goes on and on. My own household was turned upside down when my daughter was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. It was a faith-testing time for all of us.
I must admit, it took me some time to recall some of the good things that happened in 2016. I turned 50 this year. I’m not sure if this should be moved to the previous paragraph or not. LOL. But I’m happy to be here, still sticking together, as my grandmother used to say. My son, Coby, turned 21. He is a junior at Ole Miss studying Geological Engineering. He was selected by his teachers to be the student ambassador for the Geology department. What an honor! He finally has a girlfriend that has lasted longer than 3 months. We’ve met her twice. My youngest daughter, Zoe, is a freshman in high school. She has made the transition nicely. She still loves film and all things YouTube. I can see a little bit of testiness in her, but that’s to be expected. She’s still way kinder and sweeter than I was at that age. My middle daughter, Shelby, who was diagnosed with Crohn’s, leaned on her faith this year. She showed me how strong and resilient she is. I witnessed her praying firsthand, and using her prayer language to help her get through this difficult time. I prayed earlier this year that she would be a delightful land (Malachi 3:12) and upon completing one of her medical procedures, the doctor said, “She is such a delight.” For a child who is hardly ever sick, to endure two medical procedures and a lengthy recovery, she remained positive and confident that the Lord would see her through, even laughing and joking with the doctors and nurses. We are thankful to God for all the small and large miracles we experienced at every turn. Thank you Dr. Patel and GI Care for Kids, Dr. Ambroze and Dr. Ani.
My husband, Will, continues to be the kind, giving person I married twenty three years ago. This year he became the minister over Lionheart children’s ministry. The kids absolutely love him. The man who said he only wanted to have one child is now responsible for the spiritual growth of over 50 children (and counting). He surprised me again this year by pulling off a fantastic 50th birthday celebration for me. Despite my fluctuating temperament and temperature (welcome to 50!), Will is always right there holding all the pieces together and doing his best to make me and everyone around him smile.
As for me, here are some of the things I accomplished in 2016:
- Re-released Breathe for Me – 5 year anniversary edition
- Cobb EMC and Gas South once again sponsored me for literacy week where I visited 5 different schools and conducted writing workshops for over 2,000 students.
- I released my first ever illustrated children’s book, “Morris Says, ‘I’m Not Afraid’” I am ecstatic about the early reviews.
- My after-school program had a record number of students enrolled. Murdock Elementary loves Fun Creative Writing. This is our third year there.
- I officially launched Writers Tablet, my professional writing and mentorship business.
- Worked with 5 new clients this year, published one book, created several websites, and mentored several new and established writers.
- I finally started blogging. My blogs were featured on other well established blogger sites!
2016 brought many disappointments as well. We lost loved ones close to us and celebrated Hollywood stars. My dear Prince left us too soon (tear!). People around the world grew colder. Their patience and decency waned. But with each catastrophe, we called on God more, prayed more, and in some cases, unified. I am thankful for all of the experiences 2016 brought – good and bad. I am thankful for my family and friends, and for my fabulous team of professionals that support Fun Creative Writing: Kesha, Donnetta, Desiree, and Breawna. I am thankful for all the charities that are making a difference: Better Day Giving, Community Teen Coalition, World Vision, National Association for Children of Alcoholics, Must Ministries. I am especially thankful for you and for all of the encouraging stories you share with me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or the old fashion way – via phone. I am thankful that we are staying connected and doing life together, one tweet, post, or picture at a time. Happy 2017!