Ten Awesome Things :: 2015 Edition

Tonight, my family and I are in Wisconsin celebrating a quiet New Year's Eve Around the World. It's become a tradition to choose a different country each year that inspires our menu. This year, we celebrated Italian style. We had antipasto and spaghetti and balsamic bruschetta and cookies with cannoli dip. There's a bottle of Prosecco chilling in the snowbank. If the kids can stay up (who am I kidding?), they will ring in the new year with Italian sodas.
It's been a good year. I'm grateful for so many things, especially my family and friends and the supportive writing community. My days are full, but I wouldn't want it any other way.


Here's a list of Ten Awesome Things that Happened in 2015, in no particular order:

10. Toad started drum lessons and joined the middle school jazz band and both kids are continuing with piano. There's a lot of music in our house.

9. Birdy joined Cheer, which is a new world for me, but the fact that she is so HAPPY makes me happy.

8. Trips to the lake - we were so lucky to spend so much time this year at various lakes around Minnesota and Wisconsin - time along Lake Superior in Duluth, a quick trip to Mille Lacs Lake for me, a week at Placid Lake in Hayward, WI, some time at Breezy Point Resort on Pelican Lake, and a weekend at Cragun's on Gull Lake in November. (2016 is looking good for this, too!)

Brighton Beach, Lake Superior

We met an old friend on the streets of Nisswa

7. Our day at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival is always one of my favorite days of the year. It's magical.

6. Star Wars: The Force Awakens. We went as a family the night before the official premiere and my heart was overflowing with joy at the fact that these people share my love of Star Wars.

5. Scouts - the kids are having a great time in their Troops and I've become more involved.

4. My work schedule has been really flexible and now I'm able to work from home every afternoon.

3. The YA Buccaneers and The Swanky Seventeens have allowed me to make even more connections in the writing community.

2. I read some really amazing books this year.

1. My book deal, announced in May. My YA novel THE LAST THING YOU SAID will be published by ABRAMS - Amulet Books in spring of 2017. It's my dream come true. 

As I look ahead to 2016, I'm keenly aware of the busy-ness of my life lately, and I want to slow down the pace a bit. I'm involved in a lot of organizations and volunteer opportunities, and while I want to continue with them, I know that if I don't trim my to-do list, my stress level will increase and my health will suffer.

So I'm going to continue with a practice I started mid-year. Each morning, I write down Three Good Things from the previous day, decide what one thing I'll do to decrease stress (which could mean meditating or doing yoga or crossing something non-essential off my to-do list), and decide what one thing I'll do to work toward my dream. I'm going to take it a step further and be more consistent with daily meditation and trying to work in exercise.

Overall, my goal for the year is to SIMPLIFY. That's my word for 2016. I may have a lot on my plate, but there are things I can do to work toward my goal to simplify - starting with the things that clutter up our home and our lives. I'm going to work hard this year to reduce our belongings and simplify our routines.

Like this year, 2016 is going to be a good one.

Best wishes for an amazing year.


  1. SIMPLIFY is a fantastic goal for 2016. Hope it's a great year for you and your family!


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