My last week in my 30s

When I was a little girl, my parents always chose to wait until the 2nd week of December to put the tree up. My birthday is Dec. 7, and they wanted to make sure I didn’t feel like my birthday was absorbed by the holiday. I love Christmas, though! Waking up to a Christmas tree on my birthday is the best way to wake up. When I found out this was their reasoning, I put a stop to that quick. Now I have a tree before my birthday every year.

This year, I needed it. I wasn’t feeling too Christmasy, and when the hubby suggested we put the tree up, I was less than enthusiastic. I forced myself to do it, though. He put the tree up, I put on the Christmas music, then we both placed our favorite ornaments on the tree. It was exactly what I needed to get me out of my funk and remind me of what matters. Some of the ornaments are from his past life with his son and first wife. Some of mine are from my days as a single mom before I knew him. Some are ones we’ve bought together in the decade we’ve known and loved each other. All are memories that led us to this day, this hour, this moment when setting up a tree together is just a regular thing to do, but years ago it was unimaginable. This life, it’s perfect. Sure, there are times when I’m not myself, my expectations aren’t met, and things feel heavier than they should. However, I prayed for this life, and I got it. I got the man who loves me with his whole heart, the home that is always warm and bright, the writing nook to capture creativity, even the day job, the one that sometimes feels overwhelming as I chase my author dream – I prayed for it, and I’m blessed.

This is my last week of my 30s, a decade that has held the most growth and answered prayers of my life. My 20s were terrible, filled with abuse, divorce, child loss, poverty, uncertainty, and an identity crisis as I tried to figure out who I was and what I wanted. My 30s were made up of new love, new possibilities, new hopes, and the realization that my dreams were closer than I ever imagined. If my 30s were this great, I can only imagine what my 40s will bring. I’m excited. Bring it. 🎄

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10 gift ideas for book lovers (plus, some exciting news!)

crissiwriter
What I look like when I wake up at 5 a.m. every morning to write. Zzzz…

After 30 days of writing furiously during National Novel Writing Month, I’ve done it. I’ve finished the rough draft of my next novel! Rough, of course, is the operative word. Unlike last year’s novel that just sort of flowed onto the page, this year’s novel has a few rough edges I plan to smooth out in the editing process. But that’s the beauty of writing a rough draft. It’s not about making something beautiful. It’s about creating the bones of a story, and then chipping away at it until the magnificence of the story is revealed.

One thing became clear as I neared the end of writing of this first draft: this story cannot be told in one book. Around day 25, I realized that there was a bigger issue my characters hadn’t realized, and it needed to be addressed. So when I wrote my last word to the first novel on Nov. 29, I took the next day off to plot my course. Then, on Dec. 1, I began writing the sequel.

This means there is some exciting developments for those of you who are fans of The Road to Hope (or are gearing up to read this novel). There will be not one, but TWO books to look forward to reading in the next year that continues Maddie’s story! I plan to release the books close together to ensure there’s no long wait between stories. My goal is to publish by summer of 2017, but really, there’s no set date yet. As soon as I have a date locked in, I will let you know.

In other news, with Christmas coming around, I encourage all of you to put a few books under the tree. Here are 10 gift ideas for book lovers:

Happy start to the holiday season! And happy reading!
loving