A Good Year

I’ve been making photo albums for my family of the past year and I’m short hundreds of photos from losing my camera twice (twice!?!) in the past year, but of the pictures I do have, I am reminded of what an incredible year it has been.

The first six months of 2010 were really difficult as I continued to battle baby blues and baby weight and the sense that I’d still lost me. Over the summer I slowly began to feel better but I was struggling with writing my Harlequin and wondering when the writing itself would become easier. Then late August arrived and I kicked off all my She’s Gone Country promo, and that’s when it all fell into place.

You, my readers, were so amazing. You made me realize that no matter what happens in the publishing world, no matter what happens next in my career, I’ve done what I set out to do–write books I enjoyed, connect with women who loved books as much as I do, and create a circle of friends who are loving and generous and supportive of other women. And you are all that and more.

Below is another photo from one of my reader dinners, this time at Nava in Buckhead, Georgia. We were a small but mighty group and it was so much fun. I’d only just flown in and Atlanta traffic was crazy and I was late getting to the restaurant and yet once I was there…heaven.  Thank you to my readers and friends for making time to join me for dinner!

Reader Dinner at Nava in Buckhead
Reader Dinner at Nava in Buckhead

And to keep the festive feeling going, I’m going to share an opportunity to enter a really fun contest over at Chick Lit is Not Dead. Liz and Lisa of Chick Lit is Not Dead have been so very supportive of me and my books and they’re hosting a fantastic contest right now. To get all the details and enter, visit Liz & Lisa’s Favorite Things Holiday Giveaway! at Chick Lit is Not Dead.

I’m also doing a fun two day contest. I’ve got a soft fleecy robe, a couple wonderful Christmas reads, a Seattle tea pot and more for one of my readers. How to win? Just fill me in on things! Tell me what’s going on, or how your shopping is going, or even what’s stressing you out. (Personal note– I had a rough morning. I was soooooo stressed earlier this morning. My brain was having a complete melt-down and my heart was just racing. But an hour later after talking to my pal Megan Crane I started to chill out, realizing that problems do sort themselves out and me freaking out doesn’t help. In fact, freaking out just made everything worse! 🙁 )

So how are you? Things good? Need to light a wonderful scented candle, sit with a cup of tea, and just chill? Tell me what’s going on and you’re entered. I’ll draw the winner’s name Monday morning so good luck and have a great–stress free–weekend!!

81 Comments

  1. Hi Jane,

    I’m trying to write my year-in-review poem for my Christmas cards so I can hand deliver a couple early tomorrow morning (after figuring out how to lay them out onto the actual cards, and then decorate them)! No pressure there! (Liar, liar, pants on fire!)

    Shopping is almost done. Bought stuff on sale all year long, and went to our two favorite stores’ 20% off sales to “fill in the blanks”. I think it’s just stocking stuffers left, but I have to write it all down before I know for sure. Maybe on Sunday….

    Thanks so much, Jane, for sharing your amazing life with all of us. I swear we live vicariously through your blogs! You offer all of us such extravagant “bonuses”, and I hope you too have lots of bonuses in life!

    1. Well, the Christmas cards were done (I do them over the Thanksgiving weekend) and every single present has been bought as of today.

      I’m actually more stressed about finishing up classes next week (I teach two ENG 101’s and two other online English classes) and I have a lot of papers to correct. Normally, I enjoy doing this (as much as you can enjoy doing something like this). But my students have been little ingrates and the rudeness has been off the charts. And it’s hard to motivate yourself to do anything for ingrates. Oy.

      Plus, we’re saving for a house’s downpayment (the more downpayment that equals 20%, the nicer the house, right?) that we need to buy by May and this month’s budget is shot to heck due to holiday food, gifts, and traveling.

      But I’ll find my calm. I got a new cookie-scented candle today, I’ve got a backlog of Hulu shows to watch, and I’ll be immersing myself with both in a few minutes.

      Happy Christmas Jane!
      -S.

  2. I posted in the wrong spot (a symptom of the stress!). Here it is again:

    Well, the Christmas cards were done (I do them over the Thanksgiving weekend) and every single present has been bought as of today.

    I’m actually more stressed about finishing up classes next week (I teach two ENG 101’s and two other online English classes) and I have a lot of papers to correct. Normally, I enjoy doing this (as much as you can enjoy doing something like this). But my students have been little ingrates and the rudeness has been off the charts. And it’s hard to motivate yourself to do anything for ingrates. Oy.

    Plus, we’re saving for a house’s downpayment (the more downpayment that equals 20%, the nicer the house, right?) that we need to buy by May and this month’s budget is shot to heck due to holiday food, gifts, and traveling.

    But I’ll find my calm. I got a new cookie-scented candle today, I’ve got a backlog of Hulu shows to watch, and I’ll be immersing myself with both in a few minutes.

    Happy Christmas Jane!
    -S.

    1. Hi Susan,
      I’m a high school counselor & I know all too well how unappreciative kids can make you feel. But, the holidays are coming, so look to the time off. Hope the new year will be a fresh start:)
      Stephanie

  3. I haven’t even started shopping yet for my 2 kids who are 16 and 20-been trying to keep afloat just keep the roof over my head, if it wasn’t for my dad helping out, and the little baking I do selling my banana bread. I keep alot inside for I’m the type of person who works things out on her own. Things are looking up for God is good and I have great faith in him..And a good church family. Anyways, hope things are better for you and glad that Megan was around to hear you out. I really don’t have a really true girlfriend but I do talk with a few girl’s from church but I don’t always call them even though I can..have a nice weekend and I hope that we both won’t be so stressed out…I’m sure going to try and relaz and get a few moments to curl up and read a good book.I love to hear what’s going on with you and your household, your a good friend and good person!love ya…

  4. Awww, Jane — here’s a virtual {{{hug}}}. It’s rather cold outside. I just came in from meeting friends for lunch and now I’m having coffee and peach pie. Then I’m going to “try” and get all the Christmas stuff out of the basement so when my daughter comes home, we can continue decorating the house. I’m skipping all the job hunting today –it’s making my brain hurt and maybe I can keep a little bit more of my hair on my head =D

  5. Hi Jane.
    I’m feeling a little stressed myself. I’m trying to finish my holiday shopping, finish decorating in the short time left before Christmas, and am also anxiously awaiting the arrival of my son’s admission letters from a few schools.
    Always,
    Melinda

  6. hope your day is going great! i am so glad we are having a warmer day today so i can take the boys to the lake to see all the Christmas decorations they have up. it will be getting colder/snowy for us on sunday. i got good results from my blood tests i have to have every two months (to keep vitamins and minerals in check). shopping is ALL done; always do it when i am feeling good. tree is up. when i am “stressing” i like to curl up on the chair, read a book, or watch a “girl” movie (as my boys call them)and/or talk to my best friend on the phone. take care, and have a great weekend!

  7. Things are pretty stressful at school because it’s the holidays and everyone’s loading everything on us at once, but I’m still excited for the season 🙂

    Stephanie

  8. Hi Jane,

    I am actually not that stressed right now.
    I still have not decorated for Christmas and we still have no tree but life is good and I have time to read great novels and bake Christmas cookies and just meet good friends for coffee.

    I look forward to a tree and getting decorations up, but that can happen soon enough.

    I hope you and the Family have a great Christmas.

  9. I haven’t done any of my shopping yet – ugh – but I did get four Christmas cards mailed out today 🙂 My sons have finals next week and their hockey tournament is tomorrow…a little crazy around here but I love the holiday season and the beautiful Colorado snow…mmmm where’s that cup of hot tea 😉 Happy Holidays!!

  10. I’m feeling a little stressed out. I still have some more shopping to do. I’m not really looking forward to hitting the stores this weekend.

  11. Hey there

    Today I took photos of 8 classes for my kids yearbook, got groceries and took a nap with the baby before picking up the big girls from ballroom practice. Now, it’s on to making snacks, squeezing in some exercise, catching a stray lizard that came in to get warm, taking my middle to swim team practice then sushi night with my brother.

    It’s busy but at least I’m on break with my masters program. It’s a whole lot easier to just work and take care of the family than adding school into the mix as well. Need to finish xmas cards and send those out as well.

    Take care Jane. You’re right, stressing out sucks.
    Gibb

  12. This is the stressful time of year and even though we all know when it comes, we tend to wait till the last minute to finalize it all. Luckily I have all my gifts and just need to wrap them and do my baking. My biggest stresser is getting the house cleaned up and ready for guests. Someday I’d like to gut this house and get rid of stuff from all the kids who are grown now. I can’t make it the New Years resolution because that’s always the same every year…to lose weight….LOL

  13. Jane,
    It is so easy to get stressed this time of year. Just remember how much we have to be thankful for and enjoy!!
    I did a little Christmas shopping today and I do mean little.
    I look forward to taking a few days off at Christmas to de-stress and re-energize.
    Hope you have a great weekend.

  14. I have been cleaning the house and I washed the dog today.
    I have been reading a Linda
    Conrad book that I got this week.

    I am Happy to say I am 95% finished with my Christmas shopping. All I can say is thank goodness for online shopping.

  15. Problems do have a very funny way of sorting themselves out! I shared on my blog a few days ago about what a bad week I was having, but my blogging friends & other friends cheered me up! I would love to win a soft, fleecy robe and a teapot. How wonderful! I am looking forward to the reader dinner in Minneapolis.

    Sending you lots of holiday love!

  16. So far, things haven’t been too stressful. The house is finally decorated, and most of the presents are bought or ordered. Nothing is wrapped yet, so I will probably end up in a marathon wrapping session.

    Tonight I am cooking to prepare for the first of the family gatherings. Sunday we are going to our church’s Christmas Cantata.

    Jane, I wish you and all readers here a wonderful holiday season filled with love and family!

  17. Well, Jane, your are not the only one to be stressed out. I had a really bad day yesterday as when I got back after trying to cram some Christmas shopping into my busy days, I found that somebody had smashed the rear light of my car and left on the window a piece of paper that said call me with a number.
    Well the number was bogus and I am stuck with a $200 bill. Nice early Christmas present! What got me the most is that I would have more respect for somebody that actually hit and run than for a person who adds insult to injury leaving a false number.
    I was really sad to realize how many dishonest people there are out there.

    Anyway, on the bright side, nobody was hurt and that’s something to be thankful for.

    A big hug from a stressed out friend to another.

    Merry Christmas Jane!

  18. I hope this is the one I win! 🙂 I feel relaxed just reading the prize description. lol

    I am in the midst of getting organized for Christmas. I am probably a little behind, but am not freaked out about it yet!

    I’m going to take a cue from Scarlett and worry about that another day.. Tonight, my husband will be home soon and is taking me to dinner and tomorrow we’ve planned to go runnning and go to a movie. It should be a nice weekend.

    Hope you have a good one!

  19. I’m having some unexpected down time and I’ve been spending it trying to relax by reading and watching shows that have been on my DVR forever! 🙂

  20. Just try to relax. I keep telling myself the same thing. But, I always get stressed out this time of year. I did get all my shopping done before Thanksgiving, so at least that part is over. I’m not doing any decorating this year as I have a 8 month old kitten who still seems to slip and slide around the house and I’m afraid she may break something. My dream would be for the entire family to get together just one time for Christmas. That hasn’t happened since I was a very young. I’m really looking forward to the new year to come and hope this one will be the better one for all of us.

  21. I am staying organized and trying to get things done slowly. Cooking, baking and preparations each day for the holidays. Have a lovely weekend and enjoy your family.

  22. As you know since we met in September I have had the honor and privilege of becoming a grandmother for the first time. Now almost two months into it, I can say without a doubt that it is such delight to hold that little one and read, sing or rock (Or all of that) her to sleep. Her Grampa and I try to go see her at least once a week and give her mom some time off. Today we just got home from a visit and got a phone call saying the washing machine at her house is broken and she is wearing cloth diapers. Her mother is hand wringing out the diapers tonight and hopefully will get the machine fixed soon. She could sure use some TLC right now, so I would pass the gifts on to her.

    Hope your stress level continues to come down and the love you give to all of us comes back to you many times over.

  23. It helps my stress level to read your blog Jane and the subsequent posts. I have definitely been stressed lately. My husband always seems to be overseas during the holiday time frame making preparations that much harder. He’s been gone since mid-November but will be back in time for Christmas. It has been hectic trying to get leaves done in our yard as well as my enterprising son’s leaf business for half the street (!) and housework, errands, working part-time and kids’ acivities. On top of this my mother is terminally ill and moved across the country to our hometown in Ohio. Dealing with all her medical issues and healthcare and financial woes has been very stressful not to mention the emotional aspect of her prognosis.

    But I have great friends who have been there to listen and lend a hand and my husband has been wonderful texting me and talking on Skype to get me through it all!

    Here’s to a stress-free rest of the holiday season!

  24. Hi Jane! Don’t enter me in your contest- I already won one of those wonderful robes and other goodies but I’m still gonna fill you in on a wonderful bit of good news we’re having here in Kentucky.

    We’ve found the perfect commercial building to buy to expand hubby’s business but the great thing about it is that it’s an old school- big brick building that’s about 26,000sqft- on ten acres that will be renovated to house several small businesses- something our little town desperately needs. So that’s kind of exciting. We’re also going to turn the room that was once a library into a youth rec center for the area kids to come hang out and play games or get some tutoring if they need it. I’m super excited about it.

    So needless to say, busy, busy, busy here. Big hugs to you and yours. Merry Christmas and God bless!
    Danielle

  25. Hi Jane,
    I empathize with you so much. You should be proud of yourself for all you have surpassed and accomplished this year, and for all you continue to do! To be honest, the best day I’ve had in a long time was your luncheon (something totally for me). Since Nov. 14th, I’ve been stressed trying to juggle work (counseling high schoolers) and going back and forth between my sons’ two schools and traveling to the medical center to get their re-evals done so that I can make sure the schools do the right things for them. On top of it, my husband hasn’t been feeling right & he’s been going for various tests these past 2 weeks. I finally dragged myself to the doctor on Monday & am on a heavy antibiotic to hopefully cure this never-ending sinus infection. I’ve been running on empty & in a male dominated house (as I know you understand), I often look for just a little bit of solitude, but it is very hard to find these days. However, I did manage to finish decorating (took a week)& I have an egg nog scented candle in my dining room that is just amazing. I walk in there every night just to smell it before I go to bed. I know it may sound strange, but there is something calming about it. The other good thing is that I finally sat down last night to write out bills, checks for my sons’ school functions, and, your check for World Vision. I will finish my email to you tomorrow morning (only because I really want to try to get to sleep a little earlier tonight-lol)and put the check in the mail…again, I apologize for the delay. I hope you have a great weekend with all of your boys!
    Love ya,
    Stephanie

  26. This is has been a crazy Fall/beginning of Winter for me. I started grad school with two classes toward my education degree and between that and my full time job life has been so hectic! Hectic, but good! I have ended up quitting my full time job to begin grad school full time and I will substitute teach part time for income, kinda scary but so exciting!
    I hate to wish time away but I can’t wait for this year to be over so I can really dig in to teaching and get into the classroom! 🙂

  27. Yes, it has been a stressful day. I’ve been battling a sinus problem for two months so I finally broke down and went to the doctor today thinking to get something to clear them up, wrong. I find out that I’m developing pneumonia in one lung and my heartrate is too fast and my blood pressure too low and I could have a heart attack. I wanted to asked him if he took over the grim reapers job, talk about stressful. So I had to go have an ekg and chest x-ray. I have no idea how they went, but I’ll be taking antiobiotics for the potential pneumonia. He asked if I knew how to take my pulse and to keep checking it and if it got fast and didn’t slow down to get to the hospital. Now tell me, what’s more stressful than telling you that. I’ll be checking my pulse every few minutes now. Well, other than that, I’m through with my shopping. Have a happy holiday season everyone.

  28. i love reading other peoples coments- lots going on with everyone! me, nothing but brain farts this week but those too shall pass : ) [ha! i just made a joke!!]

  29. Oh Jane, hang in there baby! We all are here for you. I, myself, have felt those same feelings too. As women we expect so much from ourselves and let’s face it we are the glue that holds our family together. Without us, things just fall apart. When things get a little funky just tell yourself, “I AM HUMAN, I AM INVINCIBLE, I AM WOMEN, HEAR ME ROAR!!” LOL!
    For me, Christmas is usually overwelming but this year I don’t have that feeling. Maybe because my granddaughter who is 15 months makes life so enjoyable. Seeing things through her eyes is wonderful. The world for her is a great big AHHHH! I love it.
    Today is my daughter Tristan’s birthday… she’s 28 today. Happy Birthday Trissy Poo.

    Life is good.

    Happy Holidays Everyone!!
    XOXO, Lisa

  30. Sounds like a wonderful contest.

    I haven’t bought one gift yet, Still have to decorate and finish decorating the tree. It has been a stressful year, mom and aunt had both been in hospital – age 90 and 92 – we put my aunt in a nursing home 2 wks ago and am stressed with all that entails.

    We have my 2 yr old granddaughter who is our pride and joy. So we truly have something wonderful to celebrate.

    I hope everyone has a wonderful and stressfree (as much as that is possible) holiday.

  31. I’m hunkering down waiting for the up to 14 inches of snow forecast this weekend. I’ll be reading, shoveling and hoping my hubby makes it back from Portland where he’s been training for work.

  32. I guess things are going good right now been very busy, trying to get Christmas shopping done, still setting with Father in law a few times a week and trying to get Christmas decorations up and wrapping. Also have some candy to make. Will be picking up son from college this next Friday. He will be home for a few weeks this time. Happy Holidays Jane and family.

  33. Hola Jane!

    Hope you and all your readers are having a festive holiday season. I am busy with my 8 yr old and all of her school choir obligations, xmas parties x 3, finish holiday shopping and now having to deal with the fact that our car was broken into this morning and having to replace all that was broken and stolen. Those rats!! Anyway, I won’t let it get me down, I just take a deep breathe and know that it could be worse.

  34. Hi Jane. The end of this year was pretty stressful for my family. My 6 year old had a heart procedure and a month after that my husband had 2 different surgeries (that we were not expecting.) He finally went back to work after 2 months off, and is doing great. Everyone is healthy now, so that’s what matters the most! We just really hope to not repeat the hospital visits in 2011!!!
    The holidays are always a little tough for me. I think of my Grandparents and how much I miss them and wish they were still alive. My Grandpa’s B Day was on Christmas Eve and we’d always have a huge celebration. I miss that so much. I try to keep my spirits up by keeping busy with my girls. We bake treats for family and friends together like my Grandma did with me. We love to donate to charities and do special things for those less fortunate. That always makes everyone feel great! Next week my girls are going to go caroling through our neighborhood with some friends. I am really looking forward to that. We have a lot to be thankful for. It is easy to get down and depressed, but there is always someone who has it worse. The little things in life mean so much and I try to remind myself that everyday. Have a great weekend, Jane!

  35. Happy Weekend Jane! I always love to see the photos you post of you and your readers. You’ve always got such a big smile proving you are truly happy with what you do. Not many people can say that about their profession, so you are blessed. I’m trying to keep my Christmas spirit going. It hit me early this year, decorating the house the first week of November and then starting my shopping. Now I’m struggling to get those last Christmas cards out and a few more gifts, so I’ll turn on some Christmas music and get moving! Enjoy your weekend!

  36. Hi Jane,
    The holidays always seem to be the busiest time at work for me and this year is no exception. I have a huge project that will be finished (crossing my fingers) and going live on Dec. 24. Not my choice of days but I guess it will be a gift to my community! My son’s basketball is going crazy, game last night, two today and one Monday. Parties to attend, etc. My favorite is my husband asking me if we were doing a Christmas card and why wasn’t it done?!? Really? Like I don’t have enough going on? OK, sorry, that was my rant there.

    So, I’m at at 6 a.m on a Saturday, doing laundry, doing some work and contemplating how to get everything done. Sigh.

    A cup of tea, a warm blanket, snow falling outside the window with a great book is what I am dreaming about. Unfortunately, that’s not in the picture until after Christmas, hopefully!

    I am all over the board this morning so please forgive me. Thanks again for being so generous to your readers. I am thankful for you and your uplifting blog!
    Have a great day!
    Michelle

  37. Hi to a calm Jane from a stressed Robyn!
    I just finished telling my dh that I was done as he didn’t seem to care if we had friends over or to help me get ready for that. I’ll be fine in awhile as I came up to the computer to calm down. He’ll step up soon also.
    Shopping is done, baking is done, most of my wrapping is done; just need to add the extra touches and some cleaning.
    Jane, you are a good hearted person who cares and shares; love that about you. Merry Christmas.

  38. Jane,
    My brother is taking his three sisters out to lunch today in Seattle, a holiday tradition that we all look forward to and he especially enjoys because it is our present from him so he doesn’t have to buy presents. It is always so much fun I go home aching from smiling so much.
    Still have lots to do, but this lunch will get me in the mood to tackle cards and baking cookies, and maybe I can get there early and do a little shopping for gifts on my list. So much to get done, and the days are ticking down!

  39. December is a really busy month for me since I work at Investment House so I work very long hours- this week I worked 60 hours Sunday trough Friday 🙁

    About 2 weeks ago I almost quit my job and the only thing that stopped me from doing it was the fact I need the money and they do pay well- no job is perfect and if I need to put up with a boss that I don’t like at all and I’m being polite because I really can’t stand her or the boss above her.

    Other than work we celebrated Hanukkah and it was really nice- I ate way too much but Jewish holidays are all about food LOL

  40. I need to finish up the rest of my cards; I mailed a lot today. We are getting our tree tomorrow and putting up all our decorations the next two days. I have baking this next week and some last minute gifts to buy. What is stressing me? The fact that my husband is still without a job after a year and I am trying to everything for free or next to it. 🙂

  41. Hi Jane,
    I had a really really difficult trying week. Work was busy and stressful, getting ready to switch to Electronic Medical Records vs paper!! yippie!
    Missing my Aunt, this is the first Christmas without her, trying to be supportive to my cousins.
    Trying to finish decorating the house, will do the tree tomorrow, and planning my Christmas baking , which makes me happy 🙂
    Looking forward to friday, which will be may last day of work until after Christmas! Yippie!! Reading time!!!would love to spend one day in comfies, with a fire, sipping my fav tea reading . Just started re-reading your books!feels like visiting with old friends!
    Happy Holidays to you and your famiy, and thank you for being so wonderful to all your fans 🙂

  42. Hi Jane:

    Sorry you had such a stressful morning; I had an insane one a few weeks ago and after meeting two friends for coffee (I was so worked-up I didn’t even want to go), the day got much better. Friends make my world go around!!

    Christmas stresses me out in the worst way. I often feel like I can barely keep up with life and my kids. Then for one month there is stress to clean my house to put up decorations of three weeks (if we’re lucky!), buy gifts I can’t afford, write cards we can’t really afford to send…I feel like a Scrooge and the guilt is heavy.

    All the “stuff” we feel obligated into doing/spending doesn’t bring us any closer to the reason for the holiday. It is increasingly difficult to keep that front and center. With two kids, it is my heart’s desire to uphold the fun and joy of the holiday. I won’t “scrooge” them for anything. My mom did it for me and she didn’t even have a husband! I can do it for my kids.

    Overwhelmed is definitely the word. The one great thing I did for myself this year was order “Happy New Year” cards from the photo place. This gives me the week AFTER to write them and the January 1st paycheck to buy the stamps!

    Hope you’re not sorry you asked how we were doing…I still enjoy a small pot of my Texas Turtle coffee a few afternoons a week; it perks me up for the rest of my particularly long days.

    Hope you’re having a great weekend!
    Hugs from Tustin,
    Shannon

  43. We have cut back on how many gifts we are exchanging this year. For this reason only, I am done with my Christmas shopping. I basically only had my Grandkids to buy for, so it was an easy task! I started doing a little holiday baking today. Cookies and some poppyseed bread. Yum! 🙂
    I am trying to do some appliance shopping for my kitchen. The time has come for a new refrigerator and oven. That is my only stress right now…trying to figure out what in the world I want. If that’s my biggest complaint right now, I think I’m doing great! lol

  44. Today the kids and I finished setting up and decorating the tree. It is always such an amazing experience for me. I just love seeing the ornaments the children have made over the years with their class pictures inside. I never realized how much I would end up adoring gold spray painted macaroni or green painted puzzle pieces. Life is good. Really good. It is the little things like that that help me put aside money worries. It helps to remember it is not about what is under the tree, but the other 364 days of love and appreciation. I am truly blessed by the love of my children.

  45. Jane, I wish I was where you are now.

    I had another birthday on Friday and am wondering what my purpose really is.

    I took both my boys for academic testing yesterday – my older one is not doing well were he is and I would love to move him. He has been honor role every quarter and is Honor Society, but is not connected to anything there and has no friends. He has become so withdrawn and ‘withered’. I worry about my younger one going into middle school and I think we could lose the great kid he has become if he did not have the proper challenge academically. He is prone to pushing boundaries and peer pressure if he is not kept well engaged. I am the one that left the testing session in tears because my older one does not test well. If there is a ‘T’ or ‘Q’ at the top of the page, he stresses and his brain shuts down. There is SO much riding on the results of this test.

    My house is trashed. Every time my husband decides to do something, it means I need to shift directions to try to change something that was not currently ‘on the list’. Yesterday, it was the table saw in the garage. I bought a kitchen table on Craigslist to cut down, refinish and make into a larger desktop for my older son. I am grateful that he cut down the table top for me, but he has now decided that he would like to move the location of the table saw in the garage. Now I need to reorganize and move all of the boxes piled waiting for the garage sale in June. I was going to do a big one in September, but the football schedule did not allow for that, so there are a lot of boxes! Now everything on the top of my list has to be moved down for a table saw?!?!!

    As far as holiday decorations go, the tree is up and I have the mantle almost finished. I also found some new lights for outside to replace some that needed to be replaced last year but I couldn’t find any. Outside is almost done, but now with the rain I think I will send my older son out to finish it up. After all, we wouldn’t do outside lights if it weren’t for him. Yesterday I allowed him to string lights on the luggage rack on my car. My car is now very festive – it’s nice to have a regular electrical outlet in there!

    I have been trying to complete a little project to give it to someone early for Christmas. I have it nowhere near finished and feel so much guilt over all the other things that are not done. I saw her yesterday and felt really bad that it wasn’t done; my goal was to give it to her then.

    There are no cards done (didn’t get to that last year either), no idea what to give as gifts this year and can’t seem to get any inspiration.

    I had to renew my library book for the second time. I don’t seem to have time to finish reading it and there are so many others that I would like to read!

    The only thing I can think of that I have finished in a very long time was for the school library. I re-created the Read-A-Thon form for the librarian. I have been tallying all the results for the twice-yearly Read-A-Thons and the new forms should make this job easier. I was happy that I could get them done in time!

    Oh boy, this was long, I am sorry. I think I need a vacation by myself (at home). I am thinking everybody else should leave and I should stay. Think I could get them to leave for two weeks? I feel like I am done.

  46. I am literally snowed in! 17.1″ from our MN blizzard yesterday. It’s -1, -20 windchill. I have a 3′ drift against my back door and can open my front door about 1′. I have plow service so eventually will be plowed out. It’s nice to be retired and not have to be anywhere but inside looking out!

  47. Christmas decorations are up and I have a little more shopping left to do. We have a creek close to our house that is rising and we are on a flood watch all over our state, so that is a little stressful. The rain isn’t letting up anytime soon here, so we’ll see. Having a relaxing day today, even though my to-do list is huge. I feel it’s much needed. I guess my day tomorrow will be extra busy because of my procrastination! 🙂

  48. It’s almost 4 am here. i was so stressing out last night 🙁

    this because, my 4 yos son is sick and he’s always asking me to Hold him. But since i’m holding his 1 month old little brother, i always said ‘ please ask daddy to hold you. mommy can’t hold you coz mommy don’t want your baby brother get sick too. And He cried (T_T)
    Further more, the baby just couldn’t get sleep all day. i don’t know it seems that everything’s wrong for him. My lack of sleep and the tiredness made things worst, and finally I cried.

    Hope this monday will bring any good for all of us !!

  49. i remember you having trouble earlier this year. I always think of life as a roller coaster. It goes up and it goes down. The trick is to get thru the downs. Not so easy sometimes. It helps if you have good support and love. Sometimes i just tell my youngest ( who turns 8 Dec24th) to please give me a hug and man it really does help. I’ve found for the last several years December is a real real big roller coaster. Lots more downs that ups. Seems like all the extra unexpected bills show up this month and anything bad that can happen comes this month too. Luckily i seem to find some good stuff to make it not the worst thing is the world. Right now i have no Christmas decor up at all. Never put one thing outside this year and so far no tree up. Not into it this year. I keep trying but it’s just not happening. I find myself just trying to get thru December. Doesn’t seem right but that’s how it is for me. I only hope it won’t always be like that. I always tell myself no matter how bad i feel it WILL get better. I think it’s a good bit of advice for everyone.

    Lisa B

  50. Well, almost all done shopping. My place of employment just adopted a couple of local families for Christmas and I got some shopping down for them this past weekend. I volunteered to do all the wrapping once everyone brings their donations in, but that doesn’t stress me – it’s one of my favorite parts of the season. Just looking forward to spending time with family; that’s my absolute favorite part of any holiday.

  51. Happy Holidays 🙂

    My goal was to be making cookies and candles… while relaxing with a good cup of tea.. not so much the case. I seem to be running around wondering where all the time has gone and thinking about all I have left to do. Oh well, it will all get done as there is always tomorrow 🙂

  52. I went Friday and “worked” the reception of a funeral of a dear friend of our family. He was 75 and the church was packed. He was the kind of man who made an impact on everyone he came into contact with. The kind of man you would call a true gentleman. The service ended with his grandson saying a a few words that he had written about his poppa. Writing begins at an early age over somethings that make a huge impression on us. Then Saturday I went to my Godson’s fiance’s shower. I am blessed that he has found his soul mate. Life is funny that way. Some things end and other are just beginning. At the shower we were to write advice for a happy marriage. More writing s only this time to start something else. Amazing how the 26 letters can be manipulated for so many events and emotions. They evoked tears of sadness and joy this weekend. Just as your writing does. Thanks Jane!

  53. What has been keeping me busy?! Plenty! I have three girls, ages 5, 2 and 4 weeks. On top of that, my Dad had a stroke the day after Thanksgiving and has spent the last two weeks in Harborview, he was just discharged yesterday to a skilled nursing facility until he is strong enough for rehab. We’ve spent a lot of time on the road back and forth to Harborview and today we were able to catch our breath at church and be reminded of all that we have to be thankful for. Thanks for being honest with your own daily struggles in life.

  54. No matter what happens in the publishing world, I want to keep reading your books. Your books remind me of Jane Eyre, one of my favorite romances of all time, because I feel such empathy with your heroines. While other authors can also make me feel empathy, I think you have Charlotte Bronte’s gift for connecting a reader to your heroine in a deep emotional way.

    I’m thinking about everything I need to accomplish in 2010 and trying not to panic! I may not chill out till 2011.

  55. Jane,

    I’m sorry you had such a stressful morning! Mine usually start out that way because I always oversleep then have to rush.

    Things are going surprisingly well considering it’s that crazy time of year again. Usually right about now I am ready to tear my hair out, but so far so good. We are almost finished Christmas shopping but still have a few things here and there to get. It is our first year hosting Christmas dinner so I think all the stress will come rushing in within the next week when I realize what still needs to be accomplished 🙂 I hope you and your family have a very Happy Holiday!

  56. Hi Jane,
    I am glad you are doing better than the first 6 months of this year. Life can be tough sometimes, sometimes we just need our good friends, to help us through the rough spots!
    You are so sweet and kind. I enjoy reading your writing… books and your blog. Wishing you the Best in the New Year!

    It is my Daughter’s 18th Birthday tomorrow, so we did a little birthday get together today! Wow where does the time go!

    This week I need to finish most of the Christmas stuff, like cards, baking, wrapping, etc. so when family comes next weekend, we can enjoy our time together. 🙂

    I am starting to focus on being the best I can be, which includes working out each week and also pace myself, and stop sweating the small stuff. I know my family will like me more, when I stop taking things so serious. Hopefully I will be able to laugh a little in 2011!

    Thank you Jane for all you do!
    Best wishes to you with your fundraising!

    Hope you will take time and enjoy the Holiday Season!

    Happy Tinsel Time to You and all your Boys! And to a Happy 2011!

  57. Wow, losing your camera 2 times in your life would stink, let alone a year! 🙁
    It’s been pretty busy at work, which is the norm for December. I do need to finish my Christmas shopping since I only have 3 days off of work before Christmas is here. I’m thinking I may resort to online shopping, it’s convenient and no crowd to fight.
    It has been a great year for me. I have a job and I am healthy. I have amazing friends and family. What more can a girl ask for? I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas!

  58. Hi Jane,

    Just sitting here watching Flirting with Forty on LMN and decided to check out your blog during the commercial breaks.

    This year so far has had it’s ups and down, the holiday season has gone very smoothly…so far.

    I have so “big” days in the coming months so I’m looking forward to like Christmas some not so much, like my 40th birthday the day after christmas.

    I also have my oldest son graduating this June which is a lot harder to handle then I thought it would be.

    I hope the rest of 2010 is wonderful and blessed for you and your family.

    Melissa

  59. I have had a really stressful couple of weeks with trying to prepare for Christmas parties, my husband’s 40th b-day party, Christmas shopping, school events, sporting events…but, sigh…things are finally falling into place. A couple of Christmas concerts Tuesday, a couple of gifts, the Christmas cards and I’m good.

    Enjoy the rest of this holiday season and find your joy!

  60. Hi all,

    Good morning…or almost noon!

    I’ve drawn the winner’s name–as well as two runner ups who get some Christmas reads, sweets and other fun little things.

    The winner is:

    #47 2BoyMom

    and the two runner up winners are:

    #17 Sabrina D
    # 56 Mary M

    Will all 3 of you please send me your mail address so I can get your holiday goodies out in the mail?

    Love,

    Jane

  61. Jane,
    Christmas is normally my favorite time of year. I go all out and I love it. This year I’m not really feeling it though. My husband is deployed this Christmas and it is just me and my three boys at home. My mom and sister will be flying in to spend Christmas with us, but with not having my husband home something just doesn’t feel right. So other than that things are great. Christmas shopping is done and I’m ready. I guess I just have to face it head on and say bring in on!!

    Jennifer

  62. Hi Jane,

    I had my shopping done a while ago, I can’t stand the crowds and I’m tired of stressing. Over the last couple of years we’ve dialed back Christmas. Less focus on gifts, more focus on spending time with people who are important and remembering the reason we celebrate in the first place. My biggest stress is figuring out what to bake in December.

    Wishing you and yours a happy holiday and all the best for 2011. Hope we’ll see you in Toronto in 2011 sometime for one of your dinners!

    Cheers
    Caroline

  63. Hi Jane,
    Happy Holidays – I think I got most of my shopping done and now I’m just waiting for my daughter to have my first grandchild. Any day now we will have a new little boy and we are excited. Safe holiday to you and your family.
    Dawn

  64. How are you can be such a loaded question. First of all, I am still bummed that I didn’t get to meet my fave author in Ky when she was down there. Christmas cards all written, just waiting for money for stamps to mail them. I have crafted myself crazy making gifts only to realize that there are some people you can’t make gifts for. So…in a nutshell I am stressed and sad. However, I do count my blessings every day. Really, I do! I have a roof over my head, never go hungry or cold, and I have a wonderful man that loves me for all that I am (quirks and stuff :)). That reminds me…what can I get for him for Christmas? Okay, now stressed again. 😀

  65. Awww thank you for asking! What am I most stressed about? THE WEATHER! We are in an arctic freeze right now. The last few days the wind chill has been well below zero and it is in the single digits for the highs. Too cold to do anything. I do not like when it gets this cold b/c it brings out the SUPER lazy in me. This is January weather, not December. I need to shop and wrap and shop and wrap! HI POINT: tonight and tomorrow night are my children’s winter programs at school. I am so excited. My 6 yr old son is playing bells during his and my 11 yr old daughter is playing her Oboe in band. So proud of them both and I am sure that I will probably shed a few tears for my babies that have grown up WAY too fast.

    Thank you so much for asking how we are. This truly made me smile and I just had to respond. No one really asks that question of us anymore, expecting a real answer. So once I really thought about it, instead of complaining, you made me thankful for so many things in my life. I am truly blessed to have a wonderful family, great friends and SUPERB books to read. What more can a girl ask for?

    Happy Holidays to you!!
    Mindy

  66. Hi Jane,
    This week the STRESS is on. Just yesteday the flu bug hit our house, so far I’m still lucky. I have four children and two of them have Dec. 18th Birthday. So I need to finish birthday shopping, getting ready for two parties and cleaning house. Christmas shopping is close to being done but I need to do all the wrapping before school gets out for the holidays. Then let the baking begin. I hope to squeeze it all in. Wish us luck.
    Merry Christmas to you and your boys.
    Lori

  67. Thank you so much Jane! I can’t believe that I won such a generous package.

    Goodies from you is just about the most wonderful thing to look forward to. I will email you my address right away.

    Congrats also to Sabrina D and Mary M.

  68. Yesterday I took my 4 1/2 year old son (Karson) to see Santa for the 5th time. For the last 5 years he would not go upto see Santa and melt downs always followed our attempts but at last, a have a Santa Picture of my son. It was great. I saw the magic in his eyes and Christmas through a child’s eyes are grand! Shopping is crazy, Tis The Season and remember there is hope for moms out there, take a few minutes and escape through a good read. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. It was great to met you on my Birthday in October in Georgetown Texas with my friends for lunch and the book signing.

  69. Recovering from surgery so moving at a snail’s pace has required major attitude adjustment– I won’t be able to get it all done– but I am grateful my surgery went so well.

  70. Thanks Jane and congratulations to the other two winners.

    I am happy 2BoyMom won. Her post is very moving and she really deserves some me time and some relaxation.

    Merry Christmas to all of you.

  71. Jane,

    My shopping isn’t near done and I feel pretty horrible. Having some issues with BP and Migraines. Most days, I have trouble functioning and doing the most basic of things. I miss working out and I miss feeling like myself. I miss feeling the Christmas spirit. On the plus side, my husband has been amazing. Supporting me and picking up on things that need to be done with no complaints. Hope you are enjoying the season with your boys!! Stay warm!
    Cindy

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