"I don't have to chase extraordinary moments to find happiness--it's right in front of me if I'm paying attention and practicing gratitude." Brene Brown
You know that feeling when you've been away for the weekend with friends who feed your soul with their authenticity and vulnerability, and you feel seen and heard and connected? And you return home and see with fresh eyes the abundance of your life? You knew it before, but somehow it is more poignant, sweeter, richer. You see with new clarity how the routines of your life are beautiful in their simplicity.
This morning it was the way Emerson's hair covered her entire face when I went in to wake her. She held her little stuffed cat held tightly in her arms. When I brushed her hair from her face and told her it was time to get up, she smiled and looked up at me with those eyes that could melt the hardest heart.
My scrambled eggs turned out just the right amount of fluffy.
As Cliff and I were talking through a few details of the day, I stepped backward and almost tripped over Thor—one of our five cats. I stumbled and flailed my arms Lucille Ball-style, which knocked my water bottle onto the floor, scaring Thor. He darted across the room like a coyote was after him. We laughed. Hard. In that way we do about the cats, which is ridiculous because they’re not that funny and the kids make fun of us, but we don't care. It’s just us. Us. Partners, friends, smitten spouses—with our inside jokes and stackable memories and this work of parenting and running a house and tackling big jobs and being so in love we feel eighteen again. Crazy cat people. Us.
Later, at the gym, I rocked out at Zumba like nobody was watching and the music coursed through my muscles and heart. My life has room for dancing and exercising. My body can still bust a move. It may not be pretty, but it makes me feel alive and vibrant. Even sexy. A little sexy.
Now, at my desk. The birds chirp outside my office window. Mittens sits on her pillow purring her broken purr. I will soon open the latest manuscript and do work I love.
All these simple moments that add up to a contented life.
And I’m grateful.
It's been six years since "Riversong" launched in April of 2011. My personal and professional life have been a lesson of highs and lows ever since. I'm in such a happy place now in my personal life, married to a great man and building a life with our four kids and five cats, one day at a time.
I've grown tremendously as a writer, and although I’m not where I want to be, we're steadily building a loyal readership. Beyond sales and sales rankings, I never forget the most important aspect of my work is that I continue to improve, growing that much closer to mastering the craft of storytelling. Creating compelling work that I can be proud of will always be my priority.
I'm excited to finally have "Riversnow" out in the world. I've ruminated on this book for years. Literally, years. When I finally sat down to write it, the story came easily. Well, easily, if you count the three years I tossed it around in my mind. It's a story close to my heart and one that seems important to tell, especially given the news of late. Men in high positions use their power and money to get away with harassing and assaulting women. As much as we wish it were not so, it is. In "Riversnow" I'm able to seek vengeance for not only my character, Gennie, but for all the real women who have suffered at the hands of cruel and deceptive men.
I've known several women who have endured the same horrific sexual assault as my character, Gennie. They were on my heart as the story unfolded, whispering in my ear - do this one for us. I did.
Thank you to all my loyal readers and friends. Your support, encouragement and love have meant so much over the years. As exciting as it was six years ago to launch my first book - an experience unlike any other - it is with a sense of calm and contentment that I release my tenth. I'm vain, you know, so I haven't particularly savored aging. However, as an artist, the years bring assurance that my craft improves, my soul deepens, my mind expands. Hard work is its own reward. This I know for sure.