I love to review the year once we’re kicking off a new one. Here’s what stands out from this past one, in no particular order:
1. Weeza Joins the Pack
A young hound dog a beautiful shade of auburn showed up at our property on January 15. She appeared malnourished and abandoned, likely by a hunter who didn’t think she panned out as the huntress hoped. She also presented as abused by her skittish, anxious and distrusting behavior, but she stuck around when we showered her with love, kindness…and food. It took time for her to trust us, but every day she made continuous strides to overcome her fears and give in to all the goodness we could provide. Ultimately, she chose to stick around, and we chose to care for her. It’s been a wonderful, heartwarming and life-affirming true story to witness and take part in. As I shared her story, little Weeza fast became an online sensation, bringing joy to many who bore witness to her brave heart.
2. A Whole Lotta Writing
I wrote a new novel this year—expanding my foray into the domestic suspense category to examine how love and hate are just two sides of the same coin. Currently titled Little Wife Lies, it’s: A husband with anger issues. An unfaithful, scheming wife. When the ugly truth is revealed, only one will be left standing. Editing begins in earnest in 2021. I also wrote a fun “pandemic parody” microvella plus some additional microvellas under a pen name. And I rereleased Skyline Higher, my first novel, under the new title, Falling, with some improvements and a new cover. It received a very nice reception.
3. The Great Outdoors is Always Reliable
Even despite the whole Rona thing, I feel blessed because quarantining and social distancing aren’t discernable from everyday life here in Nature Central. It’s a pretty great place (and a pretty, great place) to live during a world crisis. I'm so grateful for my backyard lake, surrounding woodlands and abundance of fresh water and air. I also managed to get out for a few hiking excursions in both Virginia and West Virginia plus a visit to Natural Bridge, and those outings were definitely restorative. The Great Outdoors and moi? We’re like peas and carrots.
4. Year of Learning
When some work shifted out of my hemisphere due to the pandemic, I delved into a lot of learning—related to writing, marketing or personal growth—that was often achieved through webinars or online classes. When life hands you lemons, better get to making some lemonade and do something productive or worthwhile with the hand you’ve been dealt.
5. Significant Health Decline then Reboot
The perfect storm of injury and malady, gym closures and inhaling copious amounts of pandemic ice cream caused my health to significantly deteriorate on multiple levels, not to mention tip the scales to a worrisome place. In desperation, I tried something, well, desperate. In short order, the great reversal and reboot was On Like Donkey Kong. In the final third of the year, I lost close to 45 pounds and over 45 inches and all discernible health metrics had improved. My lifelong gut issues are at bay, I’m not popping antacids like candy, I have no cravings for sweets, I’m off allergy meds, my joints don’t ache, I am finally understanding and changing some longtime unhealthy habits and I have energy, radiate more joy and feel comfortable in my own skin. The best part is feeling like I am in control of myself, queen of the castle, captain of my ship, firmly grasping the wheel of this hot rod. I can plainly see why this is working and how I can go forth and continue said awesomeness. It’s a relief I really can’t aptly describe, and I am hopeful for longevity as I am so tired of this un-amusing ride called weight and health management I never seem to fully exit (like The Vortex minus the carnies!). My success has inspired others, and it pleases me, even more, to help pay it forward.
6. The Fungus Among Us
As I have in recent years, I delved into the intriguing “secret” world of fungus. They grow prolifically in this wet, steamy part of south-central Virginia. I snapped a lot of photos on my discovery walks of the colorful, vast varieties…never growing tired of peering into their strange, pop-up world.
7. Turtle Watch Fakeout
I was so excited when I came across one of the painted turtles from the lake laying eggs near our driveway. We took action to protect the nest from known enemies, but when the hatchlings didn’t show up in late summer, I went back online to find out why. Turns out, many babies will wait it out until spring, and just hang out in the nest those extra months. So, while Turtle Watch 2020 was disappointing, Turtle Watch 2021 is eagerly awaited!
I really enjoyed the wonderful friendships that blossomed this year. Some were relationships that got a boost from the move, while others were completely new to me. It was an unexpected pleasure that prevailed despite social distancing!
As has become my norm, I was able to remain grateful, hopeful and present in 2020. Peace and blessings to one and all as we kick off a new year.
A collection of columns, articles and general a-musings.