Favorite Thing Friday: Blogging in 2013

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With the close of 2013, my archive holds another year of blogging. Between documenting my adventures in novel writing, sharing photographs and poetry, playing with creativity, and exploring random thoughts, this blog has been a source of immense joy. Thank you to all of my readers for continuing to stop by to read and leave comments. Your presence here never fails to inspire me to write and pursue multiple outlets of creativity.

Thanks to the WordPress stats helper monkeys, I can share what we did together:

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 38,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 14 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

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In 2014, my journey as a writer continues as well as pursuits in creativity. Here’s what I’m considering for the coming year:

  • A special series of Wreck This Journal posts or another Keri Smith adventure
  • The return of New Familiars (a series about everyday things around the globe)
  • Guest bloggers (I plan on inviting, writers, poets, and other creative spirits to share their talents and advice)
  • The continuation of Sunday Abroad
  • Continuation of photo art
  • Book Reviews
  • Posts about knitting (sorry, can’t help it), arts and crafts
  • The continuation of Favorite Thing Friday
  • A possible return of the Scribble Diary series

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What else would my wonderful readers be interested in reading about in this space? I’m all ears!

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c.b.w. 2013

Dear Santa …

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Dear Santa,

I write you a letter every year, even though I’m all grown up. This year was full of challenges, but through it all I am thankful to be surrounded by the warmth of family and friends. I wish had words strong enough to say how much it meant to feel supported and loved when everything seemed to be falling apart. Things are better than they were six months ago and slowly that painful weight of worry and stress is starting to lift. For this reason, my list for Christmas is more gratitude than want.

We miss Grandma, but like she promised she is still with us. Just yesterday, I thought of her while wrapping presents. A ribbon she put on my gift a couple of years ago managed to find it’s way onto a gift I was wrapping for my mother-in-law. Then, while making cookies, I found myself using her mixing bowl and spoon. Her ornaments are on my Christmas tree and her love can be felt wherever I go.

Recently, my furkids both got pretty sick and gave me quite a scare. I remember thinking and wishing for one simple thing – another Christmas with both of them. I like to think you were listening and decided I was a good enough girl to get my wish. Both of my boys are happy, healthy and will be with us on Christmas Day. One wears a scar and the other is slow with age, but their tails are still wagging. Honestly, I consider this the best Christmas gift ever. Thank you.

With Christmas Eve upon us, we are having a family get-together. We didn’t have one last year, because it just didn’t feel right after losing Grandma just two weeks before. This year, however, she is here in spirit and we are ready to celebrate. Here are a few shout-outs to those I hold dear:

  • Husband – We made it through quite a storm, didn’t we? You’re an amazing person and I wish you’d believe that more often. I’m looking forward to your Shepherd’s Pie this year.
  • Mom – You’re probably going to feed my dogs people food when you think I’m not looking. Just remember the little one has no teeth. 😉 And, I think you are an incredible person.
  • Sister – I bought the Christmas pickle gift just for you, so you better find the pickle! On a serious note, I don’t know what I’d do without you.
  • Dan – Try not to smirk at the sections of my DVD shelf that are not alphabetized. I’ve been busy. And the bookshelf is a mess, too. I like it that way.
  • Grandpa – I hope you like our new, comfy couch. I’m so glad you’re coming to celebrate Christmas with us, even though you’d rather be alone.
  • Grandma – We know you’re here and playing Bingo even though we can’t see you.
  • Dad and Sophie – Christmas just isn’t complete without you here. One day, perhaps, we can all celebrate together.
  • Jan and Jerry – You give us more than we deserve and I am so thankful for all your help.
  • Mike – You make my sister so happy, and I can’t thank you enough for that.
  • Baxter – I’ll make sure you get your meds before the party so you can play all night.
  • Winston – I’m making you wear the ugliest sweater ever, but know it will make your mother very happy.
  • Peanut and Bunny – Can you guys get along for just one night? No fighting.

Santa, this year Christmas is all about my home and the people in it. You don’t have to bring a thing. I’m good.

c.b.

p.s. Okay, so maybe a Pink and Pretty Barbie would be pretty cool. I’m still hoping! 😉

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c.b.w. 2013

Yet Another 22 Moments of Gratitude

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With Thanksgiving upon us, it’s time for another 22 Moments of Gratitude. I’ve made two gratitude lists, but there never seems to be a shortage of things to appreciate, even when skies get a little dark. This year has been one of change and challenges, but I managed to keep my focus on the things that matter most.

Once again, I’m hoping to add to the lists I’ve made previously without too much overlap. See my previous moments of gratitude by following the links . . .

22 Moments of Gratitude

22 More Moments of Gratitude

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1. Both of my dogs (a.k.a. furkids) are happy and healthy. After a couple of scares, this means so much.

2. My sister. She was there when I needed her the most and in the best way possible.

3. I know what it is to be scared of the future, but not enough to lose trust in fate.

4. More time with a treasured friend. You know who you are. 🙂

5. A bountiful garden. Despite tired soil, my garden grew wild with vegetables and flowers. Everything in it nourished both body and spirit.

6. Feeling the presence of my Grandma. She passed away almost a year ago, but I feel her smiling wherever I go.

7. A year of good books. In particular,  a series recommended to me by the treasured friend mentioned in #4. Maisie Dobbs rocks.

8. Baskets full of yarn and knitting needles. There’s something really special about wearing clothes I made with my own hands.

9. Poetry. Somehow I found my groove in the poetic realm and I am enjoying the journey.

10. I know what it feels like to have friends rally around me during a tough time. That kind of warmth was unexpected and overwhelming. I owe you all so much for keeping me afloat.

11. Remembering the joy and magic of learning. The challenge of teaching AP Art History has rekindled my curiosity.

12. A moment of calm, when I can simply sit and listen to the rain.

13. Going home to pick up the pieces of my soul that wandered off.

14. Money is tight, but love is plentiful.

15. Finishing a novel and having the guts to pitch it.

16. Fridays with Grandpa.

17. Watching my little pine tree grow. Its been a year and he’s still alive.

18. My muse never seems to run out of gas.

19. My readers. You all keep coming back, even when I don’t deserve it.

20. Writing with my mom. No matter how many times we share a table, it never gets old.

21. Coffee. Both the Tall Cafe Mocha from Starbucks and Hills Bros. Double Mocha Cappuccino. I only thought I appreciated my muse juice, until one day it was gone.

22. Despite the highs and lows, I am still me. And nothing can take that away.

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What’s on your gratitude list this year? Leave a link or post in the comments!

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope your day is filled with good food and the warmth of loved ones.

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c.b.w. 2013

Enough

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Stilled regard,
absent cure
Hidden harm,
lost my face
Little cracks,
broke the glass
Carved from ice,
silent voice

There’s nothing left to do, but look up.
Photo by: c.b.w. 2013

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Last week was pretty rough. Though it feels like life is constantly kicking me (even when I’m down), I realize I still have much to be grateful for. As challenges continue to test me, the warmth of family and friends has given me the strength I need to keep going.  You are all so amazing and I’m so lucky to have you in my life.

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c.b.w. 2013