Laura Haley-McNeil

1/1/17, New Year, New Beginnings

Hello, Everyone!

Happy New Year! I realize the new year is only a few hours old, but I hope this will be a fun or relaxing day, whatever your preference, and that you’ll be spending it doing something you love or truly enjoy. For me, the new year is all about fresh beginnings, trying to juggle what I want to accomplish and comparing that to what I probably will accomplish. And most importantly, learning how to write 2017 on all my correspondence and checks. After a year of writing and typing 2016, that year is firmly engrained in my brain. I know I’m not alone. Once I received a letter that had the year of two years ago, not the previous year. I had to laugh. The years fly by. Who can keep up?

Were your holidays busy and chaotic or easy and relaxing? However you spent Christmas and New Year’s I hope it was doing what you wanted with those you love and care about. For me, it’s a time to see family. That’s 22 of us right now. That starts with Thanksgiving. My sister has a large home and invites us all to attend dinner at her house. That gives me a chance to see grandnieces and grandnephews. Right now, their ages range from 1 year old to 14 years old and everything between. With new beginnings and the new year will come two more additions to my sisters’ families. I’ve been busy crocheting because I wanted to make sure each grandniece and grandnephew received a baby afghan. These afghans are a mixture of some patterns I’ve followed over the years. They’re very simple, but for someone who doesn’t crochet, they look complicated. The simplicity is my secret that I’m sharing with you. I try to explain how easy the pattern is, but most people don’t believe me. not many people crochet so it’s hard to explain what a simple method crocheting is. This year I will have a new grandniece and a new grandnephew. The names have been selected and the nurseries are almost finished. I have the baby afghans already to send them. And now I have an extra one. While we were in the mountains I started a fourth afghan, so I’ll be prepared for the following year. I’m sure more grandnieces and grandnephews will be added to the fold.

The new year will also bring two weddings. I love weddings. There’s nothing more wonderful that watching a beautiful bride, and all brides are beautiful, float down the aisle looking demur and stunning, all dressed in a strapless white gown revealing smooth, toned shoulders with a veil covering her face and a bouquet of flowers clasped in her hands. Wedding gowns are so beautiful these days. Years ago the bride was dressed in white and sometimes covered from head to toe. The dresses were beautiful, but so was the bride! Now the fashion designers seem to know that this is the bride’s day, not the bride’s dress’ day. The wedding gowns cover the bride to show a stunning figure and beautiful, young skin. Brides are beautiful. The whole world should be awed by her beauty. The weddings in our family will be in June and in November. Both will be in venues in the mountains. Of course, mountain weather can be dicey, but the weddings will be fun. It’s so wonderful to spend an evening with young people and watch them celebrate the coming together of two lives. I have to get busy and plan the weddings for some of my characters. I now have six couples and only one is married so far. I’m all about getting married. I’ve spent most of my adult life single, though that was never my goal. I wanted to be with someone and thankfully Prince Charming whooshed into my life.

Our new year’s was quiet, which is the way I like it. There was a time when I loved to be with friends and ring in the new year. Sometimes we would check into a hotel downtown and mingle with revelers, watch fireworks and toast with champagne. I was young then, so staying outside in the cold didn’t bother me. I was having too much fun to realize I was cold. After a late night, the hotel was gracious to give us a late checkout and serve a scrumptious brunch of fruit and pastries and eggs Benedict and chorizo omelettes and all those other good things that only the young can consume without packing on the pounds. Sometimes we would plan new year’s eve parties where friends would come over and devour a delicious meal my husband would cook, because he loves to cook and he’s a very good cook. As we got older, going to bed early seemed like a better idea than staying up late and ringing in the new year. Sometimes we would cheat and ring in the new year with the New Yorkers in Time Square. That looks like so much fun with the count down and the ball dropping and confetti bursting into the air and everyone hugging and kissing. Of course, it gets my mind thinking. What if? What if something happened that night that changed a young woman’s life and led her to the man of her dreams? Yes, I can see a plot forming for another book. I have so many plots bursting inside my head I have to write them down before they vanish into a senior moment. Some I’ll write. Some I won’t. but it’s fun to pretend, make up things and let these ideas spin around in my mind.

The new year brings many opportunities for all of us. What are some of your plans for the new year? New job? New friends? New adventures? New home? The list is endless and the future filled with plans and the unknown. Whatever your plans for the new year, whatever the new year brings you, for you I wish 2017 to be filled with hope and love and wishes that will come true. As you say goodbye to 2016 and welcome 2017, may this be a year that is the best yet. I pray every year for you is better than the last and that each year can be tucked inside your heart with many special memories. I pray 2017 for you is wonderful and amazing!



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