Laura Haley-McNeil

1/8/17, Snuggling Down

Hello, Everyone!

It’s a week into the new year and already it seems to be whizzing by as fast as 2016. And I’m still writing 2016. Maybe by July I’ll remember that the year has changed to 2017. I hope you enjoyed your holidays, that they weren’t too exhausting and that you were able to press some happy moments into your memories.

From friends and family, I hear people say they’re glad 2016 is over, while others say it was the best year yet. I’m hoping that 2016 was a good year for you, but our lives are far from perfect. Even when everything seems to be going well, something can happen that throws a wrinkle into our plans. We deal with people and people have their own ideas about things that can differ from ours. Spending a weekend before Christmas in the hospital changed my plans and sent me scurrying to catch up on shopping and throwing together a gathering for friends, which meant cleaning and cooking, though I will be forever grateful to my husband who loves to cook and helps with the cleaning. And then there’s the writing. I had planned to submit my manuscript to the copyeditor the weekend I was admitted to the hospital and was delayed a few days. I’m so anxious to have this book published by March. And while that book is with the editor, I’m trying desperately to finish the first draft of the next book. I had hoped to finish it by the end of January, but I’d be happy to finish it by the end of February.

This first week of January made me realize that winter has arrived. The temperature dropped below zero and snow covered the city. It always looks so beautiful when it first falls. Then the snowplows come followed by the sand trucks and that changes the pristine white to brown slush and ice pushed to the side of the roads. I rise early during the week so I have a chance to see the snow freshly fallen. Then my husband pulls out the snow thrower so we can get out of the house and join the rest of the city’s population getting to work, running errands, or the lucky ones who have a ski day and drive to the mountains.

I’m trying to plan a few ski days this winter. I always take a vacation day during the week. It’s more fun to ski on a day when the slopes aren’t too crowded. January tends to be a good month – not too crowded on the ski slopes – if you don’t mind the cold. The older I get, the less I like the cold. When my sisters and I were young, we loved to ski when it was cold and snowing. Everyone else sat in the warming house so there were almost no lines at the chair lifts. The cold didn’t bother us. We were having too much fun. Now I’m one of the old folks sitting by the fire and sipping hot chocolate while I watch the young people zip past the ski lodge.

Are you still recovering from the holidays or are you ready to start the new year? I love December and am sad when the season is over. There’s so much excitement in my family with the children bright and expectant for gifts from Santa. January is full of new beginnings, a chance to close the door on the old and look forward to the new. My heart goes out to you if 2016 brought heartaches or disappointments. It’s hard to put those behind us when there are reminders everywhere we turn. Someone once gave me wise advice – the past impacts us but doesn’t define who we are.

I pray that if you had hardships last year, that this year will bring you joy, happy times and wonderful surprises. As we begin the new year, we need to put the past behind us, which I know isn’t easy. I still have memories of sad times in my life, but I’m also someone who looks to the future with hope and anticipation. May 2017 be filled with love and warmth where you can be with family and friends and enjoy your life and look forward to new beginnings. I pray God’s blessings and joy and peace in your life and that your future is filled with wonderful times.



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