I actually stopped making New Year’s resolutions several years ago. Every time I made one or two, it seemed Life/Fate/Destiny took my pledges as direct challenges to see if I could be thwarted. Even this year’s decision to greet each day with an Attitude of Gratitude probably won’t last beyond the first time I wake up with a headache or the flu and the dogs dancing around me needing to be let out NOW!
Whew! 2013. What a year, eh? I started out on fire, with lots of energy and writing inspiration that helped me pull together a project with my co-author, Kim Bowman, that being Something Like a Lady, the sequel to our wildly popular A Lot Like a Lady. And after that was released, my writing inspiration continued. The stories gelled, came together… but alas, my energy began to fade. So I had stories that were finished in my head but when I would sit down to actually type them out, for the first time in a long while, my words failed me. Even editing, a job I love, became a burdensome task. It was all I could do to keep my eyes open for my medical transcription job. No physical reason was ever found for the sudden and profound loss of energy, which led me to believe possibly I was suffering from a type of burnout.
On the life side of things… again, just wow. Hits kept coming. On the positive side, my granddaughter turned four, grandson number one turned one, and grandson number two was born. My garden actually GREW instead of succumbing to drought. And no windstorms knocked power out for the hottest week of the year. On the sad side, though, lots of personal negatives. A friend of mine passed away unexpectedly. My son continues his struggle with a neck and back injury. And a friend discovered she had cancer. My daughter in Okinawa had hoped to come back to the U.S. earlier than expected but the date has been moved back, and back, and back, until now it seems like she might just be staying PAST the original time her husband was supposed to be relocated to a different duty station (at least that’s what it’s beginning to seem like). On a public scale, bombings, shootings, celebrity deaths. Nature-wise, no Superstorm Sandy’s, but lots of fires, floods, tornadoes, freak snowstorms, ice storms… It would be easy to say same-old, same-old… But every time a particular devastation strikes, my first thought is “There but for God’s grace…”
I will always cheer on the underdog. I have been and always will be a voice for animals and for the environment. But in 2013, I also got involved in the fight for fathers’ rights to parent their children and adoption reform, and it seems like that struggle will go on for a while as more and more fathers lose the opportunity to parent or even get to know their children with mothers choosing to place their babies for adoption (usually physically profiting in some form from this decision). That all started with one father and child I happened to pick up on through a post on my Facebook feed. Dusten Brown and his daughter Veronica love each other. That much is clear from the pictures to be found of the two of them. His long fight to gain custody ended when she was 27 months old, and he brought her home. But that victory was short-lived when the adoptive parents chose to pursue forcing the adoption even though Veronica’s father was fit, loving, and wanted her. I was not struck by the fact that he is Cherokee as some were, but by the fact that he had served in the U.S. Army, being deployed to Iraq for part of the time he was fighting this couple for his child. I won’t go into particulars here but let’s just say if deadlines were missed it was because they were manipulated by the adoption industry to BE missed, as they are in this repetitive scenario with many other fathers. The courts, the attorneys, the adoptive couple had a chance to do the right thing, the opportunity to preserve a biological link between father and child. But when Ronnie was just past her fourth birthday, the relentless adopters prevailed and Ronnie was taken back to their South Carolina home. Because Dusten and little Ronnie’s story is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to corruption and bent and broken laws in adoption, I have decided to advocate for fathers whose children are being stolen from them by ruthless adoptive parents who secure a child at any price, monetary and personal, when they decide they want the children and are more entitled to them than their own biological fathers and extended families.Thus, I support the Standing Our Ground organization. Next on my agenda with that group is to advocate where I can for Author Marjorie Simmons’ granddaughter, Desirai, who was a victim of the same questionable adoption agency involved with Ronnie’s forced adoption, and in her case she was placed with a couple in their 60s, whose adult children alleged they had been abusive parents. The laws simply must change. Fathers who want to stand up and raise their children must be allowed to do so. No child should be denied the right to her blood family and no man should have to fight with strangers for his child.
Writing wise, I finished the year with a Christmas Regency, Teach Me Under the Mistletoe, that has thus far been fairly well received by my readers. And, maybe the best news right now, is that I am starting 2014 with more energy than I had as we closed out 2013. Will 2014 be “my” year? Only the next 12 months will show us that answer.
Happy New Year!
Let’s make it the best year we can make it!