It’s New Year’s Eve!

New Years Eve

It’s December 31st! What are you up to?

I feel like I am standing in the warm sun at the edge of sparkling blue swimming pool preparing to dive in!

Okay…that may be a bit over-dramatized. It’s bitterly cold here in the Midwest. And will be cold for several more months. But I am ready to turn the page on 2017 and start afresh with a spanking new year.

With three family birthdays between Christmas and New Year’s, I have always felt as though the holiday season is one long party…which for an introvert can be a bit overwhelming! By the time New Year’s Day comes, I am ready for things to calm down. Although I love the hubbub and the rich food and the gathering with friends and family in the days leading up to the first of January, New Year’s Day is special to me in that there are no expectations from “the outside.” None of those “shoulds” that accompany the holidays here in the States.

 

New Years

Tomorrow, I plan to enjoy a fire in the fireplace, write the birthdays in my new Mary Engelbreit calendar, and cook a large batch of chili while my husband and sons watch football on the T.V. There is a holiday puzzle out on the coffee table that we are almost finished and tomorrow is DONE day for that. In the evening, likely we will play a board game or two. Everything will be slower and winding down. I am looking forward to it!

Last year’s puzzle.

I look ahead to the new year with expectant hope. It is a blank page – and as a writer, a blank page fills me with excitement. How will I fill it up? What type of story will I write? I hope that what I write will entertain and bring encouragement to others and help them on this journey we are all on together.

Here’s wishing you a hopeful, happy New Year for 2018!

* * * * * * * * * *

 

Tomorrow, my new release, The Prairie Doctor’s Bride will be officially released in both formats – print and eBook!
I hope you will take a moment to check it out. Here are a few links…

To see reviews & a short excerpt, check my website:  KathrynAlbright.com

To purchase at Harlequin, check HERE.

To purchase at Amazon, check HERE.

 

 

 

 

 

Linda Broday Has Winners!

Are you all bundled up and snug with a book? Don’t let this cold get you down.

I received so much love from everyone that I’m giving away (3) calendars instead of one!

These are the winners………..

KAREN LUNDSTEAD

QUILT LADY

ALISA BOISCLAIR

Congratulations, ladies! Send your snail mail address to linda (at) lindabroday (dot) com and I’ll get them to you.

If you didn’t win, I’ll give away some more when I blog on Tuesday, January 16th.

Annual Connealy Christmas Letter–The names are changed to protect the embarrassed

 

Oh CoOh Co

Oh Come Let Us Adore Him

Oldest daughter and family…no changes…kid 7, 5, 3….the kids cuter than ever (my daughter and her husband are cute too…)

2nd daughter’s got the big change of my girls. She moved and started a new job. She’s always in the middle of some new training or some new development with her apartment. So that’s fun. (for me—I sure hope she’s enjoying it!!!)

3rd daughter and family…no changes…her little girl turned 2…adorable as ever…(3rd daughter and husband are adorable, too.)

4th daughter…I looked up what they do for a living on LinkedIn. My daughter is a quantitative specialist (yes, figure out what that means yourself…but she seems to like it!). Her husband is a Global Trade Compliance Manager. I made him explain that to me. And it’s global…or something.

I’m still writing romance novels. My Cowboy is still a farmer and cattleman—he’s trying to cut back but the cows come to the house and drag him out if he doesn’t care for them so it’s tricky.

In July I had eye surgery for a detached retina and it seems like that’s been the center of my universe, the surgery and recovery from it, then in November cataract surgery which is, I guess, a common follow-up.

 

Clearly from this 40th anniversary picture you can see we married as infants

<<<<< My Cowboy and I had our 40th wedding anniversary this year. That’s getting to be a long, long time.

That’s it. Quiet year…especially the part I spend lying FACE DOWN FOR TEN DAYS AFTER THE SURGERY. Tha-a-at’s right. Part of healing up from detached retina surgery was being under doctor’s orders to SMOTHER MYSELF.

My Cowboy came through to take care of me like a real life romance novel hero.

My daughters were great, too, when I was laid up. Sweet things. But I didn’t get to pick up a grandbaby for waaaay too long.

 

 

Merry Christmas – Happy New Year 2018

 

Ten New Year Thoughts

What a difference a year…or four days…make. Decorations are put away and the good times stored in my memory. It’s time to look forward to the future and I do think this will be an easier year.

In 2018, I’ll reissue The Cowboy Who Came Calling in February (Book #2 of Texas Heroes) and TO CATCH A TEXAS STAR in July (Book #3.) Those will wind up the series in a fine fashion before I start releasing Outlaws Mail Order Brides in January 2019.

But whoa there! I’m getting ahead of myself. 2017 has a few a more days left.

I’m supposed to write about resolutions except I don’t make New Year resolutions. Never have. So here’s a compromise—I’m just going to call these Ten New Year’s thoughts.

  • I want to write more books that not only entertain but leave you with something to ponder.
  • I want to make this a fun year as much as I’m able.
  • I plan to dance in the rain and celebrate a milestone birthday. Never mind which one.
  • I plan to self-publish a short book or two on my own.
  • I want to give with my whole heart in everything I do. Life’s too short to hold back.
  • I want to do my part to help this earth by recycling, keeping my corner clean, and stamping out litter.
  • I want to do what I can to help the homeless people and pets.
  • I want to be a better, kinder, more sympathetic person.
  • I want to listen with my heart instead of my ears.
  • I want to make my family proud every day.

There you have it. Ten thoughts for 2018—God willing and the creek don’t rise. I’m sure you have your own set of thoughts. I wish you peace, love, and harmony now and forever.

I’m giving away a Linda Broday 2018 small wall calendar. To enter the drawing, tell me about your weather or what Santa brought you or what book you’re reading. I’ll draw late Saturday.

 

 

New Year’s Resolutions…Do You or Don’t You?

Do you or don’t you make New Year’s Resolutions? Every year I get caught up in making New Year’s resolutions.

When the month of December rolls around, I think about setting goals. The past few years I’ve shifted away from concrete goals to more general goals which are more difficult to measure but are more meaningful (to me.)

I’ve always set goals to eat better–more salads and less fast food. And I’ve always included a vacation destination on my list–because it’s fun to dream. But I also remind myself not to look too far ahead.  As a writer our lives revolve around deadlines. Every day…every week…every month…we’re looking ahead to the next deadline and we forget to enjoy today.

Blame it on the wisdom of growing older but I’m learning to appreciate each day no matter how uneventful it ends up being. It’s taken years for me to learn to stop equating happiness with achieving a goal. Whether we meet our goals or not…we’re still entitled to be happy and enjoy our lives.

All of us need to get better at accepting and loving ourselves, warts and all. There’s beauty in everything and in every person.

 

No matter what our goals it’s not that difficult to find a reason to be happy every day. Often we get caught up…so focused on a goal, that we forget to recognize and appreciate our blessings in life. Life is short. We only get so many trips around the sun and none of us knows that number.

So this year I will count my blessings each and every day, appreciate the small stuff in my life, be kind to others and of course read more books!

 

 

Question: How have your New year’s Resolutions changed as you’ve grown older?

 

Until Next Time…Happy Trails!

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Two Days After Christmas

Howdy!

Here’s hoping you all had a wonderful Christmas, filled with beauty, gifts and all things good.

Of course, during the Christmas season, there’s the rush to get everything done — all the food shopping done, gifts bought and wrapped, cookies made, pies made, cakes made and decorated, rush…rush…rush…

But once we’ve settled down a bit, gifts having been bought, everything wrapped, food prepared, and the magical day having come when those special people open their presents, it’s time to sit back, and look at this season with kind eyes, because at the heart of the season is real beauty.   When I did so, I began to think about how different it was in the American Indian’s way of life.  The ideas of gift giving were so different from today’s, that I thought I might take a moment to share my reflections with you.

In the days of old, before the white man came to this country and influenced the American Indian into other traditions, giving gifts to others was a point of survival.  No chief could become chief who did not give to the needy and the less well to do.  Often the chief of the tribe was the poorest person in their society because he gave away almost all that he had to the needy.  However, contrary to the more modern point of view, this was not a Socialist system, nor a pure socialism, because the giving was never regulated and never mandatory, and one knew exactly who was receiving the gift.  In those old days, only the strong, the wise and the kindhearted could be counted on to give, and it was considered one of the most aspired-to attributes.

Actually, it requires a bit of mind change to grasp the American Indian idea of giving.  If a man attained a higher state or did some great deed, he was not given something by the tribe, but rather, he gave gifts to others.  If a woman attained some desired state (a young girl attaining puberty for instance — or an older woman being praised for her handicraft) she and her relatives worked night and day to give gifts to others.  An example of this might be this:  Say it is your birthday, but instead of you getting gifts on your birthday, you and your relatives would work for months and months in order to have a feast, where one would give to the community in celebration of something one attained (the birthday).  This was considered the highest honor one might place upon a family member.

This tradition is still carried on in Native America today.  When a family wishes to distinguish one of its own, members of the family will work for many months (sometimes years) to produce goods, not for oneself, but to give away to others — in honor of the family member.  In this manner, we have an example of giving something that cannot be measured in terms of finance.  The gift of caring, the gift of giving of oneself and one’s time for another.

These presents in Native America weren’t wrapped.  Sometimes the offerings were simply in the form of food or clothing or blankets.  Sometimes, in the case of a marriage or some other big event, items such as a tepee were donated to the cause (remember in the movie, Dances With Wolves and the tepee the star of the movie was given?)  When one couldn’t give because one didn’t have the wherewithal to do so, that person might give away all that he had.  In this way such articles were kept afloat in the society.  Sometimes one bestowed the very best possession that he most treasured, especially so if there were a sickness in the family and one wanted to ensure their beloved family member  recovery.  Sometimes the donation was in the form of gifting a service to one’s people.  Certain societies had stringent rules about bundles or other sacred items and most people didn’t wish to take the responsibility of seeing to the care of these items (such as becoming a bundle holder.)  In this case the bequest would be in the form of the entire family taking on the responsibility, in order to preserve the spiritual traditions of the people.

This picture was taken at a give-away celebration that my friend, Patricia gave many years ago.  Another aspect to the American Indian’s way of thinking, was that it was considered a great honor if one gave in such a way that the other person didn’t feel they had to return the favor.  This happened to George Catlin in the 1830’s when a young warrior bestowed him with the diary that Catlin had lost.  The giving was done in such a way that Catlin was unable to give-back, since he was embarking upon a ship.

There is yet another example of giving by the American Indian comes to us from the Iroquois.  The Iroquois (which was composed of originally 5 tribes and eventually 6) had a system of government that was truly Of the people, For the people, and By the people.  Men served and were never permitted to draw any kind of pay for serving — it was simply considered their duty and their way of helping the tribe.  Such service is still in operation today.

I’d like to disagree with corporate America for a moment if I might.  I think the most potent gifts are those that one cannot measure by physical means.  When my kids were growing up, they used to give me coupons for Christmas — I still have them to this day — little chores they would do for me upon presentation of the coupon.  I guess the point is that one can always give something of themselves to another.

And here’s the most beautiful gift of all — something that those who crave material wealth over all else will never understand nor will they ever receive this gift (though some might pretend an affection) — the gift of love — true love.   No gold, no silver, can ever replace these gifts, since they have their roots in one’s heart and one’s nature.

And so, I would like to make this wish during this upcoming New Year’s season:  That the reasons for war — and the profit received from war — will perish from this earth.

And with this thought in mind, I leave you with a YouTube video of a song performed by Keith Whitley (who I believe is one of the best country singers to every grace the stage).

http://youtu.be/BgKYm1ssb9o

And speaking of gifts, I’ll be giving away a free copy of the e-book THE LAST WARRIOR to some lucky blogger.  (Our Give-away guidelines apply of course.)  So come on in and tell me your ideas about giving.  What are your thoughts now that the big day is two days behind us…

The Week Between

The week between Christmas and New Year’s Day was one I looked forward to with great anticipation each year during my childhood.

It wasn’t just the break from school that made the week fun (although I so enjoyed the freedom of not being at school or being plagued with mountains of homework).

If there was more than an inch of snow on the ground (which was typically the case on our Eastern Oregon farm), it meant unlimited outdoor entertainment. We went sledding off the hill right outside our back door, skating on the pond, snowmobiling across the sagebrush on the other side of the canal, and we even built snow forts a time or two.

Because my parents had a big house with ample room for parking, we almost always hosted Christmas for our extended family. My mom’s family and dad’s family took turns coming.

One year in particular I remember well because Mom’s family had all come for Christmas. We barely had a dusting of snow on the ground, so we spent most of the day inside with nothing to do but play with new toys, eat yummy food, and wish it would snow.

But then, in that magical week between Christmas and New Year’s Day, it snowed, and snowed. And then snowed some more. In an impromptu effort to wring every bit of fun we could from the holiday season, Daddy invited his family to come over for New Year’s Day.

Snowy fun, circa 1970-something. That’s my John Deere snowsuit in the back left side of the photo with the hood securely tied almost up to the nose.

Mom made a huge pot of chili and enough cinnamon rolls to feed a small army.  My aunts provided salads and sides along with oodles of desserts. Family began arriving late morning and we spent the rest of the day sledding, skating, and having a wonderful time. The cold and darkness didn’t even put an end to our fun. After warming up with chili and hot chocolate, some of my hardier cousins trouped back outside to sled in the dark.

I’ll never forget that special New Year’s Day or how much fun we had.

Do you have any special New Year’s Day memories from your childhood

(or maybe from a holiday with your children?) 

One lucky commenter will receive their choice of a digital copy of any one of my books.

Wishing you all a safe, peaceful, joyous New Year’s Day and a fabulous 2018!