A Look Back and a Step Forward

New Year

As the year comes to an end, I’ve found myself reflective about 2013. Overall, it has been challenging, but with every year I learn that growth comes through challenges.

There were a few firsts….

This was the first full year since I was 14 years old that I did not have a “traditional” job working for someone else. It felt strange.

First time I’ve received letters/emails stating a company went another direction in their hiring process (because I was overqualified).

Went to my first readers conference, Authors After Dark 2013 in Savannah, and had a blast getting to know other readers…and picking the brains of some of my favorite writers.

Took my first temp job representing an electronics company in retail stores, teaching their employees about the company’s products, how to sell them, position them, and overcome customer objections.

Milestone Firsts… The GOOD STUFF!

But…even with those negatives…it was also the first time, despite all my stops and starts, that I published my first book…an erotic short! Those of you who’ve known and followed me for a while are not even a little surprised.

I got to meet one of my favorite blogging buddies, Renee A. Schuls-Jacobson, in person. The day we spent together was priceless to me….and quite hilarious. (She’s now going through some tough times, though, and could use lots of good thoughts and prayers.)

I survived my first ever 5K…and I hate to run! But, with the help of a few friends, we killed ColorVibe‘s run. Our team name? “Taste The Rainbow.” Hehehe!

ColorVibe

ColorVibe

I wrote my first ever sponsored blog post, and it was a blast!

I turned 40. Fortunately this one won’t be repeated… overall, preparing for the party turned out to be very stressful, but the love and friendship I was shown was worth the effort.

I got to meet some of my favorite authors…like Cherise Sinclair (who tolerated me when I accosted her at the end of the autograph signing event).

She STILL autographed my book...

She STILL autographed my book…

And the lovely and talented Joey W. Hill who was gracious enough to take a pic with me at the elemental ball….

Me with Joey W. Hill

Me with Joey W. Hill

Not to mention the awesome author who transplanted to my hometown (Chicago), Julie Ann Walker…who bought me a drink and spent time chatting it up and laughing with me.

 

Me and Julie Ann Walker listening to my sister.

Me and Julie Ann Walker listening to my sister.

Or partying with C. J. Ellisson….at the pre-vampire ball party in her hotel room, then at her table.

Vampire Ball with C.J. Ellisson

Vampire Ball with C.J. Ellisson

 

There were a few heartbreaks

A dear friend of mine lost her battle to cancer. I tried to find a way to honor her memory…and share her love of life with you guys here.

My husband lost his job. That stung considering I had not found a day to day job outside of my writing. Fortunately he found a new one a couple weeks later.

Several more friends were diagnosed with various illnesses, mostly cancer.

I had to miss my half-sister’s wedding because of short notice and inability to afford plane tickets (they were nearly $1000).

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While I was listing a general recap of last year’s highlights, I was surprised at just how many positive things had happened last year. Why? Because the bad ones felt so big!

Overall, life is filled with good and bad…which makes it a bit bittersweet. It’s so easy to lose perspective and let the negative overtake you if you allow it to have a foot hold in your mind.

So, as I enter into 2014, I’m determined to go forward with my best foot forward and my attitude in check…and to make sure that I remember to celebrate all the positive milestones I’ll be experiencing along the way.

What about you? When you look back on this last year, what are some of your most standout moments, both good and bad?

I think The Verve had it right with their gorgeous song from Cruel Intentions….

First Time Sharing

Tonight I have firsts on my mind. First crush, first kiss, first love, first time, first heartbreak… I know, oddly innocent and nostalgic, but after my buddy LJ Kentowski mentioned in the last blog that I had a ton of memories, I figured it was time to jog everyone’s memory. So please, sit, relax and take a ride with me on this train of reminiscing. Think back to your firsts…when you hear the word, what comes to your mind? Bet it’s more than one thing!

My first solo: in church. I was 2. Song? Jesus Loves Me!

First Plane trip: 8 months old. From Philippines to California.

First best friend: a little blond girl named Corinne. Unfortunately the friendship was short lived based on all the travel our family did with the military. I was 3 and she was 4.

First crush: a boy in the Philippines. His name was Michael. He was 7, I was 6. He was my teacher’s nephew. He gave me my first kiss on the cheek. We lost touch when I moved to the states, but eventually got back in touch when I was in 8th grade.

First “real” kiss: I was 14. The boyfriend’s name was Joe. He had dark, almost black hair, dark brown eyes, a smattering of freckles over his turned up nose, and sexy lips. He was also the first boyfriend to give me his jean jacket to wear as a sign that we were dating.

First love: a boy named Jay. I was 15, he was 16. He was Italian. Brown hair and eyes. He had olive skin and an awesome tan to go with an awesome body. We were both big flirts. Our song was Atlantic Starr’s Always. He was a football player and wrestler. His sister was one of my two best friends. The other one was a girl named Laura. He cheated on me with her, effectively ending our friendship. Later I forgave him and took him back. He would be the first and last guy I’d do that with. This also makes him my first heartbreak. We were just too volatile for each other in the end. To this day I hate that song.

First time: actually, it’s kind of sweet! It was hubby. I was 9 days from my 20th birthday. I’d decided long ago that I wasn’t going to rush sex. I wanted it to be something I wouldn’t look back on with regret. Too many of my friends were like that. I decided waiting till marriage would be unrealistic for me. So I decided I needed to wait for someone I was in love with.

First job: babysitting at 13 years old. She paid me $5 an hour. The kid’s name was Michael & he was my brother’s best friend.

What firsts do you remember? Do you look back on them with nostalgia?

Here’s an awesome song about firsts that could’ve been written for hubby and me.

For The First Time