Ups & Downs for 2014

Because of the New Year, January is commonly a month of resolution and change.  Most often those changes last only a few weeks or months at best. January is also a month of reflection and comparison, as well as hopes and planning. We look at what’s happened to us or maybe how we’ve changed within the last year. Then we also plan or set goals for the coming year. This last year was quite the roller coaster for me in many aspects and it has most certainly impacted how I’ll navigate 2015.

On March 4th, my first published book Lost Betrayal was released by Solstice Publishing in Kindle format on Amazon. My editor with Solstice, Tell Cotten, hustled for me and got the book out in paperback on March 9th.

The original story idea was born ten years prior and I had spent the last couple of years actually finishing the book by getting up at 4am. When the book was released it was a monumental dream come to life.

The night of March 7th, my husband was having chest pains so I spent that evening in the ER. They admitted him for observation and a few tests. Fortunately the tests were fine so he was released home. I immediately commenced with the promo posts on social media trying to get the word out about the pending second release of Lost Betrayal in paperback.

Just a few hours later on March 8th, my stepdaughter who was stationed in Hawaii at the time, was in an accident. She received an anoxic traumatic brain injury from carbon monoxide poisoning that damaged between 50-60% of her brain according to the initial MRI. She was fully unconscious for close to two weeks, and on life support for not quite a month. She didn’t progress to the minimally conscious state until late summer, which is where she is classified today.

At the time we had nine horses, six cats, and four dogs. The dogs and cats don’t require specialized handling however the horses most definitely do. While they’re well mannered for the most part, the horses can get pretty aggressive with each other at the gate when it’s time to come in. Not to mention the fact their digestive systems are more fragile than most animals and they can get sick and die very easily if fed the wrong thing.

Good friends Joel and Nancy Sherlin who shoe and train horses for a living, immediately stepped in to feed and take care of the animals while I was gone to Hawaii for two weeks. It was an answered prayer to have the animals taken care of, but it was an even bigger relief to know they were in the most capable hands they could have been in.

My husband and stepdaughter stayed in Hawaii for a month until she was transferred to a poly trauma unit in Florida.My husband stayed another two weeks and then came home. After that he commenced with flying to Florida every two weeks.

After things had settled down a little bit, I had wanted to go to a few small local barrel races. Unfortunately, that was not going to happen. My barrel horse injured his leg and was lame. Then immediately after that, I had problems with his feet and keeping him sound. If he was moving fine, he’d pull a shoe the next day. I had three rides in three months and that was it.

When I finally did get him sound with shoes that stayed on, I legged him back up and we hauled to the first barrel race in months. I wound up running the fastest time I’ve run the whole three years I’ve had him!

This year has been a rollercoaster ride for me with monumental ups and life-changing devastating downs. I’m not sure what 2015 has in store. Quite frankly, based on 2014 I’m very hesitant to hope or plan even though I like to have a plan and there’s things I’d love to do

While my stepdaughter has made some big strides from where she was and there’s a tentative discharge plan in place for her, there are still no guarantees. Things can change at a moment’s notice and there’s nothing I can do.

For the things that I can control, I have managed to get my next book, The Searching Place, half-way finished. I think I may have finally figured out the magic mix for my barrel horse. But even with those things in place, I hesitate to move forward. I think this year, there’s not going to be any resolutions, hard planning or even goal setting. I think instead, I’ll just take a day at time, keep low expectations, and just see where it leads.

How was your 2014? What were your ups and downs and how has it impacted your plans for this year?