Welcome 2018

happy-new-year-banners-20182018 Happy New Year!

I’ve debated over the past couple of days, if I wanted to do a new year blog. As I reflect over 2017, It’s not all bad, but the end of my year was tough and as I write this now, I’m not feeling well. But, I decided that I’d at least try to come up with something, hopefully it’s worth reading.


A Look Back

Last year wasn’t too bad, like every year there were ups and downs, but I’m going to focus on the ups right now. I published two books, three if you count my Oak Grove Suspense Series Set, and I wrote three and a half. That’s a lot of work!

I was able to go to three different signings. One in D.C., one in Orlando, and one here at home. All were awesome, and I hope to be able to go back in the future.

I was able to meet new author friends at all my signings, and I’ve received so much encouragement and help from them. It’s been wonderful. I hope we can meet up at signings throughout this new year to come.




One of the highlights of the signings was finally getting to meet the ladies behind Winyan press, Tawa and Mindy, as well as Alex, my cover designer, in person! I wished I could have spent more time with them, but it was great finally meeting face to face!


I participated in National Novel Writing Month. If you aren’t familiar with NaNoWriMo NaNo-2017---Winner-Shirt-Design_compactit’s a month long writing competition. It’s not against others, but more like a challenge for yourself to write 50k words by the end of the month. I completed the challenge, and it felt great! It was so hard, but I got a lot of work done on my new book coming out next year! I haven’t decided if I’ll do it again. It’s in November, and that is a really busy time for me, but it was a great experience.

2017 had it’s set backs, but I won’t dwell on those. I think even with those down times, overall the year was pretty good.

moving-forward.jpgMoving Forward

As I do every year, I set goals, not really a resolution, but a continuation of my ultimate goal: Healthy living and organization. I do have to say that I really made some progress in both areas last year. I can see how far my family and I have come, and that’s encouraging.

Every month I measure myself (Click HERE for a chart if you’re unsure where to start.), because sometimes the scale just doesn’t move. The difference from January 1, 2017 to January 1, 2018 is a loss of 16 pounds and 16.5 inches. Some may look at that and say, That’s nothing, but for a turtle loser who has other health issues which make losing weight harder, I see it as progress. Sure, I want to lose even more this year, but if I can only manage another 16 this year, it’s better than where I was, and all progress is moving forward. Isn’t that the ultimate Goal? Movement.

The Holidays always trip up my weight loss. Even though, I set good intentions and plan to make healthier food options, all the non-healthy goodies, always side tracked in some way. Now that the holidays are over, I feel like I have a fresh start. So here are some tips that I have found useful.

print_slowyourroll.jpgThe first thing I always tell people when they mention losing weight or chaining eating habits is, START SLOW! I’m not the kind of person who can quit cold turkey and stick to it. Every time I’ve tried, I’ve fallen off the wagon and gone right back to my bad habits, resulting in me feeling horrible about myself and spiraling into a good month or more of self pity and mental anguish. By slowly cutting out the things I want to change, I mostly avoid the huge chunk of time wallowing. According to my Google search, a habit takes 21 days or longer to establish. So, why beat yourself up over going back to something you quit cold turkey? Make a plan to change something over the course of a couple of weeks or a month. A little goes a long way.

no sugar

Second thing: Don’t Quit everything at once. Seems to be the same as the first, but it’s not. Pick one thing at a time to lose. When I first started my healthy living journey, I started by giving up bread. It was hard at first, but now I really don’t think anything about it, and when I do, I have lower carb options which satisfy the craving. Then I quit sugar. So HARD!!! Sugar is in everything. Carbs turn into sugar, so eating lower carb will help with giving it up. I make a Xylitol, stevia, erythritol blend that doesn’t leave that cool feeling behind, and totally satisfies my sweet cravings. Click HERE for the recipe.

Which leads me to the third thing: Find a healthy replacement! My weakness is sweets! Pinterest has a wealth of recipes on low carb no sugar recipes. I’m on there constantly, and I try a lot of the things I pin. I hate to cook in general, but taking five minutes to whip up something instead of grabbing candy or junk food is worth it. (I still have to make myself do it) Click HERE is one of my go to’s.



So those are my three top tips on starting a healthier lifestyle. You have to find what works for you. No one is the same, and that’s totally okay. We need to lift each other up in our healthy living journey.



The other part of my Ultimate Goal is organization. I’ve done a lot of work on this over the past year. I’ve started by decluttering my home. I still have a way to go. I have no storage space so that’s posed as my greatest issue.

I’m not a by the schedule person or a fly by the seat of my pants type. I’m in the middle. I like to have a rough plan, but then if it doesn’t work out it doesn’t work out. My goal is to make sure I have a plan and stick to it the best I can. But let’s face it, life doesn’t always work how we want it to, so I know that won’t be something that is 100% on target every day, and that’s okay.

orgainzationHere’s some things I’ve done to organize:

Make lists for everyone in the family. We’ve started a Home Binder. Each kid has a schedule that has been printed out and put in a protective sheet. They use a dry erase marker to mark the items they finish as they go. My husband and I also have a schedule, but we each have our own planners to keep on our person. My 8th grader also has a separate planner where she keeps her personal goals, school work, and dance schedules. But the main binder is a way to keep the whole families tasks in one place.

We’ve considered making a menu board, or a big monthly calendar so we can see the day at a glance (similiar to the above photo). I’ve been looking on Pinterest for ideas, and also trying to figure out where in my house I can put that, as we don’t have much used wall space living in a double wide. Once I have something, I’ll share it.

It may not seem like I have a lot of goals or resolutions, but both of my goals are very time consuming and will take a long time to fully commit. I’d rather work on a couple things and stick to them than to make a huge list and fail.

happy-new-years-resolution-ideas-2018Anyway, I hope this blog was helpful, and I hope you all have a great year! Be sure to follow me for updates on my books. I should have some book news available real soon!

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