Posted in Uncategorized, writing

Going out with a bang

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It’s been just over two months since I posted last (hard to imagine that much time has gone by!), so I have a lot of news to share. Not long after I made that last post, on the Monday before Thanksgiving, my husband and I got a call from our daughter in Massachusetts that she was in labor and was on her way to the hospital. So excited we were all but bouncing, he and I jumped in the car for the twenty-five hour drive, expecting our grandson to be waiting for us when we arrived. We’d been on the road for several hours when our daughter reported that her labor had slowed and she’d been sent home to wait for it to intensify again. Her doctor expected to see her again later that night. John and I began to hope that we would actually be there in the waiting room when our first grandchild was born. We spent the night in Virginia and checked in with them first thing the next morning — only to find that the contractions were still sporadic and not gaining in strength. A terrible accident ahead of us in Pennsylvania backed up traffic so badly that we moved seven miles in four and a half hours! Fortunately, we had snacks and a cooler of sodas with us, so we had a snack-food dinner, finally arriving at our daughter and son-in-law’s house at two a.m. There we settled in to wait for our grandbaby. And wait. And wait. Kind friends of theirs had us all over for Thanksgiving dinner with their families, and then the waiting began again. Almost three weeks after our hasty trip, our grandson chose to make his grand appearance on December 8. We were in the waiting room, as we’d hoped (another example of being careful what you wish for). We enjoyed those weeks with our daughter and son-in-law before the baby’s arrival, helping them set up the nursery, meeting many of their friends, enjoying some central Massachusetts Christmas festivities. We were able to spend one week with them after the baby’s birth before heading home again. Needless to say, we absolutely loved having that time with all three of them, and we got in lots of snuggles and kisses before we reluctantly left. The drive home was relatively uneventful, made to the soundtrack of Christmas music from the radio.

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Because it was so close to Christmas, I did a minimum of decorating. I still had shopping to do, and my husband was far behind in the turned wood gifts he was making. He headed straight for his lathe while I put up just one of the two trees I usually decorate. Our other daughter from Seattle arrived the day after we got home. She is still recovering amazingly well from the stroke she suffered two years ago, and we were thrilled to see how much progress she had made just since we’d last seen her only a couple months before for a dear friend’s wedding. Christmas passed in a blur of family visits and traditions, including the annual Christmas Eve candlelight service we’ve attended every year since before our children were born. We spent a quiet Christmas morning with our daughter and our son, who had spent the night with us rather than returning to his apartment some twenty miles away. Christmas Day ended with us sitting in the cold and dark — a rare Arkansas snow storm had dumped more than a foot of snow outside and shut off electricity to more than 70 percent of central Arkansas customers! We were without power for a couple of days, without internet for a few more, but we were more fortunate than some in the area who lost power for a full week. Trees and branches fell on roadways, homes and vehicles and the damage was widespread, but we lost only one small tree and a few branches, so we were fortunate. 

After a lovely visit, a fun day trip with us and one of her former workmates to Hot Springs National Park, lots of shopping, eating and catching up with friends and family, our daughter will return to the Pacific Northwest tomorrow and the holidays will officially be over for us. 2012 ended with quite a bang for our family! Now we’re tired, a couple pounds heavier, and somewhat behind in work and other obligations — but all in all, it was a great year.

I have a busy 2013 ahead. Three new Harlequin Special Editions are scheduled for March, May and July — THE RIGHT TWIN, THE TEXAN’S SURPRISE BABY and A MATCH FOR THE SINGLE DAD. Introducing the Bell family of the fictional Bell Resort and Marina on Lake Livingston in Texas, the books also include appearances by characters from my long-running Family Found series. Don’t worry if you missed that series; these are all stand-alone stories. I’ll have other news to share in coming months, so visit me here again soon! I’ll try not to stay away so long next time.

Happy New Year to all my friends and readers, and thank you for dropping by!

Posted in Uncategorized

Miracles and Blessings

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I haven’t disappeared, though it might seem as though I have from my lack of posts lately. I’ve spent the past month in Seattle with my older daughter – the one who had a stroke in October, 2010. I came here because after her return from visiting home at Christmas, she began to have serious health struggles again – to the point that we were all getting very worried about her ability to continue working and living on her own. While my husband stayed home to take care of things there, I joined our daughter for a series of doctor visits to try to find out why she was struggling so hard against overwhelming fatigue and accompanying depression. Post-stroke fatigue is a serious issue, but hers had gotten suddenly debilitating.

Her amazing primary care physician, rehab physician and therapists worked together to adjust medications and daily activity plans. Not only is Courtney’s energy level now under much better control, she has made such amazing leaps in recovery during the past month that she has brought her therapists, friends – and even landlady! – to tears of joy. For the past 16 months, Courtney has been primarily confined to a wheelchair, her walking unsteady even with a walker or arm crutches (she has suffered from ataxia, or uncoordinated movements following her brainstem stroke). She was frustrated that she couldn’t seem to go beyond 150 feet, no matter how hard she worked – and she works Very hard. One evening soon after I arrived here, I was having trouble with a computer issue (quite common for me) and Courtney got up and walked across the room to help me, without even thinking about what she was doing. I nearly fell over in surprise. She had walked beautifully, without crutches, with little evidence of ataxia! Two days later, her stunned physical therapist — and all the other therapists who have been monitoring her for all this time — watched as Courtney walked for 15 minutes on a treadmill without even holding onto anything, the first time she’d been able to walk on the treadmill. She has been walking more every day since, including a several-block walk from her apartment to a fast food restaurant, a huge accomplishment! That was an exhausting exercise and by the time we got back to her apartment, she was worn out, struggling to pull one leg in front of the other, but determined to make it the entire way without resorting to her wheelchair. I’ve seen this determination in her from the beginning – through a previous life-threatening injury 10 years ago, through earning her doctorate degree and accepting a job 2400 miles from her home, and now after this major stroke. We are so proud of her!

I’ll stay here for a couple more weeks to help her with some more walking (her therapists still aren’t ready to clear her for walking outside on her own). After 16 months in a wheelchair, she continued to keep up her core exercises and strength training, but now she needs to rebuild endurance in walking. She still has little use of her right hand, no pain or temperature sensation on her left side, and bouts of vertigo, but there is little doubt that she’ll soon be able to park that wheelchair most of the time, which is more than many people expected at this point! We thank everyone for the many prayers that have been and continue to be offered on her behalf.

While my daughter works at her career in medical research, I’ve been writing, of course. My next Harlequin Special Edition, HUSBAND FOR A WEEKEND, will be available in April — this is my 100th project for Harlequin, and I couldn’t be more delighted to have been with them for so long! See the Books Available Now page for more details.

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