I’m not exactly sure what happened to January. All I know is that after Christmas, I had big plans. I was going to rearrange my living room and finally finish my epic decluttering of the house. I would host the doll club at my home on the second Friday of January. I would start up at the gym again. I would finally start attending Weight Watchers meetings again and even track food on my app instead of just paying for the membership and thinking about participating the way I was supposed to. I would put myself on a writing/blogging/social media schedule so I wouldn’t feel so overwhelmed. Maybe I would write a blog post about my goals, hopes, and dreams for the year, or maybe choose my “word” for the year like so many people like to do. And I had definite plans to attend the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference again in March. I’d already started plotting which classes I would take and which agents and editors I should connect with.

Then January actually came. On New Year’s Eve, Hubby and I stayed up late to get the living room rearranged like I’d planned. I think I finally crawled into bed at 2:30 in the morning, which is unheard of for me. It was just so hard to go to bed when there were so many things to do, like arranging my unicorn collection and setting up my writing desk. 😉

Isn’t it lovely? 🙂

Two days later, the nasty cold/flu bug I’d had in December came back with a vengeance. (Apparently, my body doesn’t respond well to staying up until the wee hours of the morning.) And with that, two weeks of my life disappeared. This thing knocked me out. I didn’t feel miserable, but I had a low grade fever for several days and zero energy for two weeks. Later that week, my younger two girls and my husband caught it, too.

You can guess the rest. All of those grand plans melted away like hailstones in a January rain. I’m still not done decluttering my house. I had to ask one of the other ladies in the doll club to host the meeting instead of me, though I was at least well enough by then to give the lecture. I did finally make it to the gym and Weight Watchers, but that didn’t happen until this week.  My blogging was nonexistent until this post I’m writing now, and the only thing I managed to write was some rough blocking for a few opening chapters of my second book. Social media? Eh. A few posts on my Instagram account, shared to my Twitter and Facebook.

Then, last week, my girls had an incredible opportunity to audition for a local production of Annie Jr. (basically, a shortened version of the original Annie play). Their voice teacher was one of the musical directors for the production and told us about it last fall. She followed up with me two weekends ago (after I forgot to ask about it again) to ask if we were going to go ahead and audition. I told her we were still thinking about it and asked when they were. “This Tuesday,” was her response. So, after some pretty quick decision-making, we let the girls audition, and all three were cast in the play. Hooray!

It was then that I looked at the dates of the performances again and realized that the last two days of Annie Jr. were the first two days of Mount Hermon. Bummer.

So, long story short, I’m not going to Mount Hermon after all. I can’t justify missing such an important milestone for the girls. I’m disappointed, and I’ll admit I had a nice little private cry about it (NOT in front of the girls). But my family comes first, and there will be other conferences in the future. In fact, I’m looking into the possibility of attending the Oregon Christian Writers Conference in August. It’ll be my first time attending that particular conference, and I’ve always been curious about it. The later conference date will give me more time to save up for the conference admission and to do more writing. As an added bonus, one of my favorite authors, Robin Jones Gunn, is the keynote speaker.

I have to admit, I’ve been feeling a bit lost these past several months when it comes to my writing, blogging, and such. For seven years, I was a doll and toy blogger. That was my main online outlet and joy. I still love toys. I always will. But I feel the pull of something else, the desire to write stories that inspire and encourage my readers. Plus, I’m totally running out of room for toys and can’t possibly continue purchasing and collecting them at the rate I would need to for my toy blog, even if I stick to little things.

I jumped into this blog last year and started sharing about my writing, art, and family life. Yet I’m still trying to find my voice here. My Instagram account has been fun, but I feel like I’m trying to cram too many interests into one account. And the whole marketing aspect of this writing journey overwhelms me. My head is spinning with thoughts of hashtags and branding and photo filters and blogging schedules.

Then there’s the whole publishing question. Do I continue pursuing traditional publishing when it seems like no one is interested in what I’m writing? Do I pursue indie publishing instead? If so, can I afford it? Is it “failure” to give up on traditional when I’m still fairly new to this writing game? Three rejections (five counting my short story) really aren’t that many. Many of my other writing friends have faced dozens of rejections. Which mode of publishing would work best for me and my writing goals, anyway?

What do I want from life? What am I most passionate about? What do I want to share the most with my readers? Why can’t I just eat chocolate and pizza without gaining weight? Will my house ever be clean again, or should I just give up and focus on making sure the dishes are done and we all have clean socks and underwear?

I don’t have the answers to these questions yet. I have absolutely no idea what 2018 will hold for me and my family. Good thing I don’t have to have it all figured out. I just need to breathe, take one step at a time, and hold the hand of the One who knows all the answers and loves me more than any other. And have some dark chocolate every once in a while. The kind with sea salt.

What’s the point of this rather rambling post, you may ask? I guess I just wanted to look back on this whirlwind month that went nothing like I expected and remind myself that sometimes, our plans don’t turn out the way we … um … planned. 😉

I also wanted to give an honest look at where I’m at right now. Clueless. A bit overwhelmed. Exhausted. Hearing constant renditions of “It’s a Hard-Knock Life” and “Tomorrow” belted out in the bathroom and the hallway. Loving the way my girls are blossoming on stage. Hoping that someday my dog will decide that escaping the house and running two blocks with me frantically following in my slippers and jammies is not as fun as he thinks it is. Wondering if I’m actually capable of writing that second book, and the third, and the fourth. Wishing I’d hear back from that agent I met at the conference last summer. Trying really hard to ignore the Special K with Berries cereal that’s calling my name from the pantry right now. Wondering if I’ll ever find the Ultra Rare Shopkins Shoppet Rainbow Sparkle unicorn for my collection. (Yes, that’s actually a thing.) 😉 Wishing I could fast-forward to the day I can slide back into those size 12 jeans. I’d even take size 14 at this point. Thinking about writers conferences, play rehearsals, field trips, and where on earth Oldest Gal is going to go to high school next year. Wishing I could be Mary Poppins and make the piles of boxes in my house disappear with a snap of my fingers. Wondering how on earth such a cute little cat can create such a horrible smell when he uses his litter box, and wondering how hard it would be to teach him to use the toilet so at least all the nastiness would be in one place. Smiling at the thought of my incredible, patient husband who puts up with so much from his spastic wife.

And in spite of it all, loving this crazy, messy, amazing life I have, even though it may not sound like it. But also hoping for inspiration, direction, and chocolate very soon.