IMG_7829colorHope y’all had a great year. 2013 held mostly highs and a few lows for me, but it was pretty good overall. This was the year I took on new creative challenges, tried new things, and while I didn’t publish much I feel I’m a lot stronger in so many ways than when 2013 began.

This was the year I became a Reiki Master and started taken on new clients for my Creative Reiki Practice! Reiki is the ancient Japanese art of healing and through my Reiki practice, my creativity is brighter as well as my instincts, which means I can help my clients better. Rock on, Reiki! In addition to my Reiki practice, I also have a Qi Gong and acupuncture therapist to reduce my stress, get my more out of my head and into my body and prevent health disasters! It’s working—I haven’t caught any bugs or plagues since I’ve taken time out to work on my holistic health.

I also took up violin and enhanced my study of guitar. Why do violin? It’s a brand new instrument for me, but I had a dream that I should take it and I looked on Craig’s List for used violins and had an almost brand new one in my hands (used only 30 minutes for $100) two days later. Violin’s going well and my goal is to be a Celtic session player sooner than later. I found a fabulous guitar teacher who challenges and motivates me AND we have performances too! My goal on guitar is to sing and play my own songs—as far as singing I joined the Unity (Church of Raleigh) singers this fall and it’s been a blast. I’m actually singing in public again—which hasn’t been done since I was in 6th grade. With my red hair and fair skin, lots of folks think I’m Irish, but I’m actually Scottish, English, French, Dutch, German and probably some Viking thrown in there too. But I’m declaring myself Irish from here on out! I’m a Rince (pronounced “Rinca”) Go Halainn Irish dancer and have performed at three shows at Tir Na Nog at this writing. I took ballet as a little kid and this investment has really helped my Irish dance form and posture—yay! Catch me in the Raleigh St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Saturday, March 15th!

What else happened this year? I became a board member of the North Carolina Writers’ Network, I performed my poetry as part of the Piccolo Spoleto Sundown Poetry Series in Charleston, SC, in early June and I hosted my FIRST EVER Writing Retreat in Asheville in late August—I’ll be hosting my second Retreat this August 8-11 2014, three nights this time, instead of two. I also hosted a fantastic 6-week memoir workshop in early January and have master students who created their own writing group from the class. My comedy writing classes are going well and I tried out several of my stand up routines in front of my Born Toastmasters group to moderate applause.

This was the year of the concert—all of my favorite bands came through Raleigh: Matchbox Twenty/Goo Goo Dolls, Maroon 5/Kelly Clarkson, Bill Maher, Tift Merritt, John Fogerty, and Willie Nelson! Kelly Clarkson’s show was awesome and Maroon 5 couldn’t have been better. I took my son, Daniel, who just turned 11, to the Matchbox Twenty show and he realized how hard these guys work to entertain us—he probably won’t become a rock star.

For trips out of town, we all went to Disney World as a family, including the grandparents in January and my husband and I traveled solo to Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, Canada in July. My 2008 Subaru Outback rolled over to 100,000 miles in early May and that was 12,000 miles ago—yikes, I do drive a lot! Both of my kids are now officially school age—Erin (6) is in Kindergarten and Daniel (11) is a 6th grader, which means I’ve told him many a night that I won’t help him with his homework; he has to do it himself! It’s getting through, slowly.

What are my intentions for 2014? To get my book of poetry done, to improve on my violin/guitar/Irish dance/comedy/to host another fabulous Asheville retreat and to facilitate more workshops in memoir and fiction. How about you?

Happy New Year and I wish you a 2014 filled with love, laughter, music and most of all—fun!