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Another New Year

I'm looking forward to the new year...are you? 2023 was tough for my wife and I, but with God's help and the help of our immediate family, we survived.

It started in March. At the time, we were living in Spokane, Washington and enjoying the mountains and scenery provided by the Pacific Northwest. It was certainly a spark for the creative side of me seeing all that beauty in nature. I won't go into any details, but our circumstances changed, causing us to relocate back to Texas for work. That's not an easy move. I'll tell you right now, pulling two U-Haul trailers 2000+ miles behind our SUV's, the first half through mountain passes-the second half through high winds in Wyoming, Oklahoma, and Northern Texas, was nerve-wracking to say the least. The trip took three days.

When we left Washington, all we had was a job lined out in Lindale, Texas. We had no home and the move took all our savings. Thank God for a daughter and son-in-law that stepped up to the plate and offered us a place to stay until we found one of our own. We ended up living with them, along with their three rug-rats (and I say that with love) and two attention-hounds, for about a month.

Fast-forward to October. We've found a rental in Lindale and everything seemed to be going well until something unexpected happens. Again, I'm not going to go into details, but when the owner of a company asks you to do something unethical and you refuse, don't be surprised that what you thought was job security, was anything but. My wife leaving that job, while another financial heartache, was a blessing in disguise.

Within weeks of beginning her search, she got a call from a nursing facility in Waco. We drove over for the interview on a Thursday. By Friday afternoon, she had received calls and texts from everyone on her referral list-several mentioning that the Waco owner told them that she was at the top of their list. We went into the weekend without hearing directly from them and I could tell she was nervous, but I told her with all seriousness, "I believe they'll call you with the job offer on Monday."

I don't know if she believed me or not, but I believed it because I believed in her...she's not just good at her job, she's exceptional! She cares for her residents and she needed a place of employment that cared for them too-a place that would back her in her endeavors and through her research of this Waco company, they cared. The last two companied only cared about the almighty dollar-this company was different.

Through a nervous, nail-biting weekend, Monday finally came and with it, the call at about mid-morning. It was the call I told her to expect, the call offering her the job! And with that, we began preparing for another move-this time only about 140 miles. By November 1st, we had a rental and had moved and so far, it's been everything we wanted. Her first day at her new job was an emotional one. She came home that evening, unable to describe the feeling. She said, it was as if, even though they'd all just met, that they were all friends that had known each other for years. To quote her, "It was as if I had come home."

So here we are, looking into the new year with a renewed sense of appreciation that the struggles of the year before were just to lead us to something better.



Another note to those that love art: as children, we loved to color! It's no different being an adult. While I enjoy crating my own art from scratch, there's something to be said for the relaxing feeling I get from just sitting at the table, opening my box of colored pencils or markers, and working on an adult coloring page.

Looking for coloring pages? If so, you can find a slew of greyscale coloring pages on my Patreon page. As a Patron, you can download them, print them, and color them a often as you like...and I add more to the collection at the beginning of every month. In fact, for January 2024, I've added more then 20 high quality greyscale images that are ready for your creative juices to bring them to life. This image is just one of the many that were added this month.

So don't delay, click the link below and follow my Patreon page - even the free membership gets you some great benefits!


In December, my progression through the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon continued with book three, Voyager. As I mentioned concerning book two, I wasn't as enthralled with A Dragonfly in Amber as I was with the first book. But with Voyager, I'm happy to say that I'm pleased that book three has renewed my interests in the series-not that I wasn't going to finish them anyway!

In Voyager, Jaime's nephew, Ian, has been kidnapped (okay-okay...pirate-napped) and it's up to him, Claire, and Fergus to track down the pirates that took him. And as anyone might know that's read the first two books of the series, for Jaime, this is an undertaking in and of itself for someone so susceptible to the tossing and turnings of ocean travel.

One thing that really stands out to me concerning the first three books is the varied settings and situations. In book one, we have the Scottish clans avoiding the English as war looms. In book two, our protagonists find themselves in the midst of political turmoil in France. Now, in book three, after the war, our setting brings us to the high seas. Throw into that mix the underlying time travel plot and Diana Gabaldon has created a series that doesn't rehash upon itself too often and continually takes a fresh look at each character.

While I took book two back to a four-star rating, Voyager has gained back that star! Now...on to Drums of Autumn!

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