Saturday December 22, 2012

This week zipped by, and somehow, I didn't manage to find the time to blog.  Time for a "state of the family" update...

We have reached the winter break and with the help of a winter storm this past week, it's going to be a white Christmas.  That winter storm provided Erin with a day off as schools were closed on Thursday, and she was perfectly content to stay home and do nothing all day!

In all seriousness, Erin has soldiered on and is managing to keep her grades up and do what needs doing at school.  She tells us she struggles some days to concentrate and focus - Dan and I know exactly what she means - but she's doing it.  Now, she has 11 days off to sleep in, hang out with friends and family, and recharge her batteries.

Dan had a productive week traveling in North Dakota.  The winter storm missed him up there, so he made it home safely and he, too, is looking for some time at home to recharge his battery.  After the first of the year, things will be very busy for him with new customers coming on board.  Much like Erin, he manages to focus well enough to get the job done.  We are all grateful for that.

As for me, I met with my publishing group again this week.  I'm still amazed at how much goes in to publishing a book.  Things will ramp up starting in February as we work to get some publicity and press in advance of the publication.  We're hoping for exposure in local, Twin Cities, and - cross your fingers - national newspaper and television outlets.  Scarletta Press even tweeted about Determined to Matter yesterday with the hashtag "#mustread".  For those of you on twitter, check it out @ScarlettaPress and please give it a re-tweet.

We continue with our calendar game and there's no escaping this date:  December 22nd last year is the day we packed up our minivan, checked out of St. Jude, and headed on the 12 hour drive home from Memphis.  (There's an untold story from that drive home, but you'll have to wait and read about it in the book.)  We all wanted to be home for the holidays last year, and we made it.  We arrived home to a house decorated for Christmas, complete with a light up sign on the deck that read "I heart Shannon".   Those memories remain so vivid for us.

Shannon's friends are remembering, too, and have been sharing those memories with us.  We received a beautiful Christmas ornament - a hockey skate with wings and Shannon's name written on it in lime green - from one friend, and a touching, hand written letter from another.  Suffice it to say, we're not the only ones recalling last year's holidays and the last of Shannon's days here on earth.

But now it's December 22, 2012 and we are gearing up to see our family on Christmas Day, 2012.  We are hosting - both our families - and everyone who is within driving distance is coming, along with Grandma and Grandpa Harkins flying in from Nevada.  Now, this may sound like a crazy idea to take on the job of hosting 40 people, but we want to be home, and our families want to be together.  It will be a casual, open house style day, and we will laugh and cry and reminisce.

It will definitely be a full circle moment for all of us, but it feels right.