Monday, December 15, 2014

Merry Christmas 2014


2014 has been a busy year for our family. As always, I love being able to give you a glimpse of our year through pictures. Here are the highlights, one for each letter of MERRY CHRISTMAS:

(Click on any picture to enlarge it.)

Michigan Lighthouses 
 Since I'm in the middle of writing a Lighthouse series, I've had lots of fun this past year visiting lighthouses. In fact, I even stayed for a week at an assistant light keeper's cottage in Eagle Harbor way up in the UP of MI on Lake Superior. (A BIG thanks to my mom for joining in on all my adventures!)

Exciting Moments
The year was filled with many exciting moments, everything from petting skunks, walking down 100 steps into an abandoned copper mine, hiking waterfalls, to plunging down waterslides at Magic Waters.

 My husband and I continued to discipline ourselves to keep to a regular running schedule and found our health stats improving as a result. One of our daughters competed in her second triathlon and came in first for her age group.

During the early part of the summer, we finally had our 70's style kitchen remodeled. The lovely green counters are finally gone! Even though it meant several weeks of eating in the garage (and at my moms!), the final product was worth the trouble.

Young Adults
It's with mixed emotions that I watch my three oldest turn into young adults. On the one hand, I'm excited that my twins are learning to drive and that my oldest (a senior) is making plans to go to college. But I also fondly remember those sweet days when they were little.

Cats, Cats Everywhere
 The cats still rule. Need I say more? :-)

Heavenly Home
After celebrating her 95 birthday during the summer with family, my dear grandmother went to her heavenly home in November. We're happy that she's finally free of her pain here on earth. Nevertheless, I still grieve for this strong woman of faith who was a wonderful grandma.

Restful Moments
While "down time" is rare in our family these days, we had a few peaceful moments on family vacations, riding bikes, rock collecting, hiking the Dunes, and playing games.

International Mission Trip
My oldest son had the privilege of traveling to Haiti this past summer to work in an orphanage. It's all too easy in our culture to become insulated and calloused to the deprivation many suffer in other countries. We're thrilled he had the opportunity to develop compassion for those who are suffering and hurting.

As always, sports are a huge part of our family life. The kids were involved in swimming, basketball, soccer, ballet, and worship dance. This winter, my husband is helping to coach my oldest son's varsity basketball team for his senior year.

Trips to visit family
From weddings to birthdays to funerals, we traveled to several family gatherings this year. It's always a joy to spend time with cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandmas.

Many new books
My writing career continues to expand. I love writing Historical Romances for Bethany House Publishers (my first lighthouse book just released!). But I also signed two new contracts with two new publishers this past year. My first young adult medieval will release in March 2015. And a historical will release in Sept. 2015.

Awesome photos of the year
For Mother's Day my family gave me a nice camera. Here are a few of the most awesome photos of the year.

St. Louis
In September I traveled to St. Louis, Missouri for a fiction writer's conference where I co-taught a workshop with a friend and critiqued manuscripts for aspiring writers. The highlight of the trip was winning the Carol Award for my book A Noble Groom.


From my family to yours,
We wish you a very Merry Christmas!


  1. I adore your Christmas letters. Always one of the season highlights! Love, love, love your family and all you do!! Miss and love you!!

    1. Got your Christmas letter today! Loved the "Season Two" theme! And all of the coffee! :-) Miss and love you too!

  2. Wishing Christmas joy to you and your beautiful family. I've loved following your writing journey, Jody, and look forward to hearing of your continued (and well deserved) publishing successes.

    1. Hi Carol, Thank you for following my journey Carol and for being such a lovely support in my life! I appreciate it so much! Wishing you and your family a wonderful Christmas too! :-)

  3. What a great year you had. So happy for you!

    1. Thank you, Keli! It's been VERY busy! But what's new? ;-)

  4. What a wonderful newsletter! Thanks for sharing a glimpse into your life!
    Wishing you the Merriest Christmas yet!

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Susan! I pray that you have a blessed Christmas season too! :-)

  5. Well you surely had a great year! :)
    I wish you and your family just as much happiness and fun for 2015.
    Happy Holidays everyone!

    1. Thank you so much, Samantha! Wishing the same back to you!

  6. Jody dear. I loved reading your Christmas family newsletter! Thank you so much for sharing your family life with us.:) What a wonderful family you have must be so proud and your photos are beautiful too.:)
    Thankfully our kitchen rennos were completed last week,after two months of living upside down..definitely "down under"Lol
    Have a wonderful Christmas my friend.Will be in touch soon.X

    1. Merry Christmas to you too, Rosie! Glad to hear that your kitchen remodel is finally done and that you're right-side-up again! Hope that all is well with you and your dear family! Lots of love!

  7. What a wonderful year you have had. Wishing you and your lovely family a very Merry Christmas!!

    1. Thank you, Darlene! Hope you had a wonderful Christmas too!

  8. Hi Jody!

    LOVED reading your family Christmas newsletter. You are truly blessed with a beautiful family! Sadly, l, too, lost my grandma this year in March. She was a spirit-filled 97 and is now home in heaven, too.

    Jody, please know your blog continues to be a great source of INSPIRATION for me, especially when doubting myself as a writer and balancing family life and writing time.

    May God continue to bless you and your family in the New Year! ☺

    1. Thank you so much Crystal! I'm sorry to hear about the loss of your Grandma too. It's hard even if we know they're in a better place! And thank you for the kind words about my blog. I'm so glad that it's been an inspiration.

  9. So great. Here's to an even better year for you and yours, Jody!