How do we make sense of the years? News outlets are famous for their lists of important events. Although I suspect that doesn't begin to touch what a specific year may mean to us, I'm willing to offer up my list of the top ten events of 2011 for my own family:
- 1. Top of the top has to be the birth of a new grandson. Welcome, Vaughn Arthur Aylworth, born September 12, 2011.
- 2. Right up there behind Vaughn comes AylaPalooza IV. This biannual reunion has become a family tradition and treasure. This year we had extra family, but among our children, kids-in-law and grandkids, the only one missing was Austin, our oldest grandchild, who is serving a full-time mission in Chile. He's exempt because of his circumstance. Everyone else was there and we had a wonderful time.
- 3. Next for me is birthdays -- lots of birthdays for the wonderful people we enjoyed at AP IV. You all know who you are!
- 4. This was the year when I joined LDS Storymakers, attended the national conference, and became more involved with my writing than I've been in a while.
- 5. I also joined ANWA (American Night Writers; long story), attended their national conference, and got involved there as well.
- 6. Through very little fault of my own, I got elected to the Board of Directors of LDS Storymakers, and I've met some wonderful people who both inspire and help my writing.
- 7. I finished the manuscript for A SECRET FAMILY RECIPE, got it to my editors at Covenant, and had it approved for publication -- sometime in 2013.
- 8. Although I already mentioned birthdays, one stands out: I got to see my dad celebrate his 89th. This means he has outlived both his parents and all his older siblings, and he was there to enjoy my kids and grandkids at AylaPalooza, celebrating with us. You go, Dad!
- 9. I made the decision to write about Lorenzo di Medici, sketched out the basic plot for a story, and have spent the year doing online and book research. Next March I will go to Florence to do more in-person research. So cool!
- 10. Tied for tenth are a number of smaller items: little trips away with my honey, visits to see grandbabies, seeing friends' books do well in the market, watching my sweet old dog show affection to my sweet little granddaughter . . . I've a thousand such moments, all precious.
To everyone who made this year a little more special, to all of you who follow my ramblings, to all who read my books, THANK YOU. This has been quite a year -- and the next one can only be better.