December 26, 2014

2014 Year-End Post

It's no secret that I like words. Cards and letters from friends near and far are one of my favorite parts of the holiday season. I also enjoy the process of reflecting on my past year and preparing my own annual update. I do resist writing a typical letter. I greatly enjoy providing a relevant update embedded in some creative format (here are examples from 2012 and 2013). 

For this year's update I made a word cloud using Taxedo (you may be more familiar with Wordle).

As you'll see if you scan the word cloud, a major personal highlight of the past year was our family's experience traveling to Spain and having Pablo, our "Spanish son," return to the U.S. with us for three weeks this summer. (Our decision to host an exchange student in 2013 has enriched our life in so many ways, not the least of which is the wonderful friendship we have developed with our new extended family in Spain).

I've had many professional highlights in the past year as well, but the most rewarding work has been the volunteer advocacy effort I've been involved with to strengthen the school libraries in our local area. I also treasure every opportunity I've had to engage with young readers during author visits at local schools and libraries and via Email and Skype (as well as good old fashioned snail mail)! Thank you friends and colleagues, for supporting and encouraging my work, and for sharing my books with the children you love. You've helped me make a small difference in this world. 

In addition to preparing our annual holiday card, I also enjoy working on an annual craft-y project with my kids. In recent years we've made holiday decorations, scarves, hand & foot scrubs and scented fire starters. This year we made Love Rocks as a way to honor a family in our area who has endured an unimaginable loss. I don't know the family personally, but the process of making hundreds of Love Rocks and sharing them with others helped me stay grounded and focused on the treasure of time spent with friends and family. 

Thanks to each of you who have contributed to my blessed "world of words" in 2014. You are a gift to me. Here's to the adventures that await us in the coming year!

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