2012: A Year Of Memories, Decisions, Changes & Farewells

This will be the best one ever!
This will be the best one ever!

If someone had told me, one year ago, exactly what was going to happen to my life in 2012, I believe I would have had a thermonuclear meltdown. From the ending of a ten-year old marriage, to the passing of a twenty-nine year old life, and in between, all of the splendid moments and hair pulling fiascos that could be packed into 365 days. Isn’t it funny, when things happen, a lot of us say, “If only I had known”, when the truth is that, had we of known, it might leave us within a state of confusion, panic or indecision?

For me, 2012 is a year that I will remember as the turning of a large page in my life. It had started with the decision to be more fit, an act that I followed through with through the spring, summer and early fall, and will start again when the weather turns warmer! I have lost some weight, my knees do not bother me this winter and I can pick out some clothing in the next size down, go ahead and tell me that the last statement sounded girly, LOL! Even us guys like to feel good in our clothes.

If you had told me that my 1996 Cougar would have stopped running, I would have been worried for two months about what I needed to do to fix the situation. Then to tell that the 1996 Jimmy I had bought to replace it with would have to have hundreds of dollars spent on it and that I was going to do the work myself, it would have been far to easy to throw my hands up and say, “To Hell With It!”

Had I of known ahead of time the joy I would see on the baseball field with Lynden this past Spring, it would be like wanting to go and see a great film, only to be told the entire story before hand! To also foresee the smiles and joy from my youngest sons, Ethan & Rylen, would have dulled those wonderful moments when they came. To have three wonderful sons, alive and healthy, alone, makes this a wonderful year!

If you mentioned that Ethan would adopt a black cat and it was to become a member of our family, I would have thought you were insane. But it did, and Smokey has given us that little something extra in our home. To open my door one Sunday morning and see him on our step and then take him for a drive with us, is one day I will not forget!

I would have been relieved to know that I would finally have my wish for a 5 Generation photo granted! To see a picture of my sons with their Great-Great-Grandmother is one of those things that will live forever for Lynden, Ethan, Rylen and myself! For the past couple of years, it had become a worry that I felt, I was gambling with, and somehow seeing just how long it would take to happen or not. 2012 became the year that I laid that worry to rest for good and the peace from that is pure joy.

Death, however, is not! I sometimes think, had I of known my younger brother, Ricky, would be gone before 2012 was, I am not sure how I would begin to handle such news. Maybe, I would have visited a few minutes longer, or just dropped in, real fast, to tell him I loved him, instead of heading home because I was exhausted. Maybe though, I would have had to deal with the fact, that it was going to happen and there was nothing I could have done about it. Since love has no concept of time and is a facit of life to which death can never out race, I hold my brotherly love forever in my heart and thank my God, for the memories that were given to me! I Love You, Ricky!

I have renewed friendships with some I have not seen much in the past few years and have promised to keep those communications open. I have also reconnected with family that once, was strained. I saw my boys, beam from ear to ear this Christmas and will welcome 2013 with them as well!

As for my career, I have sent out more queries to agents this year alone than I have in the ten years, that I have been writing, combined! I have entered more contests than ever before, created my long overdue Facebook page (www.facebook.com/imaginaryfox) and reworked my, long time needed, blog site, combining my photo blog with my writing projects (www.1imaginaryfox.wordpress.com) and have no one, but you to thank, for the wonderful success it has turn into! Thank you so very much for sharing this year, your thoughts, criticisms and insights! This will be the year for Marky, Slash & Levy, Barney & Lexi and The Boondock Kids!!

I say goodbye to 2012 and for the first time ever, I have no resolution right off the top of my head. I will welcome 2013 with open arms, keeping my head up, my eye on the prize, and my passion strong and determined! Look out 2013, this is the year of the fox!! Live With Passion!

Cold Snow, Warm Memories!

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Today, I set out in the southern part of Lawrence County, Illinois for some amazing photos of the two recent snow storms that have blanketed the land with close to 13 inches of glistening white powder. It turned out to be one of the most memorable, if not the best, run so far on this project!

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I took my younger sons, Ethan and Rylen back to their mother and returned home for a quick pick up around my home. While cleaning I began thinking about Lynden and how he had gotten a brand new camera of his very own for Christmas, and knew that he would be yearning to take it out and use it! I thought that this would be perfect, given the snow and the drastic change in landscape scenery brought with it, I was right! I was greeted with a big smile and two mugs of hot cocoa.

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We drove as far south in the county, as we could and shot west, almost to the very point where I had finished my fall session a few weeks ago. This time however, the gravelled, country roads had one single, solitary pass down them, which ment it was time to go four wheel drive and be on our way. It took Lynden no time to figure his camera out and before I knew it, he was saying, “Stop Dad, I see something!”

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For a nine-year old little boy in a car for two and a half hours, he took some amazing photos and saw some things I would not have seen, had I gone by a dozen times! We shot photos right up until it was dark and time to return home. I smiled at him when he said that he wanted to do his own picture book, covering one trip across Lawrence County. It feels meaningful when, through no pushing of your own, your child takes an interest in something you enjoy and has a great time doing it!

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While it might have been only 20 degrees outside, with a cold wind blowing, the afternoon was spent making the warmest of memories between a father and his son! 🙂 Thank You for reading, Live With Passion!!

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Blog Awards??

Tonight I had a comment from a reader who had asked if this ‘thing’ I am doing has ever been nominated for a blog award. Until that moment, I had no idea that such a distinction even existed. I replied that it had not and admitted to my clueless understanding of such ‘things’. Truth is, I am simply a near broke children’s book author chasing a dream. All though it means the world to me, AND I WILL ACHIEVE IT, I don’t believe others hang their lives on reading everyday. Do you? Do you look forward to my post? If you do, it means more to me than you will ever know. As for these, blog awards, I don’t feel mine is anything but my perspective towards a promising career. I think this new knowledge is inspiring, however, I’ll just keep writing as is!

My sons are spending the night, so, no writing tonight. I wish you a great Sunday and please Live With Passion!

Movie And A Storm

Tonight, Lynden and I went to watch The Hobbit, which was excellent, and came out of the theater and into the second snow storm of the year. With the theater being 20 miles from my home, it became an hour-long drive to cross those 20 miles. With my son in the car, it made me very nervous, heading down roads that had not been lowed yet. I put my Jimmy back into four-wheel drive and slowly made our way home. An hour for 20 miles was a long ride but we made it safely.

Now it is 11:07 and we both have just finished dinner and are going to call it a night. I have decided not to write tonight, so, I hope you understand. Please enjoy your evening and Live With Passion!

Any Objection To Friday???

After a half an hour of writer’s block, I finished the cafeteria scene at Red Hill Elementary! I thought I was going to never figure out the conversation between Mario, Louis, Sindy and Cristena, but, in the end it turned out spectacular!

Sindy had come to the conclusion that she would have to return to Mrs. Ragsby’s flower garden, to redraw it from first hand vision. She knew that Mrs. Ragsby might not be home and asked for someone to walk with her, so that her mother would allow her to walk down the street. Naturally, all three of Sindy’s friends agreed, for Cindy had not been there in over a month to visit, while Mario and Louis could think about nothing but the wonderful Chocolate Chip Cookies she made and left in the cookie jar.

However, when Sindy suggests Wednesday, Mario and Louis announce they both have fourth grade basketball practice. Sindy then mentions Thursday, to which Cristena mentions that Thursdays are Family Eat Out Night. Louis announced that when they all were allowed to eat out last month with Cristena’s was a great time, Cristena, over cheerfully agrees, making her shy away quickly and makes Louis blush slightly.

“Any objection to Friday??” Sindy asks.

With their mouths stuffed full of fish sandwich, Mario and Louis shake their heads, saying yes to that day. Cristena, still shocked she had a small, slip of the lip, simply replies, “Yes, that will be fine.” Therefore, on Friday, right after school, Mario, Louis, Sindy and Cristena will make way for Mrs. Ragsby’s home and into an adventure that will change their lives forever!!!

One Foot Of Snow!

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I woke up this morning to a blizzard at 5a.m., so I grabbed my snow shovel and made my way out the front door and for the next hour, scooped my drive clean. It was coming down so hard, that I could hardly see. I then prepared to make my way to work and begin shoveling the front of the store off. I called my boss and was told that we were not opening today, to which I was happy about! I went back inside, shucked down and climbed back into my flannel sheets and went to sleep for two more hours.

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What I had when I woke up again was my hour of work wiped clean! My drive had a snow drift in it up to the grill on my Jimmy! I dressed back up with a t-shirt, sweat shirt, scarf, zip up hoodie and my Carhart coat followed by flannel pants on under my jeans and two layers of socks! Yep, it was cold! One hour later, my drive was clean again as was my neighbors sidewalk. I figured that he works all day plowing the snow, so I scraped his walkway up to his front door.

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I then switched on the four-wheel drive and ventured five miles to my Grandmothers house to clear her drive, should her or my Great-Grandmother need to get out today. What I got when I got to her house was a four-foot wall of snow at the entrance to her drive. I nervously parked along the road until I cleared the entrance, which took around an hour by itself. I pulled off of the road and spent the next three hours clearing the drive and sidewalks. I finished off my day by clearing my Grandma’s neighbors walk up to her steps in case she needed to get to my grandmother’s house or to the street for an emergency!

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I had planned to write tonight, however, a hot shower is calling and shoveling work is ahead tomorrow. I will probably write a little but then it is lights out for me. Wherever you are, I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and if it snowed, happy shoveling! Enjoy it and Live With Passion!

Merry Christmas!

After one of my absolute best Christmas Eve’s I have had yet was today! I had my three sons last night and the four of us welcomed my mother,  youngest brother and grandmother into my little but cozy home for a couple of hours of some of the best family time one could ask for! It is wonderful times like this that reminds me just how wonderful things are and how the memories made today are some I will never forget! The boys and I finished this night off at my step mom’s family (to me though, there has never been any question that it is my family as well) and had a wonderful dinner and a couple more hours of good family time. My sons walked away with so much toys, my livingroom is packed to the gills! I will sort it all out tomorrow.

I want to personally wish you the very best for this holiday season! What ever your personal belief is for this time of year, I hope it will be filled with wonderful memories and cherished times with friends and family!

Presents, Family & Seconds!

This Sunday has felt backwards from the moment I woke up. It was 9 o’clock when I opened my eyes and I was alone in my bed. Usually, my youngest son, Rylen is in bed with me at 7 a.m. but with it being the Christmas weekend, I have them tonight instead since they are with me on Monday to do our couple of Christmas runs. I can’ wait for them to open their gifts tomorrow, the pictures will be priceless!!

I also did not make my first photo shoot of this winter either. That left me feeling like I was not following a routine, but what I did do meant the world! I met my father at my grandmother’s house and together, we fixed her kitchen light fixture. It was very wonderful to have the three of us together and doing something, even if it was fixing a light, we were together! It made my grandmothers world for the day. Though she is still very young, only in her 60’s, she lives alone and I could tell she liked having family around, who wouldn’t? Family is so awesome!

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve and my mother is coming from Kentucky with my youngest brother and together, with my grandma (I just mentioned,LOL) are going to have a Merry Christmas with my sons. Though my house is small, it will be filled with a ton of love!

Last, but not least, The Boondock Kids made their way through the lunch line and the ever so sweet, Mrs. Sugar, greeted Mario, Louis, Sindy and Cristena. She had to remind Mario and Louis, once again, that having ‘seconds’ on fish would only be served after every student had their meal. Mario and Louis attempted to pass off that they were simply going to thank Mrs. Sugar for her hard work, however, knowing the two boys so well, Mrs. Sugar sees through the silliness. She is then greeted with killer kindness from Sindy and Cristena as they took their lunch trays. Sindy and Cristena are always so polite, a genuine trait both of the girls have! Now it is time to get to their table, eat and find out what Sindy is going to do for her makeup art project!

Should I not write tomorrow night, I want to wish you a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays or any other term you use based on your personal celebration of this time of year! I wish you great memories and wonderful times spent with loved ones! Live With Passion!!

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