Happy New Year 2019!

Posting this a few days late . . .

January 1, 2019, a new year, some might say a clean slate. During my wild impetuous youth, the first day of the year typically meant horrendous hangovers and, at some point, hair of the dog. In recent decades, however, January 1 has often been a day of tremendous importance to our family.

January 1, 1997, the day Shonnie and I entered into a committed relationship. After running together in a marathon training group in Austin for more than two years, Shonnie and I consciously confronted the challenges of a relationship with an age difference such as ours (28 years), made commitments to one another, and moved in together. We visited Asheville later that year and decided to make it our home. In 1999, surrounded by friends and family, we married at Bend of Ivy Lodge.

January 1, 2010, the day Shonnie walked out of the bathroom and exclaimed, “I’m pregnant!” Early in 2009, we’d decided to forego birth control and let nature take its course, and as the clock wound down, I’d begun to wonder if my boys were still swimming. They were! Gracelyn was born on September 7, 2010 and has brought an extraordinary amount of joy, love, and laughter into our lives.

January 1, 2019, today! A few milestones from 2018:

Gracelyn turned eight years old and entered the second grade at Evergreen Community Charter School in Asheville. She says her favorite subjects there are lunch, recess, and art. Speaking of art, her Happy Scarecrow painting created in her Evergreen art class (Thank you, Ms. Mary Ann!) won a blue ribbon at the 2018 Mountain State Fair, and Gracelyn has been selling prints of her art for her own benefit and to help folks stay warm this winter. In addition, she had a role in two stage productions including Alice in Wonderland, and she was thrilled to see Hamilton in Atlanta in June. Gracelyn also ran her first 5K with Girls on the Run, and a pre-Christmas trip to visit Grandma Deb in Florida was a special treat near the end of the year.

Shonnie continues to coach moms (and a few dads) from around the world to evolve spiritually and to parent in a way that enables their children to retain their spiritual and emotional wholeness. She coaches, leads workshops, writes, and supports families that want to heal their past, create a harmonious, authentic, and loving present with their family, and create a peaceful, fulfilling future for the wider world. Her Facebook group Conscious Mom’s Circle now has 3674 members, her Shonnie Lavender Parent Coaching Facebook page has been liked more than 2000 times, and her video “Ways We Unknowingly Shame our Children” has 57,000 views. Shonnie also volunteers in Gracelyn’s classroom and her art class.

As for me, I continue to seek representation from a literary agent for my memoir, and though several have expressed an interest in my project, no contract yet. I had a personal essay published in the Washington Post in June, which I presented at a Jubilee celebration, and I have several essays up at Huffington Post. I co-chair the Equity Leadership Team at Gracelyn’s school, a group dedicated to creating greater racial and ethnic diversity at Evergreen. My granddaughter Molly graduated from Colorado State University in December, and I enjoyed sharing this milestone with her, her friends, and her mom Lilla (my daughter), her dad Brandon (my son-in-law), her brother Jack (my grandson), and other family members.  In 2019 I resolve to hone my handball skills and regain my deadly right-front corner kill shot.

Our cats—Pearl, Max, Tink, and Char—continue to prosper. Char spends a lot of time at Mary Lynn’s, our neighbor across the street, and Pearl goes into the woods for several days at a time, coming home for a day or so to sleep and eat, then heads back out again. Max and Tink are our bedtime buddies, snuggling into the blankets on our beds most every night.

The three of us enjoyed listening to the entire Harry Potter series this summer, followed by watching all of the movies, then listening to the entire series again. We’re now onto The Chronicles of Narnia. We all enjoy playing word games, card games, board games, dancing, and generally being silly.

Well, that’s it from here, folks. Here’s hoping that the New Year brings you all your heart desires! And for me, that includes a new president.

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