I wish I could say 2013 was an amazing year. It was an excellent year, by all accounts, but it was one of those rebuilding and relearning years that you’re happy to see behind you. Those of you who are closest too me know the many things that went on. Some of you may not, and for the sake of my fans who are eagerly awaiting Winter 3 then I’ll take a moment to tell you a little about this past year.
In early December 2012, I became the pastor of a small church in south Mississippi, and in January 2013 we moved into the parsonage. This was about two hours away from our home of the past four years and the many friends we made in New Orleans while attending NOBTS (New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary). It was a home where the furthest of our closest friends were no more than the next apartment over, our children had other kids their age in abundance and the freedom to stroll outside and knock on their doors anytime they wanted, and all the academic help I needed was just down the road. To say moving from this to the middle of nowhere, where the closest “town” is twenty minutes away and all our friends are now two hours away, was easy would be an absolute lie.
Boy was it an adjustment. New job. New home. New life.
From January to April of 2013 I was writing my Master’s Thesis, culminating in the receiving of my Master of Arts in Theology last May. School was finally “over” in a manner of speaking, though there is still more I want to do.
After graduating, our church went into Summer mode, with a blow-out Bible School to plan and a chance to attend the Southern Baptist Convention in Houston. That was June.
What we weren’t expecting was to bury two church members and one close family/friend of the church within a four week period. That was July.
August was more joyful with our 175th church anniversary, which I had the privilege to be a part of. But the end of September made July feel easy. In a one week period, the sister of one of our deacons passed, the teenage son of friends of ours from our church home prior to moving to New Orleans tragically died in a car accident, and a friend I graduated with in undergrad lost her unexpected battle with cancer. All three funerals were on the same day. We could only attend one. Which would you chose?
Since then, things have been a little easier, though still with some bumps. There were more funerals, but after September I found a way to keep myself in a healthier state of mind over them. God blessed me with the opportunity to meet with several other ministers in the area for coffee once a week. My wife has been working to bring minister’s wives together, something this association has never really done. We finally connected with a home school group for our kids to start getting involved in. And the friendships we left behind in New Orleans seem to have grown stronger over the distance.
All that plus the ever changing and frustrating writing industry, which at times had me and some of my writing friends ready to quit, really put a hold on my creative juices. (We did, however, manage to get the audiobook of Prophetess released.)
2013 turned out to be an exhausting year, but a year of tremendous growth for me and my family. It was truly a year of new beginnings and the start of a new and exciting chapter in our lives. We haven’t figured everything out, but we’re starting to get the hang of it. God has really been blessing us.
So now you see why I haven’t written in 2013. But it’s time for the big question. Now that things are settling for us in our new life, what does 2014 hold? I will share with you just a few things. These are NOT New Year’s resolutions, because they’ve ALREADY begun. (One item began in October.)
My wife and I are planning on reinventing our production company to open ourselves up to more opportunities to flex our creative muscles. In 2014 I plan to get myself in the best shape I’ve ever been in physically. We’re also going to Disney World…again. My wife has become one of those Disney addicts.
But what most of you really want to know is this…In 2014 I plan to FINISH Winter. Not only Winter 3, but also Winter 4. My writing plan is to first draft BOTH novels at one time, not to rush in their productions, but to release them within four months of each other when they are ready. I can’t really say when that will be, though. But it’s coming.
What will you accomplish this year?