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Thursday, December 24, 2015

On This Christmas Eve...

Okay, Christmas music on, coffee at hand, blanket tucked in place...and....

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! – 2015 edition

This was another year of transitions for us—some we’re still in the process of, so not all have definitive conclusions to share with you.

Last November (2014) saw the arrival of ‘Little Luke’ Owen Dunigan, and we’ve been adjusting to being grandparents to both him and his older brother Mario. It has been a blessing to watch Luke, Lupe, Mario and Little Luke grow as a family, and we made a few extra trips to Salem to visit when we were home. We are proud of Caleb, who is now working as a Music Director at a church in Michigan. After working at a resort near Jackson, WY, Jeremy is currently in truck driving school down in Riverside, CA, joining Luke to be another trucker in the family. Luke drives for SWIFT, and Jeremy will drive for CRST.

Most of our home-time has been spent getting the exterior of the house sorted out. The house has been painted—possibly the first time since it went up in 2001. We got a LOT done toward finishing the back yard, smoothing out what we tore up last year—or was that the year before? We now have 9 raised beds, so we’ll get to have a garden next year! (More on that in a moment.) We’ve put up another poly-shed, and have taken down most of the decrepit wooden shed. By the end of next year we hope to have a greenhouse up. It’s shaping up...and that’s enough said about the house.

Speaking of home time, that is part of the biggest transition of all. In July, our house sitter went on an extended vacation, so I came home to hold down the fort, and I’ve been home ever since. It was earlier than planned, but I’ve transitioned to writing and editing full time. I anticipate being able to put out twice as many books in 2016. (I’ll have another novel in the Boys of Syracuse, Kansas, series released come February!)

When Collin came home in October, Christopher moved out and we shook up the interior of the house. We moved our bedroom into the spare room, and I now have a “Writing Cave” (Collin calls it a Diva Den) in the master suite. I’m sitting in it now, enjoying the comfort and the view out the window. It’s a place to escape any hubbub in the rest of the house, because...

The end of an era is nigh? Collin came home to stay at Thanksgiving, and is trying out driving log trucks for Ireland Trucking. Our long term plan has been for us to be home together, and it looks like we’re putting that in motion. Collin is looking forward to spending quality home time with me, getting to see the kids and grandkids more often, and having time to do more around the house. So far, he enjoys the challenge of driving in the woods, but he’s not yet sure if it is ‘the job’ he wants to do until retirement. He’s reserving the option of doing something different.

Chances are good, though, that the Ball & Chain will officially shut down come the first of the year. It’s been a great 8.5 year run, with plenty of ups and downs, but the industry has been changing, and we just figure it’s time to move away from being owner operators and closer to our long term goals.

We are looking forward to a new year filled with family, home time, love, and all the peace and happiness we can find. We wish the same for all of you.

Much love, Kristi & Collin 

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