Hello 2020

New year, new decade, new opportunities. How lucky am I to be able to write that statement?

I won’t lie, 2019 was tough. Full of head-in-hands moments. Times when loved ones were critically sick and in the hospital–loved ones at the peak of their health. Kids. The worry associated with a sickbed is never easy.

As a family, we had to deal with some difficult stuff we’ve never had to deal with before. Things we still don’t understand, but hurt deeply. I struggled with intense anxiety and depression at times, and had panic episodes that left me reeling.

But the saddest moment of all hit in early July, when we lost two family members in one day.

Loss sucks. It’s difficult to deal with at the best of times, and crippling at the worst. It tends to sneak up on you too, when you think you’re finally okay. No matter how long it’s been, the knowledge that someone is gone forever can knock the wind out of you.

2019 was tough. But it wasn’t just tough.

2019 was a year of new beginnings, of dreams made true, of joy and love.

We spent our first full year in one of the most beautiful places on earth. Plus, we survived the coldest February in Calgary in ages (booyah!). We had the opportunity to explore the Rocky Mountains, experience our first Stampede, and visit South Africa for the first time in three years (see all of these in my photo diaries). As an added bonus, my in-law’s all came to visit us in Canada.

Our extended family welcomed five new babies into the world. Five! We even got to be there when one of these little ones was born, and Kayla and I both got to hold this precious new soul. Magical.

We met incredible people, and forged wonderful new friendships. It’s been such a blessing to have a support network again, with family and friends close enough to rescue us if need be. Hell, we even have a social calendar again. 🙂 Thank you all for being there, it’s such a comfort and blessing to be a part of your lives.

Having said that, I’m also so thankful for the friends I’ve had online. New ones, old ones, this online community has been one of the greatest blessings in my life, no matter how far apart we may be in actual distance. Some of these people (you know who you are) have carried me through the dark. You’re all amazing.

On a work-related note, 2019 was a triumph. I got to make one of my biggest ever dreams a reality, and published A Study of Ash & Smoke. My short story, Robin of Locksley, was also published in the Skolion Anthology, Charon’s Song. AND I wrote another book, A Trial of Sparks & Kindling, which is set to be published April/May this year.

Additionally, ASOAAS has been getting lovely reviews, which just makes all of this worth it. And, have I mentioned that my amazing friends, Liani and Franco came through for me in a major way, and put together the awesomest ever book trailer?

Thanks to some great tips from my genius friend, Tallulah Lucy, I also managed to set up an Instagram feed I’m proud of. And through her, I met the South African Bookswap community, and got to be a part of the first two Canadian edition SA bookswaps.

All in all, through the hardships, I’m glad to have lived 2019. Here’s to a new decade, to new challenges, new triumphs, and above all, new growth.

Have a good one.

Yolandie.

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