Happy Birthday to me!

It’s my birthday and I’ll laugh if I want to! LOL!

Most people dread their birthdays.

I’m grateful to be 45 years old today. Most of that is because my maternal grandmother died at the age of 44 from cancer. Much too young, leaving behind 10 children and a husband. I’ve thought of my grandmother, Mabel Jones, a lot over this last year, hoping she was looking out for me from above, so I could make it to this birthday. Thank you, Grandma Mabel. I made it!

I have to reflect back on this year and what I’ve learned. I’m so happy to be at this point in my life and so grateful for many things.

I am so blessed to have a life partner, Quint, who loves me for me. He and I have been through a lot this year, including another job change, this time for the better. He’s been loving, kind, supportive and patient. My Mom and I agree, he’s a saint! Especially for putting up with me for 18 years! LOL!

I don’t know what I would ever do without him and I don’t want to find out. He gets me. He also pushes me to become better, as a person, a partner, a mother, and as a writer. Thanks to him, I have two books up for sale on Amazon, and I’m working on two more. Thanks, honey. I appreciate your love and support.

I’m also grateful for my son, Alex, who is now out of state and working hard. I’m so proud of all he has accomplished this last year and also glad he calls me about once a week to say, “Just thought I would call and let you know I didn’t get blown up or anything!” He’s always saying stuff that makes me laugh and I’m so proud to be his Mom. I also can’t take all the credit. I had a lot of help with raising him. Hilary Clinton says it takes a village to raise a child, and I may not agree with her politics, but I do agree with her on that. I’m so grateful to all of my family and Quint and his family for helping me raise a wonderful son, who is now a wonderful man.

I’m grateful for my brother, Andy and his beautiful wife, Lisa, who have blessed me with a beautiful niece! Annabel Christina Ruiz-Crawford was born in March, and my arms ache to hold her! They will be visiting in September and I am so excited to meet the newest member of our family. πŸ™‚

I’m grateful for my sister, Kelley, for reconnecting with me over this year. We started having lunch once a week or once every 2 weeks, just the two of us and I love the time we share, catching up and laughing. She has blessed me with two nephews, Patrick, now 18 years old and a recent high school graduate, and Cannon who is 8 years old, and makes me laugh. They both amaze me. πŸ™‚

I’m also grateful for my bonus sons: Jesse and Andy. You all have been so great and I love you all like an “evil stepmother” should. (Ha,ha!). Thank you, Jesse and your lovely wife, Patrice, for Ava, Lilly, and Easton, and letting them call me Nana Laura. I love watching them grow up and become such beautiful little people.

Thank you, Andy and Rachel, for letting me be a part of your wedding and I look forward to the day when you become parents (remember, free babysitting!). I’m so happy for you both and know you will have a wonderful life together.

I’ve also been blessed by many friends, some I knew before I moved to Minnesota and became “Laura Crawford”, and some I met online.

Fantasy Author Sandy Lender, you are my sister from another mother! I love you lots and hope to get back to Florida sometime soon, but I can’t wait for you to visit us here in Minnesota so we can visit Walnut Grove. Let’s make that happen soon!

Gale Sparks, you always make me laugh. You have the best sense of humor and I am in awe of the art you do. You truly are a Redneck Renaissance Man. I hope someday to meet you in person.

Jamieson Wolf, thank you for being my friend and being so encouraging. You truly are an inspiration. πŸ™‚

Maria J. Shevlin and Vicci Kaigan, you and I have to get together one of these days at a book signing somewhere! Just saying! Thanks for all your love and support over the last few months. I so appreciate it. πŸ™‚

It’s the greatest experience to chat with NY Times Bestselling Authors, like Hugh Howey, Jasinda Wilder, Liliana Hart, Tara Sivec, and Denise Grover Swank, all of them have been so encouraging and helpful as I navigate through this self-publishing career. If you haven’t read, “The Naked Truth About Self-Publishing” yet, and are wanting to become a published author, go get your copy now! I highly recommend it.

I’m grateful for the local authors I have met in real life, through my writing critique group. C.S. Yelle, Mike Olson, Bruce Hooker, Marty Meyer-Gad, Heather Savage (who writes as H.K. Savage) and is also a publisher of Staccato Publishing, Beth Ann Erickson (my writing coach, mentor, and Queen Bee of Filbert Publishing), and David Holmes. You’ve helped me keep writing and perfecting my stories and your advice has been invaluable. Thank you everyone for all your help.

I have my work family to be grateful for at SuperTarget in Rogers, and now at Sam’s Club in Maple Grove. You have all been so great and made me laugh on the days when I felt like crying, and I miss those I left behind. I’m also blessed to have a great team at Sam’s who have helped me through some tough weeks. Thank you everyone for all your help and support.

Since it is my birthday and I might start a small fire if I had candles on my cake, I will be telling you my birthday wish here.

My greatest birthday wish is to have everyone do something nice for someone else, some small thing to pay it forward. Smile at someone, hold a door open for someone, help someone carry or load their groceries in their car. Tell someone they look nice. Leave a large tip or pay for the car behind you in the drive thru or the gas pump next to you, if you can. If you have a favorite writer, buy one of their books, one you haven’t read yet. Leave a review online on Goodreads or your online retailer (Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, iTunes, etc.). Or, send them your review of the book and recommend it to some of your friends who might enjoy it. It will make their day! Believe me! πŸ™‚

Here’s to another great year! πŸ™‚


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