2014 in Review

When the year starts out, as 2014 did for me, there is precious little expectation for the rest of it.  You see, that was the day of my mother’s funeral.

mother's 90th birthday 019

The following week my oldest dog, nearly seventeen, died — another sad goodbye.


As if that wasn’t enough, I tore the MCL on one of my knees on the first day of February.

Friends were asking me what it felt like to be Job — referring to the Biblical character.  It felt like life had turned a dangerous corner for me and nothing good was ever going to happen again.

But that couldn’t have been further from the truth.  I signed with a publisher, The Wild Rose Press, for my first novel — Acquisition.


My knee healed — slowly — without surgery but with a lot of exercise and physical therapy.  I am super thankful for that, although I don’t think I’ll be running anytime soon.

IMG_1457 IMG_0735

IMG_0978 IMG_1034

Then I joined a prestigious group of writers at the Noepe Center for Literary Arts on Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, bookending the trip to the island with a few days in Concord, Massachusetts before, and Boston after.

IMG_0566 IMG_0524

IMG_1510                      IMG_1526

Acquisition was released on November 7 and I left for Italy on November 8 to join up with another group of writers studying Monastic Writing in Orvieto.  (You’ll want to check out reneejohnsonwrites.com for an interview with the instructor, Justen Ahren, and my experiences — both coming in 2015.)

IMG_1901                       IMG_1804

Sprinkled in between these writing events were wedding celebrations for my son and his wife.  They were married on December 13.

IMG_2530  IMG_2524

If you are thinking this has been one incredible whirlwind of a year, you would be correct.


And it caught up with me over the Christmas holiday, leaving me tired, drained, and with a bad case of stomach flu which arrived pre-dawn Christmas Eve and is still nagging me.

Hopefully, by New Year’s Eve, I’ll be feeling up to celebrating with friends and toasting 2015.  I must say that I will be looking back with a mixture of sadness and elation.  The new friends I have gained are priceless, the experiences immeasurable.  But the losses and grief and sadness have also been overwhelming.

Perhaps we cannot truly enjoy the victories without learning from defeats.  I’d like to give it a shot in 2015 though.  And that is what I wish for you all — a wonderful year of triumphs and successes without any failures or heartbreaks.

Hilton Head glass of champagne and 2 strawberries     Hilton Head birthday champagne and berries

Happy New Year from Writingfeemail!





  1. A rough year and a beautiful year. I’m so sorry you had all the painful losses, but you’ve had some really wonderful things too. It balances out over a lifetime, Renee. My best wishes for you and yours in the coming year and I’m getting your book!!!

    1. Still standing is a good thing for sure. There were times, especially when my knee was stabilized, I wondered… Thank you MJ. We’ll make it a good one for both of us.

  2. What a year! As soon as I saw your mother’s photo, I remember thinking, “Who would have thought?” So sorry for your loss.
    But congratulations to you again on your book and then the wedding on December 13. It does add up to a memorable year. Take care and get well.

  3. I remember all of those difficult challenges you faced at the beginning of 2014, Renee. My heart broke for you when your mother passed away. All of your accomplishments this past year are proof of not only how strong you are, but how life can change instantly. But when we press through with our faith, there is always hope for a better day. Happy New Year to you, my friend. I hope you’re feeling better. xo

  4. You certainly had a roller-coaster year, Renee! Sorry you were sick during Christmas (so many of my friends were, also). I’m wishing you a happy 2015!

  5. So enjoyed all the pictures illustrating your year ( our moms had the same glasses, I think…and of course, German shepherds leave such a hole to fill)
    Whew. Quite a year. Hope your “In-between Weekdays” are restful and restorative. And the New Year brings wonder and delight!

  6. Wow! You packed so much into the year!
    Hope that helped you on the path to healing your heart (a tougher recovery than that pesky knee)
    Congrats on Acquisition – putting it on my list!

  7. It was quite a year for you. There are no words to express the grief of losing one’s mother. But good came out of the year, too. And you are one beautiful lady, so keep at it. Like a phoenix. That’s you!

    1. I love that comparison, Monica. A phoenix — yes! We do have to keep rising after every fall. The soul commands it or it begins to wither, I think. Happy New Year. May it be your best ever!

  8. What a year you’ve had, Renee! You are a beautiful soul. I wish you only heartwarmings and more successes in 2015!

  9. I hadn’t quite grasped the highs and lows of the ride 2014 was, it all jumbled together into a year. I hope 2015 is off to a better start for you!

  10. I’m sorry for the losses you’ve endured (and are still enduring), and am glad you’re healing body & soul. Take care & let’s hope 2015 is the best yet! 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.