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EngagedJanuary 18, 2013

Usually I do an end-of-year recap, don't I? 2012 was rough on a lot of folks, and it seems like we were ready to boost it out the door. I'll throw a quickie out there and call it good. 

On the low end of things, I had a hysterectomy for medical reasons, discovering in the process a life-threatening condition that hurtled me into full menopause at 39, and tried depression on for the first time (it doesn't suit my coloring, I found out). Good times! 

On the higher end of things, I traveled to Pittsburgh and San Luis Obispo to teach creative writing, went to Italy by myself, finished writing two novels, camped in the great outdoors, and bought the SmartCar of my dreams!  I sewed a lot and bought many pairs of glasses on cheap internet sites. I changed my diet completely (to an anti-inflammatory regimen, which is amazing), and I dropped thirty pounds as a result. I spent more time with family and friends than I had in years, which was the best part of all. 

The word for this coming year? ENGAGED

Last year, much of the time I was present but not engaged. It was a symptom of the depression (and it took me forever to recognize that). I hated it.

This year, I want to connect. I know it sounds trite and easy, but I'm really serious about it. I mentioned it a while back, but the volunteer work I've been doing at the George Mark House (the hospital for children with chronic, life-span-limiting and terminal illnesses) is blowing my damn mind. I can't give particulars, naturally, out of respect for both the patients and HIPPA regulations, but take a look at their website if you're curious. And in a couple of weeks, I'm training there to work with the palliative aquatics program! Eee! 

The above video has a bunch about the aquatics program and a little about the house itself. 

And you know what I'm MOST excited about this morning? I just signed Clara up for the first step in training her to be a therapy dog! She's the most empathetic dog I've ever met--she plays hard with exuberant kids and big dogs and is beyond gentle with timid children and animals. And if she gets certified, then she can come with me to George Mark! 

So this year is already lining itself up to be a good one, as I hope it is for you.

(And apropos of nothing but thinking about awesomeness, my new favorite yarn in all the wold is Cascade Eco Cloud. I haven't felt like this about a kind of yarn in years, literally. I want all of it. Check it out if you haven't already.)  


thirteen, thirteen, thirteen...this year is going to shine. good for clara! and you!

What a year! Here's hoping your 2013 is the best yet!

I just recently found your blog and finished A Life in Stitches, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Glad to hear that 2013 is looking up for you.
Volunteering goes a long way to lift you up, doesn't it? Clara is a beauty. I'm sure she'll love being around all those kids!

Barnaby and I have been a therapy dog team for nearly 4 years now. One of the best decisions I ever made.

Rachael, you always manage to suprise me. Engaged is a HUGE word, and I salute the life experiences that brought it to you. I have come to understand that to be truly "engaged" in life, I must relinquish control. Thats a tough one for this old girl. Your 2012 was intense, and the accomplishments you made astound me, especially given the medical circumstances. 2013 promises an amazing journey for you and Clara at The George Mark House. What an extrodinary palce. I look forward to sharing those experiences, and your insights through this blog in 2013........xo

I love your voice-in the literary sense, since I can't really hear it at the moment...-
am amazed at all you've dealt with in the past year and grateful for your sharing some of it with us. Engaged and fully present are my aspirations for 2013-thanks!
Can you say a couple of words about the anti-inflammatory diet? Sounds like what I need...
curlyred52 on Ravelry if you have time to pm me.
Thanks Rachael!

Oh yay, therapy dog! Therapy animals are wonderful; I'm already planning to have a dog(s) in a few years and I'd love to go through therapy training with them.


I think that explains so much of my own depression. As a Highly Sensitive Person (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Highly_sensitive_person), I'm always disengaging just to not be overwhelmed.

That's definitely something to think a lot more about...

Every New Year's Day, I take my baggie of strips of paper containing action words, dump it into a hat, shake it up, ask the Universe for guidance, reach in, and pull out a strip. That is my Word of the Year, my lesson plan.

This year's word?


You'd think it was about trusting others or trusting the Universe to work out stuff for "good", and to some extent, it is; but it became apparent straight away that it's really about learning to trust myself and my own gut instinct rather than putting all my trust in the ideas/thoughts/opinions of others.

It's been a very interesting (in a good way) year so far. Here's to an Excellent 13.

Excellent, you found a really good word. I'm liking this "word of the year". Mine is helping. Much better than a resolution. Here's to a better 2013.

We must be related, my word is Available. Does that make me your little sister?

When I first read Engaged, I thought you and Lala were going to get married :). I love your thoughts on engagement, though...thanks.

You know, I have found that the best way to see beyond oneself is to focus on someone and something else....becoming engaged in something bigger than oneself. It does not minimize how you feel or trivialize it; just makes it easier to shift it to where it belongs....the back burner. Glad you are working with Clara; it will be good for you both. I have been searching for a Corgi puppy; I have wanted to do pet therapy but our current dog is not mine....I have not had a dog for 2 1/2 years. Keep focused and keep moving forward.

You rock! Good for you for the volunteering, healthy diet and Clara's first step in being a Therapy Dog. From the sounds of it 2013 is going to be a banner year for you!

My word for 2013 is POSSIBLE. As in everything I once felt impossible is far from...

I landed my dream job in Dec (working one on one with a completely loveable guy who has mental illness (x5 diagnoses) and last week booked a trip with my 15 year old twin girls to visit Aunty J in the Netherlands in May. Spending a week in Kent England, two nights/three days in London and a week exploring my sisters neighborhood which includes nearby Germany and Belgium. Cannot wait to see their minds being BLOWN!!

2013, bring it on!

Dear Rachael Herron- reading this post just right now, this evening... perfect. Thanks for you. Love you, lady.


What a compassionate heart you have! As a 911 dispatcher, you deal with other people's crises every day. And then you volunteer at a children's palliative care home - an environment which would be impossible for most of us. So inspiring! What a great idea to have Clara trained as a therapy dog. Wishing you a WONDERFUL year - you make this world a much better place.

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Rachael loves it when book clubs read her work! She's happy to attend book clubs that read her books either in person or via Skype. Contact her at rachael@rachaelherron.com to make arrangements.


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