Seasonal Joy – Enough to Last Through the New Year

Dec 18, 2023 by Gayle M Irwin

A year wanes and another approaches. This year has been filled with struggles and challenges, especially with regard to parental health and deaths of human and pet family members. My husband and I grieved each passing, and our house seems quieter and emptier without our dog, Sadie, and our cats Bailey and Murphy. We are thankful for the time they shared life with us, but pieces of our hearts are missing. Fortunately, I also have stories about these endearing creatures to continue their memories and legacies.

The passing of my amazing uncle and my sweet cousin also leaves holes in my heart. I’m thankful for the photographs and heartfelt memories, and the conversations with other family members, that keep them close.

Amid all the sorrow of the year, much joy abounds. My writing career remains strong with numerous articles for various publications, a story published in Chicken Soup for the Soul, two novellas in two different anthologies, including the recently released A Merry Heart, the writing and publication of my children’s book Sadie the Smiling Spaniel: Finding Joy in the Little Things of Life, and finishing and publishing two sweet romance books, Love Takes Flight and In the Shadow of Mount Moran, my latest release and Christmas story.


Gayle's new books for 2023, available in e-book and print versions.

Find all these books via my Amazon Author Page here:

We moved my parents from Montana to Wyoming in early October; they now live just 30 miles away, not 500. I’m able to help them, visit with them, and share meals with them more frequently. My mother came through two surgeries that happened in November, and she now has more energy and isn’t in as much pain as she had been. I’m so grateful they are nearby and that we can be together so much more!

As 2024 draws near, I look forward to taking the joy of this holiday season and the blessings of 2023 into the new year. I envision more books and other writing opportunities – I' even considering a new genre (cozy mystery). I also look forward to more time with my family, and I’m hoping for a few vacations to other states. Each goal and dream may be subject to change due to family obligations and health, but being flexible is the name of the game in my life now. Like our dog Sadie, finding joy in little things adds zest to life, and I plan to be thankful for those little things more often. Gratitude and joy helps defeat depression and fear and lightens the load of sorrow.

May we all find more joy in the coming year and embrace the blessings we have.

Happy Holidays!