2017 Highlights

Welcome, 2018. I couldn’t be happier to see you.

We’re starting this year with a clean slate — everything we took for granted, everything we expected to be in place at the start of 2018, has changed. It feels a bit like my life has been split into two sections: before the fire and after. There’s a sense of disconnect between the two, as if the past few weeks have been a year all their own. But as I look back over 2017 it’s undeniable that it wasn’t a bad year, in fact, it was a great one, with abundant laughter and joy and adventure. 2018 will be, too. Not because anything is promised or guaranteed, but because we will make it that way, the same way we did 2017. With that in mind, here are the best parts of the past year.


We rang in the new year in Spokane, Washington with my family, and got to enjoy snow and stunning sunsets.


In January we finally bit the bullet and got Disneyland annual passes. Best. Decision. Ever.


February took us to Independence for more winter weather and peaceful mornings by the snowy Sierras.


March was busy and exciting. Marshall had his fist trip to Portland, where we visited friends and enjoyed a full Oregon experience, and then I had my first trip to Frontsight, a firearms safety course. It was an intense four-day course interspersed with fun and friendship and it completely changed my levels of confidence and comfort.


April was a big one — I published my book, Across the Formidable Sea. It was a major leap of faith, and a terrifying one, but I’m so glad I was able to share it with so many people. April was a definitive moment in my writing career, and I’m looking forward to what 2018 brings.


In May, our first niece, MJ was born. She was teeny tiny and so beautiful.


In July, Marshall and I stayed at the Ace Hotel and saw Mystery Science Theater 3000 Live at the theater. I’m not usually much of a Los Angeles person, but I loved staying at the Ace, and this was a perfect weekend getaway.


In August we camped at Kings Canyon National Park, in a big group like we used to do when I was a kid. The weather was beautiful and the views were amazing.


In September, our long-held dream of seeing Hamilton live came true, and it lived up to all the hype.


October was another big month. We had a girls trip to Big Bear, I turned 26, and I got to meet my amazing virtual friends in person for the first time. I have so many incredible women around me, and I hope I never take that for granted.

In November I attended my first authors fair and got a chance to promote my book and meet other local authors.

Then, December.



That first photo is the view from my parents’ house the night we evacuated. The second is a photo of my parents’ house when I visited yesterday, and the third is what’s left of our home — a photo Marshall sent me, because I haven’t gone back yet. There was no way to predict the year would end like this. After so much growth, so many adventures and so many leaps forward, destruction and sadness. And a clean slate.

I have faith that we’re going to rise from this stronger and happier. I have faith that 2018 will be full of joy. The wheel doesn’t stop turning — I can either be dizzied by it or move with it. I’m choosing to stand up and step forward.

I wish you all every good thing in 2018. Let’s keep moving forward together.

Published by clairelaminen

I am a Ventura, California native with a compulsion to create. I'm a storyteller, through writing, photography, and occasionally music. Weekends are for camping with my husband, reading, and hunting for vintage treasures, which I sell in my Etsy shop, Peace & Goodwill. My favorite things include lavender lattes, swimming in the ocean, true crime podcasts, The X-Files, and Peaky Blinders. I hope to become a full-time writer, bestselling novelist, and a continually improving reflection of God's grace. Proverbs 16:24

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