Proud, Excited and Thankful List: 2013

It’s evening here in Hungary, and we’ve just come from a lovely day at the Vienna Christmas markets. There’s nothing like a whole load of Christmas lights in the dark to make you think of the holidays and year-end magic. So that’s what I did today, and now I’d like to think about what I did this year. This post is for a reflection of gratitude before moving forward to 2014.


Hello from Vienna!

What I’m proud of:

1) The novel. There are so many aspects of this that challenged me, and I’m hugely proud to have faced that adventure at full-tilt, along with incredible support from you all. Seriously, I feel like I won an Olympic medal for ‘putting yourself out there, then creating something awesome from the experience’. Can I award myself a medal, or would the Olympic committe protest that? Maybe a gold-foil chocolate one instead.

2) My husband. Zsolt shines in many, many ways. I’m proud of his looking forward despite a year where he was laid off, felt displaced, and learnt his wife has stage four. This guy is pushing forward and acts as cheerleader supreme. I’m so incredibly proud of him.

3) Becoming involved with VanierNow and writing people’s stories. One story that really shines that I wrote is about Erica, the not-an-artist.

4) Getting up in the morning, getting dressed, and living my life. I’m very proud of this. I do it for myself, for my husband, for my family, for my health – I do it because life is better this way.

5) Recovering my grandmother’s furniture to give it new life. I sewed those slipcovers myself, baby! Lulu would not be impressed with the quality of my sewing, but I think she’d like the sentiment.

6) My work with Facing Cancer Together and Sister Leadership. As I said, it’s an honour to share people’s stories.

What I got excited for:

1) My husband, this blog, my friends,  and my family who always make me smile and have great times when we are together.  (We’ve drank about a swimming pool’s worth of tea during our chats, eh?)

5) Water. Last year we bought ourselves our dream canoe. This year we used it. We also found a nearby swimming hole that – despite one nibbling fish – makes me feel so happy inside.

4) This article in Apt613, and then this article in Apt613. It’s such an honour.

5) Travel. This year, we travelled through the Alps, wandered around Zurich, saw Christmas lights in Vienna, took a train across a mountain top in Italy, went up the leaning tower of Pisa, spent time in the beautiful city of Pecs, looked for bears in the Rockies, rode a 2-person bike in Stanley park, and spend much time downtown Ottawa doing our groceries.

What I’m thankful for:

1) My husband, because he sees me breakdown about every day, and he somehow finds it in himself to put me back together. So, I’m thankful for him and the magic we have together.

2) My Mom and Dad, who have been taking on the world on top of pushing me forward to push back against cancer.

3) The hug my best friend gave me on the day I was told about those spots in the lungs.

4) You and You and You! I love to see people do well and live well, and luckily enough I get to mix with people online who seem to feel just the same towards others.  The amount of talent you have, creativity, compassion, humour . . . it’s such an honour to mix with the mixers online. And thank you for your enthusiasm around my own big dreaming, too!

4.5) For the huge generosity that was shown during the Kickstarter campaign. It has been a great support in our life, and a good help with my health costs too.

blow my mind5) Camille of Sister Leadership has been coaching me through some very big emotions, so for that I cannot express enough how thankful I am.

6) I am thankful for writing. My writing gives me a sense of purpose like nothing else. When I wrote that story about Erica and featured her art – that is what it’s about. When I write little stories that makes my husband smile, that is what it’s about. When I imagine worlds that are seemingly impossible and yet happen in my imagination then fall onto the page – this is what it’s about!

IMG_0761 copy7) The beautiful photo shoot my friend Lou of Lou Truss Photography did for me and Zsolt just after I had been diagnosed again.

8) Each deep, beautiful breath of air. And for my lungs easing up on the pain, thank you so very much lungs and body.

And that is me for 2013.  I hope there’s much more to come for 2014. Like, say, Claire Never-Ending becoming a Canadian bestseller? How can I make that happen? What about the dream cottage in Balaton? Plus, more sharing of stories, more writing of fiction, more supporting of others, and loads of health heaped over that happiness.

**I’d love to hear some of your most proud/excited/thankful moments from 2013. Want to share a moment, or even a blog post? Feel free to link them in. :)**

~P.S. I have been trying to learn about making cool newsletters (as opposed to boring ones), so signed up with MailChimp & added a sign up app on my facebook. I’ve heard that newsletters are good for sending out little excerpts/nuggets people wouldn’t normally get elsewhere from your work. So if you’d like to sign up for my writing newsletter, I’ll do my best to throw in some ‘fresh for you’ fiction in the mailer! Maybe a Little Zsolti story, or some short spin-offs from Claire Never-Ending. Let me know what you’d like to see 🙂

12 thoughts on “Proud, Excited and Thankful List: 2013

  1. oh, Catherine!

    what a year it has been for you! I find your amazing and beautiful mind, your fully present in the moment vibe, and the gratitude that feels almost sacred moving me to laugh and cry at the same time! I read the story you wrote about Vanier, about Robert who was determined to defend his and his neighbors rights – quite awesome. ( i’ll send you an e-mail about the page with the story you wrote about Erika). the photo of you in front of the c’mas market – soooo adorable! and the portrait of you and Zsolt is so tender and lovely. I am savoring every word of your never-ending-claires novel – great title – as with all treasured books that mesmerize me – I do not want the Claires to end! you have so much to be proud of, to be thankful for – and looking ahead to 2014 – oy, I can only imagine what fabulous schemes are brewing in that lovely head of yours. thanks for sharing all the joy you are celebrating – I NEEDED that! okay, gotta go sign up for your newsletter!

    much love and light to you and your Zsolt

    Karen xoxo

  2. Hi Catherine,

    I was talking to a colleague of mine about Canadian authors, and he mentioned that he liked “Barometer Rising” by Hugh Maclennan whom I like as an author. So I replied, “If you like Hugh Maclennan, then you’ll like Catherine Brunelle,” so he bought your book.

    I gave a copy of your book to a friend of mine and when she read the back of your book she said, “Oh, I’m going to like this book.” So I told her that when she reads the book, she’ll have to figure out which “Claire” I’m like, and then I’ll guess which “Claire” she’s like … a game to see if we really know each other.

    I tried to write a customer review about your book on Amazon, but because I did not buy the book from them and I don’t have an account with them, I was denied that possibility. Too bad, because I feel like running on the snow-covered rooftops of Ottawa and telling people that you are an up-and-coming Canadian author!

    I love your story in this blog about Erica – especially the part about how she sees beauty in people’s faces. You seem to find the pearl that’s within many of us. Thank you so much for your inspiration.

    • Hi Francoise. Thank you so much for all the great word of mouthing you are doing. It is true, you need an account with Amazon to review the novel, though you do not need to have bought the novel itself. In any case – thank you for spreading the word!

  3. I’m looking forward to ordering and reading your book between Xmas and the new year – You have had some year and this is a beautiful post. Love and good health to you both for 2014 xx

  4. It’s so good to read your post. There is always such joy in your writing which is so infectious. Im reading your book just now and will do a review on amazon once I’m finished…hoping for some sofa and reading time these holidays. Have a special festive season. May 2014 bring you many things to be proud, excited and thankful for.
    Audrey xx

  5. I just hit the like button on this, but i wish there was a big I love button to press. I smiled through my tears reading this at how far you have come this year. You have come a long way since I first met you online but particularly in the second half of this past year, you have shone like a light of inspiration in the blogosphere. I am so proud to know you and call you my virtual friend, so proud of what you have achieved, and overawed at the grace and courage – yes i know they are overused words, but in this case, they do apply to you – at which you have handled what life has thrown at you this year. I am wishing for every good thing you deserve to come to you and your lovely husband in the coming year and look forward to taking virtual steps alongside you all the way. Much, much love to you always xxxxxxxxx

  6. Pingback: Weekly Round Up – The Christmas Is Coming Edition | Journeying Beyond Breast Cancer

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