In my books, you might have noticed a 'Genevieve Trudeau' in the Acknowledgments sections. Genevieve has been a friend since college and the ornament above was sent by her to my daughter one year from Budapest. Sometimes, it's so hard to stop during this busy season and truly reflect on people, places, and situations in our lives, but my Christmas tree ornaments always help me do that. Genevieve is easy to reflect on because I've been lucky to have her as a friend all these years.
My groups of friends vary widely in experience, politics, religion, education, hobbies, careers, location, and temperament. Genevieve is extraordinary in that she has traveled extensively, worked for impressive non-profits that make a difference in the world, has lived overseas, is well-read, and has the sort of compassion that--if the world had far more of her--we'd be living on a rather fantastic planet. On top of all that--and I only learned this a couple of years ago--she can belt out some damn powerful karaoke.
She's the person I turned to for information on Tibetan boxes that I needed for a story and insights on topics I'm exploring in my next Awaken My Heart series novel. She knows what makes a good story (she's my prime beta reader), and she has one-liners that can make me laugh no matter how I'm feeling.
Like most of us, she has her share of things she would like to change about life...sometimes real tough stuff, but I've never seen someone so contantly battle to keep challenges at bay. Maybe it's because she's freaking brave and bold in ways I wish I could be. Apart from moving across the Atlantic back and forth and venturing into third world countries, she has hunted down relatives in another country to find out more about her past--and took on a new language to facilitate that.
I'm grateful for her friendship and her willingness to beta for me this Christmas!