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Danielle Haas

Mother of two, Writer of romance novels, Lover of wine

Month

June 2017

It’s All About The Journey

My husband and I recently got home from an amazing, whirlwind vacation. A once in a lifetime, completely surreal vacation. We’d been planning it for over two years, and I don’t think it’s completely sunk in that it’s over. The planning of this amazing vacation began because I was lucky enough to be asked to be in the one of my dearest friends wedding…and the wedding was in Scotland. How do you say no? I’ll tell you…you can’t! Not only has Ellen been one of my best friends for the past thirteen years, but hello! It was in Scotland! A place I’ve never been and would love to see. So my husband and I immediately started figuring out where all we wanted to go while we were in Europe. I mean, if we were going to spend the money to get over there, we might as well see as much as we could. And because of that luck that was on my side, we were able to plan our travels with two other friends who would be attending the wedding as well.

Our trip started off in Ireland. We met our pals in Dublin and spent three days touring the city and drinking Guinness. We had a blast, and only a few moments of missing the kids terribly. I mean, of course I missed them the entire time we were gone, but there were a few heart-wrenching moments of why did I leave me kids in another country? After Ireland, we made our way to Scotland. We had decided to rent a car and drive up to the highlands for a couple of nights before we needed to be back in Edinburgh for the wedding. Scott and I have never rented a car and just taken off before, and I wasn’t sure what to expect.

I was so surprised to discover this was one of my favorite parts of the trip! Taking off with no real destination in mind, stopping in towns whenever one sounded nice. We saw ruins, castles, lakes, and whiskey distilleries. We talked, we laughed, we took the highlands with Braveheart music blaring in our ears. We had the time of our lives! All of these awesome memories made before we even reached out ultimate destination…the wedding.

By the time we reached the castle where the wedding took place, we already had an arsenal of good times stored in our brains. By the time we reached the wedding, we had more amazing experiences and new friends to add to the trip. The wedding, which included epic dancing and fireworks, just took it to a whole other level. In one vacation we were able to play highland games in Scotland, live in a castle for two days, rally like William Wallace, and be a part of a good friends special day.I cant think of a single thing that could have made this trip more special.

This got me thinking about that old saying, “It’s not the destination, it’s the journey.” I’m sure we’ve all heard this before, and I’ve always rolled my eyes and ground my teeth together to keep my opinion to myself. You see, I’m a pretty impatient person. I want things to happen on my timeline. And this saying was a big load of crock in my ears. But now I have a whole new appreciation for it. This trip, the entire journey was special. We stepped out of our comfort zone and we let the journey take us where it wanted. The result was the  most amazing trip I’ve ever had.

One of the great things about this trip was spending so much time with a friend who lives on the east coast. We try to get together for weekends once a year or so, but it’s been over thirteen years since we had such a long chunk of time to spend together. One thing we discussed at length was my writing. I had plenty of time during our week and a half together to tell him about all of the ups and downs I’ve experienced over the past two years. After hearing the good, the bad, and the ugly, his response made me stop and really think about where I am at the moment. He smiled wide and said, “I’m so glad you found your passion…you’re niche. You just seem so happy.”

Have a gotten a publishing contract yet? Nope! Do I have books sitting on the shelves at my local book store? Not even close! Have I learned a ton and found something that makes me feel fulfilled and incredibly happy? Absolutely! I’m almost finished with my fourth MS, I have an agent, I’ve made countless friends who have enriched my life in so many ways, and I have a brain full of different book ideas. Twelve to be exact! I’ve come to the conclusion that this journey I’ve been on with my writing is one that will never end. There will always be a new book to write, a new contract that needs signed, a new marketing plan to figure out. This thought would have driven my a little crazy before. How am I supposed to pour so much time and energy into something that won’t lead me somewhere concrete? But now I know, it’s all about the journey. It’s all about the things I see and the people I meet along the way. So no matter where this winding road leads, I’m going to crank up the battle music, enjoy the view, and go in with my sword swinging. I’m going to enjoy the journey.

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One Step At A Time

Today I reached a milestone that I never thought I’d reach. Actually, it was one I never had a desire to reach. I ran my first 5K. Well, run might be a bit of an exaggeration. More like a very slow jog. You see, I am NOT a runner! Beyond that, I’ve never understood why people choose to run. Do they enjoy it? Do they force themselves to do for health reasons? Do they like torture? I try to stay fit, try to eat healthy. I workout regularly and understand relishing the burning of muscles and the soreness that comes after a good workout. But huffing and puffing and feeling like I’m about to toss my cookies at any minute…not an enjoyable experience for me. But…I’m a big believer in when God shoves something in your face, you’re a fool to look the other way and not seize the opportunity He’s given you. That’s what happened to me, and hence why I ran my first 5k.

The month of May has been a bit of a whirlwind for my family. I’ve been lucky enough to have a lot of family visit from out-of-town, my kids got to ride on Thomas the Train, my beloved dog turned ten, and Tootsie turned five. We’ve attended preschool graduation, a dance recital, and a Chuck E. Cheese birthday party for my favorite birthday girl. Beyond  all that, I’ve been completely consumed with my WIP. In one months time, I’ve been able to pound out 11 chapters, over 30,000 words. For me, this is a lot. My poor CP gets sent a new chapter to go over almost every day. But I can’t seem to slow down, I don’t want to slow down. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing, but I’m just so excited about this MS.

One thing I’ve done with this MS is some research on different elements that are present in this story. FBI protocol, different aspects of Chicago, and human trafficking. The first two things have been interesting and fun to learn about, the last has been eye opening and extremely disturbing. There have been nights I’ve gone to bed with different stories swirling around my head and feeling absolutely sick to my stomach. The things these victims go through are horrific. And yes its horrific for all of them, but it’s the thought of the thousands of children who are exploited and used every day that really sticks with me. I had no idea how big this issue is, how many people are bought and sold every day all over the world. But what I could do to help such a massive infestation into our world?

Enter my in your face God moment. Not long after I started my research, I shared an article on Facebook. A close friend of mine responded with a 5K run she had been told about. The woman who had invited her runs a workout class that I had recently started attending. She created her business, Humpty Dumpty Mommy, to give women a place free of judgement to workout…and maybe offer a chance to get out of the house. Both things I love. I’d only attended two classes when the 5K was brought to my attention, and I instantly contacted Amanda and told her I’d love to be involved. You see, the race was the 2017 Sock it to Human Trafficking event located about thirty minutes away. How could I not go?

So this morning, I woke up and made my first step toward helping to bring awareness to human trafficking. Who knows what will happen with my WIP, but I am a firm believer in things happening for a reason. I know I was meant to write this book and research human trafficking. A fire has been lit inside me to do whatever I can to spread awareness on this subject, and do whatever I can to aid those whose life work it is to reach out to the victims. I don’t know how much little ol me will be able to do to help the cause, but I know I can only take it one step at a time to find out. Thank God I’ll have my Mom Squad by my side while I do.

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