I feel like I always have to balance complaining with gratitude. Maybe it goes without saying but every day I get to move through this world, I am thankful. I am thankful for all of the goodness in my life, of which there is an abundance. I am thankful for the small things too – a steady paycheck, having a car – the things we tend to gloss over.

HOWEVER, 2014 has been intense and I know I’m not alone in my lack of sadness in seeing its days dwindle. I want to say I learned a lot this year but really I think I just was better at implementing things that I already knew. I was better at articulating myself with people that I care about and also recognizing when a situation was futile and no longer deserving of my love and energy. This is never an easy endeavor but as it relates to my own emotional well-being? Worth it.

With regard to my personal relationships – this year has been a bit odd. Some friendships flourished, some faltered in a spectacular way, some quietly fizzled out. I often had to remind myself of something I say often – not all friends are forever friends. This is not to say that I like, or don’t care when friendships fall apart but more of a it takes two stance. I want my relationships to exist in a space where honesty and equity are valued. And I want to be able to say, without fear of consequence – when things have gone off kilter. I learned this year, that approach does not work for everyone and I have to be okay with that. And while a loss is a loss, I found that my remaining circle of friends filled in the gaps.

I was lucky enough to go to Ethiopia again this year for my second visit, I made photography a focus in my life, I spent lots of time in the company of people I love and I prayed a lot. A lot. I’m hoping 2015 is just a little more gentle on all of us. If I don’t make it back here – I hope your holiday season is safe and joyful!

xo

Do you ever pay attention to how many things you’re doing at once? I often find myself sitting on my couch – texting, watching tv and with my laptop in my lap tweeting or using pinterest. I’m coming off of a short, social media sabbatical in which I decided I really need to just press pause and let myself exist sometimes without doing. Sometimes, it’s like my brain is a browser with a bunch of different tabs open and I just kind of shuffle through them at will and once the day has wound down, it’s hard to just click the x and shut it all down.

Since we came back from Ethiopia in early August my job has been, for lack of a better word, bananas. My days off are few and far between and all of a sudden, I realized that I was burning both ends of the proverbial candle. I also carry a sense of guilt about not being able to spend my time with the people that I love and knowing that they’ve noted my absence. Thankfully, my friends are the special kind who get that this will pass and eventually they’ll get to have me back.

During my social media quiet time, I tried to just disconnect a little more – less looking at my iphone, less tv, less “noise” (digital and otherwise) – I prayed a lot, tried to meditate a bit (I’m still quite horrible at this) and I think I might have worn The Ethiopian down enough that he’s going to agree that we should get a kitten…maybe.

All of this is to say, I’m very tired and I recognize that I need to take care of myself. And if you’re my friend and you’re reading this – I love you and I’ll see you soon.

Maybe it’s that summer is practically gone and the light is shorter and the days cooler but I’m feeling the need to just look around, take stock and re-focus. I feel like my life has just been slightly off-kilter since I got back from Ethiopia and I just need to nudge it back into place.

I want to make sure I spend some time meditating and maybe reading The Bible daily. I’ve never been what anyone would call religious but I believe in God and I like what prayer does for my spirit. I also just want to spend more time reading in general. I read a few books while I was on vacation and I kept the momentum going for a bit when I came back but lately I’ve been failing.

I also want to just try really hard to stay as organized as possible. If you saw the desk in my bedroom, you’d probably recoil in horror as I do every day when I look at it.

I’m also looking to try to focus on my finances. My husband is the saver and regrettably, his wife is the spender and oh, how I can spend. I’m such an in the moment person that I just know I’m going to blink, be 74 and still have to work and that is just not a reality I want for myself. So, if you see me in your local Sephora or Nordstrom – tell me to go home.

Finally, because it’s cool – I have no excuse at all for not getting my ass up and going out for a walk. Unless you count “I don’t want to” which is the excuse I’ve been using. This one will probably be the most difficult one because me and exercise are like Batman & The Joker – but I’m putting it out there.

Ultimately, I just want to make sure that I’m doing all of the things I know need to be done. Procrastination is kind of cute when you’re 15, but it’s ridiculous when you’re…you know, not 15 ;)

I speak often about my in-laws and more specifically, of my older nieces (nieces because of our age and ease of explanation). They are a HUGE part of my life and to speak of them and not express the profound gratitude that I feel that God chose us for one another would be short-sighted. It’s not a contest, but if it were – I’d win because they simply can not be bested.

A year ago today, all of our lives changed forever. Theirs, absolutely more than my own, but still, we are family and we grieve together. There is no sense to be made of the fact that they – young and with the world at their feet – would have to say goodbye to their father, one of the absolute kindest human beings I’ll know in my lifetime – but that was God’s design and it guts me.

To see someone you love in the way that I love my nieces hurt and feel an absolute sense of uselessness is devastating. I pray often that somehow, some way, as the days go by that their sadness becomes less acute.

The very last thing their father said to me was “take care of them” and I will spend every single moment of my life with that in my heart and mind. I want to love them the way that I feel loved by them and I can give them even half of what they give me, I think I’d be doing okay.

Lilz & Munz – I love you. To the moon and back a million times. You bring me a joy unparalleled – THC FOREVER <3

I find that often, my most thoughtful writing is born from extreme emotion; sadness, anger, happiness. When I am ripe with any of them, words tumble around in my brain incessantly. I fill up tiny scraps of paper that fall to the bottom of my purse – often with just a sentence or two.

Writing has always been an outlet for me but I find that lately, more days than not I have to remind myself how cathartic it actually is to let the words escape from my brain and allow myself to sort everything out in black and white.

I’m never quite sure exactly what I want from this space (or any of the multitudinous domains I’ve owned) but I know that writing online makes me feel sated in ways that I would be hard-pressed to try to explain. I could write in a journal – but there is something about speaking to everyone and no one.