Let’s talk about resolutions and how either you’re the kind of person who makes them or the kind of person who rolls their eyes at the people who do. Actually, I don’t know – now that I think about it, I’m probably somewhere in the middle but that’s because my own resolutions are more of the life goal sort. Yes, that’s the party line and I’m towing it.

I’m hoping 2015 is the year that I do lots of things – learn to swim, become a millionaire photographer, etc – but I’m trying to keep my resolutions, nay, my goals a little more attainable. I definitely want to continue to grow my business. Photography has become my precious baby, and I just want to nurture it and help it grow into something I can be proud of. I want to be more physical in a consistent way. I’m not looking to lose weight or run marathons – I just want to make sure that my heart doesn’t atrophy from neglect. I want to continue to pray/meditate daily because I’ve found that it is invaluable to my peace of mind. In fact, I prayed my way into the new year, a tradition I stole from my friend Leslie. I’m not trying to curry favor with God but that moment really felt nice.

Maybe I’ll write more in 2015? Maybe I’ll actually start using my giant collection of cookbooks. I don’t know. There are some things that didn’t quite make the list but I’d like to do all the same and so they’re in the back of mind.

I hope that whatever you doing when the clock struck midnight that it made you smile. There’s that special something when we allow ourselves to believe that we can start over and I think new years have that affect on many of us. Good luck with your resolutions/goals ;)

Look – Jesus is the reason for the season (and my being!)but Christmas is not my jam. I’m a Thanksgiving girl – gratitude, no pressure to buy gifts and all of the delicious carbs you can eat. I mean, let’s all just get it together and agree that turkey day is superior. The only area in which Christmas trumps Thanksgiving is movies, but still.

Originally my family had planned to travel to Virginia Beach to visit my brother but a few days before Christmas my grandmother ended up in the hospital with congestive heart failure which sounds like something you hear about in a Grey’s Anatomy cliffhanger. She’s okay for the time being and being closely monitored by a solid team of cardiologists and physicians and we’re optimistic that she’s going to be okay because she’s tough and she’s my grandmother and it just has to be that way. It just does.

it was nice to be at home, to see most of my family and just be in the place where I grew up. I don’t go home often, not for any other reason than I just am not good at making that a priority. I drove around my city a lot – quiet, early mornings and some late nights when it felt like no one else was awake but me. I saw things with new, adult eyes, thought to myself how some parts of this place are just so beautiful – I want to go back again sometime soon and just walk around – me and my camera.

I also made time to see my oldest friend and my goddaughter. Without going into an unnecessary amount of detail – I’d missed both of them in a way that was bigger than even I understood until I was there, and hugging both of them. Time really can be the great equalizer.

All in all, I was glad I went and I’m also glad to be back in my new home, hanging out with my husband. I hope you had a safe and happy holiday!

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!