2017: Keep Breathing

I love lists and goals, but I've never been much of a new year's resolution person. Perhaps this is because I'm already fairly driven and determined. I'm never okay with being complacent, and once I decide I want to do something, I am sure to get it done.

However, while listening to one of my favorite podcasts, The Sorta Awesome Show, I discovered that some people establish words or phrases to guide their year instead of more traditional new year's resolutions (seriously, I'm so behind on the times). I'm a word person, so something like this really appeals to me. I thought I'd try it out for 2017 since 2016 just makes my stomach turn a bit.

I know it may be a cliche, but 2016 was fraught with hard times. We helped friends and family through some tough stuff this year including marital turmoil, career disappointments, miscarriage, death, illness, dreams deferred (shout out to my man, Langston Hughes for that phrase). It seems like every month we were walking a friend or family member through something tough. Add to this our own dose of difficulties, a toxic election cycle, and contentious current events. My highly empathetic self is just depleted. I feel like I've been holding my breath for an entire year. My shoulders and back ache, and I find myself having to deliberately unclench my body. So, my phrase for 2017 is Keep breathing.


The moment before the photo

Confession: I'm terrible at documenting moments via pictures. I have a sister in-law who is great at it; she always seems to remember her camera, snaps a photo at just the right time, and makes awesome picture books for her kids. She isn't a professional photographer, but her pictures have captured some beautiful moments.

My style is much more...lazy casual. I take photos on my crappy cell phone and then do a mass printing of them two times a year. I give my kids the stack of photos and task them with putting the photos in their plain colored photo albums void of scrapbooking embellishments, fun captions, and stickers. I made two photo books for them once on Shutterfly, and each time it was a huge pain in the ass. I tend to be paralyzed by choice, but I also can't make an uninformed choice, so I spent an hour scrolling through all 1,764 embellishment options...for one page. My kids love these Shutterfly books and look at them often, but they also look at their giant, simple photo albums just as much.

My inability to snap photos at just the right moment paired with my preferences for interior design, means that we only have two actual photos hanging in the public spaces of our house: a picture of Nate and his dad and a black and white photo from K's adoption day in July 2015.


Speaking the truth in love...even in the middle of a dumpster fire

Note: The pronouns 'we' and 'us' are used in reference to a collective body of folks who believe in Jesus. However, I do believe that parts of this post can be relevant to those outside the Christian faith.

A few days ago, a friend sent me a message; in it she wrote, "I don't know how to have faith anymore. I feel so angry at and hurt by religion and followers of it right now. I don't know how to reconcile my feelings and find a way to differentiate the Truth from what I feel drowned by."

I have a hunch that my friend isn't the only one who feels this way. 2016 has been a great big dumpster fire leaving many feeling exhausted, weepy, hoarse from screaming, and paralyzed. In this hell of a year, I've seen church-going, Jesus-loving people lose their cool and spew hateful words all in the name of trying to "spread truth." Speaking truth is one thing, but I tend to believe that truth should always be shared with love. But, what does this all mean?