As we say goodbye to 2017 and hello to 2018, I’ve spent moments this weekend reminiscing, recalling, remembering, and just really feeling a whole lot of grateful for the past 12 months of our life. I personally walked through some high highs and some low lows. The start of this year hit my soul deep, in ways and for reasons I have not shared publicly or on the Internet. My heart was in "the thick of it." In the thick of battling some very real struggles and pain that hit deep and hard in tender parts of my soul. The start of 2017 hit me hard, amid all the joy and beauty and goodness…. and, in all the smiley and pretty photos that I posted (choosing to see “the good” is not wrong, and not “posting it all for the world to see” was on my heart) I wrestled with a whole lot and sank, in some ways, under it. And yet, the Lord…. He was there all along. He held me up and walked me through “the valley of the shadow” — through it; not over it or under it or around it. Through it. There were times when I felt like I was drowning. And then, as you do, by grace, I surfaced. 2017 held some of the sweetest blessings and joys — time spent with dear family and people we love, abundant provision and undeserved gifts, prayers prayed 20 years ago and almost forgotten, answered. My word for 2017 was “Redemption.” And in some ways, I can look back and ask, “But, God? What about _____. And ______. And _____?” Those still “unredeemed” things. The still broken things. And He says, “But, look….” And throws His arms wide, revealing all those seemingly small and unnoticed redeemed broken pieces. What a gift.
Through it all: a health challenge we walked through at the start of the year. Marking our two year wedding anniversary with a blessed trip to Mexico. Celebrating Weston’s first birthday. Precious moments with family, near and far. In my own heart, I look back and see how I “hit the wall” (inwardly) on our wonderful, whirlwind trip through Europe, and how the moment I stepped foot back home, I found I began to heal… the trip broke me and healed me and I’ll always hold the countryside of France, the Swiss alps, and magical Paris at night as some of the dearest, most cherished moments of my life, with my beloved boys. “God moves in a mysterious way, His wonders to perform.” — William Cowper.
When I think of 2017 I will always think of these words, written by Billy Jack Brawner III (his story shared with me this year by my sister in law, and used as one of the small threads that stitched my heart back together):
“Always both/and, in these days: both hope and heartache.
Both laughter and tears. Both beautiful and broken.
Both life and death. Both peace and war.
Both contentment and longing. Both joy and sorrow.
All held in tension, until the Day."
[Billy Jack Brawner III]
This year, full of goodness. And looking through it, counting the fruit… oh, I am a grateful girl. My heart and hands are full, and I am overwhelmed with the thousands of gifts.
These pictures shared here are just a few of the thousands of snapshots we took. Just a glimpse into the beauty of 2017. Just a taste of my gratefulness. There were so so many more moments; so many connections, adventures, mountaintop-highs and quiet lows, so many milestones, so many crock pot meals, so many cups of coffee, so many hard conversations; so many words spoken and books flipped through, baths drawn and bananas cut up for a tiny boy, miles driven, airplanes boarded, phone calls made, yes-es said and no’s chosen; toilets cleaned and dishes washed, birthdays celebrated, people missed, beds made, laundry folded, coffee stirred, doctors visits and beach trips. It’s all a gift. And I am grateful for the mundane and the unbelievably exciting, for the brokenness and for the healing.
So with an overflowing-with-good-and-joy heart and a renewed clarity and peace in my mind, I close the book that was 2017 and place it on the shelf of life. It went too fast, really. And oh how I long to hold onto the coming days, to remember, to write it all down, to feast on the good and learn from the dark. A wise and seasoned mama friend of mine who has walked through more life and motherhood than I told me this year, “Write it down. You will forget. You don't think you will, but you will.” I don’t have a huge laundry list of resolutions for the fresh year, but I want to write again in 2018. To journal. And blog. With vulnerability and faith. To remember and recall His faithfulness in the night and His new mercies every morning. I want to sing and play piano again; to sing over my boys and to worship my King. I want to read more and go deeper, to focus on the “depth over the breadth” — in every little piece of life. Daniel and I are striving to become physically healthy this year, and I’ll share more of that journey (for accountability) probably on Instagram. Most of all, I want to enjoy every moment and drink up the joy and pour it all out on my people, and serve and love without hesitation or condition.
My on-repeat anthem for 2018 is “He Will” by Ellie Holcomb. Holding onto it.
Only He knows what 2018 holds, but I pray and hope with all my heart it is a good one, a giving one, a grace-filled one. Our family is thrilled to embark on some exciting adventures, work hard, love on our growing boy, work on some brand new projects, take a few trips — including another trip across the pond to chase some dreams!
Thank you for your presence in our lives, even through a screen. For your kind words and connection. For your messages on Instagram and for listening and being and supporting. For your kindness, prayers, encouragement, and love. Cheers to 2018, my friends.
Let’s make it a growing, gracious, good one!
Our darling Valentine.
Dates and ordinary nights and at-home days with my man filled up my soul.
We spent a few days in sunny Palm Springs for Nana's (my sister's) birthday this spring
And lots of afternoons at our community pool with this little fish!
A few trips to our beloved Santa Barbara for favorite eats.
Our first just-us trip, to Cabo, Mexico, to celebrate two years of wedding bliss!
And back home to smother our boy in kisses as he turned ONE in June
We took him to a cozy cabin in June Lake, California, and showed this baby bear the mountains
Celebrated milestones with family
And were blessed to visit Mickey lots and lots
Enjoyed our beautiful families
And hugged dear might-as-well-be-family who live too far away
We skipped over to France and Switzerland for the most epic trip of our lives, to celebrate Daniel's 30th birthday. What a joy.
I fell in love with my lifelong crush, the Eiffel Tower
And head over heels with my man and baby boy, all the more.
We made our little townhouse more of a cozy home and I enjoyed cooking more than ever
Spent a few days in the mountains with my family
Daniel released a couple of albums, provided so well for our family, worked incredibly hard, and I could not be more proud of him.
So grateful to have had the opportunity to be hired by and work with two of my lifelong favorite brands, Ralph Lauren and L'Occitane. Offers for collabs often show up in my inbox but I turn down 90% of them because my time is so limited (my main heart goal and energy-focus in this season especially is my precious little family... babies don't keep!) but these two collaborations came along and I just adored working with them. One of those "dream come true" moments I dreamed about when I began this little blog
Flew to Oklahoma in the spring, hosted some of Daniel's precious family here in the early summer, celebrated a sister's wedding in Indiana in the fall, visited Texas for Thanksgiving and spent a few days in Florida to hang out with Westie's cousins!
photo by: http://imkristenmorris.com/
Abundantly blessed and graced.
Thank you Lord.
Happy New Year!!!