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Hello, 2018: A Letter For My Readers and Some Gentle Reminders For Myself

Friday, January 12, 2018


Hello, Dear Readers. 

Are you out there? Do blogs still get read? I know I cling to mine because it's a safe haven for me... a place to be me-- to shout into the void and hope someone else can hear.  A journal, of sorts, but with that "public" component that probably many people don't care about at all... but for some reason (probably pridefulness, and a touch of ego, if I'm telling the whole truth) I seem to not be able to let go of. A place to show ME, be ME, and maybe have some of you nod along and love me in spite of the beautifully flawed human I am. 

So I blog. Not as much as I used to. Not as often as I would like to. Not as many How-To posts like I used to love to do... Definitely less of my professional work and sharing client sessions. But I limp along. And I have ideas and hopeful lists of things to write about... and maybe this will be my year to begin posting more again. Perhaps. Larkin's face up there in the first photo basically illustrates my hopefulness for figuring out my mess this year. 

Haha. 

The truth is (and oh how this pains the arrogant younger me still hiding inside to confess this)--the older I get, the more I realize how little I know. How many ways I fall short. How many things I could be doing better. So this face---


Oh gosh. Haha! It's a good one. It says: "Iiiiiii'm not so sure I've got this. But maybe? I'm halfway between meltdown and laughter, and that's a semi-permanent state of mind for me these days."

And it's okay. It's okay that 2018 has begin with a very cliche winter "funk". That I'm crawling out of my skin to get a handle on the four years of clutter that have piled up since we moved into this house. That I'm too grumpy at the single-digit windchills to fulfill my personal goal of getting outside every day and getting my kids outside with me. It's okay that I'm itchy to create and that I'm in a constant state of dissatisfaction with my talents as they currently stand. That I'm terribly disappointed that even at age 40 (gulp, still weird to say that), I have not mastered any kind of true discipline in anything. 

It's okay. 

This is me. This is real life. And this is January, man. it's probably built into our very chromosomes to feel restless and itchy and dissatisfied and a little crabby (and a LOT tired... I feel like maybe I was born to be a hibernating creature?) at the start of a new year. In the middle of winter. 

And I have to whisper to myself, try to re-convince myself:

* it's okay to slow down and turn inward in the cold winter months. 

* this wave of restless discontent is okay: it's important. It is something new beginning in you. It's only after these dips that more growth comes. 

* Naps are so good. No guilt. 

* Find "HYGGE"--- the Danish word for cozy warmth, slow contentment, easy companionship. In the middle of winter, when adventures away from home are too cold to take, find hygge and recognize hygge and create hygge here at home. 

* Recognize and be grateful for this part of the yearly cycle where you have little client work, and suddenly take way more photos of your own family and home again. Appreciate that craving and act on it. 

* It's okay to feel sad. Sit in it, feel it, explore it. And take care of yourself within it. 

* Put away the technology if it's just making you feel worse. Read a good book. What better time of year than this for a novel and a quilt?

* Look up. Even if it's -1 degrees, take two minutes to wrap a blanket or coat around you and step a half-foot outside the door and look up. Breathe real air. Find some stars or some clouds or some bare branches or some hardy birds flying. But just look up and take a few breaths. 

* It's okay to crave change. Make some lists and some loose plans and maybe begin one thing today. And then try to do that one thing again tomorrow. 

* Give yourself grace, and soften. Soften to your own faults and flaws...

* And also soften towards your loved ones. They can't read your mind; they don't know when you're blue and laggy and when you're weirdly energized and ready to clean the whole house. Soften to them and tell them how you're feeling and let them feel their feelings, too. And give them grace, as well. 

* Spring will come. Being busy and being outside and feeling centered will come again. It's okay to fill this space, now, with whatever you're feeling. Because it always gets better. ALWAYS. 


Maybe some of you need these same encouragements. Maybe some of my winter blahs are distinctively my own. But all of us need more grace--- for ourselves and our flaws. And all of us could probably stand to give more grace to our loved ones. And even to that crabby checkout lady at the store. 

So hello, 2018. I'm here. I'm mostly in the mood for a nap. But I'm also grateful for you. Because you are another adventure awaiting, in the slow sad times as well as the exciting, fresh times. I welcome all of it. And I will try to see the gift in every day. 

Love, 

Emily


*Photos: Spectacular bedheads all around inspired me to grab the real camera this past week. I do love how January always seems to bring me back to my big camera for personal photos. I vow to try to keep doing it, even when client work picks back up. I vow to share more of it, too. (Maybe. I'm so bad at that. So full of excuses about making time to edit and share my own personal photos. But I'll make the vow. And we'll see.)

Heritage Valley Tree Farm: Christmas Tree 2017

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

On the first Saturday of December, on an absolutely gorgeous day (who could have predicted that 60+-degree sunny day? SO LUCKY!) we headed down to Washington, MO to cut our own Christmas tree.

It's such a cute tree farm, and we left our coats back in the car and enjoyed every minute of our outing-- from searching for the perfect tree to treating ourselves to cookies (and hot cocoa for Noah, the crazy kid. SIXTY DEGREES OUTSIDE.), and watching the tree farm workers put the trees onto the jiggly machine and through the net thingy... The whole thing was just perfection. 

We ended our outing back in the riverfront town of Washington at Cowan's, a local mom and pop restaurant famous for their mile-high pie, for a good lunch before heading home to get started on setting up the tree. 

Here are the "big camera" photos from our day. Enjoy seeing a bit of what we enjoyed on our trip to Heritage Valley Tree Farm























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