What Worked for Me in 2017

Ah, yes.  It’s that time of year again.  Time to reflect on what worked for me this year.


but where did that creepy hand come from?

1. Yoga.  I started in August, after a several-month hiatus from any sort of consistent exercise.  I started with bikram in a 115 degree studio and in September transitioned to vinyasa class, in an 85 degree studio.  Ah, much better.  Guys, I’m real into it.

I tend to be ride the wave with my exercise interests- after baby number four I was (briefly) very motivated to do a heinous high intensity class at the gym I belonged to.  That lasted a couple of months and then I started dreading classes and decided, consequently, that there are too many forms of enjoyable exercise out there so why force myself to go to the one I no longer like?  I have also marathon’d in the past (just once; that was sufficient), dabbled in triathlons (let’s not forget this gem of a memory).  So maybe the shine will wear off yoga in a bit.  For the time being, I am enjoying the heck out of it.  Win!  Ride the wave!


foreshadowing. keep reading.

2.  Buy Nothing group on Facebook.  Have you all heard of this?  Charlottesville has a Buy Nothing group where members can post items to give away, or post a need/want they have.  Have a sweatshirt or a kids’ toy that you no longer want?  Post it there and I guarantee someone else will be thrilled to come take it off your hands.

It is not as quick and simple as a trip to Goodwill, but the upside is that you actually give your item to a person who wants that specific item.  I have to say- every time I take stuff to Goodwill and see the warehouse that is stacked with items, I feel a little ill.  There’s so much stuff!  I don’t doubt that a ton of it is purchased and money is redistributed to the community (right??), but I also know a ton of it is tossed or sent overseas.  The Buy Nothing group keeps items one step further away from a landfill.  Win!

3.  Book Log.  Didn’t I say this before?  Sorry.  It still works for me.  I love tracking my books, mostly because I can see the titles adding up and it motivates me to read more.  I read 81 books this year, and miiiight squeak another one or two in before 2018.

A few favorites: The Four Tendencies, The Hate U Give, Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, Born Bright, The Body Keeps the Score, Baby Catcher, The Wonder, Who Thought This Was a Good Idea?, and Hillbilly Elegy.  I think that every book on that list was from the library.  With library fees for a few overdue books, I probably paid $15 to read 81 books.  Win!

4.  Trips.  This one is firmly in the “luxury” category.

This year I traveled to Nashville with some college friends and spent a three day weekend away.  Lots of laughing, reading, eating, talking, and some space just to be; away from my usual life at home.  My college friends and I have been on Marco Polo (a video app) ever since and it has been a great way to keep the conversations going.


Ah, the rest stop photo op. Couldn’t pass it up.

A few weeks later I got to take my second kiddo with me to Bermuda, at my dad’s invitation.  Pretty incredible and rejuvenating and all of the things.  Aaaand I just got back from a few days at a college/YWAM friend’s house in Clemson.  We met when I was 17 and spent four years together in college, then tacked on another two’ish overseas in Australia.  It was incredible to be with her; like the other college reunion, we just pick up where we left off.

I count those trips as high points in the year, fo’ sho’.

These things worked for me in 2017.  What worked for you?

(I’ve done this before.  2014, 2015, and 2016).




When I Was Five…

This happened:


My memories of it are iffy at best.  For example, I once piped up about how I remember standing in the snow, seeing the fire…and was informed there was no snow.  Huh.  That’s embarrassing.

I wrote some thoughts about it here.

My sister posted this picture on Facebook today, then followed up with this after she (understandably) got a lot of questions about what the heck happened:

Brief synopsis: I was in 2nd grade, my family of 6 were all at home, kerosene heater malfunctioned and our rickety old farmhouse burned very quickly while we watched from the front yard in our pjs. No one was injured but we lost the whole house except a few random things, mostly from the stone wing on the left, which was our family room. My dad opened the bible “randomly” to the Isaiah passage that night from our neighbors guest house and it’s been a special passage ever since. Also being the anniversary of Pearl Harbor, my life long takeaway is that people and relationships have lasting value, everything else is wood, hay, and stubble, which is always a good reminder in the month of December!

That’ll preach.  Merry Advent, once again.

Four Years Later

My sister sent me a picture from four years ago in the Pediatric ICU at Johns Hopkins.  I won’t post it because it is, frankly, too fragile for me to post.  I can’t.  He was so little.  The picture shows the dots on his temples and forehead where they prepped him and made sure they were opening him up in the right spot.  Holy smokes.

We are still sort of unpacking that whole stretch of time as a family, this many years later.  Kids are resilient, but kids are also sponges, right?  They can get through some crazy stuff, but they absorb bits and pieces of it along the way.  Of course they do.

This weekend we decorated our house for Christmas.  Every time I put those lights up I think about our friend Bob and his boys, coming with their strands of lights and decorating our porch for our homecoming. When we got home from the hospital we had a house that was clean, filled with food, and decorated for Christmas.  Four friends came and put up our Christmas tree and tried to figure out where to hang the absurd number of stockings they discovered (two for every member of the family??  I had not yet done this).  Another friend cleaned our house.  And for weeks after we were brought food, food, and more food.  I may not have cooked until February.  We were propped up on all sides.

Merry Advent from our weary world to yours.  We have much to grieve and much to hope in.  IMG_8250