2015 Word of the Year

We’re 3 weeks into 2015, and so far, I’m smiling.  2015 seems rather lovely!  A bit cold but lovely.  Did I mention cold?  Goals are still going okay – not perfect, but okay, and that feels pretty good.  Sticktoitiveness isn’t necessarily my strong point, especially when it comes to unpleasant tasks that require discipline, so okay is reasonable to me.

All in all, it’s a nice change from 2014, which was, from a bird’s eye view, a very hard year.  I wanted to love it – having a new baby, my much-longed for growing family, a fun trip to the beach, having a few small adventures, paying off some debts – but it was just so…hard.  Not life-altering, earth-shattering stuff.  More like “put-your-head-down-square-your-shoulders-and-try-to-plow-through” hard.

As 2014 drew to a close, I wanted renewed energy for 2015 and craved a fresh perspective.  I had no way of knowing if this year would be easier, but I had kept my bobbing head out of the waves long enough to remember how many wonderful things are in my life, even when it’s hard.  It was out of that place that my word came to me:



Delight.  It makes me smile just to say it.  I want to delight in things this year…my children, my husband, my home, my opportunities, my writing, my body, my mind.  Especially my children.  I’ve been overwhelmed with the speed with which they’re becoming their own people.  I want to soak them up, to play more, to peek in on them while they sleep, to say yes more than I say no, to start new family traditions, to take them new places, to make them laugh, to learn on a deeper level what makes them tick.

I settled on my word quite a while ago, but while I was mulling it over one afternoon, the phrase “every good and perfect gift” was repeatedly impressed upon me.  This set off familiar bells in my mind because I’ve read James 1:17 before and sung the song, but I wanted to be sure of the words, so I looked it up and read this:

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

I’ve never chosen a verse of the year before.  I’ve never made my word of the year particularly spiritual before, for that matter.  But I believe God pointed me to this verse and wants me to remember that as I delight in the many wonderful things in my life, I need to remember them as good and perfect things given to me by my Father.  Active gifts.  They didn’t just fall in my lap.  He specifically chose them for me and was delighted to give them to me.  It sounds super cliche to me when I see it in black and white, but I sense that there’s a lot I’m supposed to unpack about that during the next 12 months.

Do you pick a word, theme, or verse of the year?  I’d love to what you chose if you do!

I Don’t Know How Long It Will Last

I feel like it’s been a weird few weeks around here.  First the holidays, then back to school.  Then – whoops!  It’s too cold to go to school!  Stay home!  And then back to school again, and now Tahd took a few days off.  I thought January would bring the return of routine and predictability, but not so much!

I started a 365 photo project this year.  Truthfully, I don’t actually care if I finish, and I strongly doubt that I will.  But even if it lasts a few weeks, it’s good for me to pick up my camera every day.  The longer I can stick with it, the more I can grow my skills (hopefully).  I’m not currently following any prompts.  I kind of wish I were, but mostly I feel lucky that I’ve even remembered to do it this long.  Trying to stick to someone else’s themes would virtually guarantee an earlier quit date!

I find it hard to take pictures in Wisconsin in the winter.  There’s not much indoor light when I’m awake, and I’m not going outside!  I’m trying to force myself to think of this as an opportunity to improve my low-light photography skills, but I mostly find myself grumbling that this is one more reason I want to move.  Warmer weather, more sunshine…sounds like heaven to me!

Here are some of my images from the first two weeks.  Just in case you don’t notice, apparently we’ve hardly been out of pyjamas all month…


(No clue why this picture is small.  I’ll have to fix it later.)
jan11bThis is how she naps.  Actually, this was an empty day.  She usually has more stuff with her.

jan12Little piece are everywhere around here!
jan14Birthday cupcake!

2014 In Review

Today is my 15th wedding anniversary, which seems like a really big deal – not in a “have a party” or “buy an expensive present” sort of way, but in a “wow, we’re really adults” kind of way. Fifteen years! That’s pretty much official, right?

As 2014 came to a close, I’d been planning to take a little time to skim back through the memories I collected through the year. But time got away from me and I was feeling like that ship had sailed – that is, until I arrived at today and felt very contemplative and introspective. So I figured now is as good a time as any!

Here are some of my favorite memories from the past year, annotations given clockwise from top left:


 family photos || they really CAN play together nicely || halloween || family reunion at Dad’s retirement || making snow out of frozen water during the polar vortex


 the best way to show fingernail polish || a nephew! || fearless || soothing a baby in the middle of (many) nights || my favorite picture of my mom and sisters


 love the light || jude’s first birthday || gabe on his favorite naples beach || mother’s day


 isla’s a dentist || the breathtaking sunset in naples || cousins pushing cousins in wagons || christmas morning prayer || starting to play with essential oils || visiting the beginning of route 1 in key west || pretty eyes


 checking the sunset || smiles got less rare toward the end of the year || bentley has the best smiles! || my family at christmas || she’s elsa, running up the north mountain with her superhero cape


 a regular summer day || ballet || more at the beach || i got her out of bed to play in the first snowfall || a wild thing cake for my 1-year-old wil thing || babies bathing in sinks


 this picture really caught me – i looked happy here and like i was enjoying my baby, which was such a relief since he’d been so colicky and i was anxious and very stressed || she loves to paint || one of my favorites from christmas morning || trying to get in a few more pictures – what better place than dinner in front of the christmas tree? didn’t expect him to start crying… || where’d she go? || more from mother’s day

Overall, 2014 was…hard.  Not hard as in losing a loved one hard or anything awful happening – just hard.  It was work, and it took more strength and endurance than I expected.  Tahd traveled a lot at the beginning of the year, Jude cried a lot, Gabe transition from 1 sibling to 2 was tricky, and I hardly slept.  Going from 1 to 2 was relatively easy, and I guess I expected that although going to 3 wouldn’t be a walk in the park, the challenges faced would be commensurate with the challenges we faced when Isla was born.  I was wrong.  It wasn’t commensurate.  It was exponential.

Good things happened, too.  I finally became an auntie.  We had amazing time with extended family as we celebrated my dad’s retirement from pastoral ministry.  We took a wonderful trip to Florida for a few weeks in the summer.  I got to attend the Influence Conference again.  Those are just a few of the major highlights.  Really, the year was full of regular life, everyday happinesses.  Sometimes these got overshadowed when I was feeling the weight of our struggles, but when I could slow down and take a deep breath, they were always right there, close to the surface, waiting to be noticed.  Those were the things I captured most on Instagram:







I always hate to leave a year behind, but I’m excited to see what this next year brings.  I want to delight in the little and big, the regular, the humorous, the profound, the new, the normal, and everything in between.

Whiny McWhinerson

First day back to the regular grind, and I woke up today feeling like I was already in a stupor of exhaustion and blah.

On top of that, it was zero degrees today.  ZERO.  I know this doesn’t mean much to you Canadian folk who see Celsius zero on a regular basis, but Farenheit zero, even in northerly Wisconsin, is COLD.  Like, “makes my soul shrivel and my heart become three sizes too small” cold.  I’ve even been taking my vitamin d supplements, which usually seem to boost me around this time of year, but I think they’ve frozen themselves into tiny, inert crystals of ice and are refusing to enter my cells until it warms up.

And Christmas is over and my house is bare – but a mess – but bare, and that’s just a bummer.  Wanna see?



This was the (extremely late) night we came home following our last Christmas celebration, but still.  That’s a lot of stuff!

Did I mention Tahd has no clean socks, Gabe has no clean pants, and I’m not doing laundry?

And Isla is in a big girl bed, which I’m so not ready for.  And Jude is getting ready to move out of our room, which sounds divine to me except that it sounds rotten and too soon, and I just don’t like anything about this.  Here’s the room at a midway point.  There’s still more I’m planning to do, but this was a workable stopping point.


I told you – Whiny McWhinerson.  Even I’m annoyed at my petulance.

I think I’d get over it if I could…

A) feel super rested for many days on end, or

B) get some warm sunshine, or

C) win the lottery so Tahd and I can both quit our jobs

Unlikely on all counts, I’d say?

In the meantime, my New Year resolutions (not really resolutions, I guess, just loose goals) are going well.  I purchased this tracker and printed off about 8 copies and am dutifully filling in circles.  I intended to make a similar version of my own, but when I realized how long it was going to take to make it and saw that I could buy an already complete version for the Low Low Price of $4, I was so down with that.

My goals currently consist of…

drinking more water
weight lifting/squats on alternating days
taking a picture a day
taking my medications/vitamins
planning an activity each day to do with Isla (i.e. let my preschooler watch less tv)
tracking my nutrition and activity

It seems like  lot, but they’re all relatively small things.  That, and we’re…what?  Five days in?  As me how I’m doing in fifty-five and then we’ll see!

I should come back later this week to tell you about my word of the year.  I’m excited about it and want to do a project with it to give myself a beautiful visual reminder for my home.  We’ll see what happens…

Back to brooding in my own sour simmer for now.

A Little Christmas

Phew!  Where did the last few weeks go?

I don’t know about you, but for me, they’re buried under a trove of sweet memories mixed with a lot of cookies, a few tears and spats, and a host of eagerness to get back to regular life.  I do love the holidays, but as I’ve gotten older I’ve also come to love the fresh start of the new year.

We had a wonderful Christmas – how about you?  I took lots of pictures this year, something I don’t always remember to do, the only drawback being all the photos I now have to process!  I’m planning to recap Christmas as well as the requisite year-end reviews, but it’s all editing, all the time right now.  Not really, but it feels that way! ;)

Meanwhile, if you’d like to check out my year-end wrap-up series over on Loving Motherhood More, I’d be thrilled to have you!  I’m getting ready to launch a little project I’m super excited about, too, so hopefully that will be ready in the coming week or two.

For now, I leave you with a few pictures of our very merry Christmas…




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