Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The Coming Year

"In the little nest of days between Christmas and the New Year, take time - time to hope, to wish, to plan. Time to imagine what your year will hold, and decide how you will make room for all the things that matter. Celebrate the year that has been with reverence; welcome the year that will soon unfold with anticipation and joy. And remember that dark winter nights are made for dreaming of all the good things yet to be." - Days of Christmas

Happy New Year, everyone!


Monday, December 22, 2014

Peace and Joy.

Do you ever read something and realize it's exactly what you've been wanting to say? Emily's post last week was precisely what I've been thinking the last couple weeks. Her words, not mine:
This time of year is about joy and cheer and merry and bright. There is so much to celebrate, so many delicious smells and cherished traditions, festive parties and happy moments. It is the most wonderful time of the year. 
But the holidays also magnify heartache.
The loss of loved ones. Broken marriages. Sickness. Financial struggles. Unexpected hardships. Unrealized dreams. Fears coming true.
These things happen all year long, but it sure seems they pile up during the holidays. Heaps of sadness, heartbreak, struggle, loss come pouring down during this time of year when we should be singing merrily.
I don’t mean to be a downer. I just know there is a lot of pain underneath our glittery sequins – sometimes hidden masterfully, other times oozing out in the least expected moments.
You are not alone.
I mean, right? She nailed it. You can read her full post here.

This past week, I've watched my family come together after a sudden death in our extended family. I jokingly told my mother that we do funerals right in our family. And it's true. Because all it really means is that you are there for each other, no matter what. You hug each other a little longer, pitch in to bring meals, and generally thank God for each new day together.

Last year, I poured my heart out a bit in this post. And since the sentiments are still true, I thought I'd share some of those thoughts here again:

Christmas waves a magic wand over this world,
and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.
-- Norman Vincent Peale

I am and will forever be a Christmas person. This time of the year is always so magical. Quiet snowfalls, twinkling lights, crackling fires. 

Despite the festiveness of the holiday season, I find myself extra emotional around this time each year. I can't help but think of those for whom Christmastime brings feelings of loss or disappointment. The joyful carols echo empty and haunting. January is willed to arrive quicker.

We have been blessed with a roof over our heads and food in the belly. We each have a job we enjoy most days. [Note: This is completely different this year. I love my new job and feel so terribly blessed to be where I am now.] And we truly have the best group of friends, near and far, that anyone could ask for.

But I am well aware that we are so lucky and blessed beyond belief.

Christmas is a light in a dark world. For those who's light grows dim this season, I wish you heart peace. Although the light is weak I hope your spark does not go out completely.

For those who's light shines brightly, I wish you strength to share your light with others. Take a moment to make spirits bright.

Be merry and bright this Christmas. Enjoy your precious time with family and friends. And keep the faith always.

With hope,

Monday, December 8, 2014

10 Years.

Warning. This post contains a few too many #tbt pics.

2004. Ten years ago my life changed completely. I graduated high school. I moved to Carolina for college. I joined Kappa. And in the past month, I've waltzed right down memory lane with all three.

Two weekends ago, the class of 2004 got together for a little 10 year reunion. While we started college with Facebook and have been insanely connected via social media for the last 10 years, it was fun seeing everyone and catching up!

High School Graduation with Lucky
Representing the class of 2004 in a silly outtake from this spring
Then, in early November, I was lucky enough to visit Carolina again for Kappa. Not having been back to Columbia in seven years, it was so exciting to see all that had changed while I was away. But so much has stayed the same too. I stayed in the Kappa house, my home away from home for three years, and that brought back a flood of memories. College. I waited my whole life it seems like to go to school, and then in a blink of an eye, it was over.

Kappa & Carolina - forever intertwined
The fabulous Melissa and me at graduation
Last Kappa function (someone was pissed I was leaving)
Home Sweet Home
Presenting as a Kappa Trainer

Forever to Thee
But that's what happens with life. You wish for moments to arrive and then they're here whether you are ready or not. And before you know it, those moments pass, and it's on to the next thing.

A man I never met passed away last week in Minneapolis. Through his hilarious and touching obituary and his wife's blog, I've been so touched by their love. Her words basically sum up everything I've been feeling about the last ten years. 

This is what being an adult is: doing everything before you are ready. There is no syllabus for life that helps you graduate to the next event. It is happening all around you, all the time. This life itself is the lesson and the test and there is no honor roll, just the sum of your relationships and actions and how you feel when you lay down to go to sleep at night.

It's been a pretty full and incredible decade. Here's to the next ten, whatever they may bring.


Saturday, December 6, 2014

Merry & Bright 2014

This holiday season, it's important for us to take time to spend time together and just enjoy each other's company. Here's our simple list of things K and I put together of what we want to do together this holiday season! 

Buy our Christmas tree.
Go sledding.
Visit the Holiday Market.
Watch Christmas movies by the fire with hot cocoa.
Hang Christmas lights.
Buy presents for the Giving Tree.
Decorate a gingerbread house together.
Make a special holiday dinner (with Christmas music).
Go to Seattle for the holidays.
Go ice skating.

What's on your agenda this season?!


Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Gift Guide 2014

I love putting together a gift guide this time of year. I tend to turn to pretty things to give as gifts, because why not, right? Mix in a little practicality and that's where this year's Merry & Bright Gift Guide lives. Check it out here.

What's on your list?


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