January Doldrums, All Systems Normal


I wish sometimes January didn’t just feel like a month to get through. I know it’s normal after the high festivities of December, and I honestly welcome the fresh start (such as it is) and the clean house, but it’s just…gloomy. The weather is cold, grey and wet, the kids are stuck in the house too much, and I’m left searching for inspiration.

Then I remind myself this is normal. This is the cycle of the year, the downtime when all of nature is hibernating, at rest, saving up for the coming spring, and it cannot be forced before its time.

Icelandic poppies are one of my favorite flowers. When I was younger, still living in California, I would plant them in my yard every January. They are hearty, and can handle what we Californians call ‘winter’- usually blooming with the warming February sunlight. One year, as the furry, thick buds pushed up, and their protective casings cracked open, I was over-eager, and I tried to ‘help’ the flowers by peeling back the pistachio-shaped protective pod from the furled petals, thinking this would encourage and allow the petals open sooner, freed from their constraints. I was wrong.

What happened was, I damaged the petals. My eagerness for their beauty ended up marring what they could have been. The flowers survived my ‘helping’, but they bore bruises and scars on their petals as the season progressed. It was a powerful lesson, and a sad season for me- each time I looked at my beautiful flowers— because yes, they were still beautiful— but they bore the marks my distrust of the process.

That’s what January is. Trusting the process, allowing the seasons to pass over your fields, and the work that can only be done in the dark to progress, without any ‘help’.

Warmest Welcome, 2014


Let’s start it off with a not-very-flattering-but-supremely-genuine laugh-shot.

Making specific resolutions has never been in my wheelhouse. Much like Bean last night as Auld Lang Syne began playing, New Years Eve usually makes me a little melancholy and reflective. Bean started to cry as the clock stuck- it could have been a manic crash after hot chocolate and games in the park, but he was genuinely sad to say goodbye to 2013. I’m not. I’m delighted to be ushering in a new year- last year was full of rough patches- but I like to take some time and figure out what those lessons are, and how to authentically incorporate them into my real life.

So for this coming year, I hope for more laughter and genuine moments of joy. I hope to be able to recognize the grace and mercy I’m granted as it’s happening, and not just in retrospect. I hope for inspiration and the wherewithal to follow through on that inspiration. I hope to create and mine beauty from the raw materials God hands me, and I hope to be able to more fully share that beauty with the world. I hope to continue to find my voice as a woman, mother, writer, artist, and whatever else I am called to be. I hope for hope in my heart, and I hope for happiness in my home. I hope for those I love to have the strength and inspiration to walk the road that rises before them, and I hope to meet them on that journey.

Thank you, 2013. Welcome, with great hope, 2014.