Life

Looking Back // Looking Forward

I’m sorry I’ve been silent for so long without a word, without a trace. Things, life in general, are starting to settle down after a hectic holiday. 2015 came racing down the tracks at full speed and I wasn’t ready for it.¬† I hadn’t had the time or the energy to process and analyze 2014 yet, not to mention look forward to what I wanted to aspire to in a new year. I needed to catch my breath. I wanted a chance to live in stillness for a short while. To come home after a long day and think about nothing but how early I would get to bed that night and the ramblings of George R. R. Martin that would precede that (confession:¬†I’ve been reading¬†the first GofT book since September. I get sleepy when I read). So I took a break and allowed myself to take a little vacation away from Keeping Willow. ¬†And the result after 3 + weeks of zero blogging wasn’t what I expected. ¬†I didn’t find myself feeling relieved that I didn’t have a post to finish. No large weight was lifted off my shoulders. Oh no friend. I couldn’t stop thinking about this damn blog. Those few weeks when I decided not to blog I spent thinking and dreaming about Keeping Willow all the time; how I can continue to create in the heart of why I started Keeping Willow in the first place. So for the unexpected break, I apologize, but I promise it was all in the heart of making myself and this blog a little better.

As I reminisce about this past year, I seem to remember just a roller coaster ride.¬† 2014 came with its fair share of change and challenge and I feel all the better for it. Not that I loved getting bed bugs or taking my husband to the emergency room (oh yeah, I forgot to tell you that Jazz fell off his bike. Just some torn ligaments, that’s all), letting my daughter fall into a river, learning to scrape by on a much tighter budget or live in a tiny ass apartment that would rent us a very large, historic¬†house in a prime neighborhood in Grand Rapids (I’m not bitter). But the kind of living we are doing isn’t what I expected to be doing at 30. ¬† When I was younger, what I imagined life to be like when I was¬†30 or married with children was to¬†be settled down in a career and a mortgage. Now these aren’t bad things, no they are admirable, but they were something I resented because I believed that once these life accomplishments happened that the freedom and adventure of life just kind of ended. Now, I know that isn’t/doesn’t-have-to-be true, but in spite of that I feel lucky to be on this crazy adventure as a young family. It suits us. ¬†I love how these stories and adventures are shaping our family and our humanity. It’s hard and fun. It’s exciting and scary. I love it.

One of my greatest accomplishments this past year, other than keep my daughter alive and well for another year, has been consistently maintaining this blog. I wrote at least one post, if not three, each week for an entire year and while I’m proud of that accomplishment in and of itself, the greater feat is that I discovered I have a voice.¬† I have always been a quiet and reserved person. I live mostly in my head. Writing and creating in this way has brought purpose and meaning when my job hasn’t and my vocational goals weren’t being fulfilled. I have received feedback from so many of you who relate to my stories, tried a recipe, or loved a photo and in that moment I realize we are all going through this crazy life together. We all experience similar struggles and downfalls, joys and triumphs. We’re never alone, no matter what we are experiencing, and that truth is good news that¬†everyone needs to hear. Finding this sense of purpose has been a tremendous gift. For this I am grateful to you, for sharing your stories or for simply reading along.

2015 seems full of promise and growth. There are so many things to do, see, read and write about. All of the nuances of motherhood, the beauty of smoked paprika, the romance of living with a partner, some fashion exploration, the fragility of body image and just plain fun are all on the docket.¬† I have lists upon lists of ideas and directions I want to take this year (can I just say that making a list on a legal pad is a magical experience).¬† And¬†I truly can’t wait to share it all with you. Much love to you my friends.

And a (very) belated happy New Year!

xoxo

Here’s a little flashback to what our 2014 looked like.

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Life

Some 2015 Ambitions

– Read more books, fiction and nonfiction
– Write more blog posts
– Spend more time on relationships, old and new
– Take a couple career risks
– Take more and better photos
– Try new and different recipes from different countries and cultures
– Chase after a minimalist lifestyle and throw some stuff away.
– Read a copious number of books with Willow
– Make lots and lots and lots of music
– Continue to embrace motherhood, redefining what it can be and look like as it fits me and my relationship to Willow
– Kiss my husband a lot
– Visit every neighborhood in Toronto

– Drive our car less

– Knit a blanket
– Be more mindful of spirituality
– Go on lots of runs
– Consistently go to bed on time

How do you want to spend 2015?

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