A year in review

It's a girl!
It's a girl!

I started this blog in 2008. And this year, something clicked. I got comfortable with my own voice and sharing more stories about my life and you reciprocated by showing up, adding to the conversation and sticking around. Today's post is embedded with links, so follow your whimsy. Pretend you're eating popcorn with your feet propped up on the coffee table and watching one of those cool year ender videos on the nightly news. It adds to the effect.

In 2011...


Dillon turned 5.

Moving on
Moving on

said goodbye to the first house my boys, husband and I shared as a family.

Then, we all gathered around the confessional and exposed our relationship with clutter.

schools out for summer
schools out for summer

I declared summertime The Frat Party of 2011.

Lazy day web

Eventually we bid farewell to lazy days and I sent Dillon off to kindergarten.

Overall, we spent 2011 goofing off, reflecting on what really matters and recognizing we need to just keep swimming.  Thanks to you, this little slice of cyberspace felt a lot like home.

Santa, that's my only wish this year


Last night, my cousin had a Christmas party and you'll never guess was happened. Santa stopped by. I know! Santa. Freakin. Claus. My son asked if he was the real Santa or a fake Santa, and I told him I wasn't sure. "What do you think?" I asked. He looked real to me. And I have to admit, I was giddy. After all these years, Santa still gets to me. Finally I said, "It's whatever you believe." Dillon didn't answer but seemed pretty mesmerized when he crawled into Santa's lap.

"So Dillon," the jolly old elf boomed. "What do you want for Christmas this year?"

This was his big chance. Dillon's eyes got wide. He looked at me. He looked at Santa. After what seemed like hours, he finally said, "I want everyone to have a good Christmas."

Tear. We didn't even rehearse at all. But I thought about it and realized that's what I want, too. Whatever holiday you may celebrate, I pray it will be filled with love and blessings.

On the way home from the party Dillon said, "Santa left in a jeep."

"No way!" I replied, in shock. "Maybe he landed his sleigh at the airport and rented a car?" We were quiet for a moment as we pondered the possibility. My husband snickered. "Santa's a mysterious guy," I said. "I'm still trying to figure him out."

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Fueled by compassion

more love letters

In NYC, Hannah Brencher is known as the "love letter writer." She understands that for her website & blog The World Needs More Love Letters to succeed, it has to look like and operate like a business. But dollar signs and the bottom line don't drive this work. It's fueled by the "compassion of others and my own faith that others will latch onto the cause at hand," she says.

Hannah and her team write and mail notes to strangers all over the world. Encouraging them. Reminding them that their life is worth fighting for. Reminding them that they are loved. "I never thought to call it a movement but that is what everyone around me has called it. And to that I say, well if it is going to bring more love, more compassion, and more intentionality into the world, then let it move. Let it rock. Let it roll and plow the way that it's meant to, and I will guide and steer it from the background."

Brencher has a day job, working at a leading non-profit for children. "One day, it would be nice to move into a more full time role with the love letters or writing but, just as this whole thing has unfolded, I trust that this opportunity will also unfold in time."

At 23, she already gets it. She understands she's a person who can't be fit into a box. "I cannot define what I want to do on a daily basis, much less my whole life." But she knows this:

"I am successful. Without a doubt, I am successful. I would not have said that a few months ago, when I was defining success in terms of ladders and climbing them. Today, success, to me, is doing something each day that I know I will be proud of in one year from now. Success is finding a way to be a blessing to other people. If I get to the end of a day and I cannot look over the hours and say, I was good to that person or I found a way to value that person, then I better just head to sleep and try harder in the morning. I've found that when I wake up with that being my sole purpose, to be a blessing to other people, life is so much easier."

The world needs more love letters. Yes. Yes it does. But it also needs more people like Hannah Brencher, don't you think?