2021 Good List
It’s easy to see all the ways our lives have changed and shifted due to the pandemic. We all could make a list of the things we’ve lost, but I’d rather focus on everything that has been gained. Before heading into 2022 I took time to flip through journals, look back in my planner, and scan pictures from the year. With every word written and picture viewed, I remembered the year with joy, and hope. Thank you 2021 for a year of continued learning, grace, adventures, and love - and God’s presence.
In honor of this year and all that was gained, I wrote a list of good things. You, dear reader, are among them! Thank you for being here and sharing all that is good. If you’re so inspired, I’d love to read your good lists, too.
Spending hours outside at state parks and campgrounds as a family! All the hikes, s’mores, campfires, wildlife, and moments listening to the sounds of nature filled our spirits.
Beginning in July carving out the space to read scripture, pray, and journal every morning.
A house full of books! The hours spent reading with the kids on the couch, their bodies curled next to me, are by far some of my favorite memories. We loved our visits to the library again this year, story time, and telling our own stories.
Summer afternoons at our town pool! There’s nothing like our small town, jumping in the golf cart, and meeting friends and neighbors at the pool. I loved watching the kids' confidence bloom and Charlotte take her first jumps off the high dive!
Hours at the playgrounds around town with friends!
Walking, riding, and scootering around town! We love greeting our neighbors and seeing the cats wander. We love knowing our neighbors and being known by them.
Vaccines! I’m breathing a sigh of relief that three out of four of our family are fully vaccinated!
I began the year working with a writing mentor on a memoir book proposal about my pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago, motherhood, and Charlotte’s speech journey. I ended the year with a full book proposal for a different book: a motherhood devotional co-written with my friend Erin. The proposal was picked up by The Bindery Agency with Trinity McFadden representing us, and is currently on submission with publishing houses.
Along with the work of writing comes rejections. It seems odd to include all the ways I’ve heard my writing doesn’t fit or isn’t good enough as part of my goodlist, but I do. There have been plenty of essays and poems rejected from websites and magazines. Our book proposal has seen its fair share of rejection. We’ve heard that our writing and concept is strong, but our platform is not. I share this because after the initial sadness rejections fuel me to continue doing the work. Receiving a “NO” means that I put myself out there, I’ve done the work, I’ve written, I’ve believed in my words. I will keep writing.
Connecting with readers through my monthly newsletter, Walk and Talk! I also created a free, downloadable resource for new subscribers: Walk and Talk with God: Reflection, Scripture references, and a how-to for your own contemplative walk. It’s such a joy to connect with friends, family, and readers who I’ve never met. It feels less lonely, it’s sacred, and every month when I hit send on the newsletter, I’m reminded that our words do matter.
In March I began my role as Community Manager for Exhale Creativity! It’s an online community of women pursuing creativity alongside motherhood, for the enrichment of both experiences. My job is to cheer and encourage the women and their creativity and I love seeing how creativity begets creativity over and over again.
Speaking of community, a few other writers and I formed a writing group to share our words, encourage one another, and share in the joys and challenges of the writing life. I’m a better writer, friend, and person thanks to them.
Weekly playdates! Over the last few months I've been praying for deeper friendship and community. Through a series of invites and saying yes I'm seeing the fruit of investing in others. Every week a group of moms and their kids gather; the kids play and we drink coffee. With each conversation and every time we show up, we're creating our own tribe, people to love and who love us.
Being on leave from a full time call in the church is a gift during this season with small children. But I do love the chance to preach and lead worship. Thanks to technology I’ve been able to preach via Zoom for friends across the US, and now recently I’ve been back in person filling in for colleagues on Sunday mornings.
Isaac started preschool this year. He’s with a small class three days a week for three hours. His imagination, creativity, love of books, building and singing is taking off even more.
Charlotte loved kindergarten and now 1st grade! Both years she’s been in person and we’re so grateful for our small school and dedicated teachers and staff.
Continued gratitude for Chatterbox speech and Charlotte’s speech therapist. She’s been in speech therapy for four years. Thanks to her therapists over the years she has her own voice and stories to tell.
Watching Charlotte read on her own! It’s amazing to see the words and letters coming into focus for her and a whole new world opening up.
The hours spent creating, coloring, drawing, and writing with the kids! Our home is filled with scraps of paper, artwork on walls and windows, colorful creations, and stories. I’m so grateful to see the creativity of my children and to know that God’s gifts of creation are swirling within my children.
Here’s to remembering with joy and looking forward with hope!