That stomach bug hit me last night at midnight and hasn’t let up. I’m just managing some ginger ale now. Feeling incredibly grateful for my husband, who juggled a very busy work day and parenting. So far, the new year has given me lots of opportunity to practice being flexible and gentle. Just hope we’re well enough to celebrate in time for this kiddo’s birthday.

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The powdery snow and sunshine made for a perfect morning of sledding with our dearest friends. It felt especially good to be out in the fresh air after surviving last night’s bout of the stomach bug–this week was a doozy! … Continue reading


A big thank-you to the writers who got me through this foggy first week of 2017 with their inspiring new year’s posts. Kathy’s newest essay Voided Checks reflects on practice, gratitude, patience, and how we respond to life’s challenges. Tara Borin chose “practice” as her word of the year for 2017 and had me thinking about a word (or three) I might choose to shape this new year. Sarah at Mourning Dove Motherhood coasted me through the holidays with her infectious optimism and humor. I especially loved her post Winds Are Slowly Filling Our Sails, a meditation on the way shifting our lives in a new direction often feels slow, uncertain, and zig-zaggy, like changing direction while sailing. Rachel’s latest post at Last American Childhood swept me away with its beauty and brought me back to that place of life-as-narrative. I’m so grateful for these strong voices and the art they create and put out into the world. Whether you’re seeking inspiration in the new year or just looking for a good read, go check them out!

I’ve finally managed to organize some intentions for the new year. (Note: you’ll never catch me announcing a resolution. Too inflexible!) Which brings me to my first word.

Flexible. This year I want to be more flexible. Go with the flow. Accept the unexpected with grace. I don’t like surprises or sudden changes in plans. It takes me time to adjust. But life is full of surprises. Already, the new year has hurled curveballs at me. A few things that have helped me become more flexible: pausing, taking a breath, writing, sleeping on it (if possible). To be flexible is to be open to change. To bend rather than break. To continually meet life in the present moment.

Gentle. This year I want to be more gentle. With my child. With my partner. With my family and friends. With myself. My writing practice has made me less judgmental and more empathetic. I want to keep cultivating that. Gentle isn’t rushed or hurried or distracted. Gentle isn’t harsh or demanding. It’s not impatient or unkind. To be gentle is to take care. To seek to understand. To be compassionate.

Celebrate! This year I want to celebrate moments big and small. From newly fallen snow to milestone birthdays. I want to relax into events and holidays without getting worked up or overwhelmed or rushing around like a maniac. I want to enjoy things as they happen. Loosen up and have fun. I want to hang the sign and blow up the balloons and remember to send the card on time. I can’t wait to put this one into practice next week when we celebrate Isabella’s third birthday!

Those are my zen intentions. To counterbalance, I have a long list of ass-kicking goals for 2017 written in my notebook, because how could I not?

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I finally started writing my reflections from 2016 and intentions for the coming year. But I didn’t finish. We’re still sick and slogging through and I got a small biopsy tonight (nothing to worry over) and now I’m curled up watching old episodes of Parenthood, my go-to comfort show. I’d love to write a rambling novel with beautifully flawed characters like that bunch. 
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I had envisioned a running start for 2017, like an actual running start on the treadmill. I’d quit sugar. I’d be a super mindful craft-and-museum-and-nature mama. I’d tackle my upcoming projects. I’d return to writing in the evenings at the library.

But today we felt even worse than yesterday, coughing our heads off and taking steam baths and watching too much Masha and Bear. Yesterday I’d felt anxious about all the things I wasn’t accomplishing, irritated that my day didn’t go as planned. I still have trouble surrendering to what is. My internal narrator rails against it. I realized it’s a habit I should release and leave behind. So today, feeling even worse than yesterday, I consciously let the anxiety go. Just surviving the hours in a gentle, loving way would be the day’s accomplishment. I haven’t written my lists, but I successfully practiced one of my new year’s intentions. So I’ll count today as a win.

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