January, like a rare soul-friend, soothes my soul in the quietening of Minnesota winter.
In the past few months, photography, writing and engaging on social media have taken a back seat to personal life stuff <insert passing of my grandma, parents with heart attacks and strokes, foreign travel, a new job, holidays + simply life with 4 kids> and so, my creative energy... gone.
But then January arrives. My favorite month of the year.
As the year turns, January brings rest. Reflection. And meditation through reading and personal writing. (And permission to wear the same yoga pants for several days on end.) Daytime coffee soothes, and come darkness, a glass of red wine awaits. January is when ideas visit more often, and these inspirations sometimes pile up one on top of the other until I have to get off the couch and go for a run to sort them out. (If you've read Elizabeth Gilbert's book Big Magic, you know what I'm talking about.) But mostly, like an old friend, January is content to sit comfortably with me in the silence as my soul rests, and rejuvenates for the adventure of what will be 2016.
January and I have been thinking a lot about living wide open, and vulnerably. What holds me back from being all that I am created to be? If I am created good (which I believe we all are) then what good am I leaving in this world? For my kids? For my neighbors? My community? For the every people my life naturally brings me into connection with? As my pastor Steve asks in his book Beginnings, what is your great gift you bring into this world? In order to GIVE fully, I must first learn to LIVE fully. Instead of going through the motions of another Monday - Friday, I must be intentional about delighting in the normal, everyday of life. Working, laundry, dishes, squabbling kids at bedtime... all of it. I love this quote by poet Jack Gilbert who encourages us to step into that great adventure of goodness + joy, no matter how sad, mundane or painful this life can often be.
In a really practical aspect, I've been working on leaving "good" in this world by preserving pictures. I am blessed to do this as a Photographer but as a mother, I want to ensure my children have pictures to remember how loved and enjoyed they were. When the photography business slows, January and I have been organizing and storing 13 years of digital family images. We've been at it for three years now but slowly getting to the current day! And, you know those iphone pictures you simply upload to your computer and never weed through because you need more space on your iphone, now? I'm pretty excited about getting those Instagram snapshots printed into CHATBOOKS! Preserving these memories is a delight for me, and I'm stubbornly plugging away at it.
My current social media project is photo-storying my Haiti experience. Last November, I photographed at two orphanages in Haiti. And it has taken more time than I expected to process what was a scary, exciting, overwhelming and life changing trip. After whittling down over 4000 pictures, part one of my Haiti story is scheduled to be on the blog later this week. I can't wait to share it with you.
Now that February is here, I am stretching my arms and legs, excited spring, and the year ahead. (But still in my yoga pants and drinking coffee, most of the time....)
Thank you for being here in spite of our long absence. Your presence is noticed.
Risk delight today.