Thoughts on a New Year

Hope everyone had a Merry Christmas. I still don't have all my decorations down, but today's only Epiphany. Slow to go up and slow to come down. This is the first Christmas in a long time that I haven't felt stress. I decided if there was something that was supposed to be done with a glad heart (decorating, cooking, mailing cards, delivering gifts, etc.), but I was angry and annoyed about it, I just wasn't going to do it. I figured people would forgive me if they didn't get a gift- honestly, I doubt anyone even noticed.

Findley and I took Wills to the Vanderbilt bowl game this weekend. It was fun to be back in Birmingham and see lots of old friends. I told Wills there are very few people who have been to three consecutive Vandy postseason games, for obvious reasons. Hopefully we won't lose our coach so we can keep the streak going.

Yesterday was our 12th wedding anniversary. If that didn't make me feel old enough, a college friend remarked this weekend that Wills is closer to being in college than we are to having graduated from it. Thanks, Matt. That thought had me going through all of Wills' baby pictures and will keep me up at night for months. Seriously.

Whenever I am around lots of friends I haven't seen in years, I feel like our lives have been on hold while their lives have moved forward. Our life is slower, and it has to be. Our life doesn't look like what we thought it would, and it is all because of three hours, over ten years ago, when we had been married for less than two years.

And there is absolutely nothing we can do about it except celebrate a marriage that has not only survived, but continued to grow; celebrate a precious little ten-year-old girl whom we love more than anything; celebrate two other little monkeys who are happy, healthy and thriving; and celebrate a group of friends and family who came together over twelve years ago to witness a marriage and have literally stood next to us every step of this journey.

I think the best way to submarine your own happiness is to constantly compare your life with the lives of those around you. If I had her job....If my kids were as athletic and smart as theirs...If we had as much money as they do...If I had all my family close by like she does....If my house were as nice as theirs....If I were as skinny as she is....and for me, if I had healthy kids like they do. I look at healthy families and am jealous of how easy it is for them to go places and do things, and I would be lying if I said that didn't make me sad. Of course it does. But then my head takes the reins from my heart, and I am able to see things from a different perspective.

My life is full of special people, and full of love.

Facebook, Instagram and the internet in general have made it easier for people to compare themselves to others. Everybody appears beautiful and happy as they travel the world with the love of their life, eat at five star restaurants, and make raising four kids look like a cake walk. Nobody posts the fat pictures, writes about how much they hate their job, admits that their marriage is in danger, or calls out a difficult family member. And they shouldn't. The internet is not a place to air your dirty laundry.

It does, however, highlight our need as humans for true friends with whom we can let our guard down. Everybody has their struggles, and when faced with a true tragedy, you can use it to become more empathetic, or you use it to separate yourself from others because you feel your life is the hardest and no one can relate.

Empathy requires vulnerability, it really does. Until you can admit your own life isn't perfect, you can never feel true empathy for those around you.

I did make several resolutions for 2014. I am not sure why because I never keep them, but I am always one to take advantage of a fresh start. Somewhere in the middle of my list, actually between 'getting in bed by 9 pm' and 'only drinking coffee, water & wine' is the most important resolution I made. Focus on the gifts in my life.

I have no control over what is missing, but I have the ability to find joy in what is present.

Happy New Year, friends!


Waiting to see what Santa left on Christmas morning,

I would be this excited over a Barbour jacket, too,


We have spent lots of time on the porch. Love V's Rudolph hat,

And V loves our friend Ben, (this is my only pic from New Year's Eve, by the way; hopefully that means we were having fun),

Trying to master the Vanderbilt V sign. I agree it is a strange and complicated thing,

We left these two back at home, but they were happy,

I will end the recap there. I think these are the coldest temps I've felt in my life. I am in my house, have on a tank top, long sleeve t-shirt, sweater, and vest, in addition to heavy jeans and wool socks, and cannot feel my feet. Hope you are all staying warm and that this freeze passes soon!

And...for all you Auburn fans (including Findley), War Eagle! I really think y'all will win this one!

Oops- obviously wrote this yesterday. It was Auburn's to win, but they let it get away. Sad husband said he couldn't sleep last night because he kept thinking about all their missed opportunities. Exhausted Abby couldn't sleep because disappointed husband kept waking her up to tell her he was having trouble sleeping!!!