here we go again

it's hard to believe its already that time of year. you know the one - where christmas is winding down and new years is closing in. where, often, we find ourselves pausing to reflect on all that this last year has held and look with anticipation on the year ahead. i like how my friends gina + ryan said it best, "it's reflection and dreaming, closure and renewal all at once". 

it's GOOD STUFF right? and oh how true that is. these days of the year are some of my most favorite. all of those things appeal to me (the reflection, dreaming, closure, renewal stuff), and I suppose that's why. so this year, i'm once again taking a moment to tip my hat to 2017 before looking hopefully at 2018 and all that it will hold.

2017 was a bit of a whirlwind. my job with the giving keys took me all across the country and, at some points, across the world. miami, nashville (twice), northern cali, and even australia. i loved getting to travel and explore new places, though i have to admit that in some moments it was hard to be away from grant and home and friends and routine. still, i wouldn't trade those solo travel experiences for anything. i got to learn a little bit more about how to quiet my racing mind on walks through parks (fitzroy gardens takes the cake) and breakfasts for one at friendly cafes. i learned how to make new friends in unfamiliar places. and most importantly i learned how to pack all my things for a week into one small carry on rolling duffle. if you know me at all, then you know that this a MIRACLE and should probably land at the top of my "greatest accomplishments of 2017" list. 

the giving keys also gave me some lifelong friendships from right within it's walls and for that, i'm super grateful. i learned from them that i'm more capable than i sometimes think and also that caring for others is hard and important work. i've also learned the proper way to use "per our conversation" in an e-mail and that it should be alluded to whenever and wherever possible (#thanksmai). how's that for adulting?

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2017 held some hard moments too. at the beginning of the year i lost my grandma and i learned what its like to lose somebody really special for the first time and what a difficult but beautiful honor it is to carry on the legacy of their life. i also learned how scary it can be to make brave decisions and what it looks like to walk with others through hard changes and sometimes loss. let's be real, life isn't always social media perfect and broken dreams are a thing but i'm GENUINELY so relieved that hope and newness are always always a thing too. 

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grant and i got to adventure to arizona (did anybody else know they have a forest there?!) and seattle (heyo eli and kel!) and spain (aka colorful dreamland). we spent time with dear people AND just simply each other - a pretty rare thing for two extraverts and 7s on the enneagram scale. this year was full, as every year is, and most of all i'm grateful for the ways i got to watch god show up in my life and in community. it was another year of both great and hard and most of all a little more learning and, hopefully, a little more wisdom (I AM GETTING ACTUAL GREY HAIRS PEOPLE. THIS IS AN ACTUAL THING THAT IS HAPPENING).

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a couple weeks back, grant i got together with some special peeps and dreamed together about the year to come. we chose words or intentions for 2018, the things we hope to grab onto and hold tight as the new year unfolds. my word for 2018 is simplify. 2017 marked some big changes for me of actually getting into the driver seat of my life and steering a few things in a different direction - slower, finally, and with hopefully more physical and mental margin for the things i love and want to give time to. in 2018 my hope is to build on that, investing in a little more margin and a little more intention. something tells me this will be a lifetime-journey-type-of-thing. 

once again a huge shoutout to all of you for making this year the fab and dynamic thing that it was. we are so grateful for each of you and the life adventure we get to live alongside of you. can't wait to hear about all the things you are embracing as YOU walk into 2018! the most love coming your way from the bridges and a happy new year. xx

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