New year, new you! I see it everywhere right now, and it rolls off the tongue so easily but has that ever worked out for anyone? I always wonder, what about the new you from last year? What happened to that one?
I'm coming to terms with the fact that no hairdresser is ever going to give me a complete transformation, working out is a lifetime thing, and I might even like myself more some years then others. I saw a Gwyneth Paltrow interview while I was waiting at an airport last summer that has stayed with me. She suggested looking at health and well-being over the span of a lifetime, allowing for some ups and downs. Thinking that way helps me keep moving. Who knew, good advice from Hollywood!
We had almost a week in Florida for Christmas with my family, then back to Virginia, with an overnight stay in Charleston on the way. Patrick needed to get back to feed his cows and it was just in time to get together for the Showalter family Christmas on New Years' Day with oysters and a skeet shoot. So many of the cutest little nieces and nephews on both sides of our families these days. It makes holidays all the more wonderful.
I like to try to keep the Christmas bustle to a minimum, or at least sticking just with the things that are necessary and/or fun (it's all for the joy you know!) but even so, that first full week of January feels to me like a long exhale... deep breath and relax. A kind of deeper rhythm starts to settle in and all the little projects I always want to do come into focus. I've been wanting to learn to knit, and well, just make all kinds of things, but I am going to try to focus on sewing for now. Since I know how to do that already it seems like a better way to get the creative ball rolling.
I  have also been intentionally trying to measure the value of my days by something other then productivity, giving myself full liberty to spend days sitting in my chair reading or talking or maybe just thinking. I run on inspiration. It can be for better or worse and I'm always working at being more disciplined to just do what needs to be done. But when there's nothing urgent and pressing I so enjoy the leisure of puttering around the house or spending entire afternoons with friends over coffee. By the end of last week my puttering led me right into spontaneously organizing my pantry and cleaning corners that should have had attention a little while before. Some things just can't be forced.
That list of things to do is always there, yet somehow it always gets done.
This week I started cutting out a quilt, little by little, and have even been going out on walks in the snow. It feels so good to come inside and have another cup of tea by the fire. 
I'm not writing a long list of resolutions for this year, nor am I shooting for the best year ever. What I really want is to have eyes to see the things that really matter and a deeper, steadier contentment. 
Hope your January is warm and wonderful so far.


  1. mmmmm...sounds wonderful! you are inspiring :)
    would love to hear some of your favourite books that you've been inspired by! always looking for a good read :)

    1. I'm reading 3 right now! Not sure how much progress I'm making in any at this rate. =) I'm really enjoying "A Long Obedience in the Same Direction" by Eugene Peterson, and also "The Art and Work of Caring" by Andi Ashworth. Since I haven't finished them I can't say for sure but so far so good.

  2. I really, really like the idea that health is a long-term goal, that I can strive for improvement, but that even when I don't do as well with it as I want to, it is all leading toward a longer, healthier life.
    But what I like even more than that idea is your second to last sentence. That is a goal worth striving for.

  3. Two things: your photography is spot.on.
    And I love what you shared about not measuring your days by productivity, and that by taking the time for quiet + inspiration is just as valuable as getting all of that to-do list done. There's a balance, of course, as there is to everything.
    Oh, and a third thing...I love your goal for this year: eyes to see what really matters. YES.

  4. Love this! I feel the same about the holiday season - with a long exhale afterwards! Hope to see you soon!


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