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December 31st, 2009 | 17 Comments »

For all the angst that entered my life in 2009, the accidents and stress and overall sense of “What the….?” that occurred, this year that I will happily forget has ended on a pretty high note.

Let me introduce my newest niece Sara.

She made her entrance with one day remaining in 2009, and we have been eagerly awaiting her arrival. She is the tiny little sister of Nina, a well-known face on this blog.

As for all that went before, well….I’m happy to walk away from this past year, to drop a match into the midst of it all and bid it farewell. There have been monumental lessons learned in a gripping and tough-love sort of way; I’ve not been very good at keeping my perspective positive and genial, but in looking back, the one thing that keeps coming forefront to my thoughts is that I survived it all and came out today, December 31st, generally unscathed. And with a deep sense of humility.

These past few months I have done a lot more looking inward. And plenty of gazing through a camera lens. I’ve found so much beauty that I’ve failed to notice before. In 2010, I look forward to enjoying this more. I’m pretty simple in my photo-taking life. There’s my basic point and shoot digital, and I’ve discovered that the iPhone camera, while it does have limitations, can be relied upon to capture some rather dramatic and stunning images. Like this one:

And this one:

And that really, it isn’t about what kind of camera, the amount of money, a lens that is above all others….what it comes down to is that when you lift it to your eye, the world opens up and you click the shutter at just the precise moment to capture life happening around you. This is one of my goals for 2010: Project 365. A photo a day for the entire year. Keep your eyes open for it.

I don’t make resolutions. They’ve always failed me, or maybe I just am a failure at them. This coming year is more about stepping up, being present, lifting my head and accepting grace. I think I may have fretted a bit more in the past year, fought against the tide and been resentful of being in a place that I didn’t feel I deserved. What I didn’t do, and should have, was stop and really examine where I was, and maybe think about the fact that it probably was just what I needed, and yet wasn’t willing to realize. Even in our trials, and through very, very dark times that seemed like they were endless and painful, the most amazing of life’s moments shone right through. And I often refused to even look at them. I spent too much time focused on the darkness and that just can’t happen anymore.

So 2010 has potential- like the seeds of a milkweed. All new beginnings do, and we shouldn’t wait until a new year to make subtle and lasting change happen. Why not November? Or July? And when we resort to being human, and we make mistakes, why not be soft and forgiving to ourselves, get back up and start a new day again, with a fresh perspective? Last November, right around Thanksgiving, I decided that I was tired of being heavy and out of shape. I embarked on a plan that I’ve stuck to the entire last year. I’ve lost 20 pounds and almost three pants sizes. It wasn’t a resolution, but a serious lifestyle change. And during the past year, if I faltered, skipped some workouts or simply felt unmotivated, I allowed myself to be all right with it. And so should you, with whatever personal gain you take on this year. The perspective, and the journey is often far more important than the goal, and I hope you don’t lose sight of that like I did this past year.

“It’s been a long December, and there’s reason to believe maybe this year will be better than the last”

Happy Blue Moon New Year’s Eve, everyone. May many blessings, much love and gentle peace be yours in the year ahead.

17 responses to “onward”

  1. Congratulation for the baby born.

  2. Hello – I just recently found your blog. What lovely writing! And those eggs cooked in the potato skins? Genius. 🙂

    This particular post really touched me. I do not know what challenges you faced in 2009, but it sounds as if you went through some difficult times and came out stronger in the end. I hope 2010 brings you much joy, health, and good fortune. Looking forward to visiting your site again. xo, Dawn

  3. I simply wanted to add a comment here to say thanks for you very nice ideas. Blogs are troublesome to run and time consuming therefore I appreciate when I see well written material. Your time isn’t going to waste with your posts. Thanks so much and carry on You’ll defintely reach your goals! have a great day!

  4. lo says:

    Gorgeous post! And I’m in your court when it comes to resolutions. Always better to have hope for the new year, and flexibility about what it brings, than to make promises and enter the year with rigidity. New little ones are so often a reminder of all that’s really important! Thank goodness for your new niece… and let’s hope for a blessed 2010!

  5. What a wonderful blog! Please continue this great work I will be sure to check back regularly…

  6. What a great blessing for the coming year! New life and new hope! So beautiful! I always like those babies that are newly-born. They give me hope and joy! Happy New Year!

  7. Just beautiful. You made my night with your lovely and poignant insight. Your niece is divine. Happy New Year, my old friend.

  8. E says:

    I love your 365 idea. I can really relate to the satisfaction of capturing beauty. Even when I feel a little stressed if I pull out my camera it is soothing, grounding, and satisfying.
    Your photos are really beautiful. I hope you have a good 2010.

  9. julie says:

    I am a new reader to your blog, and I have to say, you are a beautiful writer! I so enjoy reading your writing! Thank you for this post. It really puts this time of year, reflection, potential and opportunity into perspective and we turn to a new calendar page. Blessed New Year to you and please keep up the beautiful posts!!


  10. Chris says:

    I have to get back to using photography as a creative venue. I don’t know where I fell apart with that in 2009. I think I need to just seek out some new scenes.

    I’m glad you have made it through 2009 and found new perspective for 2010~! Happy New Year!

  11. Kristen says:

    So lovely, Kate. And your sweet baby niece… what a beautiful ending to 2009 and beginning for 2010!

    I love my iPhone or taking pictures too. It does a surprisingly great job!

    Happy new year, my friend!

  12. What a beautiful post. Really, so touching. Your niece is so precious.

  13. Sally says:

    It is a beautiful post- thank you for sharing.
    We also had a rough year last year- I am looking forward to a more peaceful 2010… I do think though, that we came out on the other side a bit more grateful, a bit more mindful

    Sara is beautiful (and don’t let anyone call her Sally!) I am also a Sara

    Wishing you the very best this New Year has to offer

  14. hungry dog says:

    What a beautiful post! Congratulations on your new niece. I hope this next year holds wonderful things for you–I’m sure that it will. I look forward to reading more of your insights and seeing your beautiful photos (with an iPhone, no less!) in 2010.
    Hungry Dog

  15. Jeff says:

    I’ve been doing a 365 day project on http://jpgmag.com. Sorta like flickr, but seems to be a bit more serious.

  16. Lee says:

    I so appreciate your talents and creativity, your photography, your transparency and spirit, Kate. My favorite quote of the day is from Pogo: “We are confronted with insurmountable opportunities.” Happy New Year to you and your family! Lee

  17. Kate, this is beautiful. I love the sentiments here. Last year was like that for me–this one had it’s hard times, but it was WAY better than 2008 for me.

    I also love the idea that we don’t have to be perfect all the time. I’ve tried to banish the “p” word from my vocabulary–it just raises too many expectations.

    Someone told me once that whenever there’s a big enough pile of horse poop, there’s a gotta be a pony in there somewhere. We just have to find it. Sometimes it’s harder than others…

    Your photos are beautiful. You’re right, it’s not the camera that takes the photos, it’s the eye of the photographer. I look forward to seeing more of your photos next year.

    Happy New Year, Kate. There’s a box of chocolate that will be in the post to you next week.