2015 was a year of a lot. Just, really, a lot. A lot of changes, a lot of feelings, a lot of beginnings to understand things about myself, about Chris, about the life we want. In all honesty, this is the year where the rubber met the road or perhaps more accurately, where the deep, gross, hidden stuff hit the fan. Life quieted enough for us to see who we are, and how deeply imperfect we are. It was surprising but it is hopeful.
I’m grateful for this year, and all this that we’ve learned, all this that we’re clinging to instead of our own coping mechanisms, all the joy we’ve experienced and will experience in 2016. So, here’s to the New Year, to new life and new grace that meets us everyday.
And here’s my roundup of what we’ve been learning, listening to, and reading this year. Hope it encourages you, wherever you are, whatever kind of year you’ve had.
Take care of your self. What does that look like for you? For me, it looks like no plans on Mondays because I tire myself too much over the weekends. It looked like a different job this year, because my last one was like a shoe that didn’t fit. It looked like more Sunday afternoons at home over the stove, more books read, more tea before sleeps.
Take care of your most important relationship(s). What does that look like for you? Chris and I are learning that for us, it’s experiencing life together. So, we went to Texas and North Carolina and Nashville, and we’re heading to Charlottesville now. We chase – with our time and resources – music and food and time with people we love. We’ll sacrifice sleep and a clean house to do so. We love new restaurants and good coffee. And we love Richmond; we really really love Richmond.
Make commitments. Commitments are soil. We committed to a CSA, we committed to supporting Richmond City Public Schools through Young Life, we are joining our church next month. I committed to seeing my nephew each week. We commit to keeping our doors open. When commitment is your soil, your time becomes fruitful.
I read a few books this year I’d recommend, a few I wouldn’t. Here are my top guys.
Holy is the Day By Carolyn Weber
Read this with my book club. Rich, moving, soul salve.
Why Not Me? By Mindy Kaling
Better than her last. Hilarious, endearing, makes you feel okay about yourself.
Solo By Katie Peckham and Eugene Peterson
Lectio Divinio-style, daily Scripture reader. This has transformed my mornings.
Scary Close By Donald Miller
Another book club read. Connecting, unveiling, truth-telling, humbling. This book changes lives and relationships.
Notes from No Man’s Land By Eula Biss
Gift from a former coworker, a collection of essays on race and America and complexity and hope. Arresting, important, captivating, challenging.
Wendell Berry: New Collected Poems By Wendell Berry (duh)
Small daily doses of hope and conviction.
2015 was the year of new, old rock & roll. New stuff that has roots. Needless to say, it was a good year for our ears.
Leon Bridges, Coming Home
Classy, smooth, listen on your drive down to the river.
Jason Isbell, Something More Than Free
Sean Brock said it best: “Jason Isbell is the greatest singer/songwriter of our generation.” Who am I to disagree with Sean?
Anderson East, Delilah
Bluesy, folksy, rocksy good. And my 1-year-old nephew loves to dance to his rhythms. Win-win all around.
Matthew E. White, Fresh Blood
Richmond music at its finest: collaborative, surprising, calming, a deep hole you fall into and can’t get out of.
Sleepwalkers, Greenwood Shade
Another Richmond favorite. Just solid rock here, folks. Great for running or taking the party up to 11.
And that’s the best of the best. There were some shows I watched (Master of None!), two new movies I saw (Selma and Sisters, actually, if that tells you anything about me), but these have been on repeat – so to speak – in my mind.
Thank you, as always, for reading. If I could, I’d hug your neck (and I don’t even like hugging that much). Peace to you in this new year.