looking through a new lens

12.31 005

 

it’s 8pm here on NYE. i’m in my funky yoga pants, a rhinestone studded sweatshirt & my new jcrew monogrammed ballcap which i scored for a song. rhinestone stud earrings & my running shoes. fancy casual. oh yes indeed i’m all over the license to pretend i’m dressed up even though i’m totally not at all. i’m also all over the fact that i’m about to whip up a latte, take a long hot bath & climb in bed with a good book. i’ll be sound asleep before midnight rolls in.

truth be told. i’ve never been a great NYE party person. for years it seemed i worked NYD at the hospital and needed to turn in early. dan & i , nor were gregg & i big party people. the last new years eve party we were invited to was perhaps before caroline was born. clearly the secret’s out that our party animal status is non-existant!

so. NYE? here’s the honest truth. boring, raw, maybe even pessimistic but here are my jumbled thoughts.

last year, december of 2012 i had just gotten results back from a breast biopsy. things were all clear. no cancer. years prior i had dealt with  pre-cervical cancer scare and worried if i was going to walk down that nasty road that i’ve had my finger on for years. whether working as a pediatric oncology nurse or nursing my husband as he battled cancer. it’s been a part of my adult life whether i asked for it or not. so when i got the all-clear results last december i was certain that 2013 couldn’t top 2012. it had been a good year.

2013 went & blew me away despite myself.

but here’s the deal. we didn’t win the lottery. my hubby didn’t get a promotion. in fact he’s walking through his 9th year as an assistant principal at a tough tough school. our expenses are larger than ever before and our income is smaller. one of my daughters is wrapping up what is undoubtedly the hardest year ( i think) any of my girls have ever had. ( except for emi who in the 2nd grade ended up with mono. missed tons of school and lost weight. which was the same year a precious school friend passed away from cancer. and she went through a depression of sorts as she processed the death of her daddy which occurred when she was too little to understand). we dealt with doctors, counselors, sleep specialist, neurologist and medicines for the first time ever. we had major unexpected car bills. i’ve banged heads repeatedly with one of my daughters. it still is a major league issue for me to deal with missing the everydayness while having a daughter away at college(even if only an hour away). the leatherseats in my old school suburban are literally falling apart.i overspent at christmas. have let down friends and i’m certain dropped way more balls than i’m even aware of.

but 2013 is & was without a doubt,  a winner. a fantastic year. grandslam. it was. every single dream didn’t come to fruition. but that’s alright. a whole lotta good came down the hatch as well.

we live in a country blessed beyond what we know what to do with. the roof over my head does not leak. my girls are all healthy and thriving. my husband has a job and the dog beside me thinks i’m the greatest thing ever. we never went without a meal and my suburban still gets me to photoshoots. ( photoshoot joy will get a blog post of it’s own)  i hugged artisans in guatemala that i have the absolute privilege of representing here in america. they live in poverty and yet i’m quite certain have more real joy in their hearts than i do. i met friends that are so dear to me but yet had never hugged in real life. i slept under the roof and had morning coffee with several amazing women.

i have no idea what 2014 will hold. there’s a realist, dare i say an occasional pessimist in me who fears…well…who fears. ( i’m still working on that pesky issue.)  but here’s the other deal, occasionally my glass is half full my friends,  i pray that no matter what 2014 holds, whether it’s all dreams come true, or trials, or just all the normal in-between that we usually spend most our days in anyways, that i will be grateful for it. not wishing it away on 12/31/13 in hopes of a better new year.

it’s said that comparison is the thief of joy. what can i even add to that? my sad & my bad are nothing compared to so many others. and the flip side is true as well.

so here on the eve of a new year, fireworks booming outside my window, i’m still thinking on what my word will be. i want a 2014 word. i’m like that. but,  i sit here & pray that if i need to dust off my rose colored glasses i’ll do so daily. that if even if my glass is almost empty i’ll be thankful for & see what’s actually in there…that i will SEEK  him first. that i’ll have a GRATEFUL heart & a desire to be STILL and KNOW him. and if i accomplish that list in 2014, the growing bills and the dwindling bank accounts, the dreams and wishes, the future jobs and  travel opportunities, friendships, failures or successes, highs & lows will all be seen through that lens. the lens of eternity. and what really matters. and choosing joy. choosing to look back and be thankful that HE was with me through it all. just like always.

happy new year my friends

happy new year!

hillis 004

December 31, 2013 - 11:03 pm

Marcy Norman Cox - Happy NYE Dear Paige.. I’m looking forward to a 2014 full of Simple Thoughts … Thank you so much for all the inspiring words & amazing photos this past year. Love from Calif, Marcy

December 31, 2013 - 11:29 pm

Lindsay Humphries - Love this post…so good…so honest. Happy New Year Paige!

January 1, 2014 - 12:58 am

Julia - Thanks so much for your honest share 🙂
I love the picture of your ornament!!!!!
Happy New Year
Julia

January 1, 2014 - 2:20 am

Cathy G. - Boy I can relate to you……..we don’t know what our future holds but we hold on to who holds our future 🙂 God bless you….Happy New Year!!

January 1, 2014 - 7:58 am

Katherine - I love your perspective on last year and this year coming – I think we can all relate. I wish you well for the coming year and I will truly try to be grateful for what I have instead of wishing for what I do not have. xx

January 1, 2014 - 9:52 am

Lori H - So well said, Paige. I kept saying “yes, yes” all the way through this post. I struggle with being a bit of a worrier/scaredy cat and have to remind myself daily to trust God and let gratitude take the place of worry. Thank you for all your honest, funny, REAL posts this year. You are a gem.

January 1, 2014 - 10:48 am

tara - i’m with lori…i kept saying, “yes, yes, yes” throughout the whole post.
you always help me to see things through the lens of eternity..grateful for you, friend.

January 1, 2014 - 11:34 am

Lynn - Thank you for your honesty that you share with all of us……your writing really makes me stop and think which is a good thing!!
Happy New Year to you and your family!!

January 1, 2014 - 12:05 pm

Kelly - Wow. Thank you for this. I must admit, I look at the images of your girls in their darling (seriously- Darling!) designer outfits, and cute cars, and think to myself, why can’t we look like that and live like that? (My husband is a principal, too. No raise in 6 years and increased insurance costs have made me bitter….ha). Even though you *know* others lives really aren’t perfect, it is so easy to slip into believing that they are somehow easier, and become envious without realizing it. So unfair to minimize others trials as minor compared to our own realities, and I am working on it. But I appreciate so much your willingness to be vulnerable and share that behind the beauty, your life is normal, just like everyone else. The difference is that you choose joy, and share it with your readers. So thank you! You bless me, and encourage me as I raise my own two teen girls. We are 5 months into post concussion healing for my sweet 16 year old, who was dropped from a cheer stunt, and this year has brought a special level of hell into our lives, making it very easy for me to wallow in self pity. I love coming here, and being encouraged by the beauty you share, as well as hope from the midst of your own hard times. Thank you! And Happy New Year!

January 1, 2014 - 2:28 pm

Kelly - After writing that, it seemed like you had mentioned one of your girls being injured in cheer and having a concussion, as well, so I looked for a post on it. I am sure I read but just didn’t remember, that she also suffered from post concussion syndrome. I am so sorry, and hope she is improved now. I am amazed at the similarities, Cailin is also in her junior year, and was forced to take a “brain break” the entire first 9 weeks. She is still on a modified plan… this journey has been unbelievable.

January 1, 2014 - 2:31 pm

Lisa - Aww, Paige. There is a funny thing about blogging. I love reading your blog and seeing your incredible photos, home and family. I look at it and think, “Wow, this women’s life is perfect.” But then again, we all know noones life is truly perfect. We all have crosses to bear, and it is truly just how we carry those challenges. Just know, that you are beautiful, your family is beautiful, and God has given you this amazing talent of appreciating beauty in all things! Thank you for your honesty. On those days when I’m doubting myself as a parent of a teen (would another mother have done better?), or as a friend (why do I so often just want to hibernate in my home), I pull out my IPad and look at beautiful photos on blogs (yours being a favorite) and somehow it calms my worries 😉

January 1, 2014 - 2:44 pm

Kim I. - Oh, Paige. I. LOVE. THIS. I love it, I love it, I love it!!! Thank you.

January 1, 2014 - 2:46 pm

Andrea - Wonderful post Paige. Happy Christmas and Happy New Year and handfuls of blessings for you and yours.

January 1, 2014 - 3:07 pm

Donna - Happy 2014 to you! Fairly new to your blog and catching up on archives. God bless you and your family and I too can relate to alot of your issues. May God keep you in his loving care.

January 1, 2014 - 5:29 pm

Annie - Thanks for the wonderful post. I always enter the “door” of a new year with a little trepidation. What will it hold? I approach with FEAR. I, too, need to be still and know that He is God….and be grateful.

January 1, 2014 - 7:23 pm

amy hodge - Paige, I really appreciate your authenticity! I am going through a health trial and sometimes feel down/depressed when I read my blogs that make everything look so perfect. I don’t wish trials on anyone, but realize that we all go through them in one way or another. I know they refine us as people, but sometimes I say to God “Enough with all this refining!” Ha! All the best in 2014!

January 1, 2014 - 7:36 pm

Valerie Sisco - Paige,
I’ve been reading your blog for a year and enjoying your amazing photographs for the past year so I thought it was time to comment! Thanks for sharing your heart, thoughts and talent for us who read your blog!

Valerie

January 1, 2014 - 8:16 pm

lissa - I popped over here to pin one of your photos that came to memory that I want to remember for 2014 and read this post with tears in my eyes. I’m having a glass half full moment. I do that sometimes….. don’t tell. 🙂 ps thanks for the encouragement.

January 1, 2014 - 9:04 pm

Wendy - Paige, your “simple thoughts” are so beautifully written. I cannot even recall how I found your blog. Your little blog is one of my favorite things that I look forward to visiting once everyone is settled in for the evening and all is quiet. Thank you for inspiring me with your thoughts, photos, goals and honesty. May 2014 bring you and your family many blessings! Happy New Year!

January 1, 2014 - 9:10 pm

JuliaW - Beautiful post. I really appreciate your honesty and realness. Here’s to a wonder-filled 2014!

January 1, 2014 - 10:23 pm

Denise - I love this! I too, spend a quiet New Year’s Eve at home, this year with my hubby and son as my teenage daughter (who I bang heads with) is at a friend’s house celebrating. We haven’t gone out for years and don’t get invited either. It makes me feel that I lack in so many areas, particularly in my lack of connections to people. New Years Eve is scary, boring and lonely for me. Every year I wish I was somewhere else–until New Years Day dawns. I wake up and see the light of the hope of a new year rather than the darkness of the night before. The dark night of contemplation and dawn of a new day reassure me every year that God has a plan and a new beginning for me. I’m reminded to be a little less hard on myself, lean on Him more for guidance and appreciate with gratitude all the blessings I have. Happy New Year! I hope it dawned bright and beautiful for you!

January 2, 2014 - 7:35 am

Kris - This is why I read your blog-you help remind me that He is there. Year 2013 was a bomb dropper for our household and I learned a lot about myself. He provided for us when I couldn’t and my little one and I managed to get through the year. 2014 has to be better and as I keep telling my little one, you have to have hope. Our perseverance and now gratitude, is that our lives are changing for the better, and though we still won’t have the ‘fancies’ as we call it, I will be able to provide food, shelter, and the horrendous cost of health insurance. I thank Him everyday for allowing more time with my ailing parents and that my little one knows that she is loved beyond anything.

January 2, 2014 - 9:23 am

tiffini - oh paige. i hear every.single.word
i do!
i battle these same things. they threaten to take me down almost daily.
i can get so focused on all those things that i am closed of to receiving from God.
seeing all the beauty around me. funny how we perceive others through a computer isn’t it?
we really DO NOT KNOW what people are going through behind closed doors.
if anything – i have learned this and it has helped me to not judge but to think first…i don’t know what she/he is going through
anyway..none of this is making sense…ha:)
just know you are loved. i offer grace because i too…an but dust. your post inspires me…thank you xo

January 2, 2014 - 10:05 am

beth cleary - i am and always have been a half FULl gal.. i always think things will turn out the way they are suppose to be..i am thankful every single living day on this earth that i am blessed and never have once wanted what others had..just didn’t, i like my simple life..struggling, money issues, 3 girls, 3 sets of hormones not to mention mine on the cusp of transitioning into the menopausal years.. but 98% of the time it is great, i have a loving, kind, hard working husband who is a great daddy.. i thank god everyday for loving me and i in turn love and trust in him.always.

January 2, 2014 - 12:19 pm

Ella - Keep up the optomism, Paige.
The New Year is really not about parties but appreciating what we have and looking back on a great year(yes great). Of course no comparisons, every person has a different situation made for them. Clearly good health is the best we could ask for, along with a loving family.
Wishing you all the best for 2014 and beyond.

January 2, 2014 - 4:59 pm

Lemonade Makin' Mama - AMEN!! For the first time in years i am excited to see what God has for us this year, based on what He did for us last year. It wasn’t a stellar year but we watched His faithfulness in ways we couldn’t have imagined and we saw Him lead us to places we would never have chosen to go, all to start understanding just the smallest piece of His heart for us

January 2, 2014 - 8:24 pm

Andrea - well said dear Paige. This is why I click the button to come here…..I love the realism, honesty and yes the pretty pictures…..plus your kids and your dog are adorable, you have a marriage that works because you make it work and your trips to the gulf (which I also love)……are my fav’s. Bless you and your family. I pray that 2014 will be a happy, healthy New Year for you all.

January 4, 2014 - 11:25 am

Angie Hester - Oh I so love your blog! I have followed you for a while and on IG…don’t always comment but I so enjoy what you share! :))) HAPPY NEW YEAR

January 8, 2014 - 9:40 pm

Katie - Thank you for your honestly, especially regarding finances. I think so often (at least I know I do) we see your beautiful house and well dressed family and amazing accessories and feel like everyone in blog land is loaded–it’s nice to know sometimes that people are just like us little guys. Happy New Year!