2016 in review: October, November, December


One random October Sunday, on the steps of the McKim, Mead & White Boston Public Library

I wrote about the gifts strangely, beautifully, painfully wrapped, that Matt’s injury held.

The word I chose for 2016 feels ironic or almost comical, sometimes.  Maybe it’s time to rethink what “ease” means to me?

Grace turned fourteen.

In what’s become an annual tradition, I wrote about the books I was giving this holiday season.

I admitted (over and over, when I revisit these months) that life was pretty stressful this fall.

I closed the year keenly aware of both darkness and light.

My favorite of the quotes I shared:

We are here to witness the creation and abet it. We are here to notice each thing so each thing gets noticed. Together we notice not only each mountain shadow and each stone on the beach but, especially, we notice the beautiful faces and complex natures of each other. We are here to bring to consciousness the beauty and power that are around us and to praise the people who are here with us. We witness our generation and our times. We watch the weather. Otherwise, creation would be playing to an empty house.

~Annie Dillard from The Meaning of Life edited by David Friend

2016 in review: July, August, September


Sunset on July 4, 2016

We celebrated the Fourth of July with my sister and her family, as has become tradition.

I took the month of August off from blogging.

I reflected on the summer that was.  Spoiler: it ended with a big accident.

Matt and I marked our 16th anniversary.  It was a bit heavy on the in sickness part, but it was fine!

I celebrated 10 years of blogging.  It feels like I just started this blog, but I also can’t imagine my life without it.

This whole fall was a lesson in the power of showing up.  A lot of people in my life did, and I won’t forget it.

My favorite quote that I shared:

Melancholy isn’t always a disorder that needs to be cured.  It can be a species of intelligent grief which arises when we come face-to-face with the certainty that disappointment is written into the script from the start.

– Alain de Botton, The Course of Love

2016 in review: April, May, June


Mother’s Day, May 2016

I wrote about one of my central struggles, as I parent children in the tween and teen years: walking the line between honoring their feelings and dismissing their concerns.

Yet again, a topic I keep returning to: the Myers-Briggs, and my own type (INFJ).

I read and wrote about Catastrophic Happiness, Georgia, and my favorite books at the halfway point of the year.

A love letter to anyone who’s reading: Thank you.

Matt celebrated a birthday.

I marked my 20th college reunion.

Grace and Whit finished up seventh and fifth grade, respectively.  Farewell. Alleluia.

My favorite quote that I shared:

“We don’t need great writing to tell us that obviously amazing things are amazing, just as we don’t need high-powered telescopes to tell us that the sun is warm. What we need from great writing, most urgently, is an understanding that the mundane itself—snails, fireplaces, shrubs, pebbles, socks, minor witticisms—is secretly amazing.”

– Annie Dillard

2016 in review: January, February, March


dawn, Harvard Square, January 3, 2016

I picked a word of the year: ease. I also admitted to having a problem with the concept.

Whit turned eleven.

I read and wrote about Shonda Rimes’ Year of Yes, Paul Kalanithi’s When Breath Becomes Air, and Aidan Donnelley Rowley’s The Ramblers,

I wrote about “contradiction as an abiding state of consciousness.”

Grace and I went to yoga together for the first time.

We went to the Grand Canyon and Sedona.

My favorite quote I shared was:

Astonishing material and revelation appear in our lives all the time.
Let it be.
Unto us, so much is given.
We just have to be open for business.
~Anne Lamott,  Help, Thanks, Wow: The Three Essential Prayers


10 years


My first post here was on 9/15/06.  That is ten years ago last week.  The picture above was taken a couple of weeks before my first blog post.

Ten years ago.

It feels like yesterday and a lifetime ago that I thought, hmm, let’s try this.  Like all anniversaries, this one is an opportunity for reflection, and there are a great many ways my life is the same as it was that day and even more ways it is wildly different.

I have been blogging for a meaningful chunk of my adult life.  This place and the community it has introduced me to is a very important part of my daily existence.  I can’t imagine life without A Design So Vast.  I have printed out my annual blog posts every year and, hard bound, they take up half a shelf.  I guess that is my “book.”

We are rooted, and we are moving.  We are stagnant, and we are dancing. I have T.S. Eliot’s lines from Four Quartets in my mind (now and very often):

we must be still and still moving

Maybe I am not moving enough, here or elsewhere?  I do feel like I’m repeating myself a lot, writing about the same things over and over, even as some shifts are apparent (I write about Grace and Whit far less than I used to, most vitally).  So on this anniversary, I’d love to return to something I used to do, which is ask you what you want to hear about.  I’d really appreciate your thoughts on things you’d like to hear me write about.  Questions, thoughts, ideas.  Please bring them on!  Thank you in advance for anything you ask or share.


This picture was taken 10 years to the week after the picture above, in the same city.  So much changes, so much stays the same.