Breaking News: “Top Nine” Doesn’t Capture Most Important Moments

I use Instagram fairly regularly, probably with more regularity now that I have opted out of Facebook. I know, I know, Instagram is owned by Facebook blah blah blah.

Everyone’s been posting their “Top Nine” recently – the most liked photos in their feeds. Once again, social media panders and quite frankly takes advantage of our desire to be liked and seen and celebrated.

I share my Top Nine, because why not? But I have to add that my top moments most were not shared on Instagram for the world to see.


I can make quite a few assumptions about 2018 from these pictures. I traveled a lot, spent some time in the hospital, exercised a bunch, and am apparently still in love with my spouse. These are all true, but there’s so much more that happened in 2018 not pictured here, like that kid who was absent on picture day.

I will spare the weary reader nine things that happened in 2018. But I will share that one of the best memories is sitting with my sister on my parents’ porch late at night pondering the recent death of our grandmother and watching an amazing Midwestern thunderstorm. I will share that the reconciliation of a friendship was culminated in lovely time spent with her and her family. I will share that the financial and childless freedom to travel to new places has really helped me settle into my unforeseen reality. I will share that my husband and I are indeed more in love than ever. I will share that modern medicine is amazing and I am forever grateful to the surgeon who listened to me and finally was able to diagnose me with endometriosis.

All those moments and more made up a painful, wondrous, family-filled year. They say that one’s formative years usually happen before age 25, but I argue that all years can be formative, some more than others. I’m thankful I have the maturity and wherewithal to really appreciate the important work that time and openness can do for our souls.

Here’s to a blessed, wonderful, hard 2018. And let’s welcome 2019 with open arms.


Finding beauty in everything

It started when I was a young(er) adult, in my hometown. It was a small city, nothing much to boast besides a new(er) Super Walmart, a Hobby Lobby,  and a pretty park with a pretty man-made lagoon that coaxed the momma duck and her ducklings every spring. Come to think of it, I think it started much sooner.

My grandparents owned a farm, and we’d often drive there to visit for holidays or just because. I remember distinctly, on the drive home on a winter night when the sun was setting, just considering the beauty of flat Midwestern farmland. The sun’s last rays were refracted in the ice crystals in the cold sky and they put off a serene glow that just couldn’t be captured on camera. Not that I had one back then, least of all on a regular car ride across central Illinois.

I saw the red lights on the towers blinking in the distance, reminding the airplanes of the powerlines. I rode along in the backseat with my sisters in our old brown station wagon. And I knew then that I’d have the ability to find beauty in everything.

When I was a teenager, I remember driving out to the “ghetto” side of town. That is, the older part of town by the river, to go to A&W. In fact, this part of town was not far at all from where I lived. On that particular route, we passed by a chemical plant amidst some run-down buildings, and even then I found beauty in the straight lines, bright lights, and plumes of steam. And then I knew I could find beauty in everything.

Now, as an almost-30-something, no longer a young adult, no longer seeing the world through new eyes but faded and sometimes broken lenses, I can still find the beauty in everything. Even in the desert where every shade of brown originates. The beauty of brown, as a friend’s impressionable 10-year-old son said. Yes, the beauty of brown.

The beauty of transient green after a monsoon. The beauty of cooler air coming down the mountains, signaling that maybe, just maybe, we will soon have a reprieve from summer. The beauty of my decidedly abhorrent brown carpet, tread on daily by two people who love each other with an undying love. The beauty of life, and how it changes so rapidly so that we never have a chance to catch our breath.

I can still find the beauty in everything, and I will until the day I die.