farewell 2009

I let a lot of things go this holiday season, including our 13th annual White Elephant Party (maybe next year), but I had to make a card. I had to.
Christmas cards are one of my favorite traditions. I love pondering and creating them. I love taking the photos. I wish I wrote personal notes on each one, but I DO feel a rush of love for each person as I address the envelope. And I feel a rush of love for each person that sends our family a card. We tape them on the pantry door and let the cards spill onto the countertops.

I was nervous about my card this year. It’s different. You’ll see. But I didn’t print enough for all my friends and family so I’ll share it here.

This is the front flap.

And then this, I tried to get really cheerful photos.
and this is the center. It reads:

As my mother drifted between this life and the next, she promised me, “We have so much happiness ahead of us.
You can’t imagine the joy our family will have in the eternities.”

And so, as we are missing her this Christmas we are grateful for the babe in Bethlehem
who lived and died to “wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall

be no death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any pain.” Rev. 21:4

In my mother’s honor we are working to forgive quickly, love freely, laugh easily and live well.

May your family be blessed this Christmas.

the back (template from mylilcreations)

I’m glad to see 2009 go. I am. But as I search back through the year I also see that the hardest events led to the greatest joys. My children and my husband have saved me this year. They have forgiven me my many breakdowns, shown exceptional kindness to each other and swept the floor when I cried. I think the realization that mothers are fragile creatures has changed all of us.
As I scan back through the blog I am amazed at the beautiful photos I’ve produced. I’m amazed because I have little confidence in my abilities as a photographer. It’s not unlike me to say, “Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t get anything good.” And then I go back and find a series of photos like this:

Gorgeous, huh? I’m bragging, but I also think this illustrates that we are all doing better than we think. In the middle of a situation I focus on the could’ves and should’ves and ‘if only we’d had more light’ but if I look back I see beauty.

And though I am proud of the photos I’ve taken this year (I especially loved the weddings and hope to do more) I am even more proud that I said ‘no’ over and over when my family needs came first. My older boys constantly remind me that they still need me and I am both grateful that they do need me and that they will tell me so.

I can’t imagine what 2010 will bring. I know I’ll turn 40 (Feb 2nd), that Stefan will get a driver’s license (March) and Ben will graduate and go to college (where???). I know I’ll have good days and bad days, that I’ll mess up and offend some people and bless others. I hope to be humble and prayerful and good.

And perhaps, if I do my best, I’ll look back and see beauty.

January 5, 2010



  1. Tracy

    December 31, 2009

    Thank you for bringing your beauty into my life. Every time I read your blog – I feel it.

    I sobbed when I opened your card. My husband worries I am in love with a Mormon. j/k 😉

    Happy 2010 my friend.

  2. Blue

    December 31, 2009

    There wasn’t a lot I did right this year. I let a lot of things slide and didn’t serve as much as i “should” have. i wasn’t there as much as i wish i could have been for people who could have used it. and i’m sorry for that. the card is beautiful, as are it’s messages. from where i sit, you have done amazing things this year. i wish i could figure out how to do as you have done in terms of my parents. but i made it through this year, and succeeded in doing some things that i didn’t expect to do, that weren’t on my list. and i’ve been able to see grace along my way. i’ve been learning and growing, and though i generally feel like a remedial student, at least i’m a student still. i hope we are both blessed with more growth of the happy kind in 2010! i’m grateful for the beauty you add to my life from afar, even when i don’t comment or reply. ♥ you!

  3. jennie w.

    January 1, 2010

    Forty??? Holy shiz.

  4. Linn

    January 1, 2010

    I know that you have brought beauty into my life. Thank you.

  5. seven smiles

    January 1, 2010

    Your card is absolutely beautiful.
    With a perfect message. Happy 2010~

  6. House of Estrogen

    January 1, 2010

    Your card is beautiful… simply perfect.

  7. Sue

    January 1, 2010

    I LOVE your card. I’m certain that everyone who received it, in person or on the blog, had to feel the spirit of Christmas.

    I sure did.


  8. Melissa

    January 1, 2010

    Beautiful words, Michelle. Happy, happy, joyful New Year to you.

  9. Alisa

    January 1, 2010

    You word things the way I would if I could. Beautifully said…Your mother did SO GOOD raising you. Happy New Year.

    Stephan did 50 pull-ups last night at New Year’s Eve. Awesome!

  10. Denise

    January 2, 2010

    I loved your Christmas card and I love you. You said so many things here that I have felt acutely this year.

    Beth is Gregg’s (Darla’s husband) mom. She passed totally unexpectedly this week. The funeral is tomorrow. They’re sitting shiva in PG, but Darla can be reached through my mom (I think they’re sleeping there.) I find it so hard to be so far away…

  11. duchess

    January 2, 2010

    Here’s hoping your 2010 is full of blessings!

  12. The Planet Pink

    January 4, 2010

    Beautiful card for a beautiful family. You deserve all the best in 2010 Michelle.

  13. Miranda J

    January 11, 2010

    Michelle –

    I enjoyed your comments re: dare to dream.

    These photos are spectacular — the flounce of the red skirt. How fortunate to have these memories permanently etched.

    Whitney (signed in as my daughter)!

Comments are closed.