Saturday, January 17, 2015

The Best of In the Warm Hold (and Elsewhere): 2014

This is one of the best exercises I do all year. Before I started writing this, I really didn't think I produced that much meaningful stuff this year. It felt less than other years for some reason. As I look back over the list, I realize I worked through a lot of things and I tried really hard to share the beauty in our days. Those are probably two of the biggest purposes of my blog these days and I feel like I succeeded, at least to some degree, in making space for both. It was an amazing year and I'm so thankful for it. Here are my favorite posts from the year!

January was actually kind of quiet here at In the Warm Hold. But over on my NYC blog, I was pouring out some emotion.
Letting Plan B Settle with Me- I wrote about the end of our journey in the search for housing- the perfect place would fit our needs in Brooklyn. I also wanted it to be beautiful and quaint. Turns out that wasn't in the cards and I needed somewhere to "let it settle".
A Kingdom of Love Waiting to Be Reclaimed: Thoughts on the Last Phase of the Search- I shared the backstory of apartments that  that we loved that we lost after they were so close to being ours. I backed really far up and shared everything Peyton had looked at in the city. And then I finished the post with a lot of tears, an over indulgence (if there is such a thing) in Springsteen lyrics, and sort of an abrupt decision to return to the fun, lighthearted girl I had been a long time ago. I knew there was something magical awaiting us in the city. And I was ready for it. Even if it meant living in an ugly building.

We moved in February and that required a lot of adjusting and a lot of processing. Per usual, I did a good bit of it on the blog(s).
Brooklyn Beginnings: Thoughts on the First Few Days in Our New Home (at Belles and Beaux)- I wrote about "the good", "the bad", "the ugly", and "the truth". It's fascinating to look back and watch how I was sorting through my feelings and my approaches to new circumstances.
Feelings from the First Two Weeks (at Belles and Beaux)- Again, it's really interesting to look back on these and see all the things I was trying to process at rapid speed in addition to settling down and learning to live life here.
Winter Weeping- I wrote out some hard, scary stuff I was feeling. I was worried and anxious mostly about how lonely I anticipated the children's birthdays to be. It was cathartic to write and good to publish. I know I will look back and see a strong majority of the blog dedicated to how much love and joy I felt during our year in the city, but I'm glad there are a few posts that really articulate the raw pain I felt at times.

In March I wrote about marriage, about adventure, about the city, about fear, and about ordinary and exciting days.
Marriage Letters: What Makes You Come Alive- I wrote about how the city was making Peyton (and myself) come alive and how we were growing so much in our love for another as we grew into the city.
Five Minute Friday: Crowd- I immediately thought of a crowded train when I saw the prompt. I loved writing this post and it still feels so true to my New York experience.
Adventures in Being Uncomfortable (at Belles and Beaux)- Peyton and I felt a strong tug toward a ministry in the South Bronx, an area that terrified us. By God's grace, we cast our fears aside and decided to dive in and it's been a big part of our experience in the city.
Ordinary Days and Adventure Days (at Belles and Beaux)- I wanted to share more about what our days here look like, but I wanted to do it in a way that conveyed the beauty of the experience. I can't say I did it well, but I tried and it's one of my favorite posts from the year.

I wrote a LOT in April. And I wrote a lot that was meaningful to me. And I wrote vulnerably. All three significant, I think. Annie's and Graves's birthdays both had me writing and then I wrote about writing. I wrote more about our marriage and how Peyton and I labor together. I wrote out my opinions, I wrote about beauty and sunshine and blowing bubbles, and I wrote about trusting others with my feelings.
On Spending Half a Decade with Annie- It felt like such a huge birthday and I tried to find words to share how special and amazing she is.
Five Minute Friday: Writer- This was one of my most vulnerable posts all year, because it's in a deeply vulnerable feeling area. But I wrote about what writing means to me, how I've found some confidence in it, and what I whisper in the dark to myself.
Marriage Letters: How We Co-Labor- One of my favorite letters to Peyton, because again it was deeply vulnerable. I tried not to be self-deprecating, but also to look at the reality of our marriage and our experiences together. I shared how it's an honor to serve a servant and how there's beauty and worth in the dirty, profane, and ordinary.
Running with Scissors, Discovering the New World, and Moving Twelve Hundred Miles Away: Thoughts on the Over-medication of ADHD- This is less "feelsy" than some of the other stuff, but it was an important "opinion piece" for me to write.
When Your Baby Turns Three- I had to share a little bit about another special, amazing blessing.
Storyteller Series (at The Palanca Life)- And then I shared a little more on my friend Mallory's blog. I talked about his birth and his life and how those related to and prepared me for our city adventure.
Bubbles and Hearts and Spring Sun Against My Back- Spring finally came to Brooklyn. I took the opportunity to practice with my real camera and also write a little about the children.
Five Minute Friday: Glue- I wrote about gluing myself to others and the potential for raw injury that's at stake.

May was super busy with multiple friend visits. I kept up with my Weekly Happenings posts, did an apartment tour, and gave an update on my goals for the year. And not much else.

In June, I wrote about my little boy, my daddy, and my husband. I also wrote one of my very favorite posts about my very favorite season in one of my very favorite places.
Equally Frightening- Another think piece, this time about why it's just as scary to me to raise a son as it is to raise a daughter.
Missing Mick: A Father's Day Post- I reflected on a handful of memories of my dad as I spent my first Father's Day nowhere near him.
The Best Thing About New York City-- Happy Six Year Anniversary, Peyton!- I shared a bit of history from the last little over a decade and talked about how much our relationship evolved in that time.
Hot Town, Summer in the City (at Belles and Beaux)- I wanted to try to share a word picture of Summer here. I think I succeeded mostly, it's one of my favorite posts from the year.

I wrote about church, blogging, and the ways the city made me feel comfortable, save and alive in July.
The Church Post (Saying a Hard Goodbye to First Methodist and an Issue Below the Surface)-- Part 1- I wrote about our home church and saying a hard goodbye and some struggles I had experience.
The Church Post (Joining God in the Renewal of Brooklyn; Knowing Christ and Him Crucified)-- Part 2- The second part of my "church post" about our beloved churches we've found here and the incredible way they've inspired and changed me.
Serious and Silly and the Recent Thoughts About the Blog- I wrote about blogging and how my style has changed and how I missed writing the old way sometimes even though I love the new way.
Comfortable. Safe. Alive.- This was one of the hardest posts I wrote this year. It took a lot out of me, as did the church posts. I needed to share the ways I felt more freedom and more life here than I had, in some ways, in Mississippi.

August meant posts about homeschooling; Mike Brown, police aggression, and race in America; and just general deep feelings.
Rock of Ages, Risky Love, and Deep Feelings Day- I had a really hard, emotional day and I just laid it all out there in this post.
Herrington Homeschool Routine (at Schoolhouse in the City)- This is a departure from the style of most of these posts, but it's one I wanted on the list because these type things are really interesting to me and it was fun to document.
Mourning a Life Lost and Grieving a Hard Reality- This post was more issue oriented (it had to do with the death of Mike Brown and the ensuing protests) but it was bathed in emotion.

I shared more about our wonderful Summer and made a slideshow of family pictures in September.
Sun Scorched Pavement and the Beauty of a Brooklyn Summer (at Belles and Beaux)- This past Summer was very truly one of the best seasons of my life and I again tried to capture why that was with a few words.
The Beauty of Love As It Was Made to Be: Five Years (and a Few Months) of Weekly Family Pictures: I put together a slideshow and I cry every time I watch it. So much beautiful change has scoured since we took that first shot and I wrote a first words about it, too.

We were in Mississippi in October, but because of a writing challenge I produced a lot more content than I otherwise would have. I wrote about trust, my beautiful sister and her husband, our next adventure, being 'home' at my parents' house, my high school reunion, and the place of peace I finally found myself in by the month's end. Things really came full circle that month.
31 Days to Write True: Trust- I wrote about trusting the Lord with a lot of my current (at the time) fears.
31 Days to Write True: To a Sister and an (Almost) Brother- My toast for the rehearsal dinner. Makes me cry to read it.
31 Days to Write True: Our Next Big Adventure!- We have a new adventure coming up and I blogged about it for the first time here.
31 Days to Write True: Home- I wrote about how special it was to be back in my parents' house for a week and a half. Because we've either lived really close or really far, I've never really been on a "trip" to my parents' house. It was wonderful and sort of surreal.
31 Days to Write True: Classmates and Community- I wrote about my reunion and how it was influencing my thoughts on my own children's educational experience.
31 Days to Write True: In the Garden of a Thousand Sighs- I ended the month in a much different place than where I began it. A peaceful place.

I wrote some silly things in November and it felt fun and right. I also shared my thankfuls for each day.
Halloween 2014: Oz Meets Brooklyn and Other Happenings Around the Hill- This had a very different feel than most of the other posts I've shared. It was fun to try out my old voice and see if I could still blog that way. It might have seemed awkward to some people reading, but it felt so right. And Halloween/Fall seemed like the perfect topic for this sort of post.
Halloween Through the Years and the Realization That I'm Letting Go a Tiny Bit- So much so that I followed it up with another one in the same vein.
2014 Thankfuls- I also shared my thankfuls. I created little graphics with an app on my phone this year and that was fun. I try to be pretty transparent with these and I always enjoy looking back at previous years because it's a reminder of exactly what I was struggling in and finding joy in.

In December I shared about a special Sunday and about where I was emotionally. I wrote our Christmas letter, reminisced about last year, and did another quirky post as the holidays seem to lend themselves to those.
Sunday in the City- We experienced some powerful things at both our churches one particular Sunday and I had to write about it.
What December Looks Like In Brooklyn (or In My Heart) (at Belles and Beaux)- I just sort of wanted to document where we were in an actual, physical sense and also emotionally.
You've Got Mail: 2014 Herrington Christmas Card and Letter- It's a good summary of our year!
January Joy- I wrote about what a meaningful time last January had been and a few of my thoughts about facing the upcoming January.
Christmas in Brooklyn: Flapjack Jams, Potato Penguins, and an Unconventional Christmas- I decided this would be another perfect opportunity for a fun, quirky, laid back post. Holidays seem to be good for that.

I'm constantly reevaluating what I want for this space and I think January is a great time to focus in on that. In the coming weeks, I'll be sharing more of my thoughts and probably a few concrete goals for blogging forward in 2015.

The Best of In the Warm Hold: 2010
The Best of In the Warm Hold: 2011
The Best of In the Warm Hold: 2012
The Best of In the Warm Hold: 2013

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