this was a good ... year

  January:    I was photographed by the incredible Mario Testino .  I still can't believe I got to watch him work. (Photo by  Mario Testino .)

January:  I was photographed by the incredible Mario Testino.  I still can't believe I got to watch him work. (Photo by Mario Testino.)

This past week, Marcus and I were talking.  "You know," I said, "this year was actually a really good year."

He stared at me, trying to figure out if I was kidding.

"I'm serious!" I pressed on.  "I mean, if you take the dumpster fire of American politics out of the mix, and, you know, losing our house, there were a lot of incredible things that happened this year.  Amazing trips.  Once-in-a-lifetime experiences.  I turned 50.  This was a good year!"

After he thought about it for a moment, he realized I was right.  And in fact, I have the photographs to prove it.

  February:    Super Bowl, baby !  My sweet friend Catherine surprised me when she came to town with an extra ticket.  That's a life list item crossed off, right there.

February:  Super Bowl, baby!  My sweet friend Catherine surprised me when she came to town with an extra ticket.  That's a life list item crossed off, right there.

  March:    Spring break in New Orleans .  We saw great live music, Alex found a dress to wear to her first dance a few months later.  Great time.

March:  Spring break in New Orleans.  We saw great live music, Alex found a dress to wear to her first dance a few months later.  Great time.

  April:   Alex continues her love of music -- we continue to reap the benefits.

April:  Alex continues her love of music -- we continue to reap the benefits.

  May:   Alex and I were front row at the U2 Joshua Tree concert, and  learned first-hand what it means to do meaningful work .

May:  Alex and I were front row at the U2 Joshua Tree concert, and learned first-hand what it means to do meaningful work.

  June:   Alex attended a poetry slam camp, and I got to watch her take the stage and own it.

June:  Alex attended a poetry slam camp, and I got to watch her take the stage and own it.

  August:    Hurricane Harvey arrived, and we lost our house .  But   oh the love and caring we experienced in the aftermath  .  We will never be able to repay the kindness we received, though we'll certainly die trying. (Photo of Alex and Soca being towed away on our friend Dustin's kayak by Marcus, who was an absolute rock through all of this.  I couldn't have handled any of this without his steadiness, man.)

August:  Hurricane Harvey arrived, and we lost our house.  But oh the love and caring we experienced in the aftermath.  We will never be able to repay the kindness we received, though we'll certainly die trying. (Photo of Alex and Soca being towed away on our friend Dustin's kayak by Marcus, who was an absolute rock through all of this.  I couldn't have handled any of this without his steadiness, man.)

  September:   Staying in the gorgeous little garage apartment of friends, while we figured out next steps for flood recovery.  Their apartment was lovely, and it was such a wonderful place to regain our feeling of safety and regroup.

September:  Staying in the gorgeous little garage apartment of friends, while we figured out next steps for flood recovery.  Their apartment was lovely, and it was such a wonderful place to regain our feeling of safety and regroup.

  October:    We moved into our current temporary home , a 2-bedroom apartment back in our old neighbourhood.  We're safe and it's a great place to focus on rebuilding.

October:  We moved into our current temporary home, a 2-bedroom apartment back in our old neighbourhood.  We're safe and it's a great place to focus on rebuilding.

  November:   We made solid steps in rebuilding, including  signing with a builder, and me knitting a blanket to begin decorating Alex's new room .  The way forward began to look even clearer.

November:  We made solid steps in rebuilding, including signing with a builder, and me knitting a blanket to begin decorating Alex's new room.  The way forward began to look even clearer.

  December:   Quiet, intimate family holiday-days -- full of cozy reconnecting.  As it should be.

December:  Quiet, intimate family holiday-days -- full of cozy reconnecting.  As it should be.

So even though there were challenges in 2017, make no mistake:  I'm keenly aware of how lucky a family we are, for the experiences we've had, to have each other, and to be surrounded by incredibly caring people.  This was a good year.  And here, at the end of 2017, I encourage you to go through your own photography archives to find the moments of lovely that I'm sure 2017 gave you.  The process can be really edifying.  I mean, these photos give me hope that in 2018, we can create an wonderful year as well.

So here's to creating beauty and light for the coming year.  And speaking of being creative, for today's soundtrack, check out this New York Times video of the making of Ed Sheeran's hit "Shape of You."  This song was the most-streamed track of 2017, and originally, Sheeran didn't even write it for himself.  Spare the 9 minutes and watch the video:  it's a lovely retelling of the creative process. 

May we all be this creative in 2018.

 Happy New Year, sweet friends.  See you in 2018.

(P.S.  A little holiday present:  enter coupon code WATCHMEGLOW for 30% off of my GLOW ecourse -- a great way to start the year, identifying your gifts, and using them to make 2018 great.  Offer ends January 31st, 2018.)