A Farewell to 2016

Farewell 2016  |  The Fresh Exchange

It is hard to imagine another year is ending. This year the blog turned 7 in November and it blows me away how this space has grown alongside us as we have grown as a couple, family, and individuals. Now, to once again say farewell to another year is hard to believe. This year has been for us one of wild change. It was the year I said many times how it was the year of extremes. On one hand it held some of the brightest and most beautifully fulfilling moments in my life as a woman and as a human. I cannot think of a year where I felt more in touch with myself in the rawest ways. I grew in ways I never anticipated. I learned quickly what mattered most and what I needed in life and most importantly what I didn’t. I felt more joy and pure happiness this year than I can recollect from any other year in my 20’s. I contribute that to the amount of time I spent grounded in the moments and relationships in my life more than any year before.

Farewell 2016  |  The Fresh Exchange

Farewell 2016  |  The Fresh Exchange

In the same breathe of saying the joys I felt I cannot leave 2016 without sharing that for the equal happiness we had there was a lot of growing pains. There were many days I felt extremely lost as I fumbled my way through finding my footing as a mother and a creative. There were times I felt things were impossible or that my career in some way may have ended. I felt lost in terms of my direction and I even had moments I barely recognized myself in the mirror. There were good days and there were some very ugly days. We said goodbye to people we loved in a place that held so many precious years of our 20’s. There were a lot of hard hard hard days that I wasn’t sure how I would pull myself out, but for all the bad and hard I have learned there is an equal if not brighter bits of life that shine through and I came familiar with the phrases “this too shall pass” as well as “your best not perfect”.

Farewell 2016  |  The Fresh Exchange

Farewell 2016  |  The Fresh Exchange

This year we welcomed our son. This year we became parents. This year I gave birth…that monumental thing you wonder about for so long as a woman and whether it will happen for you and then in what way will it happen for you. That moment changed me. I learned the strength I had and the power that lies deeper and more spiritually within us as women. I found a deep understanding for humanity. The moment that little guy came into my life my heart become broken in a thousand open pieces. The iron clad push through anything part of myself was softened and opened up wide in all the best possible ways it ever could.

Farewell 2016  |  The Fresh Exchange

Farewell 2016  |  The Fresh Exchange

Farewell 2016  |  The Fresh Exchange

Farewell 2016  |  The Fresh Exchange

Having Hayes in our life has been one of the greatest gifts. For all the moments I felt our life shifted I felt equally grateful for the shift. We were less social this year, but we grew as a couple in ways I wouldn’t have anticipated. Things don’t happen as quickly as they used to, but I am finding value in slowing down. Though I sometimes long for the freedom of traveling the ways we used to, I feel I lived the days before him well enough that I have found so much joy in this season of settling down. There is nothing we love more than that boy. He daily shows how he is every bit a slice of us and we love his independent, sweet, fearless, caring, and happy soul. I have never felt more fulfilled than I have as a mother. Though much is given up to become a parent there is a tenfold reward that nothing else in life could fulfill for me.

Farewell 2016  |  The Fresh Exchange

Farewell 2016  |  The Fresh Exchange

Farewell 2016  |  The Fresh Exchange

This year we moved. As I said, a child changes everything and when Hayes came along it wasn’t long after a few visits from family that we realized we couldn’t stay somewhere we didn’t have to if we could be closer to family. It wasn’t easy choosing between Texas and Michigan. We love them both, but for whatever reason Michigan called us back. The water has never been silent in our souls even when miles away from it. Coming back here has been lifegiving in ways I cannot put into words at times. A view of the water daily is a gift beyond measure (as I sit here I can see it through the window while the sun rises). I love the simple things about our life here and the intention we have to have even for daily tasks. They are things I struggled to find the beauty in years ago, but now here at nearly 30 years old with a baby I love this place. I love the walks we take daily. I love the snow. I love the sun. I love the seasons. I love the people. I love how out of reach it can feel. I love how silent it is. This place never ceases to bring my joy and happiness. You know you have found home when your desires to leave become so much less. So though we said goodbye to some wonderful people we grew close to in Raleigh, I feel 2016 brought us home in a way we didn’t know it ever would and as we enter 2017 to build the home that will hold our family I feel extremely grateful to be back here in this area that feels just right with our souls.

Farewell 2016  |  The Fresh Exchange

Farewell 2016  |  The Fresh Exchange

Farewell 2016  |  The Fresh Exchange

Farewell 2016  |  The Fresh Exchange

Farewell 2016  |  The Fresh Exchange

Farewell 2016  |  The Fresh Exchange

Farewell 2016  |  The Fresh Exchange

Our business minimized. We have more coming about our business as we enter the new year because we feel it is time to really talk all about our business in a much bigger way than we have. This year though, we made big decisions to narrow our business down to something simpler and less full of contractors, which eliminated overhead and took it back to our roots. It was a wonderful decision that we don’t regret and may be one of our best years as a business because of it. We were able to be more present with our son and each other while I could take the time to find myself as a creative again after becoming a mother. It was an important decision for us that reaped not just financial benefits but life benefits. We are looking forward to 2017 and the things we have planned with our business.

Farewell 2016  |  The Fresh Exchange

Farewell 2016  |  The Fresh Exchange

Farewell 2016  |  The Fresh Exchange

Farewell 2016  |  The Fresh Exchange

Farewell 2016  |  The Fresh Exchange

Farewell 2016  |  The Fresh Exchange

Farewell 2016  |  The Fresh Exchange

There is no doubt 2016 was a wild one. It was the year of patience and extremes and learning the importance of what really matters and eliminating any other clutter in our lives in every way from what we hear, read, see, experience, and dwell on. 2017 is a chance to continue those lessons ever more intentionally and to find our footing just a little more than the year before. I know many are glad to see 2016 leave because of the struggles that have existed in this year, but in all honesty, I am feeling sad to let it go. It has been a precious year for us. It has been one that will always feel tender and raw and beautiful in the most human ways. It feels so bittersweet to let this year go, but I have learned that we must reflect, catalog, acknowledge, and embrace what one chapter has been but not hold it too tightly or linger too long because greatness and more growth is ahead. Nothing is done by lingering back but only by carrying on into the next chapter with the tools of yesterday and the foresight of lessons learned from what now lies behind us.

Farewell 2016  |  The Fresh Exchange

So cheers to 2016 and the year of being bitter and sweet in all the most important ways it possibly could be. Onward to 2017 and the next 365 sunrises that mean new beginnings each day.

Leave a comment

  1. You sure had an amazing 2016. I wish you the best for the new year, let’s be creative, productive and successful. I can’t wait to see more of you and your family in 2017 x

    Jessica — NinetyCo 

  2. Ahh, made me tear up! You have such a beautiful family and do beautiful work. I love reading everything you put out. I’m from Michigan as well, living away at the moment for work, so I’m always taken by your photos and stories of “back home”. Can’t wait to see what you guys do in 2017! Cheers.

    1. Aww Hannah! Thanks so much!! I am glad I can give you a little slice of home from time to time. Michigan misses you. I know how hard it is to be away…it just never leaves your soul. Happy 2017! I hope it is a great one for you!!