I changed my Facebook profile photo this morning:
It was taken at Nate's third birthday party, after all the kids went home and my brother and I took over the bounce house.
Every time I'm in one I think how fun it would be to have a party at a bounce house place with all of my friends. Sometimes adults need it more than the kiddos -- the feeling of soaring through the air and knowing that there's a soft place to land.
You can't really be graceful in a bouncy house, nor serious. So someday I will assemble everyone I know and let them run wild inside a bouncy hall. Think I will do it this year. Someone hold me to it.
In two days, I turn 35. This feels like a significant number for some reason. As I shared with a friend today, it seems like a turning point. Halfway through another decade, with little lines forming around my eyes. (I don't really mind that, just as long as they don't appear too fast.)
Many good things have happened the past year. Among them, adopting the charming Gatsby, who came into my life six monts after losing my beloved F. Scott:
There were births: my first nephew, Henry, and my godson Jack. I love this picture from Henry's debut:
And births of other sorts too, including helping launch the Alabama Social Media Association, which is all about connecting people. I like that.
In between, there was a lot of travel. This is what I look like happy, on the way to tell a story:
I did yoga on the beach in Miami:
Rode on a New Year's Eve float with a little Elvis:
And went to the Tribeca Film Festival with my brother:
There were many good times with the Jazz Hands Family:
And with many friends -- new and old.
I've found more of my voice and shared it, speaking more about writing and community, and the technology that connects us for good. (I really like doing that.) I got to interview my Dad for StoryCorps -- one of the most important interviews of my life.
I was interviewed too, including telling this story of why I live in Birmingham.
I learned to get my hands dirty, working in the yard as part of a complete yard renovation of our house.
There were many good things, too many to list.
There have been sad things too, the kind of things that shook me to the core.
This year marked the passing of a dear friend, who was taken far too young. A few weeks later came the tornados, the devastation of which was seared into my brain as I reported on its scope. Walking through the wreckage made me question everything. And listening to the stories of survivors and heroes reached past the jaded journalist and gripped my heart. Three of more than a dozen of the stories are posted. It's the most meaningful work I've done this year.
It helped me make sense of uncertainty.
This morning I went to a new church (well, new for me). The preacher invited the congregation to write down their prayers, confessions and messages -- the deepest hopes in our hearts -- on index cards. It felt good to write it all out, this comfortable medium of writing, and to tack it to the wooden cross.
It reminded me of a a Buddhist temple outside Tokyo, where I did a similar thing once, tying my prayer to the tree. It was another decade, and another time.
Moving into 35, my prayers are different. But they are still told in stories (in fact, if you squint hard enough you can read them behind the status updates.)
I am thankful for each story that brought me here, and for the ones to come.