Today is December 13th, 2013. It is also 13 days until Christmas Day, when many gather with family and friends to celebrate the holiday season. THIS is the season of giving and serving others and reflecting on another year. Each year between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, I set personal goals for what I aim to accomplish for the New Year. Then I spend a week or so crossing off goals, upping the ante on some goals and revising others like an editor on deadline. When I look back at these goals this time of year, I am always in awe of how many of the goals have exceeded my own expectations, some that are no longer important to me, and others I’ve not yet even scratched the surface. As I’ve gotten older, the pursuit of things in my goals has been replaced by the richness of experience and time with the people I love most. I am truly grateful most this year for the people in my life, who inspire, lift me up and share a love of life experience.

friends in miles

This year, I’ve shared some amazing experiences with you, made possible by some incredible people in my life for which I’m truly grateful. What you may not know is that behind the scenes on a personal level, this has been an extremely difficult year for our family. In March, we lost my stepfather to his battle with lung cancer and we have been dealing with the aftershocks, grief and changes that come with the loss of a loved one.  2013 on many levels has been a bit of a blur. I have spent most of the year feeling like I’m walking around in a thick fog, slugging through mud. Insomnia set in for the first time in my life. This will be the first Christmas without Grandpa Jack, and we miss him terribly. But we are moving through the grief and will start 2014 with him in our hearts and living joyfully in every moment with the ones we love.jack

I share this personal story because I want you to know that no matter what you are going through this season, I hope you LEAN IN to the people in your life. We can’t take this journey alone. Nothing and no one is perfect. We all have our struggles. Life is too precious to worry about comparing yourself to others, wasting precious energy worrying about what others are doing and getting your piece of the pie. We rise by lifting others. We give with an open heart and we keep moving the ball forward on our goals, one day at a time. This is the true spirit of the holiday season. We, especially as women and moms, need to lift each other up in any season, because you never know what journey others are on. Judgement only wastes our energy and slows down our ability to move the ball down the court.  I’m grateful for you, my community for always cheering me on, watching, reading and sharing your travel dreams and love of family. For the next 13 days leading up to Christmas day, I will be sharing the love to lift up the people and communities that have lifted me up in 2013 on our HTM Facebook page. I hope you will follow along and encourage you to share your thoughts and comments there and help me #liftuplove2013


On a cold December Saturday night, my husband and I sat around the fireplace with some of our dearest friends, laughing and just spending time together. I wave of joy washed over me. This is what life is about. Family. People. Connection. What I am most grateful for in 2013 is the people and communities we’ve built around us. Because when you are going through a rough patch, there is nothing more important than getting a little lift from your friends to weather the storm. Thank you for being with me in 2013 and I look forward to an incredible 2014.


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