This is Your Life: How Presence Brings Joy

This is Your Life: How Presence Brings Joy

One of my 2015 resolutions was to become more mindful. Not lotus-sitting, 24-7 monastic mindful, but a little less wound up and a lot more present.

I’ve needed that resolution this year, as the past 12 months have brought a mix of busyness, joy, wonder, and heartache. I’m old enough to know that each year is a mixed bag of bliss—and the scenes we’d rather delete.

Fred and I welcomed 2015 in the jungle of Costa Rica, en route back to the U.S. after a 10-day respite at a remote Hindu monastery. Then, we hit the year head-on, navigating family challenges and diving back into the sea of schedules and to-dos.

But, all year long, I’ve *tried* to keep my resolution, and cherished glimpses of being present—those seconds when I stop, breathe, and think: this is my life! I love that pinch-me feeling of awe, the one that makes you burst with gratitude for the people and experiences that keep you sane amid the crazy-making.

What have been your this is my life! moments this year?

In 2015, Fred and I met folks from all nooks and crannies of NC and beyond—loving people who embraced the space to reflect on faith and the beautiful challenges of living in the 21st century.

We had many, many my this our life! moments at:

And, while all these this is my life! moments occurred in community, I also discovered awe when I was alone, writing.

My creative work blazed new trails new year, including a huge publication at, as well as regular contributions to Patheos Faith Forward. I wrote about a tech-free Lentspiritual tattoos, Interfaith Ramadan, freelance writing—all the topics I’d been itching to explore.

But, the icing on the 2015 literary cake was that Saffron Cross was awarded with two major prizes and went global, something I never dreamed would happen. A Polish publisher purchased the translation rights and will re-release the book in Europe in 2016.

Fostering faith conversations in person and in writing is a privilege that, after four years, I still don’t take for granted. Yet, in despite these this is my life! moments, I still find it difficult to stay present and grounded in gratitude—a terrible symptom of a type-A personality.

In 2016, I’m going to extend this resolution. I’m going to hop on the shoulders of the creative giants who do it well, and embrace the precious group of fellow writers I’m honored to call friends (Kristen Vincent, Elizabeth Hagan, Missy Buchanan, and Laura W. Fischer, among others). I’m going to be present and shored up by their showing up. I’m going to steal wonder like a child, and love this messy life called creative work.

This holiday season, in whatever life circumstance you find yourself, may you find moments to be present. May you be invited into pockets of time to cherish loved ones, the sights, and sounds. May you rejoice in hope; may you find yourself saying, with gratitude, this is my life!

What have been your this is my life! moments this year?


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