Every time I see someone’s holiday picture this year, I have a time-warpish experience where I feel like I’m looking at that same picture 30 years from now.

I think, “Wow, these people are babies! Look how young and vibrant they are. This photo was taken right before all the rest of it happened – all those things they didn’t know and wouldn’t have believed would come, and all the things they always knew would, and all the rest of it too. They have no idea how much joy and beauty and pain and growth and confusion and delight and everyday life lies ahead.”

I can just picture the next generation looking back and marveling at how all the oldies look so young, how the clothes are so retro, and how the furniture is so adorable/hideous, depending.

Maybe it’s because I’m right smack dab in the middle of life right now.

I’m no longer young, but I’m not yet old.

I’m in those old retro photos, and I’m also in a couple more decades’ worth of photos, and, with any luck, I’ll be in a few more.

I’m still a daughter and I’m also a mother. But I’m neither one in the way I used to be.

I’m so aware that tomorrow is just a breath away and so is yesterday. That life flies by in a blink but it also crawls along at the pace of a year. And most of us have a lot of years left, and some of us don’t, and none of us knows for sure.

I’m so intrigued by how we are the same people we were, and yet we aren’t. And we mostly love the same people we loved, but not in the same ways. And we are recognizable, and yet we aren’t.

And the days are the same, and yet not.

It has left me with an extreme sensitivity to time and our place in it. I find myself wondering what my next chapters will hold; wanting them to have meaning – for myself and for others; hoping they can last; and hoping I can share them with the people I love. And also people who need love.

I hope I can look back on this year’s photos and see that the 2017 version of Julie had no idea of the beautiful and brutal things ahead. But she had everything she would need for the journey.


P.S. Speaking of holiday photos and cards, they did not happen at R-house this year. I could not wrangle R-kids into taking a smiling photo for the cause, I came down with the Christmas flu, and I decided not to make myself lose my mind completely with the stress of it all.

Peace and grace to all of us as we make the memories that matter, friends.



  • Mary Ann Carey

    Love this post. Oh my can I relate. I often think on and remember the past and cherish the sweet and not so seeet memories of it. Living fully in this moment seems to be the only antedote for longing for times gone by. I am so grateful for my now life as well as my past. Thanks for putting it in words for me.

  • Julie

    Oh, Sarah! A girl after my own heart. I’m so honored that you stopped by and stayed for a while. Truly! I’ll hit you up on Instagram. Thanks for connecting! xo

  • azholden

    Hi Julie-I sabotaged my afternoon reading post after post on your blog and it was so worth it (I discovered you on wit and delight today). Thank you for your words and your heart. I’m also a single (really creative) mom living in Minneapolis. And a Christian. I work as a school nurse most days to make all the ends meet, but am and have been an illustrator, painter and sometimes writer my whole adult life. If you’re ever free for coffee I’m off Fridays (my painting/illustrating/dreaming day). I would love to meet you in person. My instagram’s sarahholdenartist if you are curious or just want to verify I’m not crazy 🙂 Ps. I never message people after reading their blogs, but yours really spoke to me…Sarah

  • Julie

    Thanks, Joanna! The photos are such a blast from the past. So fun to look back.

  • Joanna

    Love the old photos and your thoughts!


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