December 17, 2012

Donning My Smock

I received this card today from a friend, and he could not have chosen one more apropos! I almost wish it were my holiday card for the year, specifically because it sums up 2012 perfectly. 2012 felt like a blank canvas, and quickly became more colorful than I could have imagined.

As many of you know, I started out the year losing my only brother, Adam. That experience in and of itself is traumatic, let alone all of the trauma that surrounded his death and the 20+ years of pain his addiction caused. The mere change in dynamics within my immediate family was therapy-worthy, and that's exactly where I have spent the last 10-months. I have been learning to look at the world using a different set of filters, and giving myself the permission to not only be vulnerable, but to acknowledge it, feel it, live it, and embrace it. That, in and of itself, has been a blessing - although, certainly one that came at an awful cost.

And while dwelling on blessings, I had the great privilege to debut with the Evansville Philharmonic Orchestra  2-1/2-weeks ago. It was a fabulous weekend, and nothing could have reminded me more that my life's work is, yes, to use my voice in all of its capacities - through writing, through speaking ... and most importantly, through singing.

Prepared for the holidays and full of cheer, I found out on my layover while traveling home from Indiana that my Nana had taken an unexpected turn and was not expected to live through the end of 2012. A mere 48-hours later, she passed away at home in her bed. She was 88-years old, and one of the great loves of my life. We shared an incredibly special bond, and I am still not sure what it is going to be like to not write her Christmas card this year. Life without her is a mystery, yet I am deeply comforted by the truth that I have the privilege of carrying her with me.

I hope you understand why at various points throughout the year I have stepped away from Delightfully Dishy. I refuse to put on a front, yet in the midst of some of the incredibly painful moments, I wasn't ready to share the pain with you - so I chose to not say anything at all. However, that pain is a very real part of my personal truth. No outfit, item, tip, or recipe can make it disappear. It doesn't envelop or overshadow the blessings and joys that continue to fall in between, but it is a part nonetheless. Considering this blog is devoted to lifestyle, which as I've shared before starts with (in my opinion) living your personal truth, then I do feel I have done a disservice by not talking about how tough things have been this year.

As we draw closer to the Christmas holiday and to the New Year, I urge each of you to take into account what really matters. There aren't enough words to describe how that has been the theme of my year. Whether it's the personal issues I've faced, or the tragedies we as a country have faced together, it seems to keep coming back to this: family matters, personal truth is imperative, living out your dreams is necessary, and the power of unconditional love can change the world - even if it starts with having unconditional love for yourself.

Alright, lovelies, now go and get your smock on! I'll meet you back here shortly!

xx JN

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