Hello, friends! How are you? How is 2016 treating you so far?
Truth be told, I’m still getting used to the new year. I finished my big, 365 personal project on December 31st, which was such a huge accomplishment and labor of love. Here’s a video compilation of our 2015 (tho not all 365 images), if you care to take a look:
I’ve started reading books again, and it is wonderful. Last week I started and finished the beautifully written When Breath Becomes Air, the memoir by the late neurosurgeon Paul Kalanithi, after being diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer during his final year of residency. I can’t stop thinking about the book, it was that good. You’ll want to add this one to the top of your book list.
I’ve also started volunteering as a photographer for Soulumination, a wonderful local organization that provides free photography sessions to families with children facing life-threatening illnesses, as well as parents with kids under 18 facing life-threatening illnesses. It is really wonderful to be able to use this gift that I have as a photographer to create life-affirming photographs of these special people. After photographers like myself shoot the session and edit the photos, they are then printed and presented to the family in a beautiful handmade album along with several other tangible photo keepsakes. The love and care that goes into each package is really amazing, and I’m so happy to be a part of such meaningful volunteer work.
Last weekend I attended and photographed the memorial service of one of my long-time colleagues who was one of my preceptors when I was a resident. It was a really lovely event, and so great to hear stories from his life. I learned many new things about him that I didn’t know (like the fact that he was a devoted member of a Friday night volleyball league), so since then, I’ve been thinking about how weird it is that we only really get to know all aspects of a person’s life after they die. I wonder if we can try to get to know the people in our lives more deeply while they are still here with us? My colleague who organized the event printed off a bunch of these little square photos of our friend and had them scattered around the tables at lunch for people to take with them. I thought it was such a lovely touch, and I now have a photo of my colleague washi-taped to my window sill next to my computer. Seeing the photo of him reminds me of how he was an amazing listener and saw the humanity in each person he encountered.
This year I’m making these paper heart Valentines for my kids. Each day I cut out a heart for each kid and write something that I love about them, then tape them to the window in our dining room. I’ll do this everyday until Valentine’s day. The 3 year olds are pretty oblivious, but my 6 year old enjoys me reading her the hearts each day, and she even helps me out with suggestions. This was the first day, and now our window is nicely filled with hearts! Do you do anything fun for your kids for Valentine’s day? Do you celebrate Valentine’s day with your partner? I’d love to hear what you guys do!