Sunshine in Winter grew up over the weekend.

Like a parent going through a scrapbook of their kid, I flipped the pages of mine and saw a blog that had gone from childhood to adolescence to adulthood.

In growth, appearance, and voice.

There were the early days of the gratitude lists and “happy things that happened today” and the almost dear journal  kinds of postings.

There was the bright yellow phase, the daisy phase, and the short lived polka dot phase- I was trying to create a space that felt fun and welcoming, and instead ended up creating an overwhelming appearance the equivalent of Clark Griswold’s- so bright you have to cover your eyes- lit up house in Christmas Vacation.

And there was the 5 years of life rolled into the words on this site, so much and so little time, all at once, as I was reminded that sometimes Life grows us up fast.

Life will do that, grow us up fast, if we are looking to receive its lessons. It can take anything, no matter how beautiful or awful, and use it as a wise teacher, here to teach us about our deeper aspects of self, so we can learn to excavate our own inner territories and become creatures who are more whole, dynamic and complete.

This weekend, I saw a lot of teachers as I flipped through the pages of this scrapbook. Some in the form of relationships; some in the form of feeling states- loneliness, isolation, betrayal, joy, contentment, falling in love; and many in the form of life events and life change.

I saw the growth and I saw the change. Change that at times I eagerly embraced, and change that at others had me dragging in my heels, wishing fervently to turn back the tide, and resisting the flow with all my might while shouting “I will not go silently into the night!”

But Life does change us.

Whether we want it to or not.

Sometimes it’s the river gently eroding our shores, and we don’t even notice the effects until we look back and see how much our ground has shifted. And others, the change is more abrupt as massive currents arrive and obliterate our shape, and we are left trying to navigate around a place where solid ground once lay.

I’ve had both kinds of change. This past year, with the loss of my brother, absolutely being the most significant kind of change of all. And what I have learned is that there are some things that you really can’t navigate around. You just have to acknowledge them for what they are- the holes in our hearts which exist in a place where love once lay.

The further I go on this journey in life, the more I am finding what we can heal and what we can’t heal. And just how much love is required to cover over all.

And that perhaps is the biggest teacher I saw as I flipped through the pages of this site: Love. Without knowing I was doing it, I posed the question of love when I wrote these words in my very first post stating my blog’s intent:

Most of all, this is about transformation and learning to accept myself in the process… all parts of me. I’m big on self-love and self-acceptance and believe the only way to really change the world is to start with changing ourselves.

That is the common thread and constant question I see woven throughout these years of writing. Can you love yourself in this? How about this? How about now? What about this?

Can you keep learning to find enough love to cover over it all?

Come what may, I am committed to living a life where my answer is an emphatic Yes.

In the meantime, winter in all it’s dark and cold has settled firmly into the bones of Anchorage; my new book is on “Amazon’s Top 5 New Releases, Poetry By Women” list, something which I am both humbled, overwhelmed and grateful for; I am feeling twinges of sadness as we approach the holidays and think upon memories, still so fresh and dear, of seeing my brother on those days last year.

And I spent the weekend coping with the dark and sad and overwhelmed and grateful and dear by combing through every post, remembering my teachers, trying to embrace the river, and obsessively updating this site.

I hope everyone enjoys the new look!