Photo: Laughing, loved on, grateful. #reverb10

Sift through all the photos of you from the past year. Choose one that best captures you; either who you are, or who you strive to be. Find the shot of you that is worth a thousand words. Share the image, who shot it, where, and what it best reveals about you. (Tracey Clark)

I look at this picture and see me at my best:  Laughing, loved on, grateful. 

This was taken at my birthday “Family Dinner”.  The weekend of my birthday I ran my first 5K and my friends threw me a massive outdoor kickball birthday party (with over 50 people in attendance).  On my actual birthday my closest friends got together for dinner, 18 of us.  I have 18 close friends.  And as I sat there, surrounded.. I was so overwhelmed with how lucky I am to have these people in my life.

This picture was taken right after dinner by my friend Josh.  Jessica is on the left and Olivia is on the right.  These girls make up huge parts of my heart.   I don’t know what was being said, but that look on my face is mid-laugh, heart full.  A perfect moment to be caught on camera. 

This post is a part of #reverb10. Reverb 10 is an annual event and online initiative to reflect on your year and manifest what’s next. The end of the year is an opportunity to reflect on what’s happened, and to send out reverberations for the year ahead.


You should join, all the cool kids are doing it. You can participate by clicking here.

Future Self: It’s going to be worth it. #reverb10

Future Self. Imagine yourself five years from now. What advice would you give your current self for the year ahead? (Bonus: Write a note to yourself 10 years ago. What would you tell your younger self?) (Author: Jenny Blake)

Dear Me,

There are some things I hope you’ll do in 2011:

Remember to choose love more often than you choose fear.

Remember your optimism is an asset, even though you could look at the past years and pick things you could be bitter and resentful about… do not.  It’s a waste of time.

I hope you fall in love- with yourself, with your life, your friends and family, and everything else that you come in contact with; with grace, openness, and intention.

There is no way that you could have guessed what the past five years would be like at 20.  You fell in and out of love, graduated from college (twice), moved, loved, danced, and had more fun than any one person should be allowed to have.  By the time you’re 30 you could be married with children or you could own 16 cats and live alone.  (Kidding about the 16 cats)  Just trust you’re where you’re supposed to be.  Trust that when you’re meant to fall in love, you will.  That’s just how it works. 

25 through 30 will be the same as the past five years; a beautiful mess, completely surrounded by love.  You’ll fall down sometimes, but you’ll always have someone around to catch you.  You never have to do it alone, ever.  Doing it alone isn’t a sign of strength, it’s a sign you’re being an idiot.  The possibilities are pretty limitless at 25.  So, hold on tight.  It’s going to be worth it.

And go hug Grandma and Grandpa.   They’re the best.

Love,
Future Awesomer Bri

This post is a part of #reverb10. Reverb 10 is an annual event and online initiative to reflect on your year and manifest what’s next. The end of the year is an opportunity to reflect on what’s happened, and to send out reverberations for the year ahead.


You should join, all the cool kids are doing it. You can participate by clicking here.

Friendship: Fierce Love. #reverb10

Friendship. How has a friend changed you or your perspective on the world this year? Was this change gradual, or a sudden burst? (Martha Mihalick)

I fall in love with people quickly.  Making the transition from introduction to life-long best friends over coffee, over a weekend, over a shared bottle of wine.

My community here came blazing into my life without warning, exactly when I needed it.  They are my heart, and they’ve changed me this year.

One of the ways God shows me He loves me is through my friends.  And because they love me, and teach me that I am lovable, I can better understand what Divine Love looks like.

It’s their love that reinforces my value and gives me strength.  They’re the reason I am starting 2011 with only the best people around me, they’ve given me the strength to stand up for what I deserve.  They think I’m the strong one, but it’s because they love me the way they do– with intention, grace, and fierce protectiveness– that I am able to be strong at all.

This post is a part of #reverb10. Reverb 10 is an annual event and online initiative to reflect on your year and manifest what’s next. The end of the year is an opportunity to reflect on what’s happened, and to send out reverberations for the year ahead.


You should join, all the cool kids are doing it. You can participate by clicking here.

5 Minutes to Remember 2010 #reverb10

Imagine you will completely lose your memory of 2010 in five minutes. Set an alarm for five minutes and capture the things you most want to remember about 2010. (Author: Patti Digh)

I want you to remember what it felt like to be surrounded by friends this year and to know that you are exactly where you’re supposed to be.  This year was hard, but you’re a warrior not just a survivor.  You’re not passive, you’re a fighter; remember that.  Oh, and you’re only as strong as your community.  That’s something you learned this year that you should remember.  Sometimes you can’t go on, and you’re lucky because you have friends and family that are there to carry you.  Never take that for granted.

I want you to remember the dance parties, sleepovers, ski trips, coffee dates, and friend-family dinners that made your heart feel full and happy this year.  These are your people, and they’re who you should call when you’re feeling lonely.  Read through this blog and pay attention to the quotes and songs and movies that spoke to you this year.

Quotes like:

Today is your big moment. Moments, really. The life you’ve been waiting for is happening all around you. The scene unfolding right outside your window is worth more than the most beautiful painting, and the crackers and peanut butter that you’re having for lunch on the coffee table are as profound, in their own way, as the Last Supper. This is it. This is life in all its glory, swirling and unfolding around us, disguised as pedantic, pedestrian non-events. But pull off the mask and you will find your life, waiting to be made, chosen, woven, crafted
– “Cold Tangerines” by Shauna Niequist

Songs like this one:

And movies like “500 Days of Summer” and “Peter and Vandy“.

You cried a lot in 2010.  But that’s okay, you also laughed a lot.  Those who do not know how to weep with their whole heart don’t know how to laugh either. (Golda Meir).

And definitely remember how Erin looked on her wedding day.  She was the most beautiful bride you’ve ever seen.. and you heart almost burst from joy.

Finally, remember to go look at the things Grandpa gave you.  Every book he inscribed to you and every little 3×5 card he left for you next to your dinner plate on Monday nights are his way of giving you his wisdom while he can (Which probably means you should start putting 10% of your paycheck into a savings account, like he’s been kindly telling you for the past year).  You and him bonded more than ever this year.  He is the best man you know and he loves you more than anyone on the planet.. you know that.. and hopefully you’ll remember that.  Just like he says, You’re a miracle.  You’ve made him proud, everything else you’ll achieve is icing on the cake.

This post is a part of #reverb10. Reverb 10 is an annual event and online initiative to reflect on your year and manifest what’s next. The end of the year is an opportunity to reflect on what’s happened, and to send out reverberations for the year ahead.



You should join, all the cool kids are doing it. You can participate by clicking here.

Appreciate: Being single. #reveb10

Appreciate. What’s the one thing you have come to appreciate most in the past year? How do you express gratitude for it?
This was the first time that I’ve been single for an entire year since I was 5.  No joke.  The boy crazy in me started early (maybe because I had an older brother with cute friends?)  I am not going to tell you that being without a special gentleman caller is my preferred mode of being.. that would be the biggest lie ever.  However, I have come to appreciate being single this year.  I mean, this is it.  This was the year of healing and growing and figuring me out… this year of aloneness will be a fundamental contributor to my success and happiness in future relationships.  This was a defining year.

How do I express gratitude for my singleness?

  1. I am not afraid of being alone.  I stopped filling every single evening and weekend with plans in an effort to distract myself from myself.  I spent time alone.  I  found things that made me like spending some time alone (A true accomplishment for this extreme extrovert).
  2. I spoil myself because I am worth it.  I am worth making dinner for.  I don’t need to eat ramen or grilled cheese sandwhiches every night and wait for company to make real food.  Just me?  I am worth cooking for.. although I am fully allowed to eat ice cream and marshmallows for dinner if I want to. I can wear pretty underthings just for me too.
  3. I sleep in the middle of the bed.  After 2 years of having a “Side” of the bed.. and I am now a full bed user.  I sprawl.  I moved my pillow into the center of the bed, and it feels good.
  4. I listen to really bad music really loudly.  Same goes from the movies I watch.  I don’t need to be concerned for anyone’s happiness but my own.  So, if listening to Justin Bieber while dancing around in my underwear makes me happy?  Done.  No apologies.
  5. I love on my friends and family a whole lot.  You have to love yourself first, and then you get to love on everyone else.  The supreme demonstration of my being able to love and accept myself is my ability to love and accept others; and I do.  Hard.

This post is a part of #reverb10. Reverb 10 is an annual event and online initiative to reflect on your year and manifest what’s next. The end of the year is an opportunity to reflect on what’s happened, and to send out reverberations for the year ahead.



You should join, all the cool kids are doing it. You can participate by clicking here.

11 Things that can GTFO #reverb10

11 Things. What are 11 things your life doesn’t need in 2011? How will you go about eliminating them? How will getting rid of these 11 things change your life? 


1. Nuts in Baked Goods. I just don’t need to work that hard to chew anything.  Ever.  
2. Faking it.   I’m talking about when I’m having a crappy day, and I act like I’m not in order to spare those around me.  Eff that.  If I am having a crap day, I’m just going to roll with.  Fake smiling hurts my cheeks.
3. Old Flames.  They call it a break up, cause it’s broken.  Stop calling me.  
4.Half-Marathon Fear.  I loved running in 2010; a whole lot.  That part of me that is afraid of running and training for a half-marathon?  Done.  GTFO.  
5. Facebook Stalking.  As much fun as it is to spend an hour going through a stranger’s wedding album, perhaps it’s time to be productive.  Solve world hunger or something.
6.Sunburns. I sunburn and get skin cancer.  Maybe sunscreen would be a good idea.  The sun still comes out in San Francisco.  That’s science.  Red isn’t a sexy skin color.
7. Justin Bieber Hate. Don’t get mad cause he’s 16 and makes more money than you ever will.  Jealousy isn’t as attractive as you might thing.  
8. Rushing to Church Sunday Morning. I am infinitely happier if I get there early enough to get coffee.  I also am less likely to kill someone whipping around a corner in my car if I’m not late.  2011 is for not killing anyone.  That’s a good goal.
9. Smelly Cheese.  Sorry.
10. Comparing myself to others.  I’m a special snowflake; that’s what my mom told me anyway, and I am DEVALUING myself every time I wish I was as funny as her, as thin as her, as married as her… I annoy myself with that crap.  That can go away.
11. Watching TV instead of reading.  You know better.  




This post is a part of #reverb10. Reverb 10 is an annual event and online initiative to reflect on your year and manifest what’s next. The end of the year is an opportunity to reflect on what’s happened, and to send out reverberations for the year ahead.


You should join, all the cool kids are doing it. You can participate by clicking here.

Party: Tahoe #reverb10

Party. What social gathering rocked your socks off in 2010? Describe the people, music, food, drink, clothes, shenanigans.

No question, best social gathering was the long weekend in Tahoe in February. 
15 of us, in a cabin, Valentines Day weekend.

 This is The Fam.  People who had relatively recently come into my life, but I already knew there was something beautiful and long-lasting here.  The planning was a blast, google docs that got out of control with jokes and charts and lists of people’s Meyers-Briggs, Jersey Shore Nicknames, and emergency contact.

 We played beer pong, and decided it required extra accessories for team unity.

 We danced in between turns.  This picture is when I TORE THE STITCHES from my leg.  (Totally worth it by the way).

 There were family dinners, with lots of laughter and spontaneous rap choruses. 

 I skied for the first time and FELL IN LOVE WITH IT.  

I spent the morning in a beginner ski class all by myself, getting the hang of snow plow.    After lunch all of my friends, the ones who ski black diamonds and can do double backflips off of ski-lifts, came to ski down a run with me.  It was a blast.  (Please see below picture of PURE JOY)

And when I ran into a “Slow Down” sign at the end of a run, my friends were there to help remove my leg from behind my head. 

I can’t look at these pictures and not feel incredibly happy.  Best trip ever.

This post is a part of #reverb10. Reverb 10 is an annual event and online initiative to reflect on your year and manifest what’s next. The end of the year is an opportunity to reflect on what’s happened, and to send out reverberations for the year ahead.

You should join, all the cool kids are doing it. You can participate by clicking here.

Beautifully Different: Happiness is my Truth #reverb10

Beautifully different. Think about what makes you different and what you do that lights people up. Reflect on all the things that make you different – you’ll find they’re what make you beautiful.

“The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong in the broken places.” -Hemingway

I used to be afraid of what people would think if they really knew how broken I have been.  How do you explain to a new friend how having parents who battle addiction has shaped you?  How do you talk about the times you let your guard down and ended up heartbroken and devastated?  I used to think that it would be easier to hide the baggage in some dark room and hide it from others, now I know better.  My scars are what make be beautiful.  My resilience makes me beautiful.  I know to my core that I can get through anything for one simple reason: I already have.  This makes me different than a lot of people. 

I am beautiful because despite the scars I am hopelessly romantic and optimistic. (Sickeningly so.) I am not just open to new people, loves, experiences… I am SO EXCITED for what’s to come I can hardly stand it.

I am beautiful because despite anything all it takes is one cup of coffee and a good song and I am so blissful that I can’t help but text silly messages to friends with a billion enthusiastic exclamation points. (This song made me blissful this morning walking in the rain: Kina Grannis)

I’ve been told that my happiness is infectious and I find beauty everywhere.  I think that every single hard day makes these two qualities more beautiful; my happiness is not naive.. my happiness is my truth.  As sure as you know the sky is blue, I am sure the world is full of more happiness, love, and beauty than you can even imagine.  Beautifully different indeed.

This post is a part of #reverb10. Reverb 10 is an annual event and online initiative to reflect on your year and manifest what’s next. The end of the year is an opportunity to reflect on what’s happened, and to send out reverberations for the year ahead.

You should join, all the cool kids are doing it. You can participate by clicking here.

Day 7- Community. #reverb10

December 6 – Community. Where have you discovered community, online or otherwise, in 2010? What community would you like to join, create or more deeply connect with in 2011?

I wrote about community as my word for 2010.  So I am going to cheat and put it here again. BUT I will make it easy for you by copying it here, instead of making you click anything. 

Community.

Without a question 2010 was about community. 6 months after moving to the bay area I found myself in a group of amazing people, full of fun and depth. We had, arguably, too much fun. (Grandpa might have mentioned something about burning the candle from both ends, or something, I don’t recall)

We went out a lot, and had dance parties. It was not uncommon for me to go to work Friday on 5 hours of sleep. We dressed up to do the stanky leg, we went skiing in Tahoe. Fundamentally, however, we were friends founded in our common faith. We talked a lot about God, faith, and what it meant to live a life emulating Christ. It was exactly what my heart needed.  I felt anchored in something beautiful. 

What I didn’t realize was that it was a preparation for the hard summer that was coming.  When my mom was diagnosed with colon cancer in July, it felt like I was thrown into a deep end of the pool.  My lungs felt tight all the time and I was struggling to keep my head above water.  I can’t imagine where I would have ended up if I hadn’t firmly tethered myself to a community that had no problem jumping in with me. 
Community didn’t stop there.  2009 will always be the year that I made my internet community tangible.  Friendships grew deeper (Hi Nora) to the point that my Grams knows a lot of your names.  Between gchat, twitter DMs, phone calls, and text messages: this blogging community knows me just as well as my IRL friends.  (Except the fact that I laugh more that you can imagine.  You can ask Ashley and Nico.  I giggle, a lot.)  August was for VEDA, and vlogging every day was so much fun, but it was amazing because of the COMMUNITY that was created.  We were at our best when we were being honest and vulnerable, we rallied for each other.  I met bloggers for the first time in real life.. and learned that people I love in the blogosphere I will love infinitely more in person.  This scientific fact is what prompted #SFNYE.  I have SIX of my closest blog friends flying here in mere days, to hang out with me.  That is insane.  For four days I am going to tackle hug each and every one of these people repeatedly. 
I am surrounded by love and friendship in a way that boggles my mind.  It is the proof that I am doing something right. 

This post is a part of #reverb10. Reverb 10 is an annual event and online initiative to reflect on your year and manifest what’s next. The end of the year is an opportunity to reflect on what’s happened, and to send out reverberations for the year ahead.

You should join, all the cool kids are doing it. You can participate by clicking here.

Make: A cake and a speech. #reverb10

December 6 – Make. What was the last thing you made? What materials did you use? Is there something you want to make, but you need to clear some time for it? (Author: Gretchen Rubin)


My best friend on the planet got married this past August. We’ve been best friends since the first day of 7th grade when we both showed up on the first day of school wearing equally heinous outfits– but thinking we looked fabulous.The two things I am the most proud of making this year were for her and her wedding. I made a cake and a speech.




The Cake
I am a baker. I love baking for people, so I knew as I was planning her bridal shower that I was going to make her cake. It took hours, and was worth every singe ounce of effort that went into it. It looked so much like the cake her mom had at her own wedding. It was perfect. The recipe was from Joy the Baker and can be found here.

The Speech
Such a big deal. I wrote it furiously one night while listening to a sermon. It flowed so quickly out of me, I knew they were the right words. This picture was taken right after I finished.





Hi everyone, my name is Brianna, and I am lucky enough to call Erin my BFFAE, or Best Friend Forever And Ever. We’ve been best friends since the first day of 7th grade and I, honestly, could never fully tell you all how much better my life is because of Erin, but, I suppose when your best friend get’s married people expect you to try. So, here it goes, please excuse any resulting tears.

It has been said that home is a place where we are fully known, fully loved, and fully accepted. We are born into a family, our first home, but then we spend the majority of our lives looking for and redefining Home. When we make friends and look for a partner, part of us is looking for a home. We are looking for that place where we are fully known, fully loved, and fully accepted.

My friendship with Erin has been my most constant home. Together we navigated through our awkward teens and our rebellions. We went off to college, we’ve fallen in love, we’ve had our hearts broken, and we’ve succeeded in ways we never even dreamed of– and through every success and failure we’ve returned home. I am the best version of myself because of my friendship with Erin. I am more confident, more bold, more secure because I have this constant friend who sees me; and fully loves and accepts me. I love that this wedding is here at this house. I was lucky enough to grow up here too. This is where I have had some of my happiest memories and it’s where I have run when everything else seemed to be crashing down.

As you can imagine, I am very protective of my best friend. I have always harbored some serious doubts that anyone she loves would ever be fully deserving of her; but then she met Chris.

I knew after less than 3 month that he was The One. When Erin and Chris started dating, Erin got super sick. She was in the hospital and because I couldn’t be there, Chris sent me daily updates on her status. Not just what the doctor said, but how Erin was dealing with everything. Early on two things became very apparent: 1. that Chris adored Erin. And 2, that Chris understood how important Erin is to me.

Now, let me tell you what the greatest thing in the world is. Watching your best friend be in love. Watching Erin change within her relationship with Chris has been awe inspiring. There is a quote about how real freedom comes from a committed and secure love. You have have the confidence to reach higher than you ever imagined, because you 100% trust that you have found your soul mate and he is waiting for you if you fall. My best friend, who has always been the best person I know, has become even better with Chris. She’s blossomed and grown into this amazingly confident, smart, and beautiful woman. What has become clear is that Erin has found her home in Chris. She is fully known, fully loved, and fully accepted. And I couldn’t be happier for her.

Ten years ago, when Erin and I were 14ish we really liked the Disney Channel. Specifically we really liked the show “Boy Meet’s World”. Anyways, the main character, Corey, finally marries his life-long love, Topanga. Corey’s best friend Shawn interrupts the reception to explain why he and Corey have been non-stop fighting about the wedding. Needless to say, Erin and I both cried the first time we saw it and vowed that whichever of us who got married first would get the “Boy Meet’s World Toast” at their wedding. We’ve had in transcribed for years. And because I keep my promises, even ones made in high school, here is the toast that touched Erin and I that fateful night over ten years ago (with the appropriate name changes):

Erin and I have been best friends all our lives. And, um, this wedding’s been kinda hard for me because I know, no matter how much we may avoid talking about it, Erin and I aren’t gonna be best friends forever. Things are changing between us. Things have always been changing. We’ve had to deal with life… and death. And Feeney. But no matter what we faced, we always faced it together. So then how can we possibly be upset with each other on her wedding day? Well, it’s because deep down, I think Erin and I both know that we’re not gonna be best friends anymore. (Long pause) And that’s the way it should be. So this is to Chris. Erin’s husband… and new best friend. Take care of her okay?







This post is a part of #reverb10. Reverb 10 is an annual event and online initiative to reflect on your year and manifest what’s next. The end of the year is an opportunity to reflect on what’s happened, and to send out reverberations for the year ahead.
You should join, whether you’re a daily blogger, a sometimes-blogger, or a I-don’t-blog-but-I-keep-a-mean-journal-er. You can participate by clicking here.