In a year where it feels like the only constant is change, I’ve thought a lot about how to not let the daily discouragements get me down. My family and I have navigated job loss, California wildfires, distance learning and parenting struggles, let go of a long-awaited sabbatical year in Mexico, and finally reached a breaking point that prompted us to leave our home and set out on a Pandemic Odyssey from one coast to another (more about that here).

It’s been a hard year.

And a year of wonder and delight.

Life in 2020 has been like that: beautiful or terrible depending on how the light catches it. Even as we grieve this temporary move from Oakland to Massachusetts, we’re grateful daily to be close to extended family, to see our kids revive under the tutelage of my mother-in-law, to finally have the support that allows us to recreate life—not in the way we’d planned, but in the way that’s available to us.

Perhaps the greatest example of this is Shelter in Place, the podcast that I began on March 17 to mark a moment in history—a project I thought I’d be doing for three weeks—but that quickly grew into something bigger than the pandemic. Writing has always been the way I process life, but never before has it pushed me to go so deep—or given me such delight. 

As we approach the holidays, a time that can be delightful or devastating (and sometimes both), I’ve been thinking a lot about all of you. Some of you have been cheering me on for more than a decade. Some of you have become friends because of Shelter in Place. You’ve taken the time to read or listen. You’ve sent me encouraging messages when I needed it most. You’ve reminded me again and again that no matter how divided or discouraged our world may feel, there are still good people who won’t give up. This community of writers and artists at Karma Compass is proof of that, and it’s a privilege to be a part of it.

I have a friend who gives her kids one small gift for each of the 12 days of Christmas to remind them that she delights in them. This holiday season I want to do something similar to thank all of the good people who have given me hope this year. Beginning on December 24, I’ll be sending 12 days of delight to your inboxes. These are gifts you can enjoy in a matter of seconds, gifts of laughter and levity, gifts of delight. The team at Shelter in Place has had a lot of fun creating them, and I’ve seen myself change in that process; I remember that while there are always things to feel grumpy or discouraged about, our world is more hopeful and bright when our vision is trained to delight.

If Shelter in Place has been a home for you in 2020—if these posts or our podcast episodes have made you laugh, encouraged you, or comforted you when you needed it most, we’d love to hear from you! If you’d like to enjoy our 12 Days of Delight, you can sign up here. Our first daily delight is going out tomorrow. We hope you enjoy it—and feel our delight in you!

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