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"I can hardly believe it! Is it really 2017?"

I think that will be my phrase every new year from now on. I seriously cannot wrap my brain around how fast the time has flown. And speaking of TIME, I need real prayer, because as of now I have not been using mine so wisely. Sad to say, but it's true. I think I got caught up in the love, and warmth of holiday fever being with my family and friends and just having fun. My entire family came to Atlanta for Christmas and after that, one of my best friends came for New Year's and boy did we paint the town royal blue!!! You would think that with the brokenness of our family tradition that Christmas was far from memorable, but it was the exact opposite!

See, my family tradition is that we all go shopping on Christmas Eve, come back home and wrap presents together, and then open our gifts at midnight. Mom would make her famous lasagna, and Dad his famous cheesecake from scratch, and we would gather around this immaculately decorated (mostly by my Mom) 9 foot tree, laugh and make a complete mess into the wee hours of the morning. That's the Christmas that I'm used to. But this time was different. This time everybody was booked so the whole family wasn't together until Christmas night, as in Christmas was technically over. There was no tree, we were in a stranger's home, and we all randomly opened gifts at different times. What kind of Christmas is that? *Insert eye roll.* Yet somehow, in spite of it all, Christmas still rocked!

The stranger's home turned out to be a BEAUTIFUL, spacious, open, contemporarily decorated AirBNB in midtown right across the street from Atlantic Station. It was perfect and cozy enough to make it feel like "home" for the holidays! One of the highlights was my little brother, Chris; he hung with me the whole time, really. He and I took a late walk one night so he could see the city and did an impromptu photo shoot. Through work, all day trips to Sprint, sushi, Christmas returns at the store, studio sessions to see my friends, and an unplanned (on his part) trip with the babies to see "Sing" he was right there with me through it all. And of course my heart- my sister was there with her beautiful family including my new "munch munch" Ryan and favorite (and only) niece Reese. Sean, the oldest, even asked to read my book *Tear* so I signed it for him and gave him a copy. My wonderful parents and my sassy, only living grandparent were there too. (She got her ears pierced, ya'll!!!!!!!!) I had seen them several times in the weeks prior. Having everyone together was like old times; life felt safe and familiar. It felt normal again. We cooked, laughed, opened gifts, and made new memories here in my city:) I've got to tell you, I really needed that time with my fam. The loneliness definitely tried to hit me over the holidays, so to have everyone come from Virginia and Florida and spend that time in my city was invaluable to me.

My great friend Josh came all the way from California the day after all my family left. It was the perfect setup! Just when I wanted to be sad because I was back to the grind- back to being out here on my own again- there was Josh to distract me. We did things I had been wanting to do for a while now. I rode the Marta train (twice) for the first time, went to the High Museum of Art, and ate at some new spots like South City Kitchen and The Flying Biscuit (I spent so much money that week LOL but it was truly worth it). For NYE we went to Underground Atlanta to watch the Peach Drop. There were about 100,000 people there with food, a DJ, and even a performance by Ne-Yo. We stood outside for four and a half hours in the rain and 40 degree weather dancing with strangers, scream-singing to the top of our lungs, making new friends, and did I mention freezing? Hahaha. Too many amazing memories all crammed into a few days time.

All of that was almost two weeks ago now, and I can't seem to get out of this rut. I need to call

a timeout :( Being with family made me want one of my own. And being with my brother and then my bestie made me want companionship even more. And TRUST me the desire was already strong enough! *Sigh* It's increasingly more difficult to not get caught up in my emotions these days. I just want to sit and watch movies and Impractical Jokers. And though I know I'm wasting time, my motivation is just not the same. I don't want to hear nothing about hustling or grinding or being patient or trusting God honestly...blah blah blahhhh. I know all of that... I just need a moment... I encourage others usually but right now I am not here for the encouragement...

I just want my family. MINE.


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