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Like so many of my friends, I spent much of 2017 in a state of bewilderment, confusion, and depression. The world I thought I knew didn’t seem to exist, and it caused me a great deal of sadness. As a way to cope with the ongoing hatred and angry discourse in the U.S., a close friend suggested that I keep a journal during 2017. Here’s the thing – I’ve never kept a journal. I remember having diaries when I was in elementary and junior high school, but I never wrote in them for very long. It’s not that I don’t like to write – my undergraduate degree is in journalism, and I spent some time as a part-time sports reporter when I was finishing my undergrad degree. In my career, I’ve written several articles for public health journals, so it’s not that I don’t like to write. In fact, completing an article is one of the most satisfying aspects of my job. But, I never felt like I had the desire or discipline to write in a journal for an extended period of time. However, desperate times call for desperate measures. I agreed with my friend that spending some time in reflection and journaling might help me make sense of the chaos our country was experiencing.

So for 12 months, I put my thoughts and feelings on paper (actually on my computer, but that’s just semantics). I recalled events in my past that contributed to my ideals and philosophies. Week after week, as each new horror and atrocity occurred, my writing helped me overcome my depression and strengthened my resolve to work to change the things that are in my sphere of influence. I wrote to encourage my daughter and nieces. I wrote to provide context to my family members as to why I felt the way I did. In November 2017, I wrote my last entry in what I call “Feeling Blue in Red America.” Thank you Mendy.

As I was completing the last entry in my 2017 journal, my best friend suggested that I spend 2018 “searching for moments of awe.” Photography has always been a passion and hobby for me, so it seemed a natural thing to do. That suggestion is why I’ve created this website – to combine my photos and words. It is my way of sharing hope and positivity in a time that still feels negative and fractured. Thank you Carolyn.

I hope you find enjoyment on these pages.

Shelli

*Photo of me by Dallas photographer, Kevin Hann.