looking back, looking forward

oh i am glad 2010 is over. it’s been the weirdest year.  unexpected health issues, woes of parenting teenagers, and just the regular ups and downs of real life have really taken their toll.  i am continuing to heal from back surgery but it is very slow going & frustrating.  i have moments where the reality of it all sets in and i just start to cry.  overall, though, there were so many lovely, fun things that happened in 2010.  we went to africa as a family, my oldest son graduated from high school and went to the naval academy, the refuge continued to deepen its roots & spread its wings, and i have been supported & surrounded by the most incredible people who love me so well.

at the end of every year i like to always take just a little bit of time to reflect on the past year & look forward to the year ahead.  if you want to spend a little time on your own thinking through these questions, here’s the pdf to download


3-5 words that describe 2010: brutal, broken, freeing, tiring, $&@!!*^?

if 2010 was a book, i’d title it… “what i would give to be able to sit

i am really glad i… 1. was able to be part of transFORM network’s east coast gathering.  such good people, so many lovely dreams being cultivated. 2. took my family to africa, 3. practiced receiving. 

something that really surprised me was… how much i love walking.  i was always someone who liked to run because it was fast & i thought “why waste time walking?”  the truth is i’d always run for a few weeks and then not go again for 6 months.  i have walked pretty much every single day since mid-august & it has kept me sane.  there’s an annoying but lovely metaphor in there for me. 

the most brave thing i did this year was… listen to my doctors and do what they told me to do.  i didn’t drive or sit for over 2 months.  it doesn’t seem very brave but the truth is it takes a lot for me to humble myself and follow all the instructions without trying to find loopholes.

an image or icon that describes this year…. a burning house with me on the outside trying to put the fire out

i tried to let go of….  my teenagers.  living in the tension of staying in & letting go has kicked my butt but been really good, too.  i’m really thankful for them; they are amazing & teach me a lot.

i tried to hold on to… the hem of Jesus’ robe.  that was the image that stuck with me the most this year, me on my hands and knees, reaching out for some relief.   

i felt more hopeful about… simple-faith-and-love-in-action.  that’s plenty.  and doesn’t need to be defended. 

i felt less anxious about… the refuge.  it’s the ugliest duckling, the most beautiful swan, and the place i keep learning the most about what it means to love.

a relationship i feel extra grateful for this year…. jose.  we had our 20 year anniversary in september & despite our sucky year we keep getting better and better together.  

God is… off the hook.  best shift i keep trying to make is to quit blaming God for everything & accept that the world is broken and God can bring hope & peace & joy & love & redemption in the midst of all the things i wish weren’t so.   

a gift i received this year that i want to keep… my back makes life s-l-o-w-e-r

a gift i received this year that i want to give away… my back makes life s-l-o-w-e-r


words i hope describe this upcoming year… healing, freedom, risky


something new i really want to try… i am excited to take some classes toward getting certified as an addictions counselor, something i’ve wanted to do for a while & have some dreams for.  i was supposed to take my first class december 1st but had to postpone it because of surgery.  don’t worry, it’s not that complicated & really inexpensive.  wish i would have done it years ago and all these hours would have counted! i’m in no hurry, just want to very slowly chip away at getting it done.

this year i hope i let go of … more and more shame & the annoying ways it creeps in

this year i hope i can hold on to… 1. confidence, the real & deep kind.  2. staying in the present instead of looking to the future with fear & the past with regret.   

a way i want to take better care of myself is… keep walking & keep my schedule looser

i’d really love to experience more of God’s peace in…. the moment.

a relationship i want to nurture in 2011… my relationship with my body. i’ve been a bad friend and it’s time to make up.

i’m going to need God’s courage to…. try again, there are all kinds of things that would be easy to give up on but i know i need to “stay in, tell the truth, trust God, and let go of the outcome” (best words of wisdom from a friend’s therapist; i use it all the time).

one dream i have for 2011 is… 1. to be able to sit again without it being a big production.  2. that i don’t lose sight of the dream i have for an adult orphanage/place of refuge (aka small apartment complex/hub for intentional healing community).  i just want to keep saying it so that someday it happens.  for 2011, sitting is enough.  i’m dreaming big.

so there you have it, more than you probably want to know about me, my back, and life here.  i do want to say thanks for reading & for the connection & hope you bring to me.  this blog is almost exactly 3 years old & i have learned more through it than i ever anticipated.  peace & hope to you in the new year ahead, too.

Kathy Escobar

Kathy Escobar is dedicated to creating safe and brave spaces for transformation and healing in real life, online, and outside. She co-pastors at The Refuge, a hub for healing community, social action, and creative collaboration in North Denver, co-directs #communityheals, a non-profit organization dedicated to making spaces for transformation accessible for all, and is the author of Practicing: Changing Yourself to Change the World, Faith Shift: Finding Your Way Forward When Everything You Believe is Coming Apart and several other books.


  • As usual your transparency is such an encouragement to me. I want to try and sit down long enough to get quiet enough to work through the list you worked through.
    My prayer for your year is continued peace, patience and strength as you minister so effectively to your family and the world around you. Peace be with you Kathy

  • One thing I’ve thought about this year is whether I’m about to touch the hem of His garment or am I just discovering the thorn in my side?!? Strange tension to live in…but, the reality of what I believe my journey is right now! Praying you would touch that hem, PK! Chronic pain and surgery SUCKS!!!! I’m so sorry you had to go through that and praying you have an amazing 2011 of healing, strength and NO MORE PAIN…oh, and the ability to sit in a chair! 😉

  • john – thanks for reading, i miss hanging out here and there. let’s make a plan soon to catch up.

    tami – glad we can lend and borrow hope from each other, that’s for sure

    debbie – thanks for reading, i am thankful for the love & connection to emdes. it makes me happy & hope i can get down there in 2011.

    – no doubt, chronic pain & surgery sucks! thanks for reading & for your prayrs, too, i need them.


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