January 07, 2019

The Truth About Last Year & How I'm Entering This Year

Sharing some personal changes I experienced in the last year, plus how I recharged for the new year

New Year Letter from the Editor

Happy New Year, my friends!

This letter from the editor is going to be a little different from other monthly letters. Where shall I start?

Well, I guess first things first: I should apologize for my absence around here lately. We are clearly getting a late start to the new year around here!

Secondly, I’d like to explain… This is where things get really personal, and I start to get really uncomfortable at the vulnerability I’m about to display. Eek.

“You Can’t Give What You Don’t Have”

Have you ever heard the phrase, “you can’t give what you don’t have”? I’m not sure the origins of that phrase, or who said it first, but I do know that it’s a true and sound principle.

In fact, it’s actually a Biblical concept. In the New Testament, the second greatest commandment of all is this:

“You shall love your neighbor as yourself” – Matthew 22:39

Or, put another way, love others as well as you love yourself. That command assumes two things: (1) that you know what love is, and (2), that you love yourself.

We live and lead best

when we live and lead from a healthy soul.

When our soul is overflowing with good things, that overflow spills out into everything we do and everyone with whom we come into contact. Conversely, when we are running on empty, there is nothing to share with others. The impact of our life and of our leadership is lessened.

I stumbled upon this quote recently, and it really spoke to me…

A leader must take special responsibility for what’s going on inside his or her own self, inside his or her consciousness, lest the act of leadership create more harm than good.

- Parker Palmer

Indeed, things get dicey when my internal self and external self don’t align. That’s a dangerous place to live. So, it’s important that we always pay attention to what’s going on within us.

Self-care is not selfish; it’s vital for our well-being!

My personal truth is that I ended 2018 running on empty. I needed some time to reflect, refuel, recharge, and refresh on all fronts — emotionally, spiritually, physically, creatively, and so on and so forth.

Let me explain…

Personal Changes in 2018

If you’ve been around here for any length of time, you know that I’m a pretty private person. Don’t get me wrong — I stay very authentic and genuine with everything I share here. But I have definite boundaries on what I will share and what I won’t share. Plus, I’m by nature an introvert.

When life changes are happening (either good or bad), I tend to keep them close to my chest — sacred and private. I like to give myself time to process and deal with things, before sharing with the world. And then I will only share my perspective, without involving other characters. I’ve chosen to open myself up online; others around me haven’t necessarily made that choice, and I will always respect their wishes and privacy.

Having said all that…

In May, with an eleven month old baby, I became a single mother.

I can’t say that I was blindsided by this nor that it was a total shock. However, I can say that I always held out hope that things would work out differently. I will refrain from saying anything further about the situation. Suffice it to say this is not a path I would have chosen, nor is it a role I ever dreamed of having. Trust me, the whole ordeal was very heart-wrenching and traumatic to put it mildly.

So, Elle and I moved into a new home, and we’ve endeavored to embrace our new normal. And believe me — it is (and will be!) a very beautiful life. She brings such joy to me every single day.

But I basically was a hot mess for most of 2018! Over the years, I’ve learned that when stressful times occur, I tend to prioritize what must get done – and then everything else falls by the wayside.

And that’s pretty much how 2018 played out for me. As I told friends and family and colleagues, I had three and only three priorities: (1) work hard to provide a good life for my daughter and me, (2) take care of myself, and (3) take care of her. Pretty much anything beyond that didn’t get done. I simply didn’t have the emotional energy to do much beyond that.

My team rallied around me, and I’m so grateful for that! We had our best year yet here at CarrieColbert.com – which is great, because the pressure to support my little family from this website is real!

Once we finished all of our holiday-related projects and met those deadlines, I instructed my team to take time off from work. I didn’t want anyone working. I wanted them spending time with their families. And I did the same!

It’s no exaggeration when I tell you: every part of my being was exhausted.

needed a break… I needed that time off. I needed to reflect. I needed to relax. I needed to refuel. I needed to recharge. I needed some refreshment.

How I Entered 2019

When New Year’s Eve hit, I still wasn’t feeling ready. Everyone was posting all sorts of inspirational crap on the internet, while I was having a bit of a meltdown. Yep, I’ll admit it – I cried on New Year’s Eve. Totally lame, I know! But it was as if the emotional weight of everything just came to the surface then.

Thankfully, I have an angel for a friend. She invited us to get away for a few days at her house. And that retreat for the first week of January is just what my soul needed! I largely stayed offline (which I highly recommend while traveling – read more here and here), and it was heavenly!

Now, the cloud has lifted. And I’m ready to move forward! In fact, I’ve adopted forward as my One Little Word for 2019. (If you’re not familiar with the One Little Word concept, read more about it here.)

I’ll share more about my 2019 plans and outlook, the January word of the month (and color of the month, of course!), what you can expect around here this year, and so on and so forth very soon!

But for now, allow me to say thank you! My heart swells with gratitude when I think of you all and your support and love and encouragement over the years. Thank you for caring about my colorful little corner of the internet. Your support allows me to do this as a career — to provide for my family while doing something I love. So, again, thank you.


  1. Liza Frick says:

    Thank you for your vulnerability, Carrie! Good for you for taking some time away to recharge, nothing wrong with that! Looking forward to all of your posts to come this year!

    1. I appreciate you, Liza! Thank you for all your love and support. And happy new year! Xo

  2. Julia says:

    💕💕💕 All the best to you, Carrie.

    1. Thank you, Julie. I appreciate it so much.

  3. Luisa says:

    To move Forward The way is always with Him and through Him.

    Trust is the fuel that keeps us moving forward in faith, embracing all the unexpected adventure that God has planned for us. God has an adventure prepared for you and has painted a beautiful rainbow at the end of the storm.

    1. How beautifully put. Your message really touched me. Thank you.

  4. Laura says:

    All I know is that is one lucky little girl. xoxo

    1. Love you, Laura. Thank you.

  5. Liz Rocha says:

    You truly are an inspiration to many and being authentic is life. Push forward and know that you aren’t alone in this crazy journey we call life! One day, Elle will look at you and “Thank you” for all the sacrifices you made to give her everything…that will be the day you know it was all worth the ride. Love ya~Aunt Liz 🥰

    1. You made me get teary-eyed. You’re the best, Aunt Liz. I’m so glad Alex shares you with us all. 🙂

  6. Kimberley says:

    Carrie! Thank you for being so real and sharing. You are amazing I have been in a similar place before! You and your sweet girl are going to do great. I wish you many blessing this year as you move FORWARD. I love the one word😉

    1. I appreciate that more than you know, Kimberley! Huge thanks.

  7. Terri Pennington says:

    Beautiful and heartfelt. I could hear your voice…a little sad, a little relieved, and a lot revived! Keep moving forward!

    1. You are exactly right! So perceptive. Thank you for taking the time to comment. I appreciate it so much.

  8. David says:

    What a wonderful job you have done! I know how hard changes like these can be, especially when it’s not what you planned or hoped for for your life or your daughter. Your outlook is a true testament to the quality of person you are and the work you create.
    I know this year will bring you more than you could ever hope. You have built an incredible community of people who are here to support you!
    Happy new year!!!

    1. David, David, David… wow, you made me cry! Happy tears of gratitude. Though we don’t get to connect often, you’ve been such a supportive force in my journey for years. Thank you. Let’s catch up soon! All the best –

  9. Erin says:

    Forward…what a great word for 2019, Carrie. Thank you for sharing the hurt you’ve been going through and may God bless you and Elle in this new chapter of your lives. xx

    1. Thank you, Erin. I so appreciate your continual kindness and support. Xo

  10. Ann says:

    Love you much, Friend! You and E are a force to be reckoned with!

    1. LOVE YOU, TOO!!!

      Can you believe we’ve been in this things called life together for over 20 years now? Wow.

  11. Those are beautiful photos of Elle, Carrie. I love how they are a bit more candid.

    Hugs to you as you move forward into 2019.


    1. Ah, thanks, Sheri! Yep – just iPhone pics from our little getaway.

  12. Holly says:

    This is why you are one of my favorites. Not because you had a bad year (I wouldn’t wish that on anyone) but because you had the courage to come on here and share it with all of us. Because of your vulnerability, so many others won’t feel so alone. Wishing you a fabulous 2019 as you move FORWARD and get ready to make it the most colorful year yet!

    1. Holly – it’s been pure joy to get to know you and your family. Thanks for providing such an awesome example of a thriving mother daughter relationship. Hugs to y’all!

  13. cheri says:

    always know you are in my thoughts and prayers .. and I know without a doubt you got this !!! I cannot wait to see what 2019 brings you and sweet elle (who i really hope to meet one day💜)

    1. Oh Cheri – that means so much coming from you. Lots of love to you this new year!

  14. Sydney Power says:

    You are one amazing woman Carrie! I have been so inspired by you and how strong you are. Elle is probably the cutest little human I’ve ever seen and she is so lucky to have an amazing Momma like you! I can’t wait to see all the amazing things you and your team do in 2019!

    1. Ah, Sydney, that is so sweet of you to say! Big hugs to you, and happy new year!

  15. I totally get it! 2018 was pretty hard for me too and coming into 2019 has been a bit rough as well. Thank you for being real! People need to hear our truth.
    The Lord will see you and your beautiful baby through, that’s a promise! I’m hoping and praying for a good year for you and little Elle. Remember, “The Best Is Yet To Come!
    Blessings to you Carrie!!!

    P.S. Your Instagram has helped me to open up to love colors and murals 😉! Thank you for that! It’s brought so much joy too my life. Thanks again!

    1. Hey Danielle – I’m glad you related on some level. I think New Year’s / New Year’s Eve brings added pressure to act like we have our crap together, that we are highly motivated and positive 100 percent of the time! Ha. But in reality, it’s okay not to be okay. We just have to keep looking forward knowing that there are brighter days ahead.

      Thank you for taking the time to comment. It means so much. All the best –

  16. lili says:

    Always be behind you, rallying and supporting you and Elle belle! A blessed 2019 to you both – I cant wait to see what’s in store for you!

    1. We love y’all so much!

      Let’s get together asap. Xo

  17. Dawn says:

    You’re an amazing momma, and business person. This will make you stronger than ever in the New Year. You got this. 2019 will be the best year yet!

  18. Dawn says:

    You’re an amazing momma, and business person. I love following you and you are an inspiration. This will make you stronger than ever in the New Year. You got this. 2019 will be the best year yet!

    1. Dawn – you are so incredibly kind! Thank you. And happy new year to you! 😀

  19. Raven says:

    God’s plans are not always our plans, but they are always exactly what we need. And life keeps moving forward, with or without us. You & Elle are going to have an amazing 2019. Love your honesty & vulnerability. xoxo

    1. Love and appreciate you, my friend. Can you believe how long we’ve been connected? I’m pretty sure your kiddos were close to Elle’s age! Crazy.

  20. Cayla says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this personal side. I have never met you in person but following you everyday has really made me care for you. I love what you are doing on the site and certainly care how you are doing. You have brought such joy to my life through your ideas and outfits and articles during a similarly trying year for me. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Happy New year!

    1. Hey Cayla – you know, I feel like we know each other, so I think we should meet! 🙂

      Thank you so much for caring and showing up day after day! Hugs to you.

  21. Julie Otte says:

    I have no words for how real and raw this post is-how much I wish I would have had your strength for my girls when I became a single mother. It shows on her face-Elle is loved. <3

    1. Julie – your comment brought tears to my eyes. I certainly don’t feel strong all of the time. But encouraging words like yours sure help. Hugs to you.

  22. Leslie says:

    Carrie, you and Elle remain in my thoughts and prayers. May the Lord bless you this year with healing and refreshment♡

    1. Oh friend – love you so much! And miss you so much!

      Let’s connect soon. I appreciate your 20+ years of consistent friendship. Love you.

  23. Cindy Bradford says:

    Hi Carrie, I loved you being real! We need more real people in this world who are not afraid to be vulnerable. I’m not sure you remember me, I was Cindy Lamberson when I lived in Perryton and taught 5th grade. You would help me out by getting Candace, my daughter, on the bus when she was in 2nd grade. I was also friends with your dad. I know what it is like to be a single mom and I know you will be excellent at providing for your sweet Elle. Cherish every moment and trust in Our Loving Father❤️😊

  24. Christie says:

    Thanks for sharing and opening up! Being a blogger is tough and it’s hard to remain privacy but last year I adored your pics! You are amazingly awesome for pulling through and working hard!

  25. Ailee says:

    I totally just cried reading this post because you are such an inspiration. Elle is incredibly lucky to have you as her mom, and I’ve known that since the moment you told me you were pregnant. You are both going to do amazing things. Hope we get to see y’all very soon. xoxo

  26. Stephanie says:

    Being a single mom is one of the hardest and most-rewarding jobs in the world. Sending you big hugs – you’ve totally got this! ❤️

  27. Carolina says:

    Carrie: if you were an inspirational woman before, believe me,now it’s even bigger! You have a beautiful girl and you are an amazing woman: never forget it! We are here for you and I can’t wait to see what you will do in 2019! A big hug 🤗

  28. Jessica says:

    Though this news is not cheerful, I have to say I had a smile on my face by the end as we can all hear that you have the best outlook on the future and have already learned so much from this difficult time. There is no doubt that you will be better off on this path. As I’ve followed you well before this blog, I know of other hardships you have faced and shared back then and look at how you moved FORWARD from those too! What a strong spirited woman you are. Sending love to you, Elle, and all in your “village.”

    1. I really appreciate you, Jessica. Thanks so much. Hope to see you this new year! Xo

  29. Mindy says:

    Self care or self harmony is the only way we can get through the tough times. Remember there are two sets of footprints during the hard days, and the second set is Jesus holding your hand and never leaving you. Love you always! 😘

    1. Love ya, friend! Hey I think this is our 20 year friendship anniversary! Let’s celebrate.

  30. Teri says:

    May you continue to heal and move forward with your beautiful girlie. May God bring the peace and love you are deserving of in this season! xo

    1. So kind of you, Teri. Thank you.

  31. Carrie, I cannot imagine the strength it must have taken to write this let alone go through what you did. I know first hand that an 11-month-old baby girl is no walking on air! You, my friend, are strong, courageous, talented, and one of the most creative people I know. I hope one day we will get to meet. Thinking of you and if you need another mommy friend to lean on, I’m here for you… and always supportive of you. Sending you and Elle much love….

    xo, Jennifer

    1. Thanks so much, Jennifer. So sweet of you to say. I hope E and M get to meet one day. 🙂

  32. Shiri says:

    Thank you for sharing this. Sending a lot of love and love the word you’ve chosen.

    1. Thanks a bunch, Shiri! Hugs and love to you as well.

  33. Kim says:

    Carrie, thank you so much for sharing this. 2018 was rough for me too and I believe and hope for anyone going through difficult things that light and strength prevail.

    1. Hi Kim – wishing you a wonderful 2019! Thank you for your words of encouragement.

  34. Kathy says:

    Carrie, wishing you and your daughter a wonderful 2019. You are one strong lady. I have been following you since the scrapbooking days. Best wishes always!
    : )

    1. Kathy – thank you so much! I adore hearing from scrapbooking connections from back in the day. 🙂

  35. I’m so proud of you! Authenticity is the place where healing can truly begin its deep work and the Lord has wonderful things in store for you and Elle. He loves you so and so do I! Way to go, mama! 😘

    1. I’m so grateful for you, friend! Thank you for all the encouragement.

  36. Aubrey says:

    I’m not usually a commenter, but I just wanted to say something to the lady that I have admired for so long! You have a grace and beauty that has nothing to do with your outsides, that’s what keeps me and everyone else coming back and engaged in what you do here on your corner of the internet. Clearly you are one strong, smart, and motivated woman and I have no doubt that this year will reflect all that goodness for you ❤️ Wishing you and Elle all the love and happiness that 2019 can hold!

    1. Hi Aubrey – I am blown away by your comment. For someone who thrives on words of affirmation, I can’t thank you enough for taking the time to comment today. Hugs to you –

  37. Carrie, just wanted to wish you peace and joy in 2019 for you are your girlie. Much love.

    1. CZ – you’re awesome. Thanks for the love. Sending you and yours love too! Xo

  38. You AND your girlie. Autocorrect fail. 😘

  39. Julie Pratz says:

    I don’t know you but I’m praying strength & joy & peace over you for 2019. Thanks for sharing – very courageous.

    1. So kind of you, Julie. Thank you so much!

  40. Ellen says:

    I echo all of these sweet comments and am praying for you and Elle. On days when you’ve forgotten, please let this be a reminder that you are a badass woman/momma. Just because it didn’t turn out how you wanted doesn’t mean it can’t end up better than you ever could have imagined! You’ve got this. 💗

    1. Ellen – I appreciated this oh so much. Thank you so very much. I will remember your words when I need some encouragement. 🙂

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