Sky-High Resolutions

May you reach for the sky in this New Year, knowing there are many different skies and knowing that the sky can change. This year I’m going to trust that whatever sky I’m in is where I am supposed to be.

Bear with me on the metaphor. (Honestly I was just going to post pretty sky pictures, but I felt compelled to say something.)

Let me be the first, however, to invite you to whip-scroll through and go back to your black-eyed peas. You are making black-eyed peas, aren’t you…

Long Island Winter Sky

Even though I’ll trust “my sky,” if it is raining, I will use an umbrella. If it is thundering, I’ll seek shelter. Trusting your sky does not mean being stupid.

But when it is overcast and uncertain, I’m just going to sit with it, knowing there is a glimmer on a horizon somewhere.

Long Island Winter Sky
Long Island Winter Sky

When it is all puffy and pink with pretty clouds, I’m going to say “thank you, this is just great.”

Sky, View from Rancho La Zaca

When it is ominous or scary, I’m going to say “help.”

Sky, near Santa Barbara, I think…

When it is totally unexpected and beautiful, I’m going to say “wow.”

Sunset at Rancho La Zaca

By the way have you read Anne Lamott’s Help. Thanks. Wow. ? Here is a very cool excerpt from It is a terrific book about simple prayer that is short and has cuss words in it. My kind of prayer book.

Sunset at Rancho La Zaca

And when the sky is fine, but it isn’t what I had in mind, or what I thought I should have in mind, I’m going to say, “All righty then… that is /weird/dorky/uncool/a surprise/disappointment/challenge, but this is what’s in my sky right now. I’m going to look at it, and I’m by dern going to find the beauty in it and not attempt to negotiate another kind of sky.

Sunset at Rancho La Zaca
Sky, on the Way Home 

And when I see a sky so beautiful that I want to take a picture of it, I am going to pull over and do it.

Except when I can’t, like when I’m driving on the 101…

Sky Above the 101 North From Santa Barbara, taken while driving.

I totally do not recommend taking pictures while driving, and I am sure it is against the law in California, which almost everything is. I will probably get in trouble for not having a permit to take a picture of the sky in Santa Barbara County. And when that happens I will say… I cannot repeat it here.

Sometimes I see what I call a Voice of God sky like you would see in the movies, with a big, booming voice talking to Moses or somebody. It is so majestic and powerful and amazing. And then I imagine a voice saying, “Frances, my child, you really should not be taking pictures while driving on the 101…”

“I know, I know, I won’t do it again I promise…”

No but seriously, in this New Year, if I hear the sky talking, I will listen. What I need to make sure of is that I discern the difference between the sky, which is true or divine guidance; and my super-critical egoistic self which has ridiculous standards and discounts every good thing I do. Just sayin’.

Sky Above the Vineyard at Rancho La Zaca

Because the pay-off of that is a rainbow.

Double Rainbow Over Foxen Canyon

Maybe even a double rainbow.

Rainbow Over Rancho La Zaca

By “the sky,” of course I mean Who You Are, your inner voice, the divine, God, your heart, your bliss, your passion, whatever it is. In this New Year I’m going to keep looking for my whatever-it-is, and I’m going to start letting go of whatever it isn’t. I’m going to let go of some of that struggle. That feels a little scary, but good. Maybe touching the sky, whatever that means to you, is easier than it seems. Happy New Year.


  1. These images are amazing. Yes, we’ll definitely be reaching for the sky in 2014 and pork, black eyed peas and greens will be served at our house tomorrow…Southern style. Wishing you all the best in the new year!!

  2. Frances,
    Truly inspiring photographs. Car drives are times we have to look up and see our world. I sometimes call Dick when I am by myself on road trips to tell him to look up at the sky and he is in amongst the skyscrapers in Atlanta. One recently going to N.C. was a soft white bolster of clouds in a ring around the sky of yes, Carolina Blue.
    love, much good in the year ’14 (and many posts like this one) to the newlyweds, forever,

  3. This sentence says it all Frances…
    “In this New Year I’m going to keep looking for my whatever-it-is, and I’m going to start letting go of whatever it isn’t.”

    Thank you and Happy New Year.

  4. LOVED this, beautiful post, Ms. Frances. Wishing you and yours a wonderful 2014. Black-eyed peas, cornbread and greens most definitely on the menu tomorrow, come on over!

  5. “Another Kind of Sky”…How many times have I wished for another kind of sky than the one I have been given?…It breaks my heart to say-“Too Many”. Thank you Frances for a beautiful NYE post. OH, and I’m glad you had to “say something” too. HNY! XO

  6. Happy New Year, Frances. I spent a few wonderful days in December falling in love with Tarboro, North Carolina – knew you would appreciate:-) Here’s to a great 2014 – and thanks for this post – loved the pictures and the sentiment.

  7. Frances: “…to find the beauty in it and not attempt to negotiate another kind of sky.”

    Great line, great wisdom for 2014 or any time at all—-

  8. Collards in our pot and fluffy white clouds rolling over this Tar Heel sky…A beautiful way to end one year and start another – Thx F!

  9. WowFrances!!! Skies the limit! But… There is no limit on your always inspiring words full of wisdom and humor! And we need that humor to get though some of those stormy skies! I forced myself to get up at dawn today the first day of 2014 just cause I wanted to see the sunrise (and of course Instagram ha!) but the sun was behind some pretty thick clouds so instead I got a pretty spectacular color packed sky. I too am going to try to practice gratitude for exactly where I be.
    Here’s to joy and brightness ! Love you Laurette

  10. Frances, such terrific skies. And thoughts, turned message.
    Laurette, you too are an inspiration, always a hoot and a holler. Happy New Year to you both. Wth love…

  11. Thank you Frances! Your words and pictures always move me to be more thoughtful. This year I am going to just enjoy the wonderful life I have been given! Spend as much time with people that really mean something to me! Thanks for your sharing of heart you do so well!

  12. Letting go of whatever it isn’t to make way for whatever it is….I am going for that thought! I have my work cut out for me now.

    These are Beautiful views looking up at our amazing world. Thank you for sharing, sweet friend.

  13. Frances, I love this and have sent it to my children and many, many friends. Now I just have to figure out what the “IT” is or isn’t! Thank you. Gayle

  14. Happy New Year! And I’m going to try to stay calm this year while the world around me AND sky constantly change- except for in California where it’s always sunny blue sky these days- (and paint a bunch of landscapes) Thanks for the beautiful photos! Be careful on the highway! XOXOX

  15. Thank you for this nice way to start the day. So refreshing to get positive emails showing beauty, rather than chain letters and political satyrs.

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