New Year Week (Days #40-46)

Second week of no school … no work … it has been busy nonetheless and all of our schedules are so off.

Therefore, I am writing another week long summary…starting tomorrow it is back to our regular scheduled programming … which means a walk a day, a post a day … pinky promise.

This week has been amazing though …visiting friends, getting stuff done for classes, overnight trips to Hot Springs, and ringing in the New Year with my Love and other important people in my life … and being away from the grinding block of work this week as reminded of a few things:

  1. It is not my identity
  2. A career is nice but it is not everything
  3. If it matters this little to me now, it probably always will; so I shouldn’t invest so much thought and worry in to it

Here’s what I do know after this week:

I love my life. I love the people in it. I love the experiences I have. I love who I am. I love my little family. I am one happy individual.

Man in an orange sweatshirt petting a brindle- and white-colored dog on a walking path with a river in the background.

Damn … it’s a good place to be.

The piece that fell together for me today is, if I feel this way about myself and my life NOW, I will probably feel this way down the road. I try so hard to plan my future. By nature, I am a planner, a list maker, a doer above all else. But I would have never dreamed, more-or-less planned that my life would look this way right now and I LOVE it. I haven’t enjoyed every part of the journey or been comfortable with myself every step of the way. But I have learned to flow, adapt, re-evaluate, and begin again. I have learned that life is not stagnant or rigid and the more I can embrace it and be flexible, the more I get from it.

So I have resolved not to resolve this New Year’s. Because let’s face it, resolutions are too rigid and nobody can hold themselves to their own standards anyway. I have intentioned some experiences I would like to have this year, though, and recognize in order to do so I will need to make decisions to move forward in those areas:

  1.  I want to run a half-marathon this year…this is not entirely true…because I have a love/hate relationship with running…but I want the experience of crossing that finish line…of knowing I did something I did know for sure I could accomplish…and I like the structure of training and want to buy a cool 13.1 sticker…so there is the real story…
  2.  I want to finish this project strong while adding more to our blog…this is a creative outlet for me…I am a better person when I am being purposeful in my analysis of self…plus I sometimes lose interest in things and I want to feel that feeling on day 365 that I actually finished this project!
  3.  I want to experience premium health through nutrition. I am a big believer in the power of food to give life to our bodies. I want to plant more, grow more, cook more, Farmer’s market more, read more, can more, and eat more this year. Because who doesn’t want to eat more…

And these are a few of my “goals” for 2015. I am never short on dreams or desires for a new experience so I am sure others will come up as the year progresses.

But for me, gentle readers, this is what it all boils down to: I love my life because I am free to seek out the experiences I desire … if my desire changes, my experience changes … and that’s okay, because I can flow like that.

Where do you want your life to flow this year?

A yellow lab looking out across the Arkansas River with leaves on the ground between the dog and river.

Day #29

Today was Winter Solstice. The shortest day and longest night of the year. Of course, there are many scientific reasons that today is what it is. But being humans, we have assigned it festivals and traditions, ceremonies and celebrations dating back and back and back. What I love about Winter Solstice is the opportunity to reflect…

I thought–as I made hot beef stew and gluten-free cornbread–about the hours I have spent in the kitchen this year. I love my kitchen, to me it represents nurturing. I cook and play here. I feed hungry bellies good, healthy food. I give life to the bones that live under my roof. Cooking has become such a powerful skill set with allergies and autoimmune deficiencies. I have seen the ability of food to bring illness or energy. I no longer underestimate the importance of food to our bodies. I have learned much this year in my kitchen.

A girl painting pastel colors onto birdhouse sections.
Adalie carefully painting the birdhouse.

I reflected as my daughter painted a bird house to help those little creatures through the winter. I thought of all the hours this year we have observed nature. How it never ceases to inspire awe. How it teaches me lesson after lesson when I tune in and listen. How it changes me, guides me, inspires me to be a better person. Every time I walk in to a quiet moment with nature, I never leave the same. I have learned much this year in the outdoors.

I laughed as we decorated crumbling sugar cookies. But even all falling apart, they were delicious with icing and sprinkles. And isn’t this the way of life? This year is probably one of the first in my life I didn’t have a “plan.” I ebbed and flowed with what came and went. It wasn’t always easy, but it was always beautiful. I have learned much this year in the everyday moments.

And I observed as we walked silently, except for the jingle of bells. A tradition started last year to teach my daughter how to walk quietly (you can’t be louder than the bells). I saw a

A man and a girl acting silly in the light of colorful Christmas lights.
Craig and Adalie before the meditative “jingle bell” walk.

husband that loves me endlessly with no reservation. I saw a little girl wild blond hair flowing behind her, free spirit growing inside her.

The absolute basis, for me, to all life is my connection to others and these two are my foundation.  I have learned so much this year from these relationships and so many others.

And as I sit here now, watching the glow of the Christmas tree and taking stock of my life. I realized something appalling… 2014 has been the best year of my life! In the past, I have always ended the year thinking, hoping, believing that next year “has to get better.”

For the first time that I can ever remember, I will end the year content with my life. While I am excited to see what 2015 holds, I am no longer desperate for it to change my world. I’m not sure if this is so much a reflection on my year or on myself, but either way–I’ll take it.

A platter of sugar cookies in assorted shapes.
Cookies make everything better.