Sunday, December 30, 2012

Things I learned this year

It's been a crazy year...but isn't every year crazy? I think so. There's something about the end of the year that makes everything feel collectively more mind blowing. And I think people just like to say, "oh it sure has been a crazy year" like the craziness is somehow going to stop this coming year on January 1 (it never does).

Life is crazy. It's a lot of things, and crazy is surely one of them.

I've grown a lot this year. I've also seen the cracks and see where my attention needs to to be spent in this new year. We can talk about that later.

Tonight, as I softly embrace the ups and downs through the past year, I see lots of triumph. I see lots of changes naturally putting themselves into motion. I see life unfolding before my eyes. I stand in amazement before life's lessons, and pray for continued strength this and every year to continue to learn from them and not resist the experience.

Thing I've learned #1
Some things really aren't forever.

I had this one played out several times throughout this year. Relationships that I've carried dearly with me literally throughout my whole life have ended or changed into something that I can't even come close to recognizing. There's been something strangely liberating about the whole thing, as it just makes me feel like I'm opening up room for people who know me better, albeit for a shorter amount of time.

On the flip side, people who I have loved and drifted away from have made their way back into my life in joyous and almost inexplicable ways. For years I had to think of these individuals in the past tense. Somebody that I used to know. But I can say with great happiness now that they are ones that I know now. They fit into my life in new ways that we didn't fit before. It's funny how that works.

Thing I've learned #2
i can not hold onto mistakes i have made in the past, especially boyfriends from my 20s!

There was a lot of much needed letting go that happened this year in regards to mistakes that still haunted me. I learned to be a little more forgiving towards myself this year.

The funny thing is that as soon as I let go, life soon gave me ample opportunities to fix an old unsettled situation or taught me how to be the person I wanted to be before so it never has the chance to become unsettled.

Everyone makes mistakes. But you know what? Sometimes it doesn't feel like a mistake until it is way too late to know otherwise. It's ok to be forgiven for that.

Thing I've learned #3
Babies are always worth it.

Ok, so honestly I did know this one before this year. Our 3 year old daughter, Ponygirl, taught us a bit about this while she was growing in the womb. But this year was filled with a difficult pregnancy. So many concerns, and so much monitoring and worry. I had to give myself shots twice a day. Every day. Until 6 weeks post partum. It was harder this time to simply marvel in the magic of creating life, and it wasn't just because I had a spirited 3 year old to contend with!

But as our sweet 3 month old perfectly healthy and wonderful girl, Hazelnut, sleeps here beside me, of course there is no doubt or hesitation in my heart or mind to say that everything was worth it. Of course it was. I think most parents feel that they would do anything for their kids. This was no different.

So there's my top 3 earth shattering revelations that life has taught me this year. I'm thankful, as always, to be able to learn. I do prefer the lessons when they aren't painful though! :)

Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

I think I did it.

I think I've finally done it. I think I have finally created the delightful goodie box to give to our loved ones that I've been dreaming about for years.

It is the perfect blend of sweet and savory treats, of textures and tastes, of fruit and veggie infused baked goods with straight up indulgent chocolate bombs.

Every year I usually get caught up in the details of this fantasy goodie box. I could never get it together. I think there was a year or two that I had a respectable list of treats I would make. That's a great start.

But the details. They always get me. In the midst of trying to take care of the things on my to-do list (holiday and everyday) the details always seem to push that picture perfect, soul touching, taste bud tantalizing goodie box further and further away.

"Next year," I would always tell myself. "I'll get it right next year."

This year I hit up pinterest for recipes. This made my recipe list easy. I hit up the dollar store early, picking up some tins and a couple other assorted holiday packaging. Then (this is key) I figured out how to stagger the whole operation.

I figured out that one of the biggest obstacles to bringing my goodie boxes to fruition is the timing. We don't give them all out at the same time! So I decided to stagger my schedule and make all of them different. I love it when a plan comes together.

I made a big batch of apple butter a few weeks ago and froze it. When I knew I'd be giving a gift, I only took out some of it to give. As we've gotten closer to Christmas day, I've made more and more items, starting with the ones that would freeze best. As friends have come by and teachers need to be appreciated, I've just made a lovely gift mix of all the things I had already made. duh. Seems so simple.

This year I chose to make these things for my delicious, delectable, thoughtful, and downright awesome goodie boxes:

> mini banana muffins
> peppermint bark
> apple butter
> dark chocolate truffles
> mini pimiento cheese biscuits

All I can say is yum. And yeah! I did it!