Reflections on Resolutions

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Welcome 2016

This morning marks a new beginning and a new year.  We are encouraged to be reflective and motivated right now.  I haven’t spent too much energy looking into the past and projecting into the future for I am currently involved in the present working on projects and cooking a bunch.  And these activities are a good representation of my 2016 resolution which is simply to be more present.  I need to focus on what is here and now and enjoy what I’ve got.  The goal is to not ruminate on what may happen or what has happened but to just be.  So that is my resolution, my  one all encompassing goal for 2016.

In looking back at last year’s resolutions, I was able to complete the majority of them.  My most significant accomplish was downsizing and making a major life change in my household.  I did get in a few more baths and will continue to enjoy this simple luxury when able.  I did not knit a sweater but I have been busily crafting several baby blankets, so I feel satisfied.

I think it is important to look back and reflect upon what has been accomplished and lessons learned in the past year.  I believe that it is powerful to set a goal for the upcoming year.  However, I do not buy into all of the pressure to completely reinvent yourself in the new year.  I believe we should be happy and accepting with who we are and not feel that a diet or an organized closet must be achieved in order to have a good year.

Whatever 2016 may hold, I am hopeful for another year full of adventure and crafting.

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A Reflection on Resolutions

Farewell 2014.

Farewell 2014.

Today is the day where we as a culture are overwhelmingly optimistic and introspective.  We all start to evaluate and make promises to ourselves and others that we can (hopefully) keep.  The New Year’s Resolution is one of the trends that I find both hopeful and distasteful.  One the one hand, we make commitments to better something in our lives; on the other hand, these often involve our appearances/weight or financial gains.  I believe that we should all strive for what we desire in life, however it disheartens me to see how much of what we want is what rarely really benefits us.

Instead of dashing about trying to achieve some of my new goals at once and starting 2015 with scratched out items on a to-do list, I’ve taken the day to pause and just be.  My day has involved the following:  laying on the couch watching the snow fall and enjoying the feeling — compliments of our wall of windows — that I am in my own snow globe, wrapping myself in the warmth of my great-grandmother’s afghan, a book, a giant latte, a smattering of mini-mimosas, a 2nd book, black-eyed peas and greens,  Downton Abbey episodes and some correction of quilting mistakes, er new quilting lessons.  After a quiet evening of homemade sushi and a 9 p.m bedtime with no disturbances by revelers, I needed a whole day to start 2015 with peace, comfort and contentment.

Looking forward to this year, I do have things that I wish to achieve that will enrich my life and carry over for years to come.

1.  To knit my first sweater, preferably with the green yarn I’ve been carting around for too long.  (*See goal number 5.)

2.  To get a high-altitude bread recipe down and be the 2nd best baker in our home.

3.  To take more baths.  Not for hygienic reasons but because baths are simply awesome.

4.  To van camp more.  I love Bishop the van and need to spend more time camping in the vehicle than  driving it to and from the grocery store once a week.

5.  To downsize even more.  To really pare down to the essentials and to want even less.

It is really pretty simple that I can achieve what I want on my own terms.  There are no grandiose plans for me to run a marathon or weigh a certain amount or jump out of a plane.  I know that some believe you should aim for the stars, but that isn’t my style:  I am more of a live-r than a planner and I appreciate the simpler things in life.

In closing, I sincerely hope that 2015 brings everyone good health, peace and love.

 

The Holy Trinity — of Pizza Toppings

Best.  Combo.  Ever.

Best. Combo. Ever.

When we moved to our awesome town in southwestern Colorado, I was very excited about many things including the close proximity to incredible nature, amazing ruins and green chiles.  In fact when I became a resident here, I made a vow to eat green chiles every day and thus far, I have come pretty darn close.  There are always roasted chiles dotting our breakfast creations and they have graced many a burrito.  Now, my new favorite thing is to add them to pizza!

Pizza night is an event in our house.  My sweetheart makes a mean crust (even at this altitude). Pizza night is not exclusively a weekend event, nor does it always happen at night as pizza afternoons are super too.  Pizza is a great way to use up leftover veggies that are on hand — upcycling, if you will.  However, our most recent flavor discovery, the Holy Trinity of toppings is green chiles, pineapple and bacon.  The smoke, sweet and spice are absolute perfection and my new obsession for pizza.  If we happen to have some smoked mozzarella on hand, we’re talking about elevating an already amazing pie to an epic level.

Homemade pizza is somehow intimidating, but it is really a simple creation.  There is so much that you can do with pizza from having a party where everyone brings a topping or two, to letting kids help make their own pie.  And. let’s dispute this notion that pizza is an unhealthy food; if homemade, it is a very satisfyingly healthy meal.  Pizza is so much more than greasy overpriced delivery pies and frozen cardboard-tasting facsimiles, it is a fun creation with myriad versions.  A personal pizza is something that you can make on your own for yourself.  Pizza is the ultimate canvas for your tastes and personalization.  Go forth and bake your own pie today!

Proven: Crafting is Good For You!

I’ve long known that crafting has beneficial properties, but now even that giant of breaking news (CNN) has substantiated this belief.  Quoting a study looking at the benefits of knitting on your brain, specifically in PTSD patients, CNN reports that the results are almost identical to those of meditation.  The activity of knitting creates a quieting response to the parasympathetic nervous system (fight or flight).  In an additional British study, knitting acts as a natural anti-depressant by releasing dopamine both during the creation of the project and at the culmination of the project, either during the admiration of the completed work or when given to a loved one.   There is additional work being done to learn if crafting keeps the brain younger by activating memory, problem solving, etc. and thereby preventing atrophy.

Anyone who creates, whether it is music, pottery, gardens or food knows that there are inherent, intangible benefits that come from the process.  I have always called my creations therapeutic, and one can see that during times of trial, my output of handmade stuff increases.  On a bad day, I’ve learned that curling up in bed doesn’t make me feel any better, but chopping up vegetables or sewing 1/4″ inch seams sure can boost my mood.  Science is just substantiating what many of us already know.  Crafty diem!