Saturday, December 31, 2011

Favorites of 2011

This is my favorite week of the whole year.  December is a blur (even when we say it won't) and Christmas is a spin of lights and calories and smiles and then we come home.  We make seventy-two trips from the car to the kitchen: suitcases, presents, leftovers, cookie tins, coats and boots; and there it all sits, in all of it's beautiful mess: hope and delight and comfort and tradition.  The opened packages of a year of work and growth and desire.

My urge is to launch into the new year: goals and resolutions (I love them!), but I have learned to stop first and unpack.  I'm really not quite ready for structure and new habits; I'd rather sit here and sip my tea, take the ornaments off the tree one by one.  I want to sort out my closets, the toys, my mind and heart before adding new.

And so this week is for letting go, for remembering, for treasuring, and for thanks.  I'll begin next week to think about a new year.  

My 2011 Favorites:

2011 was, in many ways, my very favorite year ever for our family. We moved to Cleveland in February and we love it here. We have had great fun this year exploring our new city and getting to know the neighborhood. When we learned that our house had sold we were in a bit of a lurch to find a place to rent: it was the middle of winter, and it seems that most rentals turn around in the summer. We had no clue what part of the city we wanted to live, and had to make a quick decision that at the time was full of doubts. Now I can see that the home and neighborhood we landed in is exactly the right one for us. We are so grateful.

Cleveland Faves:
Little Italy
our fabulous local library, parks and swimming pool
Friendship Mennonite Church
New friends, good neighbors and interesting people we have met in Cleveland

Favorite words:
“When I think about it, the people I respect most are people who create peace. And they are almost always people who chose one path and followed it to the end, instead of exploring every branch. They did not choose more life experiences; they deliberately chose fewer, in service to a single end. Maybe it was parenting, or feeding the hungry, or helping abused women. Maybe it was scholarship, or creating a comforting marriage. But instead of variety, they chose focus.”  
-from Veronica Mitchel Here's the original post: The Narrow Life
Favorite rhythm:
Life with littles still feels like a blur most days. Sleep is still unpredictable and not enough (though getting better). We do have two predictable, gentle rhythms that are really life-giving: after school tea time, and our Friday night Sabbath.

Favorite books:
Jayber Crow and Jane Eyre, of course. And Richard Foster's Prayer. (This was a great year for books! These three are among my all-time favorites).

Favorites in the kitchen:
The Barefoot Contessa pizza dough.

Favorite trip:
A girls weekend in Colorado
A wedding weekend in Michigan and reuniting with dear friends
Family vacation to Florida

Favorite decision:
Choosing community
Taking a break from facebook for the winter

Favorite fifteen:
This has been a bit of a breakthrough for me. (Once again- so simple) My continual struggle since having children is how to find time to myself for the work I'd like to do. Finally this year I began to pick up the brush, sit down with a pen, begin a recipe- whatever- and work furiously for the fifteen minutes that I can steal. I've discovered that I can actually accomplish quite a lot in these little bits of time, and it takes the pressure off of thinking whatever I am doing needs to be perfect. I have begun painting again by sneaking down to the basement for a few minutes after dinner- and it works!

. . . there are others, and I hope to write again about more favorites and not-so-favorites of 2011, but for now naptime is over and we are heading out on this cold dreary day for the Stone Oven. Be warm!

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