Word(s) for 2019

The new year is funny. Honestly, January 1 is just another day. I mean, in reality, we get a new chance, a new fresh start, every time the sun sets and we are blessed to wake with a new morning…Every. Day.

Whether it’s September 15th, April 2nd or February 22nd, we have the choice each time we wake to approach the day as one with a purpose, a plan, a goal.

Sometimes I get overwhelmed with the amount of expectation and anticipation that comes with the new calendar year. I used to set silly goals that made me laugh, lofty goals I never would be able to achieve without a large random rain of cash or even some easy peasy ones so that I could feel accomplished.

This year, I knew better than to approach the new year with those mindsets. I feel like at 35 years old, I’m closer to knowing who I am, accepting it and finding a way to be proud of it. For the most part this year, I’ve avoided comparing myself to others, I feel the most comfortable in my skin than I ever have, I have a sense of purpose and a sense of belonging. I’ve taken a wide range of “discover yourself” tests, classes, etc. I’m an “I/D” on the Disc, I’m an “influencer/relationship builder” on StrengthsFinder, I’m an ENFJ on Myers Briggs, I’m a 3w2 on the Enneagram, I’m a “Performer” on the Sparketype…on and on and on. I need no more tests to tell me who I am…they all say the same thing…so, I get it now.

This year, I began the new year approaching goals for 2019 in a more reflective way. My friend, Keia, passed along this incredibly helpful resource, Unravel Your Year by Susannah Conway. Over the holiday break, with coffee in hand and a quiet place to work, I dove into reflecting on 2018…What did I embrace? What did I let go of? What changed? What am I most grateful for? Accomplishments? What have I learned? Situations that tested your limits? Favorite moments? etc…

My word or intention for 2018 was Kintsugi…the art of repairing broken pottery with gold, but more abstractly applied to my life. Healing took place and all of those “discover yourself” tests also played their part as well. Healing happened, this blog happened, Freckled Fork dinner parties & catering gigs happened, travel happened…this year was Exciting…full of Experiences…and full of Growth.

As I thought of my plans for 2019, the exercise that helped me the most was the YES/NO lists of “Things I’m saying YES to in 2019” and “Things I’m saying NO to in 2019”. YES to my health (mental & physical), YES to discipline and pulling away from the social media suck, YES to a manageable work schedule, YES to reading actual books, YES to intentional friendships, boundaries, patience & grace and a LOT of fun w/Amelia & Jay.

NO to debt, NO to social media binging, NO to excessive screen time, NO to selfishness and anger, NO to needing to be in control, NO to over-committing, NO to fear and an unhealthy focus on my body.


Instead of choosing one word or intention for this year, I had a FEW that kept resurfacing throughout my time of reflection. I did choose one main intention and then a few additional words to help me focus on certain areas of my life:

REFINE

My main word for the year….to clarify & improve, to remove impurities, to make better, more defined. I love the life we have built so far, I am beginning to like who I am and speak life into who I want to be. I don’t need nor want a major life overhaul, I need refinement, discipline. All areas of my life could use some refining at this point.

CULTIVATE

My intention for my work life in 2019 — to improve & grow by attention, labor & practice. I’ve been a graphic designer now going on 15+ years, I don’t want to get comfortable or lazy in that work. I want to grow and improve. And who knows what this year has in store for The Freckled Fork?! Not me, but I know I want to continue practicing, reading and learning everything I can about food, cooking and the joy of being around the table.

NOURISH

My intention for my health & for my relationships in 2019 — to cherish, foster, strengthen and build. I crave discipline and intention to move my body and stay strong. I need to watch less TV (rewatching 90210 should NOT take priority over real life:) I want to nourish my relationships with my husband, my daughter, my family and my friends.

HYGGE

This word kept coming up in one form or another and in my desires for our home and for our finances in 2019 — to create an atmosphere of well-being, warmth & coziness, being at peace & able to enjoy simple pleasures; being IN THE PRESENT. We moved in our new home and neighborhood (Shoutout to Oakhurst!) a year ago and of course, things are still not fully “together” and functional like we would want. So this year, room by room, I want to start that process. Finances are CRAZY. Last year we were HEAVILY burdened by a crazy tax bill and frankly, still trying to climb out of that madness, so for finances, I want to go back to the place where we were disciplined with our spending, living MORE with less, doing life and making intentional decisions as to where our money will go.


I know this post is WAY longer than my usual and not really about food at all, but accountability comes with sharing out the plans we have, so I guess if anything, I’ve typed this out for my little slice of the blogging world to see in a way to hold myself accountable. To “speak” it all into existence.

Happy 2019! What’s your intention for the year?

And because this is primarily a food blog, here’s a picture of food. Not just ANY food, but my very first attempt at making dessert. I’m terrible at baking (the precision is my weakness), but new year, new goals, new risks…Here’s my first attempt at Lemon Ginger Bars. They were incredible. <3

Real Talk

I know my next post was supposed to be my ongoing “Best of” in New York, but I just can’t. I can’t bring myself to post. Every time I go to post a photo of my food, my work, my day…I’m stopped by this tug.

The tug I feel is deep in my being, in my heart and in my head. It’s time for REAL TALK.

For those who don’t know, my day job is actually in the Advancement Office of a school, so fundraising is something we do and talk about every day. This Ice Bucket Challenge for ALS (aka Lou Gehrig’s Disease) has really thrown me for a loop. My initial thought was that this was a pretty brilliant strategy for charitable giving. It wasn’t even started by the organization itself but by one person who actually has ALS. What started as a few posts on Facebook has now gone insanely VIRAL with videos from my students, my friends, my family and even from celebrities, politicians, athletes and those with ridiculous influence.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a hater of the challenge. In fact, with a very close friend whose dad lost the battle to ALS years ago, it hits very close to home for us. It’s a terrible debilitating disease which presently has no real treatment or cure. And I love that this has touched SO many people and encouraged them to put their money into action. No, I’m not a hater, but maybe I’m a little jealous.

Maybe I’m jealous for the many other causes, the other organizations, the other diseases and more importantly, the other injustices that aren’t getting the same kind of voice, the same support, the same camaraderie, the same publicity and action.

To see the impact of this challenge– the more than $15-million dollar impact — I can’t help but think about the others that aren’t benefiting from this popularity and “peer pressure” that seems to be spurring everyone and their brother into action.

I can’t help but think about the gravity of the headlines coming out of Ferguson, Missouri.

Source

There is a current humanitarian crisis happening in our country even still. The crippling reminder that for some ungodly reason in America today — in 2014 — the color of your skin STILL somehow determines the value of your life.

In 2014, parents with sons and daughters of color STILL have to have “the talk”. Not the sex talk but THE talk. The REAL TALK with sons and daughters of color, explaining the injustice and reality that people are going to have preconceived judgements on who they are based on their skin color. The REAL TALK that because of their skin color, they may be stereotyped as criminals and not afforded the same rights and freedoms as others in this “land of the free”.

The REAL TALK that goes something like this…“If you are stopped by a cop, do what he says, even if he’s harassing you, even if you didn’t do anything wrong. Let him arrest you, memorize his badge number, and call me as soon as you get to the station. Keep your hands where he can see them. Do not reach for your wallet. Do not grab your phone. Do not raise your voice. Do not talk back. Do you understand me?” 

The REAL TALK that white parents don’t have with their white children. White privilege, y’all.

Source

That’s REAL TALK for me, too. I can’t ignore the reality that because of my skin color, I’ve never had to worry about such things. Because I am a woman and I am white, I don’t think twice about being racially-profiled. That’s a concept not in my personal vocabulary. But for the many children of color that walk through my school’s hallways each year, it IS a part of theirs. Even the sweet five-year-old hearts that enter Kindergarten, it’s already a reality for them.

And it breaks my heart.

I can’t seem to shake it. These are sons and daughters, people. I’m reminded of that scene in A Time to Kill, (a film that’s set in the 1980’s mind you) when the young lawyer is recounting the brutal rape of a young African American girl by two white men. The girl’s father shot and killed the two men and was now on trial for his life. The all-white jury sat with their eyes closed as he described it all in gruesome detail. The last sentence struck me and even sends me over the edge today…Jake Brigance says, “Can you see her? Her raped, beaten, broken body soaked in their urine, soaked in their semen, soaked in her blood, left to die. Can you see her? I want you to picture that little girl…”

“Now imagine she’s white…” He said this and their eyes were opened.

Student Body at Howard University

It’s time we open our eyes. Let’s open our eyes to our hidden biases. Let’s open our eyes to the reality that’s happening in our country today. Let’s open our eyes and ask ourselves why in 2014, we still have to ask people to imagine these children of God as “white” to make them FEEL something and move them to action and to change.

“…And until we can see each other as equals, justice is never going to be even-handed. It will remain nothing more than a reflection of our own prejudices.”

There’s the challenge. What would the response be if I tagged three people to respond and act on THAT injustice? I don’t know exactly what the call-to-action is from here or how to respond with more than words…but, maybe you could join me in examining our hearts as we acknowledge that all lives matter and have equal value.

Consider this girl tagged.


gratitude.

We can only be said to be alive in those moments when
our hearts are conscious of our treasures.
— Thornton Wilder

There are only two ways to live your life.
One is as though nothing is a miracle.

The other is as though everything is a miracle.
— Albert Einstein

Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed.
Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute
with love, grace and gratitude.
— Denis Waitley

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I’m tired of living in the land of want. I’m tired of constantly looking for the next best thing. I’m just tired.

Life is too short and WAY too important to waste on constantly chasing the things we don’t have. I’ve spent countless hours and tears longing for…um, possibly obsessing at times…for the kids I don’t have. After the Great Sadness of 2013, I found myself longing for realness – longing for presence.

I grew greatly convicted by my unsettled heart.

How many conversations had I been in only half-minded and half-listening? How many opportunities to bless my family & friends were simply missed or ignored? To say my mind and heart have been distracted and consumed would be a understatement.

This year, I want to be grateful. Grateful for the good, grateful for the hurt, grateful for the experiences and circumstances we have ahead of us because they are OURS. My friend, Jessie, put it best…

“Why be thankful for hard stuff? Hear me – because the Lord has been true and real and mighty through it all. I am not abandoned. I am not neglected or shamed or judged by Him. On the contrary, He has lifted me up, chosen me, protected me and performed miracles right before my eyes. His love is so extravagant over me that I am just humbled and bewildered by this grace so glorious.”

I agree with Jessie on so many levels and I, too, am not abandoned or neglected. My pursuit of living a grateful life is risky and won’t be void of disappointment. I know there will still be painful moments ahead, but I want to move forward. I want to wade in this river of thankfulness and appreciation every. single. day.

Exhale -> Release -> Lay Down -> Forgive -> Let Go -> Trust -> Submit -> Accept -> Laugh (a lot)

Rinse and Repeat Daily.