When I headed to Portland late last summer, I wasn’t thinking about eating my way through the city. I was on my way to celebrate the 50th wedding anniversary of my college housemate, JulieAnn and her husband, Marlo. While I wasn’t envisioning dining out, I was thinking food. One of my assignments for the party was to bake cookies. Specifically, gluten-free cookies. I’ve been baking gluten-free for years as my daughter is celiac, my grandsons are gluten-sensitive, and I’m allergic to wheat. JulieAnn also has celiac. I arrived with a few tools of the trade and ready to make five different cookie recipes for the party.
Receiving the Award for Enterprise in Sustainable Development, Sent by Queen Elizabeth II, Delivered by the Lord Lieutenant
Serendipity. I love this upbeat, joyful word that heralds its meaning: “the occurrence and development of events in a happy or beneficial way.” It perfectly describes my friendship with Janet Sawyer. We met by chance when Janet threw a fundraiser featuring vanilla for her hamlet in Farringdon, Devon, in Southern England, and a close friend of hers ordered a case of my vanilla cookbooks for attendees. At the time, Janet had no thoughts of opening a vanilla company. But that’s what ultimately happened. Less than a decade later, Janet experienced the ultimate in serendipity: Her business, LittlePod, was honored by Queen Elizabeth II with the Award for Enterprise in Sustainable Development, the highest honor bestowed on a business in the UK! Up to 200 companies are honored each year, but nearly all are well known, large, established businesses. Janet’s business acumen and creative marketing put her company, LittlePod, on the Queen’s radar a couple of years ago, but she never imagined that they would receive such a prestigious award.
Each late December the media rehashes the year’s breaking stories and we all tend to reflect on how we fared. This year, no one’s disputing that it has been a tumultuous and wild ride, not just here in America, but around the world. And as we say goodbye to the last decade, most of us are licking our wounds and crossing our fingers that the new year will somehow bring redemption, including a stronger economy and happier, more hopeful stories.
The end of a year, and especially, the end of a decade, deserves our attention. However, as this year draws to a close, there is nothing but uncertainty lying ahead of us. Will the dreadful economy shift? Will the wars end? What about a sense of security? How can we bear so much uncertainty?
The only thing that makes life possible is permanent, intolerable uncertainty; not knowing what comes next. — Ursula LeGuin