Happy New Year and Welcome 2015!
As we move more deeply into winter in the Northern Hemisphere I enjoy setting aside some time to reflect on what inspired me the last year and how this inspiration can be a catalyst for change and opportunities in the coming year. There were a lot of inspiring moments for me in 2014 but five stand out as exceptional.
Serena Rain Joined The Vanilla Company
We’re delighted that Serena became part of our team in May. She manages our social media marketing, handles our public relations and whips up new recipes and photos for our recipe section. I have been excited by her fresh ideas and the insights she brings to the business. We are now on Pinterest, new recipes are posted every few days on Facebook, Google + and Twitter and she believes in and supports our mission of focusing greater awareness about the value of pure vanilla.
I love that The Vanilla Company is now a full-fledged family business!
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
When I think of Easter, childhood memories float to the surface. Always a new outfit and hat, morning services at a local church, a family party either at our home or that of family friends, and baskets filled with chocolate treats, dreadful candy eggs in bright pastels, jelly beans and very cool Cadbury eggs with the yellow “yolk” centers.
One year I received a perfect little duckling from my grandmother. I loved it as it looked exactly like a real duckling. I made it a little home, complete with a water dish and played with it for a very long time. It never occurred to me that it had actually once been a duckling somewhere, sacrificed to be used as a child’s Easter toy.
New year, new possibilities. Woo-hoo! So many days stretching into the distance like a long, white beach begging to be explored.
Each year the media reminds us that we have yet another chance to start on a fresh page, whether it’s the diet or exercise that will transform our bodies or the best ways to reorganize our homes and lives.
What’s not to like about that? Anything’s possible – at least for the first few weeks.
But habits run deep and long-term change means true dedication, not easy in our modern, activity-filled lives.
My life is very intertwined with the beginning of each year, in large part, because my birthday falls exactly two weeks after the year begins so I have two clean pages in front of me. For as long as I can remember, I have used the waning weeks of the old year and the beginning of the new to take stock of my life, to consider the last year – what I learned, how I made use of opportunities or blew it because I didn’t, what things really matter, what to let go of and what to incorporate as I continue my journey on our beautiful blue planet.
Remember when you were a kid and you wondered when you’d be grown up and what it would be like? And have you noticed that since becoming a grownup you haven’t figured out if you are really grown up, or even if you’re one of the big kids?
Apparently this never changes. I mean, let’s face it, when you’re pushing 70 you’re a grownup. But having been the youngest and smallest in my class, and having always aspired to be a teenager, or an adult with a cool job or someone who has done something really important, I apparently haven’t quite grasped that I’m one of the big girls after all.
As a result, when I was invited to join Les Dames, I had the feeling of, Wow! I get to be with women who have really done something special!
With that in mind, you can imagine my shock and surprise to learn that the San Francisco chapter had voted me in as their first and only Living Legend. It wasn’t until I needed to write a biographical sketch about my work with vanilla and farmers that I realized that maybe I actually had done a few things and that a few of those things had made a difference.
As much as I hate letting go of the Christmas tree with its sweet lights and woodsy smell, when the holidays end, it is definitely time for turkey soup. Okay, maybe you didn’t have turkey for the holidays, but we did, and I made turkey soup yesterday with all the tasty last bits of leftovers, lots of veggies and nice meaty chunks of turkey. It filled the house with its steamy fragrance as I reluctantly removed the ornaments and lights of the holiday tree.