Monday, December 31

to reflect and prepare

I have been lazily and happily drifting in a post-holiday haze. Hubby is off work between Christmas and New Year's, and having him around all the time has given these days a lovely sort of out-of-time feel. We haven't been doing much, really, but making and drinking honey-lemon-ginger tea by the half-gallon and playing with Silas' new wooden stacking blocks. It's been great. How have you been?

I love using the time between Christmas and New Year to reflect on the year past, and to plan and prepare for the year ahead. Today I want to share with you a few of the resources I use to this purpose.

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Although it's only in its second year's iteration, I think I can safely declare that Susannah Conway's Unravelling 2013 workbook is my favorite of all time. She puts so much thought and effort in putting together a profound and beautiful tool for reviewing the year that's coming to a close, and creating a vision for the new year--and did I mention it's free? Susannah's book and e-course have rocked my world this year, and I've enjoyed the guidance of her sweet voice as it comes through these pages. I highly recommend you download it yourself.

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My favorite meditation teacher, Susan Piver, has, also for the second year, put together a great line-up of voices to ask seven question in seven days as part of the Week Of Inward Looking. Although I don't typically end up working with all of the questions offered, those that do strike a chord end up provoking some deep and illuminating refection. There is also some thoughtful discussion going on in the related Facebook group.

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I love Nikki McClure's art and get her calendar every year.

For the last few years, I have been choosing a word to guide and inspire my goals and efforts for 12 months. 2012's was expand, and judging from my expanding belly, it was an apt choice! I'll be sharing my word for 2013 in the first few days for the year, but in the meantime, let me point you to a few other accounts of choosing a word for the year. The practice originated with Ali Edwards, who runs a year-long course based on One Little Word. I've also enjoyed Liz Lamoreux's recent post on the topic.

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While you're sitting down to do all of this reflecting, visioning and scribbling, it's lovely to have a soothing warm beverage to keep you company. Here are recipes for the two that have been nourishing and warming us of late. Happy visioning! I'd love to hear what are your plans and intentions for the coming year.

Honey Lemon Ginger Tea
As I've said, we've been drinking the heck out of this tea. It's just the thing when your throat feels a little scratchy and you're looking for extra coziness in your tea. I've been making a batch nearly everyday, and keeping it in a big jar on the counter.

Boil 8 cups of water in a large pot. Remove from heat, and add one lemon, sliced; 2 sticks cinnamon; 10 quarter-sized slices of ginger; 1/3 cup honey. Let steep for 20 minutes. Strain and serve. 

Adapted from a recipe I found on Pinterest, and now cannot locate.

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Chai Tea Concentrate

Unlike many brands of chai mix, this one includes the sweetener and the milk. All you add is a mug of hot tea.


  • 1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg


Empty condensed milk into a jar or plastic container with tight-fitting lid. Stir in the sugar, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. Store in refrigerator.
To use: Brew a cup of strong black tea, such as Assam, then add two heaping teaspoons of concentrate or more to taste. Stir well until concentrate has fully melted.

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