Advent: A Time to Reflect
Happy Monday everybody! I hope you all had amazing an Thanksgiving with your family and friends. We had a wonderful celebration around the yellow table this year, with a collection of new and old friends. I made a commitment to myself not to kill myself with the meal, given all the shipping I've been doing leading up to the holiday!, so I made the turkey and a few sides, and everyone else brought all the rest. It was blissfully low key, and as always, fun to go around the table and share what we're thankful for. I have SO much to be thankful for this year, but as my turn came to share, the word that came to mind was community. It's been incredible over the course of a year to see the community – both online and offline – that has rallied around me to make this cookbook a reality. And it's been so fun over the past week to watch (via Instagram) many of you receiving your cookbooks – and already cooking from them! (True confession: I am constantly checking #theyellowtablecookbook to see who else has posted a picture of their book. It feels like Christmas everyday!)
And now, it's December. This year has been such a whirlwind, I sort of feel like I have whiplash. It's been the most exhilerating year of my life, but by far the most exhausting. Last week, after throwing a Kickstarter Open House, shipping out another 150 or so orders from my apartment, and hosting Thanksgiving, I felt ready to collapse. Even though all of these are wonderful things (selling books, cooking and hosting events, and seeing friends), the past month has been so nonstop that I just hadn't taken a second to breathe. I've been going and going, without taking any time to replenish myself. (Know the feeling?) By Friday, I felt like a dishrag that had been squeezed dry: exhausted, emotionally numb, and right on the verge of getting sick.
Fortunately, I listened to my body and said: Enough! After cleaning up the apartment from the Thanksgiving festitivies (and doing a massive clean-out of our bedroom which was piled so high with laundry I could barely walk), I spent the rest of the weekend relaxing. Sunday was truly the perfect day: yoga, followed by my favorite trio of croissant, coffee, and the New York Times, then a date afternoon with Brandon: a matinee movie at the Angelika, a long walk to church, and then sushi for dinner. I'm sad to say it's been months since I've had a day like that, and it felt so good to spend time NOT working!! To do things for fun. To reconnect with B. To journal and to reflect. And today, I feel like a new person. Ready to tackle the do-do list, instead of feeling crushed by the thought of it. Amazing how rest can help you regain perspective.
But I've made a decision for the month of December. Rather than getting sucked into the insanity that can be the holidays, I'm taking a step back. I want to actually experience the Advent season for what it's meant to be: a period of waiting. Of hope and expectancy. Rather than focusing on doing – as I've been doing all year – I want to take a some time just to be. To let God's goodness sink in, to truly take time to be thankful, and to be reminded that my identity isn't at all based on what I do – but rather to whom I belong.
The question everyone asks me these days is: "What's next?" My answer? I have no idea. I just birthed a book baby, and I need time to process that reality! But I'm pretty sure that by giving myself space to breathe, to think, and to soak in all the wonder that is the Christmas season, I'll know the answer come January. And in the meantime, I'm making this wintry kale salad alot. It's nourishing, and super simple: hearty red kale and green kale, chopped and mixed together, ribbons of carrots, thinly sliced radicchio, and shaved Parmesan, all tossed with freshly squeezed lemon juice and extra-virgin olive oil. I can't get enough of this salad, and it feels especially appropriate amidst the decadence of holiday entertaining. Pretty sure this is going to be my go-to lunch and dinner for the next month (in between piles of holiday cookies and bacon-wrapped dates, of course!). Enjoy!
(Photos by Olivia Funk)[recipe:best-winter-kale-salad-carrots-parmesan-recipe]