2013 – A Year in Review

Now that 2013 is almost done and gone, I find myself reflecting on what has been quite a year. There were unexpected changes, exciting ventures, heartfelt moments, pleasant surprises, funky pursuits and important successes.

While the entire year has indeed proved interesting, it’s the last six months that have really made 2013 so incredible.

I attended a 72 hour permaculture design course, enrolled in culinary school, ventured out of my neighborhood to see a few other parts of Florida, created my first permaculture garden (three hugles and counting), made some wonderful new and dear friends, read many books, learned to cook a few vegan recipes well, finished fixing things up around my house finally, had the pleasure of a visit from some out-of-town friends, did a lot of volunteer work, assisted a professional photographer on photo shoots, stayed diligent with my three days a week cross fit work outs, became a vegan mentor, conquered the art of baking bread, started writing regularly in my blog, began playing my guitar again, and I have gone out and been social on a regular basis.

It’s amazing what can happen in six months time.

The most unconventional thing I’ve embraced is, I ditched store-bought shampoos, conditioners and other hair care products and substituted these with baking soda (shampoo) and apple cider vinegar (conditioner). All I have to say about this is, I wished I had done this years ago. I’ll post the recipes for these soon.

The coolest thing I did was attend the permaculture design course. I got a lot more out of this class than expected, and I could not have anticipated how much I would learn about permaculture, life, people, giving, generosity and friendship.

The most heart-felt was Christmas with my dearest friends. There was something really wonderful about our day together. It was one of those days where I was filled with love, joy, happiness, calm and peace for the entire day, from the moment I got up.  These feelings even lasted well into the next day.  The day will be etched in my mind forever, and is by far the best Christmas I’ve ever experienced.

The most rewarding experience was being a vegan mentor. By chance I met someone who was in a similar situation that I was in not long ago – health wise, and after much encouragement I was instrumental in getting this person to embrace a vegan diet to see if this change would make any difference for the better. I’m sure no one will be surprised when I say, it sure did! It’s not that I’m patting myself on the back for my efforts. That’s not at all why this was my most rewarding experience. What made this so incredible was that yet another person learned that by changing diet alone, many health problems can be solved. More than most may think. As a result of that change, this person was able to start living again, enjoying old and new hobbies, friends and family with minimal pain. And as a bonus, I have a new friend with whom I can share stories, frustrations, successes and recipes.

2013 was filled with countless epiphanies, both spiritual and intellectual. I’ve had so many that I quit counting months ago. I feel fortunate that for reasons I do not yet understand, the growth spurts I’ve experienced have been often and extreme. With each new discovery, each new realization, peace and calm become greater in me and the vices I used to use to accomplish a false semblance of these are needed no more. Inner quiet is abundant even in the most trying of circumstances.

These last few months have been so fulfilling, so much fun, that I can’t imagine what next year is going to be like.  I have made a list of things I want to do, but I can’t really call these resolutions.  They’re just extensions of life I haven’t ventured into yet, and I’m going to make room for them next year.  In making my 2014 list of things to do, it goes without saying that everything I have begun in 2013 should also continue into 2014 and beyond.

  1. Make ginger ale from scratch
  2. Make root beer from scratch
  3. Make and keep a sour dough rye culture going
  4. Make kombucha
  5. Make my own toothpaste
  6. Make at least four very good restaurant quality raw, vegan dishes
  7. Finish a particular book I’ve been reading (challenging, to say the least)
  8. Convert my entire yard to a permaculture food forest
  9. Make a cob oven at home
  10. Make a rocket mass stove at home
  11. Make cute, artsy signs for the plants in my garden
  12. Make at least four new really excellent vegan sandwiches
  13. Make at least four new really excellent drinks, preferably with ingredients from plants from my garden
  14. Learn twenty new songs on my guitar
  15. Post on average, one post per week on my blog
  16. Make a large solar oven (from maybe an old BBQ grill)
  17. Have a fall harvest party where everything we eat comes from my garden – even if it’s only appetizers
  18. Create a permaculture vertical garden
  19. Take seeds or cuttings from all the foods I eat, and either plant them or save them
  20. Introduce permaculture to my neighbors and offer to start gardens for them
  21. As an art project, see if I can use a fresnel lens to melt some beach sand and see if I end up with a pretty glass sculpture (even if I don’t get interesting glass sculptures, this is going to be wicked fun)

I have been saving a bottle of the best beer I’ve ever had (Southern Tier Crème brûlée Stout) for new years, and 2013 will end in the company of great friends, fabulous beer, and with excitement and anticipation of the coming year.  2014 will begin with the Polar Plunge (9:00 am, South side of the pier) followed by some really hot tea.

To everyone and all, HAPPY NEW YEAR!  May next year be everything you hope it to be.


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