one last glance.

Christmas swept me up again. Yep, that's part of the tradition, and I think you know what I mean.

I took it all in. I don't know of many other days that have me buzzing for a solid month before the Big Event, year after year. But with the close of this day, as Christmas whistles out my door, and usually, right about now, I'm feeling just a little blue. It makes me sad, the coming down. I've never understood it, but I remember feeling it even as a kid. This year, I'm content. And isn't it funny how clear that blue looks when you view it from a distance?

This year we did things differently.

We opened our hearts on the 24th. We waded around in the mess like always and our love burned bright for our family, more whole than last year. On Christmas Day, we just gave.

Well, that's not exactly true.

Let me try again, on Christmas Day, I didn't just tear paper from a box, but I received an armful of joy, a basket of contentment and a heart full of grace. I gave. And in giving, I got. It's a cliche, I know, but cliches are born from truth.

I set that day aside, and I don't imagine myself ever going back to the way things used to be.

All throughout the Day, and in the days since, my mind drifted to my dad. I've always known that I'm strong, but I think I surprise even myself with just how strong. In the midst of heartbreak, I am rejoicing. I'm begging for a pure heart and a clear perspective. I'm listening for the words that bring me to my knees.

He felt too far away. He felt so close. So I prayed.

I pray.

I thought of him while I hugged my momma.

The hoopla was a prelude to our party, you'd better believe it. It was fun and relaxing and I wouldn't have it any other way. But I've gotta tell you,  I've never known the kind of Christmas that lets me hold the unsteady hand of a stranger and carries that feeling off into the night.

This year, my soul felt the full weight of love.

So, there's nothing bluesy about me right now. I'm ready for the fresh start of the New Year. I'm excited for whatever comes next. I'm wearing my new slippers and my heart has never been warmer.

It's all so, so good. It's that time of year again.
I'm looking out into a night sky that spans an entire year. Even better, I'm looking out at two. One behind me, one before me. Here I sit, on my couch, still in my pajamas, and I might as well be perched on a high-wire. I'm precisely suspended between reflections and dreams. It's amazing to me how with one tick of the clock, everything feels brand new, full of possibility, ripe with second chances.

I just returned from a trip down memory lane, one last glance, via my archives. I laughed a sympathetic laugh for that girl, the one doing her dangdest to love the bleak month of January. So help me Hannah, if I could do it last year, I can surely do it again.

  I thought of my word over and over again as I spent my days carving out space for the everyday, adding all the extras to the mix. I believed last year and I believe tonight that things don't just happen because you'd like them to. Sometimes a whole lot of effort is required.

On the flip-side, I have seen from the comfort of the very front row that all of the good intentions in the world amount to nothing when life has something different in mind. I have no idea what 2014 might hold. It would be pointless to guess. I know that there are things on my mind, some silly and some grand. But, hand to heart, I do have some plans up my sleeve and I am charmed and exhilarated by the stretch of white lined up long and clean before me, begging for the touch of a brush.

We've got a fresh start on our hands, Baby. Like a brand new journal, the spine unbroken, the pages smooth and blank. waiting.

Thanks 2013, you were swell.

Here's to 2014 my friends, let's rock it, !!!



1 1/2 ounces bourbon ( It is recommend that you use a bourbon that's on the spicier side, such as Buffalo Trace, Four Roses or Russell's Reserve.)
1 ounce sweet vermouth
1 ounce Campari
Twist of lemon peel, for garnish
Fill a mixing glass halfway with ice. Add the bourbon, sweet vermouth and Campari. Stir vigorously for 30 seconds, then strain into a cocktail (martini) glass. Garnish with the twist of lemon peel.

Gramercy Tavern Bar Nuts

Makes 3½ cups

4 tablespoons dark brown sugar
½ tablespoon kosher salt
1 ¾ teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (these are spicy…use less if you prefer)
¾ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons water
1 ½ teaspoons light corn syrup
3½ cups roasted, unsalted nuts (any combination of cashews, pecans, and almonds)

1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Mix all ingredients except for nuts in a medium bowl. Add nuts and toss with spice mixture until evenly coated. Bake for 35 – 40 minutes, stirring once halfway. When nuts are done, the cashews will be a shade more golden than they started. Stir nuts with spatula, then carefully slide or lift parchment and nuts off hot baking sheet onto countertop and let cool completely. Break up nuts with your hands. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dark place for up to one week.


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