Traditionally, this time of year kicks me in the seat of my pants. It's the homestretch of the year, where the big stuff happens. I wait for it all year long. I cook the seasonal dishes, serve some of my favorite clients, meet deadlines, crunch budgets, open up my home to treat my loved ones for some holiday cheer, and I am rewarded by going home to my Mom, Dad, and Sister in Joplin, MO. But this year my calendar is not messing around. I took on extra weekly clients and have upped my responsibility with other families for whom I provide food. Luckily, a steady stream of voice over work has kept me in the studio nearly every other day this month and on my feet in the kitchen nearly every day as well. Gratefully egg-zosted!
I knew this would happen. All year long I have been pushing my own boundaries, expanding when it would have been easier to contract, and saying yes to things when I knew I would be stretching myself to meet expectations. There’s a saying: We must push the walls to see how big the room can get. Well I’m interested in expanding my boundaries, but by pushing the walls of my 2015, November and December seemed like they were closing in on me. I knew I needed some reinforcement.
I ran away from New York City the week before the homestretch of my year began. I ran straight into the arms of some dear souls in Dallas, Texas. I knew I could recharge and hook into my truest self by soaking in the love of old friends. I’m sure you have the one person on the planet that you can do nothing with and it is the greatest activity in the world. That person for me is my friend Stephanie. And by nothing, I mean we drank enormous amounts of wine, watched a lot of TV, and giggled ourselves silly. The kind of nothing that carves out space for accomplishing big things. Steph is one of my hometown bests and is like getting a recharge of the midwest via the big D. She reminds me who I am. Oh and no one makes me laugh like Stephanie. No one.
My other dear one in Dallas is a light that I met 15 years ago while she still lived in New York City. I couldn’t be more outwardly different from someone than my friend Susan, but I swear our insides are twins. Talk about pushing the walls to see how big the room can get, this lady is a force! (With very big rooms.) You know why I love this one so much? Because when I tell her how busy I am she sends wisdom like this:
May we both survive our schedules, ourselves, our striving and our doing. May we rest in knowing we are enough and find peace in small & unexpected moments. May we be a blessing to others as we serve them in love. May we deepen our awareness of & gratitude for our own blessings. May we be filled to overflowing with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness & self control. So when we're bumped or pushed these are the things that spill out onto others. Amen.
I mean, come on! When I think I’ve made the right choice, when I think I’ve given my all, or when I think about giving up, I ask myself, “What would Susan do?” When faced with that question, I up my game every single time.
So as I am smack dab in the middle of my homestretch and feeling stretched and longing for home, I think of these two ladies that filled me up, charged my battery and reminded me who I want to be as 2015 comes to a close. Who can you connect with today that will give you the strength you need to get to the end of the year? Do it!
As you celebrate Thanksgiving with loved ones this week and gear up for the circus of December, I’ll echo Susan’s prayer. May we be filled to overflowing with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness & self control. So when we're bumped or pushed these are the things that spill out onto others. This is my wish for all of you.
And after the big feast is over on Thursday and you can’t make one more turkey sandwich, make fondue! Stephanie and I had an absolute ball dipping bread in some boozy cheese.
- 1 garlic clove, halved crosswise
- 1 1/2 cups dry white wine
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 2 teaspoons kirsch (optional)
- 1/2 pound Emmental cheese, coarsely grated (2 cups)
- 1/2 pound Gruyère, coarsely grated (2 cups)
- Rub inside of a 4-quart heavy pot with cut sides of garlic, then discard garlic. Add wine to pot and bring just to a simmer over moderate heat.
- Stir together cornstarch and kirsch (if using; otherwise, use water or wine) in a cup.
- Gradually add cheese to pot and cook, stirring constantly in a zigzag pattern (not a circular motion) to prevent cheese from balling up, until cheese is just melted and creamy (do not let boil). Stir cornstarch mixture again and stir into fondue. Bring fondue to a simmer and cook, stirring, until thickened, 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer to fondue pot set over a flame.
- Serve with cubes of French bread.