Like Tap, our chocolate Lab, I've been thinking deep thoughts. Doesn't he look like king of all he surveys.

In the cold, dark days of winter….

Good morning friends. It’s 18F degrees outside, but in my log cabin, all is cozy and warm. I hope that all of you are doing well in this brand new year. By the way, doesn’t Tap look like king of all he surveys? I caught him gazing off in the distance yesterday.

My family is changing again. With children, it seems that the teens and twenties are all about rapid life changes. Getting driver’s licenses; moving out; going to college; moving back in again–you get the picture. Bear–I still protect her name on the blog as she’s not yet grown–is now driving with me as her navigator every morning on the way to school. She must travel a long way in morning traffic, and we want her fully ready for this big step when she turns sixteen in the spring.

The children, Ashley, Megan, Brennan and Bear.

The children, Ashley, Megan, Bear and Brennan.

Can you believe Bear will be sixteen? Remember when I wrote about her turning nine? I started writing this little blog in October 2007, and I had young children. How did they grow so old while I remain so young? Brennan is twenty, and Megan is twenty-one. She’ll be twenty-two in a month of Sundays. For our family, the Christmas season and their birthdays that domino 1, 2, 3 are the busiest times of my year. I won’t reveal Ashley’s age because she’s a grown woman, and a woman should have a bit of mystery.

Bear rides a bull in the stockyards at Ft. Worth in 2007

Bear rides a bull in the stockyards at Ft. Worth in 2007

When Bear drives, things will again change dramatically for me. Just thinking about it, my eyes fill with tears. Some life changes are harder than others. I don’t really want Bear to grow up, but I know she must, and one day, I will need to let her go. Driving is the beginning.

Bear sliding on the ice and snow. She loved the snow more than anyone else in this family, but fell out of love when she went skiing with friends.

Bear sliding on the ice and snow. She loved the snow more than anyone else in this family, but fell out of love when she went skiing with friends.

I’m not sure I’m ready, but, ready or not, time marches on.

Like everyone, after Christmas is packed away, I make a few resolutions. I don’t like to call them New Year’s resolutions, because I try to make changes throughout the year. This year, my mind is full of health and garden resolutions–imagine that! After all, if you aren’t healthy, you can’t garden. Thanks to Leslie at Growing a Garden in Davis for sharing this article with me.

Signing books at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show.

Signing books at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show.

1. I declare 2015 the year of taking care of me: physically, mentally and spiritually. Last year, writing and promoting a book took more out of me than I expected. Writers are introverts, and although I don’t look like one in public, I definitely recharge when I’m alone reading, working outside and cooking. Since last July when I noticed Helen from Toronto Gardens wearing a FitBit, I’ve been walking 10,000 steps a day, five days a week on most weeks. The end of December made that hard, but I am back on the treadmill and elliptical again. I’m also taking better care of my skin. I have such dry skin, and eczema makes me miserable in winter. I found Tammy, who is an esthetician on YouTube, and she’s educated me on skin care. You may think that’s frivolous, but it’s all part of my plan to take better care of myself.

As another part of this “taking care of me” regimen, I am really taking time to think before I say yes to a project, writing or otherwise. I said yes to too many things in 2014. It took all of December just to decompress. I am also eating better, but not dieting. I am sick and tired of dieting, something I’ve done since I was twelve. I will just keep exercising and taking care to eat only those things I really love. I find I love sugar and most carbohydrates less and less. Chips, however, remain my kryptonite.

Blooms are fairly sparse in my fall garden.

I want to garden more this year, not less.

2. I will garden more. I mean this. I miss the soil. Because of my schedule, I didn’t get to do as much gardening as I wanted last year. Always playing chore catch up isn’t fun and doesn’t inspire. Like all creative pursuits, writing takes a lot of mental and emotional energy. I need gardening to maintain my writer’s voice and rosy outlook.

The garden is chaos in summer. I need help.

The garden is chaos in summer. I need help.

3. I will continue to get help in the garden and not feel guilty. Having Kari from Tender Hands Gardening help me last year was a God send. She’s promised to work me into her very busy schedule this year. Having help for the harder projects made gardening fun again. I also made a new friend.

4. I will make a point to see my friends more. I had a lunch date with a close friend this week, who I haven’t seen in two years. I am going to start making lunch dates every other week if possible. I’m also trying to see Non-gardening Best Friend, Aimee, at least once a month for coffee. Everyone is busy, but dear friends, life is passing us by minute-by-minute.

In connection with all of the above resolutions, I went to a class today with the Oklahoma Women Bloggers at Natural Grocers. It was very interesting. I was truly impressed by their business and public education models. More on that later. Find your friends, those people who make you happy, and work to keep them. Good friends really are silver and gold.

5. I will keep reading works that make me think, and those that give my heart wings. I’ve been reading up on aromatherapy. I love Young Living essential oils, and I find they make my family happy too. We haven’t burned paraffin candles since we found out they may be detrimental to our health. Instead, we diffuse oils, or burn soy candles. I find I like essential oil blends more than I thought I would.

I’ve also stopped being on the computer as much. I’ve made a point not to be on it most nights because I want to spend time with my family. Instead, we have reading nights. I found I wasn’t reading novels very often so I’m back doing that too. If you want to know what I’m reading, I have a page on Goodreads. My current interests are gardening, cooking (especially paleo), essential oils, along with novels and memoirs. I read a broad range of the latter two.

Another reason to get off the computer is to rest my eyes. I have dry eye problems, and staring at the screen doesn’t help.

Now, those are my current resolutions. What are you doing differently in the new year?

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55 comments on “In the cold, dark days of winter….

  1. patricksgarden1

    Oh my dear Dee,
    So glad you’re trying to lead a deeper, richer and more fulfilled life. Must say was looking at some older posts when you were a regular commentator and I do miss you but understand you are pulled in so many directions that I can’t hold on to the past. So good luck in meeting your ‘resolutions this year, my dear.

  2. [email protected]

    I can’t remember a time when I felt more need for change. In a nutshell, I want to simplify everything and refocus my attentions on what I know to be important. I want to be kinder, more loving and more patient. Good luck with your own resolutions Dee.

  3. Katie @Dishin & Dishes

    I’ve had many of the same reflections of late. After a couple of years of trying so hard to do so much social media and busy body stuff, writing a book and my TV stuff, I didn’t take a complete break, but cut way back. I am finding my times with my family have more quality, as I am less distracted. Those times are so sweet. You have such a short time with kids at home. Since mine have moved out this past month, I still find I want the quality…more reading, less internet. It is making me a more peaceful person! I think the them this year for me will be relationships.

  4. bikegarden

    I like your idea of getting off the internet at night and reading instead. I started to find I was reading less and less a while back, and have only recently–get this–switched to actual books at night (as a opposed to my e-reader), mostly because of the studies that show the blue light from e-readers disrupt sleep. I can’t tell a difference one way or another, to be honest, but holding a book makes me feel nostalgic now. 😉

  5. Julie @ Garden Delights

    Oh Dee, how I feel for you and with you. I started my blog when Mikey was 4, and I can’t believe how our children dare to keep growing! Sometimes, I worry that I’m babying him too much, since he IS my baby. In fact, he’s told me that while it’s OK for me to call him Mikey at home, he is now Michael in public. And Kristen has turned from my chicken chasing, tree climbing tom boy to this brilliant young lady–although, she’s still a horse obsessed, tree climbing young lady now (who creates more dirty laundry than either of the boys.) The biggest ache–in a good way–was watching our oldest marry last spring. My first born now loves someone more than me–how can that be? I love your resolutions, and I’m embracing many of the same. I’ve been so slack about taking care of myself that I’m ashamed. Here’s to growing on, not growing old, right?! Happy New Year to you!

    1. Dee Nash

      Dear Julie, she doesn’t love him more than you, just differently, and that’s okay. You’ll always be their mother, and we love our mothers more than anyone in so many ways. Much love to you as your children grow up too. You’ve done a wonderful job.

  6. Kathryn

    I am completely jealous of your garden! I keep telling myself I’ll do that this year but my son is two and my daughter is 5 months. I’m pretty sure I won’t have the time. I’m also going to borrow your idea about thinking about something before saying yes. I tend to say yes right away but then I don’t have time for anything. Like gardening!

    1. Dee Nash

      Oh Kathryn, I heard myself in your words. I remember when mine were little, and I thought I’d never get a second to do anything. My gardens were dismal, but I still grew things to eat. Do learn to say no and as my friend, Helen, said below, don’t feel guilty about it. Not one bit. I hope you work in a little gardening time this spring.

  7. brendakula

    I now garden via patio. But it’s what I can handle now, and I love it. Apartment patio gardening, with a large fenced in patio and concrete. I have found you can make a beautiful garden in containers!
    Brenda

    1. Dee Nash

      Indeed you can Brenda! That’s why I started my gardening book with containers. It’s pretty much how I started gardening. I know it can be a beautiful garden. Yours is because you made it.

  8. commonweeder

    Your resolutions are thought provoking. I don’t make official resolutions, but as I grow older I find my self with more frequent reminders to be more mindful whether I’m in the garden, in the kitchen or with a group of family and friends. I want to pay attention!

    1. Dee

      Me too Pat. I’m beginning to realize that one day it will all be gone. Well, actually, I’ll be gone, but you know what I mean. I need to take everyday as a gift. The sunshine today definitely helped.

  9. Kathy Sturr

    Wonderful resolutions! I, too, have been focusing on my health (chips are also my weakness). You have given me more to focus upon – especially friends. I’ve been ignoring mine for too long! And I, too, want to garden more – in MY garden. Thank you. I wish you well in all your journeys.

    1. Dee

      Thank you so much Kathy. I think I was taking my friends for granted. I’m trying very hard not to do that now.

      1. Kathy Sturr

        We’ve moved around so much that most of my friends are far away. But with our last move, most are only an hour away and I need to make more of an effort to get together with them. I don’t make friends – true friends – easily so I could really use some quality time with those old friends of mine. Again, I have to thank you!

        1. Dee Nash

          Hi Kathy, it’s very hard to make friends when you move around a lot. Call those old friends and have a chat. There’s no time like the present. Also, your sweet comment was in my spam folder. I’m glad I found it.~~Dee

  10. Lydia Plunk

    Blessings to you. I want my friends to take care of themselves so we can all spend more time in the garden, creating art, reading and writing. But what I want most of all is for a niece, who is very ill, to hear her laugh again. Cry again. Really- any sound will do.

    1. Dee

      Oh Lydia, your comment breaks my heart. If you see this, could you comment or message me her name? I would like to add her to my prayers. Thank you, and bless you too.

  11. Karin/Southern Meadows

    Hi Dee…we are on similar paths this year. I just wrote a blog post outlining the same things for my new year’s resolution. 2014 was exhausting and I too lacked time in the garden and doing the things that energize me. We are just getting into E.O. and I am looking forward to exploring how we can incorporate them into our home and routine. I wish you all the best on your journey this year!

    1. Dee Nash

      Thank you Karin and same to you!

  12. Les

    I wish you the best with your resolutions. They are ones we could all follow. One of mine is to try and keep my patience when it comes to my 17 year old son. We are having a very trying year, probably due to some sort of karmic retribution from how I treated my own parents at his age. I tell myself that in a few years he will probably be more human, and loving him will be easier.

    1. Dee

      Aaah Les, I, too, have had a seventeen-year-old son. They are extremely trying. I can say that at twenty, I see real growth in our relationship. Nothing is perfect, but he communicates more, and I try to listen more without judgment. It isn’t easy for either of us, but worth it, I think. You both hang in there. I bet he’s a senior in high school. Nothing like senioritis to challenge parents.

  13. Pam's English Garden

    I didn’t make any resolutions this year, Dee, but love yours. In particular #4 resonated with me.The years are passing so.o.o fast, and as you say, “Good friends really are silver and gold.” You have a very handsome family! Happy 2015! P. x

    1. Dee

      Thanks Pam! Thanks also for being my internet friend.

  14. Anonymous

    I didn’t make resolutions, Dee, but love yours. In particular #4 resonated with me. The years are passing so.o.o fast, and as you say “Good friends really are silver and gold.” You have a very handsome family! Happy 2015! P. x

  15. Jennie Brooks

    Dee, it seems like ages since I’ve slowed down long enough to read a whole blog (which is why I seldom finish a book). The more I have to do and keep up with, the more my attention span suffers. I too am going to try and make better use of my time this year. I have agreed to be on the Bishop’s Committee at church. I’m glad to be asked bc after considering it, I feel it’s time to give back to the church that raised me. And the food pantry in our community is in great need of donations so I am planning to grow more produce this year. I think yard long green beans are a good choice. They’re easy and most people like them. I think I’ll put trellis’s on the west side of my beds so that in the hottest part of summer the other plants will be protected from the scalding afternoon sun. Let me know your thoughts on this, please. If I could find a way, I would do nothing but hike, bird, garden and love on my family, friends and others that I meet along the way. I’ve also started a journal and so far only missed one day. So, more giving, which equals more happiness for me and others. And so far I’ve been bringing my lunch to work bc it is SO DANG EXPENSIVE to eat out every day. I love catching up with friends over lunch but there may be less of that in my future. And I see I’ve said plenty! ta ta, my friend. hope to see you soon.

    1. Dee

      Loved reading this Jennie! Yes, giving back to one’s church is a wonderful thing. Take it one step at a time though. I’ve seen a lot of burnout over the years. I think your trellis idea is a good one. You might also be able to angle shade cloth with a trellis and the top of the raised beds if the summer is especially bad. Hugs!

  16. Valerie Ratliff

    I’m so glad I came across your blog. I found it one time a year ago and couldn’t figure out how to get back to you. Last night I was playing around on the computer and remembered Red Dirt and I googled you and there you were. I’m Valerie I live in Oklahoma too and am a blogger over at Cottage Making Mommy http://www.lovingmyheartandhome.blogspot.com I’m so glad to see someone else trying to grow stuff in our red dirt and blogging about it. It’s nice to meet you. I’m following you now and will be back often. Thanks for the info on the Oklahoma Women Bloggers too. I joined. Glad to connect. I’m so sick of this Winter and can’t wait to get my hands in the dirt sooner vs later.

    1. Dee

      Hi Valerie, I’m so glad you found me again! If you want to subscribe (if you haven’t already), the form is in the left-hand sidebar at the top. It is great to connect, and the Oklahoma Women Bloggers are a great group. I’m sick of winter too. The cloudy days are killing me. So glad to see the sunshine today. Happy New Year!~~Dee

  17. Robin Ruff Leja

    You are making me feel quite guilty for not implementing any changes in my life this year. But we just held our big wine party last night, and it consumed my life for the last few weeks as I prepared for it. I promise that I will do better now that it’s over with, and give some deep thoughts to areas that need improving. Happy New Year!

    1. Dee

      Oh Robin, please don’t feel guilty. It was just a list of what I’ve been pondering these last few weeks. Happy New Year to you too. A wine party? Awesome.

  18. Gardener on Sherlock Street

    I think all your ‘resolutions’ sound great. Good for you on the Fitbit. I’ve had one for a year now and love it. I really get in the steps during gardening season. My December was low, low too. A warmer day today let me slip in a little walk and it really helped. Looking forward to seeing you in your garden more this year.

    1. Dee

      I can’t wait to garden more this year GSS. I kid you not.

    1. Dee

      We’ll do it together Kathy. 😉

  19. Kathryn/plantwhateverbringsyoujoy

    Hi, Dee, I love that pic of your dog. I’d like to know more about your dog, too. 🙂 Such a good soul, it seems. ~ I’m glad you’ve articulated good ways to love and care for yourself. Here’s a tip on the “chips” thing. I found I naturally gave stuff up by simply observing what I was “still eating” without judging. Then certain things would fall by the wayside. Chips was one of them. Then turkey and I only eat chicken in the winter when I can’t get salmon and fresh fish. Commercial cookies was another. Cakes don’t come into my house except on birthdays. I make cookies, but I freeze them and eat them gradually or give them away or mail to my daughter. 🙂 It sounds like you are already on that path, saying you simply crave carbs less. Organic choices, that come out of a natural evolution are the ones that last.

    1. Dee

      Kathryn, well, he’s a good dog, although we all maintain that he is the silliest Labrador we’ve ever owned. I purposely took the photo because he is never still and never thoughtful. He is about three so he’s coming out of his puppyhood. He does have a good heart, and he loves us unconditionally, so he is a great boy. Our other dog, Maddie, is much smarter though. She is scary smart. Don’t tell Tap I said that though.

      As for the food, I don’t eat commercial cookies ever. The gluten free thing cured me of that. I did make some delicious cookies yesterday that were very healthy and gluten free–grain free in fact. Commercial #glutenfree cookies are terrible. Just terrible. We don’t do cakes either except on a birthday or maybe, at Christmas. We have two favorites that we make over and over. As for chips, maybe I don’t want to give them up yet. I don’t know.

  20. Marian St.Clair

    Sometimes I don’t think no is in our vocabulary. We mean to say no but then we don’t. Seems I’m always over a barrel, too, and health and happiness take time more than anything else. Good luck to you Dee; you’ve formulated a good plan and I know you’ll make it happen.

    1. Dee

      Thank you Marian. I think, as women, we try to be accommodating and then, sometimes, we overextend ourselves. I know I did last year. Not in 2015 although I am giving several talks.

  21. indygardener

    I think those are wonderful goal/resolutions/directions, whatever you want to call them. I’m working on more exercise, more gardening, and being more purposeful about how I spend my time. Too often, hours go by with me watching TV and looking at social media sites.

    1. Dee

      Carol, it sounds like we are on similar tracks. Good luck with your goals too. Social media can be such a time suck, can’t it? Television, I don’t watch much except when Bill is home. Even then, I often look through magazines.

    1. Dee

      Thank you Charlie! Happy New Year to you.

  22. Lisa at Greenbow

    I am definitely gardening more. I want to grow more veggies. Last year I had my first designated veggie garden in many years. It was fun and delicious. I don’t have much room. I want more diversity this year. Extending the raised beds etc. Fun stuff to look forward to. Good girl taking care of yourself. Your family will benefit from it too. It is amazing how that works. Nothing you do to help yourself is silly. Keep at it…

    1. Dee

      Lisa, that’s exciting about your raised beds and veggie garden. I can’t wait to hear more.

    1. Dee

      A bit smile back to you!

  23. P O T A G E R

    Your are as ambitious as I in your resolutions, Dee! Good luck!

    1. Dee

      The same to you Linda. Rock on!

  24. Helen Johnstone

    Saying No is a skill many of us need to learn including me. Actually it’s saying No and feeling Ok about it which is the lesson we need to learn.
    As for dieting I think it is more important to get healthy and sensibly rather than ping pong dieting. I need to exercise more and I am trying to walk at lunchtimes on a daily bias, work permitting.
    I want to garden more as well. I have done quite a bit over the last few weeks as it has been so mild and you can really see the difference so I want to keep it up through the year. I have written in the diary things I want to go to and I am trying to really think hard if I go to add anything now as it takes away from my gardening time which I need to destress.
    It will be interesting to see how we both do

    1. Dee

      Helen, we are supposed to have mild weather this weekend. I will be outside cutting back dead things and spreading more shredded leaves. I need to stand and turn my face up to the sun.

  25. Jean

    I wish you the best with all of your intentions. I find we have a lot in common Dee – dry eyes, dry skin (what’s Tammy secret??), too much time on the computer (I’m working on that), needing physical help in the garden now… I keep meaning to get a FitBit, too. You are smart not to diet. I changed my diet once I retired 9 months ago, but I didn’t diet. I added lots of fresh produce via smoothies and salads, and so far have lost 15 pounds. Oh, I also got on the elliptical and started weights again. But no diets, no, no. Take care my friend!

    1. Beth @ PlantPostings

      Dee, once again you impress me with your honesty and authenticity. It’s an incredible journey, this thing called life. No matter what successes we achieve or joys we find along the way (often in the simplest of settings), we all must take time to listen to that inner voice that says “Rest, rejuvenate, follow your heart.” Here’s to an excellent year of gardening, healthy eating, and spending time with friends and family. Peace to you and yours.

      1. Dee

        Beth, isn’t that truth about life? We always say that it’s a journey, but there comes a moment when you realize your journey is at least half over. You see what you’ve accomplished and what remains to be done. You also see any mistakes you made with clarity. It is a humbling time of life. Thank you for your kind words. I will hold onto “Rest, rejuvenate and follow your heart.” It’s a good motto.

    2. Dee

      Aah Jean, Tammy’s secret? Well, it depends upon which part of the body we’re talking about. She uses A LOT of potions on her skin and drinks lots of water. By the way, have you ever noticed that drinking more water made you do anything other than use the bathroom more? I haven’t, but yet, I drink it. She suggested several different creams and vitamin C. If you email me, I’ll tell you what I’m using that helps. However, miss a day, and I’m right back where I was, looking like a snickety snake. Love ya!