We’ve come to the end of another great year, and though it hasn’t been without its twists and turns, I think it’s safe to say that life just keeps getting better. This year, The Year of the Push, included some great adventures, gardening benchmarks, big strides forward with this little blogging project, climbing breakthroughs, new friends, new kinds of fun, and lots and lots of gratitude.
The Year of the Push
Why am I calling 2014 The Year of the Push?
This year was all about pushing myself. Pushing toward better content for this blog, pushing to grow more food, beauty, and enjoyment on the little piece of the Earth I call home, pushing for creativity in the kitchen, pushing my body to grow stronger, my mind to stretch and expand, and pushing to become more resolved in my path. This is the year of the push because some big decisions have been made, and while life will bring what it will bring, I feel like the decisions I’ve made this year will play a big role in the course of what’s to come in 2015 and beyond. (Of course, other decisions are still being put off, but hey no one’s perfect, right?)
The Blog Push
I started this blog in late 2013, and in the early part of last year I took a blogging class at The Grotto in San Francisco with Meghan Ward of Writerland. This class lasted 6 weeks, and I was literally the only person who attended every single class. I dedicated myself to the project of learning everything I could about the art and business of blogging, about how to become a better writer, how to engage on social media, how to monetize, how to build an audience, and how to promote my work. It was in this class that I constructed my most popular post to date, which has had a total of 7,181 views since March. I learned that I actually wanted to do what was required to build a great blog — something I learned I wasn’t ready to do with a budding music career in my mid-20’s — and I also learned that I needed to have a product or service to go along with it. I wasn’t ready to create another “job” for myself in March when I finished this class, but ideas began percolating in my mind. I decided it was time to push forward with this blog, to make it stand out and really represent my passions in a way that would help people make positive changes in their own lives. I finished this class determined to write an eBook by the end of 2014, and in a few months, Nine Easy Steps to Delicious Gluten-free Living was published.
My next blogging push was after attending BlogHer14 this summer. I shared how much I learned at BlogHer in a previous post, so I won’t go into that. But again, I was confronted with the need for a service to enhance my site and reach more people. On Pathfinder Day, the group leaders taught us how to weave our services into our elevator pitch, and I found myself hesitant and afraid to commit. I considered my first job out of grad school as a weight loss coach and all the experience I gained both working there and also as a wellness coach on my own before that. I considered how fun it was to create the “typical days” and recipes in my eBook, and thought about what it might look like to offer coaching and meal plans through CWB. All these remained considerations until a few months ago when I launched my new services. I’m thrilled to share some of the client feedback so far:
The Garden Push
In 2013, our back yard was the big focus of our gardening efforts. This year we completely revamped the front yard, tearing out all the grass and replacing it with both edible and decorative plants. We built beds out of golden flagstones and covered the walkways between them with river rocks and pea gravel. It was back-breaking labor, but we pushed to do it all ourselves, clearing the sod, laying the weed paper, building the beds, filling them with dirt, folding in the fertilizer and compost, and eventually choosing and planting our crops. My first attempt to grow food from seeds was a mix of success and failure, but overall we had a great summer crop (in front AND back). This experience has taught me about powdery mildew, the importance of attracting bees for fertilization, how to grow better tomatoes by NOT watering them, and the impact slugs can have on collard greens and other crucifers.
We worked on our front yard over the course of a few weekends and even some evenings during the week. We were determined to get it done in time to plant for the season, and since the initial construction and planting, have harvested those crops and planted new ones for the colder months. It’s been such an awesome journey to learn and trouble shoot out there, and I’ve really enjoyed all of it; the good and the bad. While having my own garden is fulfilling a deep need in my soul all on its own, a bonus dose of personal accomplishment came when our garden won a contest at Edible Landscape Design shortly after we finished up. The front yard garden push was absolutely worth it. Food from our garden is at least a part of nearly every meal we make, and knowing that we grew our food makes it that much more delicious.
The Push to Climb
Climbing is more of a pulling action than a pushing one, but when it comes to the mental and emotional challenges that often accompany this sport, pushing myself is almost an understatement. I’ve shared the personal challenges I’ve experienced this year in anticipation of certain climbing adventures, and all the great things I’ve learned since I’ve started working at this amazing sport. I’ve now been climbing for a little over three years, and I am still very much a beginner. I had a look at last year’s Recap post, and I have to admit, some of those goals didn’t happen (…ahem, 10 pull-ups, ahem…) but those goals aren’t off the table for this year. As soon as I can get this wrist healed up, I’m getting back on the pull-up wagon. And I have to say that just before I got injured, I was leading harder than ever (child’s play for most of my friends, but a big deal to me), and I plan to get right back out there as soon as humanly possible. Having to hold back lately has been a challenge, but in the end, making sure I don’t re-injure myself is more important than the few weeks I’m missing.
Vanna White is a major prop in my push to climb in 2015, because she will make trips possible that might not have been possible before, and she’ll provide me with a more comfortable night’s sleep (thereby taking away any opportunity for me to complain about being tired from sleeping on the ground or being cold). All this is to say that I’ve never been so excited about a purchase in my entire life.
Climbing this year was amazing. We spent a week in Squamish, 22 non-consecutive days in Yosemite, took a trip to Bishop, one to JTree, and a few to Sonora. We also made our way to a local spot or too, and I even got my dad back out on the rock, this time watching him succeed on his first Yosemite crack climb, Claud’s Delight. With the exception of some mild hyperventilation (which he concealed well), he rocked it! (featured on the bottom right.)
A Look Ahead
2014 was a great year, but I’m truly excited for what’s in store for 2015. I’m eager to see what’s to come with my budding business, what kitchen alchemy I’ll create to share with you on these virtual pages, what adventures in the back yard and out in the wilderness there will be to share as we move through time and space together. I’m so grateful to all of you for following me on this path to health, happiness and personal fulfillment. I hope that what you read here helps you find your way. Every time I learn what a new reader experiences at CWB, I’m overcome with joy and deeply thankful that you share it with me.
Here’s to a new year of sweet, rich adventure!