It’s the first weekend of the New Year (OK, not officially, but last weekend was still vacation mode in our house!), and this has definitely been a week of reflection for me. I do not have a “resolution” this year. This is mostly due to last year’s resolution, which was to meditate. Now for most of us resolutions made with a champagne glass in hand on December 31st are unlikely to make it past the frosty mornings of February, and I am no exception to this rule. But somehow, last year’s resolution was different.
Did I meditate every day last year? Not quite. But I did manage to find time to meditate and practice mindfulness all year long. And though I am still a long way from feeling accomplished in this arena I have come to the realization that mindfulness, like most of life, is all about the journey. So if it takes me a few more months to sit in meditation on a daily basis but I am already able to practice mindfulness on my walks, and to really appreciate and be present while spending time with my friends and family, then I am on the right path and I have faith that I will get there eventually!
The reason I bring this up is because I did a really great guided meditation on New Year’s Day. For anyone inclined, I am including the link here, and you can let Mrs. Mindfulness guide you in what is really a beautiful reflection at the beginning of the year. The meditation asks us to fast forward to the end of life and look back at what really mattered most to us, and whether you choose to meditate or not this is a great way of checking in and seeing if you are spending your time and energy on what really brings you joy. Am I living each day of my life honoring what I truly value? Are the goals I am setting getting me closer to what matters most to me? For me, what really brings me joy is time with my husband and sons. Taking a few minutes to appreciate how much my time with them means to me had a big impact on my week.
It was back to business as usual for most of us last Monday, and with the usual stresses of balancing work, the kids’ busy schedules, and keeping the house under control, I could easily have had a week full of stressful days. But instead, I let myself enjoy the the commute to two different schools (in two different towns no less) and use the time to connect with my sons. And though I spent a large part of today doing housework, my husband pitched in and I was grateful for both his help and that we had the day together…even if it was doing chores.
There is plenty of room in all our lives for resolutions, and I know that my desire to completely clean out my pantry today had something to do with January and wanting everything fresh for the new year. But if you put me on the spot, and force a resolution out of me, I’d say that this year I am going to make sure to balance out the need to get everything checked off my list with the things that really bring me joy.
Like our usual homemade pizza night on Friday, complete with dinner in front of the TV (thankfully a rarity in our house), and baking banana bread today. It is great to start the week off with a homemade treat for lunchboxes and after school snacks. Plus baking for my family makes me happy and is a great way to use up those bananas that got too spotty to eat! Although the recipe, which you will find here, includes nuts, I usually omit those as my kids are not big fans.
So make sure that you find time to do the things that feed your soul this year. And if one if them is baking, then subscribe to this blog so you will get updates each time I post a new recipe. Wishing you all a Sweet 2016!
Banana Nut Bread
- 3 bananas medium
- lemon juice
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 eggs beaten
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- Preheat oven to 350° and grease and flour a 9x5x3 loaf pan. Mash bananas and sprinkle with lemon juice, set aside.
- In a separate bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and salt, beat well. Add flour and baking soda, beat well. Add vanilla, pecans, and mashed bananas. Mix well, scraping sides of bowl and beater to make sure the bananas are incorporated throughout.
- Pour batter into prepared loaf pan and bake for 45-50 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into center comes out with just a few crumbs attached. Do not over bake.
- Cool in pan for 10 minutes then transfer to a wire rack and cool completely before slicing.