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For the last several years, I have really tried to focus on a word that I could use to refocus myself when needed. Last year was joy and the year before was flexibility and the year before that was resilience. In fact, last year's January 1st blog post ended with

"For many, this year has not been a Hallmark card. It has been challenging, torturous,

life altering mixed in with some joy along the way. My phrase and my focus this year is

simply 'choosing joy'. I will choose joy through the yuck. I will choose joy through the

sunlight and through the darkness."

And, so it is. There is joy through my sadness. My mom passed away five months ago very unexpectedly. I have experienced all of the stages of grief, I think, at this point. I was hoping to get to the point soon where I smile and laugh when I think about her instead of just feeling a sad hunger for her love and affection. But regardless, I still have joy.

One of the areas of focus this year will be my nourishment and what better way to tell you about my new dining set. It dates back to the 1930s. It has been at the center of meals with kids, grandkids, great grandkids and friends. It has traveled from Victorville, San Bruno, San Mateo, Miami and to Hollister, CA. It has served love, kindness, laughter and nourishment. A nourishment of the belly as well as the soul. That kind of nourishment that leaves you feeling whole and satisfied. There is no brokenness.

The table was my grandparents. With the understanding that this may get me a poke in the eye for saying this, the table is so old that my uncle remembers running under the table as a child. It had seen better days. There was a chair that was broken and some chipped wood on the tabletop. But through that brokenness, it showed that there was life well lived. I was able to enlist a local guy to nourish it with some elbow grease and a beautiful stain. He has restored it with his passion for history and family. He has provided me the nourishment of the connection with the past and the hope that I can nourish my family going into the future.

The word, nourish, has its roots in many different languages, but the one that I connect with the most has Latin origins. Nutrire means "to feed, nurse, foster, support, preserve" So, in your mind's eye, think about it. You feed your body with fruits, veggies, meat, dairy and, of course, chocolate! But being able to be nourished and to nourish others really means providing that support and ability to preserve yourself, your sanity, and most importantly your hope. With that being said, my focus will be on fostering and preserving hope, joy, and resilience in myself as well as others. I will nourish myself by being patient with my flaws, by finding balance in my goals, but most importantly finding peace in the present.

So, that big round table that I inherited - it also symbolizes the circle of life. There is birth, life and death, but there is also an essence - a vibe, if you will, of completeness. This completeness is fed and nourished by the love shared at this table. My wish for you is to find your hope, your love, your patience and your nourishment - whatever that looks like for you.

Welcome to 2023!

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