1. Fearlessly Creative Writing and Meditation Retreat with Susan Piver at Shambhala Mountain Center. This is the fourth time I’ve gone on retreat with Susan, and this was the best one ever. I wrote a lot, got to share some of it, spent time with Susan, and made a few new friends. I love that place so much.
2. Christmas!!! It is a bittersweet season for me, signaling the end of another year and reminding me that I live really really far away from the people I love the most. It’s lonely and sad, but also really sweet and beautiful. This song does the best at capturing the mood for me.
3. Good food. I tried two new recipes this year, and they both turned out really good: Awesome Sausage, Apple and Cranberry Stuffing and a biscuit breakfast bake (sort of like this recipe, but the one I followed called for 10 eggs and I used homemade cayenne biscuits). They both turned out really yummy.
4. Christmas cookies. I made these so many years for a cookie exchange that I got tired of them. However this year I found myself craving them, so made some. I promised I’d share the recipe, so here’s that:
400 degrees for 5-6 minutes (at high altitude, they need to cook a few minutes longer)
Makes 4-6 dozen, depending on size
1 1/2 cups butter
2 1/4 cups sugar
3 T. milk
1/4 tsp. lemon juice
3 3/4 cups flour
3/4 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
Cream first three ingredients together before adding the rest. Refrigerate complete mix overnight. Roll out to 1/4 inch thick, cut and bake. Frost when completely cooled with icing made from powdered sugar and water (I used 1/2 lemon juice for the liquid to make the icing for an extra zing of lemon).
5. Presents, which I’m about to go open with Eric.
6. But most of all, my tiny family. I wouldn’t be here without them.
Bonus joy: radio stations playing all Christmas music all the time, revisiting old Christmas favorites (we watched Die Hard and Home Alone, and today I’m going to watch Elf and Scrooged), heat when it’s cold outside, our fireplace DVD, twinkle lights, clean water, our new bathroom, the ability to buy a new washing machine or cellphone or even car if we need too without having to worry, texts from people who love or are thinking about me and just want to tell me, wool socks, the smell of pine trees, fresh snow.