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Writing a New Chapter in 2013

There is something so hope-filled and exciting about beginning a new year, isn’t there?  I am glad for calendars, for this way of encapsulating certain seasons in our lives, and the chance we have to start a new section or theme.  I know every single day is new, and that we make choices moment by moment.  But  I still love the time of reflection I take as a year ends and a new one starts.  I like evaluating what has transpired and setting my intentions for the 12 months ahead.  I am not a resolutions person necessarily, but I do believe in verbalizing what I want, what I intend for my life– on a regular basis.  Times of transition are a great opportunity for this, and so is the start of the new year.

Do you believe that there are signs or symbols for the rest of the year on New Year’s Day?  I think I’m just slightly superstitious in this way.  In the Philippines, people often say that you must choose what you do carefully on the start of the New Year, since that is what you will do all year.  For me, it’s not so much that I believe I can be cursed by the wrong thing, but choosing what I do is just another way that I set my intention.

Yesterday, my family had a gorgeous day, one that I hope we will see echoes of throughout the year.  First, we went to a greyhound rescue to meet some beautiful creatures in need of love and a home.  I don’t know for sure if we met our future pet or not, but we spent time with three sweet dogs.

Here are Dez and Sam– such sweeties!  After so much happiness and stability, we feel we’re overflowing with love and ready to add another family member.  It’s a huge decision, however, so we are not rushing it.


After spending time with the dogs, we headed to the River Orwell, to get a cider and to enjoy the nicest weather we’ve had in weeks.   There is a pub overlooking the river, called The Butt & Oyster.  Don’t laugh.

It was really cozy, and was full of people.  Nearly everyone was dressed like they’d walked out of a story book, wearing tweed, wellies and fair-isle sweaters and wind-blown hair. And there was an unexpected gift waiting there for us– the food was good, and reasonably priced!  Just what we needed.  You’ll know how big this is, if you have read my post on eating in England.  After a warming bite to eat, we took a walk around the shipyard and soaked up as much sunshine as we could.

Anyway, let’s chat about this years intentions while we look at some pictures…  While we were at the pub, we had a family meeting and we each shared a hope we have for the direction our family will take this year.  Jeff would really like for us to volunteer regularly in our community.  Amelia would like for us to research our travel destinations more before we go to them, so we understand more about the place while we’re there.  My intention is to have people over for dinner a lot more this year.  I’d like to try to have company at least once a month.


 We also each shared about our individual hopes and intentions.  Jeff’s and Amelia’s are not for me to share, but I am happy to tell you what I would like for the year ahead.  I think it’s important to verbalize these things. 

First of all, I would like to find a physical skill to work on this year.  I have a few ideas, but I am really not sure yet.  One is archery, another is to find a specific style of dance to learn and get good at,  and I have always wanted to do martial arts, so there’s that… Or it could be just being very disciplined and regular in my yoga practice… I love pretty much all things active, yet am constantly disappointed that I am not doing much, and not getting better at anything physical.  So I am looking forward to growing in that regard this year.

I have two things that kind of fall into the same category: Education.  This is the year that I will finally finish my degree in Sociology, and that is a really big deal.  The other thing is that I have fallen out of my passion of practicing bodywork, and I must find ways to get back into that.  I already have a few people signed up for craniosacral sessions with me in the coming weeks, and I have set a goal to attend at least one advanced training course this year.

And this last one has something to do with you! I have been writing this blog for over two years now, and have increasingly been putting more and more time and energy into it.  This has been great, and I have loved it.  But I have come to this crossroads, where I need to decide whether I need to scale back my energy output, or if I need to take it more seriously.  So I am setting my intention this year to make my blog better, and to bring more value to you and allow it to actually be a source of income for our family.  This is daunting and exciting at the same time.  I am looking forward to collaborating more with others, growing the community we have here, and looking for ways to work more effectively.  I would love to hear your feedback on what you would like to see more of here!

 So, those are my intentions and hopes for 2013.  Thank you for listening!  I have one last thought I wanted to share with you, as you think about the chapter ahead.

What are your hopes, goals, or intentions for 2013?

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17 Responses to Writing a New Chapter in 2013

  1. Whitney January 2, 2013 at 6:12 pm #

    I was a little worried at first that you were going to say you weren’t going to continue to blog! I’ve been a regular – albeit silent – reader since you were still in Amberg. I’d love to learn more about your lessons from the butcher, as well as learning about life in England. Thanks so much for all the good reads in 2012, I look forward to 2013!

    • Ariana Mullins January 5, 2013 at 4:01 pm #

      Hi Whitney– it always makes me smile when someone introduces herself to comment after reading along silently for a while! I, too, am dying for more butchery lessons. I am trying not to badger my butcher about it too much, but I did tell him that I wanted a lesson with a side of beef for Christmas. We’ll see!

  2. Joanna January 2, 2013 at 7:40 pm #

    I too would like to learn more about your lessons from the butcher, that is how I arrived at your site in the first place. I have enjoyed your photos though and they remind me that England is not all hustle and bustle which is what it feels like when I return. I do live in rural Latvia and so England is quite a contrast.

    • Ariana Mullins January 5, 2013 at 4:04 pm #

      Hi Joanna, it made me smile to hear England described as “all hustle and bustle” since I am from Los Angeles, and this is definitely feels very rural to me! We haven’t spent a lot of time in the bigger cities, and even Cambridge CAN feel awfully crowded to me. But London energizes me in the same way as Los Angeles did. Anyway, glad you’re here, and I do hope to share another butchery lesson soon!

  3. Anonymous January 2, 2013 at 8:06 pm #

    I love that you might be adopting a greyhound. They are beautiful and loving and make wonderful companions. My son and his wife have had two. The first was five when they got her. She was the sweetest, most laid back dog imaginable. Their second grey which they have had for only a few months is two, and still has much puppy in her. Energetic with some alpha traits, and full of good spirits. Two very different personalities, but both loving and sweet.

    I really love your blog. It is fun sharing your story of living in England, a place I’ve always thought I would be very comfortable living. So I am doing it vicariously through you and your family:) I also enjoy your food posts and love to see what you are cooking. I hope you continue to share the interesting links that you have found. This whole conversation about dietary fat has been a revelation to me. I have always embraced butter and olive oil but have felt i bit naughty about it. I live in the US, by the way. Keep up the fine writing, Ariana

    • Ariana Mullins January 5, 2013 at 4:09 pm #

      We have only heard wonderful stories about adopted greyhounds– they seem like the sweetest, most docile animals. A misconception I had before was that they would need to be taken jogging a lot, something I wasn’t sure I was up for. Turns out that they are actually quite lazy, just like to get out for some serious sprinting off-leash once in a while. (Oh, I can do THAT!) So we are really serious about getting one. It seems like everyone wants the girls, as we have yet to find one available.

      I am glad to hear that you enjoy my foods posts, since I will be doing more of those, and that you have enjoyed the articles about nutrition! And how great that you don’t have to feel naughty about the butter anymore! 🙂
      Thank you for your nice note.

  4. Hazel January 3, 2013 at 7:12 am #

    I’m so glad that you visited the greyhounds! My saluki X greyhound is currently snoring on the sofa next to me…

    One of my goals this year is to have people round more often. We always seem to get too busy to do it, but doing what, I’m not sure. I want to learn some more skills this year. Youngest DD and I are having a pottery wheel lesson as a Christmas present to both of us and then I am going to learn to crochet. I will get the hang of it! And then start some sourdough bread without killing it…

    • Ariana Mullins January 5, 2013 at 4:16 pm #

      I love your goal of having more people over. I think that having people in really brings such a nice energy to your home– I’ve loved it when we hosted regular groups at hour house, so much that everyone knew where to find the glasses and forks themselves. It makes me happy when I feel that others are “at home” in my house. I am excited for your pottery class! I hope it goes well, it’s been one of the highlights of my year. I’ll be sharing a post soon on my progress in one year of classes. Happy New Year!

  5. Amanda January 3, 2013 at 11:59 am #

    I totally support your goals, mine are sort of similar: I want to expand my yoga practice to a few times a week and really want to explore kundalini yoga; want to figure out how/when to go back to school for a masters in ??? subject, and maybe work on finding paying freelance writing opportunities. I wish I could be a dinner guest 🙂 that sounds like a fun & fulfilling goal to work on.

    • Ariana Mullins January 5, 2013 at 4:17 pm #

      We’d love to have you, Amanda! I am also working this year on figuring out whether I want to tack a master’s degree… So many choices out there, huh? May your year be full of the perfect opportunities!

  6. One Day At A Time January 3, 2013 at 6:08 pm #

    Whew! I too thought you were going to give up writing! I’d love more recipes and keep up the weekend trips and pictorials. I hope you get the chance to travel more to other countries too – for those of us in the US it’s fun to live vicariously. I sent your Belgium trips to a Belgian friend of mine 🙂

    I’ve decided this year is going to be a bout life changes for me – ones that will (hopefully) become a permanent part of the fiber of our family.

    • Ariana Mullins January 5, 2013 at 4:20 pm #

      More recipes coming, for sure! I am also dying to visit some other countries this year– Greece is on my bucket list, and Amelia wants us to go to Spain. We will do our best!

      I wish you well in all of your life changes for your family– it is so good to be able to take stock and be intentional about how we live, isn’t it?

  7. spruceart January 4, 2013 at 8:23 pm #

    I am very new to your blog after someone shared a post of yours on FB. I’m a 50-something living in the States, working full-time, desperately guarding my creative energy and time. Your writing speaks to me in a way that invites me to delve deep within. Please continue writing, however you need to structure it!

    For the past year I have gradually moved into eating organic produce, grass-fed pork and beef, pastured chickens, raw milk, and basically following the Weston A Price Foundation principles. I have added fermented cod liver oil and coconut oil to my diet and have never felt better. I am simplfying, becoming more frugal, and recycling and repurposing up a storm. I paint old/unwanted furniture with CeCeCaldwell’s Chalk and Clay Paint (similar to Annie Sloan but made in the States by a childhood friend of mine who says it is MUCH better than AS paint!) and give the pieces new life. One of my goals is to slowly build this hobby into a side business.

    • Ariana Mullins January 5, 2013 at 4:22 pm #

      Hi there, and thank you so much for introducing yourself! And thank you for the kind words about writing, it does encourage me. I love all of the life changes you have made in the last year– it all sounds so positive. I hope your hobby goes well, and that you can do work that you really love, and that it will be enough to support you– that is the ideal we should all be looking for, I think!

  8. Elie January 5, 2013 at 11:58 pm #

    Wow! A dog is really exciting. Can’t to wait to find out what you decide about adding another family member. I hope you do continue to put time and energy into the blog. It brings me joy to do a little armchair travel when I am busy with work. As far as what I would like to see more of? Well, more travels – both near and far from your home. And more food and food preparation. Also, it would be inspiring to hear or see some of the volunteer work you all decide to do as a family. Usually I like everything you share, so more of all you have to share! Thanks for asking. 🙂

    • Ariana Mullins January 10, 2013 at 5:41 pm #

      So glad that reading here brings you joy, Elie. I also REALLY HOPE there will be more travel in 2013!! I have a special plan for that, which I will share soon. And we are taking our time with the dog, since Amelia seemed a little too freaked out that day.

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