Pruning ~ A Theme for the New Year


It seems everywhere you turn there is a list of new things to try or fresh goals for the New Year on blogs everywhere. While there is a great deal to gain from setting goals and being refreshed in our resolve to begin again, frankly, I don’t need another to-do list tacked onto my stack of to-do lists. In this current season of life, there is less striving to do more and more learning to let a few things go.

This list is a brief sample of things I’ve been pondering for months now; the turn of the calendar to a new year simply gives me impetus to put it in writing. Rather than adding more things to accomplish, I am approaching the New Year with a mindset of pruning. I like the idea of pruning because when you prune a bush, there is anticipation of growth and eventually, full potential. Pruning isn’t a cooking term, but it is a working theme I’m comfortable with as an amateur gardener, and overall, I believe it will help me do more savoring.

One source I was reading described pruning as “creating vigor within”—I like that.

1. E-mail
I still have over 2500 emails I haven’t read, many of them blogs I follow, that began to pile up after the fire and evacuation last summer. I’ve hung on to them, thinking some day I’ll have the time to go back and browse all the recipe inspirations. It is time to let them go. If I haven’t had time in six months, it isn’t likely I ever will.

A second part to email is the fact that over 2500 unread emails accumulated so quickly. It is time to unsubscribe to some and stem the flow.

2. Social Media (A new form of peer pressure.)
Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, Stumble, Reddit, LinkedIn, Tumblr, YouTube … is a little like being at a loud cocktail party where you can hear all the conversations around you, but you’re not truly involved in any of them. I have decided I can do three. I may not be able to talk to every person at the party, but at least I’ll have meaningful interaction with a few.

3. Yes and No
After all these years, I still need discernment about this one. I want to be able to say yes when I can and no when I need to, especially the ‘No’ part. I want to be able to say no without trying to figure out a plausible excuse the other party will understand.  Can I just say no because I don’t want to? Because I’m not interested? Because it really doesn’t sound fun or I really don’t like it? I’m not sure. The other day I reminded my daughter to be careful to not say yes too early or no too late. I’m trying to do the same. I’m thinking this will free up at least some mental gymnastics space.

4. Cleansing
Matt and I began the year with a cleanse—the blood, lymph, liver, colon type. Not because of overindulgence during the holidays, just because it is good to keep all systems in proper maintenance (it also helps remind me to get the oil changed in the car). More purging than a pruning, it helps us refocus on healthy food choices overall, as well as recognizing our portion size can reduce a bit too (okay, that’s pruning).

5. More Cleansing
As we take care of our physical realm with a proper cleanse, it is important to take inventory of the conversations playing in my head and heart—the ones that replay because of hurt feelings or maybe something I shouldn’t have said but want to justify. Forgiveness is a cleansing exercise (both giving and receiving), pruning any buds of bitterness or resentment. I do not want to hang on to offenses over harsh words or unspoken appreciation—it is like clutter in the soul.

6. Guilt
I cannot even remember the last time we sent out Christmas cards, but the guilt of not doing so is fresh every year as cards with photos of growing families line our fireplace mantel. I had an idea as I put decorations away this year … to write a personal note in response to each Christmas card we received sometime throughout the year (who wouldn’t want to find an old fashioned, hand written note in their mailbox?). While I realize this adds to my to-do list, it is personal and doesn’t add to the crowded schedule of things to do during the holidays. I’m letting go of Christmas card guilt and I feel lighter already.

7. Clothes
I do not need a bigger closet, I need fewer clothes. Pushing aside clothes I don’t want or don’t fit is a waste of energy every day. (Let’s face it, yoga pants and an apron are my first choice most days anyway.) If I haven’t worn it in years, if it doesn’t fit, or if I don’t love it, it has to go. Unless it is a black cocktail dress. In that case, we need to make plans so I can wear it again. ;) Otherwise, it has to go.

8. Photo Catalog
We have thousands of photos on three hard drives of trips, family, and food. Let’s just say, something’s gotta give. Though I do have my food photos categorized, I keep too many. I do not need to keep the twenty-five (or more) photos I didn’t choose for a post ‘just in case’.

Did you set goals or make resolutions for 2013, or like me, is your life in need of some pruning?

I promise we will get back to posting recipes next week and there are some tasty things coming up!

Maple-Pecan Bacon

Maple-Pecan Bacon

Maple-Pecan Bacon


Curried Butternut Squash Soup

Curried Butternut Squash Soup

Curried Butternut Squash Soup


Curry Roasted Acorn Squash with Maple Syrup & Pecans

Curry Roasted Acorn Squash with Maple Syrup & Pecans

Curry Roasted Acorn Squash with Maple Syrup & Pecans

Shared on the following Blog Hops:
Real Food Forager Fat Tuesday

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22 Responses to Pruning ~ A Theme for the New Year

  1. Hotly Spiced January 11, 2013 at 3:31 pm #

    This is such great common sense. I’m really inspired. I have photos on my computer (computers) and they are mounting up and years have gone by and I have good intentions of having them printed into albums but now the task just seems to enormous I just keep putting it off. I must be like you and attack the situation head on! xx
    Hotly Spiced recently posted..Truncated and Lectionary and…Avocado, Mango & Walnut SaladMy Profile

    • Judy January 12, 2013 at 8:33 am #

      Charlie, you read my mind! We need to do that too! There are so many it is hard to know where to begin and I already have empty albums ready to receive them. I’m afraid if I don’t start now, there will be so many to wade through it will never get done.

  2. Kelly @ Inspired Edibles January 11, 2013 at 4:38 pm #

    Judy, I absolutely loved reading this post. How wise you are. “…there is less striving to do more and more learning to let a few things go” was the key line for me; everything else just flowed from there. I don’t make new year’s resolutions. I view the new year like any other time of the year when I work towards being a conscious participant in the world around me; nothing will ever be perfect and that’s all good; it’s an involving process. I do what I can when I can and shift priorities and goals as I go along… I especially enjoyed your musings on simply saying ‘no’. when is no enough; I struggle with the same question. Seems so hard to just let it hang there in the air – a solitary word; a solitary action. Thank you for sharing your inspiring thoughts – so refreshing.
    Kelly @ Inspired Edibles recently posted..Veggie and White Bean Rice Rolls with Sweet Mango & Warming GingerMy Profile

    • Judy January 12, 2013 at 8:40 am #

      Thanks, Kelly, it is so good to know someone else can relate! Ah, yes, being a ‘conscious participant’ in our world is more work nowadays with all the distraction of technology — I agree, it is a process.

  3. Maureen | Orgasmic Chef January 11, 2013 at 9:54 pm #

    I can so identify with this post. 2013 will see me free from guilt. I don’t have to work 18 hrs 7 days a week in order to be good enough. I don’t need to get sick or have pain to have a rest. This year will be great for both of us. :)
    Maureen | Orgasmic Chef recently posted..NoosaMy Profile

    • Judy January 12, 2013 at 8:45 am #

      Hi Maureen! I am glad to know 2013 will be a year of freedom of guilt for you — that is a heavy load lifted! I can relate with what you said about being sick or having pain to rest … that was me in my thirties and I am grateful to have shed such a draining lifestyle. Yes, it will be a great year for both of us. :)

  4. Linda January 12, 2013 at 4:20 pm #

    Pruning… I really like that! I’ve become a ‘pruner’ this past year and will continue in 2013. I agree its a season in my life when less is more and simple is my lifestyle. This is a great post Judy, we sure don’t need anymore to do lists!!
    Linda recently posted..Ricotta MeatloafMy Profile

    • Judy January 13, 2013 at 10:54 am #

      Thanks, Linda, it is so nice to know others understand. Less is certainly more for me too. May 2013 be a year of sweet surprises and great prosperity for you, Linda, as you look for a new job–wishing nothing but the best!

  5. Karen (Back Road Journal) January 13, 2013 at 12:25 pm #

    I totally agree with you about pruning. I keep, save and collect to much in life. I prune the apple trees in my orchard each year and they are much healthier for it. I think you are right about pruning some things from our daily life. Excellent post.
    Karen (Back Road Journal) recently posted..Seared Salmon With Mustard Dill Sauce And Garlicky PotatoesMy Profile

    • Judy January 14, 2013 at 6:33 am #

      Thanks Karen, I’m glad this idea resonates and I am not the lone soldier here. That is what I hope to be — ‘healthier for it’, like your apple trees, which are beautiful and bear much fruit. :)

  6. ChgoJohn January 13, 2013 at 12:27 pm #

    I’ll echo the choir, Judy. This is a great post and your idea of pruning rather than making another list is a good one. I, too, have a few tasks I’ve been putting off but I should probably try clipping a few of the smaller branches before tackling the bough. ;)
    ChgoJohn recently posted..Mom’s Broth — Il Brodo della MammaMy Profile

    • Judy January 14, 2013 at 6:39 am #

      I like that, ‘clipping a few of the smaller branches before tackling the bough’, what a great way to put it. That approach certainly feels less daunting. Thanks, John, for joining the chorus in the comments … it is encouraging. :D

  7. john@kitchenriffs January 13, 2013 at 5:51 pm #

    Great post. And it’s so necessary to prune now and again. Although it’s easier just to archive photos on a hard drive than it is to take time deleting ones I don’t use (thank goodness storage has gotten cheaper!). Although maybe I should just bite the bullet and deal with it. Anyway, lots to think about – thanks.
    john@kitchenriffs recently posted..Braised FennelMy Profile

    • Judy January 14, 2013 at 6:46 am #

      Thanks John! I know what you mean about cheap storage space, though I think that has been part of the problem — when I try to find a photo that I think I have, it takes longer when I am looking through so many. The answer may be in better organization, though I’m not sure at this point. Overall, I think it is a symptom of other areas of life — I simply keep too much that I don’t really need. Thanks so much for joining the conversation, it’s always good to see your comments and visit your blog. :)

  8. Raymund January 13, 2013 at 10:49 pm #

    2500 emails that’s a lot good luck in finishing those and looking forward to your 2013 recipes
    Raymund recently posted..Vegetable Lettuce WrapsMy Profile

  9. Nancy/SpicieFoodie January 14, 2013 at 3:59 pm #

    Really great post Judy! I didn’t make any resolutions this year. Like you I don’t need another list of things to do -hehe:) Looking forward to all those yummy recipes.
    Nancy/SpicieFoodie recently posted..Homemade Soy Milk or How To Make Soy MilkMy Profile

    • Judy January 17, 2013 at 6:30 am #

      Thanks, Nancy! So glad to know you can relate with being maxed on lists too. :)

  10. Barbara Bamber | justasmidgen January 16, 2013 at 6:47 pm #

    There is a common theme between us.. I agree with having fewer social networks, focusing on what’s important and I love your pruning theme. I remember how strange it was when I just hit multi-tag and delete in my in-box once.. and only could relax when I saw it was empty. How strange the pressure from these electronic devices have become. I’m so glad to read your decisions for the new year.. it’s refreshing!! xx
    Barbara Bamber | justasmidgen recently posted..When We Were SmallMy Profile

    • Judy January 17, 2013 at 6:36 am #

      Hi Barb! Yes, an empty inbox feels liberating — it is interesting how we can feel pressured by electronics. I’m not sure if it’s the blinking light, the highlighted text, the sounding (text) notification, or the fear we might miss something or fall behind, but it is certainly something I feel and wish to get a better handle on.

  11. thedrivencook January 21, 2013 at 6:15 pm #

    Cheers to you for starting out the year so well! I donated a massive bag of clothing and am enjoying a less crowded closet :) along with the satisfaction of helping someone with theirs!
    thedrivencook recently posted..Mason Jar StorageMy Profile

    • Judy January 22, 2013 at 6:45 am #

      Oh, that is a very good feeling to know you are blessing others and freeing up space for yourself too! I bought a new shirt yesterday and before it goes in the closet, I decided to make sure one leaves — replace rather than add on. :)

  12. Jed Gray (sportsglutton) January 27, 2013 at 9:00 am #

    I hear ya on the images Judy. I just started clearing out some space on our old computer as there are thousands of images that are literally junk.

    New Year’s resolution….hmmm getting settled in DC was priority #1, especially since our possessions arrived from Colorado less than two weeks ago. After that I’d say getting ahead of the game on all our food posts! :-)
    Jed Gray (sportsglutton) recently posted..Finca’s Lamb MeatballsMy Profile

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