It's Jan. 2, and I find myself facing a list of hopes for the New Year that looks remarkably similar to the lists I've made in years past. Lose weight and exercise more, shop less and save more, tackle a new project or two.
But this year, my overrriding theme will be to slow down and enjoy life a little more than usual. I have plenty of friends and am close to family, so it's not as if I never have fun. But I recently read a book by Rozanne and Randy Frazee (pictured below) called "Real Simplicity: Making Room for Life." Randy is senior minister at Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, Texas, and shares pastoring duties there with Max Lucado.
In their book, the Frazees offer up a blueprint for what they do best: making connections with people. Randy Frazee recounts the time in his life when he was so obsessed with his job as a new, young pastor that he had literally disconnected with his own family. When a therapist helped him realized where he'd taken his life, he resolved to find his focus again.
The Frazees are an incredible couple and their book is a fun and interesting read. Mixed in with their story of faith, family and friends, are some of Rozanne's favorite recipes. Many are simple and easy, so you can throw together a yummy lunch or dinner without taking time away from the people you've invited to the table. The family has many dinner-time rituals, two of which I'll share here. The first is that during dinner each person at the table has to describe, in some detail, their day. Children cannot simply say: "went to school; it was boring." They have to start with getting out of bed and work through their day, hitting on enough highlights to let parents and siblings know what their day was really like. Their other ritual is that when dinner's over, everyone at the table helps clean up. That way, no one person - that would be Rozanne - is stuck with a big mess to clean up later.
Along the way, the Frazees have made deep, meaningful connections with family, friends, neighbors and people at their church. I have plenty of people in my life, but I'm afraid that, especially lately, I haven't tended my connection to them with the care I should. This year I didn't get to visit family (spread out in Indiana, Florida and California), nor did I spend much time buying gifts. I know that people never turn down cash or gift cards, but I love the process of selecting a thoughtful gift, wrapping it and handing it to them.
So this year I resolve to slow down a little and make room - and time - for the people who are important to me. What do you resolve to do?
Here's a recipe from Rozanne Frazee:
Simple Spiced Coffee
5 cups of water
1/2 cup strong ground coffee
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 cup unpacked brown sugar (or Splenda brown sugar)
Whipped cream topping
Mix ground coffee, spices and sugar together and put in coffee filter basket. Pour water into coffee maker and brew. When coffee is done, pour into cups and top with whipped cream. Relax and enjoy!