j: On New Year’s Eve, following Alexandra Franzen’s recommendations for people who hate new year’s resolutions, I cut a sheet of paper into five pieces. On one, I wrote with a red Sharpee what I want to let go of in 2012. I gave the other slips of paper to the four amazingly wonderful guys with whom I celebrated the new year, and they wrote on their slips what they want to let go of in 2012. We didn’t share what we’d written.

When we were finished, we went out in the back yard, lit a fire in the pit and, one by one, fed our slips of paper to the flame. I didn’t know what to expect. I hadn’t even known for sure if my four guys would agree to do it with me. (Though I should have known. Did I mention how amazing they are?) It was interesting to me how we all did it differently. My slip was folded in half. Someone else’s was folded a few more times. One was crumpled. Another was cut into three pieces.

Chad’s slip of paper was wide open, and though I didn’t read the words on it, I felt the power of watching them burn, watching them drift away, unrecognizable, weightless … just ashes on the cold night air.

jb: This messy kitchen table tells the story of my son and I making my Grandma’s famous crumb cake for the first time. (I finally converted the recipe to GFCF this week; it turned out yummy!) We had so much fun making the crumb cake together and the sunlight was so beautiful, it turned into a photo op as well. It was a perfect combination of baking and photography (two of my favorite things, that I don’t do enough of), plus old happy memories of making and eating crumb cake with Grandma (who I miss every day) and new happy memories making her recipe with my son. I’m sure Grandma would have loved the addition of his construction trucks to the clean-up process.

It was an excellent, and much needed, reminder of how good it feels to do the things I love with the people I love. Just in time for the new year…