Priorities & Place

There was one conversation I had this year that I’ve come back to several times, and it all had to do with priorities and place. The theory was this: People in different geographic locations judge quality of life by very different factors. For example, in Washington D.C. it might be common to judge one another (and therefore your own success) on the connections one holds. How connected are you to those in power? What are your 6 degrees of separation from Kevin Bacon (or John Boehner), etc. Likewise, if everything really is bigger in Texas, perhaps that state puts great importance on possessions–their money, their house, their land.

So this made me think, what do we prioritize in East Tennessee? We are in the Bible Belt so many people prioritize the state of their soul (and, of course, everyone else’s). East Tennessee is made up of lots of small towns so you can definitely see the “who do you know” factor at work. But mostly, since I started really paying attention to this (in May), I’ve found that I am most interested in what people do with their free time–and so are most of the people I know.

"Home is where..." from the sketchbook of Hannah & Husband

I am a homebody. I like to spend time with my family, I like to cook for all of our friends, and when we get out, I’d much rather jump in a river than go to a club. So when I meet someone at a party I often ask about how they spend their Saturdays… Do they spend time with their family? Do they read books? Do they hike? Do they eat good food? (In which case, we can definitely be friends!)

It is not enough to be busy. So are the ants.
The question is: What are we busy about?
-Henry David Thoreau

Which brings me to Thoreau. As we set goals for the new year, what are we going to be busy about? What takes priority in your life? How do you judge yourself–and therefore how will you judge others? While I do think there is something to that regional value idea, I just want to be sure that, regardless of place, I am setting my own priorities and living my life accordingly. And yes, as previously stated, one of those priorities is eating and sharing good food–expect more of that in the new year–which I’m not entirely sure isn’t a Southern belle/regional sort of thing in itself.

Setting New Goals

I know most people think of Spring as the time of new beginnings, but I am the exact opposite. I *love* Autumn! With the leaves changing colors and a little chill in the mornings, I suddenly have an inexplicable burst of energy. We must clean out the closets, dust the baseboards, and think about all the things we’ll do to prevent cabin fever this winter.

Last week it started. In a way, I took my momma’s advice. She always says, “Change your hair–change your life!” If that makes you skittish, she says the same thing about shoes.


So I decided to go blonde. I blame it on turning 28. Suddenly I realized I was 12 years away from 40, and I should probably start getting some of the weirder things out of my system now. Then, I sat down and did what I do every year around this time. I set a few goals for the year ahead.


2013 Fall Goals:

1. Get out the sewing machine and learn to use it (again).

Disclaimer: I’ve known how to sew since I was 6 or 7. (My mom’s an incredible seamstress so that was sort of a given.) However, when one’s momma is not around to thread the machine, the whole undertaking becomes quite overwhelming.

2. Read more books.

3. Bake the perfect loaf.

Husband is a fantabulous baker. I don’t hear timers. 

4. Doodle and paint more.

So tell me…

What are your Fall Goals?
Do you set goals each season?
Have you ever gone blonde on a whim?

Making Any Resolutions?

Recently, I started a book by a lady who was trying to live a ‘happier’ life.

I started it 3 times.

Each time, making it about 30 pages in and each time putting it down slightly more miffed than the last time. “How tedious can one person be?,” I thought. ‘What is happiness? What does Aristotle have to say about that? How can I flow chart my way to a happier life in 365 days?’ Was she kidding?!

Of course, then it hit me: I have basically been this woman since I was 6. I’m that girl that gave myself homework at the beginning of each summer, I was thrilled at 12 when I finally got the daytimer I had begged for, and I started every Autumn with a list of New Year’s resolutions. (Seriously, if you don’t start in September, how will you ever find the time to evaluate which resolutions are truly worth your time before making your list in January? I may not have valued the wisdom of Aristotle, but Coco Chanel and Walt Disney quotes are scribbled in every sketchbook I’ve ever owned. (For the record, Ben Franklin lost all credibility when I learned that one of his 13 virtues was temperance.)

So with this realization, how do I enter 2013? I could resolve to not worry so much, to care less, and to not take myself so seriously. But who am I kidding? I’ll probably try to read more, to wear more color, to lose those last 10 pounds, and to finish things that I…

In the words of Coco Chanel:

Success is often achieved by those who don't know failure is inevitable.