English cucumbers, heirloom tomatoes and fresh mozzarella swim in Italian dressing bolstered with sea salt and cracked pepper to my left.

Two shots of espresso, vanilla and cream share a stainless steel rainbow tumbler to my right.

The normal bustle of dogs and children is replaced with the sounds of cars passing outside the window and the slight drip of snow melting off the trees.

I am settling into my oversized lazy boy, iPad in hand, ready to take a class and make some floral illustrations.

I am content to be exactly where I am and stay a while.

2021 is proving to be delicious.

I didn’t want to make resolutions.

I was resistant and annoyed with all the voices sharing what boxes they planned to check.  The older I get the more I want to run in the opposite direction of what everyone else is doing.

As I settled in to my bad attitude and wondered if I would every feel inspired to set goals again, a few friends gave me the perspective I needed.

The first reminded me that it was still winter, and despite the man-made calendar beginning in January, our more natural, intuitive internal clock aligns with the seasons.  This was still a time of rest, soul inquiry and storing up energy for the true beginning of the year in spring.

I was exactly where I needed to be.

The second friend shared their own journey of trying to decide on a word of the year.

They shared their ideas, questions and hopes.

It inspired me.

It reminded me that one overarching intention and focus can be more potent than 100 boxes to be checked.  A compass of sorts, that always reminds you which direction to go instead of just a list of left turns and right turns.

Goals keep me looking down at my feet to make sure they are moving, intentions help me focus on my path and let my feet take care of themselves.

That night I went to bed wondering what the best compass, the best word, for me might be.  My mind was like a blank chalkboard, me- the eager student in the front row.  Without effort, an inner teacher appeared and slowly wrote one word in big letters across the chalkboard.


I fell asleep smiling as the word marinated.

I woke up hungry for more depth and understanding.

I googled the word Savor, clicked images and within 10 seconds found the following quote by E.B. White.


EB White Savor Quote

It felt like he had peeked inside my head and knew my heart.

I had spent far too long thinking I needed to somehow save the world.

No wonder I was having a hard time setting goals that would.

I needed to remember why the world was worth saving.

My intention was set.

I had my compass.

This past weekend, Tim and I went to brunch to talk about our plans for the year.

I was resistant to this as well.

In the past I was so eager to make this a priority.  We did it for a few years and really enjoyed it. But somewhere along the way we had a communication breakdown and it seemed as if it wasn’t as much of a priority to Tim as it was to me.   I got my feelings hurt and removed my expectation for him to ever participate in a New Year goal setting session again.  It felt like the best way to protect myself from the immense vulnerability I feel when the person I love most feels apathetic towards my desires.  It was about emotional survival.

That sounds so dramatic, but it’s true.

This year, he brought it up.  He even sent me a worksheet that some friends of ours had created to use as a planning map.

Because I had spent so much time building a wall up around this very specific issue, his request felt like a breech.  It made me nervous to say yes.

He apologized (again) for not taking it seriously before and reassured me that planning our life together was a priority to him.

I was grateful, but still guarded.

I was afraid to go back to my old expectations and decided that I would savor the opportunity for intentional conversation with my husband.

Whatever came out of that would be enough.

It snowed all night and was still layering everything with powdered sugar like flakes.  We were the only ones at the restaurant. I ordered the veggie omelet with extra pico and avocado on top, Tim got the Texas.  I sipped coffee with honey and cream, Tim took his black.

After our meal we used our friend’s worksheet as a roadmap. (Find it here.)

We talked about the highs and lows from the year before.

We talked about our intentions with our time, energy, money and space.

We dreamed big and we got real and found ourselves somewhere in the middle.

And then, it asked us to come up with a word for the year.

As we considered all of our desires, we came to the conclusion that everything fit under the umbrella of one word,


Tim and Nicole

Simplify and savor…

The alliteration was delicious, the meaning nourished me.

This would be my mantra for the year, my intention, my focus, my compass.


From the guidance of this compass, I have found goals that feel more like ingredients.

Flavorful little indulgences that together feel like a simple and savor-worthy life.

I plan to write every day, at least 500 words.

I plan to read books that inspire me to my children every morning before school.

I plan to take lots of classes and learn new things.

I plan to take my art and books and other offering to a local market at least once a month.

Tim and I plan to keep going on a date once a week.

We plan to spend more time exploring the outdoors in our surrounding areas, at least once a month.

I have some other ideas that keep bubbling up, but I don’t want to commit to too much, too soon.  I don’t want to be thinking about dinner while I’m still eating breakfast and miss the chance to savor exactly where I am.

Simplify and savor art


Maybe next year I will want to save the world again, maybe by then I will be ready.

But first I want to savor my one wild and precious life and taste every succulent moment.

Maybe by doing that, I’ll realize that the world doesn’t need saving after all.

Perhaps, savoring will save me.

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