Just before my planned end-of-year week off, I got the interesting news that my work life would be changing significantly. It’s meant I’ve had time I haven’t had in years to take courses and catch up with certification continuing education requirements… and take baths… and sleep. And Friday afternoon I stumbled across an emotional resilience course by Beth Payne (a former State Department employee) that encapsulated in two hours vague ideas I’d had about what it means to be an effective leader. And the vital importance of self-care. That as employees in leadership roles, our actions provide the norms our staff emulate. If we aren’t taking meal breaks, sleeping, or putting away our work at the end of the day, they don’t feel comfortable doing so, either. Which leads to burn-out and programmatic failures. And we’re not talking either about the “self-care industry” that preys upon primarily women, encouraging them to buy into this or that program or treatment regimen. As an article in Time points out, “Rest takes hard work.”
I’ve also continued my plan to undo the grass wasteland on our property. We bought three more of the powder-coated steel frames for raised beds, and now I’m tempted right and left to buy sweet potato slips, specialty seed bundles, and other bulk seed packs, as well as soil amendments, and the other necessary tools to keep a garden healthy. While I can’t say our investments in our raised beds have been fully paid off by the produce we garnered last year, I can say we’re both healthier than we’ve been thanks in part to all the tomatoes, peppers, beans, and herbs we were able to harvest and cook into tasty meals. I’m still more of a live-and-let-live gardener than true enthusiast, and I’m also deeply satisfied by adding to the biodiversity of our little corner of the world. Proving over and over again that mother nature knows what she’s doing with the intricacies of the food chain and the natural paths to balancing pests with predators to produce abundance. My winter clean-up efforts this weekend proved just how robust our tomatoes had grown: the woody stems on the dead plants were coarse enough to bless me with a splinter.
The news that the FDA, never really out to support Americans’ best health in the first place, is finally set to ban BVO, is just another reason I’ve been investing even more time and effort to find and buy heirloom and organic native plants: to provide the market proof that the poisons regularly injected into commercial foods are not acceptable to me.
I’m grateful for the slower pace of the past month, and have finally rejoined the writing effort on book three. I haven’t published anything new in three years, and it shows in the fact that I’ve just closed out the worst year of sales since I first started publishing. I have tempered my expectations for what releasing the long-awaited series finale will bring – other than satisfaction that I’m enjoying exploring the repercussions of having a sentient planet as a key character in the series. I’ll continue to keep you posted here as I close in on an actual release plan.