Learning to Rest and Receive
Good morning! I hope you guys all had a super-relaxing Memorial Day weekend. To be honest, with all the whirl and swirl of activity lately – wrapping up the cookbook shooting, finishing up the recipes to hand off to the editor, getting ready to launch the Kickstarter campaign – not to mention planning all the details for next month's road trip and dinner parties – it's been really hard for me to rest. Mentally, I know I'll eventually burn out if I don't take time to unwind, but the to-do list stretches on and on, and I keep putting that darn list above all else: health, friendships, rest, and sometimes, even my relationship with B. (I've blogged about this topic before...you'd think I'd learn!) And he's been in burn-out mode too, between starting a new company and dealing with a lot of stressful health scares in his family.
Some good friends of ours decided to intervene, and amazingly treated us to a night at the Pig Hill Inn, in Cold Spring, NY. About an hour away by train, Cold Spring is an adorable little town on the Hudson, with quaint brick shops and houses, cute little bistros, beautiful old B&B's, and great hiking. One particular friend headed up this whole idea (I won't say who, but you know who you are!!), and he gathered a bunch of friends to chip in to treat us to a night away. He texted Brandon and just said: "Pick a night before Anna leaves town. We want you guys to have some time to rest and reconnect." WOW. We were so humbled and blown away by the incredible generosity of our friends. What a gift! I told one of my friends about this, and her response was perfect: "That's what community should look like." Yes, indeed.
Even though it was just an hour away, and just a one-night getway, I can't tell you how incredibly restorative that 24 hours was. It felt so magical to hop on the train and arrive in this adorable little town, surrounded by hundred-year-old trees, with the sun beginning to set over the river. We brought a bottle of bubbly to enjoy pre-dinner in our room, then walked around town, peeking in store windows and finally stopping for dinner at a little French bistro. It was as though, stepping outside the craziness of NYC – and our never-ending to-do lists, we could actually see each other again. We could really listen, and talk, and just enjoying being together.
The next day, we woke up to birds chirping outside our window, had blueberry pancakes at the inn, went on a hike, and met our good friends AJ and Elaina (and their little daughter Eloise) for lunch. It was the perfect ending to a perfect getaway.
It's been super-humbling lately to have so many friends coming out of the woodworks to offer support and encouragement to me as I prepare for this road trip. It's very hard for me to ask for help, but accepting it when I don't even ask is even harder! But I have been so blessed by friends who have offered to help with dinner party prep for tomorrow night's kick-off dinner, friends who have literally offered to run errands or help clean (!!) or lend me a car to grocery shop, and friends who want to pray with me before I go.
And then there's the sweet gifts pictured above: gorgeous hand-made cutting boards from Matt & Hilary, in Traverse City, MI, a beautiful book from my friend Becky, and an entire care package from my sweet friend Coralie, with everything I need to get through the next month (and this week): homemade chocolate chip hazelnut sea salt cookies (and cookie dough!), delicious sour dough bread, a facial mask and hand cream, and a journal to document the trip.
It's hard for me to know how to receive such generosity, but what I do know is that it challenges me to be more generous myself. Cards and gifts on birthdays or at Christmas are always appreciated, but the unexpected gestures are just so above-and-beyond, especially given how busy people are these days. Let's all pass along this goodness, and figure out who we can bless this week with a gesture of unexpected kindess. I know it's important to graciously receive, but I just want to keep this cycle going!
Have a great Tuesday everyone! (Oh and in case you're needing an easy, healthy dinner idea tonight: I'm loving this garlicky shrimp saute with white wine and tomatoes lately.)