little sarah Big World

Tag: thank yous

The Year That Was

Funabashi, Chiba, 2014

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What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You a Far More Easy-Going Person

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2014 was the year I stopped feeling homesick. The year I ran my first marathon and fell in love with Japan.

Nagano, Japan, April 2014

The year my best friend rushed home from work to spoon me on her couch while I fell apart, crying in her exhausted arms.

The year I was held together by so many, from so far, in so may ways that it is unbe-fucking-lievable.

The year I learned you can’t always reciprocate, you just have to pay it forward, and be better than you were. Sometimes you have to live the “thank you” or “I’m sorry,” because saying it isn’t enough.

The year I was brave enough to say no, not ready, not yet (even if later I wailed and wished I’d said yes).

The year I got dumped, for the first time in my life.

Broken Glass, Japan, 2014

The year I realized that I had a choice, about whether to fall apart or not.

The year I flushed a fistful of pills down the toilet, breaking plans for a very dark date with myself.

The year I tried head meds, saved my own life, and then stopped them, quit counseling, and followed my own advice.

The year I realized that I know better than anyone else, when it comes to my own life.

The year I started making my own damn decisions, without endless debate or consultation.

The year I held my own hand, small in my bed, and knew that it was enough.

Daffodils, 2014

I almost didn’t make it through 2014. I had to learn to live for others first, then for my own self second. If I could say one thing to the whole wide world, I would say: it’s okay. Everyone is doing their best.

Shibuya Crossing on a Rainy Day, Tokyo, 2014

I want to dedicate 2014 to all of my many many loves, but especially to these people, for these reasons:

To Erin, for bringing me a cookie and sitting with me while I hid in a stairwell at work and cried.

To my mom, for patiently having the same conversation with me, over and over.

To my dad, for being my soulmate, and my friend.

To Scott, who talked me down off of a couple ledges, even if he didn’t know it at the time.

To the folks at Tokyo English Life Line, for obvious reasons.

Meguro, Tokyo, 2014

To Daniel, who told me his story, bought me pizza, and helped me plan a trip that I didn’t take.

To Nicole, who gave me a book like a friend, when I needed exactly that.

To Eric and Izzy, who shared their bed with me and rubbed my shoulders until I fell asleep.

To Granny, for telling me it wasn’t so bad, that we all have to kiss a few frogs.

To Gramps, for the necklace I wore like an amulet, a charm to protect against evils.

To Paul, and Felix, and Cha and Kobe, for reminding me that I could make friends.

To Nami, for putting it simply; to Nozomi, for Halloween.

Flowers, Kyoto, 2014

To Espy, for the letters; to Griggs, for the laughs; to Sperry, for the pep-talk; to Sydney, for the sunshine; to Havilah for the flowers; to Melissa for listening; to Nikki, for trying to understand; and to Natalie, for fighting with me and still loving me, even after I threw a temper tantrum.

To Sammy, for making time to see me and create the world’s saltiest nachos.

To Kendra, for that time by the pool.

To Kristin, who stopped me in my tracks, made me repeat myself, when I said: “I stopped writing in my diary, because I couldn’t write without hearing that voice, judging what I said.”

To Darcie, who gave me a new diary.

Letter from Havilah, 2014

To Kasey and Rosie and Sydney and Carol, for being brave enough to tell the truth.

To Manu, who sat with me at my hollowest moment, and knew that I would get better.

To Marcos, for a well-timed hug.

To Nanako, for being just like me, and for all of the smiles and food.

To Adrienne and Luca, my divoster parents. You bore the brunt of this.

Nagano, Japan, April 2014

To Cammi, for being proud of me, because I followed my heart, and “aint nothing wrong with that”

To Adam, for giving me back to myself.

To Melanie, for giving me permission to move on.

To Betsy, for the SkyMiles (!), but also for listening and sharing and wishing me the best.

And to Whitney, for everything, for giving me everything you had, and then giving some more.

Showa Kinen Koen, November 2014

To everyone who sat with me, when I was a husk of myself, thin and brittle and shaking and dull—for listening, for waiting, for explaining, for understanding, for that quiet small space where there was nothing to say, where you held me tight as the waves crashed overhead. Thank you for letting your hearts break open a bit, just for me.

2014 was a hell of a year; you made it unforgettable.

Yokohama, 2014

And 2015?

Oh, my friends.

My friends!

Palmer, AK, August 2014

2015 is The Year of Fuck Yes

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Baking Give-Away!

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Seriously, Friends, Why Aren’t You More Excited to Contribute?

 I haven’t posted a recipe in a while, because I haven’t been baking as often.  WHAT WAS IT THINKING?! Guys, baking is awesome. It is so much fun, so soothing, such a pleasant early-morning activity. I listened to my Harold Arlen compilation (he’s the guy who wrote “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”) and threw together a batch of chocolate chip oatmeal lovelies.

I used the recipe from inside the Quaker Oats drum…

…but I changed pretty much everything about it–flax instead of eggs, applesauce instead of butter, less sugar, no raisins, etc. I’ll post my recipe at the end, for those of you into mutant vegan cookies.

At first I wasn’t going to photograph this little venture, because I had already forgotten to document it step-by-step. Then I remembered that I don’t even LIKE doing step-by-step recipe pictures. I just like taking pictures of that which I find to be elegant, graceful, lovely, and delicious. Like this:

I will never tire of the sunlight coming in through my kitchen window. It warms my heart and soul. And my body. In fact, when I have time, I warm up in the morning by having Dance Party of One: Morning Edition in the little patch of sunlight on the carpet between fireplace and kitchen counter. The soundtrack? “My Girl” station on Pandora. Try it.

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I baked these little beauties to say “Thank you.” Some for Robyn, who lent me books 2 and 3 of the Hunger Games series (the crack-cocaine of YA lit), and some were for Marcela, who lent me workout pants at CrossFit when I had mistakenly packed my black stretchy workout top instead of my black stretchy workout pants. An honest mistake.

Saying thank you is important to me; I want people to know that when they go out of their way to make my life more pleasant, it is a big deal. It is a cookie-deserving occasion. Plus, you know, I like to bake things and wrap them in brown paper and admire them in the sunshine at 11am.

In that same spirit, I want you to know how much I appreciate YOU, dear Friends! AND I need help. I’m going to ask a favor, and I promise you that your help will be duly rewarded. With baking supplies:

Here’s the deal:

1 – Sister Nikki gave me baking stuff for Christmas, which is awesome. I always need more dishtowels, and now I have a pie crust protector and other fun baking goodies. But now I have two flour sifters and two rolling pins. That’s too many! So I want to give away a 3-cup flour sifter and a wooden rolling pin. To you!

2 – But you’ve gotta do something to earn it. See, I’ll be away for a few weeks in May, unable to keep up my (admittedly half-assed as of late) blogging schedule. I need content, Friends.

3 – I want YOUR favorite vegan recipes! Send me your favorite recipe, along with some notes (if you like) and some photos. Get creative! Do it! The best recipe/notes/picture combo will receive the rolling pin and flour sifter! Yay! But runners-up will receive post-cards from my top secret vacation destination. Everyone loves to get postcards, right?

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So that’s the deal–send your recipes, words and pictures to littlesarahbigworld[at]hotmail[dot]com. Also your mailing address. You have until March 31st, winners will be announced April 1st. No joke!

Now get a-bakin!

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Sarah’s Super Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

INGREDIENTS:

-1 c applesauce (unsweetened)

-3/4 c brown sugar, packed

-2 Tbs ground flax seed mixed with 6 Tbs water

-1 tsp vanilla extract

-1 1/2 c whole wheat pastry flour

-1 tsp baking soda

-1 tsp cinnamon

-1/2 tsp salt

-3 c oats

-1 c chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS:

-Preheat oven to 350°F

-Whisk together flax seed and water with a fork. Set aside.

-Mix together flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in a smallish bowl. Also set aside.

-Blend applesauce and brown sugar in a large bowl, then add the flax mixture and vanilla, stirring well.

-Add the flour mixture to the applesauce mixture in three parts, stirring well. Then add the oats. It will seem like way too many oats and you will think “This is CRAZY,” but just go with it. It’ll all come together, promise.

-Lastly, mix in the chocolate chips. Then drop by the spoonful onto a baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes. Enjoy!