fav writes reads 2012

I’m not going to say this year flew by quickly. That’s what everyone says at the end of December. But I will say, looking back at the last 12 months, that I’m overwhelmed by the sheer breadth of life a person lives in one year. The trips, the work, the conversations, the movies, the driving, the meals: time keeps coming, and we keep spending it, until, one day, it doesn’t. Just like that. Years flash through our fingers like sand, pouring quickly, quickly, and we never know when it will stop, so instead we live like it won’t, and yet there’s this reality, ever present, that there’s nothing any of us can do to slow things down. Another year is gone, and here we are, standing face to face with the next one, considering, the way we do at the close of December, even if only for a moment, what we will do with it.

So in the spirit of looking back—for a better way of looking forward—and inspired by a post I wrote at the end of 2009, I’m bringing you a roundup of articles from the past year—12 posts I wrote and 12 posts I read in 2012 that stuck with me. Enjoy! And here’s to 2013 (!). May we choose to be wholly present and intentional in it.

    12 Favorite Articles I Wrote in 2012

  • Satsuma, Red Onion & Pomegranate Salad (january)
    “But the truth is, the only thing that keeps coming out when I try to write this post is something much more simple, something much less interesting or profound. It’s the thing I can’t stop thinking about lately, the reasoning behind purchases and lunches and a fridge stocked with greens: I love salad.”

  • Root Vegetable Chips and Root Vegetable Fries (february)
    “I should start by saying this: I am grateful to be writing this post today—not just because of the lunch of rainbow root vegetables or afternoon of hours spent photographing them that it represents, but because, about a week or so ago, pacing the floors at 2 AM while alternating between holding my sides and massaging my temples, the idea of writing a food blog post—or really, cooking or caring about cooking—seemed like something I might never be able to do again.”

  • Quinoa Black Bean Burgers (march)
    “This past Saturday was my favorite kind of day: we had no plans, no place we had to be, no major to-do lists—and, at least for someone with my personality and temperament, I am finding days like this are crucial.”

  • Cauliflower Pizza Crust (april)
    “And over the last few weeks, as I’ve been thinking about [Tim’s birthday] coming up, reflecting on what our life together is like now, about how this birthday would be different from all his previous birthdays, sandwiched between our daily rhthyms of working from home and sleeping side by side and sharing breakfasts, lunches, dinners, I’ve been wanting so much to explain to you, somehow here on this blog, exactly what my face would show if you could see it: I have a good husband.”

  • Florida Vacation + Tropical Lemonade (may)
    “The day after we arrive in Florida, we’re laying by the water in Bradenton Beach, listening to the sounds of the waves and the seagulls, our four chairs propped up in soft white sand alongside a tall umbrella and a cooler and bags packed with books and snacks and iPhones, and I think to myself, you know, there’s just something about the ocean.”

  • Carrot Risotto (june)
    “But then on the other hand, there are cooks like my brother, the kind who already know you so well that they are easy partners whatever the project. They come to visit and tell you about a risotto they made and make it seem so approachable and possible that before you know it, it’s Monday afternoon and you’re standing with them over arborio rice cooking on your kitchen stove, learning as you watch them, gaining confidence as you work together. These cooks aren’t common, but when you’re blessed to find them, give thanks—these are the people you want to cook with.”

  • Coconut Dreams (july)
    “Could it be that the rest I enjoy when I go visit my family, the ability to put other things aside for a while, is a rest my body, and my mind, needs more often? Could it be that there’s a way to find that in regular life?”

  • to greet it with a smile on my face (august)
    “Hello from the land of my thirties! I entered this new decade Saturday, in beautiful Gulf Shores, Alabama, where Tim took me away two days before, as a way to jump up and meet Thirty with a smile on my face, exploring and discovering instead of pining and reminiscing.”

  • Kale Mashed Potatoes + September in Nashville (september)
    “I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the pull so many of us have towards beautiful things, such as the ideas we mark on Pinterest or the stories we scroll through on blog posts or the pleasure I receive from seeing pretty pictures and photography. When I was really sick earlier this year, I would say to Tim, let’s go walk through Anthropologie!, just to soak up the atmosphere and remember there is beauty in the world. You could, I think, look at all this pull and say there’s something wrong with it, that we want to create imaginary lives that are perfect and flawless and fun to look at, all the time, and that doing so ignores the realities of pain and suffering and poverty and despair. But personally, I think it points to something bigger.”

  • Ebook Writing + Poached Eggs Over Toast (october)
    “Writing an ebook, well, that’s another story. True, it’s not that different from writing a blog post. It’s longer and it’s more planned out, but it starts with the same process of opening up a Word document or a WordPress draft, putting words to paragraphs, writing your thoughts to be read. You may have an initial plan for what you want to say; you may have no idea. You sit there, you and the keyboard, willing the words to come, but knowing that, sometimes, they won’t. You also wonder, after some words are finally sitting there, if what you’re writing is any good.”

  • Winter Minestrone + Thoughts on Photographing Our Food (november)
    “Taking a picture of something before me, which in my current lifestyle is often food, can be the best way I know to teach myself to notice, to consider—to see.”

  • Coconut Milk Mexican Flan (december)
    “Because when you are more complex than I realize, that means there is more of you to know. And when I see I don’t know all there is, that means there is still more to discover. There are deeper levels of love, better ways of knowing, fuller understanding, more truth. There is always beauty yet to be found.”

    12 Favorite Articles I Read in 2012

  • “Gratitude without Comparison,” Barnabas Piper (january)
    “Building gratitude on the foundation of comparison is a structure doomed to crumble. All the mortar between the bricks isn’t, in fact,thankfulness. It’s superiority.”

  • “September 4,” Molly Wizenberg at Orangette (february)
    “Wanting to be parents is a recent development for us. I’ve never been into babies, though I can already tell that my own baby will be a very different story. But what I’m most excited about is getting to know the person that we made. I’m excited about introducing this person to chocolate malts, and pizza, and Bruce Springsteen. I’m excited to read When the Sky Is Like Lace with this person, the way my dad read it with me. I’m excited about getting to know Brandon as a parent. I’m excited about getting to know myself as a parent. I’m ready, and I’m not at all ready, but more than anything, I just feel lucky to get to have this experience. “

  • “When Being Authentic Means Shutting Your Mouth,” Emily Freeman at Incourage (march)
    “Several years and several moves later, I had learned the fine art of becoming who everyone wanted me to be in order to be accepted. Not in the I’ll-jump-off-a-bridge-too kind of way, more in a I-don’t-rock-the-boat kind of a way. I watched people, learned what got on their nerves, learned what people liked and didn’t like. I wasn’t doing this on purpose. I just really wanted to have a lot of friends. I wanted to be seen as fun. I didn’t want to miss out on anything. Shy didn’t seem okay.”

  • “Found Wanting,” Joanna Linberg at Honey & Salt (april)
    “Every want in my life, whatever I might call it, is really a want for more of God.”

  • “My Mess,” Ashley Rodriguez, Not Without Salt (may)
    “In the midst of this season of darkness I’m reminded of the power in vulnerability. A humbling lesson as I realized again and again that I can not battle this alone but what has come from that vulnerability is greater love, deeper respect and a refining of who I am.”

  • “(and another thing…) butter,” Jessi Connoly at Naptime Diaries (june)
    “And there’s fear – you know? To step away from the fast pace world of online and know you’re going to miss out and you’re going to be behind. You might miss emails, connections, deadlines, expectations, and conversations.”

  • “Summer Vinyasa,” Phyllis Grant at Dash and Bella (july)
    “Boil garlic cloves in olive oil. Listen to your daughter do a mama-style door slam when you tell her she can’t have a new iPod. Pour hot garlic oil over cherry tomatoes and simmer them with salt, sugar, and lemon thyme. Consider returning the hot pink bikini. Ask your son how much he loves you and shiver when he says mama I love you neverending and forever. “

  • “On Dance Floors,” Helen Jane (august)
    “There are a lot of people not having fun with their blogs right now. And it makes sense.”

  • “Two,” Jacqui MacKenzie at Happy Jack Eats (september)
    “I think about marriage a lot — about what it is, what it’s supposed to be, or, rather, what we think it’s supposed to be. Sometimes I get caught up in the ‘supposed to be,’ forgetting that every marriage is different, but at its core, I’ve been learning that it’s about love and growth. Love that changes. That grows from first dates and butterflies in your stomach and looking into the other’s eyes, afraid and excited at the same time, not knowing what he’s thinking but knowing that you’re happy. Into family. Sharing a home, sharing triumphs, big and small, and seeing the best and the worst and the every day. Being afraid, and happy, together. Being together through it all.”

  • “My Drug and My Defense,” Shauna Niequist (october)
    “Busy is both my drug and my defense. By that I mean that I use busy-ness to make me feel numb and safe, the way you use a drug, and I use busy-ness as a way of explaining all the things I dropped, didn’t do well, couldn’t pull together, as a defense. “

  • “11.13.12,” Sara Forte at Sprouted Kitchen (november)
    “Sometimes I stress at you ‘we aren’t working hard enough.’ Panic! This stress is not because I don’t trust you. It is merely because sometimes, when we’re eating a La Sirena picnic on the hill, this life feels too good to be true.”

  • “Seen, Known, Loved: Messy Hair & Vulnerability,” Stephanie May at Darling Magazine (december)
    “After years of research and thousands of interviews, she found that true connection with others is one of our soul’s greatest needs. She also found that the only way to really have this kind of soul warming connection is to allow yourself to be really seen and really known.”

Shanna Mallon

Shanna Mallon started Food Loves Writing back in 2008, as a way to remember her grandma and write about her life through food. Since then it's become a place leading her to a lifestyle of eating whole foods, a new home in Nashville and the love of her life, Tim. Follow Shanna on Twitter @foodloves, keep up with Food Loves Writing on Facebook and stay inspired with the monthly newsletter.

This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. Kathryne

    This is great, Shauna. Thanks for sharing such inspiring reading material!

  2. Erin

    So many great reads to catch up on, I’ve fallen behind (not a bad thing but I want to make sure I read some of these!) Also, love the “wholly present” in the New Year- so true!

  3. Kasey

    Shanna, what a fantastic post. This is getting saved to my Evernote :) There was so much great writing in 2012 and I’m excited to look back through some of your favorite posts. Love the idea of approaching 2013 with the goal of living wholly and intentionally. Being present is so important. Happy New Year, friend! xo

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  5. Helene @ French Foodie Baby

    Lovely round-up, definitely some of my favorites of yours in there, and some I’m looking forward to reading further. Have a wonderful new year!

  6. sara

    oh I loved reading ALL of these! Thank you. Thank you for including me in a list of such inspiring quotes and for passing on good reads I wouldn’t have otherwise seen. Happy new year to you guys!

    1. Shanna Mallon

      Thank YOU, Sara, because that post rang so true.

  7. Ashley

    This is wonderful. I will return again and again for inspiration in your words and the ones of those you shared. Thanks for including me in this link. So thankful that season has passed.

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