16 Years Blogging

jars of spices for 16 years blogging

Today is 16 years blogging! Sweet Sixteen!

Sixteen years isn’t just a milestone for the number of years. It also represents a dividing line. I blogged for eight years and a few months on my old blog, when it was Anali’s First Amendment. Now the number of years on this domain, Anali’s Next Amendment, is also eight years.

April 29th is not only my blogging anniversary, it’s also the day I choose my word for the year.

When thinking about this new word, what first came to mind was that people enter our lives for a reason, a season or a lifetime. It’s up to us to figure out the difference. That discernment is part of our life’s work.

I started thinking about how a season is really quite short — just three months. But each season repeats in an endless cycle of seasons. I think this deep noticing of seasons comes with age. Because after living through so many cycles of seasons, we notice them more. That might be a reason why I was drawn to reflect on the seasons with the year long Collection of Moments project.

Life is all about the seasons of it. Like that Frank Sinatra song, “It Was A Very Good Year.” He reflects on being 17, 21, 35, and then the autumn of his years. It’s such a beautiful song — his sharing memories of these four seasons of his life. And yet season can take on other meanings.

I grew up learning to well season my food. Using spices and herbs to season our food improves taste and increases our enjoyment. Baking oil onto a cast iron pan, seasoning, prevents rusting and preserves it.

After thinking about the word season, I thought that I might have already used it as a word of the year. It seemed so obvious. But after looking back, I had not. So, I guess the word hadn’t been right before. It is now. ‘Tis the SEASON.

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Links to posts for past years are below. Thank you for being here!

I Did A Podcast!

Podcast with Dr. Robin

Things are getting more interesting on this blog! Last week, I spoke about my blog as part of an author series. A few weeks before that, I did a podcast that you can now listen to!

The podcast is called Leadership Purpose with Dr. Robin. The host, Robin L. Owens, Ph.D., is a college professor, speaker, author and leadership purpose coach. On her weekly podcast, “she interviews experts who give helpful advice to address issues facing high achieving women leaders today.” She also shares her own stories and life lessons along the way.

It was so much fun doing the podcast and I think it sounds great! Of course I’m biased with my own episode, but I’ve enjoyed listening to all her other episodes as well. They’re inspiring! And I always learn something new and benefit from hearing different perspectives on many life issues that we all face.

On the podcast, I speak with Dr. Robin about my favorite quote, which is also my blog motto, and about my writing and legal careers. And Free Yoga Boston too!

I hope you listen to the episode and enjoy it as well! You can listen on Spotify and Apple Podcasts.

Emma Andrews Library Author Series

Emma Andrews Library Author Series

I have some exciting news! On Thursday, April 7, 2022, at 7pm, I will be interviewed as part of the Emma Andrews Library Author Series!

Over the past week or so, I’ve shared it on different social media platforms. But of course the news had to make its way here. The main topic is about why and how I blog! It all started here. Hmmm. Well, actually my blogging beginnings go back to the old blog, Anali’s First Amendment.

It’s hard to believe that I moved to this domain eight years ago! And it’s now almost eight years here. For a combined 16 years of blogging! The official anniversary is April 29th, which is approaching fast. Time to start thinking about my new word of the year and the lessons of last year’s wordSURRENDER.

But back to the event! Emma Andrews Library is a small library and community center in Newburyport, Massachusetts. It was founded in 1886 by schoolteacher Emma Andrews as a lending library to serve local children. For me, as someone who grew up with parents who were both schoolteachers, and from childhood to this day always enjoying going to the library, this event feels especially wonderful.

The interview will take place over Zoom, so everyone is invited to watch and take part. It will be a Q&A format moderated by local author and writer Áine Greaney. If you’re interested in registering for the event, send an email to emmaandrewslibrary@gmail.com and you’ll receive a link.

Hope to see you then!

Color Palette For Spring Using Astrology

color palette for spring with astrology

Here in New England, solar spring and meteorological spring have passed. The only thing left is the real deal. Astronomical spring (aka the spring or vernal equinox) arrives in two weeks on March 20th. Yay! I am loving all the daylight now. It’s such a mood lifter.

On Twitter, I saw a meme that lets you create your own personal color palette for spring using your astrological placements. Since I love Pantone colors, spring and astrology, how could I not try it?

The meme uses the “Big Three” (your sun sign, moon sign, rising/ascendant sign) and Venus signs. If you want to find yours, you can easily do your chart for free on Chani Nicholas’ website. Generally our sun sign is considered our zodiac sign, but there is far more to astrology than that.

I’m a Virgo sun. Taurus rising, Scorpio moon and Venus is in Leo. The picture above shows my color palette for spring! I prefer the taste of peach and smell of lavender. For clothing, I have a lot of forest green and some of that shade of yellow. Not as fun (or frustrating) as Wordle, but I like it!

Will you try it?

Community, DNA, Kin & Black History

DNA description and genetic community

“Your ancestors are always your ancestors. But their communities may not be your communities.”

                                                                                              ~ Matt

The quote above is from an article called “To Be Good Kin” on the website Midnight Sun and it makes a lot of sense.

Just because our DNA says one thing, doesn’t mean that’s our community — regardless of the percentage. The article is an excerpt from the book, Becoming Kin: An Indigenous Call to Unforgetting the Past and Reimagining Our Future, by Patty Krawec, which will be released this September. The author is Anishinaabe and writes about how settler colonialism tried to change Indigenous ways of life and the idea of kinship.

Kin & Community

I feel like I sort of understand the big picture idea of kinship. But not so sure I understand the exact detailed meaning. There are many definitions for it.

Merriam-Webster says it’s a group of persons of common ancestry or clan; one’s relatives. According to Oxford, it’s our family and relations. Vocabulary.com says it’s a group of people related by blood or marriage. However, I would also add that it should include people related by adoption. But I don’t think these definitions cover everyone.

What about a neighbor who takes in someone who is unrelated and there is never a formal legal proceeding to make them family? What about close friends who are like family? We all have “aunts” and “uncles” who aren’t blood relatives, but they are part of our families. Are they kin? They’re definitely part of our communities.

Each of us has more than one community. But sometimes, because they are so intrinsic to our identities, we may not really think about it. We may take these different groups of people for granted. One group might center around our work or school. Another may revolve around our spiritual life. Another may revolve around a sport or hobby. One of the most central is based on blood relatives. Friends who enter our lives through one or more of these groups also play vital roles in our lives.

Maybe depending upon how close we get to certain individuals in these groups, any of them could be considered kin. Maybe all of them. I’m not really sure. What if you don’t spend holidays or other special occasions with your blood relatives, but with members of your church or your book club? What if you combine all of them?

The idea of kin and community is fascinating and worthy of much discussion. Thinking about the quote above made me think about my DNA results. They are all over the map, but heavily concentrated in West Africa. While I don’t know the names of the individuals, the blood in my veins is from my ancestors. The majority who hailed from Cameroon, Congo, Nigeria, Benin & Togo, Ivory Coast & Ghana.

Black History Month

I hadn’t planned on writing a Black History Month post. Often the celebration feels forced and fake. Like when conservative Republicans have the nerve to say they are celebrating it on Twitter at the same time they are doing everything possible to prevent Black people from voting.

Anyway…. The countries that my ancestors are from reveal a pattern showing the history of this country. A horrible and frightening trend by many states and localities seeks to prevent teaching American slavery and the history of Black people in this country.

My DNA connects me to three specific genetic communities: Early North Carolina African Americans (1700 -1800); Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama & Mississippi African Americans (1775 – 1950), Mid-Atlantic Coast African Americans (1750 – 1950). Where certain Africans were taken from and brought to in the United States is evident in my DNA now and in the DNA of all of us who descend from Africans enslaved in this country. No matter the attempts to erase what happened, it shows in the science.

Slavery severed generations of families and communities in countries all over Africa. It contributed to the growth of the African diaspora and the creation of African Americans. These ancestors’ communities may not be mine, but at least knowing the countries lets me be curious in a more specific way. And maybe I can learn more about these communities in the future.

If you’re interested in learning more about Black History, during the month of February, you can stream for free a three-part class: Black History, Black Freedom and Black Love on MasterClass.com.