Be the Light! Rebooting the Sixburnersue Blog

You may be wondering why I picked now to reboot a blog that’s been dormant for a few years, and why there are no vegetable recipes or garden reports in your inbox.  The truth is, inaugural poet Amanda Gorman lit a fire under me with her poem, The Hill We Climb.

I was already headed toward reconnecting with you, what with this little pandemic and all. Since it began, I’ve found that writing is one of the best ways to quiet all the noise in my head. But I wanted to share more than recipes and garden tips with you.

And then I heard Amanda say these lines (many times, since I played the recording over and over again after the actual inauguration).

For there is always light,

if we’re brave enough to see it,

brave enough to be it.

Be the light! I love that idea, and I began to think about what it really meant to do that. To be kind, generous, supportive, positive, unselfish, enthusiastic, accepting, exemplary, visionary, honest, fair, passionate. A dozen people might come at it a dozen different ways.

But for me, I’ve been thinking it might mean sharing a little bit about how I find peace and serenity through creating — the cooking, the gardening, the flower arranging, the photographing, the meandering through the woods and over dunes. You see, I’ve been sober now for 14 years, long enough to be humbled by an impressive roster of missteps — and long enough to be honest with myself about what I need to get through the day (other than chocolate): Beauty, color, flavor, comfort, focus, activity, air, touch.

I’m also well-practiced at looking for light in the darkness. Believe me, Amanda is right; it takes courage. But looking for the light, then finding it, and finally, letting it radiate through you — that’s truth. And by truth I mean something possessed of much more energy than you might realize.

Years ago, reading a little book of essays called A Season for the Spirit by one Martin Smith, I learned that the original Greek word for truth is aletheia, which literally means “un-hiddenness.”

 “Truth is not a thing, it is rather an event. Truth happens to us when the coverings of illusion are stripped away and what is real emerges into the open,” Martin wrote.

Think about that! Truth is the act of revealing ourselves — of actually being our real selves — and in turn becoming that bright light in the darkness. It’s hard — getting there, I mean. Annie Dillard wrote, “You do not have to sit outside in the dark. If however, you want to look at the stars, you will find that darkness is necessary.”

But remember this, too: Darkness is a great place to visit, but don’t pack a suitcase – overnight stays are not advised. (That’s me channeling my favorite sober funny person-writer, Anne Lamott, who would totally say that.)

Come along with me into the light. I promise nerdy quotes, real-life stories (triumphs and debacles both), pretty photos (a LOT of flowers), book recs, music, kitchen wisdom, garden wisdom, and wisdom-wisdom. (That’s the stuff gathered from the universe of wise people — not me. I should come with a warning label.)

If you’d rather sit this one out, I totally understand and will not stick pins in a voodoo doll if I see your name fall off the subscriber list. (Though just thinking about that might keep you on.)

And by all means, to get your recipe fix, you should visit cookthevineyard.com and sign up for the free weekly newsletter. (Something I do as part of my day job.)

Here’s my reading suggestion for the week, an oldie but goodie: Ann Lamott’s Traveling Mercies.

Yes, the cosmos are from last summer, but they’re cheery, don’t you think? And pink. I plan to grow a couple dozen varieties this year, because, well, overdoing things is how I roll.


And here’s some feel-good music, just because I love these guys.

16 thoughts on “Be the Light! Rebooting the Sixburnersue Blog”

  1. Welcome Back! You’ve been missed.
    Thank you for your lovely words and for the book recco, although in this case I don’t need it: Traveling Mercies is a book I reread every few years, just because. I look forward to traveling with you.

  2. Hello Mary and thank you! Yes, rereading anything of Anne Lamott’s is always so refreshing. Glad you’ll be traveling along — yay! Best, Susie

  3. I’m a fan of Fine Cooking and CooktheVineyard and YOU. Looking forward to your new pursuits!

  4. Aw Marion you are sweet! I’m sad that Fine Cooking, since its sale to Meredith, seems to be on a strange path. Did you know there is a Fine Cooking Community FB group? It is a fun group that reminisces about all their favorite recipes. And so glad you are subscribing to Cook the Vineyard — I really enjoy putting it together!. Take care, SUsie

  5. I picked up “Fast, Fresh and Green” years ago and unfortunately didn’t touch it. Vegetables are a challenge for our family (even me!). I finally pulled it out and made Caramelized Green Beans and Sweet Onions from pg. 106 and I am absolutely hooked. We’ve made a few more rather safe choices including sweet potatoes and broccoli but I’m branching out into Brussels sprouts in a few days. I just received “Fresh from the Farm” today and am so excited to see what it has in store. I can’t believe I made it this far in life without knowing how delicious veggies could be. I even ate strictly vegan for 6 months but never had anything this delicious. You’re wonderful! I’m very thankful for you!! You’re about to help me teach my children veggies don’t have to be choked down but rather thoroughly enjoyed! I can’t thank you enough!

  6. Susan, so happy I could help. You’re welcome! Vegetables ARE delicious and it’s never too late to make the most of them. Learning the techniques for bringing our their sweetness — sauteeing, roasting, grilling — really makes them so much more palatable for everyone! Happy cooking!

  7. Love that you’re back at it! I cook one of your recipes almost every week — and your photos are always so gorgeous. Can’t wait to read/see more of you.

  8. Hello Kathryn! So happy the recipes are working so well for you — yay! And happy you’re onboard with the rebooted blog. Thanks for being in touch! Susie

  9. I am so glad that I met you several times in your garden with my daughter Katherine. Your writing is enchanting and I look forward to your blog.

  10. Katherine, I remember you well. You are a very sweet lady! I hope you are doing well in Texas. Just stopped by your daughter’s house as she’s giving me a couple kitchen items as she does her cleaning. Lucky me! So glad you are enjoying the blog and please take care of yourself! Susie

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