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Letter from The Publisher

Peggy Malecki

Happy New Year!

As this holiday season ramped up, my mailbox seemed to overflow with the annual barrage of shiny catalogs and postcards filled with unique gift ideas, special offers and last-minute savings. While most of this mail headed straight to the recycle bin, there also were a few bright spots of sunshine and spring hope tucked in amongst the pile—garden catalogs!

        The first organic seed catalog arrived shortly after Thanksgiving, and I greeted it with a big smile as I leafed through the pages. Oooooh, heirloom tomatoes (and lettuces, peppers, kales and some native perennials, too)!  A scattering of additional garden catalogs soon drifted in to brighten the pre-holiday rush, and I’ve carefully set them aside for inspiring January reading and mental refreshment.

        More seed catalogs will arrive throughout January and February, but it’s these first harbingers of the spring to come that bring the greatest joy to my gardening spirit. They inspire hope for the new year, ideas for a fresh season and dreams of salads to come. The seeds, tubers and plant offerings symbolize nature’s vitality, a powerful word which the Oxford English dictionary defines as “The state of being strong and active; energy,” and “The power giving continuance of life, present in all living things.”

        Perhaps vitality should be one of our personal words of inspiration as we start the new 2019 calendar. Yes, it’s easy to get bogged down in the depths of January cold and grey here in the Chicago area, but with a little creativity, we can also find ways to maintain (and build) vitality into our daily lives. The days are slowly getting longer (January 30 brings us the first sunset after 5 p.m. since too long ago), which brings new optimism and more encouragement to get outside to observe the winter season around us. With a quick neighborhood walk or visit to your local park or forest preserve to soak up some winter sunshine, getting outdoors (even on gloomy days) can boost our mood and energy levels (think mental, physical and spiritual). Spending a little time tending houseplants can be both Zen and energizing, as can a trip to a local garden center greenhouse or a visit to one of the magnificent public conservatories and greenhouses in our metro area.

        Of course, maintaining personal vitality is interwoven into living a healthy life, and this month in Natural Awakenings Chicago, we focus on ways to renew our energy and health, and suggest some fresh ways to jump into 2019. Weight, muscle tone and appearance often take center stage when we think of physical wellness, but the foundations of our vitality are in our internal organs. In the main article this month, “Kick-Start Organ Vitality,” writer Ronica A. O’Hara provides what she refers to as “a gentle fix-up campaign” for our main organs that combines both Western and Eastern medicine (and is very approachable, too). We’ve also got some great recipes, new ways to look at our eating habits, ideas to get you up and moving throughout the winter, great indoor destinations for cold winter days with the family and lots more inspiration for this January and beyond.

        Here’s to an inspiring January!

From all of us here at Natural Awakenings Chicago, we wish you a happy, healthy and joyous 2019.