Reflections on 2021

With the year drawing to a close it feels like the right time to look back over the past 12 months and reflect on what has happened; what was good, what was not so good, what was learned and what still needs some work.

We laugh (and cry) together quite a lot at Cedar Mountain. We are a small group of people and nothing happens here without everyone else sharing in the news. Similarly, no new product is developed without everyone putting in their two cents. 

Last year, while the team was choosing some funny new sayings for our LOL line, we laughed the hardest over, “Marty, whatever you do, don’t go back to 2020." (Don't we all sometimes wish we could get into the DeLorean and fly to another time with Michael J. Fox.) And now we have been joking to one another, "don't go back to 2021 either!"

The past few years have held some very serious challenges for just about everyone and I know most communities are getting pretty worn down by COVID. While everyone at Cedar Mountain is used to the new ways - the masks, the social distancing - it is still difficult to remain positive as new variants emerge and the health landscape seems to shift. I keep thinking of the old adage, "hope for the best and prepare for the worst".

2021 came with a lot of personal challenges for me as well. And yet, within even my most difficult times of 2021, I was lucky enough to find glimmers of joy, peace and hope. 

Last year, I had to move my dear old Dad, Henry Sager, twice as his mobility declined in the last year of his life and he passed on September 30. While his passing left me and the rest of my family with heavy hearts, we are so grateful that we got to witness Dad reach age 100 in pretty good health and that his passing was peaceful. He has left a legacy of adventures, shenanigans, larger-than-life stories and great fun, all of which I am so lucky to remember.

2021 was also the year that both Don and I were diagnosed with cancer, which was really shocking and difficult at first. Luckily, we are both doing well right now and are counting our blessings for the great medical care system in British Columbia. Although we have been thinking about our front-line health care workers a lot in the past two years, Don and I are even more personally grateful than ever for all the doctors, nurses and technicians who helped us over the last year. Every single person we met along the way in the cancer journey was compassionate, kind, and seriously good at their jobs. We also felt so loved by our family and friends and especially our team at Cedar Mountain who gave us the gift of a month of delicious and wholesome food!

Don and I have had a number of other big changes this year. Our daughter, Amy, and our son-in-law, Dan, bought our retail store on Salt Spring Island. They are doing a fantastic job making it their own and filling the shelves with beautiful and thoughtful products. If you are on the island, please check out "Folk, Stock and Trade" - you won't be disappointed!

Another great blessing was that our oldest daughter, Erica, had a beautiful baby girl in October. We are now grandparents to our two dear grandsons and a granddaughter. We feel very lucky!

And our lovely son, Aubrey, and his wonderful wife, Hannah, who live in London, England, are living in British Columbia for a few months for work. Having them close by is a wonderful gift!  

When I look back at the ups and downs of the past year, I am reminded of the beautiful words of L.R. Knost:

Life is amazing.

And then it is awful.

And then it is amazing again.

And in between the amazing

and the awful, it’s ordinary

and mundane and routine.

Breathe in the amazing,

hold on through the awful,

and relax and exhale

during the ordinary. That’s

just living heartbreaking,

soul-healing, amazing, awful,

ordinary life. And it’s

breathtakingly beautiful.

My sincerest wish is that we can keep some hope in our hearts during these difficult times and strive to live by the golden rule. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. You just can’t go wrong with that one.

I hope that this holiday season is a healthy and happy one for you and all you love.

Suzanne Zacharias,
Co-Founder & Head Tea Drinker, Cedar Mountain Studios

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