The Snug Cheer Within

Hi Friends!

Cold, snowy greetings from the Midwest! May this be the beginning of a year filled with good health, happy times, and new discoveries! I have always loved new beginnings… and look forward to a fresh, energized start each January. For the past six years, I have chosen a word to guide me throughout each new year.  Actually, the word has always chosen me!

This year, for the first time, I was completely blindsided by my word for 2018! As always, early in the Fall I began listening closely for my 2018 word to come into my heart. There it was… and I began seeing objects with my new word everywhere ~ on plates, on hand lettered signs, even linen napkins. This little word was definitely trending! So, I set up a Pinterest board to hold all of the great inspiration. As Winter approached, my heart began to speak very loudly. (Whenever my heart speaks, I always listen!) Each time I imagined this word, I felt stress. The timing was all wrong for this great word. This had never happened to me before!

I remember the exact moment, while sipping tea one December morning and reading this blog post. My 2018 word found me, tickled my soul, and filled my heart with light and joy! Every time I think about this word, I feel excited for all of the new discoveries that await! 🙂 So, it’s finally time to share the word that will guide me all year long…

It’s perfect! It’s inspiring! It’s what I need to do for my health, happiness, and personal growth in the year ahead! That’s exactly how my word should make me feel. So, I instantly switched gears… and danced through the past few weeks just getting started!

First, I knew that it was time to create a special, dedicated space for writing. Many years ago, when we became a family, I happily gave my antique, oak desk to my husband. Now it was time for a quick trip to IKEA! You would have smiled if you saw us, on one of the coldest days of the year, trying to maneuver the large, flat box into our little car, and up the back stairs at home. 🙂 In a true ‘labor of love,’ my sweet husband spent hours and hours assembling my simple, pine desk (with its hundreds of screws). A bouquet of dried Hydrangeas from my garden, a bouquet of watercolor markers, a cup of tea, and an antique quilt on the wall now make this an inspiring place to write each day!

For the new year, I created a Self-Care journal. I wanted a more tangible way to track my workouts, sleep, gratitude, and all of my creative goals. Although my Fitbit Charge 2 stores data, there is just something about hand writing it (in ink) that makes it feel more important to me. (I wonder if I am the only retiree to embrace bullet journaling? *wink*) I chose a Rhodia dot grid journal. The French, ivory vellum paper, by Clairefontaine, is heavenly. My lifelong love for playing with paper and ink is really in high gear now!

After more than a decade away from my mat, I began a new Yoga practice this month. I created a dedicated space to practice in a corner of our living room. A nearby antique, oak bench holds candles to quiet the mind. Just seeing my Yoga mat waiting for me each day makes my heart smile! Yoga was a huge part of my life for several years, before an injury (off the mat) ended my practice. Although I will always be a beginner, being on the mat again makes me feel so alive! This month I am practicing TRUE ‘Yoga with Adriene’ (via You Tube) with a worldwide community of kindred spirits.

This year, I will be rereading Julia Cameron’s inspiring book, It’s Never Too Late to Begin Again (An Artist’s Way Program for Retirees and Other Creative Souls). I am looking forward to using Julia’s four powerful tools again this year: writing Morning Pages, finding creative inspiration in Artist Dates, taking Solo Walks in nature, and Writing Memoir. I am planning to spend one month on each chapter (instead of Julia’s one chapter per week plan), so that I can thoroughly explore each of her 12 themes fully. I have been very fortunate to find a wonderful group of interesting, creative souls who are also reading the same book!

I’m looking forward to many colorful hours in my little Paper Garden studio downstairs this year. Creating handmade cards brings me such joy! My Artist Date this week is a workshop where we will create a mixed media project filled with special memories. Making time to create is so good for the mind, heart, and soul!

Today is the first day of The Daily Marker “30 Day Coloring Challenge.” Kathy has organized several of these fun Challenges encouraging everyone to take a few minutes each day just to color something. Over the years, she has built a warm, friendly, encouraging community of paper crafters who love to create with color. I’ve decided to create thirty tiny, stamped watercolor scenes, using Art Impressions Watercolor stamps. I’m so inspired by the creative work of artist Bonnie Krebs, who designs these tiny stamps!

It was fun to gather all of my supplies in a big basket for today’s kickoff of the “30 Day Coloring Challenge.” This was my Day One watercolor. I will be working with watercolor markers, tiny Art Impressions Watercolor stamps, and a paintbrush in a spiral bound pad of watercolor paper. It will be such fun to create these tiny watercolors ~ just for me!  (Normally, I turn them into cards and mail them off to family and friends right away.) I’m making quick notes alongside each painting so that I can always create another similar scene for a card in the future.

Finally, I’ve filled a big basket with stitching projects ~  pillow cases and tea towels to embroider, supplies to create a penny rug banner, and my first punch needle project. Wintertime always seems just perfect for a warm, snug place to sit, a hot cup of tea, and a colorful project to stitch.  (I think I’m going to need at least six more creative hours in each day!)  🙂

“The snow lies warm as cotton or down upon the window-sill;

the broadened sash and frosted panes admit a dim and private light,

which enhances the snug cheer within.”

~ Henry David Thoreau

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Wishing you peaceful hours

that enhance the snug cheer within you!

Thank you so much for stopping to visit today.

Warm hugs,

♡ Dawn

P.S.  Hope you will share your plans and dreams for 2018 with us!

 

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Oh, the Possibilities…

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Hi Friends!

Cheeriest New Year greetings to all!

I have always loved to celebrate new beginnings.

Oh, the possibilities that lie ahead of us all in this brand new year!

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This year marks my fifth year to invite

‘One Little Word’

into my life for the new year.

The power of intentionally focusing on just one word

for the entire year

is really quite remarkable!

Oh, the possibilities…

‘One Little Word’ is a powerful concept taught by designer and memory-keeper Ali Edwards in her year-long workshop. Although I have not participated in Ali’s ‘One Little Word’ workshop yet, I have been so inspired by her ideas for being more purposeful with my intentions each year. I have grown in so many ways by choosing ‘One Little Word’ to guide me through each new year. (Please read about Ali Edwards’ ‘One Little Word’ here.)

In 2012, I consciously searched for my very first ‘One Little Word.’ I knew that it should be a very powerful word that I wanted (and needed) to bring into my life. Ever since then, my word has chosen me! I always begin listening for my word in late November. A few words often come to mind, but when my ‘One Little Word’ finds me, my heart knows it! (Take a peek at my four past words here!)

I am so happy to invite

‘One Little Word’

into my life again for 2016.

I can’t wait to follow its leads

to discover where it will take me!

One Little Word

Today I’m delighted to share my

‘One Little Word’

for 2016…

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Throughout each and every day, we are faced with so many decisions.

Each decision comes with many choices.

In the year ahead, I will intentionally make choices

that help me to

blossom.

Jane Shasky's beautiful artwork in my Lang 'Bountiful Blessings' calendar is the perfect way to help make my 'One Little Word' visible.

Jane Shasky’s beautiful artwork in my Lang ‘Botanical Inspiration’ calendar is the perfect way to help make my ‘One Little Word’ visible.

 

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The beauty of ‘One Little Word’ is that it

encompasses all areas of  life.

It reminds me to be brave with my life,

making mindful choices,

that will help me blossom in new ways!

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Ali Edwards reminds us to make our ‘One Little Word’

visible.

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Keeping my word within reach

will inspire me to

blossom

as I make healthy lifestyle choices,

take on exciting, new creative challenges,

cultivate new plans for our perennial and herb gardens,

intentionally build my technology skills,

and discover new ways to share handmade kindness.

Oh, the possibilities!

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How do you plan for the new year?

Do you make resolutions, set intentions, choose ‘One Little Word,’

or have you found other ways to make it your most remarkable year ever?

Hope you will leave a comment to let us know…

Be brave with your life!

♡ Dawn

 

Welcoming a Brand New Year!

 

 

Are you ready to welcome a brand new year?  {via Pinterest}

 

Hi Friends!

The week between Christmas and New Year’s Day has always been one of my favorite weeks of the year! I look forward to the quiet time to remember, reflect,… and dream. This week, I have been documenting our family stories, Christmas traditions, and new holiday ideas in our ‘Christmas Memories‘ Keepsake Book, beautifully handlettered and watercolored by Susan Branch. Each book holds five years of precious family memories… and we are already on our second volume! (Sadly, this book is currently out-of-print. Hopefully, if we all encourage Susan, she will reprint more copies. Hint. Hint. We really need them!) ♡

Looking ahead to a New Year filled with possibilities!

‘Christmas Memories’ holds our stories, traditions, and favorite photos from each holiday season. It’s so much fun to look back and reflect on how we have changed… and all of the special traditions that keep our family strong and full of love year after year!

Many people are busy thinking about New Year’s Resolutions this week. Not me… A few years ago, I discovered something special that works oh-so-much better for me. I used to make several Resolutions each year, but after the ‘honeymoon’ period, my Resolutions were quickly forgotten. For a few years, I decided to set New Year’s Intentions instead. Although I worked hard on my Intentions for a slightly longer time, they also seemed to disappear while the winter snow still covered our garden.

{via Pinterest}

For the past three years, my life has been enriched so much by One Little Word.  Have you heard about this idea?  It’s very simple… and it really holds the power to make meaningful change in our lives!  Each year, around the beginning of December, I can feel a tugging at my heartstrings, reminding me that it is time to find my One Little Word for the new year. Sometimes I choose the word, but most often, the word chooses me!  I spend lots of time thinking about the One Little Word that will become a real catalyst for the year ahead. (Sometimes, I have even looked in a thesaurus to find the exact word that I need.) As soon as I find the perfect word for me, my heart lets me know right away!  About two weeks ago, my One Little Word for 2015 found me. I’m ready now… and it’s a wonderful feeling to begin the new year ready to soak up all of the possibilities that lie ahead.

{via Pinterest}

One Little Word was developed by Ali Edwards in 2006. I have always admired Ali Edwards as a true leader in the Memory Keeping industry. Ali believes that words are at the heart of memory keeping. It all makes perfect sense to me! Ali encourages people to create something to make their One Little Word visible every day. Some people decide to create a scrapbook about their One Little Word, while others simply display their word on a Post-It note where they will see it every day. I fall somewhere in between. Although I have not participated in Ali’s year-long workshop {yet}, the One Little Word concept still works really well. Each year, I find simple, creative ways to make my One Little Word visible.

Ali Edwards is the best one to explain the concept of One Little Wordin her own words:

One Little Word ~ by Ali Edwards (Please click on the video.)

Choosing One Little Word has truly impacted the path I am following through my early years of retirement. So, I thought I would share my One Little Word choices from the past three years. Focusing on one word every day throughout the year has been so powerful in learning more about who I am and who I am becoming

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One Little Word 2012

Every single day during that exciting year, I intentionally reminded myself to Breathe in and Breathe out.

Whether a huge change in my life felt scary, overwhelming, or joyous ~

just focusing on breathing really helped me!

{via Pinterest}

 

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One Little Word 2013

 Every day that busy year, I strived for Grace in my life, rather than perfection.

So often, just saying out loud, “I choose Grace,” helped me make the right decision!

{Artwork: Emily Ley}

 

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One Little Word 2014

Every day this amazing year, I have been counting my Blessings… out loud.

(Perhaps you have heard me!)

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Now a brand new year awaits!

 I’m very excited about my One Little Word for the new year…

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My new One Little Word for 2015.

 Throughout each day, I will strive to be present ~ mindful of each moment,

taking it in with all of my senses.

Imagine the possibilities of stepping away from the busyness of our days

to learn from the moments that are often missed!

This might be my most challenging One Little Word, so far…

{via Pinterest}

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One very special part of focusing on One Little Word every day of the year is that it your word truly becomes a part of who you are.  Very often, I still think about my past Little Words, as they continue to help me grow.  Breathe, Grace, and Blessings all still speak to me each day.  The beauty of One Little Word is that it applies to our health, wellbeing, family, career, dreams,… really every aspect of our lives.  What a powerful way to enrich our path through life!

Ali Edwards shares a long list of One Little Words that people have sent her over the years. If you are considering choosing One Little Word of your own for the first time, listening to this list might generate some very helpful ideas.

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Although I really look forward to taking Ali’s One Little Word workshop one day, in the meantime I still find many creative ways to make my One Little Word visible each day. Pinterest is just filled with beautifully illustrated quotations. In the past, I have handlettered and framed my word and spelled it out with Scrabble tiles. This year, I will create some mixed-media projects to display. I’m also going to create bunting that spells out all of my past words. It would be such fun to have them hanging in my Studio space. What a wonderful reminder of the ways I am growing! You will find your own unique ways to make your word visible every day!

Can’t wait to hear your thoughts about your own New Year’s Resolutions or choosing One Little Word for the New Year!  Hope you will share with us…

Happy New Year to All!

Wishing you a New Year filled with wonderful possibilities!   {Artwork: Whimsy Studio}

Be happy!

♡ Dawn