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Which Word Is "The Word"?

"Lakedale Swans 2014"

As 2014 draws to a close I have been reading about the yearly rituals of choosing "a word" for 2015. The concept has always intrigued me, but which word is "the word"? The one word that will cast it's spell over the year to come?

I tend to be a realist as well as a bit of  skeptic, and I have never considered choosing a word or words that, almost by definition, would open me up to failure. Something like "lose weight", "be more focused", "creative", "energetic", "productive", "joy-full"? Of course I would like to accomplish all of these laudable things, but I truly dislike diets, find focus where and when I can, creativity is something that, most often, finds me rather than the other way around (ditto for productivity) and being "joy-full" is something that I aspire to every day anyway. For me, 'joy' is my "raison d'etre".

I used to wish for more time, but now that I have it, I fritter more of it away than I probably should, but I have always been prone to daydreaming. I think a bit of judicious daydreaming can cure whatever ails a person. I always wish for more energy, but that too ebbs and flows according to the vagaries of niggling maladies and various age and weather related aches and pains. No control there either.

What I can control though is my level of 'appreciation'. 

I truly do believe, and have experienced, that the memories that I cherish the most are not, ncessarily, of those 'larger than life' moments (first real job, marriage, divorce, first 'big' quilt hanging etc etc) but are bonded to the smaller, more quiet, everyday, small things. My moments are sometimes seasonal; in the Winter, I like to stop  to watch the newly returned swans gliding on the lake. I listen for the songs of returning red-tailed hawks and the strident shrieks of foraging bald eagles. I look forward to the return of the hummingbirds in March, the first daffodils of Spring and the sound of a friend's voice on the phone, or better yet seeing them once a week "at quilting". I try to remember that the ebb and flow of daily activities, no matter how boring they may sometimes seem, are the stuff that memories are made of.

During my regular work years, I had little enough time to appreciate or cherish the moments. Time did, and continues to, fly by me at a breakneck speed that is, at times, enough to cause whiplash. How is that I can so clearly recall a time in my life when I had time enough for all of life?  I had time to work, time to create, time to cook and clean, to visit and play, and all without feeling as though each moment was sliding all too quickly through my fingers. Life changes, we change, moments slide by. Time hurries on.

Last year, my friend, Janet, gave me  life changing book by Christian McEwen called "World Enough and Time". The book gave me 'permission' to appreciate the gift of having the time to daydream, to sit, to watch, to listen, to appreciate and to take in the small moments of my everyday life that all add up to the memories that I will always cherish.

There are so many things that I cannot control. Life is comprised of good and bad, happy and sad, sunshine and shadow. Not all days are productive, happy, fulfilling or positive. I cannot wave a magic wand and become thinner, younger, more creative, wealthier, happier or more productive.

What I can do is cultivate appreciation. I may not like feeling low at times, but I can appreciate that I will feel better. I cannot stop the inexorable flow of time through my fingers. What I can do is take the time to appreciate, and be glad for, the fact that I am around and relative healthy enough to have the gift of time.

I think, through the writing of this, I have found my word for the New Year. 

It is "Appreciate".

What will you appreciate in your New Year? Do yu choose a word or words? DO you make a resolution? Do you keep it? What are your personal New Year's traditions? I'd love to hear!


  1. no resolutions ! just lists. And thank you notes in small hand made cards for a kindness noticed.
    As this is the 4th day of Christmas, i am not pressed as it is still a holiday feeling about even if some of it is recovering from fatigue. I appreciate all the wealth nature lays at my feet and eyes and ears and nose and the taste of fresh fruit from trees all year long . a traditional meatless lasagna for new years eve honors all my italian family past that i have never met and in the holiday colors . i love the low light from the sun on a winters day shining through lace curtains and the pattern that light makes on the hardwood floor . i appreciate having artists in my life that i may have not known in person that have shared with me ideas,tools, ideas of how we process our imagination and words of wisdom that shine through, that i have received through USPS amazing bits of art from ideas that took shape by their hand and things on there workbench. i am grateful many many times a day and that list is growing and bears repeating, as it is were i turn to first when cranky starts to rise in my chest. .be well, sonja and i add see well to my sign off blatantly borrowed from my favorite prairie home companion ,Garrison Keillor on NPR radio! now i am going off to make soup from the "planned overs" of last week and if possible, find a dumpling recipe to top it off..

  2. I love your word. It speaks volumes and touches the heart. I tend not to choose words, make resolutions, diet, promise to do (fill in the blank). Why set myself up for failure and disappointment? I strive to be grateful everyday. Like you, some days are easier than others, but at least there are small things like the sun shining, a purr, or a kind word. I have kept a gratitude journal for 15 years. Every night at least 5 things must be written down that I am grateful for and it helps keep me positive. Some are as inane as the sun came out or Ms. Kitty sat on my lap, but on those days the small things are very important. I get overwhelmed during the holidays. I try, every year, to change things, but I still end up on the drive home utterly exhausted. Family dynamics, 5 hour drive, emotions, and hurtful people take their toll on someone who takes things personally. So, the week after New Years is my week. Nothing is scheduled, I may stay in my sweats all week, and I just try to erase the hard drive of the past week in my mind. I read, stitch, explore whatever takes my fancy, but I am quiet. I just need to re-charge and re-focus. I appreciate this week and I am so grateful for it. Be well my friend and know that I appreciate you. xoxo

  3. spot on as usual....and all of us out here appreciate your insights, artistic ability and all of you

  4. ahhh- what a great post- and I "appreciate" your writing and sharing with us! Happy New Year Marie~ all good things~

  5. This is such a lovely post! I agree, it's the quieter moments that leave an imprint on our hearts and memories. I don't make resolutions either. As soon as I do, I break them and then feel like a failure. I love the idea of a word though, but even more than that, I love your word! Appreciation is something that falls in with what I'm trying to do with the slow living concept. Thanks so much for visiting my blog and commenting! I'm thrilled to have discovered your blog. I think we are very like minded!


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