A few years ago I picked a WORD for the year that I wanted to see reflected in my daily life. It was RADIANT – a wise and amazing choice that gave me joy. Another year I chose JOY which lifted me up and cheered me on as I ventured in another year of aging.
I try not to over-think the next year’s word. I spend a little of each day as the end of the year approaches meditating on what word might best fit the new year. For some reason I did not pick a word for 2019, and found that I really missed seeing the little things that a word might show me. Because of this I went back through my photos and realized that my word should have been CREATIVE due to the amazing number of ways I was creative.
It began when I started making quilted ornaments from styrofoam ball. I used a YouTube video to teach myself how to do it. That lead a year-long effort making over 40 ornaments which I gave away to friends, family, teachers, or donated to raise money for my P.E.O. chapter or the Chattanooga Autism Center. My first ball was one of my favorites.
The next thing I knew, I started a weight loss journey with Noom and discovered hundreds of wonderful healthy fulfilling recipes like this mushroom and kale soup with orzo pasta and within four months I lost 15 pounds and dropped two sizes.
The next creative thing I discovered was handmade cards. I found fabric with pretty or cute patterns, cut them out and ironed on adhesive then trimmed them, peeled off the adhesive and ironed the pattern onto a card.
The next thing I did was paint the shutters on my house and then the front door. It’s kind of fun being known as the only house in our neighborhood with the yellow front door!
And if that wasn’t enough, I started walking on the treadmill at the gym and participated in the Chickamauga Chase walking two miles beeting my treadmill time by five minutes! Doesn’t sound too agressive, but before I started training, I could barely walk down the street to my granddaughter’s house without getted winded.
In April, I created a dream catcher for my granddaughter who has Autism. By the time summer arrived, our backyard garden started to produce and I was able to create some delicious breakfasts with zucchini, cherry tomatoes and boiled eggs.
Sometime before school started I decided to make a dress for Emery Kate and then Lexi. It has been over thirty years since I made a dress with my sewing machine. It was such fun and so rewarding that they liked their dresses.
I participated in my church’s first Trunk or Treat. I rained so we brought it indoors to the Parish Hall. Over 100 children visited with about 15 families hosting a table in lieu of a trunk. I created mummy boxes of raisins, pumpkin cookies, and jack-o-lantern tangerines. They were all a big hit!
Finally, the last creative thing I did in 2019 was to finish Emery Kate’s afghan. I started crocheting it last year. She loves it!
Part of staying healthy at my age is staying mentally healthy as well as physically healthy. My morning routine of prayers, meditations and reading devotionals is key to my success. I discovered a little book by Catholic monk, Fr. Richard Rohr entitled Just This, a book of contemplative prayer. And although I am about finished with the book, it has occurred to me that I really like the idea of a contemplative mind. According to Fr. Rohr, “The contemplative mind does not tell us what to see, ut teaches us how to see what we behold.”
That’s what I want! My sweet cousin, Patsy, says I’m the only person she know who doesn’t take things at face value. I question; I did deep; then deeper until I feel I have the answer. Contemplative prayer exemplifies this technique: read, study, read again, write, and of course pray. Maybe I’m a little OCD, who knows? If so, too bad I didn’t have this desire while in school or I would have made better grades! But one is never too old to learn new things.
And so this year I plan to stop my habitual thinking and work to broaden my horizons by usig my imagination. I begin by posting yesterdays message today. I kept telling myself to post, yesterday, but I was focused on cooking the blackeyed peas and my mother-in-law’s coleslaw recipe to which I added my father’s cheese grits recipe and fried ham bringing all the luck and prosperity I could muster up on one meal.
But then what is New Year’s Day really? For me, it’s about new beginnings and seeing things through a CONTEMPLATIVE mind.
Blessing for 2020