Thursday, January 31, 2013

Redeeming the Time

   For many of my adult years, one of my favorite little catch phrases was "Carpe Diem," you know, Seize the Day. Original, no? What can I say? I was rapt by Good Will Hunting.

   Then this mantra refined itself a bit when my girls left home. First my beautiful eldest in 2008, then my sweet baby two years later, they left a very contemplative empty nest behind as well as many hours, weeks, and months that needed purpose. While this nest emptying is a universal experience, our circumstances are a bit unusual. The girls left home many years ahead of schedule and not in a happy or easily understandable way.

   During that tough chapter I dove passionately, desperately into prayer and Bible study, seeking not only comfort but also answers, solutions, and direction. What I discovered was a far more powerful approach to Carpe Diem... a scriptural instruction to Redeem the Time.

Redeem the Time.
"See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools,
but as wise, redeeming the time, 
because the days are evil."
Ephesians 5:15-16

   This message was a rich balm to me in those first months, each time one of the girls left. It helped me see that bright glimmers of purpose and meaning could absolutely be hidden in all of that darkness.

   Gradually, as I prayed and ached, cried and panicked, screamed and threw things in the barn, this message to Redeem the Time began to crystallize and solidify. It cropped up in everything I read. I dreamed it. It echoed in my head while I worked. Other people delivered the words to me, each probably thinking he or she was the sole harbinger.

   Redeem the time.

   That it was specifically for me I had no doubt. When it didn't infuriate me (redeem THIS time?! What good can possibly come from this??) it was a great comfort. (There's something available to you here.Your life is still worthwhile.)

   Your life is DEFINITELY still worthwhile, no matter what.

   Redeeming anything implies that for what you give, you receive something.

   Redeem the time. Your time will get spent whether you like it or not. It's how you spend it that determines what you'll receive in exchange.

   The truth behind this is that everything in life is really just for a season. For better or worse, nothing lasts forever. We are given unique sets of circumstances, unique blessings, and unique challenges, over and over again. Our lives ares seasonal, and rather than resist that and kick against that, we should embrace it, accept the inherent blessings and face the natural losses.

   Celebrate the dazzling grace.

   Redeem the time.

   This message continues to hover around my heart now, informing my patchwork days and helping me structure my goals.

   Now that we have rediscovered our life rhythms, following routines and pursuing happiness in so many fresh ways while still fighting to keep family ties at least in view, always ready for tying them up, what was once a forced effort for survival is now a habit. My various energies are streaked with the momentum to see the uniqueness of each and every day and act on that. I am trained to capitalize on how things are right now and how they might never be again. Under this wisdom, not only is each day a gift; each change of plans is a gift too. Each season is certainly a gift, for we may only live it once.

"You can never step into the same river;
for new waters are always flowing on to you."
~Heraclitus of Ephesus*
*interesting to note that this quote, from about 600 years before the Bible verse above was first spoken, 
came from a philosopher in about the same part of the world.
It's a total coincidence that I thought of these lines in tandem, Had no idea, but that's cool.

   Redeem the time.

   How will I make good use of this time? Of this empty house? Of all of my throbbing maternal energy and ideas?

   How can I redeem my talents and resources in this life?

   What chapter are you in? How can you make good use of it? What is so truly unique about those circumstances that you might never step in your river again? What do you not want to miss out on while you're here? Or how can you use this chapter to prepare for the next one?

   Redeem the time.

   You know what? Making this adjustment in my heart has helped me bear the fruit of more laughter and fewer tears. More friends and less loneliness. Much more meaningful versions of everything I endeavor to do, however simple. When it comes to my girls, "Redeem the Time"  means that our time together, however brief compared to my heart's longings, is rich with affection, experience, memory making and joy! Far less often is stress or regret a part of the picture. I'll take it.

   Redeem the time.

   All of this is the heavy stuff, the foundation. But Redeem the Time is also a touchstone for daily activities. I remember this premise when the weather changes and I suddenly scrap my indoor tasks to be outside. Who doesn't grab a chance to play in the dirt? I also remember it if my husband is out of town for a few days; this is a great time to do deep cleaning or some of "those" projects that require things looking worse before they look better. I'm lucky to not be tethered to any job other than my own beautiful home and our animals, so I can respond to shifting needs over and over again. I love it!

   Redeem the time.

   What is your day worth? Not just in monetary terms, although we cannot ignore that. But what would you like to see showing for your effort and passion at the end of the day?

   I hope this wasn't too rambling. It's been a challenging week here at the farm, but I so appreciate Edie's invitation to write about time management. The lessons I have learned these past few years have been paying off in dividends, especially these past few months. Truly. It's like everything is clicking. Worrying less about lists and more about fulfillment has really opened up my heart. I hope the idea of redeeming your time is useful to you; and I hope that you find ways to trade your time and energy for more and more valuable treasures every day.

Redeem your Time.

"Experience is a cruel teacher.
It gives the test first and then the lesson."


Monday, January 28, 2013

Newest Obsession: Ziplist

   Ok you can go ahead and add me to the growing list of people singing the praises of a little do-diddy called Ziplist. I first saw it mentioned by a reader over at {lifeingrace} then my friend Katie wrote about it on her blog Dishin and Dishes. (My link tool is not cooperating, so pretty please find these sites over on the right...)

   It. Is. So. Cool.

   Basically a website-slash-phone-app, Ziplist is equal parts menu planner, recipe box, and grocery list, all in one. So efficient! Even for a newly converted electronics girl like myself (I only used my brand new 2013 paper planner for like two weeks before recently going 100% online), Ziplist is a piece of cake. And it will probably even help you bake that cake! Sha-za-amm.

   Basically, you just start by collecting recipes from the internet using either your laptop or your phone (I started with my Pinterest boards). Just follow the website's instructions, okay? I am no good at explaining these things. I promise you it's easy, and it's also free.

   Then the magical internet elves behind your smudgy screen translate the recipes you want to try into shopping lists, broken down by grocery store departments. So neat and tidy! You might want to spend a couple of minutes filtering through the lists based on how well stocked your kitchen is, and perhaps adding some items, but pretty much you can just head straight to the store at this point. PAPERLESSLY.

   As you shop, just tap item after item and it disappears. If you have time to buy it all at once, cool beans. If not, you can actually sort the master list by recipe! I love this, because maybe one day I just have time to drop by a store on the way home from somewhere and fill in the grocery blanks for just that night, versus the entire week. This doesn't happen often, but it does happen. All I have to do is sort my list to that night's cooking and run like a crazy woman through the store. And the remainder of the week's shopping list stays in tact, hidden meekly somewhere in the ether of my technology.

   Oh this reminds me to say that collecting recipes is not necessarily the same as building a shopping list; you can designate either or both as you add recipes to your profile. So your recipe collection can grow leaps and bounds while your shopping list is nicely controlled. Easy! There are still more features on the site I haven't explored yet. Go for it!!
   Since I started using Ziplist almost two weeks ago, I no longer have scraps of paper floating around my purse and denim jacket pockets, urging me to remember three and a half groceries every other day but NEVER on the day I am either wearing that jacket or carrying that purse. It is all on my iPhone, which goes with me everywhere. And I can walk from department to department knowing exactly what I need and then go home fully prepared to tackle new recipes.

   You guys, I had no idea that in one narrow little slice of January I would:
     a) surrender my paper planner to an online Google calendar and
     b) stop writing my menus and shopping lists on paper in favor of Ziplist.

   I feel so modern and grown up, it's completely ridiculous. Next, I might even stop carrying a boombox around on my shoulder while running.

   You never know.

   You're jot using Ziplist yet?? You're on the verge of being pitied like a fool.

What's for dinner at your house??



Commencing Training

   Oh my goodness, friends... After joking and dreaming about the possibilities of it for a few months, today I step boldly and sweatily into the half-marathon training program for the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon later this Spring. Between now and April 28, my goals are twofold:

  • To be conditioned to run 13.1 miles at a reasonable pace.
  • To do so in front of lots of other human beings without having a nervous breakdown.

   I am more optimistic about the first half of this venture than the second. Of course, losing a little curvy padding around my posterior would not hurt my feelings one bit. I won't lie, "skinny" is always on my radar. And running just a few times a week has made a nice difference there and all through my life.

   But the good news in the vanity department is that by making running a true habit, a regular fixture in my life, being skinny has taken a back seat. No pun intended. hahaha

   The more I run, the better I feel instantly. And the less junk my body craves. And the more water I tend to drink. So, the more I run, the more I tend to slim down, naturally. It's all part of my word for this year, STRENGTH.

    Anyway, the program includes more than running. Twice a week I am supposed to incorporate strength training and stretching, which I'll interpret as either yoga or Pilates. These are on Mondays and Saturdays, so today I have a date with Jillian Michaels.

   On running days, though, my dusty, sticker-ridden shoes will be tromping around the back field here at the farm, negotiating hills and tree roots, eluding a snotty llama, and keeping beat with a slew of late 90's rappers.

   Have you started a New Year fitness regimine? Would you like to join me in this perfectly realistic schedule? If you're local, would you like to do some running around a lake or park soon?

   One final thought before I close up and head outside for an amazing Springlike day in Oklahoma... Edie at {lifeingrace} said this last year of fitness... That it is an excellent servant but a terrible master. I could not agree more. Whatever you do for your body, let it be something that serves you rather than something to which you become a slave yourself. Amen.

   Okay, see you around! I have a 70-degree day to soak up!

"There is a necessity for a regulating discipline of exercise that,
whilst evoking the human energies,
will not suffer them to be wasted."
~Thomas de Quincey

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Beauty Everywhere

   This week has been equal parts hard work and sweet romance for us. My week days have been split between enjoying rare time with loved ones; caring for these silly animals and lazily monitoring the llama drama; substitute teaching at some local schools; and reading. Also I have had the chance to browse some cool and unusual shops lately, like this one...

   My work is busy, satisfying, and fun. Handsome is working harder than three men every single day, and I could not be prouder of him. If only Oklahoma knew how much effort and expertise goes into turning on our lights an heating our homes. Wow.

   In most ways the hours certainly pass too quickly. Particularly the sunlit ones. Around the Lazy W we are very excited for springtime!

   A few nights ago Handsome and I, fighting the contagious germs all around us, succumbed to a mutual craving for all things comforting and made nachos for dinner then gave ourselves a two-person slumber party in the downstairs Green Room. 

Side Note: 
Our Lazy W "Green Room"has nothing to do with staging for television shows.
It's just where we watch television and play games. It's like a den. 
Or, if you're Heather in Canada, a "snug."  
But it is green. I mean, the walls are green. Everything else is normal.
I mean, green is normal, but you know what I mean.

   Despite being certified grown ups, we slept on the Green Room floor between a thousand layers of blankets and surrounded by ten thousand different pillows  We might as well have made a sheet fort, really. Then very early the next morning we rose an hour and a half before the sun did and carried hot, perfect coffee outside. We soaked up a nearly silent Hot Tub Summit. The farm, seemingly the entire world, was asleep and ignoring our hushed exchange. Handsome and I braided together our hopes and plans. We talked about his career and my book club. We worried about our parents a little, though we know worry is a mistake. And we built up our defenses against the coming day.

   We have had time for a few projects lately, including this little diddy whereby we have immortalized our most beloved cities on a bunch of reclaimed wood...

   I'll try to tell some of these stories eventually.

  When I relay our excitement for springtime, I mean it in every sense. I am chomping at the nest-feathering bit to get some extra pretty things accomplished around here!! From deep cleaning to sewing and from decorating to gardening, my project list is growing by the minute. Pinterest can't even keep up.

   Here are a few things I've seen with my own two eyes lately, projects that are DAYS away from becoming part of our own home:

   I adore this eclectic plate display... Notice how it includes both fancy and plain castoffs. Just like the best parties.

   This mixed-up style of container gardening has me enraptured. I love the formal, clipped miniature tree surrounded by a collar of that free-form spilling flower, perhaps allysum. So pretty. Add white lights, and it's elevated to gorgeous! 

   Also, this used book store which specializes (magically so) in COOKBOOKS has me ridiculously inspired to add even more sparkle and color to our nest. It also reminds me that collections can be out and on display. More white lights too!!

   There's so much to do you guys. I crave to see things as beautifully as I feel them. Which is very. I intend to use these glorious little swells of time and energy to make stuff happen all around me.

   What about you? What are you reading? How are you spending your time? What projects do you have up your sleeve, and which ones do you barely dare dream about?


   Hope your weekend is grand! As I hit "publish" Handsome and I are aimed happily at meeting my dear ol' Dad, little brother Phil, and Uncle Chris for dinner in the city. One of several fun, loving events we've enjoyed this weekend!

"Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful,
We must carry it with us or we find it not."
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Monday, January 21, 2013

The Happiness Spell

   Ah, happiness, that elusive and various yet all important butterfly we all pursue.

   Certainly, happiness is something we all seek, no matter our stage or station in life, no matter our circumstances or needs. Happiness isn't an extra or a luxury in human existence, although we each can attach luxuries to it; it's just a need with which we are programmed. We are designed to want to be happy, and we each have the tools and capacity to find it, whatever the odds.

   What a broad topic! I'll try not to be too long winded.

   In Little Women, the March sisters deal a lot with the happiness and its antithesis, envy. Their wise mother Mrs. March has quite a tide to turn in coaching her daughters into a life of gratitude and satisfaction, and I would kinda like to illuminate some of her words here.

   This is said of Meg March, in her youth:

"Poor Meg seldom complained... but a sense of injustice 
made her feel bitter toward everyone sometimes, 
for she had not learned to know how rich she was
in the blessings which alone can make life happy."

   Don't you agree? Isn't envy the perfect opponent to happiness? And doesn't envy only breed bitterness? I can't remember where now, but somewhere recently I read that in order to ruin your happiness, you should first ask if you are happy enough. Also, that "comparison is the thief of joy." I am personally very susceptible to this. I see the difference in my heart and in my relationships when I fight this tide, too. Gratitude and satisfaction seem to walk hand-in-hand. Then joy follows closely behind.

   Jo March, that girl with whom so many young women seem to identify, said this of their great aunt:

"What a pleasant life she might have if she only chose!
I don't envy her much, in spite of her money,
for after all rich people have about as many worries as poor ones, I think."

   Does this resonate with you much? Do you ever think that others view your life in such a way that you should be happier than you are? Do you ever think that maybe happiness is available to you, if you could only choose it? Of course, Jo also touches on a really important topic, which is wealth and its relevance or irrelevance to happiness... That's for another day.

   At the risk of just quoting the whole book to you, here is the parable Mrs. March offers her young girls, as an antidote to their persistent envy and dissatisfaction with life:

"Once upon a time, there were four girls, who had enough to eat and drink and wear,
a good many comforts and pleasures, kind friends and parents who loved them dearly,
and yet they were not contended.
These girls were anxious to be good and made many excellent resolutions, 
but they did not keep them very well, and were constantly saying
'If only we had this' or 'if only we could do that.' 
Quite forgetting how much they already had 
and how many pleasant things they actually could do.
So they asked an old woman what spell they could use to make them happy,
and she said...
'When you feel discontented, 
think over your blessings,
and be grateful."

   The happiness spell. What a cool idea.

   We all seek one, and we all have opinions of its chemistry.

   Just for fun, a couple of days ago I asked my Facebook friends to offer up what makes them happy. The answers they pummeled at me are just as various and touching and fun as the people who offered them!


Handsome said: Chicks, fast cars, money, sunshine, beaches, ocean fish, birds, and "you" (me...) Awww...

Julie said: Route 44 vanilla Coke from Sonic. (Come to think of it, I know lots of people who rely on Sonic ice every day!)

Sunni said: Her kids and sexy shoes on her feet!

Anna Marie said: Family, friends, dogs (who she considers to be family, which I whole heartedly believe!), high heels, red lipstick, and her BED.

Tracy said: Friends, family, nature, babies, chocolate chip cookies, smell of cake batter, seeing others exited!

Charlene said: Family, good honest friends, praying, Thunder basketball, and her honey.

Catherine said: Her babies.

Trisha said: A nice pair of heels, finding greyhounds a home to retire (she and her guy are passionate advocates in OKC, let me know if you're interested!), her husband, and a pair of jeans that make her look and feel 24 again. (But I can vouch for the fact that she ALWAYS looks great! 24 year old girls would be wise to mimic her jeans...)

Melissa said: Book club, dogs, children laughing.

My sweet laughing babies, when they were still babies, at the OKC Zoo loorikeet exhibit

Mysti said: Full creative license with someone's hair!! (Mysti recently graduated from hair styling academy and is embarking a fun new career!)

Cindy said: God, her kids, her grand kids, awesome husband, vacations, honesty, great friends, going to Thunder games, and laughter!

Heather said: Her husband's car coming up the driveway every night.

Halee said: This amazing 75-degree weather in January. OKAY OKAY Halee, we all know San Diego has amaaaaaaazing weather!!!  xoxoxo

This is San Diego in January. Notice how NOT freezing it is.

Cora said: Chocolate! Amen, Cora. Amen.

Serena said: Family.

Deb said: Sunshine. Yes! Sunshine makes me happy too, Deb!! 


   A few observations...

   First, let's notice how many people said "Thunder basketball." Apparently it is central to the happiness of lots of salt-of-the-earth folks, and with good reason. The OKC Thunder are just, well, happy-makers.

   Next, we tend to feel happy with or because of our mates, and that's just wonderful. I feel incredibly fortunate to be married to my best friend and to feel treasured by him, and I love that so many people in my life enjoy the same blessing. True love is REAL, you guys, and it is deeply, sparklingly satisfying! If you're still looking for it, be happy in your wait and keep believing.

   Did you notice how many women feel happy with little things in life that give us a boost? Like high heels, red lipstick, and sexy jeans? Don't undersell this, friends. Let's not pretend that this feeling is unimportant or shallow. It's a huge part of life, and soaking up the things that make you feel vivacious and desirable is smart. It breeds fun and, yes, happiness.

   Dogs! Fish, birds, and more dogs! Animals make us all happy!! Of course they do. They are conduits for a life force outside of us, or perhaps one that connects us all. Embrace your animals and enjoy them. Give thanks for the happiness they bring.

   What else strikes me is that, overall, we had fun naming the pleasures of life, the stuff that extends beyond basic food and shelter. Nothing terribly exotic, except in my husband's case LOL, but just simple, beautiful, soul nourishing gifts of this life. We can be happy every day just by appreciating our blessings and embracing small pleasures.

   Thanks so much to those of you who answered my question on Facebook!! What do you think of the answers as a group? What do the rest of you think? What makes you happy, and have you cracked the happiness spell in your own life? I'd really like to know.

   It's still a cold, dry winter here in Oklahoma, but the bluebird of happiness is flittering everywhere! I hope he visits your home too.

"If you want to be happy, be."
~Leo Tolstoy

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Quick Mid-January Update

   How goes your week, friend? Are you clipping along, devouring earthly pleasures and churning out little accomplishments like the superwoman that you are? Are you gleaning insights and deepening relationships as you go? Are you counting your many blessings? I hope so. I hope January has thrust you into light and strength like you have not yet known.

   I have been enjoying a week of both pause and nourishment, a few days to really deeply water my roots in anticipation of a VERY busy couple of months soon to begin! It's been kind of a breather between the holidays and springtime, and I have loved every delicious moment.

   Right now I am working through distilling my thoughts on Little Women while also reading through the hefty and completely worthwhile Dietrich Bonhoeffer biography. So I am flanked by both sweetness and grit, and it's perfect.

   The gardens are whispering to me constantly, but it's still time for them to rest. So I suffice myself with houseplants, seed catalogs, and manure collection. Are you planning your spring gardens yet?? I would love to know what my friends from around the globe can cultivate!

   Physically, my strength resolution is ramping up. In just ten days I begin half-marathon training, and that is pretty darn exciting! In the mean time, I just run as often as time allows, do a sit up here and there, and eat slightly less sugar than I did in December. Baby steps, you know?

   Speaking of resolutions and words, a couple of weeks ago Handsome and I opened the farm for one last bonfire of the holiday season, which turned out to also be our first social gathering of the New Year! It was so much fun. A handful of our friends (from different circles, by the way, which is so cool!) gathered around the fire, tossing in our past year's regrets and pains into the flames, helping each other let go. We laughed and laughed and ate too many marshmallows. Then we wrote our intentional words for the New Year on a big chalkboard in our stairwell. One of these days I will actually download those photos and share the chalkboard image with you. As a group we came up with some pretty great words!

   I better scoot, but I wanted to wish everyone a very happy end to your week! I hope your first few weeks of this New Year have been good to you and good for you. Keep doing your best and count your blessings! Life is beautiful.

"Let us love winter,
for it is the spring of genius."
~Pietro Aretino

P.S. A very grateful thanks to my friend and fellow book clubber Erica for sharing this photo she snapped as she pulled into the Lazy W recently. We love our friends and treasure our guests so much! I really appreciate it when you share your joy too. xoxo



Wednesday, January 9, 2013

How Ducks Got Me Going Today

   Early this morning during Hot Tub Summit, Handsome and I watched with great delight as our three resident Mud Ducks circled low over the farm. They have been visiting the pond tentatively for a few weeks now, staying longer and longer every day. Auditioning us, it would seem, for their winter abode. Finally, they seem to not mind the raucous geese so much, and fortunately the llama has not yet learned that he can swim; so on the water, at least, the ducks are safe.

   They flew with their wings almost overlapping, so perfectly synchronized that they seemed almost to be one bird. Another thing we noticed is that they began their early morning flight long before dawn. The sun was still an hour below the eastern horizon, and our rain-promising clouds were still obscuring what remained of the waning moon. The big forest Owl was still up, too, still sending out his hunger and power into the damp morning.

   All this darkness, all this fog and mist and danger, and still they danced playfully.

   Wishing you all the courage and inspiration you need to get through your day today! Take pleasure in whatever you do. Face your fears. Delight in your blessings. Live fully despite whatever darkness is there. Someone is probably watching who needs your example.

"Love recognizes no barriers. 
It jumps, hurdles, leaps fences, penetrate walls 
to arrive at its destination full of hope."
~Maya Angelou

Saturday, January 5, 2013

The Afterglow of Little Women

   Last month our famous little Dinner Club With a Reading Problem met to discuss Louisa May Alcott's Little Women. It was a grand time, filled with cookie decorating, food eating and eating again, and several fantastic hours of laughter and hugs. Heart-warming stuff, you guys. Seri hosted us and cemented a new holiday tradition!

   Something tells me I have already told you that much already.

   The unfortunate secret, though, is that on that first weekend of December I was all caught up in other books and other projects and wading in the deep pool we call "Christmas" and did not finish this fine book in time to properly explore it with my comrades. What a shame!!! This is among the loveliest, most soul nourishing things I have ever read.

   So here we are now, the first bright weekend of this fresh young year, and I have finally polished off what I agree is a masterpiece. My reflex is to review it like any other book, but reviewing this work seems at best redundant but, more accurately, arrogant.

   Still, this is such a finely layered and solid piece of classic American literature and such a wholesome boost to my spirit personally, that some thoughts beg articulation. Will you please bear with me? And if you have read this fine volume before will you pretty please join this belated discussion??

   How to divide my myriad thoughts on these 578 pages? There's just so much worth keeping from this. More than many other books, for sure. So over the next week or so I will be peppering this little page with what beauty I can extract from Little Women and distill into my own words.

  • Wisdom form Mrs. March, the matriarch. 
  • The extensive list of other literary works cited in this work. 
  • Life themes that sprout and grow as the March children do the same. 
  • How Little Women might relate to our study on Proverbs 31. (I bet you thought I had abandoned that again, huh? Well I didn't; I only decided too do it naturally, bot hurriedly.)
  • Character analyses and how different people identify with different March sisters.
  • How does modern romance compare to the romances then?
  • How Little Women helped expand my vocabulary.

   All of that to say that I have more to say, later. And all in the midst of a thousand other things, so I do hope you will drop in now and then this month!

   Have you read Little Women? Did you read it as a student? Who was your favorite character? How can you imagine it applying to modern life? Are you interested in doing a little guest post about Little Women? It would totally earn you honorary membership int our book club!

"I'd no idea hearts could take in so many;
mine is so elastic, it seems full now..."
~Jo March


Thursday, January 3, 2013

My Word for 2013: STRENGTH

   Happy New Year friends! Happy first Thursday of the fresh, clean, brand spanking  new set of months and moments! Happy cold, frosty morning (if you are in Oklahoma) and Happy Another Chance to Try Big Things and Chart New Territory. Do you feel the energy? Much more than caffeine, I feel it. I feel the pulsing, sparkling sense of possibility and hope all around me.

I'm a spring and summer person for sure, 
but this year is the farthest I have ever felt from a "winter of discontent."
My heart is so full, my mind is so stimulated,
and my spirit is so encouraged... that where dormancy is evident,
I see only possibility, only life building up her wonderful stores.

   My personal resolutions are too many to count, and since last year I fell into the tantalizing habit of calling them reVolutions, they evolve anyway according to need and passion. So to mark the first of the year, and as an homage to the deep and communal love we all share for words, my word of the year is...


   Strength, in so many manifestations.

   Strength of body, because in two weeks I begin training in earnest for my first half marathon, which will happen in late April.

   Strength of spirit, as I flex repeatedly against that Worry Door and face new challenges and pains resolutely.

   Strength in finances, domestic pursuits, and daily goal tending. Strength to keep my promises. Strength to maximize the potential of our fabulous little book club.

   Strength to bend but not break... Strength to grow and bear fruit... Strength to admit my faults and overcome them. Strength to trust more fully, love more freely, and give of my true self (not my competitive, imagined self) more generously. Strength to hang on tight and let go gently, and strength to know when to do each.

   The possibilities for 2013 are endless!! I shudder almost to articulate them, though, because the year is so young I still have that waking sensation you get between dreaming and living when you can still enjoy the vision but dare not focus too hard on it, or it evaporates.

   Thank you to everyone who has been nibbling around this digital Lazy W this past year! I appreciate all of the comments, the emails, and funny, smart, touching interactions. Sometimes I cannot believe how many wonderful people I have met "here." Thanks to those of you who have visited the dirt and hooves Lazy W this year too, and helped Handsome and me make so many fun memories. Our home is richer for the time spent with you. Also, thanks to those of you sharing your own wonderful stories. I treasure these connections so much.

   So, cheers to the close of a rich, wonderful year! And cheers to the startlingly gorgeous beginning of a new one! Love to you all.

"Only those who risk going too far
Can ever possibly find out how far one can go."
~T.S. Elliott


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