2010 Word of the Year: Gifts (Part I)

     I heard about Christine Kane’s Word of the Year in lieu of resolutions idea from a friend.  I love the idea and played with lots of word choices trying to find the right one for me.  Maybe this shows a lack of ambition, but knowing my tendency to take on too much, and wanting to avoid anything that felt like additional work, I sought to choose a word that would be fun, and that would involve more awareness and noticing, than extra doing.  I love the word gifts—and all the different meanings associated with it.  When I think about gifts, I think about spiritual gifts we use to bless each other, the gifts each day offers, and experiencing gratitude for the abundance that already exists.

     When I chose the word gifts, I may have been had the preconceived idea that I would be using my personal gifts more.  This may have happened to some extent, but the greater gifts came through small things I did for myself and huge things I began to appreciate more deeply in my life.

     I started off by giving myself permission to quit things that just weren’t right for me.  I quit a blog I had lost interest in writing and Catholicism classes.  I quit reading books if I was halfway through and didn’t care for the book.  In the past, I would have “made myself” finish the book.  I also gave myself the gift of forgiveness for past failures, for daily struggles, for not being perfect.  In addition, I started making a point to use things I was “saving” to make ordinary days more special.  This entailed simply using the new bag, wearing fancy dress coat more often, making the celebration recipes when it wasn’t a holiday.

     My greatest blessing, or gift from 2010, I believe is the overwhelming sense that came over me at times of how much I had been given, how good my life was, that I just couldn’t say “thank you” enough.  There were many, many moments where I was convince that gratitude was the best thing that I had ever experienced.  It was /is my favorite emotion and the best thing that has ever happened to me; maybe that’s because experiencing gratitude is like falling love with the details of your life over and over and over again. 

     In the late winter/early spring, I rediscovered how much I love walking in the woods and being in nature.  I used to visit a “Nature Center” to walk trails and see wildlife and enjoy the smell of rich dirt and wood chips.  Now, I actually lived surrounded by nature, on a farm with lots of pond, timber, gravel roads, and bridges, but until this year, I never really explored it very much.  This year, along with my walking companion Scout the Dog, I covered the land that is my “yard” and realized that I have my own private nature center.  I always wanted to live some place where I could walk and walk and have privacy and solitude just enjoying the beauty of the natural world.  I was shocked to discover that this dream had come true—I just hadn’t wandered around enough to realize it.  Together, Scout and I crossed creeks, followed the sound of brooks, ran up and down hills, and traced the perimeter of the ponds with our footsteps.  One memorable day, I took a camera with me and photographed everything I thought was especially beautiful.  I walked away with about 150 pictures.

     What else?  I have a husband who is filled with love and fun and jokes, who makes up silly songs to sing to Scout and me, who overflows with creative ideas and works harder than anyone I know.  I love him.  What a blessing it is to walk through life with him as my companion.  We got married about two years ago in the middle of my first semester of teaching, so our honeymoon was a bit brief and a bit rushed.  What a delight it was to be able to take a longer trip together in late spring.  We are both interested in history, so we chose to go to Philadelphia for a week.  We enjoyed the sites in the city, took a trip to Lancaster County, visited New Jersey and took tons of pictures.  We got lots of tractor pictures and food pictures as well as the traditional historical landmarks.  Besides my wonderful husband, and my loyal and entertaining Scout, I also experienced greater gratitude for all of my extended family.  I am thankful that we are close enough geographically to be with our families for major holidays.  I am thankful that we can be at my Grandma’s (she’s 95!) for Easter and help with the annual Easter egg hunt.  I am thankful that I could be the one to organize and throw a baby shower for my sister-in-law and that I could make a baby quilt for her new baby. My husband and l and I culminated our year of creativity and silliness by making a special gift for our families for Christmas—the first ever Salt Creek Christmas CD which contains us singing different Christmas songs, and doing some readings from holiday stories.  Fun!

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: 2010 Word of the Year: Gifts (Part II) « Sassy, Spunky & Spirited
  2. Trackback: Words of Life « Sassy, Spunky & Spirited

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