Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come, whispering, ‘It will be happier.’ — Alfred Lord Tennyson
Happy New Year! I have written this quote in my journal to greet me next week, although… doesn’t it feel like today is the start of a new week rather than Friday? Is it just me or are any of you all turned around on what day it is. That upside down factor has been amplified because Steve has been working from home more recently so I don’t have his normal routine to help me with days! But… happier. Doesn’t that sound lovely? It certainly does for me. There were glimmers of hope this week again… seek and ye shall find… yes, indeed!
The birds again were Harbingers of Hope when one morning about 20 robins were flocking in the bushes next to my porch, enjoying a breakfast of the frozen berries that are hanging in bunches all over. I saw some birds standing guard, alert for danger while the others gleefully gobbled up the berries… and then I saw them trade places so the “guard birds” could participate in the feast! If the birds can care for one another, surely that gives us all hope that we can too!
Our Christmas snow melted away this week, but twice I woke to a fresh dusting of snow making everything look so bright and clean… a visible reminder that each day we have a clean slate – a chance to begin again. And that is the best kind of hope of all… that no matter how miserably I failed the day before I have a chance to try again.
Sometimes, hope comes only when you have torn everything away…a 6-minute listen from Clint Smith (and you absolutely should listen). And if you have not read Clint’s Counting Descent… do! It is some of the best poetry I have read all year!
A new year means setting a new reading goal (or at least for me it does, lol) and setting that goal is the epitome of hope! The wishful thinking of how much I might read in a year… it is like that open door, smiling with a promise of happiness. In previous years, I have set a challenging goals, and I knew that in order to achieve the goal I would have to stay focused and work at it. Sometimes I met the goal, other times I did not… so last year I set a what I call a “fake goal” one that was low and I knew I could easily meet it (and I did and then some). But you know what? There was absolutely zero satisfaction in my achievement this year… I cheated myself. Oh, I read and I certainly enjoyed the books I read, but I learned that “faking myself out” has no rewards. So while I am still contemplating my reading goal… it won’t be a cheater goal. I found some interesting books on this list that will help me with the start of the New Year (and they are all about Fresh Starts – and a fresh start is always full of hope!)
And there you have it, the hope I found this week. Welcome 2021, may you be brimming with happiness!
We have finally arrived at the last Wednesday of the longest year ever. No updates with this post, but rather reviews… The best of 2020 in making and reading.
This was the Year of Making (although not all of it has been captured on Ravelry, thanks to them being tone deaf about people having issues with their site) However, I checked and on Ravelry, I had completed 12 things (no Rav Links) this year, starting with a sweater that is a true favorite… Amy Christoffer’s Felix Cardigan. I wear it often… and have the yarn to make another one. Perhaps it can be a “start out 2021” sweater!
However, it was a year of socks for me… I knit more socks than I ever have in my knitting life with a whopping 6 pairs of adult size socks (and one Winston size pair, but those barely count, lol) And in fact, the final project I completed in 2020 were a pair of Socks for Steve. As you can see above, I don’t think I will get sock 2 completed before the midnight tomorrow so that brings my grand total for things knit this year was a whopping 22 projects! I guess Pandemic Knitting should be a thing!
On the sewing front, I was a lot less productive… only 4 projects completed this year. Sigh. My goal is to do a bit more sewing in 2021.
Now, on to the reading, which was so good this year. Although, I read less books than last year… by a significant amount. However, I think the reading I did this year has included so many books that have stayed with me. Books that I am still thinking about! Those, my friends, are signs of good books!
Of the 107 books I read this year, I classified 39 of them as 5-star reads! There were 45 4-star reads, just 14 3-star reads, 6 2-star, and 1 book got a 1-star rating. There were 3 books this year that were just not for me. I have looked at the 7 books that rated below 3-stars, and in hind sight I should have moved into the “did not finish” category. In essence, how I rate books… 3-stars means I finished it and it was okay. 4-stars, I liked it…lots, but I did not love it. And 5-stars is a book that I love, can’t stop thinking about, and want everyone to read it so I can talk to them about it!
I listened to 50 audiobooks this year. It is a format I love and it makes me happy that listening to a book is an option at my library because 99% of my reading for the year was made possible by my library! 2020 was a year that I wanted to read one book of “new to me” poetry every month. I did slightly better than that with 14 books of poetry!
The poetry was truly moving for me this year and 4 of those 14 books have really stayed with me. I think about them often, they introduced me to a new voice and each introduced a new way to look at things:
My best books of 2020:
I highly recommend any of these books to you, if you have not read them already!
Finally, though I have been debating on the continuance of Unraveled Wednesday, I am happy to share that Unraveled Wednesday’s will continue in 2021 – at least for a while! I am truly thankful for all of you each week… your posts inspire me, increase my reading list, as well as my make list!
As always, if you wrote a post to share, please leave your link below and Happy New Year!
I am joining Honoré to close out my word of 2020.
Live with intention. Walk to the edge. Listen Hard. Practice wellness. Play with abandon. Laugh. Choose with no regret. Appreciate your friends. Continue to learn. Do what you love. Live as if this is all there is. — Mary Anne Radmacher
This quote has served me very well this year… today, I am not sure if I picked it, or if it picked me. But these words became so important each day of this year. I almost gave up on this word early on in Pandemic Days, but I am glad that I stuck with it and finally stopped fighting it long enough to truly learn something.
December I purposefully lived with intention every single day. And my days included bits of all of Mary Anne’s advice! I listened. I practiced wellness. I played with abandon (thank you AC for really helping in this category! lol) I laughed… so much. I learned some new things this month and as a result knit the best fitting sock I have ever knit!
Perhaps December is the easiest month to “do what you love” but I really leaned in to the joys of this season. I sang along with all the Christmas songs. I nurtured my inner child and watched The Grinch (both the Boris Karloff and the Jim Carrey versions!)
I savored every phone call… the ones full of laughter, the ones full of uncertainty, and the ones full of frustration and tears… and instead of wishing things were different right now, I practiced living as if this is all there is. And while I have always understood that this is living – it somehow clicked in a different way this month. And I realized that those parts… well they are the parts that walk you to the edge. It is not about living dangerously, but rather living fully. I don’t think I would have even begun to grasp that concept in a “normal year” because I think this was the year for truly learning about being intentional and making it part of my life… an integral part.
But the question I have been thinking about for longer than December is where do I go from here. I started this word journey sort of haphazardly. No thought went into the first couple of words. My first word in 2016 was Gratitude (yet I could find no blog posts at all showing that I even spent any time at all learning anything about gratitude) and then in 2017 I spent the year with Joy. There are a couple of posts about that, but still no thought about why I might pick joy. And so, because I just really did not “get” the impact a word could have, I did not pick a word in 2018. However, as the year moved on something curious began to happen. A word started showing up (or maybe I just started paying attention) there were some inspirational emails that talked about it, and there were so many quotes! So I started 2019 with a new word Focus! It was a glorious year. I learned so much. I grew so much. It was exactly what I needed.
Intentional living came to me much the same way… inspirational emails, passages in books, and my focus led me there. So where will Intentional Living lead me? Two words kept circling round my brain – authenticity and vulnerability. They seemed to be the right next step, but something just felt off about both of them. The more I spent time with those words… pondering them… the more unsettled I became. And in November the big answer came for me. Yes those are simply brilliant words and likely a lovely step from Intentional Living, but I knew that there was some heavy work I had to do before I could get to those words. And that heavy work… well, it’s all about release…
release [ ri-lees ] noun a freeing or releasing from confinement, obligation, pain, emotional strain, etc.
Just the thing I have been avoiding my entire life. I am not sure how much of this journey I want to share here, but my hope is to share the process of realease rather than the things being released. And of all people, Goldie Hawn’s words of wisdom will give me some guidance.
“If we can just let go and trust that things will work out the way they’re supposed to, without trying to control the outcome, then we can begin to enjoy the moment more fully. The joy of the freedom it brings becomes more pleasurable than the experience itself.” ― Goldie Hawn
I hope you will continue follow along on this journey to see where it takes me!
Finally, I would like to thank Honoré for hosting us this year!
You can see all of my Intentional Journey here.
When I got the first email about the Winter Solstice Project I thought that I did not need one more thing. But then the second email came, and I began to think more about the idea of a weekly project. The idea grew and felt like this is something I need to do in my week. So once a week – until March 20th – I am going to share some thoughts on hope.
Hope is like the sun, which, as we journey toward it, casts the shadow of our burden behind us. — Samuel Smiles
This week the journey toward the sun began again, each day bring a tiny bit more light. For me this year, has felt like that… each day a bit darker than the day before and I have forgotten what hope looks like. I have forgotten that if I look carefully, there are tiny bits of hope every day… bits I miss because I am focused on the darkness. So Monday I started paying attention and here are some things that gave me hope this week:
A Mourning Dove who reminds me that hope can be a thing with feathers.
A 50 degree day in December.
A rosy sunrise after a long week of grey days.
The notification that a long waited for book is ready for pick up!
The promise of snow on Christmas.
Discovering On Being’s Experience Poetry
and this wisdom…it really struck a chord with me.
I wish you all a Blessed Christmas. See you back here next week!
Photo by Egor Kamelev from Pexels
The week of selfish knitting has begun and my heart is singing with the joy of it! I have cast on a new sock in a new way of knitting for me…toe up. And so far so good. I am not yet to the heel, but I am in no rush. I am savoring each selfish stitch!
I finished those darling dinosaurs! And I can’t wait to see Winston playing with them! (FaceTime for now, but hopefully I will see him in person before they become passé!)
I also finished some very late (but extremely large) socks. I have enough left over yarn though to make a pair of Han Solo Socks for Winston! (Smart me to knit the heels and toes in a complimentary color!)
The reading this week though… I could have lingered longer with Obama’s book, but it was due back to the library and the waitlist is exceedingly long, so getting back quickly was not an option. Mary asked what speed I listened at… I listened at 1.25 and laughed hilariously at some of the daughter comments about how he speaks slowly. Yes, yes he does!
The House by the Lake: One House, Five Families, and a Hundred Years of German History by Thomas Harding
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
One house…almost. One piece of land, for sure. What a fascinating story, excellently woven together. The connections, the “wait, what?” moments kept me engaged. The only thing that keeps me from giving this 5-stars is that it needed some editing, I think. It had parts that just dragged a bit, but still, this is a great story. If you like history… read this book. If you like stories about complex families…read this book. I recommend it highly!
A Promised Land by Barack Obama
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This might be the best memoir I have ever listened to. Read by President Obama, he shares incredible detail from his campaign, election, and his first four years. I laughed, I cried, and I was just enthralled listening to Obama. No drama Obama? Perhaps, but boy is this book is full of rich, smart, engaging stories. It made me long for the days of then… badly. I highly recommend the audio version of this book. Hearing Obama read makes this book.
Light of the World: A Beginner’s Guide to Advent by Amy-Jill Levine
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Sometimes, the thing you need most is a new voice talking about a very familiar time. Amy-Jill Levine is that voice, and her thoughts and input are most welcome. She brought new light to my Advent and for that I am deeply appreciative. If you are looking for a new voice, I highly suggest AJ Levine.
Next week, I will be sharing my best books of the year and I might even do a bit of a review of my year of making.
As always – if you wrote a post to share, please leave your link below! And thank you!