Recently a colleague asked me if I'd help her find a word for 2014. I replied that I'd think and pray about it and sent her off to do some inspirational reading. I've come to the conclusion though, that that's about all I can do for her in this area. A WFTY can't be chosen for you by someone else; it's one of those things you have to do for yourself. And sometimes, like this past year, a word chooses you.
The word that chose me in 2013 is 'gift', as in giving, receiving and being a gift. How well have I done across the board? Well... I had a bit of a bump in income during the year, so I was able to give more. I also gave away more material items -- things I knew I'd never need but which I also knew someone else could use. And I tried to be gracious when receiving gifts, and not resentful when gifts were hoped for (nay, expected!) and not received.
Part of my "gift" this past year involved my work:
In that area, I believe I have succeeded -- especially after I began to produce the pieces I call "miniatures". The opportunity to make one for the SAQA fund-raising auction at the Santa Fe Conference was a gift, indeed -- a gift that seems to keep on giving, as I come up with new ideas for the little scenes, and as they put smiles on peoples faces, and are purchased as gifts for others."This means that my work must be:
- Given in love;
- Suited to potential recipients;
- Constructed with care;
- Fairly and honestly priced;
- Economically produced."
Another gift I was given in 2013 was the gift of an art quilt group, Fifteen by Fifteen, which I was invited to join in April -- one-third through their first year of making 15"-square pieces every two months, based on a series of themes. I found myself in the midst of a group of talented artists of varying age and experience, most of whom live outside North America. The size, shape and thematic requirements all challenged me. I had great fun with this, and to my delight, have two pieces going over to France for a group show in April! I'm now beginning work on our Dec/Jan piece with the theme, Rhythm, and am thankful for the gift of continuing another year with this group.
I received a third gift late in the year -- the gift of a vote of confidence, when I was asked to become the Alberta Co-Rep for SAQA Western Canada Region. The acceptance of this 'gift' required some thought; I approached it with no small amount of 'fear and trembling', given the size of our region geographically, the big shoes of the departing Co-Rep, Patti Morris, the fact that the B.C. Co-Rep was also retiring so there would be two newbies, and one courageous person, Dawn Piasta, who'd been at her post (Saskatchewan/Manitoba) it seemed, only a short time. I am truly thankful for the encouragement I received from Patti, from Ali George, whose Oceania region makes our region's size pale in comparison, and from Desiree Vaughn, the SAQA Rep Co-ordinator.
All of these have been gifts of the heart, which I will carry forward with me into 2014.
And now -- what about a Word for the (New) Year?
Once again I responded to Christine Valters Paintner's invitation to "Give Me a Word", over at Abbey of the Arts. The week before Christmas, I found I was able to post this in the comments on the invitation post:
My word for 2014 arose in me just yesterday: FINISH.
I'd got up and straight-away (before breakfast or anything) felt compelled to sort out a portion of my yarn stash, including a box containing two unfinished projects. Later in the day, I finished making one of my annual Christmas traditions: boxer shorts for my son (now 28).
As the day went on, I realized that 2014 needs to be about FINISHING — what I start, what is currently unfinished. Beyond the obvious and practical, I also believe I'm being drawn to FINISH with the past — not to forget it but to leave it behind me in order to approach the possibilities and plans God has for me in the future with new eyes, new ears, a renewed mind and an open heart.
I know I will never be "FINISHED" this side of Heaven, but loose ends can be tied up; peace can be made; forgiveness can be given (and received); and doors can be closed. "See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland." (Isaiah 43:9)
How about you, Gentle Reader? Is there a word or phrase tugging at your heart or at the edges of your mind that you can use as a mantra for 2014?
This post is now -- ahem -- finished...See you again soon!