Monday, December 29, 2008

Looking Back

Block Party in March


Now this is quite a treat. I'm sure many of you have been sitting comfortably on your couches typing out your blogposts for any number of years now, but working via a laptop is quite new - and comfortable! - to me.


Those of you who have been visitors here for a longer time may remember that I like new year's resolutions and give a great deal of thought to them every year. A couple of years ago, inspired by Ali Edwards, I began adding a word of the year to these resolutions. I find that the word of the year is a helpful reminder of the direction in which I hope to be headed - something that encapsulates many of the things I hope to achieve, or a way I want to live in the coming year.

Before I surge ahead, though, I have found it profitable and interesting to take just a bit of time looking at the things I wanted to do this year, and the word I had chosen, and see just where it's taken me up to this point and time.

My word for this year has been: imagine.

My resolutions for this year were: 1) practice more charitable giving and possible volunteering, 2) observe the Sabbath, 3) host more gatherings with friends and continue to practice hospitality, and 4) learn more about crochet - especially how to read a pattern.

So, how did I do and what has happened this year?

Well, I did practice some more charitable giving. In addition to the regular, on-going, in-kind donations we make to the nearby church thrift store and Goodwill, I participated in 3 separate charity knitting projects. I volunteered to serve in a number of ways at and through my church and I started a girls' group in my home for my girls and some of their friends through our home school community and church. We call the group G.L.O.W. girls which stands for God Leading Our Way. It is a group formed to inspire girls to make their homes places of ministry and industry.

I confess that I did not follow observing the Sabbath with as much devotion as I have in years past. But I am getting better and at least I don't have the feeling I used to have of using Sunday as another work day and feeling frustrated as I often would. There was one year, in particular, that observing the Sabbath was very important to me and it really helped me to set up personal boundaries regarding what I would and would not be willing to do. Generally, I am in a place where I feel I am living with a greater deal of balance at present, so it hasn't felt as crucial. But, it is something I will likely resolve again this year to do, because - hey - God knew what He was doing and how much we would need one day to just let ourselves rest and enjoy Him and the things He has given us. It's simply a good practice to keep.

The Knit Wits now meet every Monday evening at my home and the invitation extends to crafters of all kinds. It is a kind of "crafting open house." We also, with our neighbors' help, hosted a neighborhood block party in our back yard this past March. I have met and taken goodies and begun relationships with 3 sets of new neighbors in our neighborhood. Kids are always in and out around here and we host different homeschooling functions too. These are some of the ways in which I've been practicing more and more hospitality.


And these photos prove that, yes, indeed, I did learn how to follow a crochet pattern. I love how the girls just cracked up when they opened up the Totoros I made them for Christmas! It made it worth the many hours I spent with achy fingers, making them.





My word for the year was inspired by this quote last Advent season from a writer at the ashram blog (which you can find on my sidebar):

In this final week of Advent, almost upon the inbreaking of Christmas, we conceive of reality in which the Messiah is right here. Imagine the coming of Messaih. Break out of cynicism and pessimism. Challenge yourself and others with the presumption that God is acting and the creation is being drawn into redemption - conceive the re:creation that starts with Jesus and continues with us. Conceive of a love as genuine, as tangible, and as pervasive as the struggle which we more readily perceive. Let that conception be birthed in your actions.

This quote was on the side of my fridge all year and from time to time I would look at it and just think about what I wanted to imagine. The concept of building community - both spiritual and social - has always been important to me, but I had been discouraged over the course of a few years. Making an effort toward the reality I imagined was something I wanted to make - and feel I have made - this year.

It has been rewarding to look back, over the past few days, at some of the ways I have lived with intention in 2008. I was not always on track, but because of the seeds planted back in late December and January, I feel happy to see just how far I've come and am able to see the fruit of some things I really wanted to make happen.

I will be sharing some of my new ideas for the new year in my next post.

In the meantime, do you make resolutions or goals? Have you ever thought of having a word for the year? Consider it for 2009 if you don't. You may find it to be profitable. :)
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