Instead of sharing the joys of the past few days here, I wanted to look back at the year as a whole.
Each year as December slips toward January I like to reflect on and celebrate all I've accomplished over the previous 12 months. Sometimes I can get so caught up in the day to day that I forget to see the big picture. It's also easy to focus on my failings and all of the areas in which I didn't accomplish as much as I had hoped. Taking a look at the year as a whole helps battle that tendency.
For the past four years I've chosen a word of the year to help guide me.
2016's word of the year was INTENTION.
: the thing that you plan to do or achieve: an aim or purpose
1. a determination to act in a certain way: resolve
2. import, significance
3 a. what one intends to do or bring about
b. the object for which a prayer, mass, or pious act is offered
4. a process or manner of healing incised wounds
5. concept -- especially: a concept considered as the product of attention directed to an object of knowledge
I wanted it to be a thoughtful year. A year where I slowed down and paid attention. A year where I took my time and made the best choices for myself, my art and my business.
Well, life doesn't always (ever) go as we plan and not long into 2016 it made a big detour with Matthias' diagnosis of cancer. I still have a hard time wrapping my head around it all, even at this distance, after he's healed from the chemo and the major surgery and is cancer free.
It was a hard, hard year. I am so grateful to be on this side of things and yet I don't want to lose that experience. If nothing else, I want to remember not to take a single second of this life for granted.
Even though the year was difficult, I accomplished a lot and as I mentioned last week it's important to celebrate. Celebrate life's beauty and joys and also celebrate our accomplishments. I hope you'll do it, too. You might be surprised by all that you've done over the year.
Here are some of my highlights:
- taking part in Spoonflower's Design-a-Day Challenge
- and then receiving 3rd Place in the contest that followed
- having my 2x2 collaboration with Dana Barbieri featured in Uppercase Magazine
- releasing my first fabric collection
- my first solo art exhibit
- finishing my 2x2 Sketchbook collaboration with Dana Barbieri -- a project that lasted well over a year
- teaching on Skillshare
- creating my 4th art print calendar design (I still have calendars available in my shops if you're looking for one)
- designing a tea towel calendar and placing in Spoonflower's top 25 designs
- being featured in Artful Blogging Magazine
- publishing the Sketchbook Conversations series of mini interviews
- collaborating on a Mini Gratitude Journal with Dana Barbieri
- being interviewed by Alisa Burke on her blog
- arranging and conducting a year's worth of Artist Interviews
- working on continually updating and refining my website and ending up being featured in the Squarespace Holiday Gift Guide
Although I didn't do as much painting as I would have liked, I did create some paintings that I really love:
- a painting of one of my orchids (after having not completed a large painting for a while)
- a group of colorful iris
- a stem of purple coneflowers
- a bunch of colorful coneflowers
- a stem of violas
- a stem of marigolds
- an acorn wreath
- a gingko leaf wreath
I have such hopes for 2017. I have a good word for the year, two words, actually (more on that on Wednesday) and yet I'm not going to plan too much. I want the year to unfold in its own way (it always does to some degree or another, anyway).
And just as BLOOM and REALIZE and FLOURISH continue to travel with me, I think it's important that INTENTION come along, too. Being thoughtful and mindful and slow is important. I need to remind myself of that.
With all that's been going on in current events I know that this year it will be so important to continue to focus on joy and to release love, peace and beauty into this world. I hope you'll join me in that.
I'll be back on Wednesday to share 2017's words of the year. Thinking about choosing one yourself? Last year I shared some ideas and suggestions to help you get started.
* definition from Merriam Webster online