Looking Back at 2016, a Year of INTENTION

I hope that you had a lovely holiday, whatever your traditions. Mine was wonderful and my Joy List this morning is filled with gratitude.

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.

                              2015: FLOURISH
                              2014: REALIZE
                              2013: BLOOM

2016's word of the year was INTENTION.
intention, word of the year, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry
intention*, n.
: 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:
watercolor, goldfish, watercolor goldfish, fabric design, surface pattern design, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry
fabric design, surface pattern design, Summer Bliss, Spoonflower, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry
art print calendar, desk calendar, 2017 Calendar, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry
Artful Blogging, Artful Blogging Magazine, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry
gratitude, joy, gratitude journal, Anne Butera, Dana Barbieri

Although I didn't do as much painting as I would have liked, I did create some paintings that I really love:

watercolor, paintings, botanical watercolor, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

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


  1. Anne you have accomplished so much this year despite misfortune trying to thwart you. I am sure that your positive attitude has carried you through times of immense stress. I hope this year you will get lots of opportunity to paint. I have bought watercolour paper and hope to get back into my painting this year too. I look forward to finding out what your word is for 2017. I have my word already lined up for a new post in January. I hope you have a lovely rest of the week. :)

    1. Thank you, Simone.

      I hope that you do spend time painting in the coming year and I'm glad you chose a word for the year, too.

      Wishing you a wonderful, creative 2017!!

  2. You've had a very full year Anne. Thank you for sharing your look back with us. It's always lovely to see it from a distance.

    1. Thank you, Dana! I'm so glad that our collaborations were a part of my year and I look forward to future collaborations, too!!

  3. My goodness! What a year you have had, Anne. I read through this list and what I see is a woman of strength and character who is filled with hope and joy. You've accomplished so much and I can't wait to see how the new year unfolds for you. Hugs, Nancy

    1. Thank you so much, Nancy. It means a lot to know that you are cheering me on. We never know where life is going to lead us, but we can strive to make the most of each day. That's what I'm trying, at least.

      I hope that 2017 will be a wonderful year for all of us.

      Hugs, back!

  4. Anne,
    I appreciate your positive. It helps so many times when I am not feeling so positive, like today.
    We have lost our two year old cat, Catsby. He struggled with seizures. It is hard on my boys and I hate seeing them sad.

    Thank you for all the Monday Joy Lists, I do enjoy doing them with you.


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