Beginnings, 2014 style.

Nothing like the first page of a brand new planner. I’ll always be a pen and paper girl and for me, that first week in January when you crack open the pages for the first time– heaven!

Ahhh... week 1 of 52...
Ahhh… week 1 of 52…

I love blank slates… fresh starts, do-overs, and second chances.* I also love dinosaurs. But that’s not the point.

The point is, a new year offers a fresh start. But so does a new month. A new week, a new day. Each new minute is another chance to start.

I told you like a million years ago (poetic license) that I was reading a book by Joan Chittister called Welcome to the Wisdom of the World and I mentioned that I was both excited and nervous to get to the chapter entitled “What’s Wrong with Me: Why Can’t I Change?” Excited because I thought maybe she’d have the answer for me. Nervous because maybe it would be something that I couldn’t do, couldn’t handle, whatever.

What Joan Chittister told me was incredibly simple, yet remarkably profound:

“If the question is, What is wrong with me: what can’t I change? the answer may be that I have to decide to begin. When the struggle will finally end, what the end will look like, we cannot know. We can only know that beginning to begin is the secret.”

Woah.

While we aren’t given unlimited time, we always have a moment in which we can decide to begin. It’s that grace thing again. Maybe you did burn all your bridges… but you could learn to swim. You could build a boat. You could purchase water wings. You could tame a dolphin and ride him. Or you could just build another bridge, I suppose. Lots of ways to get to the other side.

Dolphin Ride

Resolutions early on in the new year are truly a dime a dozen. For that reason, you’ll hear lots and lots of naysayers– “80% of all resolutions are given up by February” and “bandwagons are bad” and all that. But a dime a dozen?! Sound like a pretty good deal to me! And bandwagons can be a lot of fun. (I imagine it to be like a hay ride– with a drum line. Sweet. Work those quads, LQ!)

I’ve got a couple ideas about what I’d like to do in 2014… not necessarily hard and fast resolutions, per se. Just some ideas:

  1. Be funnier. I’ve been a little bit serious on Under the Tapestry as of late. More jokes, more jokes!!
  2. Grow more food and/or eat more food that other people grow. This year, I’ve got to get a garden up and running so I can can some of my own stuff. (Love when two or more cans happen in a row! Can can can you do the can can?!) Also, I got a pressure canner for Christmas (oh snap, I am getting SO brave!) so that I can can stuff that’s not super acidic. Pretty pumped about that! Beans? Pumpkin puree? And I’m sure Seth wouldn’t mind more homemade ketchup (although that was a lot of work).
  3. Sew more. I was warned it would happen– fabric, half-finished projects, materials for grand ideas that never get used. I didn’t believe it would happen to me, but it did. By the end of 2014, however, I will finish my duvet cover. (omg! you guys, it’s so awesome– and more than halfway done, I can’t wait to show you!) In addition to a couple other projects I’d love to turn out sometime in the near future (I found some tweed with a touch of sparkle– it’s been begging me to make it into a super cute skirt)!
  4. Improve my home. My husband is awesome at his part of this. He’s ridiculously handy and loves learning to do even more stuff from his dad, who is even more ridiculously handy than my husband. Seth has installed new wiring, gas lines, insulation, a satellite mount, in-wall/in-ceiling surround sound speakers, and a new water softener among a million other projects both small and large. The nuts/bolts and inner workings of the house are very well taken care. The aesthetics are more my domain… I painted a couple rooms, hung some new curtains, halfway finished a duvet cover (see above), purchased the paint for another room… and then… got tired? Gave up? I don’t know what. But I need to get back on that. And stat. For that reason, I’ve joined the Apartment Therapy January Cure for some motivation, and I’m pretty excited about that! Today, I made a list of 3 – 5 things per room in my house I’d like to change. Project list– check! It’s a start, anyway!
  5. Read! For book club, of course, and anything else that sounds interesting. But I’d also like to embark on some sort of awesome book challenge. My friend Nicole pointed me to this woman’s challenge of reading a book from every country in the world. Dang. I’m amazed– she must have learned so much! I’m thinking something smaller, perhaps a little more domestic. But what? My initial thought was to read at least one book set in every state (plus one more for the UP, because I think we all know God’s country warrants at least one book of it’s own)… but I’m certainly open to any other suggestions? Also, I super want Nicole to do the challenge with me! And to blog about it! Thoughts? Anyone?

You’ve probably noticed that all of these things are things I’ve started before. I’ve told a joke (or two), canned some tomatoes, sewed most of a duvet cover, painted a couple rooms, and read many, many books. But there’s no reason I can’t begin again and I’m desperate for a ride on that 2014 bandwagon (can’t you hear the cadence?! I need to groove along with it!) so I’m deciding to begin in these 5 areas again. Because I’m allowed to do that– and so are you!

As Joan Chittister suggests, the only way to change is to decide to begin. Any day, any time.

 

*Unfortunately, sometimes my anal retentiveness goes a little too far and I love these fresh starts a little too much. One time (ok, several times) in high school (and yeah, maybe in college… and grad school…) (ugh, and my real life current job…) I’ve gotten so annoyed with my handwriting or a stain on something that I’ve copied it again, neater or on a fresh sheet of paper, and tossed the old one so that I could admire the new one. Pathetic? Maybe. But it just looks so nice! Plus, copying your own notes is actually a decent way to study something… it can’t really have hurt, anyway.

11 thoughts on “Beginnings, 2014 style.

  1. I love it! I saw this great quote, I have no idea who wrote it, but I think it applies: “Perhaps our eyes need to be washed by our tears once in a while, so that we can see life with a clearer view again.” I think of this as permission to indulge in some necessary self pity so that we can really enjoy that ride on the bandwagon. Here’s to new beginnings!!!

  2. I love that quote about the point of change is to begin! I’ve been very down in the dumps this holiday, and not so excited about a new year, and your post got me really excited for new beginnings (even small ones!) in 2014!

    1. Kacey! You totally made my day! Joan Chittister is SO ridiculously inspirational. I was reluctant to read her books because she’s a nun, but my dad kept buying me her books (including Welcome to the Wisdom of the World twice!) so I broke down and read them and their genius. I rarely re-read anything (except The Historian– I read that like once a year, it’s just so crazy good), but I love to re-read little passages from Joan Chittister’s books. She’s more of a theologian and master of all major religions that nun, in my opinion. And she’s the wisest person I’ve ever conversed with. (And by “conversed with” I mean that I pretend like we’re chatting every time I read something she wrote!)

  3. Oh my how I know EXACTLY what you mean about the journals, fresh books, re-copying papers…. I wish the whole year was just Dec and Jan over and over… But I do love the sun so maybe an Aug in there too!

    1. Oh gosh, as much as I love December and January, I’d die without a summer in there! I love having 4 distinct seasons though… each one is like a fresh start. I love the first time I wear a hat and mittens… the day I notice my bulbs peeking up through the melting snow… the first time I walk to work without a jacket… the first time the sun shines on my bare legs… the first red leaves of the fall… so many chances for fresh starts with 4 seasons! This is just the first of 2014!!!

    1. OMG! So many cool ideas in this one little comment! I want to link up with a reading thing! I’m going to message you and another friend on Facebook– 2014 is going to be an AWESOME reading year!!!

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