Define and Design 2016

“When you dance, your purpose is not to get to a certain place on the floor. It’s to enjoy each step along the way.” -Wayne Dyer


While I chose Focus as my word for 2015, it seemed it was a year of Exploration for me. To my credit, I was “focused” as I ventured into the world. In doing so I’ve discovered much.  I’ve always been told I had a poet’s heart, and while that might be true I’ve found I have an artist’s spirit. It seems I enjoy most every creative endeavor I undertake. I’ve decided to embrace the fact I’m a Jack of all Trades (and perhaps, Master of None) when it comes to my interests or talents. That said, I’m ok with being scatter brained and chaotically organized with my projects; it works for me.

Instead of beating myself up for jumping around mediums and tasks, I’m defining (clarifying) what I want from life each day and designing (planning) my choices accordingly. Not exactly a daily intention (though I do that) but a smaller task to reach a larger goal. What I’m attempting to do this year is basically the same as intentional living. The difference for me is the awareness I will bring to ordinary tasks. I’ve centered my life on simple living which instills an inner sanctity. Without gratitude, a deep peace doesn’t reside within me. The neighbor of my peace is joy.

My intention is to live every day of 2016 creatively, joyously, attentively, and with appreciation.


Week One

January 1

Creativity: Designing stained glass panels, drawing

Gratitude: My husband took my drawings and fine-lined them in a computer program which cleaned them up and saved them for future projects, my home and family

Joy: Breakfast at a neighborhood pub with DirtMan, phone calls and texts with loved ones, online creativity community

Awareness: Partners in a relationship often know what the other needs without asking and proceeds; these are golden moments.

*The combination of essential oils in my diffuser directly affects my mood. I find a mixture of cedarwood, mandarin, lemongrass, and patchouli to be soothing and creatively inspiring.


January 2

Creativity: Photography

Gratitude: a hiking date with Mother Nature (and DirtMan and Wylie), reading

Joy: Sunshine in my face, online art classes

Awareness: As air temperature decreases outside sounds intensify and invade the security of my home. The wind howls, children screech, dogs bark, traffic roars, and sirens wail. The warning cries of emergency vehicles unsettle me. It takes me back to childhood…a siren meant most likely someone I loved had befallen some sort of disaster. I feared the unknown circumstances and my sense of helplessness in the matter. In knowing the origin of anxiety I am able to reclaim my calm amidst the chaos outside my walls.

* Chance encounters have helped me recognize my value in this community.


January 3

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: A slow-paced day, accomplishing part of my business taxes

Joy: A purring cat at my shoulder and a snoring dog at my feet

Awareness: I sit on the back yard swing with the wind biting at my arms and legs like a playful pup. The wind chime’s cantata competes with robin song and incessant caws of neighborhood crows. Chimney smoke from next door is a gray ghost swirling around tree branches until it disappears in thin air. I find the scent, thick and earthy, comforting. The mix of muted and lush tones in the yard is unusual for early January: the Japanese Silver grass has distorted to wheat while the geranium has sprouted rubies and amethysts dance among vinca. This solitary bite of life in my yard is soul food to me. I am well fed.

*I thrive in quiet space. Silent communication (smiles, a touch or gesture, a nod or a hug) are welcome and appreciated sometimes.


January 4

Creativity: Writing, watching art tutorials

Gratitude: Dishwasher leaked…opportunity to clean the kitchen floor.  Went to run an errand, click, my car wouldn’t start…son charged the battery. Thankful to have these things and people in my life to come to my rescue.

Joy: Snuggling babies and reading time

Awareness: Babies are hot…I mean HOT blooded…and if you are of woman of a certain age and are a bit heated (as in hot flash) and are holding two babies at the same time, I mean to tell you it feels like you’re are going to self-combust, talk about an inferno! Fortunately, I was the only thing on fire!

*My mood directs the attitude in my house and business, by keeping a peaceful atmosphere those around me do as well…at least, for the most part.


January 5

Creativity: Writing, ordering and organizing art supplies

Gratitude: Telephone, the ability to connect with people when I’m not with them.

Joy: Early morning snowflakes that didn’t accumulate

Awareness: I turned on the outside light in the wee hours of the morning to see a sprinkle of white flutter through the air. I watched the air draw white lines along the corners of my neighbor’s rooftop and along the edges of his truck bed. The flakes drifted and vanished before meeting the grass. The snow left town as day made her appearance, nothing left of the nighttime rambler but the lines on the roof and truck.



January 6

Creativity: Writing, shopping for art supplies and watching art demonstrations

Gratitude: Himalayan Salt lamps, hot herbal tea, music

Joy: simple home dinner with family and conversation

Awareness: How still and quiet everything seems to be in the early morning, light slips across the landscape like a shawl upon cold shoulders, warm and inviting.



Creativity: Drawing and quilting

Gratitude: time and strength to exercise, a hot bath with essential oils, peppermint chocolate

Joy: A quiet house all to myself for a few hours

Awareness: Without a short time to crawl back into myself after dinner I shut down. I’m worse in the winter…they call this sundowners at the retirement centers…does this mean I’m old already; I like to call it seasoned.

25 thoughts on “Define and Design 2016

  1. A beautiful meditation on your focus, gratitude, awareness and joy during the first week of the year. Happy New Year.

  2. This is a wonderful exercise for the mind and attitude! I’ve decided to embrace the fact I’m a Jack of all Trades. I prefer the term, chameleon. 🙂 Your living intentionally sounds a little like my word for 2016…Present (as in being present). A Happy 2016 to you, my friend. May the year hold many blessings for you. xo

  3. Suzi, I so appreciate your Jack of All Trades statement! Sometimes, I feel exactly the same way. You’re much more practical than I when it comes to acceptance though. I often wonder if there’s one or two things I ought to focus on so I can master something rather than trying to do everything (and succeeding at so little). Your post here shows me I ought to be focusing on gratitude and awareness — well said!

    • I’ve beaten myself up for years for not focusing on one thing. The fact is I enjoy them all so why should I give any of them up just because I haven’t enough time in a day to focus on honing one of them? Therefore, acceptance is my best choice, besides guilt takes the fun out of anything! Enjoy your creativity! I’m still writing, but trying to enjoy it rather than forcing it. Have you sought out creative/art groups and challenges online? I am truly enjoying them…much more fun and less drama than Facebook, ha!

  4. I like your new method of reflection for 2016. The ways you find to be creative are numerous snd the awareness passages are beautifully written. We could all learn a lot about ourselves if we took the time to pause and observe.

  5. Thanks. We actually forget hour creative we really are…from dressing to cooking we use our imagination and talents endlessly. I enjoy cooking though I seldom include it as being creative, and it’s often quite creative as I throw stuff together or rework recipes. I really felt I needed to hold myself accountable. When I do I find myself living…and that is the greatest joy of all.

  6. What Joy to read through your 7 days here Suzi.. so much gratitude to be had in those simple things, even cleaning the kitchen floor.. My battery on the car went flat too this week.. and so thankful to borrow my Son’s charger.. 🙂
    Sending you Loads of Love for all your creative talents.. I think you do not give yourself enough credit in your accomplishments.. I am sure you are a master of many..

    Love and Blessings for all you do in 2016… Love Sue ❤

  7. Looks like you have been busy and this made me smile ‘Awareness: Babies are hot…I mean HOT blooded…and if you are of woman of a certain age and are a bit heated (as in hot flash) and are holding two babies at the same time, I mean to tell you it feels like you’re are going to self-combust, talk about an inferno! Fortunately, I was the only thing on fire!’ – I know the feeling well!

  8. Happy New Year, Susan. I love this contemplative practice you’ve adopted with listing what you value. I adore how you expanded on the word of the year and broadened your scope to include what means the most to you. I definitely look forward to hearing more about this throughout the year. Thank you.

  9. As excited as I was to get all of my supplies I have yet to start it! I’ve been playing around in my art journal with different mediums and collage. I want to let my ideas stew a little more before I start the altered book. I’m so ADD; with all this “free time” this weekend I’m jumping around from writing to quilting to water color and pencils and even thinking of pulling out the yarn and crochet hook…ha! But I really should be starting my stained glass panel…too cold in the garage to do the grinding, and I don’t want to do it in my “studio”.

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