A Year of Listening: Final Post

An adventure is, by its nature, a thing that comes to us. It is a thing that chooses us, not a thing that we choose. — G. K. Chesterton

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May our year end in the presence of good company.


Advent Interlude 3

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Let every heart prepare him room.

Some years, preparing room is as simple as changing the sheets in the guest room.  Other years, the room has been renovated.  But this is a year that requires an empty space.

The tree is decorated.  Presents are wrapped.  Packages are shipped.

I need this empty little stable with its one wandering sheep as a vision of empty space.

A Year of Listening, Week 4

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The only questions that really matter are the ones you ask yourself. –Ursala K. LeQuin

Working With the Weather

I like to cooperate with the weather instead of resisting it. It’s the farm girl in me. It’s the sensible mom in me. It’s the “be present” mystic in me.

Snow and frigid cold is a gift of time for design and prototype development in the studio this week.

Fingerless gloves knit by my daughter Emily keep my fingers warm. I want her to knit more of these for our fibergig shop next winter. Do you think bright-colored wool is a good addition to a snowy day?

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2014, A Year of Listening

I like shoveling snow when no one else is stirring, except the snow plow coming up the highway.
Everything is muffled, except the scrapping of the shovel against asphalt, worked out in a rhythm that mirrors the movement of arms, feet, lungs.
I am hoping not to fuel up the snow blower this year, but to work my way through the snow with a shovel. Slowly. Sensibly.

I usually have three focus words for each year. This year I am choosing an activity for my focus. I am listening. My sister asked me “for what?” She needs to ask that later.
To what? Collected words.
Here, every Monday, I am posting a quotation from my collection. I will be listening to those words. The words will be accompanied by one of my art pieces or a sketch, a response to the words.

Come listen with me. Tell me what you hear.


I am not running and I am not hiding.

Those words just popped into my head yesterday morning (June 27).  They were distinct, memorable, and puzzling.

I began this year with my three well-chosen words: prepare, practice, and evaluate. (More details are in my blog entry, Three Words 2013.)  However, they have been out of my focus range the last three months.  But the year’s half way point has brought them back, with evaluate front and center!  Last week I was having a hay day of self criticism for all the things I have failed to do since New Year’s Day. Ironically this monologue coincided with the delivery of a major commission, which was received with delight.  Self criticism is not thorough evaluation.

Not running, not hiding.  There is an evaluation; it reminds me of the blank space in a composition.  When we are aware of what we are not doing, we may begin to see what we are doing. What is no longer happening in your daily routine?

Prepare: making a new tool to add ease to my work

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Step 1: Assemble 2″ insulation sheet cut to size, batting, mid weight cotton fabric, poster board, utility tape

Step 2:  Glue poster board to one flat side of the insulation and let dry. Layer fabric, batting, and insulation with poster board up. Wrap fabric around the sheet of insulation and tape into place.

Step 3: Ta dah! This happy textile artist has a light weight print / paint board for table runners, scarves, and clerical stoles.  Actually, I have two.  If the weather cooperates, I will be practicing with these this weekend.

Three words 2012

I believe in the power of words.  Each year I choose three words to shape and focus my time, space, and energy.  They usually arrive in my brain sometime between Thanksgiving and the New Year.  I am grateful when they appear early, because I can roll them around and get comfortable with them.

Last year these words arrived: trust, invent, and nurture.  I have come a great distance with trust and nurture.  They have been invaluable for leaving old structures and evolving new relationships.  It was pleasurable to spend time with practices that were once central to my daily life.  I welcomed these old friends back.

Invent was chosen because it seemed like the more intellectual side of creativity.  I love revelling in the intuitive.  Invent triggers visions of research and controlled experimentation.  Invent was a choice beyond comfort towards a new balance.  I believe I need more time with this word.

How do you use words to shape your life?  Do you make resolutions?  What three words will help you in 2013?

Enough: Time

I attended a small business seminar last week.  One of the presenters began his workshop with two questions: what is you biggest challenge and what is your greatest aspiration?  The most common answer to the first question was enough time.

I have been thinking about that answer all week, accompanied by the old adage of “make hay while the sun shines.”  We had exceptional warm days and bad weather is coming up the coast.  I have been cleaning and rearranging the garage.  Today I mowed the yard for hopefully the last time this year.  I have structured my 24 /7 to make good use of the weather.  Storm Sandy has added a sense of urgency.

I have not felt short of time, because I have had clear goals and a flexible focus.  I would like to bring that to more of my weeks.  What makes you satisfied with the use of your time?

Using Stuff to Get to Enough

I like being in that place between work and play.  It is not a blurry, ill-defined place for me.  It is where my imagination is happy, and often, productive.  I create games that make my work more playful.  And I have a new one.

It is called “I own it; I use it.”  It is less than a week old, but I like what it is doing for me.  I received an inquiry for burgundy and gold Christmas stockings.  I have suitable fabric in my stash.  There is a vegetable soup simmering in my kitchen, created from what was in the refrigerator and the pantry.  There is nothing new about what I am doing.  What is new is the focus.  And my attitude.

If I am simply using up what I have, I can miss the pull of another shopping experience.  When I am playing my game, I feel empowered by my choices.  I have collected these materials and equipment and today I am choosing to use them for what is required now.  The game is not about stuff.  It is about my attitude.  I believe it is part of my journey to discovering my own “enough.”

Do you want to play?  What have you used today that has delighted you?