Thursday, January 8, 2015

2014 Then, 2015 Now

2014. A glance in review.

We bought a mountain cabin in May for a really, really good deal. In real estate terms, that translates to Needs Lots of Work. For now, it is a place to go most weekends in the spring, summer and fall (no heat there yet - a bit chilly for winter visits). A fun opportunity for adventure and learning construction for the teen guys and their dad (and me). Eventually, (soon?) it will be a place for family retreats and time together, and our retirement home. We are gutting, adding windows to widen and enjoy the view, re-arranging rooms, replacing old yucky spots, and getting rid of four legged, furry vermin who decided it was their home while it sat empty for years. I'm looking forward to the point when we can begin re-building, rather than tearing apart.

The type of books I read changed after we bought the cabin. I moved toward reading lots of decorating, design type books, looking for the style, ideas to use. My two favorites are Remodelista, A Manual for the Considered Home, and Country Living 500 Kitchen Ideas. Do you like before and after pictures? Me too. But as there aren't any "after" pictures yet, I will spare you the "before" shots. For now. Discovered I gravitate to the scandinavian style - their simplicity and unclutered rooms, full of light. For the new kitchen, I have three requirements: no corner cabinets, a walk-in pantry, and lots of light. What was a long narrow laundry room will be the walk-in pantry off the kitchen, the counter top and cabinets will be along one wall with a center island, and we are adding two large windows along the kitchen-open-to-the-dining room wall for the best view and light. Love it. Look forward to cooking up food for a crowd in that kitchen.

With the focus on decorating and remodeling, I realized something. The point of decorating or design is to ask:
                                           How will we live here?

Not so much how it will look, but will it work for us, how we live:
How will it be convenient? Or practical? Or comforting? Or friendly? Or light-filled? Or pleasant? Or welcoming? Or life-filled (people, pets, plants...). These are the questions that define a personal, realistic decorating style. These are the questions I want to answer in this new place of ours.

Our family welcomed  two new grandsons this year! Little feet to learn to walk in their daddy's steps.

We traveled to California, Oregon and Arizona for family visits. Had the opportunity to take a four generation guys-with-the-same-name photo. Priceless.

A seven month writing hiatus happened. No particular reason, just a pause, a space in blogging and writing. I missed it, the connection with you readers. Let's re-connect.

And now, 2015 has arrived. Shouldn't we be flying cars and eating precisely proportioned pre-planned packaged food for perfect health? 2015 isn't quite as futuristic as I thought it would be. Maybe that is just because I am slow to catch up with all the changes?

2015. Looking ahead, I plan to take a Master Gardener Class this year, something I have wanted to do for a long time. I think this year will be my window to make that happen. Looking forward to that.

We have the first trip of the year scheduled, to fly to Iowa the end of January to visit our family there, celebrate two grankiddos' birthdays and spend time with our son and daughter-in-law. Our travels are all family oriented, one disadvantage of having everyone spread out in six states, but I am grateful for the opportunities to see all of them. Hooray for special airline deals!

Ann Voskamp's, One Thousand Gifts, is a book I will re-read at least once a year. Last year Ann challenged herself to write a fresh gifts list to 1,000 in one month. Thirty-three or so gifts, listed, each day. That challenged me to re-visit my list, set aside during my writing hiatus. My list, counted at that point, would take ten a day to complete one thousand by the end of the year. Not as ambitious as hers, but for me, a good goal. And I did it! Once I started, it was easy to keep going, keep watching, keep paying attention daily to all the details of grace in my day, and to be thankful. My list is in a  small book I keep out on the table or countertop. (The gifts list posted above on the computer page is not current - but I will be updating it soon.) And the gifts of grace, listed daily, go on.

"The quiet song of gratitude, eucharisteo, lures humility out of the shadows because to receive a gift the knees must bend humble and the hand must lie vulnerably open and the will must bow to accept whatever the Giver chooses to give."
                                                                                                             -Ann Voskamp

This quote, the "quiet song," and "to accept "(welcome), tie together my word-of-the-year for 2013, quiet, and 2014, welcome. My word for 2015? Another post, to come.

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