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Fresh Gratitude

January 02, 2021

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Last year, I declared that I was done choosing a word for the year.

This year, I reconsidered. For a bit.

Yellow Tulip Bud in vase with lemons on plate behind it.

When I woke up this morning, I knew exactly what I was going to write.

I had it all planned out.

Hello folks, I was going to say, today is one of those never say never kind of days.

Yup. Today, I'm going to do something that last year I said I was done with...

And I then I was going to tell you about my word for the year.

I know, I know.

Last year I boldly declared that I was done with that practice. That it didn't work for me. That instead I was going to choose an intention for each month.

Without going into all the details, I reasoned that the year is long, the way I feel in January may not reflect my feelings in May.

It didn't make sense to pick one word to represent such an extended period of time. I wanted something more flexible.

So I was done.

And it was a good decision, too. Last year was as unpredictable as they come. I can't even begin to imagine one word that would've worked for all of 2020. 

My intentions changed from week to week and day to day, never mind month to month. It was a fitting practice for an extraordinary year. 

Then as the pages in my planner began to run out, like most people, I started to think about my intentions for the months ahead....beginning with January.

How did I want to feel?

Well, the obvious word was fresh. I didn't even have to ponder, it just popped into my head one morning while I was taking a shower

In January, I choose FRESH.


Three Lemons On A Dish

Fresh pages in my calendar, fresh decor in my home, fresh air on my walks and perhaps, with a little luck, a fresh reboot on life.

Yes, fresh was a good word. Everything's better when it's fresh. 

Even this devoted summer lover can't argue with the fact that there's nothing prettier than fresh fallen snow. If fresh could make winter look good, then I was in for feeling fresh as the year began. 

But then I started thinking about the other eleven months and what they might bring.

Things might open up again, more fully, and then returning to stores or the mall would feel fresh.

Game nights with friends might resume in person, instead of over zoom, and that would feel fresh.

Gatherings at the beach, the annual Lobsterfest and campouts might return. They'd feel renewed and fresh, as well.

I was sure that things I used to take for granted, including mundane tasks, like grocery shopping, would feel fresh again after such a long hiatus.

There was an excitement about that prospect, one I wanted to keep.

I didn't want to go back to mindlessly wandering up and down the aisles, dumping food into my cart. Bored and detached.

That task was a privilege and I didn't even know it. Instead, I wanted to note that fresh feeling, that fresh perspective on my old routine and take it with me indefinitely when and if things returned to normal.

So I decided to eat my hat and choose a word for the whole year, once again. And I was just about ready to punch it all into the computer when things changed.

Because already on day two, I was tested. 

You see, I'd ordered groceries to be delivered this morning and I made sure to get a few lemons for photos, since I had planned to post today.

And what's fresher than a lemon?

Then, as I was perusing the website, I saw tulips. Tulips!! Oh my.

My signature flower, a symbol of spring, rebirth and freshness and they were available for delivery? It was a sign.

Of course, I ordered a bunch and fell asleep, planning the perfect post.

Yellow Tulip Bud

Then the delivery truck showed up at the crack of dawn. With a bundle of wilted, brown and moldy flowers.

And I was not happy.

How could this be?? I was supposed to have beautiful, bright, FRESH flowers. Were they kidding me?? Sending me this, this...I don't know of buds?

If you could even call them that, since some of the stems were missing petals altogether. And they weren't cheap. Ugh. 

I literally put them aside in a bit of huff and went about the business of putting away my food. Stewing about my photos the entire time.

How was I going to make my "fresh" post work now?

Brown Bud Tulips

And then I straightened up.

Somewhere between grimacing at the flowerless stems and my very full refrigerator, I came to my senses. 

This behavior, my thoughts - none of it was fresh.

Ok, maybe it was, but not in a good way. It was fresh in the way my mom used to put me in my room for, when I decided to talk back. 

But it certainly wasn't the fresh, light, happy way I had intended to feel and hold onto for the year. Barely forty eight hours in and I wasn't off to a very good start. I was behaving badly and it was disappointing.

So I breathed. I readjusted myself, the flowers and my perspective.

I cut off the dead leaves.

I moved the shriveled old buds to the back, fluffed the rest of them and focused on the fact that they were so vibrant and colorful against the backdrop of a bland winter landscape.

Yellow Tulips and Lemons In The Kitchen

I forgot about my post and what it was supposed to be and returned to a familiar place of gratitude instead. A place I'd be living all year.

In the middle of this mess, it was the one thing I could hold onto.

I was beyond grateful for the kid who was working during this awful time, delivering food and those flowers to my family, so I didn't have to go out.

Grateful for the time he, or someone in the warehouse, took to pick it out, pack it up and bring it all to my home.

Grateful the service existed and even more grateful for my ability to add something frivolous to my order when so many can barely afford the basics.

The irony of the entire situation is that this is how I've felt all year. Grateful.

For so much and so many. Every minute of every day. Even when I was pondering the merits of freshness.

My gratitude wasn't fresh. 

Why I Don't Need A Word For The Year

Neither was my awareness of it.

It's part of who I am. Of what I believe. And how I was raised.

I voice my gratitude, journal about it and meditate on it, daily. I go to bed with it and wake up with it and felt it even while watching those rotted petals fall on the counter.

And that's when it hit me.

I didn't need anything fresh.

Gratitude should be my word for the year.

This year and every year.

And then I wouldn't have to pick one at all.

Do you have a word?

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  1. Replies
    1. Good plan, Rebecca! Happy New Year. ☺️

    2. Mine is also gratitude and I started late 2020 with a practice of mine long ago, I try to count my blessings each day, some as they happen, and others at the end of my day as I try to stretch my list to things I take for granted or are new. Then each morning I try to remember to show gratitude for a FRESH new day.

    3. It's a great practice, Cyndy, I agree. I purchased gratitude journals for my kids and myself last year and it really brought the practice to the forefront. Now it's become a habit and sharing my gratitude with other in the form of tips, gifts, calls, notes and recognition has become an addiction.

    4. You and I are on the same wavelength because gratitude is my word of the year, too... :D

  2. This is great Kim. I love the word fresh too. Fresh start to a new year seems so appropraite for this year. Let's hope that 2021 will be such a fresh and new time for all. My word was grateful. I feel during all that happened in this past year that the one word that I held onto and believed in was grateful. Even during some of the hardest times and sadness of loss I still needed to be grateful. I think no matter what is happening good or bad we always have something in our lives to be grateful. That is why I love that word and what it stands for. Happy New Year. xoxo Kris

    1. I agree, Kris, gratitude is always a great pick. It's something to keep close by no matter what. It really does change our perspective when we focus on that above all else. xxoo

  3. I too chose grateful..
    for so many reasons..
    to be healthy AND alive..
    when so many have lost their battles..
    grateful for having a sound mind..
    with the ability to reason and make sound decisions..
    most of all grateful for all the above as well as being hopeful..
    hopeful for a new beginning in the White House..
    hopeful for the vaccines now being administered..
    Hopeful for more lives being saved than lost..
    hopeful year 2021 will be the miracle we've all been searching for..
    for uniting our country once again..

    " one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

    1. A great, great list, Loui!! I think we're all hoping for the best this year. I think that grateful and hopeful should be the mantra for 2021! So here's hoping!! And thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts with us!! I hope you'll do it again! 😊

  4. Kim,
    Funny that mine is also gratitude....But I also chose a theme of the year and that is Mindfulness....I need to be more mindful of what is going on around me and how I handle it , how I spend my time and what takes up my time that shouldn't, mindful about my health and so many other things...Last year, I did the word of the month thing and it was too labor intensive. I also chose a theme though and it served me well...It was Positivity....Who knew how much I would need to go to that theme last year....Great post!!! Thanks for sharing!!

    1. Debbie, I love your choices. Years ago, I had a teacher who instilled the importance of mindfulness in me. I read The Miracle of Mindfulness by Thich Nhat Hanh and Wherever You Go, There You Are, by Jon Kabat-Zinn, both great books and I do try...but I need to practice it more myself. Thanks for the reminder. All the best for a year full of mindful gratitude! Hugs to you!

  5. My word for this year is keep it and spread it as far as I can.
    I hope you contacted the source of the flowers and they send you either a refund or some new flowers. It almost looks like they were frozen at some point! xo Diana

    1. Kindness is always in style, Diana and you practice it well. And thanks for the flower diagnosis, I couldn't figure out what happened to them...makes sense! xxoo

  6. I haven’t done a word for several years. Like you I want to walk everyday in gratefulness and awareness of all my blessings!

    1. Sounds like a practical and meaningful plan, Deanna!

  7. I just want to say that you write incredibly beautiful words. And now I want lemons.

    1. Thank you my friend. Your comments always make me smile. ☺️

  8. This is a wonderful post! And the word GRATITUDE is a great choice. I try to practice that each and every day and tell God how thankful I am for all my blessings. I tried a Word of the Year one year but didn't do well with it...but! I want to try again. I was thinking about it yesterday and the word that I'm "thinking" about is ADVENTURE. I am 71 (a young 71, I think:), retired, becoming bored, and realizing my two grands (who live very close by) are getting older and don't need me as much...and if 2020 taught me anything, it taught me that we need to appreciate every single day. So I want to seek ADVENTURE...I want to "seize the day" and do my best to make every single day count. I want to find joy in the little things as well as try new and bigger things. And I will be GRATEFUL for every lovely moment:) Happy New Year, Kim, and thank you for reminding us how very important GRATITUDE is.

    1. Oh, adventure sounds like a fabulous word, Cheri! I think I "fresh" popped into my head so quickly for exactly the same reason. I'm tired of staying at home. I usually love my home, I'm the ultimate homebody, but this is just too much. I wish you a lovely year and I'm hopeful that you'll get the adventures you crave!!

  9. wonderfully wise on this cold January day.
    I have two words that I don't necessarily think of as 'the word.'
    and that is actually the thought... grateful awareness.
    I've been reading a lot of Eckhart Tolle throughout the last year...
    and he has helped me tremendously. and so has this post.
    you write beautifully Kim. I've always thought that.
    and it's nice to start the new FRESH year with a post like this!
    thank you darling girl! xoxo

    1. Thank you so much, Tammy...and wow, amazing combination of words. That is fabulous. I just may add him to my reading list. Thank you!! xxoo

  10. Like you, I wasn't going to do a word this year. I wasn't going to jump on the word bandwagon. I did it a few years ago and it lost its luster after a few months. Well, for whatever reason, I changed my mind. I guess I thought why not give it one more try. I'm journaling through Susannah Conway's five day prompts of finding a word instead of just picking one out of thin air. I'm on day four and I have a list of about six words that tomorrow I'll be whittling down to THE word! ;-)

    Your tulips are so pretty. I'm hoping my Trader Joe's gets them in soon. Their flowers are so inexpensive!

    1. I love your process, Melanie! I used to belong to a group where we did this every month and I found it to be very worthwhile. I hope you have found your word. And some tulips!!

  11. Wishing you a happy new year Kim. I too am grateful for so much and I think the same way as you do. I never heard of picking a word for the year until I started blogging. I don't pick a word or do new year resolutions either. I just try to set some easy goals for myself.

    1. I'd never heard of it before blogging, either, Julie. It's been a fun practice...even if I change up my process every year!

  12. Fantastic post Kim, I have never picked a word out for the year and in fact never heard of doing such a thing until I started to blog, but I never did it.
    Your post was great!

    1. Thanks Carla! I'd never heard of it either, then I tried it and abandoned it...and tried it again! I think there's a lot of people like me. At least I hope so! Ha!

  13. I've never gotten on the "one-word for the year" bandwagon... instead I try to focus on each day and just to live it fully and to find joy in whatever I am doing, somehow. I find that works best for me. I just love your word fresh though... and chuckled at how you were tested on it right out of the gate! And the yellow roses ended up being such a cheery spot in your kitchen with the lemons! I'm always amazed at how sometimes a difficult situation can end up being a blessing in the end. Many blessings to you dear friend, Happy New Year!

    1. Thank you so much, Marilyn...I send wonderful wishes for a blessed 2021 to you, as well. And yes, the word for the year practice was enticing at first. Then I tried it and it didn't really fit, so I let it go. For some reason, this year it felt right to pick a word. So I did, but I guess the universe felt that my first choice wasn't the best choice. Divine intervention, perhaps? 😉

  14. Hi Kim. I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and are looking forward to this new year. I don't really pick words to live by or make resolutions either as I never seem to carry through with them and then I get mad at myself. I just try to plug along and do the best I can and try not to let the woes of the world get the best of me (of which, I am not very capable of doing that either)! Fresh is enticing though. We all need a fresh start and hopefully this year will give that to us. I am watching the new Magnolia Network with Chip and Joanna Gaines. Fresh and wonderful are great descriptive words for them. I want to be just like her when I grow up! Hope your new year will bring all good, fresh DIY's from you that I am looking forward to my friend..Stay well..xxoJudy

    1. Hmmm, I haven't heard of this network, Judy. I need to check it out. I've never watched Chip and Joanna, but I think I'd like them. I love her style. I chose fresh because I thought it was appropriate, and I have been adding a few fresh accents around here. Maybe it was my subliminal way of justifying them! Ha!! As I said to Marilyn above, I think the universe had other ideas about my word choice! That's ok, gratitude never goes out of style! Be well and all the best in 2021!! xo

  15. I do not choose a word although many of my blogland friends do...

    Wishing you and yours a happy and healthy 2021.
    My good wishes.

    All the best Jan

    1. Thanks Jan!! I wish you a very happy and healthy 2021, as well. Thank you for the visits, your commets always make me smile.

  16. Thank you for the lovely wishes, Teri. Your gratitude for the simple thing is obvious in every post. I think that's why I'm always drawn to your words. Hugs to you my friend and all the best in 2021!

  17. Nope I don't have a word either, but I think yours is perfect, Kim. Not just because of the craziness we're all coping with but because feeling a sense of gratitude for what we have makes us appreciate all that we have. Big and small.

    1. Agreed, my friend. And I'm grateful for your visits!!