Hello dear friends! It’s Thanksgiving week here in the US and I’ve been thinking about this wild year of 2020 and what I’ve learned from it. I was laughing with a friend the other day about how ‘young and innocent’ we were back in February. 😂 Yikes! We’ll never be the same after this year, right?
This year has been a time of collective and individual grieving like I’ve never experienced before. Not only are we experiencing the collective challenges of global upheaval because of this virus and political rancor, but I feel like so many people I know are also going through the personal and private trials of their lives.
As I sat in a doctor’s office this summer, feeling totally swamped and overwhelmed by a variety of circumstances in my life, I was both surprised and felt my load suddenly lightened by one simple suggestion: “do you keep a gratitude journal?” That small offering has changed my outlook immensely. It hasn’t changed my challenges but it has given me the ability to carry them better. I was grateful for that reminder again here.
“Does gratitude spare us from sorrow, grief, or pain? No. But it does soothe our feelings. It provides us with a greater perspective on the very purposes and joy of life.” (Russell M. Nelson)
So I’ve been consciously thinking about things I am grateful for, what I’ve learned from this 2020 experience. Perspective has changed me for sure. I’m definitely a different person.
First, I hope that I never take “normal” for granted again! I miss my extended family, I miss hanging out with my parents/siblings/in-laws and getting to spend time with them. I’m glad we could spend time safely visiting outside during warm months and I’m grateful for Zoom/FaceTime/MarcoPolo that has helped us stay connected. Same goes with friends. I’m hopeful for a silver lining with a vaccine on the horizon so that we can resume that human interaction time again soon!
I’m Grateful for Sewing!
I’m grateful for a hobby that I love. Quilting has got me through the ups and downs of life for years. From life at home with toddlers and craving something that just “stayed done”, processing grief, getting the warm fuzzies and satisfaction from sewing for a good cause, and just a healthy, creative endeavor and outlet for my mental health.
I shared this quote back in March. Little did I know how true it would be! It has been a true stabilizer in times of distress. (You find a free printable version of this quote here.)
Last week I was listening to Brene Brown talk about the restorative power of ‘play’ – time spent without purpose, doing things where you lose track of time, and things that make you feel liberated and uninhibited. Especially in this era where we’re out of adrenaline and our surge capacity is depleted, play can be incredibly grounding, restorative and a source of energy.
Hearing that was really good for me. Sometimes I’ve felt guilty taking time to just do something for myself – I felt selfish, especially when there are so many struggling people or needs right now. But hearing a researcher confirm that the best way we can be useful to our families and communities and protect our own mental well-being is to make time in our lives for guilt-free “play”.
I’m especially grateful for a hobby that works well when you’re stuck at home for months/weeks on end! (Ironically, that should sounds like a quilter’s dream!) My heart goes out to those whose hobbies are more socially inclined. I’m sure it’s been rough.
As lucky as I am to find fulfillment in sewing, as my ‘surge capacity‘ felt depleted, there were definitely times I felt in a funk too. My creativity and desire to sew has definitely ebbed and flowed. Sometimes I haven’t had the creative energy to sew – and I’ve learned that’s okay too. I’m glad it’s come back for now. And I think I’ll be okay if/when it ever ebbs again.
For years, I’ve loved these lyrics by Dolly Parton from her song, Smokey Mountain Memories:
You know I’ve been thinkin’ a whole lot lately
About what’s been and what awaits me
It takes all I’ve got to give what life demands
You go insane if you give in to it
Life’s a mill and I’ve been through it
I’m just thankful I’m creative with my hands
Working with our hands is such a gift – whatever the work is!
I’m grateful for hands that can work!
After my finger injury a year ago, I learned how much I really appreciate my left hand! It was hard to do simple things like take a shower or wash the dishes or simply get dressed! It was a good reminder not to take these hands of mine for granted.
AND I’m grateful for the miracle of the human body’s capability to heal itself. After cutting off a good chunk of the end of my finger (nail included), I wondered whether my hand would ever look/feel normal again. But my finger and nail regrew! It’s a little flat on one side and the finger tip is still a mixture of tingly/numb, but it’s fully functional and looks normal for all intents and purposes. It’s amazing.
I can feel my hands getting older and a little more decrepit. Watching both my grandmother and my mother’s hands age and become affected by arthritis over the years, I’m trying to enjoy and be more grateful for what these hands are capable of right now.
We’ve had some similar experiences as our son has been diagnosed with Dysautonomia this year. Don’t take good health for granted. 💗
Finally, I just want to say that I’m thankful for all of YOU.
14ish years ago I was a stay-at-home mom with 4 little kids and not a lot of real life friends. There weren’t a lot of women my age in my neighborhood and I felt pretty isolated. I used to literally pray to find friends. Quilting was my sanity saver back then too, but I didn’t really have any friends who were quilters. And I never talked about my hobby with anyone because I thought most people would think it was lame.
Around that time I was SO lucky to get a job at a local quilt shop where I worked on Saturday afternoon for years and met SO many fun, wonderful people who shared this fun hobby/therapy. Then in 2008 I discovered the online quilting world where people were sharing their stories/quilts on places like blogs and Flickr. I felt like I discovered a bunch of new best friends. As I started to share some of my own stories/quilts I loved connecting with other kindred spirits and inspiring makers around the world. It’s seriously amazing and miraculous to me how those connections have become such a big part of my life. 15 years ago I never could have imagined it.
Thank you for all of the kind words, encouragement, and support you show me. I am SO thankful for all of you fellow-quilt-nerd-friends!
And thank you for your patience with me when I put in the wrong links, make a mistake in my tutorials, don’t respond to emails as quickly or efficiently as I’d like, etc. This year I’ve felt extra scatter-brained and unhelpful. (I chalk that up to that surge-capacity thing again as well as becoming a home-school mom, and NEVER BEING ALONE in my house for the past 11 months. My brain misses quiet time! It’s learning to adapt, but still I miss the ability to think straight some days. Not that I was always great at it before.)
Last of all, I’m grateful for hope and perspective. This year has taught be a lot about both and finding those from within. I’ve still got a lot to learn, but I’m grateful for all of the people on this journey with me.
Sending love and best wishes in your own journeys this year. I’m pulling for you. xo 💗