In 2010 I chose a word on which I wanted to focus: Grace. I felt I need to be more gracious and extend that grace to those around me. Funny thing is that it was I who needed Grace. I needed to extend it to myself. But I didn't know that until much later.
For the most part I rather forgot my word but toward the end of the year my mother was hospitalized. Her 5 year battle with a terminal lung disease was coming to a close and she needed me, she needed grace and love and forgiveness. For the next 4 months my mom and many aspects of her life took over my life. It took everything I had to be gracious to this woman whom I loved but with whom for nearly 20 years I had had to maintain strict, sometimes severe boundries for the sake of my own mental health and for the health of my marriage and children. But I did it. I let down the boundries. Thankfully, I managed to care for her and love her and by doing so learn some things about her and myself. I know she loved me and I have NO regrets about the kind of relationship we maintained for so long. It was necessary at the time but in the end it didn't matter. I was able to extend to her a level of grace I didn't know I had in me and by doing so gave grace to myself. I was a good daughter.
Words can be powerful. Very powerful. So, at the start of 2011 I knew I wanted to choose another word and really make it a focus of my year. I had already signed up for Ali Edward's One Little Word class and I had been mulling over a few words but none really called to me. But with my mom's passing on January 2nd I knew the word that I needed. It chose me. Embrace. I wanted to embrace change, creativity, adventure, and new things. And I did. Boy, did I embrace these things and more.
The day after my mom's passing was the first day of a class my husband gifted me for Christmas, Simple Soulful with Irene Nam. It was a photography class. A gift from an established photographer husband to his burgeoning photographer wife. Not a technical type class but one where we would learn to shoot from our heart. To see through the viewfinder those things which move us. Speak to us. See that which we love. That class was just what I needed. That one little 4 week long class started me on a journey I NEVER imagined I'd take. One that lead me from taking pictures of my garden and kids in my backyard to an amazing gathering of women by the sea. I embraced photography. And photography embraced me.
So, toward the end of 2011 I pondered, ruminated, percolated what my word for 2012 would be. Light? Story? Believe? Dream? All wonderful words but none were THE word. I knew I wanted a word that would continue on from where embrace left off. A word that spoke of continuity yet change. A word that summed up the feeling of moving forward but not ending. I started to drive my husband crazy asking him about words. What he liked. If the word sounded right. If he thought it fit me. He felt I was thinking too hard about it all; over analyzing the whole thing. He was correct. I'm so thankful I married a man so insightful to the workings of my mind. Once I stopped trying to make the word come to me it came: Grow. It fit. Moving forward but not ceasing. Positive. A sense of becoming. Continuing what started in 2011 and making it better. I can't wait to experience growth not just in my photography but in so many other areas of my life: relational, spiritual, emotional, physical. This is going to be a great year!