“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson
We had a wonderful slow and quiet Christmas break. 2 weeks off school and work, hibernating from the world. We hardly left the house and were completely free to stay inside in the warm, baking gingerbread men and hiding from the gloom outside the window.
I always wish the school holidays were divided up slightly more sensibly. The summer holidays roll on forever and by the end of the fourth week, everyone’s itching to get back to some kind of routine, whereas Christmas flies past and everyone’s back at school two seconds after they’ve opened their presents.
Even if it has arrived a little fast, January always feels like a good excuse for a fresh start.
Now here’s the thing. I don’t make New Year’s resolutions. Not ever. I don’t really see the need for all the New Year, New You business.
Whilst I’ve always quite liked the idea that you get to wipe the slate clean at the start of each new year, I’m definitely not a fan of targets I know I won’t have time to stick to.
Life always throws up hurdles; I get behind; I get frustrated and the whole lot goes out the window.
Instead, armed with a stack of new notebooks, my new journal and a fresh mind set, I prefer to just make lists of things I’d love to get done. IfI can find the time.
Things I’d like to do this week, this month and for the next 365 days.
Small things I’d like to achieve and If I don’t, it really doesn’t matter because it’s a completely pressure-free wish list.
I do like a list! It’s a positive step towards helping me feel a bit more organised and the best way to combat my January grumbles.
So, with that in mind and with an entire 365 days of opportunities ahead, here’s my list of small intentions for 2019.
For me, this year is all about saving memories. How about you?
De-Clutter the studio and the house.
Starting with the most boring one on the list!
I am one of the world’s worst for hoarding thing’s I really don’t need just in case and I’m honestly amazed that our ceilings haven’t collapsed under the sheer weight of stuff in my attic.
Boxes and boxes of old papers and things I made 10 years ago that I just can’t bear to part with.
Things I come across and genuinely look at puzzled thinking “why did I keep this?” or “where did this even come from?!
This year, I really MUST have a de-clutter, but I’m going to tackle one bag a week, whenever I can.
No more spending entire weekends making trips to the local recycling centre.
This year I’m determined to keep on top of it all. Tidy house, tidy mind.
Sorting out the garden and decorating the house.
Another boring one, but needs must.
So, I’m not actually going to paint the whole house, but I usually like to pick one job inside and one job outside to do each year. Just to stop the place falling apart.
Top of the list this year is my poor back garden, which for some reason has refused to grow any grass for the past 7 years. As much as Astro turf seems like an easy option, I think I need to come up with something which involves me remembering to water my grass seed.
I may well end up painting the garage while I’m out there, but then again, that sounds a little ambitious.
I can almost feel myself rolling my eyes as I’m writing this because I am terrible at finding space in my life for me time.
It doesn’t matter how healthy it’s supposed to be, I really quite enjoy flitting from one job to the next before collapsing sometime past midnight.
Then last year, I discovered the joy of online learning platform Skillshare.
Oh my goodness! Sooo many wonderful creative classes and things to learn.
As much as I love making jewellery, I now have lists of new things I’d like to try my hand at, from hand lettering to photography and I’m determined to make the time for it all somehow.
The Memory Jar
This is one of my absolute favourite things to do each year.
I do keep a journal, but this is the easiest way I’ve found to record memories that almost everyone in the whole family can join in with.
All you need is a large glass jar and a small stack of note cards. I have a big clip-top Kilner jar, but anything will do, even an empty ice cream tub.
Every time something good happens, note it down and add it to the jar.
Your note can be absolutely anything. A reminder about somewhere you went; something you watched; something that happened at school or work; even just something that made you all laugh.
Try to write a name and a date on the card if you remember. It’s lovely to hear about memories from different people’s point of view and to pin point roughly when it happened.
Then, this time next year, open the jar and read all the note cards together.
One the memory jar is empty, I like to keep all my note cards in a file as I can’t quite bear to throw them all away. It’s a fantastic permanent reminder of all the moments shared and helps me appreciate the little things.
Moment in Time Sheets
I take photographs all the time. Sometimes on an almost daily basis. My photographs visually record how the people around me change, but how can I record the other changes. The ones that can’t be seen?
A little while ago, there was another one of those funny questionnaires doing the rounds on social media. You know the ones. Ask your child to answer these questions……….. Favourite song, animal, food, book……………….
Sets of questions to ask your child, all arranged beautifully on ‘Moment in Time Sheets’.
Oh my goodness how precious and what a good idea!
This year, I am 100% going to make a point of putting sheets together for each of the children. Permanent reminders of what they were all like and when.
Organising my memory boxes
This year, I am absolutely determined to find a decent way to organise and store all my children’s drawings, writing and schoolwork.
At the moment, I have an increasingly large stack of keepsake boxes for each of them, but special drawings and certificates just get added to each one as they arrive home and is doesn’t feel very organised.
At the moment, I’m thinking scrapbooks, which would display everything nicely and fit inside the boxes, but if you have any better ideas, let me know.
I’m guessing a lot of you might not relate to this, but I really do love to make things. Everything from gingerbread men, to homemade fondant and rosehip jam.
I’m in heaven when surrounded by scrapbooking or cooking supplies but it all seems to have fallen by the wayside these last few years.
This year, the jam jars and the rolling pin are being dusted off; the aprons coming out of storage and I’m going to make more effort to spend time passing on those tips, tricks and recipes my Grandparents taught me.
Do you ever find that your weekends seem to disappear? All of a sudden you’re waking up on Monday morning again with that slightly disappointed feeling that you didn’t actually do anything?
I really look forward to my Saturdays and hate the thought of a weekend wasted
As I get older, I’m becoming acutely aware that I want the children to be able to look back and remember us doingthings with them. It’s far too easy to stay at home and watch time disappear.
With that in mind, this year, I want to make a real effort to get out and about, even if it’s just making the effort to go out walking more. Time spent together is time well spent (as they say).
Following the same train of thought, this year I’d love to set aside time for family meal time once a week and try to stick to it.
I’m not sure about anyone else, but our schedule here is crazy! It’s a sad side effect of modern life that by the time we’re both working and then we factor in schools, homework and clubs, eating all together has become something of a rarity.
It always surprises me how much everyone seems to appreciate family dinners and for that reason alone, this year I really must make more of an effort.
Think back to last year to the moments that really stick out in your mind.
Celebrations are always really easy for me to pin point.
Occasions when we made the effort to have a little more fun. When we did things different to the norm. When we did things that made our souls happy.
Of course, there’s birthdays, anniversaries and all the other really obvious occasions, but when you’re busy, it’s easy to let even these slip by unnoticed.
This year, I want to make an extra special effort to celebrate every single special occasion that comes along.
How about the anniversary of a first date? Donating blood? Achieving a target at work? Or a little one learning all their times tables?
Celebrations don’t have to be huge, expensive or extravagant. Sometimes it’s just good to have an excuse to do something together and it’s a great reminder that all our little achievements matter.
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