Happy New Year 2023

“Time is draining from the clock,” says 2022 and Mary Oliver. Your loss, my gain says 2023. And here we are again, in a quote/poetry slam. (Quoted works are at the end.)

I made a few quilts, but not as many as usual. I think I made a lot more small makes, like a purse, or pillow tops, or patterns. Or maybe my “time is draining from the clock” and as someone who once had a “confident and quick” walk, I may be slowing down. Or distracted. Or sad. Or really happy. Or on a road trip. Or maybe it’s something else. Maybe it’s like Oliver Burkeman says, that “The world is bursting with wonder, and yet it’s the rare productivity guru who seems to have considered the possibility that the ultimate point of all our frenetic doing might be to experience more of that wonder.”

Or making quilts. Or immersing in creative endeavors. Or writing a thank you note to someone who doesn’t expect it. I took this last one from another book I read, where the author’s mother noted that we should be thanking everyone for everything.*

So, thank you for reading. Thank you for your letters. Thank you for the conversation that allows me to know people from all over the United States, and from all over the world!


*THE GIFT by Mary Oliver

Be still, my soul, and steadfast.
though time is draining from the clock
and your walk, that was confident and quick,
has become slow.

So, be slow if you must, but let
the heart still play its true part.
Love still as once you loved, deeply
and without patience. Let God and the world
know you are grateful.
That the gift has been given.

TO BEGIN WITH, THE SWEET GRASS by Mary Oliver (excerpt)

The witchery of living
is my whole conversation
with you, my darlings.
All I can tell you is what I know.

Look, and look again.
This world is not just a little thrill for the eyes.

It’s more than bones.
It’s more than the delicate wrist with its personal pulse.
It’s more than the beating of the single heart.
It’s praising.
It’s giving until the giving feels like receiving.
You have a life—just imagine that!
You have this day, and maybe another, and maybe
still another.

What I want to say is
that the past is the past,
and the present is what your life is,
and you are capable
of choosing what that will be…
(excerpt from MORNINGS AT BLACKWATER, by Mary Oliver)

Arguably, time management is all life is. Yet the modern discipline known as time management—like its hipper cousin, productivity—is a depressingly narrow-minded affair, focused on how to crank through as many work tasks as possible, or on devising the perfect morning routine, or on cooking all your dinners for the week in one big batch on Sundays. These things matter to some extent, no doubt. But they’re hardly all that matters. The world is bursting with wonder, and yet it’s the rare productivity guru who seems to have considered the possibility that the ultimate point of all our frenetic doing might be to experience more of that wonder. (from Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals, by Oliver Burkeman)

“We all owe everyone for everything that happens in our lives. But it’s not owing like a debt to one person—it’s really that we owe everyone for everything. Our whole lives can change in an instant—so each person who keeps that from happening, no matter how small a role they play, is also responsible for all of it. Just by giving friendship and love, you keep the people around you from giving up—and each expression of friendship or love may be the one that makes all the difference.”
from Will Schwalbe. The End of Your Life Book Club. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

21 thoughts on “Happy New Year 2023

  1. Such a thought provoking post! I often wonder am I doing enough with my time, being productive. I have never tried cooking a week’s worth of dinners in one day. That would be nice to have ready but also would feel like cooking thanksgiving, so much work. Others get more done in sewing but I remind myself this is not a race, I want to enjoy the process. The holidays seem to have gone by so quickly. Prayers for a better and kinder new year for everyone 🥰

  2. Beautiful, beautiful Mary Oliver poetry– thank you for all you do to inspire and educate! Happy New Year 2023..

  3. you had an awful lot going on this year, especially towards the end. Hope you ease gently into 2023.

  4. How I love Mary Oliver. This section seems especially poignant:
    “You have a life—just imagine that!
    You have this day, and maybe another, and maybe
    still another.”
    Indeed, life is an amazing gift.

  5. Thank you so much for your thoughtful and eloquent blog! I love all the quotes. I want to be productive, but “productivity” as our society defines it is overrated. There needs to be joy in the process. One of the major guiding principles in my life is to seek out and experience awe and wonder as often as, and in as many ways as, possible. Wishing you much wonder and joy in 2023!

  6. One can sure tell from this blog post that you love literature! 🙂 Interesting quotes. I understand some of your feelings about making quilts, traveling, and alternately feeling sad or happy or even ambivalent. I think it comes of aging, as I’ve become more aware of my own lack of interest. Pushing oneself to be creative isn’t always satisfying. For me, it’s more sensible to go or not, do or not, as I feel compelled. It’s one of the reasons I’m no longer giving presentations or programs. I hope you find that same ease for yourself in 2023.

  7. I’m thankful for you and your blog and all the thought provoking posts you write. You have a such a wonderful skill for putting things into words. Wishing that 2023 will be your best year yet. Full of all things happy and beautiful.

  8. Ha! This led me back to one of your old new-year-posts and I got a laugh out of coronavirus explained in crafting terms–how many projects have glitter? Best wishes for new year 2023, though coronavirus is still with us!

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