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Crafty December, 2010

Beloveds, it has been a while since I wrote.  I’ve been out of touch all over the place – both outwardly and inwardly.  December was filled to the brim with wonderful happenings of all sorts, and I did not go without anything I needed or wanted.  On the fortunate side, that meant that I had lots of time with family and friends, lots of creativity brewing, and lots of wonderful news to share about the commitment Eric and I have made to one another, and the family that is coming together in our household.  On the unfortunate side, it means that I overspent and put myself, not into consumer debt, but into self-debt – debt against my savings, morning reflection and journaling time, daily prayers, exercise and sleep.

So here I am, peering through glass doors on the inky end of 1/1/11 – an auspicious day if there ever was one, the number one signifying new beginnings and a return to innocence – and I am noticing many hopes for the coming year.  I am praying for old habits to go to rest by the grace of God, and new habits to replace them.  I am aware that as I peek into 2011, my eye keeps skipping past the months of January and February, and onto March and beyond, when I’ll be back from another bout of travel and once again home with my dear fiancé and our pup, and the weaving into one sturdy cloth of our previously separate single lives.

I have been listening to Sarah Ban Breathnach‘s new audiobook, Peace and Plenty: Finding Your Path to Financial Serenity and learning to put words to something that I have long enjoyed: “the thrill of thrift”.  I remarked to a friend the other day that I had an easier time following a spending plan when I had less money, and when this traveling work made me more financially abundant I found myself struggling more and more to stay on track.  There is something inspiring about having to “make do and mend” as the WWII Brits used to say.  I find that when I don’t have the “luxury” of buying what I need, I find a way to make do with what I have and my creativity gets stoked in a unique, deeply satisfying way.  Thrift is not cheapness, Ban Breathnach reminds me, but as defined on, it is “the quality of using money and other resources carefully and not wastefully”.

It seems to me that there is a very real grace in thrift, and it is a talent that can be honed over time.  It has been on my mind quite a bit lately, even though I didn’t have words for it yet.  It seems especially pertinent as Eric and I go about the planning of our wedding – an invitation to splurge and overspend and carelessly consume if there ever was one!  “It’s your once-in-a-lifetime day!  You don’t want to skimp on this!  Have the wedding you really want to have!”  Yes yes, all well and good, but let’s not forget the impact of today’s choices on future days, months and years.  As I look at my ledger (financial and energetic) for the end of 2010, I am keenly aware of how the momentary indiscretions pile up.

And in truth it’s not just the wedding.  I see how I have been wasteful in buying resources I already had, because poor organization meant that I didn’t even know I had them (hello, twenty pounds of tissue paper!) or buying things I could have joyfully and lovingly made, because I didn’t take the time to plan ahead or because buying was “easier”.  And yet, last Christmas when I was quite broke and had $100 to spend on all my gifts for everyone I loved, I came in under budget and everything I gave was carefully thought out and either bought smartly, or made lovingly.

Is there a lesson here?  Um…probably about a hundred.  So it seems that 2011 is going to be about cultivating graceful thrift.  An odd goal and focus, I’ll grant you, and not nearly the one I thought I would be naming when I sat down to write this post.  But it is what seems to be coming through and when the Universe blogs, I listen.

Craft & Creativity seems to be playing a bigger and bigger part in my coming year as well, and I guess that’s all I’ll say about that for now (although I refer you to the above slideshow to see my craft creations of December – apart from one bought skein of yarn, entirely made from my stash!).  The C&C of 2011 will unfold as it unfolds, with the Universe at the helm of that one, too.  I’m excited about it!  But reluctant to speak too much about it or make promises.  Instead I’m going to follow the flow where it leads me.  (I’m feeling particularly humble tonight about The Best Laid Plans of Maggie H.)

2010 was a banner year and I bid a very fond farewell to it.  I am so grateful for adventures far and wide, a warm and loving home to return to, the power of giving in to “YES” and the gift of letting love into every dry crack of the heart.  I am blessed beyond belief and I thank you for reading as much as you have of my musings.  Let’s together see what’s next!