Happy New Year friends!
This year begins with a mixture of feelings. Firstly, I must confess I am rather glad that Christmas is out of the way. I was relieved to take the trimmings down and return to normal. I miss the twinkly lights, but I don't miss the clutter or the piles of chocolate and shortbread we accumulated. I feel better eating a bit less now, and have decided to try and get 2015 off to a healthy start. Not so much a diet, no - they really don't work for me, but just to take time to listen to what my body really wants, and to eat as seasonally as I possibly can.
The children returned to school yesterday, and that was another thing that I felt glad about. Don't get me wrong, I've enjoyed the holidays and spending lots of time with my family, but I also relish my solitary time alone, my little routines, where I create, write and dream. I like to pootle about, I like my space and as much as I love my family, I like being by myself too.
I mentioned that the year began with a mixture of feelings. One of these feelings was sadness, and this was upon hearing the news that artist and illustrator, Vanessa Cabban had died. She was involved in a tragic accident aged just 43.
I had never met Vanessa in real life, but got to know a bit about her through her colourful blog 'Do You Mind If I Knit', and her wonderfully illustrated children's books which my daughter and I enjoyed reading together. Vanessa painted a picture of a life full of crochet, knitting, art, her home in Northumberland and her dogs. It was wonderfully inspiring and I enjoyed visiting her blog, where I would dawdle a while, absorbing her whimsical and gentle words and feeling uplifted and inspired by her works in progress.
Vanessa was two years older than me, and I felt very shocked and sad to hear that she had died. How is it that the death of someone we have never physically met can create such powerful emotions in us? Through her blog, I (along with many others) felt as if I knew a little of her, she felt like a friend. As she wrote her posts, so her life unfolded in colourful pictures. Through the world of blogging we connect with others in ways we don't realise. Today, two weeks since she died, I still find myself visiting her blog, and feeling a sense of loss that I can't comprehend. My heart goes out to those who knew her personally, her family and her friends. I hope in some small way, she knew how much she touched people's lives.
(pictures (c) Vanessa Cabban)
I feel a keen sense of the fragility of everything at the moment, and I decide that I am going to make some changes. I see how I squander time - time that is irreplaceable, but for which I have taken for granted. I am going to do something creative every day - to be more aware of looking for things to be happy about. I think counting our blessings is a wonderful end to anyone's day, and so I intend to think of at least three things each night before I go to sleep, and to practice being grateful for everything I can be, do or have.
I feel the need to squeeze as much joy out of this one glorious life as is possible. Each day is a wonderful gift, and one I intend to treasure.