Present | December 2022.

For this last monthly update on this year’s One Little Word, I’m reflecting back on each of the previous posts. I started doing this with 2020’s OLW And and continued last year with Choose 2021. The reflection process and the resulting post(s) have been a wonderful way for me to say goodbye to my word and create space for next year.

I also love having an easy place to capture a This is Me (us!) right now photo

January 25 – I announced my second do-over word and intentions (several of which were also do-overs … this happens a lot with my intentions!) After two pandemic years where Tomorrow felt uncertain and Yesterday wasn’t getting me anywhere good, I wanted to be Present in the moment. January is always my “pay attention” month and I shared quotations from Misa Hay and Rebecca Solnit “It’s time to be present and happy with ourselves and make the best of what’s happening now. This is it. There’s no after.”

February 23 – more paying attention … and finding lessons in two of my daily devotions. “Embracing prayer as a life stance requires me to learn to live in the present, because that’s the only place to meet God.” This was also the last month I had with Holly … we said goodbye just five days later.

March 29 – living here and now and feeling good about it is key. Signs of spring. signs of hope. and behind the scenes so much grief. Through Lent, I was reading Kate Bowler’s Good Enough and shared these words “Because this isn’t what you had planned, but it surprises you that even here it can be good. … Blessed are you, finding that life is good because it is enough.”

April 27“Present is choosing to believe that your own life is worth investing deeply in, instead of waiting for some rare miracle or fairytale.” I saw those words from Shauna Niequist on Instagram. And I was actively letting go (one of my intentions) … “I’m starting to see signs that this purposeful stepping back is making space for new things. A deep investment takes time. and trust.”

May 31 – feeling stuck … and getting back to the basics. quiet mornings. and those intentions. I shared these words from Thomas Merton (shared with me in my centering prayer group) “In a time of drastic change one can be too preoccupied with what is ending or too obsessed with what seems to be beginning. In either case one loses touch with the present and with its obscure but dynamic possibilities. What really matters is openness, readiness, attention, courage to face risk. You do not need to know precisely what is happening or exactly where it is all going. What you need is to recognize the possibilities and challenges offered by the present moment, and to embrace them with courage, faith and hope.” [I’m still working on my 2023 intentions and wow, these words are a goldmine!]

June 28 – embracing Here (which is, if not a twin, certainly a sibling to Present). I embraced, again, solo walks to the lake. I shared words from Shauna Niequist and Pádraig Ó Tuama and these are his “To greet sorrow today does not mean that sorrow will be there tomorrow. Happiness comes too, and grief, and tiredness, disappointment, surprise, and energy. Chaos and fulfillment will be named as well as delight and despair. This is the truth of being here, wherever here is today. It may not be permanent but it is here. I will probably leave here, and I will probably return. To deny here is to harrow the heart.”

July 27 – spending a lot of time with Charlie & Sam (the photos ♥) … and reminded that memories only get made when we are present. shared these words from Steve Garnass-Holmes

Be satisfied with being present.
This is the better part.
Being fully present can’t be taken from you.
You are yours to give.

August 30 – practicing my delight muscle. thank you Ross Gay and his Book of Delights! In a nutshell, this book was about being Present, finding hope, listening, sharing kindness, being curious, and, when needed, letting go.

September 27 – the new puppy is for sure (she’s coming in a week!) … and I read Oliver Burkeman’s Four Thousand Weeks and Alexandra Horowitz’s The Year of the Puppy. Embraced the idea that we needed to love the puppy for who they are, not always focused on who they will become. and what a wonderful lesson this is for me with myself, as well!

October 26 – more lessons from Burkeman and Horowitz … and practice with Lucy. “Experience life with twice the usual intensity, and ‘your experience of life would be twice as full as it currently is’ — and any period of life would be remembered as having lasted twice as long. We can accomplish this by doing “anything that draws [our] attention more fully into what [we’re] doing in the present.” I think we lived months in the span of a few (mostly sleepless, very crazy) weeks!

November 29 – love that the lessons from October and November are still resonating (and they are today, too) – the introduction (written by Diana Butler Bass) to my Advent reading encouraged me to pay attention to what was going on around me. “God is present from cosmic expanse to the chambers of our hearts, but we do not notice because the sacred is obscured under our distractions, fears, and despair.” and that’s been a lovely way to spend this last month with my word.

In so many ways, this year was not at all the year I imagined it would be … and sitting here now, a few days before it’s over, I know I’m not the person I imagined I would be … and yet. these lessons in Present have been a sort of map to guide me … and where I’ve ended up is here. and it’s a good place to be. Present.

Many thanks to Carolyn for the space to share these monthly reflections. and to all of you for reading and encouraging my journey.

p.s. outtakes!

8 thoughts on “Present | December 2022.

  1. Love the out takes and that sweater is so good on you. Cannot wait to hear you new word. Present showed up for you in wonderful ways.

  2. The photos are darling and your sweater looks great. I enjoy your reflections and yes being present is a good place to reside.

  3. A very good year of “presence,” Mary. (And I just love your outtakes! Puppy love is so wonderful. . . ) XO

  4. I think it says a lot about a word if you choose it a second time, and I think Present was a good one for a re-do for you. (M. and I both agree that our favorite photo is the top right of the outtakes. That one really captures what life is like with a puppy!)

  5. Lucy is certainly the cap on your year of living in the present! I enjoy looking back at your year with you.

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