Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Saying Hello

There's just something grand about January 1. As long as I live, I'll revel in the gift of a new year. It's full of anything you can imagine - change, excitement, adventure, hope, opportunity, goals that, so far, are attainable.

As a young child, we would historically spend Christmas at my grandmother's in Denton, and we would spend New Year's at my grandmother's in Groesbeck. On the farm.  We even nicknamed her Granny on the Farm, or GOTF as my oldest sister says. That way, we had Granny, and Granny on the Farm. While both of my grandmothers had so many talents, Granny on the Farm was gifted at making us feel so incredibly welcomed. 

At the farm, there was always enough for our family of six. Enough beds, enough food, enough presents, enough space, enough patience, enough laughter, enough responsibility, enough adventure, enough space at the kitchen bar. She really had a way of reaching out to make us feel so very loved and so very wanted. And we usually went to see her one family at a time, so she and my Papa, while he was living, would just spend all the time we were there totally focused on us. Their farm chores were suspended and the days would unfold with meals and games and, if you were lucky, being asked to bring in the eggs. And more meals and more games.

The true beauty of New Years on the farm was the simplicity in the unfettered agenda. We didn't have anywhere to be. We didn't have anything we needed to do. Oftentimes, we would arrive at the farm and not leave it until it was time to head back to Houston. We had the luxury of relaxing, of being with each other, of just having fun as a family of eight. I can still hear in my head the sound of the dominoes clinking together as they were shook in between the hands of the nightly 42 game that commenced after we were tucked into bed. Oh, how glorious to fall asleep to the sounds of laughter, teasing and dominoes flying on the table. 

I think those early years laid the foundation for my love of New Years and my annual desire to be together as a family on this holiday, to be nestled in our home, and to relax together as we say goodbye to one year and hello to the next. I haven't yet taught my boys how to play 42, and frankly I'm not great at it myself, but they are quite adept at most card games now. They have enough of me in them to enjoy the spirit of competition and enough of their dad in them to embrace the time together and enjoy the fun of it.

In the true spirit of the holiday, last year we invited my parents up to spend the weekend with us. Sometimes a table of six feels more like a holiday than a table of four. My parents are grand game players, too, and so when they are here, there is always a game going on - 31, Shanghai, Hand and Foot - complete with the laughter and the teasing I knew of old. Throw in a little college football and the Rose Parade and the holiday seems complete.

As time marches on, and we all get older, I felt the urgency to document our 2013 New Years with my parents. It seems odd now that my sons are taller than their grandfather. It seems like we should still be back on the farm, laying on the green shag carpet, football bowl game going, dominoes clinking. But, years and decades have passed. I can only conjure up those days in my mind. I had to say goodbye to the farm years ago. 

I believe the hope in a new year eases the pain of all the goodbyes. I believe we all need the new year to come every January - so that we have something to say hello to. Something to give our hearts fresh hope. Belief in the perpetuity of life. The eternity of our goals. 

Whatever your new year holds, I pray you enough to say hello to it - to embrace it with wide open arms, to revel in each day, to believe that every day matters, that the year will be for you a Glorious Unfolding. Hello beautiful 2014. Hello light and hope and change. May it be a year for you to create and believe and thrive. I am saying hello to 2014, and all that it packs with it. 

Hello 2013 ~ New Year's ~ January 2013

Sketch Credit: Scrapbook Generation
Paper: Echo Park
Font: Arial Black, with Pebbles ABC Stickers


  1. Your style is amazing, love your layout !

  2. What a beautifully written post! Loved reading it and only hope that someday my grandchildren will remember with as much fondness the times spent with us. Love your layout. The little trim around the neutral background is such a nice touch.

  3. Oh, Penny, this is so exciting!! I love the stories of your past holidays and it brings back my own sweet memories. The LO is just wonderful and I look forward to getting more inspiration in the future. Can't wait to see your process in person in a couple of weeks!

  4. Penny thanks for sharing this with us.....I love reading your blog and have sadly have let mine go. I love how you share the details of your childhood and I love that you have put it in writing so that these details don't get lost.

  5. Love this Penny. I've long known what a wonderful scrapper you are but what a wonderful writer you are as well.