Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Before January is Gone



I should write.  Without any prior plan to do so, I slipped out of bed when I heard Jeff clanking around and making coffee this morning, much earlier than usual.  I was hoping that the remnants of subconscious thought would finally set to text and screen what has been swirling around up there for a few months.  I have actually lied partially awake in bed very many early mornings and felt sure I have struck just exactly the order of how a piece of prose could go.  I rise, drink coffee, plan and start the day and the opportunity simply dissolves.  Just disappears and gets buried in all of the things that a day becomes, good or bad, neither.  This scenario has repeated countless times.

Today is different. Today is our eldest Juliana's birthday. 23.  I was saying to Jeff last night that it doesn't seem any more or less than 23 years, it rather seems a whole other lifetime.  A different time and place and group of characters all together.  But I look back harder and see myself in that girl, swept from maidenhood to motherhood in just a few seconds.  And I see him.  Upright and filled with all the love necessary to carry us to here, without a map.  And her.  Beautiful and amazing to me now, then, and every single moment in between.  As of the 22nd Nicolas is now 17 and as of the 20th Eleni is now 11.  They are each growing into themselves which feels astounding to witness if you let yourself think about it.  And what, Jeff and I wondered in the dark last night, is it that divides these other lifetimes ago that we sense.  How does it happen without warning that a group of events or memories suddenly feel like another time and place?  How does it partition itself from now?  The cities.  The houses.  The arrival of children.  The schools.  How soon will it be before we look back on this time and label it another life?

2014 humbled me.  I seldom feel an obligation to write here or anywhere, but just let things be what they are, never seeing any sense in forcing it.  If most of my journaling these days comes more moment by moment on Instagram, then that is just how it is right now.  No doubt it will eventually change again.  I suppose that for me writing feels a luxury with all that is on my plate, and one I miss and haven't indulged myself in for a while.  If I do have one regret it is not doing my year in review post for 2014.  But it really felt like more of an incapability than a resistance.  The whole year was filled with growth in my work and in my family, so many good things, but the last few months of it almost emotionally paralyzed me.  In the span of one month, my oldest, dearest friend lost her husband suddenly and unexpectedly.  My gorgeous, perfect dog Leo was hit and killed instantly by a car in front of our house.  Isabela and I were in a car accident just ten days later.  Completely my fault, I still don't know how I didn't see him coming.  I do know that right as I was pulling out of our driveway, I was saying the words "I can't believe our Leo is gone, I miss him so much".  Crash.  If this blog has ever been a place to report my goings on, it stopped right there for a bit.  I could not.

I learned something very poignant recently.  Studies have shown that the brain can not actually feel the emotions of anxiety and gratitude at the same time.  They are opposites.   So much so, that psychologists suggest writing down all the things you are grateful for each day as a way to get your brain on the healthier side.  I found myself feeling anxious last year quite a bit.  Of course with the loss and sadness, but even really good things that required so much of me, wore me out emotionally.  I am grateful that my friend has family and friends to surround and love her and her gorgeous twins in these deep days of loss.  I am grateful that my boy Leo did not suffer, and that a perfect stranger risked traffic and darkness and helped me in the middle of the road to carry him home, as Jeff and most of the children were gone. I am grateful we still have Cash puppy.  I am grateful that the man driving the car who hit me was kind, not angry, mostly concerned about me, and that Isabela and I did not suffer too much banging up.  I am grateful we had the means to fix our car.

On the first day of this new year our house and trees were swarmed with a mumuration of starlings.  The sound was overwhelming from the upstairs studio as it is just right under the roof.  They were stunning. A chorus.  A dance.  The yard and trees were blackened by their presence.  Here and gone in seconds.  I think we are that way.  From one tree to the next.  The same tribe flying high and low, straight and organized and then not.  But moving and together, always.

Wishing you a grateful 2015!  Look forward to sharing it here with you.
xoxo,Anna Maria

55 comments:

  1. Oh my goodness, you put into words what I have thinking so often these days...other lifetimes ago. The old house I lovedo much, my children's birth and childhoods. The dear friends who gave stated and those who gave gone to the their next lifetimes. Thank you for sharing with us , your talents, joys, sorrows and this lifetime.

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  2. Beautifully said mascanlon. I used to wish away the time so I could get to do other things and while I was so busy wishing, life happened. Sometimes good, sometimes not so much , but all very much a part of what has helped shape a new, more balanced and grateful point of view. I dwell less and celebrate more. Now, even when bad things happen, I celebrate small things to balance it all out and share them with people that need a little celebrating too. Thank you for doing the same. Happy birthday to your daughter and a happy and healthy new year to you and yours!

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  3. whenever you are able, we love to hear from you. i send you the most positive and healing energies i can muster, friend.

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  4. So glad to hear from you again. It's funny- since we don't even know each other- but you feel to me like a sister in a parallel universe. Your words (and images) are beautiful and powerful and so real. Sending your way blessings, blessings, blessings and as my Mom always taught me: "A bubble of light!"

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  5. Your positive energy comes through in all you create, the colors, the ideas, the beautiful little babies and big people, too. I so often refer to my "other life" before children. Loved it then, but love this so much more now, and now the grandchildren. Life keeps betting better! Love the idea of writing about the positives to stay in a healthy state of mind.

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  6. beautiful prose. I keep hearing over and over again about gratitude as it relates to happiness, it is definitely a theme for the past few weeks. Maybe for the whole year. Sorry about Leo.

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  7. love to you all. i love reading your blogs, always picks me up.

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  8. Wow that was gorgeous. So sad and beautiful at the same time. Thank you for sharing.

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  9. I love this post! :)

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  10. Thank you for sharing these lovely, thoughtful impressions. Wishing the best to you and your family in this new year.

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  11. Thank you so much for the rich details and musings. It sums up a few years for me as well, I could not have written that myself. So I add you to my gratitude and will re-read this a few times to sink in. Thank you again

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  12. oh, honey, that is a LOT. hugs to you. so sorry about Leo. xo.

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  13. Thank you for this words. May 2015 be sweet to you and your family, may it be full of stars and Light.
    Tiphaine

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  14. Sorry you've been through so much. A murmuratino of starlings is a very wonderful thing. We have them here sometimes and it always makes us stop and stare in amazement. I'm fascinated to hear about anxiety and gratitude. A good reminder to count our blessings. I'm hoping this is a good year for you and yours. CJ xx

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  15. Thank you for sharing your heart with all of us perfect strangers. 2014 was a life changing year for our family as well. 26 yr old daughter diagnosed with colon cancer, surgery, recovery, very unexpected loss of our 4 yr old dachshund, gained a daughter-in-law, wow could all of this happen in 12 months? Thank you for your post, it was beautiful, I'm going to try the act of writing down what I'm thankful for every day!

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  16. Prayers going up for a fabulous 2015 for you and yours. You have a way with words--not just fabric. Thanks for sharing with us!

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  17. I love this post, though I'm sorry 2014 was a difficult year. Thank you for being real w/us, it is appreciated greatly. I feel there is major pressure in the blogosphere to present perfection (hence why I named my soon-to-be started blog.) ;-)

    And I am right with you, as today is our youngest daughter's 13th birthday. My husband and I started our family when I was still in college, so in many ways I still feel like a kid. Then I marvel that my children are growing up so fast, where did the time go? I remember for so any years I was self-conscious because I was both a young mother and looked quite young (even younger than I was.) Added to that the more affluent area we live/lived in meant the other moms were much older than me. I felt they looked down on me, and felt pressure to look and act older than I was. Now that my kids are older and I'm at/nearing the age the moms were then, I miss the days of being a young mom. Maybe we always want what we cannot/do not have. I'm glad my children are getting older & maturing into who they are. But I know the days are passing quickly, and because of that am trying to savor them more. When they were younger I felt always like a chicken with my head cut off, just trying to survive day to day. Now I want the days to last longer, because it means my kids are still kids and here w/me.

    My children's and my own health struggles have taught me we receive strength through adversity. We also keep a gratitude journal, its a way to remember how much we have. Hugs for you,
    Noelle

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  18. You know? We see artists through their colors, shapes and designs. And yours are so beautiful and full of life that we are sometimes misled to believe that your life is just that. Pure perfection and pure balance of color and shapes. And it isn't. I resonate in your words. I appreciate your words and I feel your pain too. Thank you dearest Anna Maria for reminding me that we are all souls searching, creating, hurting, learning. Thank you!

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  19. Thank you for your honesty.

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  20. I love reading your writing, because I always find myself slowing down to imagine your words...instead of rushing forward to get on to the next item on my to-do list. Thank you!

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  21. Whatever catalyst it was that led you to write this post, it was a good catalyst.

    Some years accumulate their days in a calm, or perhaps familiar rhythm. Others have a moment that startles. The momentum. Suddenly.

    And we will all experience such times, without a warning, and learn a bit more about what life might be. No guarantee.

    I send you warm wishes for many positive experiences and developments in the many remaining days of this still young year.

    xo

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  22. Gratitude is so important! I know that when one is in a lot of change and loss, often things like accidents happen; this is how it has been for me also; may God protect you and your family! and His Most Holy Mother! I am going to light a candle for you all!!! and Memory Eternal for your friend's husband! And I am so sorry for the loss of your beloved pet; how hard that is. The time of Feasts, like Christmas and Theophany/Epiphany, are times of great temptations; my husband and I see often on the Eve of great Feasts these things come up. God keep you all.

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  23. I'm so sorry for the hard things you've been dealing with lately. How does life go on through the days and months and years? We grow and change and wonder what happened to bring us from there to here. Praying that you will always see the joy in the midst of it all...

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  24. I appreciated your thoughts about gratitude and anxiety. Anxiety easily finds me. How sadly your year ended. May your joys and blessings uplift you as you move forward this year.

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  25. Thank you for sharing. It's completely moving.

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  26. I have missed you here. I am so sorry for the loss of Leo. Thank you for sharing so honestly and kindly here. May 2015 bring to you and your family many occasions for gratitude.

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  27. I hope 2015 brings you joy as well as strength.

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  28. Oh, dear Leo! Sending many wishes for comfort and peace.

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  29. Thank you for just being you and for writing here!

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  30. Sorry to hear about those difficult events. I hope 2015 continues on a happier note. I love reading your blog when you have time and inclination to share your words and photos with us.

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  31. That was beautiful. I can relate to it all. How do we end up here? Is it better to look back and reflect, or just live in the moment? Or is there a time for both? Don't really know, just moving forward together.

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  32. Anna Marie, I am so, so sorry about the loss of Leo, as New Years Eve day 1999, Charles and I lost our Ginger (a Red Chow and Golden Retriever mix that same way. It was horrifyingly sudden and painful for me and Charles, and also for our year old kitten who lost his "Mama" with no idea of where she had gone. Traumatic loss like that sticks to you and I weep for you, your family, and Leo.

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  33. it's just happened to me to stop at your blog and read these words this morning. They are so true and they are also perfect for me.thanks Annamaria,frthis moment on I will be one of your followers.great blog!

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  34. What a beautifully written blog post. I am sorry that you had such a hard end to 2014. I hope that 2015 brings you more joy and less anxiety.

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  35. Oh you poor poor thing Anna. And your poor friend. I felt so moved to write and yet now my fingers keep poising over the keyboard because what can be said to such sorrow? But for 2015, a page is turned, your blessings can be counted, your family held close, and you can stride forward. I'm sure you will - you strike me as a glass-half-full, centre-of-the-family's-gravity kind of person.

    I also wanted to say - sometimes when I read your post I wonder how on earth your career can be 'only' in sewing and designing when you are such an amazing, soulful writer! I'm sure there's a beautiful memoir in you somewhere. x

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  36. Beautiful. Thank you.

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  37. It has been a while since I last saw s murmuration of starlings. What a beautiful word, murmuration. I am glad that there are kind people out there, helping you when you need help and being kind when kindness is needed. Have a wonderful year Anna Maria. xx

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  38. Lovely, lovely - especially the bit about anxiety and gratitude cannot be experienced at the same time. A wonderful reminder of how much we really have to be thankful for - even the little things like having the money to fix the car and a kind stranger. Made me tear up a little bit! Thank you so much!!

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  39. i love what you had to say! thanks for taking time to do so.

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  40. Oh, I am so so sorry to hear of your dear friends loss and about your sweet Leo. You always write so beautifully whether about good times or bad times. Thank you again for sharing your thoughts and words. You are a beautiful person inside and out. Even though I don't really know you, I feel like you're my sister from another mister! Haha But, seriously, I feel like I do know you personally through your wonderful words that never fail to inspire me, uplift me, or simply just remind me to be more aware of all the beauty that surrounds us even amidst life's troubling times! XO Jenny.

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  41. Your post is so much like your artistry with fabrics and thread. Your fabrics and quilts are filled with color. Dark values juxtaposed against the light. Which wouldn't be quite so beautiful without the mix of the two. So much like your words that were used to convey the bitter and the sweet of life. It resonates with all of us because we experience it too. I thank you for using your gifts to help us see the beauty in our every day. Whether we're being warmed and comforted by a handmade quilt or by our memories of those whom we've loved and been loved by.
    Prayers and God's speed to you,
    Lydia

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  42. I so love reading your words, no matter how rarely they come. They are beautiful, they are true and they are, and YOU are an inspiration. Wishing you endless moments of gratitude and joy this year. XO

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  43. Your post made me tear up a little and feel melancholy. These words are so intimate for you and still universal. And when I read beautiful things like this it makes me feel connected. I am grateful to you for that. May your new year be filled with grace and creativity.

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  44. Beautiful writing, beautiful words.

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  45. what beautiful prose, as always and so thankful that you and your isabella are safe...and i am so sorry to hear of the losses that have happened around you.. but so grateful for your breath of life and sharing..and your view of living.. it is encouraging and wonderful.. xoxo prayers for your friend and your families.. xo

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  46. I stumbled by here today, looking for one thing and finding another. It was providence and grace. I am so sorry for you losses. You word so well how these things, as well as ourselves migrate from peace to peril. Life has been difficult and changing for a long while. It is an epiphany that our minds cannot process anxiety and gratitude at the same time... it makes so much sense to me. Thanks for sharing these words publicly. Though it's difficult to do, I believe we are all healed in the process. God bless you today and always. I am thankful today for you and with you.

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  47. So beautifully said. What a gift you have with words.

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  48. Your post touched me, and sent me in a new and better direction today. Thank you.

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  51. I get what you mean about gratitude and anxiety. I had a year like your 2014 a few years back, filled with a lot of loss, sorrow, soul searching, and what came out of it, finally, was gratitude - because without that year, I wouldn't have opened up spiritually.

    I sure enjoyed being in your class at Quiltcon last week as a helper. I learned a lot, and I was awed by your creativity and loved your positive energy. And of course, your fabric . Best to ypu in 2015.

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  52. This is a beautiful touching post. Sometimes we need reminding about gratitude.

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  53. You inspire in every way. Thank you.

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