December 30, 2010

Permission to Explore...

Farewell 2010!

Hello 2011!

New Year's resolutions are pretty standard fare this time of year and I enjoy hearing the resolutions of my friends.  However, for myself, they always seem to be a sure set up for failure...So six years ago I decided to focus on a word rather than a resolution.  I use the word to help guide my goals and focus for the upcoming year. 

Some of the words I've used in the past include discipline, forgiveness, balance and spontaneity.  In fact one of the reasons I started this blog was as a result of a goal associated with my 2010 word which was freedom.   There is a notation in my journal that reads "share your story - be free!"   I haven't looked at the journal entry since I'd written it down but smiled this evening as I went through and realized I had planted the seed early in the year and that the goal had been realized with the birth of this blog.  That is what the word does for begins a thread of ideas that help me to focus and channel my energy into the areas of my life that I'd like to improve, begin and/or change.

There really isn't a magic system to coming up with a word; my heart usually knows which direction it needs to take and a couple days of thinking about it will usually produce a clear idea of what areas of my life need attention. 

Just as these paperwhite bulbs instinctively know to bloom with a little sunlight and water my word of the year instinctively develops.

A few words will come to mind and then over the course of a few days one will settle in and will start to bloom and it feels right.  This year was useful in helping with synonyms of the words being contemplated.

Espy [ih-spahy] is my 2011 word.   It relates to catching sight of something...the hidden potential, lurking ideas, possible solutions, undeveloped thoughts, unrealized dreams and the implied pursued.  It is the permission to explore - to take the time necessary to allow the sightings to unfold and materialize - to get over your hill and see!

So here is to the New Year!  Here is to potential realized, discoveries revealed and dreams fulfilled!  Here is to unearthing the possibilities whether they be in the heart, home or garden.

Here is to a fabulous 2011! 

It has been a joyous 2010 to have discovered garden bloggers all over the world these past few months and I'm so grateful for your friendship.  Thank you for your support and encouragement.  Thank you for inviting me into your gardens and more importantly, your lives.  You are treasured. ~Cat

Happy New Year!



  1. LOVE your word... and love your post. Happy New Year!

  2. First espy, then write the blog post! Looking forward to reading what you brings us in 2011!!

  3. I'm afraid my resolution is one I can attain: "keep on screwing up".

    Here's hoping!

  4. What a wonderful notion Cat, so much more creative than those guilt-inducing lists. I love the element of mindfulness required to determine what the new word should be. And "Espy" is clearly full of possibilities. I, too, am new to this blogging adventure and have loved "meeting" you. I look forward to following your pursuit of "espy" in 2011.

  5. What a beautiful post Cat! You've truly captured the spirit of a year ending a new year beginning. Your thoughts echo some of my own in that taking the time to *see* is so often overlooked in our busy lives. I try to do it every single day and your post reminds me that I must continue on that path. Thank you again for your insight. Best to you and your family in 2011 :)

  6. This is what I love about reading blogs - all the wonderful ideas and the creativity shared with the world. I think after reading your posting many folk will embrace espy into their day to day lives in 2011.

    My world has been one big roller coaster ride in 2010 and there were many days my blogging friends kept me sane. Having met you through Blotanical has been a real treat for me and I look forward to spending more time in 2011 with you. Thanks for today's inspiration - it will last all year. Happy New Year!

  7. I like your focus for '11 on mindfulness and awareness. You'd think it would come naturally to just look at the world around us, but it doesn't, we need to work on it. Good luck with your effort to espy all that is around you!

  8. I'm so glad your first year of blogging has been such a positive experience and I do like the idea of having an inspirational word each year. Espy should bring some interesting things your way and I look forward to reading about them.

  9. Focusing on a word is really a wonderful and innovative idea! Love it! Happy New Year to you!

  10. Have so enjoyed getting to "meet" you in the blogging world this year, Cat, and appreciate all of the help you gave me with all of my novice blogger questions.

    May your 2011 unfold as beautifully as those paperwhites! Absolutely gorgeous pictures!!! You can see the sparkles on the petals -- you captured amazing detail! Talk about talent -- you've got it!!

    Blessings in the New Year :-)

  11. I, like you, have resisted making resolutions that fall all too easily by the wayside. I love your idea of focusing on a word for the year - a great way to be more intentional in life and grow ourselves in a manageable way. I'm going to have to get thinking and choose a word for 2011.

  12. Meredehuit, thank you and a joyous new year to you!

    Elephant's Eye, Happy New Year! I'm looking forward to your 2011 posts as well!

    IG it's always important to have something to strive for, no matter how easy!

    Thanks Janet, I like the mindfulness it takes too as it causes me to slow down and focus the week after Christmas. It is a grounding exercise. Happy New Year to you!

    I agree Diane, it is a daily pursuit and well worth the effort. It is so much easier to have a heart of gratitude when you're aware of the tiny blessings that add up to an abundance of blessing!

    Thanks Tufa and here is wishing you a smoother 2011! It is such a pleasure to hear that you were inspired...that was my hope. Thank you for your kind words. See you around for sure in 2011!

    Thank you Laurrie, it does take a little bit of determination but I think having the blog will help to remind me of my purpose this year. Happy New Year to you!

  13. Patient Gardener, thank you for your support this year. I've enjoyed your blog and look forward to following you in 2011!

    Thank you Tina. Happy New Year to you too. Looking forward to your creative ideas in 2011!

    Thank you for all your kind words Toni. You are absolutely welcome for the help...I don't have a lot of experience blogging but am happy to share what I've learned!

    Chris I'm thrilled you're inspired to find a word for yourself for 2011! I'd love to hear what you decide on and how you like living with it! Happy New Year!

  14. Dear Cat, When I first espied your blog, I knew it was something special and lovely. You poetic and philosophical posts have delighted me over these last months of 2010! So glad to have found you! I look forward to more thoughtful and outstanding posts like this one throughout 2011. Happiest of New Years to you and yours.

  15. hello Cat, love all your photos beautiful as always, I'm glad you found the Freedom to start your blog, I chose a word last year Now you can read my post here
    I have been thinking about a word for next year but not yet found the right one, I wanderd a little from Now in the summer but got back and realise I achived more than first thought, I hope Espy helps you realise your dreams,
    wishing you a very happy new year and all best wishes for 2011, Frances

  16. Cat - your blog and especially this post feel so Zen! Every time I visit, your photos capture a peace and simple beauty that most will never see through the lens of their camera.... Happy New Year! --Shyrlene

  17. Happy New Year, and here's to a great year of gardening in 2011!

  18. Wonderful post Cat, and your photos are beautiful - as always. I've enjoyed visiting your blog, reading your stories, and seeing the wonders from your garden. I hope to be able to continue that in 2011.

    Thank you for your visits and comments. Have a fabulous New Year !

  19. Very nice word! i will try it as well.
    Happy new year!

  20. A thought provoking post that I very much enjoyed reading. I think you are causing a revolution, a trend is thinking. Let us all espy.

    Brilliant, I will pledge to be more open to the fantastical and fiend more hidden treasures.

  21. A beautiful/inspiring post, dear Cat. Both in and out of the garden, wishing you a joyful New Year ... it's been a joy connecting.

  22. Dear Whimsy : )
    That was a wonderful post and I think such a positive insight to making words our keys to open doors that we push and pull but never open with ease (I think I might have made a rhyme there ? see ! it works ! LOL)
    I want to say Happy New Year and to thank you for stopping by my blog so many times .. I have fallen behind and I feel a bit down about not visiting all these wonderful blogs out here .. yours being such a pleasure : )
    So here is to our wonderful garden year ahead and the permission to explore and totally enjoy it : )

  23. Dear Cat,
    a Happy New Year to you and the whole family too and thanks so much for your nice comment and thanks for your blog. It is extra special.
    When I read your word for 2011 I didn't understand it at first (the language barrier!) but the 2nd time it made me cry cause it fits so perfectly for my 2011. I do have a New Year's resolution though: I have to be in Austin for good by the end of this year (hopefully earlier) and I am excited about my new family over there and that includes you!

    Take care,

    P.S.: Is that a Jim Shore Angel in the 2nd picture? My mom and I discovered him this year and we got two Santa Clauses. They are so cute. I love the quilt patterns he uses.

  24. I love this post! You've had some great words to grow by. I never make resolutions, but I'll have to mull over the word idea. I do find that God works with me on themes, and freedom has been one of them.

  25. Awesome photos, by the way!

    My word verification is "bless". I like that word.

  26. Espy! I have learned a new word! Cat, this is a great idea. I will have to think a few days, to decide what this year's word will be for me. I wish you the very best in the new year and I look forward to following your garden's progress with the seasons.

  27. Hi Cat, I was just on my way to comment on your blog when your comment on mine arrived. Island Threads mentioned you and me in her post about words for the year. I left a very long comment on her blog, which I won't repeat here, but basically I love the idea and have been using it unknowingly for the last few years. 2008 Impact (no new plant purchases allowed); 2009 Now (same reasons as Frances); 2010 Edit (explained in my New Years post); and 2011 Write (permission granted by my new blog). New Year's resolutions are so old school!!!! LOL, Carolyn

  28. Epsy. What a magical word! Such a nice way to frame the New Year--with a meaningful word instead of the hackneyed list of unattainable goals! Thanks! Looking forward to reading more of your beautiful blog!

  29. Dear Cat, so glad I espied your blog and that you found the freedom to express yourself in such lovley words and pics.

    My New Year word is Focus - it is a guiding hand away from procrastination.



Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind.
"Pooh!" he whispered.
"Yes, Piglet?"
"Nothing," said Piglet, taking Pooh's paw. "I just wanted to be sure of you."
~A.A. Milne

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