Happy New Year!!

Many people have been cursing in 2020…I’m not.  I’m making a conscious choice to look for the good that came from 2020.

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Here is a list of a few that happened in 2020 that gave me a chance to learn-some good learning lessons…some I wish I hadn’t learned…most were gentle reminders.

-I’ve sent more mail and received more.  I really hope that continues.

-I’ve treasured time spent with others rather than feeling like I “had” to go.

-We never used to get take out.  I actually love take out food now!

-People have been more creative rather than doing the “same old”.

-I love curbside pick-up.  What a time saver-especially for groceries.

-I was reminded more than ever that it is not my job to pass judgment on the world.  I’ve learned that I don’t need to have a strong “stand your ground” opinion on everything.  So many things, I can simply let be because I don’t know the circumstances.  I don’t know the details.  I was not there.  I was not appointed to be on the jury.  I don’t need to get worked up about the situation.

-I’ve learned the best Christmas cookies are the ones that aren’t so different.  It’s my waffle cookies with white frosting and Christmas sprinkles.  I’ve my Chocolate Chip cookies with white chocolate chips and Christmas M&Ms.  No need to go through hard work to make things overly fancy.

-I appreciate telehealth.  Doctors seem so much more accessible in 2020.

-I’ve learned I love salsa warm, pickles warm, and Bloody Mary mix cold.  Once I put salsa in the refrigerator, the chances of me eating it again are nill.  Thanks to my brother Jay for helping me realize that.

-I’ve learned that some opinions can never be changed and it’s futile to try to let others see my opinion.  Some people are a closed door and I’ve learned I need to accept that.  Prudence to know the difference when or when not to give an opinion is important.

-I’ve learned to be more open and say things that are meaningful

-I’ve had friends who I once thought were living “perfect” lives experience some really hard things and it’s made me see that everybody takes their turn in the barrel.  I’ve known this but sometimes, when it’s me who’s in the barrel, I didn’t always remember that.  I am taking this as a gentle reminder to always try to be kind.  I’m taking this as a reminder to not ask “why me?” and to know, it’s just my turn.

-There are somethings I can fix.  Some I can’t.  It’s important to know the difference.

-I’ve learned to really love cross-stitch again.  I’m so thankful for this.  Nothing is better than feet up on the couch, Rosie by my side, stitching as a way to end my day.

-I’ve seen some ugly from people I was close to in my life that I didn’t know were ugly.  I’m sad that this is true, but also, am thankful that now I know.

-I was reminded that there are so many people in the world who I will never meet but are my friends…I am so pleased to have met so many through the blog this year.

-I’ve learned that a grandma’s heart is big enough to hold MANY!!

-I think I’ve done so much better at seeing what’s truly important.  When the world gets a little cut-off, it’s easier to focus on the things that you’re willing to make an effort to get.  Those things were my priority.

-I was reminded more than ever that I will be provided for…and provided for in abundance.

-I’ve learned to appreciate silence and to be silent.

-I will work harder for pretty flowers than I will in the vegetable garden.

-I was reminded again and again of what a blessing children are…I’m so thankful to have more of them in my life again.

-I was reminded to change what I can and let go of the rest!

-I appreciate my family more than ever.  They never let me feel alone through all of this.

I would love for you all to leave notes in the comment section about things that you experienced, learned, or were reminded of in 2020.

I’m hoping some of the lessons we are about to learn in 2021 aren’t as harsh as some we’ve learned in 2020.  I, for one, am pulling up my big girl pants and jumping in.  Here’s to 2021!!

56 thoughts on “Happy New Year!!

  1. Susan the Farm Quilter

    I have learned to depend more on God, that offering a stranger an unexpected kindness can lead to a wonderful friendship, to appreciate the people in my life, be grateful for all the blessings in my life and that depression is really hard to get out of alone.

    Reply
  2. Betty Price

    I learned to accept myself as I am changing due to illness. I need to continue to keep myself string but accept when I need to let things go also for my health.

    Reply
  3. Christina Coats

    Ihave learned to tell my friends how much they mean to me and how much I love them instead of thinking they know . How much I am so going to hug them all when we are allowed to mix again.
    Thank the Lord for the little things in life.

    Reply
  4. Bobbie

    I’ve learned that your children can pass away before you. You do live thru it. Not understand it. I’ve learned the other kids bring you comfort to get you thru this long year.
    I’ve learned God is good he holds you in his arms. I’ve learned there are good years and bad years. But the good out weight the bad.
    I’ve learned that my life with be lived with more time to stop and see this beautiful world and not just rush thru each day.
    I’ve learned to appreciate each and every day. I’ve learned to love my family and friends more and to tell them I love them.
    I’m going to embrace 2021 and live, love and be kind to everyone I meet or see this coming year.
    Happy New year everyone!

    Reply
  5. Shirley Hartley

    Jo Thank you for all your messages everyday. I love all your comments and look forward seeing what you have to say. I just want to say Thank you.

    Reply
  6. Judith Fairchild

    Jo, thank you for sharing what you’ve learned. The 1st thing I learned is to truly trust Jesus to take me through this year. 2nd to be thankful even during the bad times. 3rd. To truly enjoy seeing by hand. My blue and white quilt block I asked you about. Had to be sewn by hand. All the blocks are nearly done. And I may be able to finish it by my daughter’s birthday this month. 4th. Is excepting the restrictions and missing items I usually get without thinking about the inconvience. And not get up set over it. Just enjoy what I have and what I can give.

    Reply
  7. Donna Pheneger

    A Happy New Year to you also.
    Your list is so much better than New Year Resolutions!
    All in all, I’ve learned that there are just some things that I either can’t do or can’t control. So be it. Time to move forward from those.
    Love and prayers

    Reply
  8. Linda Lewis

    I try to find something beautiful in each day and thank God for it. I have disposed of many things in the past year, trying to be more intentional in what I keep. Finish quilts and use stash, even though I have also bought lovely fabric.

    Reply
  9. Helen A

    Thank you for sharing this. It was beautiful and well written. This year my family lost my cousin unexpectedly. She had a heart defect no one knew she had until it killed her. She was only 31 and left behind a husband and two young children. Her death was incredibly tragic and unfair. She missed out on so much of her life: seeing her children grow, becoming a grandparent etc. Her children, husband and whole family are missing out having her as well. I lost my brother when he was only 19. My grandfather had 5 grandchildren. Three are now gone. I’m the oldest and I’m not even 40. After my brother passed I learned not to be depressed over the number of my age. I will not be depressed, as so many are, when I turn 40. Aging is a gift and we should appreciate it as such. Not everyone is so blessed to be here as long. When my cousin passed this year I learned to start living now. So many times I think I really want to do “x” but now isn’t the time. I’ll do it next year, next summer etc. No. Now IS the time. Right now, today. We are not guaranteed a tomorrow or a next summer. I have done and tried so many new things this year that I’ve been putting off doing for years. I plan to continue living life and making time for things and feeling the fear and doing it anyway.

    I also learned this year that I am a highly sensitive person (HSP). I knew I was a very strong INFJ for a long time on the Myers-Briggs personality test since I was 18 but I never really thought much of that. Learning that I’m an HSP has been much more meaningful. I always was told I was “too sensitive”, took things too personally etc. Sounds, lots of people, chaos, multitasking etc. overwhelm me. I can’t watch drama or scary movies. I need alone time to recharge my system and get back to balance. I always thought something was wrong with me and I needed to conform to everyone else. The truth is my personality is that way and there is nothing wrong with that. Instead of trying to conform I can make adjustments in life to suit my temperament. Learning about this has been absolutely life changing for me.

    Wishing you and your family a wonderful 2021

    Reply
    1. Jo Post author

      Helen, I think it’s so awesome when we take the time to learn about ourselves. It’s one of the best investments we can make!!

      Reply
  10. Frances E

    What a wise woman you are! To me, the most profound thing you said was that you didn’t need to have a “stand your ground” opinion on every issue. Amen! I read recently that people are tired of managing government. I hope people have learned that it is very difficult to manage any governmental entity. One cannot shoot from the hip. We have to remember that lots of people have good reasons for needing extra help. They have disabilities, physical, mental, financial. They need help, and we have to be willing to extend a helping hand. We don’t always know everything. We are not God.

    Reply
  11. Lisa

    Jo, this list is awesome and I can relate to so many of these things as well. I have learned to reach out to others in love & kindness as I may not know what they are going through. Our family is having our ‘turn in the barrel’ and while it is difficult, there are positive things coming from challenges as well. Simple things have become much more important and are some of my biggest blessings. Thank you for sharing this thoughtful list. May 2021 be full of blessings for you and your family.

    Reply
  12. Jill Klop

    Thank you for this post. I agree with the comments from Helen…this is better than doing New Years resolutions. I had COVID this year. I was lucky in that it was probably just a medium case in severity. What I learned was that I have good friends. The way that people reached out to help surprised me somewhat. I took away some lessons on how to be helpful to others as well. My faith in God was stronger than I realized and I count that as a blessing too. We’ve had other milestones this year…some good, others hard. We got through them as a family and I’m grateful to feel stronger in this new year. Here’s to 2021!

    Reply
  13. Barb L

    This is a great list and many of your statements would be the same for me. I think one of the main things 2020 taught me is that there’s a difference between saying you’re religious and actually living your faith. That has opened up my heart & mind so much more. Here’s praying for all of us a blessed and happy 2021!
    ps: 2020 also showed me that I have way more fabric in my house than I thought and it’s been fun to rediscover some treasures & some truly weird stuff.

    Reply
  14. Kate

    Happy New Year 2021! You learned so much during the last year and I may have too so need to think on it more. I know I didn’t mind most of the lockdown time – just miss eating at a restaurant from time to time. I feel very fortunate that I didn’t need to worry about schooling children or working. Maybe I didn’t learn so much, but realized all the many, many things I am thankful for.

    Reply
  15. Sue Conard

    I’ve learned that I can follow my grandma’s example of being a grandma even long distance. My grandkids and I cooked supper so it was ready when Mom and Dad got home. We baked cookies and breads. All because we have video calling.

    Reply
  16. Gloria B.

    Fantastic way to start 2021! I learned that you can find friends in unexpected places and that friendships can develop in person or across miles. I also learned that it’s tremendously helpful to share a craft of interest to enjoy the days even more.

    Reply
  17. Elaine Sooley

    As I awoke, to a beautiful, sunny but cold morning, this is the first thing I read while having my coffee. I would not be able to put this in words the way you did but as I was reading I realized this is spot on. As I begin the new year, 2021, I believe that there will be times I will think back to your blog and say thank you. Wishing everyone a Happy, Safe and Prosperous New Year.

    Reply
  18. Ruth Finch

    Jo, I’ve read your blog and prayed for your family for years, and don’t think I have ever commented. THANK YOU so much for these thoughts today! Despite all that has happened, we have all been greatly blessed in 2020. Thanks for focusing on the blessings!
    Ruth

    Reply
  19. Nance in Reno

    The one observation that resonates most is about seeing ugly from people you didn’t know were ugly. It was devastating and knocked for a loop. The stay at home order has allowed me a reason to keep my distance, but I wonder how we are going to navigate a long and close friendship with the couple we introduced 35 years ago and explain why one person’s ugliness has strained the relationship with the other. The person who has been ugly doesn’t see it as ugly, even when my husband on 3 separate occasions has tried to explain why this ugliness is painful and incites hurtful behavior.

    The good thing about the past year is I’ve learned how resourceful and creative I can be, whether making a hundred masks using what I have at home or cooking at home with just what I have in the shelves and in the freezer. I have reconnected with people from my past and supported and been supported by them. My relationships with my husband and child are stronger than ever.

    Reply
  20. Hedy

    My big learned thing this year is to spend money on needed things and let the worry go. I was raised very poor and married a man who was like me. We saved and did without all the time even though we had considerable savings. This year I decided that I love chopped pecans in my waffles so I started buying pecans. After that I just made one decision after another to make our last years better. We are in our later 70’s and life is quite nice now. Just little changes at first and then a huge change. If we keep our minds open, who knows what will happen? I did like your post, you have great insight.

    Reply
  21. KAREN E HAWKINS

    I also learned all this. But with my husband having 2 heart attacks ( August and again in October ) we’ve had to make a few more changes in our lives. We traded our Dodge Ram for a sport van to make it easier for my husband to go places and for easier loading of wheel chair and walker. We live 20 miles from town, so my computer isn’t collecting dust, I use it reading the newspaper, for grocery shopping ,for buying all stuff to sew with, for getting anything else I need. I see the UPS and FedX drivers more than my friends. Google is now used more. We get out for doctor and vet appointments, have lunch from Culver’s drive-thru. Family is important, my kids live 60 to 2000 miles away,( they are essential workers) so we do a lot more phone time, My vegetable garden took more importance producing 300 quarts of food.

    Reply
  22. Lori

    Thank you Jo for reminding us to be good and kind and giving and loving.

    You are a wise woman. I am so glad to be able to read your words (you are a very good writer) every day, you always look at the good.

    I’ve done better at being quiet if I don’t have anything good to say. I try to say more good.

    I would like to add, that the best Christmas present that I got this year was being able to give five quilts to residents at Sharehouse in December. I am still beaming from that.

    Reply
  23. Jazz

    For me, the best part of 2020 was YOU, Jo! Thank you for all the education, encouragement, and for putting me in touch with other generous quilters.
    P.S. I’m still laughing about the red paper plates you get every year for Christmas. You have a wonderful family.

    Reply
  24. Lori L Douglas

    I agree with your list! I have learned to savor the time I spend with the special people in my life. To be present in the moment and enjoy the company.
    I reconnected with people that bring be joy!

    Reply
  25. Janine Baker

    Jo, for me, you have been such a bright shinning light that I so enjoy everyday! You have such a gift for putting even bad things in print. I have learned that it’s ok to keep my mouth shut and not snap back at my husband every time he says something that annoys me. We are both learning to be together ALL THE TIME and not even seeing our family that is local more than every couple weeks with masks and no hugs! It’s hard, but we are learning to deal with what is dealt to us. Thank you for all your words of wisdom and kindness-it really does make a difference in others lives whether you know it or not! I for one am most thankful to spend time with you daily-I just wish I could meet you in person! Hugs to you & all your family…

    Reply
  26. Linda

    Happy New Year to you Jo! I can relate to so many of the lessons learned on your list. Very well written. I too like to look for the positive, instead of dwelling on the negative. Looking forward to a bright 2021.

    Reply
  27. Paulette

    Love this post, Jo. I relate to and agree with so much of what you listed. I have learned that losing my job this year was a blessing. It freed me up to enjoy the quiet times at home, sewing, quilting, cooking, organizing, creating, exploring. Allowed me to connect with neighbors and others on my daily walks, whom I hadn’t met or talked to before. It allowed me to appreciate nature, the seasons, birds, biking. I learned that I am a true introvert and there’s nothing wrong with that; it was a strength during the pandemic. I enjoyed connecting in different ways with friends and family, outdoors or by video or just checking in more by phone, text, or email. I reconnected with a long lost friend who reached out again recently, which may not have happened if not for 2020.

    Reply
  28. Andi

    Hi Jo!
    At the beginning of the Pandemic, because of health concerns, I was so scared. Then i saw a picture on Facebook of Jesus walking on water during the storm that so frightened his disciples. Written on the picture is ” Focus on Me, not the storm.” I printed the picture and hung it on my kitchen cabinet where i can see it every time I’m in the kitchen. That has been my touchstone ever since. My faith has increased so much this year. I love all the things you mentioned in your list, they all are so true. Happy New Year to you and your Family! Wishing you many good blessings in the year to come.

    Reply
  29. Lorna

    Thank you for every comment on this very good post. I’m glad you chose to highlight the positive. I was just thinking about posting the same way on my Facebook page. For every negative situation (political, race, covid or weather) there is a blessing to be found. And maybe a lesson. You, Jo, have been a teacher for my journey into life alone. Our guys would be so proud of us and the things we’ve conquered even in such a strange and testing year. I, too, have found some ugly and it makes me sad. But there is so much goodness, too! I’ve spent every holiday alone, except Christmas. And it was okay. I’ve learned I can resolve issues like snow, water heater, furnace, mice and yard work. I may need help, but I can see it gets done without panic. A friend gave me a pocket token that says “You are stronger than you think you are. “ That’s what 2020 has taught me. Blessings to all who see the light even though it’s kind of dark.

    Reply
  30. Pat

    Jo;

    What a great insightful post. I think this year I learned to appreciate my friends more and let them know it.
    Also, be kind. People always seem to rush to judgement, I have learned to look at both sides and try not to be judgmental. There is so much Anger in the world it astounds me, so I have tried to be a little kinder everyday.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us. I look forward to your posts everyday. I wish you all the best in 2021

    Reply
  31. Carol Benson

    I have learned to be grateful for what I have and not what I don’t have. I cherish my family even more than ever. Simple things are the best. And the saying “This too will pass” I look forward to what 2021 will bring!!

    Reply
  32. Kim J LeMere

    Nicely said Jo and I look to embrace the new year with a simple word, Kindness.
    This year has been truly different, some of the things were wonderful, like drive up grocery delivery, being able to stay home and do the things that I wanted to do because I had no other commitments. Some things were hard, not being able to see our son, who is single and lives 20 hours away, learning that a dear friend of 20+ years died due to Covid. The new year holds the promise of a brand new chapter, add more good stories than sad.

    Reply
  33. Becky Roberts

    Thank you Jo for sharing your smiles as well as your heartaches. I have laughed and cried with you since I discovered your blog about a year and a half ago.

    Reply
  34. Anna Marie

    I learned that I spent too much time doing things just because I could go out and do them. From going shopping and spending money just because I could to not visiting family and friends because I could do that later. Now a chat with someone on the phone or a short scenic ride in the car is something to look forward to. I love your blog and your insights of life. Happy new year to you and your family.

    Reply
  35. Candy

    Happy New Year, Jo & family! I’ve learned that you really can see people smile with just their eyes showing. It tickles me every time, and makes me pay attention to them! All the best in 2021!

    Reply
  36. Linda Rice

    Happy New Year Jo. As I was taking the ornaments off my tree I felt an uncertain sadness unlike the other times I felt sad when putting the ornaments away. I pondered on that a little and it hit me that this Christmas was indeed different but not really a bad one. I thought to myself that I really enjoyed Christmas being quiet and peaceful. There was no rush this year. I even enjoyed the Christmas music as much after as during Christmas. 2020 for me brought many joys as well as some disappointments but the glass is still half full. I plan to be kinder and more gentle with myself and not dwell on negativity.
    I want to thank you kindly for your wonderful blog and all that you share with us. Your post are always so very insightful and uplifting. You are an amazing woman and you make me want to strive to be a better person. Many blessings to you in the coming year.

    Reply
  37. Beth

    HI Jo and happy new year. We found so many different ways to do things this year and discovered that there are some things we can live without. I enjoyed taking a special little person to their first drive in movie! All the best in 2021

    Reply
  38. Gail Key

    Thank you for your well stated insights to the teachings of 2020. It’s good to be tested occasionally so you learn just how strong you are mentally, spiritually and physically. Instead of wallowing in the pandemic and its unknowns, I needed to do something to help….but what? I can sew, lord knows I have fabric which lead me to sew masks. I hung them on the tree out front for friends and neighbors to take. 2300 masks later, with fabric still in my stash the need for masks is over as there are many commercial sources now. The pandemic is not over, yet there is a light ahead, a hope that it will be over soon. Jo, you are a light for all of us. I look forward to reading your point of view each day.

    Reply
  39. Jean

    I was 72 years old in October, and I believe that 2020 was NOT a terrible year. Some things happened that were terrible, to be sure, but some wonderful things happened too. We have all learned so much and sacrificed so much and given so much, 2020 has given us the strength to do that. I am grateful every day to wake up and smell whatever roses I come across every day — the goldfinches at my birdfeeder, Orion’s belt stars in the sky, the ice on my windshield, whatever it is — just to look at each day and be grateful. I will never be able to forget and forgive some of the things that people did this year, things that will go down in history as Very Terrible Things, but in remembering them I hope I learn to be kind and thoughtful in all areas of my life.

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  40. Anna

    Jo, first let me say that I have enjoyed reading your blog for quite some time but this is the first time I really comment. Your post touched me as so many things you write resonate. I have learned that I am so grateful for social media. Used responsibly It has been invaluable. It has kept us in touch with loved ones. And how wonderful it has been to be able to read blogs of like minded beautiful people like you! …. I have learned how easy it is to take others for granted; and how forced to stay home in our family unit has improved communication. As a result we are mindful of how appreciative we are of each other. What was normal in our pre-pandemic lives, which was all about the family being apart for most of the day, racing around headless, was also what was promoting growing apart, I think.. It also promotes losing our sense of self. I have learned the importance of slowing down to enjoy my loves of quilting, reading and writing. My pursuits make me smile and being happier makes me more genuinely responsive to everything else around me that really needs attention…. I have learned that some things I did pre- COVID were unimportant and a waste of time. Not all, but some, like window shopping. Well, I don’t need any more fabric or books. My existing fabric stash will keep me sewing for years; my book stash will keep me reading for the same number; and I AM actually sewing and reading, and writing more. I have learned that there is truly much more fun in doing than in accumulating. But did I really need COVID to wake me up to this fact? Did I need it to wake me up to the fact that it’s really nice to have a more reasonable credit card account to pay off at the end of the month? Lolssss …. Seriously, I hope that I continue to realise the importance of keeping myself out of autopilot mode and more mindful of what is really important… I have learned that I really want to catch up with all the people in my life that mean something to my life…. Jo, thank you for your insightful post. I look forward to reading more of your blog in 2021. Happy New Year to you and your gorgeous family❤️

    Reply
  41. Christi

    I’m old, very old and in my early years I lived with my Grandmother on a farm. No running water, electricity, outhouse etc. Kansas was cold, very cold in the winter. She was tough, not really loving but not mean either. She taught me to quilt on a treadle machine. She taught me to read from magazines people brought her and a worn out Bible. This year I was reminded of her favorite 2 sayings. Quilts are Love Letters, write a good one. The second one was “This to shall pass.” These people were tough. They had lived through everything so we have very little to complain about and a lot to be thankful for. Miss you Grandma. She had one other favorite verse, Be Still and Know That I am God. Maybe I need this a little more this year.

    Reply
  42. Samantha M

    Hi Jo, many many thanks for your blogs! I found you last year and really enjoy reading your updates, whether it be about quilting, stitching, family or just life in general :)
    In 2020 :
    I learned to not beat myself up if my sewing isn’t perfect when making my clothes – enjoying the process of making is much more important.
    Being able to grow my own veg in my now wheelchair-accessible garden and connect with nature, was a life-saver (nothing to do with covid, just chronic illnesses).
    I connected with some lovely people on social media.

    Reply
  43. Cynthia

    Your video and comments today were great! So many areas you discussed were so true. I have also stayed home this year, and am sewing my stash, done more reading and doing things around the house and yard. Many projects are being looked at with anticipation to get them completed. Loved your photos and wondered if it is possible if you can obtain and share the instructions for the cute stocking hat the darling little baby was wearing. This looks do-able and I have yarn to get started! Looking forward to you doing the Halloween quilts and hope you can share your projects!! Thank you for your blog you are a very uplifting person, and your sharing events, etc with us is helpful as well. Happy 2021!

    Reply
  44. Susan from Michigan

    I have learned and decided in advance that I am not going to get upset. It really makes a difference, because there are so many things that won’t matter in 100 years. What matters is that we are loving and kind. I am learning to let go of some of my perfectionism.

    We have attended our church for a year and a half. It averages 20 people. It is easy to get involved. I was invited to join the praise team which I did, and my husband runs the slides for music. We had a New Years Eve gathering. During sharing time a five year old raised her hand. When the pastor called on her she said, “I love everybody in this church.”. It touched me. I am an introvert but I truly care for people. In my own way I can reach out and connect with others. A child taught me something. I can be humble.

    Have a wonderful year, Jo, and all the blogreaders too.

    Reply
  45. Mary Jo B.

    Jo – a beautiful essay on the year 2020. I often read some of the comments from other blog readers, and the comments to your posting were really inspirational. Happy New Year Everyone!

    Reply
  46. Barb B

    I lost my younger sister in May of 2020 from a disease no one knew she had–not even her–Cystic Fibrosis! She was only 63! That is when I learned that none of us can control our future–only God controls our future and we need to trust in Him.

    Reply
    1. Jo Post author

      Barb…that is a hard loss. She was young. It’s hard to lose loved ones anytime it happens but young is even worse.

      Reply

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