the thing about january

January is one of my favorite months for the clean slate and promise of more dreams to be realized and thunk up for the whole year ahead of me. When you’re a dreamer, there’s always more time to accomplish your dreams. Time is not an issue.

But January is even busier than December. It is the home to three of our family’s birthdays and the first week is always a wash because it is the end of school break for the holidays. So, it’s during the second week when I start January-ing. Which is actually partying. And growing another year older.

I had big plans to design my Christmas cards this year, but that didn’t happen right away. Christmas cards didn’t even happen. They turned into Happy New Year cards and when that was too far past, they then became Happy Winter cards. I managed to send the last of them out in the first few days of February. It counts.

And I was determined to design my own cards.

January typically brings our first real snow storms, so I like to keep some of my holiday decorations up because Christmas and snow go together for me like PB&J. I still listen to Christmas music, especially the old classics or jazzy holiday tunes. The real Christmas tree comes down but I still like my string lights and even a tree with white lights. Now is also when I may be able to sneak in some Christmas baking that I never got around to do.

The kids wanted to try decorating with royal icing.
The apples waited and waited and waited for weeks to become homemade applesauce.
I never got around to it and eventually we ate most of the apples and gave
the rest to my handsome horsey neighbor.

And sending thank you notes for all of the fabulous gifts we received over the holidays is a must in January.

I dream about February when I will have nothing to do and all the time in the world to finally sit with my cat and watch “Fixer Upper” or “The Pioneer Woman” and dust off all of my hobbies and dreams to start tinkering with.

Well, as long as we’re here, I may as well tell you about February. With the wee ones on winter break from school next week, there’s no sense pretending I’ll be blogging up a storm before February is over.

January flies by and then February comes. There are more thank you notes to write for all of the birthday celebrations. And now I need to get all of the paperwork around for our taxes. I do not like paperwork. Another snow storm hits and I still like my Christmas to linger with the snow. My wee ones wonder if it’s against the law to still have Christmas going on in February.

It’s not.

Oh yes, there is another holiday this month that requires party planning. Valentine’s Day. And snow storms require homemade cookies and breakfast dinner when you come in from playing in the snow until dark. Making moments, of course.

February is starting to go by very quickly, so now I dream of March where I will have all the time in the world to finally sit with my cat and watch “Fixer Upper” or “The Pioneer Woman” and dust off all of my hobbies and dreams to start tinkering with.

she’s waiting for me in a sunbeam

With our taxes behind me and only one birthday on the horizon in March, I’m getting excited to dabble with the plans I have been dreaming about. I’ve been working on creating a cookbook forever and ever now, it seems. I took last year off from all of my hobbies while we moved. My cookbook is calling me again and I have a big project ahead of me. I was using a site called Blurb to design my cookbook because it has amazing flexibility in its templates to design my pages any which way I choose. But it is extremely expensive to print a copy. I know you love me but I also know that you are not going to pay $100 for a copy of my cookbook. I don’t even pay that much for a copy, I wait until I have a promo code to order a copy so I can see what it looks like. It’s still expensive even with a promo code.

I knew the day would come where I would find out that I had taken it as far as I could on Blurb and that I would need to learn a book design program so I could create my own book and print it elsewhere. That day came last year when I was trying to print a copy of a journal I had created on Blurb and wanted to see a draft. In a chit chat with a Blurb helper, I discovered that I could only print my creations on Blurb, there was no other way to do it. I had to move on because it was just too costly.

So, the time to take the next step had come. On to Adobe’s InDesign program for my next stop. I was excited because once I learned how to use the program, all of the book projects swirling around in my head would be able to come to life.

But, Adobe does not sell their software anymore as a stand alone product. Because of costs and the rapidly changing technology, they have moved to a monthly online subscription program. Since I was in the middle of a giant move, I knew there would be no way I would use the monthly subscription enough to justify paying for it so I sat on my knowledge and held onto my dream for another moment.

That moment is coming as I prepare to get yet another Dummy Book and learn something new. Stay tuned to see if March will be the month I get back into my cookbook or not. I will have to recreate it again, but it will be better than before, I just know it!

Also on the agenda in March is taking my next steps to have my website redesigned and hosted locally as I prepare to open my online country shoppe (planning for the fall of 2019) and happily share locally made and USA made gifts and goodies, as well as anything else that catches my eye to make your moments matter. Your online security and ease of use is my main concern right now so I will have a professional help me get my website set up. You may have noticed that the “shopping” menu above is finally gone. I was dabbling with a program that I could add here for an online shoppe but decided against it to go with a professional instead but I could not get the menu to leave the premises when I had changed my mind. I finally took some time to sit down and mess around with it and with my semi-limited knowledge of the behind the scenes of blogging, personally asked it to leave. It was no longer welcome here on this site.

And if you’ve been around for a while, you may know that my website was hacked a few years ago and all of my award-winning blog worthy content was gone. Not even a crumb for a mouse was left behind. THAT experience made me realize that I would like to use a local hosting company to help me when something goes awry since my global hosting site could not help me despite paying extra for backups. So…I am on the prowl for a local website and design company to help me with my next steps.

And speaking of prowling…the Eight Ball that I mentioned in my previous post was right.

Of course.

Eight Balls always tell the truth.

I have stalked an old farmhouse property for years because of it’s location and views. A few years ago, I put a note in the owners’ mailbox asking them to contact me if they were ever selling because I loved it and would like the chance to see if I could make it happen.

You may find that a bit awkward, but, my friend, after a few crazy months recently of research and bothering the owners over and over, and then bothering them some more, we are in the process of purchasing that old farmhouse of my dreams. It’s a bit premature to tell you now because I am aware that it’s not ours yet and the deal could fall through at any time, but I’m so excited!

Stay tuned for that adventure. It’s a doozy and promises to provide you with some blog worthy storytelling. You know that it is not a normal house purchase if I’m behind it.

And to finish off my ramblings about the first part of the year, I wanted to see if you had thought about your guide word for the year 2019? Have you started using it yet? Mine is still evolving and I may settle on two guide words because although they could both get me where I want to go, they have slightly different meanings to me and I don’t want to miss out on either definition.

I started out thinking that my guide word would be “hospitality” because I realized that I was missing out on having people to our rental home because it isn’t settled and has some quirks. But before I know it, a year will have gone by and I would miss out on spending time with people because I was not settled and I wasn’t ready yet to entertain. Well, at this point, I’m not going to get much more settled until we move again to our forever home. So, I needed to become okay with my current living arrangement and invite people in, without excuses or apologies for my state of existence. Have you noticed that is not an easy thing to do? I’ll make sure you have a place to sit, a clean bathroom and something to eat, but beyond that, it’s not going to look even close to a house that is in order.

As I practiced my new guide word, I realized that it needed to be a bit broader because while I wanted to be able to welcome people in to my own home, I also needed to stop being so busy and go to their homes too. Or out to lunch. Or anywhere else I needed to go to make sure that I was connecting with the people who are important to me. My guide word changed to “connections” so that my daily choices helped ensure that I was connecting with people more.

dad and lass sucking it in for the photo shoot

I went along with that as my guide and all was going as planned until another word popped in to my head. Connections is a great guide word and different for me in that it wasn’t originally guiding me to accomplish my successes like the next steps in my cookbook or getting my website designed. But as the guide word “opportunity” came to me, I realized that both of those words go together and help me to accomplish all of my goals this year. Finding opportunities to make connections can get me the much needed time to spend with loved ones, but an opportunity taken may also introduce me to someone who can help me with a next step in my personal agendas. Using the people and resources around me in my community can lead me to making the connections I need to keep moving forward.

“Opportunity” by itself, sounds a little selfish to me as if my only goal is to move myself forward on my bubble map of dreams. Combining “opportunity” with “connections” adds the personal touch I want to have time for this year and make a priority.

You, my BFF, are a priority for me this year and I want to get back to spending more time with you, so I have added another goal to all of my free time in March and that is to try to get back to blogging more regularly. I am also trying to learn Instagram theatrics so I can make posts there. Boy, I’m behind in my technology and still fumbling through. I post pics with no story because I can’t find where to write my captions and then I forget my hashtags. How could I forget hashtags?

I need to get with the program.

I just posted this pic on Instagram today, minus the hashtags because I forgot. Can you tell who visited us in the night?

Mouse prints in my bacon drippings. The proof is in the…bacon fat.

If you’re an Instagrammer and want to follow along with my progress, you can find me at:

aaryne_theawkwardbird

Oh, and I just decided that I’m hankering to start drawing again to create my second coloring book for big people, with some added activities for your mental state. My first one is available on Amazon – “Happy Moments Coloring Book. Because Big People Color Too.” – by Aaryne Miller McEvoy. It’s full of my favorite places to have happy moments and my own witty quotes and thoughts.

There’s an awesome old apple tree out in my backyard that I want to draw for my next coloring book.

the old apple tree at dawn

the old apple tree after it’s been awake for a while and
has been joined by the moon high above

I can’t wait to start drawing that beautiful old tree!

Enjoy your end of February and keep practicing your guide words for 2019. I’ll be checking in again soon…