January 10, 2012

Word of the Year

I happened across this post from www.Scrapgirls.com and was touched by the inspiration of choosing a Word of the Year. I hope you enjoy it, too! I also encourage you to choose a SAINT OF THE YEAR, to intercede for you and your family in all your endeavors before the throne of God!

Have You Chosen a Word of the Year?
Choosing a word of the year has become fairly popular among bloggers and scrapbookers. Last year, I decided to try it out and see what happened. The word I choose for 2011 was SAVOR. My intentions when choosing SAVOR was that I begin to live life more fully and bravely. I wanted to take more pleasure in my life and enjoy it.

That is what I intended, and in the end, that is what happened. But, as it turned out, in order for me to savor my life, I had to make some very difficult decisions and take actions that scared me to death. I had to do some house-cleaning both within and without. I had to examine myself and face what I found.
It was a tough year. Very, very tough. It was a wonderful year. Very, very wonderful. It was a year that I'll never forget.

Now - one year later - I can safely say that 2011 was a gigantic growth year for me. It was the year I became brave. It was the year I learned to fully believe in myself. It was the year I learned to forgive myself and others. It was the year I dropped things that had bothered me for decades. It was the year I learned not to be bothered by things I can't control.

By year's end, I had re-found my zest for living. I regained my appreciation for my family, my friends, and my work. I remembered why I love my life and what I do. I began to relish my days and now I look forward to getting up each morning. My ability to come up with new ideas returned. I learned to relax and enjoy myself.
Do I still have problems? Sure. Do I still have health issues to battle with? Sure. Do I still have challenges of all sorts? Sure. Do I occasionally have self-doubts? Sure. Do I make mistakes? Nearly every day. But overall, I'm okay. I'm really, truly okay. I feel like a different person than I was one year ago, and that's a very good thing. It's good to grow.

So, as you can see, I found the Word of the Year experience quite fascinating. After carefully considering what it might mean to me to take on another word, I've decided to try it again. Because I now feel that choosing a word is a serious matter, I took months to decide what this year's word would be. I was having such a hard time picking one this time around that I nearly abandoned my search. But then one morning, I read a couple of talks about faith and gleaned a couple of ideas that I knew I wanted to remember.
  1. Faith is an action word.
  2. Faith looks towards the future and leaves the past in the past.
I love those thoughts. I think it will be quite useful for me to drum them into my head, heart, and soul. Therefore, my word of 2012 is FAITH.

Last year, I made a couple of very simple paper reminders of my word SAVOR. I stuck one on a dresser drawer and one on my bathroom mirror, which I looked at twice a day. As I think back on it, I realize that my choice to place it on the mirror was a good one because I did think about my word fairly often as I prepared for my day and for bed each evening.

This year, I decided to spend a little more time on my word declaration, and so I created a printable piece of artwork that I have hung on my office wall in an 8x10-inch picture frame. I'm also going to print out a little one and stick it to my mirror.

Photo of Ro's word declaration for 2012
(The lighting in this photo is a little off. It is actually as gold as the original and looks very nice against my blue wall.)
Printable Word of the Year declaration by Rozanne Paxman
If you'll read it carefully, you'll see that faith is either the first or the last word of each sentence.
Here is a portion of one of the talks that helped me select faith as my word of 2012.
"Because of the conflicts and challenges we face in today's world, I wish to suggest a single choice - a choice of peace and protection and a choice that is appropriate for all. That choice is faith. Be aware that faith is not a free gift given without thought, desire, or effort. It does not come as the dew falls from heaven. The Savior said, "Come unto me" (Matthew 11:28) and "Knock, and it shall be [given] you" (Matthew 7:7). These are action verbs - come, knock. They are choices. So I say, choose faith. Choose faith over doubt, choose faith over fear, choose faith over the unknown and the unseen, and choose faith over pessimism." Richard C Edgley
I challenge you to choose a word for 2012. Once you have, place the word where you can see it. Don't worry about having to "do" anything about the word. Chances are that life will bring opportunities for your word to take on a life of its own. At the end of the year, take a little time to reflect on the word and see if it made an impact. You might be very surprised at the results. If you would like, you could make a digital scrapbooking layout or a piece of printable artwork with your word on it, as I have. If you'd care to, you could share your layout or artwork with us in the Scrap Girls Gallery. I'd love to see what you come up with!

Have a great day.

Until tomorrow,

January 6, 2012


In our house, Epiphany is one of our favorite feast days!  How can one not admire and be inspired by the effort, expense, humility, and determination of three powerful pagans kneeling in worship before a heretofore unknown Infant King?

To remind us of this, our family takes the front of the first Christmas card we receive bearing an image of The Three Kings, or the Magi, and we tape it to the inside of our front door at eye level.  The card, thereby, reminds us throughout the year to welcome whomever appears outside our door as we would welcome The Three Kings.

(Unless it's Mormons or Jehovah's Witnesses -- they get the extra bonus of receiving tracts on the Real Presence of the Eucharist!  ....you know, now that I think of it, they haven't come by in a while....)

A beautiful children's storybook retelling the Italian tradition of La Befana (the Christmas Witch) is Tomie DePaola's The Legend of Old Befana, which recounts one old woman's never-ending search for the Infant King.

Some parishes also distribute a printed prayer and sticks of chalk, to inscribe above one's front door specific marks invoking the patronage and blessing of The Three Kings throughout the coming year.  Here is a nice summary of these blessings:

May the blessings of Epiphany reveal Jesus's real presence in your own life, "for God so loved the world [that includes you] that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him [hey, you again!] shall not perish, but have eternal life [you!  with God!  for all eternity!  in heaven!  WOW!]."

January 2, 2012

The Twelve Days of Christmas

Between the years 1558‑1829, English Catholics were  not permitted to practice  their faith openly.  Without regular Mass, sacraments, or catechism lessons from the priest, parents sought  help to assist their children in learning and remembering their Faith.  This song was created to keep the Catholic faith alive, though hidden for the time.  The 12 days are from the feast of Christmas, December 25th, to the feast of Epiphany, January 6th.

Instead of referring to a suitor, the “true love” refers  to God Himself.  The “me” who receives the presents symbolizes every baptized  person.  The “partridge in a pear tree” is Jesus Christ.  A mother partridge will feign injury to decoy predators from her helpless  nestlings.  The children hearing this song would have known that, and therefore would have understood the parallel between the acts of the mother bird and the sacrifice of Christ.

The other items continue the symbolism:

2 turtle doves                    the Old and New Testaments;
3 French hens                   Faith, Hope and Charity;
4 calling birds                    the Four Gospels;
5 golden rings                    the first five books of the Old Testament
6 geese a laying                 the days of creation;
7 swans a swimming          the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit;
8 maids a milking               the eight Beatitudes;
9 ladies dancing                 nine choirs of angels;
10 lords a leaping              the Ten Commandments;
11 pipers piping                 the eleven faithful Apostles;
12 drummers drumming     the twelve points of belief in the Apostles' Creed.

Merry Christmas!