Sunday, January 1, 2012

{Monday} Moments: Sign of the Times

For the last five
years, the holidays
in our family have 
concluded with Chinese 
food on New Year's Eve.

One thing that is
always fun when
we visit our local
Chinese restaurant
is reading the
Chinese Zodiac
on the place mats
that grace the table.

Year of the Rat

The Chinese Zodiac,
Sheng Xiao, is based
on a twelve year cycle,
with an animal assigned
to each year.

After our order is placed,
we all squint in the dimly
lit restaurant at the tiny
numbers surrounding 
each of the twelve animals,
to see which one is
assigned to our birth 

Year of the Dragon

2012 is the 
Year of the Dragon.

I was born in the 
Year of the Tiger : )

The idea of this little
place mat stayed with
me long after the fortune
cookies had been snapped
open, fortunes read and
cookies consumed.

Year of the Ox

I kept returning to the
image of this little paper,
 considering how I might 
view my own life, if it were
laid out in neat squares
in front of me.

The Year of the First Steps.

The Year of the Driver's License.

The Year of the Wedding.

The Year of the Big Trip.

Year of the Tiger

Or maybe, the place mat
of my life would have
general themes, with dates
below each to signify  
when they took place.

The Years of School.
The Years of Pets.
The Years of Dating.
The Years of Work.
The Years of Marriage.
The Years of Children.
The Years of Travel.

Year of the Rabbit

Or, like the place mat at
the restaurant, my life
place mat could be grouped
into twelve year cycles.

The early childhood years.
The young adult years.
The young family years.
The older family years.
Etc, etc......

Year of the Snake
{Painted by my daughter}

But when I take stock
of my life, to date, and
think back on the years,
it isn't particular activities
or specific dates that come
to mind.

It's feelings.

Year of the Horse

And so, the place mat 
that represents my life
would include something
similar to these
twelve squares:

The Years of Joy.
The Years of Sorrow.
The Years of Discovery.
The Years of Learning.
The Years of Befriending.
The Years of Loving.
The Years of Striving.
The Years of Giving.
The Years of Humor.
The Years of Affection.
The Years of Change.
The Years of Creativity.

Year of the Sheep

With the exception of
sorrow, I would hope
that all the years of my 
life, so far, would be
listed under

Another interesting
exercise would be to
write down every year 
of your life and to dub it
The Year of......

Year of the Monkey

2011, for me, would be

The Year of Letting Go ~

of my arms around 
our daughter, as she 
{and we} prepare for her
 high school graduation
in 2013 ~

of the sense that I should
be living somewhere else,
other than right where
I am, this very moment ~

of pre-conceived notions
about people, places or
things ~

of habits that no longer
serve me well.

Year of the Rooster

And 2012?

That I am calling

The Year of Possibilities.

What about you, 
my friend?

Year of the Dog

Do you know your 
Sheng Xiao sign?  
{You can find it, here.}

What will you call 2012,
on your own 
life's place mat?

Year of the Pig

Sending you warm
wishes for a Happy
New Year.  

Now, go 
make it 


PS:  It's been a few weeks,
but {Monday} Moments is
open again for you to link
up any post that you want to
share around this virtual
water cooler.  
Please Be generous!


Shelly @ Life on the Wild Side said...

2011 was the Year of Surprises for me. 2012 will be the year of letting God do what He wants with some major letting go going on in my life too. It's hard. said...

I think for me 2012 will be a year of making boundries. Something I'm not used to doing. I've always been so open, but learning hard lessons from last year that make me think that maybe it's time to set some limits. Happy new year Miss Suzanne, I know you will have an awesome one! P.S. your daughter's painting is amazing!

koralee said...

Love this you got me thinking my friend.
Wishing you a very blessed year...and tell your sweet daughter...she would LOVE Vancouver...if she does make it over this way I will be happy to play MOM!
What school is she look at? Hugs dear one. xoxoxo

lisaroyhandbags said...

Such an interesting post! My sign is Year of the Monkey and I must say my weaknesses as noted aren't too flattering! 2011 was a year filled with unexpected events and a fair bit of stress - something I probably could have handled better. Here's hoping 2012 is a little more calm and holds lots of joy. And I wish all the best to you for an awesome, memorable 2012! xo

Ivy Clad said...

Oh Suzanne, I love this post!

I anticipate 2012 to be a year of turning dreaming into doing... and a few other things too. I will be reading this post again and contemplating it through the week. Thank you for your thought-provoking reflections.

All the best to you and your family in the New Year!


Marie said...

Another beautiful post Suzanne. This year is going to be my year of letting go . . . Happy New Year to you all!

Susan T said...

I have decided this year my watchword will be "EMBRACE" Embrace the new, view the things I have to do with more enthusiasm. Coincidentally yesterday my daughter and I decided to go and see the Chinese New Year celebrations in Manchester for the first time, we have been meaning to go for years. I am a Dog by the way.

A very Happy New Year to you and yours. Your daughter's painting of the year of the snake is wonderful.

Beth said...

Hi Suzanne,
Happy new year to you.
I was only chatting to a friend the other day and said that 2012 is going to be my year for de-cluttering and simplifying life.
I have been a little busy recently and haven't been blogging or visiting my favourite blogs recently and I hope to get back to routine with this too.

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...


Suzanne, you are a tremendously gifted writer, for your ideas are rich in depth and purpose. What a great read on this relaxed Monday, the day before school begins. I am so blessed to know you, to have spoken to you on three occasions, and let's make this THE YEAR OF CONNECTIONS with other bloggers of like mind and with each other. JULY ???? BRING ON THE CREATIVE CONNECTION in our town!


paige said...

well let's hear it for the year of possibilities!!
can't wait to see what unfolds for you above on the horizon

Farmgirl Paints said...

Hmmm my placemat for last year would be year of difficult change. Hopefully this year will be the year of pieces falling into place. Love your New Year tradition. Many blessings to you this year.

Sheila said...

beautiful post, and a very Happy New Year to you.
I think 2011 would be the year of change for me, and this year i have to keep on acting on those changes and not fall into bad old patterns,

traci said...

a great new year tradition. i like the year of possibilities. just imagine what they can be. happy new year my friend.

Olive Cooper said...

Suzanne, I have reached the age of 49 and a place where I do not chronicle days, weeks, months, or years. It is a happy and content place. I have had many sorrows but that makes these times better and I appreciate them more. Happy New Year, Olive

Blondie's Journal said...

This is going to be my year of JOY! Finding joy in everything. little or small. Banish the negativity in my life and move past it. I love the possibilities a new year offers. No looking back for me!


Low Tide High Style said...

Oh, how I love this post Suzanne! Your wisdom always makes me smile and often brings a tear to my eye! That snake picture by your daughter is amazing, she has quite a bright future ahead of her!

The possibilities for you this coming year are limitless!

Happy New Year!

Kat :)

Linda said...

I love this post, Suzanne! The Year of Possibilities! Very thought provoking...and I love Elizabeth's painting, too! I found out I am Year of the Horse. I want to continue in 2012, what I started in 2011...a year of stepping out of my comfort zone~ taking risks and trying new things.

Blooming Rose Musings said...

Suzanne, I love this post! Very thought provoking. I love that you have said the Year of Possibilities. Last year was quite stressful for me so I am hoping for a year of calm and joy. I am going to read your post really is wonderful.
I will link up my New Years post a little later today but I also might be back in a few days to link up something new.
Dear friend, I am so hoping we can get together this year. I wish you and your family many, many wonderful blessings including happiness, good health and prosperity and...some delightful surprises. Much love to you. XO

The enchanted home said...

I am excited 2012 is here, so far so good. 2011 I must say was not the best, and I am happy to open a new door to a new year.
Loved this post...and love your reflections and your thoughts, you expressed yourself so well and I particularly felt your emotion when you spoke of letting go of your daughter as she nears graduation (always a bittersweet deal)! My "baby" will be right behind her graduating in 2014 :( Enjoying every moment until then!
I am thinking this year will be the year of doing. For me personally, I want to see to it that I actually achieve some of the things I have dreamt of, longed to do and aspired to do but for whatever reason haven't done. This is my year. Heres to lifes best for everyone in 2012!! Another wonderful post.

Lisa @ Shine Your Light said...

Hello lovely friend, the very first thing I did early this morning was read this post, and I am just now getting back to comment and join your party :)
Oh I love Chinese New Years!! My first baby was born in the Year of the Tiger also (your boy too, I believe?) so apparently the three of you are "Dynamic and dramatic, filled with passion and daring, spontaneous and lively."!!! (according to my guide) I'm The Year of the Boar - "Having a taste for indulgence and luxury, but doesn't always handle money well."

Happy new year to you and your beautiful family, Suzanne. Wishing all of you The Year of Health and Joy along with being the Year of Possibilities!!

michele said...

i want it to be a year of forgiving, and this is also going to be the year of zipping it. as in shutting my mouth more often to become a better listener and life learner and friend. it's not that i'm overbearing offline, but i do feel the need to fill up silences that i shouldn't. probably a year of less blogging. lord knows i have written enough and been to the ends of the internet enough for a lifetime. there is nothing wrong with quiet, stillness, and the listening ear.

beautiful thoughts shared here today, suzanne.

love to you.


Anonymous said...

Happy New Year Suzanne,

You are always able to say in perfect words exactly what I'm feeling. I feel so good after I read your posts because I have a much better understanding of what I feel yet struggle to say myself.

2011 was also a year of letting go for me. We had some struggles around here and it's taken me almost the whole year to accept and let go of hurt, expectations and my own selfish wants. Better late than never though I suppose.

2012 is going to be the year of achieving. There's so many things I have on my want-to-accomplish list and after having those dreams for so long, I'm going to go after them. I know I will feel good at least attempting to accomplish them.

I wish you happiness and peace . . . It has been such a pleasure visiting you this past year.
xo Sarah

Hindsfeet said...

Oh Suzanne! I can always count on you for exquisite food-for-thought.....what a wonderful excercise to suggest......

....I think I'll take this on while I'm on my run tomorrow (it'll take my mind off this (as my mom puts it) colder-than-a-coal-miner's-butt-in-the-Klondikes weather, mm!) ; )

Thanks again, Suzanne, for yet another rich, wonderful offering here.....

Happy new year full of possibilities and the possibility of possibilities! : ),

p.s. I got your note about changing my status so I can receive replys and me being the technology dinasaur that I am --even with the link you generously provided -- have not gotten around to it yet, but I will, I promise! : )

Stuff and Nonsense said...

wouldn't it just figure
that mine is the pig?!

i think
that for me
this year
will be one of prayer

for i must get back into
a prayerful routine
and get down on my knees
more regularly and thoroughly
for my family and friends.


Lili said...

Your daughter is such a talented artist...that snake was quite impressive! And now I have a craving for some Chinese food. I need to sit and ponder what 2012 will represent for me. You always have that affect on me when I come and read your posts Suzanne. You always help me quiet myself and focus on your thought provoking questions. Happy New Year my friend! xo ~Lili

Tiffini Kilgore said...

oh missed you friend. i am back as well..if ever so slowly
this post made me sad..not quite sure why
maybe it is the song;) and the painful awareness of times passing and how fleeting life is and my fear that some of the healing my heart longs to see may not happen.
i know i can't control that...still

anyway--your post is beautiful and deep. i love you for that. now off to see what animal i am. i forget;) happy Tuesday

Julie said...


Awesome post...I love the way your mind ponders many things as you connect with your daily many things in our walk COULD be thought provoking if we would allow....and not be so busy in the urgent. :-) Our year of 2010 was our Year of Hope that God would bring change in Kurt's career journey, and HE did..2011 was dubbed our year of Jubilee that after many months of work and prayer and waiting, that the time would come to see fulfilment and finality in the path to be together again. As God made all the pieces start locking back together in our life puzzle after it got tossed in 2006 when Kurt lost his work...we began to see and feel the big picture appearing. Our story was being rewoven. And here this year of 2012 we are calling it our family year of Gratitude...for ALL that He has done, both the hard and the wonderful. MY "personal quest" is for 2012 to be my year of INTENTION in everything I pursue. No drifting through days with no plan or purpose to accomplish something before the sun sets. This will be WORK for me if I truly keep it DAILY! Loved your post. thanks so much for making us "ponder" bloggy sis. Hugs to you! Stay Warm!!!

Sylvia said...

Happy New Year , dear Suzanne ! I would like the new year to be called The Year of Possibility . In fact, I believe every year brings new promises. I will name mine The year of Artistry as I want to master my skills to live in a present moment and create my own life. No bad , even ambitious :)
Thank you for the endless inspiration!
Oh, I am a Rooster - I can awaken people to get up in the morning :)
Enjoy the hew day !

Biz said...

As always your post nails it right on the head!
I am the year of the Rat...Bitsy is the year of the Rabbit.
It's always fun to see how close they fall to our actual personalities.
Hmm...2012 will be the year of....growth.
Growing in my new role as a stay at home mom, as my role as Bitsy's Mom, as my role as a Military wife. I have so much to adjust to and learn from and grow into this year! It's going to be a blessed year.
I wish you a Blessed 2012 too!

pretty pink tulips said...

I just love that your posts always make me stop and think, evaluate, re-evaluate and leave me inspired.

Now that I think about it...2011 was a year of extremes.

Entering 2012, no specific goals came to mind, but a calm that I'm where I'm supposed to be. So, I'm going to just go with the flow and take it all in. Worry less (I'm the year of the sheep, so no surprise) and enjoy more.

Love that you're having your talented daughter paint you a version of the painting I highlighted today. You'll have to share it when it's complete!!

Here's to an amazing year - full of possibilities!
xoxo Elizabeth

Nantucket Daffodil said...

What a fabulous heartfelt post. I found you through the lovely Lisa at Shine Your Light.

I hope this is a year of accomplishment on many levels.

Thanks for making me think about this.

Jane said...

Oh Sweetheart. What a gorgeous, thought-provoking post. As usual. 2012 will be my year of simplifying - see here ( if you're interested. It could overlap with your year of possibilities, I think. Looking forward to sharing this bloggy caper with you again this year, Lovely. J x

hometown girl said...

wishing you much love and many possibilities this new year! ah, letting go, that's something i need to learn.....thank you for being you suzanne, you're special! xo susan

patty said...

as always, such a lovely post. i hope that this is the year of organization for me. i need openness and peacefulness, and i'm afraid my clutter is stealing that.

i also hope that is the year of Grace... a year to discover true grace, true, unconditional love for all... forgiveness and loss of expectations.


T's Daily Treasures said...

Happy New Year Suzanne. Wow! Now that's some deep thinking. My brain just doesn't work like that. And beautiful writing. My Chinese Zodiac is the Year of the Horse. The first sentence of its description certainly fits me at this point in my life: The spirit of the horse is recognized to be the Chinese people's ethos – making unremitting efforts to improve themselves. When I was 12, a friend and I used to sit in her closet typing up the book we were going to write on horses -- we collected pictures, anything with horses on it, and even horse hair we would find snagged on fences around pastures where horses were kept. Your daughter's snake painting is really good. Hope you are having a good week. Best wishes, Tammy

T's Daily Treasures said...

P.S. I would like 2012 to be the Year of Order for me. I have got to purge, organize, simplify. :) Tammy

Mona Thompson Providence Ltd. said...

I'm liking the year of possibilities...we are going for it this year in far so good...Ha it's only January 5th. Just another thought...I wish you had your Grandmother's cart! XO, Mona

Kathy's Red Door Welcome said...

I think I will call this the year of new life. My fourth grandchild will be born in the year of the dragon. Soon I hope to be inspired enough to link up with your Monday moments...we'll see how things go. Wishing you a happy New Year Suzanne!

Amanda (Small Acorns) said...

Such a great post to read Suzanne, and one that has really got me thinking. The year of possibilities - I love the sound of this, and can't wait to see where you let this take you. Your online shop sounds like a great place to start! Happy 2012 my friend. I always love tuning in to your wisdom.
Amanda xx