New Beginnings

Phyllis Inspiration 28 Comments

I have been pondering the phrase “new beginnings” as it pertains to this new year. I am trying to find something new, as it appears this year is shaping up to look a lot like 2020. Masks, etc. You know the drill. But it is a new year…with January almost gone.

The beginning of a new year excites me. When I was a child, for some strange reason, I felt the need to tidy up my room that I shared with my sister, Janice. We would get in there and really shape it up. It was restorative to move things around and discard things that we thought were things we would keep forever. I think back on those days with great fondness.

What do we keep and what do we discard? I want to keep a spirit of gratefulness for the things in my life that I love. Keeping a grateful heart is reminding ourselves constantly of the good in our lives. I don’t know about you, but I can be pulled down quickly in my thoughts. It’s at that time I must stop and remind myself of blessings. It’s little things like my snowdrops coming up in the flower bed and notes from friends. Family, friends, and wonderful people that I work with give great meaning to my life. FaceTime with my grandchildren is the best treasure.

I want to keep a creative spirit. I love to sew and quilt, along with playing the piano. I have lost that creative spirit somewhere along the way during this pandemic. Today I am going to begin a creative journey of finishing some sewing projects that I started, dragging out tote bags of needlework and enjoying every stitch—even if I only have time to make a few stitches.

Discarding is easy for me. I am discarding TV programs that do not refresh, restore, or give me encouragement. I am a hopeless romantic and can still watch The Sound of Music a million times and rejoice when the magnificent organ sounds for the wedding march. I love White Christmas, especially the “Sisters” song, and I marvel at the tiny waists and stunning garments that are worn. Who doesn’t love old movies? I watched Pillow Talk with Doris Day and immediately set about to find vintage patterns for those fabulous coats she wore. When Calls the Heart on Hallmark is a favorite of mine. Once again, the vintage clothes are fabulous. When I finish watching something, I want to have a song in my heart and feel good. Is that total reality? No, but I don’t need or want any more reality.

Discouragement has occupied all our thoughts during this time. Let’s discard that and find ways to replace it with hope, faith, and love. Let’s have hope that this pandemic will be over soon, faith that our doctors will continue to develop cures, and love for those who have been touched by this or who have fears.

How can I be helpful to someone during this time? Can I make a difference while distancing? Yes, and we must. I am finding simple text messages are great way of connecting, and the old-fashioned telephone call is wonderful. Hearing another’s voice is exciting, and texting cannot catch the voice emphasis that is so wonderful. Laughing, crying, telling tales, and just having conversation is a personal connection that I love. We can share our hearts and encourage one another. Let’s do it!

Comments 28

  1. Hello Phyllis, I am new here today and by what you have written I am here at exactly the right moment as I am experiencing all that you wrote about.

    You wrote “I have been pondering the phrase “new beginnings” as it pertains to this new year. I am trying to find something new.” So was I and did find something new , your
    Hoffman Media Store, but you employ a very unprofessional and underhanded person who has deemed me to be unworthy of being a valued customer and has denied me access to purchase books from your store.

    You wrote “I want to keep a creative spirit. Today I am going to begin a creative journey.” I did this on February 4, 2021 when I placed a twenty(20) book order at Hoffman Media Store and subscribed to Bake From Scratch Magazine, but above stated employee yesterday February 10, 2021 cancelled all of this when she informed my bank that your company does not want my money and the amount that was in a pending state for Hoffman Media Store to secure the funds set aside for payment of above said order was returned to my account no longer pending for payment to Hoffman Media Store. I called my bank this morning to confirm that this is exactly what happened. On the Hoffman Media Store in My Account My Orders the status is ORDER COMPLETED ON FEBRUARY 4, 2021 same day order was placed.

    You wrote “I want to keep a spirit of gratefulness for the things in my I love.” I was so grateful to find Hoffman Media Store where under one roof I can purchase things that make me happy and grateful, but that mean spirited employee there decided that I am not worthy to be a part of this wonderful place that you have created by denying me access to make purchases here.

    You wrote “When I finish watching something, I want to have a song in my heart and feel good.” I was feeling so good and singing out loud after all the hours I had spent in Hoffman Media Store perusing all the book selections that I had to choose from and thrilled with my twenty(20) book order and magazine subscription, my mind excited about all the new things I would be learning and all the delicious foods that I would be making from the purchase of these books, but that mean spirited employee stopped my happy singing and good feeling by cancelling my order by cancelling accepting payment from my bank account that was already designated for payment for order of merchandise from Hoffman Media Store.

    You wrote “Discouragement has occupied all our thoughts during this time. Let’s discard that and find ways to replace it with hope, faith and love.” This disgruntled employee at Hoffman Media Store is the exact opposite of what you write about, what you and your company states what you stand for. I WILL NOT BE DISCOURAGED BY THIS EVIL CREATURE !!! I am a 65 year old young lady that still desires to learn and experience new positive endeavors and absolutely no one has the right nor will deter me from anything positive that I desire.

    I used the Contact Me here on the site requesting your assistance to correct what has happened to me by this unscrupulous employee at Hoffman Media Store by going to the Customer Service Department to see the emails that I have sent requesting help for this matter by anyone other than this certain person. Please help me. Thank you.

  2. Amen sister. Sewing, quilting and discarding things I no longer need are what I’m doing. I’m always wondering what’s going on with the ORIGINAL SEWING & QUILT EXPO. I can’t wait to spend time there when it visits Novi, MI.

    I’ve also began reading much more. Barbara Pym, Louise Penny and the Guidepost Series, like Tales From Grace Chapel Inn, Patchwork Mystery, Secrets of Mary’s Bookshop and the Church Choir Mysteries.

    Love always, Jane xoxo

  3. Thank you, Phyllis, for encouraging us once more! You spur us on to use our gifts , to be creative and to reach out to others. I truly appreciate your faithfulness in motivating us!

  4. Thank you, Phyllis, for your positive reminders. We get but one life and must treasure and be grateful for the gift of this life even while navigating a pandemic. We’re also very fortunate that technology provides so many resources for entertainment, creativity or escapism. One of the things my family is desperately missing is theatre / performing arts. While it doesn’t replace being there, we have found so many plays, productions and documentaries on various television networks that have helped to fill a little of that void. My son bought me a lovely little sealing wax kit for Christmas. Although I talk to my sisters regularly, I plan to get some very special stationary and send them each a sealed letter telling them all the reasons why I love them. Wishing you a year of great health and happiness Phyllis.

  5. Phyllis, you have put into wonderful words what many of us are feeling. Discouragement is dangerous. Thank you for being a voice for good things and a reminder we have the power to take even very small steps to wipe discouragement away and acknowledge life’s light.

  6. Thank you, Phyllis. Your words of comfort and inspiration are always so much appreciated. I’m not all that good about setting life’s realities aside and, unfortunately, 2020 was so filled with stressors, I don’t know how to relax anymore, even after renewed hope in the new year. Unfortunately I’m sorting through mom’s things right now and wish the process wouldn’t be so difficult. I miss her terribly. To lighten my spirits, I have set aside all of her beautiful Hungarian embroideries and hope to write a story about her and her work in the next few months. Hope springs eternal, as they say. I must move forward and make the best out of the wonderful gifts and memories she left behind.

  7. I enjoy your comments; love Victoria Magazine ( I think I still have every copy ever published); and finding kindred spirits here among the comments.
    I, too, love old movies and television shows that take me totally away from the day’s news and reality shows. Whatever happened to entertainment?
    I thought a big part of my problem recently was that my procrastination had just gotten out of hand, but now I realize it has a lot to do with all the negative aspects of 2020.
    You all have given me renewed hope and energy to continue my efforts of purging my office area, actually accomplishing some of the tasks I NEED to accomplish, and maybe even pulling out a needlepoint project or two.
    Happy New Year to all. We can beat all the downers out there. We will survive!

  8. I so much agree that we have so much to be thankful for. I gave up watching TV a few years ago except for programs from years ago such as The Pickwick Papers on Prime (Charles Dickens) that were free of “social messages” promoted by the powers that be. Turn it off, the news is not creditable and so negative. I study 15th, 16th and 17th century history. Believe me, we live in the best of times. Daily living is not the challenge it was in days of old. I’m thankful for indoor plumbing and central heating, automobiles and jet travel. We have it good and need only look to our ancestors to realize just how well we live even if not at the top tier of earning, we at least still have access to some comforts of daily living and benefits available. We no longer live in a caste system or aristocracy social system that condemns a person before they even have a chance. We are so very fortunate not to live in times past. There is more to life than politics, social dilemmas of a few and “the news”.

  9. As usual, your article is a comforting challenge! You always give us a way to be and do better. The blue notecard shown in the beautiful photo took my breath away! I love all things paper and pen.

  10. Greetings dear Phyllis,
    It’s like what Michael Buble says in his song, “Its a new year, its a new dawn and I’m feeling fine.”
    That song of his had me humming it lately, it just comes and goes….
    This past Christmas many of the Christmas cards sent to me had the most beautiful written words that absolutely made me cry on many days, I guess some of my ole friends and family members decided to write how they feel this past year and how valuable our friendships have really meant to them. Life is so precious and I recognize how much my friendships mean to me, thank you for your post, you are very inspiring .
    Just praying this year COVID will not restrict us all so much and we once again can dine out, shop and enjoy the normal social activities we have had in the past.
    Happy New Year Phyllis, and to all your followers, everyone is so precious! Take care…
    California Carmel

  11. It has been a difficult year for all of us, & it is so easy to fall into that pit of despair. I am trying very hard to find the joy in simple things again, so I am taking your words of inspiration to heart. My favorite Christmas movies are White Christmas & Christmas in Connecticut.
    May we all find hope, joy & peace in the coming year.

  12. Thank You Phyllis for another beautiful and uplifting post. We are trying to throw out things that are of no use anymore. We are determined to start doing our crafts again. We have kits that were Christmas gifts two years ago. We have never started on the projects. We are watching a lot of old movies. Majority of the new television shows are not worth looking at. We love Christmas shows, Its A Wonderful Life, The Bishop’s Wife and Christmas In Connecticut are our favorites. We do enjoy many of the reruns of the older television shows. We keep in touch with family and friends. We are blessed with great and caring neighbors. We have chats with them often. Victoria Magazine and Tea Time are a great way to relax and feel good about life. These magazines are worth every penny.
    HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL
    Joan,Marion and Marilyn

  13. I could have written this exact blog. At this time when I seem to have unlimited time, my creativity hit a low. I finally finished two projects recently both started over (I’m embarrassed to say) over fifteen years ago. Perhaps I could finish the little dress I smocked for my daughter when she was six (now she’s 47). The only thing I seem to have been good at during the past nine months is sending notes to friends, I can muster up that much effort. But you have inspired me. Thank you, more little unfinished projects are lining up and 2021 will be more productive and because of that, probably happier. Thank you.

  14. You always have the most beautiful and heartwarming words for us Phyllis!
    You lift us up when we are down, inspire us to try new things, and enjoy the old ones. I always love the beginning of each new year, cleaning and organizing areas, drawers, etc. I agree there is nothing like a phone call from a friend! Thank you so much

  15. Phyllis,
    You are such a blessing to me. My prayer is that you will find joy in 2021 and will feel the love of family and friends to comfort you during those times that feel discouraging.
    I have been blessed with three friends from my church, and we call ourselves the “Sunflower Sisters”. God has given us the gift of encourgement, laughter, sharing tears, praying for others, and giving hospitality when we can. We send each other little gifts, drop little surprises off on each others porches, we went carolling to our pastors’ homes because their wives are home with children, and many other things during this last year. God always shows us ways to be joyful if we open up our hearts and let Him in.
    Have a blessed evening, dear lady. You are a beautiful gift to us all.

  16. I couldn’t agree more ! Thank you for this uplifting and encouraging post ! In my healing phase of cancer treatment I have never felt stronger to cast off old and under serving anything ! I have needed those calls and texts and it made me more aware what it can mean to others . I vowed to pick up the pace and be that person who lifts up.

  17. Thank you Phyllis for your inspiring words. I bet we could be great friends. You are so much like me in what you love and how you think. You stated so well what we all have been feeling this past year; so discouraged and I would add anxious, distracted, sad to my list. My best friend lost her husband to Covid right before Christmas. It has been heartbreaking to watch her pain. I am digging myself out of the hole at least once a week. I want to save your wonderful words that give us all hope and thoughts to help get through these days. Thank you and I love Victoria Magazine. I have been getting it since the beginning. I want to jump into the pages and run away and always find peace.

  18. I fully understand where you are coming from. I find January and the thought of spring not far behind a time for renewal. It is so refreshing. I love spring and watching the world around me come to life. I look forward to the sounds of the birds. The smell of the blossoms on the light breeze.
    My spring cleaning includes dropping a few garbage bags in a couple of rooms and hallway. I can’t leave a room without something in my hand to put away properly in another room or throw into the garbage bag. I also have a box for thing to give to charity. By the end of the week the bags are full or have been replaced by another bag. Refreshing.

  19. Happy New Year to all!
    Oh my goodness! Phyllis, I just HAD to write when I read of your fondness for ‘White Christmas’. I too, am especially fond of the ‘Sisters’ dance/song routine. My sister and I used to always sing that one together. I always USED TO look at them and think that Rosemary was the “hefty” one and Vera was the skinny one! That is funny because when I watch it now, I see just how thin Rosemary was THEN, too! And, yes, I LOVE the vintage clothing styles! But, I like ALL the music from that one and I have seen it so many times, I think I just might have the dialog memorized!
    I especially love all the OLD Christmas movies!

  20. And a Happy Belated New Year Wish to you also, Phyllis !! I was sure we would hear from you at just the right moment !! We have all been so burdened and heavy hearted this past year. But now we can focus once again on what really matters in our lives!! We need to be reminded once again of the personal things in our life that give us comfort and hope and peace.
    Thank you for your ever constant inspiration .❤️

  21. I “discovered” Jeanne Robertson through your information on the trips you had scheduled, and I absolutely LOVE her videos ( I now have all of them!) and her youtube clips. If you are ever in need of good, clean, uplifting laughs and thoughts, then visit with Jeanne.
    The other “up”thing I do is to watch any of Andre Rieu’s DVDs of his concerts. If you are not familiar with him, he directs/has created the Johann Strauss Orchestra. He is from The Netherlands and give concerts all over the world. The video: Welcome to My World 2, is just fabulous; it tells how he thinks of putting together concerts to give people the most happiest of times, the best feelings and emotions. He does not just do classical music, although his favorite is Strauss, but all kinds and it is SO very, very great. Please check this video you. You will be very glad you did! (I also am a fan of White Christmas and Doris Day movies. And of course, Some Like it Hot is fabulous!

  22. I love everything about this post, Phyllis. You are honest in your assessment of the current state of affairs in our world, while offering concrete ways of dealing with the stresses and anxieties that weigh us down. I, too, choose only forms of entertainment that will lift my spirits up . . . nothing negative or dark. We have enough of that in the news and on social media. The key is to somehow strike a balance in our lives – – we want and need to be well-informed, but we don’t need to drown ourselves in the harshness and sorrow of reality. I do this by constantly reminding myself that goodness, happiness, gratefulness and kindness are all very real, as well. These qualities exist everywhere . . . we just need to notice and celebrate them!

  23. You have given me inspiration to finish some things I been putting off. Like going through all of the older picture albums with pictures of my Aunts, Uncles and cousins, and my daughter has no idea who they are, and pulling the pictures and sending to their families. I inherited some albums with pictures of people I did not know, and it was hard to discard them knowing they had to have family somewhere that might like to have them. Also, to begin once again to use the telephone and call people instead of texting all the time. Or to make sure I send a card to someone that could use a pick-me-up. Thanks, Phyllis!
    BTW, When Calls the Heart is one of my favorites too.

  24. Your writing is so thoughtful and gives me joy and hope. I feel the same way about the new year, it is cathartic to let go of what doesn’t give me joy and make room for the new! Having said that, I haven’t purchased anything since the pandemic! (Except for my grandbabies:) ) Friends from school are having a Zoom meeting this Thursday and I can hardly wait!

    Thank you for just the right words at the right time!

  25. This is a perfect post for now. Like you, Phyllis, I want to keep a spirit of gratefulness for the things in my life that I love. Being at home all the time has made me cherish not just the people I love even more, but to be more grateful for our home, our neighborhood, and our neighbors.

    This time has been such a blessing to our neighborhood here in Southern California, especially at the very beginning of our “lock down” as we started really to get to know the families on our street and our block more. My husband and I would sit in the front garden and watch other families walk around the block, ride bikes, or walk their dog. Picture me, practically shouting “oh, hi! How are you today?” and Mr. FGH frowning a little at that {“must you talk to everyone?”} Well, yes I did, they were real live people! : )

    Never do I hope to take for granted the smiles, the “how are you?” and the little snippets of conversation with neighbors during the day. You never know how that little conversation might brighten their whole day! I’ve gotten the phone numbers of elderly neighbor’s family members – just in case those neighbors had an emergency- been blessed to be able to shop for some neighbors, and bring a meal or two. Like you said”We can share our hearts and encourage one another. Let’s do it!” xo Lidy

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