JOY in 2017

After a time of silence here, it feels refreshing to be back in this familiar place of mine. My heart-full apologies for being away so long...

2016 was my own personal annus horribilus and I'm glad to close the chapter of that year now. There will be no backward glance shared here, as so much of the latter half of the past year was very painful at times.

Myself and my life crashed and burned for a while. Some things were lost in the fire. But some things were, miraculously, saved. And now, in the embers, a phoenix in me is slowly regaining her feathers. In a lot of ways I feel like a trauma patient recovering and easing back into motion, into life. Relearning all the sights, sounds, tastes, smells and touch of being alive. It's gentle going at the moment, but it feels wonderful.

Hope was my word for 2016. Some hopes crashed and burned for a little while. It is only really now that hope springs anew, and God is reshaping me for something more. Something better than I could have imagined all on my own.

JOY is my word for 2017. After being in a dark valley for some time, it feels good to try and choose a bold word to live into and dwell in.

As this New Year dawns, I surround my self with love and lovely familiar things. This week I'll be doing as I have done for some years now, and journalling with Susannah Conway's Unravel Your Year workbook. I've got my colorful pens and notebook ready to tear apart and release the old year and write my way into this new one... with JOY!

Wishing you a JOY-filled 2017!
Do you have any plans so far? What dreams to explore? Places to go? New things to try, or current things to work on? I would love to hear your ideas! I will be sharing some of my own here as the days go.

Many thanks to you all who stuck by me during a very difficult time of my life--for checking in with my be email, by snail mail, and other happy ways to keep in touch. It truly is during the down times when we discover the depth of relationships, our friendships. I'm so thankful to still have friends here--thanks to this old thing, blogging. Thank you... :)))

P.S. One thing that was lost last year was our cat, Charlie. Very sadly, TJ & I lost our fur-angel to cancer back in November. The heartache hurt so much I just couldn't share about it here at the time. I know many of you loved our Charlie too. He was the true star of this place. With a new year and a new chapter unfolding, it was tempting for me to create a new banner here. But I won't. I want Charlie to be at the top here. For me. And for you. In time, TJ & I hope to open our hearts and home to a new fur-friend... and the adventure that could be.


  1. Hi Tracy, so good to see you’re back on the blogging road! I hope 2017 holds many joyful moments for you and TJ. Charlie will be missed by the both of you and on your blog, I always loved to see photographs of your ginger furry friend!
    I didn’t make any real plans for 2017 (yet). I think taking life as it comes and not stressing out over trivial stuff would be a nice one, LOL!

  2. Good to see you here! Love, prayers and hugs!

  3. Hi Tracy, I know that 2016 was a difficult year for you in many ways and I hope that 2017 is a fresh start. Joy was my word for 2016 and I had already decided to continue with it, in the hope that there will actually be some this year. May 2017 be full of happy days and shared experiences. Happy New Year! Marie x

  4. Welcome back, my friend. It was glorious to look at my email notifications this morning and discover Simple Gifts had a post! I got this big huge smile and felt a bit of the joy you describe as your guiding word. It is a perfect word in so many ways and I so understand why you would choose it.

    I'm glad you decided to keep "our Charlie" at the top of your blog. I had the same choice when Gypsy left and I couldn't take him off blog (so I just moved him around a little, as you can see!). I know how heartbreaking that was for you (and will remain) but I also know that in that end of year "hope" there is hope for healing.

    Meanwhile, I send JOY to YOU from across the pond and wishes for happiness in the new year. I'm hoping to post my word soon -- still deciding!

  5. Welcome Home, dear Tracy! So sad about Charlie, but I know a new furr-baby will come along in the right time. Love the picture of you too. Oh JOY! I think that word the year it chose me was such a special year. I still have to write it all in caps. It sounds like your year is starting off right where you need to be. Sending love, Marilyn

  6. dearest girl of the north!
    to see you posting again is such a blessing.
    even the picture you've chosen to share.
    it's simple. and beautiful. like you.
    and I mean simple in the best way. the way we all love about you. simplicity of spirit.
    but your passion for life and art and the art of living is what you share so well here. we're the lucky ones.
    and charlie?
    there are no words for that beloved little guy. pure love.

  7. So nice to see you back, Tracy, and with renewed joy in your heart. Perhaps you will look back on 2016 (probably just glad to have it behind you) to remember God's faithfulness in the valley. That, too, is precious.

    I'm sad sad sad about Charlie. He was well loved.

  8. Oh Tracy, how very much I missed your posts on here, although we did keep in touch in other ways. I am loving your new word for this year. JOY Embrace it! I know you will. I can feel your joy from here. It is almost palpable. Looking foward to seeing all you create over the coming months and the words you share with us. I was heartbroken when you told me about Charlie. It always hurts to much to say goodbye to our family members with fur. Our Miztie was very ill over the holidays and I was very afraid at one point. She is pretty much back in the pink now thank goodness. I am sending you lots of love and hugs and welcome back to this lovely space you have carved for yourself and us here on the Net. LOVE YOU! xoxo

  9. So very good to see you back here again, Tracy! And what a beautiful word for 2017! Well, I think HOPE did eventually work out for you in 2016 even though it was very difficult and painful!
    Thank you for the link! I will be working on my word this week.
    This year I am planning to post at least one picture on my blog each day and read the whole bible. I'll see how far I get and will not push myself.
    Hope to see a new loving furry friend soon (:

  10. I'm going to echo what everyone else has said here and say welcome back, sooo good to see you here again my friend! Happy New Year too!

  11. Tracy, it's good to see you again. Totally expected and necessary to stay quiet and concentrate one's energies inward when you are settling a new direction. And then comes the replenishing of all the energy you used.

    Wishing you well in your continued journey.

  12. Hello Tracey! Welcome back dear friend! I too am so sorry to hear about dear Charlie cat. Here's wishing you a stable, peaceful and happy 2017 X Ros and Oscar


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