I hope all of you had a wonderful holiday. I spent a quiet Christmas Eve with my immediate family, who gathered at my sister's home, for what I jokingly refer to as "the annual exchange of gift cards." My niece and nephews are grown now, and they prefer cash gifts, and lots of it, and a little of the Christmas magic has worn off over the years from when they were wonder-eyed children, but we still enjoy getting together for good food and fellowship. My nephew Craig also celebrates his birthday on New Year's Eve, so we'll be right back there again come Friday for fireworks and pizza.
You hear it a lot, but where has the year gone? It seems like yesterday we had that big (big for us in the deep South, anyway) 5" snowfall, but that was back in January. Spring and Summer whizzed by so fast! And now we are days away from the end of 2010.
It has been a year of highs and lows for me. My extended family of aunts, uncles and cousins has worried through several serious health issues, but also celebrated joyous additions to the family. Some of us have been victims of the economic downturn, including me. My hours at work were cut back, and for the first time in almost 35 years, I am a part-time employee with no benefits. The economy has forced us as a family to make some tough decisions, but thankfully, we are holding our own. We are blessed in many ways and are much more fortunate than so many other people in this country. We have plenty of food to eat and a safe place to lay our heads at night. If there is a silver lining to my hours being cut back, it is that I get to spend more time with my mother in the twilight of her life. We have become closer than ever, for which I am very grateful.
Realizing that time really is precious, I also made a decision that has given me more time with family and more time to create and develop whatever talent I have for clay and jewelry design. Earlier this week, I resigned from the Polymer Clay Artists Guild of Etsy (PCAGOE), effective with the last day of the January, 2011 challenge.
Some of you might now know that I was the Challenge Coordinator for PCAGOE. Along with my friends Angela and Jill, we put together the challenge contests some of you vote for every month. I also served as Vice President of the guild, Store Standards Chairperson, and as one of the team Mentors. It was a lot of responsibility and required an exhausting amount of time and energy. I was physically and mentally drained, and with a growing business and my Mother in particular needing more of my time, I made the decision to leave the guild. So far, it has been very liberating. No more midnights spent putting together mosaics and linking to shops and such. Now if I stay up until midnight, it is to read, which I haven't had time to do in more than two years; or to clay when the old muse slaps me on the head; or even to spend time chatting with friends who aren't in my time zone. I don't regret the time and energy I put into the guild, and I made some lasting friendships through PCAGOE for which I will always be grateful, but it was time for me to go.
So, I want to say thank you to my fellow PCAGOE members who befriended me, encouraged me, supported me and inspired me while I was a member. I learned so much from being in your presence, both about clay and about life. I hope we will remain friends and stay in touch, and I wish you all the best!
So, new year, new horizons... onward and upward... the best is yet to come... YOU BET!
HAPPY NEW YEAR, EVERYONE!