Monday, December 31, 2012

Old Year Out, New Year In


The view out the back door - beautiful in its own way in the winter.

Such a lovely end to the old year here in Central New York.  There's lots of blue in the sky, the birds are at the feeder outside my window, and I've got a little bit of time to myself.  The kids and my husband are occupied elsewhere in the house, so I've got a few minutes to relax.

We had a good year as a family, and I'm very thankful.  It even got better as the year went on, which was a pleasant surprise.  I've made new friends, tried new things, had more teaching experience, seen my kids grow up a little bit more, enjoyed good health, spent time with my loving husband and our families, and I can hardly ask for more than that.

Full Moon Koi, 8" x 10" ink drawing

Some good things have come to an end, like my time selling my art at a local gift shop - Hartsville Hollow Gifts closed today after a two and a half wonderful years.  The economy hasn't been kind to small businesses for a handful of years now, and in a down economy art is even less of a priority than ever with many people.  I can understand that, but it still makes me sad.

I have to decide how much energy I want to put into my Etsy shop, since it's never been a money-maker for me.  However, it is an inexpensive online venue to show my work; essentially it's low-cost advertising.  I'm not a consistent artist; I keep going hot and cold on various projects.  The second half of this year I've been really discouraged about creating art.  I have to find it in myself to create it for myself, then others can make of it what they will.  If I want to pursue having my work at a gallery, though, I need to keep creating and put myself in the way of those opportunities.

Snowflake sun-catcher, a gift from my sister Debbie.
She made it - stained glass is one of her many interests.

Subbing has been steadily busy for me this fall, usually four days per week.  I know there will be at least one upcoming job opening at our school that I'm qualified for, and I have to decide if that's an opportunity I'm ready to pursue.  I like the flexibility of subbing, but there's no doubt our family could use a second full-time income.  The kids are getting older, college or vocational school looms on the horizon, retirement is starting to rear its head in the distance, we need to replace both of our cars in the next few years, and now would be a really good time to get our finances on a firm footing.  I've had several teachers encourage me to pursue a full-time position.  We'll see what job openings come up and I'll pray about it from there.

Thank you, Jesus, for the gift of the year that has passed,
and thank you for the days to come.

Looking forward with hope to doing 
whatever I'm called to do within Christ's will,

Laurel

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