Gratitude and a New Word for 2015!

It’s the end of the year and I’ve updated my Facebook picture for the first time in five years. It wasn’t easy to do, but I appreciate all of my friends who liked it—friends who love me despite the fact that I am not skinny or perfect or beautiful. Friends who understand with Maya Angelou, that I too, am a phenomenal woman.

I was taught to hide while I was growing up. Hide if you didn’t look good enough. Hide in the house and not answer the door to bill collectors. Hide and not answer the door if your friends come over and your house is not perfect. I was taught to hide how many times I moved and how little education I had. I was taught to never mention weight around my mom or moving and our life of instability to my dad.

I have hid in sheds, cabins, houses and in cars—below the window, watching the trees whip by in the sky because I was of school age, but I didn’t go to school. And I was taught to lie to church members and say I was doing home study when I never took one course and my parents never bought one school book.

How do you overcome a life of hiding behind little lies that glue and hold your family together like one big spider web? And how do you overcome when your parents lie about you to a judge to discredit you for telling the truth and laugh when you confront them? This happened over five years ago, but still I’ve been hiding. Until I learned what narcissism is, before I couldn’t connect the dots so I continued to hide.

I think we can stop hiding when we can forgive ourselves for not being perfect. I’ve decided to forgive myself for not being the weight I wish I was, not writing the books I wish I had written, not making art years ago and not being assertive enough in my past. When we forgive ourselves, we can release the old and get on with the new.

Pink Lotus Forgive Yourself Meme, Mixed Media Art
Pink Lotus, Forgive Yourself Meme


To live by grace means to acknowledge my whole life story,
the light side and the dark.
In admitting my shadow side I learn who I am
and what God’s grace means.
– Brennan Manning

Last year my word was motion. I think I was trying to find a way to make some sort of motion to stop hiding, but I wasn’t sure how it was going to happen. I made some moves–first by publishing a book of my great grandparents’ love letters. Then I came out of hiding by making art and oh, wait for it—walking in public which literally terrifies me. I think I’ve made some progress, but I still have much to do in all of these areas.

This year I am choosing a very intentional word—RELEASE!


1. Allow or enable to escape from confinement; set free. 
“the prisoners would be released” to set free, let go/out, allow to leave, liberate, set at liberty

2. Allow (something) to move, act, or flow freely.


My first RELEASE is Gratitude:

Gratitude for the joy of making art and getting paid for it.

Gratitude for my artist friends from Art 101 who cheered me on and challenged me to make better art.

Gratitude for my husband who is my number one patron, best friend, lover and partner in the crime of tearing down the masks and freeing others to do the same.

Gratitude for my family members–whether we see eye to eye is irrelevant to love.

Gratitude for my Christian friends both in the blogging community and in person. I am thrilled that I belong to an active and very loving church–the value of which cannot be over stated.

Gratitude for the ACoN Community who also supports me and encourages me. By telling our stories we are healing each other!

Gratitude to God for energy and health to make it through another year.

Gratitude for my sweet feline muses Kitteh Coon Cosette Evangeline and Minkah Mhotep.


As I look forward to 2015, I plan to stay out of hiding and RELEASE some things I have been holding onto for years.

Release anxiety and fear and ban them from my life.

Release unwanted pounds (we’ll see how this goes).

Release more art–Artist Kelly Rae Roberts calls this unleashing our joy—It is a sweet release!

Release my story—It’s time to own my story. I’ve been working on a couple memoirs for a few years and I believe 2015 is the year to finish them.

Release those family members who do not choose to walk with me in authenticity and integrity to do as they choose with no hard feelings.

Release myself from the expectations of others. I will listen to and answer to God–not any human being.

Perhaps you too, are choosing a word instead of a resolution. Words are not only freeing, they empower us to dream of the good we can do in this new year. You know that famous quote from Gladiator? Well it’s true, so dream of the good you can do!

What we do now (in this life) echoes in eternity.
-Marcus Aurelius

PS If you share your word in the comments below or share my blog on Facebook, I will enter you into a new drawing–this time for a pack of Little Red Survivor Cards. The winner of the last drawing for a pack of Healing Flowers cards is Barbara from HomesteadHillFarm.

And here is a little reminder for all the phenomenal women who read my blog–let’s come out of hiding and own and claim it!
(RIP Dear Maya!)

13 thoughts on “Gratitude and a New Word for 2015!”

  1. Loved this blog post! I’d love to own a set of your cards, and am wiling to purchase. Please fb message me as to how to do so. Thank you, Cheri


  2. Thanks for the inspiring words! It was for me to hear, I spent much of my childhood hiding so I can relate to what you are seeing! Releasing is so important it is what frees us to receive God’s perfect gifts!


  3. Hi Lisa,
    Thank you for stopping by! I agree about releasing and making room for God’s gifts and I find even greater joy in the fact that Jesus is the Truth, He supports the truth and He is always on the side of truth! No more hiding with Him! Happy New Year to you and the wonderful people of Coast Vineyard! We hope to make it back up your way in 2015!


  4. This was a powerful challenge, my dear friend. A challenge to live authentically, and to stop the hiding. All of us hide to some extent. Your life of hiding is a ribbon that runs through us all. We might not literally hide, but do so in the pretention of our interactions with others. Thank you so much for sharing what you are learning along the way.

    Thank you for suggesting choosing a word rather than a resolution. This year my word is ACT. I choose that word because I want to stop living frozen. I want to move forward in a direction I believe God is nudging me, acknowledge the discomfort of it all, but step out and move. Numb and still is so much worse than action and pain. And so I choose to ACT despite the anxiety and discomfort that risk taking brings.

    Happy New Year, Cheri.


  5. Wow, Cheri, I’ve been reading your blog for several years now and have felt that we were friends and kindred spirits even though we’ve never met. (But next time I’m in town…. FOR SURE.) I always enjoy your blogs but this might be the best one so far. I’m saving it – it really resonates with me and I want to re-read it regularly.


  6. Thanks Cherilyn!

    My word for the year is balance, inspired by the quote from Rumi, ‘life is a balance of holding on & letting go’.

    Loved your blog about release and wishing you all the very best of release for 2015!


  7. In the game of life you were given a penalty before you ever started the game. So glad to see you out of the penalty box and engaging with the other players in this freeing way. I’m not really a hockey fan but She Shoots, She Scores pops into my head. And it’s all because of that quick RELEASE of the puck. Thanks for visiting my blog and bringing me to yours. 🙂


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