Endings and Beginnings, and a Giveaway

New-MoonIt’s over. 2013 is behind us. A relief for some, a sentimental goodbye for others. Welcoming in a New Year always feels fresh and hopful.

This year, there is even a new moon and a super moon to welcome in the new year. A new moon rises when the sun rises, and sets when the sun sets, so it’s hard to see. (And a full moon rises when the sun sets, which helps you know the “almost full” from the “really full.”)

As the year ended, we’ve been talking about choosing a word for the year. You’ve had wonderful ideas: faith, believe, dare, balance, affirmative, listen, strength, flow, mantra, now, do, fly, focus, persevere, knowledge, wisdom, kindness, letting go, little by little, now, trust, accept, and many more.

Before you jump into using your new word, say a sincere goodbye to the old one. See how it fit. See where it pinched. Honor it in your journal one more time. And then, whether it was great, good, or never-again, put it to rest. It served you well in its own way.


The Sower, by William J. Stewart.

My word this year came to me in that balance of time between wake and sleep. I didn’t want to choose a rubber-stamp-type word, but this one was not something I thought was useful. It is Scatter.

The next day, it came back, and the day after as well. Who am I to ignore a dream? I began to think what it might mean. The most powerful image that came to mind is the ancient manner of broadcasting seed. The seed falls on stone and doesn’t grow. It is picked up by a bird and dropped on rich ground and thrives.

I’ve had too much focus and discipline in 2013. Happy enough to have focus and discipline, it helped me lose 65 pounds and change my relationship with food and become healthier, not dependent on insulin. Thank you. Now, moving on, I am thinking what needs to be scattered in my life–broadcast, spread, thrown into the wind, and carried off, only to be seen in another stage later. Or to fly off like confetti, no longer needed. Turns out, it’s a big word.

I’ve come to like the word scatter, so once a month, when I invite you to tell us what your word has developed into, I’ll talk about my scattered new life.

InnerHeroCoverAnd the giveaway? Of course, it’s a copy of my new book–the Inner Hero Creative Art Journal. Leave a comment about last year’s word and how you will say goodbye to it. Or, if you haven’t chosen a word, tell us which one you will use. Link the word to your inner hero–the one you will welcome in 2014. The winner will be announced on this coming Saturday.

And then, with joy, welcome 2014!

Note: Shirley Levine from Paper and Threads won the Inner Hero book from the Endings and Beginnings blog post (January 1, 2014). Congratulations, Shirley! I hope you make many Inner Hero pages!

Quinn McDonald welcomes her alter ego, Iron Crow, who will spend some time standing up to her Inner Critic.


57 thoughts on “Endings and Beginnings, and a Giveaway

  1. My word started in December and it is grow. I am months ahead in my plan for the year, never expecting to find a digital piano or a glass fusion kiln for the Christmas season, they both showed up in my life, it seems that it is time to grow wildly. I had the piano on my wish list 6 months ago but completely forgot about it until I was browsing one day on Craiglist on a whim. The Glass Fusion / Metal Clay Kiln was something I was looking for but did not expect to find for, another 4 or 5 months, at a price I could afford. I have not been able to use them but will once I take my Christmas Tree down in another week. I hate to take it down because this year it seems extra special as I dedicated it to my mother who died 12 years. I said I was going to have a tree that reached all the way to Heaven to greet my mother with a warm glowing smile. It seems it has reached the bigger Universal Plan in Heaven and in life for me. Being in God’s Favor is a blessing in itself. I hope everyone has a wonderful year with their new word of the year.

    • It certainly sounds like you have had a great jump into the New Year! Congratulations–I know how hard you work. I must admit, I never thought of success as being a product of a god’s favor; it must stand to reason that a lack of success must then be the product of god’s disfavor. I’m so glad your tree was a success this year–it’s hard for many people to end the season of lights. Much continued success in 2014.

      • Thanks. I never thought of it as God’s Favor before either but finding what I needed quickly to grow, at a price I could afford, is sometimes seen as Being in God’s Favor and for whatever reason people said that a lot to me during these last few weeks. Complete strangers in casual conversations were saying that to me. The person who sold the kiln to me turned down three other people who offered him a higher price. He wanted to sell it but to the “right person”.
        Success takes a small village and so does failure. No one does it alone either way because we have editors, gallery owners, paint inventors, and even the inventor of the alphabet to thank in the process of our success and perhaps a higher power sometimes or the Universe or being in the right place at the right time combined with hard work.

  2. My word last year was Simplicity. It worked well as a mind set, but this year I need to see more action so I am changing it for this year to Simplify.

  3. I’ve used “yes” as my word for the past couple of years… saying yes, being open to new ideas and change has been really important to me. In journaling this morning, I realized that I’m wanting to “engage” in a new way this year – to be a giver again. So my words, my mandate is: “yes, engage.”
    Thank you Quinn for sharing your insights with honesty and humility and for providing others a forum to do so as well. Happy New Year.

  4. Hi Quinn, just saw your post and I remembered that I’ve joined your 2013 post but I can’t remember my word…….that says enough mmm? I can think of so many words but I know they are all ’empty ‘for me and just sounding beautiful but if I don’t DO anything with them and only ‘THINK’ and DREAM and WISH, nothing will change or happen…….so I have to BEGIN and DO!
    Thanks for your always inspirational post and sharing your Road of Life! Wishing you a lot of seeds to plant, grow and bloom! warm greet from my heart, Miranda

  5. Last year my word was grow…and it walloped me with growth in ways I never could have imagined! All the things that I hoped for were pushed aside so that the real growth for the year could happen. However, I survived and standing on the precipice of a new year I am a completely different person than the one that greeted 2013.
    I had chosen “reflect” for my 2014 word, and I think I will keep it, as well as adding a second word for the first time…simplicity. I always choose verbs for my word of the year, but this noun came to me through a new acquaintance at a metaphysical store. She offered me a “soul card”, saying if I meditated for a moment on my soul, then the card I chose would reflect what my soul needed. The card I chose was Simplicity and the meaning from the book resonated with me in one of those rare spine tingling moments of clarity. So this year I shall be reflecting of simplicity and learning to be content with what I have.

    • Being content with what we have is a huge learning and gift. And knowing that we should not be content when we still need something is the next. Which is why “reflect” makes a good second word.

  6. Last year my word was “Release”. I spent time in my journal yesterday recapping the year and my word. I was able to release many things throughout the year including the need for everything to be perfect. However, I realized even though I released many things, some have a way of sneaking back in my life (like emails I have unsubscribed from). So I actually do want to continue to release things on a continual basis. My word for 2014 is “Reclaim” which sounds counter-productive to “Release”, but the intent is that I want to reclaim ideas and keepsakes that are truly meaningful to me and expand upon them. I hopefully have released enough unimportant things to make room for the ones I want to reclaim. I want to spend some quality time digging deep to find those ideas and dreams that are worth reclaiming.
    Congratulations on loosing 65 pounds, that is wonderful! Also congratulations on your new book, it looks like it has many great ideas to play with!

  7. I wasn’t participating in this conversation last year, but as I read the comments I realized that 2013 was my year to “persevere.” It was a tough year in many ways and I made it through. I’d like to choose a word for 2014 that also came to me as a read the posts. This year’s word is “embrace.” The next 12 months will undoubtedly bring changes, good and not-so-good, and I want to embrace them and own them.

  8. When a word kept coming up I did some research, because that is how I roll. I was happy to find that “prosper” can be used for me and to serve others as well and being the scyfi fan that I am, it became a whole phrase. Live long and prosper! It has a myriad of positive synonyms and related words (whole list here: http://keepitsimplemakeitgreat.blogspot.com.ar/2014/01/word-of-year-2014-prosper.html)
    I will also have some other expressions for specific areas. It is a new idea and I haven´t got a clue how that will develop. Will keep you posted.

  9. Last year I had two words, Anyway (as in, no matter what anyone else says, if it is what you need to do, do it anyway) and “It Matters.” All the little things, all the things you brush off or pass by without thought–they matter. I tried to both stay on my own path and also to pay attention and do everything I did with the awareness that it matters. It helped having both words in front of me, to catch my attention and bring me back to where I want to be.

    This year my word is heal. The year is beginning with a difficult path ahead. A good friend is on her deathbed. I’m having knee replacement surgery next week, with knee 2 to follow in a few months. I’m planning to focus inward and allow my body and my legs to heal…restore to health and soundness. There are also some relationships in my life I’d like to also heal–with a few people, with food, with the accumulation of stuff we have, with my job, which has become overwhelming.

  10. I have never chosen a word of the year but as an afterthought my sentence for last year could well have been ‘get it done’. I have been thinking about a word while reading your posts on them but since nothing seemed to come to mind willingly (they all seemed forced), I decided not to push it. Then it came to me while reading these comments: trust. I want to and need to trust that good things will happen in the future. I need to trust the path my life takes as it is, after all, my path and that we all have our individual paths that are not to measured against each other.

    It feels wonderful to have a word for this year! Thanks to all the commentators I now have one. 🙂

  11. I can’t remember mine from last year, so that tells me something, lol. I think this year I am choosing ‘live’. I want more control over my life and to spend my money and time a lot more wisely.

    • Not being able to recall your word of the year is a sign that it wasn’t a good fit, for sure! I tried to remember the last several years and had blanks. Wasn’t a good fit. Here’s to “live”!

  12. My word for last year was “forward” and it served me very well as I accomplished a lot of things with that word inspiring me through many situations. This year it is “gratitude” and I just embarked on a 365 day project of creating a gratitude journal on 4″X6″ pages that I will create from gelli prints and other assorted papers. Planning to bind them with a metal ring when I am finished at the end of the year. Thanks for a chance to win your new book. I could use some tips on how to quiet my inner critic using the help of my inner hero!

    • You’ll also find something for this year in the book–I now journal on free-standing pages and then bind them together. There are several binding choices and instructions in the book.

  13. My word for 2013 was “adventure.” I felt as if I needed a “shake up” to reinvigorate my interest in maintaining a sketchbook as a daily journal. I set up several challenges for myself,, took several classes – locally and online, and continued to enjoy art exhibits throughout New York City with my artist friends. Each of these fulfilled my idea of adventure during retirement when schedules become so predictable..

  14. My word for last year was unravel. Boy did that involve a major lot of work ,leaving a 17 year relationship,moving countries with my two kids intow,finding new homes ,school,money source, bureacracy and paperwork beyond imagination. But that word kept me going,every morning I woke up and got more things ticked off the list to reorganizing my life. Unravelling the old one. Quinn keeps me going,the blog resonates with me every time it pops up. This year I played with contentment and settle,as I need to just be after the full on pursuit of a new life in 2013. This morning…your blog arrives early in uk….I thought of WILD. I need some fun and some joy now,so wild times! I love nature and walking,wild life,I need to focus on new lines of creativity for work,wild ideas,I could at last embrace some new male energy…perhaps…wild passion,my business ideas involve wild colours and energy. So some wild risks might be involved to!
    I can’t be wild all the time as that would be reckless! But I want not to have fear,shed the past like a snakeskin,and release the wild me!
    Scatter is great and perfect for you Quinn. Thankyou for being such an amazing influence in my life. Journalling has really helped my journey. Rock on 2014,glad to see back of 2013 !

    • Those years that shake our foundations in ourselves, our decisions, our homes–those are the years that we are glad to see behind us. Often, when we look back, they were also the years that taught us the most. The ones we really stretched and grew. But that comes from time and processing. May 2014 be a year of wild joy for you and the children. I’m so glad I could be with you in the hard times; now let’s spend some wild time together!

  15. last year my word was trust, my father had passed in the november 2012, and so moving into 2013 was emotionally a tough one, there were quite a lot of stresses with the estate, i quit one of my jobs, had to deal with my health – hashimotos, flooding in my house, and just one thing after another, i kept reminding myself of my word which helped get me through; i rediscovered my passion for painting, it is my heart, i also fell in love with the most caring man i have ever met (long distance); and after half way of the year, things finally started to shift, i realised what direction i wanted to go with my life, so for this year my word is commit,commit to myself commit to my life, commit to making the things that i love & my dreams become a reality, whilst knowing that i can trust and magic will happen

  16. I found you and this place, today — thank you! It feels like a haven, a safe place of nurturing and inspiration, something I have searched and yearned for all year. I have been exploring words all my life, and at this point I am 52 and going through more changes than my pubescent 13 year old son! I experienced a multitude of life challenges in 2013 that took a toll on my body, mind and spirit. But, through it all, I find myself weathered, but still standing. With my new word clearly in view; Resilience. I often do not give myself enough credit for being the strong, resilient woman that I am. This year, I will mindfully remember that with God, I have all the strength I need for whatever life has to offer. Bring it on!

  17. My word for last year was Possibilities. Over the year I’ve grown to love that word because for me it’s a way of looking through difficult times/projects/events and seeing the positive possibilities on the other side. Last year it became possible for me to replace my old car that barely ran anymore with a new (to me, it’s an ’06 Ford Focus Hatch, red) that has lots of get up and go and fits my personality to a ‘T’. I also had the opportunity to move from my first duplex (a ranch, 3 bedroom, two bath) to a town home with 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms and a bit more space for my art and writing. I enjoyed more time with my son and daughter-in-law and and with the purchase of their first home we began new holiday traditions. And art…………I bought some video workshops last year nave been enjoying working through them and bringing more possibilities into my life. I even returned to writing, which I really enjoy. The word Possibilities has been a great word for me this past year, and I will honor it by creating a medal with the word as it’s central focus.

    My new word is Growth. I like this word and feel it follows nicely on the heels of Possibilities. I look forward to growing spiritually, mentally, emotionally, intellectually, creatively and in so many, many different aspects of my life. I never think about my new word for the year, choosing instead to let it come to me on it’s own. For me, it fits better when I do it this way. The word feels like it fits me like a glove for that year. Growth….it’s full of life and optimism. I like that. 🙂

  18. My word last year was “blaming”. I worked with word through Compassionate Communication: how it perpetuates violence with one person up and another down; I worked with my word through 12 Step programs: how this habit has been one of my character defects; and this last month I worked with it as a prompting from my spiritual waiting time. I worked for weeks rewriting the history of my husband’s actions and my reactions and interpretations; I finally eliminated all blaming towards him. I was surprised when I felt lighter and clearer inside. In hindsight I can see how I needed to write out the story of our last 20 years not relying on verbally releasing the past. I bring into the new year, the prompting to now rewrite the last 20 years taking out my interpretations of being a victim. I expect this will also take weeks and numerous drafts. I have a sense that my word for 2014 will emerge out of this word. Thanks,

    • It wasn’t a naughty word, it was the second link. Spam frequently have lots of link, so I have my “do you think this is spam?” note set for two links. And I love the idea of giving a book to my local high school. I know about art abandonment, but book abandonment, in Phoenix, well . . .I think giving to a local high school library is a good idea. And may result in a good story.

  19. First up, why is it that the second full moon of a month has a fanfare and it’s own special name but the second new moon doesn’t? They’re just as rare and there’s one in January and again in March. And if the second full moon in a blue moon, could we just slip across the colour wheel and call the second new one orange? But oh, it’s actually not visible so that wouldn’t really fit.

    So here I am with my morning coffee, riffing on as I am wont to do and I google it and find indeed it does have a name. Wiccans call it a black moon. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_moon) As I’m a moon watcher fron way back I’m pleased to have learnt something this morning . . . which takes me to my word.

    I thought it would be, and shared that it would be, KISS: Keep It Simple Sweetheart and kisses as a blessing. But no! I think I need to keep my options open and walk down any road that opens up as I feel like it and learn what I may. I need something far more spontaneous, something that reflects my childhood nickname of ‘Mucker’ because I was always mucking around at something different, I was a bit of a butterfly exploring here and there, wanting to learn how things worked. Why and how ruled my life. Perhaps spontaneity is the word that would challenge my perfectionistic leanings!

    And last year . . . content, noun and adjective. I have all I need and I am content. This will continue to be a focus for me, something to meditate upon in years to come through joy and adversity.
    Finally, if I were to win the book Quinn, I would like you to abandon it somewhere, with a note of blessing to the finder, bookcrossing-style. http://www.bookcrossing.com/ Or donate it to a local high school. As you know, I have one winging it’s way in my direction!

    • I love CONtent and conTENT. It is a love pairing and will take a long time to explore. I just explained to someone else this morning that some words take more than one year to fulfill. And yes, the black moon is the second new moon in a month, which we will have in January. I can’t wait!

  20. My word for last year was “Choose” as was it the year before. I felt I needed to keep that word for a second year because I still had much to learn. And much I have learned! I have found myself, many times over the past two years, feeling like a cliff dweller being brought right to the edge and being asked to make a choice. Some were really hard, painful choices. Other choices brought me incredible love and blessing. I know this word will actually continue throughout my life because we all have to make choices every day. I think deeper about those choices now.

    For this coming year, my word is “depend”. I will venture deeper into levels of trust to depend on God. I will discover what it means to really being in a partner relationship with a husband who is trustworthy and what it looks like to have someone in whom I can depend. I am praying that, within my family, as a whole we can all learn to depend on each other. Looking forward to this new year!

  21. I didn’t have a word for 2013. But my word for 2014 is “Become”. To become the poet, the artist, the lover, the adventurer and the healer that I know I am in my mind and spirit. To actively engage in these communities and activities, to live my ideals and passions outwardly. 2013 was a passive year, spent letting things happen to me, letting the good and bad wash over me. Now it’s time to engage, to be active. I already feel like I have an abundance of energy to get in the fray and do it! 🙂

  22. Last year never came together for various reasons…too many and too ugly to list here. But this year, it’s NURTURE! I need to nurture myself…physically, emotionally, spiritually, creatively, etc. It’s pretty much like the oxygen masks dropping on a plane; to help someone else, I need to help me first.

  23. Last year I chose ACCEPT with the intention of accepting myself. It was a very challenging word, and I did not reach for it as often as I had with previous years’ words. I did make progress towards accepting myself and others as we are, but my word served me best in an unanticipated way, I accepted a new diagnosis of diabetes and accepted the difficult changes I needed to make to take care of myself.

    For 2014, I am choosing RELEASE. I see it as a gentle noticing and then letting go of negative emotions and self-imposed restrictions that no longer serve me, releasing to make room for more joy and peace. It feels like an unburdening, a move towards lightness, freedom, and a place from which I can release joy into the world. And I look forward to discovering which inner hero will show up to help me RELEASE.

  24. I’ve chosen “serve”. It’s a natural thing for me to do and something I have not fully appreciated. I want to really enjoy being in service. I want to choose when I am in service to others and learn more about how I feel about serving others. In the past I have found myself resentful and feeling taken for granted. So, for 2014 I will re-establish my service to others by laying down some rules that will allow me to enjoy being in service to others again.

  25. Last January 1, regardless of what word I might have chosen, I couldn’t have predicted that in 2013 my colleagues would maneuver me out of a work project while I was on vacation … or a friend would die suddenly and too young … both of which were wake-up calls to embrace areas of my life outside of work (hence your online poetry class, among other things). That said, I am leaning toward the word “sense” because it expresses two kinds of ideas (almost opposite) that I have been thinking about for this year … good sense, such as responsibly staring down piles of information that scare me (I just turned 62 and it’s time to quit burying my head in the sand about planning for the future) because avoidance gives fear power over me … and becoming more involved with my senses, such as choosing music, art, reading, friendships, and being outdoors (which are, come to think of it, “good sense” choices) over sense-numbing alternatives because using the senses is how to experience life.

  26. My word for 2014 is Dare. I wanted ease or effortless or fun or something that wasn’t such a challenge after the turmoil of 2013 but Dare it is. 2013 was a challenging year for me and I am quite relieved to see the back of it. 2014, although I will Dare is going to be a much more positive and easier year for me. I look forward to daring to reach for my dreams!

  27. If I had chosen a word last year, it should have been retreat. Today, on the first day of a new year, I think I am ready to bid farewell to reclusiveness and thank Crone Feather for providing me with new wings to fly.

  28. My word last year was EXPLORE. I explored new ways of doing business, explored opening my store, explored my own self with coaching and classes, explored my personal relationships, explored new art. It was a good word, but much more work than I envisioned at the start of the year. I don’t have a ritual for letting go of the past words. But I am ready to embrace my new word for 2014 which is JOY. I am looking forward to enJOYing my business, enJOYing my art, being more JOYous in my relationships, having a JOYful attitude, feeling JOY in my heart.

  29. First of all, I have a decorative iron crow on my bookshelf! She is one of my personal symbols!

    I don’t even remember last year’s word because I abandoned it very early in the year. This year’s word is “Search” because it is what I always do and I need to honor that in myself.

    Happy New Year!

  30. Each day I look forward, read & ponder your writings. Some days the posting will stop me in my tracks. Last year my word was intention and even though I didn’t do the one thing in particular that was intended, there were many other areas in my life where intention saw results. This year, the word hasn’t come so easily to me…..”wait” seems to swirl in my head and yet the resounding sound of the word doesn’t ring clearly. But maybe that’s the point….I wait for the cymbals to ring, the clang of the bell to chime and the newness and freshness of exciting new experiences sing their own music… to play new sounds in my ears throughout the year. And so “wait” is now the word of choice…..I definitely want to hear music in whatever shape or form it appears in my life. I wait to enjoy each new day as if it is the first day or the last day of my life. Yeah….I wait. How exciting waiting will be….to be alive to see, hear, and feel what waiting has brought to me each day. And the results of what waiting brings to me will be written and put into a jar. At the end of the year, I will review those written words…..reviewing the year and how & what waiting has brought to me each day. The word could be misleading, making one think that I’ll miss so much in life if I’m constantly in a state of waiting…..on the contrary…..waiting & watching what the universe has already pre-ordained for me….now that will ring bells with excitement and anticipation.

  31. IRON CROW! I really like that, and got an immediate image… very tactile. After your post the other day about my word for the year being a chuck that keeps me from rolling back, I almost changed my word. But I think SETTLE will be it. I am writing a blog piece about it after this!
    My word for last year (for the second year in a row) was contentment. I was waiting for my mother to complete her path, and had to be content with what was. She died in April of 2013, so the rest of the year was coming to terms with her death, and again contentment was a very good word. All in all my 2013 word helped me cope with a year of awful changes…

  32. My word for this year is “nurture”, mainly of my body, which has been crying for attention, but also of some relationships which have been taken for granted and assumed to be self-sustaining.

    Shine on!

  33. Last year my word was Happy and it was good to me, allowing me to focus on being happy & positive through some very difficult times. My word for 2014 is Freedom…freedom from worry and freedom from restrictions. I am looking forward to being free to live my life.

  34. I just started reading your blog last year and didn’t pick a word for the year, but if I had it would have been Focus. Because I learned through out the year to focus on my talents in a different way. This year I am choosing the word “Release”. There are many things I need to release, past hurts, anger, ill feelings towards others, etc. I am looking forward to releasing as many as I can. I have not journalled in the past, this would be a great way to get started and I would love to find my inner hero, I love your name for yours – Iron Crow – Strong, unbending, but with just enough curiosity to explore new things. I think your inner hero goes perfectly with your word Scatter since Crows (if you are using the bird) are known for their mischievous way of scattering things. Have a Happy Blessed New 2014!!!

  35. Last year my word was “Prepare”, and rightly so, as I had some uprooting and major changes, which I knew were going to happen. It helped me maintain balance and sanity and accept the changes with a good attitude.
    This year is beginning with more life changes, namely, just being diagnosed with breast cancer. As of this moment, I’m thinking that my word(s) will be “Pay Attention”, and not just on getting well, but on seeing the magic and mystery and wonder all around me. I want to slow down and live more in the moment instead of just flitting though life.
    Happy New Year to all!

  36. Last year’s word was spaciousness – and the full meaning and blessings of it was revealed to me …. On December 31st! (heartinspiredlife@blogspot.ca). This year’s words were revealed to me during a guided meditation, and they are Truth and Trust. I have interpreted it as Truth my Inner Truth. I have made a SoilCollage card for it and also collages for this energy, and will be looking at them and journaling with them regularly to explore the deeper meaning. Thank you so much for the great giveaway! And a very Happy New Year to you!

  37. My word last year was Believe. It was my first year picking a word, and what was at first geared towards religion slowly began to lead to me believing in myself, and in my god given talents. I will miss Believe, but am looking forward to my new word for 2014 which is Change. I’m excited to see how it twists and turns into something other than what I have planned for it! Happy 2014!

  38. My word is Joyful. I need to bring joy back int my life so that is how I plan to bring in the new and send out the old.

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