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Our Wish for Grace in the New Year


As we cross through the threshold of this New Year, we greet it with making plans, setting resolutions and expectations for what is to come and the ability to “symbolically” start again. Some of us kick the past year out the door with gusto, some mourn its end and hope the beauty of the past wings itself into the future. Some greet it with a blend of the two. All of us greet it differently as we all have different life experiences. We assess and give gratitude for the positives while trying to make changes so the negatives are less apparent in this “new beginning.” While there is much ado made about the new year, we often set ourselves up for failure by setting all of these resolutions that are impossible to change in the matter of days. Old habits die hard…that we know. How can we set ourselves up for feeling more success than failure in the new year? That is a question that I have long reckoned with, for I am part of that population who sets all of these lofty changes and goals in the beginning of each and every new year to typically be met with the same result. And that is of very little change in the way I know how to live, to operate on a day to day basis. In my own psychological introspection, these are learned behaviors resulting first from having a mind that is wired to think about and accomplish 10 things at a time, and then from having to utilize that tendency as a mother raising five children…thus strengthening that intrinsic or personality trait. Whichever it is is to be debated.

What is one to do about that? How do you navigate the new year and its concept of change and what you would like to do differently with this new slate without setting yourself up for failure? Of course, the heavy issues that we had last year are not going to magically go away this year. My approach to it all has shifted from letting go of what I cannot control to asking myself how I should react to what I cannot control. I have been fairly successful with this approach, but what to do when the factors that I cannot control outweigh the ones I can? As we all know, life can get fairly heavy when we are carrying all of these issues that we have no control of. It is normal to then feel somewhat out of control and dejected, and easy to be too hard on yourself.

I would like to tell you a story that is somewhat TMI but I think it is very important in imparting our wishes for all of you in this New Year. A few months ago we were in the midst of preparing for our Fall Barn Sale. I was working 16 hour days and spending countless weekend after weekend working in the barn as well. One early morning when I woke up I said to myself, “Meg, you are going to take a few minutes to throw a box of hair dye on your hair. Your grays are taking over and you can no longer wear a baseball hat every day. Why don’t you throw it on as everyone is still sleeping and work on your computer while it is processing?” I thought that was a fab idea, for I again could kill two birds with one stone.

I proceeded to put on my bath robe, apply the hair dye, set my timer and go to my home office. While in my office, I used the little bathroom right next door, the “vintage” 1940s toilet that has a penchant for misbehaving and backing up with little provocation. As I was washing my hands, I noticed that the toilet water was moving in the direction that water typically does not when one presses the flusher. While it had initially flushed, I horrifically watched as the water that was now filling the bowl kept rising and grabbed the plunger. Plunging away to no avail, the water rose over the edge and flowed out onto the floor. Frantically looking for the shut off valve to the toilet proved fruitless, as it was not to be found. Neglecting my position with the plunger I ran to the nearby linen closet and pulled out all of the towels and rags that I could find to stop the flow of water now hitting the hallway. In one last ditch effort, I searched for the shut off valve underneath the sink and bingo, found it and shut it off . I sat back against the old claw foot tub in relief, as the water had been spewing out like we had installed a fountain instead of a toilet. After catching my breath, I ran downstairs to check the kitchen, as this toilet has behaved in this fashion before and the kitchen lies directly underneath. So much water had hit the floor upstairs that it needed to go somewhere and that was through the old floorboards to the kitchen below, which held about an inch of water on its limestone floor from one end to the other.

As I was running back upstairs to grab more towels, my phone timer went off with that telltale jingle. I paused for an instant, not remembering why it was going off, until I snapped back into consciousness and remembered that I was wearing my full head of hair dye. Off it had to go so I ran back downstairs, dropped the towels to mop up the water later and into the shower I went. I woke up my hubby who had slept through the chaos to alert him to what he was going to encounter upon going downstairs. As I stood in the shower and rinsed out my much-needed hair dye, the comical nature of all that had transpired broke through and the image of me plunging away in my bath robe with my hair piled on top of my head covered in hair dye made me laugh. And I said to myself again, “Meg, there is a lesson in this and you are going to share it in one of your blog posts.”

What the heck is the point of this story with much personal info in it?! Well, I have always tried to touch upon the imperfection of life with what we do here at Life’s Patina. While we strive for perfection in the way we display our vintage finds and new merchandise, we know that there is no perfection in life but that there is beauty to be found in the everyday. It is this imperfection that shapes our lives and creates a patina upon our minds, bodies and souls as we move through our life and create its story. What we don’t do often enough is recognize in ourselves and in each other that we are not perfect. We often expect a lot from ourselves and each other. Each of us walks through life with hardship, beauty, challenges, triumphs, etc. May we acknowledge that, respect that and each other. We need to celebrate more of the good and the beautiful, dismiss the trivial, and look toward what each day could bring instead of dreading what might happen in each day. While we are different, we are alike in many ways as well. In our own different ways, at any moment of any given day, we are all holding onto a plunger with hair dye on our heads (symbolically), some just trying to survive. With that, in this new year I encourage you to:

Give the grace card.

Give yourself the grace card more often…and give it to others as well!

In addition to encouraging you to give the grace card, first to yourself and then to others, we also hope to create MORE of all that we have brought to fruition in 2022:

  • to discover even more beauty in the everyday and help others to do so as well

  • to find inspiration in nature and light

  • to make meaningful connections with other incredible humans

  • to chase the light in dark times and savor the little moments that become the big moments

  • to create unique experiences that lift your spirit and bring YOU joy that you can carry in your heart long after you leave Life’s Patina

On a personal note now that we are all very close after the above story, I am entering this new year with a focus on doing more of what brings me joy. In past years, I have stopped doing things that did that in order to reach goals that I had set. But they are not mutually exclusive. I can still set goals but not let them overtake my joy. I can embrace the parts of me that might be too hard to change at this point in my life and try to see them as positives. I can move through the motions of doing 10 things at once but take more enjoyment out of each and every one of them while I count my blessings that I have 10 important things to juggle. I can embrace my empathetic and sensitive shell but let things roll off my back instead of seeping into me so I am not as affected. I am doing the best that I can, as we all are. If I drop a ball or two or the whole dang bunch of them…that is okay. I can give myself the grace card and then just pick them up and try again… as can you.

May peace and joy follow you into this New Year!



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  1. Cheryl Mousseau says:

    Meg, you do have such a gift for writing that you have continued to pursue. I so wish that I had not let my love of writing wither after I retired from teaching but perhaps in this new year I will get back to my long lost blog of 1teacherwriting. I wonder that you would take all your wonderful writings and put that in a book titled Giving the Grace Card. Love to you and the family. Cheryl

  2. Chris Stoner says:


  3. MD says:

    OMG – that was beautiful!

  4. Maureen Markley says:

    So insightful as always Meg!

    • Marti Bennethum says:

      What a wonderful story, and an even more wonderful and encouraging approach to life… something I sorely need at this time!
      BTW if you can imagine I have been in a similar situation… Hair dye/plunger/flood 🙄🌊 — the joys of old houses/renovation/do it yourself hair maintenance!😉.
      I usually don’t handle these situations with the graciousness or mindfulness that you have shown, but I certainly see the benefit of a mind change from your positive attitude!
      Thanks for sharing….thanks for the grace.

    • Ann Arader says:

      Didn’t know that in addition to all you do, you are a talented story teller as well! Here’s to shut off valves & may we always find them when we need them!

  5. Cynthia says:

    Hi Meg, thank you for that thoughtfully, inspiring insight; I can relate. As a Catholic who adores her Lord I am learning to rest in him and honor God by remember the sabbath. As I focus on my Lord in scripture and prayer, as I set aside time to rest one day a week ( no work) and enjoy family, friends etc. I’m blessed with true rest for my soul and body as well as peace and the ability to handle the more stressful things life brings our way. There are many outlets that cause fear so I choose to stay away from them. What I feed my mind on
    definitely impacts my daily life and how I respond to others. There is so much truth, beauty and goodness that we miss out on when we don’t take time to rest in the way our good Lord intended. God bless you and yours.