2014 Word for the Year-Zen


zen frameHappy January 1st, 2014! Here we are again, a new year and a new word to choose for the year. This is the 5th year that I have chosen a word to frame and look at everyday. It all started in 2010 at the suggestion of one of my favorite yoga teachers, Mary NurrrieStearns, and I chose the word Create. 2011 I chose Pursue, 2012 was Delve and 2013 was Focus.

2013 Recap

2013 turned out to be a rough year in many ways, and I was really tested with the word Focus. It was very hard to do with last year’s life circumstances. But I did try even though it was  frustrating! I waver about how much to share personally and how much to be private, but I think I am supposed to help others and be real and I don’t want you all to think Happy First is just about being happy all the time and that my life is perfect. I think the philosophy behind Happy First is about having a positive attitude and outlook in good times and adversity and just having faith that things happen for a reason sometimes that we don’t understand and that adversity can make us stronger and the experiences we have can help others.

So a brief recap of 2013 and then let’s start fresh with a new year. My mom had been really ill for couple of years and I was constantly running back and forth to Dallas from Tulsa (4 hours away) and had the guilt of leaving my family here and not being down there enough to help my sister  who lives in Dallas. My mom passed away in April. It was really sad but she had suffered so much so it was good that she was no longer suffering. She had a full life and helped so many people. Now we are working on cleaning out her house and that is a huge job. So I am still going back and forth.

In the summer we lost 2 of our 4 dogs. In August we had to put Baron, our Great Pyrenees to sleep. He was 10. He was such a sweetie and a protector of our other dogs and property. Then we lost Scooter, our blue heeler mix, 6 weeks later. He was around 12 years old and we knew he didn’t have long. But he died doing what he loved-he went running with me and the 2 remaining dogs on our property and then disappeared after the first lap. I found him dead in the woods the next day. He must have had a heart attack.

Then my Uncle-my mom’s only sibling, passed away suddenly of a heart attack in November and we flew up to New York City for the week for the funeral and to be with family. It was sad and unexpected but it was so good to see family we hadn’t seen in a while and met some new people that were so close to my Uncle.

We also have lost both of my husband’s parents in the last 2 years.

Great things too in 2013. Fun trips with family and friends. Our oldest son got engaged to his high school sweetheart and we just love her and her family. And then he just graduated college this December, yay!

Also I have finally delved more into my own hand drawn simple designs and am learning to delegate to some great helpers so I can spend more time being creative and do the things I love instead of being bogged down with the busyness. (Thank you so much my friend and mentor for your help-CC Lawhon, author of Guru You- in finding ME and being ME and helping me on all of this)

We had a busy fall with Happy First sales, even though the weather sometimes got in the way!

I went to an awesome meditation retreat at the beginning of November-Transformative Meditation and Yoga Retreat- facilitated and created by Mary, my yoga teacher. I will have to do a separate blog post on that, it was so great.

And we just got a new puppy a few weeks ago-he is half Great Pyrenees and half Anatolian Shepherd. He is a handful but so much fun! The 2 older dogs are slowly getting used to him. His name is Otto.

So I hope I didn’t bum you all out. Just wanted to let you know that we all go through stuff and every day is a new beginning. I think 2013 was an incubation period for me. And that is fitting with the egg logo and what Happy First represents. So now I am ready to once again burst out of my shell.

Now to 2014

My word for 2014 is ZEN. I had just come up with some new “Zen Chick” tees and a scarf this fall for our Yoga Collection but didn’t realize it would be my word for this year.

Zen has a Buddhist origin meaning achieving sudden enlightenment but that is not really what I am talking about here, or what Zen means to me.

I did look up some other meanings of Zen – the Urban Dictionary (isn’t that an interesting source?) says Zen is-”a total state of focus that incorporates a total togetherness of body and mind. Zen is a way of being. It also is a state of mind. Zen involves dropping illusion and seeing things without distortion created by your own thoughts.” It also says Zen is “complete and absolute peace” (wow wouldn’t that be something?)

One of my very favorite blogs is Zen Habits. This is what they say- “Zen Habits is about finding simplicity in the daily chaos of our lives. It’s about clearing the clutter so we can focus on what’s important, create something amazing, find happiness.”

I’m also reading a book that CC recommended called “Zen and the art of making a living” by Laurence G. Boldt. It is really good; I am not too far into it just yet. Several things I like that it says so far is that Zen is spirit in the everyday. The integration of spiritual and material. An awareness of the sacred in the ordinary. Also awareness and spirit applied to everyday life and work.

So what I am wanting to do with this word ZEN is focus on simplicity and BE PRESENT. The way I draw is pure and simple and happy. I want to be in that “creative zone” that I sometimes get into when I am really focusing and having fun creating and losing concept of time. (oh oops my husband says I never have concept of time, ha!).

I also want to smell the roses. This Zen book above talks about being aware of nature. Here I am surrounded by woods and beauty and birds and animals and sometimes I get so caught up in my busyness that I don’t even see it. And I have had a hard time just slowing down and relaxing. So going to work on that! And also balance (if there is such thing?) and mindfulness-oh- see Kelli’s post last year on mindfulness.

I love doing this Word for the Year and I love hearing what everyone else comes up with. We have some great guest posts lined up and we also have a Pinterest board where you can share there too or just get ideas! And I so welcome your comments here on the blog and pinterest and if you want to guest blog, please let me know!

I am thinking that along with the Word for the Year, I also want to break it down with related Word for the Months (maybe because I am ADD and get bored!). I think sometimes people get excited at the New Year but then fade as the months go by so if we make Words of the Month, it will help us focus on our overall Word for the Year.

I don’t have all my words planned out for each month yet. I will keep you posted. I want to get organized and declutter in January so I feel more free to create (January is National Creativity Month) and I also like to talk about health and fitness so let’s say the January Word will be Zen which includes all of these and we will go from there.

So I am excited for a new year, a new word, and to the word you choose and why!


  1. says

    You have had a very trying year full of grief. It is inspiring that you are finding a way to care for and nurture your emotional health. Zen is a great word for 2014. Mine is “Release.”

    Many blessings…

    • Debbie says

      Thanks for commenting. I went to your website, wow, I am inspired by YOU. I would love for you to share with us. I will be contacting you. I love how we are all connecting with one another.

  2. Terri Sensintaffar says

    Debbie, I don’t really know how you do all you DO! You are, and continue to be, a great friend to me, and inspiration as well. I am looking forward to alot of fun times with you guys – and praying this year is a year of Zen and fabulous creativity beyond your imagination!

    I haven’t come up with a word for me yet…will let you know when I do!

  3. says

    Happy New Year Debbie! All blessings upon you in 2014!! I read your blog and thought once again that you are a very talented writer. I love the way you weave the personal with the universal or, said another way, how you tell your own life story in a way that we can all relate to. I love your word ZEN for the year. I still frame a phrase and place it by my bathroom sink so that I see it more than once daily! My current phrase says “ADORE ABBA IN EVERYONE”. It is a reminder to me to see the divine in everyone and to treasure that aspect in us all. I wrote that phrase after the fall retreat. I was so impacted by one of the poems by St Francis of Assisi, especially the last line “I have come to learn that God adores all of His Creation.” I feel loved by those words and an invitation to love. Hope to see you soon!

    • Pam Gordineer says

      I love your phrase that is absolutely beautiful. I always have more than just one word and I like how you did a phrase!

    • Debbie says

      Mary, thanks for sharing. It is because of YOU I started the Word for the Year! You have a way of inspiring people and helping them through life. I love your outlook and compassion for others. Your Fall Retreat was wonderful! I really needed it.

  4. Pam Gordineer says

    Your year and way of dealing with it is very inspiring. I have a lot of ways similar to you. My life seems to be on fast speed and I’m always going. My word is observe. This year I want to try and observe more of what is going on around me. I usually get tunnel vision and just go. I want to try and listen to others around me more. I’m like you and want to smell the roses which I did during the week of Christmas while I was in Florida. My parents have some property joining a neighbor that has some beautiful rose gardens. It’s amazing and we walked through them and smelled them all. She picked some for us and put them in a bucket on my mom’s doorstep. So I took them inside and trimmed them and made an arrangement in a vase. They were so beautiful and smelled up the room. I waved at a neighbor today and she waved back and it was someone I have never met. I was about to go on a run and she yelled out to me “Are you training for a marathon?” so I stopped and talked to her and realized I just met an amazing lady. So we do need to stop and take time and observe others and not always focus so much on ourselves and I will tell you why. I learned something from that lady from just talking with her for a few minutes that changed me. She went through a tragedy and she is strong and growing from it. She said some words to me from what she went through that inspired me. We inspire others all the time and we don’t realize it. So being positive helps others even when we don’t know it. She also told me she sees me running all the time and wants to try and train for a marathon or something. So just me going out there and running when I do I am possibly inspiring someone else and I don’t even know it. So this year I am not going to stop the things I’m doing. I do so many things and sometimes my plate is overflowing but I am going to try and observe others more around me while I am doing those things and stop and take time with others while I’m doing them instead of rushing and trying to finish for whatever reasons I may have.

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