Many years ago, I was given a page-a-day Mary Engelbreit calendar. The calendar featured a bright, cheery, colorful illustration and sentiment on each page with joyful intent. As a fan of Mary Engelbreit, it was a great gift to receive.
Alas, after I tore off the first page, I could never bear to tear off any others because it seemed such a waste to let all that whimsey be lost on a daily basis. So the year passed and the calendar stayed intact. At the end of the year I thought I should save it and think of some way in which I could use all the singular pages in a decorative way. I imagined I could perhaps use them as wallpaper or create crafty gifts with them – something that would honor the joy they intended to deliver.
For years I moved this calendar from place to place in my house and then from one house to the next. Each time I laid hands on it I would reconfirm my commitment that I would do something with it one day.
Two weeks ago in the throes of my annual back to school purge frenzy, I once again laid hands on the calendar. I faced a dilemma in the moment – the desire to purge versus the desire to purposefully use the magical calendar pages. I lingered a few minutes and flipped through the days again as a last homage to my original intent to honor the art and imagination of Mary Engelbreit.
Then something came over me. I started taking apart all the pages and laying them on my kitchen table. Each page delivered a smile and a warm thought and the whole exercise started feeling like a very happy indulgence of spirit. Before long the table was covered and I arrived at the calendar’s final page.
The final page reiterated the title of the calendar – Words to Live By 2002 Calendar.
I could hardly believe it. 2002? I knew I had been saving that calender for a few years, but I was stunned to see I had it for 15 years. I can list so many things in my life that did not last 15 years, so the thought that I had held on to the calendar all that time with the intent to use it for something seemed like it required proper action and due respect. It simply could not just be purged.
I started paring down each page to only the illustration and sentiment with no clear vision of what came next. A couple of hours later as I looked at the pile I had amassed, it struck me that the best thing I could do with all the little treasures in front of me was to share them. Mike made me a little box and I painted it. It was the perfect size for the little pages.
It makes sense to me that if I should have to purge something I held on to for so long, it should be in a way that fully recognizes its worth. I thought this was the best way to honor the power of the art and messages in the calendar.
I took the little box to work today and placed it on a table in the lobby area of our office suite space in Minard Hall at NDSU. I hope that others will see the same magic I see in Mary Engelbreit’s work and will find it brings a smile to their faces as well. If you are in the vicinity, please do stop by (Office 428) and share joy.
Another day in the new forty – obla di obla da