Donated Inspiration

It's no longer a war theme, but a challenge to choose a single word.

It’s no longer a war theme, but a challenge to choose a single word.

Winter can be hard on us all. What can we choose to get us going...and stay focused?

Winter can be cold, barren. What word will get us going…and keep us focused?  (picture by Marylin Warner)



Television talk shows have been giving attention to the topic of how single word themes are replacing lists of New Year’s Resolutions. Motivational specialists seemed to agree this is a wise move, selecting a single word to give your thoughts and actions focus throughout the year.

One program asked viewers to Tweet their single word themes. By the end of the segment, these were some of the words scrolling across the bottom of the screen: unafraid, release, balance, achieve, persevere, observe, win, play, simplify, learn. The word that came to my mind was very different.

For several years, I volunteered at the local Women’s Thrift House on the third Saturday of each month. I was often amazed—and sometimes saddened—by the handmade items and gifts that were dropped off as donations. Knitted scarves and gloves, pottery bowls and pitchers, crocheted baby blankets and booties. Some were donated in their gift boxes, and a few still had sweet cards written to the recipients by the senders.

One Saturday eight years ago, I couldn’t stop thinking about one of the handmade items, so at the end of the day I purchased it. The one-word hand-stitched message was matted and framed, and it was like a reminder tapping me on the shoulder: YAGOTTAWANNA

I took the 5”x7” framed message with me to show my mom on the next visit, and I remember she studied it a moment to figure it out. Then she laughed and said, “I think this message was made for you, Marylin. No matter what, when you really, really want to do something, you find a way to do it.”

That was then, and now my one word for 2016 is YAGOTTAWANNA, a reminder that if there’s something I need to do, want to do, hope to do…my first step is to grasp the reason WHY I really, really want to do it. The Why will guide me to the HOW…and the commitment to get it done.

I have three supporters in my corner. The first is Confucius: “It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.” Abraham Lincoln is the second: “Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than anything else.”

Third, and best of all, is my mom, who believed this message was made for me as a reminder that there wasn’t anything I couldn’t do if I really, really wanted to do it.





Filed under art projects, Dementia/Alzheimer's, importance of doing good things, just doing the best we can, lessons about life, making a difference, memories for great-grandchildren, special quotations, writing, writing exercises

82 responses to “Donated Inspiration

  1. That is truly a great word! It feels big and energetic and makes me think of Cowabunga!

  2. Jim

    LISTEN will be my word.

    • Resolute is a strong guide word, Jenny. One of my writing friends chose resolve as her word and even has an acronym for all the letters that covers all the main issues she is committed to resolving in 2016.

  3. What a treasure you found, Marylin. I love the sign and the word. Your mother was spot on.

  4. What a great word! I absolutely love it. I find single words to be so much more inspirational. It leaves much to our own individual interpretation. I have seen my word “Believe” already in several different places and it’s inspiring me already. 🙂

    • Last year my word was gratitude, Joanne, and once I chose it, I saw it many places. Each time was like a gentle nudge.
      It will be interesting to see if YAGOTTAWANNA starts appearing with its nudge. 🙂

  5. And I know you’ll succeed.
    xxx Massive Hugs xxx

  6. You hit the jackpot with this word choice. I can’t imagine anyone else coming up with such a guide word, but I predict others too will adopt Yagottawanna. I like how you embedded the word in the rich soil of history and family memories. Obviously your mom is your best supporter although Confucius and Lincoln aren’t bad either.

    Love your style, Marylin. After a week of tracing an undelivered package and a broken down car, these sentiments give me a lift.

    • Oh, Marian, thank you. I so appreciate your style and dedication to telling the stories of your aunts, grandmother, and family history. You know touching details and have keepsakes (post cards, pictures, letters, dishes and clothing) that keep the memories alive and thriving. You obviously already have the YAGOTTAWANNA word in your working vocabulary to do all this with your family history.

  7. Reblogged this on Plain and Fancy and commented:
    I will bet no one else has picked this guide word for 2016. Read about Marylin Warner’s fantastic choice here.

  8. But, of course! I would like to keep that in mind if something truly means something to me.

    • You’re welcome to it. 🙂 I think the first step is to choose a goal that is meaningful for you, and then the word kicks in to remind you that YAGOTTAWANNA enough if you really want to achieve it.

  9. calvin

    If only YAGOTTAWANNA where a lake, with an island. And you were it’s custodial dream keeper………this might not make sense, but am saying it regardless.

  10. Love love love it thank you!

  11. juliabarrett

    Ohhhhhh, I am so loving this post! And your mother. She gets it, you both get it. Thanks for the word of inspiration, Marylin.

    • Since I bought this little gem from the donation bin, Julia, one artist friend has painted a tiny watercolor of it and two others have created their own counted cross-stitch samplers. One is a gorgeous 1800s-style alphabet pillow top, and woven among the rigid flowers and assorted stitches is a delicately stitched YAGOTTAWANNA. It’s such a strange, funny, effective combination. 😉 My mother and I welcome you to our We Get IT club, Julia!

  12. Great word and wonderful post!

    • I’m glad you like it, Merril. YAGOTTAWANNA captured my attention all those years ago. Someone had spent a lot of time creating the cross-stitched word and borders, and then had it professionally matted and framed. But still it ended up in the donation bin at a thrift house…maybe just waiting for me?

  13. Elfrieda Neufeld Schroeder

    Everyone’s blogging about the word for the day or year. I have a post about it percolating in my head, but haven’t got to blogging about it yet. Yours is the most original post I have read! What word can compete with yagottawanna?!! It actually sounds like an aboriginal word! But, if yagottawanna, ya also gottastarta somewhere!

  14. Nice one! I’ll do my best to remember that word; I might have to write it a few times, though! 👏👏👏

    • Writing it over and over will help. One of my friends made an 1800s-style sampler for a pillow, and she said that by the time she’d embroidered the YAGOTTAWANNA in the center, it was as permanent in her mind as having it tattooed on her arm. 😉

  15. Great idea, Marylin. I love your one word, Yagottawanna.

    My one word would be ‘gratitude.’ A recent video by Brother David Steindl-Rast urges us to stop and listen to the world around us, to enjoy what the world has to offer. That was an excellent message for me.

    • Gratitude (gratefulness) was my word last year, Judy. The last line of my journal each night was to chose one thing for which I’d been truly grateful. Often it was a small, insignificant thing, but soon I was watching for those wonderful small moments and understanding their importance.
      You have an excellent word this year. 🙂

      • Marylin … Each school night, I post a classroom positive. I’ve been doing that since the beginning of the 2014-15 school year and it’s certainly helped me appreciate the positive things that are happening in my classroom. I think it’s helped me improve my outlook. 😉

      • I did that, too, Judy, especially in the repeater class, where we kept a running list. I would write the first positive word on Monday, and then leave the chalk available. During that class, or when the students arrived the next day, they could write a sentence using that word. I was always surprised how creative their sentences could be–and some illustrated the word on the board instead of using it in a sentence–and by the end of the week one chalkboard was filled.
        I miss those days…kind of. 😉

      • That’s a wonderful idea, Marylin. 😉

  16. Well that is one great word! My word for last year was accept and it served me well as I was going through so many changes. I haven´t picked a word for this year yet. I hope one shouts at me soon.

    • Accept is an excellent word when you’re going through many changes, especially difficult ones. I’m glad this year you’re still waiting for a word to shout at you soon, Darlene. Words will do that, you know. I hope you’ll let me know when one makes itself known to you.

  17. Thank’s Marylin! I needed that booster shot. I think I’m going to combine it with my word for the year (patience, which is something quite different from what I’ve been thinking it is all these years–is more about embracing the moment than about enduring the grind). The two together look to be able to help me survive all the uncertainties I’m facing.

    I wish you a beautiful 2016.

    • I wish the same for you, Tracy. The “embracing the moment” meaning of patience is one I first learned from a nun at the Catholic hospital where I was a candy striper when I was 16. I overheard her explaining it to a woman who was on complete bed rest for a problem pregnancy. It had a strong effect on all of us who overheard her tell the patient this, so it was a multi-level learning experience.

  18. I came by way of Marian Beaman’s post and I’m sure glad I did! 🙂

  19. A very encouraging and uplifting post…..I thought I left a comment last night…guess I was more asleep than I thought. My word might be CHANGE this year…not that I change but that I accept change.
    I need to work on this. A little snow here this morning but not for long…I think I might have liked seeing more snow to watch for a while…I am sure there might still be time for some in the future.

    • The first thing I could say (wrongly) is that THE change is something I don’t like to remember…including hot flashes. 😉 But on its own, as a noun or a verb, change is a wonderful theme word for 2016.
      We had snow over ice yesterday morning, enough to cause accidents on city streets and the interstate. Today we had some sunshine and a brief high of 50, so it was a very nice reprieve.

  20. I like your word Marylin – it’s focussed but it’s also fun! And it’s also a reminder of not just doing things because you think you should, but because you want to – which fits in with my word of the year which is joy 🙂

  21. I love this so much, Marylin. It makes me wanna read everything you put up this year. 😉

    • Thank you, Shirley. I hope you will! Now that I’ve determined what I need to do in order to get things done–find a way to really want to do them, not just feel obligated–I do feel energized and excited about this year! 🙂

  22. A great choice, and it was great to be reminded of cowabunga, a favourite childhood word.

  23. Hi ya The Mighy Marian sent me . Love the word I think of SUPERCALAFRAGALISTICESPEALADOCIOUS …sorry haven’t a clue how to spell it but you know what I mean Mary Poppins and all that jazz . My word is CHANGE

    • Even together I don’t know if we’ve figured out the spelling, Cherry, but I can sing almost the entire song from Mary Poppins!
      Change is a very good word choice, both as a verb and a noun. 🙂

  24. Cowabunga! I like Yagottawanna! 😉

  25. Thanks for the New Year’s inspiration! I’ll work on my “wanna”ing now…

  26. Thank you! That is a word that I am going to use in 2016 too! I am going to share it with my children as a reminder to them that nothing is impossible as long as they want to achieve it! Have a fabulous week!

    • If your children are like I was (and still am), Robyn, the secret to getting something difficult accomplished really is to find a reason for really WANTING to do it. It takes awhile to figure that out sometimes, but after I do, the rest is much easier. Wishing you a glorious week! 🙂

  27. My thought on seeing this was it reminds me so much of my editor in chief’s sign at the Weather Vane at EMU. I think it okay to post here.

    This was 1971, with a good two shoes girl (me) fresh off the farm and not much used to slang.The first time I figured out what it said I realized I wasn’t in a saintly office in a school where my sisters said the girls had to wear capes. (Also not true.) Thought you might enjoy it too! Not as a “word” for the year, but as a slinged together wall motto in a high-pressure-when-on deadline-place.

    • So nice to meet you, Melodie, and I am thrilled with your QUITYOURBITCHINGDUMBBUTT motto! While it’s not an inspiring word theme for 2016, it is one of those wonderful “keep it in mind” run-together words that will make me smile when I’m cornered by a BITCHINGDUMBBUTT. 🙂 Thank you, Melodie, and I look forward to hearing from you again!

  28. Molly

    I remember when you got that little picture/sign. We all just loved it, we also loved guessing what someone was going after to have been given that picture. Then thinking about whether or not they achieved their goal, etc.

    As for the Mosher Family here are our words for 2016:

    Molly – PRACTICE (as in to put into practice all the things learned, and use them in a way to understand them better)

    Trevor – RELAX (as in not taking every single subbing job available, not signing up for every shift of overtime)

    Grace – ORGANIZED (as in cleaning, de-cluttering and keeping up with your bedroom and laundry).

    Gannon – TIMELY (as in getting things turned in when they are supposed to be, and doing things when they are supposed to be done).

    • Wow, Mookie! I am so impressed that the whole family has words, and they’re all such good ones for each of you. Dad and I now have our words, and we can guess what puppy Scout’s word is: Stubborn. ❤ My only consolation lately is the toilet paper commercial where the mother is running herself ragged trying to keep up with the toddler who thinks potty training is to use the big vase by the table. He's a cute little boy–and Scout is an adorable puppy–maybe we'll all look back on this and laugh at some point.

  29. Oh Marylin, you really are a woman after my own heart. The fact that you considered all of the people who dropped off their gifts, handmade with love, and went back to purchase the cross-stitch is in itself inspiring. I so love the cross-stitch and your word for 2016 “YAGOTTAWANNA”! P.S. Cross-stitching was my first love. 🙂

    • Oh, Tracy, why am I not surprised that you, too, would go back to purchase one of the dropped-off lovingly handmade gifts! For awhile I did counted cross-stitch, and then I discovered crewel and embroidery work, but I still fell in love with YAGOTTAWANNA. 😉 Plus, it fit my personality; I knew that the first step for motivating me to do something was to find a reason why I really, really wanted to do it.

  30. A great word and a wonderful reminder.

  31. This is a wonderful, perfect word for you Marylin and to share with us. Thank you! It really is true. And I love the quotes: I’m going to remember them and your special word today and every day, even more than ever as I seem to battle one thing after the other just to fight for minutes in the day to write. I wanna, wanna, wanna 😀

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