A New Year's Wish • Amy Barickman

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A New Year’s Wish

As you know by now, one of the reasons I felt compelled to write Vintage Notions was due to how deeply I was moved by the writings of Mary Brooks Picken and The Woman’s Institute. As this year wraps up, I’d like to share another selection from an Institute “Inspiration” newsletter dated Jan. 1926. This piece was originally written by Laura MacFarlane.

If we could, as the following passage suggests, devote our time and energy to the realization of our dreams, we can accomplish anything. A year from now, let’s come back together to reflect and rejoice…sometimes it’s simply the act of planning that can set us free.

Wishing you a wonderful 2011. Thank you for making 2010 so very special for me.

See you next year…

~ Amy

When we’ve all passed through and the gates are closed for another year, the uncertainty fades and we are again faced with the realities of life.  And the way we shall handle each one as it comes to us and the measure of success and happiness we shall enjoy this year will depend largely on whether we stumble along blindly or carry our First Day’s determination and optimism into every day’s work.  So, right at the very beginning of this new year, let’s sit down quietly, each one of us alone, and look into our own individual situations, not only listing our hopes and desires but pledging our efforts to bring them about. It’s only by planning definitely enough and with clear enough vision that we shall be ready for every opportunity.

We’ve all dreamed dreams of what we’d like to be or have or do.  Life would be dull and prosaic without them. Perhaps, it’s a cozy home that has been pictured oftenest in our dreams. Or, maybe we’ve dreamed of improving ourselves so that we might move in a higher sphere. Or perhaps, our dreams have taken on such every-day forms as having a new sewing machine, a modern refrigerator, a time-saving laundry outfit.

And constantly, we’re dreaming about beautifying our homes, about making them heart-heated as well as steam-heated, about helping our young folks to achieve their ambitions, and all of our folks to be happy. Our dreams for them and theirs for themselves are sacred matters, and their realization deserves our best efforts and a very large part of our time.

A Flower unblown; a Book unread;
A Tree with fruit unharvested;
A Path untrod; a House whose rooms
Lack yet the heart’s divine perfumes;
A Landscape whose wide border lies
In silent shade ‘neath silent skies;
This is the Year that for you waits
Beyond Tomorrow’s mystic gates.

~ Horatio Nelson Powers


  1. Karen

    Just wanted to leave a note on how much I am enjoying this book! I bought it for my husband to give to me for Christmas and knowing it was under the tree was a strain on my nerves to wait to read it…but wait I did and the anticipation has made me appreciate the book just that much more! Thank you for letting us know about Mary Brooks Pickens and her Institute.

  2. Donna De Graw

    Thank you for the wonderful advice

  3. rebecca

    Fabulous post, Amy…I am inspired!

  4. Juile Campbell

    Hello, Amy!

    What lovely advice…I need to sit and do a little bit of forward planning tonight.

    I found your new book “Vintage Notions” this last week, and can’t stop reading it! I love everything about it–the wonderful advice by Mary Brooks Picken, the lovely vintage illustrations, recipes…just everything! Such an inspiring collection of information. Thank-you for putting it all together and creating such a wonderful keepsake.

    I’ll be stopping by often. Wishing you a very Happy New Year!

    Julie Campbell

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