My grandma passed away on December 4, 2011, the morning after my most successful show to date. She was my biggest fan, supporter, and inspiration. She even started my beading career by giving me her beading loom when I was 12. My grandma was an amazing source of creative inspiration. She taught me to sew and cross stitch, and made sure I had access to all the craft books and craft supplies I could ever need. She gardened, cooked from scratch, made my wedding dress and all the banners and linens for her church. She often joked that she was busier in retirement than she was while working. She told everyone she knew about my business and how proud she was of me. I try not to think about how much I miss her, and instead try to think about how happy she must be to be reunited with my grandpa, who passed away the month before on November 6, 2011.

My grandpa had a huge influence on my life as well. From a young age he would take me on visits to the Texas A&M campus and tell me about what it was like when he went there. A&M was the only school I applied to and it was a dream come true to walk in his footsteps. When it came time to apply for jobs and face the real world he taught me an important life lesson: never settle. With an accounting degree in hand, he took his first job and did what was expected of him. The only problem was that he was completely miserable. He knew he was meant for something else, something more. He ended up taking down bad guys for the Treasury Department using those same accounting skills. A year out of college in my own career, I found myself in the same situation: miserable. I was trying to fit myself into a mold that wasn’t meant for me. His example helped me make the change that led me to where I am today.

Word of the Year: EMERGE

This time of year I normally write a resolution or two, but I’ve decided to do a Word of the Year instead. A word is something that stirs my soul versus resolving to do something I “should” already be doing. My word of 2012 is Emerge. I feel such gratitude for having had these two amazing people in my life. It’s like a positive energy that’s pushing me to discover who I am as an artistic entrepreneur. I’m going to do everything I can to make my dreams come true, and know my grandparents and smiling down on me.

Resource: If you would like some guidance for choosing your own word of the year, check out Christine Kane’s Free Word-of-the-Year Discovery Tool.

{ 26 comments… add one }
  • avatar Sally Anderson January 4, 2012, 9:17 am

    Oh, Mandi, how unbearably sad to lose two beloved grandparents at once, so close together. My heart goes out to you. I’m so sorry. They sound like really awesome people and it’s great you had their influence on your life. What lovely memories. This was a great testament to them both. My word of the year is either “move” or “do more” and as of now, I’m having a hard time choosing one. So maybe it’s both! Happy New Year (and thanks for being so real).

  • avatar Julie Vasquez January 4, 2012, 9:27 am


    They were so much in love, they didn’t want to spend another day without each other. Love will do that to you. Take solace in knowing they are together in heaven. You were very fortunate to have spent the time you did with them and cherished them as elders. They were so proud of you and your accomplishments, I know they are smiling down at you and cheering you on everyday. Lots of love to you and peace to your family.

  • avatar Deb January 4, 2012, 9:34 am

    I’m so sorry for your loss. My grandparents meant the world to me. They were rocks, home, and unconditional love. You will remember your grandparents always and they will continue to be an influence in your life. Thank you for the idea of a word of the year. It will give me something to think on as I make my own transitions. Take care!

  • avatar Ralonda January 4, 2012, 9:36 am

    There are never the right words to say so I will skip that part and say…please don’t take all DANG year to EMERGE…Just kidding, blessings to you this year as you grow in this new season.

  • avatar Mandi Ainsworth January 4, 2012, 9:37 am

    Thank you for your kind words and lovely comments. It hurts to lose them both at once, but I really couldn’t imagine one without the other. I think the word “move” is so simple and has such positive energy. “Do more” conjures up the image of a drill Sargent for me, lol.

  • avatar Mandi Ainsworth January 4, 2012, 9:42 am

    What you wrote made me tear up a bit because that’s exactly it. I’m so grateful to have you as a friend :)

  • avatar Mandi Ainsworth January 4, 2012, 9:46 am

    Thank you for your kind words and I’m so glad you had wonderful amazing grandparents, too. I hope your word easily reveals itself to you :)

    You always bring in the perfect amount of humor whenever I need it. I’m so blessed to have you as a friend and a kick in the pants 😉

  • avatar Mary Deforge January 4, 2012, 10:03 am

    Mandi, Oh so sorry to hear of the loss of your grandparents. And losing them so close together. You can carry all your love for them in your beading that your grandmother taught you. How special is that how she even made your beautiful wedding dress for you. They are together looking down on you with the biggest smile on their face.

  • avatar Becca January 4, 2012, 10:07 am

    So sorry for your loss as we can see from your well-written entry it is love that keeps us together. As you are already doing, take their lesson and live out your love for your art. Stay with it always, this is your time to Emerge bigger and better than ever! Go Mandi Go!!

  • avatar Babette January 4, 2012, 10:21 am

    December. What is it with the holidays that we hear so many sad stories of people loosing their dear friends and relatives during this special time? I feel so badly for you. I know your heart must ache, but you have to move on. One foot in front of the other. Wow, this is sad news for you and your family indeed.

    I also must say –
    *sorry I just have to* GO AGGIES!!!

  • avatar gilly utting January 4, 2012, 10:40 am

    Oh dear, what I wanted to say has already been said by the others.
    You now have to look forward, and emerge, knowing full well you can respect the love that those two have given you. What a lovely story you can tell your babies when they come along. In turn, it is now in your court to keep on doing well, be their cherished child and know WE are all out here rooting for you.
    In life there has to be death,but they haven’t gone far. You may be lucky to smell her perfume or his after shave, or a waft of her cooking. I still do. I hug it to myself when this happens, because they haven’t left us.Just gone to a different room in Gods house.

  • avatar Beth January 4, 2012, 11:08 am

    Emails before mine say it all. I lost my mother by accident when I was 30 yrs old. Time heals but “time takes time”, be strong. I also like the “move” word. I think I will use it also. thanks.

  • avatar Ellen January 4, 2012, 11:26 am

    You are very blessed to have your grandparents for as long as you did. My grandfather and I spent a lot of time together and with my kids I have sang his songs with them, told many stories he told and have kept his memory alive. I hope you do the same thing..I know you will!!

    My word of the year is Pray. There is so much going on everywhere, that we really need to pray. Pray for our country, one another, etc. even for me cause this year I want to learn at lease 2 new stitches in beading. I get frustrated with for example the St. Petersburg stitch, herringbone… and I put them down. I want to achieve them this year!!

  • avatar Gina January 4, 2012, 12:00 pm

    I’m so sorry to hear about your grandparents’ death. Grandparents are special because to them, you can do no wrong. I’m so glad your grandmother encouraged your creative spirit. This spirit will continue to emerge as life goes on.

  • avatar Maria January 4, 2012, 12:48 pm

    Grace and Peace to you.

  • avatar Lea January 4, 2012, 1:28 pm

    My deepest condolences to you. I know you are right, they are watching over you. :) I also know, you will be very successful this year as well.

  • avatar Jacqueline Marchant January 4, 2012, 4:27 pm

    Hello Mandi: I want to thank you for posting you wonderful post about your grandparents. I no longer have grandparents either and I miss them. My grandma’s weren’t crafty I got that from my mom. It was a wonderful article and it touched my heart and brought back some happy memories for me so Thank you so much…Oh and by the way my word of the year is empower….I want to empower myself this year to be more productive and empower myself to make an effort to get to know people in this small town…Thank you bye for now and Happy beading and blogging…

  • avatar Carolyn Howell January 4, 2012, 7:43 pm

    I had a great relationship with my grandparents too. When I first moved to Texas from Tennessee, if it hadn’t been for my grandmothers letters, I don’t think I would have made it here. My grandparents died within about a year of each other after 64 years of marriage.

  • avatar Glenda January 4, 2012, 8:39 pm

    There are no words appropriate enough to tell you how sorry I am for the loss of your grandparents, especially one and then the other the next month. I too know heart ache at loss. We lost our son, Josh, 29, just 3 days prior to his 30th birthday from heart transplant rejection. Everyone grieves differently and it is all normal. Prayers are coming your way for peace in knowing they are reunited and are in the happiest place possible. What wonderful memories and love they gave you!!

  • avatar Bonnie January 4, 2012, 10:32 pm

    “bitter sweet” comes to mind. The sadness of your loss being bitter. The sweet being the blessing of so much love between two people that they didn’t want to be apart. You have wonderful memories and your art to be a reminder of their love.

  • avatar Romana January 5, 2012, 1:32 am

    Dear Mandy, i’m so sorry for your lost. I’m sure they are still somewhere around you.

  • avatar Margaret January 5, 2012, 7:46 am

    Mandi, Thanks for sharing your grandparents with us.. I too had the most wonderful and inspiring grandparents, and not a day goes by without me thinking of them. I won’t say it gets easier, but I will tell you that you will be able to smile when thinking of them, in time. May God continue to bless you! xo

  • avatar Gayle Goddard January 6, 2012, 11:06 pm

    What a big transition in your life! I thought what Julie said – they were not ready to be separated. It’s good that you were able to see the value they offered to your life before they were gone. Many young people miss that about their grandparents until it’s too late. I’m so sorry for your loss. They’re still in your heart and in your art – that’ll be true forever. That kind of impression is permanent.

  • avatar Pam January 7, 2012, 12:59 pm

    Please remember Mandi, they are never gone as long as they live in your memory. Close your eyes and when you need it most, you will hear their voices of encouragement. You know them so well, your heart knows just what they would say to you. Emerge. I like that. Happy New Year.

  • avatar AlexDFox January 15, 2012, 12:11 pm

    Ah Mandi,
    Sorry I’m so late in reading this post…

    I just lost my grandfather over christmas. He died on Christmas day & most of the family was around.

    But reading your post has really helped cheer me up. We should remember the lessens that our grandparents have to teach us. To always be strong. Despite what hardships come our way.

    It’s sad that you lost both so close together. But at least it seems they had a happy live together.

    Have a good 2012, & I like your word of the year.

  • avatar Rachel February 3, 2012, 6:24 pm

    Wow. I am so sorry for your losses but you seem to have so much because of the love of your family. I am coming out of a miserable period of my life (a career that is defeating me). I am trying to EMERGE into someone new and happier. Blogging is helping and finding websites like this are inspiring. Thank you!

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