My One Word for 2021 #OneWord2021


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I’ve been participating in One Word since 2017. Wow. Five years.

This quote from 2018 says it all:

Every year around this time I say, “It’s going to be different.” Well, gentle readers, it’s not. It’s quite the same. Which is to say, I let myself get caught up in a shitstorm of stress and overwhelm by choosing others instead of myself, by over-committing, by working too hard on things that don’t bring fulfillment or happiness, by helping everyone but me.

I’m feeling a bit like Scrooge. Another year? Another One Word? Bah! Humbug.

And so, of course, I was in for a visit from… 👻 🎊🎉

The Posts of New Year’s Past:

 

One Word for 2020 was: Focus. Focus on one thing at a time to avoid overwhelm? Fab plan, lady. Alas…

One Word for 2019 was: Move. Getting unstuck was sort of the idea. I’m still stuck but heartily sorry for it and flailing for a helping hand out of the pit.

One Word for 2018 was: Self. It was a good choice. It worked. A little. Some of the time. Not as often as I’d hoped.

One Word for 2017 was Accept. I did not accept anything. I sort of UN-accepted pretty much everything. I faltered. Failed. Moved on.

 

What I’ve learned from these Posts of New Year’s Past is I’m trying to be positive, providing some word to nurture, encourage, help… That’s lovely, but something was pulling me away from that. 2020 was a tough year. For many people. For many reasons. The celebration of that year being over is everywhere.

I’m not celebrating. Not yet.

I decided I’m not going to force positivity on myself. Oh, I know I mean well but, hell, things kind of suck at the moment, new year or not. Why not acknowledge the suckiness? And why force positivity when we all know that never works?

When you shove those negative feelings down, they resurface. Always. In one way or another, they bob up like a rubber duck in a tub.

So I’m going with a negative One Word this year.

Sort of.

I’m acknowledging the negativity that clouds my life and letting myself know it’s okay to not be okay about it.

My focus word for 2021:

ALLOW

With everything going on, I’m giving myself permission to feel however I need to feel. If I feel bad, that’s okay. If I feel sad, that’s okay. If I feel stressed, angry, or hurt, that’s okay.

No guilt. No “should”. None of that nonsense.

I’m allowed to feel however I feel.

If I happen to feel good, or even happy, that’s allowed, too. So, yay.

As always, a definition (*nerd alert*):

allow

[əˈlou]

verb 
  • give (someone) permission to do something.

grant someone the right · give one’s blessing to · approve of · give the go-ahead to · give the thumbs up to · give the OK to · give the green light to

I’ve got the green light here, my friends. The go-ahead. The thumbs-up. I’ve been granted the right and given a blessing. What else could I ask for?

  • give the necessary time or opportunity for.

Time and opportunity to feel. I guess that’s what else I could have asked for. *shrugs* Got it.

  • admit (an event or activity) as legal or acceptable.

My feelings are hereby legal and acceptable. Right on.

I’m allowing myself to feel however the hell I feel without the dreaded “should” and “shouldn’t”. And without guilt. I’m allowing my feelings to break free of that self-imposed New Year’s cocoon of positivity, emerging in whatever shape, size, and color they are. If I feel angry, well, The Hulk and I can hang out for a bit. If I feel sad, so be it. If I happen to feel happy, it’s going to be a genuine bubbling glass of joy.

 

Happy New Year, my friends. ❤ Here’s to your goals, aspirations, resolutions, or whatever floats your boat. Cheers! 🥂

 

Have you ever taken part in the One Word Challenge?

If you haven’t, why not try it? Or think on it a moment and leave one in the comments. What could your focus be this year? I’d love to hear what your One Word is for 2021.

Last-Minute Holiday Gifts from the Heart #GivingTuesday

 

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I post this every year. I love it. But I usually post mid to late December for last-minute ideas.

This year, I’m posting today, December 1st, for Giving Tuesday. (Note: If you shop today, most organizations will match, double, or even triple your gift.) Enjoy!

 

Quick, easy, heartfelt. ❤ 🎁 Perfect for Giving Tuesday (and last-minute gifts):

 

Environment / Nature

ARBOR DAY FOUNDATION

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Mission: “to improve water and air quality, slow climate change, and reduce poverty by planting trees.”

These Trees in Celebration certificates are lovely and every single dollar you spend plants a tree. They also offer “Give-A-Tree E-Cards” to send a holiday greeting with meaning. Because. Trees. Behold the beautiful trees! 🌲

 

Animals / Wildlife 

ASPCA

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Mission: “animals are entitled to kind and respectful treatment at the hands of humans and must be protected…”

Show your love for our four-legged friends. Give a holiday gift card in honor of a beloved furchild. I can’t stand the cuteness of that puppy. You know you want to help these little munchkins. Available in ecards.

 

Hunger / Poverty

HEIFER INTERNATIONAL

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Mission: “to work with communities to end world hunger and poverty and to care for the Earth.”

Choose a donation and print it out or email with a custom message to the gift recipient. Or you can give a gift card (to print out or send via email) so they can choose their own donation.

* My personal favorite gift to give is honeybees. They are awesome. Here are 2 reasons why:

“Food for Life: Honey is the only food that includes all the essential elements necessary to sustain life, including enzymes, vitamins, minerals and even water. Its unique chemical makeup also allows it to be preserved indefinitely.”

“Farmers’ Helpers: In the process of searching for nectar, bees pollinate plants. The placement of a single colony can potentially double local fruit and vegetable yields.”

Isn’t that incredible? It’s the bee’s knees. 🐝

 

KIVA

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Mission: “to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty. We celebrate and support people looking to create a better future for themselves, their families and their communities.”

Print these out or email them to the gift recipient and they can start loaning right away. Change someone’s life, get paid back, help someone else… And on it goes. Making spirits bright.

 

Childhood Cancer/Childhood Diseases

ST. JUDE CHILDREN’S RESEARCH HOSPITAL

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Mission: “Finding cures. Saving children. St. Jude is leading the way the world understands, treats and defeats childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases.”

Please do check out the site if you don’t already know about St. Jude Children’s Hospital. And, if you do, well… ‘Nuff said.

Printable Holidy Cards

Ecards for the Holdidays

 

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   ❄️ Have a beautiful holiday season! ❄️

 

Hey, Lovely People… It’s #WorldKindnessDay

 

 

It’s Friday. TGIF, right? Also, it’s the 13th. Which means, well, it’s Friday the 13th. So… Spooky, creepy, unlucky, and all that jazz. But here’s a cool thing about today:

It’s World Kindness Day. 

What a lovely thought.

I mean, sure, yeah, every day should be World Kindness Day. Just like every day should be Earth Day. That said, regardless of wishes and whatnot, today, November 13th, is World Kindness Day. 

I’ve always been a fan of RAKs (Random Acts of Kindness). I also sort of like the whole being nice to people on a regular basis thing. And this day is rooted in a desire for more kind acts, random or otherwise. So count me in. Always.

A global celebration of being nice? Yes, please.

I know a lot of people (including me) will say we need this now MORE THAN EVER. Seriously. Look around. With everything going on… But then, really, not so much. We always need this. We do. 

While you’re being kind to neighbors and computer screens full of colleagues, remember to be kind to yourself. (That’s one some of us forget. *ahem*) 

ThoughtBubble

 

Here’s to kindness, both given and received. 

My random thoughts in (slightly over) 200 words.

 

Hoping things are kind in your world today (and always).

Happy World Kindness Day, my friends.❤️🌎 

https://www.randomactsofkindness.org/world-kindness-day/world-kindness-day

https://inspirekindness.com/

https://worldkindness.org/about-us/

#WorldKindnessDay2020 ❤️🌎 #BeKind #MakeKindnessTheNorm 

Hinting at Shadows ~ 3rd Annual October Sale #FREE #FreeBook #BookSale

Universal Link

October is here.

It’s not the usual fun-filled season of Halloween parties this year but there are lots of lovely aspects of autumn to embrace.

I want to enjoy the cool weather, crisp air, apple cider, and pumpkin-spiced…everything. I also want to offer you my deliciously dark, decidedly not pumpkin-spiced words. Because. October. 🎃 👻

Hinting at Shadows, my first collection of flash, will be FREE from October 18th-22nd. 

So, if you haven’t read it, here’s your chance to grab a copy.

What some people are saying about Hinting at Shadows (I am, as always, delighted and grateful):

 

beautifully and richly crafted.

The author’s haunting prose very cleverly invokes strong images with the minimum of words. Sarah Brentyn delivers something quite different, written beautifully…

I was entranced from the very first story.

I’m dumbfounded at how much this author conveys and the emotions she evokes with so few words… Take time to savor this collection and fully appreciate the poignant writing.  

Hinting at Shadows…is sheer poetry in the garb of flash fiction.

 

If you’d like to download a FREE copy, here’s the link:
Hinting at Shadows 🖤

Happy reading, all!

 

A Canopy of Green

 

 

The trees haven’t started to turn.

Usually, this late in September, there’s at least a splash of color touching the uppermost tips of maples and oaks. The proverbial fall picture—yellow, orange, and red. The fiery gems of autumn.

But when I go for walks, I’m covered by a canopy of green.

It’s weird.

When I look out the window this close to October, I want to see a seasonal landscape. The jewel-toned leaves of autumn are gorgeous but, also, they would bring some normalcy to life. I kind of need that right now.

Yes, I know. I know there’s a scientific explanation (weather and such) but it somehow feels like nature is apprehensive. Like it’s mirroring the angst. Like the leaves don’t want us to see what color they are. They hide beneath their chlorophyll so we won’t see what the world really looks like. And right now, this year, the uncertainty of not knowing what color the world will be is too much.

 

 

My random thoughts in 200 words or less.

ThoughtBubble

How are things in your world? Has some semblance of normalcy returned? Any autumnal color in your neck of the woods? 

 

Happy Autumn, my friends. 🍃🍂 (And Happy Spring to my friends in the southern hemisphere.) 

 

The Grass is Always Greener

 

 

You know the proverbial grass is always greener on the other side. Well, it’s literally true here. I’m perched on dried-out, shriveled-up, light brown blades. Looking out the window, it’s like I’m living in the desert. I eventually had to call someone. Here’s what he said:

“Your lawn is really stressed.”

Oh, man. I laughed.

There’s so much stress in this house, it’s seeping outside? I mean, our lawn is stressed? It’s kind of funny.

 

I recently wrote a post about some silly perks during this difficult time but, that said, it’s tough. What with fear, sickness, isolation, uncertainty… The normal, everyday stress that plagues us has been plugged into an amplifier. I guess that’s what happens and we’ll just have to ride it out. But that’s life right now, isn’t it? Yeah. It is.

But here’s the thing, my bloggy friends:

Stress looks different for everyone. It feels different. It comes from different sources. Always has. But now, with the shared experience of a global pandemic, everyone is supposedly “going through the same thing”.

I get where this is coming from but it’s wrong. The assumption is that everyone’s stress looks the same right now. And alleviating that stress looks the same as well.

It doesn’t.

It never has and that holds true now. There is no one-size-fits-all.

We all have our own stress. We all handle it differently. We all need individual coping strategies.

My neighbor’s grass may be greener, but perhaps, when I walk over to admire their lovely lawn, I notice their front door is hanging off its hinges. Maybe their house has termites. Who knows?

So be kind to yourselves. Don’t buy into the notion that, because we’re “all dealing with the same thing”, we should all be able to find relief with the same things.

If you like yoga, downward-dog do it. If you like meditating, breathe in…breathe out. If you like running, go for it. (I, personally, do not. Unless I’m being chased by a bear. Or is that when you should stay still? I don’t know. And sincerely hope I don’t stumble upon a bear anytime soon.) Take bubble baths, hug trees, drink tea, garden, bake… Whatever floats your boat. Sail away, my friends. ❤

 

My Sunday thoughts in (slightly over) 200 words.

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How are you, gentle readers? How’s the stress level around your house? How are you dealing with it?

 

On the Edge of a Raindrop #BookReview by Graeme Cumming

Every time one of my books gets a review, I’m delightfully surprised and so grateful. Every. Time. When I see a review from someone who either doesn’t like short fiction, doesn’t read it, or prefers epic novels yet loved my collection, well, it’s a remarkable feeling. It is. And I’ve seen more than a few reviews like that.

When someone prefers to sink their teeth into a story with lots of characters, worldbuilding, and/or action, it’s quite the compliment when they enjoy my little book of flash. This review for On the Edge of a Raindrop, by Graeme Cumming, is one of those. It’s brilliant. I’m humbled by the praise from this author:

Her ability to capture the essence of an emotion or a moment in so few words is staggering.

Savour each morsel…

In a single line, she can encapsulate something that I and many other authors would struggle to do in several pages.

Thank you, Graeme! 💖

Please stop by his blog and read the full review here. It really is brilliant.

He’s recently released a book, Carrion, the sequel to Raven’s Gathering, both of which have gathered a number of great reviews. (Pun completely intended.) Do pop over and check out his books.

 

Reblog Lemon Shark

 

New Moon & Magic (Summer Solstice)

 

 

There is magic in the air.

Fairies flutter about enjoying the day, preparing for their feast, and, perhaps, causing a bit of mischief. And, this year, they have even more to celebrate. A new moon accompanies the solstice.

This weekend, I’m celebrating with the fairies.

Wine will flow, my friends. And I will run barefoot in the grass like when I was a child. I’ll breathe deeply, inhaling the heady scents of blossoms that, weeks ago, were tiny buds.

At twilight, I’ll light candles and search for blinking fireflies.

Of course, after this longest day of the year, the days will become shorter. But I will bask in the sun and light and magic then welcome the dark half of the year.

When the sun decides to set after its long journey, I will marvel at the pinks and purples of dusk. I will fill my glass and toast the twinkling stars who, in my wine-induced bliss, will merrily wink back at me.

I will toast the dark, new moon who smiles at me from the shadows, offering me a fresh start. I will soak up the night and all its beauty.

Because, if it wasn’t for the darkness, I could not appreciate the light.

 

My random thoughts in 200 words or less.

ThoughtBubble

 

To my friends in Australia, Happy Winter Solstice to you!

(Four years ago, I wrote about a full moon falling on the solstice. I thought this a fitting time to revisit that post.)

 

This is the longest day of the year. What will you do with your extra hours of sunlight? New moons are associated with new beginnings. What will you do with that opportunity? Love and light to you, gentle readers. Cheers! 🥂

 

 

 

10 Perks (For Me) During This Pandemic

 

 

1. The gift of distance. 

People are finally staying as far away from me as I’d like them to. I am loving the social distancing thing. Personal space, for me, is 4 feet…minimum.   

2. It’s the small stuff that stings. 

You know what they say about small stuff hurting a lot more than you’d think? Like a paper cut? Those things are tiny but pack a wallop of pain. Same goes for small talk. Painful. Something I could happily do without. And now, I can! And I am! And it’s not weird. Everyone is partaking in the skipping of small talk in exchange for a distant wave. Woot!

3. Hand-washing. 

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in a public restroom and seen someone emerge from a stall and walk out the door. Holy crap (pun intended). You’ve got germs and dirt and…human waste on your hands and you’re headed to sit down and grab a dinner roll? Dude.

Now people are washing their hands. With water. And soap. And they’re doing it a lot. Shiny, clean fingers crossed this practice stays in effect long past the pandemic.

4. Do. Not. Engage. 

Strangers are not speaking to me or asking me things or trying to engage me in conversation. (See #2.)

5. Tranquility in quarantine.

I’m an introvert. And not the cool kind we writers like to claim we are. I’m talking severe introversion. Like hermit status. So staying in isn’t torture for me. Quarantine is kind of the status quo around here. Except, now, it’s not eccentric, it’s expected. Rock on! (In the comfort of my own home, of course. Alone. With a book. And wine.)

6. The barren land of toilet paper shelves. 

I don’t waste time in the paper goods aisle anymore, my head swaying back and forth between quilted and two-ply, recycled and double-roll. (Why are there so many types of TP, anyway?) Unrelated: I’ve found a good use for printed political ads.

7. Express yourself. 

I’ve always prided myself on knowing people. Not having five hundred friends but knowing people. Catch my drift? I can spot a jerk from a mile away, have a built-in BS detector, and generally get a vibe from folks right off the bat. (Wow. That’s a boatload of clichés right there. Apologies. Let’s see if I can do some more…) Totally lost my train of thought. Damn clichés.

Oh, right. So with this mask thing, pegging people is a breeze. Are you donning a dust mask? Is Hello Kitty hiding your smile? Harry Potter? Lord of the Rings? (I may or may not have all of these.) You can tell a lot about a person by what they choose to wrap around their face. Whether you’re wearing a sports team, cartoon character, political crap, or a medical-grade surgical mask, you are making a statement. Own it.

8. Wild things. 

My lawn is patchy, dandelions are popping up, dead leaves from fall are collecting in every corner of my yard. Paint is peeling, shrubs need clipping, and NOT ONE of my neighbors is complaining to me about it. Bliss. *waves at neighbor* *trips over vole hole* *falls over* Peace out, y’all.

9. “Kkkhhxx… You’re breaking up…”

You know that old “trick” (I’m using quotes here as it never really tricks anyone) where you make a crackling noise into your cell phone and yell, “You’re breaking up–can’t hear you”? Then you hang up on the person pestering you, asking for a favor, or saying that, no, your new haircut does not flatter your face?

Now we get to do that constantly. Because we’re relying so much on technology, we can claim it isn’t working. So that day I didn’t shower and the day I wore my sushi pajamas, my video couldn’t connect. (How convenient.) But the audio worked. Weird, right? Wrong. I’ve been in many meetings where this happened to others so it’s all good. Plus, you get to play a little game with yourself trying to figure out if folks are telling the truth or just woke up late and are chilling in their underwear. Bonus!

10. Social distancing does not apply. 

I can hug trees. In public places. With people around. When they stare, I wave and shout, “Don’t have to social distance with trees!” 🙂🌲🌳

 

 

I’m not making light of Covid 19. This is serious. There is a global pandemic going on. I get it. I do. Don’t throw your non-latex gloves at me. I’m just trying to find a little fun during this time. Hope you are all healthy and safe. Stay sane, gentle readers. ❤️

 

 

On the Edge of a Raindrop #BookReview by Harmony Kent

What a wonderful surprise to find a review for On the Edge of a Raindrop. It made me smile all week. I needed that smile. A lovely 5-star review from Harmony Kent (who has a rating system that notes: ‘I consider a 3-star rating a positive review. Picky about which books I give 5 stars to. I reserve this highest rating for the stories I find stunning…’) Yup. Smiling. 🙂

Brilliantly done.

In just a few words, the author evokes so many different emotions and moods.

Thank you, Harmony! 💖

Please stop by, read the full review, and explore her blog. A prolific author whose writing ranges from non-fiction to romance, poetry to post-apocalyptic. There’s something for everyone so do check out her books.

Harmony also writes for Story Empire: This is the home of seven bestselling authors who share a passion for all things related to writing, publishing, and promoting fiction. 

Reblog Lemon Shark