My One Word for 2022 #OneWord2022


One Word pinecone

Over the holidays, I got a visit from…聽

The Posts of New Year’s Past: 馃懟 馃コ 馃帄 馃帀

One Word for 2021 was: Allow. This one was awesome. It worked SO well. I allowed ALL OF THE THINGS. I didn’t struggle, fight, flail, or falter. (My sarcasm didn’t translate well here. So, the only thing I allowed was badly-written sarcasm.)聽

One Word for 2020 was:聽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鈥檓 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.

Like Scrooge, I have learned from these visits and mean to change my ways. I struggled with a word for this year but, once it popped into my head, I knew it was the one. I thought about it a few more days but, still, it stayed with me. It felt right.聽

There are going to be a lot of changes and uncomfortable things happening this year. And here’s what I’m doing: I’m leaning into the discomfort in a big way. Embracing it.聽

My focus word for 2022:

EMBRACE

It’s a bit like the “accept” and “allow” but giving myself more of an active role.聽

Instead of just breathing (breathing is good, don’t get me wrong) and going with the flow (flowing is also good), I’m creating a situation where I must act in order to allow and accept.

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

embrace

[蓹m藞br膩s]

verb聽
  • hold…closely in one’s arms, especially as a sign of affection
hug聽路聽take in one’s arms 路 hold 路 enfold 路 encircle 路 enclose
Challenges? Hardships? Change? I’ve got a hug for you here!
  • accept or support willingly and enthusiastically
welcome聽路聽accept聽路聽receive enthusiastically/wholeheartedly 路聽take to one’s heart聽路聽welcome/receive with open arms 路聽support聽
Upset? Uncertainty? Welcome! Have a cup of cocoa.
noun
  • an act of accepting or supporting something willingly or enthusiastically.
welcome聽路聽welcoming聽路聽favorable reception 路聽embracing聽路聽approval聽路聽adoption聽路聽integration
Hey there, change. What’s up, uncertainty? Welcome to my humble life. Let’s have a glass of wine. 馃嵎

When these things I cannot control come along, I won’t fight them. It’s exhausting and doesn’t make them go away. I’m not doing a great job passively accepting or allowing them. So, I will take them in my metaphorical arms and embrace them.

It’s tough to welcome uncomfortable feelings and difficult situations but I’m hoping a more active role will help me with the whole accepting and allowing thing. I am choosing to DO something. You hear it a lot: “Embrace uncertainty.” “Embrace chaos.” “Embrace change.” And it sounds good in theory…let’s see if I can put that into practice.聽

Here’s my quote of 2022: “If you can’t control it, invite it in for a cuppa.”聽

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

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鈥檇 love to hear what your One Word is for 2022.

Holiday Gifts from the Heart #GivingTuesday

holiday-charity-gifts

Here it is. My annual gift-giving post. 鉂ゐ煄 There’s something for everyone on your list.

I usually post mid to late December for last-minute ideas but I’m posting early for Giving Tuesday (which takes place on November 30th this year). (If you shop on Giving Tuesday, most organizations will match, double, or even triple your gift.) Enjoy!

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

Environment / Nature

ARBOR DAY FOUNDATION

arbor-day-post

Mission: “to help others understand and use trees as a solution to many of the global issues we face today, including air quality, water quality, a changing climate, deforestation, poverty, and hunger.”

These Trees in Celebration certificates are lovely and every single dollar you spend plants a tree. (For Giving Tuesday, every dollar you spend plants two trees.) They have other fun gifts here like delicious, rich, rain forest coffee. Every sip helps the world. Because. Trees. Behold the beautiful trees! 馃尣

Animals / Wildlife聽

ASPCA

aspca-post

Mission: 鈥渁nimals are entitled to kind and respectful treatment at the hands of humans and must be protected鈥︹

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 snail mail cards or ecards.

Hunger / Poverty

HEIFER INTERNATIONAL

heifer-post

Mission: 鈥渢o end hunger and poverty in a sustainable way by supporting and investing alongside local farmers and their communities.”

Choose a donation and mail, 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:

鈥淔ood 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.鈥

鈥淔armers鈥 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.鈥

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

KIVA

kiva-post

Mission: 鈥渢o 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.鈥

Mail, 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

st-judes-post

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

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.

Mail a card or send an email

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About Giving Tuesday

Use the hashtags #GivingTuesday and #GivingTuesday2021 on social media to spread the word and find tons of ways to help this holiday season!聽

聽鉂勶笍 Have a beautiful holiday season! 鉂勶笍

A Fresh, New Look

cover re-reveal

So… Remember all the hubbub about whether or not I should change my book covers? Well, folks, the deed it done. Just a super short post to show you the new beauties.

Meet the new Hinting at Shadows and On the Edge of a Raindrop.

To celebrate the new look, Hinting at Shadows will be on sale for a limited time. Just 99c/99p!聽

I鈥檓 guest posting over at Marcia Meara鈥檚 today (thanks, you fantabulous gal, you) so聽go check that out!聽

Huge thank you to the talented聽Loni Townsend for the gorgeous cover art.

And thanks to聽Allie Potts聽for getting these covers into print-ready form so I could have my precious paperbacks (and for creating the beautiful 3D images).聽

Changing Your Book Cover

 

 

I’m not sure how many authors feel that annoying need to update their book covers. I didn’t think I would.

But I do.

However.

I have some questions, concerns, and downright worries about doing this.

Hence, the post.

Thoughts are whirling in my head (as always).

Where do I start? Do I go with what I love or what is marketable? What about the cost? What if I change my mind and/or the cover again? What about all the places I鈥檝e already put the images online? What about readers who have my books and mistakenly think I have a new book and purchase it? (I鈥檝e heard of that happening and, full disclosure, I’ve almost done it.) Gah!

I know I’m forgetting something. Or, possibly, many somethings.

I know some authors who update their covers regularly often occasionally and others who never have. *shrug*

Moneywise, timewise, pain-in-the-ass-wise. I just don’t know if it鈥檚 worth it. All this has kept me from just going ahead with it. But I’ve wanted to for a bit now and I’m getting antsy. What say you, gentle readers?

 

ThoughtBubble

My random thoughts in under 200 words.

 

Authors: Have you ever thought about changing your book covers? Have you actually done it? How did it go?

Readers: How do you feel about authors changing covers? Does it throw you off/make it difficult to find the next book in a series? Do you think the author has a new book?聽

My One Word for 2021 #OneWord2021


pine-cone-sig

 

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鈥檚 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… 馃懟 馃帄馃帀

The Posts of New Year’s Past:

 

One Word for 2020 was:聽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鈥檓 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

[蓹藞lou]

verb聽
  • give (someone) permission to do something.

grant someone the right 路聽give one’s blessing toapprove of聽路聽give the go-ahead to聽路聽give the thumbs up to 路聽give the OK to聽路聽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. 鉂 Here’s to your goals, aspirations, resolutions, or whatever floats your boat. Cheers! 馃

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鈥檇 love to hear what your One Word is for 2021.

Last-Minute Holiday Gifts from the Heart #GivingTuesday

 

holiday-charity-gifts

 

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.聽鉂ぢ狆煄 Perfect for Giving Tuesday (and last-minute gifts):

 

Environment / Nature

ARBOR DAY FOUNDATION

arbor-day-post

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! 馃尣

 

Animals / Wildlife聽

ASPCA

aspca-post

Mission: 鈥渁nimals are entitled to kind and respectful treatment at the hands of humans and must be protected鈥︹

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

heifer-post

Mission: 鈥渢o 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:

鈥淔ood 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.鈥

鈥淔armers鈥 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.鈥

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

 

KIVA

kiva-post

Mission: 鈥渢o 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.鈥

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

st-judes-post

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

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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聽 聽鉂勶笍 Have a beautiful holiday season! 鉂勶笍

 

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.聽

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.聽

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.聽

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*)聽

ThoughtBubble

 

Here’s to kindness, both given and received.聽

My random thoughts in (slightly over) 200 words.

 

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

Happy World Kindness Day, my friends.鉂わ笍馃寧

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

https://inspirekindness.com/

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

#WorldKindnessDay2020 鉂わ笍馃寧 #BeKind #MakeKindnessTheNorm聽

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鈥攜ellow, 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鈥檚 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?聽

 

Happy Autumn, my friends. 馃崈馃崅 (And Happy Spring to my friends in the southern hemisphere.)聽

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聽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. 鉂

 

My Sunday thoughts in (slightly over) 200 words.

ThoughtBubble

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

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鈥檓 celebrating with the fairies.

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

At twilight, I鈥檒l 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鈥檛 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! 馃