Posts Tagged ‘words’


What I DON’T Know About my Word of the Year

January 2, 2020
books sculpture write reading

Photo by Negative Space on

Choosing a word is not new to me. Some years, my friends and I deliberate for weeks, trying to find the most appropriate guiding word for the new year. We offer suggestions, look at lists, and think long and hard about what word embraces our moods, hopes, and visions.

This year, I took a different approach.

I found a word that popped from a long list of words. I didn’t think about it. I didn’t ponder or gauge or assess the definition it might or might not deliver throughout the year.

Sometimes, going with our gut and following our intuition provides powerful and significant meaning—more meaning, perhaps, than any analysis could provide.

My word is harmony. I don’t know why. I don’t know if it will relate to my work or my family or my health or music or if I should actively be seeking more harmony in my life. But I’ll find out. When we choose to embrace the unknown and follow some sixth sense the universe sends our way, magic can happen.

Do one of these words pop for you?

Be                                Seek                            Bliss                            Grow

Joy                               Rise                             Survive                        Intuition

Thrive                          Bounce                        Peace                          Value

Gratitude                    Meditate                     Intention                     Love

Appreciate                  Harmony                     Shine                           Balance

Connect                       Bold                             Wander                       Imagination

Dazzle                         Clarity                          Organize                     Strong

Faith                            Adventure                   Breathe                       Create


Don’t think about it—just go for it. A guiding word for the year can deliver magic.

I’m ready, you?






The Sky and the Page

May 29, 2019
agriculture clouds countryside cropland

Photo by Ákos Szabó on


To escape annual May snowstorms (truth), I find ways to write and work away from home. Although it would be lovely to hop on a plane and head somewhere exotic, I usually settle for something a bit more realistic.

Like Nebraska.

This year, after I finished grading papers and wrapping up the semester, I found a small space to rent on a Mennonite organic popcorn farm. Who knew? But the cabin was the perfect size and place for a writer on retreat. In addition to a chair and a bed, I had a small desk and an outside picnic table perched under a tree filled with songbirds. The property came with two happy dogs, chickens, cows, a couple of old barns, and gracious hosts.

To break up the writing, I took long walks down dirt roads. Sky surrounded me in every direction, and it wasn’t hard to imagine pioneers plodding across the prairie in their covered wagons. Not much changes on the prairie.

Except the sky.

The sky in Nebraska was nothing short of spectacular, opening itself with outstretched arms. Birds welcomed the sun in the morning and sung it goodnight in the evening when the colors changed from dusty blue to violet black. The wind whipped across the grasslands. Throughout the day, clouds came and went, gathered and scattered. In the distance, lightning struck, and rain fell.

As I wrote, the sky became my metaphor for the page.

The morning skies ushered the sun, and my day began with hope. As my shoulders warmed, my writing worked. But later, I struggled for the correct word, the just-right sentence. Thoughts jammed inside my head like the clouds cramming together to block the sun.

I slammed my computer shut. The rain came. Finally, when the smell of sweet grass filled the air, a fresh idea, a different twist and take on the story, came to mind. My fingers flew across the keyboard as the shape of the sky transformed into something new, something breathtaking.

During my stay, the pattern of change repeated itself. When the rain arrived, or the sun seared, I took breaks. I played with crayons and read stories. I napped. When my thoughts struggled, I moved. I walked and ran and drove across the prairie, and eventually, new ideas appeared. Allowing myself space to stand back gave me and my work renewed life.

The Nebraskan sky spoke to me. I surrendered to its never-ending bursts and applied that to my work. I paid attention to the way the sky, my writing, and my life transformed throughout the day. Harmony. My work had its challenges, but like the sky, I had amazing moments, stretching far and wide.

Both beauty and words arrived.




June 29, 2016



Barn with Art Installation at Djerassi

If you have that unconquerable urge to write, nothing will stop you from writing. –Theodore Dreiser

You can’t crush ideas by suppressing them. You can only crush them by ignoring them. – Ursula K. Le Guin

Writing is physical work. It’s sweaty work. You just can’t will yourself to become a good writer. You really have to work at it. –Will Haygood

Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail. –Confucius


Winter Spirit

March 11, 2016

My word of the year is SPIRIT. As winter recedes, I’m posting a few of my favorite, random photos that capture winter spirit. The cute little ermine surprised me one day, popping up in front of our house, not afraid of a thing. An ermine with spirit!

How’s your word of the year treating you?


Stolen Moments

November 18, 2014


Writers rarely have the same process to their practice. Someone told me that Stephen King writes 10K words a day, which I don’t doubt, given the number and length of his novels. Some writers work after their kids have gone to bed, while others scribble three hours before dawn. No one way is the right way.

I write on a cyclical basis, based on my kids’ school schedule. December and August are NOT high word count months for me. I use that time to read (a writer must consider reading part of the job), edit, research and organize. Trying to develop a character’s thought process doesn’t happen with three kids asking me fifteen hundred questions a day. That said, I do find stolen moments to write during the holidays and summer months.

There are times in December that I’m alone; often snuggled under a blanket, enjoying the glitter white lights on the Christmas tree. It can be a highly few minutes to write. If it’s July, I discover stolen moments early in the morning or while waiting for a camp to finish.

Finding this free time is like unearthing money hidden in a pocket. What discovery!

At times like these, I whip out my pen or reach for my laptop, the creative juices peak. Ideas are unleashed. Ink flows. I’m not sure why it happens in such stolen moments, but it does.

If you’re like me, and unable to write at certain times of the day, week or year, don’t stress completely. You might find yourself with stolen moments. They can be the best kind. Just keep writing.




August 28, 2014

I just got all quote fancy on you!









Word of the Year

January 6, 2014

Last year, my word of the year was BE. My friends and I do this annually: pick a word to carry us through the year. Of all my words, BE was the most elusive. I’m not sure why. Usually, I reflect during the holidays and am able to see how and when the word guided my direction. But 2013 was tough to tell.

At any rate, it’s now 2014 and time to move on.

Word of the year?


The phrase: riding the currents of grace, comes to mind, although in reality, I’m puzzled by the word grace. I’m not exactly sure what it means. The dictionary has its definitions: elegance, blessing, kindness, refinement: all lovely words. But something tells me grace means more—I’m just not sure what. That’s why I’ve chosen it. A word of the year guides us in surprising directions. The mystery is part of the adventure.

What’s your word?