The Strength of a Word

January 29, 2021

Photo by Siora Photography on Unsplash

I’ve been trying to cling to some vestiges of normalcy in these far from normal times, so as I’ve done for the past few years, I’ve chosen a word of the year to be a sort of one-word guidance system. I say I chose it, but really, it chose me, because this word is not one I would normally gravitate to.

The word is dare.

Dare strikes me as a bossy word—at first glance, it sounds like a word that is going to make me do a whole lot of things I don’t want to do, as in “I dare you to…” After the exhausting slog of 2020, I’m skeptical of my ability to live up to a word like dare. However, one of my online friends called it, more charitably, a strong word. OK, we’ll go with that. Maybe I can draw strength from it as well as be pushed by it?

I’m willing to take on dare because after some thought and exploration (and consulting a thesaurus and dictionary, thanks to a friend’s suggestion). I’m choosing to focus on the meanings of to take heart, try one’s hand, venture, to have sufficient courage to try. Dare is also associated with imaginative or vivacious boldness. I kind of like the sound of that.

Also, for the first time, I created an acronym to correspond with the word’s letters (hat tip to another friend for this idea). Here it is:

D: Dream (because dreaming starts everything)

A: Act (dreams won’t become reality without action)

R: Recharge (after taking action, I’ll need to recharge)

E: Evaluate (evaluate the result of my action to see what comes next)

Where will dare take me? I don’t know yet, but I have some projects in the works that I might not have decided to tackle without the support of such a strong word.

If 2020 taught me anything, it’s that I shouldn’t put off things I want to do—there’s no guarantee the future will be anything resembling the past. It’s up to me to figure out what I really want to do/be/have, and try to make those things happen. No one is going to do it for me.

Have you chosen a word of the year for 2021? I dare you!

Amanda Gorman

If We're Brave Enough To Be It

January 22, 2021

I was in my car Wednesday when on the radio I heard the voice of 2017 Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman reading her poem “The Hill We Climb” at the inauguration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris. Her passionate reading thrilled me and brought tears to my eyes. Apparently she touched and inspired many people that day, as I’ve come across many quotes and memes on social media sharing her words. For me, the last few lines were the most meaningful:

The new dawn blooms as we free it

For there is always light,

if only we’re brave enough to see it

If only we’re brave enough to be it.

Click here if you’d like to read her poem in full. Or click below to see her recite it. 

May we all be brave enough to be the light.



Feeling overwhelmed

January 2021 Link Love

January 15, 2021

Things continue to be slow around here. As expected, not much has changed since we turned the calendar from 2020 to 2021. In case you need a little encouragement or food for thought during these strange days, here are a few links I’ve found interesting lately:

The Year That Must Not Be Named was hard on everyone. Still, nothing is all bad. Here are “35 Good News Stories From 2020 You Might Have Missed.”

It’s not too late to make your “21 for 2021 List.”

I LOVED this short and simple story about the nature of happiness.

Sometimes it’s hard to feel like our creative efforts and personal needs and desires matter in the face of frightening and unsettling world events. Jennifer Louden addresses this in “How Do You Balance the World’s Horror With Your Calling?” (Don’t be put off by the word “calling”.) This point especially resonated with me: “Sharing our voices, our ideas, our wisdom is actively building the world we want.”

I love the backpack analogy in this post about coping with overwhelm. Use these tips to unload some of your burdens.

Some habits to drop, some to pick up for 2021 (and beyond).

I wrote this back in 2018, but the advice still stands. 

I love this song, and this was such a fun video:

Happy Friday, and may we all dance into the weekend!

New Year

Taking It Slow

January 08, 2021

Photo by Aron Visuals on Unsplash

Even though I’d like to dive into the New Year with gusto, I’m finding it slow going. Nothing much has really changed yet, and most of 2020’s challenges remain. Even though it’s already one week into January, I’m still going through my usual end-of-one-year/beginning-of-another rituals and planning practices

I tell myself there’s no need to rush. I have a lot of unfinished business from last year, a lot of projects started and abandoned that I may or may not pick up again. I don’t want to stop dreaming, but I also don’t want to utterly frustrate myself with plans that stand little chance of happening in the coming year.

I believe this is a time for gentleness and kindness (with ourselves and others), for optimism, but also patience and caution.

So I’m going slow. Taking down mementos from 2020, clipping photos for a new vision board, choosing a word of the year (or rather, letting it choose me).

If you’re having trouble getting excited about a new year, or finding it hard to make plans for the future, feel free to take it slow. Last year was a hard year, and we’re still feeling its effects.

How is your planning process for 2021 different from past years? What would you really love to see happen this year?

P.S. Before we shut the door on The Year That Must Not Be Named, click here to read Cleo Wade’s “It is Okay (a poem of validation for the year 2020)”. I promise it will make you feel better. 

Edith Lovejoy Pierce

Writing The Year’s First Chapter

January 01, 2021

Photo by Jessica Lewis on Unsplash

“We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year's Day.”

―Edith Lovejoy Pierce

Wishing you all a happy New Year. May it be filled with peace, happiness, and health.