The key to a successful year ahead: resiliency at work

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Happy New Year! I wager it’s safe to say the vast majority of the world shared a collective sigh of relief as we bid adieu to all things 2020. And now, as we enter 2021 with cautious optimism, we must gird ourselves with something called resilience. But before I dive into today’s post, I have a favor to ask: If you find my ramblings encouraging and/or thought-provoking, I invite you to sign up to follow my blog—if you aren’t already—by visiting https://alwaysthewritetime.wordpress.com/contact-me/. This ensures you receive updates about my new website and eNewsletter (under construction), and opportunities for free giveaways. Now let’s talk about the key to a successful year ahead: practicing resilience, or the ability to bounce back when knocked down; to “pivot” or change course. Here’s a peek into resiliency at work in my life: I wrote five short stories before selling a first. And when Christmas “plan A” failed, 25 letters still remained in the alphabet.

What does resilience look like to you?

Image source: http://www.betterup.com. 

The end: starting over in 2021

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During this past year, I’ve brainstormed a lot: potential stories to explore with my writing, how I envision my future self, my goals in five, 10+ years, etc. Which has prompted me to take a deep dive at how I’ll use my time going forward into the new year. And when so much in our daily lives is out of our control, I can rest in the knowledge I’m free to choose how I’ll spend that time. One thing I’m excited about includes beginning 2021—and each consecutive day—traveling through the “Bucket List Journey by Annette.” On her website, Annette introduces readers to 365 days of soul-searching tools and inspirational activities to start living out our own bucket lists. While each of us possess a litany of commitments, we also get to choose possibilities. So, as humanity awaits the traditional ball drop at midnight on Dec. 31—preparing for a better year ahead—I invite you to do the same.

How will you start over in 2021?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Hurts so good: pushing through pain for gain

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Have you picked out a word for the year, yet (see “…20/20 vision”)—or has your word picked out you? How do you know it’s your word? Here’s a tip: if a particular word or phrase continues to pop up in your day-to-day life, there’s a pretty good chance you’re onto something. For me, the word “growth” resonated prior to yearend. And, only a couple weeks into the New Year, I’m convinced it’s a perfect match. Especially when it seems everything in my life is under construction. Because: ouch. The “pruning” I’m experiencing during this season has proven a bit painful, yet on point. Perhaps you’ve found that a word or phrase—one you’ve chosen as your mantra for the remainder of the year—forces you to address areas of your life that require a good pre-spring cleaning. In my own circumstances, to create the space required for new growth, I must let go and let Him.

In what one area must you push through pain for gain?

Funny story: when God has different plans

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I love God’s sense of humor. Me: God, these are my plans for the month. God: Wrong. Granted, we’re only a week into the new year, but illness struck our home with a vengeance. What was that about best laid plans? Because my husband lives with asplenia (see “…from victims to victors”), he requires immediate medical attention upon the onset of fever. So, during the first weekend of 2020, when the Southwest desert temps reached 70 degrees (the nicest it’s been in weeks!), we spent a good part of it surrounded by three sets of four different walls, along with myriad healthcare personnel and other sick patients. But instead of the disappointment I’ve experienced in the past when my plans were turned topsy-turvy, a deep sense of peace settled within my spirit. Once established at home, while my husband rested, I took a brief walk outdoors and practiced yoga down the hall. And allowed my soul to catch up with my body.

When did God’s plans supersede yours?

Walking into the new year like: putting on a new identity

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On New Year’s Eve day, I awakened early, my spirit bubbling with anticipation. This is it, ready or not, the new year—the new decade (depending on which “camp” you reside)—begins in T minus 20 hours. And I decided right then—the scent of rich hazelnut coffee permeating my kitchen—I need a new identity to accompany the new year. I’m not talking about the witness protection change of identity but, rather, an identity that I can speak life into. One that I can fix my gaze on and watch unfurl. Not unlike a “word” you might choose (see “20/20 vision…”), it’s who you envision yourself to be. As for me: I’m a Godly woman, a loving and patient wife and mother, joyful worker, kind friend and gentle neighbor. I’m creative, organized and successful. Even when I fall short. Because the truth is: we’re a work in progress, ever evolving. Until we become who we were truly created to be.

What identity do you believe about yourself?

And just like that: it’s a new year

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Two days before Christmas, and all through the house (and workplace): I threw down a full-fledged menopausal meltdown. It was as if I’d been issued the challenge to: Go big, or go home. Eventually, I proceeded with both and dubbed myself the Grinch. But once I realized it was hormone related, I approached my muddled emotions with a clearer sense of direction. And that’s when I knew: my 20/20 vision and plans for “growth” aren’t about knocking out a bestseller (although at the top of my list) or greater financial stability (still up there), it’s about growing into the purpose for which I was created, and growing in the areas I mention in “…bidding farewell…”—my convictions, fortitude and peace. It’s about knowing who I am and growing in that knowledge, discovering and honing the tools I need to succeed. It’s about putting this season of all things menopause to work for me vs. against me. 2020, here I come!

How do you plan to grow this year?

The home stretch: bidding farewell to 2019

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How’s the year wrapping up in your world? Mine resembles a project still in the works: missing pieces to the puzzle; loose ends, tangled and frayed. Unfinished business: words left unspoken; goals unrealized. As well as one certainty: I don’t want to arrive at the end of my life or the end of next year—or the end of next month—without seeing progress. Although baby steps still mean we’re moving forward, we might fall on our hindquarters, take two steps back for each one we advance or veer off the original course. But we shouldn’t drop to our knees where we are and stop—unless it’s to pray. So as we bid farewell to 2019, I pray for: a clear vision for the New Year, favor to succeed, strength to overcome, confidence in our convictions and the peace that passes all understanding. And that any loose ends or unfinished business or missing pieces to the puzzle serve as stepping stones from one chapter to the next.

Cheers!

Image courtesy of Krishna arts at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

It’s your birthday! Sharing the gift of ourselves.

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To know even one life has breathed easier
because you have lived.
This is to have succeeded.
~ Bessie Anderson Stanley

As we mature, birthdays can be a funny thing. Some people dread them; others don’t afford them a second thought. Still others, like me, welcome them with a childlike excitement. Recently, I renewed my annual membership in Club 50, complete with “signature” tiara and full-day (OK, three-day) celebration. Nothing fancy—except my princess attire—I embraced every moment. Because here’s the thing: birthdays are non-negotiable until they run out. And, if nothing else, they offer an opportunity to reflect on the past 12 months of our journey, as well as provide a blank slate on which to write our stories for the next 365 (or 366) days—much like a brand-new calendar year. My plan? To be a better steward of my life going forward. After all, there’s no better way to give to others than to share the gift of ourselves.

What’s your take on birthdays?

20/20 vision: ring in a new look, new direction

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Anyone else brimming with excitement over the ball dropping in T-minus 19 days? I love a blank slate—revisiting previous goals and dreaming new dreams—366 new beginnings to be exact (yes, it’s a Leap Year). And this year begins a new decade, so I hear—along with my new “word” for 2020: growth. For those of you who have experienced your own growing pains that often accompany progress, you know that growth can manifest itself from the inside out. This undoubtedly requires an exercise in patience when unable to immediately discern external change. Or, it may appear messy on the outside initially but, as you cultivate your goals, the fruit of your efforts begin to blossom. Stay tuned as I grow in tangible ways, including a new direction for Always The Write Time blog. I’m thrilled to share this fresh season with followers of my rhetoric and ramblings—the messy, the colorful and everything in between. Buckle up for an exciting ride ahead.

Happy New Year blessings!

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

The big picture: sacrificing on the front end

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Last Sunday morning, I woke up and declared aloud: “I’m not hiking today”—which was a pretty big deal, since anyone who knows me also knows a trek in the mountains provides me an opportunity to decompress, to recharge and to reconnect with my Maker on a deeper level. However, if past experience taught me anything, it required I consider the plans I hoped to accomplish before lights out that evening. In this particular case, it meant sacrifice on the front end to set myself up for success on the tail end. I spent roughly three hours (factoring in typical commute and trail choice) playing catch up: paperwork, goal setting and household chores. Plus, I prepared a hearty split pea soup for dinner. The pièce de résistance? A strong plan sketched out for the week, month and year ahead. And the bonus: enough time for a wild and crazy Trivial Pursuit game night.

What sacrifice have you made on the front end to realize a successful tail end?

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