My One Word

On this last day of 2016, many of us will spend time reflecting on the year that has been, and contemplating the year that will be. For me, I am happy to be leaving 2016 behind. Sure there were many wonderful moments personally for me; my book Close Writing was published, my daughter graduated as Salutatorian of her class, we took my son to NYC for a belated birthday gift, we were all blessedly healthy, and I have the best husband a woman could ever hope for.  Still, beyond my small circle, there was a darker presence that haunted 2016…anger, fear, and bigotry. It was hard to witness and many of us were stunned by its repercussions.

So rather than make a series of personal resolutions (that have little chance of success) I want to focus my energy on one thing. I’m sure many of you have heard of My One Word. The idea is to ditch the long list of resolutions and narrow your focus to a single word. When I thought about the kind of person I want to be in 2017 and the impact I want to have I kept coming back to one word:

love-paula

I know LOVE can seem like a frivolous, saccharine, and often hollow word that gets tossed about. It can be a feeling people hope and wish for, but I believe it is more importantly an action. It is a choice. It is a stance.

So how will this ONE word guide me in 2017?  Will I have to love everything everyone does? NO! Quite the contrary. There is so much I have witness that I do NOT love. But with each witnessed event, I have felt compelled to put more LOVE into the world to counteract the hate. I know I am not alone in the quest! (I mean, this certainly was prevalent in 2016.)

screen-shot-2016-12-31-at-8-08-37-am

But it must continue beyond a campaign season, in fact it is even more important after this campaign season.  If we think about how to generate more LOVE I believe we will find ourselves choosing to be more:

  • Kind
  • Patient
  • Helpful
  • Empathetic
  • Compassionate
  • Fair
  • Passionate
  • Progressive
  • Forgiving
  • Open
  • (add your own here)

These are all acts of LOVE. We can focus it outward to our families and friends with physical and emotional kindness and assuming best intentions when we disagree.  We can focus outward to our communities, country, and world with charity and actions that benefit, protect, and stand with others. We can also focus it inward to LOVE ourselves when we make choices that are healthy, joyful, and enriching.

So that is my word for 2017. I know I won’t be perfect, but part of LOVE is forgiveness and reassurance.  LOVE can be a very powerful action, especially when it gathers its force together…latest

Wishing you more LOVE in 2017…What is YOUR word?

What’s On My Book Radar?

I’ve read several KidLit books over vacation, but I also was blown away by my “grown up” book choice this week.

THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD by Colson Whitehead
screen-shot-2016-12-31-at-8-35-28-amThis book held me in its grip from page one. Colson Whitehead has written a brutally revealing story of the ‘business’ of slavery in the pre Civil War south, but he pulls us into a literal Underground Railroad where engineers and conductors operate under the southern soil. We escape with Cora, who is coming of age on a particularly cruel plantation, and witness the tortuous treatment of human beings inflicted by those ‘privileged’ to be born with less melanin. I was biting my nails and turning the pages furiously to follow Cora and pray for her delivery-and yet cringing at the fate of those who tried to help or love her. I would LOVE for everyone to read this book when they are thinking about making America great again, and asking themselves what ‘great’ means to whom.
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