WORDS FOR THE YEAR
GRATITUDE CHALLENGES PAST AND PRESENT
- The IWSG writing community
- Dads who teach daughters how to change the oil in their cars (my dad and my husband)
- Headphones (I have big gamer headphones that block out sound and help me hear students better on Zoom)
- Delight in simple things, like family conversations and laughter
- Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Birthday Cake
- Reusable water bottles
- Scissors (would you want to live life without scissors? I wouldn't)
- Cobra Kai (yes, I like it, call me 80s)
- The Expanse (yes, I like this one, too)
- The Mandalorian (more, please, someday)
- Traitor's Game by Jennifer Nielsen
- Spares by Carol Riggs
- Having a student who is reading LoTR for our tutoring sessions (his choice!)
- Word Power (see above)
- Rev. MLK, Jr. He had word power and an exceptional voice.
- Advocacy (see Chrys Fey's guest post and A Fighting Chance)
- Travel Memoirs (see Liesbet Collaert's book celebration post for Plunge)
- Fantasy fiction
- Science fiction
- Romantic Suspense (Notables: Chrys Fey and Jemi Fraser)
- Romance (all right, I am reading romance, but don't tell my mom, even if the author I mention is clean enough for her) Ellen Jacobsen (who also writes fun, cozy mysteries)
- Getting a poem published! Read "Winter's End" at The Skinny Poetry Journal.
- Daughter #1 (firstborn, I don't have favorites) whose birthday is today. She's 22. I'm amazed by her: compassion, advocacy, work ethic, engineering brain mixed with her love of theater and literature, joy, laughter, love, dancing spirit, love of being outdoors - ice climbing, rock climbing, and skiing, and authentic faith.
Well, I have more...Mwahaha.
This the mostly complete list from my #101daysgratitude challenge. Note: there are more than 101 items listed, but some are repeats. I'm not always creative with my thanksgiving.
101 Days Gratitude Challenge Recap
From September 23, 2020 through January 1, 2021
1. Keep Writing with Fey: Sparks to Defeat Writer’s Block, Depression, and Burnout by Chrys Fey.
2. My writing days that felt good.
3. Rain. The day I mentioned this, it was near the end of the wildfires, and the rain dampened many fires and cleansed the air.
4. My favorite fantasy book to movie cast: The Hobbit with Martin Freeman as Bilbo.
5. A fantasy quote I love which I think relates to life and writing: “It does not do to leave a dragon out of your calculations if you live near him,” Gandalf in The Hobbit by Tolkien.
6. The #fantasychallengeseptember on Instagram in which I “met” several wonderful authors.
7. Books in general, from small to large, from baby books to books for academics, and all of the books in-between.
8. Reading parents.
9. Reading children.
11. Books that can be read again and again.
12. National Daughter’s Day and my two daughters. They light up my life with their conversations, their compassion, their humor, their hugs, and their love for each other. Even in their struggles, they impress me.
14. Fun story ideas.
15. My talented cover artist for Liftoff. Carrie Butler.
16. My encouraging editor Chrys Fey.
17. Seventeen awesome encouragers who helped with my book release.
18. Furry family members.
19. Cattitude from our purring furry family member who comforts us when we don’t feel well and reads over my shoulder.
20. New book covers.
21. Two superwomen sister-in-laws.
23. Morning moments.
24. My Eeyore mug.
25. Frames of leaves and trees for the sky.
26. World-building for fantasy and science fiction.
27. Daughters walking arm in arm.
28. A plentitude of pens.
29. Hour-long phone conversations with my daughters. Their voices feel like a sound hug.
31. A finished book, written this year, edited this year, published this year.
32. Our back deck.
33. Tea, rest, and writing time.
34. World Mental Health Day.
38. Rain and sunshine.
40. Tea or coffee.
41. Writing, journaling, and fun pens.
42. Thanksgiving, gratitude, and self-care challenges.
43. A sense of travel from a coffee mug which represents a trip I took a few years ago.
44. A sense of travel by seeing familiar places with fresh eyes.
47. The International Day of Failure.
48. Over a dozen books I haven’t finished. I choose to see these as either growth, or possibilities.
49. Speaking through social anxiety.
50. Thinking about my “perfect” book recipe: flawed heroes, world-building, action, friends/family, fantastical creatures/aliens, references, high stakes, a hint of romance, hope on the horizon or outright faith.
51. Creative Colloquy.
52. Free Writer’s Workshop classes from Creative Colloquy.
53. A free class by Jack Cameron on “Outlining by the Seat of your Pants.”
55. My favorite characters in my books.
56. Character names.
57. Seeing a former student get some of her work published in a graphic novel.
58. Great first lines.
59. The IG writing community.
60. All the 2020 humor memes. We needed them. I needed them. Thank you, meme-makers.
61. The growth I’ve experienced as a mom, letting go of my college-age daughters, and having them come back to conversations and family time.
62. I have bad days, I have good days, and I keep on walking.
63. Fitbit’s achievement badges.
64. “one word after another word is power.” Margaret Atwoood.
65. Updates from my cover artist.
66. Grocery store runs with my husband.
67. Family conversations by speaker phone – the new fireside chat.
68. A really awesome sermon from Pastor Peter Churness on the in-depth meanings in John 7 and the Feast of Tabernacles (and all of his John sermons).
69. Short hellos at the grocery store.
70. A discussion of the history of my name with a barista who knew history about the city of Tyre. (Even though my parents made up my name creatively, it actually is the same as a historical name.)
71. The interior design for my novella Liftoff.
72. My pets reminding me to destress. Example: my cat taking time to shred a paper bag.
73. Tutoring awesome students via Zoom.
74. Coffee with friends – Christian sisters I can get real with and laugh with.
75. Inspirational memes.
76. A new desk.
77. A new chair.
78. Early reviews for Liftoff. So wonderful and encouraging!
79. Finishing items on my checklist and rewarding myself for doing it.
80. Rain jackets that work.
81. Writing encouragement.
82. My writing critique group of super encouragers.
83. Seeing the work of a former student in print.
84. Sun breaks and the knowledge that no matter how dark things seem, the sun is just waiting to break through the clouds, like how the light of Jesus is always shining even when we can’t see it. I was reminded of this by a praying friend one morning.
86. The right to vote and make my own choices, based on research and not what everyone is saying.
87. The way my daughters care for each other.
88. DIY kitchen parts coming together: new cabinets, new countertops.
89. Saturday morning Bible Study sisters, great study time, and Zoom.
90. “I am the Light of the World.” John 8:12
91. One Hope Church.
92. Day of book release signing at a coffee shop with five people. Perfect for me. 😊
93. A clean desk.
95. Book release day.
96. Veterans Day and all the Veterans who have worked so hard for freedom.
97. Encouragement from the blogging community.
98. A lazy Saturday.
99. Online resources at One Hope Church.
100. My blog book tour and all the wonderful bloggers who helped with my book release.
101. Writing friends in the South Sound Writers’ Community built up by EC Murray.
102. Re-shelving my books and creating a more celebratory shelf for my books.
104. Mammograms for self-care.
105. My mother-in-law is a cancer survivor-warrior woman.
106. Short story publications.
107. Creative essay publications.
108. Poetry publications.
109. Glimmers of light, messages in a bottle from Creative Colloquy authors.
110. Game night.
112. Dressember. Raising funds to fight human trafficking.
113. Remembering a childhood friend. The memories are good. The loss of her life by suicide was hard. I am thankful for her life lived, and getting to know her as a friend.
114. Dinner with two beautiful Christian sisters who lift me up with their love, grace, and wisdom.
115. Writing craft books.
116. Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert.
117. Writing poetry.
118. Writing a few songs.
119. The Mandalorian show.
120. Walking to the corner coffee shop with my daughter.
121. My mom’s creativity.
122. My dad’s steadfast kindness.
123. A text from a friend about how her daughter loves my new book so much she was trying to avoid her homework so she could finish it.
124. Friends asking me to sign their books. I feel a little overwhelmed when this happens, but it’s good.
125. Physical therapy for my Achilles tendonitis.
126. Heat and ice.
128. Pressure points.
129. Daughters home for Christmas.
132. Christmas lights.
133. Christmas trees.
134. Unexpected and random acts of kindness.
135. Nativity scenes.
136. Playing the drums.
137. Listening to Christmas music played on our piano.
138. Christmas cookies.
143. Wrapping presents with my husband.
144. Game night, Catan style.
145. Klaus, a Christmas movie.
147. The armor of God: belt of truth, breastplate of righteousness, helmet of salvation, shoes fitted for the gospel of peace, shield of faith, sword of the Spirit.
152. Christmas cards and Christmas letters.
154. The birth of a great-nephew named Rowan.
155. The abundance of family.
156. Sugar cookies for Christmas.
159. A dragon teapot.
161. More hugs.
162. Hugs every day from my daughters.
163. Two new books.
164. A new planner.
165. Pizza two days after Christmas.
166. Squats and plies. Yep, I’m thankful for them.
167. Walks, slow but steadily regaining strength a quarter mile at a time.
168. Hugs from my dad and mom.
169. Dog cuddles.
170. Cat nose boops.
171. Driving on errands in the car, talking, laughing, moments together.
173. Idea brainstorming.
174. Big ideas and small ideas.
175. When it doesn’t rain after several days of it.
176. Finally seeing the Christmas “star” conjunction of Jupiter, Saturn, and Mars in the night sky, on one clear night.
177. Family footsteps.
178. A stamp.
179. A calendar.
180. Business cards.
181. A reminder from a friend.