1.4.20 A Single Word

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I have never really been a person to start a year with a single “word.” I have favorite words … too many, and I suppose that is why choosing one to embody an entire year never seemed sufficient enough. And yet … I betray myself, because recently, I realized I do have a word. But before telling you what it is, I have one story, and one confession. 

A few weeks ago, I was in a cohort of teachers and was asked the question, “If you could speak any language fluently, what language would you want to know how to speak.” I listened to the others choosing beautiful languages that had always been on my list, but when it came to be my turn to answer, I couldn’t pick any. Surprising even myself, what came out of my mouth was “respect.” 

I went on to explain how I wish that I could speak the language of respect fluently to all people, because I have come to learn that as “alike” or “different” as I believe myself to be from anyone else, every single person in the universe speaks and feels respect differently. As humans we have nothing if not a consistent margin for offense, mis-intended communication and accidental conflict. It’s exhausting, actually … especially for those of us who feel everything and care perhaps a little too much.

Now, onto my confession. As I was thinking about my wish to speak respect fluently, a small voice in the back of my mind asked me very, very clearly … “Is respect the language you speak to yourself?” And guess what my answer was – nope. Not often. Not even once a day sometimes. Here I try and try and bend to the point of breaking to love and honor and respect others (albeit imperfectly), and I don’t even really try to return the favor to myself. 

I point out her flaws. I tell her of her shortcomings. I expect more and more out of her with less and less time, encouragement, and praise. I am not very nice to her at all. I am demanding and harsh and critical. Professionally. Personally. Physically. I tell her she is not enough. How’s that for honesty? I’m a bit ashamed to admit it, but how will I ever become fluent in respect if I don’t start with telling myself the truth? So that is my intention this year. I hope to mend our relationship a little … or, a lot maybe. I want to give her a bit of grace, a bit of encouragement, and maybe even a long-deserved apology. 

My word for the year is RESPECT. I’m thinking it might take me awhile to get it right, but self … I’m sure going to try. 

1.1.17 Seventeen Wishes

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It is the first day of the first month of a new year, and let me remind you – anything is possible. People always say, “Happy New Year,” but I want to offer you more than happy … I want to give you my own personalized list of seventeen wishes for 2017 that have nothing to do with resolutions (thank God). Author Francesca Lia Block offered great advice when she said, “Wish on everything. Pink cars are good, especially old ones. And stars of course, first stars and shooting stars. Planes will do if they are the first light in the sky and look like stars. Wish in tunnels, holding your breath and lifting your feet off the ground.” So, from someone who believes in the power of a wish followed by a prayer … here are mine for you.

  1. I wish you the longest of weekends … and the shortest of Mondays.
  2. I wish you laughter – the kind that makes your belly ache, tears run down your cheeks, and your breath come in pants and wheezes. 
  3. I wish you luxurious baths, filled with bubbles so thick you can’t see your toes.
  4. I wish you coffee … coffee every single day in only the BIGGEST of mugs.
  5. I wish you clearance sales when you don’t expect them.
  6. I wish you loads of time for reading books that fill your spirit with the power of pretend.
  7. I wish you marathon movie nights with loads of buttered popcorn and M&M’s.
  8. I wish you adventures that lead you to discover you are braver than you ever thought you could be.
  9. I wish you loads of sweet-dream sleep, complimented only by the cool side of the pillow. 
  10. I wish you ordinary delights, like perfectly toasted toast, a full gas tank when you didn’t expect it, extra cheese on your pizza, and a day free of any computer glitches at all.
  11. I wish you ice cream on a weekly basis, especially if it involves peanut butter or marshmallow sauce, sprinkles and cherry juice.
  12. I wish you memories … the type that flit into your consciousness and make you smile almost before you register that they’re there … like a friend who came to visit, bringing you “home” once again.
  13. I wish you a chance to step into the ocean, to stand somewhere with a view, to lean into the wind, and to remember that you’re a part of a story much bigger than your own.
  14. I wish you the appreciation of others, even people you don’t know … I wish you relationships, both old and new, that stretch into friendships you’ll never outgrow. 
  15. I wish you poetry, not the kind you read, but the kind you feel beyond the page.
  16. I wish you the opportunity to nurture your curiosity, to imagine what ifs, to discover new places, and to create space in your life to play.
  17. Finally, I wish you undeniable, unquenchable, unrestrained joy.  I wish you much beyond happy … I wish you unmitigated delight in believing that this isn’t just another year … but another chance to find the best version of yourself. 

It is an honor to know that somehow, my words have found you. I pray that this year I’ll continue to have the pleasure of your company, whether in person, or here as digital friends.  Your readership is one of my greatest sources of happy … so please keep visiting me here, and share this blog if you think anyone else would like to join our weekly word party. 

Literarily yours, 

Elle