Break-Up Letter to 2020

Dear 2020,

I am thankful we made it this far, but I am going to say goodbye today. We are finished.

Thankfully,

Denise

When I chose my one word for 2020, time, it was partly because I never had enough. I was never able to accomplish everything (hardly anything it seemed) on my to-do list. I think it had more to do with the fact that I am a teacher than that I was lazy or unproductive.

Ironically, though, early in the year I had more time than I needed. We were sent home from school on February 26, 2020. Learning online continued, and it was stressful at times, but time became much more plentiful. I did manage to achieve some of my hopes for 2020–like doing the NYT mini puzzle each day and taking a one-second video each day. (OK, I know!) But a big hope for me was to be more intentional about building relationships and leadership in those I work with. And, thankfully, this has been a definite highlight.

There were other hopes I did not reach. For instance, I haven’t finished my TESOL certificate or read 40 books in 2020. Why was it that 2020 was not a good reading year? I wondered quite often.

However, I spent some of my 2020 time on things that were not even on my list from last year, ideas that pre-covid were unheard of and/or long-neglected in my life.

  • I learned to cook with spices.
  • I have been exercising and lost 30 extra pounds that did not need to be on my body.
  • I took better care of my mental health.
  • I edited the videos for 40 online worship services for church.
  • I wrote more than 75 poems and more than 150 blog posts.
  • I have not gotten covid-19.

For all these things I am grateful. Since I’ve been practicing thankfulness when I wrote some gratiku and a poem about gratitude in November, I thought giving thanks is a worthy yearlong plan (or longer).

So, for 2021, I am choosing to be thankful, to say thank you every day to my God and to the people around me and in my life. Life is short, and I can’t always be productive. I’m going to embrace life and say thank you for it, even while I keep working for love, peace, change, and justice. While I work, and even when I’m unproductive, my one word for 2021 is Gratitude.

One word for 2021 --gratitude written on a canvas setting on a small easel
My one word for 2021

Images: Hour glass timer by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash
Thank you blocks by Courtney Hedger on Unsplash

Other one word posts
Voice
Fit
Serenity
Hope
Sow
Time

The Isolation Journals Prompt 122 by Ezra Bookman
Choose one bit of gunk you want to get rid of, something you don’t want to carry with you into 2021. A negative thought you use to put yourself down, a limiting belief or bad habit. Some idol in your inner temple that’s holding your light back from the world. Write it a goodbye letter, as if you’re breaking up with it.

Getting Dumber

Today’s Slice of Life post at TwoWritingTeachers.org

Today I really felt the effect on my brain when using texting to communicate in our fast-paced world. I fear my mind is deteriorating! Or at least giving me new opportunities for problem solving.

I was standing in the line at the supermarket and I checked my messages…

First I went back to the Christmas decoration section and put this giant tree into an empty cart. Then I felt I had to send a bit of an explanation as to why I texted this random contact to ask if he wanted me to buy him a Christmas tree. (This is not the first time I have texted the wrong group or individual.)

Next, I read the text above from another person. I have learned to read auto-correct spelling now, so I assume we will use this book for devotions rather than deviations.

Finally, I was writing to tell my husband I joined the queue at Aisle 13 with my Christmas tree. Before I sent the Aussie text, I noticed it, took a breath and laughed.

Overall, though, I am still grateful for the ability to communicate in this strange way.

Thinking about Possible One Little Words and Teeth

A day late for Slice of Life at TwoWritingTeachers.org

Gratitude, connection, creation, and change. These are in my future for 2021, at least that’s what I heard from Instagram. I like those words, actually, and perhaps they will spark an idea for my one little word for 2021.

Today I’m grateful. Yesterday I was eating a piece of white bread toast, not that toasty. I took a bite and bit on something very hard. I spit it out, wondering what in the heck happened.

My husband took it and determined it was  a fingernail. I thought I would never look the same at my favorite grocer with freshly baked bread. I threw away the rest of the toast.

Then I went into the other room, and quickly came running back to tell my husband, “It was my tooth!” I had run my tongue along a part of my mouth and realized my crown had broken.

Then I walked over to the dentist, in the next building. I went right in to see the doctor. He assessed the situation, and made an appointment for 3:15, a few hours later.

So, today, I’m grateful for my teeth and the dentist who was available and fixed my crown, helping keep me healthy.

Slice of Life, Early Morning Style

Today’s Slice of Life at TwoWritingTeachers.org

I had maps on my mind all day. Challenged by a prompt by Glenda Funk at Ethical ELA about mapping our voices, I couldn’t get any ideas. I love maps, literally and metaphorically. So I’ve thought of maps all day, but I didn’t write anything.

Before I went to sleep, I had a spark of an idea. I jotted a note about all the moves we’ve made as a pastor’s family. Maybe that’s what I’ll map, I thought. The moves have made for interesting cultural experiences, but they were not great for the stability of family and friends. I wanted to somehow capture these moves, but I needed to go to sleep after a long day.

This is what I have to decipher after my middle of the night writings

Then at 1:57 a.m. I woke up thinking of maps again. I jotted some notes on the notebook on my nightstand. Then after another 15 minutes of lying there, I got out of bed and came to write in the dark without my glasses. I used Ctrl+ and relied on the red underlinings for my misspelled words.

Now it’s just about 4:00 a.m. and I decided to write this Slice of Life too, which I had also neglected yesterday. So, although it is officially Wednesday here, I’ll post this before I go back to bed!

Here is a link to this month’s Ethical ELA poems I’ve written, including the early morning “poem” I wrote about mapping my daughter’s moves.

Writing in the dark

Waiting

Waiting

Are you ready for Karak tea?
My husband’s gift to pour–
Friday mornings, quietly free
This chai, my drink du jour

On this Advent winter Morning
Emmanuel–God with us
Gift of Ransom from our mourning
Rescued from pain and pus

Rejoice, rejoice–God with us, here
In this place, in becoming–
Sipping sweet, spicy, milky Tea
Pause and smile. He’s coming.

The Isolation Journals with Suleika Jaouad Prompt #120 by Cat Miles.

Write about a beloved drink—about how you make it, a memory associated with it, or the way it connects you to others or yourself.

I combined this with another prompt about using Emily Dickinson’s techniques. I attempted #1, writing about a mundane subject with a bigger idea, and #2, using common meter and rhyme. It was also easy to throw in techniques #3, capitalized nouns, and #4, use of dashes. I think I’ll keep practicing! Especially on #2.