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.

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.

Time Well-Spent

My one little word painting and my first entry for #100DaysofNotebooking

My one word for 2020 is TIME. Though I can’t buy it, own it or keep it, I can spend time well. That’s my intention in 2020 and beyond.

This year I am giving up on time-sucking activities and going for activities that offer a more valuable contribution to myself and the world. Here are a few things I’ll be doing.

  1. Finish my TESOL certificate
  2. Build relationships with people
  3. Build leaders at school and church
  4. Find or create ways to bring justice, and use my time doing so
  5. Read and write about what I’m learning spiritually
  6. Read 40 or more books
  7. Do occasional writing challenges, like the #100DaysofNotebooking challenge that’s going on right now on Twitter
  8. Take a 1-second video every day (App: 1 Second Everyday)
  9. Solve the NYT daily mini puzzle (It takes just two minutes and then I have to wait until the next day!)
My 2020 journal

 

One Word for 2019 Poem

I was inspired yet again by my friend Sheri Edwards. She recently created a great post, “Blog Images,” about making and finding images to enliven your blog posts. As photo resources have continually changed over the past decade, I learned some tips that were new to me. I made the above layered images on Google Slides from this video I found on Richard Byrne’s post that Sheri had shared.

This month, my students are doing a collaborative project with art, computer, and English about their #OneLittleWords. They are writing a paragraph, poem, and slide show video, along with a piece of art they did in art class. We are learning together and growing as we get to know and help each other with the challenges before us in 2019.

Sow in 2019

It’s a new year and time for a new little word. I’ve been thinking about my word for 2019, and I think I’ve found it.

Sow. Not the four-legged kind, but the verb.

Sow…grow…seed…plant…develop…propagate…strew…broadcast…scatter… Hmmm… Yikes! Whoa, there. Don’t be scattered, Denise! That’s been your problem. Breathe. Now focus.

OK, back to my one little word. I choose simply SOW for 2019. Just planting seeds. Let’s see where that takes me.

“Do not be deceived. God will not be made a fool. For a person will reap what he sows.” Galatians 6:7 (New English Translation)

I have spent too many hours watching and reading political discourse over the past three years. What do I reap? Stress. So I’ve decided in 2019 I will start spending my precious extra minutes doing something productive, fruit-bearing, work that will reap rewards. 

First, a bit of history: In 2016, I chose the word FIT. I thought I could not only be fit, but also that I could fit everything into my schedule, including watching the trumpster fire that was the 2016 election.

In 2017, I chose SERENITY. I had tried the year before, and I knew I couldn’t fit it all in. I tried to find peace in the chaos.

In 2018, I chose HOPE. I knew our country would come back to its senses and trump’s presidency would end soon. I still have hope; it’s just taking longer than I thought it would.

Thank you, Sarah Landis, for sharing the One Little Word hyperdoc and this template.

Now, in 2019, I can be confident to SOW. I can make good choices and plant seeds of important work because I do have work to do:

As you can see, I have important work for 2019. There are seeds to plant so that in 2020 I can benefit from the harvest.

At the same time, I can leave trump to wrap up his sinister sowing, knowing that he will soon be reaping justice. I will trust Mueller, the 116th U.S. Congress, and the American people to do their work. I also trust God, who is not deceived; a person like trump will definitely reap what he has spent a lifetime sowing.

Since I have one more week in 2018, I thought I would test drive my new one little word. I’ve created a spreadsheet to check off each task I work on for any amount of time each day. I hope it will help me stay focused on tasks that will lead to a good harvest. I’m praying my one word will take hold of me this year!

What is your one little word for 2019?