My January Goals Update

Acknowledging, recognizing, and reordering our priorities so that they can give purpose to our days is a deeply personal task that we all need to do if we are to learn to live by our own lights. 
             - Sarah Ban Breathnach, Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy

On the last day of each month, I update my goal progress in the areas I chose for the year. Monthly goal updates that began a decade ago in 2013 in the Notes app on my phone are now kept in table form on my blog, giving me a way of remaining focused on my goals and holding myself accountable in actionable strides. Today, I’m sharing my first goal update of 2023. January is just the beginning of the year-long marathon, so I’ve been energetic and about all the new goals. Looking back at these early tables later in the year will give me the momentum to achieve most of my goals, if not all of them, at the notorious “mile 25” when the runner is beyond weary. I invite you to try this system if you’ve never tracked goals over the course of a year and you’re looking for a way to celebrate your successes along the journey.

CategoryGoalsMy Progress
Literature*Read Around the USA
*Give Away Books
*Send out Postcards
*Blog Daily
I read Stephen King’s On Writing for my Read Around the USA New England states with the Book Girls, and I decided on my February book: Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore by Matthew Sullivan. I have ordered this book for our next group of states and can’t wait to start reading. I’ve blogged daily, given away 2 four-foot shelves of books, and sent postcards to my grandchildren and others during this month.
Creativity*Improve blog photos
*Indulge in photo excursions
*Create photo montage
I ordered favorite moment photos on canvas, and they arrived mid-January! They turned out beautifully, and each morning I begin the day seeing the joy of adventuring and living. I’ve been on several photography excursions this month. I still need to work on improving my blog photos.
Spirituality and One Little Word (Pray) *Tune in to church
*Pray! Keep OLW priority
Dad sent me a copy of Harry Emerson Fosdick’s The Meaning of Prayer, and I’m delving into this selection slowly. Although we are still between churches, we attend weekly on YouTube Live wherever Dad is guest preaching. My One Little Word is a daily priority – I pray in the shower and on my way to work (keeping my word in visible places helps tremendously).
Reflection*Write family stories
*Spend time tracking goals each month
I’m tracking my goal progress. I’ve copied and pasted this goal template into the last day of each month’s blog post already and scheduled it to post. I can update sections throughout the month as I reach goals or work toward them. I haven’t written any family stories this month, but instead I have asked Dad to guest blog twice on Sundays with reflection pieces on prayer.
Self-Improvement*Reach top of weight range
*Maintain Weight
*Give away clothes when they get baggy
My husband and I both cleaned out our closets and donated what we discarded that was still in good shape. The county north of us sustained severe tornado damage a couple weeks ago, so we know that the clothes and shoes will be used by those who lost their belongings and were displaced from their homes. We also cleaned out our pantry and refrigerator and donated food to families with immediate needs. “Starting over” feels great! Giving to those in need makes the process more meaningful. On the weight loss goal, I’m a pound and a half from my target, and I hope to reach my goal in the next couple of weeks.
Gratitude*Devote blog days to counting blessingsI celebrated my husband on his birthday and my firstborn daughter on hers. Those were the only birthdays this month. I’m reading Sarah Ban Breathnach’s Simple Abundance, which keeps me focused on feeling grateful each day. Birthdays seem like natural occasions to be intentional with written gratitude for others.
Experience*Embrace Slow Travel
*Focus on the Outdoors
We’re making conscious efforts to slow down our travel pace. For the past two Saturdays, we have savored the mornings, so I’m starting a new mindset practice: Savoring Saturdays. Each begins with coffee and includes books. I need to get outdoors more. I look forward to the lengthening days and the coming warmth ~I’m hoping the groundhog predicts an early spring.
Goal Table Update for January
Special thanks to Two Writing Teachers for giving writers space and voice.

January Open Write – and a Slice of Life on Two Kings

Today is the fourth day of five days of January’s Open Write at http://www.ethicalela.com. Each month, this writing group gathers to write and give positive feedback to at least three other writers. Please join us! Here is the direct link, where you can read about today’s host, Glenda Funk of Idaho, and the inspiration she brings in her prompt.

It’s also Tuesday, when Two Writing Teachers invite Slice of Life stories. We’re gearing up for writing every day during the month of March. You can read more about the Slice of Life Challenge and share your own blog and read others here.

Glenda invites us to write poems about women today – empowering women! I recently finished reading On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King, where I learned that, not surprisingly, his wife paved the way to his success – – (and that he believes the road to hell is paved in peppered adverbs).

The Crown of the King 



what kind of woman 

retrieves wadded papers 

  reclaims the "trash" 

    reads his manuscript 

      redirects his steps



....his catapulting masterpiece 

         .....his claim to fame





Carrie 



the kind of woman 

who is the reason 

    he is who he is 



the kind of woman 

who is the wind 

     beneath the wings 

         of an all-time great 



(because it does take a woman)



Cheers for Tabitha King!
Novelists Stephen and Tabitha King
Special thanks to Two Writing Teachers for giving writers space and voice!

January 21 Open Write with Barb Edler

Today is the first day of five days of January’s Open Write at http://www.ethicalela.com. Each month, this writing group gathers to write and give positive feedback to at least three other writers. Please join us! Here is the direct link, where you can read about today’s host, Barb Edler, and the inspiration she brings in her prompt: https://www.ethicalela.com/connecting-with-others-or-things-through-a-personal-letter-poem/

We’re invited today to write Personal Letter poems that capture intimate moments. I think often of our old farm dog Archie, who lived under the porch of the Presbyterian Church over on Pedenville Road in Concord, Georgia and must have always been chased off with a broom by the cleaning crew. He had a dreadful fear every time I swept. In a thunderstorm, he chased a colleague’s car all the way home, looking for shelter from the storm and something to eat. Her twin girls, both veterinarians, nursed him back to health as best they could before their mother called me. This is the perfect dog for you, she urged. We’ve named him R.K. for Roadkill, which is what he’s gonna be if someone doesn’t give him a good home.

And so we brought R.K. to the Johnson Funny Farm, my husband holding him down in the bed of a Ford Ranger pickup truck as I drove us home (in a stick shift for the first time in many years), hurky-jerky all the way here, where we softened R.K. to Archie and came to love a dog who was as close to human as they get.

Good Ol’ Archie

whenever I clean the empty 
hardwood floor space
under the antique oak buffet
~your thunderstorm safe zone~
my heart goes thud-thumpy

I exhale
my eyes close
I think of you,
your eyebrows
raising back and forth
left, right, left…..
looking me full
in the face
searching for love
wanting
needing
my embrace
waiting for my concrete to crumble

this was your favorite game

you wanted love 
more than food

when I let your human eyes
pierce the stoic face 
I’d held as long as I could
and my smile cracked, turned to laughter….


your full goofy body wag 
erupted with joy
slathered me with sugary sweet love kisses
paws on my shoulders

loving me as you did
rescuing me as you did

* * *

and then came that morning. 
you hadn’t moved
I knew before your 
three tail thud-thumps
became my heartbeat

I’ve…….loved…….you

It…….is……time

Help…..me…..cross

thump……thump…..thump

your empty space remains, Good Ol’ Archie

Mindset Shift

Each day offers its own gift. – Sarah Ban Breathnach, Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy

I’m attending a conference in Macon this week for Literacy Leaders in schools across my state of Georgia. As I made the hour-long drive yesterday morning, I prayed (this year’s word – pray) and reflected on last year’s word, which I haven’t abandoned – listen. I often reminded myself last year that somewhere in the day, if I listened closely enough, there would be a golden nugget of wisdom coming my way, and all I had to do was to be ready to catch it.

True to form, it came. We were in a session where similar-sized districts were sharing ideas, and one leader shared the need for a program to address some gaps they were observing in their data, and shared further particulars of the structure of her school system. I’d partly tuned out, replying to a couple of emails, when another voice chimed in during a brief lull.

“Programs are not your fix.”

A pause, and another voice: “That’s right. This will take a mindset shift.”

I’d arrived a few minutes late, so my Back Pew Baptist self was stuck on the front row of the room, and when I peered back over my shoulder to see the reaction, I saw a sea of faces in a moment of wonder. That “aha” moment where a deep truth resonates so powerfully that it can’t stay bottled up inside.

Programs aren’t our fix. We need a mindset shift.

This wasn’t only about education – it was about life. That’s why my Optavia program was successful. It wasn’t entirely the program. It was the mindset, the adoption of an autopilot approach without emotion and excuse. It was Nike’s Just Do It mentality, combined with a program that worked for my busy schedule and that appealed to my forever-needy sweet tooth.

I wondered: how many other things in my life need a mindset shift – – not a program or a package or a set of instructions bottled up like essential oils dropped into a diffuser and plugged in, hoping they’ll work magic? How many things need my heart, mind, and grit as a commitment and not just a sprinkling of fairy dust that I want to believe will make change?

These thoughts are what I’m taking through the day with me as I listen for the next golden nugget of wisdom. These are the places where I find answers to some of my deepest questions ~ in the unexpected moments, from small voices in the back of a room, when I never even asked a question but an answer to one yet unasked finds its way to me. It holds tight to my thoughts, ready for when I need it most.

Come on over to www.ethicalela.com and join us for our 5-Day January Open Write starting tomorrow!  Our hosts this month are Glenda Funk of Idaho and Barb Edler of Iowa.  They're teaming up on some inspirational writing prompts for us, so I hope to see you there!

Reflections on a Slice of Pumpkin Bread with Coffee

“Today, make discovering those joyful simplicities that bring you personal comfort and a sense of well-being one of your highest priorities.” – Sarah Ban Breathnach, Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy

Pumpkin Bread from Christmas 2022

At my bridal shower in 1985 given by the ladies of First Baptist Church of St. Simons Island, Georgia, I received a lot of cookbooks and tried-and-true recipe cards. The ladies in that church who had practically helped raise me were tremendous cooks, and I was over-the-moon thrilled to have a coveted collection of the recipes that gave me an inkling of hope of being like them in the kitchen.

Over the years, from the beginning of my young married life through raising children and even through divorce and remarriage, one recipe was an instant hit and remains a family favorite through it all. I make it only during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays to keep it sacred and anticipated. When I visited one of our daughters who lives 6 hours away for Christmas 2022, she had already told many of her friends, “I hope my mom brings her pumpkin bread.” When she introduced me to them, I wasn’t surprised to hear that my pumpkin bread reputation had preceded me!

Times shared together when everyone has gathered during the carefree, unrushed holidays around a table or in small sitting areas with coffee and conversation, where candles flicker and the clinking of forks on tiny plates adds to the joy of togetherness against the backdrop of a football game on TV, where children play games and watch a parade, where family news is being shared and good books are being discussed and political views are not~ ~ ~ that’s pumpkin bread season. For anyone who pursues the Danish concept of hygge, pumpkin bread is at the top of the list. It works its comforting magic and hits the spot!

Today, I share the recipe for the pumpkin bread that has been our tradition for nearly 40 years. I’ll also add that it freezes well. Sometimes I split the loaf into two large loaves, but sometimes I make mini loaves so that my husband can take one to work for breakfast each day throughout the week. I fill pans about 2/3 full so that it gives room to rise, and I adjust my baking times for size. When there is one tiny bit of uncooked dough in the top of the rise, I remove it from the oven and allow it to finish cooking in its own heat during the cooling process. If freezing, I wrap in foil and place in a Ziploc bag once cooled.

Recipe for Pumpkin Bread II from the cookbook Frederica Fare:

One of my daughters likes her pumpkin bread with whipped cream cheese spread between two slices.

Self-Improvement Goals: My Optavia Journey since August 2022

My journey all started with high blood pressure and “not feeling my best, ” but it had been building since late 2019. It was hard to get comfortable enough to go to sleep in bed, and I couldn’t cross my legs anymore. My thyroid medication couldn’t keep up – but it was a handy excuse. I wore the same pair of black pants at least three times a week because I refused to buy the next size up and didn’t want to commit to the longevity of an additional pair at the same size ~ because that would be admitting complacency, right? And my shirts had to be long enough to cover my back end, like a Band-Aid “hides” a wound. When we went kayaking, I had to wiggle myself down into the seat of my boat. Then I prayed as I paddled that The Gypsy Soul wouldn’t take on water and sink me somewhere out in the middle of a lake. I was in a stuck spot, and I wasn’t liking the out-of-breath adventurer I had become.

Those were hard realities for a former distance runner. In 2019, I was at the bottom of my goal weight range, running competitively and occasionally placing in my master’s women age category in 5Ks. I endured a knee injury that stalled my running, and then Covid hit. My weight went mountain climbing and enjoyed all the scenery along the way. Straight to the 206# summit.

That’s where I drew the line.

I’d always cried out to Weight Watchers whenever I needed to drop some pounds. As a Lifetime Member, I counted points and made goals and set rewards along the way when I’d stepped out of bounds by ten or twenty pounds. But this time was different. I was so far out of bounds that I needed a personal coach.

Optavia answered. I knew Jennifer Carden was an Optavia health coach, and she lives within two miles of my house. I called her, and we began my journey – we talked through initial interviews about the type of eater I am, my habits and lifestyle, and my food preferences. I placed the order for the box of fuelings that would begin my “five fuelings and one lean and green meal” per day. I would eat every two or three hours, and I could choose whether I needed to satisfy my salty tooth or my sweet tooth. My sweet tooth has forever been the screaming baby in my life.

When the box arrived on a Tuesday, I didn’t want to “wait until Sunday” to get started. I did the gut-wrenching work of owning my weight and measurements and took my “before” pictures on Wednesday, August 10, 2022 – much like confessing to a crime and taking those convicted criminal mug shots. I did a lot of this without thinking or allowing emotional involvement. I willed myself to go on autopilot. One mission: lose weight. Just do it.

I’m posting these pictures, but it really, really hurts to do this. Here goes:

My body specs and interview questions
My Whys
Me at 206.5 pounds on August 10, 2022
Me at 206.5 pounds on August 10, 2022

And then I went to the kitchen and made my first fueling. A chocolate shake.

Optavia Creamy Chocolate Shake, blended with light almond milk

At work, I said NO every time the office food gifts made an appearance in our work kitchen. We’d get an email: “(Local business) brought doughnuts by this morning. Help yourself!” or “We’re celebrating (occasion) – – cupcakes for everyone!” And let me point out: they were good – these are regular offerings by those in our community. It took everything in me to turn down the white fluffy cream-filled doughnuts and the red velvet cupcakes with the cream cheese frosting. I had to remember: auto-pilot. Don’t think about it.

By August 17, I was down ten pounds, to 196. On August 22, I was at 193.9, and on September 6 I was at 188.3. I’d lost almost 20 pounds in one month. I was already able to tell a difference in my black pants, and I considered getting some new ones. But I made an agreement with myself: whenever I bought a new size, I made myself get rid of garments in the old size. I didn’t want to keep the space in the old clothes available for regrowth. So I donated the 20s when I bought 18s, 18s when I bought 16s, 16s when I bought 14s.

By September 19, I was down to 184.6 and looking forward to entering the 170s on the scale. Every time I passed a tens digit, I bought shoes as a reward; I can keep them across the pounds, and they may be my biggest reward motivator other than traveling. By the last week of September, I was down to 182.1 and looking forward to a Fall Break hiking trip to Fort Mountain State Park in Chatsworth, Georgia (with a new pair of hiking boots)!

Instead, I gave a whole new meaning to Fall Break when I missed the last step at work and broke my ankle. Hiking wasn’t to be, but I continued steadfast along my journey and on October 2 weighed in at 180.9. I was 30 pounds from my goal. I was also convinced that if I had fallen at my former weight, my break would have been far worse. Somehow, I had avoided the need for surgery. I give the weight loss full credit for that!

Through the fall, I stayed the course – five fuelings, a lean and green meal, and plenty of water. By October 24, I was at 174.2. Though I was hoping to cross the next tens digit on Halloween (171.6), I wouldn’t get there until November.

Twenty more!

During this month, I knew that Thanksgiving would hold its challenges with food temptations. I flew to California to give a presentation at the NCTE Convention with my writing group, and I flew home to enjoy time with my family at Thanksgiving. My daughter in law cooks an amazing turkey, so I focused on that delightful plate of dinner with a side salad. I kept trucking, setting my sights on new successes.

And then I got Covid. I didn’t feel like eating, so while I wouldn’t have chosen to be sick, the silver lining in the cloud was that I wasn’t craving anything. I doubled down on my water, and by November 28th I weighed 165.0.

December was quickly approaching, and I knew the main thing that would give me trouble: eggnog. I like both the mild grocery store brands and the loaded liquor store brands, so I figured out that I’d need to identify a “substitute.” I took the Golden Blonde Brownie mix and blended it as a shake with almond milk, and then sprinkled it with nutmeg. It did the trick! I knew that once I figured out a way to avoid the feelings of deprivation, I could be successful through the holidays. So I looked for my weakest link and set about problem-solving.

December 12 gave me the momentum I needed: 159.9. I’d crossed another tens digit, and the timing to celebrate success was just the motivation I needed to get through the Christmas holidays.

On January 1, I weighed 160.0, and I rejoiced – not only because I was ten pounds from my goal weight, but also because I’d minimized damages over Christmas. Even though I was up by a half a pound or so, I’d somehow gained only a little, and I suspected that some of it could be salt intake. Plus, my tens digit re-crossing was a breath away. I spent the day doubling down on water and choosing shakes, and by the next morning I was at 158.2. Salt.

This year, I have two weight goals: reach my goal of 150 and maintain it.

With careful planning and a mindset that doesn’t tolerate emotional eating, I’m confident that 2023 will be the year of getting back to the adventurer I was meant to be! I’ll be tracking my goals the last day of every month on my blog. There’s no better time than today to set new goals and start a new journey! Many thanks to Jennifer Carden for always being there and talking me through the struggles.

January 13, 6:15 a.m at 156 pounds – 50 pounds less than the day I started, and 6 pounds to go!

Experience: 2022 Christmas Camping Across 4 State Parks in 5 Days

“Slow travel rejects speed, emphasizes soaking in the local culture, and encourages us to savor the journey, not rush it.” –The Art of Slow Travel, by Bhavana Gesota

Most everyone we told of our Christmas travel plans tried to convince us to rethink our winter camping journey in subzero temperatures.  

"You might want to reconsider," they'd urged, each in their own way.  

"It's going to be dangerously cold.  How will you stay warm in a camper?" 

We'd recently downsized from a 30-foot 4-season Keystone Outback to a 21-foot non-insulated 2022 Little Guy Max Rough Rider.  We were looking forward to seeing what it was made of.....and, perhaps more importantly, what we were made of.  

We weren't wavering on our decision.  The plans were made, and we would set out with two full propane tanks, an indoor-safe propane heater, an indoor electric heater, a supply of firewood, and an electric blanket.  We'd monitored the weather and were keeping close tabs on the conditions of the roads.  

We weren't worried about the extreme temperatures, either. With three radiant-heater dogs (who sleep at our head, hips, and feet) and each other, we were looking forward to all the cozy snuggling and excuses to linger in bed with coffee and read or write or watch Netflix or listen to our favorite seventies bands until the sun came up and warmed the walking trails a half a degree or more. 

With any trip, things happen that we don't anticipate - - like when the bananas freeze and all turn dark brown and ooze goo, and the jar of olive oil freezes solid when we'd planned on searing steaks.  Or when the propane, which converts from a liquid to a gas in the pipelines, freezes and renders that first heating plan completely ineffective, taking us straight to our backup heat.  Those kinds of things.  A few minor setbacks mixed in with some more serious ones.  

So it is in life.  Determination, a plan, a road map, forecasts, obstacles, challenges, a burning desire to experience life ~ even in extreme elements.  It's all part of the journey.  

I'm so glad we stayed the course and savored the moments. It was worth it to experience "slow travel," without a novel-thick itinerary, to "camp our way across states," breaking down the drive into short segments.  

Here are the “Slow Travel” savored moments from our week away over the holidays.

First Stop: Burdoc Farms, Crofton, Kentucky. Most memorable moment: goofing off in the snow in our pajamas, taking pictures of the White Christmas winter wonderland as one of our daughters clicked her heels in sunset snow.

Second Stop: Rock Island State Park, Tennessee. Most memorable moment: enjoying the peaceful sounds of the waterfall at the dam.

Third Stop: Fall Creek Falls State Park, Tennessee. Most memorable moment: taking in the beauty and sounds of the frozen waterfalls and cascades.

Waterfall at Fall Creek Falls State Park, Tennessee

Fourth Stop: Harrison Bay State Park, Tennessee. Most Memorable moment: sunrise on the bay.

Fifth Stop: Red Top Mountain State Park, Georgia. Most memorable moment: writing all day on a rainy New Year’s Eve Eve.

Sixth Stop: Lunch with my aunt and uncle at OK Cafe in Atlanta, Georgia. Most memorable moment: sipping coffee at the retro dinette table, celebrating their December birthdays.

Seventh Stop: Home for New Year’s Eve with one of our sons. Most memorable moment: eating collard greens, black eyed peas, and ribs as we watched the Peach Bowl.

Experiencing places + savoring the journey through slow travel = just the right pace!

Gathering Around a Campfire of Blessings: My Gratitude Goals for 2023

"Start to count your blessings.  Start today. Make a spiritual inventory of all your blessings.  See if you can't get to one hundred.  So much good happens to us but in the rush of daily life we fail even to notice or acknowledge it.  Writing it down focuses our attention on the abundance already within our grasp and makes it real."  Sarah Ban Breathnach, Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy

When I missed the last couple of steps at work and broke my ankle at the end of September, I was a spoiled brat. I wanted help, but I wanted to do it all by myself. I wanted to go to work, but I wanted to stay home. I was fine when I planned my day but cried out of sheer frustration when I couldn’t get things done with my normal efficiency and speed. In those moments, I learned that I had to focus on the blessings to get through the challenging times. I had to remind myself to dwell on the good things:

I have people in my life who truly want to help me.

My injuries could have been much worse.

This phase is temporary; my ankle will heal in time.

I have mobility with a knee scooter loaned to me by a friend.

The minute I allowed self-pity to seep in, it clouded my whole world. I had to make a deliberate effort to keep all of my thinking positive, or I got sucked into a dreary hole of darkness with branching tunnels and no apparent end.

My gratitude goals for 2023 include keeping gratefulness at the forefront. I tend to be best at counting my blessings when I’m outdoors – just like we do when we’re sitting around the campfire, thinking about the beauty of life and the power of moments. I plan to spend more time around the campfire, fire pit, and the fireplace this year, and to write about my blessings through Gratiku, Three on Thursdays, Five on Fridays, and other ways of expressing thankfulness. When Simple Abundance inspired us all to keep gratitude journals when it was first published (I’m rereading it this year as my guidebook in the area of gratitude), I noticed a more appreciative outlook in my own life; while I won’t have a designated gratitude journal, I will devote days to blogging about blessings!

Campfire at a campground in 2022

Oh – and one more thing: I’m going to keep my awareness of those with injuries and disabilities heightened. When I see a person with mobility challenges, I’m going to be sure I hold the door and ask if I can help. As I hobbled around with my broken ankle, I was dumbfounded at the complete lack of manners and sensitivity of so many people, and amazed at the graciousness and awareness of others.

I know who I want to be in those situations where I can make a difference. I not only want to count my own blessings this year, but I also want to be a blessing to others for whom such simple gestures can make a powerful difference.

My One Little Word for 2023

As we move toward the beginning of a brand new year starting at midnight, on this last day of the year I'm taking time to reflect on 2022 and all the living we’ve done in its 525,600 minutes.  My blessings far outweigh my challenges and setbacks.  

Last December, I chose listen as my One Little Word for 2022, which Ali Edwards has made popular since 2006.  I suppose it’s what daily writers do: we listen to the world around us.  We listen for what inspires us and what we can take from conversations, moments, lessons, experiences - and time we share with others - to make sense of our world.  

What we do with all the listening is what invites me to choose pray as my word for 2023.  It wasn’t my first serious consideration, or even my second.  My initial choice was believe.  During my week of Covid confinement in December, I almost prematurely announced believe and all my reasons for choosing it.  It’s the essence of my Christian faith, the verb of what we do with our faith to trust in God’s plan.  It’s what gets us through tough times.  Long moments of pondering all that I don’t want to be quick to believe led me to think more about the power of sharing.  Share was my second consideration. I share what I experience and what I believe as truth, often on my blog. 

Then I thought of my word listen this year, and all of the listening that happened through prayer.  I wondered:  what if I spent an entire year with the word pray as my guiding light word?  My little Caribbean blue Rav4 has been my twice-daily prayer chamber for years as I make my way to and from work.  I don't turn on the radio ~ I pray.  I believe fully in the power of prayer and the difference it makes.  I see miracles that have happened because of prayer, and I often wonder about the miracles that happen that we never see, also because God answers prayer.  

As we step into 2023, I've chosen an action verb again.  Pray.  What a blessing I feel already!  

If you’re taking a One Little Word as your guiding light this year, please share in the comments below or send me a Facebook message - - I love all the thinking that goes into OLW choices!  Cheers to you in 2023!  

Tomorrow, I will begin daily posts in the areas of my seven goal categories this year.  They are: Reflection, Inspiration/Spirituality, Self-Improvement, Creativity, Literature, Experience, and Gratitude.  I've never succeeded at keeping New Year's Resolutions, but what has worked for me for the past 12 years is establishing goals and adding an accountability measure in my writing through a month-end checkpoint.  More on this beginning tomorrow!  



Reflections on 2022 in 26 Pictures

2022 has been a year of living life in full gear for the first three quarters and slamming on brakes the last three months of the year before returning to a snail’s pace. As a traveler with a hopeless case of wanderlust, three curveballs slowed me down between September 27 and the end of the year: a broken ankle right before Fall Break (I had to cancel a hiking trip to Fort Mountain State Park in Chatsworth, Georgia); a collision with a deer (I wasn’t hurt – but I had to listen to what the good Lord was trying to tell me about slowing down a bit…..first my heels, then my wheels); and then I tested positive for Covid (we missed The Piano Boys in concert at The Fox in Atlanta after buying the tickets a year in advance).

In 2023, I’ll be adjusting my sails for a new concept called “Slow Travel.” But for now, here are some of my memories from 2022, in pictures:

Time together sharing the warmth of Callaway Gardens Christmas lights- November

My One Little Word for 2022 – January
Presenting at NCTE in Anaheim, CA with my writing group at http://www.ethicalela.com – November
Visiting San Antonio in February – so hot I had to buy a t-shirt at the Alamo one day, but didn’t have enough clothes in my suitcase for the cold temperatures the following day!
Scriptural Meal at the Biblical History Center in Lagrange, GA – May
Sharing picture adventures with my hiking, rockhounding daughter
Spending time over the holidays with our 5 grandchildren – December
Taking Aidan to visit Mom’s grave at Christ Church Cemetery, St. Simon’s Island, GA – December
Watching eagles dive for fish in Ketchikan, Alaska – June
Dogsledding on Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau – June
Camping throughout the year – here, on the peninsula at Dames Ferry Campground, Juliette, GA
Christmas Day Church Service
Trolley tour of Vancouver, B.C. – June
Breakfast at the Mallery Street Cafe, St. Simons Island, GA, with Dad, Aidan, Ken, and Jennifer – December
Enjoying a White Christmas in Kentucky
Gibbs Gardens in full bloom – Ball Ground, GA – April
With my son and his family at Pine Mountain, Georgia – November
Black Rock Mountain Overlook – April
Ken’s new dog, Kasa, rescued and adopted after a gunshot to the front paw – July, Brunswick, GA
Briar and my stepson Andrew on a sunset kayak paddle – Lake Juliette, GA – May
With Briar on the glass walk at the Space Needle – Seattle, WA – June
Suspension Bridge at Fall Creek Falls State Park, Tennessee – December
Broken Ankle – at home in Pike County, Georgia – September
November 1 – at home after hitting a deer
Spending time in front of the stone fireplace at the Grove Park Inn – Charlotte, NC – April
Great coffee and time with Boo Radley, Ollie, Fitz, and Briar – Kentucky, December

Blessings in 2023! I wish you a Happy New Year! Stay warm and cozy.

Made with Padlet