Divine Surprises, Excellence, Finishing, Life Choice, New Year, Writing Goals

A Word for 2017

change

I’m a little late, but once again, I’m joining my fellow bloggers in choosing One Word to guide me through the year. My word  in 2016, FINISH, was chosen to motivate me to complete my first novel, which I’d been working on sporadically for several years.

That Word, plus the opportunity to meet with agents and editors at a national conference in August IF the book was finished spurred me on.

FINISH, I did.

However, there’s a big difference between completing a first draft and having a polished, marketable manuscript. Having worked as an editor, I knew that. But I got in a rush. However, it was brought home to me anew when I didn’t get picked up by an agent nor hear back from that editor. Consequently, choosing One Word to guide me this year was easy.

My word for 2017 is REVISE.

According to the dictionary revise means to reconsider and alter (something) in the light of further evidence.

revise

Even though revising that novel is at the top of my To-Do List, I’m applying my word on a larger scale as well. Here are a few things I’ll be reviewing and possibly changing in 2017.

MY SCHEDULE

Looking back at my 2016 calendar nearly wore me out. I knew I’d been gone a lot, but listing the trips, conferences, and retreats was an eye opener. In 2016, I

  • Made six trips to our condo at Navarre Beach
  • Attended four conferences (two were multi-day events)
  • Attended two overnight writers’ retreats
  • Hid out at The Writers’ Colony at Dairy Hollow twice to work on the book
  • Spent several overnights with out-of-town friends
  • Entertained family for major holidays
  • Traveled for a granddaughter’s college graduation and to help a grandson move to the big city

In between, I managed to socialize with friends, host the writers’ group that met at my house once a month, and attend another monthly  writers’ meeting in Searcy–that usually involved going up the day before and spending the night before with a friend. Then there were two devotionals I contribute to, and you know how Facebook can eat into a day.

See what I mean?

EXHAUSTING!

I don’t know about you, but I am NEVER at my best when I’m tired. Consequently, I’ve decided to keep closer tabs on how I spend my time this year and to make adjustments to get rid of activities and relationships that steal my joy while adding those that increase it.

SOME THINGS WON’T CHANGE

  • We love the beach, and now that we have our own place, we’ll continue to go there at least four times a year. (Yes, I feel blessed.)
  • We don’t want to miss being with family on holidays and showing up at our grandchildren’s important events or to help them.
  • I’m a social person so getting together with friends is important to my wellbeing. I’m looking forward to occasional coffee or lunch dates.
  • Writing can be a lonely endeavor, so I’ll continue to meet regularly with other writers.
  • There’ll be lots of lap time with Max, Timmy & Lola–Nothing like a purring cat to relax you.

lola-loves-dad

SOME THINGS I’LL NEED TO DO

As a person who struggles with people-pleasing, I’ll take a deep breath and

  • Give myself permission to say NO.
  • Limit the number of meetings I attend and volunteer less.
  • Adopt a more formal schedule to revise the book, which will mean ignoring the phone and email during those hours.
  • Research publishers and agents. Then submit the manuscript and other things I write. (There are lots out there, you know.)

INSPIRATION

Some people also choose one Bible verse or a quote to inspire them during the year. In the past, I haven’t done that, but there’s a phrase from Psalm 46:10 that has been rolling around in my soul for over a month.

Be still and know that I am God.

As I pondered those words recently, I glanced down at the charm on a bracelet Maria had given me for Christmas. I’m not sure why, but the engraving hadn’t registered with me until that moment. Look at what it said.

be-still

What better way to start each day of the year?

What about you? Did you make any resolutions or choose a word or quote to mark the beginning of 2017?

I’d love to hear about it.

And I’ll keep you posted on how things go with the book.

 

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;

I will be exalted among the nations,

I will be exalted in the earth.”

Psalm 46:10

©Reflections from Dorothy 2017
Confidence, Life Choice, Self Acceptance

What Kind of a Deal Are You Making?

I’ve been thinking about the women I saw on Let’s Make a Deal last month at Fun Wash. You know, the television show where the host chooses contestants in wacky costumes from the audience and calls them down front for a game of chance. Sometimes they win big, but just as often they trade away something valuable for a worthless price.

Both of the ladies I saw had gone to some expense and trouble to put together their costumes. My favorite was the sunflower. I was delighted when she won a living room suite. The second woman, dressed like Wilma Flintstone, was a bouncy screamer who could have been a poster girl for good sportsmanship. She whooped and danced around as if she had won after trading away the real prize  for nothing.  I felt sorry for her. I wanted her to win, too. I wanted all the contestants to go home winners.

I know that’s unrealistic. Everyone can’t win all the time or even some of the time, but we all want to. Whether it’s a game show, job, social situation or writing a blog, we hope to strike a chord with other people and be remembered favorably.  

It may not seem fair, but we understand that people are swayed by appearances. So we put on our best personas, hoping to get noticed. In various ways, we say, “Look at me! Choose me!” 

Even when we’re sunflowers, we want to stand out as that special blossom.

Sunflowers from FreePik

As always the young look for ways to be noticed. The unusual hair colors amuse me, but I feel differently about body art. Call me old, but tongue and nose piercings, tattoo sleeves and those gruesome ear tunnels that expand the earlobes leave me cold.  

I try not to stare, especially when I say hello to the young folks who sport them as they wait on us at our favorite lunch spot. I smile, covering my true reaction, but I must confess the giant holes in their earlobes trigger a surge of pity that stays with me long after I leave.

I wonder about the true cry of their hearts. I want to say, 
 

You don’t have to reinvent yourself.
Just be who you are.
Don’t hide behind a façade.
You may not be a sunflower.
You could be a peony.
Or a strong bamboo cane.
Give yourself time to unfurl.



Then I think about my own efforts to stand out from the crowd and make a good impression. People may feel sorry for me from time to time. I remind myself to be happy with the person God intended me to be. Instead of being a prize rose or orchid, maybe I’m really a redbud bloom. They’re better together, and I love being with friends.  

Fortunately at this time of my life, I’m clearer about what I believe, which makes it easier to stay true to my values while I enjoy each day. I can honestly say I wouldn’t trade my simple life for something grander.

My hope is that you are comfortable in your own skin, that you’re doing those things that resonate with your spirit and that you know reinventing yourself is unnecessary.

Each of us is valuable just the way we are.

Believe it.

It’s true.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;

your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

Psalm 139:14Cross references: