Thursday, January 2, 2020


As winter settles in with green landscapes and warmth, a sense of newness surrounds. Neighborhood streets reflect a quietness. A lone squirrel dashes and scampers along bare branches while a couple of birds soar across trees. A neighbor walks her dog and another jogs along. Nature finds her balance and nurtures winter. 

stillness sustained
within patterns of life-
harmony nestles in
©CV, 2020
The reoccurrence of this scene helped shape my thoughts as  I waited with eager anticipation for the Times Square ball to drop on New Year's Eve. Along with millions of reflective individuals, I decided to use one simple world as an effective way to guide my 2020 journey. In the past, I chose the following words, openness, listen, believe, joy, hope, and embrace. They served me well. This year I looked through the eyes of nature to help me navigate the duality of life and merge my professional and personal sides into a workable flow. 

In 1917, poet Ella Wheeler Wilcox penned, The Year. This poem quickly became a mentor text for me that further shaped my thoughts about my one word.

What can be said in New Year rhymes,
That's not been said a thousand times?
The new years come, the old years go,
We know we dream, we dream we know.
We rise up laughing with the light,
We lie down weeping with the night.
We hug the world until it stings,
We curse it then and sigh for wings.
We live, we love, we woo, we wed, 
We wreathe our brides, we sheet our dead.
We laugh, we weep, we hope, we fear,
And that's the burden of a year.
What can be said of a year gone by?
Shall we reflect or wave goodbye?
I think I'll usher in another year
Filled with promise and good cheer
One that lets my imagination fly
To write my simple one word in the sky.
©CV, 2020

I introduce my #OneWord2020: 
not a hindrance, nor a burden,
an emergence of thought,
a breath of fresh ideas
interlocking  my two worlds,
professional and personal, 
into a design for an enriched lifestyle.
©CV, 2020
Why did I choose balance?
In my unretirement days, I have been struggling with finding balance in life. Sometimes my two worlds, professional and personal, intersect and other times they collide; the professional side  often overtakes the personal side. Balance is a word that promotes evenness and harmony just like nature painted a picture of such these past days. Balance has crept up in thoughts and digital inspirations for at least 5 years.

My quest to uncover a balanced life starts with small tasks, positivity, and a quote by Thomas Merton, the inspirational,s 20th Century monk, writer, theologian, social activitist, and poet. 

Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm, and harmony.

Commitment Statement
This year, I enter a new year and a new decade with balance as my one word to :
Bare my soul. 
Align my thoughts.
Linger in solitude.
Always search for peace.
Notice nature's harmony. 
Cease the busyness to find
Evocative moments to savor.
©CV, 2020

"To every thing there is a season and a time to every purpose under the heaven." (Eccl. 3:1)
I am ready to share my blog post with my fellow writers at Spiritual Journey Thursday. My colleague, Margaret Simon, is our host this month at the beginning of the new decade. Sharing our one word is an annual event. Happy New Year to all!


  1. I love this word choice, Carol, for so many reasons. It appeals to me first from a poetic perspective, your relating it to the rhythms and patterns of life and we must continuously adjust to this flow. In your commitment statement there’s just so much - aligning thoughts, lingering in solitude, noticing nature’s harmony- these could be lyrics to my own heartsong. Every word you write nourishes the spirit and opens windows in the soul, breaths of pure fresh air, clean, clearing the cobwebs. I savor them.

    1. Fran, welcome to our community of writers and thank you for your thoughtful reply. Balance is certainly what I need as I look at my cluttered desk and disorganized spaces that still hold Christmas wrapping, etc. I am going to be kind to myself knowing that the clutter will eventually even out as the new year begins. Much of what seems out of order stems from the upcoming birth of a second granddaughter. We are now preparing to drive to Virginia this week for the blessed event.

  2. I think of how you do yoga and balance is such a big part of it. I find when my life is out of balance, I have a hard time holding a balance pose. I think that balance of professional and personal is a constant struggle for those of us who are passionate about both.

    1. I agree with you, Margaret. When I have many balls in the air, my balance is off. Right now I am trying to get my NCTE proposals completed and other professional tasks while preparing to leave for Virginia for the birth of granddaughter #2. (Yoga class is waiting for me, too.)
      Have a wonderful day.

  3. PS: I neglected to say that, prior to reading this post, I signed up to host the March Spiritual Journey Thursday; for the topic, and thinking of the equinox, I chose “Balance.” Amazing.

    1. That is wonderful, Fran. I look forward to write about my one word again in March.

  4. Good Poetry Friday evening to you, dear Carol. I like reading the poetry & your path, to leading life with "Balance" in 2020. It also makes me smile because I immediately conjure the old time dance/contra dance caller's term: "balance and swing."

    1. Balance and swing is a good mantra, jan. I am glad that you shared this at the start of the New Year. May your one word plenty fill your days with abundance and balance.

  5. Carol, I love reading this reflection about your choice of balance for your OLW. And your commitment statement/acrostic poem is lovely. Here's to a year filled with balance and many evocative moments to savor.

    1. I thank you for the lovely response to my post, Ramona. Here's to a wonderful year for both the Grandmas.

  6. Carol: Thank you for this lovely post, and for your choice of "balance." It is SO important in our lives! I have not been as diligent with yoga as I once was, but I still try to listen to my body and find balance. It takes real concentration and focus. Balance will always challenge me, and I send you kudos for your focus on it this year. One step at a time... its a balancing act! ;0)

    1. Thanks for joining me here, Karen. I may be a bit off balance today but I am trying to handle both professional and home tasks before we travel to Virginia for the birth of our new granddaughter. Balance is a challenge for sure. Tomorrow, I go to yoga so I should be able to reclaim some quietude.

  7. Great word! Wishing you a wonderful 2020!

    1. Ruth, I can't believe that 3 months have passed by and I did not see your comment until now. How eerie that 2020 started with my one word balance and then, the world turned upside down!