As the traditional ball goes down at midnight, I invariably hear a chorus of, “May it be a good year.” I admit to voicing this prayer myself.

But I’ve come to realize  there’s no such thing as a “good” year. Before I’m accused of sounding like Scrooge, let me add there’s also no totally annus horribilus  – to quote Queen Elizabeth’s famed complaint after a 1992 that saw a disastrous fire in Windsor Castle, as well as fiery misdeeds by the royal heirs.

What I share with Her Majesty is time that doesn’t come in lump sums. A year is made up of minutes (some 525, 600 of them – and more in a Leap Year). Surely within these thousands of moments there are experiences, fleeting though they may be, that brighten our hearts.

I admit to telling friends, “This has been a terrible year.” Yes, it’s been my own ”horribilus” in many personal ways – primarily the  incurable illness of someone I love. (On a larger scale , the dismal events going on in our country,which throw a shadow over most of us. But that necessitates a blog in itself).)

What I’ve discovered is that within the darkness there can be nuggets of gold. In the same 2017 I just railed against, I also had a heartwarming birthday with my children, reunited with a long-lost friend, managed to get some writing done in my fragmented hours, had moments of laughter, and just the other morning was surprised by a vivid dawn rising in front of my window.

Thankfully I kept a journal throughout this year. It’s enabled me to sort out my feelings and grasp some that at least verged on happiness. Reading through this journal last night underlined for me how clearly the year – and life – aren’t monolithic, but many- layered.

If life is, indeed, made up of small fleeting experiences, let’s be wise enough to pay attention to whatever joy we are blessed with – and collect these moments for warming ourselves on the darkest days.

Wishing a healthy and serene year to all!

BOOKS: “Widow’s Walk” available through; “Turning Toward Tomorrow”–; “Ten Women of Valor” and”Role Play” – both with and Also Amazon Kindle.


“One damn thing after another!” I’ve been repeating these words too often lately. True, I have ample cause to feel this way, ranging from the illness of someone I love, to fear about our ailing country. My negative words have met with “sure is” agreement from everybody – with one exception. For recently they drew a different response when I was talking with a Colorado woman named Amy Marks. After thinking about it for a moment she said, “I don’t see life that way. I find that things come and go.”

Since Amy has always struck me as remarkably well-balanced (and someone I’m proud to call my daughter- in- law), I thought maybe she’s on the right track. At least, a better track than I’ve been on recently. She went on to explain that her “come and go” philosophy is her way of “finding a balance between negative fatalistic thinking and overly enthusiastic ‘sunshine and puppies.’”

Her words set me thinking about the ways we’re all so quick to assume total disaster. How often when a friendship hits a bump in the road we decide it’s over forever. Or when a relationship does end, how certain we are that we’ll never be loved again. Or find a better job. Or. . . .

As writers we know that rejection of our manuscript can plunge us into, “It will never be published.” That “never” view is even worse when a story we’re struggling with stays lifeless on the page or screen. This invariably sends us downhill to , “I can’t even write anymore.”

My first short story was rejected 28 times. I told my writing group I was giving up on it. A new man in the group seemed surprised at my attitude. “Twenty-eight?”
he said. “That’s nothing. My stories have beeen turned down 30, 40 times before being accepted.” Though doubtful, I sent my story off again “one last time.” It was published.

Of course, this doesn’t happen every time. Nor do friends who’ve abandoned us always do a turn-around. Or a new lover or job magically surface. So what do you do during those times when life is undeniably grim?

One survival key, Amy offers, is to “remind yourself there have been good times before and there will be again — even if it’s as small as reading a news story that makes you smile (rare these days!) or waking up to a sunny day in December.”

Focusing on a temporary view isn’t guaranteed to solve every problem, but it may keep us from seeing life through perennially dark glasses.


BOOKS: Widow’s Walk – available through; Turning Toward Tomorrow –; Ten Women of Valor and Role Play- both available through and, also Amazon Kindle.