Monday, December 12, 2016

The Darkness of Advent

There are periods of life when we enter a time of darkness. Sometimes it is nothing we do. Sometimes it is not something we choose. Sometimes it just happens. We find ourselves in a place where life is messy. So we pull back. It’s not intentional. It’s not meant to slight anyone. The fact is, it just happens.

At this time of year we are encouraged to stop and reflect. Reflect on the year that was. Reflect on the year to come. Those pesky New Year resolutions are just around the corner. It is also the time of year that is literally the darkest hours in the northern hemisphere. And it is this time when we begin a season of celebration.

Advent is the traditional time leading up to Christmas. It is during this darkest season that we wait in anticipation of the birth of Christ. We look forward to longer daylight hours. We celebrate the coming of the New Year and new beginnings. It is somehow appropriate that we wait in the dark.

Please, dear reader, do not get me wrong. I am not depressed. I have not gone through some personal, horrible tragedy. While I have been away from posting, it is because I have been busy. Busy with work at a job I love. Busy with family, whom I adore. Busy with living!

Thinking about this time of year; thinking about the darkness of Advent, I am thankful for the time. I am also invigorated to think that a New Year is just around the corner. I have the opportunity to set new goals or recommit to goals that never truly went away. They were just set aside. Set aside for a time that feels like darkness, but is really in anticipation of the light that is to come.

Come, celebrate the darkness of Advent with me.

For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace
-      Isaiah 9:6 (NKJV)

If you enjoy my blog and would like to follow me on Facebook, I can be found at The Reluctant Survivor. And on Twitter @relucsurvivor.

Friday, November 11, 2016

An Old Fashion Letter

I recently received a letter in the mail. A handwritten letter on stationary. Written in ink with cursive handwriting. What a delightful surprise! Part of the letter read:
I really miss this old fashion letter writing, remember in the old days when that’s how most people communicated? Long distance phone calls were to expensive & no internet was available. Oh the good ole days.
The letter was from my cousin. It brought me back 40 plus years to our childhood. Her father worked for International Paper® and one of the perks was defective paper. I don’t know if he got it for free or if employees got a discount on these “seconds” but he would give us packages of “not good enough for distribution” paper. Oh, how I loved those reams of paper. I never knew what I would find inside.
The paper was colored. Sometimes the parcel contained paper of all the same color. Other times it was a rainbow of colors. Sometimes the paper was thick; almost like cardboard. Other times it was so thin it was almost tissue paper.
It was that paper that taught me to write letters. My mother and grandmother taught me to fold the paper just the right way so that it would fit into a small envelope for mailing. I would fold it in half before picking up a pen so that I had four sections to write on. Sometimes I would add stickers. Sometimes I would draw a flower or sun in the corner to give my letter a little style and elegance.
It was that paper that taught me to say “thank you” for gifts; birthday presents and Christmas presents. It was that paper that let me tell my grandparents what had happened in school. It was that paper that kept me close to my Aunt and Uncle. And it was that paper that taught me about connections.
Thank you, dear cousin, for the walk down memory lane. Thank you for reminding me to make connections. Thank you for the old fashion letter.
If you enjoy my blog and would like to follow me on Facebook, I can be found at The Reluctant Survivor. And on Twitter @relucsurvivor.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

The Quiet of My Heart

Have you listened to the true story of your heart lately? I know I haven’t. Have I been quiet lately? Have I reflected on events? Have I considered what I am learning? How have more recent experiences affected my life?

I enjoy my quiet time. Taking time to decompress, to think, to ponder what is on my heart. When I write, I write from the heart. Typically it is something that is on my heart and that I’ve been thinking about. A lot. I don’t, or really can’t, write simply because it is the thing to do. I cannot be a robot and say, “Well, it’s Saturday. Time to write something.”
When I write I share a piece of myself. Sometimes it’s silly. Laughter and fun are things that bring me joy. Sometimes I write about things related to cancer; whether it is my own journey or an educational piece. It is about passion. It is about what is on my heart.
Sometimes it is in response to something in the news. Lately there has been a lot of heartache in the world. I don’t really know how to respond to the politically divisive events here in the U.S., let alone the global terrorist attacks.
What I have been doing is having conversations. Conversations with my friends; with my colleagues. It strikes me that I never truly appreciated the fact that those I hold dear could live in fear due to the color of their skin or the life they live. One conversation brought tears to my eyes as I realized that someone I love could be killed because of who she is.
I don’t have to fear for my life. I’m white. I’m straight. I’m married. Some of my friends, my colleagues, those that I deeply cherish, live every day with a little bit of fear. Fear that wearing sweat pants and a hoody to the grocery store could make you a target of harassment when really it is just about being comfortable. Fear that going out to a night club could get you shot when really it is about having a fun night out with some friends.
This is not about politics or religion. This is about my life and those I love. I haven’t been listening to the true story of my heart lately. But this. This breaks my heart.

If you enjoy my blog and would like to follow me on Facebook, I can be found at The Reluctant Survivor. And on Twitter @relucsurvivor.

Saturday, July 9, 2016


This weekend is the Boston Avon39 Walk to End Breast Cancer. I walked in Boston last year and am feeling a bit nostalgic right now, so I thought I'd share some photos from my past walks.

2011 - Houston

2012 - Washington, DC

2013 -  San Francisco
2014 - Chicago

2015 -  Boston

Happy Walking my friends! I'm looking forward to NYC in October.

If you enjoy my blog and would like to follow me on Facebook, I can be found at The Reluctant Survivor. And on Twitter @relucsurvivor.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Never Give Up, Never Surrender

I am out of shape. There. I said it. I stopped exercising after last year’s Avon Walk, which was in May. During the fall I gave up on my healthy eating habits. I’ve put on weight. Basically, I have let myself go. By the end of the year I decided I needed to do something. So, I committed to yoga three days a week. I have read many times that all you need to do is make one small change, and once it is habit add on. So instead of going on a crash diet and hiring a personal trainer to work me until I was drained of all energy, I committed to yoga. Three days a week.

I stuck to it. Mostly. There was a three week period where I did not do anything. By March I found myself doing yoga five mornings a week. Because I wanted to. One of the YouTube videos I follow is Yoga With Adriene. She has a 30 Days of Yoga series that has intrigued me, but I always have an excuse to not commit to 30 days. I’m traveling for work. I have weekend plans. It goes on.
Recently I decided to give it a try. Even though I was traveling for work and would be away from home for five mornings my trip was local enough that I was driving and could pack my yoga mat. So, I began my quest to try 30 Days of Yoga.
I’ve stuck with it. There are days when I cannot keep up with her video. It’s too advanced. But overall I can do most of her sequences, even if I have to modify the pose. On Day 20 I wanted to skip. I wanted to give up. But I had done 19 days; more than half. There was no reason to give up. So I did day 20. And Day 21. I just did Day 28. I found I have more strength in my arms. I can do three-legged dog. Who knew? And I want to do more in terms of exercise. I’ve even started walking more!
In October I will walk in my sixth Avon Walk.* This time in NYC. I should be training for the walk. I bought a FitBit® in the hopes that it would guilt me into walking more. It hasn’t. Or maybe it has. By tracking my steps I have noticed a pattern of activity (or lack thereof). Last week I took a walk at lunchtime. Twice. This past week three times.
Weekends are my worst time for activity, but last weekend I intentionally took walks. Make one small change. Commit to it. It does wonders. Most of all, never give up.

I wonder what next week will bring?

*If you'd like to support me with a donation, you can do so at
If you enjoy my blog and would like to follow me on Facebook, I can be found at The Reluctant Survivor. And on Twitter @relucsurvivor.


Tuesday, June 7, 2016


Alone at the bar
I sit away from the small group
That is gathered at the other end

The martini hits the spot
After a long day of driving
And wretched heartbreak

Two workers
One young, one middle aged
Are here for a job

That couple seems cozy
Clearly they are in love
He buys her another glass of wine

The bartender asks my business
I am here for personal reasons
I wish to remain vague

A second martini
Takes me to last call
Soon the bar will close

The young man offers
To buy a last round
I am included

I opt for wine
I’ll pay for it in the morning
We share a toast

To anonymous friends
And travelers from afar
A brief encounter

Turns out
The couple is not together
The bellhop calls her a cab

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Thank You, Miss Burelle

I recently had the opportunity to visit my hometown and reconnect with several women from my teenage years. Our common denominator is the high school we attended. My school district was so small that we all knew each other and had friends from several classes. We took over the local bagel shop. The other patrons must have thought we were crazy with all the squeals of delight and identifying each other by our former names.

After 35 years we did not necessarily recognize each other’s face, but we knew names. As we shared memories from the late 70’s and early 80’s I could look into the eyes of my companions and see the younger face that I remembered. At one point, my renewed friend called out to one of the patrons. It was her aunt. We started talking about her aunt. Given the last name I asked, “Did your aunt teach kindergarten at Chaplin Elementary?” Why yes she did. It was my kindergarten teacher!
We reconnected. Of course I had to give her a hug and have Becky take a picture to post all over social media. Who wouldn’t? It’s what we do these days. She remembered me. And as Miss Burelle shared her memories of teaching, she asked me what year I was in her class. It surprised me to realize that kindergarten was 1969. Miss Burelle shared that she often wonders if she made a difference, but seeing us all together made her realize she must have. After all these years we chose to come together for an informal reunion and reconnect. (Miss Burelle almost had skipped the bagel shop that morning).
It startled me to think she would doubt her impact. So let me tell you, Miss Burelle. Yes, you made a difference. You made a huge difference. You took a tall, awkward girl who did not know her place in the world and introduced her to school. You taught a child who was bullied right from the start how to love learning. This girl grew up. Not only did I graduate from high school, I went on to college and eventually law school. I continue to love to learn, and I do not tolerate bullies. My parents and classmates would say I’m a success. It all started with you Miss Burelle, because you cared about me. You loved me, and took care of this shy, vulnerable child. Eventually, I blossomed.
Thank you, Miss Burelle. Yes, you made a difference.

If you enjoy my blog and would like to follow me on Facebook, I can be found at The Reluctant Survivor. And on Twitter @relucsurvivor.

Saturday, May 14, 2016


Let us walk among the flowers
Or hike that wooded path
Sharing our day, our history, our stories.

Let us walk through the fields
Or beside the flowing stream
Reflecting on what was and what is.

Let us sit by the wayside
Or stand amidst the sunshine
Absolving the past, welcoming now.

Let us walk among the flowers
Inhaling their cleansing scent
For today is all we have.


If you enjoy my blog and would like to follow me on Facebook, I can be found at The Reluctant Survivor. And on Twitter @relucsurvivor.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Be Still and Know That I Am God: Being a Mary in a Martha World

I recently had the privilege of sharing at a women’s group in my home church. Below is what I shared. Please note, this is not a transcript. Rather it is my preparation notes, edited for clarity.

The Joy Gathering has been studying the theme of Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World, from author Joanna Waver. It comes from the story of Mary and Martha in the Gospel of Luke. “Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word. But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.” And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.” 

I did a search on Mary and Martha and found two more references to these sisters in the Gospel of John. “Now a certain man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha. It was that Mary who anointed the Lord with fragrant oil and wiped His feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick.” John 11:1-2 (NKJV)

“And many of the Jews had joined the women around Martha and Mary, to comfort them concerning their brother. Now Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met him, but Mary was sitting in the house.” John 11:19-20 (NKJV)

But Mary was sitting in the house.

I’ve thought about those few simple words. “Mary was sitting in the house.” Was she sitting quietly? She was probably receiving guests because “many had joined the women around Martha and Mary to comfort them.” You see, their brother Lazarus had been in the tomb four days. He was dead, and in the Jewish tradition the family received guests in their home for seven days after the death of a family member. But just like in the Gospel of Luke, Mary was sitting.

In Joanna Weaver’s book she has a chapter entitled The Diagnosis, and she writes about anxiety. Her lessons on anxiety have to do with worry. Worrying about the safety of her husband and children. Worrying about cleaning the house. Worrying about getting things done in time for the next Church event. Do you worry like that? I think we all do at some level. Some more than others. At times my own worry is less than other times.

What about anxiety? You know anxiety; that heart racing, physical reaction that feels like you are completely out of control? Do you suppose Martha and Mary were anxious? I'm pretty sure they were. The scripture tells us about Martha going to Jesus and imploring him to come to her home because her brother Lazarus was sick. By the time Martha and Jesus connected, Lazarus was already dead. But Mary was sitting in the house.

I want to share a bit of my back story so you have an idea of where I’m going with all of this. It begins October 30, 2007. On that date I had an appointment with a surgeon to consult on a recent ultrasound. The doctor knew from the ultrasound that I had cancer but she needed to confirm the diagnosis with a biopsy. After our consultation she asked that on my way out I schedule a follow-up visit for the biopsy at the reception desk. As I stood in line she came up to me and asked if I could stay. Apparently, she’d had a cancellation.

In retrospect, I think she lied. I think she saw something on that film, or in my records, or on my face and knew she needed to help me that day. I’ll forgive her that lie. It was out of the goodness of her heart. I often wonder how often she reaches out to patients in just such a way. I do hope God blesses her and her practice. You see, I did not stay with her but chose to be treated in Boston. But I digress.

On that day. A Tuesday in October that I remember all too well, I found myself lying on an examining table with a medical assistant holding my hand, asking me questions about where I worked and the people we might both know. A nurse was setting up the tables and instruments, explaining to me what was going to happen. A radiologist was setting up the equipment so that the doctor could be guided by the images that were displayed. And while I knew I was not alone I did not feel connected to these women. I knew their purpose, and they were trying to help ease what they thought was my fear. My anxiety.

However, as I lay there aware that I was alone in a crowd I did not feel alone. I felt as if I were wrapped in a warm, soft blanket. I often describe it as a down comforter. And if you know me, that is one of my favorite things; being wrapped in warmth. As I lay there feeling protected and comforted these words from Psalm 46: 10 came to mind:

“Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10 (NKJV)

But is wasn’t just that this scripture verse was brought to mind, it was more like I “felt” the words. Now don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t hearing voices. No need for a clinical diagnosis here. However, I knew at that moment that everything was going to be alright. To this day I am convinced that my body was cancer free the day I had my surgery. I also know that God has used my cancer experience for other times in my life.

After my diagnosis and treatment I thought for sure that God had big plans for me when it came to sharing my testimony. I was sure that I was the miracle story that needed to be told. And I still believe that is true. It’s just that God had other plans. You see, God has said “yes” but the doors that were opened were not the doors I expected.

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28 (NKJV)

Mary sat at Jesus’s feet. Mary sat at God’s feet and listened. You see, it was my time to be still. Be still and listen for God.

In 2011, four years after that initial diagnosis, a friend called me from California and said, “Let’s do a walk in memory of Jan.” Molly, Jan and I had attended the same law school. Jan had been a student leader and had recently died from cancer. The idea was to honor Jan’s memory by doing something constructive; something concrete. Something Jan would do for others and for the causes she loved. I said “yes” before I even thought about it. Molly and I researched the two national breast cancer walks and chose the Avon Walk. I believe my “yes” came from God. It was the right thing to do and I didn’t even hesitate. I often say that my heart said “yes” before my gate-keeper brain could think about it. All along, during the months of training and fundraising, my heart was filled with joy. But when my head thought about it I was filled with anxiety.

I had never done something like this. I am not an athlete. I was traveling alone to another city. This was so outside of my comfort zone I often heard the self-talk saying “what have I gotten myself into?” But my heart never wavered. That is how I knew it came from God. There is this saying “God does not call the equipped. He equips the called.” I held onto that quote. When I questioned my abilities I remembered that saying and would say a quick prayer: “God you got me into this, so you better equip me.” As a result of that first fundraising walk, with an awesome team from my law school, I (we) have made it a goal to walk in each city that hosts the Avon Walk. So far I have walked in five of the seven cities. This year, in New York City, will be number six.

In 2012 a colleague’s mother was diagnosed with a recurrence of breast cancer. At the time I simply said, “Let me know if there is anything I can do to help.” How many times have you said the same thing? Did you really mean it?

Little did I know that in November of 2013 I would say my second big “yes” to God; to my colleague and friend Tina, and to her mother Linda. I have written extensively about my journey with Linda in [this] blog. Linda passed away a little over a year ago but every moment; every early morning, every trip into Boston, every long day in the hospital with Linda was pure joy. I was never tired. I never dreaded the early morning. I never had to drive in a snow storm, and for Boston that’s pretty miraculous. I was never resentful of the days I gave up to be with her.

Another “yes,” but this time with no worries. No anxiety.

Getting back to anxiety I want to ask you, are you anxious? Philippians 4:6 reads: “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.” And Matthew 6:27 & 28: “Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin.” (NKJV)

They neither toil nor spin. They are beyond worry. Sometimes anxiety feels like we’re spinning. Yet we are told not to worry. Not to spin.

Sometimes I wake up in the morning and I have a feeling of dread. I feel as if I can’t face the day. When that happens I go through a mental check list of my day. If it’s a work day I think about what is on my calendar. If it’s a Saturday I think about what’s on my “to do” list. Going through this exercise I realize that there is absolutely nothing to be afraid of. My job is one I am suitable for in terms of experience and education. It’s one I love and is a perfect fit. My weekly chores are certainly ones I can handle. I know how to do laundry and clean the kitchen. I enjoy baking. And making a grocery list is not difficult. Don’t get me wrong. This does not happen every day. Not even every week. But when it does happen I wonder why. So I ask myself: what am I afraid of? The last time this happened, I asked God that question. Why am I afraid?

I realized – or God brought to mind – that I sometimes feel as if I’m faking it. You know: the difference between being an adult and being grown up. As social media occasionally reminds me: I don’t want to adult today. I’ve also learned about something called impostor syndrome. That sense that I’m just faking it and one day, some day everyone is going to find out I’m a fraud. Maybe you’ve had that feeling. Wondering why you have been given the many blessings that you have. While thanking God for His grace you worry that the ever-elusive “they” will find out you don’t really know all that much and you just fell into your job. Or maybe that you don’t really deserve what you have. But am I an impostor? No. Not at all. God brought me to a place where He said: “Be still. Be still and know that I am God.”

God has brought me through a journey of experiences that I never could have imagined eight years ago. All because I was still and I waited. Mary, too, waited. Mary was sitting at home.

When I think about the passage in Luke where Mary sat at the feet of Jesus listening to his lessons while her sister Martha rushed around I am struck by the analogy that is our current society. Isn’t the world like Martha? The world rushes around us. It makes a lot of noise. There are constant demands on our time and attention. We become distracted by things and tasks and chores; our “to do” list. We have to watch Dancing With the Stars so that tomorrow morning we can talk about who was dismissed with our co-workers. We spend say too much time on Facebook or other social media. I know I do.

I have a morning routine that includes reading email from four different email accounts. Four. Then of course I have to check my FitBit account to see how many steps my best friend got yesterday. And I cannot forget Instagram and Facebook or I might miss something that is brought up during coffee break. I wonder why it takes so much time to get ready for work in the morning. How can I possibly add an extra five minutes in my routine to even read a short, daily devotional? The thought of adding one more thing to my day can make me anxious. It can make me worry.

Yet God calls us to be still. Like Martha, He says to us “you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part.”

During the past eight years I have found myself waiting to hear from God about my mission. What was the purpose of cancer? What is the story I must share from chemotherapy and radiation? Rather than charge ahead and try to make it happen, I waited. As I mentioned, several times I thought a door had been opened to what I wanted; but not what God had in mind for me. He gently closed those doors. When that happened I thought “in God’s time.” He then presented me with opportunities that I never would have considered. Opportunities that I would not have chosen had I not gone through the experience of cancer. Mary had chosen that good part that cannot be taken from her. We are called to be like Mary. To stop. To listen. To sit at Jesus’s feet to listen and learn. To be still. Be still and know that He is God.

If you enjoy my blog and would like to follow me on Facebook, I can be found at The Reluctant Survivor. And on Twitter @relucsurvivor.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

One Year Later

It was a year ago that my friend Linda passed away. March 17, 2015. Time passes, and the grief is still there. But I don’t want this to be about grieving because it’s about joy, and the love that she brought into my life. It’s about the practical lessons that she taught me.

Over the past year, as the days and months passed I would often pause and reflect on where we were the previous year. Some memories were easier than others. At my birthday I remembered my party, and was thankful that she had been able to attend.

I missed her on her birthday in September. At Thanksgiving I reflected on the fact that our journey together began just before Thanksgiving 2013. Then came Christmas and January. I think about her when I hear Can’t Beat Kennedy on the radio. Or I walk into a 99 Restaurant®. Or when I have an oncology appointment. All of those things bring a mixture of emotions.
I can’t help but smile, while my heart feels sad. I guess that is what is meant by bitter-sweet. She taught me to love in a way that I’d never loved before. She admonished me to take care of myself, and made me promise to pay attention to changes in my body.

As the months passed and we grew closer we always said good-bye by saying “I love you.”

Me:       “I love you.”

Linda:   “I love you, too.”

Me:       “I know you do.”

Yes, Linda. I know you do.

If you enjoy my blog and would like to follow me on Facebook, I can be found at The Reluctant Survivor. And on Twitter @relucsurvivor.

Sunday, February 28, 2016


I don’t do well with winter. I’m not allergic to winter. And I don’t remember ever disliking winter. As a child we would play outside after a snowstorm; sledding, building snowmen, engaging in a snowball fight. But I do remember as a teenager and young adult not liking how cold my hands and feet could get. It must have been during this time that I fell in love with turtleneck sweaters, flannel shirts, and wool socks.

As the decades have passed I have become more aware of my seasonal discomfort. I think everyone who lives in northern New England or similar climates would agree that the short daylight hours are depressing. We all perk up a bit when we start to notice that there is still light in the sky at 5 p.m.
I hate being cold, so I’ve done things to counteract the frigid temperatures. I bought a down coat. I selected “warmest” when choosing my down weight. I tell my husband that it’s like wearing a down comforter. I tell my friends and colleagues it was the best financial investment I have ever made. I have not been cold.
This winter I am more in tune with my mood. I feel as if I lack motivation. There are mornings that I don’t want to get out of bed. It is more than just the usual sleepy, need to wake up. I dread the day. When I stop and mentally review my calendar I find that there is nothing to fear on my “to do” list. Everything is routine and normal. And I feel guilty for not jumping out of bed and starting my day.
One Saturday recently, when I woke feeling like I couldn’t face the day, I asked myself what was wrong with staying in bed. I had nothing on my calendar. Is it that I am afraid that giving in to these feelings will lead down a path to mental illness? (Yes, that is one of my thoughts). Rather than force the issue I gave myself permission to lay there in the quietness of the morning. I did not fall back to sleep. Instead, I engaged in what I would now consider quiet meditation and silent prayer. It worked. Within a half hour I felt energized and motivated to meet the day.
My husband likes to take me to the Caribbean for a week or two in the winter. We didn’t get to go this winter, but I have found that regular exercise helps with the mid-winter blues. My parents sending us outside to play on a sunny winter day was in fact good therapy. And while I don’t participate in outdoor winter activities, my yoga mat and treadmill are good friends during these long winter days.
We were lucky this winter. It wasn’t as harsh as last winter. We are now getting intermittent warm days, and the sun is shining brighter. I think the groundhog was right when he predicted an early spring. As for me, I feel as if I’m coming out of hibernation.
If you enjoy my blog and would like to follow me on Facebook, I can be found at The Reluctant Survivor. And on Twitter @relucsurvivor.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Words With Friends

Words with Friends is a fun Internet game. I played it once with a friend. Until he quit. I’m not sure why. I’m pretty sure he was winning. My mother-in-law plays it with her brother. They have always had a friendly rivalry so this is a great way for them to compete with each other while keeping in touch.
Beyond a game, words are a powerful tool. I struggle in my professional writing to make sure I convey my meaning while not making personalized comments. In my personal writing, like here, I strive to make my thoughts and feelings known through essays or poetry. Words that inspire or provide information. My hope is that you will understand my emotions, whether I am angry or feeling silly, through the words I use.
But words can also hurt. Over the past several months I have been aware of how words are used to do damage. I have listened to words destroy another’s reputation. I have heard words that try to make the speaker look better by speaking ill of another. I have witnessed words being used to exclude someone from the group. In one instance I believe the speaker did not understand what they had done. (I like to believe the best of anyone until proven otherwise).
In other settings the words were intentional. They were delivered for the specific purpose of hurting another person. In some cases, I spoke up and asked that the “issue” be discussed at another time. In other cases I stayed silent, because to speak up or speak out would only hurt someone else.
While I don’t have a New Year’s resolution, or goals for 2016, I am trying to commit to small changes. I read somewhere that it is easier to make one small change at a time rather than have a huge goal that seems impossible. One small change is to be mindful of my words.
Because words matter.

If you enjoy my blog and would like to follow me on Facebook, I can be found at The Reluctant Survivor. And on Twitter @relucsurvivor.