Friday, February 16, 2024

My Word for the Year—Hope by Mary Ann Rodman

 My word for this year is right next to my front door. Hope. 

I am a pessimist by nature. I think I inherited this “attribute” from my mom who had two favorite sayings. 1.  Don’t get your hopes up. 2. Don’t expect the best and you’ll never be disappointed. (So that’s how The Greatest Generation got through the Depression, WWII and raising us Boomers. Chronic skepticism.)

So when my college roommate sent me this during the Pandemic, I had to chuckle. The world was going to hell in a hand basket, and she literally sent me Hope, courtesy of UPS. I hung it where I would see it multiple times a day. Who knew? Maybe it would inspire hope. Right, I thought. As if!

This has been a particularly grim winter for me. Battleship grey skies…not even clouds, just solid grey overhead. Every time I turned on my computer I learned another cousin, friend, former student or had died. I was writing myself into literary cul-de-sacs. And let’s not talk about the general state of the world. In fact, the only hopeful thing in life was that little word, hanging by the front door.

But you know what? The sun started making cameo appearances throughout the day. People didn’t stop dying but now there was good news as well. Friends who had searched decades for an agent, acquired one. First time authors of a certain age (which is now how I refer to myself) were being published. My long dormant brain became aware of story ideas.

In other words, I felt hopeful. I also had faith, that elusive concept that makes hope possible. As the Bible says  “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” --Hebrew 11:1

I will write my way out of those cul-de-sacs. Those ideas will blossom into stories.

I can feel that fluttering of hope that Emily Dickinson wrote of.  If there comes a time when hope seems to be taking another sabbatical, I can always recall my favorite Woody Allen quote: 

 “How wrong Emily Dickinson was! Hope is not the thing with feathers. The thing with feathers has turned out to be my nephew. I must take him to a specialist in Zurich.”

Hope also has a sense of humor.

When all else fails, there are the wise words of Cormac McCarthy—“Keep a little fire burning; however small, however hidden.” 

Posted by Mary Ann Rodman

Friday, February 2, 2024

My Word for 2024


Great minds think alike. Or rather similar Spirits recognize 

a similar need.

My word for 2024 – LIGHT, both the Noun and the Verb, and 

Carmela’s LIGHTER, both the Adjective and the Adverb, share 

the same root:         

            The word “light” comes from Old English leht 

            (Anglian), Leoht (West Saxon), meaning 

            “brightness, radiant energy, that which makes 

             things visible.”

I admit (painfully):

My expertise at finding silver linings?

My ability to focus on the positive?

To date, neither has totally reduced the sometimes-crushing 

weight of our oft-dark World that surprisingly leaves me – 

a Cubs Fan! – wobbly, unable to navigate.

Fortunately, the two inspirational quotes I keep in view on my 

real-life desk top broadcast a qualifying NEVERTHELESS.

Dr. Martin Luther King’s words help me steady my footing, 

look up and find my way.

He’d been asked if given the choice, what era would he live in?  

He acknowledged his land’s troubles and confusion, messes 

and sicknesses.

     “But I know, somehow,” he said, “that only when it’s dark 

       enough can you see the stars.”

(Curly Girl Designs)     

The Dark, I’ve learned, can indeed be a Good Thing.

So, thirty-three days into this New Year, I continue to focus all of 

me on the Anyones and Anythings who and that gift me with joy, 

wonder, cause for celebration and/or prompt me to count my 

blessings on a quarter-hour basis.

All those lights, all those nouns, especially the Proper ones, keep 

me keepin’ on.

Ah, the Possibilities!


But even more important, I learned all those lights empower me so 

can do the same for others.

They recharge my batteries so I can burn bright, so I can light the 

way enabling others to keep keepin’ on.

                                                       (Mary Lou Falstreau)

L.R. Knost’s words remind me. “The broken world waits in 

darkness for the light that is you.” 

Ah, the opportunities!

 Thanks to Mary Lee at A(nother) Year of Reading for hosting 

today’s Poetry Friday. 

 In signing off, I can’t help but recall the motto of my family’s 

electrician Moish Dove who happened to be my father’s lodge 

brother.  “Let there be light!”

Esther Hershenhorn


My go-to sources for inspirational cards that help to keep me, 

and thus everyone I know and love, keepin’ on?

Curly Girl Designs and Marylou Falstreau’s Cards and Prints!