Category Archives: Word for 2022: Courage

March Busy-ness

March is turning out to be a very busy month for us. The calendar filled up quickly with both happy and some not-so-happy events for this month. We had a lovely visit from our daughter. She is trying to visit us about every three weeks now, which is so nice for us during this time. I am continuing with my Spanish language learning through the program, Duolingo.  I have included my Spanish practice as part of my early morning routine, and I just love it!  Another part of my morning routine is my outside walk. It’s been cold in the mornings, but just beautiful outside, so I am enjoying the outdoor time after what feels like a long, gray, too-much-time indoors kinda winter.

We are facing some serious changes in Byron’s cancer treatment. At the end of February, we learned that the treatment he’s been on since his diagnosis is no longer working. That leaves just one treatment possibility left, and that is chemotherapy. So this afternoon, he begins his first cycle of chemo. My word of the year, Courage, is in play for both of us as we face this new unknown territory. Our doctors and support teams have prepared us well, so now we’ll wait and see how well Byron tolerates the treatment and whether or not it will make a positive difference for his condition. This is “palliative chemo,” not “curative chemo,” but our goal, our hope, is that it will allow a better quality of life for now.

So with all this happening, the reading I have been doing is of the kind and gentle type. I am reading another of Miss Read’s Fairacre series, Changes at Fairacre, and it is like balm for my soul. I’m also enjoy reading children’s books, some in Spanish for helping with my language goals. And I read The Garden by the Sea, by Amanda James, which was a sweet romance book that takes place in Cornwall and includes a rather magical garden.

And, of course, with all of this packed into busy weeks, March is just flying by!  So, dear friends, I hope you are having a lovely, healthy, book-filled month!

After the Diagnosis Reading


A few weeks ago, I published a post about the books I have been reading since my husband’s diagnosis of cancer. I called it “My Other Reading” because I felt at the time that it was a separate reading journey for me. It was also a little easier than coming right out and saying that I am reading about disease, death, dying, end-of-life, and grief. But I have come to understand that it is not a separate reading journey for me. It is a very important pursuit of knowledge, and is taking central stage for much of my reading time these days. So I’m going to keep an ongoing list of this new journey, (like I do with my other reading journeys) and the books I am reading that help me understand and process what Byron and I are going through. I hope you will check back here occasionally to see where this search for knowledge and understanding is taking me.

I recognize that “end-of-life” is a topic that is uncomfortable for many. It is a very private journey, and our culture deems it to be something we just don’t talk about very much. But I make sense out what is happening in my life by reading, learning as much as I can, and then writing and talking over those ideas/learnings with my friends and loved ones. The conversations that have already been sparked, the book recommendations from friends and family, the kindnesses being shown to us by so many around us and in so many ways, are all deeply appreciated and help us with our processing. I also hope that in talking openly about our experience, it may help someone else process their own experiences with loss and grief.

And I am finding such interest, understanding, and solace in my reading about what we are going through right now. My reading is empowering me to do the best I can to be supportive, helpful, and understanding of Byron’s daily struggles with this disease. It is Byron’s illness, but our journey, together. And I want to do it well.

Red = click to read my review
Blue = Read but not reviewed yet

NON-FICTION:

FICTION:

 

 

 

Two Books on Courage

For the last few years I have chosen one word to be my guiding theme for the year. My word for 2022 is Courage. (You can read about my reasons for choosing this particular word by clicking here.) I am planning to read many different books on courage this year and started this project by reading the following two beautiful stories.

I was delighted when my friend, Marlo, sent me a wonderful little picture book called Courage, by Bernard Waber. It was the perfect gift — heartwarming and deeply appreciated support for me.

It’s a poignant little picture book for the very young and the much older, reminding us that courage comes in all sizes and shapes!

From the publisher:

What is courage? Certainly it takes courage for a firefighter to rescue someone trapped in a burning building, but there are many other kinds of courage too. Everyday kinds that normal, ordinary people exhibit all the time, like “being the first to make up after an argument,” or “going to bed without a nightlight.” Bernard Waber explores the many varied kinds of courage and celebrates the moments, big and small, that bring out the hero in each of us.

 

In January, I also read the Newbery Award winning book of 1941, Call It Courage, by Armstrong Sperry. It is a classic tale of a young boy overcoming his fear of the sea.

From the publisher:

Maftu was afraid of the sea. It had taken his mother when he was a baby, and it seemed to him that the sea gods sought vengeance at having been cheated of Mafatu. So, though he was the son of the Great Chief of Hikueru, a race of Polynesians who worshipped courage, and he was named Stout Heart, he feared and avoided the sea, till everyone branded him a coward. When he could no longer bear their taunts and jibes, he determined to conquer that fear or be conquered– so he went off in his canoe, alone except for his little dog and pet albatross.

I have read it and reread many times over the years, and my copy of this book from my teaching years showed that it was read often by my sixth graders. It is a moving story and one that teaches us to face what we are most afraid of.

My Word(s) for 2022


For the last few years I have chosen a word as my focus for the year. That word becomes my guide to positive thoughts and behaviors, and my reminder to myself to live up to the essence of that word.

The first word I chose was “HOPE,” and it was so appropriate for 2019. Then I chose “GRATITUDE” for 2020, and that turned out to be the perfect word for such a crazy year. It reminded me each day to focus on the positives instead of all the negatives that surrounded us all during a year of pandemic and quarantine.

When 2021 arrived, I chose a word that reminded me each day to be present in the moment, to appreciate the love and beauty that surrounds me, and to treasure all the people in my life. That word was “CHERISH.”

Here I stand at the beginning of 2022, a year that I already know will be filled with challenges like no other. I will need to continue to be guided by HOPE and GRATITUDE, and I will continue to CHERISH the people in my life and the precious moments of each day. But to face the unknowns, and all the physical and emotional challenges of Byron’s declining health, I will need courage, and all the different words that help define it, such as grace, vulnerability, strength, love.

So my word of the year, for 2022, will be COURAGE.