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My word for 2019 was courage. I wrote it on our family calendar and it made it until my little elves erased it at the beginning of December. I could blame our invisible elf on the shelf, Chip, but it is far more likely that it was the 7 year old or the 9 year old.

I started the year with great intentions. I didn't make New Year's Resolutions. I, instead, declared what I would do. I said I would publish a book, live with gratitude, and update my blog weekly.

I met and exceeded the expectation of publishing a book. In fact, I've published 4. I now have a fiction book, Kidnapped Asylum, a nonfiction book, Intentional Inboxes, and two picture books, Squirmy Wormy and Wiggle Piggle (written under the pen name Rosa Clark).

Most days, I practice gratitude and loving-kindness. Some days, it is hard especially when it feels like the lemons are too rotten to even make lemonade; however, I am slowly learning that the more gratitude I show, the better day I have.

Finally, there was the promise to update my blog weekly. Sadly, this didn't happen in the latter half of 2019.

Each of these things take courage to do. Courage, at its root, comes from the Latin cor. In its pure Latin form, cor means heart. As language does, it has evolved to mean heroic or brave, but for me each time I did something that took courage, it really came from my heart.

Was publishing 4 books easy? Absolutely not! I had to be disciplined to wake up at 5 AM and dig in, even on the days that it was dark, and even on the days that I would have preferred to stay in bed. I had to, gasp, let an editor look at my words. Then I had to have the courage to open the document with the suggested changes. I learned how to format my own books for both e-publication and for paperback. I shed some tears over this. But, I have learned so much!

Was it always easy to find things to be grateful for, especially during the summer without a steady income? No. It was hard! But when I started to feel gratitude toward what I had: my family, my friends, my ability to create, a home, and a chance to be a full-time mom to my children, I found my life to be more full. There is so much truth in the saying, "Gratitude is a super power."

You can see that I had great intentions of keeping my blog going strong. When summer hit, I tutored students in math and reading. I also taught swim lessons. These two tasks took a lot of my mental energy, so the blog fell to the wayside. When school started, I used all my extra energy to finish Intentional Inboxes. I had to give myself permission to not keep this promise and that took courage.

For 2019, my word was courage. I found my courage. I used my courage. And I will head into 2020 with every intention to continue to be courageous.

Brandi Parsons is a freelance writer and proofreader. She published Kidnapped Asylum and Intentional Inboxes in 2019 under her name and two picture books, Squirmy Wormy and Wiggle Piggle under the name Rosa Clark.

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