Preparing for 2019 End and 2020 Beginning

Preparing for 2019 End and 2020 Beginning
December 24, 2019 admin
Child holding a white paper heart in hands and offering it with colorful lights around the edges. Christmas Eve 2019

I’m writing this post on Christmas Eve 2019. This is one of my favorite times of the year as I anticipate the candlelight service coming this evening. NO matter where I am in my heart, I don’t think I’ve ever missed a candlelight service in adulthood. It is a time where my heart will be once again filled with joy and hope–a time where no matter what challenges I have faced in the year, it reminds me that individuals can make a difference and that there is a community of people who are always striving to make the world a better place. My husband and I are in the choir and we will be singing several wonderful pieces of music. But the one that always brings a tear to my eye is the last one–Silent Night, sung with the Peace descant. If you are not familiar with it. Here are the words for the descant and my wish for all of you.

Peace. Peace. 

Peace on earth and good will to all.

This is a time for joy.

This is a time for love.

Now let us all sing together of peace.

Peace on earth.

There are also two other celebrations happening this week that celebrate dedicating ourselves to be the best, moral, loving people we can be.

On Sunday Chanukah (Hannukah) began, celebrating the festival of lights. A good friend explained to me that it was commemorating the rededication of the Temple in 165 BC. But for him, it also meant a personal rededication to honoring the Temple within us all. He quoted a previous Rebbe as to the messages of lighting the candles. I’ve summarized them here. 1. Never be afraid to stand up for what’s right.  2. Always increase in matters of goodness. 3. A little light goes a long way.No matter how dark it is outside, a single candle of goodness can transform the darkness itself into light. 4. Take your faith to the streets. Chanukah teaches us to shine outwards into our surroundings. 5. Be like a menorah, proudly proclaiming its radiant uniqueness for all to see. I can take many lessons from these five meanings. I see these as universal truths in many ways.

Kwanzaa begins December 26th and goes through the New Year. Though a celebration and reminder of the seven principles at this time of year, it also asks participants to practice those principles all year long: Umoja (unity), Kujichagulia (self-determination), Ujima (collective work and responsibility), Ujamaa (cooperative economics), Nia (purpose), Kuumba (creativity) and Imani (faith). Once again, I see these as universal principles that all humans would benefit from practicing.

It has been a difficult year for me and many. Whenever politics become so divisive, it seems to place a darkness over everything. That is been the case not only in the U.S. but in other places in the world as well.  There are times that the vitriolic discourse it makes it difficult for me to have hope for the future. As I was contemplating how to start this blog post, our minister, Rev. Jill McCallister, sent out an email this morning that truly captured why this time of year is so important whether you are a believer or an athiest. I’d like to share her words with you here because they really touched me and, like the celebrations of Chanukah and Kwanzaa above, it holds some universal truths.

“I have shared several readings recently from Jan Richardson, A Methodist minister, artist and writer. This one has been especially helpful for me:  ‘The joy that this season offers to us is something quite other than a false or forced kind of cheer that overlooks the difficult circumstances of the world or of our own lives. It comes instead as a grace that enables us to stand in the midst of sorrow or pain or chaos, to acknowledge and name them, while refusing to let them have the last word. This season asks us to trust that something is at work in a way we cannot see clearly but in which we are asked to participate, that we might be part of how it arrives.’

“The most important thing we can do is to give our best to the world — to ourselves, to others, to all living things, to the Earth.  To be with each other in ways that nurture well-being. Everyday we can let a little more goodwill live through us.  This is both the challenge and the gift — not only of this season, but of Life.”
I love that line to the end..Be with each other in ways that nurture well-being. Every day we can let more goodwill live through us. This is both the challenge and the gift–not only of this season, but of Life. The key for me is “every day” letting more goodwill live through me. It is allowing me to take little steps and improve every day. That is a gift and I hope you see it in yourself, too. May this season of hope and peace fill your soul and give you the strength to move into 2020 as your best self.

Sharing My Essays of the past Six Months

As many of you know, beginning in summer of this year I began writing articles on Medium. I did this to reach more people than my blog reaches and to earn a little money. I’ve written primarily about writerly things, sharing my knowledge and experience as a writer for the past 40 years. However, I’ve also shared personal stories that I hope might help others recognize a bit of themselves and know that there is light at the end of the tunnel, no matter the challenges. I’ve put links to all the articles below and divided them into two categories so you can skip those that hold no interest for you.
The stories that are a reflection on my own life, and a few also written for self-help for others, are first this time. Those readers who have read any of my novels will see what is the foundation of my belief in family, love, trust, and hope despite bad things that happen. Why my tag line is stories of making heroic choices one messy moment at a time. That is what I’ve observed each of us must do to make it past the obstructions placed in front of us in our journey from birth to death.
The second group are the stories directed to writers–both fiction and nonfiction, and to freelancers. I’ve shared these more widely via Twitter and LinkedIn because I find that is where a lot of writers hang out.
As I’ve mentioned before, Medium is a membership-based platform. For $5 per month you can read all the articles you want. However, all of my articles will open for non-members as well. Medium will limit you to only three per month for free.
Thank you for sticking with me this year. Thank you for sharing my books and my essays. I hope I have brought some joy into your life.
I pray that during this season you are surrounded in love. That you have some time with family and friends who truly care for you. Enjoy!
Maggie

Personal and Self Help Stories

The Piano https://medium.com/publishous/the-piano-64eccd542161 

Thanksgiving Bread https://medium.com/publishous/thanksgiving-bread-62868e86667f

Binding the Energy of Stillness https://medium.com/the-ascent/binding-the-energy-of-stillness-9e42efec5e54 

Is Unconditional Love Possible? https://medium.com/publishous/is-unconditional-love-possible-31f67bdb5cfd

Are the Best Marriages Primarily Chemistry or Friendship? https://medium.com/publishous/are-the-best-marriages-primarily-friendship-or-chemistry-61e04e99e23b

Stress Is Not Always Bad https://medium.com/publishous/stress-is-not-always-bad-87523ffb6cfa

Who to Believe When Health Claims Are Made https://medium.com/publishous/who-to-believe-when-health-claims-are-made-7fba3ce8fa80

Caregiving vs Caretaking https://medium.com/publishous/caregiving-vs-caretaking-103178c9e056

The Romance of Sleeping Separately https://medium.com/publishous/sleeping-separately-49206c60d7e0

Mea Culpa: A Meditation on privilege and prejudice https://medium.com/the-ascent/mea-culpa-a067476144f3

 

Links for Writers

Writer’s BLock: Diagnosis & Prescription https://medium.com/publishous/writers-block-diagnosis-prescription-ed1072126ade

Introversion vs Extroversion: Using your personality type to succeed as an author https://medium.com/publishous/introversion-vs-extroversion-ffc4d093332a

Intuiting vs Sensing: Using the MBTI to become a better writer https://medium.com/publishous/sensing-vs-intuiting-c4fef68f571e 

Thinking vs Feeling https://medium.com/publishous/thinking-vs-feeling-aef68d55aec2

Judging vs Perceiving https://medium.com/publishous/judging-vs-perceiving-f082673032cc

What Are You Willing to Do for Your Dream Job https://medium.com/@maggiemcvaylynch/what-are-you-willing-to-do-for-your-dream-job-4178f56a8d8d

The Changing World of Author Creations and Publishing https://medium.com/publishous/the-changing-world-of-author-creations-and-publishing-7a9ee956bdbe

How Comparisonitis Can Make Your Career But Kill Your Dream https://medium.com/publishous/how-comparisonitis-can-make-a-career-but-kill-your-dream-d252dff2b189

Do Writer’s Need a Brand? https://medium.com/publishous/do-writers-need-a-brand-5c062054b499 

Why is “crappy” writing rewarded? https://medium.com/publishous/why-is-crappy-writing-rewarded-de840553b297

Is Social Media Required to be a Successful Author? https://medium.com/publishous/is-social-media-required-to-be-a-successful-author-af9ce99bc01a

The Truth About Marketing Books https://medium.com/publishous/the-truth-about-marketing-books-9059268ad8f8

What Has Not Worked in Book Marketing https://medium.com/publishous/what-has-not-worked-in-book-marketing-3cf35e76e5e6

Judging Writing Quality https://medium.com/publishous/judging-writing-quality-b85ffde07aef

How Much Should Authors Worry About SEO? https://medium.com/publishous/how-much-should-authors-worry-about-seo-178928ce59f4#80c9

Marketing and Networking for the Shy Author https://medium.com/publishous/marketing-and-networking-for-the-shy-author-a14ca227bf8b

How to Use Reading to Become A Better Writer https://medium.com/publishous/how-to-use-reading-to-become-a-better-writer-f21d2bc08a39

How to Use Triggers to Write a Better Article https://medium.com/publishous/how-to-use-triggers-to-write-a-better-article-910574c95579

Why Writers Need an Email List https://medium.com/publishous/why-writers-need-an-email-list-467307023eec

How to Choose the Right Email Marketing Provider https://medium.com/publishous/how-to-choose-the-right-email-marketing-provider-9a16bd82dc6f

 

 

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