"I like to see the silver linings in things."
~Emily Hampshire

So here we are at the end of 2020. This year will go down in all of our personal histories as one of upheaval, given the personal and collective fallout from the pandemic and the election. Indeed, it will be interesting to see how this time in history will be depicted in the history books. Although we're still immersed in these issues, it's a good idea to look toward 2021 with fresh eyes of hope. During the coming year, a vaccine will become available. It might be a while before those not in the medical profession will get it, but at least we know it's on the horizon.

In keeping with the idea of seeing through fresh eyes in 2021, let's examine the changes we've had to deal with in 2020 and how we handled them. What were your challenges? Perhaps you experienced some interesting synchronicities in the past year. Maybe you realized how much you love working at home. Perhaps you embarked on a new profession. Or maybe old friends and relatives got in touch with you or you got in touch with them.

Perhaps you began writing the book you've always wanted to write or began a new hobby that you never had time to do before the pandemic. Whatever the case, it would serve us well at this point to focus on all the silver linings. This is one way to honor the light instead of the darkness.

Recently, many people and articles have been referring to the importance of having empathy, which inspired me to write a few articles on the subject. Check out one of my latest posts inPsychology Today, "How Empathy Can Heal." And, those of you who've lost loved ones this past year have, sadly, had to forgo in-person funeral services, which must have been so difficult. Perhaps you were or will be called upon to write a eulogy for a Zoom gathering. If so, my article "The Art of Writing Creative Eulogies" might help you.

No matter where you are spiritually, psychologically, or emotionally, I'd like to wish you a joyous December as you usher in the New Year!
Be well. Be safe.

  • Write about a loved one who has passed away.
  • Write about synchronicities you experienced in 2020.
  • Write about how this December feels different from last year at this time.
  • Write about your best silver lining in 2020.

Jet Blue Flight #1 to LAX” and “The Trigger” (poems). Madness Muse Press: Fall Harvest II. Fall 2020.

“My Heart Broke Loose with the Wind” (poem) Spillway: A Poetry Magazine. September 2020.

"How Empathy Can Heal (blog). Psychology Today. November 8, 2020.
How Empathy Can Heal (blog). Thrive Global. November 10, 2020.

How Journaling Can Save your Life (blog). Hello50. November 9, 2020.

"The Art of Writing Creative Eulogies (blog). Sixty and Me. November 14, 2020.

Traditions as a Lifeline (blog). Psychology Today. November 22, 2020.
"Traditions as a Lifeline" (blog) Thrive Global. November 24, 2020.
"Traditions as a Lifeline." (article) The Good Men Project. November 27. 2020.

What the Pandemic Taught Me about Gratitude (blog). The Wisdom Daily. November 23, 2020.
How about gifting:


I've created this box of 28 hand-designed cards to facilitate engaging and fun connections with family and friends . . .
and for use on group video calls!

The cards are based on my award-winning book, Writing for Bliss: A Seven-Step Plan for Telling Your Story and Transforming Your Life.


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Commercial orders:
New Leaf Distributing Co.
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Promise Me, Dad by Joe Biden (memoir)

I first read this book the day it was released in 2018. I wanted to hear the words of a wise, empathetic humanitarian. I recall how quickly I read it, and I might have reviewed it in my newsletter before, but I thought this was a good time to bring it to everyone's attention once again. Now that Joe Biden is president-elect, I've decided to dust it off and take it down from my bookshelf.

As I noted back in June 2018, as a memoirist and teacher of memoir, this is one of the most powerful works on my bookshelf. Biden has experienced more personal losses than most, and in spite of it all, he continues to be honorable and hopeful. At age 38, as a senator, he lost his first wife and eighteen-month-old daughter in a fatal car accident. One would assume that a man would become embittered by such a devastating loss, but he bounced back, grateful and wise. It's said that there's no greater loss than that of a child, and Biden endured the loss of two children, most recently his son Beau.

With upmost candor and sincerity, Biden describes Beau's slow demise following his diagnosis of glioblastoma, a stage IV tumor resulting in paralysis and a whole array of other symptoms. The doctor at MD Anderson told Beau not to allow the disease to take over his existence; advising him to go home, run for mayor, and "have a purpose."

From that day on, the Biden men lived by those words. Joe Biden is also mindful of how a small gesture can make a huge difference to those in need. He knows about loss, and he knows about mourning. "When I talk to people in mourning, they know I speak from experience. They know I have a sense of depth of their pain," he says (p. 49). In this way, he relates to the many losses stemming from COVID-19, and his words of wisdom relating to having a purpose and trusting one's instincts in all aspects of life should not be taken lightly.

(Coincidentally, Beau Biden and Kamala Harris were friends and attorneys general at the same time, so it's serendipitous that Joe Biden chose her as his running mate.)

Highly recommended!
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