Wednesday, June 02, 2021

Spiritual Journey Thursday: How Are You Doing with Your OLW?

This month's theme is to revisit the OLW (One Little Word) we chose for the year. Was it a good choice? Has it been helping shape our thoughts this year so far? Would we like to recalibrate, refocus, or even choose a new word? (Or would we rather write about something completely different and ignore the theme? That's fine too!) I am hosting today's roundup of SJT posts; leave your link in the comments and I will round them up. Comment Moderation is enabled, so don't worry when your comment doesn't show up right away. I will get to it as quickly as possible. 


My OLW for this year is Flourishing. I wrote about it back in January here.

As predicted, 2021 has brought as many obstacles to flourishing as 2020 did. Well, maybe not quite as many. When the 2020-21 school year started, we were back teaching in-person, at first in a hybrid mode and then with everyone there at once - so that was better than the previous school year, when we were in lockdown all but 15 weeks (political lockdown, then COVID lockdown). And now I am chock-full of Vitamin B12, after being diagnosed with a deficiency of it last year, a deficiency that had been getting worse for some time without me realizing it. But of course, tough things continue to happen. That's just called being alive. 

And it's fine not to be flourishing all the time. Someone posted this article the other day which includes the quote: "It is a mistake and a misreading of nature to think that you, a living creature, will be flourishing all the days of your life." (One thing that happens when you choose an OLW for the year is that you sit up and take notice any time that word appears in anything you're reading, and I appreciated this new way of thinking about it.) 

Nevertheless, I have been flourishing so far this year, in spite of terrible news, sickness, challenges of all kinds. You can't discount Vitamin B12 as a factor in that; having basically good health is something I don't take for granted. It helps me face difficulties with more strength; it helps me stay cheerful; it helps my body fight off sickness when it comes. And God continues to show Himself to be good. People, not always so much. But God, yes. 

One thing I'm learning is that sometimes, you can't evaluate a season until it's over, or even until a few years later. Often, as new information emerges about what was really going on behind the scenes, you have to rethink whether a given incident was helpful or unhelpful in your overall development. You may learn something new about someone you trusted that leads you to question everything, for example. Suddenly you're seeing everything from a new angle. Since this is something you couldn't have predicted or controlled, what's the best way to live to promote flourishing, knowing that at any time you could get thrown off balance?

I keep coming back to an effort to live one day at a time, to make choices that I know are right without trying to look too far into the future and imagine all the possible outcomes, to avoid wallowing in the could haves and should haves of the past. I'm trying to flourish today, with God's help. As I pointed out in my post back in January, the Bible urges us to "abide in the vine," to stay connected to God. It's not always obvious how to do that, but that's what I'm trying to do.

I'm about to face a big destabilizing event, my second (and last) child leaving home to go to college. I would like to keep flourishing as my life changes enormously. I'm trying to do all those things I wrote about in January to help that to happen. 


And I'm adding an edit on Wednesday night just because it feels dishonest not to. I wrote this post last week and scheduled it to go live today. We've just learned we're going to have to close school early, and do everything these last couple of weeks virtually, because the COVID cases are skyrocketing here. I'd be lying if I didn't say that right now I'm pretty down about how this super-challenging year is ending. But...let's flourish anyway?! 

What about you? 

The posts of my SJT buddies started coming in overnight, so now, on Thursday morning, I have the honor of rounding them up. 

Fran's OLW is Awe, and here's her wonderful prose poem detailing some of the things that are awing her these days. 


Margaret's is Inspire, and here's her update on how she continues to be inspired and to inspire others.


Denise is checking in from Bahrain with her word, Gratitude

Carol's word is Begin, and she shares some of her new beginnings as she's recently moved.  Instead of being overwhelmed, she's rejoicing in the newness!  

Karen has received some good gifts and some curveballs. She's giving thanks. 

Donna is trying to figure out if she's on track, and what to do next. Sending you love and prayers, Donna!


Chris chose the word Results  and is finding the results mixed.   

I love that Linda chose the word Ox. She has a poem about what that means - quiet, steadfast, dependable.  

Ramona's word was Comfort, and it's so great to read about all the comfort that's coming her way these days!


Linda Mitchell said...

What a heartfelt post. Thank you, Ruth. I'm so glad you are on top of that B-12 deficiency and it's helping to keep you strong. That sounds like a difficult to diagnose condition! I too saw our youngest graduate...and he will leave for college in the fall. He has no idea that his leaving is going to rock my world the way I'm sure it will. You have big hugs from me in that kind of transition!
I did revisit my OLW. I'm having a blast with it this year. I even have ideas for next year. Geesh! I need to slow down and live just today as well. Thanks for hosting! mwah!

Fran Haley said...

Dear Ruth - it's a great idea, halfway through the year, to revisit our OLW and the status of out relationship with it. Much truth in your words of taking note every time is it mentioned in anything we're reading! As I read your reflective post, especially the points on not flourishing "all the time," I began pondering the definitions of words. I am thinking of the sickness and the hard times (prayers remain with you and your part of the world as numbers rise) - and your praise that God always shows Himself to be good. I thought about Christ being "the author and finisher of our faith" and being "sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit" - all of which gives me another sense of "flourishing," as in God's signature. Signing every day and our lives with a flourish. With promise. Through the eyes of faith, we CAN flourish each day (some more than others, to be sure!) Beautiful OLW and post. Thank you for hosting today - safety, wellness, and much more flourishing to you and yours.

My OLW is "awe" - here's my link:

Margaret Simon said...

Ruth, you picked a tough word for 2021. Flourishing has turned to languishing. That's OK. So much is out of your control. You can control your reaction to it all. Enjoy your time with your son before he leaves, but take heart. He isn't leaving you. He will always be a part of you and you a part of him, you take each other with you.
My post is about my OLW Inspire and how my poetry work inspired a colleague.

Tabatha said...

Wonderful post, Ruth, and I loved Austin Kleon's thoughts on dormancy. Your question "What's the best way to live to promote flourishing, knowing that at any time you could get thrown off balance?" is a really interesting one. Accepting uncertainty is an ongoing challenge.

Denise Krebs said...

Ruth, your post is encouraging and hope-filled, even down to the last two paragraphs. Praying for a great transition for you, where you will continue to flourish after your youngest goes to college, and that your new college freshman will too.

Peace to you, the school, and the country as you finish the last weeks of school in virtual mode. We had the same happen a couple of weeks ago, as Bahrain has a vicious variant now too. This time will pass we pray! Yes, let's flourish anyway!

Thank you for the opportunity to participate in this Spiritual Journey Thursday. Here is my post:

Carol Varsalona said...

Ruth, it has been a distressing year but being with a kind group of reflective writers has been a great support. Thanks for hosting SJT. I am ready to share my thoughts. My up-down struggles lead me to rethink my one word, begin, to see where I have misstepped or prevailed. My post is at I wish you well with flourish as your guide on your personal journey. Thank you for being so honest about your feelings. I wish you blessings on your pathway back to the US and well-health.

Carol Varsalona said...

Ruth, my link for this month's SJT is at The last comment had the wrong link. Peace.

Karen Eastlund said...

Ruth: Thank you for hosting and for your intention to flourish in the midst of such difficult times. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. Please visit my blog post at

Karen Eastlund said...

Gorgeous, Fran. Awe chose you and it was paying attention! I love the life out of brokenness, the bird songs, the hope and pride of that young reader and your relationship with her. All lovely. Thank you so much.

Ramona said...

Thanks for this thoughtful post and your words of wisdom. I love your reminder to "abide in the vine" and stay connected to God on our daily walks, trying to flourish today with God's help.
I'm saddened at the increase in COVID in your part of the world, and will continue to pray for healing and more vaccines. Thanks for hosting us today.

Donna Smith said...

I love the word "flourish" - had this a couple of years ago, and was a great help.
This year I've had no word thus far. The chaos of the past year and a half (maybe a bit longer) stole some focus from me. I am struggling to gain my connectedness again, find the wing to hide under in safety...

Chris Margocs said...

"Flourish" is such a powerful OLW, especially in pandemic times. I hope you find that an empty nest is a prime environment to find new ways to flourish; I know it has been for my husband and myself. Here's my SJT link:

Ramona said...

Ruth, I failed to leave the link for my post.