One Word: Final UPDATE

It’s update time in the One Word community and, well, mine is kind of crazy.

My One Word for 2012 was Dare. You can review it here, but the main idea for me was to take action on some of my dreams. A direct quote from the post:

I don’t want to keep talking about writing; I want to write something.

I don’t want to keep talking about going to graduate school; I want to apply.

I don’t want to only read over contest guidelines; I want to submit. 

Other words I considered were go or work or do. Dare seemed perfect because to the action it also added the element of bravery.

I wrote it on January 6, 2012. At that point I had already applied to graduate school at Creighton. I didn’t say much about it because I was so afraid I wouldn’t be accepted. I was also afraid I would be accepted. It was one of those things.

In May I found out I had been accepted into the graduate program in English. But I hadn’t received any scholarships or other incentives. It was a long process before Dan and I finally decided to take the leap, follow our long-held dream, and move the family to Omaha, Nebraska (his hometown and the place we had imagined raising our kids together). I would take the opportunity at Creighton by enrolling in one class for the fall semester. We couldn’t possibly afford anymore but we also didn’t think we could afford to miss out on the opportunity altogether.

I wrote this post after my first day of class. I’ve loved every minute since and it’s been an incredible learning opportunity. I was carefully considering which class to sign up for in the upcoming spring semester when I got word that a fellowship might be available and would I even be interested?

Several weeks later I got the final confirmation that I had in fact been awarded a full fellowship to complete my degree. The fellowship includes tuition remission for full-time coursework, a chance to research with the faculty, and a small stipend.

So I think the Dare thing probably worked in this case. Now, don’t forget that I’ve given you the short version here. No pics of me falling asleep in my chair writing papers (oh, wait, I have to tell you something about that too – hold on), no mention of the nights I’ve come home just an hour or so before the kids went to bed, no peek into our bank account that shows signs of big-life-change-itis. But you live life, too. You know all that stuff is part of the package.

I’m both excited and scared to listen for my 2013 word. I’m thinking of going with Easy or Smooth or Cake-like. I’ll keep you posted! Try one yourself this year?

I dare you.

(Right, the other thing. I also found out that the paper I worked so hard on all semester was selected by the College English Association for presentation at their conference this spring in Savannah, Georgia! I know, the good news in this post has officially reaching annoying proportions.)

This Face

This face. My life is made if I can see an expression like this at least now and then. On my children. On my students. On myself.


Dan took this shot of us while we rode Ollie the Trolley on Sunday afternoon during the Wells Fargo Family Festival, a free event that included admission to downtown museums and other special sites. He actually took a ton of shots, he told me, because he was waiting until he could capture this expression.

Isn’t it perfect the way she’s pointing and looking at me as if you say, … well, I don’t know what she’s saying. It was a trolley ride so full of her squeals and exclamations of delight that I’m not even sure what this one referenced exactly. The tall buildings of the downtown? The Christmas lights wrapping the trees? The police horses? Who knows.

Ada had a similar expression while we walked through Joslyn Art Museum for the first time. Awe. Wonder. Amazement. She was surrounded by beauty and she knew it. She didn’t walk by and not notice. She soaked it in. Drank every sip of the excellence and knew it was a fine label, not an ordinary brand.

What a wonderful world that inspires a face like this. It’s an expression that is maybe best summarized by one of my favorite musical characters (Tootie from Meet Me in St. Louis), “It’s the best city in the world! Wasn’t I lucky to be born in my favorite city?!”

Wasn’t I lucky to see this face on Sunday afternoon in Omaha, Nebraska?