My 3 Little Words

Three Little Birds

Don’t worry about a thing,

cause every little thing gonna be all right.

Singin: dont worry about a thing,

cause every little thing gonna be all right!

Rise up this mornin,

Smiled with the risin sun,

Three little birds

Pitch by my doorstep

Singin sweet songs

Of melodies pure and true,

Sayin, (this is my message to you-ou-ou:)

Singin: dont worry bout a thing,

cause every little thing gonna be all right.

Singin: dont worry (dont worry) bout a thing,

cause every little thing gonna be all right!

Bob Marley


Some of you may remember that in 2013, I was inspired by a number of other bloggers (in particular The Fiesty Blue Gecko) to start the New Year with a Three Word Mantra rather than traditional New Year’s resolutions. I chose Agility, Openness and Creativity for my words that year and since focusing on those three words worked so well, I continued to choose three words for 2014 and 2015. My 2014 words were my spin on Eric Barker (at Barking Up the Wrong Tree)‘s 4 P’s: Purpose, Perspective, People, and Play which came out for me as: Frugal, Cultivator and Nimble and my 2015 words were Nurture, Reconnect and Seek. I was able to reflect on 2013 and 2014, but things got pretty crazy at the end of 2015/beginning of 2016 with my new job and re-entering the workforce full time, that I didn’t reflect on 2015–or set a new 3 word mantra for 2016.

Last year I think I tried to set my sights a little too high and decided to use all 10 of the International Baccalaureate Learner Profile Traits.

Whoops! My bad. This was not a particularly good choice–especially considering I got dumped from my role of IB Coordinator in June. Eeks!!! Lesson learned with that one!

I think I may have set my sights too high in many areas of my life in 2018 and taken on too much.

Over the years, when I was often the most involved in a diverse assortment of activities, programs and responsibilities, I ended up being the most satisfied. In college, I was the most productive, had the best grades and was happiest when I was juggling school work, a job (resident advisor, editor of the student activities newsletter, swim coach, etc.), personal life, and campus activity involvement (founding member of a campus lecture group called Platform Personalities, Homecoming and Winfester committees, etc.). My favorite semester of grad school (mind you my Masters in Public History took me 4 years because I continued to teach full time) was when I had 3 very engaging classes, plus teaching, being invested in a marriage and connected to my family.  Having multiple projects, activities and personal involvements going on, rather than focusing exclusively on one or two, has meant that if one area goes bad, the others will balance out the negative one. That philosophy blew up in 2018, because instead of giving my world more stability, having multiple areas demanding my attention meant that my world went haywire when too many things fell apart or stopped creating positive outcomes. There wasn’t a lot going on to upright the ship. It was a rather tough year, frankly. Rather than a milestone, turning 50 was more of a friendly reminder that some years humble–and hobble–you.

This year, I am heading out of the rut last year seemed stuck in. As a result, it seems fitting to get back to the basics and so one of the things I’ve decided to do is refocus my new year resolutions and goals, returning to a 3 word mantra that will help guide my narrative of the coming year.

And without further ado, my 2019 words are:




Sponges are fascinating. They are water babies like me and not only do they absorb spills (I almost went with absorb as one of my 3 words), wipe things away and clean things up, but they also act as a filter, retaining what they need. I have a lot of areas in my life needing my attention. I need to clean up and de-clutter my world, frankly, but I also need to absorb stuff, as well, finding new places for them to reside and tidying up my various personal archives. In 2016, when we moved back in to our condo, we moved in to a smaller place than we had lived in in 7 years and so there are things that went into storage that I’ve lost track of. On top of that, when the Cottage was sold the same year, much of what I claimed from the 60 years of family treasures was boxed up and put in storage. I want to filter through my stuff and bring the treasures hidden away out into the world again–and only keep that which has value.

Sponging away that which isn’t necessary in my world, should leave me with more room to ‘craft’, both practice my personal crafts and to craft the directions I want to head. Much of the past couple of years has felt as if I am hanging on by the seat of my pants, reacting to the curve balls life keeps sending me, without having much say in the outcome. I’m proud of my perseverance, how I have adapted to some very challenging situations, and how I have built some really great friendships in the midst of the drama, but I want to do more than simply hang on or do my job. I want to focus on my ‘craft’, but to do that I really need to do some exploring of what I am really passionate about. Is it writing? Is it history? Is it teaching? Is it travel? What haven’t I had the time or energy to focus on? Where should my career head? I’ve wanted to___________, but is it something that makes me happy?  Not only do I want to focus on my craft (whatever that may be) or revisit what I even consider my craft, I also want to craft new directions for myself.

Look at all of these synonyms for caper, a playful skipping movement: skip, dance, romp, jig, frisk, gambol, cavort, prance, frolic, leap, hop, jump, bound, spring and for caper (informal), an activity or escapade, typically one that is illicit or ridiculous: escapade, stunt, prank, trick, practical joke, antics, high jinks, mischief, game, sport, fun, jest, jesting, jape, shenanigans, lark. Too fun! After little play in my world in 2018, I want to focus on having some fun, dancing, doing things here and there on a lark, and trying my hand at cavorting. I want to go on adventures again!

And I’ve already started! For my birthday last Sunday, Terry and I went to a pop up museum here in Chicago called the Wndr Museum. It was a fascinating experience and felt like a caper to me. I want to embrace more experiences like this in 2019.

And the idea, is that with time spent focusing on my sponging and crafting and capering this year, I seek to feel a little lighter; frankly, a little more successful; a little healthier; and a little more ok with my life than I have been feeling.

8 thoughts on “My 3 Little Words

  1. Love the pictures at the pop up museum!!!! What a great caper!! And happy belated birthday!

    I have three words for 2019- cold, cold, cold. I mean, they do not have to be different, right?


    • Thank you, Kel!!! It’s been a really good start to this new year. Your words make me giggle–which hides the shivering we are doing here! 🙂 To think, we missed the last polar vortex 5 years ago when we were still in NOLA…Glad I know how to layer!!!! How were your holidays?

      Liked by 1 person

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  3. Great thoughts, great words, wishing you the best and a better 2019. I’m actually doing very similar with my focus this year. Fun! Love and hug

    On Sun, Jan 13, 2019, 3:47 PM Searching for EMWA wrote:

    > jbaldwinglenn posted: “ Three > Little Birds Don’t worry about a thing, cause every little thing gonna be > all right. Singin: dont worry about a thing, cause every little thing gonna > be all right! Rise up this mornin, Smiled wi” >


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