A Dozen Things I Learned in 2020

1. If your word-for-the-year is STRONG, be prepared to learn more than you ever imagined about soul strength, physical perseverance, mental fortitude, and spiritual stamina.

2. You can write down all the appointments, coffee dates, speaking engagements, and scheduled travel in your cute little stickered Planner. But that does not mean they will actually happen.

3. No matter how old (or set-in-your-ways), you can learn to pivot and do what you must do in a fresh, exciting, and terrifying technologically manner. Key words here: ring light, livestream, zoom, upload to the cloud, IGTV, and studio-in-the-guestroom.

4. When your kids and grands have moved all the way from London to live a mere 2 hour drive from you (albeit in the hotbed of New York), and yet you still cannot see them without masks and outdoor social distancing, it’s because they are trying to protect you from exposure to a deadly virus. Accept it.

5. Reading is far more enriching and enjoyable than binge-TV. Others’ words minister to our souls in ways we aren’t even aware we need at the time. (next week’s blog will list my favorite 12 Fiction and 12 Non-fiction reads in 2020.)

6. If your retired husband can put up with you for 9 months of pandemic isolation in a small cottage, then honey, he is a keeper! It’s called grace and works both ways.

7. Transitioning from public high school substitute teacher to Thursday morning pre-school teacher of a 3-year-old at “Bible Story School with GrannyLu” is always the best choice ever.

8. Releasing what you believe is your most important book ever – Soul Strong – 7 Keys to a Vibrant Life (shameless promotion here) – one week before the entire world shut down means that not so many people have read it. Yet. But you understand that Soul Strong may be a slow build, and you cling to hope for changed lives of future readers.

9. Sometimes, out of the blue, when your 15th book is published, you are granted the privilege of narrating your own words onto an Oasis audiobook. Daddy Pratt – who recorded your entire early life on reel-to-reel tape recordings – would be proud. (releasing from Oasis/New Hope in February)

10. Yes, you can pull together courage, calm, and confidence to don full PPE four evenings a week and walk into a new job – serving in a very small way a fragile community in this season of Covid.

11. If you are a people person (and I am) you may actually suffer from the loss of physical interaction with others this year. Lament is appropriate and includes addressing both the Sorrows and the Hopes – as the Psalms so clearly reveal.

12. All you need is Love. “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” 1 Corinthians 13.4-8

Tomorrow is a New Year. Let’s choose to Live Authentically, Learn Creatively, and Love Extravagantly!

under the mercy, Lucinda

“Helping You Choose a Life of Serenity & Strength”

©2020 Lucinda Secrest McDowell

Lucinda Secrest McDowell is a storyteller and seasoned mentor who engages both heart and mind while “Helping You Choose a Life of Serenity & Strength.” She has authored 15 books including “Soul Strong – 7 Keys to a Vibrant Life” and “Life-Giving Choices – 60 Days to What Matters Most.” She writes from “Sunnyside” cottage in New England and shares encouraging words at LucindaSecrestMcDowell.com

A Look Ahead to January.
Want to start 2021 strong — individually or with a group?
I am offering an 8-week study on my interactive life journal “Soul Strong – 7 Keys to a Vibrant Life” available January 3rd for individuals or groups. You can watch the 8 video teaching lessons any time, plus full outline downloads of each session and discussion questions are provided. You will need a copy of the book “Soul Strong,” but the video teaching is fresh material which complements the book. The study is FREE, but a small Love Offering is always appreciated.  Simply email me LucindaSMcDowell@gmail.com
 with “Soul Strong Study” as the subject line and I will send you the LINK on January 3rd.


  1. AMY CLARK on December 30, 2020 at 12:25 pm

    Flexibility. I thought I was flexible as a mom and wife before, but this year has really taught me that I am! Learning to be thankful for what we have. Contentment was my word for 2020. God is amazing how He teaches us.

  2. Tracy Arntzen on December 30, 2020 at 12:41 pm

    2020 has taught us much and I am grateful for HIS presence. Looking forward to your favorite book list next week!

  3. barbara on December 30, 2020 at 1:57 pm

    you are a treasure. pure treasure. and these words were pure delight. on a snowy morning, i send love across the drifts and all the miles. xoxox

    • Maureen Miller on December 30, 2020 at 8:06 pm

      Happy New Year! Still prayerfully pondering my 2021 word… you’re an inspiration to me and many! Love you!

  4. sarah on December 30, 2020 at 4:23 pm

    Great word, great words, you help us, Cindy, with your thoughts put out publically. I look forward to seeing your booklists. Thank you!

  5. Lisa Larsen Hill on December 30, 2020 at 4:30 pm

    Loved this and learned some new lingo…ring light, IGTV, Guest… Thank you Lucinda for these reflections so appropriate for us all!

  6. Lorraine Boyd on December 30, 2020 at 10:09 pm

    Lucinda, I have enjoyed reading your posts. I have enjoyed zoom conferences more than I realized I would. To me, they were the silver lining. I “went” to museums that I have never heard of. I “met” authors that are new to me, you included. I work as a librarian and I read all of the time. While I have attended a few American Library Association events, New England Library Association events, public library events, Children’s Literature Festival events, I realized there are some authors that may not always travel outside of their region. I felt less isolated while watching these events and they were fun and informative.

  7. Maggie Rowe on December 31, 2020 at 2:45 am

    You not only learned these dozen things, but I’m sure dozens more, and you learned them well!

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