Seeing (and Serving) Renewal in the A to Z Challenge

az theme lead
photo credit: Stormtrooper via photopin (license)

It’s time for a cool change.

az badge.jpgWhen I wrote overhead messages for companies in Chicago – pizza parlors, dental offices, bakeries – I’d rearrange my desk, once a month. I’d wipe it down with disinfectant wipes, switch decorations, and move my monitor. I sought a fresh start to every month.

I didn’t do away with pictures or trinkets.

I just moved them around. Gave my eyes new sightlines. I’ll do that with other things, including coaching, parenting, and blogging, right here. What could I do better? What can I give up? How will things look from here?

The A to Z Challenge in April allows me to gain a new perspective.

Last April, amid life-held happiness I’d never known, I simply wrote. No editing apps. No agonizing rewrites. I wrote, I posted, I read, I shared. I learned. Soaring high anyway, I let go of elements that weighed down my writing process.

My life process, since, took on a starboard torpedo.

The words came easily; then, they dried up. They opened some doors, yet caused others, important others, to become slammed shut. I folded my hands, I cleared my mind, and I wrote some more. Words for me usually come with cookie crumbs all over them.

So it was strange to find them doused with tears.

My theme for the 2016 A to Z Challenge: Renewal. Renewal isn’t an abandonment of what defined our former. It’s recognition of its good, it’s anticipation for tomorrow’s possibility and most importantly, the importance of what lies before us, in this very moment.

I want this renewal to build on the beauty of yesterday, not vanquish it.

Why amputate parts just for something new? I want the next step, not ground zero. Not square one. I’ve lived and loved and lost too much to toss it aside and ask for a fresh start. That would deny the lessons and experiences, wins and losses, I endured to get here.

We grow out of certain ideals, yes? Sometimes you’ll want to draw upon the details of your former self. What happens if you’ve wiped the disc clean?

It’s a reason I abhor New Year’s resolutions.

We take opportunities to start anew by tossing out our former ideals. We grow out of them, yes? Sometimes you’ll want to draw upon the details of your former self. What happens if you’ve wiped the disc clean? I’ll wear the lucky socks. I’ll believe in magic, instead.

I’ll write on the things closest to me.

I’ll try those tired and true (yes, tired) tricks to make my girls laugh, stuff they say got old “a long time ago, dad,” because what if they laugh? What if the socks work? What if magic happens, in ways I don’t even know yet?

These posts in April – they’re on topics I picked, sometimes years ago.

I want to go back and clean them up. Give them life. In the same sense, it’ll give me renewal, new old subjects toward which nature has certainly shifted my trajectory. Don’t worry, it’ll make sense. Thank you for becoming a part of the journey.

renewal quote




  1. 1jaded1 says:

    I like the new look and am eager to read about Renewal. 😀

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thanks LJ – I had a former new look that looked too drab, so I took another stab.

  2. What a great topic! Looking forward to reading your posts!!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thanks Cheryl! I look forward to making my way to your blog, too.

  3. Loving the new look here, too and definitely think a great topic to chose with renewal, too 🙂

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thanks Janine – I’ve had more new looks around here than Madonna.

  4. stomperdad says:

    I see you’ve renewed your theme and your theme is renewal. Brilliant.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Kinda crazy that way, you know, Eric? Maybe the switch was subliminal because of the theme – or did the theme emerge because of the switch?

      1. stomperdad says:

        Art imitates life… or is your life imitating your art? Either way… kudos to you and I’m looking forward to April 🙂

  5. Renewal is a wonderful topic, Eli. Looking forward to reading your posts on it. And I also like the new layout and banner!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thanks Sara – spring hasn’t always been a kind season for me, (you know, pollen) but I like the idea of its renewal properties. I have so many post ideas that haven’t seen the light of day, and 26 of them, at least, are going to get legs next month.

      Thanks on the layout and banner – I try to switch things up once a season or so, and am happy with this one. My old banner felt so overwhelming sometimes (especially when I tried to check in on the blog at work.)

  6. Holly says:

    Good for you for taking this chance to renew yourself through the challenge. If I sign up, it will be last minute and probably not even in the formal challenge process, but I am worried right now that I don’t have enough words, energy or anything to give to it.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thanks Holly! I hope you sign up … I make my posts shorter for this, but get more done. Does that make sense?

  7. Nikki says:

    Introspection is necessary for growth and it sounds like that’s where you’re at currently. As long as you revisit and renew, then continue on your path, it’s all healthy, right? Looking forward to reading more of your journey!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I definitely am, and i know it’s a melding of what I am and was with what I can be and will be. It’s definitely a healthy approach. Great to have you along, Nikki. Do you blog?

  8. Hi Eli
    Thanks for visiting my blog.
    Your theme sounds really…therapeutic! 🙂
    An annual spring-cleaning is good for the body, mind and soul.
    See you around on the A to Z circuit.

    Writer In Transit

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Hey Michelle – loved visiting your space. The theme at least will finish what I’ve already started. I could see some therapy value in it, too. Now, to do the same spring clean of my car trunk.

      Look forward to seeing what you post!

  9. Linda Eskin says:

    What a great topic. Perfect for the Challenge, and perfect for Spring. This is my first time doing the A to Z Challenge. Yours is one of the 5 blogs I’ll be following throughout. 🙂 I’m looking forward to being inspired by your writing.

    My blog ( is about my experiences training in the peaceful martial art of Aikido. If you’re inclined, give it a look.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thanks Linda. I have so many post ideas that gather dust, it’s time to revive them and see where I am now, as opposed to when the idea hit me in the first place.

      I’ll be honored to have you here, and I look forward to reading you, too.

  10. mamarabia says:

    I’m contemplating doing this challenge this year. I’ve been off my blogging game for a while and I’d like to get back into the routine. I’m glad you brought this up!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Please do it, Rabia. This is the perfect way to get back on track. Promise me?

      1. mamarabia says:

        I’m in!! Wish me luck!

  11. What a great theme Eli. I’m definitely looking forward to what you have to share about renewal.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thanks Deborah, and it’s great to see you again. I look forward to getting to your page again, too.

  12. Lindsay says:

    I’m looking forward to April, my friend. Cheers! 😉

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      It’s going to be a blast, isn’t it Linds?

  13. Rhonda Albom says:

    It sounds like an interesting challenge topic. I look forward to see what you do with it.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I have so many topics that meant something to me at some point that I didn’t complete. Now’s the time.

      Honored to have you along, Rhonda.

  14. Kisma says:

    I love the new look Eli! I can’t wait for April and agree that change is always a good thing, kinda like spring cleaning.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thanks Tiff! I needed something a little lighter. I change looks more often than Hillary Clinton.

      I spring cleaned the idea list, and the first one is about a time I just needed a T-shirt. It became a problem.

  15. ksbeth says:

    i am a huge proponent of renewal as a way of life.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Without renewal, there is no life.

  16. Anxious Mom says:

    Can’t wait to read your A to Z posts!

  17. Thank you for finding my blog! I’m so happy you did, because I need some renewal, too! I will be following your journey in April.

    And, as an aside, I think I’d faint if I ever was in the same room with Stephen King….carrying his bags would probably do me in! =)

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Glad I did, Julie. I look forward to having you around, and reading your journey, too. Stephen King was so cool – he hung out in the lobby and chatted a while.

      A front-desk clerk told him, “you should write a book about a hotel.” He just looked at me, and said, “ever heard of The Shining?” and to me, “maybe she’s too young!”

      1. Now, you’ve really made me laugh. I may never get over it. You should write a book about a hotel.

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        He had about 10 pens in the front pocket of his jeans … I guess he never knew when the next frightening thing would strike him.

  18. pilch92 says:

    That is a great theme , I look forward to your posts.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thanks Ellen – great to see you again.

  19. Sabina says:

    Love that revamp at the beginning of each month! What a good outlook to have.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      It’s the best way to hold onto the good while also leaving room for something new and good.

  20. Hey, I was gonna ask you if you signed up for A-Z again! I did, too – before I knew I was going to be traveling. Yeah well, I’ll make the topic TRAVEL then, problem solved.

    I like RENEWAL and can’t wait to read what you have to say.

    On a very different note, I am decalcifying my steamer as I type. I needed it to get done before your procrastination post goes live!!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I wouldn’t miss it, Tamara. You can write while you travel, right? Perfect idea. I’m eager to tackle all these ideas I’d had long ago.

      What goes into decalcifying a steamer? Maybe you should do a tutorial. In case I need to someday.

  21. Nilanjana Bose says:

    Hi, Here from the A-Z, like your theme and the theme reveal. Best of luck with the challenge.

    Ninja Minion, A-Z 2016

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Welcome, Ninja Minion. Good luck to you. Look forward to reading your blog!

  22. Rorybore says:

    Really looking forward to seeing what you do with this!
    And have I said I like the new look?

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      already, it’s been interesting to see what i envisioned for the post idea when I made it, to what is becomes now that I’m writing it. We change and evolve so much.

      Glad you like the new look! i needed to switch a little around. It felt right to.

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