Here’s to May

Monday, May 3rd, 2021

So here’s to May! And a brighter, sunnier one than a year ago. Word/Smith for May is all about’ Practic’: the kinds we do on the field, in professions, and in our minds. We hope you join us.

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March at Word/Smith is all about ‘Getting Stronger in Failure.”

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2021

Getting up after we crash and burn.
It’s going to be full of great examples of the famous and not so famous doing exactly that when they’ve tried something and gotten the stuffing knocked out.
I’m looking forward to seeing you there! If you haven’t signed up yet, and would like to, click here.
I leave you with this from Dale Carnegie:
“Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.”

It’s Spring, everybody! We’re going to have fun! Please join us. We love your company!

The Word/Smith gang

Dear Readers:

Monday, January 11th, 2021

Dear Readers:

In light of what we all witnessed January 6th, we at WordSmith have decided to hold ‘Trees’ until February, and do a complete issue on ‘Who We Really Are.’  We witnessed in outrage and pain who we are on our worst day, so we’re doing a complete issue on Who We Really Are, moments big and very small, and our very best days.  Please join us.  To subscribe, here’s the link.  WordSmith™ by Susan Arnout Smith is free, once a month delivered into your inbox, and your information is never shared or sold.

Welcome to Flight 2021

Tuesday, January 5th, 2021

Hello, welcome to Flight #2021. We are prepared to take off into the New Year. Please make sure your Attitude and Blessings are secured and locked in an upright position. All self-destructive devices should be turned off at this time. All negativity, hurt and discouragement should be put away. Should we lose Altitude under pressure, during the flight, reach up and pull down a Prayer. Prayers will automatically be activated by Faith. Once your Faith is activated you can assist other passengers: There will be NO BAGGAGE allowed on this flight. The Captain (GOD) has cleared us for takeoff. Destination GREATNESS. Happy New Year LOVE , to you!

“We’re working on tracking down the writer behind this. If anyone can help us solve this mystery, please contact us. Until then…Written by Anonymous

January’s 2021 Word/Smith is all about Trees.  Please join us in exploring this rich topic.

November’s Word/Smith is a blessing

Wednesday, November 18th, 2020

November’s Word/Smith is a blessing…literally. If you haven’t subscribed, press the link here. It’s free, once a month, and your information is never shared.


Wednesday, October 14th, 2020

October is our month at Word/Smith for Magic. The bubbly, effervescent, ‘something amazing is about to happen’ kind. I figure the world has seen enough of the hating and fearing each other and spit-spot vanquishing kind of magic that creates dimness and despair.

So here’s to an issue of joyful surprises.

I’ll start us off with an outfit I wore this time of year at a dinner party at our friends the Cobbs house…in the far away and long-ago before face masks.

I believe, based on the wine glass I edited out of the shot, I was masquerading as a very happy angel.

I still am.


Thursday, September 3rd, 2020

September’s theme for Word/Smith is ‘Bravery’, which comes in a dazzling array of sizes. A friend sent me a photo this week I haven’t seen in about forty years. While an Alaska native, I’d grown up Outside and one day decided to move to Fairbanks. I had no money, no job, no place to live, and only borrowed transportation to get there. And…it was late August, early September; the sun ominously was sinking lower and staying gone longer, and a cold wind curled through the world.

I stare now at this sunny-faced young woman, so sure of herself, and I see staring back at me one definition of Bravery: confidence that everything will work out just fine, that chances are there to be taken, that the world is here to be explored, delighted in and cherished.

This month’s issue has many stories of people bravely trying new things that scare them, and describing how those actions changed their lives.

If you’re a Word/Smith subscriber, thank you! And if you’d like to subscribe, it’s free, in your inbox once a month and your information is never shared. You can subscribe here.

By the way: I found friendship, a job, a place to live, and a life waiting to make my own. I wish the same for you, that your bravery propels you into an astounding new country filled with abundance, adventure and joy.


Play! August W/W

Wednesday, August 19th, 2020

Isn’t it about time? Are you ready yet?  Buckle up, this issue of Word/Smith  is all about PLAY: the science., mechanics and sheer fun of it. If you haven’t subscribed yet to Word/Smith, you can press the link here. It’s free, delivered into your box once a month, and your information is never shared.


Wednesday, July 8th, 2020

A few words this July about Freedom, our theme for Word/Smith this month.


Eugene and Marie Weschenfelder, their dog, Fritzi, and their homesteaded land, Spuhn Island

This one’s a shout-out, a lovenote, to my immigrant grandfather, long gone. He left Hamburg, Germany on March 17, 1907, with a small trunk of clothes, probably lying about how much money he had in his pocket and most assuredly knowing no English.


I like to believe he carried the idea of freedom in his heart, and that it fueled his bravery in leaving behind his known world and traveling by steerage, packed into the bottom of the ship the SS Graf Waldersee.


He arrived at Ellis Island in early April, 1907, 27 years old and completely alone.


It’s easy to make up stories when I know so little about his early life in Coburg.  He was a Lutheran. Which makes sense as Martin Luther hung out there translating the Bible into German in one of Germany’s grandest castles, Veste Coburg, 350 years before Grandpa was born.  He came from a line of sausage makers, and put on his Ellis Island form that he intended to practice his trade in his new land.


My father, Ernst

He lived a daring and magnificent life, marrying, having a son, becoming a naturalized citizen, homesteading an island in Alaska, living long enough to see his son marry and have children of his own.


He was proud to be an Alaskan, and almost inarticulately proud of being an American.  The first 4th of July in his new country, he purchased an American flag with 46 stars.


When he and my grandmother, Marie, and my dad, hacked out of the howling wilderness a log home in Southeast Alaska, Grandpa kept the flag folded in a small tin box.  The winds and rain and snow were so ferocious and the flag so precious that he only took it out and flew it over the cabin twice a year: on the 4th of July, and on the anniversary of the day he became an American, the day he first belonged.


I know this because my father inherited the box and the flag, and told me the story, and every so often, reverently and with great care, unfolded the flag from the box and showed it to an awestruck little girl.


The flag is mine, now. It hangs framed on a wall in our home.


The flag, and our dreams of this land, are all of us, and in us all.  We each, as Americans, have the right and gift to reimagine our own ‘best America’.  And then do the hard work of creating it.


In this time of explosive transition, let us not forget to remember where we came from, and at what cost, and that we are all—however we got here—part of a grand and beautiful experiment called America.

The Big Take-Away

Monday, May 4th, 2020

First, I need to say, I send compassion to those out of work, in pain or hungry, the ones afraid they could lose their homes, or even worse, a loved one, to this terrible and awful thing.  Or already have.

Those critical mass emergencies require swift action and total focus, and I understand if you need to stop reading right now and get back to work.

But even without critical loss, there have been critical changes for us all.

So how are you doing?  How are you holding up?  If your family and life are anything like mine, there have been…gaps.  Days where I simply slowed down the pace, took a breath.

And in those long, restorative silences, a funny thing happened. I began to ask myself what I was willing to give up.

It’s interesting, in a pandemic there’s a lot we feel forced to give up.

I marvel at how huge and important the sense of touch is, now that I can’t.

And I feel grateful and blessed that I don’t live alone, that I have a tender-hearted life partner to share this with.  A lot of people don’t, and I honestly can’t imagine how hard it is, surviving a time when we’re told that we’re not allowed the simple comfort of another human’s touch.

That’s a big one.

But here’s another, and this one’s in the opportunity department.  This terrible time—away—gives us all a chance to rethink how we want things to go when we finally are back.

Is there something deeper our soul is calling us to do?  Have we crammed our day so utterly, there’s no time left to dream?  What would happen if we just did?

My adult kiddos—(and I include my son-in-law here), gave me perfect complimentary gifts independent of each other.  My son gave me a five-year diary.  I love that it’s got only five lines. It comforted me in the beginning that it wasn’t so big I couldn’t do it. Now I find that I cram the lines and sometimes steal from other years—my days are so rich. My daughter and son-in-law gave me a planner, extravagant in its encouragement to explore passion and dreams.  I color-coded it and casually one day opened a random page, showing off to a friend who is also a life coach.  “Wow,” Suzanne said, as I snapped it closed, “there’s not one space that’s not colored in.”

It gave me pause.  I, who come from a genetically long line of Type A doers.

She was right.

So I added a color solely for vegging out, appropriately green.

Problem solved.

Except it wasn’t.

During this experiment, this ‘life-away’ piece, I’ve played with switching things up.

Some calendar days have no colors in them. At all.  And when I think back to what I did that day, it’s hard to reconstruct.

But maybe that’s the point. Maybe this deep Time Out nature has sent our way, is giving us all the chance—if not a gap year like kids delaying college—at least a gap season.

So that’s what this one’s about.  May’s Word/Smith is the Big Takeaway.

How we’re navigating these changes.  And how we’re changing our navigation…and by doing so, in curious and dazzling ways, changing our world.