The Riddle

What is black and red and green

with seven significant flames?


The Answer

The candles of Kwanzaa, an observance designed to review the old year and establish goals for the new.



The word Kwanzaa is a Swahili word and means “first fruits.”

Kwanzaa (/ˈkwɑːn.zə/) is a week-long annual celebration held in the United States and other nations of the African diaspora in the Americas to honor African heritage in African-American culture. It is observed from December 26 to January 1, culminating in gift giving and a feast.


Women interviewed on First Coast Living/Jacksonville, December 2019


The colors of Kwanzaa are black, red and green; black for the people, red for their struggle, and green for the future and hope that comes from their struggle. Therefore, there is one black candle, three red and three green candles. These are the mishumaa saba (the seven candles) and they represent the seven principles, which include unity, cooperation, creativity, purpose, and faith.


 My Take

In years past, I have included Kwanzaa (along with Hanukkah), in my greetings at Christmas, so I wouldn’t leave anyone out. I must admit, my inclusion of Kwanzaa was perfunctory at best. I didn’t know much about it. However, when I saw a TV interview on First Coast News/Jacksonville, I realized the celebration was not a particularly religious tradition, but a nondenominational observance. Though I celebrate Christmas, not Kwanza, I can respect its principles, translatable in my own life and practice.


Love of Color

The colors of Kwanzaa are the colors of Christmas + the color black. I LOVE color and said so in three previous blog posts,

Do you Like Color?

What Color Makes You Sing?

Purple Passages in Rainbow Colors


MY WORD for 2020



In the past three years, my guide words have included





Last year, 2019, brought PUBLISH to life.

For this year, I considered words like brave, listen, and potential. These are great words, but none of the three captured my imagination.

Then, Eureka! Writer Wendy MacDonald’s choice of “beauty” in November resonated with me entirely. Why? I can observe beauty as I continue my writing goals.

The blurb on my Instagram profile written several years ago solidified my choice:


So, my word, it’s 2020, a new decade dedicated to beauty in all its forms


The color of flowers


Sunset hues


The Color of Love



The monochrome of human hands . . .


Innocent hands


Ecclesiastes 3:11 

“He hath made every thing beautiful in his time. . . .”


How do you define beauty?

How has beauty shown up in your own life?



News flash: Linda Joy Myers of the National Association of Memoir Writers, is featuring my book, Mennonite Daughter: The Story of a Plain Girl, on the January Virtual Book Club. Click here for more details.

Linda Joy Myers, founder and president of National Association of Memoir Writers