Theme Word 2021: Serve

Yes, Virginia, I still select an annual theme word. I know I’m a little late posting it this year, but instead of kicking off the year earlier in January with my theme word post, I decided to share a blessing post. I thought that was more appropriate given the fact we as a nation—and a world—have never been so glad to see a new year arrive. If you haven’t read it yet, I hope you’ll take a minute to give it a quick read. I think it will indeed bless you!

But yes, for me, starting a new year means it’s time to focus on a new theme word. This is the 10th year I’ve chosen a special word for the year. I’ve never been big into New Year’s resolutions but instead I decide on a theme word to help guide me through the year. It’s a practice I highly recommend. I can honestly say it has benefited me time and again.

Serve was the word the Lord kept bringing to my attention near the end of last year so serve it is for 2021. I never know what all the Lord has in mind when guiding me to a new word, but I do think he wants me to continue to serve and bless others through the written word. Also I’m filling a new role this year as I serve as the chaplain for my writers group. I wonder what else God has in store? I guess I’ll find out as the year unfolds!

If you haven’t done so yet, why not choose a theme word for 2021? I can guarantee that having an over-arching word—a quality, an attitude, or an action—to focus on will help give you direction and help you grow throughout the year. And that is always a good thing, isn’t it?

But be sure to fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart; consider what great things he has done for you.” 1 Samuel 12:24 NIV

*Do you have a theme word or anchor verse for 2021? Please share!

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out in early February. One lucky subscriber (new or current) will receive a $15 gift card to Starbucks and a signed copy of my book to use personally, give as a gift, or donate to a library. Sign-up is free and to the right! (If you’re on a mobile device, scroll to the bottom of the screen and click View Full Site to find it.) p.s. If you sign up after Jan. 29th, you will be included in all future Life Notes giveaways but not in this current giveaway.

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride and also my Wedding Inspiration cards, check out my Books/My Work page.

*Photo by Austin Kehmeier on Unsplash

Climbing Towards a Goal

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“With your help I can advance against a troop; with my God I can scale a wall.” Psalm 18:29

I’ve been on the climb the past few years—scaling the wall toward traditional book publication. I’m not there yet, but I’m closer to having a shot than when I first started working towards my goal.

Thank goodness, I’m not making the climb on my own. God is scaling the wall with me. He’s providing guidance, the ideas and skill I need, and the strength to persevere as well as helping me connect with others in the writing world. He’s also blessed me with the support of family and friends.

I’ve had to put in the work, though. I’ve spent untold hours working to become a better writer. I’ve invested money in going to writers conferences where I can continue to learn and network. I’ve plunged into unfamiliar waters, taking steps to build my platform to reach readers. Yep, I’ve had to do the work.

Each step I’ve taken has been a step up the wall. I started my blog several years ago. Step. Joined the FCW writers group. Step. Attended my first writers conference. Step. Started publishing Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter. Step. Joined Facebook a few years ago and then just recently started my Cheryl Barker, Writer page there, too . Step, step. Became part of the FCW online critique group. Step. Launched my new website, started the Mother of the Bride Blog, and joined Pinterest all in one fell swoop. Step, step, step.

Believe it or not, these are just a few of the steps I’ve taken. And, of course, during it all, I’ve been writing. I’ve been submitting pieces for publication. And I won’t lie—it takes a lot of perseverance. I’ve experienced a lot of rejection. But the Lord has also rewarded my efforts with publication at times.

I’ve relied on God’s help and direction each step of the way. He has graciously provided technical help, instruction, and encouragement through other people just when I needed it. No doubt about it, book publication is definitely a wall I could not scale on my own.

Are you scaling a wall right now? Or does a wall loom in front of you that needs to be scaled? I hope you can learn from my climb. Put in the work, but don’t try to do it on your own. Take it a step at a time. Be patient and persistent. And most of all, rely on God. He will provide all you need.

“I lift up my eyes to the hills—where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.” Psalm 121:1-2

*What wall has God helped you scale? 

*Flickr photo by why 137 (slow!)