Theme Word 2018: Listen

Any other theme word junkies like me out there? Yes, I am indeed hooked on the practice of choosing a theme word for each new year. For a goal-oriented gal like me it seems only natural to have an over-arching word—a quality, an attitude, or an action—that I can focus on and that can give me direction throughout the year. 

In November and/or December I start thinking and praying about what my word for the upcoming year should be. Some years I think I know what it will be and then the Lord brings another word to mind or to my attention through multiple avenues. When that happens I know God is at work directing me to the word he has for me in the upcoming year. I so appreciate his guidance. After all, he knows the future and he knows what I need to help guide me through it.

This year the Lord has directed me to the word listen. As usual at this early stage, I don’t know all the ways God will use this particular theme word in my life over the next twelve months. I just know it’s a word I’ve been noticing and that has been resonating in my spirit. And so, I want to listen to those inner nudges and begin to focus more on listening this year.

So here’s hoping by the end of 2018 I will have grown in my listening skills. Listening more often and more attentively to God, to my loved ones, to others, to the natural world, and even to myself—to what my body or spirit may be trying to tell me.

And as ever, it will interesting to see what God has in store this year and how he will use listen in my life. He has a way of surprising us, doesn’t he? So I say, “Lord, help me keep my ears and my spirit wide open so I don’t miss a thing!” 

“. . . Everyone should be quick to listen . . . ” James 1:19

*Have you chosen a theme word or anchor verse for 2018? If not, feel free to adopt mine!

The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out in early February. One lucky subscriber (new or current) will receive $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.)

*Flickr photo by mpeterke, Creative Commons License

2017 Theme Word: Trust

15004178998_fdf4bb1e5c_zThe launch of a new year means different things to different people, but for me it means it’s time to focus on a new theme word for the year. I’ve never been big into New Year’s resolutions, but the past several years, I’ve chosen 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.

This year the word the Lord kept bringing to my attention in the waning weeks of 2016 was trust. It wasn’t a word that was on my theme-word radar so to speak. Initially the words balance and simplify came to mind, but as I asked God to guide my choice, the word trust kept popping up, first in one place and then another. Isn’t it great how God gives us direction as we seek his guidance?

I’ve got to admit when I sensed God directing me to the word trust, fear tried to sneak in. Why was God leading me to the word trust? Is something bad going to happen? Is God trying to prepare me to trust in him? Of course, I immediately realized I would have to trust him even with this. I shouldn’t run from the word trust. I needed to follow his lead and yes, trust him come what may.

So, I don’t know how the word trust will play out in my life this year, but it will be interesting to see how it offers me direction, comfort, peace, and yes, perhaps even challenge as the year goes on.

Right now when I think of trust, I think of believing, resting, or staying faithful, and I know it will be good to grow in all of these areas. But who knows, God may have something in mind that hasn’t even occurred to me. After all, he works like that quite often, doesn’t he?

One thing is certain, though—God is trustworthy. So with trust as my word for the year, I’ll go forward fully trusting in him and the good work he will do in my life. Join me?

“LORD Almighty, blessed is the one who trusts in you.” Psalm 84:12 NIV

*Have you chosen a theme word or an anchor verse for 2017?

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out in early February. One lucky subscriber (new or current) will receive a Starbucks gift card and a signed copy of my book to use personally, to give as a gift, or donate to a library. Sign-up is free and to the right!

*Flickr photo by SFB579 Namaste, Creative Commons License

Midweek Morsel: A Prayer for Our New Year

8611976301_ee8de83e72_zHere is the prayer of my heart for each of us in this New Year. Won’t you join me in lifting these requests to the Father?

Lord, with each unfolding day of this glorious new year you’re allowing us to live, may we stay ever close to you. May we start each day with words of worship on our lips and end each day with thanks in our hearts.

Help us remember that you long to be our companion and friend for each step of our daily journeys. May we look to you for all that we need, whether protection and provision, forgiveness and love, wisdom and guidance, courage and strength, or inspiration and encouragement. May we always remember that you are the source of all things good.

Father, whatever this year may bring, whether good times or bad, may we trust you completely and conduct ourselves in a manner worthy of you. May you shine through us in such a way that we provide a winsome witness to those who don’t know you and a source of encouragement to those who do.

Father, we humbly ask for your blessings this year. Please show us your love in amazing ways, especially when we’re hurting, and be our strong support and supply for each task you have for us to do.

Help us, O Lord, to seek you and follow you and always give you the glory for any accomplishment or good thing that comes our way. May our lives ever glorify you!

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” James 1:17

*Do you have a specific prayer request for this year? I’d love to join you in prayer!

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out in early February. Sign-up is free and to the right!

*Flickr photo by evanforester, Creative Commons License

Theme Word for 2016: Adventure!

DSC05436Do you mark the beginning of a new year by selecting a theme word for the year? Some people refer to it as an anchor word and others even choose an anchor verse from the Bible. I jumped on the theme word bandwagon back in 2012, and I’m so glad I did.

I love how a theme word keeps me focused on a particular quality or action throughout the year. I don’t think of my chosen theme word every day, but I do think of it periodically. It helps keep me on track or gives me guidance. It does indeed feel like an anchor, especially during times of decision both large and small.

The word I’ve chosen for 2016 is adventure. Exciting, right? Yes, but in my mind, also a little scary. What will the year hold? Will I embrace the adventures about to unfold? Will I be up for the challenges?

One reason I chose adventure as my theme word is because of the huge adventure that awaits me with the publication of my mother of the bride book. As you may know, this is my first time around the book publishing block so it will all be one huge adventure for me—not only working with the BroadStreet Publishing team to get the book ready, but also marketing the book once it’s released. And since I will do some traveling in order to market this niche book to mothers of the bride, I anticipate plenty of new things and adventure along the way.

Another adventure that will keep me plenty busy—and traveling as well—will be my ongoing adventure of grandparenting twin baby boys. Isaiah and James turned one year old yesterday, and they are on the move. Their mama and daddy can benefit from an extra pair of hands and a little relief from time to time, and I am more than happy to provide that when I can. They live nearly six hours away so I’m not able to help as often as I’d like, but I do my best to make the trek every month or two.

I’m not sure of all the other adventures (which many times present themselves as challenges!) that the Lord has in store for me this year, but one thing I’m sure of—he will be with me every step of the way and carry me if need be. And even though nerves may try to get the best of me at times, I really have no reason to fear. I am not alone on this adventure we call life. The Lord will be my strong support and guide. And he is always up for a challenge!

“‘See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?’” Isaiah 43:19a

*What adventures await you this year? Any you would like to initiate yourself?

*My photo

Focus: Theme Word for 2012

For the past two or three weeks I’ve been hearing talk in various places about choosing a word for the new year—a theme word that sums up a quality, an attitude, or action we feel led to concentrate on in 2012. I may be a week late joining the conversation, but it’s never too late to share a good idea, right?

The word that popped into my mind when I first heard mention of selecting a word for 2012 was focus. As a writer, I need focus in order to complete projects and also to grow and move forward. I need focus to use my time wisely, in the way the Lord is leading.

Focus has been on my mind for awhile. In fact, early last fall I memorized 2 Timothy 1:14 with this very thing in mind. It says, “Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you—guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.”

The NIV text note says the good deposit Paul is referencing to Timothy is the gospel, but there are other good deposits we can apply to this verse as well. Personally, I’m thinking of the writing gift God has given me and how I need to guard it by not going in so many directions that I don’t devote enough time to it. In addition to that, I’m sure the need for focus will pop up in other areas as well.

How about you? Has the Lord given you a word to focus (yes, focus!) on this year? If not, ask Him to show you if there is a quality, an attitude, or action that can help guide you through the coming year—and then tell us about it. I love how sharing thoughts and ideas can spur us on to action and change in our lives. Remember, it’s never too late to share a good idea!

“Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly . . .” 1 Corinthians 9:24a

*Flickr photo by recursion_see_recursion, Creative Commons License