Listen Acrostic: More on My 2018 Theme Word

Since a third of the year will soon be gone, I wanted to give more thought to my 2018 theme word listen. For me, the creative exercise of writing acrostics is an excellent way to go deeper in my consideration of certain words. Doing so helps me think of different aspects of the word.

So as I remind myself of and reflect on listen, I pray you are blessed and inspired to listen more carefully as well. And not only that, but if you chose a theme word of your own this year, maybe reading this creative exercise will inspire you to do something similar with your word. Whatever the case, friends, may you be blessed as you read!

Listen 

Lean close and be attentive to every word and to nonverbal cues as well.

Invite others—including God—to speak by asking questions and waiting for their answers. 

Silence distractions by turning off or putting away electronic devices and by setting aside time for communication.

Think about what I’ve heard, processing it and letting it sink in instead of quickly forgetting it.

Empathize with concerns shared with me and also grant understanding to my own thoughts and feelings.

Note action I need to take in response to what I’ve heard.

I pray that I—and you as well—will have hearts to become better listeners and that God will help us grow our listening skills. Now what was that you were saying?

“‘Give ear and come to me; listen, that you may live.’” Isaiah 55:3 NIV 

*Which aspect of listening is the most challenging for you?

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out next week. One lucky subscriber will receive a $15 gift card to Barnes & Noble 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.)

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

*Flickr photo by sea turtle, Creative Commons License

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

Remembering Trust

27897262735_2ce18b0bd6_z

We are now over two months into 2017 so I decided this would be a good time to remember and reinforce my theme word for the year. That word is trust.

In order to spend some time reflecting on and further cementing trust in my heart and life, I thought I’d write an acrostic for it. And if you chose a word for the year, why not write an acrostic of your own? Who knows what God might show us through this exercise? Here’s what I came up with. Hope it blesses you today!

Remember to Trust

Timing is God’s specialty so exercise faith and let him do his thing.

Rest in the knowledge that God knows the future and will bring about what is best.

Urge one another not to worry but to keep your eyes on the Lord.

Sing songs of praise and worship daily, expressing your faith out loud.

Take God at his word and believe in his promises.

If you didn’t choose a theme word for the year, I’d be happy to have you join me in focusing on trust. God may use it to comfort us or challenge us or more likely do both. And we can rest assured it will all be for our good.

“Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you.” Psalm 9:10

*Besides writing an acrostic, what are some other ways we can reinforce our theme words?

*Flickr photo by Kansas Poetry (Patrick), 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

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