2022 Theme Words: Guard and Gift

Yes, you read that title right—I’ve selected two theme words for 2022! Two theme words is a first for me. It’s always good to branch out and try new things so I guess I’m starting the year off right, huh?

Do you start the 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 (over ten years ago now!), 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 won’t think of my chosen theme word every day, but I will think of it periodically. It will help keep me on track or give me guidance.

The words I’ve chosen for 2022 are guard and gift. I usually start thinking and praying about what my word for the upcoming year should be sometime in November or December.

This year, before even praying about it, I immediately thought of the word gift because I’d recently read my friend Edie Frink Winters’  book Giftitude. I loved the perspective she shared of seeing problems and challenges large and small as gifts—something we can learn from by asking “Where is the gift in this for me?” I knew I wanted to start applying this to my life, and selecting gift as my new theme word for the year seemed like the perfect way to do that.

When I began to pray and seek God’s guidance about my theme word, though, right away he pointed me to the word guard several times. I didn’t really want to settle on that because I’d already used it as my theme word several years ago, but when God kept bringing it to my attention, I knew I needed to listen and obey. After all, I’d been thinking about how I need to guard my tongue right now because of a personal ongoing situation that can cause a lot of frustration and upset feelings. It’s all too easy to say the wrong thing. So once again, guard will indeed be my theme word for the year.

I still had the strong desire to focus on gift though too, and as I prayed about it, God was so good to confirm to me that it is indeed okay to have two theme words with gift being one of them as well. So here I am with two theme words this year! Hopefully, I will see growth in both areas, and I probably won’t know the full impact of these particular theme words until the year is out. The Lord knows about it all right now, though, and I’m thankful he’s preparing me for whatever may come as the year unfolds.

If you haven’t done so yet, why not choose a theme word for 2022? I can guarantee it will help give you direction and help you grow throughout the year. Who would want to miss out on a deal like that? May God guide you and bless you in your choice!

“Set a guard over my mouth, LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips.” Psalm 141:3 NIV

“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 NIV

*Do you have a theme word or anchor verse for 2022? I’d love to hear about it!

*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.) Temporary problem with Life Notes sign-up. To sign up, just contact me.

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

*Photo by Isabela Kronemberger on Unsplash

Renewed Treasure in the Word of God

One Christmas several years ago, I made shopping easy for my husband. My Bible at that time was fifteen years old and sporting loose pages in the front and back. It was time to part with it and break in a new one before I started leaving the Word of God trailing behind me—though that’s not such a bad idea, is it?

I searched the internet, found the Bible I wanted, ordered it, and then informed Don that it would be his Christmas gift to me. We both won, right? In reality, though, I was the bigger winner. His satisfaction in getting out of Christmas shopping lasted only a short time. The satisfaction I found in the gift—the Word of God—bloomed each day.

Since I’m an underliner, you can imagine what my old Bible looked like after fifteen years. Getting a new one with no markings felt a little scary. I thought I would miss my notes and underlines and feel rather lost without them. On the contrary, something entirely different happened.

I discovered that each passage seemed fresh, almost new. I felt excited as I read. Verses well-known to me and loved dearly took on an aura of renewed treasure, as if I were reading them for the first time. These words, untouched by my handy pen, became words I considered once more as I underlined yet again.

I pray I will always continue to look at the Word of God with fresh eyes. I pray I will come to it excited about what I may discover, expectant over what the Lord might reveal to me. I pray that the satisfaction I find in the Word of God will continue to bloom within me each day.

Is it time for you to take a fresh look at some familiar passages? I guarantee you will find renewed treasure. And with it will come great satisfaction.

“When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart’s delight, for I bear your name, LORD God Almighty.” Jeremiah 15:16 NIV

*Have you discovered anything new in a familiar passage of scripture recently? I’d love to hear about it!

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, will come out in early August. 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.) *Temporary problem with Life Notes sign-up. To sign up, just contact me.

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride check out my Books/My Work page.

*Flickr photo by Savio SebastianCreative Commons License

God Living in Us Makes Us Lovely

“How lovely is your dwelling place, LORD Almighty!” Psalm 84:1 NIV

One morning when a full, out-of-town day stretched before me, I wanted a taste of God’s Word to begin my day. I decided to open my Bible to a random Psalm and read wherever my eyes landed. And I am so glad I did.

I opened to Psalm 84 and as I read the first verse, the taste I desired exploded into a feast. They were familiar words, but in that instant, I saw them in a new light, with a deeper understanding. My drive-through, random reading suddenly felt like a full course meal.

This psalm, this verse, was written in Old Testament times, of course, and the words “dwelling place” referred to the temple of God. But in the New Testament, where does Paul tell us God’s dwelling place—his temple—is now? In us! In the hearts of believers. “Don’t you know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you?” (1 Corinthians 3:16 NCV)

So if you’re a believer like me, what does this truth mean for us in the context of the above Psalm 84:1 verse? Because God’s Spirit lives in us, friends, we are lovely. And not just an off-hand use of the word lovely, but lovely emphasized—how lovely. In other words, you and I are very lovely. Extremely lovely. Amazing, huh?!

I’ve got to be honest. I don’t usually think of myself as lovely—in the physical or the spiritual sense. Too often I concentrate on the imperfections in both realms. I dwell on the warts of my shortcomings.

But I need to see myself as God sees me. Redeemed and dearly loved as one of his children. As very lovely because he lives in me. Anyone else need that reminder today?

“And we all, with unveiled faces reflecting the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another, which is from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” 2 Corinthians 3:18 NET

*How has God’s loveliness been shining through you lately?

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out in early May. One lucky subscriber (new or current) will receive a $15 gift card to Amazon 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.) *Temporary problem with Life Notes sign-up. To sign up, just contact me.

*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 Shandi-leeCreative Commons License

Choosing to Still Be a Student

After sixty-plus years of speaking the English language (I’ll leave the plus part to your imagination), I’m still looking up words in the dictionary. As a writer, I need to be a reader also so I run across new-to-me words on a fairly regular basis. It’s not that I have a poor vocabulary, there are just a lot of unfamiliar words out there, especially when I get into areas outside my realm of experience.

One time I read a novel that featured a main character with a form of autism. Since I don’t have close personal experience with autism, I had to hit the dictionary a couple of times over terminology I’d heard before but didn’t really understand. Not long ago, I read some historical fiction that put me in a time and place that also stretched the limits of my vocabulary.

Of course, other times I’m foggy on meanings of words that I’ve seen before and should know. Maybe my brain has only so much room and has started deleting past info to make room for new? Say it ain’t so!

Whether encountering brand new words or words I simply need to review, I have a choice to make. I can skip over them completely, try to guess their meaning from the context, or take time to look them up. I can choose to still be a student or just coast through and miss the full message intended.

Many times I choose to coast, allowing time factors or lack of convenience to dictate my decision, but other times I choose to investigate. I choose to learn, to still be a student. I may not remember the new word a day later, but the process still helped me grasp that particular passage more fully.

What about when I—or you—read the Word of God? We may be familiar with much of the language, but what do we do when we run across words and phrases or names and places that are unfamiliar to us? What about when we know the actual meaning of certain words, but we’re puzzled by the deeper meaning of the passage? Do we take time to read the footnotes or look up words in our concordance or do some cross-referencing? Do we dig deep to discover what words meant in the original Greek or Hebrew language?

Are we still students of the Word of God or do we just coast through in our reading? Do we sometimes miss the full message intended? I don’t know about you, but I don’t dig deep often enough.

The Word of God is too important to miss, isn’t it? Let’s choose to learn. Let’s choose to investigate. Let’s still be students.

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15 KJV

*What do you do to dig deeper into the Word of God?

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, will come out in early May. 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 crdotxCreative Commons License

Hairstyles For the Mother of the Bride or Groom

Mother of the Bride (or Mother of the Groom,) is it time to start thinking about your hair for the big day? I know you’ve got tons of other things to do too, but take a few minutes soon and consider how you might like your hair styled. You’ll be glad to check that off your list as well!

Let me direct you today to some sure-to-please hairstyles for the MOB (or MOG) featured on Martha Stewart’s website. It has an area devoted to all things wedding so you might want to check it out for other topics you’re interested in too, but for today, why not head over and take a look at 26 examples of hairstyles for mothers of the bride.

Enjoy browsing these beautiful mother-of-the-bride hairstyles, MOB! I hope one will work for you!

*You might also like to read Mother of the Bride Face Prep: Face Yoga Exercises, Mother of the Bride: 9 Easy Ways to Pamper Yourself, Most Important Part of the MOB’s Wedding Day Attire, and Mother of the Bride: Spruce Up Your Smile

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

*The new issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, will come out in early May. 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 KissåCreative Commons License