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

Theme Word 2019: Depend

*FYI, I won’t be posting next week but will see you back here on Jan. 22. Blessings to all!

I love the practice of choosing a theme word for each new year. Having an over-arching word—a quality, an attitude, or an action—can give me direction throughout the year and also helps me refocus on the word—this thing God has directed me to do.

I usually start thinking and praying about what my word for the upcoming year should be sometime in November or December. This year three or four words came to mind, but as I prayed and asked God to direct me to his word for me for the upcoming year, one word resonated with me more than the rest.

The word that resonated the most with me for 2019? Depend. That may sound like an odd word to choose, but with the changes, situations, and tasks that 2019 may hold for me (or for my husband and me), I need to depend on God each step of the way. I can easily start to worry if I don’t remember to trust God and rely on him and his guidance and strength for whatever the future may bring. So depend it is.

Of course, as in other years, the word depend may end up with applications I haven’t even thought about yet. We’ll see. However the year plays out, I want to be found depending on my faithful and able God. My loving heavenly Father. My strength.

“You are my strength, I sing praise to you; you, God, are my fortress, my God on whom I can rely.” Psalm 59:17 NIV

*Have you chosen a theme word or an anchor verse for 2019?

*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.)

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

*Flickr photo by  Khánh Hmoong, 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

Rest: Theme Word for 2015

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Has the new year found you deciding on a theme word or anchor verse for 2015? I’m a theme word kind of girl. I love how adopting a theme word for the year can help guide me throughout the year as situations arise or decisions large or small need to be made. The words I’ve focused on thus far have been focus, finish, and guard. Each one has proven to be helpful either personally, professionally, or both.

This year I’ve decided on rest as my theme word. Last month as I prayed about and considered what my word for this year should be, the word rest kept popping up—in my mind and in things I’d read, etc. I definitely felt God’s guidance towards this particular theme word. Maybe he knew I’d really need rest this year since I closed out 2014 and started 2015 in a period of increased demand after my husband’s accident.

Don’t worry, I’m not planning on giving up writing or quitting all of my other activities to rest for the entire year (though at times that sounds appealing, huh?!), but I am going to be alert to ways that I can allow myself moments or periods of rest more often. Those who know me well know that I can be quite goal and task oriented—so rest can get the short end of my stick more times than not.

It will be interesting to see how God uses the word rest in my life this year. I anticipate not only physical and work-related applications of rest to come into play but also spiritual and emotional ones as well. For example, the Lord may lead me to say no to certain things, but he also may teach me more about resting in his grace and love. Who knows what he’s got up his divine sleeve this year, right?! :)

I’m thankful to have a heavenly Father who knows what I need and guides me to it. He truly is our Shepherd, isn’t he?

“The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul.” Psalm 23:1-3a

*What would be a good theme word or anchor verse for you this year?

*Flickr photo by bjimmy934, Creative Commons License

Guard: Theme Word for 2014

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Like many of you, I’ve chosen theme words for the past couple of years to help guide me through the year. In 2012, my word was focus, and last year I chose finish. Keeping those words in mind helped me immensely, especially in my writing life.

My word this year is guard. When I began considering and praying about what word should be my guide-word this year, the word guard came to my attention time and again. Others did as well, but guard has resonated with me the most. Don’t you love how God guides us as we seek his wisdom?

I don’t know all the reasons I need to focus on guard this year, but I do know as my writing life moves forward, I need to guard my time and my heart carefully. I need to be on guard in making wise decisions and guard against feeling pressured into making decisions I’m not comfortable with.

Guard will be a good guide word in my personal and spiritual life as well. Among other things, I need to guard my health. I’ve learned from experience that when I push too hard and get too busy and stressed, my body lets me know it. Spiritually, I need to guard against Satan and the traps he tries to ensnare me in most often. I need to be alert to new ones, too. Our adversary will do anything he can to make us stumble and fall or strip us of our joy in the Lord. And of course, I always need to guard my tongue. I have a feeling that’s an area where I’m not alone.

As the year goes on, I’m sure I’ll see other areas where being on guard is needed. In fact, I probably won’t know the full impact of this particular theme word 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 this year by guiding me to the word guard for 2014. I’m thankful to have a God who not only watches over me but equips me as well.

“. . . guard what has been entrusted to your care.” 1 Timothy 6:20

*What would be a good theme word for you this year?

*Flickr photo by Keoni Cabral