Word of the Year — 2022 Nourish

For many years, I have chosen a word to be a reminder or a recurring theme for the coming year. A word that I would keep at the front of my thoughts and make part of my mission. In recent years, I prefer verbs as action statements that inspire and prompt me in some way. In past years, I set this word of the year by New Year’s Day. However, this year it just didn’t happen.

The year was difficult for us, as it was for so many others. As we entered 2022, we had a family member that was very old and in the last days of his well-lived life. We also had another family member in the throes of chemotherapy and cancer treatments. Simply put, I wasn’t ready to spend much time in reflection looking back to see how my watchword had shaped the year. So, here it is already April 1, and I think it is time to share my word of the year. So far, it has been a very fitting inspiration for me. More about that in a bit. First, though, a look back at 2021. It was the second year of a full-fledged pandemic that took away so much of everything we held dear. Families weren’t able to be together, older people were unable to see loved ones, travel plans were sabotaged, and this was the year that some people that I knew lost loved ones to the dreaded, insidious virus. Everyone knew someone who died due to Covid. Everyone, in one way or another, felt it and grew very weary. Our lives were held captive to masks and hand sanitizer, wondering if a touch or hug was okay or if we should step back one step farther. Children learned to respond to half faces with only eyes to read and no mouth, with no way to gauge a satisfied smile or unhappy tightening of the corner of a mouth. Many of us wondered what long-term social impact the social mores of pandemic protocol would have on people. Though that is yet to be determined, it is clear that virtually no one came out of this year unscathed.

There were good things as well that defined our 2021. One of the most life-changing ones was selling our event venue and deciding to enjoy a simpler life again. We found renewal in finding a smaller home in a subdivision again. Though we will still be able to renew our hearts at the ranch when we like, it will be in a much needed, scaled-down version.

My word for the 2021 year renew held more meaning and life course for me than I ever could have imagined. From simply using it to refresh my thought process in a world of having absolutely nothing normal to a desperate, cell revitalizing prayer for my loved one diagnosed with cancer, I prayed my word “Renew, Lord! Please renew!” “Renew” was a spiritual journey and a mission to help others refresh their souls in the long, lonely days of 2021. Renewal was the glorious result of a sweet answer to a long-awaited prayer to simplify our lives. And ultimately, renew was the watchword, as our loved one entered his Heavenly Home, fully restored, fully made a new creation on January 14. Renew was the word for the beginning and the end, bookends to a year we readily said goodbye to. As I write this, we are without masks, without fear, without the confines of pandemic protocol, and we believe with much optimism that we are nearing the end of this strange and most difficult time.

The most amazing thing about picking a word for the year has been the way it really does define that year. Without knowing what the year holds, but with a little prayer and forethought, I settle on a word and more years than not, I find how appropriate and fitting it is. As in previous years, the watchword also became the lifeline to depth-of-soul satisfaction and inner peace. I am thankful that we were able to renew our hearts, and refresh our souls throughout this past year and to experience true renewal in so many beautiful ways.

For 2022, the word is nurture. This year I added a byline “help good grow.” There are so many ways I plan to consciously make this my theme. I hope to nurture relationships that need my touch, to nurture my own soul with Bible reading and care, to nurture habits for good health, and to nurture and encourage my family, especially my grandchildren with stories and love and every blessing I can offer. May I pour out myself and fill others, nurturing their souls. I have lived long enough to know that we are blessed to be blessings to others, or as a friend used to put it: when your life gets an upgrade, you better be sure that someone else’s does also! I look forward to seeing all the ways that God shows up this year, and in particular how He nurtures in and through me, as I offer up myself in service to Him. Here’s to a year filled with nurturing hope and faith and many others along the way.

thankfully, another year

Like most years, as this year draws to a close, it brings pause for reflection and a little optimism for a new start with another year. Did you ever see the Disney movie, “Pollyanna?”  It is a classic and well worth your time if you haven’t seen it. Pollyanna is an orphan of missionaries who comes to live with her aunt. She shares new perspective for her Aunt Polly and much of the her new town as she plays the Glad Game. The Glad Game involves turning bad things that happen to her and to others into a positive, all based on how they choose to look at it. I believe that game can be played on most of what life hands us. Find the good in everything, even challenges.  In almost any situation, circumstances aside, life can be so sweet and rich and full all by how we perceive it. And that is the trick.

The year ahead will be filled with both wild good and most difficult. As we peek around the corner to take a look at 2019, I see challenges ahead for us, but I know that we will tackle each one with all the grace God gives us as we commit to focus on the sweet moments. Mike’s parents will be joining us here at the ranch and that will be a gift to us to spend time with them and take a more active role in their care.  I want this to be a gift of care and love to them as well, but I also know Mike’s and my patience is not what it should be. So, while we approach this task with trepidation, we recognize what a privilege it is to have them with us as our mentors, our example of what love means, and our sacrifice of joy. It will be a privilege to be part of their lives as they round the next corner of their story.

We also will be sharing in the lives of our seven grandchildren as they show us how to look at life with wonder and enthusiasm and wild imagination. We are very blessed to live near them. It is a rare week when we haven’t seen at least some of them.  We will never take this gift lightly, and will continue to soak up every moment, as time goes so very quickly.

Other things I hope to pursue in 2019 will be to return to photography and learning more about light and developing an eye for the shot, and return to writing more here on the blog, whether it’s about spiritual revelations or spicy recipes. It is my plan to share here more, and it might be a place to come to vent a little, too. I suppose that is yet to be determined. The story continues, and one thing is certain. Whatever will appear, it will be from my heart.

How about your new year? Are you looking forward to your next chapter? I surely hope you are. Wishing you a most blessed 2019! Love and hugs~ annie

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Mike and Annette in Denver. Aug 2018

“only one thing is needed” luke 10:42

Multi-tasking: (Wikipedia) is the performance by an individual of appearing to handle more than one task at the same time. An example of multitasking is listening to a radio interview while typing an email. Some believe that multitasking can result in time wasted due to human context switching and apparently causing more errors due to insufficient attention. Other research illustrates our brains are capable dealing with certain ‘dual multiple tasks’ at the same time.

My personal research indicates that I am not humanly capable of multi-tasking. When the phone rings and I am working at the computer, I find my words jumbling as I talk or I type the words that I am saying. My children like to remind me that I really should stick with doing one task at a time, especially when I am on the phone with them. I tend to agree but the urgent pace of life probably won’t stop me from doing it again.

Especially at this time of year, we find ourselves trying to do a balancing act with our homes, our families, our work, our down time. Even though I have so many things demanding my attention, I need time with Him over the busyness of the day.

As enticing as the many options we have during this season may be, everything that is shiny is not gold. And some are downright golden calves. Now, I’m not advocating skipping a wonderful turkey dinner or time with family, but when we have to choose between something that is good and something better, we want to choose well. God always has the better plan. Anything else falls hopelessly short. It becomes clear why every pursuit except God can be an empty idol, if it takes up space in our souls where God could reside. He is so much better.

Lord, we come to you broken by the rushed pace and demands of our lives. Help us to see clearly Your path and choose wisely. We are so grateful for all the many blessings that You give. May we be still long enough not to miss a single one. In Your glorious Name, Amen.

Happy Thanksgiving to you! And may you know the singleness of joy found solely in Him.

a new song

Bible Promise outdid themselves today (see Revelation 5:6-13.) Usually, it is a short word at the side column, but this one is certainly worthy of the whole right column. The words, “they sang a new song” are the lesson for my heart this day. I adore music, if you haven’t gathered that already, and am convinced it is our main glimpse of heaven here on earth. Oh, there are plenty of other glimpses of His glory, but music is one of the most sustaining and tangible connections, as we worship with the angels (all of the ten thousand times ten thousands of them that encircle the great and mighty Throne.) Today, we sing with the saints on earth, and sometimes if I close my eyes, I am fairly certain that I hear the angels’ harps accompanying us. Worship is powerful and contagious.

For the past three Sundays, I have missed Sunday worship service, and though I have my own time of praise with Him, I feel a void of worshipping with the saints. I mostly miss the music that seems to feed me as much as the food of the Word. I miss the communion of the saints. I miss the joyful noise. I miss the joy of the fellowship.

Psalm 40:1-3 tells us “He put a new song in my heart.” He puts a new song in our hearts the moment we give our lives to Him. Not even a re-mix of an old worn out song, but He gives us a brand new song in our hearts. We are changed forever, and we are compelled to sing about it. I believe that He continuously does this, renewing us daily, born again with new mercies each morning, to be able to forgive, to be forgiven, to wash the slate clean and start fresh—to sing through the day, not of an old worn out pattern of our lives but of a new adventure in Him. Worshipping and singing His praises are what we were created to do. May each of us glorify Him so mightily.

One Day, we will be given the words and heavenly voices (oh, thank you, Lord) to sing the ultimate brand new song, when every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord, when all the angels and archangels and all the accompaniment of heaven sing. “Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, sing…” Got that word picture? Every single thing that has breath praising the One Who is worthy. That new song when all simply must agree that He is Lord, and no other comes close to the Glory He deserves. That new song when all we can do is bow low and shake our heads with such amazement and reverence if we can even move at all in His presence. I can only imagine what a day that will be.

Update: My friend, Jean M., whose grandson is still in Children’s Hospital ICU awaiting his second heart surgery, asked me to convey her most grateful heart to each of you who have been lifting up her family in prayer. See her beautiful thank you comment to you from “Sunday’s Child – Three Months Later. ” Thank you for your prayers and faithfulness. You guys bless me beyond words.