2010 – JOY
2011 – ENLARGE
2012 – BELIEVE
2013 – FLAWED
2014 – PRAY
2015 – GRACE
2016 – REFRAME
2017 – HOPE
2018 – PEACE
2019 – EMBRACE
2020 – SERVE
2021 – RENEW
2022 – NURTURE –help good grow!
For now some ten+ years, I’ve had a word theme that I assign myself for the year. It has served as a reminder to focus and remain faithful to one simple concept and take in all its nuances. One word. But often, it is so much more, fraught with meaning and application, and purpose, and if successful, mastery of a basic tenet of abundant life.
In 2010, it was my Jubilee Year (translation: I turned 50!) so the word was JOY. We celebrated our daughter’s wedding in Costa Rica and had a blessed year of much joy, as we became instant grandparents with an amazing grandson, Liam Christopher!
During 2011, we saw our family expand as our son married. The word also had direct application to my heart and my relationships, so the watchword was ENLARGE.
In 2012, the year included the birth our first granddaughter, Isabella Marie, and had me believing for many promises for a future generation, so the word of the year was BELIEVE.
In 2013, I worked on letting go of perfectionist aggravations and accepting the flaws in myself and others, so the watchword was FLAWED. It was a year to enjoy the messiness of life and brought the wonderful addition of two precious grandchildren, Benjamin Andrew and Riley Grace.
2014 was another year of the Lord’s favor. The goal of this year was to talk with God and listen as God showed me His ways. PRAY was the watchword. And life was the result.
In 2015, my word was GRACE. Not just the one magnificent Grace Gift of God’s Son saving an undeserving soul type, but my goal was to extend grace in everyday applications of unmerited favor to people in my path.It was indeed a year filled with Grace and joy, bringing the birth of two grandchildren, Emily Layne and Reese Elizabeth, and brought a most loved prodigal home.
2016 was a year of REFRAMING. After getting used to ranch living and new work there, it was a year to branch out and explore some new hobbies of photography and birding. The year was full and rich with family and friends, and God reframed and refreshed our souls with lots of nature therapy and a better balance of work and relaxation.
2017 was a year filled with HOPE. Hope for renewed values and patriotism, hope for a precious new grandchild, Brynn Michelle, born in July. The entire year was filled with much hope for a bright future. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
2018 was a struggle for PEACE, my watchword and illusive pursuit. A lot of old baggage resurfaced, and my heart was not settled in the way it should have been. So much time was taken on small things not appreciating the big beautiful aspects of life. So, time for a cool change. Looking forward to 2019 and a renewed focus of the year.
2019–EMBRACE- 2019 was the year to fully EMBRACE each day with enthusiasm and creativity and His perspective, His Eyes to focus on what mattered, what brought joy, what brought love to others’ hearts as well as my own. It was a year with new challenges, as well, as Mike’s parents came to live with us. Each day required new mercies and grace as fearful, frustrated aging loved ones needed extra love. And it brought the joyous blessing of our eighth grandchild, Grey Michael, born in September. 2019 was a good year indeed as we embraced this beautiful bounty of life in all its splendor and touching moments. It is with a full heart that I say goodbye to 2019!
2020 was quite filled with many opportunities to SERVE and for me to have a servant’s heart. Between CoVid, the Presidential election, quarantine, and racial unrest, and family struggles, the needs far surpassed what I was able to help with. But that imbalance allowed me to learn what was too big to take on and what was a doable chunk where I could make a small difference. Liam graduated and started TCU, and my dear mother-in-law took her reward in Heaven, and my father-in-law floundered through the year without his beloved wife of 67 years. And my son separated from his wife late in November, so we are still figuring out how to navigate that difficulty. With all its sham and drudgery, it still was a beautiful year of God’s great mercy and bounty. We celebrate with gratitude for the protection and provision through every bit of it.
2021 was difficult on so many levels as we continued to navigate the Covid pandemic. We spent much of our time helping with grandchildren and simply putting one foot in front of the other as we helped them deal with their parents’ divorce. They did extremely well, and we believe we are on the upswing now as the details are finalized, and they return to a new normal in their lives. My twin sister was rediagnosed with breast cancer in April, and much of the remainder of the year was filled with gut-wrenching prayers to renew actual cells and make her healthy again. We also continued to care for Mike’s dad as he declined further at 95 years old. As we said goodbye to the year, he was days away from joining his bride in heaven. While it was a hard year, it was rich with meaning and renewal and ironically, much joy even in the middle of the pain. While it wasn’t the fresh start of renewal that I had envisioned, that watchword held more meaning and life course and hope-filled prayers than it seems a year could possibly hold.