The Word of the Year

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!

2023 – PRESENT

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 develop a servant’s heart. Between CoVid, the Presidential election, quarantine, 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, while my father-in-law floundered through the year without his beloved wife of 67 years. 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. The watchword, RENEW took on special meaning as we encouraged new beginnings for my son and his family. 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 healthy 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.

2022 went by quickly, yet it held many special moments of love and family joy. My word for the year was NURTURE, and it steadily offered its direction and reminded me to invest in each precious moment. Mike’s dad went to his Heavenly Home just days into January and we said goodbye for now to the most loving and amazing man. We will miss him being at the helm and his love for everyone. NURTURE was the watchword as we tended little ones that learned to deal with divorce and the heart-crushing aftermath. My sister did extremely well and is back to work with a few not fun side effects from the chemo, but is enjoying life again after the cancer trauma. NURTURE was my plan to invest in others but it also became a sweet gift that I received.  The Lord comforted and nurtured our hearts through the highs and lows.  As we close the year, one of my dearest friends hangs in the balance with pancreatic cancer. Life is so fragile and precious. Nurture the moments. Nurture loved ones, and let the Lord nurture and care for you. He loves you so much!


2 thoughts on “The Word of the Year

  1. You’re the best, Annette! I’m so happy we just reconnected again! You have much to look forward to in 2020! How exciting!

  2. I wish the word, “awesome” was so overused, but I love this post so much. I know you decide on a word at the beginning of the year. God uses them so perfectly in your life. He is so good. Thank you for sharing them here. Love you, my friend!

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