A New Year… A New Word!

2018 is the fifth year that I’ve chosen a special word to be my focus for the new year. Unlike making up new year’s resolutions, choosing a special word can be an inspiration for the whole year, not something to measure yourself against until you fail, and then forget about. At least that’s how it’s been for me.


Last year my special word was HOPE. I chose that word because I was worried about the future. The 2016 elections were so negative. How would our politicians ever be able to work together again for the good of the country? National and even local politics are not usually such a strong influence in my personal, everyday life, but last year was different. I was really scared about many things happening in our country. I needed to have HOPE that things could get better.

One of the first things I did to try to better understand what was going on nationally, was to read Hillary Clinton’s book, What Happened. It was a fascinating book, and much to my surprise, it was the first thing to begin to restore HOPE for me. To view her perspective on what some of the opportunities are for making the world a better place for everyone to live in – all countries, all races, all religions, all socio-economic groups – was inspiring. Even though she lost the election, she didn’t give up HOPE. She realized that she needed to refocus, to figure out how else she could bring about some of the improvements our world needs. And she kept her HOPE that improvements could happen, even with the political situation as it was. Definitely an inspiring book!

2017 ended for me with another great book on HOPE, Scarred by Struggle, Transformed by Hope, by Joan Chittister. This book is actually more about struggle than HOPE, because struggle is where HOPE is born. There’s a lot to think about in this book, and I’m sure I’ll read the book more than once.

I actually considered holding onto the word HOPE as my special word for another year so that I could study in greater depth the relationship between struggle and HOPE in my own life personally, as well as in the political, economic, and moral struggles our society is engaged in these days. But, then I remembered that every word I’ve had as my special word for a year stays in my mind with heightened awareness – I think forever! I still look for JOY in every day (my 2014 word). My 2015 word of GRATITUDE comes to mind every night when I go to bed and think of what things I’m especially grateful for that day. My 2016 word of KINDNESS has me thinking every morning about what opportunities I may have that day to be especially kind to someone. There’s every reason to believe that I’ll continue to think about the relationships between the struggles I’m facing and how they will strengthen the HOPE I want to see grow. I’ve decided to choose a new word for 2018. I may come back to HOPE, or any of my other special words some year, but not yet.

A special word that’s been creeping into my thoughts that last few weeks is PEACE. Not so much “peace” in the Middle East, or with North Korea, or Russia, (although that would be great), but “PEACE” – the word that I used as a closing on my Christmas Cards. The PEACE that is the calmness that I feel when I sense that God really is in control of everything. The PEACE that St. Paul wrote about to the Philippians:

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. [Philippians 4:4-7 NRSV]

I guess these verses really encompass all the special words I’ve been focusing on over these 5 years. Maybe I need to spend some time thinking about my “special word vocabulary” as it continues to grow.

May God’s PEACE be with you. Happy New Year!

Winter sunset at Christmas Mountain

6 responses to “A New Year… A New Word!”

  1. What an inspiring post. I like the idea of chosing an annual word. I will think what mine will be. Peace to you and Mim! Hugs, m

    1. Thanks, Mary. In my January 7, 2014 blog post I wrote about how I got the idea of choosing a special word for a year, crediting Debbie Macomber in her book ONE PERFECT WORD. Here’s a link to the post https://whisperingwindsblog.com/2014/01/07/abbey-mim-me-our-special-words-for-2014/. Hope you find this practice to be as inspiring as I do.


  2. Happy New Year to you!
    RuthAnn and I did the word choosing each year. My word for last year was HOPE also. I desparately needed to concentrate on HOPE in the midst of grieving my lovely partner. It has been a blessing because I have been filled with HOPE for my future more than once.
    This year, the word seems to be NAMES. Everybody and everything has a name. Tami, RuthAnn’s daughter, sent me a set of ornaments that are all the NAMES of Jesus. I’m going to see if I can arrange to have them in my environment all year. As I look toward whatever my future holds – without my girl – I’m sure the concept of NAMES will be a part of it!

    1. Thanks for your comments, Pam. How interesting that we each had the same special word for 2017!

      I’ve been thinking about your choice of the word NAMES for 2018. It reminded me of a blog post I wrote in 2011 when I was just starting to blog. Unfortunately, my first year’s blog was on another system and is no longer available online, or I’d give you a link to it. However, the post is included in my first book, LISTENING FOR GOD. I know RuthAnn had a copy of the book, because she wrote one of the credits for me. Let me know if you can’t find the book, and I’ll send you a copy.

      Best wishes for the new year!


  3. Dear Marian, I was looking forward to your new word for this year. PEACE is so appropriate in so many ways for this year. I love the way you explained it also. 5 years sure have gone by fast since I started to read the blogs and enjoy them so very much. I don’t do face book, so when you send them out I am happy to get them by email. Glad your music project is done for Mim…as you said in Aug,2016 that it would probably take 3 CDs to get all the music she wanted…ha you did 5 and didn’t get them all recorded….Take care of you as you journey onto whatever new projects you do…….and keep us posted. Thank you for being a great inspiration to us all.

    1. Thanks, Judy. I appreciate your encouraging comments. I’m still working on my hymn devotional project – my major writing project in 2017. I have the first part drafted – Listening for God in Music: The Psalms. I’ll keep you posted on my progress.


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