In my recent newsletter, I took a walk down memory lane remembering all the years I’ve chosen my one word for the year. (If you’re not on my email list, click here to join.) I’ve been officially choosing a word for probably 14 years? Some of my words have been: joy, trust, delight, and purpose…Last year’s word, which I completely forgot to blog about, was PRESENT.
Why Chose a Word for the Year?
Because the year gets long and hard and tedious and unexpected. The year takes on a life of its own and sometimes seems to have a mind of its own and I need an anchor. I need something to come back to, something to ground and reorient my heart, mind, and soul when the year gets out of hand. But before any of that happens, the new year is a fresh, blank slate and I’d rather start writing my own thoughts, dreams, and plans on it before the world starts scribbling all over it. So I choose a word for focus and intention. I choose a word for the year to focus and refocus, direct and redirect myself.
How Do You Choose a Word for the Year?
I start listening, usually, my one word will be revealed in a conversation, a quote, or a scripture. My word for this year actually began from the name of some free workout videos I like to do when I don’t go to the gym–“Nourish, Move, Love.” I think those little words pretty much sum up everything in life!
Once I think I might have an idea of my one word, I start thinking of similar words, synonyms, scripture verses, song lyrics…anything that might have my one word or pertain to my one word. I also consider, “Does this one word encompass all aspects of my life?” I’m a child of God, a wife, a mother, a sister, friend, and I now work part-time.
As I’m choosing my word I’m also considering the plans, goals, and dreams I have for the new year. What areas of my life do I need to work on with some focused attention? What areas am I doing ok and maybe even good? Where do I need to grow and improve–spiritually? physically? mentally? emotionally? Does this word serve those entrusted to my care and will this word bring me in closer friendship with Jesus?
My Word for 2023
I already told you the phrase, “Nourish, Move, Love” kind of kicked off my one-word thinking process. If you’ve been around for a minute you know I lost my grandma in October of 2018, I had a melanoma in situ removed from my face in 2019, our fireplace exploded in 2021, I started a part-time job in 2021, and in 2022 we discovered not one, but two slab leaks…along with all the other crazy going in the world!
In that time, I also fell in love with working out. When I was diagnosed with a melanoma in situ on my face, I told God, “I”m going to live a long and healthy life; You do Your part and I”m going to do mine.” Doing my part meant being intentional with m body, it meant exercising for health, not punishment, it meant focusing on getting stronger, not skinnier. Because of those habits already established, I feel pretty good about the “Move” part of “Nourish, Move, Love.”
“Love” is one I can never ever exhaust; I’m always going to fall short! Of course, it’s a mainstay focal point of something I always need to work on, but it’s also such an expansive ideal, it’s hard to quantify with a checklist or specific goals–something I typically associate with my one word and some well-thought-out goals and plans for the new year.
“Nourish” now that word immediately caught the attention of my heart! As you can see by the list above–not too different from anyone of you, life has been a little much the last few years! And sometimes in the busyness and messiness of the hard seasons as well as the ordinary ones, nourishing can get lost. Life becomes a series of just making it through the day… waking up, making it through the day, going to bed, repeating… repeating…repeating. Especially if some of the seasons of the past years involved living with concrete floors and holes in your walls while insurance claims were sitting on adjustors’ desks waiting for approval.
As I quickly settled on “Nourish” I did what I always do, I looked up synonyms: attend, foster, cultivate, comfort, support, feed, promote, encourage, supply, cherish, nurse, furnish, tend, maintain, sustain. WOW! I love the look of that list of synonyms! I also did a little dictionary research and came across the adjective, “nourishing,” promoting strength or growth. Yep, I like that too!
Next, I looked up scripture verses. Now, I haven’t found many using the word “nourish” but I’m going to start going through verses that contain some of the synonyms. I do have two verses though that I have associated with my one word, “Nourish.” The first is from Isaiah, “Why spend your hard-earned money on something that can’t nourish you or work so hard for something that can’t satisfy? So listen carefully to me and you’ll enjoy a sumptuous feast delighting in the finest food.” (Isaiah 55:2)
In the above verses, I circled the word “food” and wrote scripture verse John 6:48-63 next to it. I also made a side note of Psalm 107:9. And in another place, up at the top of the page I wrote the verses from Matthew 11:28-30 taken from the Message translation, “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
I’m focusing hard on the “freely and lightly” part!
So that’s my one word for 2023, NOURISH.
Nourishing my home is going to be fun stuff like celebrating feasts days and being intentional about the decor to the mundane things like trying to stay ahead of the laundry folding pile! It’s going to be focusing on things like comforting, fun-family dinners and making “convenience” food less accessible because I will have well-thought-out plans for those busy nights of the week.
Nourish is going to look like being intentional about the food I put in my body and the worldly noise I allow in my soul, my head, and my heart. It’s going to be reconnecting with my Jesus in the soft, quiet places like adoration, daily Mass, and staying on track with my daily Bible reading–strictly for connection, not study.
I’m going to continue to nourish my body with exercise and movement that is good for my body as well as my mind. And essential oils that nourish the feelings, emotions, and attitudes I want to set the tone in myself and my home–for example, citrus oils invoke feelings of happiness! (Don’t believe me, pay attention to the way you feel or react the next time you cut an orange, or smell a lemon or lime!)
I’m picking back up the habit of more reading, and less scrolling. I have books to be read such as Theology of the Home, The Summa Domestica, and the Sally Clarkson book, The Lifegiving Home, and our Catholic Online Bible Study Community is spending 2023 reading, writing, praying, and studying the Books of the Apocrypha. We’re beginning with Sirach which is one of my favorite books!
Using My One Word for Navigation
Whew! That was a lot of words! I hope you got the gist of the whys and hows of my one word. This year, hopefully as I make decisions I will remember to stop and ask myself, “Will this “Nourish” me and my best, intentional life?” Or when I start to maybe feel myself getting off course, a little more scattered and a little less peaceful, I can remind myself my grand intention for the year.
And because I’m me and I know how easy it’s going to be for me to get sidetracked, I came up with a “power sentence” a simple, already memorized sentence I can easily reference this year.
My consistent habits nourish my abundant life.
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.