Friday, December 31, 2010

One Word

Are you ready for a new year? It really doesn’t matter if you answer no, because ready or not, in less than three days (depending upon when you read this), a new year is starting — with or without you!

It seems like yesterday that 2010 began full of promise and hope. Now, we stand at the end of this year, reflecting on life, and ready to jump into 365 days full of untapped possibilities.

What are your hopes and dreams for 2011? Mine can be summed up in one word — New.
Sounds simple, but keep reading. There’s more to it than just being a “new” year.

Since 2007, I’ve taken part in a movement of sorts called One Little Word, an initiative which encourages individuals to identify one word that they want to focus on or use to define the upcoming year.

I first learned about the idea after reading Ali Edward’s blog (found at Edwards, a self-described “modern memory keeper,” began choosing a word for herself in 2006 because, in her words, “a single word can be a powerful thing.”

Edwards said she wanted to find a word that she could focus on, meditate on and/or reflect upon as she went upon her daily life.

I immediately jumped on this, and since 2007, it’s become something I do each year.

Because I’m a “wordy” type of gal, I’ve ended up with two words per year. Usually I start with a word in January, and then by August, another word has woven itself into my life.

Past words I’ve used to define my life and actions have included wonder and seek (2007), simplicity and joy (2008) and dream and hope (2009).

One word.

I am continually amazed at the power that one word (or in my case two words) can to help shape and define a year.

In 2010, I began the year with “half-full” because I wanted to see life with a new, positive perspective. In August, the word began to change to simply “see” after I had a chance to read Mary Beth Chapman’s memoir, “Choosing To See.”

In that autobiography, Chapman describes how she struggled to see God at work through the pain and turmoil her family has gone through in the past few years.

Ultimately, through prayer and a lot of faith, Chapman said she is choosing to SEE God work in her life despite the yuck of the world.

Her words inspired me to focus my desire to see life, not only “half-full” but to also “see” how God is at work in my life.

This year, I’m starting off with the word “new.”

While it sounds like an obvious choice, for me it’s a continuation of what began this year, as I strive to see life as God means for me to experience it.

The year I picked, “wonder,” showed me I hope this year, using the word new, I’ll be challenged to try new things, eat new foods and well, simply break out of the rut of regular life and experience things in new ways.

So what word will you use to help define your life in 2011? What are your hopes and dreams for this new year?

A new year — 365 days as white as a page in new sketchpad — and new opportunities. What will you create this year?

Reflecting on 2010
During the past month, I’ve participated in an online journaling movement called Reverb10 (

Through a daily writing prompt during the month of December, various writers have provided ways to reflect and review things about life during 2010.

Some prompts are better than others, but one thing is for sure, reading the questions — and responding to the prompts, may help you review life in 2010 and jump start life in the new year.

I’ll leave you with one of the questions, of Reverb10: What 10 things do you need to leave behind, as you start 2011?

— Kaylea Hutson is the minister to families with children at First United Methodist Church in Siloam Springs. She is also a freelance journalist.

 Editor's Note: This column appeared in the Wednesday, Dec. 29 issue of the Siloam Springs Herald Leader.  

1 comment:

  1. Your idea is wonderful. I'm going to incorporate it into my spiritual life. I am going to be using Susan Ban Breathnac's "Simple Abundance:A Day Book of Comfort and Joy" for the coming year. If you're not familiar with it, I can highly recommend it. I've been studying it off and on for the past 10+ years and get something different from it every time. I wish you all the best in the coming "new" year.-Peg Shelton


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