Word of the Year

An Entire Year to Focus On The Word Wisdom

This is the year I will focus on the word Wisdom!

blog header title with Orange Banner with Word of the year across the top and large letters Wisdom underneath with 2021 at the bottom

Yes, that’s my word for 2021. And how did I come up with that particular word?

Well, the word Wisdom chose me much like last year’s word, Courage, did. I became laser focused on it around October and every time I saw or heard it used, it continued to jump out at me. So as I looked into other options, it never moved from the top of the list.

So the word Wisdom it is!

As I dug into researching the word, I’ve learned that Wisdom is not a word used alone. Knowledge, experience and deep understanding are closely tied to it.  One of the terms I read in relation to this, was INTEGRATION of the three.

Which is exactly the reason I had chosen it. I want to take the knowledge and experience I have so far and apply it to whatever I am doing. In life and in my writing.

And when I don’t know the answer, to seek others with the wisdom to help teach me and guide me. 

I love this definition I found on wisdom.

Wisdom involves a healthy dose of perspective and the ability to make sound judgments about a subject while knowledge is simply knowing.

found on dictionary.com

This is the wisdom I seek.

In all aspects of my life.

Other terms I found within the different definitions of Wisdom include; insight, judgment, decision-making, discernment, and sense of balance. 

That last phrase, “Sense of Balance” speaks to me. 

There’s a balance of taking all points of perspective and then firmly deciding on what course of action to move forward with. 

Making decisions is not easy. Not in life. Not in writing a novel. I’ve received such different feedback from contest judges that it’s been challenging for me to know how to move forward. This year, I want to finish and publish my book. And that means making sound wise decisions I can move forward with.

And that gets me super excited about this word and this year

I found it interesting when I googled wisdom quotes, for there were so many! It goes without saying that most quotes evoke a bit of wisdom in them, don’t they?

Still, I was able to find some that pertained to wisdom in general. Here are a few of those quotes about wisdom itself:

Aren’t these great!

What I didn’t know until I spent some time researching and putting together specific tidbits, was how deep this word was going to be for me for this year. There is a lot here for me to pause and reflect on.

I always pick Bible Verses to support my word for the year. So as I dug into the Bible, I found more about wisdom than I expected. Who knew that this word was so rich in the Bible! 

Of course, I could study the book of Proverbs all year long because of the wisdom found there.


For those who may not know, Proverbs is attributed to have been written by Solomon, the son of David, who was blessed by God with a perspective of wisdom no one else has attained. Leaders from all over came to hear him speak and learn from him. Here’s a summary from Pastor Chuck Swindoll on the topic


So I’ve had to make the decision to focus on only verses that I found the word Wisdom or Wise in, specifically. Even though I have many I will refer to throughout the year, here are three that stood out to me right now:

For my writing:

Proverbs 18:15—The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge; the ears of the wise seek it out

For my Teaching:

Proverbs 31:26—She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue 

And for me personally (because I have adult children)

Proverbs 17:17—A man of knowledge uses words with restraint and a man of understanding is even-tempered.

I’m still exploring quotes, verses, and synonyms that are connected to the word wisdom. 

I loved these synonyms: Acumen, gumption, foresight, experience, savvy, caution, poise, prudence, reason, discrimination, discernment, practicality, shrewdness, solidity, stability, judiciousness, comprehension, astuteness.

These are some fun terms I hope to utilize throughout the year! I definitely hope to have the foresight, gumption and savvy to get my book pitched, accepted and published this year!

All in all, I find Wisdom an interesting word and I’m excited to focus on it as my year of the word for 2021. 

Here’s to a great year full of wisdom for us all.

Blessings,

Denise

Word of the Year

Time to reflect on my 2020 Word of the Year

At the end of the year, I love to take time to reflect on my word of the year, which for 2020 was Courage. Who knew how appropriate this word would be given the challenges 2020 has brought. And that I had to dig as deep as I have this year in every aspect of my life, not just my writing.

Finding Courage to stay upbeat. Strength & Courage to keep working when headlines were distracting. Courage to live life completely differently. And Courage to figure out new ways of doing things. Courage to be strong and encouraging for others. And Courage to search for and celebrate the little things, daily.

taking time to reflect on my 2020 word of the year, courage

When I selected this word, I had thought of my writing. To push myself past my comfort zone so I could finish my book. And the courage to say no to things that would interfere with that.

Here’s the prayer I wrote on January 2, 2020:

Lord, help me to have the courage in 2020 to move out of my static comfort zones so I may create with you and have an impact for you with my work and my words. Lead me, guide me, and nudge me to follow you. Comfort me in the uncomfortableness.

Prayer by Denise M. Colby

And for the most part, I did. But there were many other things I did this year, and it’s important to write them down so I may see all the ways I showed courage both in my writing and my life. By keeping track, it also shows I was purposeful (my word in 2019) in utilizing my word to help motivate and encourage myself throughout the year.

Vincent Van Gogh Quote about courage with cursive writing in the background
I chose courage this year to push me out of my comfort zone

Reflection for 2020 Word of the Year, Courage

  • Shared my book and writing goals with my husband on many of the nightly walks we took. He challenged me back in to stay focused.
  • Set an editing goal and stuck to it for most of the year.
  • Shared my entire manuscript with a writing friend and read through the feedback and made edits.
  • Grew in my writing and editing through practice and consistency.
  • Created new blog posts for A Slice of Orange and my own website, including the topic of courage to be thankful and journaling through tough times.
  • Entered another contest to gain feedback for my new opening.
  • Started a newsletter for Marketing for Authors and kept it up every month.
  • Taught several classes on brand or SEO to other authors via email and virtual conferences.
  • Pushed past my comfort zone with Instagram in learning how to create better content and post things I’ve had foundering around on my heart for a while. Moments of Encouragement

There were many ways I found courage personally as well.

  • Courage to read my Bible every morning before I climbed out of bed.
  • Finding creative ways to encourage my family and keep us sane and healthy, while still disciplining as necessary.
  • Courage to focus on my marriage and my family.
  • Taking the lead to set up zoom calls with extended family.
  • Reaching out to others (via technology), when it would’ve been easy to stay in my own space.
  • Courage to reach out and ask for help.
  • Participating in tough conversations.
  • Making phone calls that I’ve been putting off.
  • Courage to do what God asks of me.
  • Sharing my heart and beliefs.
  • And so on.

Something I wrote in my early notes: Courage is a choice we make many times in one day. 1000’s of choices daily where we live in courage or comfort.

As the year unfolded, I found courage to be a good word to focus on. I have really enjoyed this word. The quotes I’ve found. The Bible Verses to encourage me. Even the definition of the word.

Sometimes the daily reminder just writing my word, “courage”, kept me on track

It reminded me to be strong and have courage during days that were hard. It enabled me to share my courage with others. And I found that I really liked what the word courage meant and represented. 

I’m always sad to say goodbye to my word and feel like I want to spend more time with it. Find more quotes, post more about it, etc…

Just like every year, I will be sad to say goodbye to #my2020word, courage, but I have found, just like other words, that it will always be a part of me and something I will refer back to at times. In fact, I created a page of courage highlights from all I collected this year on the word, courage. It was fun to put everything into one place.

I’m now researching next years word and figuring out how it fits in stretching and teaching me in 2021. I can’t wait to share it with you!

Word of the Year

Courage To Be Thankful During Difficult Times

blog post header titled Courage to Be Thankful During Difficult Times by Denise M. Colby

This blog post is about thankfulness. Several blog posts right now are covering the topic of COVID-19 and the Coronavirus. I myself have found it challenging to write something without addressing the elephant in the room. And thus, why I decided to share how I’m trying to focus on finding ways to be thankful (and the one phrase that started all this!)

When the peace of Christ rules in our hearts, thankfulness overflows. Even in the darkest of times, we can praise God for his love, his sovereignty, and his promise to be near us when we call.  

Author Unknown

So let’s get started! The other day something struck me that I wanted to share.

I was really thankful we had three bathrooms for the five adults in our house.

And then my mind went to: I was thankful that the other four in my house were boys and not girls, and thus we used less toilet paper.

Oh, the silly things our minds go to, right?

But it got me thinking…what else am I thankful for in these challenging times? I found I could rattle off quite a bit of things.

I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds. Psalm 9:1

 

Here’s my list:

Family dinners every night.

That my family likes each other enough to want to hang out together, even after being around only each other for longer than three weeks.

Technology to connect with others outside our family unit.

The grace and caring I’ve seen from all my kids’ teachers.

The nurses and doctors and first responders who brave this new virus every day.

The hugs and prayers I’m seeing in texts, Facebook, and other social media.

Finding 80% of the items on my list at the grocery store.

For all the workers who ensure that those items are on the shelves at the store (that includes those that make, package, deliver)

The price of gas dropping significantly. $2.49 the last time I gassed up and that’s LOW for California.

I can find and order what I need online.

Daily walks with my husband.

Journals to write down my thoughts and feelings and observances (see my previous post Journaling Through Challenging Times – Ideas, Questions, & Encouragement)

Finding something new to learn and having mental capacity to try it out.

Getting to projects at home, that I haven’t had time for.

Watching the creative content such as the SGN network (Some Good News) by John Krasinski. 

I love seeing the creativity that builds because of limitations. Sometimes we are too busy to think out of the box and that can limit us as well.

Eleanor Roosevelt Quote about strength, courage and confidence over a wooden crate background by Denise M. Colby

My word this year is courage.

I chose it to have more courage in my writing. To take risks. To say no to things that would interrupt me finishing my book. But I also felt courage was a good word for my faith, to open myself to God more with  Bible reading and prayer.

Who knew that this word would be so applicable to what we are facing right now. Courage to trust God. Courage to adapt and adjust to this new normal.

I found these other verses fit with the thankfulness in my heart.

 

Praise the Lord. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever. Psalm 106:1

and

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

and

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

What is something that you are thankful for that is new during these difficult times?

I’d love to hear it.

Word of the Year

Living 2020 Full of Courage

Every year I pick a word to represent my focus for the year. For 2020, my word sort of chose me. My word this year? Courage! To live 2020 full of courage.

I couldn’t be more excited to dive into this word and use it to encourage, guide, and direct my life this year. 

When I looked up the definition of courage, it was described as showing bravery in the face of danger, but as I dug deeper, I found that it is also about facing difficulties and fear.

I’ve been writing and editing my first novel for the past six years and it has been a journey. A wonderful, beautiful, sometimes frustrating journey.

But as I’ve entered contests and done more writing, I find I’m afraid to put my work out there over and over, to get feedback (no matter how encouraging), and it’s daunting to know there is more work that needs to be done and I don’t know fully what that is yet. I want to keep working on it and not give up, even though I wonder at times why I keep trying.

This is the courage I want to have in 2020.

For my writing:

  • Courage to finish my book
  • Courage to show it to others and pitch it.
  • Courage to say no to the things that take me away from my goals

But the word courage can be applied in so many areas of my life:

  • Courage to obey God and trust Him fully
  • Courage to have the conversations with my kids I want to have and sometimes don’t
  • Courage to take those moments and make them worthwhile
  • Courage to not miss the moments that can be fleeting

And so much more. In some ways it’s taking last years word, Purposeful, and having the courage to live it out in abundance.

As I look back over my blog, I realize I haven’t always written about the words I’ve chosen each year (I have on other blogs), yet this small decision to choose one word to focus on has reaped so many blessings for me and I’ve grown in all sorts of ways. In a way they sort of build off of each other. I might need to still talk about them. They become a part of me. And I still get encouraged when I see them – like my word for 2017, which I did write about – strength.

Also, when I choose my word for the year, I pick a memory verse as my theme. There are a few that I like for courage, but the one verse that fits my heart the best with this word is:

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.

Joshua 1:9

As you can see, the word strength is in this verse as well.

I also like to look up quotes with the word and loved what I found. I have quite a lot to inspire me:

Walt Disney Quote All our dreams can come true, if you have the courage to pursue them with blurred photo of Denise M. Colby leaping in front of Dream sign
Vincent Van Gogh Quote What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything? with cursive writing in the background
Steve Jobs Quote And most important, have the courage to follow your own heart and intuition

So for 2020, I look forward to seeing how God will use this word to encourage me.

Is it to have courage to finish my book and pitch it for publishing?

To say no to things so I can have the time to work on my book and other things that are most important to me, such as my family?

Will I have courage to listen to God when he nudges me (which is exactly how writing my novel began)?

Whatever it is, I’m really looking forward to this year of courage.

If you’d like help in picking a word, this is a great website page with lots of ideas.

If you have a word picked out for the year 2020, I’d love to know what it is! Let me know if the comments below.

Word of the Year

Finding Strength

Life is hard, crazy and stressful and in those moments when we search for answers, sometimes God connects things in a way that makes me stop in awe.

The last two years I have chosen a word to focus on.  Hope was my first word in 2015 and Believe was my word in 2016. 

For this year I have chosen – STRENGTH – and in searching up verses I am amazed to see how many fit where I am.

In my walk with God.  My daily struggles of life.  My writing career.  Everything.

Philippians 4:13 is all about strength in the Lord

I know I need strength as I begin showing my work to agents, publishers, critique partners, you name it. 

I need to be able to take criticism and suggestions and have strength to really hear the recommendations to make me a better writer.  I also want to lean on God’s strength in all aspects of my life.  As I get older, I realize that I can’t do life without him.

There are so many I want to highlight so for me to pick just one is really challenging.  So throughout the year, I will share different ones on my Facebook and Twitter accounts.  Here’s one though, I want to share:

Psalm 119:28 My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to your word.

I love this last one personally.  Many days I feel weary dealing with everyday life.  And I know I’m not alone. I hope that these verses can offer you some comfort as they do to me.

So now that I firmly have my word set for the year, I look forward to seeing how God will use this word to encourage me, bolster me, show me things. 

And He will.  Not even a week after I selected STRENGTH, imagine my surprise when my Bible Study book I ordered – Priscella Shearer’s Gideon – came in and the cover had these words: your weakness. Gods strength. Oh how God knows things before we do.  The fact that I’ll be spending six weeks studying God’s strength?  I’m so excited.

I would encourage you to consider selecting a word to focus on.  Write down 3 or 4 that pop in your mind and then look up verses to them.  As you ponder each one, God will let you know what the right one would be.  And I hope that it gives you infinite encouragement in all aspects of your life, just as mine have done for me.

Blessings, Denise

Word of the Year

What Word Represents 2016?

What WORD would you choose to represent this year?

Over the last several years I’ve read articles about people selecting a specific word or phrase that represents the year for them. It could be an area to focus on or something God has put on their heart to study and live out daily throughout the year.

Last year was the first year I selected a word and after several days of listing out different words, I selected the word Hope.

It summarized for me where I was in my life – both writing and personal. I had hope for my writing and where it was leading me, that I wanted to write about hope to offer hope to others, hope for how God would provide for my family, hope for the future and so much more.

Several times throughout the year I found myself leaning on that word knowing God wanted me to never lose Hope, making sure it was in the words I wrote and in my actions.  It really did sum up my year when I reflect back. 

So this year I was excited to see what new word would fit me and my life.  I prayed about it and wrote down several words that I felt my heart leaning towards, but one kept coming up more than the others, so…

for 2016 I selected…..

BELIEVE

First and foremost I need to BELIEVE in God, believe he will meet my needs, and so on.  I also need to believe I can become a published author, believe I have something worthy to say, believe in this journey God is taking me on, believe in my family and their support, and so much more.

I looked up the word Believe in the bible and there are too many verses to count with the word believe in it, but as I read different ones it became even more clear that this was the right word for me this year.  So many of them spoke to me, specifically: 

Overhearing what they said, Jesus told him, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.”  Mark 5:36

“If you can’t?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.”  Mark 9:23

Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!  Luke 1:45

Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.  John 7:38

I know without a doubt that this is the word for me this year. The year I’m going to believe in myself to show my work to agents, editors and hopefully become a published author.

I just need to believe

I encourage you to take some time to reflect and pray about a word for you for 2016. When we take time to listen to what God wants for us it is amazing how he can encourage and strengthen us in our journey through his Word. 

Let me know what word or words you choose for your focus word this year. 

Blessings to you throughout 2016. 

Denise