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