Tag Archives: one word

The Year of the Comeback


Since I moved to Nashville 4.5 years ago, life has been non-stop change & growth. And sometimes growth & change can happen so fast that you feel like you lose yourself in the process – like you don’t know who you are anymore.

This time a year ago I chose revival to be my word for 2014. I had dreams of feeling alive again rather than in a perpetual state of blah. But a year later I’m left disappointed that revival hasn’t happened. What’s even more disappointing is realizing it was my own fault. “I just want to feel like myself again” I’ve been saying.

But, if I’m really honest that’s not ultimately the goal – I can’t, nor do I want to be, the person I HAVE been. 

When a sports team makes a comeback it’s because they have a “come to Jesus moment” & decide to work. They decide to push – hard. They decide to lay it all on the line, to be all in. They decide that knowing they gave it all they had is ultimately the greatest success no matter the outcome of the competition. And they start playing the game differently because they know different is the only thing that can change the course.

So, 2015 will be the year of the comeback – not going back to my old self, but simply being comfortable in my own skin again.

ps – This shall be my theme song for the year
pss – This is my favorite comeback story I’ve heard recently

One Word 2014


I’ve spent weeks thinking about a word for this year and I thought I had landed on discipline. I would devote 2014 to getting life in order, setting rules for myself, having a more rigid routine…all of which boiled down to one ugly word: control. It hit me that I wanted to focus on discipline because life feels out of control and discipline would allow me to restore some sense of order to it. But I’ve spent my entire life trying to control and every single time I finally find myself curled up in a teary ball giving up…because life isn’t found in a death grip.

In that same conversation with myself I realized that all I’ve desperately been searching for the past few months is to feel alive again. To be raw to joy and pain and everything in between – to simply be able to feel. As I’ve sat in a counselor’s office the last 8 months the “issue” has been I’m apathetic and that’s not me but I can’t figure out how to fix it.

The last three and a half years have been packed full of growth – emotional soul growth. There’s been a lot of hard work done to embrace feelings with courage and honesty. To accept reality for what it is – resisting the urge to judge it as good or bad. To let go of plans I had consciously and subconsciously made for my life and be okay with life unfolding as it comes. To give myself as much grace as I give others. 

They’ve also been packed full of life. Quitting a job, giving up a dream, moving to a new unknown city on a whim with no job and a Craigslist roommate, new church, new community, all new friends, losing old friends, losing new friends, learning what it is to love, learning what community is all about, new job – one I decided to create for myself, a lot of travel, and little to no rest. It’s been wonderful and exhilarating but also exhausting. I’ve been tired for a while as a result of it all but I’ve continued pulling myself up by the bootstraps as they say and trudging through.

But trudging is no way to go through life. So when I went looking for a new word I discovered revive. I was quite excited because it rings of joy and life. Then I went looking for the definition and something hit me: if revival brings back to life, death must happen first. Perhaps this word is going to be a little harder and a bit more painful than I thought. But it’s going to be worth it.

Revive: to bring back to life or consciousness; to impart new health, vigor or spirit; to restore to use, currency, activity, or notice; to restore the validity or effectiveness of; to renew in the mind; to present again

Here we are halfway through the first month of a new year & I’m finally finding a moment to compose these thoughts. After starting 2014 off recovering from the holidays only to get strep throat, revival is a very welcome thought! My hope for this year is that I get to catch my breath…and have time to take a few deep ones.

Take Courage – One Word 2013


It was first word that came to mind when I started thinking about one word for 2013. But I quickly dismissed it as “too easy” because courage has been on my heart a lot recently. It’s also one I’ve written about, talked about, & come to value deeply in the last two and a half years. Honestly, it’s one I thought I had “figured out” on some level.

So I continued to think on it, pray about it, what other word might I need to learn?

But it kept coming up. My thought processes kept leading me back to it.
Last week, the items pictured above landed in my mailbox.
The kicker was late last week: I was digitally thumbing through old blog posts today when I landed on this one:

 If I had courage I would make a decision.
If I had courage I would abandon all material comfort right now, today.
If I had courage I would let people in.
If I had courage I would talk to my brother about his faith.
If I had courage I would pick up the phone.
If I had courage I would speak my mind.
If I had courage I would share my story – even the ugly parts.
If I had courage I would tell him he’s pretty great.
If I had courage I would have a heart to heart conversation with my dad.
If I had courage I would lose a mask or two, for good.

I had one of those painful looking in the mirror moments. Most of the things I wrote on April 18, 2010 I still haven’t had the courage to do. Over two years…mountains of growth I thought…yet I had to be honest that I still didn’t have the courage to do most things on that list. 

 “You’ve got courage ‘figured out,’ huh?” I laughed at myself for a minute. And then I remembered the one thing I learned above all else about “seeing” in 2012 – with it comes responsibility. Responsibility to act. And that requires courage.

That sealed the deal. The last 12 months has been grace to really see life, to see it to the point that I feel it in deep in my soul. Now, it’s time to do something about everything I’ve seen. So 2013 will be about courage: Courage to speak not just think, to embrace freedom, to love unashamedly, to be honest, to do not just dream. Courage to say no, to start & to quit, to choose vulnerability. Courage to stay. Courage to feel. Courage to act.

Do you have a word for 2013? I’d love to hear the story behind it!

Curious what the whole “one word” thing is about? Check this out.

Three Letters. Big Fights. – One Word Recap 2012


To see is to surrender assumptions & “the way it’s always been” in order to discover what really is. (from my 1st “One Word 2012” post)

I knew committing to a simple three letter word was going to be easier said than done, but I don’t think I knew just how much wrestling three letters could incite.

I also don’t think I knew how prophetic that sentence above was going to be – the shattering of assumptions has been a theme of my life in 2012.

Seeing is hard work. But it’s life-changing work – for me & for others. Seeing slowed me down. It fostered gratitude. It changed my perspective. Seeing myself taught me the value of grace. Seeing others replaced judgement with love & compassion.

At the end of it all, I come back to two things:
1. Seeing is about choosing to be vulnerable to life.
2. With seeing comes responsibility to act

My reality was redefined in 2012 because I opened the eyes of my soul. The challenge I’m left with is to do something about it. And that, my friends, is what 2013 shall be for.

Did you have a word for 2012? I’d love to hear what you learned!

p.s. – Even Seth Godin is encouraging more of us to do the work of seeing


The Magical Ordinary


When we are present, we see that there really is a Divine Plan and that it is happening right now. Consciously participating in the miraculous unfolding of reality is the Holy Work, and it is the greatest source of satisfaction that we can have. (from “Understanding the Enneagram”)

Whether it’s seeing the stories written in a friend’s hands of a land far away, catching the light on Spring blossoms, the setting sun hitting the grass just right, the vibrant colors of spring, soaking up the warm sunshine, running through the falling rain, the urban textures of metal & brick, broken glass, a worn out sign, or weathered wood; the ordinary becomes truly magical when you stop long enough to soak it in.

Three months into focusing on seeing, I’ve come to realize that seeing cannot help but foster gratitude; which is ultimately worship. And as a creature designed to worship my Creator, I am without question most alive when I worship. And so, seeing is life. Seeing the magical in the ordinary has become my key to life. When my soul feels parched, my heart heavy, seeing quenches the thirst & slowly my heart lifts its head to see the beauty & life not just on the other side of the struggle but right in the middle of it.

To consciously participate in the miraculous unfolding of reality…that is my goal this week. Will you join me? 


Don’t Just Be Here to Be Here


In high school one of my favorite movies was “Save the Last Dance.” (Okay, so maybe I can still recite it line by line when I watch it.)

There’s a scene where good friends Chenile & Sarah are sitting in the waiting room of a free clinic having a conversation about “different worlds.” The room is full of sick screaming kids like Chenile’s son and young parents who are at their wits end as they wait to see a doctor.  At one point Chenile says to Sarah:

“You wanna be a friend? Don’t just be here to be here. Open up your pretty brown eyes & look the hell around.” 

“Don’t just be here to be here.”

Don’t go through life half asleep, wake up.  Don’t stay numb, feel. Don’t just survive, thrive. Don’t just look, see. 

In our always on, always running, uber-connected world it’s easy to just be here. All of the noise makes it hard for the eyes of my heart & soul to see the grace in every moment. And on those days when my heart & soul are having trouble seeing, I’m particularly grateful for eyes that lead me to worship, eyes that can help me to slow time if I will open them up & look around…if I will choose to see.

It’s the discipline of seeing…of opening up my eyes & looking around…that helps me to do more than just be here to be here. It’s what helps me to be fully present in any given moment. I have to train my eyes to slow me down, to cause me to pause and soak in the beauty that surrounds me, to take the time to see people & to make people feel seen, to see God’s goodness in every moment of the good days & the bad.

What habits & disciplines help you do more than simply be here?