grateful amazement

finding wonder…everywhere.

My Word of the Year: A Prefix

I’ve always believed that words matter.

Words have been significant and important to me since I was a young girl, carefully cutting them out of magazines and meticulously gluing them onto colorful construction paper in order to make cards and journal entries that spoke my heart. Recording them in my dime-store journal. Boldly printing them in the fabric-covered scrapbook I designated as my Poem Book. I’ve been in love with words for as long as I can remember.

I think I knew that I knew that I knew that words were powerful tools – and not just merely collections of random letters – when, amidst the chaos in which I grew up, the people who tossed them around in such a lackadaisical manner were shocked that the tossing garnered any kind of response…positive or negative. I just couldn’t believe that they didn’t know.

I feel like I lived out the proof that the old saying ‘Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me’ just wasn’t true. The words I caught – even when I was trying to dodge them – impacted me in ways that rudimentary weapons didn’t have the power to.

I held the words – good and bad – so carelessly thrown in my direction. Held them close. Held them long. Held them true.

In all honesty, I continue to tend toward that holding even now…in what some would call the Second Chapter of my life. Even when I know better. Even when the source is not trustworthy. Even when it hurts.

So, when Dayspring and incourage offered me a chance to write a #wordsmatter post in conjunction with the release of their awesome new Letterpress Blocks, I jumped at the chance.


2014 is the second year that I have officially chosen a Word of the Year. Last year, I spent each day with Trust. As you might be able to guess, some of those days were more peaceful than others. After all, Trust is…well, it can be gritty…and hard. In my life, anyway, Trust hasn’t been all hearts and flowers and peace and love. But, having it as the word that flavored each day of 2013 turned out to be a rich gift.


In January this year, as I sat with the list of words I thought I’d choose from, I found it wasn’t technically a word that kept coming up.

It was a prefix.

Crazy, right?!

I thought, ‘Does a prefix even qualify as a Word of the Year?’

‘Wouldn’t I be doing it wrong if I didn’t choose an actual word?’

I even spent quite a while researching it online…

Turns out, it didn’t really matter what all the fabulous websites and blog posts detailing the practice of choosing a Word of the Year had to say on the subject.

That prefix would not let me go.

And I’m glad it didn’t.

The prefix – my Word of the Year – is RE:

And I feel like I’m just now, in the tenth month of 2014, getting a handle on the depth of it.

Check out these awesome words…these power-full, meaning-full words that those two little letters can form…





Aren’t they awesome?

There are so many, many more RE: words that have been speaking to my heart and soul.
Exploring them may take me well into next year.
Having RE: as my Word of the Year two years in a row would only make sense, right? *wink

And, those Letterpress Blocks…

Can’t you just imagine the word that has been guiding you this year spelled out with them on your own sweet wall?

There is a super-cool interface for you to build your word – or words…I hope you’ll take the time to click through and create your word your way…


…because words matter.



‘But when women are moved and lend help,
when women, who are by nature calm and controlled, give ENCOURAGEMENT and applause,
when virtuous and knowledgeable women grace the endeavor with their sweet love,
then it is invincible.’ ~
Jose Marti

Before we go any further, reread that quote.
Go ahead.
I’ll wait here.

Did you read it?
REALLY read it?
Let those words so beautifully strung together sink in?
REALLY sink in?

When I found this amazing collection of letters woven into such sweet but powerful truth, I got chills.
I read it again.
I sat with it for a little.
Then I reread it.

If you want to go back up there and give it another read, please do.
If you want to sit with the remarkable, poignant images it paints, take your time.
The rest of this post can wait.

What’s your favorite part of the quote?
Is there a part that quickens some desire deep inside your soul?
For me, it’s the mystery that rests in the genteel, almost delicate description of female help combined with that ridiculously awesome word INVINCIBLE.

I mean, is that a word, or what?
Words that mean the same thing?
Powerful stuff, right?

The way I read it, when we, as women, are moved to help, and when we encourage and love, the things we do cannot be shot to smithereens, cannot be damaged, cannot be attacked, questioned, or defeated.

I don’t know about you, but that sends shivers down my spine and makes me want to slip on a superhero cape and rush to save the world.

God has equipped us…each of us…to be superheros, my friends.
Maybe not in an epic, big-screen, Iron Man way, but in all kinds of little ways that make all the difference in the lives of those around us.

Here’s what it takes:
(go ahead and cue The Avengers theme, if that helps you grab on to who you can be…who you ARE…)

#1 – Allow yourself to be moved. Do your best to let yourself come out from behind whatever walls you may have needed till now to feel safe. Listen for what makes your heart beat and then find it. It may not be as far away as you think.

#2 – Lend help. To whomever God puts on the path next to you. Ask Him for the clarity to see needs that others’ eyes may be missing. Don’t listen to the voices that tell you it is ‘someone else’s’ problem, whatever it is.

#3 – Live out your female nature. Be honest – that ‘calm and controlled’ part made you look twice, right? It’s easy to buy into the ‘hormone-crazed, PMS-ing woman’ images that bombard us and make us question our sanity some days, but we CAN live calm and controlled…and WE NEED TO so that our uplifting advice can have its full effect.

#4 – Be a cheerleader. Maybe you never made the squad in junior high or high school, but that is NOT an indicator of your natural ability to lift others with your words and applaud them with your strong, gentle hands. You can add pom poms and a kick or two if you want, just for good measure…just remember that what’s important here is the encouragement. Apply it genuinely and liberally.

#5 – Let honesty and grace rule your actions. When the two are paired (honesty + grace), your words and deeds will match up and the world – your world – will see you as supremely trustworthy and seek you out for your gentle and truthful input. To be trusted is no small thing.

#6 – Learn stuff. Once you learn stuff, you’ll begin to understand there’s always so much more to learn. Keep learning. Maintain a teachable heart through all you face in life. It will ensure the lessons and seeds of truth typically hidden in the hard times will make their way into that place inside you where experiences are magically mixed with awareness and understanding, enabling you to use what you’ve learned. That’s all knowledge is, you know…using, not just talking about, the things you’ve learned.

#7 – Love. Simple. Yet complex. Easy. Yet arduous. Try to remember Love in all things. Also remember that Love doesn’t always look like hearts and flowers and frilly things…sometimes it can look an awful lot like Forrest Gump’s box of chocolates – a half-eaten mess because you never know what you’re going to get. No matter, though. Love anyway. Love all ways.

Oh, friend!
How this list excites my heart!
For you…and for me…and for them!

So grab a cape.
Be a superhero.
Go on.
You can do it!
You were MADE to do it!

(in)couragement: a superpower


{It’s a link-up over at (in)courage today! Click thru to find so much more encouragement!}


How To Be A Groupie


It’s what we were created for, you and I.

It’s what our hearts yearn for, even when something has happened to you in community that colors that yearning gray – or even black – with fear.


Does the word itself awaken a song in your heart?
A song of hope, a song of joy, a song of wonder?

Can you hear it?
You may have to get quiet in order to hear the melody, to pick out the words.
It may be playing soft.
And that part inside your heart that wants to ‘protect’ you may be trying to drown it out.

But, sister, today, do whatever you have to turn up the volume on that song.
Slap in some earbuds so you can catch the lyrics.

Because TODAY is the day that Community – the very thing God wants to use to nurture us, feed us, grow us, mature us, make us more like His Son – is yours for the making.

From right there.
From right where you are sitting, reading these words.

TODAY is the day the fabulous team at (in) opens Registration to their amazing (in)courager Community Groups!

And while there are many, many different groups you can choose to be a part of ~ over 70, to be exact! ~ , the universal focus of each is Community!

{If the very thought of that feels risky…makes your knees shake with the weight of ‘I want to belong, but what if I don’t Do It Right?’…makes you want to hit Enter on the Registration form before the fear of reaching out chases you from the room…please, dear one, take a big, deep breath, steady those shaky knees and go for it. Hit Enter. You can do it! And, I promise you, you’ll be so glad you did.}

Here are some sparkly words from just-like-you beauties who took the risk, filled out the Registration form, and hit Enter during previous (in)courager Community Group sessions:

**In the Fall of 2013, I was embarking on the next season of my life: marriage. I was nervous, excited, and not sure of what to expect. Thankfully my (in)courage community group was full of prayers, words of wisdom, and a place to express myself during the adjustment. God brought lots of ladies in my life who had been there, done that when it came to being a newlywed, and I was (in)couraged.** ~Alicia Turner Beard,

**Since I’m in a new town and slowly making friends, my (in)courage community group has helped me stay connected with people who care about me and what’s going on in my life. These online friends have become real-life friends!** ~Holly Solomon Barrett,

**For the past two semesters I was blessed to be a part of the Work at Home Moms group. It was a breath of fresh air. A place to go for encouragement and prayer. A place to connect and belong. We walked alongside each other, brainstormed together, and created community. It was a place of beauty in the mess of life.** ~Whitney Cornelison,

This session, I have the high privilege and incredibly humbling honor to be co-leading a Community Group called (in)Bracing God’s Light: Comfort in the Midst of Cancer with my dear new friend, Lynn Severance. We are both so looking forward to our time together, blessing and learning from each precious gal that comes to our little community!

Our group is one of many (over 70, remember?!) – I just know there is one that can be a perfect fit for YOU and exactly where you are RIGHT NOW…Empty Nester? New Mom? Mom of Teens? Working Mom? At-Home Mom? Writer? Blogger? Honestly, the types of groups available this session run the gamut!

The deets about all the phenomenal groups, and what you can expect when you become part of one of them, can be found at

Let this Spring be one of reaching out, opening up, connecting, and belonging by registering, friend.

Because it’s what you were made for.
It’s what your heart needs.