My Love/Hate Relationship with Risk

We’re thrilled to have One Word 365’s founder, Alece Ronzino, at The Grove with us.  She’s here to share her story and  lead us all in sharing our own one word for 2014.      


Everything was spinning out of control the first time I felt the nudge…

My husband had left and the nonprofit we’d founded was in jeopardy of closing… I felt like a huge failure in every possible way. And as New Year’s approached, I struggled to see the hope in the start of a new calendar. The promise of a fresh beginning seemed like a bait-and-switch mirage. The mere thought of writing a list of resolutions left me feeling completely discouraged before I even started.

New Year’s Resolutions had never really worked for me. I would start the year with intense focus and commitment, writing a long list of goals for the next twelve months. But inevitably, six weeks in, I’d be hard pressed to even recall anything on the list. And I definitely never managed to cross even half of them off by the end of the year. (Let’s be honest, usually by December I had no idea where my written list even was.)

Already feeling like a miserable failure, I couldn’t imagine setting myself up to fail yet again with another round of resolutions. So in my own Resolution Revolution, I decided to scrap the whole idea and instead choose just one word to focus on all year long. I figured that one word would at least be memorable, and could serve as a touchstone—something to keep returning to when I needed clarity or anchoring.

I wanted one word to be the filter through which I made decisions, the lens through which I chose to see myself and others, and the compass pointing me to True North. It wasn’t about something I wanted to do so much as it was about who I wanted to become.

And the nudge I felt—the word that kept rising to the surface—absolutely terrified me. It seemed too big. Too daunting. It felt like a loose cannon, and I couldn’t possibly imagine where this word would lead me. But I couldn’t shake it.

So I finally committed to it, and said it out loud, and proclaimed it on my blog: Risk.Even now, a few years later, I take a deep breath just thinking about all the risk that year held for me—or rather all the risk I purposefully pursued that year. I was stretched and challenged in so many ways. And I am a better person for it.

I went on vacation with a bunch of people I’d met only 3 weeks before. I rappelled 100 feet into a Mexican canyon. I prayed risky prayers. I went on an eight-week fundraising trip by myself. I completed a half-marathon. I had difficult conversations, made some really hard decisions, pursued answers for long-term health challenges, and hit publish on especially-vulnerable blog posts.

I was stretched to my limits, but I discovered my limits went farther than I ever anticipated. I was hurt more deeply than I imagined possible, but the plumb line of pain showed me just how deep my heart runs. I trusted again only to have it stolen or abused at times, but I learned that I hadn’t lost that skill entirely. I tentatively opened my heart a bit at a time, but experienced the matchless gift of being loved well. I held my breath as I stepped into potentially joy-filled moments, only to realize I still had laughter in me. I doubted more than I believed, but I saw what a mustard-seed-sized dollop of faith in a mind-blowingly big God can do.

I had a love/hate relationship with risk, but it completely shaped my year. More than that, it completely shaped me.

Would you join me in doing something a little different for 2014? Choose just one word that you can focus on every day, all year long. One word that sums up who you want to be or how you want to live. And remember: If it doesn’t scare you at least a little bit, it’s probably not the right word.

Choose your word and  join the global One Word 365 tribe.   I assure you… It’s worth the risk.

Share your word here through the blog link-up or in the comments.

Here’s how:

  •  If you don’t have a blog, share with us in the comments.  We have the amazing ability to post images in our comments!  So post your words and/or your images there.
  • If you have a blog, write or make art based on the prompt.
  • Be sure to add the Velvet Ashes link ( to your blog post.  Feel free to use the button code from our side bar.
  • Please select the permalink from your post (so not your blog’s url, but your post url:
  • Use the blue linky tool below to enter your link.
  • It will walk you through selecting which image you want to show up in the linky.
  • Then your post will show up in The Grove’s linky.
  • Then go share some comment love!  It’s the rule.  We applaud brave hearts!


  1. Amy Young January 2, 2014

    Alece, I can’t remember when our paths first crossed on this World Wide Web — but when it did, I was drawn to you and the honesty you display. You remind me of Moses. And now here you are, at Velvet Ashes. We are so blessed to have you here!

    1. Alece Ronzino January 3, 2014

      Your words mean so much. Thank you, friend. And thank you for rolling out the welcome mat for me here…

  2. Liz K January 2, 2014

    I am not quiet ready to blog about my word, but here it is
    “For He Himself is our peace.” Eph 2:14.  All I know is I am in desperate need of peace, in our home, in my heart, in our ministry. 

    1. Morielle January 3, 2014

      Dear Liz, I’ll be praying for you, your home, your ministry, this month. I’ll pray that the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. This artwork is absolutely beautiful!

      1. Liz K January 3, 2014

        Thank you so much Morielle!  Goodness knows I need all the prayers I can get 🙂

    2. Alece Ronzino January 3, 2014

      Praying for you as you pursue Peace this year… that you would see/know/feel that Peace is pursuing you.

    3. Carolyn January 3, 2014

      I love your honesty in saying you’re not ready to blog about this yet… peace is definitely one of those words that needs time to sink down deeply and – hibernate? gestate? percolate? for a season.  Praying for you!

      1. Liz K January 3, 2014

        yes, it does need a season.  And I am working through the balance of being honest and sharing with people back home and when the interwebs doesn’t need to know all my junk, you know?  And when and what to share with supporters.  Not trying to be fake, but not everyone needs to know…sigh…this is one of the hard parts of this M life for me.  A life lived out in front of a lot of people who think they have more input than they do.

        1. Carolyn January 3, 2014

          yes. discernment – so important and so hard sometimes.  this is where this community fills such a needed gap – we can share things with each other and understand one another at a deep level that even our beloved family and friends back home can’t necessarily share.

          1. Liz K January 5, 2014

            yep, for which I am thankful!

    4. Anna Craig January 5, 2014

      wow! that is so pretty! I wish I could do art like that 🙂 I’m praying for you that God will give you Peace this year!!!

  3. Danielle Wheeler January 2, 2014

    This is gorgeous, Liz!  Thank you for sharing.  Praying for you right now, that Peace will draw you close.  

    1. Liz K January 3, 2014

      Thanks for the prayers Danielle!  And thanks for the kind words about the print.  It was theraputic for me to work with something so physical, mixing the paint color, making the block, fussing with the print a million times…

  4. Patty January 2, 2014

    I don’t know how many times I’ve said, “Let me just stop and catch my breath” in the past three weeks, recovering from a lung infection. I am getting the message.  Slow down… pause… breathe. 
    It doesn’t seem like such a scary word.  But I live in a city with high levels of pollution.  A perfect metaphor for the ways I often pollute rest and stillness with activity and busyness. 
    So, my hope is to learn to breathe deeply, with fresh air and life-giving rhythms.

    1. Liz K January 3, 2014

      Oh I like this one!  my mom told me once, “you will use childbirth breathing your whole life”  yep!  Breath.

    2. Amy Young January 3, 2014

      AFter my sister had that rare and weird form of pneumonia several years ago, breathing has taken on new meaning! And now my dad has a horrible chest infection and the phrase that “pneumonia is an old person’s friend” (meaning to help them die earlier/easier) — doesn’t ring for me the way it used to. Will be thinking of your lungs dear Patty!

    1. Carolyn January 3, 2014

      I love how God is already showing you all the areas in which He wants you to be intentional!  You could spend a month on each one 🙂

      1. Christie January 3, 2014

        I never thought of focusing on one per month, but that’s a great idea!

  5. Kristi January 2, 2014

    Stop.  This is my word for 2014. 

    The reason being I tend to mire myself in pointless pondering or walk roads of worry while missing out on the delight and joy that my loving Father God brings into the lives of all His children.  Pointless pondering and worry must stop.  But I can’t stop there.  If you take something off you must put something on.  Stopping is where I intend to start. 

    When I stop I want to look and listen.  What blessing and joy can I find in this situation?  What is God telling me as I ride the bus, speak with people, and teach history on a Friday morning?  What is He telling me when things get rough or on those days when I can’t seem to wipe the silly grin off my face?  By stopping I hope to truly enjoy joy and see God’s blessings that can only be found in the not so joyful. I hope that this will help me to take hold of the abundant life God has promised me as one of His children.   I hope it will help me to live life to the full!
    By the way fullness was my word for last year. 🙂

    1. Morielle January 3, 2014

      Kristi, this word choice is so so so inspiring!

    2. Danielle Wheeler January 3, 2014

      I love the questions you ask yourself here.  They’ll be echoing in my head throughout my “stops” in the coming days.

    3. Liz K January 3, 2014

      Oooooo I like this one!!

  6. Jennifer January 3, 2014


    In thinking this week about my word, I was challenged to look back at the things God had spoken to me about over the last year… and was drawn back to something I wrote at the time. That word became my word.  I need to do it as well as think it.

    What I wrote at the time was:

    Balance – what is balance? What does it really mean to have “balance” in your life? Balanced in whose eyes – the world, other people, yourself, or God?

    God’s perspective on balance is not the same as that of the world. Different things are important in His eyes. God tells us to “seek first the kingdom of God” and to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your mind, with all your strength”. The world and other people in general talk a lot about needing to find “balance” in their life – balance between the competing demands of work, relationships, family, relaxation, church, responsibilities. And yet I am forced to admit, confronted by the reality that, a focus upon achieving the “right balance” in the eyes of the world, other people, or even myself, is NOT the right or the best approach to take.

    What really, really matters is God’s perspective – what he thinks, what he wants, what he is calling us to do and to be. If we measure ourselves by the standards of the world and other people then we will be likely to sell ourselves short and fail to achieve God’s very best for us.

    God’s plan for each of us is unique, is different to that of anybody else. He knows the plans he has for each of us. He knows what He created us for. He knows His very best for us. He knows our full potential in Him.

    In facing the question of what it means to have balance in your life it is important that God and what He has called you to do and to be is the focus, not what the world or any other person is saying [though it is important to recognize that other people are definitely one way God speaks to us].

    Get your relationship right with God. Put Him in the first place He should be in. Put Him first. Listen to Him – to what He is saying to you – to what he is calling you to do and to be – and then just DO IT. It may not be balanced in the eyes of the world or anybody else – but in the end that really does not matter. What really matters is God’s perspective – and what he has called us to do and to be. Everything else will fall into place.

    1. Morielle January 3, 2014

      Jennifer,  this is wonderful. I too have been struggling to figure out what balance means for a Christian, and wow, did I find your reflections helpful. The Christian perspective is soooo different from the contemporary secular buzzword balance, isn’t it?

    2. Danielle Wheeler January 3, 2014

      Makes me think about how crazy and “unbalanced” our overseas lives seem in the eyes of the world.  But exactly what you said, what matter is what God has called us to do and to be.

    3. Alece Ronzino January 3, 2014

      “What really matters is God’s perspective – and what he has called us to do and to be. Everything else will fall into place.” YES. THIS.

    4. Carolyn January 3, 2014

      “What really matters is God’s perspective – what he thinks, what he wants, what he is calling us to do and to be.” YES. And listening to His voice, we can navigate the balance He has planned for each day (easy to say, hard to do!!)… wanting to walk in the Spirit with you, Jennifer!

    5. Christie January 3, 2014

      I’ve been working through issues with balance, too, and your comment inspired me.  🙂

    6. Anna Craig January 5, 2014

      Oh I love this word choice! Balance can be so difficult!

  7. Danielle Wheeler January 3, 2014

    We intended for all of us to share our own One Words, but we never considered having a One Word for Velvet Ashes, a word that would cast our shared vision for 2014.  An inspiration came came, so a spontaneous, unplanned post will appear tomorrow.  But here’s the word:  Create!  What do you see Velvet Ashes creating?  What do you hope to see created in the coming year?

    1. Alece Ronzino January 3, 2014

      Love that you’ve chosen a word for the Velvet Ashes community this year!

    2. Cecily January 3, 2014

      Am thankful for this new place of sharing.  If it is okay to be honest at this moment, I have to say that I am struggling with singleness on the field.  I hope that, as we all share together, whether single or married, that we will CREATE a place where there is comfort and inclusiveness even for those who are like me.  ~Sorry to be so self-centered in this statement–:(

      1. Carolyn January 3, 2014

        Not self-centered!  Very welcome!  So many of us have struggled or are still struggling with singleness… please keep being honest!  This is a safe place, and I pray with you that it is comforting and inclusive.

        1. Cecily January 3, 2014

          Thanks, Carolyn, for your welcoming response.  Made me cry, but not a bad cry 🙂

      2. Danielle Wheeler January 3, 2014

        Oh Cecily!  Thank you for being so honest and vulnerable.  We absolutely want you to feel comfortable and included here. Velvet Ashes is for you!  We have some amazing posts on singleness coming up this month.  We hope these will help to create a space of encouragement and camaraderie for you.

        1. Cecily January 4, 2014

          Thanks, Danielle.  I do feel quite vulnerable, but I also feel welcome.  With TRUTH being my theme for the year, I realize that I need to look at some untrue things that I have believed about my singleness.  Sounds like this might be a place where I can here some TRUTH!  Thanks for caring.

      3. Morielle January 4, 2014

        Dear Cecily, I am so with you. I struggled with singleness in my home country but I had no idea how much harder it would be thousands of miles away. No idea. In many ways, what you wrote above was the most encouraging thing I could possibly have read: the honest words of someone who struggles as I do and who also longs for a place of support in that struggle. From now on, as I pray for strength and for guidance and for God to use my singleness to help me and those around me, I will pray not just for me but for both of us. In fact, for all of us.

        1. Cecily January 4, 2014

          Morielle, thank you so much for your reply and for your prayers.  After I read your note, I realized that I don’t really have any long-term single friends who are here with me on the field.  I have some, but they don’t live in my city and we talk quite infrequently.  It’s no wonder that I feel so isolated and the enemy can easily convince me that there is nobody struggling like me and I need to keep quiet.  So glad to know that I am not alone and I don’t have to hide.

    3. Cecily January 4, 2014

      So thankful for Velvet ashes!  As I am challenged to insist upon truth this year (and from now on!), I started making daily confessions based on the promises God has made.  One promise He made is that He will set the lonely in families (Psalm 68:6).  I began this confession, not knowing how the Lord would fulfill it, but look!  He has placed me in this family here.  I guess it is obvious that I feel embraced because I keep writing 🙂  (Hopefully I am not abusing my privileges!)  Thanks for creating a family for the lonely.

      1. Danielle Wheeler January 5, 2014

        Yes!  We are here to be family.  So glad you’re feeling that embrace.  And of course you’re not abusing privileges!! 🙂

  8. M'Lynn January 3, 2014

    GRATITUDE. If I can keep an attitude of gratitude, so many things that creep up and attempt to steal my joy will be seen in a different light. It’s nothing new and earth shattering, but, like Danielle said in her post, once your word finds you there’s not much you can do about it. I’m looking forward to whatever it is God wants to teach me this year as I focus on gratitude. Hoping to blog about it because it’s not fully realized yet.

    1. Alece Ronzino January 3, 2014

      You are so right about how gratitude reframes our challenges and circumstances. Gonna be an amazing journey for you this year, M’Lynn…

    2. Cecily January 4, 2014

      M’Lynn, I thought of you this morning as I was reading in Colossians.  Check this out:

      Colossians 2:6-7 (NIV2011)
      So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.

      May you overflow throughout the year!



  9. Cecily January 3, 2014


    On 12/31/13 the Lord showed me that the primary source of my problems (fears, dreads, sorrows, etc.) was that I was believing things about Him that were simply not true.  I was basing my beliefs about God on my experiences, circumstances, what people said and did (or didn’t say or do) rather than basing my beliefs on the truth spelled out in the Bible.  So I am challenged to hold the truth that I read in the Bible above all else, which means that I will put my faith in this truth, which will give the Lord opportunity to manifest His power in my life.

    1. Kristi January 3, 2014

      I really understand this struggle.  There have been so many times in my life when a strong dose of truth would have turned sorrow into dancing and fretting into praise!

    2. Alece Ronzino January 3, 2014

      Oh man… This resonates with me. All too often I find the lies so much easier to cling to than the Truth, when the opposite should be true…

    3. Carolyn January 3, 2014

      I think you are in for a transformative year, Cecily!  Exciting!  “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

  10. Carolyn January 3, 2014

    I love having a Velvet Ashes group word we mull over together throughout the year – with “create” it should be a beautiful, thought-provoking year of renewal!

  11. Ashley Felder January 3, 2014

    Ok, I linked up with my word, but let me tell you, this wasn’t easy. Not only choosing a word (my process seemed a bit random), but already having the fear that I’m going to fail at remembering my word. Remembering that He indeed give it to me, “random” as it seemed, and that He did so for a reason. Here’s to hoping I remember that change desperately needs to happen in this area and I have to have it in the forefront of my mind for that to happen.

  12. Joellen January 3, 2014

    My “one word” this year is BOLD. My first bold act is posting it 🙂 As I write and erase my comment many times, I realize that this is definitely going to stretch me. Thanks for a safe place to be stretched…

    1. Danielle Wheeler January 3, 2014

      Oh, I want to stand and applaud you and your bold word! LOVE that this was your first bold act.  A safe place to be stretched…all of us together!!

    2. Patty Stallings January 12, 2014

      Let me join the chorus of kudos to you, Joellen, for your boldness!  May the stretching bring joy at being able to reach new things!

  13. Colleen January 3, 2014

    I went with KNOWN. I want to remember that not only am I loved, but KNOWN by my Savior. I do not have to pretend to be okay. I do not have to do anything to be worthy of the life. I do not have to hide my mistakes, failures and sins. I do have to impress anyone. I do not have to be afraid that if He really knew me, it would all be over.

    So I can stop shying away from intimacy with the Lord. Stop viewing Him like a boss I have to please with my work ethic. And spend the year drawing close. Being known by the Lover of my soul.

    1. Danielle Wheeler January 3, 2014

      I hope this is true for me too… a year of being close and known by the Lover.

    2. Kristi January 3, 2014

      Being known can be so scary.  I too have avoided being known.  As you said we don’t have to be afraid that if he really knew us it “would be all over.”  He delights in who we are and in who we are becoming because that is how He makes and remakes us in His own image.  I think that when I “stop”  I will remember that I am known. Thank you.

    3. Carolyn January 4, 2014

      I love this: “I can stop shying away from intimacy with the Lord. Stop viewing Him like a boss I have to please with my work ethic. And spend the year drawing close. Being known by the Lover of my soul.”  I subconsciously view him like a boss too, Colleen, more than I’d care to admit… calling Him “the Lover of my soul” feels so – invading?  And yet as I listen to Him (my word is “listen”), he continues to repeat how much He loves me, and knows me, and wants to be known by me… which is the definition of intimacy, isn’t it?  And don’t I want intimacy with Him?  More than anything…. I think to myself, but then I realize that’s not actually true.  So often I sacrifice intimacy for the illusion of control and independence.

    4. Alece Ronzino January 5, 2014

      This is so, so good, Colleen. Makes me think of the passage in Genesis where Hagar calls God “the God who sees…”

  14. Emily March January 3, 2014

    Be.  That’s my word this year.  Be.  I am going to write it out in many different languages and put them up on my walls at home.  (I love languages, so that will help this word become more apart of me.)  Yesterday, I realized that I need to stop trying so hard at fixing (or controlling…micromanaging…etc.) everything around me.  I need to stop worrying about things that may or may not even be true…  I just need to be.  I need to BE the daughter of my King, and let Him BE Him!  I need to just BE the positive optimist that I know I am.  I need to just BE forgiven instead of constantly seeking it.  I need to just let it BE (whatever “it” is) and not worry about it.  For me, this encompasses words like TRUST, STILLNESS, SURRENDER, and FORGIVENESS, all of which could have been good words for this year.  You see, God has put the truth in my head for every situation.  I know the “right answers.”  I just need to learn how to live them with my heart.  “…being content in any and every situation. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”…if only I could just BE.

    1. Carolyn January 4, 2014

      Oh man.  I resonated with literally every word you said here!  “BE still, and know that I am God” can also be translated “CEASE STRIVING”, and I’m a classic striver.  I love what you said here: “I know the “right answers.”  I just need to learn how to live them with my heart.”  So true for me too!!

    2. Alece Ronzino January 5, 2014

      Oh goodness, this resonates! I can be such a do-er that I really struggle to just stop and BE.

  15. Michelle Sessoms January 3, 2014


    Ask for help.  Ask for support.  Ask for prayer.  Ask for my heart’s desires. Ask people to join us on this journey.  Ask for ministry partners.  Maybe even ask for a life partner.

    Fear of rejection consumes us.  Sometimes we do not ask because we do not feel worthy of being allowed to ask.  Sometimes we don’t ask because we’re afraid of the answer, even if that answer is “yes.”  Because a “yes” means change, and change, even good change, secretly terrifies us.  We tack on “if God wills it” at the end of our sentences almost as we need some kind of disclaimer for daring to ask at all.

    “Ask of me and I will give the nations…” He promises.

    “Ask…seek…knock,” He invites.

    “Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than we ask or imagine” we exclaim.

    This year I will learn how to ASK.

    1. Liz K January 3, 2014

      oh!  I want this word too!

    2. Kristi January 3, 2014

      Thanks for sharing this, Michelle.  Oh what could be ours if we would only just ask.  I have tacked on that “if God wills”  for the reason you stated.  As you said He invites us to ask. So what are we waiting for?  I think that as I “stop” I will listen for His invitation to ask.  🙂

    3. Carolyn January 4, 2014

      I love your honesty, Michelle.  I don’t ask easily either.  I think, for me, it’s because I feel guilty for not having what it takes all by myself… which of course is a lie, and a silly one to believe, because who can live this life all by herself??  (hence, this lovely community!)  On my bulletin board above my desk I have in big letters, “Ask for what you need.”  I resist asking (because it feels like admitting weakness (!)) until I’m absolutely desperate, and then I ask with resentment and judgement in my tone as if trying condemn the other person (usually my poor, wonderful husband) for not seeing my need automatically and running to meet it!  Boy, that’s messed up.  Glad this is a safe place 🙂

    4. Alece Ronzino January 5, 2014

      “almost as if we need some kind of disclaimer for daring to ask at all.” Oh man. YES.



    5. Patty Stallings January 12, 2014

      So fun to see you here, Michelle!  Asking with you today!

  16. Danielle Wheeler January 3, 2014

    “We tack on ‘if God wills it’ at the end of our sentences almost as we need some kind of disclaimer for daring to ask at all.”  Wow, this is bold and true.   You’re right, he promises, he invites.  Why do we hesitate?     

  17. Elise S January 4, 2014


    It was hard to choose just one word – so many presented themselves.  I’ve been convicted this year to think more about others…I think waaay too much about myself.  What would happen if I spent each day looking for opportunities to give more: more time, more money, more effort, more presence?  What would happen if I focused on others instead of what I want to say/think/do next?  So how about Give?  But how can I give unless I remember where the stuff I’m giving comes from?  GIFT.  May I be daily reminded of His gift to me – Himself.  May I be reminded that nothing I have is mine.  May I share the gift of Him with others, as well as “my” time, talents, and resources.

    Oh, and hi!  I’ve been reading all along, but this is my first post/comment.  I’m excited to see what this year brings for everyone (and especially looking forward to those talks on singleness – I’m struggling right along with you)!

    1. Cecily January 4, 2014

      Elise, your theme for 2014 was mine for the month of December.  Since I was spending the holidays away from my family, I wanted to be busy making the holiday nice for others.  I baked  more than 20 loaves of banana bread and at least three batches of peanut butter cookies.  And along with the baked goods, the Lord encouraged me to gift wrap New Testaments and give them away, too.  In a town where Bibles are hard to come by, with the help and encouragement of the Lord, I gave away about 125 New Testaments.  I was busy from morning to night for the ten days before Christmas, and so full of joy as I gave with love.  It’s no wonder I crashed and burned on the day after Christmas, which also happens to be my birthday.

      Glad we can figure out this singleness thing together.  May the Lord bless you and encourage your heart this day.

      1. Elise S January 5, 2014

        Thanks for the encouragement, Cecily!  I’m impressed by all your gift-giving last month – that’s a lot of Books and baked goods. 🙂  I often get stressed out around Christmas, trying to find the perfect thing for the people in my life…but I don’t want that to happen this year.  I want my giving to be filled with joy!

    2. Alece Ronzino January 5, 2014

      I love love love this, Elise! “What would happen if I spent each day looking for opportunities to give more?” So powerful…

  18. Jen January 4, 2014

    Refresh 2 years ago, my husband and I chose a word that truely took complete surrender…suffering.  And suffering we saw in our life.  This year I hear the word refresh.  It is with some fear that I even chose that word, because I fear the future and why I must need this refreshment, I feel as though it may be the type of refreshment that is done before a long journey.

    1. Danielle Wheeler January 5, 2014

      I love that you chose this word, because when I think of you, I think of how refreshing your friendship has been to me.  So, so thankful that we get to journey together.  Thanks for joining here, friend.

    2. Patty Stallings January 12, 2014

      Sometimes when we’ve been through a hard season, we continue to brace ourselves for the “no’s”.  I’m hoping you’re entering a season of “YES’s”!  Father, refresh Jen in the very depths of her being!

  19. Amanda G January 4, 2014

    I wasn’t sure if I was going to do the “one word” since I wasn’t sure if I was ready to just jump on the bandwagon because everyone else was doing it. Then I was going to wait until I was on vacation in Thailand later this month to really think through and process and decide on a word that was just right.
    But then I had a conversation with a friend this week and as we were processing this past semester and looking ahead toward the future, a word jumped out at me and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it.
    I’ve been feeling the beginnings of burn-out and busyness and lacking enjoyment in activities I normally would enjoy. Joy seems like just the right word.
    Joy in my work and play. Joy in my relationship with the Father. Joy (and contentment) in my singleness. Joy through laughter. Joy in my attitude. Joy through the changes and transitions that life overseas always brings.
    I’m looking forward to spending time in Thailand thinking through Joy – what the Bible really says about it and what areas in my life could be transformed through Joy.

    1. Alece Ronzino January 5, 2014

      Choosing joy now to combat the growing burnout is an incredible act of faith, Amanda.

    2. Amy Young January 5, 2014

      You know I wasn’t going to jump on the bandwagon either 🙂 … and then “I will renew your joy” jumped on me and “joy” was my start at this whole oneword thing :). Glad it’s pounced on you too!!!

  20. One Word: Dependence | Anna in China January 4, 2014

    […] what word to choose when I first read the Velvet Ashes post about one word. But as I thought of one word for 2014, the Father kept bringing the word dependence to my mind. I have to say I initially wanted to […]

  21. Anna Scianna January 4, 2014

    I linked up…but as some others have said, I have to admit as I pressed publish, sharing my word seemed  a little scary–like I was letting go of something, but it’s also exciting to see so many of us as we journey together and to think of how we will see his faithfulness in unexpected ways this year.

    1. Alece Ronzino January 5, 2014

      There is so much power (and therefore so much fear) in saying our word out loud!

    2. Patty Stallings January 12, 2014

      Yay for you, Anna, for pressing publish!  Glad to see you here!

  22. Jo January 4, 2014

    So, my word is nurture.  I flirted with ‘create’ (but it was too wrapped-up in pink paint and glitter for me to take it as anything other than an admonishment for not spending more of my time getting my toddlers to do arts and crafts!), I wondered about ‘patience’ (but of course that too was a reminder that I need more of it, rather than an encouragement to do anything about it), I stumbled on ‘calm’ (but again – too much like a telling-off!)… then I found ‘nurture’.  Perfect for me.  I sat with it for a while and realised that this was the encouragement I needed to put energy into relationships, to discipline my kids not because their behaviour has annoyed me, but because I’m developing them in their understanding, to listen to music and read books that will grow me as a believer, to care for people serving alongside me…  So many possibilities.  For me, it’s not a scary word, as such, but it IS one that puts me back in the place I should have been in all along – one that encourages rather than admonishes. Makes me think of others as well as makes me look after myself.  Thank you for the idea.  I like it a lot!

    1. Alece Ronzino January 5, 2014

      Love hearing your process of choosing your word… and you said you “sat with it for a while” before you decided “nurture” was exactly what you needed.

    2. Carolyn January 6, 2014

      I LOVE this word… and I so enjoyed reading your thoughts on it!  I have toddlers too, and I love that the word you chose sets you free from guilt and gives you such a beautiful, positive picture to focus on – instead of the hair-pulling frustration and patience-testing that happens all day long!  I also love how “nurture” reminds me that I can nurture my kids as I am nurtured by Christ… that He is there like a warm, caring ‘mother’ to put His arms around me, and fill me with all the patience and peace I need!  Such a good reminder today – thank you so much for sharing, Jo!

  23. Cecily January 4, 2014

    Jo, Nurture sounds like a great word for the year, especially in the way you explain it.  As I think about what you wrote, I think about the Lord’s nurturing care for us.  And it is evident that you understand this nurture from Him and want to give it likewise to your kids and to others.  Thanks for some fresh thoughts about NURTURE.

  24. Denise January 6, 2014

    I have not done this kind of thing before (picking a word for the year)  and even though I am in the “mature” woman age group I do not tend to be very introspective. I have strong opinions, like and dislikes, but I tend not to dwell in thought, or even day dream much. I am very active doing things and getting things done. So the word that came to me was “Simplify”. Slow down and see what is important. What is simple in the things I do, the things I own, etc. I think it will be an interesting year.

    1. Alece Ronzino January 6, 2014

      Simply is such a great word, Denise… It is not easy in our culture of busy-ness and chaos…

    2. Patty Stallings January 12, 2014

      So glad to see you here, Denise!  When I think of you, I think of bravery!  🙂  May this season of simplifying bring you strength and energy and deep abiding peace and rest!

  25. Krysta January 6, 2014

    I have decided that my word for 2014 will be “delight”.  “Delight yourself in the Lord” is the main thought behind that, but having the ability to delight in everything – the big stuff is easy, the small stuff is harder, but the bad stuff is definitely a struggle.  I believe that we need to see EVERY thing in our lives as being there because God thought it would be helpful for us, in some way or another, and we should be happy no matter what our circumstances are.  So my word is “delight”.  =-)

  26. Debbie January 7, 2014

    Gosh I have been toying with this one word for a while.  I have thought of several but think I should stick with the first one.  Sometimes I feel ashamed to even say it.  I think it is friend.  Learning to be a better friend.  Not sure where me and the Lord will go with it.  We are doing a 12 week course called fascinate and I thought that could maybe be my word.  It sounds good and fun, but I still think God is saying friend. A friend with others but I also think a friend with Jesus.  Like in the shack going out and looking at the stars together.  Enjoying each others company.  Laughing, crying together.

  27. Cecily January 7, 2014

    Debbie, I am excited for you, where your FRIEND theme will take you this year!  When I read your post I thought about one of my favorite songs by Wayne Watson.  It’s called “Wouldn’t That Be Something.”  I would encourage you to look it up and read the lyrics (I did see a site where you can purchase the song, if you like it).  (There are other songs by the same title, so be sure you find Watson’s lyrics.)  Look forward to hearing your input throughout the year 🙂

    1. Debbie January 8, 2014

      Thank you so much Cecily.  I just got the song and will check it out.  Sounded good, fun and thoughtful for the little bit I heard.  Thanks for your input!

  28. Michelle January 7, 2014

    My word is honor.  As so many have shared, I feel like it found me.  I was not going to do this, did not think I wanted to.  But I am really digging in and starting to search what it means to me: I found 21 references about it, 8 of them referencing our parents; it is paired with thanksgiving, and words like exalt/glorify/regard are used interchangeably.  I am more and more excited to see how this word and all it means will affect my life this year.

  29. Sarah Moulding February 5, 2014

    OK so this is a little late, but just wanted to throw it out there as a first baby step in opening up and working on what my word for this year is all about – Relationship.


    1. Cecily February 7, 2014

      Really like your “Relationship” artwork, Sarah.  It says a lot!

  30. Danielle Wheeler February 6, 2014

    I read your comment in email, and planned to come comment and say “Hooray for baby steps!”  But then I came and saw your work of art.  And this, I’d say, is more than a baby step! LOVE the interconnected, messy beauty that is “relationship.”  Welcome to journeying here!

  31. Danielle Wheeler May 11, 2014

    Hi OneWord Ladies!  Can you believe we’re nearly to the middle of 2014??  Coming up in June we’re going to have a One Word Check-In week here at Velvet Ashes.  So what have you been learning about your One Word so far this year?  Write about it and then send your submission to info(at)velvetashes(dot)com.  We’ll choose some of your posts to feature that week at Velvet Ashes, and then everyone can share and link up at The Grove.

    Write to info(at)velvetashes(dot)com ASAP and let me know if you’re interested in sending in a submission.  You submissions are due by May 23rd to be considered for a feature.

    So excited to hear what God has been doing with you and your One Word!

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