One little word: 2017

My One Little Word for 2015 was grace. Boy, I had no idea how much of it I would need. I had wanted to be the one projecting grace. But God had a much more humbling plan for me. Mr. Thistle’s job that moved us to Nashville came to an abrupt end, we moved back to Georgia in the middle of an ice storm, the mister’s new job required quite a lot of travel (we’d spent the last 10 years mostly never apart so this was a bit of a shock to our system), we found out I was pregnant 3 months later because #wivesoftravelingmisters, and I became pretty ill due to a number of pregnancy complications. I spent most of 2015 housebound and alone. I could barely muster up the energy to brush my teeth let alone socialize over coffee with friends or make playdates for the boys. I spent 2015 just trying to keep my head above water.

One little word


Didn’t give much, needed a whole lot, found it in the most unlikely places (usually from a very compassionate 6 and 9 year old who made me one proud mama all year).

I didn’t even try to pick a word when 2016 rolled around. I surely have a lot of words to describe it now that I’m at the end of it: 

Hard. Exhausting. Refining. Revealing.

Based on my Instagram feed I’d say a lot of people are ready to be done with 2016. It was a tough year. There were a lot of moments that left me disenchanted with humanity. It seemed as if world events just kept coming at us, punching us in the gut, kicking us when we were down.

But that was outside our home. Inside our 4 walls there were a lot of moments that could’ve made my heart burst had they been any fuller. I am constantly amazed at how kind and compassionate the boys are. They really had to prop their mama up last year and adjust to life with a brand new baby sister this year. They had to do a lot of growing up in the last two years and I’m so proud of them for handling it so well. The world might’ve been crumbling around us but dang if my core family wasn’t steady and strong!

I’m starting to gush and get off topic here though.

The point is 2015 and 2016 brought a lot more than I expected. I had no idea how God would use my one little word – grace. And, to be honest, 2017’s word wasn’t even on my radar. So much has happened in the last two years, so much revealed, so much that caught me off guard spiritually, physically, relationally, that I’ve been in a bit of a stupor.

But the other night, lying in bed, it hit me. Loud and clear.


There are so many things I want to be. A peaceful mom, a less nagging wife, a better friend, a better Christian, more organized, a “real” artist, more patient.

And I always feel like I hold a yard stick up to those things and say, “nope, not quite there” and then I get discouraged and let myself think that, because I fall a little short (or a lot), I’m none of those at all. Just an imposter who wants to be those things but really isn’t.

Too often I lament to Mr. Thistle that I want to be this or be that but there’s never enough time/money/resources and I camp out in the land of “if only” and get a bad case of “the grass is always greener.”

Before I was a mom I liked to immerse myself in things. If I was going to do something it was all or nothing. The reality is, as a mom of 3, that mentality leaves a lot of goals falling in the “nothing” column. I can’t always give something my full attention. In fact, I rarely have time to indulge in full-attention activities. I might have to scratch out a doodle while the baby sleeps in my arms. Or listen to a podcast while navigating the wilds of Atlanta traffic on the way to hockey practice. I might have to settle for one chapter of a book at a time rather than devouring it in one or two readings. If I wait until I have long, uninterrupted stretches of time to focus on the things I want to do I’ll never do them.

So this year I’m throwing out my yard stick and I’m just going to try to Be. Even if it doesn’t live up to my standard. I’m going to start being who God says I am and measure it by His standard. Are my intentions pure? Is it beneficial for my family? Good for personal/spiritual growth? Is it fulfilling a call? And, I’m going to roll over my word that carried me through 2015-2016 and give myself the grace to just Be.

one little word
Be creative.

Be patient.

Be organized.

Be obedient.

Be gentler.

Be disciplined.

Be better.

Be brave.

Be bold.

And when I fall short, because I will, I’ll Be ready to rely on the Lord’s strength, rather than my own to get me back on track.

The one thing I’ll never be? Perfect.

So I’m to let go of striving for perfection before I can claim to Be something and I’m just going to try to be who God already says I am.

This year I’m telling myself to stop talking about being something and just Be it already.

You wanna be a blogger? Then be a blogger! Who cares if you only blog once a quarter?! Still a blogger.

You wanna be organized? Be organized! Who cares if your desk is a mess right now? Get up and do the next thing to move closer to the goal.

Yes, I’m 33 and I still don’t have a great system for dealing with laundry. But this year I’m claiming that I’ll be better.

The good news is that most of the things I want to Be are a matter of perspective and attitude. And those are things that I don’t need resources or time or money to achieve. My word for 2015-2016 actually props up my word for 2017. There’s grace given while I work on who I want to be.

Thank goodness.

Here’s to 2017 being better than 2016.



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