One Little Word

Around this time each year, in the scrapbooking world, everyone starts discussing, and sometimes obsessing over, a certain thing. This thing has caught my interest every year since I joined a scrapbooking community, but I’ve never chosen to participate.

This year, I finally feel like I’m in the right place to begin this thing, this journey, that scrapbookers talk about each year.

The project was inspired by Ali Edwards, and she teaches a class in it, too. The idea is that each person comes up with one little word for the year. People do different things with this word. Some people just meditate on it for the year. Some people document it, scrapping how that word relates to their life throughout the year. Some people make it a central focus in their house- making a visible, tangible place to exhibit this. Others keep it simple. There are a lot of different ways you can add focus to this word.

For me, I’m hoping to just pick a word, and see where it goes. This year, my word is growth. I feel like I am at that point in life where there is so much opportunity for growth… all I have to do is try to capitalize on those opportunities.

I think about the person I was exactly one year ago, getting ready to bring in the new year.

I was lying to myself. A lot. I was convincing myself that I loved someone, just because we had a common tie (I was pregnant), and trying to convince myself that the things he did weren’t dragging me down.
I was lying to my family, protecting them from the hurt they would find if they ever knew the horrible things my fiance was capable of, or the ways he was luring me into compromising things I held dear.
I was going through the motions at church. I was attending a church I hadn’t been growing in for years, I was just… dead, spiritually. I was working through guilt, anger, and hurt, and I was trying to do so without God’s support, strong-arming my way through it.
I was emotional. I was a roller-coaster. My hormones didn’t help, but everything just seemed to feel like it weighed a thousand times more than it did.
I felt ALONE. Alone in my relationship with my fiance, alone with my relationship with my family, alone in my walk with God… just… completely solitary.

Things started to improve when I ended things with my fiance. They got even better when I broke ties with my former church and began seeking out a powerful, committed, on-fire church home. Things improved even further as I drew closer to my family, closer to my home, and closer to the people who loved me.

I went through a lot in the past year. An unplanned pregnancy, a major break up, leaving my church, my heart failure, the birth of my son (on my miscarried child’s due date, no less), and a whole heck of a lot more.

If any of you watch Desperate Housewives, there’s this moment for Bree. After Orson leaves her, she sits in her home, quietly. She sees a small corner of wallpaper that is peeling, so she reaches up and smooths it back against the wall. It peels out again, so she smooths it, again and again. And then finally, when she knows it won’t go back together, she just tears. She rips the wallpaper off of the wall. She goes around the room, ripping and tearing every piece of wallpaper off of the walls, destroying it, until, when daylight breaks, she is standing in a room, hair mussed (and for those who know Bree, they know how out of character this is), with piles and piles of shredded wallpaper around her feet.

That, I think, is how my life is right now. I started out by just trying to smooth out a problem area, a quick fix, so I could go back to ignoring the problem.

Then, I realized the problem wasn’t going away. I ripped, and I tore, and I shredded. I pulled and pulled until dawn was breaking, the light was coming in, and I was standing, in the middle of my tattered life, all of the hurt and anger and aggression, all off of the walls, ready for that new beginning.

And that’s where growth comes in. I could let myself sit in that room, watching the wallpaper peel. Or, I could get to that critical step where my contractor asks “What did you do, remove the wallpaper with a puma?” Or, I could actually go that extra step, and grow. Grow out of the carnage. Grow out of the hurt, and the sadness. Grow from my past mistakes, and grow from the train wrecks I couldn’t avoid. I need to grow new life where my old live has died off. I need to grow as a mother, as a Christian, as a daughter and sister.

Growth is an essential part of my life. Right now, I have the chance to grow in my faith, grow closer to God. I need to grow as a mother, grow into more patience and grow out of the stress and limitations I put on myself.

There is a lot that “growth” could mean to me. I guess until I embark on this journey, though, I’ll probably not have all of the answers to what growth is going to do in my life over the next year.

Even if you aren’t part of the scrapbooking community, I encourage you to pick one word, one thought, that you can meditate on for the year. Maybe you’ll do something with it- journaling, an inspiration board, a board on your Pinterest account, something. Or maybe you will just ponder the idea for a year. But whatever you do with it, I challenge you to pick one thing, one word, that you feel really embraces what you want from the year to come.

I would love to hear what your word is in the comments below.



  1. This would be helpful to anyone who reads. Their lifes could be in total tatters or with just a rip or two, but we all need to grow closer to God and closer to family. I thank my word is going to be “OTHERS”. I need to focus more on God and others instead of myself. Thank you Jenni for your blog, it gives me so much to thank about. Maybe we can be partners with each other, lean on each other, hold each other responsible and encourage each other.

  2. Wow Jenni… Sometimes my english feels too poor to express how moving and terrific something is… And this post is one of those things. Love how honest you are and how clearly you see things. Very inspirational, thank you so much! ❤

  3. Jenni, you are an amazing person and such an inspiration to all. I have been following your blog for a while now and it is amazing on how much one person can inspire another. I am going to take on the challenge of choosing a word. My word for 2012 is going to be Focus. I know there is so much in my life right now that needs to be focused on. I would like to thank you for being such an inspiration. I am thinking about dusting off my blog or just starting a new one and get back into my writing. Blogging about my word just might be the way that I can stick with it through out the year.

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