Happy New Year! I hope that your year is off to a promising start! I’ve missed you these past couple of weeks, but feel refreshed and rejuvenated from my mini break. Our family of three inaugurated the year with a fun and (mostly) relaxing ten days with extended family in California, and I’ve spent this past week doing some spring cleaning and reacclimating to normal, post-holiday life. As much as I love Christmas, I always feel a subtle sense of relief when we move past the craziness of the holiday season, and I appreciate the fresh start of a new year.
We can’t really talk about a new year and all of its potential without addressing the topic of resolutions. If you’re a longtime reader, you’re aware of my tumultuous relationship with goals and resolutions. In my younger years I optimistically began each year with lists of resolutions I pledged to achieve. These sky-high goals were a recipe for failure, something my inner perfectionist did not handle well. 
Over time I’ve realized that smaller, short-term goals work best for me, and 2016 marked the first year when I relinquished resolutions altogether. Old habits die hard, though, and I knew I couldn’t let go of New Year’s goals without finding a replacement . . . which led me to choosing an annual Word of the Year
My word for 2015—Open—was selected to get me in a flexibility mindset during in my first year of parenting. Last year’s word was Integrity, and I focused on living a life more fully in line with my personal values. Though neither word completely revolutionized my attitude or actions, my words set the tone for their respective years and established me as a Word of the Year enthusiast.
Early last fall, I began contemplating the word I would select as my theme for 2017. I wanted a word that would guide my day-to-day life and also serve as a framework for viewing big-picture issues and events. This past year was a rough one for many people, and I had a hard time processing it all. How should I respond to all of the fear, hate, and chaos that surrounded me? Where should I begin if I wanted to make a meaningful difference? The word that kept coming back to me was an obvious one: Love. So simple, yet so fitting for me and my life right now.
And so, 2017 will be my year of radical love. I will strive to grow in my relationship with God, and in doing so I hope to reflect His love to others. I will be more loving to strangers, to acquaintances, to family and friends, to people across the world, to those in my own home, and even towards myself. It’s a big goal, but straightforward enough to be achievable. 
In my quest to be more loving this year, I plan to embark on small monthly challenges that will give focus to my theme. Not only will this keep my word at the forefront of my mind, but it will also be a way of holding myself accountable to being loving throughout the year. I plan to share some of these challenges here on the blog, as an extra measure of accountability, and perhaps to inspire you to be more loving in 2017, too! 
I am excited about my word for this year, and look forward to seeing the ways in which God uses it to affect change around me and in me.
Did you select a word for 2017? If so, please share it with me! And if you haven’t picked a word yet, but think you might like to, it’s not too late! This post from My One Word is a great place to get started.
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