I hope that sharing my #OneWord for 2024 and the books I’m reading will encourage one of you to choose a word or devotion to focus on this year. I don’t always choose #OneWord to define or focus my year. The last time I chose a #OneWord was 2022, choosing PRAY. I focused on adding more prayer to my daily routine and changed up how I pray, not just asking for things in my prayers but more of a conversation with God. It was extremely impactful on my relationship with God and I still pray daily.
As I neared the end of 2023, I wondered if I would choose a word for 2024. I hadn’t chosen one in 2023 so I didn’t give it a lot of thought. But, I kept seeing the word STRETCH show up in different ways and I considered it and eventually decided it was the word I needed for 2024.
A lot changed in my life in 2023. Physically, I’ve been dealing with symptoms of menopause and my doctor confirmed it. Our daughter graduated high school and left for college making Pat and I empty nesters. I tried something new at my job that was completely out of my comfort zone and worked my brain in new ways. Finally, my dad died in December. It was unexpected in a way that he was fairly stable, but also knowing he was 91 and had health issues, we knew our time was limited. Still, we didn’t expect it to happen in December at all. I’ve been feeling out of sorts these last few weeks and realized having a #OneWord to focus on would benefit me this year.
When I think about the word, STRETCH, I think of all the ways I need to stretch in my life. I have been working on stretching and moving my body every day to help with the inflammation and joint pains. I am continuing to look for ways to stretch my brain with new tasks, new puzzles, and new activities that keep my brain active. Seeing my mom struggle with forgetfulness after the stress of this last month only reminds me that stress can affect my brain and body in awful ways and I need to do everything I can to stay sharp as I age.
I also want to stretch my comfort zone in sharing about the books I read and share here, specifically on social media. I’m not very techy, but I want to learn how to find new ways to stretch myself and share books in new and different ways than I have before.
Some things I’m also doing to STRETCH my faith are reading a few books. At bedtime, I am reading the daily prayer book, JESUS, CALM MY HEART. Who knew how much I would need this book? Every night I am in awe of God placing this book before me. The words Ruth Schwenk is sharing have been a balm to my soul. I’m also picking up a book I’ve been reading off and on, SEEING BEAUTIFUL AGAIN by Lysa Terkeurst with a goal to finish it this year.
This month I’ll also be joining other women as part of the RIGHT NOW MATTERS Study. We will read these two books and meet weekly to discuss them. Our church is also doing a study on the book, SIMON PETER, as part of our women’s group. We will start this book in February.
As 2023 ended, I finished a book I read nearly every night, TOOLS FOR LIFE by Dr. James Coyle. He has family in the area and I met him at a wedding where we had numerous mutual friends. We chatted about books, life, parenting, and more, and the next thing I knew he was handing me 2 of his books. This one is a daily devotional where Coyle shares personal stories of tragedy and triumph and uses them to offer daily advice, often with a Biblical reference. I highly recommend his devotional if you are looking for something meaningful to read.