Monday, January 4, 2016


The time has come!

A new year, a new word…

Wordsmith that I am, I like the idea of having a *word* for the year.

I think it's a unique way for God to speak into your hearta way to focus on what He wants to teach you in the coming year.

And so, I was on the alert the last two months of last year, listening and waiting for Him to reveal His thoughts on the matter.

Well, this year He did indeed speak.

And the word He gave me is…



I wasn't quite sure I wanted to hear this word.

And, if you think I was protesting, you should have heard the heckling from Nervous Nellie and Negative Nora!

Nellie: "Oh dear.  You know that God's going to teach you gratitude by giving you a bunch of stuff you're not thankful for, right?  What terrible things are you going to have to be grateful for that you don't want?  I'm scared to be grateful, it might jinx things."

Nora: "Oh no.  That's a terrible word.  I don't feel like being grateful.  I like complaining and grumbling and moaning.  Count your blessings, shmessings. Life is hard, and there are so many unhappy things in life.  Who could be grateful in a world like this?  Harumph."

Boy oh boy, do those girls like to yak!

They are insistent and persistent and shrill.

Unfortunately, I listen to them.

(Please tell me that you caught the irony of my immediate reaction to the idea of being grateful – fear and negativity...)

Hence, I began a rather lengthy inner dialogue with God over the next few weeks.  I suppose He listened, but He did NOT change His mind.  He confirmed this word over and over again.  

Including the time I showed up to church and the pastor announced a new sermon series on thankfulness…ahem.

But here's something interestingat first I thought my word was going to be gratitude.

And yet, just a couple of weeks ago, it changed to grateful.

I pondered that…

Was it just a change of semantics?

What I began to understand was this – gratitude is a noun, a some thing.

I have gratitude.

Almost like a possession.

But grateful is an adjective, and it describes some one.

I am grateful.

A character trait instead.

Maybe it's a small difference, but it has begun to make a big difference in how I view this word.

I don't think God is going to be satisfied with me simply possessing gratitude - somehow that seems like it stops at an intellectual level.

I have gratitude for this and that...

No, I think God wants more – He wants to transform something fundamental about me.  He wants to move beyond my mind into my heart.

He wants to make me a grateful person.

This does not come naturally.

And this is why I begin this year with a struggle.

I know that many of you have read Ann Voskamp's book, "One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are."  

And I know that many of you would say that it's been life-changing.

But I have never been an innately optimistic person.

Sure, I express gratitude for things, I show appreciation for people, I can be thankful when it comes right down to it.

But an Ebenezer Scrooge lurks deep within my soul.

And when he heard my word, he muttered…


(I think Ebenezer is the grandfather of Nellie and Nora…)

OK, so this is the word.


Why is this word so important?

Because gratitude is a really big deal to God.

Part of the reason God judges the human race is because they do not give Him thanks – 

"For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened." (Romans 1:21, ESV)

And if gratefulness is important to God, you can be assured that the enemy will fight against it. 

After all, isn't that exactly what he did in the Garden of Eden?  He tried to convince Adam and Eve that God was withholding something from them, that He wasn't the Great Giver of Good Gifts.

(Commentary from Matthew Henry: "It is the craft of Satan to speak of the Divine law as uncertain or unreasonable, and so to draw people to sin…Satan teaches men first to doubt, and then to deny.  He promises advantage from their eating this fruit.  He aims to make them discontented with their present state, as if it were not so good as it might be, and should be.")

Yes, the enemy is the father of discontent.  

And when the seeds of discontent are allowed to germinate, they sprout into the weeds of grumbling, complaining, thoughtlessness, faultfinding, cynicism, anger, and bitterness.

Just exactly the opposite of being grateful.

Yes, Lord, You have made no mistake in choosing this word for me.

However, I'm not gonna lie, so far being grateful feels like wearing a coat that's too big, or too small it just doesn't fit right.  

And the journey of making it fit is going to require me getting biggermoving past my narrow, nervous, negative way of looking at lifeand smaller learning how to be humble enough to show gratitude for the many gifts I've been given, none of which I deserve.


So how am I going to live it out?

At first, I'm going to start by thinking of one thing that I'm grateful for each day.


(C'mon, guys – I'm like a kid learning how to walk.  It's going to take some crawling at first, lots of tripping and falling and bumping my head...)

This process feels uncomfortable to me, rather arbitrarykinda forced and stilted – perhaps even a bit insincere (especially on those horrible, no good, very bad days)?

But a journey begins with small steps, and this is the way I'm starting…

The Lord has been so clear that this is *THE WORD* for the coming year.

And though I am squirming a bit, I am excited to see what changes God is going to bring in me.

It feels a lot like a continuation of the last two years – the years of joy and healing.

For what can bring more joy than seeing God’s gracious providence and goodness in each day?!

And what can bring more healing than learning to be grateful every day?!

Lord, I thank You for this word, and for the journey it begins.

May it permeate my thoughts, capture my feelings, and transform my spirit.

G ratitude is
R emembering
A ll
T hings
E manate
F rom
U ndeserved
L ove


Smile though your heart is aching
Smile even though it's breaking
When there are clouds in the sky

you'll get by
If you smile through your fear and sorrow
Smile and maybe tomorrow
You'll see the sun
come shining through
for you...

Light up your face with gladness
Hide every trace of sadness
Although a tear may be
ever so near
That's the time you must keep on trying
Smile, what's the use of crying?
You'll find that life is
still worthwhile...

If you just smile.

(A Song by Charlie Chaplin)

You can find today's Scripture verses on my new page, 2016 VERSES ON BEING GRATEFUL.

Except for this (which I have personalized), from Psalm 145 (Amplified Bible):

"I will exalt You, my God, O King,
and [with gratitude and submissive wonder] 
I will bless Your name forever and ever.
Every day I will bless You and lovingly praise You;
yes, [with awe-inspired reverence] 
I will praise Your name forever and ever.
Great is the Lord, and highly to be praised,
and His greatness is [so vast and profound as to be] 
unsearchable [incomprehensible to man]. 
One generation shall praise Your works to another,
and I shall declare Your mighty and remarkable acts.
On the glorious splendor of Your majesty
and on Your wonderful works, I will meditate.
I will speak of the power of Your awesome acts,
and [with gratitude and submissive wonder] 
I will tell of Your greatness.
I will overflow [like a fountain] 
when I speak of Your great and abundant goodness
and I will sing joyfully of Your righteousness.
The Lord is gracious and full of compassion,
slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness. 
The Lord is good to me,
and His tender mercies are over all His works 
[the entirety of things created].
All Your works shall give thanks to You and praise You, O Lord,
and Your godly ones will bless You.
I shall speak of the glory of Your kingdom
and talk of Your power,
to make known...Your mighty acts
and the glorious majesty of Your kingdom.
Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
and Your dominion endures throughout all generations. 
The Lord upholds me when I fall
and raises me up when I am bowed down.
My eyes look to You [in hopeful expectation],
and You give me food in due time.
You open Your hand
and satisfy my desires.
The Lord is [unwaveringly] righteous in all His ways
and gracious and kind in all His works. 
The Lord is near to me when I call on Him,
when I call on Him in truth (without guile).
He will fulfill the desire of those who fear and worship Him 
[with awe-inspired reverence and obedience];
He also will hear my cry and will save me.
The Lord keeps all who love Him,
but all the wicked He will destroy.
My mouth will speak the praise of the Lord,
And my flesh will bless and gratefully praise 
His holy name forever and ever."

NOTE: In order to incorporate a grateful attitude into my daily life, and to keep at it, I'm adding some NEW FEATURES.

Accountability is a good thing!

First of all, you'll find a section called "Daily Grateful Word" on my sidebar – in which I list the one thing I chose to be thankful for each day of the past week.  Then, I'm adding a new page called "Daily Grateful Thoughts" in which I expand on my feelings about my grateful word. 

I'm adding some other features, too.

Here's the new stuff!!

Sidebar Features:

My Word for 2016
My Verse for 2016
Daily Grateful Word
A Word from the Word – (weekly Bible verse)
A "Message" from God – (weekly Bible verse from The Message)
Food For Thought – (picking one of my grateful words, and a question to prompt your thoughts)

New pages:

Daily Grateful Thoughts 
2016 Verses on Being Grateful 
2016 Quotes on Being Grateful 
2016 Essays on Being Grateful 
2016 Grateful Songs 

What's your new word for 2016?

Linked with:


BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"


  1. Happy New Year Sharon! As I tend to share your Nellie and Nora attributes at times, I can understand the hesitancy about embracing the lessons that may come with embracing the one word for the year. But as you have pointed out there are no mistakes and God always knows the lessons we need. Look forward to seeing all the morsels of truth you will glean from your word choice. Blessings

  2. It is a great word, Sharon :) We do indeed need to be grateful and have gratitude. I used to keep a list in my journal of things I was thankful for on a daily basis; might need to do that again; I do try to thank God in my prayers for all he's done and continues to do, but I do struggle a lot with gratitude and being grateful myself.

    I look forward to your sharing of your journey of gratitude and grateful in 2016!


  3. beautiful friend...such a lovely picture of you. GRATEFUL...I like it. And I am grateful for our friendship. Love you :)

  4. Love your SMILE Sharon (and the song) great selfie --- but excuse me for saying this, I don't see any tweek of Nora or Nellie in that precious face of yours and I do see a Sharon that is Grateful!

    I must tell you, I woke up around your 3:05 a.m. posting time and almost went to connect to the internet and flip open my computer to your blog just to BE first to see your great reveal for 2016, but I did not ... instead I prayed for you. This was a surprise kinda although I thought I saw hints of your choice of Word but I was somehow misguided into thinking "suffering" (closely aligned with "healing") and this suits me much better (even if Nellie and Nora might have trouble with it, Sharon, you will not ... already I see "warmth" rising up and love the quote of Piglet (so very true: "a very small heart can hold a large amount of gratitude" and that's what my heart holds for you and thinking of you, which warms my heart since the day we connected. And I am so grateful!

    Your sense of humor did not miss a beat in this one; took a lot of planning and organizing with sidebar features and pages and all; love the addition of the Message, your prayer and acronym for GRATEFUL and your personalizing of Psalm 145 but mostly that SMILE in that lovely photo of YOU! You had many great thoughts and inspirations in the blog post which might help me decide ... right now I am just grateful for you as you continue to shine His light!
    {if or when you read my blog, you need to start with Part 1, don't go from the current one showing, you gotta go back, OK?} Love you and sending a BIG (((U))) for a Blessed New Year 2016!~Peggy

  5. Happy New Year, Sharon! Love your word for the year. :)

  6. Such a good word Sharon, for all of us. What I really love is the way you have jumped into this with both feet... studying scripture, singing songs, and letting God speak this 2016 message strong into your heart. I am so excited about what He has ahead for each of this year.

    I am so GRATEFUL fo you and for your always relevant heart on this blog my Westmont buddy! :)

  7. We are both such word nerds. Ha. The little nuances of a word matter to me too. I like that your word is an adjective, a possession, a defining trait of who you are and will be in 2016! I chose “welcome” and it can be an interjection, a noun, a verb, an adjective. I love that! ha. Blessings in your new year, Sharon! I’m grateful for you.

  8. Great..or should I say, "Grate"(ful...get it?) word. And it just flows so nicely from healing and joy. Oh, Sharon, once you start down that path of finding something daily to be grateful for, you will be changed, I know it. Be intentional about it. Be proactive. And you will be blessed, I know it!

    I love the acronym. I too am a wordsmith and love acronyms. I especially like making them up, like you did. Tell Nervous Nellie and Negative Nora to can it. Don't listen to them.

    I pray that 2016 will bring you blessings that will be so abundant that your grateful will overflow!

  9. Grateful is a beautiful word and way to live.

  10. First of all, that is a beautiful picture of you at the end! Secondly, I LOVE your word for 2016! And I love the new features you will be adding. :) I look forward to seeing what amazing things God is going to do in your life this year...He dwells in the praises of His people, so each time you are grateful, He will be there in your life in an amazing way!! What a wonderful word! Love the acronym at the end, too. :) I am still seeking the Lord for my word. I have several words floating around in my head, so mine may end up being an acronym, too. Sometimes it is so hard for me to narrow it down to ONE WORD, you know? Happy New Year, my dear, sweet friend! God bless you abundantly this year!!

  11. Love this, love your honesty, love how God stretches us with what we most don't want to do!! Happiest grateful New Year!!! My word is Thrive..yikes, I think how will I live up to that when I've had a fallow year! Warmest wishes..visiting from Kelly's #smallwonder today!

  12. Sharon, you don't know how close I was to choosing this same word for 2016, but the more I placed the choice in God's hands, the more I was drawn to seek out something more challenging (for me, that is). I have long been a huge believer that a Gratitude Attitude changes everything for the better in our lives. God has stretched me in that area, as I know He will stretch you as He knows exactly what each of us needs. Being grateful, even if it's only for one thing a day, will affect a positive change in your soul. Blessings on this journey, my friend. It will be a great one!
    And my word for the year? Tune into my blog tomorrow for the "Big Reveal." :)

  13. Oh funny! I'm glad ts is your word. I guarantee you will be different by the end of the year. Being thankful and purposefully jotting those things down changed me for the better. Speaking as one pessimist to another. 😉 Happy New Year!

  14. Sharon, this is written ... so YOU!! : ) Yes, the negative and fear manage to find their way right to the surface for many, if not most, of us. I think the slight word difference makes a HUGE difference in the way this will work to grow you and all who read your blog. Yes, I write down things I am grateful for, and I am learning to be grateful in far more than 'things' since I began writing down those 'things.' God grows us in each step we take with Him.
    The quote by Matthew Henry is excellent. And I did not know that Charlie Chaplin wrote "Smile." My precious mother sang that song as long as I can remember. Of course, she was born in 1913, living in Chicago and saw Mr. Chaplin, and probably heard him sing that song. But at least she heard the song on the radio. Her mother was a beautiful singer so surely sang it around the house for Mama to learn with her. : ) I shall be humming it now! and thinking of Mama. Thanks.
    Caring through Christ, ~ linda

  15. "What can bring more healing than learning to be grateful every day". Love your post here. God is persistent, isn't he. Great insights as usual. Love the question about healing and gratitude..thanks for your continued prayers.

  16. I love your Word: Grateful, Being thankful and realizing that no matter what hits us (good or bad) we can be grateful that Jesus is there with us. To have an attitude of gratitude. I bet your Pastor was led of the Lord to announce his series. Sounds like a winner. Thank you for sharing with us here at Tell me a Story. Oh yes, I love your new photo.

  17. No matter what happens, good or bad, I'm sooo soo grateful. Great word for the new year Sharon. Happy day.

  18. Hi Sharon, shoo, being grateful is very good and very scary word. Its easy to be or show gratefulness when things are good. its the tough times. Reading through your "how you are going to go about this" section it reminded me of a few times in the past year when I could not even find one thing to be happy about, I was down, I was negative, I felt hopelessness in myself grow and I decided I am going to write down every morning what I am grateful for even if its just that right now I am breathing in, and then breathing out, and it took a few days for my perspective and attitude to start changing. Gratitude, gratefulness, it is a powerful tool. One that shows you are acknowledging from whence doth come mine aid (and everything else)...
    I trust your gratitude journey is going to turn your world upsidedown in a good way! :)
    God bless

  19. I always love these from you...

    G ratitude is
    R emembering
    A ll
    T hings
    E manate
    F rom
    U ndeserved
    L ove

    And I appreciated the distinction between gratitude and grateful. I don't always stop to really reflect on the difference like you did.

    And I also love how the words we choose each year do indeed have this continuation... flow. Mine have been Believe. Love. Embrace and Selfless. The one doesn't just stop at the end of the year but is built on with the new one. While I haven't "officially" chosen a word for this year and don't think He's asking me to, IF I did it would likely be WANT. But the I WANT God kind of want.
    Always so blessed by your heart, and your humor!!
    I do adore you, dear friend.
    Much love.

  20. Excitement fills my spirit as I read this. What a year you are going to experience! I remember years ago when I started journaling and how fat my pages were in the praise, confession and requests sections and almost nada in the thanksgiving part. It was a huge clue to me as to why I was discontent, fearful and critical. I changed when I learned how to thank Him for everything. It's like when my kids thank me for being their mom and noticing what I do for them. It feels so good. I look forward to your future posts; I know I will be motivated and inspired!

  21. I love how you found the right word for you, and changed it to gratitude to grateful. The meaning has to resonate deeply in our heart, and sounds like 'grateful' is doing that for you! I published a little journal this year for friends and the second step is to list three things you are thankful for (right before listing your successes from the day before). I think big changes do happen with a heart of gratitude. I look forward to hearing about your year!

  22. Hi Sharon! Great to visit you again today. I appreciated reading about the trek to hear the word for you for the year. I cannot say I have a word for the year. I have sensed the Lord saying to me? Leave it all on the field. I am still listening for all He might mean in this phrase. I will have to let you know later what I discover, but I am clear He whispered it to my spirit as we traveled to MD to see our daughter and her family over New Year's.

  23. Visiting as your neighbor at Jennifer's. Love how the Lord spoke this word into you in such a specific way. And I recognize your Nellie and Nora thoughts! Love how you're putting it into action as well.

    My word is BEHOLD. And for me it is also important that it's a means I need to stop being complacent and make a conscious effort to look up and not beside me (to other clay pots!) or behind me.

  24. Great post, Sharon! Thank you for sharing! Happy New Year and GOD bless you, beautiful friend! :-)

  25. I love your new picture, and I totally identify with your feelings about your word. Gratitude is something I try to focus on year round as it is NOT my default. Thanks for giving it a good working over here in your post!

  26. Blessings of the new year, Sharon! I am so excited to see your new word and all the wonderful new features on your blog this year! I truly expect the Lord to use you in a mighty way! The Matthew Henry quote and your follow up comment struck a chord for me in relation to the new Fable Springs story about Bugaboo-Bee's Bop:Patience for the Prize in which I deal with the idea of finding contentment with a grateful heart in whatever season you are in. I jotted them down in my notes for the study guide. May I use them with a link to this post? I see all those negative traits as personified characters. I look forward to your posts each week, milady, and regret that we are separated by so many miles, shortchanging us from a glorious teatime on occasion.
    Joy to you!

  27. Hi Sharon! (Can I borrow your earrings???)
    I am very much like Negative Nellie. If I chose 'grateful' I'd probably be hiding behind the couch with my arms folded over my head. 'Incoming!!'
    But you have grabbed this word by the hand and ran with it! I LOVE the idea of having a 'word for the day' to help you on your way. That's taking your idea and making it a real part of your day. I admire you very much for that.

    I know it will bless me to follow you this year, as you lead the way in gratitude. And I know that, contrary to Nellie, you will be inundated with happy things to thank God for. And you will :)

  28. Hi Sharon- As always I am grateful to read your posts each time. I love your sense of humor that comes through in your writing. Blessing on you as you walk out being grateful every single day of 2016! your neighbor at #WomenwithIntention

  29. This was my word 3 years ago and it helped me out big time! I've kept it up by writing out monthly gratitude lists to help me see the little things. I turned it into a linkup if you are interested here.

  30. I can completely relate... I find part of me dreading the lessons that I know in the long run bring wisdom and honor to our Father, but this flesh is indeed weak.

    I'm with you on being grateful. I woke in the middle of a rare Arizona rain storm in the middle of the night last night and thanked God for the gift of being warm and dry. We take so much for granted.

    Happy New Year! Looking forward to sharing your journey with you.

  31. Oh, Sharon! This IS such a big deal and I'm so excited for what this year will bring for you, and the lessons you will share with all of us! God does care about our attitude of thankfulness and gratitude. Cultivating this is so important to living a life that pleases Him. You've been a busy bee, I'm looking forward to checking out your new blog features. Wishing you all JOY in 2016, my friend!

  32. I love it! Grateful is a wonderful word to meditate on and attitude to develop over the year. When I see people choosing words for the year, it challenges me to examine my own life as well. Happy new year!

  33. Sharon, I can just about imagine the sour look on Nellie's face! I can hear her words so well, perhaps because she has visited my thoughts too...Joining you today from Thought Provoking Thursday!

  34. Loved this post! I just posted about being thankful on my blog, too. We must be swimming in the same stream! I am reading Ann Voskamp's "One Thousand Gifts," and was horrified to realize that I struggle to be thankful. That changes this year! Oh, by the "word' is DEVOTION!

  35. OH, this will be good, Sharon - what I have learned (the long difficult way) is that gratitude is the doorway to JOY and that, my friend makes you journey worth it :) Happy New Year!

  36. Such a beautiful word for the new year. This was my word from last year, and it's given me so much perspective and has definitely humbled me beyond my expectations. Good luck with your journey to gratitude and thanks for sharing this on #SHINEbloghop this week!

  37. Love your honesty here, Sharon! And I am looking forward to reading your sidebar list each week. Sounds like a good challenge for 2016!

  38. Grateful is a splendid word! My gratitude journal opens my eyes to all the little blessings God drops into my life. May your 2016 be sweet, friend!

  39. Don't you just love all that helpful advice? :-) I've been intentionally counting my blessings with gratitude since my life crashed and I felt like I'd never feel grateful again. God showed me all the things I had then and continues to show me daily just how good He is. Blessings on your year with this marvelous word.

  40. May you find more reasons to be grateful for this year.
    Happy 2016!

  41. You have a unique way of sharing spiritual encouragement and I always am inspired after reading. Thank you for sharing this on the Art of Home-Making Mondays at Strangers & Pilgrims on Earth. Hoping 2016 is off to a good start! :)

  42. I'm grateful to have met you. Thanks so much for linking to Word of God Speak - He has spoken and you will listen and obey as well.

  43. Thank you for sharing at the Thursday Favorite Things blog hop

  44. What a wonderful word for this year. It really does change a persons outlook in so many ways when they choose to be grateful for the blessings God has given. I have experienced this in my own life, and reading this article has reminded me that I need to spend more time being grateful. Thanks for the encouragement!

  45. Grateful...I love it! Just remember, God tells us not to fear! ;) I have no doubt God will show you fantastic things this year! My word is "live" and I'm excited to live fully...and fully with God!
    Blessings, Joan

  46. I pretty much resolved I would not choose a word this year. But, alas, my word found me. STEADFAST. Oh boy, I have a lot to learn in that area, as well as in gratitude. Thinking about counting my gifts on my blog again. Have a blessed week!

  47. Hey, I'm visiting from Small Victories... I think this was such a great reminder. Something so special that comes from looking at the world through thankfullness glasses (my dorky way of looking at it)

    Be sure to check out Missional Women's Faith Filled Friday too.

    Blogging over @

  48. Grateful - I am believing great things will come of this word this year for you! I loved
    G ratitude is
    R emembering
    A ll
    T hings
    E manate
    F rom
    U ndeserved
    L ove
    So perfect! The updates and new features look great, too!
    Blessings and smiles,

  49. Great word, Sharon! I am enjoying these one word resolutions that God is laying in all of our hearts. Thanks for sharing with #SocialButterflySunday! Hope to see you link up again this week :)

  50. Thank you so much for your honest view of your one little word! Thanks for sharing it with us at Waiting on...Wednesday! I hope you'll link up with us again tomorrow!

  51. I like your word. It is important to be grateful in all things! I don't have time to read your entire post. Family drama going on.

  52. Awesome word! I think God walks us through levels of learning gratefulness. I can always find areas where I am less grateful than I thought I was.


"So [I] have been greatly encouraged in the midst of [my] troubles and suffering, dear brothers and sisters, because you have remained strong in your faith. It gives [me] new life to know that you are standing firm in the Lord. How [I] thank God for you!" (1 Thessalonians 3:7-9)

Thanks for your comments - it is such a joy to be sharing my journey with friends like YOU!

(NOTE: Anonymous comments will be removed. Thank you for understanding.)