In the Sweet Sunshine

Seeking simplicity and rest in a tired world

One word

When the “one word for the new year” craze started a few years ago, I rolled my eyes and thought it a bit too off-the-wall for me. There was no way I could build my entire year around a single idea or concept. So much was unknown about the coming year, would I really want to tie myself down to making decisions based on one thing? It was too broad and too vague.

In January 2016, my husband and I did our typical “goal jar” tradition, where we each write down big and small things (make homemade ice cream, blog more often, write songs and make an album…) then look at them together. That year, we had each written down something about our house — but they were a bit conflicting.

We had moved into our house in 2009, and started to finish the basement, but never got it completed. I said my goal for 2016 was to “move – or at least prep the house for moving.” But the goal he wrote down was “finish the basement and enjoy it.”

I’d been looking at our house with a sort of I-want-to-get-out-of-here-and-move-on-to-the-next-part-of-our-lives mentality. But during our discussion, my eyes were opened to looking at the here and now instead of the future.

So I resigned myself to the fact that I did indeed have a “word” for 2016 — home. And once I acknowledged that, I started seeing the word and theme everywhere. I read a few books about home (like this one and this one). And guess what? Five months later we found out we were pregnant, and NEEDED to finish that basement to have enough bedroom space. 🙂

I really did grow that year in that one, simple, broad-yet-specific word.

2017 went “word”-less for me, and that was okay. I didn’t dwell on it too much as my brain was focused on all-things-baby (she was born February 13). Now we’ve reached 2018, and all the one-word talk is happening again.

I’m considering making THRIVE my “word” for 2018.

Last year was spent mostly in survival mode, adjusting to life with three kids and simply being on autopilot (understandable!). In the fall I took an online class called Like Your Life with one of my favorite authors and podcasters. It was amazing to take some time for myself (even if it was only in short moments throughout the day), and through the guided questions I discovered passions and skills I’ve had for years but had never actually put into words.

As I reach the end of the 90-day-goal timeframe from the course, I’ll admit I’ve only followed through with one of the three goals I set. And that’s okay with me! Daily life is full of kids and activities, and even as I type this my 10-month old is pulling on my computer screen. 🙂 That’s the beauty of 90-day goals — it’s easy to reevaluate and restart when needed because it’s such a short timeframe. defines THRIVE as “to grow or develop vigorously; flourish”.  I love that, because I have some areas of my life where I want to grow in this year, but I also want to do more than simply grow. I want to put concentrated effort into one or two things at a time and see where it takes me. Wish me luck!

Do you choose a “word” for your year?

The first week of January is a time when many of us make a list of things we want to accomplish, like decluttering or losing weight. But the truth is, living a simple, fulfilling life doesn’t involve a checklist. There’s not some master to-do list that works for all of us. There’s actually an essential first step we all have to take before we can do those well-meaning things. And it’s this:

We have to know who we are. The ins and outs of how we’re uniquely wired.

This should be your first pursuit instead of cleaning out the garage or cancelling all your appointments. Because once you figure out who you really are, then you can discover your purpose. And once you’ve nailed down who you are and what you’re about, then you can take an honest look at your life, make reachable goals for simplifying that you actually care about, and even be a force of good in the world.

And of course, also get a handle on that laundry pile. And start that business. And volunteer for that charity that makes your heart pound.

The Like Your Life course is self-paced, contains 30+ video lessons, a journaling workbook, audio downloads, and more. Once you’re in the course, you can come back to it again and again (I plan to work through it at least once a year!). It opens for enrollment a couple of times a year, and if you’re reading this the first week of January 2018, the course is currently open! Head here to learn more and enroll (and if the course isn’t currently open, you can join the waitlist to be notified when it is).

I hope you’ll take advantage of this life-coaching course, it really opened my eyes to some things about myself that I’m excited to pursue in the coming year!


P.S. If you’re wondering whether or not to add on the Facebook accountability group, DO IT. The encouragement and discussion is so worthwhile, and the weekly office hours with Tsh are awesome.

P.P.S. Wondering what the one goal is that I actually pursued after taking the course? Starting this blog. 🙂 The purpose statement I developed during the course was “I care about faith and family, and am good at communication and problem solving, so I’m here to grow in and write about simplicity and rest.” It might change as time goes on, but it’s what I’m working on in my year of THRIVE.


It is good for people to eat, drink, and enjoy their work under the sun during the short life God has given them, and to accept their lot in life. -Ecclesiastes 5:18 NLT


  1. I love this! I wrote about LYL today, too. It is such an adjustment to three kids that I’m proud I accomplish anything, and a blog was a big deal for me! I’m proud you’ve done it, too! Cheers for the next quarter!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


%d bloggers like this: