Life

What’s Your Word?

I am an encourager. 

Words are important. I see someone who needs encouragement – not cognizantly thinking that, mind you – and I try to say something that will help them. I’ve seen the power that words do to help someone. 

A single word of kindness. A simple word of empowerment. A life can be changed. 

Every day I see discouragement on social media. People vocalizing their frustrations, anger, despair and loneliness on any number of platforms. 

All in an effort to be heard.

Or, for someone to simply listen…and encourage. 

Two years ago I decided to do something about it. 

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Sunny Cadwallader cadchica • Instagram photos and videos

When January 1 rolls around, people make resolutions. They vow to lose weight, exercise more, learn a new skill, get a new job or any number of things. 

They say most resolutions fail by the end of January. People become frustrated, even angry or depressed at “their” failure.

In 2017 and 2018, I wanted to help people see beyond that standard act. January 1 makes it convenient to change or try something new. But, who says a “resolution” can only be on January 1? . 

I wanted to give people a word for each month of the year as a way to encourage the positive.

WhatsYourWord

All it takes is one word. 

One word to change a mindset. One word to be encouraged. One word to find a new path. One word to be lifted up. 

Rather than having folks scroll through my Instagram feed to see these words, here is the What’s Your Word for 2018: 

JANUARY 

  expectation              

#2018 — what’s your word for 2018? Forget resolutions. What is one thing you want to see in your life for 2018? Perhaps this is your year of #expectation. Maybe instead of a resolution this year, maybe you need to enter this year with an expectation. An expectation of success. An expectation of a new job. An expectation of a restored relationship. An expectation of hope. An expectation of new love. An expectation of peace in your life. Before we reach a goal, we have to have an expectation of the result. See yourself, your job, your family, your friends, your sphere of influence with a sense of expectation. And yes, expect the unexpected. Just like when the sun rises, there is an expectation for the new day, let there be an expectation for you for this brand new year. #whatsyourword2018

FEBRUARY

hope   There is something about the ocean that rejuvenates me. The beach, the water, the waves – they just have a way of relaxing my mind & soul. When things are chaotic or frustrating and I can’t see my way out, I need only look at a picture like this to remind me to refocus my thoughts. No more “stinking thinking”. No more living in fear & worry. Live in #hope. Sometimes that is all it takes for me to get a new outlook. 
What about you? You need a new outlook in 2018? Maybe it’s time to let a little hope back into your life. Let this be your year of HOPE! (Photo taken by me at the top of Diamond Head in 2011.)

MARCH

investment

Say the word “investment” or even “investing” for that matter and what do you think of? I think most people my automatically think money. Investing in stocks, bonds, real estate or something involving 💰 💵. Nothing wrong with thinking along those lines, but there are other types of investments too. Today, I’m talking the investment of self.

Now, you could be in a place where you need to take care of yourself. Be it through learning something new, taking a class, therapy, prayer, going back to school, or maybe even cutting back on certain things in your life. Or, maybe in order to refocus our lives, we may even need to make an investment toward others.  

There is an old saying, “talk is cheap”. In today’s world, a social media post is cheap, figuratively speaking. Investing in others is not. It requires an investment of time, energy, resources, emotion, etc. Believe me, I am speaking to me too.

When we give ourselves – because all investment requires giving in some form or fashion – to help others, I have found it helps me too. It changes my outlook and reminds me of gratitude. Think about that. Give and reap gratitude. Invest in others and reap a new outlook on life. Pretty amazing this thing called “investment”, huh? Perhaps 2018 is your year of #investment

APRIL

Apparently I really believed in HOPE this year as I shared it twice, despite what I said in the post! 🙂

HOPE2Hope.

I’m a day late with the word. But, with April 1 falling on both Easter and April Fools’ Day, I think it was just as well that I missed posting.

I had to go back through my Instagram feed for this one. I was certain that I had already posted it, but lo & behold, a word that I haven’t yet. Which is a good thing because I truly believe that these words I post each month are for someone. Even just one person who needs something, some word, some direction, something to grab a hold of so they don’t lose #hope

If you look around the world, look around the country or city, or even the neighborhood you live in, you can see people who need hope. The reasons vary. There’s no one centralizing factor that contributed to hopelessness. In the grand scheme of things, that may matter. I don’t know. In the here & now, for today, in this moment, someone needs hope.

That is what I love about spring. It is the hope of the new. Hope for growth. The hope of seeing something you planted in the dark days of fall like this flower of mine come to light. 

Having hope when the days seem darkest isn’t easy. Your hope will be tested. Your hope will be tried. Your hope may seem lost when you need it the most. But, I’m here to tell you hope, real hope is worth fighting for.

Maybe this one is for you. Maybe this is your word for 2018. Receive it. Fight for it. Walk in it. Tie it around your heart. Like the flower, plant it!

And above all else, pray with it.

MAY

opportunity Each new month (and year) brings opportunity. Opportunity for something new – growth, change, goals or _______. Fill in the blank.

What would you put in that blank? What opportunity is waiting for you to “make that leap”? 

Maybe you’re not sure what goes in that blank. Well, I’m here to tell you that there is an opportunity every single day to…wait for it….make a difference. 

Now there’s a thought. An opportunity to make a difference. Sometimes it’s a simple gesture: a smile, a thank you, an encouraging word. And sometimes it’s life-altering: a career change, volunteering locally, a mission trip, a relationship change.

Sure, the saying is “Opportunity is knocking. Will you answer?” But, I think it’s more than a simple #knock on a door. Whatever is speaking to you, whatever is keeping you up at night – somewhere in those thoughts is an opportunity. A chance. A leap of faith. All to make a difference. For the rest of 2018, how will you fill in that blank?

JUNE

creativity

I used to believe that I did not have a creative bone in my body. Creative people are artists, painters, photographers, sculptors, scrapbookers, designers. The arts type of people. That definitely is not me! But, thanks to my friend, @kraaftshaak, I realize that there are so many different types and levels of creativity out there. I write. I sing. I bake. I think. There is always an idea of something in my head. I decided to embrace it. I am creative. 

Maybe that is you. You think you are not #creative. But, let me ask you this. Do you ever have an idea to do or write something? Do you ever have a spark about how to make something better? Do you ever have a thought or act upon helping people in some way, shape or form? THAT is #creativity, my friend!

Maybe now that we’re almost halfway through the year you need something fresh. Take one of those ideas and act upon it. Embrace the creativity within you. Make it yours. Own what you know and get out there and create!

JULY

worth“Do you need a hug from me today?”, I said sheepishly. The customer next to me said, “Yeah, she probably does today.” The owner then begin to tell the story of an irate customer who be rated her and one of her employees. She did not like the service she was receiving, not realizing that the employee could only do so much for the customer without an additional cost being charged. There is nothing wrong with that at all. Sometimes we put ourselves in situations and expect others to fix our messes. However, as the owner proceeded to tell the story, this woman went so far as to blame the owner and the employees’ country of origin. That is unacceptable to me. What I understood in that moment as the story was being told, was that I was there in that business for a reason. God used me to speak to them about their worth. 

The words of the woman who berated them do not own them. Her words do not speak to their identity. Her words don’t dictate what kind of person that they are. They are beautiful and valuable and lovable and kind and hard-working people. They are worth it! Whatever their life plays out to be they have worth in God’s eyes as well as mine. 

Maybe that’s you today. Someone has said or done something to you That makes you question your worth or your value. I am here to say you are worth it. This…this is your YEAR OF WORTH!

AUGUST

pruning

Here we find ourselves in August. Where did the year go? Seems like only yesterday I was asking when will winter be over. Now, I am harvesting tomatoes, zucchini, peppers and more from my garden. But, in order to get to the point of harvesting, some pruning of my plants is required.

On tomatoes, there are these things called suckers. They grow in between the main stem of the tomato plant and the branch growth. They are called suckers because they suck the nutrients food or whatever it is you were providing to your tomato plants. It’s sucking away from the fruit on your plants.

So I prune my plants in order to have a bounty of fruit and vegetables by season’s end in my garden. To get proper growth, I prune.

pruning in life is also necessary for proper growth. Meditate on that word for a moment. Think about the things or people in your life that are just sucking growth away from you. Much like me and my pruning of my garden, it is a tedious process. I don’t like doing it. But, it is absolutely necessary.

I’m not just talking about my garden right there either I have had to prune things out of my life in order to grow and be a better person. Maybe that’s you right now. You know something needs to change in your life. And you’re wondering what you need to do to change things up. Perhaps that is your word for this next year. Maybe this is your year of pruning.

SEPTEMBER

stillness

I was singing a song in my head the other day called, “be still” . As I was meditating on the 1st verse: 
-Be still and know
-That the Lord is in control
-Be still my soul
-Stand and watch as giants fall

I then kept going back to the chorus

-Surely love and mercy
Your peace and kindness
-Will follow me
-Will follow me 

I kept going back-and-forth between the 2. That word “Still”. When we think of the word still, we think it means lack of motion. I’m sure in dictionary terms, yes. But when I think of this song, I think that being still is an action. 

It’s not just simply waiting around for God to do something and twiddling our thumbs. We should ask ourselves, what do we do in the stillness? I think even in the stillness, there is action like change. Much like when the leaves fall to signal a change of season, we can change while we wait for the new season. 

Maybe that’s you. You’re trying to figure out what is next. Or, trying to make things work on your own. Maybe what you should be doing Is finding the stillness in the season you’re in. With stillness – stillness of mind, stillness of body – we find out things in us that need to change. Even in the midst of change we can find peace. 

Is this your year of stillness?

OCTOBER

leadership

I have been doing quite a few devotions lately that are focused on the word leadership. There are so many blogs and & opinions on what leadership means. Go to LinkedIn and you’ll see a plethora of articles and posts on the topic.

There was one sentence that I read today that hit me like a ton of bricks. It said, “Leadership should focus on bringing life to others.” The devotional went on to say this, “Let’s lead as if people’s lives depend on our leadership, because they do.” Whoa and then some.

The devotional was talking about the leadership of Jesus. When you think about it, however, that kind of mindset can apply to any leader in any industry.

If you are a leader, there are people who are “following” you. They are following your lead & direction. The goal is outlined by you. At the same time, there is an exchange happening. The expectation is if they carry out your vision, they will be rewarded.

If someone is invested in our leadership, they are giving a part of their life to us in some form or fashion. If they are giving life to our leadership, shouldn’t our leadership give life back to them as well?

Some of the greatest leaders I have ever met have a heart to serve. Serving others gives life.

What kind of leader are you now? What kind of leader do you want to be? Serve. Build others up. Encourage them. Bring them into the vision. 

And give life in the process.

NOVEMBER

wonder

Is there a rule or law that says resolutions can only be made for January 1? I say no. 

That is what I love about finding a word and running with it. It can occur anytime or any day of the year. And maybe it’s just for one month or one week. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that you find a word that resonates with you and you run with it.

Without further ado, the word for November is WONDER. May we never outgrow our desire to know the world around us.

Be in awe of all of creation. Be inspired by the world around you. Never lose that child like curiosity. May this be your year of #wonder.

DECEMBER
revelation

As we come to the end of 2018, many here in America & elsewhere are beginning to think of New Year’s resolutions. I began a process two years ago of trying to redefine them. Most resolutions aren’t achievable within a time frame we “like” or “want”.

BUT —- what if we make resolutions something that build us up on the inside? Something that stirs our souls and challenges our thinking. For December & to close out 2018, I’ve chosen a powerful word: REVELATION.

What does “revelation” mean to you? I view it as something that will be revealed, illuminated, made known…what once was hidden can now be seen. At times when I don’t know what to do about a situation or I need an answer to a question, I need a revelation. I need truth to guide me. I need a REVELATION.

Maybe that’s you. You have been searching for answers to questions or dilemmas in your life. You’re wondering which path to take. You’re trying to figure out how to get out of the mess that you are in. Instead of making a New Year’s resolution, change the mindset. Seek revelation. Seek truth. Seek guidance. Start today.

I pray that this next week or month or year becomes a revelation for you.

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Which word stands out to you? Do you identify with one right now? 

As we head into 2019, maybe instead of making a resolution on January 1 you find a word for the month. Each month. 

Seek it. Find it. Make it your own. 

Knees Down, Prayers Up

Sunny

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