Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2014 One Little Word - Reach

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Two Writing Teachers
Before I can explain how this year's one little word came to me, I need to go back to last year. Although I did not have my blog this time last year, I did have a one little word.

Last February I realized something was missing in my life and my career.  I wanted more.  I wasn't sure what it was, and I certainly didn't know where to find it.  I felt like I was just going through the motions each day, hoping something would eventually change.

I had been following a few blogs pretty regularly, and I just happened to be in my bedroom reading a post written by Ruth Ayres about a website that was recommended to her.  Reading through that blog changed me.  It was an unbelievable God moment for me, and I sent this email to three of my teacher friends, wanting to share my experience.

Many bloggers at the beginning of the year choose "one little word" that they focus on for the year.  I have thought about this a lot...trying to find my word.  I have played with the word "search"...the search to be a better mother, wife, daughter, sister, person and teacher...the search to find God in a better place in my life...the search to find where my faith fits in...the search to find the confidence to write.  

Tonight I stumbled on this beautiful website, and I knew that I had picked the right word.  I know it was not a coincidence....I was lead here.  

Tears came to my eyes until I was almost sobbing, and I honestly for the first time in a long time felt His presence in a way that I have desperately needed and have been "searching" for.  Just listening to the music is enough to bring tears.  I have just started perusing the site and wanted to share it with you...

Tonight I begin my "search" to become all of those things and more....I think I am ready!


That is how my one little word for 2013 found me.

Searching,  I made some positive changes and became a much better person, I challenged myself, and YES...I started writing.  I can look back on 2013 and believe with certainty search was the right word for me.

A few months ago, I thought I had found this year's OLW.  We were talking in our Bible study group at school about being intentional in our relationships.  The word "intentional" was speaking to me.  My search was successful, and I thought I needed to become more intentional.  I was all ready to write about my OLW until I saw a tweet the day after Christmas from Ann Voskamp at A Holy Experience about her Christmas tree.  Being curious, I clicked on the link and found this amazing story...and my word.

In November they hung an evergreen branch, their Christmas tree, upside down.

Pictures are taken by Ann Voskamp from A Holy Experience

By Christmas Eve, the branches were reaching out.  These are the words she wrote:

If you hang your life upside down, if you live the upsidedown Kingdom, your life never dies, it’s never small — it reaches out. It grows larger.

Pictures are taken by Ann Voskamp at A Holy Experience

This one little word, REACH, unexpectedly found me.  I thought I already had my word, so I really was not looking for a new one.  Here again, on this same website, I found my one little word.

There are times when I feel like my life is upside down.  But now I know that living my life upside down will help me to REACH out and become a better me...that ME I searched for and found last year.

I have many new goals personally and professionally that I want to REACH.  I have relationships that I want to REACH out to and make stronger.  I am ready to REACH out and embrace what may come my way in 2014.  I am ready to REACH out and have my life grow larger...just like the evergreen tree.

Happy New Year!

If you have the time, please take a moment to go to A Holy Experience.  It will be an experience you won't soon forget.


  1. This is a wonderful post! I love the idea of picking a word for the year (mine is Journey). The stories of how your words found you are amazing. Can't wait to see how you REACH this year!!

  2. We'll be focusing on OLW next week over at TWT. Glad you found yours (or did it find you?) for 2014.

    BTW: Thought you might be interested in this, http://aliedwards.com/2013/12/one-little-word%E2%84%A0-2014-workshop-registration-now-open.html#more-36193.

    Happy New Year!

  3. The OLW phenomenon puzzles me in a positive way. This year "spark" helped me a lot. Your new word is inspiring. I wish you a wonderful new year!

  4. Ann's website is amazing! I had tears in my eyes as I listened and read. But there is something very special in the way that you write about your word as well. It almost feels as "searching" led you to "reaching." I look forward to reading how you "reach out" in the coming year! I think God will have a few surprises for you!

  5. Beautiful post. I have never given thought to picking one word to govern my year. I really want to try it this year. I need to reflect on what that word might be.

  6. It's so interesting to discover how each of us "finds" that OLW - and yours sounds like such powerful and positive experience. Happy New Year, Leigh Anne!

  7. Leigh Anne, this is a great post and very inspiring. I so enjoy Ann's website and her books. She has so many ideas and thoughts that make me think about my relationship with God and others. I'm glad that your OLW reached out to you. Have a blessed new year!

  8. I'm happy you shared your stories of both words, Leigh Anne. How special they sound to you, and that's what counts more than anything. As for the photos, it's always iffy. There is a site that I use sometimes when you don't need a specific photo-called Photopin-a site for bloggers. There is also wikimedia commons. Both require attribution, but the pics are open for use. This time you've told their story & given terrific links for it so they probably are grateful. Thanks for all you shared! Happy New Year!

  9. Your word fits your needs. I love the way you have described the way it came to you. Just when you think you have life (or a word) figured out, something powerful comes along to nudge you in a new direction.

  10. Leigh Anne- Your post made me cry. And then I went over to Ann's blog and cried harder. Such big truth! May the love of the Abba Father REACH deep into your heart and transform you in new and amazing ways this year!

  11. I loved hearing the journey of your words to their birthing in you. The true Christmas story don't you think?

  12. You seem to be living your OLW daily, and it has made such an impact in your life, just as it should be. Your enthusiasm is contagious. I too love Ann Voskamp's words. As for including the pictures, I am not sure about the rights and credits, but you gave that fully here, and the pictures helped me have a deeper understanding - so thank you. Can't wait to see where you REACH this next year!

  13. Dear Leigh Anne,
    Thank you for your kind words.I loved hearing the story behind both of your words. I love the way the Lord makes a web of believers to catch others just when they need to be caught. It's not something we do alone, but in community with others. I'm humbled to be part of your story.

    I began living by a word in 2006. I'm enamored by the power of One Little Word. I'm sure your word will REACH to remarkable understandings.

    Godspeed, my friend,

  14. Leigh Anne,
    This is a beautiful post. Your story about your word for last year was very heartfelt. Your word "searching" seems like it was a good match for you last year. Now this year, you are ready to reach.

    Best wishes on your journey,

  15. I have been reading your blog archives this morning and found this lovely post. I read Ann Voskamp often and I love this story of your word. I have struggled with my word this year and have been praying about a word for 2015. I am so pleased to have found your blog this week. Thanks again for your honesty.