where wildly different is perfectly normal
I am strong, I am…
I am strong, I am…

I am strong, I am…

Welcome to 2012! Step lightly folks, the year is still new and no one has janked it up yet. Well…to my knowledge. One of the few benefits to not having a tv service is that you have little idea what’s going on in the world. That last year was a doozy and I’d like to keep my head in the sand just a wee bit longer. I resolve to keep my head in the sand just a wee bit longer. Like until…now.

That is pretty much the only resolution I’ll make this year, or any other year. I’m not a resolution maker, because then I’d be a resolution breaker. I think making resolutions just sets you up for failure and guilt; I have enough of that on a daily basis, I don’t need to add to it. So, instead, I pick a Word of the Year. My word for 2011 was strong. Looking back, that was the perfect word for me. I needed to be strong last year, so many times, for so many reasons (many of them never mentioned here), all the way up until midnight last night. That single word helped me view my life and my reactions to everything through a different lens.

I could handle picking up and moving 1000 miles away. I am strong.
I could be a temporary single parent while selling a house. I am strong.
I could scream into the wind, trying to advocate for my son’s needs. I am strong.
I could take a deep breath and jump into the unknown world of homeschooling a twice-exceptional child who challenges me a dozen times before my first cup of coffee. I am strong.

That one little word did more for me in 2011 than pretty much any resolution I could have ever made. I have to admit though, that like everything, I may have taken it a little far at times. Strong into stoicism, strong into martyrdom, strong into bitterness. Sometimes strong means swaying with the hurricane winds instead of snapping, and that is still something on which I need to work.

So when it came time these last few weeks to pick a new word, I just let my mind run free. A new year! A new word! A new outlook!

Fearless was a contender for awhile, but it didn’t resonate with me on the deep level I needed. Same with creative, though I suspect that one may make an appearance one year. Only one word kept whispering to me, brushing away the grey fog of stress when it snuck into my mind.


Grateful spoke to me at the same intense frequency that strong did a year ago.

I am grateful that I learned the lessons 2011 had to teach me, and survived to tell the tale.
I am grateful to have the opportunity to homeschool my eclectic, complex, march to the beat of his own loopy drummer son.
I am grateful that particular son has come out of his room for the nth time late at night, complaining that he can’t sleep, because it means he is alive and healthy and still loves me enough to come snuggle next to me for a few minutes.
I am grateful to have been asked to write a book on parenting (and now homeschooling) the aforementioned twice-exceptional son while trying to find the funny (yeah, I’ve been sitting on that announcement for some time-more on this at a later date).
I am grateful that we have a roof over our heads (though everything below it needs work), that my husband is gainfully employed (though the economy keeps hitting us hard), that I can handle what is thrown my way because I learned to be strong.
I am grateful for my life and everything in it.

Every challenge, when viewed through the lens of grateful, lowers my stress. I also believe that the universe give you the same lesson over and over and over and over until you learn it. So I’m finally acknowledging that and making it a priority.

I bought a new Word of the Year necklace with the bonus I got from work; this year I ponied up the extra cash for the sturdier chain. I broke two of the ball-chain necklaces last year, both by pulling my seatbelt off my neck and taking the chain with it. I’m consistent, if nothing else. Having my word literally under my nose all year helped, and I can’t wait to hang grateful over my heart.

I’m still ambivalent about 2012; the last few years have hurt so deeply that I can’t muster up a whole lot of enthusiasm or excitement about a new year. But I know one thing.

I’m grateful to be here.


  1. I love this. Having a simple reminder is a great way to make things happen, instead of a list of specific tasks. I like your word both for last year and for this. I’ll have to put some thought into what I would use for my word, although the one that immediately jumps to mind is “control,” in that there are some things I really want to take control of this year. Which isn’t surprising as I am a bit of a control freak, so maybe I should find a different word, like “flexibility.”

  2. Grateful is a good one, and wow, holy crap, a book deal! Go Jen go!

    I don’t think I have a word, but if I did maybe it should be something like Dare – dare to take that step, dare to dream, dare to make your dreams come true…

    My photography is available for purchase – visit Around the Island Photography on etsy and Society6 and bring home something beautiful today!

  3. trish

    Word of the year is a GREAT idea! If I had realized your 2011 word was strong I really would have bugged you to get a tattoo that matches mine (it means strength). 😉

    Also, BOOK?! Super-exciting!

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