Carrie has four daughters and runs Write On! Workshops--a summer writing camp for children.

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My “one little word” for 2012

A couple of favorite New Year’s Eve status updates I found on Facebook from two awesome (and honest) women:

“Setting my New Year’s Resolutions was easy. I just erased ‘2011’ and wrote ‘2012.’ Done.”

“Today is going to be an especially busy day. I need to lose 50 pounds and get married. Wish me luck.”

I laugh only because I know how they feel. When I reviewed my 2011 New Year’s Resolutions, I likewise found I could simply erase “2011” and write “2012” instead. While it is sort of funny, it is also discouraging. As the years pass, I want to feel as if I’m moving forward not just marking time. I did accomplish a lot of things in 2011, they just didn’t happen to make my list last January. Sometimes I think I should revise my 2011 Resolutions just so I can have things to check off.


My more preferred way to approach New Year’s Resolutions is a tradition I found on Ali Edwards a few years ago. Instead of (or alongside) New Year’s Resolutions, I select a word. “One little word,” as Ali Edwards says, to be my mantra and guide throughout the year. It isn’t exactly something I can “cross off,” but it adds a direction and dimension to my year.

Finding the right word is a serious business. It can’t be the word your husband or your children or your mother might choose for you. It has to be your word, the word that speaks to you–who you are, and who you hope to become this year. Oftentimes, if you let this idea work inside for awhile, your word will actually find you.  

My first word in 2009 was Preserve.

In 2010 I chose Cherish.

In 2011 I picked Celebrate.


This year, it has taken me a little longer than usual to choose. I’m not “done” with my other words and hope to bring them with me into 2012. But this new word might be my favorite so far. And maybe I love it most because it is truly such a little word.

The word is BE.

That’s it. Just be.

Here’s what I’m thinking. I’ve always been proud that I could stuff an extraordinary number of “things on my plate” and handle it okay. But I’m discovering a full plate comes with a cost. To keep it all balanced and not spilling all over the floor, I have to continually do two or three things at once. I watch girls’ soccer games while writing articles. I bring PTA projects to the dinner table. I sit in church with my pencil scribbling out my to do list. While many of these actions are out of the necessity of being responsible for 4 young people, I recognize all of this multi-tasking is keeping me at arm’s length from those very people I care about most. Often I am in the room (or in the car or at the game), but I am not really there.

So there is my new word waiting for me.


Be there.

Be here.

Be still.

Just be.

I went to Sarah’s soccer game on Saturday carrying nothing but my coat (and my cheering voice.) When my girls wanted to watch the last (epic!) episode of Wizards of Waverly Place, I sat down next to them on the couch and actually watched. At church on Sunday, I sat on my hands and listened.

Just be.

For a Mama who has spent a lot of time always trying to do, find, and stuff more and more into each moment, this is a new place for me.  I am not sure what will happen. Maybe we will completely run out of clean socks. Maybe dinner won’t be ready until 8:00. Most likely this will not be the year I organize the basement.

And perhaps I’ll discover that all of that is okay.  Don’t get me wrong, I do plan to accomplish some things in 2012. But I might try my hand at doing them one at a time. Who knows? This one little word might bring me my best year so far.

More on Today’s Mama:

 The one sentence that makes me a better mama.

 Don’t judge me by my gear. I’m still in the game. 

 Back to school resolutions for moms.

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Comments (7)

  1. Amy 01/17/2012 at 7:18 am

    Did I say, I LOVE this? Read this last week and have been pondering. I had to come back and comment. BE is so good, but it’s hard! Still working on my word

    • Carrie Finlinson 01/18/2012 at 10:36 pm

      Thanks Amy–so cool you are thinking of a word too! I would love to hear what you choose.

  2. מסיבת בת מצווה 09/13/2012 at 8:53 am

    אירועים חוגגים בימי הולדת למבוגרים מומלץ! וגם ב התאנה וגם ב אולם אירועים ברחובות

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