For the last five years or so, I’ve chosen a word for the year. It focuses on me; gives pathways to my thoughts and intentions. I like it! The year I retired, my word was JOY.

tree lined road in the early morning walk


This year, I tried a program that generates a word for you. The word I received didn’t resonate with me after sitting on it for a day, so I clicked for a new word, and then another, Dense me, I finally prayed about what word God

wanted me to keep before my heart and mind. Quite frankly, prayer clearly held better prospects. Doesn’t it always? Duh!


How slow I am to learn the ways of God.


sun - kissed cumulus clouds with text that reads: OPEN

Open is my new word for 2018. After completing my first book last year and the gazillion things you need



to learn as a new author, I was ready to listen with an open mind and an open heart to what God wanted of me next. Open Mind, Open Heart, by the way, is one of my favorite books by Thomas Keating.

New Word = New Focus

When you’re pregnant, you suddenly notice other pregnant women. When you have a key focus word held before your mind, your awareness is drawn to references to that word in all kinds of places. I noticed it first in scripture.

I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. Revelation 3:8 NIV

I like open doors. My mind sees them as symbols of new beginnings. Invitations to enter a new space or an old space in a new way.

… for a wide door for effective service has opened to me, and there are many adversaries. 1 Corinthians 16:9

osprey on Jolee island silhouette

There will be adversaries

Yes, there are adversaries of which we must be aware. When we open ourselves to the Lord’s service, the evil one gets irritable. He makes plans to dissuade or interrupt you. Opening our hearts in pure prayer and praise blinds him and makes him unable to act.

Then God made her eyes open, and she saw a water-spring, and she got water in the skin and gave the boy a drink. Gen. 21:19

If I am to be intentionally OPEN this year, I expect both obstructions from evil and grace from God. Jesus has so few who give Him their open hearts (according to Gabrielle Bossis in He and I which I reference often in my memoir, God’s Patient Pursuit of My Soul (click here to read more about it) and Elizabeth Kindelmann in her spiritual diary The Flame of Love).

Then the Lord made Balaam’s eyes open, and he saw the angel of the Lord in the way with his sword in his hand: and he went down on his face to the earth. Numbers 22:31

The Lord made Balaam’s and Hagar’s eyes open in a way only He can do. IMy soul delights to sit in centering prayer, a receptive form of contemplative praying, and wait upon the Lord in an attentive open soul stance.

azalea view


Pray. Then write.


O Pen! This word holds a lovely exclamation for my favorite writing instrument. O Lord, what would you have me write this year?

Written in response to the word prompt – intentional – from my Five Minute Friday community. Check out what others had to say about intentional. Write something there yourself or share in the comments below what you like about being intentional.