One Word 2023

seeking joy in all of my circumstances

“…weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.”
Psalm 30:5

“O satisfy us early with thy mercy; that we may rejoice [shout with joy]
and be glad all our days.”

Psalm 90:14

My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;
Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.
But let patience have her perfect work,
that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.”
James 1:2-4

“…the joy of the Lord is your strength.”
Nehemiah 8:10


My word for 2021 is believing.  I knew in the fall of 2020 that this would be my word for this year.  There were reasons for that that I won’t go into in this blog post.  At the time, I had no idea how much I would need the focus on this word in this new year.

I am preparing to return to Japan with all the Covid regulations for travel.  It is nerve-racking to say the least.  I saw the Lord open wide “the Red Sea” for my return to the states and I know that He can do it again, but oh how easily I forget.  It is so easy to get my eyes off of the Lord and onto my circumstances.  

Two verses have stood out to me at the beginning of this year.  I am memorizing them and adding them to my prayers.  Whenever I finish my prayers with these words from God’s precious Word, I am helped.  

“Lord, you have told me that if I would believe, I would see Your glory. Lord, I believe.  Help thou my unbelief.” 

-based on John 11:40 and Mark 9:24

I have seen the Lord help me in my unbelief.  So many times I pray about things and then pick the burden back up instead of leaving it with the Lord whose shoulders are so much bigger than mine.  I want to get to a place in my life where I am praying believing that I will see the glory of God!

A New Bullet Journal

I’ve mentioned before that I have been bitten by the bullet journal bug.  I really do love bullet journaling.  It is flexible and I can adapt it for whatever I need.  For example, my planning needs are different when I am on furlough vs. when I am in my own home in Japan.

In the past, I have used several different kinds of notebooks.  My first one was a Muji notebook with a printed calendar for one week on one side and a dotted page on the other side.  I have also used Moleskin and Leuchtturm.  I even bought an official Bullet Journal last year.  At the end of 2019 I was thinking about what notebook I would purchase for the coming year.  During this time, my thoughtful husband brought this notebook home for me after running his errands.  I decided that would be my bullet journal for 2020.

It’s a beautiful notebook.  He purchased it at Walmart.  One thing that it didn’t have that I felt like I couldn’t live without was a pocket in the back.   I found a tutorial on YouTube and made my own.  I made it bigger than the one they made, but it was easy to follow the directions.  I bought thick colored paper from Hobby Lobby to make it with.  I wanted it to hold up for the whole year that I am using the notebook.

The page opposite had something preprinted on it that I didn’t need or want so I covered it up with another paper I bought at Hobby Lobby.  Can I just say that I love Hobby Lobby!?!?

I found lots of free downloads that I could put in my notebook.  This 2020 calendar is one.  I also decided to put all 12 months at the front of my notebook instead of waiting until a new month is coming to put it in.  This is working well for me with my planning for the future.  I still wait until the new month is coming to set up my weekly pages.

I’ve found lots of stickers at Hobby Lobby and Etsy that I used to help get started with my new year.  I have always loved using stickers…long before my bullet journal bug bite.  😉

I leave a couple of pages at the end of each month blank for note-taking.  Of course, I had to add a couple of stickers.  I enjoy using seasonal stickers when possible.  These are in honor of Valentine’s Day.

I hope to do more posts in the future about my bullet journal.  If you would like that, please let me know in the comments.  If bullet journaling is something that interests you, I would recommend watching this video before you read or watch other videos.  Ryder Carroll is the originator of bullet journaling.  His story of why he started it is very interesting.  His is very minimalistic.  If you google, you will find all kinds of artistic ones.  I do not have an artistic bone in my body.  I found it all very overwhelming.  Mine is sort of a cross between artistic and minimalistic.  I keep it simple and use stickers to decorate.

If you want even more information about bullet journaling, Ryder Carroll wrote a book that I found to be inspirational.  He also has a website with lots of information.  You do not need to buy any special tools to do this.  Any notebook, even spiral bound, and a pen will do!  Happy bullet journaling!!

Abounding in Hope

I stopped New Year’s resolutions several years ago.  I realized that I always needed to be striving to improve in my walk with the Lord and other areas of my life all throughout the year, not just in January.  At that time, a new trend was starting where people would pick a word that they focused on for that year.  I observed this for a few years and then I started to notice that the Lord was leading me through a year with a particular focus.  For example, one year it was the area of rest and then another was with being content.  So I began asking the Lord what He would have me to focus on in the coming year.  Some of my “one words” have been prayer, diligence, renewal and abide.  Last year’s word was ‘hope.’  In Psalm 71:5 we read, “For thou art my hope, O Lord God: thou art my trust from my youth.”  In A Spectacle of Glory, Joni Eareckson Tada says, “These are the words of someone who has passed through dark places, challenging mountain ascents, and slippery trails with uneven footing. And yet he is able to say, ‘My hope is as steady as ever—not because of my life circumstances, but because of the God who holds me in His firm grip. I have all kinds of confidence, but none of it is in myself.’ Christian hope has an object of its focus, and it is God himself, the God who has revealed Himself in the Bible. To hope in God is to not feel consumed by difficult life challenges, because you know His mercies and compassion are fresh every day. To hope in God is to have confidence that one day when Christ returns, He will close the curtain on sin, Satan, and suffering and will make all things right.”  It was and still is my prayer to hope in the faithfulness of my God as I face the daily trials and struggles in my life.

This year, my word is ‘abound.’  Romans 15:13,  “Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.”  Last year, the Lord taught me about having hope in Him in every area of my life.  This year, He wants me to abound (or overflow) in that hope!  In doing that, it will carry over into the work that He has called me to.  I Corinthians 15:58 says, “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.”  Japan is a hard place to minister.  The fruit for your labor is relatively small compared to other parts of the world.  I can still abound in the work of the Lord and my labors are not in vain even if I don’t see immediate fruit.  We don’t usually see that immediate fruit and it can be discouraging, but we need to keep pressing on.  As I prepare to return to Japan, I know some of the challenges that I will face culturally, relationally and with communication.  I know some of the struggles that will be there even in the first few days.  I also know the truth of 2 Corinthians 9:8, “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:”  It is my prayer that the Lord will continue to use me and that through His overflowing grace I will abound in every good work!