Finding Healing

This is My Word for 2018

Me Ra Koh

The Last Word I’d Ever Choose…

©BrianTausend / Venice, Italy

We all have words we identify with.

That’s why my word for 2018 didn’t make sense when it came to me.

Words like dream builder, risk taker, lover of to-do lists, recovering overachiever, artist, adventurer, disciplined, planner, believer, passionate, inspirational, and so on are words that feel like me.  Any one of these words would have made sense as my word for 2018. But when I sat with my word, I felt God rest on me and started to cry.

My word for 2018 is soak.

One of the reasons I rejected this word is because I’m not a bubble bath type of girl.  The idea of a bubble bath sounds heavenly, but when I get in a hot bath I rarely last for five minutes.

The Pacific Northwest rain is one of the details I miss most since moving to Dallas, which by the way would have been a disaster if it wasn’t for the removal service from shiply that helped us move.  But I don’t miss being soaked in the rain since locals never have umbrellas with them.

When I think of the word soak, I also think of water balloon fights in high school and walking home in my wet, heavy denim jeans.

I think of dish rags that make me shudder when I have to ring them out.

Soak didn’t make any sense at first glance, and yet tears followed.

I decided to write down all the things that first come to mind when I think of the word soak.  Once these things were all cleared out of me, I had space to receive the inspiration behind this word.  That’s when the revelation came.

One of the weakness of being a dream builder is that you forget to look up and see what you’ve built.  You can be so hyper focused on the building, that you lose sense of how far you’ve come.  For the last twenty-five years, I’ve been building dreams whether it was writing books, my marriage, raising our kids, creating a photography business that could sustain us, traveling abroad, filming our travels, the list goes on and on.

Last week, in the quiet space of my study with candles lit, I felt God’s gentle hand rest on me and say “Looking up from your work is just as important as doing the work.”

And then I saw the 2018 calendar year.  In that moment, my heart realized 2018 was Pascaline’s last full year with us.  Next New Year’s will start a countdown to her leaving for college.


My heart wants to soak up every opportunity to spend with her these next 12 months.  Brian and I have been on this scary road of parenting since the day she was born…often feeling like we were going to crash any minute.  I look at Pascaline, this beautiful, young woman who is confident, creative, brave and ambitious.  And my heart senses that these next twelve months are about soaking her up.


Isn’t it funny how what we often need most is what we reject at first glance?

Last year, my word was DEFY.  In years past, my word has been AdventureAdaptability, Bloom.

This year’s word already feels like the most important word I’ve ever had.

How to Live with My Word for 2018

©TeresaRish / Thailand

By knowing my word for 2018, I can start setting intentions around how I’m going to live with it.

My word for the year is a signal that says “This is what will give me life.  This is what will fuel me to create.  This is what will strengthen me to endure challenges.”

Over the years, I’ve found that if I identify my word for the year and put intention around it, the next step is setting goals or New Year’s resolutions.  But if I try to set goals and resolutions first, I run out of steam because my tank eventually runs empty.  Setting intention around my word keeps my tank full to meet my goals.  Does that make sense?

How will I live with my word for 2018?

1. Spend time journaling about my word’s meaning and definition.

2. Write it on a note card and tape it to my bathroom mirror.

3. Look for images I shot in 2017 that remind me of this word. The first image is from Venice.  Our Portrait of Italy workshop ended just before the rains came.  Brian and I ducked into this little archway along my favorite canal in Venice.  In that moment, I wanted nothing more than to sit and soak up the wonderful nine days we’d shared with our students–the wonderful work we get to do.  And then several months later during our Portrait of Thailand workshop, Teresa shot this image of me swimming in Thailand’s jungle.  This wild lake in the middle of nowhere is another one of my favorite spots.  I can’t help but see the joy beaming from my face.  My revelation in listening for my word is that my spirit is happy when I take time to pause and soak.  It seems my creative spirit was hinting at this before my mind even knew my word for 2018.

4. Share it with family and a few close friends, getting their insight on what this word could mean for my coming year.

5. Spend time processing it on a deeper level with my Restart Your Creativity course.  I love starting the course with our word for the year!  You can still join us by registering here.

6. Write my word on a white sheet of paper with a black sharpie, hold it up, and take a photo.  Share the photo with our private Facebook CONFIDENCE Group.  (Click here to join us and share your word.)

7. This year I’m also going to try Ali Edward’s One Little Word project.  She has us revisiting our word throughout the next twelve months in different, creative ways.  I’ll try to share snapshots of my progress as the year goes.

Will You Share Your Word with Me?

Join our private Facebook CONFIDENCE Group by clicking here.  Then be brave and write a post that introduces yourself and your word.  We’d all love to hear!

This is a safe, encouraging, healing and inspiring community for the soul who is hungry for more confidence in photography, travel, and family.

Maybe this can be your first step toward putting intention around your word.

Happy New Year!