My Word for the Year

A life lesson from my junk drawer
My Word for the Year

January always inspires me to do a little cleanup. I rid the fridge and pantry of junk food (or “fake food” as my friend Gretchen calls it), and I attack the hall closet, also known as the cemetery for misfit coats, gloves, and boots that have divorced their mates.

In an ambitious wave of energy this year, I even tackled that drawer in the kitchen. You know the one. It’s overflowing with ballpoint pens, useless receipts, empty Scotch tape dispensers, and that wad of rubber bands that have no purpose.

As I surveyed all manner of nonsense dumped in this drawer, it brought a new yearning. Secretly, I want 2016 to be The Year of the Tidy Drawer, but in my heart, I know organizing closets and drawers won’t bring significant change. There must be more.

Choosing My Word for the New Year

I’m smack in the middle of reading The Gratitude Diaries by Janice Kaplan, and within the first few chapters the author shares her desire to think differently and be different. She caught my attention with the statement, “I don’t want to just acknowledge what’s good today. I want my gratitude to transform me for the future.”

That’s when my word for the year presented itself. Every January I choose a framing word that will be my focus for the year ahead, and I suddenly knew what it would be: gratitude.

As Kaplan pointed out, gratitude is different than momentary thankfulness. It’s deep. It’s transforming. It changes the way you look at your family, your stuff, and yourself. Cleaning and tidying up is great, but I want lasting, significant change. I want to be intentional with my thoughts, and I want to have the presence to appreciate what I have today, where I am today, and to the people I get to share today with.

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Sherry Surratt

Sherry Surratt is the Director of Parenting Strategy for Orange Family Ministry. She is the former CEO of MOPS International and the author of several books, including Brave Mom, Beautiful Mess, and Just Lead. You can connect with her online at or follow her on Twitter at @SherrySurratt.

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