My Word of the Year and an Exciting Announcement!

Unlike many others, I have never chosen a word for the year, a word to focus on and grow with. I have never had a word to stand out to me as a single word that can sum up what I want to focus on for the year. I love to write, and often I find myself rambling on and writing much more than I need to for anything, whether it is in my personal journal or for a school essay. So whenever I lay out my plans for the year I have much too many words to narrow it down to one single focus.

This year, however, is different.

One day on a run Sam brought up a conversation he remembered someone having with my sister. She was a new college student, stressed about being pulled in many directions by classes, friends, responsibilities, and events. He told her to do it all, but to really focus on what she was doing. “When you’re studying,” he told her, “don’t think of anything else. Just study. And when you’re at cross country practice don’t think of anything else! Just run really hard. When you’re at a social event, have fun with your friends and don’t think about how much school you need to do.” This helpful and practical advice reminded me how much I tend to think about everything all the time, and sometimes all I need to do is focus.

Right there, while we were running I told Sam, “I just discovered what my word for the year will be! It will be Present.”

2017 was a huge year of changes and milestones for me, and it looks like 2018 is going to be another wonderful, crazy, full year. And I want to be present for it all.

I want to be present as I am living in Romania and do what I can while I am here. I still miss home and family terribly, and sometimes I wish I was there, but I am not. So I want to be present here and do all I can to support Sam and help in the work here. I know my time here is limited and I want to make the most of it.

Whenever I am talking to people or spending time with them and building relationships I want to be present. I want to listen to what they say and be able to thoughtfully respond, not have my mind in a million different places as I am with others.

When I am doing school or studying I want to be present and be able to get things done, and I want to be present when I spend time with Sam and not think about my long to-do list or school assignments I have due soon.

Another thing I want to focus on this year (and the rest of my life!) is prayer, and I want to be present in prayer. I can have a hard time keeping my mind from wandering sometimes, but I want to focus and be present in God’s presence.

When my family comes to visit in May I want to be present and fully enjoy every minute they are here, not focusing on how sad I will be when they have to leave.

In September our lives are going to drastically change, and I want to make sure I am present through it all. Sam and I are thrilled to announce that we are expecting our first child in September 2018!

Right now I am in a fleeting stage of life, and instead of desiring to fast-forward time (as I am prone to do) I want to be present and soak it all in. I want to be present in these last few months Sam and I have together alone and take advantage of all the loads of time I know I will miss in a few months.

When I go home in July there will be a whirlwind of activity; doctor’s appointments and baby showers and a million little things to get ready for a baby, but I want to be present.

In September when we can hold our little bundle of joy in our arms I want to be present. I want to enjoy and remember every moment with tiny baby features and newborn milestones.

As I move into a new stage of life I want to continue to be present, to serve others, to give others my time, and to shower those around me with love.

This year I want to be present.


  1. Renee McGill
    February 1, 2018

    I am so happy for y’all that God has given you this precious child to love and to raise to love Him! Thank you for the wise words you shared with us about being present in each area of what He has for you.

  2. Michelle
    February 1, 2018

    Congratulations! So excited for you and Sam. I love the idea of trying to be more present in whatever you are doing/whoever you are with.

  3. Becky Cawthon
    February 1, 2018

    A beautiful and thoughtful post! Congratulations to you, Sam and your entire family. May the Lord bless you in the present and in the future.

  4. Henderson
    February 2, 2018

    Congratulations, I love the idea of picking a word for the year and I will also use the word “present” because of God’s good will I am still living and I wont to enjoy the present do matter what.

  5. Sherry D.
    February 2, 2018

    What a beautiful and thought provoking post! Be in the present day by day , moment by moment. Encouraging words and actions to always be in the present. Congratulations to both of you and your families. May God continually bless you in the work and in your physical health.

  6. Lindsey
    February 2, 2018

    Julie!! This is the most exciting news! I am so happy for you and Sam! What a blessing this is!

  7. Lesa Allen
    February 2, 2018


  8. Jill
    February 6, 2018

    Congratulations Sam & Julie! What an exciting time in this story of y’alls!! Each day is a gift! I just love your word! – Jill

  9. […] January 2, the day Sam and I left Mississippi to return to Romania, I found out that I was pregnant. It was unexpected and I was terrified, and it definitely made it hard to leave. Not long after we […]


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