If you’ve been around here for long, you know that I write occasionally for Southern Weddings Magazine. I write for them not only because they produce a beautiful wedding magazine which focuses on more than just a wedding day, but mostly because their staff of strong, faithful women inspire me to be better. I first became connected with SW through the owner and editor, Lara Casey. Lara and I actually went to the same high school, though she was a few years ahead of me. I didn’t know her personally. I knew OF her because she had this fantastic, blazing red hair and I would dream that one day I could somehow persuade my own frizzy mass of red hair to cooperate and be as lovely as Lara’s.


Somehow, years later, Lara and I became acquainted because our small businesses generated a lot of the same audience, namely young, soon-to-be married women or those who had just begun their marriage adventure. Lara and I have continued to foster a meaningful, professional relationship over the years, but I think it would be dismissive of me to stay that that was all I found in Lara. To be honest, she is an incredible mentor to me. She inspires me (and thousands of others) to live better by doing better.

There were times when I was first beginning to grow this website when I asked myself what it would become, if it would become anything. This was back when Chris and I were putting together our own WordPress themes with duct tape and glue in the basement of our house in Connecticut and calling it a brand. I was seeing my readership grow (no doubt that was DESPITE our WordPress themes, and not because of them…), but I didn’t know what to do about it. I had no next step. Well, actually, I did have a next step. I knew what I wanted to do, but I had no idea how to do it. And that’s when Lara came in with her magical compass to point us in the right direction.

Through a series of short video chats and phone calls, Lara helped me gain the confidence to grow my website into a small business. She told me that success was there in front of me, and I just had to take it because no one was going to give it to me. So, that’s what we did. We worked with a professional web design team to overhaul our website and launched this beautiful blog that you see here, crossing our fingers the entire way and praying that people would actually keep coming back. I also began to develop business plans for Marriage Confessions, and started setting goals for myself and my website. When I began treating this like the small business that it was, Marriage Confessions did just as Lara predicted. It soared.

Since the launch of this website in March of 2009, Marriage Confessions has had over 6 million pageviews from more than 433,000 unique visitors. On average, 17,000 people visit this website to read my writing every month. In 2010 and 2011, MC was nominated as Weblog of the Year, and in 2012 we actually won Best Topical Weblog.  For a kitchen-table writer, it was a dream come true.

To say I have been blessed is an understatement. This website continues to bless our family financially and to fulfill me in ways that I didn’t even know I needed. It gives me a place to write, to grow, to laugh, and to learn. It is my passion and where my blood, sweat and tears are poured out. And those sky-high goals I set for my little website in the basement of my house several years ago have become a reality for me in large part because Lara pushed me to excellence when I was settling for mediocrity.

One of the things that is the most inspiring to me about Lara is her practical approach to success. She uses lists and steps and goal setting. Success isn’t some abstract idea floating out there. To Lara, it is tangible and it is our responsibility to use the gifts God has given us to achieve it.

To kick off the new year, Lara has been doing a series of blog posts on her blog about how to make things happen for yourself in 2013. She has been posting a 10-step process to goal setting over a series of three different blog posts (click here for Part One, Part Two, Part Three, and Part Four), and I have been reading and acting along with her. When she makes her list, I pull my little notepad out and make my own. Some of my goals are for myself personally, some are for our family, and some are professional goals both for my teaching career and for Marriage Confessions.

One of the parts of her series that I found the most helpful was choosing a word for 2013. Just one word that defines what you want to be and do and accomplish in this new year. Before I could choose my word for 2013, I had to look back a few years at where I have been so that I can figure out where I want to go.

In 2010, I battled depression that left scars much deeper than I realized at the time. That year was marked by change and anxiety and uncertainty. It was a year that took my enthusiasm for life and beat me back down until I felt silly for being excited about anything. How could I be so excited when everything was so bad, or when things could go bad so quickly??? If I had to give 2010 a word, it would have been languish.

Languish: Lack of vitality, grow weak. To fail to make progress or be successful.

In 2011, I was not just pulling myself out of depression, but was actually learning to be thankful. Our family was in a better place, we were thriving, we were flourishing, we were successful. I was digging deeper into my faith, and learning to be thankful for every good and perfect gift. I spent the year understanding how to accept help from others, and how to say thank you for that help. If I had to give 2011 a word, it would have been gratitude.

Gratitude: The quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.

2012 found me pursuing new dreams and setting even scarier goals in the form of a book.  This is a goal that I have continued to work towards, but the process itself has taught me how to have faith and trust in God’s perfect timing.  Later in the year, my dad passed away and the loss overwhelmed me.  Through it all, my family focused on our faith.  We came together in prayer.  We strengthened each other with scripture.  We blessed each other with support and kindness.  It has been and will continue to be our faith in the Lord that gets us through this grieving process.  Because it was a year of trusting blindly in the midst of great trial and sadness, if I had to give 2012 a word, it would have been faith.

Faith:  Having complete trust or confidence in someone or something.

I’ve been thinking about what my one word for 2013 should be. Faith was at the top of my list, but that wasn’t active enough for me. I’m tired of sitting on my knees in thanks. I want to be grateful in actions. I want to do something this year. I want to be JOYFUL. I want to be JOYFUL about the gifts in my life. I want to be JOYFUL about possibilities and opportunities. I want to be JOYFUL about disappointments and challenges. I want to be JOYFUL about my marriage and about my kids. I want to be JOYFUL at work every day. I want to be JOYFUL when I sit down to write. I want to be JOYFUL because I have a lot to be joyful about. My word for 2013 is joyful.

Joy: The emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing

what one desires. To delight.


Everything I do this year will be done with that word in mind. I will say yes to what makes me joyful, and I will say no to things that don’t make me joyful. I will live in a state of joy because…well…just because I can.

So many of you have been Tweeting your one word to me, and I keep retweeting them because they are so fantastic. I love seeing where people are going, and your one word is like showing people a map. So, leave a comment below and tell me, WHAT IS YOUR WORD FOR 2013?

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32 Thoughts to “#OneWord2013”

  1. Oh, my heart. You have blessed me SO much in this journey with your kindness, faith when I was in need of support and so much love. I am so grateful for you and excited for your year ahead!!

  2. Ginny

    Beautifully written! I love this idea! My word is contentment. I know that may seem silly but for too many years I have been pushing myself and looking for the next best thing – I need to learn to realize the best thing is right where I am and I want to spend 2013 being happy in it.

  3. I started doing this last year, just using one or two words as guiding lights as opposed to a steadfast “rule” to accomplish. Last year’s goals remain the same as this year’s – grace and gratitude. No matter what comes at me, if I can manage to pull it off with an ounce of grace and be grateful for what I have, I am successful.

  4. Beautiful! That’s my word. All of my resolutions this year are around that word. I will fill beautiful inside and out because I’m taking care of myself and making choices that a beautiful person would make.

  5. open – that’s my word…

  6. My word would be growth. As a new mom I’m going to have to grow in so many ways to learn how to balance this new role along with maintaining my current life. It’s also about reminding myself that every day she is going to grow and that I wont get those moments back, so to enjoy every bit of it.

  7. Adrienne

    Balance is my word and hope for 2013

  8. Peace would be my word – find peace of mind, peace in where I am in my life, who I am, and where I am going.

  9. Kristin

    Katie – This is so powerful! I love the idea of living in a state of joy. My word for 21013 is simplicity. Along the same lines – I so strongly desire to lead a year (and life) where I say yes to the important and no to the things that bog me down. A life of simple, joyful living. Here’s to 2013!!

  10. I just posted on my site that this year will be a year of settling and shifting for my family. If I had to pick just one of those it would be settle. Not that I will settle for whatever is near me but that after the last few years of upheaval in our family it will be nice to finally settle in one place and into a way of life. I’m ready for a settling year. Happy 2013!

  11. Great word! I wrote about mine today too. It is SIMPLIFY. I am tired of so much junk and clutter. I need to simplify my home and my life.

  12. My word is “breathe”. 2012 kicked my ass…seriously. Personally, financially, mentally, it almost got to be too much. Small things turned into big things and it was smothering. This year I am going to breathe. I am going to not react out of anger or frustration. I will stop, breathe, and think.

  13. Sarah H.

    Encourage! I’m going to be a Mom again in 2013 and I want to encourage my children as well as other Moms. Encouragement really helps to fuel and motivate people, and I love being positive and joyful it helps yourself as well as others!

  14. Cindy

    My word would be Encouraged!

  15. Allison

    Last year, my word was joy. Finding joy at work and with my relationships. Even when it was easier to gripe and complain, finding joy in the little things made last year (which was a toughy) much easier.
    When I started seeing the responses to your tweet this morning over breakfast, I inadvertantly thought of “Sunny Side Up”. It is still a lot like joy, but more optimism. (And protein for my new year’s resolution of running!)

  16. Tabs

    This is such a great reminder. As usual, thank you Katie for sharing. I am not sure what my word would be. I think “contentment” would have to be mine. I have such a problem of thinking what I have isn’t enough, in so many aspects of my life. I just want 2013 to be a year where I find contentment in everything that I have and realize that it all is a blessing from the Lord, in some shape or form.

  17. Paige

    We are due with child number 2 in a couple weeks so my word for 2013 is Survival! HA!
    Survival: 1.The state or fact of continuing to live or exist, typically in spite of an accident, ordeal, or difficult circumstances.

  18. Sarah663

    What was your 2012 word???

  19. I’m still trying to decide between Survival and Transition…

  20. Tabs

    I’m with Sarah663, what was the word for 2012??

  21. Laura

    You should check out lilblueboo.com. After battling cancer and losing her father, Ashley devoted her life to choosing joy. Maybe even get one of her necklaces or bracelets. I’m just a friend of Ashley’s who is constantly inspired by her. You might feel the same way after reading a few entries about choosing joy!

  22. shannon p

    Muy word for 2013 would be : Growth…Since growth is an expansion, a stretching so to speak, I aspire to grow in my faith, my walk, my God given gifts, my family time, my friendships…Growth in every area! Happy New Year Katie! You so deserve “Joy”.

  23. Maren

    I’m going to say JOY as well. In 13 weeks, I’ll finally realize my nearly 13 year long dream of being the mother of two. {Nothing so dramatic as infertility…just a series of life not going as I planned (I know, I know…it’s not my plan that counts anyway).}

  24. My word for 2013 is RISK. I’m going to risk saying “yes” when fear of failure would have me say “no”.

  25. Beanie & Gracie's Nana

    My word for 2013 is “”Purpose”. I’m going to spend serious time finding the meaning and purpose God has for my life going forward.

  26. Kristinia

    My word for 2013 is Reach. reach for the unknown, reach for the unthinkable, just reach till it hurts then reach some more. I don’t want to be held back by fear and doubt but the ability to to reach beyond my known limits. Thank you for the words your write daily. I love you blog and it brings so much insight to me and my soon to be married life!! Keep up the good work!!

  27. Vanessa

    Wow. Thank you Kristinia. I kept thinking of using the word ‘change’, but it didn’t quite fit what I wanted. ‘Reach’ is perfect though. I’m going to have to print that to remember it all year long. Thank you Katie for challenging us all.

  28. […] Katie over at Marriage Confessions mentioned that someone she knows professionally does this and asked people for their words of the year. The response was staggering (I hope to one day be able to ask a question on a blog and get that […]

  29. […] when it comes to resolutions so this year I decided not to make a resolution per se. I read this post by one of my favorite bloggers, who urged readers to choose “just one word that defines what […]

  30. I can’t decide between two words….
    1. FOCUS

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