The Word of the Decade is…

I’m a word nerd. As such, I enjoy playing Scrabble (and taking an inordinate amount of pride in the rare win over my husband) and have owned several “Word of the Day” calendars over the years. I collect quotes that resonate with me. I do this for myself and for the sake of sharing. I have a Google slide presentation titled “Consider…”; it’s a running document of quips and phrases I share with my students–just stuff to consider. Then there are all the words of wisdom I share via posters and canvases and kitschy signs in my classroom and around our house. My interior design aesthetic is best described as akin to the appeal of fortune cookies. You never know what message awaits you when you crack open the next door.

I take great comfort in being surrounded by words. I also find strength in words.

In my mid-twenties, I turned to the word hope for, well, hope. (I’ve always been a deep thinker.) I was uncertain about a lot of things in my life and it was helpful to remain hopeful. Not that it was easy. But I found a sign to help remind me.


It served as a visual mantra and it helped get me through the valleys for years.

I’m not done with it. Even though much of what I had always hoped for is now part of my reality, the sign is still part of the decor in our family room. You can never have too much hope. But this decade calls for a new mantra:


Grace is what I strive for now. Grace is what I need to best handle the challenges that come with the blessings of being a wife and a stepmom. Grace is what my husband and my stepson need from me as I navigate this leg of life. Grace is what I need from myself to handle my emotions and behavior in some less-than-ideal circumstances. And grace is what I need to give myself when I fail to live up to the high expectations I’ve set.

I’ve never been graceful, so to speak, but I want to be able to handle my clumsiness–emotional or otherwise–with grace, with kindness towards myself and others.

Now I just need to find a sign to help me remember.

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