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A Word for the Year



By: Shirley Hartnett, North Syracuse Chapter Coordinator


"You can’t keep your true self hidden forever; before long you’ll be exposed. You can’t hide behind a religious mask forever; sooner or later the mask will slip and your true face will be known" (Luke 12:2 The Message). 


Every year since 2014, I pick a word for the year. When I don’t know what to do, this word guides me. I wouldn’t say I've always liked this word. This year I revealed more of myself to family and friends. I was authentic.


God wants a relationship that responds to His love and loves back. One that relies on Him.


I had many miracle stories this year. I'd like to share two of them with you.


I usually memorialize November 28th alone, as it is the day my son, Matt died. This year I agreed to memorialize it with a friend whose father died the same day. Well, on that day, my dryer broke, my refrigerator froze all my food, and the kitchen faucet exploded all over. I had a hole where my front door was supposed to be and another hole on the side of my house. (don’t ask, me just shaking my head).


I offered to take my friend out to dinner. He invited me to his house. Unknowingly, his wife fixed Matt’s favorite dinner, and we played Matt’s favorite game. I so loved that day.


Then, while at my writer's group, Sandy gave a speech about how year's ago, a woman (it was me) walked into her store to buy a funeral suit, and ended up consoling her while listening to her story. Sandy had been praying for that woman (again, it was me) for nine years.


That day, I just "happened" to be the evaluator for her speech. I recalled how I had broken down. Not only was I preparing for a funeral, but also trying to determine what size suit to buy for my son, who'd been in a wheelchair. He always wore velcro or elastic clothes. God orchestrated closing this circle. How He must love me (us). 


This next year will be a year of immense changes for me. So in 2024, my word for the year is intentional.

Intentional is to do something on purpose. 


An intentional life walking in truth and not emotion.


And if you were wondering, my words for year's past:

2023 Authentic based on Luke 12:2.

2022 Uncomfortable based on a quote from Eleanor Roosevelt “Do one thing every day that scares you.”

2021 Peace "You will find peace not by trying to escape your problems, but by confronting them courageously. you will find peace not in denial, but in victory." (J. Donald Walters)

2020 Passionate "Be passionate, be involved in what you believe in, and do it as thoroughly, honestly, and fearlessly as you can." (Marie Colvin)


And the Activ8Her theme word of the year's past:

2023 Arise

2022 Restore

2021 Remain

2020 Rooted


Do you have a word to guide you through 2024? Will you be intentional to the end?


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