FREE – a Hopeful, Surprising Word of the Year

2017 is a year of Freedom! As this year unfolds, I am focusing on being free – making statements like “I am free to ____________________.” “I am free from _____________________.” “Be free to ___________________” etc. I plan to include these “free” pages throughout my everyday calendar journal, exploring ideas and options without pressure. I have a feeling they will bring enjoyment and fun to the concept of a free art-making process. Such as, I am free to play with Washi tape in my journal…

Looking up the definition of my word of the year is one of the most helpful things I do to clarify and encourage me to LIVE the word out during the year. It’s easy to look up the word in an online dictionary. I did that and I then looked the word FREE up in an old, but good dictionary. It means all the things you think it would: not in bondage, released from confinement, able to move without restraint etc. What I didn’t expect to find in both the online and hardcopy dictionaries was the root meaning of the word.

The origin of for FREE in many languages means: to love, dear, favored, beloved, to help, friend, affection, wife, children, noble, joyful…. When I read that, how to be free, became clearer to me. Freedom grows out of true love. The love that “casts out fear.” So much of bondage and restraints are born out of fear. If I am free from fear, I am free to love, to step out in faith, to fly free.

Christ has set us free to live a free life.
So take your stand!
Never again let anyone
put a harness of slavery on you.

-Galatians 5:1 The Message

In looking at synonyms and idioms for free, free-flow stuck out to me, connecting “flow”, my 2016 word of the year, with this year’s “free”.

Free-flowing means:

  • Able to move without anything stopping it
  • Happening or done in a continuous and natural way
  • Easily accessible and available in large amounts; plenty and abundant
  • Moving quickly, gliding, calm and relaxed

May 2017 be your year to glide naturally into your destiny!

Researching my word studies in the new journal, along with making lists of things I am giving myself freedom to do, or not do, I’m feeling free already. Of course this brings up all the things I love to explore and discover that represent or speak to my word, such as colors, symbols, songs, nature etc. For me it is like a treasure hunt and because I’m looking, I’m always amazed at the new ways, full of wonder (wonderful) a word can manifest throughout the year.

If you haven’t tried a word of the year, I would encourage you to do so. When I traded my to do list in for a word to be lived out, joy replaced obligation. I found I still got things done, those things that I value.

Over the years I have used a few different journals. The Moleskine Journals are sturdy stand-bys and have served me well for years. Last year, I was introduced to a journal similar to the Moleskine journal that has become my new favorite. It is a bit wider and comes in a dotted grid version with more pages, page numbers, and a table of contents to fill in as the year progresses. Exciting!

Amazon links & info:


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  1. I am grateful that a fellow Oregon artist shared your name and website with me. Your style of faith expression resonates with me. My word of the year is DELIGHT and I am inspired to create my own word of the year journal. Thanks for sharing your beautiful work.

  2. I am very inspired by I just read. I have been suffering from a deep depression for the last year. Your words about being free from the things that bind us gave me new hope. Thank you

  3. I love how you pick a word of the year and explore it ! So yes, maybe I should pick one too. Just how does one do that ? Thought about it last year as well, on reading your blog, but I couldn’t seem to work out which word would fit me for the year…

    • Hi Jose, Having a word of the year has consistently been one of the most meaningful things for me. There are many ways to find one. How I usually start the process is by asking and listening. For me, I pray and ask God to reveal a word. I intentionally listen and watch for words that are highlighted to me and/or repeatedly show up. If I am unsure of the word, I sit with it, live with it for a day or so and see how it feels. If it sparks ideas, inspires goodness and hope, or curiosity, I pursue that word with a word study etc. If it starts to lose its interest, I move on and repeat the process. I’ve talked about having a word quite a bit on my blog as you mentioned. If you put “word of the year” in the search box, posts on the subject will come up. If you get a word, I’d love to hear what it is. Blessings!

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