Welcome I noticed a trend back in late 2016. Instead of New Year’s Resolutions, the suggestion was to pick a single word to focus on and work all of your yearly goals around that one big idea. I tried it last year, and really liked the experience. Now that we’re well into January of the new year, are you ready to pick your word of the year? I’m so glad you could join me today as I share my Word and Verse for 2018.
Food For Thought For 2017, I picked the word adventure as our family’s focus. We displayed artwork in our living room that had adventure as the key theme. Life gave us an adventure, alright! We also selected Psalm 32:8 as our family verse of the year: “The Lord says, ‘I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you.” This verse is framed and sits next to our coffee maker so we can read it each day. When we selected this to be our verse of the year, we had no idea the crucial role it would play in our lives. Last year I set out on a completely different path than we expected, and we felt strongly that it was God’s guidance that brought me there. We continue to look to Him to advise us and watch over us. Having a word and verse for the year worked out to be way more valuable to our personal and spiritual growth than a “lose weight” or “eat healthy” resolution would have been, although those are important goals for us, as well.
So now I am ready to reveal our 2018 Word and Verse of the Year. So many great words came to mind when I was making my decision (my husband says pick it and he’ll go along for the ride!) Peace, gratitude, love, and trust were all in the running. But the word that has been selected is something I know I am actively working on every single day, and that word is FAITH. Our entire household has agreed that faith needs to be our word of the year. We must have faith, that in all things, God will provide for us, God will be with us, God will cover us with His grace and mercy, and God will bless us every day of this year. Our selected verse of the year is Matthew 17:20: “He replied, ‘Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” And we’re going to paraphrase with the popular “Faith can move mountains” as our new home artwork this year.
Some may think it’s silly to select a word or verse of the year, but I’ve actually heard a lot of people talking this January about “their word.” When you select that word and verse it becomes a sort of filter for all of your thoughts and actions to be run through. That’s why I found it important to choose a more spiritual word this year. It can only serve as a step in the right direction for weighing all of my decisions, worries, and circumstances…my faith is bigger than my fears! Ironically, I’m writing this on a day when I’m having to rely on my faith quite a bit in the midst of every-day life struggles. You know the kind of days, right? The car needs repairs, the kitchen plumbing has failed, an email letter of rejection is staring at you on the computer screen, the weather predicts more ice and snow, multiple nosebleeds in a single day, and you wish you were anywhere but where you are right now! Sigh. Faith is a great word to help me focus on the great things ahead in life, rather than circumstances of the present or mistakes of the past. I also believe with that focus on faith, other spiritual areas will grow, as well, like the peace, gratitude, love, and trust that I contemplated earlier in this process. And, as is becoming a new tradition for us, we will add our verse and word to our home decor so we can read and reflect on it daily. Good thing…I need it today!
Won’t you join me in this exercise for making the most of your upcoming year? What will your word of the year be? Do you have a verse you want to focus on with your goal for 2018? I’d love to hear your ideas in the comments or on my Facebook page.
Today’s Prayer My Dear Heavenly Father, I ask that you bless our family and home during this upcoming year as we focus on growing our faith. May we keep our faith in You as our focus for the entire year and not just here at the beginning. And Lord, when our faith starts to waiver and we begin to have doubts, please give us a gentle nudge so that we can get our focus back. I ask that my prayers be saturated with faith as I speak them to You, God, knowing that You are capable of many miracles through Your infinite power. I ask for blessings on my dear friends and family that also set out on their journeys for this upcoming year, that You may help them focus and achieve their goals as well. I pray these things in Jesus’ Holy Name, Amen.
Today’s Scriptures Here are a few other verses I find similar to Matthew 17:20 that would have also served well for our 2018 verse of the year.
Matthew 21:21-22 “Jesus replied, ‘I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”
Mark 11:22-23 “Have faith in God,’ Jesus answered. I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him.”
Mark 9:24 “Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, ‘I do believe, help me overcome my unbelief!”
1 Corinthians 13:2 “If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.”
Today’s Recipe It is no secret to anyone who even knows me a little bit that I am somewhat obsessed with mountains, especially the Blue Ridge and Smoky Mountains of the eastern United States. The “Faith can move mountains” artwork will fit in quite nicely with our decor that already reflects my passion for the mountains. I also enjoy cooking traditional foods of Appalachia and I’m intrigued by new recipes I find that seem to fit this genre. A couple of weeks ago I came across a recipe called “Smoky Mountain Potatoes,” so of course I had to look into it. I have no idea why the recipe has this name, but they had me at “smoky mountain!” I did not have the ricotta cheese or liquid smoke called for in the recipe, so my version has varied from the original as I used cream cheese and a smoky flavored grill seasoning. I think they still turned out pretty good, although my daughter has said she doesn’t want them again (I think it has something to do with the green onions!) The key for this recipe is to make sure your potatoes get cooked through in the first step or you will have hard centers, and no one wants to bite into a crunchy “cooked” potato!
Smoky Mountain Potato Casserole-Robin’s version (makes 8-10 servings)
- 3 large baking potatoes
- 1 8-oz pkg cream cheese, softened
- 1 8-oz carton sour cream
- 2-3 TBS smoky flavored grill seasoning
- 1/2 cup sliced green onions
- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
Scrub clean the potatoes and place in stock pot, whole and unpeeled. Cover potatoes with water and add a dash of salt; bring to a boil. When potatoes are at a rolling boil, reduce heat to medium and continue to cook 30 minutes. Remove potatoes to cutting board to cool. Turn oven to 375 degrees and spray a 9×13 casserole with nonstick cooking spray. In large bowl, beat together cream cheese, sour cream, grill seasoning, and green onions until just smooth. Once potatoes have cooled, slice into 1/4 inch slices. Layer half of the potato slices in the bottom of the casserole dish. Top with half the cream cheese mixture, 1 cup of cheddar cheese, and 1 cup of mozzarella cheese. Repeat the layers one more time. Cover dish with aluminum foil and bake at 375 for 30 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking for 10 more minutes. Remove from oven and allow to rest 5-10 minutes before serving. This dish pairs very nicely with pork chops or ham.