The power of one word


Beth Vogt
Beth Vogt

As the new year approaches, we will start setting our new years goals. Some people find a word for the year to focus on. My friend Beth does just that. Please help me welcome to the table this week, Christy Award winning fiction author, Beth K. Vogt. She has some wise words on this topic. She also has a gift to give for Christmas! There of course will still be a recipe for you at the end. Enjoy the conversation today and enter to win the gift!



“Words have the power to make things happen.” Frederick Buechner (1926-), American writer & theologian

I believe in the power of words, both spoken and written.

The words we speak can either encourage or alienate other people. As an author, I want the words I write to do more than entertain my readers. I pray over my novels, weaving in truths and threads of hope.

But in the past 13 years, I’ve discovered the power of one word to change my life.

The New Year used to be a time for making my list and checking it twice – a list of New Year’s resolutions, that is. I’d plot out my do’s and don’ts for the coming months, all in hopes of becoming a better me by the time the next New Year rolled around.

The only problem? I always lost my oh-so-carefully-thought-out list within a few weeks of writing it. All my good intentions gone, leaving me feeling like a failure, year after year.

And then I discovered the idea of focusing on one word for an entire year. Just a single word, instead of a numbered list. It’s hard to forget one word, right?

My steps for determining my One Word each year are simple:

  1. Each September, I start mulling over my One Word for the coming New Year. No decisions … just tossing words around in my head. And yes, I pray through this process, too.
  2. God uses a variety of methods to help me decide my One Word. I watch for a repeated word to rise up, possibly through what I’m reading in my Bible, or through the books I’m reading, or songs I’m listening to, or maybe a sermon series.
  3. Once I know what my One Word is, I look for a Scripture verse to go with it.
  4. I also look for some sort of visual to go with my One Word: a graphic or a photograph.

My One Word becomes my focus for the next 12 months, something I concentrate on, allowing God to deepen my understanding of the word and to change me – how I act and react to people and situations.

Some of my One Words have been:

  •  gratitude– I kept a gratitude journal and found my “glass-half-empty” attitude revolutionized.
  • forgiveness– I had a lot to learn and unlearn about forgiveness, praying through broken relationships.
  • collaborate– Collaborate means “to work jointly on an activity, especially to produce or create something.” I focused on collaborating with God in my writing life.
  • kind– Ephesians 4:32a encourages us to “Be kind to one another.” In 2018, I started each week with a quote on kindness, sharing it on Instagram and Facebook, and looking for opportunities to be compassionate and kind.

anchor hanging on side of boat near shore
My One Word for 2019 is “anchor.” After compiling a series of my anchor verses – key Scripture verses that have helped me through the years – I’m going to focus on where I anchor my thoughts.

What about you? Are you a New Year’s Resolution kind of person or do you focus on One Word? Never heard about choosing a word for the year? You can read more about it the  book My One Word: Change Your Lifewith Just One Wordby Mike Ashcraft and Rachel Olsen.

BIO:Beth K. Vogt is a non-fiction author and editor who said she’d never write fiction. She’s the wife of an Air Force family physician (now in solo practice) who said she’d never marry a doctor—or anyone in the military. She’s a mom of four who said she’d never have kids. Now Beth believes God’s best often waits behind the doors marked “Never.” A Christy Award winner, as well as an ACFW Carol Award winner, Beth’s first women’s fiction novel for Tyndale House Publishers, Things I Never Told You, released May 2018. Moments We Forget, book 2 in her “Little Women gone wrong” series releases May 2019.

Cover of Things I Never Told You
Want a chance to win a copy of Beth’s book, Things I never Told You? Comment on this post and you’ll be entered into a drawing for a copy of her book! Complete rules can be found by clicking Contest Rules

Now, for this week’s recipe:

Dinner plate with 2 sloppy joes and a side of cheesy tomato pasta

Sloppy Joes with Cheesy Tomato Macaroni

Sloppy Joes:

1 lb. ground beef/turkey/chicken

1 can tomato soup (condensed, no water added)

Approximately 1 Tbsp. Mustard

Approximately 2-3 Tbsp. Ketchup

2 Tbl. Brown sugar

Dash or 2 of season salt

Brown ground beef/turkey/chicken in a large skillet. Drain. Before returning the meat to the pan… empty contents of tomato soup, add mustard, ketchup, brown sugar, and season salt. Stir together until well blended. Add additional of any of the ingredients (except tomato soup) if desired. Return meat to skillet and heat through on medium low heat for about 10 minutes. MMM MMM Good!

Cheesy Tomato Macaroni:

1 lb. Spiral noodles (or noodles of choice)

1 large can (28 oz.) crushed tomatoes

4-6 oz. triple cheddar shredded cheese

4-6 oz. mild cheddar shredded cheese (this depends how cheesy you like it)

1 stick butter

In large crock pot, place butter, crushed tomatoes, and cheeses. Turn on high with lid on to get things melting. Meanwhile, cook noodles as lable directs. Drain. When cheeses and butter are mostly melted, add noodles and mix well. Place the lid back on and continue cooking on high about 30 minutes to infuse flavors and finish melting. Comfort food for sure!








79 thoughts on “The power of one word

    1. Hi,Tonya, I’m glad you enjoyed the post. So maybe you’re considering OneWord for 2019? (Sorry for the delay in responding. I’ve been on the road since Wednesday.)


    1. Hi, Lisa: Yes, choosing One Word for the year takes some thought, but I hope you have fun with it, too. Here’s hoping you find your One Word for 2019!


    2. Tonya I’m so happy you enjoyed the post. You are entered to win a copy of Beths book! I look forward to hearing from you again 🙂 Hi Lisa! Yes definately think about a word to focus on. It is a good way to have a new perspective on the new year. You are entered to win a copy of “Things I Never Told You”. Winner will be drawn tomorrow (Tuesday the 18th) Good luck!


    1. Hi Deborah, I love that idea as well! As my family gets older, everyone is going in different directions and that gets a little more challenging. However we do what we still can lol. I’m glad you dropped by and I hope you find a place at the table permenantly 🙂


    1. Hi Jaymie! Welcome to the table. I have recently added this idea to my traditions as well. I look forward to choosing a new word each year. I have a post coming up that reveals my word for 2019. I look forward to seeing you again!


  1. I haven’t specifically chosen a word for the year. However, seems last few years I’ve had certain words be very prominent. This year thd words “joy” & “hope” have been very real & prominent. For now two will carry into 2019.


    1. Hi, ozarkharness: Joy and hope are wonderful words to carry into 2019. The word “forgiveness” was once my One Word for two years.


    2. Ya know what, I think having a phrase for the year is great too. Perhaps yours could be joyfully hopeful? Welcome to the table and I look forward to seeing you again! You are entered to win Beths’ book!


  2. What a great idea, focusing on one word! While it’s only one word it is still able to make an impact on many different areas in your life. I’m late to the game but currently trying to come up with a word!


    1. Nancy: You’re not too late to the game, that’s for sure! And yes, the One Word becomes the lens through which we focus on the coming year. It truly changes everything!


  3. My word for 2019 is Grace, I need to stop being so hard on myself and realize that sometimes I need to give extra grace to others as well.


    1. Hi, Jennifer! Little Women was my favorite book growing up. I read it over and over again — but didn’t realize the “Little Women gone wrong” similarity with Things I Never Told You until after I wrote the book.


  4. I so enjoyed this post. I am going to choose one word to focus on in 2019. The word I am going to focus on is gratitude. Beth I like your idea of keeping a gratitude journal. Merry Christmas!


  5. I haven’t chosen a word for 2019 yet. I’m leaning towards something like quiet, introspective, contemplative, etc. Taking time to slow down and think on things.


    1. Arletta that’s a great thing to focus on. Having a phrase is great too. Something like quiet introspection. Welcome to the table and I have a place setting just for you each week. You have been entered to win the book!


    1. Hi Jaimie, yes indeed. Finding just the right word take some thought but it is well worth the effort. Welcome to my table! I hope you continue to get full here. I will be selecting a winner very soon and you are entered to win the book.


  6. I’ve never chosen a word for the year. I have read about Debbie Macomber doing it as well. If I had to choose one word, I think I would choose Rest, I was my mother’s caregiver for many years until we had to put her in Memory Care at a local nursing home. She passed into Heaven on December 4, 2018. So I like the word Rest.


    1. Linda: It’s so wonderful that you cared for your mother; what a loving, gracious gift to her. I pray that the coming year is filled with rest for you.


    2. Linda I’m so very sorry for your loss. It is a tremendously difficult thing to be a care giver. Bless your heart. I want to welcome you to my table and I hope you get full here each week. You are entered to win Beths book which will be drawn very soon.


  7. I am not much good at lists of resolutions. One word sounds like an interesting alternative. I will consider trying it. I may have to try the cheesy tomato macaroni too.


    1. Carol I agree that resolutions can be a bit daunting. I like the one word idea as well. Welcome to the table and I hope you find more recipes to feed your physical body and spiritual food to feed your soul. You are entered to win the book.


  8. Yes, I’ve been doing One Words for a few years now and just love it. My word for 2019 is Pursue. This past year God has really been opening doors for me to begin pursuing a dream I never thought possible… and I keep feeling that Voice prompting me that this is the time. So I’m going to be brave even if it’s scary. I’m going to step forward even if it doesn’t turn out anything like I expect – because it probably won’t! As long as I let whatever happens draw me closer to Him, it will be a worthy pursuit.


  9. I’ve never thought about starting a New Year with a Word, but love this! I would choose Collaborate with God through prayer throughout each day!


  10. Beth, thank you for this wonderful post. I don’t do a One Word. He’s been working to bring me out from the back side of the desert step by step.

    Have a blessed Christmas!


    1. Caryl perhaps God will lead you to a particular word as He leads you through the desert. I’d like to welcome you to my table and I pray you will find comfort and support here as God continues to lead you. Blessings.


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