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My Word for the Year Ahead



I’ve just finished reading a book that got me thinking, which turned to dreaming, which turned to planning. I started crafting ways that I could live out one tiny-giant word this year. Excitement keeps gaining steam as I think about it, and excitement is a such a strange and welcome emotion in my world right now that I’ve decided I picked the right word for 2016.


The word is Yes.


For five years, I’ve been following stringent schedules and playing by an invisible set of intractable rules that go along with the situations my family faced: first terminal illness, then grieving. I said Yes to the things that had to be done every day and every night and I honestly had very little Yes-power after that. My life was built around the have-to’s and some of those have-to’s had life-and-death implications which made them very important, but also very difficult and stressful. I remember telling my mom about a thousand times, “I feel like I’m drowning and while I’m drowning, I’m also trying to keep Steve from drowning.” I’m truly not complaining – it was an honor to tread water for him, but something happened to my thinking during that time. It became survival-oriented. Stop-the-bleeding. And in order to do those important things, I had to say a lot of No’s to everything else.


Now, however, the Yes’s are mine to say or not say. They are here in front of me like apples on a tree. Yes. It’s a glorious, life-giving word if I’ll choose to see it as such.


But the thing is: Life still hurts. That’s just the truth of it. And sometimes it’s hard to see beyond the pain to a world of possibilities. Sometimes I’d like to sink into the sadness of what I’ve lost rather than fixing my vision on what remains.  Keeping right perspective and staying out of the ditch of discouragement is one of the most difficult things I’ve done.


That’s why Yes. Yes moves me forward. Yes keeps me thankful. Yes makes me brave. Yes flings joyful question marks like confetti over the landscape of my future. Yes. What if I said it a lot? What if I said it every day? Yes to joy. Yes to hope. Yes to things that scare me. Yes to compassion. Yes to greater purpose. Yes to rest. Yes to all-caps LIFE.


What if?


The mind reels.


And the heart sings (and also shakes a little, if I’m being honest.)


Because Yes is a wild and wonderful word.


And it is my word to spend freely on the year ahead.


Yes.  2016 starts today.


With hope,



November 23, 2015 - 8:56 am

Beth Allen - I love this:-) Im going to adopt your word for my New Year too – Thank you once again a word that blesses my heart and encourages me on for a future that is yes!!! Exciting and filled with JOY!!

November 23, 2015 - 9:15 am

Jill - Wow…My husband is a 26 years veteran of the military and he just retired. Through all 14 years of war and constant deployments (which led to uncertainty, fear and grief) I felt like that – just in survival mode. Hanging on. I had to say “no” a lot. No, Daddy won’t be home for your birthday, Christmas, Anniversary etc. Now that we are starting to re-connect as a family and heal from the last 14 years – I’m with you. YES! 😀

November 23, 2015 - 9:27 am

Jennifer Herbert - Thank you for your encouraging messages.

November 23, 2015 - 9:36 am

sandra - YES….an exciting and scary word. Praying for you!

November 23, 2015 - 9:37 am

Christine Michaelis - Oh Bo. I just love this message in particular. My Mom is living through losing my Dad and at 83, after never living on her own in her whole entire life, she has a lot to come to terms with. She is not a believer and I haven’t shared your words with her much because I’m not sure she would take them to heart and see through the “religious” references — but this message, I’m going to copy and paste and make it look pretty as a picture and gift it to her. Thank you for being you and for sharing that with us.

November 23, 2015 - 10:15 am

Kristen - So good. And apparently you are already saying yes to FASHION PHOTOSHOOTS?! (My mom may or may not have hooked me up with some photos of your fashion badassery.) 😉

November 23, 2015 - 12:33 pm

Anita Williams - I too lost my husband. He died January 23,2015 10 months after being diagnosed with ALS and now I feel so lost but I am trying to push on. It is hard after spending 25 years with him which is half my life and his. I am going to say yes to all possibilities that come my way from now on no matter how hard it may be. Thank you for your message it has given me the encouragement I need right now.

November 23, 2015 - 1:16 pm

bo - Haha! Oh, Kristen, I assure you that was a brave and one-time decision. But I DID say YES to it, so, Go Me! 🙂

November 23, 2015 - 6:57 pm

Edie - Dear Bo – loving your word, so full of possibilities. Thank you for continuing to put your thoughts into such beautiful words. Praying for you as you rise up out of the sorrow and continue to press forward into life. Love you lots, Edie

November 23, 2015 - 8:04 pm

Heidi Krausse - My husband went to be with the Lord 8 years ago after we battled for him 2-1/2 years with kidney cancer. I appreciate your honest insight and walk into the grief recovery process. Thank you for sharing.

November 24, 2015 - 2:14 pm

Cindi Dunn - Bo, I heard Lisa Nichols say (this past summer…at an event I was attending) that you don’t just says “Yes”…you always want to say “Yes, YES!!!” She went on to explain that the first yes just gets your head into agreement with your heart, BUT the second yes is to God’s call on your life…never more appropriate than for you my friend! So, “Yes, YES!!!” Love your heart…love it that you share it with us! Thankful today for you! 🙂

November 24, 2015 - 7:19 pm

Cindy Anderson - I’ve never met you, but feel as though I know you through your beautiful, honest and transparent writings… Thank you for being so true to who God has called you to be! And, fly free in this new season of saying, “Yes” to life!

November 28, 2015 - 9:08 pm

Jewl - “Yes” looks beautiful on all of those apple trees around you! Hoping with you!

December 15, 2015 - 11:32 pm

Karen Sesnon - Hey Bo, been thinking about this post and your word for 2016 since you posted it….I did “yes” during Lent a few years ago at a time when everyone around me was suggesting I needed to say “no” more…it was a good season. 2015 was “Strength” and I didn’t really know why…but it was a good word for the hard days and I think I got stronger in some ways. A week ago a word literally fell out of the sky into my head…and I think I wanted something more sparkly or deep or hip…but when I tell you what the word is you’ll know why I just smiled a little and grabbed it. JOY. Yep. Joy is back. Gonna claim it. There’s a chance I lost it …so here we go 2016. Bring it! <3