Word of the year: Spark


“We are the spark that’ll light the fire that’ll burn the First Order down.” Poe Dameron, The Last Jedi

No. I’m not planning a coup.

This isn’t a political post. Well, not entirely.

But the word SPARK evoked major emotion while watching Star Wars with my family a few week’s ago. And as a response to my newfound love for that little word . . .

2017, we’re breaking up.

And forget the whole, “It’s not you, it’s me” rigmarole.

It IS you.

ALL you.

Most definitely YOU.

I’m ending 2017 feeling a bit doused.

In your defense, you brought some really great surprises this year in the form of dear new friendships. Friendships I needed to find. Safe friendships. Like-minded friendships.

Truly, 2017 was the year of, “How have we never met until now!”

 So, thanks for that! Fistbump, 2017.

But, 2017, you were also a tough nut. Politically. Financially. Professionally. Socially. Maternally. And spiritually – in a corporate sense. (Yes, of course, I’ll explain.)

  • Politically: Yeah, that’s all I’ll say here.
  • Financially: Things are tight with a husband in grad school for a second time – but he’s doing remarkably well, we’ve been blessed by God’s timely provision and I’m trying (and often failing) to be a good steward of our resources while not living solely on pasta, beans and rice.
  • Professionally: My coaching business has changed significantly this year, which includes both amazing new discoveries and direction combined with “Yikes – this week was tough!”
  • Socially: This year, after watching and listening closely, I’ve learned and made peace with the fact that there are just some folk with whom I don’t have much in common.
  • Maternally: As my children grow, I often ask myself if I have a healthy balance of letting them become independent, while not allowing them to completely slip through my fingers. There is still nurture and direction to offer. I’ve been distracted with my own needs.
  • Spiritually: The one thing I’ll say about the first year with a new President is that the descriptor “evangelical” is now broken, I do not align with it, nor want to be associated with that camp and I’m befuddled by the silence (literally, “Are we going to even talk about _______?”) of the Church on so many topics this year. I’m not having a crisis of faith. I’m having a crisis of Church.

I do know that I want to elicit positive change both in my small world of Beaver and my larger community. Offline. Online.

I want to be a positive influence in discussions about politics, with my finances, as a coach, and with friends, my children and . . . though I enter 2018 with this posing perhaps my greatest concern, the Church.

While I don’t know all the HOW’s of how to do so, I do know that when Poe uttered the word SPARK, I was triggered. And I leaned in to listen.


(Because I know you are dying to do so, here is your cue to start singing that Christian camp classic, “Pass It On”.)

My small words, actions, gestures, and expressions are mighty, and will actually ignite a SPARK towards positive change or extinguish that momentum.

I can SPARK conversations that move discussions forward by asking questions, being well read/researched/prepared, listening to opposing points of view (when presented maturely), and continuing to only allow fruitful discussions/influencers into my life.

I can SPARK one’s interest in becoming a healthier version of themselves by offering smart, sensible, sustainable, responsible and appropriate advice and direction with exercise, nutrition, and life choices that point towards personal growth. This means speaking bolding, yet gently.

I can SPARK ideas that turn into action by serving as a “solutionator” rather than a Negative Nelly. For this year, I saw my own hope slipping. My son has even mentioned that I have the tendency to see the “hard” before the “good”.

So, yeah, I want to help SPARK healthy, valuable and significant fire in the lives of the people for whom God has placed in my path.


I began this year reading Maria Kondo’s “The Life Changing Art of Tidying Up, in which she encourages the reader to ask whether an item “sparks joy”. I hadn’t even thought of this as I began writing my post. But, what a great question with which to enter the New Year.

Does _____ SPARK joy?

Welcome, 2018.

Here’s to choosing words, actions, gestures and expressions that SPARK (rather than snuff) joy, valuable and respectful conversations, positive changes, forward momentum, quality relationships, personal growth for me, my clients and my family, creative endeavors, financial stewardship, and fruitful fellowship.

Perhaps SPARK will also help this woman full of intense thought to lighten up a bit this year. (Yes, I can admit it.)

I choose SPARK.

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