Our 2015 Word of the Year

I’ve never been a resolution kinda gal. So when several folks started identifying a “word of the year” a few years back, I felt like I struck gold.

A word I could do.

Last year, mine was focus.

This year? It’s all about the JOY, baby.



Please don’t read that to mean that our life is just one big fantastic party all the time. Hardly. But we are choosing to see the joy in our crosses, our challenges, our celebrations, our opportunities and our circumstances. You can ask all my kids’ teachers about our  morning routine. When our children head off to school, Scott and I say the same thing to them:

Make good choices today.

That was a gem from an elementary school counselor friend of mine and it has become the mantra of our family. This year, in 2015, we are choosing to see the joy. Trust me, when your eight-month-old is screaming her sweet head off at 3am, the joy is preeeetty tough to see. Or, when your five-year-old throws a tantrum because you gave him the wrong color plate. When a teenager thinks you are “so old school” for not letting him have a phone. Or, when you’re on hold for the eighty billionth time with the medical billing office. I’m prone to shove the joy down their throats.

I think too often we just get lazy and choose joy’s buzzkill, like bitterness, anger, frustration and apathy. And how fun are those people to be around?

A few weeks ago, after Scott and I chose JOY as our word of the year, my sweet friend Lauren posted this beauty on Facebook (get your free copy here!). It’s just fantastic, isn’t it? God love St. John Paul II. That man, he lived some serious joy amidst the junk of life, didn’t he?

ajoyfulfamily8by101There are so many people we are blessed to know that just exude joy. I plan on surrounding myself with their wise counsel this year. Practically speaking, here’s a few things we’re doing to bring home the joy.

  1. When our kids start to whine about a chore, we can often be found saying, “What was that?” and their reply must be, “I’d be happy to.” It’s sometimes paired with an eyeroll for an added bonus.
  2. Our children have a day each week where they perform many of the chores. But, true to life in a big family, that sometimes changes and we’re encouraging our children to eagerly step up and offer to swap days. This one is really allowing me to polish my refereeing skills.
  3. We’ll be engaging in some family-focused community service activities this spring. Scott and I are still fleshing out what those will be, but they will be something we decide to do as a family that serves our local community. Nothing like seeing someone else’s hardships to make you appreciate all the things you complain about all day. I believe we call that perspective.
  4. Recently, we added a little music number to our kids’ grumblings. The usual, “I’m sorry” apology has turned into, “I’m sooooory, I offended yooooouuu!” Note to self. Must get that on Instagram video and post the link. It’s classic.
  5. We’re focusing inward this spring and summer. I chatted about the power of no a few weeks back and it’s already paying some dividends. If you’re on Instagram, you saw that Scott and I were able to sneak away last week for a trip to the coast. Holy Bat Phone, we needed that. These sweet people we have in our house were made from joy and we plan on taking time to appreciate their unique gifts by taking a few weekend excursions, celebrating birthdays and baptismal anniversaries and sneaking in a few games of Trash, 42, Cornhole and Poker. This spring we celebrate six birthdays, a First Communion, an eighth grade graduation and a 10-year-old trip. So much joy!

I have something up my sleeve for our new office space that really brings home our commitment to joy and I can’t wait to share that with you, either.

Until then, I’d love to hear your word of the year!


  1. Ann-Marie on January 14, 2015 at 12:33 pm

    Discipline is the word of the year over here. As in a learning how to be disciplined and put others before myself, learning how to love kind of way. I also followed your lead and did a Spiritual Board of Driectors. Have a JOYFUL spring!

    • Kathryn on January 23, 2015 at 9:23 pm

      THAT is a great word, Ann-Marie!

  2. Pam A. on January 14, 2015 at 2:18 pm

    JOY was my 2014 word & it made life with our 4th baby so much more intentional & focused on joy. For 2015 it’s SIMPLIFY. It is already yielding awesome results in getting rid of emotional & physical clutter & chaos. Love the JPII quote!

  3. Julie on January 14, 2015 at 2:20 pm

    Three words for me this year, “Keep It Simple”. As a former professional and new stay at home mom of three, I’ve learned so far the best rule of thumb for me is Keep It Simple, ‘cuz we all know satan likes to get up in that chaos and drive me crazy

  4. Caitlin on January 14, 2015 at 4:52 pm

    Love the idea of having kids respond with “I’d be happy to.” Definitely keeping that idea in my back pocket for when I have kids old enough to actually help with chores!

    • Kathryn on January 23, 2015 at 9:24 pm

      That’s a gem from my uncle!

  5. Jean on January 14, 2015 at 7:23 pm

    LOVE that word JOY —- it’s ours for 2015 as well!!!

  6. Lauren on January 21, 2015 at 1:01 pm

    The “I’d be happy to” reminds me of the Duggar Family (and that’s definitely not a bad thing)!

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