Ringing in the New Year with Elizabeth Boyle

I am returning to California from Hawaii today and asked Elizabeth Boylemy very good friend, and a very long time friend (having known her since 1996!) to join my on my blog today for a special new year’s message, and its one I know you will enjoy.

Without further ado, here’s Elizabeth!

This Year: Faith

Several years ago–about this time of year–I was reading a blog by Cathy Maxwell and she talked about taking a word each year and using it as a guiding light for the coming months. Her word that year was Create. While I knew that a lot of people did that each year, I’d never been much interested in trying it out, but something about Cathy’s blog–on that day, in that particular place in my life–inspired me to give it a try.

And one word occurred to me right there and then: Grow. The word just whispered up out of my subconscious and wouldn’t let go, so I knew it was the word I was supposed to follow and so that became the year I decided to see where Grow would take me. It had rather unexpected consequences.

As an avid gardener, I realized that for a spot to flourish (in one’s physical garden and in the metaphorical garden that is our heart), it had to weeded and fed and pruned. In other words, I had a lot of dead wood and unwanted plants that needed to removed from my life. And so I did. Over those 12 months, I removed what I knew had been obstacles and difficulties in my working life. I cleared a wide swath and moved ahead. It was hard work to make those tough decisions, even harder to execute them, but in the end, I had a freedom I hadn’t foreseen. Room to grow and new ideas about how to do it.

Last year I approached the New Year with some trepidation–simply because the word that kept coming toward me was: Courage. I shared this one afternoon with Debbie Macomber and Christina Skye while we were out yarn shopping and they both stopped cold and turned to me and said in unison, “Find another word.” But Courage it was, and I couldn’t shake it.


And Courage I needed. I battled carpal tunnel for the better part of the year. I had a tough bout with pneumonia. My youngest son, who has autism, had a terrible school placement that took every ounce of courage I had to get fixed. There just seemed to be–at least in my personal life–a continuous need for Courage to persevere against everything life threw at me. Every. Single. Month.

But instead of being beaten down, I took on my word for the year like a suit of armor. “Courage,” I’d cry in the face of adversity. It was like my own personal season of Game of Thrones. And happily I have finished the year with my head still attached to my shoulders. LOL.

So as December began to roll to a close, I knew I needed to find a new word, let something settle into my heart and open up again. My talisman for 2014. And it came to me in a quiet moment at mass–“Faith.”

“Faith,” I whispered back to the universe.

Faith, indeed. And to my delight it has fallen upon me like a warm mantle. Much like Courage. Wrapping around my battle hardened heart and lighting the way home. It is urging me toward untried stories. Much like Grow did. It seems to encompass so many facets of my life–my Catholicism, my writing, even my untidy little garden with the seemingly lost plants all burrowed under the dead leaves and freezing earth waiting for Spring. I came home from mass and immediately opened a Pinterest page to start visualizing my new year.

As I stand at the beginning of this New Year, I hardly know where to start. Actually I know exactly what I want to do, but I can’t believe it–and yet, I know in my heart it is so very possible. And so I begin in earnest. In Faith. I am entranced. I am inspired. I am giddy to begin. I cannot wait to see the possibilities of 2014.

Mostly because I have Faith as my guide. All my blessings to you in this New Year. I hope the path ahead is filled with light and joy and grand discoveries.

Have you ever taken a word for a guide? Have you this year? Care to share?

Elizabeth Boyle is the author of 22 Regency set historical romances, including her new release, If Wishes Were Earls.


Wow! Loved the post, Elizabeth, and I love you so very much, too.  Thank you for being a rock in my life and one of my most honest, real, and inspiring friends!

Elizabeth is also wonderfully generous and is giving away a box of books and goodies to one of my terrific readers here.  Just comment on Elizabeth’s post, or answer her questions above:  Have you ever taken a word for a guide? Have you this year? Care to share?  and you are entered!

Elizabeth’s giveaway will run til midnight, Sunday night, January 5th, and the winner will be announced on Monday, January 6th  so do check back to see if you won.

Thank you so much, Elizabeth, for joining us, and I think I am going to claim your word, faith, as my word for 2014, too!

Love to all, and happy new year!



  1. I don’t necessarily keep the word(s) all year round, as sometimes new words appear to me mid-year.
    My initial word was “ruthless”, as in cleaning out junk in my house by being ruthless. That turned into “re-evaluate”, as in whenever I picked up or did something that wasn’t being used to its full potential (including my friends), I’d decide if I should keep it or not. Soon afterward, the word became “balance”, as in trying to find time for me like I find time to help others (especially family). My latest word is “everything” (technically it’s “a little bit of everything”), as in I’m trying to do a little bit of everything every day, rather than only focusing on one item, as I tend to feel guilty when I let everything else go.

  2. No; I have never done this. This simple idea about using ONE word as a goal, challenge or guide for the year is powerful. Thank you for sharing YOUR words.


    Now, I just need to find my own word. How exciting!

  3. What a great post, I enjoyed reading it. The one word I always use as my guide is “faith”. I never lose my faith no matter how bad things get.

  4. Happy New Year to everyone! I have never taken a word as a guide but I think it is a wonderful idea. I don’t know what word would be mine but I think faith is a great idea.

  5. mmmm-great question: Empty Nest-our 28 & 26 year old kids moved out of state 6 weeks apart last year. I think I’m ready to “organize” our home and finally have a room to enjoy for my projects

  6. My word for this year is hope.

    We had a rough year last year. Everything that could go wrong did.

    This year my 30 yo daughter is expecting around March 31st. She has a high-risk condition so I am optimist and HOPE everything will turn out fine.

    1. Laurie, my prayers go out to you and your daughter. Jane and I were pregnant at the same time and went through our own trials–it isn’t easy, especially the waiting, but all my best wishes to you, your daughter and your family.

  7. I have never done it as it takes courage to pick a word and keep applying it to everything you do all year round. So, I think my word should be courage, courage to give a new direction to my career, courage to accept what will go in the wrong direction and to put myself out there.
    Happy New Year to everybody!

    1. Sabrina, I found courage a hard word to take as well. Jane will call me fearless, but I have places in my life where I have stepped back and not taken charge as I ought. Stand firm, believe in yourself and you’ll do just fine.

  8. I’ve done this twice now and find it reminds me and helps me put things into perspective–to not overreact with negativity. The first time I used “Joy” and the second time was “Dreams.”
    I hope everyone has a joyous new year and all your dreams come true.

  9. I didn’t know anything about taking a word as a guide. As I was reading your post the word COURAGE came to me & seconds later I find out it was one of yours as well… Still think it would fit for me too, as I want to make a few changes in my life that require it. Need to be bolder and take charge, stand up for myself & believe in the goodness of people again. It all demands courage. So even though I now sound as a copycat, I think it’s my word this year 🙂

    1. That’s what happened to me when I read Cathy’s blog all those years ago. I read the first sentence of her post and heard the word GROW like someone was shouting at me. You’ve found your word!

  10. Happy New Year ladies, Thanks for sharing. I’ve never done a word for the year but I like that idea. will have to think about doing something like that.

  11. While I have not done one word for a year, mine is to always do something out of my comfort zone. Whether it be something small like make dough from scratch to volunteering for a big project. Just something.

  12. I’m not sure I’ve ever taken a word as a guide, but if I did, I think either Commit! or Persist! would be my guides. It’s too easy to fall off track.

  13. What an inspiring post.
    Elizabeth I have simply adored your stories. Over these past years.
    My word for 2014 has got to be “Hope”. Like you I last year was a very bad year that nearly did me in and I am “Hoping” 2014 to be much better.

  14. Lovely post. Happy New Year to you Jane and Elizabeth too!

    It seems I like “b” words. “Believe” would probably be mine. But reading Breathing Room by SEP – “Breathe” resonated a lot with me too, especially since I read it in college, what with so much going on.

  15. Happy New Year Ladies! I loved your post, great advise. Elizabeth I love the cover or your book and I can’t wait to read it.

  16. Hi Jane and Elizabeth. I have never thought about picking a word and using it all year. I like that idea because it seems easier to follow instead of resolutions. Thank you for the great prize and Happy New Year.

  17. I’m not much for resolutions and such that I never keep. But I have two thoughts for a word this year – weight and budget. Wonder if I can stay focused……

  18. Wonderful post! I haven’t done this. But at the homily at Mass yesterday, our priest suggested using one of the virtues as our word. Right now I’m torn between diligence and appreciate/enjoy. Must ponder this a little more.

    Happy New Year Jane and Elizabeth! Love you both! xoxox

  19. I loved everyyhing about this post. 🙂
    Faith is something I’ve been working on and will continue to eork in this year. I find myself overwhelmed a lot and need to remind myself to have faith, to remember and believe that everything is going to be okay.

  20. I have enjoyed reading your books Elizabeth, you are not a new author to me…you are one of my special favorites. Yes, I do try to find a word or phrase to be my yearly guide/touchstone. I have used trust, praise and thanksgiving in the past and have been thinking about using blessings for this year’s word. How can I be a blessing to others and trying to recognize the blessings given to me. I like the word faith and pray for you and Jane to be blessed by the word all of 2014.

    1. You may all be aware of this book by Debbie Macomber entitled: One Perfect Word, One Word Can Make All The Difference, but if not it is a good one and is based on having one guide word a year. She writes that the year her word was “Balance” her career took off in a great direction. I read the book back in 2012, so it is not a new release. The old librarian in me just wanted to share.

  21. I haven’t ever done this. However, I can see how this can be inspiring and encouraging. Thank you for sharing your post with us.

  22. I have never used a word before as my guide for the year, but I may give it a try. Thanks for the inspirational blog!

  23. I am battling cancer, have been for over four years. I found out when I was pregnant with my daughter. I have had faith and love for her drive me to battle this disease. I need to be in my daughters life as long as possible! I am hoping this year that I will see her start school. I would love to take her to Disney! Cannot wait to see what this year brings. Have Faith!

  24. What a great post. I had never thought about picking a word before. I will certainly think about it. Thanks.

  25. Elizabeth ….I loved your blog and I have really loved reading your books. I’m looking forward to reading the new release, If wishes were Earls”.
    I have never thought of picking a word but it I did I think it would be “Faith”. Faith has shown me the way for so much of my life…yet I still question….
    Happy new year to you and may Faith always be at your side.
    Sincerely, Elizabeth

  26. I have never chosen one word as a guide, but feel inspired by your post to try it this year. As I read through the above replies the word “HONOR” spoke to me. So, HONOR it shall be. Honor my family, honor myself. I am going to honor my intuition to do what feels right to me!

  27. What a lovely post. Thanks for sharing your journey, Elizabeth.

    I’ve never taken a word for a guide. Maybe this year I will.

  28. I too have a grandchild with autism. My husband died last year and last month I had a pancreatic cancer scare. At times I do flounder . I’m going to think about a good word to choose. I think It might help.

  29. I’ve never used a word as a guide. In fact, this is the first time I have heard this. I will be thinking of my word to follow.

  30. I really like this blog. I enjoyed reading about the choices of her words and her new word for this year. Faith. I hope her leap of Faith will bring Elizabeth all the luck she needs. I’m wishing you both a wonderful New Year!!!

  31. I have never chosen a word for a guide but I think perhaps I should. I’d choose GRACE because I can sometimes be brutally honest but not hurtful. Maybe my opinion doesn’t always need to be expressed aloud.

  32. Positive is another word that comes to mind. I usually try to look on the bright side; find the blessing behind things but sometimes I could use the reminder to be positive and graceful

  33. Happy New Year Jane and Elizabeth!
    You are both amazing writers and women.

    Thanks for sharing. I heard of this last year, but didn’t let a word come to me. As I have been reading through here I had all these different words swimming around as if trying them on for size and one word did keep coming back around and it is Love. A few weeks back I realized that I was being positive and encouraging to everyone else but so harsh with myself and I made a decision to be nicer to myself, not be mad at myself or my limitations whatever I preceive them to be. So for now I am learning to Love myself and the body I have been given and it is already making a huge difference.


  34. I’ve never heard of that concept before, but I’m going to try it! So my word will be Action – I’m a bit of a procrastinator and there are some things I’ve been putting off – I’m not going to do that anymore!! I’;m going to get things done sooner rather than later. Going to put Action at the top of a paper & list what I want to get done – it will go on my fridge (heavens knows I’m there often enough!)

  35. This is actually the first year I’ve heard of it. Organize would be a good one for me but I don’t have a lot of faith in accomplishing that (books all over my house and no where to put them). I think it should really be read more but that’s two words lol. Love your books!

  36. I had not heard of anyone doing this, but I think I will need to do this and my word would be Faith. I need to remember this word every second and not lose it.

  37. As i read this blog it got me thinking about words and their meaning. A few came to mind but the one that is staying there. It is strength. I am not strong physically or mentally. I had my second kick butt fight with breast cancer in 2013. My first battle was in 2005, three surgeries later i had lost my breast. Four months of chemo, I worked during most of that time. To me it was a breeze. I did not feel that it impacted my life that much, yes i was sick, couldn’t eat and losy my hair. I felt thatwas all worth it because I knew that I was going to kick it in the butt. This last battle has taken me for a loop. I did radiation for 3 months. It came back in the same breast. I have lost my strength, both mentally and physically. Your blog has gotten me to thinking that I need to find my “strength” back. I have written strength every where in mychouse

  38. The year I almost died of Crohn’s Disease & related complications my word was “Strive”. This year, 7 years later, I have chosen “Joy”. I want to give it, find it, have it, make it as often as possible. Happy New Year!

  39. My house. It will help me to remember that I kicked cancers butt once before and that I can win again. Thank you for your wonderful post

  40. I did not plan on picking a word but I guess my circumstances caused me to rely heavily on one! My word for the year 2013 was “push”. Due to an extensive injury, I was barely able to stand or walk. I asked to have doctor’s, nurse’s and physical therapy in my home. My request was approved and I’m now able to get around with the assistance of a walker! My goal now is to eliminate the walker altogether! I pushed past the pain everyday and made progress! So my new word for 2014 is accountable. I am accountable to keep up with my daily exercises, begin cooking again (even if I have to sit down), and soon begin to practice going up and down the stairs. After being home bound for nearly a year, I just want to be able to get outside and enjoy the sun, fresh air and people! Hopefully I’ll be able to have no need for a daily Home Health Aide! I’m looking forward to full recovery!

  41. Such words of wisdom and faith. I often wish I had the eloquence writers such as Jane and yourself have to express your thoughts and impart wisdom. No, I have never had a word but your words and experience are a true inspiration and make me want to..mi don’t want to overthink and believe I will follow your lead and wait for that one word that just seems to be “it”. Thank you and God bless. Good wishes for the new year too 🙂

  42. No I have never taken a word and used it to guide me, through the year. But, now that you have told us your story, it makes me wonder if maybe my life would be less stressful, even peaceful if I did this. When trying to rebuild one’s life due to divorce, illness, a death, any one thing that drastically changes us, or places obstacles in our path, is something that is hard, sometimes feeling impossible to do. Maybe, if I chose a word, I wouldn’t be so hard on myself. I think I may just have to do this, now to find my word…. Thank you for sharing.. Barbara

  43. This is something I have never tried, but it is a promising idea. I will be retiring this year, and the word that fits my life is changes, because there will be so many, and I will need courage to face my fears of what might happen.
    Thanks for the sharing; sometimes I feel alone with my fears and worries, and it is helpful to read about how others face their fears as they generously share their tips for coping with life’s twists and turns.

  44. Last year my resolution was to be more positive so I just kept repeating that to myself. Be positive, be positive.

  45. I have never heard of a ”word” way of going about a year. But it does sound like it could be helpful. I hope your year does not test your faith. But adds to it.

  46. I love this idea! I haven’t done this, but this is also the first year I am not swayed to make resolutions. I don’t need a list to remind me of where I’d like to go. For me, I think 2014 will be Peace.

  47. Great words, Elizabeth, and thank you for sharing the journey those have taken you on the last couple years! I’ve read about this before, in Debbie’s book, actually. I haven’t yet chosen a word for the year… there are so many good ones, but have not had one grab me and not let go the way yours have you. Looking forward to seeing what the year brings 🙂

  48. How lovely. How marvelously inspiring. What a beautiful post.

    I’ve never done this, focused on one word for a year, mostly because focus is not the forte of my jumping, bumbling mind. That said, last year Megan Crane inspired me with her own journey to seek out my wayward Joy.

    I’m still working on that one.

  49. That was simply inspiring. I’ve never come across such an idea before & I’m not sure I’d have the discipline & strength to see it through.

    I’d try Thoughtful. That’s where I need to work on most.

  50. No I have not taken a word, but some year if it feels right I will. This year I will do a month by month. This month it is to notice small thing to be grateful for each day, to discover something that makes me smile.

  51. Such an inspiring post Elizabeth. I have never taken a word but I do love that your words basically go together. I really like the word Faith. Thanks for the chance. Happy New Years.
    Carol L
    Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

  52. Congratulations, Elizabeth, on your new release. I’ve never used a guide word, so maybe this is the year I should try it.

  53. Like so many people I am glad the old year is over. Last year’s word was Strive. This year’s word is Enjoy.

  54. I’ve never used a word as a guide for an entire year, but I do occasionally. It sounds like a great idea to keep one in mind all year round!

  55. I have chosen one so far and that word is relax. I need to eliminate the stress and worries that are constantly haunting me. I need to try not to let things get me down as often too. I have never been good at doing things like this. But, I will give it my best shot.

  56. Wow, love this post. As I think back on it, I didn’t know I had a word for last year, but I think I actually did. I think that word was “Now” because all last year (after my husband retired) I made sure that we did things “Now” instead of later. How cool to realize that I did have a word. And after reading this post today, the word “Create” really seems to strike me. I’m thinking that will work for me this year. Thank you!

  57. Happy New Year ladies! Last year my word was faith and it I became a lot stronger in believing in faith especially in God pulling me thru some rough times that were happening in my life. This year I should say words for I can’t let go of my dreams that I want to reach so dreams and never Give-up on them!

  58. Hi Jane and Elizabeth, happy new year to you both! And congrats on the new book, Elizabeth, can’t wait to read it! I have to say I’ve never taken a word as a guide but I have lived my whole life using faith as my guide. All those years in Sunday School have helped me keep faith in the forefront of my life when facing adversity and whatever life throws at me.

  59. I’ve never thought about taking a word as a guide for the year. It is a very interesting concept. I guess if I had to find a word that shouts at me, it would be “Hope”.

  60. my words as guide, i think i need them and that is to stop thinking because i got gastric acid, if i think too much or get stress the acid will appear and i’m scare for long term it will effect to other vital organ 🙁

  61. My husband does not do New Year’s resolutions, but this year he heard some guy talking about what he had hoped to achieve for 2014. The guy said “to be a better person.” My husband thought that was a great idea. He said, “I can do that, and as a matter of fact everyone should be able to do that!”
    What a great way to start the new year. No matter the word, desire or direction we all choose, I hope everyone has a healthy, prosperous and fun filled 2014!!

  62. ‘Don’t’ is one of my big ones. Those people that push your buttons, who want to drag you down to their size… I breath, tell myself don’t, and walk away.

  63. I dont usually go by one word i think if i did id have to chose Family

    i usually go by a phrase but the hought of one word would be awesome faith and grow honesty and humanity would be awesome ones to live by I think that every year is a new challange this year im gonn live and strive for peace in my life

  64. I’ve never done this before..but i’m gonna try this year..the word will be Healthy 🙂

    healthy is priceless :);

  65. So glad you all enjoyed Elizabeth’s post and what great comments! Thank you for making her feel welcome.

    The winner for Elizabeth’s prize is #66 Tonda Hargett.

    Tonda, send me an email with your mailing address and I’ll organize package!

    Happy Monday to all,

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