Year of Wonder

My word for 2016 has been “WONDER”.

You can read more posts about our stars here.

In the years we’ve been doing this at church, my words have been PRACTICE, ADVENTURE, PLEASURE, and MIRACLE.



I was excited about my word in January. The year was ahead of me and it felt hopeful.

I tried to keep a sense of open eyed awareness throughout the year, tried to be aware of the presence of the sacred amid the mundane moments.

I confess, though, that at the end of this year, the kind of wondering I’m doing is tinged with a bit of dread. This year was a bit of a dumpster fire, truth be told.  Until the evening of Nov 8, I hoped politics would lead me down wonderful new paths of shattered glass ceilings. So much for that. The list of celebrities and musicians who died this year is long. And clearly 2016 is not quitting until the ball drops– Carrie Fisher died this morning! sigh. I was the girl who wore a Darth Vader shirt as a child, not the Princess Leia one. But still. Hard to get in a “wonder” kind of mood.

And then, in the midst of writing this post about how wonder feels far away, the mail came this morning. I received a Christmas card from one of my new cousins that I met this year on my birth mother’s side of the family. I opened it with gratitude and wonder to be included by my birth family, even as my birth mother has not wanted to be in touch. I’m so grateful for people who are willing to welcome me, all while having to navigate the privacy wishes of my birth mother. I’ve spent lots of time since I contacted them this year wondering if I was doing the right thing, wondering if I was putting them in a bad or awkward place, wondering if they would want to meet me, wondering what it would have been like to know them my whole life.

Back to what came in the mail….

A few cards later in the pile was a card from my birth mother.  ….(insert a time for shock and wonder)…..I haven’t communicated with her in about a year, because she didn’t seem to want to be in communication with me. (I write those words to speak more about my intentions to respect her space and privacy and not as judgment, or even clear understanding, of her wishes). I’ve not been on her Christmas card list, needless to say. And I don’t really know what it means to her, because the card doesn’t really speak to any of that. I’m trying not to read too much into it.

At the same time, it’s not nothing. And I’m grateful to know that she took the time at Christmas to send me a card. It feels both wonderful and an action that leaves me with lots of unknowns to still wonder about.

We’ll be passing out STARwords for 2017 on Jan 8 in worship. At the end of this year, I’m grateful for the reminder that wonder can show up even in the midst of loss, political uncertainty, and dumpster fires.

51 thoughts on “Year of Wonder

  1. Hey Marci,
    I would be ever so grateful if you would pick a word for me! “Insight” has served me well but a new word would be challenging. Thanks!


  2. Marci – I love following you on your blog. We have some friends in common and two different special adoption stories in our family, also. I would love to have a star word for the coming year.
    Blessings on you and your family for 2017 – Martha


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      • Thank You! At first I thought, “Really?! Constancy?! How inspiring is that?! Certainly not motivating and it’s the New Year!” I sat with it for awhile and then looked up the definition for insight. Here’s a few: steadfastness of mind under duress, the quality of being faithful dependable, being constant unchanging, and my favorite – unchanging or unwavering as in purpose, love, or loyalty, faithfulness. Soooooo in the rough uncharted waters of 2017 I will strive to be unwavering in love and my faithfulness will be unchanging (could get deeper though). Thank you so much! How did you know?

        Liked by 1 person

      • It’s funny. I never know how a word will be received (which makes it easier to confidently offer the first one i draw). Sometimes a word I would hate is another person’s favorite.
        I’ve not spent much time with the word “constancy” before but I do love all of those aspects of it. A good word for our time.


      • Perhaps the word we most hate is the word we should have. Constancy is not one I would have chosen yet it is the seemingly boring ones that may be perfect for Ordinary Time ahead? How do you select your pool of words to draw from?

        Liked by 1 person

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  5. Marci, please select a StarWord for me. My 2016 word was “bliss” and my year was definitely not blissful – my father unexpectedly died but I was with him at the end. Then my husband decided we should move from IL to AZ and I miss my old church family so much. I need a new word!


  6. Hello Marci – Are you choosing 2018 StarWords yet? My previous words have been justice, bliss, and mystery. I’m in a new house, neighborhood, and church this year and would really welcome a fresh word to guide me in my new situation. Many thanks, Karan S

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Too funny! I was just wondering the same thing! My word last year was “constancy”. I remember wondering what i was going to do with that! Well it’s been on my desk by my computer all year (the word and the definition). It’s survived multiple desk clean-offs and when recently I saw it i wondered, “Have I exhibited constancy this year?” The answer was a resounding “YES!”. Constancy in my relationships, my work, my faithfulness, my gratitude and my generosity. I too would like a new star word. I thank you so much for sharing them last year and for your sharing of yourself and your ministry. A word I would give to you would be “joy”. There are so many dimensions and depths to explore and it’s a word and action I am called to share. Happy New Year! Love, Susan

    Liked by 1 person

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