One Word 2014

In Miscellaneous by Caris Adel15 Comments



I’m not sure exactly why.  It actually came about in a slightly prophetic way, which freaks me out, because I am just so burnt out on that kind of stuff.  Someone had a word, and it resonated.

And then I got an anonymous postcard in the mail that completely fits me.


quote on the postcard

So…darkness it is.  The darkness of life, the underdog side of things, seeing despair and finding redemption.

I know darkness probably sounds depressing.  But it doesn’t mean negativity.  I think it just means honesty, and a choice to engage with reality.  Reality is messy, dark, choked by injustice, and facing it with eyes wide open means facing the darkness.

I don’t know exactly what it will mean this year.  Last year I read a little bit about community and being rooted to a place, and now that we find ourselves in a new community, I want to anchor myself to it.  I want to learn about it, and learn about the struggles it has.  I want to get to know my neighbors, even as I’m a very not-good-with-people kind of person.

I’m vaguely familiar with industrialization and neighborhoods and now I live in one.  (Smelling fried chicken in the morning when you know it’s coming from the peanut factory?  That’s an interesting smell.)  There are racial issues here that I know I need to just sit back and learn about.  And there are community gardens that I can’t wait to get involved with this summer.  (And I’m going to have a cold-frame built soon – so excited! Fresh lettuce year round down here!)

And on a larger scale, I am compelled by the concept of listening to and learning from the losers of history.  Even this short time of being a northerner living in the South……it’s just interestingI think there is a lot to be gained by giving up our rightness and our power and trying to see things from the other person’s point of view, even if they make no sense.  And on this particular issue, all tied up with race….I think there’s a lot of darkness to walk through.

But I also think there’s a lot of light to be found, a lot of hope that is present, and redemption and restoration that is always waiting to happen.

I am also very captivated by Esther and Newell’s new series for the year, Spirit of the Poor, and want to read and write along those lines as well.  I just learned about a monthly link-up that focuses on what you learned each month, which I love.



So, I want to do a lot of reading and learning.  (what a bummer, right?) I think I added everything Christena had on her recommended list except one, as well as lots of other books.  I am hoping to do semi-book reviews once a month.  But I’m also mindful of what Zach talked about in his post about how what we write needs to be rooted in community.  So I’m looking forward to see how those things combine, especially with my personality type. (hint: not a huge people person.)


As far as reading goals for the year go, I also want to read some books alongside my kids.  My son loves the Redwall series and has read it 50 billion times, and is always a little sad no one else has read them in our family.  So I want to read one or two of those to be able to talk about them with him, as well as read the Anne of Green Gables series, which I’ve never actually read.  I got them for my daughter a couple of years ago, partly so I could read them, and never have.

So, here is my book list.  I’m really hoping I do much better this year than I did last year.  (At least half of these are from the list from last year!)  I have had other years where I’ve read excessively, so knocking off a good chunk of these isn’t entirely unrealistic.

And, I’m going to start doing a monthly zine-like newsletter, based on different themes.  The page for January is going to be all about Darkness.  It will probably get sent out halfway through the month, and ideally it will be focused on something I’ve been writing about that month.  So, if that sounds interesting to you, head on over here and sign up!

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  • http://afeastofcrumbs.com/ Emily

    Darkness: what a brave choice. I’d like to learn about my community and neighbors this year too, while even asking for the proverbial cup of sugar scares me. I want my neighbors to come knocking on my door, but not so much the other way around. Lots to think about here. Thanks Caris, and Happy New Year.

    • http://www.carisadel.com/ Caris Adel

      I’m really looking forward to summer and am giving myself a little reprieve until then. We’ve been trying to walk around the neighborhood some, and sit on the porch and say hi, and go to the playground after school and play. But it hasn’t happened a lot. And I”ve just noticed this week, since it’s christmas break, that there are a lot of kids around here out playing, so I”m hoping in the summer it’ll be a lot easier to send the kids out and have them play with the neighbors.

      • http://www.beautifulabominations.blogspot.com/ Liz Lossin

        I’m eager to take this journey with you, Caris! It’s funny…I’m more shy about posting comments online than talking to a stranger in person. You’re one of the very few that I comment to :-). Have a happy weekend!

        • http://www.carisadel.com/ Caris Adel

          aw, thanks. I’m glad you do!

  • Anna Wastell

    This is really good, Caris – I especially love this line: I think there is a lot to be gained by giving up our rightness and our power and trying to see things from the other person’s point of view,even if they make no sense. I’m looking forward to seeing where this word takes you this year. Thanks for sharing your heart here.

    • http://www.carisadel.com/ Caris Adel

      I started reading a couple books on the Civil War (sorry, War Between the States) and I was kind of scared when I realized I was empathetic with some of the southern arguments. So then I just quit reading them, ha.

  • Briana Meade

    Hi Caris, I like your choice of darkness–but my favorite part is that it came around again “twice” so that you knew it was the right word. That’s exciting in itself. It makes it all the more fun and interesting when THAT happens! I’m interested to see what this year ends up looking like for you!

    • http://www.carisadel.com/ Caris Adel

      I wanted so badly to be skeptical and say it was coincidence but I just knew in my gut it wasn’t.

  • Kristy Tolley

    I love your word and I love why you chose it! Great post!

    • http://www.carisadel.com/ Caris Adel


  • http://theantonymofdeliberate.blogspot.com/ Trischa

    I think that darkness is a great word to wrestle with. I am really looking forward to following where that wrestling takes you.

    (Also, did you read this? I know it is kind of the flip-side of your thoughts on darkness, but it was the first thing that came to mind when I saw your word. http://experimentaltheology.blogspot.com/2013/12/piss-christ-in-prison-unlikely-advent.html)

  • http://www.registeredrunaway.com/ Benjamin Moberg

    So jealous that I didn’t pick this word. As I said when Hannah told me her great word, I plan on absorbing this one within my Boundaries. Boom!

    • http://www.carisadel.com/ Caris Adel

      cheater! Actually I bet these do end up overlapping a lot. o_O

  • http://littledidsheknow.net/ Cara Strickland

    So exciting, Caris!

    • http://www.carisadel.com/ Caris Adel

      That’s one word for it….haha.