My Chosen Word for 2016


Happiest of New Years to you, my friend!

I don’t know about you but I have a positive feeling about 2016. For me, 2015 felt heavy. So much sadness everywhere. And I don’t know why but I’m feeling a shift. A lightening. Maybe this is just within myself as opposed to the whole world, but I feel it and it energizes me.

A few years ago, I started the tradition of choosing one word in January to guide me through the upcoming year. Last year, I got crazy and chose four. Too many, my friend. Too fragmented. Overcomplicated. This year, I knew before January 1st what my word would be: LIGHTER

Two years have passed since my mom died and perhaps this passing of time is part of the lightening for me. The empty space in my life from losing her—her physical presence, her morning phone calls, her energy in my life—can never and will never be filled; however, the pain is less acute now. It’s rounder. Softer. Lighter.

I still have moments of sadness that catch me off guard. A week ago today, I was spiffing myself up before heading out the door to a weeklong photography conference here in Portland. I had to give myself a little pep talk about going since I didn’t know anyone there. I still have so much to learn about photography that I knew I’d have to put myself out there and ask the novice questions that many of the pros at that conference have known for years. I wanted to share that with my mom. Have her say, “You can do it, Care.” I know she’d be proud of me for working hard to improve my photography and grow my business and unexpectedly my throat caught when I remembered I couldn’t call and talk to her about it.

Before I left the house, I put on the ring she gave me made out of an antique silver spoon, I clasped on the necklace engraved with her initial, B, that one of my dearest friends gave me after my mom passed, I wrapped the light pink cashmere scarf around my neck that she wore and used as a blanket during the last few months of her life, and I brought her to the conference with me.

As I headed downtown with my mom wrapped around me, I didn’t feel sad. I felt lighter. Having her scarf tied around my neck was just enough “Go get ‘em, Care” that I needed from her to walk into that ballroom full of strangers, stick out my hand, and introduce myself.

Often, the weight of NOT doing what you truly desire is heavier than the fear of doing it.

My greatest wish for you in 2016 is that you do those things you deeply desire to do in your life. Lean in to the fear and shed the weight of not doing them. There will never be anyone like you on this earth ever again. You deserve and the world deserves that you realize your greatest potential and I’m going pester you about this all year.

And right now, if you chose a word for the year, I want you to leave it in the comments of this post. Or, if you don’t want to share it publicly, shoot me an email. Or, if you just want to keep it private…okay fine. There are no right or wrong words except that your word should guide you toward fulfilling your truest desires.

In my upcoming posts, I will continue to share why I’ve chosen the word LIGHTER to guide me toward shedding the weight of the undone. And yes, that includes the damn book.

Until next time, much love,


PS: If my story today resonated with you and you think a friend might benefit from it as well, please forward it along or post it on social media. I truly believe that one small way we can lift the weight of the world is by sharing our stories so we all feel less alone in our journeys. Thank you, kindly.



  1. Carrie, thanks for your blog. You inspired me to reach out to my own mother today. Though moments into most of our calls I feel a wee-bit regret for calling her, and it’s often a draining reminder of her aging, I am mindful of the “joy” I still derive from reaching out to my mom while she’s still alive. “Joy” is my word for 2016. My new year’s resolution is to search for joy wherever, and whenever, I can. The world is filled of sadness. People too often disappointment us. It’s easy to let that negative stuff consume us. But, I decided to flip it around and look for the “joy” in everything 2016 brings my way!

    • I love your word, JOY! Thank you so much for sharing your story, my friend. The world definitely needs more of us searching for joy. xo

  2. This is beautiful Carrie! Now I am more bummed that I didn’t join you at that conference last week….if for no other reason, I know less about photography than you do and I embrace it and have no fear of asking the elementary questions.

    I do feel a lightness about 2016 as if the sun is breaking through the clouds!

    I don’t have one word for 2016, but I do have a theme: To Greet the Angel in everyone and everything!

    • Oh, Kathleen, I love your theme. Thank you so much for sharing it. And yes, please, join me next year at the Mystic Seminars photog conference. They’ve already announced it will be back in Portland – January 2017!!

  3. Kinder

  4. Hope : )

  5. Hi Carrie. Choosing a word is something I started last year — when I was invited to something called an intention circle with about 20 other women.
    This is how it worked: When it was your turn, you told the other women your word and why you chose it (or it chose you?). The other women then went around the circle, each one looking you in the eye and saying the word back to you…until your word landed back on you. It was very powerful.
    This year my word is INTENTIONAL. This is the year I go less on automatic and more on purpose.

    • Tammy, thank you so so much for sharing that story. Kind of gives me chills just thinking about what a powerful experience that must have been. And I love knowing your word. Thank you.

  6. I have chosen Contentment as my word for this year. With contentment comes happiness and peacefulness, which we could all use more of.

    Thank you for sharing all that you do on your blog.

    • Contentment. Such a great word, Linda. We could all use more happiness and peacefulness in our lives. Thank you so much for sharing!

  7. My word is Joy for 2016. I loved your post:)

  8. Becky Lambeth says:

    My word for 2016 is Gratitude

  9. Carrie, as always I am inspired by your writings, you express yourself so well. When I read about the relationship you had with your Mother it brings me such joy and scares, me for the inevitable loss that I will some day experience as well.

    For 2016 I choose the work “do” as in “to do” Living away from family and my long time friends I some days find myself not leaving the house or interacting with the friends I have made here in MA or going to my exercise classes. And of course every time I do reach out for a coffee or lunch date or drag myself to that exercise class, I feel so wonderful and alive. So this year I must DO!

    • Kimi, thank you so much for sharing your story and your word. Moving away from your family and long-time friends isn’t easy so it warms my heart to heart that you are reaching out and making new friends, going to that exercise class and so on. Keep on doing it, my friend!! xoxo

  10. Pablo Montmeny says:

    My word for 2016 is… believe. I will continue to believe all things are possible for me and my 2 lovely daughters. I will live a life believing that all things possible so they will see this and believe this for themselves.

    Thank you for the encouraging post! Our best days are still to come.

    • I love your word Pablo. I think it is such a gift to show our children through how we live that all things are possible no matter which stage of life we are in. We can always keep going after those things we deeply desire in life. Your girls are lucky to have you!

  11. Forward. As in moving forward with goals. Lots of words would work here, but “forward” popped in my head as the step where I tend to freeze up. It’s easy (and fun) to sit and dream and plan, but I must keep moving forward to make them come true.

    • Susan, I love this. So many of us get stuck in the dreaming and planning stage but you’re right…it’s the moving forward part that gets us to realize those dreams. I can’t wait to hear where this year takes you. Please stay in touch!