Author Liwen Y. Ho

One Word for 2013 & 2014

One word. So much can be said with just one word. Some words, of course, may be more weighty in their meanings, while others are more simple and to the point. But have you noticed that one word in a dictionary typically needs several more words to define it? Many words even have three or four definitions attached to them, broadening the scope of the meaning. That’s the amazing power and beauty of words. That’s why I love writing.

Just the other day, the mom of one of C’s friends asked me, “Why writing? How did you get into that?” 

I smiled and stopped myself from laughing out loud.

It wasn’t the question she asked that made me want to chuckle. It was the wide-eyed, curious expression she wore on her face. You would think I had told her I did belly dancing for a living (no offense to belly dancers who I think are crazy talented and entertaining). 

“I’ve always like to write,” I replied. “I don’t like to talk, but I like to write.”

I could have gone on to say more, but it’s not easy to have an extended conversation when you’re chasing preschoolers around a park. Even if I had, it’s hard to put into words (ironic, for a writer, I know!) what writing means to me. I imagine it’s like a butterfly discovering its wings for the first time and realizing it is no longer confined to the ground. For me, writing is like being set free from the trappings of a cocoon to float into the sky. Expressing myself this way makes me happy and for that, I’m grateful.

Image courtesy of Eddy Van 3000 from in Flanders fields – B – United Tribes ov Europe


I’m grateful God gave me this passion and for the opportunities to see it come to life again. Writing came back into my life a few years ago, and when I say it returned to me, I mean just that. I hadn’t thought about writing for a long time and hadn’t needed to do any since graduate school. But one day when I decided to clean out an upstairs closet, I found a story I had written from my youth (literally from high school). The next day, hubby heard about a children’s book contest and told me about it. Long story short, my entry didn’t win, but the publisher still decided to take my story and turn it into a picture e-book. Yay!

Now, I don’t believe in coincidences because the world is too messy of a place for things to fall exactly into place by chance. But I do believe in God’s redeeming power. And redeem is the one word I think of when I look back on this past year. 

re·deem

 transitive verb \ri-ˈdēm\

: to make (something that is bad, unpleasant, etc.) better or more acceptable

: to exchange (something, such as a coupon or lottery ticket) for money, an award, etc.

: to buy back (something, such as a stock or bond)

You see, there was a time when I was given the opportunity to apply for the honors English class at my high school. I was not your typical Asian student; I worked hard and got almost straight A’s, but I didn’t excel in any subject area enough to be in the GATE (Gifted and Talented Education) program… except maybe in English. My teacher recognized this and gave me and another classmate the chance to move up. Unfortunately, she made it in and I didn’t. But what held me back wasn’t my writing skills; it was my shy personality and lack of class participation. 

Grrr. 🙁 That incident brings about some regret, but it is what it is. However it serves as a great reminder that things can change. Because ironically enough, the very same story that got published was one I wrote in that English class 20 years ago, the class that I felt stuck in because I couldn’t advance to the honors class. God took that disappointment and made it into something good. That’s what the word redeem means to me.

This past year was full of redemptive moments; I blogged about a major one here. My writing journey has been another one. It has been an up and down adventure mixed with celebratory dancing one day and head-in-my-hands groaning the next. Throughout it all I have learned that God is faithful and is always doing his redeeming work, which I think is His best kind of work. 🙂

I was going to blog about my one word for this year, but since hindsight is 20/20, it was easier to think of one for last year. So, my word for 2103 is redeemed. 

And now that I’ve seen so much of what God has done this past year, I have more faith for this new year. So, my one word for 2014 is believe.

Here’s a great song about believing – “When You Believe” by Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston (such beautiful voices!). 

What is your one word for this past year or this new year?

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