I have given much thought as of late to the power of words. What we label often becomes our reality. We call ourselves beautiful or unattractive and soon we find ourselves living into our perceived reflections. We listen to waiters tell of daily specials, spinning delectable words into our sensory imaginations, and soon they are guiding our palates and our pocketbooks. Studies show we are known to linger longer with our thoughts and friends when background music is playing… the subtlety of the words and rhythms slip into our minds and trigger memories, comfort and calm.

Several years ago, I played an end-of-year game with my family. My grandmother and mother were visiting from out-of-town. As the evening progressed, coming up with games that our three children and the adults would enjoy became a bit of a challenge. As the group started to become antsy, I said as I passed out pens and slips of paper, “Write down three words to describe this past year.”

I had a room full of blank stares. I honestly thought I could hear them blinking.

After a few moments, I glanced around the room to see who was brave enough to make eye contact with me. “Let’s begin with you,” I smiled big to my husband who did not return the affection.

He cleared his throat. “Thankful. Challenging. Surrendered.”

Hmm… I can see that, I thought to myself. This past year had been all those words. In truth, it has felt like each word had been walking hand-in-hand every day this year.

“OK, thanks. How about you?” I nodded to our oldest son, who immediately looked to his dad to see if he really had to participate.

“Adventuresome. Difficult. Introspective.”

Wow, I thought to myself. Those are some heavy words for a first-year college student. Even still, his word choices didn’t surprise me. Transitioning from high school to college is a big jump.

As others shared their answers, I gained in excitement to hear the final person speak, my grandmother. The room hushed as her slender fingers gathered up a slip of paper from upon her lap. She gave a slow glance upon each of us, almost as if she were including this moment within her answer.

“A good year,” she said softly.

Not a soul spoke. Yes, my sweet grandma, that is three words. Such powerful words, indeed. The individual with the most years and the most ailments had the humblest, loveliest perspective of us all.

Since the time of this game my grandmother has declined rapidly from dementia. Her words are not voiced with the same memory patterns they once were; however, her tender spirit is reserved in the palm of Jesus… her humble and beautiful soul is held steady in Christ’s daily care.

Words. So powerful. Perspective. So powerful. What we label often becomes our reality. May you, dear reader, have a good year.

Philippians 4:8 says, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things.”

SGLY, dear readers.

(Smile, God Loves You.)

Tiffany Kaye Chartier is a Christian writer and an opinion columnist. To submit feedback on SGLY or to offer a specific topic idea, please contact Chartier at news@amtrib. com. Follow Chartier on Facebook: facebook. com/ tiffanychartier and Twitter: @tiffanychartier