I prayed as I walked, dog trotting beside me, through the unusual-for-January mist.

“God, what would you have me focus on this year?”

Images of my husband of twelve years, and each of my three living children flashed through my head, but no words. I walked and waited.

Thirty minutes later, as I rounded the last turn before our driveway, the word slipped into my ears.

Cultivate – cul·ti·vate [kuhl-tuh-veyt] –verb

1. to prepare and work on (land) in order to raise crops; till.

2. to use a cultivator on.

3. to promote or improve the growth of (a plant, crop, etc.) by labor and attention.

4. to produce by culture: to cultivate a strain of bacteria.

5. to develop or improve by education or training; train; refine: to cultivate a singing voice.

6. to promote the growth or development of (an art, science, etc.); foster.

7. to devote oneself to (an art, science, etc.).

8. to seek to promote or foster (friendship, love, etc.).

9. to seek the acquaintance or friendship of (a person).

What word have you chosen, or has been given you, for this new year?