Monday, November 18, 2019

Reading





What are you reading and what are you learning from it?

Are you reading a textbook, a magazine, a novel, or your feed on facebook? How do you choose what to read? Do you take suggestions from a friend, look for recommendations from Good Reads or just wander the aisles at the bookstore or library?

I read a lot. Sometimes I don't learn much from it, other times it feels like the author was writing the book just for me. That there is a message, idea, or way of doing something that was just waiting for me to discover it.

Are you making a plan for what you are going to read in 2020? I am usually reading at least two or three different things: a non-fiction book, a fiction book and some sort of magazine or trade publication. I'm thinking I would like to make more of a plan for my reading for next year than I have in the past...so if you've read something you found particularly good this year, please leave a comment with the title and author.

Happy reading!

Thursday, November 7, 2019

enjoy



31 days of five minute free writes, emotional health


This is the last post from the 31 days of October five minute free writes. I know, it's a week late, but better late than never. I'm also not going to time this one...

One of the keys to better emotional health is learning to live your own life, and not someone else's life. This also means learning how to set boundaries so that you can effectively communicate with the people in your life. This leads to being able to have discussions about what should and should not be a part of your life. 

I cannot keep my integrity in my own life, if I allow others to dictate what they think my life should look like. It has been a long year of discovery, but I know I am on the right track. I've never been much of a journal writer, but one of my friends said that's sort of what my blog is like. To a point, yes. There are things I will not share here that might or might not go in a journal. Life is to be cherished, and that also means protecting those I love by not over-sharing here.


Today's word is enjoy.

Sounds safe enough. Here is a list, in no particular order, of things I enjoy.

A mug of good-quality hot chocolate on a cold day

Brisk walks through the autumn leaves.

A medium-well ribeye steak - oh yum!

Belonging in a small group of friends

writing

Photography, especially of nature

long walks on warm sand at the beach

quiet time by myself

flowers

more flowers

a spring walk through the woods looking for the first shoots of edible plants and the early rosettes of wildflowers

a baked potato with butter and sour cream

Listening to someone sing

Christmas - all of the lights, songs, snowflakes, and celebrating the birth of Jesus

creating art - especially with pastels, or flowers

The empty pages of a new calendar or notebook

walking hand in hand with my husband or our daughters

watching a football game

spending time with wool - dyeing, spinning, creating

Dinners with friends

long conversations and catching up chats

a real leather belt and a solid pair of boots

being warm, not being cold

eating fruits and vegetables

colored pens 

When God speaks to me through His Word

a good hug

watching the sunset

a good night's sleep

a warm blanket on a cold day

flannel sheets

Christmas Carols

helping other find joy

wearing my favorite pair of jeans

my new heated vest on a cold evening

the hush of snow

birdwatching with my husband

watching fish swim in an aquarium

target practice

making books - cutting pages and sewing covers

pumpkin pie with whipped cream 

watching a good movie with my girls

picking and arranging flowers

traveling

coming home again

the scent of lilacs

a bonfire, with s'mores

sitting by the shore of the lake, or on the beach, and hearing the waves break



What do you enjoy?

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

memory



31 days of five minute free writes, emotional health


What are your favorite memories?

One of mine is from our family trip out West when I was in middle school. We were staying a few days in Yellowstone, and I remember standing on the boardwalk and watching Old Faithful erupt. 

Another one is from my early childhood, like right before I turned three - and we were visiting our soon-to-be-finished house. I could sit on the floor and look out the window in the living room - it was amazing! I was little and those windows were big.

It is important that we hold on to the good memories. Some days we will be overcome by the memories of things that went wrong. If you remember the good memories they can help you get through those tougher days.

Cherish your life. Appreciate your friends. Love your family - even the ones that drive you crazy. 

You are making memories today - focus on the good that is happening around you. 

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

practice



31 days of five minute free writes, emotional health


It takes practice to learn how to sort through your emotions. We see so many people around us each day, and I bet we often think "wow, they don't have a very good handle on their emotions." I wonder how many people have thought that about me in the past?

So what can I do? Stop, think, sort, and try again when I fail. I also need to focus more on offering grace and less on how I think about others are behaving. This trip towards better emotional health is about me getting myself better, not about trying to fix others. There will always be struggles around me, but I am working on having less of those intense struggles within myself.

I can practice being gracious and kind. I can practice speaking the truth in love. I can practice sharing the love of Christ with those around me. I won't get it all right today, tomorrow, or next week - but I can take steps towards where I know I want to be, and where God wants me to be. 

Life is a journey, and I am taking the creative route to get there - it may not be the fastest route, but I hope it can be a joy-filled one.

Monday, October 28, 2019

test



31 days of five minute free writes, emotional health


If a test was offered to measure how emotionally healthy you are, would you take it?


What if that test brought to light things you'd been trying to hide? What if it showed you were the one with the problem and not someone else? Would you still be willing to take the test?

Let's be honest with ourselves and think about life as a daily test of our emotional health, and thus, how deeply we can delve in our walk with Christ. If our emotional health is a wreck, we cannot move forward as God wants us to. We have to fess up to our own mistakes, and then ask for help.

Maybe your life hasn't turned out how you imagined it... mine surely has not, and yet, when I came to the realization that I would not have that storybook ending, I became emotionally healthier. There are good and bad parts of marriage, of parenting, and of being a boss or an employee. When we admit that our lives, our crazy, messy, hopefully joy-filled lives, are not going to look like a movie from The Hallmark Channel then we can embrace where we are, and look to Jesus to help us move forward.

Life is more than the pictures you see on someone's social media pages, it is real, messy, and can be wonderful even in the midst of a storm. That's what happens when God takes the test for you!



Sunday, October 27, 2019

better



31 days of five minute free writes, emotional health


Getting to better emotional health takes time, but it is worth the journey. At several points along the way you should experience a greater peace that was missing before.

I have learned to set boundaries, and how to say no more effectively. I also now realize that sometimes I set goals for myself that are unrealistic, and that is where I not only need to re-evaluate those goals, I need to offer myself a big ole' heap of grace!

When I said 'yes' to writing for 31 days in October, I really didn't think through how much I should prep ahead of time. That's why recently there have been sets of days where I didn't get anything posted, and then I work hard to get caught up, or at least close.

It is important to me to finish out the 31 prompts, but I'm not making any promises it will happen by the 31st. That's offering myself grace. I want to finish on time, but knowing that I will be working, and doing other activities along the way this week means being realistic.

What can you learn to be better at? I'm learning to be better at offering myself that same grace I extend to others.


Saturday, October 26, 2019

accept



31 days of five minute free writes, emotional health

How can we learn to accept the situations around us that cause us pain, or that challenge our resolve to be loving and kind? 

Does accepting my current situation equal contentment? No. Contentment is deeper that acceptance. I can accept that some people will never change, that I may or may not get a promotion, or that it will rain next Wednesday. But that doesn't mean I am content with them.

Contentment is so much deeper than acceptance. It has to do with the giving up of ourselves and entrusting our present and our future to the Father who wants the best for us. That requires sacrifice. Can I truly trust that God knows what is best for my life, what will bring Him the most glory? Oh - that's a hard one to swallow some days. 

I want to walk this journey with a confidence that the same God who raised Jesus from the dead can raise me out of my grave as well. Can I turn my eyes away from the things of the world and keep them on Jesus? Oh Lord, I believe, help me overcome my unbelief!

I will accept the things I cannot change, but more importantly, I will keep on learning how to be content, safe in the presence of God, and living in newness of life.