Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Reflection





It is January 2020, a time when many people will set aside time to reflect on last year, and set goals for the new one ahead.

Reflections, like the graphic above, are imperfect. 


I made the graphic in two minutes on PicMonkey. If I had wanted it to be perfect, I could have spent 25 minutes with a high-tech Adobe program that actually has mirroring as an option. I point this out because too many of us will take five or ten minutes to reflect on last year and get an imperfect report on what happened in 2019. Then we'll stop thinking and reflecting because we won't like what we see.

If you take time to reflect this January, I challenge you to actually take time: an hour, then another, maybe even a couple of afternoons to really think back on where you have been, what God has accomplished, and how you have grown.

I've been using a set of questions to help me reflect on what happened in 2019, before I set goals for 2020. It has been hard work. There was a question this afternoon that I struggled with. It said "those who love me call me____." I wasn't sure how others describe me, so I went and asked my girls. One said "mom." Ugh - that was no help at all. I appreciated that she still wants to spend time with me as her mom, but I needed something more. I asked the other girl...she was more descriptive, and that gave me something to work from. Friends call me creative. My friend's husband calls me Stupid-smart. I know he means it as a compliment. I get it. I'm not the normal mom, not a normal wife, not a normal co-worker. 

So where does this all lead me? Back to the foot of the cross. I find my acceptance and worth in what Jesus has done for me, not in what I've done for the world. You see, the world says I'm under qualified. It repeatedly tells me that I don't have a college degree, and thus, am not enough. But I have become wise to the ways the world tries to pull us down. Jesus has said that I am more than qualified, because of Him, because I'm not doing ANY of this life without HIS wisdom and strength. 

I'm going to circle back around to that first response my daughter gave "mom." For 22 years I have loved, planned, corrected, project managed, taught, refined, budgeted, written, erased, build, dug deep, refocused, travelled, stayed put, withstood storms, and filled life with joy. At the foot of the cross I am more than qualified to do WHATEVER God calls me to for 2020 and beyond. 

I bet you are too!

So now, feel free to do some reflecting of your own. Think about 2019, it's challenges and joys, and look forward to 2020, knowing that God will equip you with all you need and more. 

My goal is to reflect the light of Jesus to all those around me, whether they're expecting it or not. 

May your 2020 be filled with peace, joy, purpose, and most of all: Jesus!


Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Happy New Year 2020!





Wishing you and your family a happy and blessed New Year!

Thank you for all of your encouragement these past eight years. There have been less posts here recently - I am writing a book, and that takes time. That doesn't mean I've forgotten about you! Look for more regularly scheduled content to appear in 2020. 

A new year, a new decade, and the same faithful God. Our lives are filled with endless possibilities. Let's choose to make them extraordinary as we look to the Author and Finisher of our faith - Jesus!

May your new year be filled with joy, peace and purpose!



Friday, December 6, 2019

Rush...



rush, five minute friday, holiday season, Jesus, Luke 2, Christmas



Today is the 6th of December. Are you feeling a holiday rush? Are you scrambling to figure out where, when, and with who? Or are you trying to figure out the how of your holiday season?

What if we all took a step back and decided to not rush through this holy time of year? What if we took more time reading about the birth of Christ than we spent in line at the local department store?

Rush is just one letter different than push. 

Instead of pushing yourself, and your family, through the holidays, choose to enjoy this time. Reflect on what a wonderful gift we are actually celebrating. Jesus coming to earth to take our place on the cross.



Stop

Imagine



Without the gift of Jesus we would not have anything to celebrate. We would not have hope or joy, or even purpose. But, because of Jesus we can live lives filled with hope, joy, and purpose!

This year, this week, even today - you can choose to slow down and marvel at all we have to be thankful for. There is no perfect present to be found at the store - because the perfect present has already been given. Choose to accept it, and the wonder and magic of Christmas, Jesus' birth, life, death, and resurrection will change you forever!


'For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in the manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill towards men."' ~Luke 2:11-14



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.