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what I've learned

What I Learned: Fall 2016

As fall has closed and winter blows in (quite literally here), I consider What I Learned this past season.

Friendships need pursuing – they don’t just happen.

I know this, but the reality is playing out in my life in unique relationships and these past months I’ve seen it quite clearly.

No one is going to make me do what is necessary to fulfill my dreams.

Those ideas which become goals that you flesh out in plans and schedules and to dos – it’s on you to actually do them. No one is going to check in with you each day. Did you call that friend? read that book or do that study? write that chapter? clean that room? run that mile and do those stretches? hug your kids or kiss your spouse? Whatever it may be that will move you towards the fulfillment of your dream or call, you are the one to move yourself to take steps forward.

Maybe you are fortunate to have a someone or a couple someone’s ask you about it. But those people that will regularly, faithfully “hound” you about them, even after you get upset and tell them to back off – those people really may not exist. I don’t have them in my life. I have encouragers, but they do that encourage – not bug me to stop procrastinating and just get to the task at hand!

So what I learned – I need to add a few of these people into my life. How I am going to do so, and who they will be is still in the idea stage. Spending some serious time praying over these thoughts and jotting down ideas of what this type of group would look like and how we would act in real life.

Bullet journaling just may be the perfect solution to my planner quest.

Those who bullet journal, know there is nothing more to be said. If you are not familiar bullet journaling you can see a quick video here. I have found it to be a wonderful balance between journaling, planning. A balance I have craved without realizing it. I enjoy using it, and the flexibility of the system is wonderful for my ever changing needs and wants.

Don’t rush to fill the quiet moments.

Do what is needed, but when the quiet comes, let it be quiet!

As much as I value recognizing what I have learned over the last few months, I am looking forward to the Winter Season. Here are a couple of things I am most eager for.

Keeping the Christmas season simple

A deep desire is in my heart to know and acknowledge God’s Presence in our home this Christmas. I am doing a Jesse Tree reading of Unwrapping the Greatest Gift with my kids each day after school. Though we have only done it a few days so far, already wow! I am praying it will impact them as it already has me.

Advent

We never emphasized Advent growing up and today the church I attend does not celebrate it formally. I am however intrigued by the idea. Having done several different things over the last few years to mark off Advent days, I am giving it more consideration and study this year. I am enjoying learning about the traditions of Advent, am eager to bring some of those traditions into our home, and celebrating as we seek to have a calm and God-centered Christmas Season.

Here a couple of the links I found in my reading which were helpful:

Living on Purpose

That is, being intentional with my routines and moving thoughtfully through our days mindful of the ebb and flow of our time and energy. Simple things like following a morning and evening routine, “scheduling” my days at home with certain things to be done on certain days, blocking off time and keeping those commitments for family or friends. All these will play a part. I have begun simple things like lighting a candle or two as we move into the evening, working errands and such so we are home and together as it is dark outside, making time to chat with each of the kids, and sit and visit with my husband after dinner. Nothing major, just little things that I hope will add up to allowing us to feel more relaxed and fulfilled with the intentionality of our days.

Music

More and more I am appreciating the impact of music. I have found music to be one of the most effective influences on the atmosphere of our home. With online resources like Spotify and Pandora, combined with our favorite CD’s, Christmas music will be flowing in our house this year.

As you move from one season to the next, may you enjoy a few moments to reflect on where you have come and look forward to what lays before you.

Write31Days

Facing “Test”

This year for the Write 31 Days Challenge, I’m following prompts designed by Christian Hubbard at Creative and Free for the Five Minute Friday community. I write for five minutes each day and post my free writing here. Today’s prompt is test.

prompt-test

Go

What is your test?

Does it seem to you that when you begin the implementation of the work you are to do, here comes the test?

Why when you are moving in your dreams, do the tests seem to come harder and faster?

Why when you have the tiny bit of uncertainty do the tests seem to loom larger?

What is it about stepping out despite your insecurities, that makes the test of your confidence seem to scream louder and longer?

It gets hard, people and life don’t cooperate, it does not work the way you expected it to, it’s harder then you thought it would be  – on and on are the challenges to this great thing you thought you were to do.

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Maybe I am the only one that struggles when what I am seeking to accomplish faces a test. Maybe the test of what we dream of accomplishing is common to us all, yet we hesitate to speak of it. There really is no new test that someone before you has not already faced. Now you may not know anyone personally. And I know the feelings of being alone in the test are very really. Yet, I can speak with confidence. You are not alone!

Every test that you have experienced is the kind that normally comes to people. But God keeps his promise, and he will not allow you to be tested beyond your power to remain firm; at the time you are put to the test, he will give you the strength to endure it, and so provide you with a way out.

(I Corinthians 10:13, Good News Translation)

How do you respond to a test?

Do you ignore it? Does it stop you? Maybe you push the fear aside. Muddle through the uncertainty. Reevaluate your plan and question whether this dream is really ready to be brought to life.

What is the appropriate way to respond to a test?

That question could take months to answer. Study of Biblical principles for handling it, or delving into how others have handled a test. Reviewing our plan and reevaluating our approach. Hours of prayer and seeking advice and counsel from others. Different approaches to minimizing the effect of the test.

It all seems too much even now to consider . . . so for now I will stop. I’ll post. And yet, I continue to consider the idea of tests and how we ought to respond. And I rest in the reality, that when I really need to know – the answer will be here for me to see. I’ll know what to do – and I’ll move on through the test.

When you face a test, I pray you will have strength and faith. May you know you are not alone. May the God Who does see, Who does care, and Who will provide strengthen you.

Stop

creativeandfreeimageGrowing my ability and skill to write is one of my goals for this year. As fall comes and schedules settle into the new normal with school and work, I am making time to grow my writing. Part of that growing is simply writing practice.

To keep me accountable as I seek to write each day, I am participating in October’s Write 31 Days Challenge. Along with others from Five Minute Fridays who are free writing for our 31 Days Challenge, I’ll be writing and posting each day in October. Check out my landing page for a list of all the prompts and associated posts as they go live. If you leave your address in the sign up space at the top of each page, I’ll send you an email with each days post.

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Sitting in Silence May Be the Key to Rest

This year for the Write 31 Days Challenge, I’m following prompts designed by Christian Hubbard at Creative and Free for the Five Minute Friday community. I write for five minutes each day and post my free writing here. Today’s prompt: silence.

 prompt-silence

Go

How much true silence do you have in your life?

Please don’t give me a quick answer. Stop. Really think about it. I’m talking about real, still silence.  Not the complete absence of sound, but rather the absence of sound that requires you to process it and interact with it. Have you “heard” it today? this week? When was the last time you just lived in the silence of a moment – not rushing to fill it. Rather allowing the silence to be there with you.

Silence is golden, especially when you have children.

I love my children dearly and enjoy hearing their chatter and singing and playing sounds. Still there are days when I crave the quiet silence. And yet . . .

Silence can be uncomfortable.

How often have you been in your home or the car and it is just too quiet! Times when I experience quiet with a sort of itchy, scratchy feeling in my soul. Where the silence causes me to feel frazzled and irritated. Those are the times, if I am honest, I am overwhelmed or stressed or bothered. Silence has a way of allowing the “opportunity” to face situations we may have been ignoring.

Silence is healing.silence-rest

When we hear the silence, though it may be uncomfortable, if we are willing to sit with it; opportunities for healing and processing abound.

Silence is rest.

When silence comes often her friend, rest, comes also. How we hunger for rest at times! and yet when she desires to come and visit us we turn her away because to enjoy rest we often need to welcome in silence as well. Unfortunately the times we most need rest are the times we most resistant the silence that comes with her. As a regular part of you day or a special time of refreshment, silence can often be the key to the rest our bodies and souls so desperately crave.

So today, come sit with me in the silence. And in that silence may you find rest.

Stop

creativeandfreeimageGrowing my ability and skill to write is one of my goals for this year. As fall comes and schedules settle into the new normal with school and work, I am making time to grow my writing. Part of that growing is simply writing practice.

To keep me accountable as I seek to write each day, I am participating in October’s Write 31 Days Challenge. Along with others from Five Minute Fridays who are free writing for our 31 Days Challenge, I’ll be writing and posting each day in October. Check out my landing page for a list of all the prompts and associated posts as they go live. If you leave your address in the sign up space at the top of each page, I’ll send you an email with each days post.