Happy New Year - a little late! The older I get, the more I appreciate the month of January - minus all the yucky sicknesses though. It tends to be slower-paced which means more time with family, friends and more time to think.
I like give myself the whole month of January to reflect on the past year and make goals for the upcoming year. I came across a post by a gentleman by the name of Mark A. Smith on LinkedIn. He talked about things that he has learned throughout his life and living with a difficult disease. I thought his learnings were spot on and were things I want to remind myself often. I hope you find them to be valuable reminders in 2018 as well!
Mark A. Smith: Here is some of what I've learned -- I'll hope you find some value:
- We have the capacity to find joy in all things. A negative attitude is worse than a tumor. The best of life can come from the worst of life.
- Everyone has a difficult trial. Everyone. Be compassionate.
- When your looks get taken away, you better have a solid character or you're screwed.
- Priorities are revealed when abilities are stripped. Put them in order before life forces it upon you.
- No one learns in the middle of a crisis. Survive. Breathe. Reflect.
- Life is too short to take offense. Assume the best and move on.
- One day our children will struggle. We must endure our own trials so that, when needed, we can look in their eyes with perfect credibility and say, "I've been through the same struggle. I know your pain. You can do this."
"The Lord has done great things for us and we are filled with Joy." - Psalm 126:3
We have been more intentional this year about preparing our hearts and minds for Christmas. The kids have been excited to read our Advent calendar each day and read the coordinating scriptures. And eat the chocolate of course:). Our Sunday school class has also been studying Max Lucado's "Because of Bethlehem." We have truly enjoyed this study.
I hope and pray that you have a wonderful Christmas filled with God's presence and love.
"God took on your face in the hope that you would see His" - Max Lucado
One thing I think we all love about Christmas is traditions. I enjoy putting our Christmas decor out each year, especially the ornaments that we have collected over the years. My Christmas decor does not change all that much from year to year, but I like adding a few new touches each year. I do not have a complete house tour to share, but here are a few
Our halls are decked and now the race begins to get everything accomplished before Dec. 24. One of my favorite things to do this time of year, when I need a break from all the craziness, is to drive around and look at everyone's Christmas decorations. I look forward to all of the Christmas home decor magazines too. This colonial home in Charleston, SC, featured in Southern Living, is a show stopper. I'm sure it is even prettier in person.
So many have already rushed right to Christmas, but I still love Thanksgiving and what it represents. We have been singing The Table at church recently and I just love the words to this song. What a perfect song to reflect on the upcoming holiday.
I have so much to be grateful for. We all do. But sometimes it is easy to lose sight of this, especially when our main focus is on following the lives of others rather than concentrating on the life that God has given us to live. Social media drives so much of this. I have never really taken an extended break from Facebook or Instagram, but have wanted to remove it from my phone for some time. I got home from work on Friday and Paul had purchased new phones for us. I do not get too excited about new phones, but I did see this as a perfect time to remove Facebook and Instagram from my phone. I truly see so many benefits for both of these social media platforms, but I also see the dangers. Addicted sounds harsh, but I would have to say, sadly, I felt addicted to Instagram. The only way for me to find a happy medium with it, is to remove it for a while and then slowly reintroduce it to myself. November is a perfect month to reflect on our many blessings. I really enjoy getting to see and experience the happy moments in my friends, family and others lives, but I am excited to take a month to focus on all the joys I have in my own life.
I hope your November and Thanksgiving are filled with joy, peace and full hearts (and tummies too:)!