Here we are, closing in on the end of January 2023.
If you missed my surprise Christmas present, catch it HERE.
I am moving forward now, officially wrapped up 2022 as far as I can determine!
This past week, my house got defrocked of holiday seasonal decor. It’s now taking on a winter theme, much barer aesthetic. I keep some Christmas/winter tidbits to calm and soothe us through the season.
This is the first year my husband has remarked, “I am going to miss the Christmas Tree!” It caught me off guard. In a tiny house, Christmas crowds us a little, even though I am mega-conscious of keeping it smaller and simpler. If I don’t, a few days in my senses seem crowded, lacking the peace I was intending. Visual clutter can happen even with my most beloved decor pieces. I have to edit, edit, edit what I choose to display.
I thought my husband would enjoy the free space once I got the tree stored. But there is something about the lights and sentimental ornaments that touches us.
My friend left a Christmas tree up and made it a winter tree because her teen didn’t want it taken down either. The ornaments are neutral and diminished, with only two types on the whole tree. Her 16-year-old commented, she enjoyed studying by the tree. What parent wouldn’t want to accommodate that? It’s lovely!
LET’S GO …
I am always seeking ways to encourage my heart spiritually. I would love to do the same for you as we begin this new chapter on our journey.
Here are a few things I’d like to recommend:
Two hardback, hold in your hand book devotionals:
Settle My Soul
“Are your days full? Are you tired and craving quiet for your soul? You’re not alone. If days filled with obligations and never-ending to-do lists leave you feeling anxious and overwhelmed, you can find the peace your soul longs for.
In Settle My Soul, authors Karen Ehman and Ruth Schwenk invite you to carve out a few moments in your day to deepen your relationship with the Lord through 100 encouraging devotions.”
Seeing Beautiful Again
”In the middle of the pain you didn’t cause, the change you didn’t want, the reality you didn’t know was coming . . . your life can still be beautiful. We all have stories full of sorrow and celebration. But with God, there’s always more going on than what we see. New York Times bestselling author Lysa TerKeurst encourages you to hope again through 50 devotions that will help you find redemption in every part of your story.”
Lysa has been through a torrential tsunami of crushing life experiences. Her insights have really ministered to the broken places in my life. If you struggle to deal with the places life has broken you, I would highly recommend this devotional, as well as her books.
Here are a few podcasts I listen to:
I don’t listen daily or to all of them, but at different times, I turn on podcasts.
FYI… I rarely agree with someone 100% of the time, especially when it comes to theology! Even though these have ministered to me, I always listen with a discerning ear. I take what applies and leave what I do not align with. But I do not deny that God speaks to us through many sources, even sinners like you and me. It’s our job to listen, align it with God’s Word and take what God means for us. And by all means, if you listen to a podcast or two and they are not resonating with you, move on!! We are all in different places and spaces. God deals with us as individuals!
Crazy Love Podcast by Frances Chan
Gracelaced Podcast by Ruth Chou Simons
4:13 Podcast by Jennifer Rothschild
The Bible in a Year with Father Mike
I have a hard time listening to people read the Bible on recordings. I can’t quite explain it, but my mind wanders or their voices are irritating. Father Mike holds my attention. I admit our theology is likely miles apart, but I enjoy listening to him read the Bible. There is a bit of stage setting at the beginning of episodes explaining the cultural setting of the chapters. I realize this is not for everyone, but if you’ve had the same listening difficulties I have, you might want to try. I can always turn it off, if it becomes too theological instead of just reading.
The Ten Minute Bible Hour by Matt Whitman
A few Apps to consider:
Streams in the Desert by L. B. Cowman
This is my favorite devotional of all time!! I read it for years straight through. Now, I sprinkle it in with others, so it stays fresh.
This has so many devotional inside!! So, so many!! It can read the Bible to you as well. There are many Read through the Bible plans as well. And a short video devotional every morning with a verse of the day!
One more tip I learned long ago to encourage myself spiritually…
Place some inspirational scripture around your home, where you will see it. Maybe on your nightstand, taped to your bathroom mirror, tacked to the frig or an inspiration board. Change them out when you stop noticing them!!
What ways do you plan on using this year to encourage yourself??
We can always learn from each other!