Depending by which standards you measure life from - I could say that 2018 was a horrible year.
I had people come into my life that caused me such deep pain that I am still learning how to cope and move forward.
I had situations that stretched me further than I ever thought possible.
I saw things in people that I wish I could unsee.
2018 had so many plots twists the best fiction writer couldn't have wound this plot together.
As 2018 is coming to an end I find that I have two choices. I can drag this "horrible year" into 2019 or I can change my perspective.
I do not look at 2018 as a horrible year. I have learned so much about myself and where my place is in this world. I would have chosen to learn the lessons another way, but unfortunately the easy way is usually not the best way.
I had a situation in 2018 that changed me - it through me for a loop that I wasn't expecting and was not prepared for. I didn't know how to feel, I didn't know how to cope or move forward. It broke me and shook who I thought I was to my core.
So how do I move forward for 2019?
Easy! No actually it's not easy, there are not a magical amount of steps that will make it all shiny and new.
As with anything that has the greatest rewards is the amount of effort you put in to make it a success.
I am choosing that my 2019 will be a success story to the lessons I have learned in 2018. (I am sure that 2019 will have new lessons for me to learn😊 )
I have a saying for my experiences in 2018. Years ago I made the choice to stop looking at situation based on a good or bad scale. Everything is a "character building exercise". Each day there is something to be learned and to be gained. Once you change your perspective, then your life situations start to look differently.
Once the situations start to look different then you start to change your reactions and how you feel about life and your place in it starts to become clearer. And thankfulness and gratitude become a part of these experiences.
A few questions I ask myself on this last day of 2018:
I am looking forward to journeying with you in 2019!
It seems that in December the crazies set in. I start to feel dizzy with all that is going on in our family.
This December I am trying to be intentional with how I invest my time and energy. It doesn't always work out the way that I plan. But I have found so much more enjoyment in this Christmas season than I have in years.
So how I have I chosen to be intentional?
Just two minutes of your time can have an incredible impact.
I am on a journey of learning. My heart is ripe for life lessons. I have become more aware of the needs that surround me each day. I am not sure how I got here but I have to share a few things that I have learned.
The needs are great and we have a serious problem.
Let me try to explain - society has become so inwardly focused that we have lost sight of what is around us. In my analytical discussions I have concluded with all my earthly wisdom - that it all stems from the self-improvement industry that took over the book publishing world a couple of decades ago. While improving yourself is not a negative action, not sharing the improvements with the world around you is. The majority of the self-improvement books didn't include that chapter.
So what we see today is a society that is looking for the next thing to make them happy, for other people to make them happy, to buy the next trendy item to make them happy. They are not going to find happiness in any of those locations.
What I have learned is that heart happiness comes from a two minute investment.
A couple of years ago I tried something different for lent, I decided to "give" instead of "give up". You can read about it here. That experience has never left the way that I look at relationships around me.
I see the needs around me and I want to help - but the needs are great and I am just me.
I have friends that are traveling down some dark roads and through deep water and I wanted to add a little light and encouragement to their day. So I began taking two minutes out of my day and investing in those that need support and strength. I would pray for my friend and then text them a scripture picture.
I could write all sorts of fancy words and quotes but nothing that I could text would bring comfort and support the way God's holy word can.
Finding two minutes is easy- sitting in the car line, one less scroll through social media or sitting down at the end of your day. A short prayer and God's word will have a tremendous impact on those with needs around each one of us. All of us have an opportunity to be the hands and feet and light of Jesus to the world around us.
I am so enjoying investing my time this way. I am finding more two minute opportunites in my day and searching for more cell phone numbers to send messages to. Many times I will be praying for someone and I word or scripture will come to mind and then I know what I need to send to them, many times I get a reply that says, "That is just what I needed to hear today." and that just makes my heart smile. Our Father knows what they need and I am happy to send the text message for Him.
I created a board on Pinterest where I keep scriptures that I want to share and then I have saved them on my phone. If you want a head start you can follow my board for options.
Let's be an encourager to the world around us. Think of someone that needs encouragement and invest two minutes of your time. You won't regret it.
I have been traveling around and teaching journaling workshops - some would describe it more as a party. However you look at it - it is fun!
It is an afternoon of learn new things about yourself, scripture, fellowship worship and food! The number 1 response I have received about the "My Journey" journal is that they wished they would have started it years ago.
No need to run away to a cafe in Paris (unless you really want to), the "My Journey" journal is a great place to start to get who you have been created to be and why you have been created for such a time as this.
I recently traveled to a community to lead a workshop and it was my favorite one so far! Why? Because it had teen girls up to Grandma's - to see the generations working together and getting to know each other was a beautiful sight!!!! Seriously my heart exploded seeing all the open Bibles, pens and pencil crayons creating beautiful and washi tape being unrolled by the yard. Some were creative, some were not :) but everyone was getting involved and having a wonderful time.
The group of attendees from the church already decided to meet once a month to continue on the practice of "My Journey" journal and Bible Journaling. My heart was so filled with joy and the smile on my face lasted the long drive home.
This event was also a great opportunity for a test drive with the teen journal, and the girls really liked it from what I heard from the girls that attended. Here is a little more information on the teen girl journal:
I now have the 2018 "My Journey" Journal available for pre-order!
This spiral bound 8.5 x 11 workbook gives you a place to find peace and gratitude as you spend time weekly writing your thoughts and heart messages.
I will have pre-orders open only until November 25th, then they will be available for shipping the first week of December. So get your Christmas orders in!
Special bonus! Join me on my Facebook page for a Facebook live on Friday, November 10th! Be sure to "like" my page so that you will be notified when I go live! It should be entertaining since I have never done one before! :)
For anyone that purchases a 2018 journal will have access to videos posted in the members only section on my website, so be sure to register for your free account!
There are so many exciting things going on, make sure to join me on Facebook and Instagram, and share the news with your friends. I have worked through this journal for almost a year and I can't believe how much I have changed. My thoughts are more positive, my attitude is more reflective than reactive now and my prayer life has flourished. I am so excited to finally share this with the world!!!!!
I didn't know what to expect when this colour-filled book arrived at my door. The book is beautiful, it would definitely catch your eye in the bookstore. It even has a gold ribbon to use as a page marker. Score!
It didn't take long for me to read through it's pages. I have noticed a trend among many books in the Christian circuit right now about being present. It is a good and is obviously something that we have let slide and need a reminder about where our priorities should be.
The book starts with a strong jab right to where the problem lies and that is with technology. One rule of the gathering around the turquoise table is that technology is the only unwelcome guest.
We have a friend that owns a toy store, I know, how cool is that! He carries a lot of unique board games that you wouldn't find on a department store shelf. This trend of board games is catching on, in such a way that there are cafes that are set up just to play board games, and the catch is that you leave your phone at home or place it in a bin and you are present with the people you are with.
Why is this something that we need to be taught? Life is too short for drama on Facebook, or the check how many "likes" you received on your Instagram post. Choose to be with those that are choosing to spend their time with you. End of that rant - back the the book.
I have never thought of hospitality to be one of my gifts, but Romans tells me to be eager to practice it. This video of Ludmilla's story gave me a lot to think about. I don't live in an area where people are walking by our home. Some of what Kristin talks about in the book about neighborhoods seems so foreign to me. Until one day a friend that lives in the city asked me to come over for fresh rhubarb muffins. She didn't have to ask me twice - I drove right over and when I arrived she suggested that we go for a walk around the block. It was a lovely evening and as we walked the streets of her neighborhood I saw what I was learning in the book in a different light. I was able to understand the inner-workings of the network of community in a neighborhood. I have thankful that this book expanded my thinking in this area.
I have to admit that Chapter 8 "The Broken Table" was my favorite chapter. It talks about all the stuff that we want anyone to know. Such as "Why is it so hard to admit our weakness?" That if we could be honest about the true condition of our hearts than we would be able to live full, authentic lives. That comparing ourselves to others is a trap, rooted in the fear of inadequacy. Wow, so true. Another reason to disconnect from social media and invest in sharing our lives with the people in our community.
A couple of more points for the review: I liked the recipes and suggestions at the end of the chapters. The pictures throughout the book were nice but too staged - too much make-up and accessories for examples of random gatherings at the Turquoise Table.
One final thought from the book:
Maybe the art of conversation isn't lost after all, we just need more practice at it.
I am thankful for the opportunity to read and review this book. Want to know more about it? CLICK HERE for more information or to order your copy.
Carolyn's experience as a national award winning author & speaker all unite to encourage, empower and equip women of all ages to delve into scripture to discover it's truth in our lives today.
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