Wednesday, February 28, 2018

What I Learned this Winter ...

As February draws to a close, I’m looking back over the winter to see the lessons learned.

In December, I determined to let go of all the holiday preparations that left me feeling anxious and out of time. Basically, that meant …. Everything!

I did buy gifts, and that right there was enough to stress me out. Gift-buying is not my thing. I’m not good at it. In fact, as catharsis I wrote all about my feelings regarding gifts in “The Challenge of Gift Giving.”

However, I learned there seemed to be less joy in the season by NOT doing those traditions I had always done.

The one I missed the most was the tradition of sending out my Holiday Letter. For twelve years I faithfully sent out a letter to family and friends (and practically everyone I knew) telling of family events and a scripture God had laid on my heart for the coming year. When my mailing list reached over 100, I decided to take a break.

Nope, can’t do it. It doesn’t feel right not sending out messages to my loved ones. After all, most of them only hear from me once a year.

This is a tradition that must go back into my holidays, although perhaps the list of recipients might be pared down.

During December, I featured in my sidebar my 2012 December series, “Because He Came.” Because I like this series so much, I directed blog-traffic to the initial post, Because He Came, I have Abundant Life. You can find links there to all 23 posts expressing gratitude for the blessings Jesus brought when He put on flesh and moved into the neighborhood.

December brought some ideas to mull on spiritually:

For instance, have you stopped to consider your life with all its joys, struggles and trials would be a fairy tale to others who would love to have some of things you enjoy? (Dirty dishes in a sink would be a dream to a starving person.) I wrote how my eyes were open to my blessings in “I’m Living that Life.”

December 4’s devotional in the Every Day with Jesus bible brought the thought that “protecting one’s self more than loving another is a definition of sin.” Much to ponder there …

Also, in December a study of Psalm 68 yielded this thought: The name Yahweh is associated with God as the Becoming One, the God who becomes what His people need. It took me some time to think, but in January I posted on this very thought in “The Becoming One.”

Also, this winter I learned of a sickness I have: Nostomania” – a word of Greek origin meaning an intense homesickness; an irresistible compulsion to return home. I experience it almost daily – not just the desire to return to my earthly address, but more and more I want to be at my heavenly abode which keeps me on my Journey.

January is always a time of reflection for me; a time I review all I have written in the past year, see “2017 Year in Review,” and when I pick my “One Word 365” for the year. I had hoped to be much further along in my goals but after thinking it over, I decided to “press on.”

I decided to boil down my goals to two simple directives:  write 500 words and walk 6,000 steps daily. Here February’s end is fast approaching. Have I done those two things every day? No. But I’m a lot further along than if I had never set those goals!

Press on.

In February, my thoughts turned to love as the hubs and I celebrated 42 years of marriage, and, well … Valentine’s Day! Of course, I had to write about these things, so my tribute to Jim was chronicled in “Love Is …Serving” , and then thinking about God’s command to love one another prompted the post, “Love Is … Laying Down Your Life.”

Let’s just say I challenged myself greatly with that post!

And so now, Spring is approaching. I take heart from that, I keep pressing on this Journey, one foot in front of the other, one word written at a time. Yes, the trees look like brown sticks but the skies have been a glorious blue lately.

New growth is on the way, both on the earth, and in my heart.

How was your winter? Has it been a cozy time of settling in and taking stock? Or is Spring fever a thing with you?


I'll be linking this post with a number of amazing communities:  Emily's What We Learned, Char's Trekking Thru the Week, Jennifer's #TellHisStory, and Brenda's Chasing Community Link-up. I'm so grateful for the opportunity to share my work!


Linda Stoll said...

Wow, Jerralea, you've packed a whole lot into winter! Makes spring's upcoming arrival seem closer than ever!

I hear you about the Christmas cards. I've gone years without sending them, but always go back to doing it. Makes me realize how much I miss those old friends ...

Faith said...

I never did Christmas cards with those newsletters until we were married. And then one year, after our oldest girl was born, we realized that 1. our list was WAY TOO LONG 2. it ended up sounding a bit too much like bragging and 3. we wanted to just send to very far away friends whom we don't text or see on social media. SO....for the last 5 years I just send Cards and newsletters to those family members who are not on social media.

You really used the winter months well for your blogging and I have read almost all of your posts although I don't always comment. The Lord has given you a love language that is NOT gifts if you don't get joy from gift giving. and that is OK! My husband's love language is Words of Affirmation and although he likes the gifts I choose for him, he'd rather I gave him praise for something he's done for me or the family/house.

LOVE this post and your reflections.

ellen b. said...

Good reflections and evaluations. It is true that even if we don't master the goals we set we are better off setting them and working towards mastering them. Have a good rest of the week!