Friday, January 31, 2020

Friday five (and a few reflections) for the last day of January

Wow!  January went by in a blur.  Although I didn't see any of this personally, I guess a lot of people online were thinking of this as the month that would never end.  It sure didn't feel that way to me!

Here's my Friday five for today:

1.  Getting together for breakfast with friends last week.  We met at this iconic place:
From summer 2010
Also from summer 2010
and it was so much fun.  [Note: My photos are old, from a previous visit in summer nearly a decade ago].  The outdoor view has changed; they have completely enlarged and updated their building and are now open in winter, which is how we could enjoy this January visit.  The pancakes were scrumptious and the fellowship with dear friends we'd not seen in months was very precious.

2.  Strength for some very busy days, as Mr. T and I try to pour a couple hours each day into the clean-out of my childhood home.  It's hard to juggle everything.  Below is an envelope from a digest-sized Valentine Ideals magazine found at the house.  Magazine and envelope recently sold in my shop.

3.  Great fellowship with our old friends Syd and Cyndy, as Syd filled our church's pulpit last Sunday.  We had them over for lunch, along with friends from church.  One of our aforementioned busy days was Saturday, when I got all of the food organized for Sunday's lunch and also cleaned the house in preparation.  Syd's messages were so encouraging for a new year!

4.  Answered prayer in some situations we've had on our minds for awhile.    We really need to take more careful note of answered prayers.  God is answering them every day!
Graphic by Abby at Little Birdie Blessings
5.  A simple lunch out together on a busy day.  We split a tuna melt and a chicken parm sandwich and shared an order of sweet potato fries.  We're enjoying a new place in our town and like to stop in there when we can.

And a few reflections for this month:

It's been a great month in many ways, but I'm a bit disappointed with how little I've accomplished.  The month didn't really go as I expected it would, and I know part of that had to do with my hubby's retirement (planned for mid-December) getting pushed off to mid-January instead.   Since then, he has also worked a week or so with our son-in-law, which feels like a vacation to him since a remodel in someone's home starts a lot later in the morning than a logging job!

We've done a bit of decluttering here, and he has jumped into housework as he said he would, scrubbing the tub and shower, changing sheets, helping out in the kitchen, vacuuming, and more.  We've also spent a good number of hours at my childhood home, taking loads to the dump, thrift store, and book drop.  But there is such a long way to go!

Last night I mentioned to Mr. T that I felt I had accomplished so little during the day.  As we talked through it, I realized I had actually accomplished quite a bit, but it just didn't feel that way.  I think now that part of my feeling of not accomplishing much has to do with not taking even small bits of time to do things I enjoy, like writing or crafting.

Into my discouragement this morning fell this blog post from Sally Clarkson: Exhausted Already this January?  Create Spaces of Rest.  Did I ever need this!  I am going to be doing what I can to create some small spaces of rest in the midst of extreme busyness.  Maybe this will be a blessing to someone else today also.
Graphic from Baptist Bible Hour
Today turned out to be a beautiful day, and my friend and I enjoyed a nice long walk this afternoon.  Temps in the 40s, brilliant sunshine, and no wind combined for beautiful walking weather -- and the benefits to my mental health were tremendous!  A lovely phone call from my sweet young friend Jennifer meant so much as well.

Hope you all have a nice weekend!

Friday, January 24, 2020

Friday five for January 24

My, the Fridays do roll around quickly -- and now there is only one week left of January!  How time does fly!  Let's see ...

1.  A wonderful birthday celebration with our daughter's family last Sunday.  15-year-old Sam made my birthday cake, and it was chocolate, chocolate, and chocolate!  Family fun, a scrumptious meal, lovely gifts, and a game of Cover Your Assets plus that amazing cake!  Carrie got a picture of it, I know -- hope she will send it to me so I can share.
This was from Thanksgiving, I think, but it's the same game.
2.  Being able to make some travel plans for early summer and our visit to Nevada, Utah and Arizona.  Getting the airline ticket piece of the puzzle taken care of!  Photo below was from summer 2018 at Bruneau Dunes State Park, I believe.

3.  Lovely weather for walking this week.  We walked every day, I think.

4.  Seeing answered prayer this week.  Our friends' baby was sick and many people were praying for him.  He still isn't 100%, but it was amazing to see how prayer was answered in that he felt better so quickly and was able to sleep well, enabling his mom to get the necessary sleep to look after him well in the coming days.
Lovely graphic by Abby at Little Birdie Blessings
5.  Getting to see a local production of Annie with my hubby last evening.  It was his idea to get tickets, and he rarely suggests such a thing.  The show was simply amazing, with the part of Sandy being played by a real dog, and snow falling on the audience and actors at the end, and so much amazing singing, acting, and dancing in between.  We had so much fun and were so glad we had gone!
Photo borrowed from my daughter's Instagram
And there's the Friday five for this week!

Thursday, January 23, 2020

A bit of winter decorating

Just popping in with a quick post to show some winter decorating in the dining area.  The hutch has been changed up a bit.
 The very top shelf, nearly out of sight in this photo, has some jadeite teacups with bottle brush trees in them, and a glittery yellow house made by my craft forum friend Les a few years ago.  Below you see a clearer photo of this adorable creation.

The lovely tray above (now on my winter hutch shelf) was a Christmas gift from my daughter.
 This shows a closer look at that shelf.  The green glass sugar and creamer are new, by Pioneer Woman, and were also a gift from my daughter.  She asked for ideas and I was quick to supply them!  I love how these pieces coordinate beautifully with my vintage jadeite.  Little red cardinals were a gift from a friend.
 Glittery houses and icy trees!  Cross stitch in the back is one I did from a kit years ago.  White plastic reindeer are vintage.
This shelf didn't change much at all; I just removed the peppermint sticks and milk bottle, and added a couple of snowmen and a sprig of red berries.
 Above, the winter hutch in its entirety.

Lastly, I changed out the dining table by adding a simple, small handmade table cloth, plaid place mats, and a large glittery house and snowy tree for a centerpiece.

There you have it -- some simple winter decorating.  Do you decorate for winter?

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Inspirational Pinterest boards

I thought I would add this bit of information concerning a word for the year.  Choosing a word to focus on each year is something I've been prayerfully doing for about seven years.  The word of choice isn't my only focus of study, but it definitely plays into it.  I find that I tend to study the word and/or the biblical principles it points to at the beginning of the year, usually January maybe into February. 

I have found, though, that as I go through the year, I invariably come upon material relating to my word or encouraging me in my focus on it.  So what I've done the past few years is to make a Pinterest board for my word of the year.  It's great when I come upon a blog post or other online material to be able to just pin it to a specific board to refer to later.  Just as an example, here is the link to my Settled Pinterest board.

 Below are screenshots of my other "word" boards.  If you want to check them out, just go to my Pinterest and you should easily be able to find them.

(Please read: As mentioned earlier, I'm very much aware and sensitive to the fact that there is nothing magical, more spiritual or even necessarily desirable about choosing a word to focus on for a new year.   Barbara H. wrote a bit about this last year, and this year she has expanded upon the theme with this post: You don’t have to choose a word for the year.  She's right; you don't.  I don't have to, and the time may come when I don't feel led to.  

But this year, and the seven preceding it, I have found that having a word to focus on has helped me greatly.  For example, the year that I chose "stewardship", I found it so encouraging anytime I felt like giving up to just think about my responsibilities to God to steward my life well for His glory. 

So please, don't choose a word for the year just because I or others do, and don't ever feel less spiritual for not choosing one.  It's just not necessary.  It's something I do because I have found it helpful in my Christian walk -- and you might too --  but then again it may well not be for you.)

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

A pretty winter decoration

Remember those pretty colander centerpieces I shared from  Thelma’s Days, back before Christmas, where Thelma shared several colander centerpieces she had made?  The Christmasy one I made using Thelma's idea is pictured at top.

At the time, I thought this idea could also be used to make a centerpiece that was "winter" and not just Christmas.  Here is what I came up with:

I put this together as the Christmas tree was being undecorated.  I used some new silver and gray balls bought at Walmart after Christmas,

along with vintage balls in various shades of blue and some silver pine cones which I had on hand, plus various sizes and shapes of snowflakes.   I'm really quite pleased with how it turned out.

Friday, January 17, 2020

Friday five for January 17

Another Friday!  Time for another edition of Friday five.  Here we go:

1.  Warm wood heat on cold and snowy days.  Yesterday was a snow day; today it's frigid and windy.  We have a wood furnace (forced hot air) in the basement that brings heat to all the rooms via vents and ductwork, and a new-to-us soapstone stove in the kitchen that warms that area really well.  The only downside is that I don't enjoy tending these fires.  Wood is heavy and dirty,  and I'm not an expert at keeping fires going in these heat sources.  However, I'm thankful!
As you can see, the "feels like" temperature is 11 below zero at noon!

2.  Breakfast out on Saturday at a favorite place.  We hadn't been there in awhile and someone gave my hubby a gift card for his retirement.  What a treat!  We ended up bringing half of our meals home and enjoyed them for breakfast on Sunday!

3.  Finally getting to have "Christmas" with our oldest teen granddaughters on Sunday night.  We enjoyed our traditional Christmas Eve Soup and I baked a couple of frozen pizzas to go along with it.  For dessert, what else but a cookie and fudge tray?  'Tis the season!  I used my new tray (below) to put the cookies and fudge on, since it was not a large group around the table.  This held plenty of treats!

4.  Supper and a little Bible study with fellow believers on Saturday night!  Fellowship and Bible study never gets old ... nor should it!  Our friend Jennifer prepared baked macaroni and cheese and a bountiful garden salad along with biscuits, and another friend brought a lovely pie.  The food was great but the fellowship was even better.

5.  Good walking weather at the beginning of the week.  It gradually deteriorated -- decent roads Monday and Tuesday, slushy and partially snow-covered on Wednesday, and then Thursday snowing like crazy and today cold and windy.  Thankful we could walk for the first three days, at least.  I know that my friend Marilyn from Mountain Top Spice would probably go out in this, but I can't take below-zero wind chills any more myself.

How about sharing one blessing (or five) from your own week?

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Diligence: my word for 2020

I understand that it's not a necessity to choose a word to focus on for a new year.  It's not in any way a practice that makes one any more spiritual, any more committed, or any more anything.  Vast numbers of believers don't choose a word to focus on, nor do they need to.  I didn't even think of doing such a thing until 2013.  I'd read in the past of others doing so and in 2013 I prayerfully considered it for myself.  That year I ended up with the word "Purpose".  I found it incredibly helpful throughout the year to focus on God's purposes for me.

Each year since, I have prayerfully chosen a word for the year.  Some times it has seemed as if God laid a particular word on my heart, and that has truly been the case this year.   He has impressed upon me without any doubt that my word for 2020 is to be diligence.  The word came instantly, even before the end of the old year.  But sorting out my thoughts concerning it has taken longer.

A dictionary definition of diligence sounds like a good place to start.  My very vintage Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines it as: "Quality of being diligent; persevering application."  From there, of course, it becomes necessary to look up the word "diligent".  This dictionary says that diligent means "Perseveringly attentive; industrious with careful attention; painstaking."

The much newer dictionary on my computer desktop defines diligence as "careful and persistent work or effort".

Sally Clarkson says, "Diligence is the energy, the inner will of determination to keep going, that provides the power to overcome in life."

I have felt strongly the need to become more diligent in the coming year, in many areas of life.  Health is a big one.  I want to be much more diligent about eating properly, specifically to work on avoiding foods that contribute to inflammation.  I need to be more diligent with my water intake and with exercise.

Homemaking is another area where I must become more diligent.  Cleaning out my childhood home has impressed upon me strongly that I don't want my adult children doing this task when I'm gone.  They would be thoroughly disgusted (with good reason) that I had let things get so cluttered and that I had kept so many things.  With my hubby's retirement, he is insisting that he will get involved and help me with homemaking tasks so that the two of us will have more free time to do things together.   So, as soon as possible, we will begin with one room at a time, deep cleaning, decluttering, and taking many trips to the dump and thrift store.

My trust responsibilities dictate cleaning out a house and outbuildings and selling, donating, or trashing the contents.  Although I've worked hard at this task and have accomplished a lot, fresh diligence is required.  With Mr. T helping me, we believe we can knock this task out in a couple of months.  As another part of this process, I also need fresh diligence for listing items in my Etsy shop.  There are still hundreds more of them to list!

Scripture memory is another area that needs more diligence on my part.  I've memorized (and retained) a lot of Scripture in the past, but that is no reason not to work at memorizing more.  As a church, we work together to memorize a short passage each month, and that is great, but I need to get myself organized to learn more Scripture on my own.

Careful spending is something else I need to become more diligent about.   If you've read here enough to get to know me a bit, you know that I am not a "shop till you drop" type of person.  I will go to great lengths to avoid a shopping trip.  I've found, though, that shopping online makes it easier to spend more than I intend.  That said, I do seek out bargains and I buy most of my books, even for gifts, on Thriftbooks.  But the spending I'm thinking most about in my need to be diligent is the weekly grocery shopping.  I've gotten rather careless over time, just buying things that are convenient like pre-cut pineapple and melon rather than doing it myself.  Our local grocery store does offer a great program where one can get 2% back quarterly on purchasing their store brands.  Last week, I saved $25 on the week's groceries because I got my quarterly rewards and also a coupon (through the same program) for $11 off on $100.  Plus, I had some other coupons, both clipped and digital.  My hubby is good about finding deals to save money at CVS, and in fact has saved over $200 there in 2019.  So we're off to a good start here!

In considering diligence,  I turned to Elizabeth George's book Small Changes for a Better Life.  She offers some great motivators for diligence, as well as some very helpful tips for becoming more diligent.  I'll share a quick quote after each one.

First, some motivators for diligence:

* Awareness of the brevity of life
There are no guarantees on the length of our lives.  "We need to seize each and every day ... and put the most into each 24 hours.  We must do as much as we can, love our families as much as we can, help as many people as we can, give as much as we can in each precious sunrise-to-sunset parcel of life ... Let your awareness of the brevity of life be a driving force."

* Awareness of the purpose of life
  "When we realize that we were made by God and for God, and that God has a purpose for each of our lives, we don't live with 'self' in mind.  We instead begin living each day ... for the Lord.  There's a new energy, a new direction, a  new diligence, a serious soberness."

* Awareness of stewardship
"God intends us to manage our time and our lives for Him and to use them for His purposes.  He intends that we live out His plan for us.  That means God expects each of us to be a good steward of the life He entrusts us with ... Seek to live each day with stewardship in mind for that one day.  This mindset stimulates daily diligence.

* Awareness of time
"Diligence simply means pursuing a fruitful pace of life from start to finish as you purposefully move through the peaks and valleys, the ebb and flow, the springs, summers, and winters of your life."

As someone who just celebrated a big birthday, I am more aware than ever of the brevity of life and the passing of time.  This has surely motivated me to greater diligence and may even be a reason I felt led to choose that particular word.

Second, some tips for becoming more diligent: 

* Write out and memorize Colossians 3:23-24. 
* Evaluate the peaks and valleys of your days and plan for using them wisely.
* Consider each day in the light of stewardship.
* Read a chapter of Proverbs each day and take special note of any teaching on diligence.
* At the end of each week, evaluate your diligence and plan for any necessary improvements.

I'm keeping this information at my fingertips for this year.  I'm sure I'll need plenty of tips and motivation for diligence as the year speeds by!

"And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men,
"Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance, for ye serve the Lord Christ."  
Colossians 3:23-24

Monday, January 13, 2020

Goals for 2020

Beautiful graphic by Abby at Little Birdie Blessings
I've heard a lot this new year about 20/20 vision in 2020.  I desire to look at the year just past with clarity and honesty (and have done that in a couple of posts about reflecting on 2019).  I've taken a hard look at my own life, noting areas in which I need to grow and change.  And I have a vision for how my life could be in 2020;  I desire to look to the year ahead with eyes of faith, knowing that God's compassions are new every morning and that His faithfulness is great indeed.  Although I've not put together a blog post on the topic yet, my word for 2020 is going to be Diligence.

My goals for 2020 really don't look a lot different than my goals for 2019; in fact, I've copied and pasted many of them from last year.  The major difference will be that I hope to be more diligent and to accomplish more of these goals, staying closer to God and following through on more of my plans.  Here goes:
Personal growth (I included both spiritual and intellectual growth, as well as character development, in this category): Work on character qualities of unselfishness, kindness, compassion, perseverance, graciousness, and self-control.  Work at eliminating the time-wasting habit of procrastination.  Stay off Instagram until afternoon.  Read, study, journal, and meditate on God's Word daily.  Start to memorize Scripture in a much more organized way.  As time allows, add to my "What do I know about my God?" Scripture notebook.  Attend a couples' retreat with my hubby and a ladies' retreat or two on my own.  Read and study at least 6 books.  Nurture creativity.

Health (includes physical, mental, and emotional health):  Exercise at least five times per week.  Get enough water, sleep, fresh air, and sunshine.  Cook and eat with health in mind.  Do something creative or craft-related every day.  Journal and write as often as possible.  Continually cultivate the habit of gratitude.  Continually seek to be joyful and to keep my eyes open daily for the little things that make each day special.  Find moments of relaxation with my husband as often as possible.
Marriage/family life (includes homemaking): Plan periodic getaways.  Take the best possible care of my husband and help him in every way possible.  Aim to be a blessing to him as we spend more time together in his retirement.  Take advantage of every moment together.  Take time for dates.  Plan fun activities with nearby grandchildren. and a trip out west with our two oldest granddaughters.  Minister to my husband  and others with the gift of a peaceful, orderly home by decluttering the entire house and implementing effective homemaking routines.  Stay in good touch with faraway family by regular phone calls, emailing, writing, Skyping, and sending packages.
Money matters:  Spend less on groceries on a weekly basis.  (This is off to a great start in 2020!)  Continue listing and selling small vintage items in my Etsy shop, A New Hampshire Attic.  Pray about eventually making items to sell at craft fairs or on Etsy.  Consider doing some writing for paying publication.  Prayerfully fulfill my trust responsibilities, seeking God's continual guidance in them.
Relationships outside the home:  Be more of an encouragement to my daughters, friends, and the ladies in my Sunday School class.  Stay in better touch with faraway friends and family.  Make myself available to help and encourage those who are nearby.  Continue blogging as a means of encouraging other ladies; take advantage of opportunities to meet fellow bloggers.  Work harder at cultivating extended family relationships, staying in touch with and spending time with my cousins more often.
Ministry:  Deepen my prayer life, praying regularly for those with deep needs, praying daily for our pastoral search.  Continue working on and teaching the study A Woman who Reflects the Heart of Jesus.  Continue cleaning the church with my hubby once or twice per month and providing Sunday coffee break snacks once per month.  Minister to others with hospitality as the opportunities arise.  Continue our informal ministry of fellowship and mentoring with younger friends. 
Have you set goals for 2020 yet?  I don't make New Year's resolutions, but I do find it very helpful to consider and set goals for a new year.  You can find further inspiration on this Pinterest board of mine: A new year, a fresh start.  Happy New Year, and happy goal setting!

Friday, January 10, 2020

Friday five for January 10

Friday again, and what do I have to show for it?  It seems as if this has been somewhat of a "blah" week, and yet I have many blessings to be thankful for:

1.  Though far from perfect (cluttered background), the photo at top makes my heart sing every time I look at it.  It represents so many delights: a sweet table runner I carved out time to sew a few years back using Christmas fabrics from my stash; an ironstone pitcher from the family heirloom set I am blessed to own; and sprigs of pine from our own acreage and winterberries gathered on a walk.  The berries are drying out and getting wrinkled, but this arrangement is still on the table.  (It will be leaving soon, though.)  Below is a photo of the runner back when I first finished it.

2.  A nice afternoon and evening last Saturday.  Our dear friends Sam and Jenn came for supper and a Bible study in the evening.  During the afternoon, we took a quick trip to the neighboring town so that our son-in-law Jim could cut Mr. T's hair.  (He's handy like that.)  We took a bit of extra time to play a game with the grandkids.  The photo below is NOT of that game; it's from Thanksgiving and is a different game altogether.

3.  A wonderful New Year's message from Pastor Anglea, our pulpit supply on Sunday; titled "Unto the End", it really encouraged us to keep on keeping on.  In other New Year news, I was able to complete a Shutterfly calendar the other day to take advantage of a free offer.  Below is a screenshot of July's page.  I put this calendar together in quite a hurry, but it still came out quite well.

4.  Several nice days this week so we were able to get out and walk.  The time of day had to vary a bit due to other commitments, but the weather was doable each time.  Even on Monday when we were walking in snow flurries!  Photo below is from 2018 but looks much the same right now.

5.  A bit of creativity in the kitchen this morning.  I've had a container of this Bran Muffin Batter in the fridge ever since we made my mother-in-law's muffins on Christmas morning.  I wanted to bake the muffins before the batter went bad (it's supposed to keep 6 weeks, but it usually doesn't last more than a month) but I wanted to bake a variety of muffins.  I put a teaspoon of strawberry jam in each muffin cup for the first dozen.  For the second dozen, I added some dried cranberries and some chopped toasted walnuts to the batter.  Had just a bit too much batter, so baked some in a small loaf pan.

And that is this week's Friday five!  What blessings can you thank God for today?

Tuesday, January 07, 2020

Reflecting on 2019, Part 2

As I mentioned yesterday, it always helps me to clarify my thinking in planning for a new year, if I can take an honest overall look at the year just past.  Here are some links to questions I've used to do this in previous years:

Four Questions to Evaluate Your Walk with God for the New Year

31 Questions for the New Year

And also the ten questions below, from Holley Gerth:

Any of these would be super helpful to anyone wanting to reflect on the year just past, or to consider how they want 2020 to look.

This year I decided to do something different and use A New Year’s Perspective from Denise Cunningham.  There are ten questions and so far I have answered five of them, so I'll begin with question 6 today.  I'll put my answers in a different color and font.

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 6.  What did I read last year?
I didn't keep track of what I read last year.  (Pathetic, I know.  I'll definitely plan to keep a list in 2020.  In fact, I've already finished a couple of books I started in December, so I can start my list right away.)  I think nearly all of the fiction I read, with maybe one exception, was by Jamie Langston Turner and were books I was re-reading.  I prefer Christian fiction when I read fiction, but am extremely picky about it.  So I tend to re-read authors that I really like.

As for nonfiction, I dipped into a number of books, but sad to say I didn't finish even one of them.  Here are some of the books I read in: The Fringe Hours, by Jessica Turner; Instruments in the Redeemer's Hands, by Paul David Tripp; Make Room for What You Love and Love the Home You Have, both by Melissa Michaels; An Everlasting Meal, by Tamar Adler; and Venturing with God in Congo, by Darrell Champlin.  I'm sure there were more, but those were probably the ones I spent the most time in.

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7.  Did I spend too much time on social media, television or videos (You Tube, Netflix)? Do I need to set limits for myself?
 I watched almost no TV (only a few minutes here and there on getaways)and only a few videos.  I do think I need to set limits for myself regarding Instagram.  What works well for me is not to look at Instagram before lunch.

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 8.  What creative outlets did I enjoy?
  I've learned that I am a person who needs to do something creative every day.  (Here is a link to a post I wrote about this topic back in 2010, and it's still true for me: Living in the Light of Creativity.)

Sometimes cooking and baking are creative outlets for me.  (Not always, though!) Throughout the year I did a bit of crafting here and there -- crocheting, sewing, cross-stitch -- and enjoyed that, though I never have as much time for crafting as I would like.  I find writing and blogging to be a creative outlet.  I also enjoy creating photo gifts with Shutterfly.  Books and calendars, in particular, require a good bit of creativity.  All of this helps with my goal to do something creative every day.  I've also found that even finding a new way to do a task, or figuring out a creative solution to a problem, scratches the creative itch.

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9.  Did I get enough exercise?  What could help motivate me to do more?
      I did get a lot of exercise last year, walking for an hour most days each week, even during winter other than some really icy days when it wouldn't have been safe or wise.  But I do feel that I need to get more exercise, especially on days when the weather or footing isn't good for walking.  I think one motivation will be having my husband home more.  Another potential motivation could be using a fitness tracker.

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10.  What area of my life brought the most joy?  The most frustration?
What brought the most joy?  Hospitality; reconnecting with old friends; conversation with my daughters and Jennifer; discipleship Bible studies; time with family; blogging; creating.

What brought the most frustration?  Housework, paperwork, and time management. Household tasks that won't stay done for more than half a day are an ongoing source of frustration for me.  Same thing with bills.  (My hubby does our finances, but I do the ones for my dad's place and trust.) I like to pay the bills when they arrive, because if I wait until I have several to pay at once, I tend to forget about them.  But if I pay a bill right when it arrives, it seems as if another arrives just a day or two later and I have to haul everything out again.  Maybe I frustrate too easily! 

Denise suggests, "These would be some great questions to pray about and later to ask your spouse or a close friend.  Some good discussion and accountability could follow!" 

She adds, "Enjoy the...  fresh New Year before you.  It has some wonderful opportunities to witness what God can and will do through you!"

And I wholeheartedly agree!