Hello, from the mountains of Kentucky! I hope each of you had a wonderful Christmas! We were blessed to celebrate with our children and grandchildren, despite the polar vortex storm that slammed us. That was some crazy weather! We have cold winters in the mountians, but don’t often see it below zero. Even still, we were blessed that our family could spend the day with us. With the new year, my thoughts have been focused on reflection, which helps us learn from the past, while also confirming plans for our future. I want to encourage you to stay the course that the Lord has laid out for us. Even though the world looks bleak around us, let us carry on, love life, live it, and enjoy it. Love Him while always placing Him at the forefront of our lives and we’ll finish the race strong.
Once the planning, decorating, shopping, cooking and all the festivities is complete, the reflecting begins. I take a little time each day and try to reflect on the past months, take notes, reread journal entries, add more notes, take time to meditate and pray, and then begin preparing and planning for the upcoming year. Reflection can include both physical and spiritual reflection as well as reflection of our finances, health, for me my academic growth for my career, time spent with family, but most of all the time we’ve spent in growing our relationship with the Lord. I have found that when my time spent with Him increases… all the other areas are easier and more pleasurable to manage.
So, you may be wondering how I’m planning to reflect and prepare for 2023. After much prayer and meditation, I have laid out a plan for increasing my personal time spent in prayer, meditation time, studying the word, reading uplifting books, and simply abiding in Him. I have added additional time to my already scheduled time that I have devoted for Him each day. This allows more prayer time, meditation time, and the all important quiet time to listen to Him. Last year the Lord spoke to me about sharing the word and Him with my students. It should have been an easy task, but most of the time when the Lord asks us to do something, we are met with opposition from the enemy. Recognizing the opposition was from the enemy, I quickly dismissed the enemy and put him under my feet and began opening class with prayer, and ending it with a scripture. As time went by, the students began giving in prayer requests. Since, many students have thanked me for praying and stated the opening prayer had helped them through difficult challenges and difficult days. It is nothing that I did, no credit for me, but all about what He does. I give God the glory for all. I am just a vessel that is willing to be used. I’m not sure what the Lord will ask me to do in 2023, but I am anxious to hear from Him and look forward to sharing more with you soon.
As for me-time. Upon reflecting on how I made time for myself last year, I do see improvement, but still find myself lacking in that category. So, for this year, I have books purchased and waiting for me to read. I have begun revisiting a book that is among my favorites. I am rereading, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. This book has ramped my mood up to read through the remaining winter days. I am excited to finish it, but will admit that I am also reading a few other books at the same time. Of course I have begun a new year of reading the Bible through with an insightful eye, and also reading a study on Jonah. I love to read Priscilla Shirer’s books. Her study on Elijah was outstanding! I would recommend all of her books for those who are interested in diving a bit deeper into the word.
Finally, my health. I have not made any big changes in my eating other than continuing to reduce the amount of processed foods that I am eating. I am adding more and more whole food plant based recipes into my daily intake. I have maintained a vegan diet for over four years and have found that inflammation is not an issue, my stamina has increased, and my cholesterol and blood pressure have both decreased. I encourage you to explore the many vegan options that are out there. My goals for 23 are to get up and move more, intake more water, and drink more herbal teas. I have recently fell in love with hibiscus cold brew tea. I prefer the Simple Truth organic brand. It’s really tasty and delicious over ice! I have also resumed an old passion of mine… I have rediscovered my love for crocheting. I am currently working on crocheting a temperature blanket. I’ll keep you posted on this project. It’s a fun project that doesn’t consume much time each day. Our daughter is crocheting one also. We’ve both joined a temperature blanket Facebook group that currently has over 500 members who are also crocheting this type of blanket. Again, I’ll keep you updated on the progress.
I will be posting new recipes, ideas, words of encouragement, and reviews of great books in upcoming posts. For now, I’m off to work on plans for my students next week when we return to campus for the spring semester. Remember, being healthy requires more than a resolution, an exercise program, a diet app, or pre-made diet foods, drinks, or protein bars. Being healthy requires a close relationship with our Heavenly Father, buying and growing healthy food, preparing it in a healthy manner, getting up and moving, drinking good quality water, socializing with positive people, spending time with self, and loving yourself. From the mountains of Kentucky, my prayers for each of you is for a happy, healthy, prosperous, life that includes God. For now, I’m off to work a bit. Feel free to leave comments or follow for upcoming recipes that I know you’ll enjoy! God bless, from our home to yours!