I have started using my 2020 diary. It is a very beautiful diary from Paperchase. Every year I have an A5 magnetic clasp hardbound diary from Paperchase. It is my nerve center for the entire year. I am very dependent on my diary.
Every page of January is already scribbled all over. What a busy month it will be! But I really like how much of what I have noted in my diary is in connection with Jack. Such a lovely feeling!
It is time to SHARE-MY-WORLD. Melanie, the creator of sparksfromacombustiblemind, has provided us with some questions which invite a little reflection I feel. At least I found that they made me think back on the events of the year. Have a peek at Melanie’s original post below to see all of the other bloggers who are taking part in SHARE-YOUR-WORLD:
What was the single best thing that happened in your life this past year?
There was a lot of joy really. It’s hard to choose one single best thing. Am I allowed to give you three please?
- Discovering that there was a tiny life growing inside me? Incredible! I was in complete amazement by the miracle of life. I read so much about the development of a life from the moment of conception that I found deeply moving. It was one of the most exhilarating experiences I have had in my life.
- Spending the summer with Goldfinch in Australia (it was winter over there). Pure happiness.
- Answering my phone and hearing Jack’s voice on the other end. Wow! Unexpected, but the answer to my prayers.
I have had experiences this past year that have deepened my appreciation for life, for my Creator and for the precious privilege of prayer.
The most challenging?
At the start of 2019, I honestly thought I would never see Goldfinch again. I was so pessimistic. But as it happened I was able to spend the summer with him (winter in Australia).
Losing my (our) apricot was very challenging. What an emotional roller coaster I was on at the start of the year. It was deeply sad to lose that child growing inside me. I am sure that I will never forget 2019’s momentous events.
After being sublimely happy throughout the time I spent in Australia with Goldfinch, realizing that my time with him was over and I was going back to England was hard. I did not want my time with him to end.
But challenges pass. They were hard, and they hurt, but enduring those challenges has built precious qualities in me.
One thing you learned in 2019?
Only one thing? Can I give you more please?
There are things that I already was convinced of, so I have not really learned them specifically in 2019, but they took on new meaning during the past year:
- Never lose hope.
- Don’t let anyone dampen your joy.
- It is absolutely fine to cry when you need to cry and rest when you need to rest. Crying and resting can be very good for you.
- Kind people will give you well meaning advice, but sometimes they are wrong.
- It is possible to love beyond what you thought were your limits. Love should keep growing and keep expanding. Never limit your ability to love.
In fact, I came to appreciate LOVE as never before. I randomly met a stranger out in Australia, a young woman who gave me hours of her time to listen to the concerns of my heart. She answered my questions by turning to scriptures and asking me to read them. We have kept in touch since I returned to England, and at her recommendation I attended a conference in East London all about love. It made me realize that the world needs a much better education. People everywhere need to learn what real love means.
One thing that has also played on my mind is hearing in the summer a quite decisive statement about who the “King of the North” is. That has definitely stuck in my head. I am watching of course, wondering “what next?”
Given all your experiences, insights, and lessons learned in 2019, what’s the best advice you could give yourself for 2020?
- A lot of littles add up to an enormous lot.
- You don’t need to answer back or point out that someone else is wrong. Be careful how you make someone feel, because if you are too abrupt, you have lost their ear and the chance to touch their heart.
- Protect your conscience.
- Keep praying and reading God’s Word.
- Be careful when people voice shocking opinions. There is a lot of diseased thinking around.
- Don’t forget to be balanced and reasonable.
- Jack is wonderful, but he needs loving advice at times.
There is one last piece of advice I have for myself. Goldfinch used to do it, Jack does it too. They keep me awake when I ought to be sleeping. I must make sure I get a good night’s sleep. They both have the same habit of wanting to engage in rather athletic activities when I need my sleep. And I do need my sleep. My poor head really suffers (more pain) when I don’t have enough sleep.
What’s the best meal/food you ate in 2019?
Ooooh. I have had a lot of yummy food. The vegan chickpea, sweet potato and spinach curry made with peanut butter was one memorable meal I had up in North Wales. It is a dish I have been telling everyone about for the past week.
Goldfinch took me to his favourite ramen restaurant in Adelaide. I think it was tucked away in Regent Arcade just off Rundle Mall. To be honest it was not the best ramen I have ever had. I think the meaty ramens are better than the vegetarian dishes. Even he was disappointed for me.
But what I remember most was being with him, and feeling so proud that he was taking me to his favourite ramen restaurant, a place he goes to with his friends and with his brother. I just wanted to be with him, in his favourite places, and for him to be proud that I was the woman gazing into his eyes.
There is another food I remember enjoying when I was a dinner guesst at a friend’s home. Well, it was one particular part of the meal they made us – it was creamed spinach. I had not had creamed spinach for years. It was so delicious. It brought back memories of the first time I ever tried creamed spinach on a family holiday (there were forty of us on that holiday) to Cala Bona in Mallorca.
What are three activities you plan to use in the coming year to relieve stress?
I am pretty good with not letting stress build up. If you live life simply in a material way, and live with a kind and forgiving spirit you avoid so much upset. Money and relationships can have a big effect on your peace of mind.
But I know there are activities that do a lot for the inner me:
- Walking out in the countryside.
- Lingering in prayer.
- Curling up on the sofa with Jack.
Stressful times will come. This world is becoming rather turbulent, forgive me pointing that out in case you haven’t already noticed!
Live simply, contentedly; love kindness and goodness. Don’t make foolish decisions that leave you plagued by guilt, regret and anxiety. Don’t get swept up with propaganda.
What brought you the most joy and are you going to do more of that?
Forgiving I guess. Not that I have ever had any difficulty with forgiving in general. But when Jack called me…wow! That was a bolt out of the blue. Some of what he said in that initial conversation was hard to swallow.
Can you imagine if I had been resentful? Or proud? Or still nursing my bruises? Can you imagine what I may have missed out on? It has really emphasised to me that if you have had a disturbance in your relationship with someone who meant a lot to you, you should take restoring peace seriously.
Resolving any past hurt should not be about who is right and wrong, nor who should be blamed and shamed. To restore peace properly, your own mind and heart need preparation. You need to be humble and forgiving. Truly restoring peace requires great love and graciousness.
But restoring peace is a wonderful thing. A fountain of joy that you have been missing out on. I definitely feel that in the case of Jack. But even in other friendships, it’s those of us who have have had a challenge (a misunderstanding, or something more serious) but we have forgiven and chosen to let go of the hurt and apply love and kindness to the injury, they are the closest and most meaningful of my relationships.
Next time you have a falling out with a friend, try to see it as an opportunity to work on developing a more special friendship than you had before. For friends who have forgiven each other can become like family.
At this point, it was a choice between Bryan Adams and Leona Lewis – guess who won?
Lastly – Any resolutions you’d care to share?
I don’t make resolutions just because of the turning of the year. I think it is silly to make transitory resolutions on a casual basis, or to make extreme changes in an urgent effort to accomplish something you have not been bothered about in ages.
Every day we should be resolved to live well, enjoying life whilst showing a high regard for how precious life is.
I make resolutions in my life when I have given thought to a development in my life and feel I need to make a change and need to see that decision through.
I am going to keep on leading the balanced, healthy, content life my parents trained me to live. I am going to continue to imitate their kindness, generosity, thoughtfulness, mildness, sweetness and joy.
I am going to be even more careful to be strictly neutral in politics, because it is clear that there is a lot of rage out there, the seething resentment that could explode at any time. I am going to be careful to keep my possessions to the bare minimum and not to get drawn in to the lifestyle the commercial world keeps trying to sell. I want to expand the work I do as a volunteer. I am going to be very careful not to be swept up in propaganda, because I hear more and more half-truths that are slanted in such a way to become extremely emotive and provocative.
But this is nothing new. It is just based on observing the way people are behaving and the conversations I overhear in the medical practice I work in. It’s heightened my awareness that this world is facing troublesome times. After the trouble, the best is yet to come.
Be resolved to show appreciation for life every day! There is no need to run and hide. Dreams hang in the air. Life is wonderful…wonderful!!! Life will be better than it is now, for in the future every creature on this planet will thrive.
I don’t know who is singing on the recording below, but I liked it a lot. I couldn’t choose Katie Melua or the unknown singer.