Cherish Hope in 2023

What did you decide to do with this new year? Are you a little bit of a nay sayer that doesn’t like making goals, or don’t like to make a list of what you would like to accomplish in this new year because you don’t feel anything changes anyway? Or are you the person who sees value in thinking about the change you want to make within yourself, your daily living, your health, relationships, what needs to come BACK into your life, or activities? I know, it takes some honest moments for us to think about that, and most of the time, we don’t want to. I am one of the latter people as you may have figured out already. Not because I think it is going to change the world, although, it may change a few. But it is more about what I want to see differently in my life and in my surroundings. I make a list every year, but not all of it happens. I don’t care. Do you know why? Because… there are many things that do change. It keeps my focus on the right things. Ask yourself what you can do this year that will change even one part of your life…something that you love and enjoy the most. What would yours be? Pick just one. Let me know in the comments. Don’t think of it as some prison walls around you, but one thing that you love to do and commit to do more of it. Here are a few of mine. With all the moving and settling, I found many things had gone on without me. So some fun changes this year is in store.

⭐︎Photography is my favorite therapy. I have a couple books I am reading, online classes I am going to choose and take, and a couple lenses have come to live in my camera arsenal. It is a fun challenge as well to change things up and see differently through a different lens.

⭐︎Music is one thing that I have always enjoyed and I have many instruments, none of which I play really well. I don’t care about that either. I don’t play for anyone but myself anymore, but if it brings me joy, why would I want to not “get around to it”?

⭐︎Then there is another thing…I have a wonderful sewing machine that I love. Am I a great seamstress? Most certainly not!!! But I love to make crafty things or curtains or runners. But with all the moving all the time, I haven’t gotten that going, but I want to.

⭐︎I’m a reader. At one point I was reading a book about every week and a half. I wanted to read a book a week for a year. I made it to 46 one year. I love to read and I love to learn so I’m starting my year with a new book and making time for that, even if it is just 30 minutes a day. What a great way to getting higher learning!

⭐︎I want to have my quiet time and so I am getting back into that. Part of that will be using my Gratitude Jar; a different one this year with many personal touches. But this time keeps me focused on what is good and what direction I want to take in my day, and influences the way it goes.

⭐︎I need to establish a better health regime for several reasons. So I have started that. I didn’t get too strict with myself during the holidays, but I did be a bit careful or where I wanted to be and cut portions down even during the goodie time of year. Discipline.

If this seems daunting to you, start with one. I pray every day for God to give me the discipline to do what I need to do to stay healthy both in my body, mind, and spirit. Less TV, less social media, and more time doing what brings me joy. I would rather create something with that time. I am sitting in The Loft watching a very light snow coming down. That is a bummer for us right now because it can mean our window installations may be delayed, but I still love to watch it fall and give a time of silence to the surroundings. Enjoy your moments and don’t hurry through them.

There are a few things that I have on my list… 40 so far. Already a couple have come to fruition. So find one to concentrate on or to bring back into your life that you let go of, and go for it this year. I read where one friend was going to do more snail mail this year to put something in the hands of people she loved. That is a super idea and great way to reach out.

Here is my Gratitude Jar this year. The lace or edging is actually from my Grandmother. I remember her having it in the right top drawer of her sewing machine. When my mom gave me the sewing machine, all her items were in there, including that. I have left it in there and admired it many times. I decided I would “take the plunge” and cut a piece to use on my jar. The watch was one of my mom’s that can’t be repaired anymore and reminds me to “Cherish” my time and be mindful of how I use it. The chain you see hanging on it is from my mom’s heart necklace and was the original chain, which was a gift to my mom from my dad before they were married. She wore that necklace for her wedding and so did I. So I hung it there and it reminds me of my list. My mom was quite the list maker and organizer. The top of the jar is a glass top, so I cut out a card that came with some flowers from my youngest son and his fiancé and I put that into the bottom side of the lid. So all together, it is a great reminder of all things joyful and as I put in my hearts in the jar for all I am grateful for. It keeps my attitude in check in all areas of my life.

We hear so much about going big, thinking of ourselves and what we want, making a business successful so WE can feel successful, and the you can do it,. All the while, we strive for something more but feel less fulfilled. I am encouraging you to live each day and be present each day in the moment you are in. Notice the sky and clouds and colors and people. Be present for family and friends. That is more important than how much money we make, what jobs we hold, or how tied up we get in choices we have made only to leave the important people behind while we strive to create what WE think is successful. So I am adding things into my life this year that are more in line with my heart.

Today marks the beginning of one of the goals for this year and that is an exciting step. We are replacing all the windows that are metal in this house, and the work starts today! I am really excited about that. Press in to the what your heart desires, however, ask God if it is from him first. I have had some times I went ahead on my own, and I wouldn’t recommend it. Even though it was delayed, I prayed for peace and He gave it. He was able to come the next day and four windows were installed. I know resting in His plan is the best way. Tomorrow he will be here again for the next set!

So with the above in mind, I’m excited for you and for what this year holds… for all of us. It may be some of the same, but it could be a lot more if we make sure we are adding in the things we enjoy most, or maybe has got put on the back burner or lost altogether. I hope this post has encouraged you even if you aren’t the goals type, because just one change can change up life. Share with me your thoughts in the comments and let me know how I can pray for you this year. I wish for each and everyone of you to have a great start to 2023 in the months to come!

Let me leave you with this from a book I am reading to start my year:

🎚️”We consider that God has a purpose in our troubles. We know He’s cultivating character and motivating maturity. We ask for wisdom to see beneath the surface of the trials. We endure through the strength that comes from Him…we learn significant lessons we could never have learned any other way.” Chuck Swindoll from Clinging to Hope.

Until next time…

~JoAnn

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Word for 2023

Each year around November, I start praying about the word I am to carry into my new year. I ask God to give me guidance in the selection. Why? Because He knows what I need; what I need to learn, what I need to see, what I need to change, and what I need to hear. So I ask Him to show me what that word is for me personally. I hadn’t received my word yet as of last week, and so as I was working in my Loft, I prayed again for my word to be known to me. I immediately felt like I was to go to my “Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words”. As I opened the book, I came to page page 98, and my eyes immediately fell on the word CHERISH. I read the definition and correlating scripture reference, and I knew He had just given me my word for 2023. Here it is:

Cherish: to heat, to soften by heat; to keep warm as in birds covering their young with their feathers; to cherish with tender love; to foster with tender care; to take care of others as a nurse cherishes the children.

Cherish: (in other sources) to hold something dear; protect and care for someone in a loving way; keep hope in one’s mind; keep with special care.

What struck me was that. the feeling that I was to get that book and open it, that my eyes would land on this word, was amazing. But that is how God works. The part that hit me most was that it is to soften by heat. Does that mean that maybe, just maybe, there are some hard times where I go through the fire? That I am to also cherish THOSE times? Why? I asked God about that. I felt He told me that going through hard times or the fire, helps us know who we are and who God is. I may not be able to do a thing about it, but I know WHO can. What else? Well…maybe the fire is going to purify me and my heart and attitude. It hopefully will increase my trust quotient. Not so much warm fuzzy with that one. However, if we are willing to take that on, God can really work in us and in our situation.

I am a BIG “cherish-er”! I am the keeper of memories and special things. They have great memory and insightful encouragement for me. When I miss my folks, I can see something in my home that I cherish because of the memories that something invokes. In fact, my home is home to many others’ memories that I have been a part of. So what is the big deal about this word for me?

One of the other comments regarding this word was that I should be careful WHAT I cherish. What is really important in my life? What to I put above all else? Am a cherish-er of things? Money? Perfect home? How I look? What I drive? How successful I am in business? Who my friends are? My favorite hang out and a drink in my hand? The big question here for me was, “What do you cherish, JoAnn?” After that question came the statement, “Be careful what you cherish.” Ouch!!

You see, cherish means that I take the time to cherish what God has given me. I spend some time and thought there. I don’t get so busy in life, that I forget the idea of cherishing a cuppa and reading a good book, or listening to music, playing an instrument, or just sitting in a comfy chair and enjoying the lights on our Christmas Tree, or a time of prayer for those who need it. As I am willing to take that time, so shall my “cherish” moments expand and become bigger and bigger. Sometimes, we may find out lives feeling lonely even though we have people around us (or not), and even when we have a life that seems full. However, we can also get to a point in our lives where we are alone, or, it feels like we are. But God spoke a word into my heart. When He gave me the word “cherish”, I was listening to a speaker who shared, “You might feel like you are alone, but you are not. YOU are set apart.” Cherish that thought. Yikes! Was God shining the light on me or what?!?!? I mean, this year my word was SAVOR, and didn’t I do that? I sure did! However, I heard God say, “Go deeper child. Go deeper.” Alrighty then! I am ready for a new adventure! Let’s do this!

So… as I slide into the end of this year that will quickly move me right into the NEW year of 2023, I will make every endeavor to cherish God in my life, moments in my life, treasures in my life, my family, and as a good friend shared with me yesterday, ask God to show me the people He wants me to touch and encourage. I may need to put myself out there first in an act of faith…dip my feet in the water before He will part it for me and show where I am to go. Is it easy? No. Depression is a sneaky tool of the devil and I need to be aware of where my thinking is in this process. I hope my truth can resonate with someone reading this. I believe there is a someone who needs to hear this…God is always faithful!

Until next time…

~JoAnn