January Reflections


After thinking about writing monthly reflection posts for most of last year but only actually doing it once, I have decided that 2017 is going to be the year, so here are some highlights and reflections on January!

New Discoveries and Highlights:

  • One of the fun things about being a Scottish blogger in a mainly American blogging community is the chance to learn some new words.  This month I learned about puppy chow.  My favourite new word up until now has to be tchotchke, but I still don’t understand what doozy means despite having seen it a few times!  (If anyone would like to attempt an explanation I’m happy to explain some Scottish words in return- stookie, bairn, dour…)
  • I enjoyed learning about Kintsugi– a wonderful art which turns brokenness into beauty, and a powerful illustration of God’s work in our lives.
  • I tried out POUND: a fitness class involving a cardio workout while using weighted drumsticks to drum along to the music.  It’s a different way to work out and it’s fun.  It’s not very easy to describe but this video will give you a little taste.
  • A highlight right at the end of the month was a church weekend away: worship, Bible teaching, fun, games, the chance to build friendships… and one of those moments where I realised that a year ago I would never have imagined being part of this church or spending the weekend with these people.  I’m so glad I went with God’s plan on this rather than my own.  It seems he does know best after all. 🙂

My word of the year:

My word for the year is Voice.  I suppose it was inevitable that as I started the year wanting to focus on God’s voice, the enemy would see it as a challenge to shout even louder to try and distract me.  There have been times this month when the lies have seemed incredibly loud and persistent and it has not always been easy to focus on God’s voice or even to recognise his voice in the midst of the noise, but I think I am learning.

One area I have been reflecting on is how I respond when I feel my voice isn’t being heard or valued.  Unfortunately I’ve had plenty of practice this month, partly due to an ongoing issue with commenting on certain blogs.  It is not fun when your comments are repeatedly marked as spam for no reason.  Even though I know it’s a computer glitch rather than an intentional dismissal of my words it becomes incredibly frustrating after a while to feel that there is no way for the words to get through.  (On the plus side, the bloggers I have managed to contact about this could not have been more lovely or helpful, and they have gone out of their way to assure me that my words matter to them.)

My other main reflection on the word Voice has been the need to give voice to my feelings more: to acknowledge them and express them, whether to another person or to God.  I realise I have a tendency to deny negative feelings or preach to them rather than listening to them, and while it is important to hold to God’s truth it is also important to acknowledge the feelings first, rather than using truth to suppress them.

Finally, I watched the movie “Florence Foster Jenkins” this month.  It tells the story of a woman who became a well-known singer in New York City in the 1930s and 40s despite the fact that she was unable to hold a tune!  A quote from the movie really stood out to me.  Towards the end of her life as she is talking about how she will be remembered she says: “People may say I couldn’t sing, but no-one can ever say I didn’t sing.”  While I definitely don’t suggest that people who are tone deaf should attempt a career in singing, it did make me consider that our voice and the words we say are never going to please everyone and may not always be accepted, but that should not be an excuse for remaining silent if we believe we have something to say.

January Playlist:

Chain Breaker– Zach Williams
Live Like You’re Loved– Hawk Nelson
The Lion And The Lamb– Big Daddy Weave
Come Alive– Lauren Daigle
Open Hands– Laura Story, feat. Mac Powell


January Memory Verses:

matthew-10v27   proverbs-31v8-9

How has your January been?  Feel free to share a highlight or reflection in the comments.

Embracing Every Day      Holly Barrett     purposefulfaith.com               cc-linkup-button


51 thoughts on “January Reflections

  1. I’m so sorry for all the hard, but selfishly feel blessed to see we are journeying through this together in learning to hear and listen to God’s Voice as the enemy prowls. Sometimes it feels like we are the only ones struggling with this. But then I was reminded of Paul’s struggle with the thorn in his flesh and your words have taken me back to this Scripture, which I love in the AMPC version (Jeremiah 15:19): “Therefore thus says the Lord [to Jeremiah]: If you return [and give up this mistaken tone of distrust and despair], then I will give you again a settled place of quiet and safety, and you will be My minister; and if you separate the precious from the vile [cleansing your own heart from unworthy and unwarranted suspicions concerning God’s faithfulness], you shall be My mouthpiece. [But do not yield to them.] Let them return to you—not you to [the people].”

    I’m learning not to “yield to them”: both to the lies in my head and to the words of others spoken over me and like He is doing for you, God is teaching me again and again to acknowledge the emotions in order to release them, so that I can “give up this mistaken tone of distrust and fear” and remember who He is. It’s a process of refining that’s not always so pleasant, huh? But it is so good to see just how faithful our God is, how full of compassion He is and how He really does see us and meet us right where we are.

    I know the word bairn, but not the other two 😆. The English language is so different in each country, isn’t it? When we were growing up my sister and I had two American friends who used to laugh at our kiwi English and there were words they used that made us gasp too 😆.

    So blessed by your words today. Praying our Heavenly Father returns the blessing to you in multiplied form.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Anna. I’m glad the post blessed you and it is encouraging that we are on this journey together. Thank you for sharing the verse from Jeremiah- it’s so important not to yield to the lies or words spoken by others.
      It is fascinating how the English language is so different in each country. I’ve just about reached the point where I remember that when Americans talk about pants they mean trousers, not underwear!
      Thanks for your encouragement here today.
      PS I found the link to your Restory interview today. Planning to listen to it later this week.


  2. Every time I come to visit you, my dad comes to mind, Lesley. He immigrated from Scotland, yet his heart never left, and now he lives in heaven. Being here makes me feel closer to him and reminds me of the visits I had in your beautiful country.

    His homeland. Where my roots lie deep.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m sorry the devil is fighting extra hard to blot out God’s voice with all His lies, Lesley. I know it can be so hard sometimes, but may we together cling to God’s Voice of Truth.

    I have included your post on Kintsugi with my new Hope Harbor links in tomorrow’s post. This practice and your words with it offer so much hope and is something we all need to remember.

    I had to listen to all the songs. 🙂 I hadn’t heard 1, 2, and 5 before. Very comforting! I was especially stirred by Laura Story’s song (new?).

    I hope you have tried the Puppy Chow. 🙂 It’s yummy. What does “stookie” mean?

    The Proverbs 31 verses are especially bound on my heart. Thank you for all this! I’m going to love your monthly reflections. 🙂 Love and hugs to you!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Trudy. We definitely need to keep encouraging one another to cling to the Voice of Truth. I’m so glad you liked the post on Kintsugi, and thanks for sharing it. One of the main things the lies have been bothering me about this week is my writing so it really encourages me that it gave you hope.
      I love the Laura Story song- I think it came out towards the end of last year. I discovered it right at the end of my year of “surrender” and felt it fitted in perfectly.
      Thanks for introducing me to Puppy Chow. I haven’t tried it yet but I will. We don’t have Chex cereal here so I need to work out what to use instead.
      A stookie is a plaster cast you’d wear if you broke your arm or leg!
      Look forward to your post tomorrow! Love and hugs!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Well …doozy is commonly used here in South Louisiana. It’s like… extraordinary or extreme-one-of-a-kind, hard-to-believe. Like when you share a very odd or hard to believe story or a your stumped with a question you might say… “that one was a doozy!”

    About that Puppy Chow… I had to look it up because the only puppy hhow I knew about was puppy food for real puppies!!! LOL.

    Voice: what a word for the year. My pastor just began a new sermon series about Hearing God’s Voice. Cool!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for explaining- that makes sense! That was how I had heard the word used but I wasn’t sure if it was good or bad!
      Maybe puppy chow is only a thing in certain areas of the US- I wasn’t sure. Your pastor’s sermon series sounds like it will be good.


  5. I always love visiting here and I love your recap. It’s always fun to get a quick glimpse into someone else’s life. Pound looks interesting and fun. Also, I loved your post about kintsugi. our word for the year “voice” is going to stretch you and I am excited to learn from you. Blessings on your week friend!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Lesley, it’s fun to get a Scottish blogger’s take on words that roll off my tongue without a second thought! I like how Evaraye defines “doozy.” A Kansas variation would be something that is really bad, as in “a doozy of a headache.” It sounds like your comment issues continue to give you one of those, by the way. That’s so frustrating! Your words do matter to me, despite where my blog sends your comments. I will continue to rescue them as long as this keeps happening. 🙂 I love how you were able to apply your One Word to the Florence Jenkins movie … makes perfect sense, now that you mention it. And the Laura Story song is wonderful … I don’t think I’ve heard that one before. Great reflections!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for adding to the definition of “doozy” Lois. And thank you for always checking for my comments. I really appreciate it as I don’t like to keep bothering people about it. Hoping it can be fixed soon! Glad you liked the Laura Story song too. Hope you have a great week!


  7. This is my first time visiting here and I thoroughly enjoyed my stay and getting to know you!

    My husband wants to visit Scotland one day. Me too! 🙂

    Growing up, we had good friends that lived next door who were from Scotland and I loved to hear their Scottish accent.

    Voice is a wonderful word for 2017.

    Thanks so much for sharing your reflections.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. What a joy to learn that you are a Scottish blogger! I didn’t know…I guess I just assumed that you were here in the US! So thankful to learn more about you today. God bless you, my friend. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  9. love “voice” as your word of the year. God taught me a lot last year about listening for His voice before making a decision, and I found it wasn’t always easy to hear. Looking forward to hearing what God teaches you about this in 2017.


  10. Hi Lesley,
    So nice to be next to you at Coffee for your Heart today! 🙂 I thought it was interesting how your word for this year played into so much of your January, allowing you to focus on different aspects of it and ponder what God might be showing you. I think a post about all the Scottish words you know that we don’t use would be a fun one sometime, too! xo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Valerie! Thanks, I’m glad you liked the post. There has definitely been a lot to reflect on about the word “voice” so far. I’ll have a think about doing a post on Scottish words at some point.


  11. Lesley, what a lovely post! It’s fun to read what you’ve done, learned and are learning. Especially meaningful to me were the things you’re learning about VOICE. Yes, the enemy will try to deafen us to God’s voice. Good for you for pushing through and seeking to know God’s voice. And, like you, I’ve struggled during times when I’ve felt my words were not valued, my voice insignificant.

    One last thing. I, too, am seeing the importance of acknowledging our feelings rather than ignoring or dismissing them. It’s as we acknowledge them and turn them over to Jesus that we grow, isn’t it?

    I hope your week is a good one!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Jeanne. I’m glad you found the reflections on the word “voice” helpful. It’s fascinating how much God can teach us through just one word. Hope you have a great week too!


  12. Hi Lesley! I enjoyed your month review, and I’ll look forward to your monthly recap this year. I remember well your post on the Japanese art of repairing pottery, and I appreciated the point, and learning about it too.
    Your word for the year sounds wonderful. So many layers to it, right? I hope you hear the voice of God so clearly this year, and that you will lift your voice up to give him praise too!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Ceil! I will try to keep it up with the monthly reviews! There are a lot of layers to the word “voice.” It will be interesting to see what else I discover, but I agree, it needs to start with hearing God’s voice and giving him praise.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Thanks for giving us a peek at your month Lesley. I am still hoping to do a “best of” post myself. When I think Of Scotland, I remember the movie with Mel Gibson fighting for freedom and I believe Sean Connery of 007 fame is from there. The pictures I’ve seen are stunning! I love your word for 2017. Mine is” patience.” Isn’t it exciting to get a word from God? I cannot wait to see how He manifests it in the New Year. I look forward to reading more about how your year progresses. Thank you again for the openness you share. I hope you have a fantastic weekend and blessings to you in 2017!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Horace! It’s funny how for many people the first thing about Scotland that springs to mind is Mel Gibson in Braveheart! That is definitely not what life is like here at all! 🙂 Yes, Sean Connery is Scottish though and there is some beautiful scenery.
      It is exciting to see how much God can use the focus on one word in so many different ways throughout the year. Patience sounds like a tough one, but I’m sure you will grow as you focus on it this year. Look forward to seeing how it plays out.


  14. Lesley, your 2017 word is so fun. I love how you’re already showing us the impact it’s having. This monthly list is a brilliant idea. Loved reading it, and look forward to 11 more this year. 🙂 — And that singing quote…love that. — Thank you for sharing with #ChasingCommunity today! ((hug))

    Liked by 1 person

  15. To add to the explanations above on the word “doozy”, you can have a doozy of a problem, meaning a really big, complicated, hard-to-solve problem. You could have a doozy of an exam to take (you hope you’ll be able to pass, because it is going to be so hard.) A mess could be a doozy; you look at it and don’t even know where to start cleaning it up, because it is so big and hard. Or you could make a mistake that is a doozy, a really big, bad mistake that you won’t forget very soon.

    I was having problems a few months ago with Akismet sending comments to spam. I was the one frustrated, because I didn’t even get to see who the comments were from. I e-mailed their support team numerous times before I finally figured out that there was a setting in my WordPress dashboard. I finally was led to “Settings” and clicked on “Discussion” and found that my Akismet anti-spam was set on strict, which meant that it was up to THEIR discretion as to what was “worst” and “most pervasive” spam. All I had to do was change that to “Safe: always put spam in the Spam folder for review”, and now I always see every comment and get to decide myself if it is spam or not. (I also have my blog set so I get an e-mail for every time someone makes a comment.) I felt really bad for the unknown people who might have been trying to comment; it was such a relief to get that all straightened out!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Ruth! It sounds like doozy is one of those words which means different things in different contexts. I think I understand it a bit better now though!
      Thanks for your suggestions about the commenting problem. The problem for me is commenting on certain other blogs. When I’ve contacted the owners they have always found them in their spam folder. The problem is my comments are repeatedly going to spam even though I’ve had several comments approved on the same blog. Askimet support are puzzled too. I need to get back to them as they were passing it on to someone higher up to investigate but it’s been 2 weeks since I’ve heard from them. Hopefully we’ll find a solution!

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Our voice is so very important to Him in so many ways… love it. And I love the fact that you’re Scottish, my paternal grandmother was born in Scotland and I grew up hearing many words unusual to most, loving the sound of her soft brogue, and singing along in Gaelic with her and her sweet little voice… sorry, got caught up in the memories… I even used to take highland dancing lessons, all kilts and swords… anyway, I loved hearing all the ways your January was full with new things! Blessings!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow, I think you’re more Scottish than me! I have never done highland dancing (though I’ve done ceilidh dancing) and I know about 2 words in Gaelic! Thanks for visiting. Blessings!

      Liked by 1 person

  17. I read every ones comments and I am smiling….Lesley.
    Voice is à powerful word of the year.
    Anna and Ruth and every other lady had made God remarks on your Recap.
    Blessings to you

    Liked by 1 person

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