I hadn’t even thought about the fact that we are almost at the end of February until I started seeing all the monthly round-up posts this week. While I wasn’t planning to do my own, reading the other posts has inspired me, and I also remembered Heather Gerwing’s monthly “Share Four Somethings” link-up, which I’ve been meaning to take part in for about six months, so here are some highlights from my February!
I have been loving the fact that a little taste of Spring has come early this year. I can’t remember the last time in February that it was possible to go outside without a coat, but for the last week or so there has been lots of sunshine and I’ve found it makes a big difference to my mood.
Just to highlight the contrast, here is a photo I took a year ago today:
This was just after a trip to the supermarket, stocking up for a few days inside as the snow began to fall.
Here is a picture from today:
Both of these are extremes for the time of year, but I know which one I’d rather have! 🙂
I’ve also been loving the Flourish Writer’s Conference. Fellow writers/ bloggers, if you haven’t discovered this yet, I encourage you to check it out.
It’s an online conference covering many different aspects of writing and publishing. There are 25 different topics and speakers so there will be something for everyone, whatever stage you’re at in your writing journey. The best bit is that until 12th March you can access all the content absolutely free!
Click here to find out more and to register.
Sometimes the wisest words come from children!
At a point where I was feeling particularly stressed this month (more about that below) I received an unexpected gift from a 4 year-old at church.
It’s hard to see in the photo but written on two of the petals are the words “Donut worry,” and on the third is a picture of a donut!
It was a beautiful surprise, it made me smile and, most importantly, it was the message I needed to hear and it reassured me that God saw and cared about my anxieties.
I now have it in a vase as a tangible reminder.
This month I learned that I still have a lot of work to do on issues of control and anxiety. Last weekend I was leading a camp for 60 children. It’s a lot of fun but it’s also extremely stressful and the pressure of being responsible for so many people can be overwhelming at times.
I was grateful for this blog post from Lois, which highlighted the difference between being responsible and being in control, and helped me look at things in a new way.
“When I remember that I’m responsible but it’s God who is in control, I’m free to do what I need to do without agonizing over every little detail.”
This month, I’ve enjoyed reading “Growing Forward When You Can’t Go Back” by Laurie Pawlik. If you’re struggling to move forward after a time of setback, loss or trauma, this book provides valuable encouragement to help you find your way.
The author weaves together her own story with the experiences of eleven women from the Bible to point to hope that, even when we encounter circumstances that will change our lives forever, there is still a way to move forward into something new.
Here are a couple of my favourite quotes:
“It’s a myth that “time heals all wounds.” Sure, injuries such as paper cuts and sprained ankles eventually heal, but time doesn’t magically heal deep wounds.”
“As difficult as it is, loss must be grieved before we can move on and flourish… Accepting loss involves honouring the past and choosing to move into the future.”
The book is empathetic and realistic. It doesn’t provide simplistic solutions or advocate a one-size-fits-all approach, but it brings the stories of the women from the Bible in a way that is relatable, fresh, and applicable to life today.
For example, I had never considered what it must have been like for Eve to experience the loss of her son Abel at the hands of his brother, and to attempt to deal with this without the support of any female family members or women who had experienced similar losses.
Each chapter contains five “Blossom Tips” – practical exercises or steps to take towards healing and flourishing.
I think this book will be helpful to many in pointing them towards a way to blossom and flourish despite difficult or tragic circumstances.
I’m just getting into Becoming Mrs Lewis by Patti Callahan, which tells recounts the improbable love story of Joy Davidman and C.S. Lewis. I’m enjoying it so far, and looking forward to taking part in the book club discussion about the book over at Linda’s blog. Check it out here.
Finally, I’ve been enjoying Remarkable Hope by Shauna Letellier, which I’ll be sharing more about on the blog next week.
What about you? I’d love to hear some of your February highlights. Feel free to share in the comments.
I’m grateful to Bethany House and Netgalley for access to a complementary digital copy of Growing Forward When You Can’t Go Back. This is my honest review and I only share books here that I genuinely believe will be beneficial to my readers.
Amazon links are not affiliate links, but simply provided for your convenience.