It’s that time of the month again when we look back and Share Four Somethings. As I didn’t manage to take part in January, this is my combined Share Four Somethings for January and February.
We’ve had more snow than usual here this winter, and it’s not usually something I love, but the fact that I have had no need to drive anywhere has allowed me to appreciate it more!
I particularly loved it one beautiful, sunny day as I went for a walk in the local park. There had been a fresh fall of snow and the park was full of families sledging and building snowmen. It was the most people I had seen in one place for a long time, and yet it felt safe because there was plenty of room and everyone was spread out.
There was also more of an atmosphere of joy than I’ve felt for a long time. It felt as if people were taking some time out from the stresses of this last year and just having fun – sharing a positive experience, while staying safely apart – and, even without participating in the sledging or snowman building, it brought me joy just to watch.
These are two, very different, books that I’ve enjoyed over the last couple of months.
The Castaways is a thriller, telling the stories of two sisters Lori and Erin. While on a luxury holiday in Fiji, they are meant to get on a flight to one of the smaller islands, but, after they have an argument, Erin doesn’t board the flight. She later discovers that the plane never reached its destination. The book switches between the perspectives of the two sisters – Lori as she boards the flight, and Erin two years later as she continues to search for clues about what happened.
I was gripped by the story and read the book in about three days! It is full of unexpected twists and turns and very cleverly-plotted. This book wasn’t quite what I expected from the description, but I thoroughly enjoyed it!
Hope Your Heart Needs contains 52 short devotionals, each focusing on a different name of God or aspect of his character. I have read a few of Holley Gerth’s books, and her writing is always honest, hopeful, and full of encouragement. This book is no exception.
I’m including it under “Something Read” but actually I listened to the audiobook version. Christian Audio provide a free audiobook download every month and this was the book for January. Although I rarely listen to audiobooks, I liked this one because the chapters are each only five or six minutes long. I got into the habit of listening to a chapter each night, just as I switched out my light, and it was a lovely ending to each day. I’m about to listen to the final chapter tonight, and I’m sad that it’s come to an end!
One of the things I’ve been missing the most about “normal life” is work with children. Normally it’s a regular part of my week, but since last March I’ve only managed five sessions in a school and one with my church.
Since mid-January though, I’ve been leading a weekly group for children on Zoom. It is definitely not the same as doing it in person, but it is wonderful to be doing something with children and to see them benefitting from the connections with one another.
We’ve been doing a series looking at the encouragement the Bible has for us during lockdown and the children have been so open to share their thoughts and struggles and to encourage one another, so Thursday afternoons have been a joy!
Now if they could only stop playing with the Zoom video filters all the time! It is quite disconcerting to try to have serious conversations while people are trying on moustaches and unicorn horns!
We’re at a strange stage in the pandemic here at the moment. The vaccination programme is going well and it’s starting to look like there may be some kind of return to normal life before too long. At the same time, we are likely to be under severe restrictions at least until the end of April, which seems like an eternity right now, and planning for the future is still almost impossible.
As we get close to a year from the beginning of lockdown, the longing for all the things that have been missing over the last year only increases. So, all I can do is make a list of what I hope lies ahead at some point this year:
- Visiting family
- Church in person
- Seeing friends again (since Christmas we’ve only been allowed to meet with one other person for exercise – no other social contact)
- Working with children face-to-face and going back into schools
- Hugging people (I’m not even normally a big hugger and yet I am seriously longing for this!)
- Playing with my band again
- Finally starting the Journey To Heal programme properly in my church (lots of good preparatory work has been happening; we just need restrictions to ease now so it can begin)
- Going to the theatre
It seems strange that so many things that used to be everyday parts of life are now aspirations for some time in the future. I will definitely appreciate them more than ever when they finally happen!
I’ve been reading the book of Joshua recently and I’m struck by Joshua’s words to the Israelites as they prepare to cross the Jordan River. He tells them to look to the priests who go before them, carrying the Ark of the Covenant: “Since you have never travelled this way before, they will guide you.” (Joshua 3:4 NLT)
We have never travelled this way before either, but it is an encouragement to focus on God, to trust that he goes before us, and to look to him to lead the way.
What about you? How has the start of 2021 been for you? Feel free to share a highlight or prayer request in the comments.
I’m grateful to HarperCollins and Netgalley for access to a complementary digital copy of The Castaways. 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.