Share Four Somethings: January and February 2021

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.

Something Loved

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.

Something Read

         

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!

Something Treasured

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!

Something Ahead

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.

 

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33 thoughts on “Share Four Somethings: January and February 2021

  1. The snow looks so beautiful. We had the opposite here with a few unexpectedly perfect days and it was so lovely to see people outside again as you said, just having fun. I pray that’s a sight that becomes more common again soon where you are. What a lovely list of hopes- praying with you! And I loved reading about your weekly zoom call with the kids group!! Here’s to a healthy, hopeful March!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m so happy you can connect with kids again, even if it is by Zoom. Though that would be difficult to see them playing with the filters! 🙂 But I hope it won’t be too long before you can connect face to face and also work with the Journey to Heal ministry. Love and blessings to you, Lesley!

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    1. Thanks, Trudy! It’s amazing how they can concentrate while playing with the filters – it just distracts the leaders! It is wonderful to run the group, but I definitely hope face-to-face work can start again soon. Love and blessings to you too!

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  3. We rarely have snow here – and haven’t this year (yet!) I also wrote a list for ‘ahead’ and then changed my mind about publishing it – things still seem very uncertain, and we currently have an outbreak at our local hospital. Hopefully by next month I will be able to share some of the things I am looking forward to – one of which, on a very prosaic level is the hairdressers!!

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    1. I know, it’s so hard to look ahead. I have no idea when some of the things on my list will happen. I hope you get to the hairdresser’s before too long. I’m so glad I went in December – I was thinking of leaving it until after Christmas but I decided to go and then a week later the lockdown was announced!

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  4. Winter is my fourth favorite season and we have had more than our share of it this year too. My grandsons and I ventured to a new sledding hill I always thought was a little too big for them before. It is fun to see other families outside enjoying the snow!

    Both of those books sound like a must-add to my TBR list. Thank you for the good recommendations!

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    1. I think I’d like Winter if it lasted for a week, but here it can go on for months! I’m glad you had some fun with your grandsons though. Hope you enjoy the books if you read them!

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  5. You’ve got my curiosity roused about The Castaways! What a nice time you had outdoors. The Zoom meeting sounds fun. My grandson will get distracted with filters when we FaceTime. I’m looking forward to just feeling normal again–as well as being able to go places without worrying about the virus.

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  6. I love this, Lesley … especially your final thoughts about having never been this way before. I hope that all the things on your “ahead” list come to fruition sooner rather than later … your experience during the pandemic has been a stretching one, for sure.

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  7. I am inspired by your list of hopes! Even after a year, hope feels premature. But with the vaccine, warmer weather, and numbers declining, I think it is time for me to make a list of hopes.

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  8. Definitely not a hugger but wouldn’t it be wonderful to give a hug if we felt prompted to…or even to greet someone with a handshake (which we used to do at church)!?! Looking forward to all the little things….

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    1. Honestly, at this stage I’d settle for being allowed to sit beside someone and have a conversation in person! It’s definitely the little things!

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  9. Oh my! This list to look forward to…I pray all these things are on the horizon for us! I just love kids and I can picture the filters popping on and popping off. I know they must be grateful to have you to guide them! I really enjoy this practice and it’s fun to get to know each other a little better through it!

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  10. It is fun to see what joy that snow brings with it! We saw that here too, with what little snow we had. The Castaways sounds like a book I need to look into it! And Holley’s words always reach deep into my soul. Thanks for sharing these.

    I have missed getting to work with children as well. 😦 I used to volunteer weekly at the school where my daughter teaches, but they’ve not allowed volunteers in this year, understandably. I hope by fall it will be much better!

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  11. Funny, I also missed January’s SFS but I’m happy I got to write a post this month. Indeed ‘we have never travelled this way before’ but thankfully God is with us – thank you for this encouragement. I’m glad you’re getting to teach kids again, albeit virtually – I can only imagine all the giggles as they switch from one funny filter to another 😀 I’m also looking forward to hugging again – I didn’t think I was a particularly big hugger but sometimes it’s just needed, isn’t it? The Holley Gerth devotional you reviewed sounds really good, I might get it – I’ve noticed I tend to always like your book recommendations 🙂

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  12. Lesley, how wonderful that you were able to take a walk in the snow and watch families having fun in it! There’s something soul-filling about being outdoors, and also watching families connect. I’m so glad you’re possibly going to see an easing of restrictions.

    One highlight for me has been some wonderful conversations with my sons, one-on-one. They make me think, laugh, and sometimes they make me crazy, but we’re beginning to come to the point where we relate on a more relational and less parental level. I’m loving seeing the young men they’re becoming.

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