Wednesday, January 01, 2020

Choosing One Word: Can This Type of New Year's Resolution Work?

As for many people, new year resolutions do not work for me. Not only do I flub up in the first two weeks, but it seems to set me on a course of defeat as I stumble with goals for the rest of the year.  

In 2013, the One Word phenomenon happened, and everyone was choosing their "one word" for the year to live by and posting it all over social media. Some were the standard type words like patience, love, adventure, etc. but some were very thoughtful and interesting.

The latest self-help trends are not something I tend to follow, but this One Word activity seemed to have some merit. The exercise that deemed to be most helpful was from, which still offers the free printable I used in 2013: a 3-step action plan that helps you to find the one word that will change your life, one that provides focus and discipline to accomplish great things in your life.  

I have been choosing one word to live through now for about seven years. Some years it worked well if I kept that word in areas where I'd see it often to remind me to concentrate on those characteristics of which I wanted to be more attuned. Other years, like this past year, I prepared my one word, only to be sidetracked (more like side-whacked) and neglecting it by June. However, it was all redeemed as I planned for 2020 because the reflection of my one word of 2019 was how the one word for 2020 came to fruition: Rebuild.

Last year was a challenging year. My 90-year old mother came to live with us in June after a fall in her kitchen left her with severe back pain for a month, (thankfully no broken bones!) followed by two scares of stroke (which may have been from dehydration) and a 3-month period of rehab to build strength and balance. After that, we suggested that it was finally time for her to move in with us permanently. However, the transition continues to be trying as the full spectrum of personalities in the house cause stress and frustration more than rewards. Relationships are strained, and homeschool seems to have suffered.  

Ironically, my word for 2019 was Dwell.  My positive outlook at the start of the year was very different at the end of the year. The definition of  Dwell (remain for a time, to live, to exist; keep attention directed toward) seemed to be a goal where I could focus on "where I dwell, how I dwell and why I well that can bring glory to God" (as I wrote in my journal). Instead, it appeared that I failed miserably. Not only did our home not feel Christ-centered, but the laidback atmosphere instead became tense, and family disagreements became more frequent.  

As I worked on choosing my word for 2020, it was the Lord who certainly impressed upon me the word Rebuild. With so much that happened last year, I need to concentrate on building a stronger marriage and a more pleasant relationship with my mother. And I certainly need more Jesus! He will be the one who can rebuild all things new in 2020: 

"For I am about to do something new.
    See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?
I will make a pathway through the wilderness.
    I will create rivers in the dry wasteland." 
  • Isaiah 43:19 (NLT) 

Along with staying more Christ-centered and in Bible study, I am also determined to stay focused without getting off track as I did in 2019. In her devotional "Unshakeable," Christine Caine says on January 1: "God wants us to be diligent in keeping our eyes firmly fixed on Jesus - laser-focused. He wants us to stay the course, and where we focus is where we'll go." If I stay focused ahead on rebuilding - then that is the course I want to stay on.  

Do One Word goals work?  I believe they do, but only with a mindset of meeting that goal with the help of the Lord.  It is only with His intervention that we will be moved in the direction where He wants us.  

Happy 2020! If you have a One Word goal for the year, I'd love it if you'd leave it in the comments!  

Monday, March 04, 2019

Book Review:: Fearless in 21 Days by Sarah E. Ball

This book has been on my “to read” list since it was released, so I was glad for the opportunity to review it through NetGalley.  It was the title that intrigued me before ever learning the details of what the book was about. 

It is so refreshing to see more articles and books written on anxiety and depression from a Christian point of view.  Even in the church community, there is such a stigma to these mental illnesses, which becomes a secret and a hidden shame, creating a protective barrier, separating even trusted friends and family. 

Sarah is very transparent in this book about her battle with severe anxiety and the medical, physical and spiritual ways in which she has overcome the worst of it.  There is no sugar-coating in her unfolding of how her anxiety issues morphed into poor health, panic attacks, and the fear that she was literally going crazy. 

The book is set up in 21 chapters, one chapter each day for 21 days.  Each day/chapter she approaches all the aspects of anxiety – what it is, why it happens, and how to face it, along with learning how to find rest, joy and discipline in the journey toward health.  She does encourage the reader to seek medical help and professional counseling. 

While reading this book, it’s evident that the author “gets you” and is all about assisting the reader through the same exhausting journey that she has walked through with victory.  Written from the Christian point of view, it gives the reader even more hope of healing as each of the author’s successes are referenced back to what she learned in Scripture along the way. 

Especially helpful is a chapter that is written directly to a friend or family member who is walking through this storm with the one suffering from the illness of anxiety or depression.  A sufferer cannot explain what they are going through, and as with depression, may often not even realize that they are having an episode of illness.  This chapter gives good reference on what to look for, what steps to take and especially, what not to do or say.

While my issues don’t include such severe anxiety, this book is still beneficial to those who also may be struggling with depression or other areas of mental bondage. 

Book Review: The White City by Grace Hitchcock

As a true crime fan, I gladly offered to read and to give an honest review when NetGalley offered this title.   

“The White City” is promoted as the first of a “new series of Historical Stories of Romance and American Crime,” and this particular joined the villain H.H. Holmes, (who built the murder castle during  Chicago’s World Exhibition of 1893) along with an inspirational romance.  I was certainly curious to see how the author would combine these two into a captivating tale.

The main character, Winnifred, involves herself in an investigation that eventually leads her to interact with H.H. Holmes.  Her father allows her to be a sleuth on her own with the aid of one of his new detectives as a bodyguard, which of course is quite unrealistic, but the plot does put her into an alarming situation that fits within the history known of H.H. Holmes. In the meantime, two men vie for her attention, and she must choose one of the suitable beaus.  

In my opinion, this book isn’t so much an American Crime story as it is more in the “cozy mystery” genre. However, it does give the genre of inspirational romance a new twist to its predictable plots.  Also, the cover is somewhat misleading as it doesn’t translate that the reader will be reading anything that includes true crime.  To the author’s credit, she does give a history of H.H. Holmes and other details in the back of the book that was not included in the story.

In the end, if you enjoy uncomplicated, cozy mysteries and Christian romance, then this book will be a delightful and perfect weekend read.