Saturday, December 30, 2017

A Fruitful Year - January, A Time to Prepare

Are you ready to begin A Fruitful Year? I have written a bit about it here and why you should join.

January is a time for preparation. At the end of January you should have prepared yourself, written your goals, found an accountability partner, and answered some of the journaling question.

Just as a gardener prepares the field before the planting so we should do that with our goals and plans for the year. I think too often we jump into the year with all kinds of thoughts and plans but we have not taken the time to prepare and to evaluate our goals. Don't be tempted to skip this part. It is part of reaching your goal for the year.

  • Begin to prepare yourself spiritually. This is a spiritual journey even more so than just getting things done. 
  • Prepare yourself mentally. So much of how we grow and achieve it through our mental. 
  • Prepare yourself physically. This will require you to be physically ready for a task so begin getting sleep and fuel your body with good food.
  • Set your goals. Make sure they are achievable. Think about why you have listed that goal. 
  • Post your goals where you can reference them and keep them in front of you as you go through the year.
  • Find an accountability partner to encourage you and keep you going. This will help you succeed. 

I will give some journaling questions through the month. Here are just a few to consider as you think about preparing yourself mentally.

What are some of the phrases or words that you often say to yourself?

Are these truthful words? What does God say about the words you say to yourself?

How can you speak God's truth to yourself?

What is holding you back? Are you ready to grow and deepen your relationship with the Lord?


Friday, December 29, 2017

A Fruitful Year - Outline for the Year

I have shared a bit here about A Fruitful Year. I also shared some reasons why you should join in this.
I want to give an outline of the year.

January is a time to prepare. Just like the farmer prepares the fields before sowing the crops. You need to prepare yourself so that you can have a fruitful year. You might be tempted to think that preparation is not needed but it vital.  Also in January you will prepare your goals.

February - October will focus on a different character quality from the fruit of the spirit. There will be passages to read, suggested memory verses, and journaling prompts to help you evaluate where you are and where you want to be. This is a bit like the summer season a time of hard work as the fruit if growing.

November is a time of harvest. It is a time to reap the benefits of the hard work. It is also a time to finish and complete projects and goals for the year.

December is a time of celebration and rest. Just like trees rest in the winter so we also need a time of rest. We can celebrate all that has happened and rest preparing, strengthening our roots and being ready for another year.

Along the way there will be challenges to help you focus, get things done, and just have fun.

I will be posting details for the coming month prior to the first of the month. That will help you to plan.

Are you ready to join?

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

A Fruitful Year - Why You Should Join

Goal Setting

Do you feel like you are repeating your goals from one year to the next? You know what I mean -- lose 25 pounds and that has been there for the past five years. A Fruitful Year will help you to make realistic goals which losing 25 pounds probably is a realistic goal and will help you reach that goal.

Do you forget your goals by February 1? It is easy to forget and lose our focus. With monthly reminders and challenges you will be reviewing your goals and continue to focus.

Maybe you keep working on goals but you get discouraged in July and just give up. A Fruitful Year will encourage you to continue going and finishing.

While those are good reasons to join A Fruitful Year, there is an even more important reason to join, you want to grow in your relationship with God. You want to abide in Christ and bear fruit. (John 15:4-5) You want to grow roots deep that will help you weather the hard times of life. A Fruitful Year will give you a focus for the month, journaling prompts, and encouragement related to the monthly focus.

Join me here as we begin A Fruitful Year.


Saturday, December 23, 2017

Fruitful Year - Story Behind The Fruitful Year

Goal Setting Fruit of the Spirit

I wrote a bit earlier this week just beginning to talk about the opportunity to join me in 2018 and making it A Fruitful Year. I wish I had time to sit and chat in person and share my heart and desire with you. Maybe some day I will be brave and do a video but today I am just going to share a bit of the story behind Fruitful Year.

At the end of 2016 some online friends wanted to do some purposeful planning. I volunteered to lead the group not really sure what I was going to do except that I wanted to encourage women and challenge them. Together we enjoyed monthly challenges with various things to do.

I loved watching them achieve goals even things that at the beginning of the year they had no idea they would be able to do. I enjoyed creating challenges that would stretch and grow us. I spent time praying for each of them.

As the year was coming to an end, I was thinking about 2018. I wanted to go deeper. I wanted to begin to work on getting to heart issues. I was thinking of how could the Fruit of the Spirit be part of this.

In November I was at a conference and the theme was The Fruitful Life. As I sat and listened,  the outline came together. I was excited. I was nervous talked it over with some friends. I share with Stuart what I was thinking and got excited for what was coming together.

I want to get things done but more than getting things done I want to develop character and that character will help me get things done.

You can choose to merely get things done or you can think beyond the t0-do list to develop character--that character will be with you for longer than just this year.

I scribbled that in my notebook and came back later and saw that someone, Miss K, had written next to it, "this is good." So this has the endorsement of Miss K.

I am looking forward to 2018 and what God is going to do in my own life and how I can help and encourage others.

I will share a bit more details next week.

Are you ready to grow in your relationship with the Lord?


Thursday, December 21, 2017

A Fruitful Year - Making 2018 a Year of Growth

What if 2018 would be the year that you would get things done? What if even more than getting things done in 2018, you would grow in your relationship with the Lord and develop the Fruit of the Spirit in your life deeper?  What if you had a guide to help you grow? What if you had encouragement along the way? What if you had someone challenging you?

A Fruitful Year is designed to help you plan and get things done but more importantly it is designed to help you grow and develop Godly character. The focus will be on the Fruit of the Spirit.

There will be challenges, encouragement, and journaling prompts to help you make 2018 truly A Fruitful Year.

I am doing this because I need it. I want to grow and I need accountability and a group to join me as together we grow.
Growing the Fruit of the Spirit

Join me next year as we together work to have A Fruitful Year. Over the next few weeks I will be posting more information about A Fruitful Year.

What is one thing you want to do in the coming year?


Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Cockroaches, slugs, and other bugs - A Missionary Life

"Don't eat the cockroach!" That is not a normal "mom phrase". I think that is one of those phrases that a missionary mom says once or maybe twice. Miss K was not quite two years old. She is was in the kitchen in our flat in Asia. I had my hands in a bowl mixing something for dinner. I look down and she is playing with a cockroach and so I say, "don't eat the cockroach." That was all I could do until I washed my hands and moved her and got rid of the cockroach.

I have decided that somewhere there is a list of things that missionaries have to experience. It not normally given as part of the orientation to the organisation or the orientation to the field but it is there. You begin to do things or experience things and other missionaries nod, they know what you are talking about. It is a bit like the bucket list for missionaries. Things like how many bugs in your house or not understanding the person in the market and ending up with 10 pounds of bananas. When you experience those things you know it is just one of the things you experience.

On the top of the list is dealing with bugs. Asia has cockroaches, termites, and mosquitos. Africa has mosquitos and other bugs. I don't know about South America. I am sure they have bugs as well. Somehow I thought moving to England I would be able to skip the bug experience. What bugs do they have in England? And then I moved here. I learned what they have in England.

They have slugs. Miss K one day asked me how many slugs are in England. I think my answer might have been, "too many."

Cockroaches, slugs and other bugs - A Missionary Life

It would be fine if the slugs just stayed in the garden. Wait a second, no even there they cause problems eating various plants. I think they are responsible for the death of my marigolds. I planted nice marigolds with leaves and flowers and within a few weeks nothing was left.

The slugs do not stay in the garden. They wander into the kitchen. They are smart in the sense that they come in after 10:30 at night and leave before I get up in the morning. So if it weren't for the slime trail that they would leave on the kitchen floor or the times that someone goes into the kitchen at night during slug visiting hours, we might not know they came in. There was one that did not leave before daylight but that might have been that he crawled up the tile wall.

Cockroaches, Slugs and other Bugs - A Missionary Life

I have tried salt. I have tried slug pellets. I tried cedar wood essential oil in the water when I wash the floor. I told Miss K that I put cedar wood oil in the water because I had heard that slugs didn't like that. She told me, "slugs can't talk." And if they could talk, we would have a long discussion about where they are allowed. Now I am just trying to coexist. If they are out of the kitchen before down in the morning, I will pretend that I don't have slugs in the kitchen.

Cockroaches, Slugs, and other bugs - A Missionary Life

I can tick the bugs off my list of experiences. Just another thing that you face living and working overseas, bugs you didn't have at home. (I guess we had slugs when I lived in Seattle.)

who loves living life where God has called her and her family and but has not learned to share the kitchen. This was written to be a fun light bit about living and working overseas.

PS - I think all these photos were taken one morning as Miss K and I delivered newspapers. Yes, that is how many slugs we see on a rainy morning.

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Sunday, December 3, 2017

A Heart for God

The other month one of my favourite online Christian book shops had a sale and I bought a stack of books. That along with the Matt Challies 2017 Reading Challenge prompted me to purchase the book A Heart for God by Sinclair B. Ferguson. I was intrigued and wanted to read the book.  It is a short book 11 chapters and just 128 pages but packed with so many truths.

Here are some of my highlights from the book:

Chapter 5 is titled The Ever Present One, he talks about two questions that Moses asked, "Lord, who am I?" and "Lord, who are you?"These two questions define so much of what we should be asking, looking at ourselves and then looking and knowing who God is.

Chapter 9 is titled The Faithful Provider, one of the ways that we can look at the providence of God is through tracing it biographically and the example that is given is Joseph. "What his brothers did was genuinely significant--and hurt Joseph deeply. But Joseph had eyes to see that God was also at work, and that his purposes had been fulfilled not just in spite of his brothers, but even through their actions!" That is knowing God is at work through the actions of others.

Another example in this chapter was Naomi. I have to say that I have studied Ruth numerous times and heard various sermons but reading this chapter gave me some new insights. I also felt that the quote below was a good summary of lessons learned in Naomi's life.

"Naomi discovered this refuge under God's wants through some very dark experiences, and in situations which are difficult to understand. But when we place them in a large context, four lessons become clear. First, God's providences at times are painful and severe; second, through these experiences he may touch the lives of others; third, he brings us to an appreciation of his ways with us that we would otherwise lack; and fourth, he fulfils his purposes through us in way that far exceed our expectations."

Being reminded that at times God's providences are painful is good. I can easily come up with a list of painful times of life but through those need to remember that is working. He is the faithful provider.

The second to last chapter is the book is Let Us Worship God! A portion of the chapter looks at Psalm 92 and is broken down the tone basis, the blessings, the character and the fruit of true spiritual worship.

The last chapter is titled, Remember the Lord. We do so quickly forget and so we need to be reminded.

I found the book easy to read but one that I wanted to read slowly and ponder. It is short and one that I will plan to read again to be reminded of who God is and what he has done.


This is my own review based on the book I purchased.

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