There are many things I enjoy about being “retired,” which has described my status for many years, actually. My last year of teaching was 1998-99. One of the things that brings me such contentment and joy is that I am free to do my Bible studies, reading and devotionals on my own schedule and in my own time.
Since it is up to me, apparently it is my choice is to have several things going at once. I may have two Bible studies, plus a year-long Bible reading challenge, plus a Christian book, plus more than one devotional going on at the same time. That has been the case lately. While I was at times a bit overwhelmed with “today’s do list” in my notebook, I will say that finishing several projects virtually simultaneously is quite a feeling of accomplishment!!
So, since I’m usually not really sure if anyone is actually reading my blog (though I’m always amazed at the number of page “visits”), I will recount these things mainly for my own accountability.
(1) Probably the biggest sense of relief for me is that I finished every single day of The One Year Chronological Bible. I actually did it in about 10 1/2 months. I started it December 24, 2020, and finished it last night. It was very challenging, and the next time I do a read-the-Bible-through plan, I will not do chronological (didn’t really like that order). But I am glad I was able to keep my commitment, through a very stressful and strenuous year (including selling our place and making a cross-country move).
(2) Last June I started reading Woven by Angie Smith. This book has my highest recommendation.
Having done Angie’s Bible Study, Seamless, I already knew I loved her style and her grasp of the Bible as a seamless story. That’s what Woven is all about. As it says on the back, “In her unique and remarkably readable way, Angie Smith helps you tie together all the loose, disconnected threads, weaving them into a beautifully crafted story line…from separate stories to the One they are all about. Because once you see the big picture, you’ll see it on every page.”
Even though I was concurrently reading the Bible through in a year, this book kept me engaged and not wanting to put it down. It actually helped me see the bigger picture in the daily reading I was doing.
(3) Bible Study (with workbook), “Joy is a Person,” by Robin Meadows. This was an in-depth study of Philippians. I chose to do this one because I sometimes get bogged down with stress and worry (another topic!) and forget to remember the JOY. I just finished this one two days ago.
Catching Up (in Progress)
(1) I am enjoying the book As Long as I Have Breath: Serving God with Purpose in the Later Years.
This little book, written by Bruce Gordon and published by Focus on the Family, is actually 52 devotionals, one for each week of the year. I started it at the end of September, reading one devotional each Monday (for a year). From the back, “In this 52-week devotional, Bruce Gordon challenges the idea that youth is the best part of life. He asserts that we make too little of our opportunities in later life… These practical devotionals, steeped in Scripture will help you transition to a time of life that can be rich with purpose, significance, and hope as you serve God…Discover for yourself that the best years, the most impactful years of your life are still to come.”
Gordon provides reminders for me that I need to hear, about the need to find a place of service, regardless of age/season of life.
(2) I love the writings of Suzie Eller, and I am refreshed and renewed by the reading of her book (free on Kindle), The Spirit-Led Heart: Living a Life of Love and Faith Without Borders.
I’m almost finished with this one, and interestingly, looking back at all the readings/studies I have been doing lately, it’s like everything came together recently into one huge emphasis on the New Testament. I kept thinking, “Didn’t I just read this?” Yes, I did. It may have been in the chronological reading where I was in the NT, or in the Philippians study, or Angie’s book, or this book by Suzie. Interesting coincidence.
(3) Always in progress is my artwork. I came to a stopping place with my usual subjects (like fruit, animals, birds, etc.). Most recent of those:
But I have also completed 9 of 12 Days of Christmas watercolor art projects, which I will begin to share after Thanksgiving.
(4) I always have the current year Scrapbook in progress. I am currently caught up through October.
(1) As soon as I finish Suzie Eller’s book, I am looking forward to reading Sacred Rest: Recover Your Life, Renew Your Energy, Restore Your Sanity, by Saundra Dalton-Smith, MD.
I actually already did a sneak peek of the first few pages and am even more excited about reading it. I have written many times about how much I love the word and the meaning of REST.
Dr Dalton-Smith is a board-certified internal medicine physician, and a Christian speaker (Focus on the Family, etc.). From the back, “In this book you’ll discover a time-tested secret to living your best life. Discover the seven types of rest—physical, mental, emotional, social, sensory, creative, spiritual—needed for you to thrive in your relationships, career, and personal goals. Her insightful and practical approach to correcting your work-rest imbalance will help you experience deeper and fuller levels of satisfaction in your life.”
I have a feeling I am going to be putting my phone down a little more often after reading this book.
(2) I love Thanksgiving, and I love Christmas, and I love the time between those two celebrations. So I sometimes (not always) plan to do an Advent study of some sort. This year, I will be doing Prepare Him Room by Susie Larson. It is a Daily Advent Devotional.
This book “invites you to give God sacred space in your holiday season as you ponder the miracle of Christ and respond to His work in your life. As you begin your Christmas preparations this year, journey through Luke’s account of Jesus’ birth, life, death, and ultimate resurrection. God invites you to be still and let Jesus radically transform you this holy season. Let earth receive her King!”
So, yes, it does feel good to be caught up, and yet still have some things in-progress, and also to have some things ready to do.
I guess that’s kind of me, it’s how I roll: feeling good about finished projects, never without something going on, and already looking forward to what is “up next.”
#BibleReading #BibleStudy #Woven #SpiritLedHeart #AsLongAsIHaveBreath #AngieSmith #SuzanneEller #Rest #watercolor #watercolorplum #Advent #PrepareHimRoom #SusieLarson #JoyisaPerson