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"Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow."

James 1:2-3 NLT

Giving thanks - for every new day that we are fortunate enough to experience. As I was considering how challenging it has become to navigate what I can only guess is depression and hard days, I thought about the fact that I always assumed depression - situational, not biological - was something that came and went. That once the circumstances that trigger the depression were removed or absent, then the depression would also lift. But I'm beginning to understand that life is just hard and that there will always be the next hard thing. Some things are harder than others, but overall life is just hard.

I'm always one for analogies so this one came to me while I was considering these things; when a person works out on a regular basis - lifting and strength training for example - they experience sore muscles after-the-fact. Basically, they are always sore, even those who work out consistently over the long haul. But the sore is different. They are stronger for the sore. They didn't let the pain stop them from sticking to the workout that they know is making them stronger. And because they are stronger, it gets easier to endure the soreness.

For those who claim to be Jesus followers, we know that we were never promised a trouble free life. In fact, we were told that in this life, in this world, we would have much trouble. We were also assured that we would never be alone in the trouble, and that our trials of many kinds would produce perseverance, and perseverance proves the genuineness of our faith. Doesn't this make us stronger? Doesn't this make it easier to endure our troubles? But it doesn't mean we won't have the troubles. Just pondering...

Outside my window - The SUN IS SHINING. The deck is rather a mess and I cannot wait to get started creating a space out there where we will love to spend time. Shade, lighting, seating, fans, plants, wind chimes, etc. It's coming folks. The bird feeders are already in place beckoning our feathered friends to visit often, and they do. Apparently the invitation was delivered to the squirrels too.

It's still cold, but March is right around the corner, God willing, the world doesn't come to an end between now then. I can't see them, but apparently there are spy balloons in the skies above us. Sigh....

Clothing myself in - my pajamas and a little extra layer of red and black plaid. Crocs. Ponytail. I suppose this will always be close to the same because I usually write these posts in the mornings. Some things never change, or at least not very often. LOL

In the kitchen - Dirty dishes in the sink and clean dishes in the dishwasher. Ice maker running.

The sourdough has been stored in the fridge. The adventure started to become a little overwhelming. I needed to slow down the process a bit. The English muffins, as it turns out, were still shy of the goal that we are looking for. We were hoping for the nice airy holes that punctuate a good sourdough, but that did not happen. I still enjoyed many of them, but some got kind of moldy before we could finish them. I think John still prefers the store bought version.

I inadvertently discovered a solution to my spice collection. I purchased spinning towers that were tall and thin and hold 20 of the type of jars I used. They look nice and are very durable. I really like them. But I had to buy five of them to have enough slots for all the spices (with just a few empty slots in the event new options join the collection), thinking that they would fit nicely on the counter and not interfere with other things in the space I chose. Initially, when I set it all up it was visually overwhelming, so I planned to return all but one of the racks. I'd leave one on the counter to hold the most often used spices and figure something else out for the rest. Nothing seemed to work for the ginormous number of spices we keep. But I moved on to the next project and have not yet returned any of them. As it turns out, they are not in the way, are easy accessible, and really don't look bad at all. I suppose this is a solution after all.

Writing - I am meeting my weekly goals!! The new system for tracking goals that we developed in Mastermind are helping me. I have written morning pages every day since the first of the year. I also wrote responses for two prompts this week, and - hey - I'm here writing this Daybook post.

Reading - Part of the goals mentioned above was to read more, both fiction and non-fiction. I have met and continue to meet those goals. Yay me! I set Bird by Bird aside for the time being and picked Big Magic back up. I listened to it on our drive to Florida a few years ago. I've had the book on the shelf waiting for me to pick it up and read it again. It doesn't disappoint. I know there is a plethora of other great books for creative and writers to choose from, and I hope this will be a springboard for me.

Watching - We finished The Chosen. We did, indeed, see the final two episodes in the theater and then watched them when they were released for streaming. I cannot say enough good about this series. That being said, I know that it's just a show created by fallible human beings. It is an incredibly wonderful tool to bring Scripture to life for believers and non-believers alike. There has never been anything from modern technology and media, in my opinion, as impactful as this series for providing a perspective of what it might actually have been like without compromising Truth. I hope and pray that it remains that way.

Listening - I resumed podcasts but still don't have a lot of time to listen. I think that will change soon as I am also resuming my walks!! I've been talking about it, but it is closer to reality now. Took the first walk of the year earlier this week and was reminded just why I love it so much and how beneficial it is to me and everyone I love and serve. I want to catch up on a couple - The Next Right Thing has resumed after a long break, and Out of the Ordinary has new episodes instead of the Vault Series (which is basically old podcasts they used to fill space while they also took a much needed break).

I also hope to watch and listen to Hope Writers' Tuesday Teachings and Friday Fiction.

Making - One of my goals was to do a little quilting, and I did! The long arm quilting machine is in the shop. It had a little hiccup and a part had to be ordered to repair it. The part is expected around February 14th. We should have it back rather quickly after the part arrives. Our guy, Jason, is prompt and professional. And he says we're his favorite customers LOL.

Anyway, I finished repairing a quilt that got a little too many mistakes to simply leave it or do a small repair. I had to remove part of it, replace a big patch and finish it. I don't love it as much as the others, but it works.

The thing I do love though is the completed top of the Minnie Mouse baby quilt! I think it's adorable and I hope someone else will too.

Camp - ... still trying to get all the things done to get the title transferred, registered and licensed, insured, and moved to our camp. It will happen. We have two full weeks planned for different months, and really hope that somehow we will manage to get some other trips in also. They will have to be shorter stays unless John is able to figure out how to work remotely. And that doesn't seem like a difficult thing to do these day...

The week ahead - John will return to work on location; I hope to return to my good habits and fall into a nice rhythm of work and play. Countdown to March 1st - T minus 18 days...

Also, we had a couple of birthdays since the last Daybook post! Birthdays seem to come in clusters, don't they?

I only caught a couple photos since I was busy celebrating these little people that I love so stinking much!

Have a wonderful week and always remember,

Love God and Love People

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