“For last year's words belong to last year's language And next year's words await another voice.” ― T.S. Eliot, Four Quartets
Happy New Year, dear readers, and welcome to 2019!
I know I'm just a hair early with the New Year wishes but I'm anxious to welcome 2019 in and begin living more with simplicity, which is my one perfect word for the new year! I'm excited to see where I find this word living in my life in the coming year. It is a word that I actually began to notice and pay attention to back in September when I went on my annual weekend retreat with my group of amazing ladies that I meet with monthly to pray together, share life and support one another. One of our leaders gave us a sheet of words about growing in faith to ponder and see which ones spoke to us in some way. Simplicity seemed to really grab my attention and I began researching about how simplicity applies in the Christian faith and with life in general. Life can get hectic and complicated at times, or at least it seems that way to me, and, frankly, I'm ready for a little more simplicity. How about you?
But first, a little recap of how this last year has gone on the blog and personally. 2018 has brought some challenges on both a blogging and a personal level. This is the year that I changed my blog name back to the original debbiethisandthat blogspot name and then to the new name of Debbie Styles Life. In retrospect, I realize that these changes came as a sort of "whiplash reaction" to fears over the new GDPR European Union rules that went into affect in May of 2018. I also now realize that I didn't need to be as worried about all of these changes as I was at the time. But, after reading blog after blog announcing these changes and asking "are you ready for the GDPR compliance?" I got a little nervous and felt like I had to make changes. So, that is when I went back to using my blogspot name so my blog could be completely under the Blogger platform. Then, about the time I was ready to go back to my original dot com domain with debbie this and that I found that someone else had bought the name! I realize that we're just talking about a blog name, but that was really a hard blow for me. I had spent three years of my life working on my blog as debbie this and that and I just couldn't imagine identifying blog-wise with another name!
You may recall that I chose four words as my perfect words for last year. One of those words was "chance." So, I decided to take a chance with a new blog name, thus debbiestyleslife.com was born! It's taken me awhile to adjust to this name, but I now realize that this name is the perfect blog name for me and my blog. Styling life is exactly how I approach living whether I am decorating my home, cooking meals, choosing clothing, being a friend and family member or growing in my faith. We all have a "style" that we use to approach life. So, I now realize that my unfounded worries over GDPR compliance simply served as an impetus for timely change on my blog! And, I am thankful for these changes and so many other blessings in my life!
Another of my four perfect words for 2018 was "thankful." I am so very thankful for healing of health issues within my family this year and on a personal level. I won't lie, folks, it's been a tough year for me and for my family health-wise. Between my husband's family and my family we have had all manner of surgeries for heart, kidneys, eyes and breast as well as illnesses related to heart, lungs, edema, sepsis, pneumonia and flu. On a personal level, I have struggled with shoulder pain issues related to frozen shoulder/impingement and experienced a broken rib which led to tests which uncovered other issues. Pain has been the name of the game for me this 2018 and I won't be sorry to see its backside! But, in all of this, my concerns and worries with family and my own health issues, God has been so faithful to comfort, heal and assure me, and others in my family, that we don't walk alone in this life. And for that, and many other blessings, I am so thankful!
2018 was the year when I turned 60 and this milestone for me has caused much introspection and joy! Yes, it's a wonderful thing to be 60 and to look back on 60 years of life and to experience gratitude for the many blessings that have come. Granted, not everything in those 60 years has been joyful, but, even in the tough times, there has been love and laughter and God's grace, yes even when tears were falling. I am thankful for 60 wonderful years and look forward to many new adventures in future years!
My other two perfect words for 2018 were music and commitment. I found my pull to these words interesting and, when they came to me, I had no idea how they would play a part in my life. For a couple of years I had been helping out from time to time with the handbell choir at my church. Just ringing on an as-needed basis and doing some occasional directing of handbells and the chancel choir. I was even offered the job of directing handbells at the end of 2017 and ended up declining for several reasons. It just didn't feel right at the time. However, when our church music director resigned in October of this year to move North, I was again offered the position of handbell director and, this time, I felt it was the right time to make this commitment! Bell ringing and directing give me so much joy! And, this aspect of life was so very unexpected! Had you told me a few years ago that I would get such a kick out of ringing and directing the handbell choir I would not have believed you. But, God knew, and that is what makes ringing and directing so special to me. His plans are always so much better than our plans! Handbells suit me musically in so many ways that I won't bore you trying to describe. And, using my music and the knowledge gained from my music degree earned years ago is gratifying and satisfying to me, as well.
But, going into this New Year of 2019, there is just one one perfect word. Simplicity. I like the sound of it. The way it rolls off the tongue. I'm eager to begin the adventure of simplicity. I wonder what I will be writing about this word next year at this time, God willing?
So, that's my blog recap for 2018. I cannot leave the old year behind and welcome the new without sending heartfelt thanks to you, my dear readers. Without you, this blog would be quite lonely. I cherish each one of you and hope that 2019 brings only good things to each of you!
I've come to accept that being a small-time blogger is where I'm meant to be at this time. I hope numbers continue to grow. As each new reader finds me and introduces themselves to me through comments I feel so happy. If you like what you read here, pass on my blog address to others. And, please let me know what you have enjoyed reading about on the blog in the past and what you would like to read about in the future. I love hearing from you!
Happy New Year!
1 Chronicles 16:11-12. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
1 Chronicles 16:8. A blessing for you, because the Lord your God loves you.