January 2021: Looking Back, Moving Forward

Well, here we are. We made it through the first month of 2021. Although it was a doozy and I am weary, I feel like I can see light at the end of the tunnel. 

How did you do in January? Did you set goals? Did you meet any? Did you shift gears? As I mentioned in a previous post, I set goals but allowed for flexibility and permitted myself to go slow because I want to take in all I can each step of this journey. 

Reading the Bible: I started the year reading with Eva Kubusiak and Mariel Davenport. I began reading the selections at night but kept falling asleep halfway through, so I made space in my morning routine, and while I missed a few chapters, the change made all the difference. I’m thoroughly enjoying this second trip through the Bible, seeing it with new eyes. 

Surrender: I have been learning a lot about surrender. It’s hard, but I’m finding letting go can be freeing. I believe when you surrender what you think your life, your plans, or anything else should look like and let God lead you, doors open, you connect with the right people, and things line up just right. 

Two books I’m reading about surrender have been eye-opening and soul-saving:

Surrendered: 40 Devotions to Help You Let Go & Live Like Jesus by Barb Roose

Love Where You Live: How to Live Sent in the Place You Call Home by Shauna Pilgreen

Simplicity: While I continued to declutter my home, I took time to look beyond the physical items. I needed to streamline the information I was taking in. I had notebooks and folders full of information, and it was overwhelming me. I threw out 1/2 a garbage bag of notes that I haven’t looked at in months. If I need information, I know where to go, but I don’t need to store it all in my office. 

When writing about simplicity, I originally felt I needed to give advice and convince others to change. However, I think it’s more helpful to share my journey, letting others decide how or even if they should change. This shift in thinking allowed me to let go of what I thought my blog and website should look like. I love this essay by Joshua Fields Millburn that discusses the subject of advice giving.

I also received a gentle nudge from my writer friend, Jennifer Sheffield. She shared with me that she was missing seeing “me” in my Instagram posts. I was confused until I looked back. I was only sharing information I was taking in, who and what I was reading, watching, and listening to. I was starting to “collect gurus,” as Emily P Freeman would say. Jennifer encouraged me, “You learn from them and let us learn from you.” Her words sank in and set me free. It was after that, I started tossing the collection of notes I had stored. If that wasn’t enough, she connected me with poet, playwright, and workshop facilitator Kelly Dumar. I’m currently taking Kelly’s class, Aim for Astonishing, a 6-month photo inspired creative writing class. It was just what I needed to re-open the doors of my creative mind.

Shopping Ban: Month one has been successful. It has allowed me to stop impulse purchases and consider where items fall between necessity and ridiculous. I decided to create a list of non-necessity things I want, and after one month, reconsider. So far, in a list of 6 items, I’ve decided to purchase only one item, a file folder organizer for my desk.

Upcoming in February: In February, I should be ready to launch my updated website, including a decluttering freebie. I’ve also invited several writers to be guest bloggers. I’m so excited to have them share their stories with you. First up is journalist and tiny house dweller, Jennifer Sheffield, who I mentioned earlier. I met Jennifer on Instagram. She was one of the winners of my book giveaway. Since then, we have found that we have many things in common, and I consider her a friend even though we have never met in person. I’m hoping to publish her guest post this week.

I’d love to hear your thoughts. You can send me an email at hello@lorisanders.com

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Until next time, be well.


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Featured title image by Dean Drobot/Canva

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