It's coming to the end of another amazing year. Once again, our family has gone through big changes, moving into our apartment in the city, but there has been a lot of little things along the way that has made this year great.
There is always something new to discover! I’m not a huge risk taker, but I’m often willing to give new ideas a go. This year I have found a few products and ideas that have in some cases quite literally changed my life.
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Here we go… 8 new things I discovered in 2018
1. Cold brew coffee
I've drunk too much coffee for my own good for a long time, so any innovation is worth my interest. My eldest daughter introduced me to cold brew at our regular cafe, and the smooth, cool brew without the bitter aftertaste of a traditional long black has captured my heart, well, my taste buds anyway. There is no better drink for these long Australian Summer days. This brewer is on my Christmas list so that I can have a go at making my own next year.
2. Jamie Oliver’s 5 Ingredient Meals
As our family has shrunk and our work lives have become more demanding, simple, tasty, good quality food ticks all the boxes. These simple recipes have become the staples of our meal plan these days, and my goal over these holidays is to try out a few new ones and add them to the regular repertoire. Check it out here.
I began drinking Kombucha a while ago on the advice of my personal trainer who promotes the health benefits of fermented foods. But, it’s expensive. I found out a friend at church makes her own, and she was generous enough to give me my own scoby. I enjoy brewing my own Kombucha and experimenting with different flavours. Our go-to is ginger and turmeric.
4. The grazing table
Who doesn’t love a good grazing table? I have come to love this style of entertaining. I love the messiness, the generosity, the eclectic mixture of textures, flavours and colours. I love mixing sweet and savoury, homemade and store bought, cheeses, crackers, brownies, olives, chocolate… the list of possibilities is endless!
5. A journal Bible
I had seen them on Pinterest and in my local Christian bookshop. It's basically a regular Bible with an extra wide margin down the side for taking notes. This year I invested in an NIV Journal the Word, and intrepidly began writing my thoughts, ideas, and some creative art as well. At first, it was intimidating, and even now I hesitate, but I have found it to be a wonderful way to interact with the text of Scripture each day.
6. Pilot Frixion erasable pens
I used to buy these for the kids when they were in school, without ever thinking how useful they would be. There are now lots of colours to choose from, and the ‘point' pens that have an extra fine tip. I love these for writing in my planner. They have the pretty colours but are erasable without a trace when the plan changes or I make a mistake. I now have a selection on hand when I do my planning. These are the ones I love.
7. Shampoo bars
I bought my first shampoo bar when we went to the beach for a couple of weeks and I didn’t want to buy yet another travel bottle of shampoo. I had heard about them in Pinterest land and was keen to give it a go. While I loved the way my hair looked and felt, the first bar went soggy and didn't last very long. I have changed to a different one, and I haven't looked back. I now use a conditioner bar as well. I feel good about cutting down on single-use plastics, and my hair is happy too. If you’d like to try one, you can have a look at these.
When we made the move into the city, my commute went from 10 minutes to 30. I listened to the radio, (and the GPS) for the first few weeks while I learned each of the possible routes to take depending on what the traffic was doing. Then a few weeks ago I decided to make the most of the time I spent sitting in the car each day and I subscribed to Audible. I have listened to two books already, and the third is more than halfway through. Some of the narrators are a bit annoying, but I'm getting used to them. I love the way I'm using my commute time to add value to my life.
I have enjoyed thinking back, remembering what I have learned and discovered.
The most important thing I have learned in 2018 is to embrace change. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while you know that this is a recurring theme; I’ve been through lots of big changes in the last few years. But here’s the thing, so has almost everyone else I know. Change is inevitable, it is constant, it is guaranteed, and yet, so many people resist it with all their might.
They end up discouraged and exhausted, like trying to hold back a tide, you just get swamped and overwhelmed.
It’s not always easy. Things happen that we don’t like, and life feels awfully uncomfortable at times. But, resisting change never helps it feel any better. Go with it, ride the wave, look for the good in every situation. Discover God’s faithfulness and presence once again because in every change one thing is certain - God is there. He has not changed, He loves you immensely, and always will. You can trust that, even when everything else is spinning out of control.
I hope you have had a wonderful year and have discovered many good things as well. Most of all, I hope you have discovered the faithfulness of God who is with you in every changing season.