My January Rest 2017 Reflections

January was wonderful! Truly wonderful. I’ve never enjoyed My January Rest as much as I did this year! Circumstances can make or break people and the 2016 year-end threatened to break me! When people asked how my father is, I’ve joked, “He is stable, but I am in counseling!” Thank you God; he is stable, and so am I! We had a terrible scare and I had daily duties that were well over my normal level of involvement and knowledge level. We all made it through December, and January was truly a month of rest from that daily high stress level.

The Rest is Fun!

And, I have fun with The Rest. It is enjoyable for me to focus on My Rest—with friends by my side—reading, cheering me on, and some even participating. It’s fun to play with my food and use creativity to solve problems. The Rest can be a love-hate relationship. When I realize how much I have, how much I want, and how much I waste, I get annoyed. After the initial emotion of annoyance, I quickly become grateful. Gratitude is a wonderful benefit that comes out of The Rest. The Rest changes me; it does.

The Rest Leads to Lasting Changes

After some year’s Rest, I have permanently stopped certain habits: I have not picked them back up. About a year and a half ago, I was introduced to a concept of intermittent fasting by a physician I respect. It was such a brief conversation, I barely took notice, but he believed in the science behind intermittent fasting for reduction of inflammation. A seed of intrigue was planted. Then saw a TEDTalk about intermittent fasting and I became fascinated. Fascination turn to enthralled: February 1, my dear friend and Your Food Fight trainer, Renee Jocson, brought up intermittent fasting as something to look into further. I’m listening to the leading!

Day one of the remainder of my year. Day one after My January Rest was completed, and I begin the process of navigating a new month and the freedom to eat sugar or not to eat sugar. I knew I needed to learn more about intermittent fasting, for me, for my health.

What does that have to do with My Rest you might wonder? I wouldn’t have been willing, or mentally ready, to consider intermittent fasting if I had not gone sugarfree last month. While I have had sugar in February, I am choosing moderation and, when I had the discipline, I chose none. Now, I plan when I have sugar.

Last week I practiced intermittent fasting several days, and it fits me. This is a major life change that MJR helped me be in position to choose. MJR helped me be to transition from lesser things—mindless consumption of poor quality food choices, to better things—thoughtful eating when I do eat and  rest from eating as often. Eat less, for more health—in many arenas in my life, mental, spiritual, financial, and even the quantity of food to manage.

My Rest and the Benefits, and More Rest

I’ve used up many things this January, and found more stuff that needs dealt with, that I had forgotten I had. That is a MJR benefit: focus. I forget to look at what I already have. Or, it is there, but I stopped seeing it at some point: it became invisible. MJR opened my eyes again!

There have been Januarys that I ran out of coffee. My hubby saw to it that I was well set this year; early Christmas gifts I guess. I had plenty of coffee to choose from, so what did I do? Since I couldn’t have sugar, I found myself making the coffee stronger, as if that would solve my desire for a sugar fix. Sigh. Of course it didn’t, but it reminds me how weak the flesh is and how strong the pull to indulge is, and for me, especially sweets! I remain grateful that God gave us tastebuds so that we could enjoy what He made.

We paid off a debt this January and, I’m spacing out replenishing the pantry. When I shopped, I’ve picked up a couple bananas here, and three apples there, instead of the bunches and bags of previous months. Good thing! When you are resting from eating, that is fasting, you eat less! My goal is to waste less.

I’ve used up several of my gift cards. Coffee outings and eating out in January felt odd: I almost felt guilty. Generally, during MJR I don’t eat out or have coffee out; unless I allow one time for our family outing. This year I chose to go out, and use up some of the unused gifts I’ve been waiting to use. We’ve had too many times, where they have expired or even business ceased to exist. What a waste of money.

For last year’s MJR, I rested from going out for coffee. It ended up not restful after all. What is restful, is going to a coffeehouse for a cup of coffee and writing. I enjoy developing my writing habit and skills: it is restful and something I look forward to. When I didn’t go out for coffee, that meant I wasn’t camped out for an hour or two—by myself—writing. While I do write in my studio, it is much farther to get to than the coffee shop—which is a deterrent in and of itself—and at night, I prefer the uptown coffee crowd over the downtown bar scene.

When weighing whether the change of allowing eating out and coffee out (as long as I had gift cards) was a good allowance, this is what I decided. Coffee out? Good choice. Eating out? Jury is still out. While I enjoyed it, there wasn’t as much of a rest in the rhythm of my life in that area. I’ll have to ponder it for next year’s Rest.

And resting from spending too was harder. It seemed that there were more needs to shop: spending my girl’s Christmas money, several birthday gifts, my father’s needs, books for my Sister’s Bible study and a friend’s launch party, supplies for my studio that couldn’t wait, etc.

The books couldn’t be better and fit nicely as inspiration for My Rest ! For my study, Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World is at its core, about resting from lessor things and focusing on what is greater. Erin Straza is the friend who gave me Humble Roots book for Christmas that I mentioned in an earlier post. Erin’s book Comfort Detox is out! I’m still consuming them and they are so, so good! And hopefully, I will have a book published someday as well. Published or not, I am working on it now. Can you guess the focus? Rest. The rest I’m writing the book about, is larger than the focus of My January Rest.

Each year, I start the new year off with a rest, My January Rest. I believe it changed my year.


  1. Angel I think it is important to focus on the concept of REST on a daily basis. I’m continually looking at how I spend my time and trying to shift my priorities. On some days I’m exasperated with myself when I look at how I squander my time: something I can never get back. Thank you for helping me to focus on how I spend my time: with dementia in our lives that is something we cannot afford to waste! I’ll keep you posted on how things go ……

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