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  • Writer's pictureGrace A. Johnson

grace & gratitude | february



“While it is February, one can taste the full joys of anticipation.

Spring stands at the gate with her finger on the latch.”

― Patience Strong


Somehow I’ve let the first week of February pass me by, taking worship nights and birthdays and posts like this with it. I am finally sitting down to wrap up January, which already seems like a lifetime ago, and I still haven’t managed to send out my monthly newsletter (partly because ConvertKit keeps acting up). And the crazy part is that there are only 21 days left in February. 🤨

I can’t with short months.

But anyway. January was almost two different months smooshed together—the hungover-from-the-holidays month (not literally hungover, of course), in which I did a lot of walking and agonizing over organizing; and the it’s-a-new-year month, in which it finally set in that it was JANUARY 2024 and I attempted the previously-agonized-over organizing, made bath bombs (that were only halfway a fail), began learning guitar, prepared for my church’s quarterly worship night, and drank a lot of tea.

The highlight of January (and probably the only part of it I really remember) is 21 days of prayer and fasting and studying Hosea and Jeremiah with my friends. Being able to begin a new year with prayer and Bible-reading and fasting has just been so enriching and wonderful, and I find myself looking forward to the next study, the next fast—and I’ve managed to get into the habit of journaling a prayer each night before bed, something I genuinely didn’t think I could stick with.

Then I kicked off February with work, taxes, and despairing over my singing voice. Suffice to say I don’t like self-employment taxes and I may have gone down the major rabbit hole of studying singing through YouTube videos. So February will certainly be an intriguing month. 😉


scripture of the month


And I will betroth you to me forever.

I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy.

I will betroth you to me in faithfulness. And you shall know the Lord.


“And in that day I will answer, declares the Lord,

    I will answer the heavens,

    and they shall answer the earth,

and the earth shall answer the grain, the wine, and the oil,

    and they shall answer Jezreel,

and I will sow her for myself in the land.

And I will have mercy on No Mercy,

    and I will say to Not My People, ‘You are my people’;

    and he shall say, ‘You are my God.’”


Hosea 2:19-23 ESV


gratitude


bird house painting

cozy fire pits

long walks

Bible studies with friends

s’mores

sitting with a friend during church

fasting

music

prayer & prayer journaling

listening to old favorites like it was the first time

finally having an apron (I am a simple girl)

The Young Riders (specifically Jimmy 😜)


grace


I actually began posting on Instagram again after a two-ish month posting hiatus, and I also revamped my aesthetic, and Y’ALL. I FINALLY LIKE MY INSTAGRAM. I personally think it’s so vibey and just gorgeous. Took me two years, but I got it.

I published four blog posts (almost/basically one a week, as I’d hopefully intended)…

and announced the winners of Of Storm & Sea! By winners, I mean the authors/poets whose stories have been selected to be included in the anthology! The process of organizing OS&S + launching Sky’s the Limit Press has been slower than expected, so sadly, I don’t have any more updates on that front yet—but make sure to subscribe to my blog and newsletter and follow Sky’s the Limit Press on Instagram to be the first to hear about our progress and new updates!

My semi-goal was to write 4k in my story for Of Storm & Sea, and while I didn’t meet that goal, I did come somewhat close at 2,427 words written, so I’ll take it.

Before January began, I challenged myself to read 15-30 books (a book a day or every other day), and then once January actually rolled around, I’d totally forgotten about that and only managed to read three books: All’s Fair in Love and Christmas by Sarah Monzon, In Her Sights by Karen Witemeyer, and The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Of course, Karen knocked it out of the park as always, and The Hunger Games was gold. (Expect a deluge of THG-themed posts in the next several months.) All’s Fair in Love and Christmas was a cute office romance, but didn’t quite succeed at dazzling me (review to come eventually).


goals


My main goals for February are finishing up my two editing projects, editing the stories for Of Storm & Sea, and writing 3k in my OS&S story. If I could at least finish building the website for STLP as well, that would be phenomenal.

(Speaking of my OS&S story...I'm in need of 1-3 alpha readers who don't mind the fact that I write slowly. So if you'd be up for reading and providing some basic feedback on my Esther meets Persephone x Hades but with pirates novella, comment 🏴‍☠️!)

I’d also like to post some on Instagram and Rovers & Romancers (my Patreon community!), as well as work on a Bible study about Jesus’ last days before His ascension + an email Bible study on Hosea. (You can join that HERE!)

Otherwise, we shall see. February’s already been outrageously busy, so my work may be limited. One thing I do know I wanna do is observe Lent (for real this time 😉). As much as I should be fasting food (iykyk), I feel led to fast social media. In January, I cut back to 20-30 minutes on Instagram, 20-30 minutes on Pinterest, and 5-15 minutes on Facebook per day—and it was so good. And I’ve recently cut YouTube to 20 minutes as well. So my issue isn’t necessarily with time spent on social media, since even before I cut back, I was not spending no 6 hours a day on social media or my phone in general. The issue is the content I’m consuming.

Before you freak out, no, I ain’t lookin’ at trash. YouTube pulls up conservative political commentary (DailyWire, PragerU, that kind of stuff), and Instagram is 80% Christian writers and 20% femininity/homemaking/Christian content. Sounds good, right? Well, it should be, but politics and culture depresses me or angers me (and I’ve noticed most of these videos focus more on dumb TikToks and celebs rather than actual problems). And the Christian writing community on Instagram is lowkey toxic. The greater portion of what people post nowadays is conflict and controversy to trigger the algorithm. Everything is about pushing an agenda (yes, even among Christians!) and starting arguments, and I’m tired of it. I want out. I’m this close to deleting my account, but there are still some benefits to IG and some genuinely good folks on there (who sadly aren’t anywhere else). Even the things I posted in January resulted in controversy and disagreements, and I don’t want half of my day to be spent explaining my opinions or apologizing for my beliefs ABOUT BOOKS.

Not to mention most of the content shared by younger Christian writers is not about God or books but about a certain singer—and I cannot take it anymore. I signed up for wholesome bookishness and got fangirling over witches. 🤦‍♀️

So for 40 days, starting on the 14th, I’m taking a break from Instagram. I will still post once a week or so and keep up my other accounts (Sage & Psalms, Sky’s the Limit Press, and S&J Editors), and reply to DMs occasionally, but I’m done scrolling through everybody’s junk. I want my mind and heart and time to be filled with peace and prayer and praise—so some stuff will have to take a backseat. And if when those 40 days are up and I have no desire to get back on Instagram, I may just delete my author account and be done with it. I’ll be praying about that (among other things) during my fast.

ANYWAY. All of that to say Lent’s in less than a week and I’m excited! It was such a blessing to me last year, and I look forward to seeing what God does in my life this year!


 

What about you? What are you grateful for this month? Any reading or writing goals? Team Peeta or Team Gale (or are you insane like me and think Katniss and Cinna had outrageous chemistry)? What are you looking forward to God doing in your life this year? How are you making room for Him to move? I know that’s a lot of questions, but pick one or two and answer them in the comments! I always wanna hear from y’all! 🥰











(Pst! I'm an Amazon affiliate, which means I make a small commission from qualifying purchases made through my Amazon links.)

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