Ten Things I Learned in 2018

Emily P. Freeman says, “I believe in order to move toward those things we most want for our lives, it’s vital to first look back.” Each quarter of the year Emily reflects on things she has learned.

Modern Mrs. Darcy makes a list each year of things she has learned.

I learned to make these reflective lists when I began blogging several years ago. It’s such a good practice for reflecting on life and personal growth, so this is my list for 2018.

1. I learned that writing a book is only half the journey; self-publishing seemed harder to me.

www.joymsouder.comNot that writing was easy – it did take me six years to complete it! The process of publishing with Kindle Direct seemed so easy at first, but perhaps I was a bit impatient. Just thankful for the help Gail and David gave me. (See Acknowledgements in the book.) Where Is Joy is available on Amazon.


2. I have incredible encouragers in my life, especially during book writing and publishing.

Family, church family, neighbor, and friends provided me with words of encouragement throughout this whole process. It took a village to get this book finished.

3. I have missed water exercise more than I imagined.

I love to swim; in 2003 I began an early morning routine of swimming laps. The last few years I dropped my YMCA membership but this July I rejoined and began attending an 8:00 water aerobics class. We have a great time — a bunch of seniors who don’t care how our bodies look in swimsuits, a super motivating teacher, and a prayer circle at the end. Inspiring and motivating every day.

4. Writing alone for a week moved me past my biggest hurdles, but by evening I needed to be with people.


A winter sunset in Henderson

In January of this year I spent a week in brother Paul’s empty house to concentrate on writing. I accomplished my goal by completing the 2nd big draft, getting up as early or late as I wanted, snacking, and even watching a few Hallmark movies I had not seen. The quiet and lack of distractions gave me the focus I needed, until the evenings. I needed to talk to people!

Brother Steve and his wife, Marie, just happen to live in Henderson also, and we enjoyed several evening meals together. It was the best of both worlds.

5. Studying and teaching the book of Hebrews led me into a richer understanding of God’s plan for us.


Class Notebook Cover

My co-teacher and I collected our resources for Hebrews, outlined our plan, and led a slow but deep study of this book of the Bible.

Hebrews provides a background for Jewish Christians who probably lived in Rome during severe persecution. You just can’t teach this book without referring to the Old Testament; it opens your eyes to God’s plan from the beginning of time.

We are almost finished! One more chapter.

6. I like to wear dresses again because of tights and leggings!


My newest dress from Zulily!

I’ve only worn pants for years because of pantyhose and the need for comfortable shoes. With leggings and tights and these cute swing dresses, I can be comfortable and warm in the winter.

Old Navy and Zulily have the cutest and convenient sources.

7. The Enneagram is a fascinating way of viewing personality types and learning how to become the person God made me to be. Some days I’m still not sure of my number, but I’m learning to recognize behaviors in myself I need to change.

The Enneagram Institute is a great resource for reading about the Enneagram.   Click on the link to take a test and find out your classification, but every time I take a test I get a different result.

www.joymsouder.comThis book is a short overview that is easy to understand: The Back to You by Ian Cron and Suzanne Stabile.



8. Podcasts are my new favorite listening source in the car. Some of my favorite podcasts are:

For the Love with Jen Hatmaker

Typology with Ian Cron: a great resource for understanding the Enneagram.

The Enneagram Journey with Suzanne Stabile

Newsworthy with Norsworthy with Luke Norsworthy

You can find thousands of podcasts on thousands of subjects! Go to Itunes and start searching.

9. As my extended family has grown to grandchildren and great-grandchildren it’s harder and harder to gather everyone in one spot, but it is important.

An October wedding in a barn during a monsoon is probably not my first choice for a road trip but we enjoyed a great celebration for a nephew who added two little girls along with his bride.


The boys in sunglasses carried the rings!

Thanksgiving provided an opportunity for some cousins to meet for the first time.


Cousins from Arkansas and Texas


Cousins from Texas and Georgia

10. I’m learning to paint! Brenda Frye’s classes provide a great creative outlet that feeds my soul.

www.joymsouder.com  www.joymsouder.com

2 thoughts on “Ten Things I Learned in 2018

  1. Stella Walker

    I enjoyed this post so much. You look so adorable in dresses and leggings. The “look” becomes you! Adding painting to your many talents could make one feel inadequate. Your example has refreshed my excitement about journaling once again. Thanks for telling about Enneagram. I will delve into that next! Your friend, Stella



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