2023 certainly has been a year of travel – within the UK and beyond. Many of you have closely followed my adventures at the start of the year and I was disciplined in giving you weekly updates about where I was and what I was experiencing.

Well, I dug out the passport again a few weeks ago to fly across the pond but there was little word of it on my site or across social media. There wasn't any rhyme and reason to that, I just didn't say anything. Those who know me personally are aware of how the last few months have been tough for my family. And while it has knocked my motivation, my writing (news coming soon!) and my social media presence (I'm not too displeased about that), I have still managed to work hard, gain new clients for my business and keep some level of 'productivity' in tact. So as I was packing for the US, I determined that within the next ten days, I would find plenty of time to write and work as I'd surely had enough holidays this year. There were a few thoughts about how having space from home would be the perfect opportunity to be productive. Well, if my friends who I visited in Oklahoma and Chicago are reading this, you know full well that no work happened 😂 And you know what? There wasn't one moment where I felt guilty about it. There was lots of coffee with creamer, burgers, ice cream, playing games, and many a discussion about the differences between our 'languages.' And oh, I visited Target for the first time. I get the hype now - everything is so cute.

I believe my ability to leave work at home was because I established the purpose of the trip quite early on. It wasn't to work or write or smash out future plans, nor was it to totally relax. It was for friendship. Far too often we place the value of our time on things rather than people. So anytime I thought about getting my tablet out, which I did do once or twice early in the morning, I realised that there was always an opportunity to spend time with people I barely ever see instead. I had traveled literally thousands of miles to be with them so why would I waste that? In Oklahoma, I was even awake until 1 a.m. - I can almost hear those closest to me gasping as they know how much of a Grandma I am.

While I may have thought that a trip away would refresh my creativity, it really refreshed my soul. And that's what good friendships do (Proverbs 27:9). So while this trip didn't include any big missionary opportunities or grand revelations for my life ahead, the friendships I built on have equipped me to face the storm my family is still battling. And when those friends suffer, I'll be more prepared to support because of the time I invested in them. I'm not saying things are easy, far from it, but the trip seriously showed me how placing value on and leaning on good, non-toxic relationships helps you to ride the pain.

I have a lot planned in the next few months and I can't wait to share it with you. It's all a working progress but I'm in no rush because there's also relationships to nurture along the way.

'Just as lotions and fragrance give sensual delight, a sweet friendship refreshes the soul' (Proverbs 27:9 MSG).

Let me know your thoughts and have happy days,

Lyds x