Try a Vision Journal This Year!

Do you find Vision Boards useful in planning for and manifesting things you want to be part of your life? If so, try a Vision Journal this year to augment that tool. If not, this is a great way to use and expand the techniques – so try a Vision Journal this year!

It’s the time of year for resolutions and plans for the coming months. Sometimes once they are created and we look at that list of dates and to-dos, we’re instantly overwhelmed with the enormity of it all, so we file it away for “later.” And “later” may be much later.  Vision journals and boards are activate other parts of our brains and tend to stir up excitement and enthusiasm rather than overwhelm.

Rather than a bland calendar, lists or spreadsheets with dates and impressive sounding goals on them, vision journals and boards give you the creativity to let your dreams grow. As visual tools, they help you feel the achievement of your goals and dreams. That’s the real power of a vision board.

I wrote about more of the benefits and the power of Vision Boards here:  

Many people attest to the effectiveness of the Vision Board technique, and Vision Journals add value since they are portable and more accessible. The creator continues to be engaged with the priorities through written reflections, drawing, and ongoing tweaking. Once a Vision Board is created, few of us adjustment or update to make it a dynamic tool.

A Vision Journal benefits us in a couple of other ways.  It will boost your spirits when you face life’s inevitable struggles. Having a bad day? Spend some time working in your vision journal, and you’ll feel noticeably lighter at heart.

Feeling overwhelmed? Take a look at your vision journal for an instant reminder of why you’re working hard now, and what you stand to gain from it.

Try a Vision Journal this year! I will make it really easy for you to do that: a FREE, downloadable/printable Vision Journal can be accessed at this link: Journal for You 

Print in color or black/white, print extra pages as you want. The “Notes” pages can be used to reflect as you go through the year. Save the file so if you want to redo or make major adjustments in any area, you can print out new pages. Use the tool throughout the year and see what the effects are.  Happy New Year!!


I’m Carol Brusegar, author, photographer and curator of information. My focus is on gathering and writing on topics that enhance all our lives – regardless of our age. Topics include health and wellness, personal development, innovation and creativity, and a variety of helpful, practical tools and practices. I have a special interest in helping people over 50 years of age to create their 3rd Age – the next stage of their lives – to be the best it can be.

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“Holy Magic” Visiting Inmates Before Christmas

Timothysgift.comPHOTO CREDIT:

You are loved. You have great worth. God is with you. You are not forgotten.

Simple statements and deeply powerful. They reach beneath the chatter and the lies bombarding us from outside and from within. They reach to our core, our heart and soul, and create “holy magic.” And they are embodied — dare I say incarnated — in the team of people who brought the Timothy’s Gift Christmas Tour 2021 to Florida the week after Thanksgiving.

That team of 20 people — 9 of whom had never done this before — brought their talents, gifts and beings into 10 correctional institutions and immersed themselves in the experience. They radiated the love of God which was received as genuine and profound. In the process we were impacted in ways difficult to articulate. We too were changed, and a deep passion for this ministry and deep bonds among us emerged in a few short days.

This was the 25th major Timothy’s Gift Tour since 2012. It was my 10th. There are many similarities with other tours — and also unique aspects that made it different than those that preceded it. I begin with snapshots of moments.

Snapshot #1: This was repeated at each of the 10 locations — inmates standing and singing “O Come, All Ye Faithful” a cappella with our vocalists. The fervid singing of “O come, let us adore him, O come, let us adore him…”echoed in the room and mystically united all our hearts. It was the final song of a singalong of Christmas songs, a mix of secular and fun classics and traditional carols that transitioned to the rest of the program which was more personal and spiritual.

Snapshot #2: A mixture of affirmation, tears, smiles and more were on the faces of those listening to “You’ll Never Walk Alone” sung a cappella at the conclusion of communion. We saw this and felt more — particularly to the repeated phrase “Walk on, walk on with hope in your heart.”

Snapshot #3: The entire team stood in a dorm which houses the faith-based program with the 60 or so inmates sitting on their bunks and shared music. Our vocalists sang “You’ll Never Walk Alone” and 4 of their praise team sang a couple of worship songs.

Snapshot #4: At our final concert, when those present were invited to introduce themselves, an officer gave his name and said that he loved his job and these guys and that they had made him a better person. He also received communion — from JC whom he had watched over at the work camp when he was incarcerated there! What a God moment!

How This Tour Was Different

Tim, for whom Timothy’s Gift is named, was part of this tour, making it unique among all the 25 tours. JC and David who had also served time in Florida prisons were part of the team as well. At 8 of the 10 locations, this was not known ahead of time. The exceptions were the 2 locations where the 3 had served their time, and the publicity posters had included their photos.

As the revelation was made — one at a time spread through the program — that these 3 formerly incarcerated men were part of our team, the responses were palpable. Applause, sometimes cheers and standing up, always a feeling of surprise — even amazement — greeted them as JC, Tim and David each shared some of his story and words of encouragement. It elevated the substance of our message to another level.

Snapshot #5: David, Tim and Josh standing together in front of each audience leading them in declaring boldly “I am loved, I have great worth, God is with me, I am not forgotten.” Standing tall, placing their hands on their heart. Voices booming, claiming that for themselves now and forever.

Another notable aspect of this tour was that 4 of the 10 institutions we visited have “incentivized” programs for all or part of their population. Some are specifically ”faith and character” programs. Those who apply and are accepted into these programs have access to a variety of opportunities to help them prepare for life beyond prison — or for those serving life sentences, for making their time meaningful and productive. In one location, we were able to tour the lounge with TV and games and workout/gym area and then the faith-based and veterans dorms. And 8 of the inmates who serve as chapel clerks ate lunch from the canteen with the team.

I cannot say for sure that there is a causal effect, but we observed a correlation between the tone and demeanor of many of those we saw related to whether it was one of the “incentivized” sites or not. There were more people reacting to parts of the program with tears and sobs in the settings where these things were not available. There was more of a sense of wellbeing and community and hope where they were available. One inmate enthusiastically touted his dorm as the best to us — a sure sign that it is a positive, healing and forward-focused atmosphere.

Community and Caring

Demonstrations of caring and supportive relationships among those we visit always touch me. Here are two examples on this tour.

Snapshot #6: As 3 female vocalists sang a tender “Happy Birthday” song to a man whose birthday was that week, he began choking up. After sitting down he began sobbing. Others were touched by that and what followed and soon many were in tears. One person got permission to leave the room and came back with a handful of paper towels and took them over to those who needed them to dry their eyes. Others put hands and arms on the shoulders of those near them. We saw their care for each other so clearly.

Snapshot #7: We visited one women’s institution on our tour, and all those invited to the concert were within 18 months of being released. Energy and exuberance radiated from them from the time they walked into the room. As they were invited to introduce themselves, one woman would introduce others around her, and they identified the group they were part as they move toward release. This continued with cheers for each group. The affection among them was so clear.

Each concert ended this way: communion followed by “You’ll Never Walk Alone;” the affirmation of the 4 statements led by David, Tim and Josh; and “The Prayer” sung as a benediction. As the words of that last selection resounded in the room, we were all lifted beyond to another place, a higher dimension.

“…Lead us to a place, guide us with your grace, to a place where we’ll be safe. A world where pain and sorrow will be ended and every heart that’s broken will be mended. And we’ll remember we are all God’s children, reaching out to touch you, reading to the sky…..”

Each of us who were part of this tour has his/her own highlights, insights, and experiences that will continue to impact us. That’s true of the team and of every person we encountered along the way. For me, the week can be described as miraculous — “an extraordinary event manifesting divine intervention” or “an extremely outstanding or unusual event, thing, or accomplishment.”

Or it could be called magical — “extraordinarily pleasant, enjoyable, or exciting.” Clearly an experience that transcends the ordinary. It could be called magically miraculous or, my personal favorite, holy magic! It was a magical week, an impactful week, a transcendent week. And I am deeply grateful.

For more information about this ministry:

I’m Carol Brusegar, author, photographer and curator of information. My focus is on gathering and writing on topics that enhance all our lives — regardless of our age. Topics include health and wellness, personal development, innovation and creativity, and a variety of helpful, practical tools and practices. I have a special interest in helping people over 50 years of age to create their 3rd Age — the next stage of their lives — to be the best it can be. Follow me on Twitter! Follow me on Instagram! Follow me on Pinterest! Follow me on Facebook! Visit my Etsy Shop!


CandlesAs I write this post, it is a few days before Christmas. For many people, the entire focus of the past month has been on preparing for that day as the culmination of the season. Often they start the hustle and bustle the day after Thanksgiving – shopping, decorating social events, etc. Then by the day or so after Christmas or at least before New Year’s Eve, it’s all over. Decorations down, focus on recuperation and the coming “return to routine.” Expand December holiday time? Perhaps that idea would not be welcome for them. However, I suggest considering some alternatives to try this year, or plan for next year.

I prefer to observe the 12 Days of Christmas which for centuries have been a time of celebration – starting with December 25 and ending on the evening of January 5. In some cultures, January 5 is called the Twelfth Night and is an occasion for feasting; a King’s Cake/3 Kings Cake is part of the celebration in various countries. Those variations are described in detail here:

January 6 is observed as Epiphany or 3 Kings Day in many cultures of the world and many Christians observe Epiphany season from then up until Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. It is a season of light/manifestation/showing forth/revelation. It’s a great theme to explore and a season to launch the new year under the umbrella of this imagery.

Other December Holidays

Others observe the pan-African holiday Kwanzaa from December 26 to January 1, celebrating family, community and culture. Each of the days of the celebration is dedicated to one of the seven principles of Kwanzaa: unity (umoja), self-determination (kujichagulia), collective responsibility (ujima), cooperative economics (ujamaa), purpose (nia), creativity (kuumba), and faith (imani).

The Jewish holiday, Hanukkah, follows a lunar calendar so the dates vary, but in 2021 it is from sundown on November 28 through sundown on December 6. This whole period of time includes a variety of celebrations that we can learn about and from, especially if they are from a different culture or group.

Ideas for the Time After Christmas

What if we extend December holiday activities by planning to do some simple things that demonstrated care and love to others? The time after Christmas and especially after New Years Day is often a time of let-down, of sadness and loneliness for people – perhaps you and people you know. The energy and push of the previous month is over, the days are still short and winter weather prevails.

Here are a few suggestions to extend the December holiday spirit for you and others. You may need to be adapt in some ways to keep everyone as safe as possible during the continuing pandemic:

1. Engage with an elderly person. The holidays can be tough for bedridden and nursing home-bound individuals. Bring love to those who need it most. Show up with books or magazines, do a crossword or puzzle together, sing songs or even just sit quietly and be a good listener.

2. Share a cup of cheer. Here’s a simple gesture to offer – surprise someone you love with a hot beverage. Coffee, tea, cocoa or chai, whatever their pleasure. Invite them to you home or to meet at a restaurant or coffee shop for relaxed time together.

3. Help someone who is struggling. If you live where winter includes cold and snow, there are likely people near you who could use some help managing. It may be keeping sidewalks and driveways clear. Or perhaps the elements are keeping them inside and isolated. A visit and a treat – cookies, a loaf of sweet bread, etc. – can be a real boost.

4. Get together with grandparents. After the group gatherings of the holidays, January can be very lonely. Make a visit, take them out for lunch or a movie or some other activity that will be enjoyable and give you a quieter time to be together.

5. During these coldest times of the year, there are people in need of warm hats, scarves or mittens. Check with a school or homeless shelter. You could knit or crochet and item or two individually or have a gathering of a few friends to make some items. If you aren’t crafty or don’t have time to do that, find some cozy things at the store and share them.

6. Remember those who have had tough holidays because of a breakup, the loss of loved ones, family conflict or other factors. Making contact and perhaps spending a little time with them, even on the phone, can be a boost. It’s a reminder that people remember and care.

If you are one who experiences down time, even depression, after the holidays, doing one or more of these or similar things can give you a sense of purpose as well as help someone else. A win-win situation for sure!

In your own home, consider the winter months as a great time to practice the principles of Hygge. I’ve written about that here:

And here’s another suggestion: read some uplifting books that may have holiday/Christmas themes through the coming weeks. The season can be as long as you want it to be in your own life!! Check out the huge number of holiday books in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series:

Chicken Soup for the Soul Christmas and Holiday Books

I’m Carol Brusegar, author, photographer and curator of information. My focus is on gathering and writing on topics that enhance all our lives – regardless of our age. Topics include health and wellness, personal development, innovation and creativity, and a variety of helpful, practical tools and practices. I have a special interest in helping people over 50 years of age to create their 3rd Age – the next stage of their lives – to be the best it can be.           

Follow me on Twitter!  Follow me on Instagram!  Follow me on Pinterest

Follow me on Facebook!    Visit my Etsy Shop!

Have a Hygge Holiday Season and Winter!


Photo by Carolyn V on Unsplash

“Holiday season” is defined in various ways. Yours may or may not be the same as mine – and any of us may decide to modify our definition in this unique year of the pandemic. Personally, I celebrate Christmas through the 12th day of Christmas, January 5. There are ways in which I extend it even beyond that. I wrote about that last year (pre-pandemic) here:

At whatever point you read this, the ideas can be applied to the days and weeks ahead – including through the winter months as we continue to stay at home much more than usual. Let’s all have a Hygge holiday season and winter!

Hygge has become increasingly popular everywhere in recent years. Perhaps you are already a devotee,  perhaps you’ve never heard of it, or perhaps you’d like to explore the idea more. So let’s start with what it is and where it came from.

Hygge, pronounced (Hue-gah) is a Danish word originally derived from an Old Norwegian word meaning well-being and protection from the outside elements. Denmark has notoriously cold, long winters. The concept of hygge has been used by Danish people to help mentally combat the brutally dark, relentless winter season and fill their homes with comfort and love. Hygge is a word that is so important to Danish people; it’s often used to describe what their culture is all about. Hygge is not necessarily something specific that you can buy, because it’s more of a feeling than a possession. Hygge really is the epitome of Danish living; in the last several years the concept of hygge has made its way to the US and many other countries with extreme popularity and trendiness.

Hygge can widely be described as a feeling of coziness, comfort, familiarity, friendship, laughter and seasonal homemade food and drinks. Although it’s possible to achieve hygge any time of the year (an outdoor BBQ with friends or a movie under the stars with family are great examples of summertime hygge), Hygge is generally associated with the colder months. This is because of its ability to uplift spirits during dark, long winter months. It can be especially comforting and enjoyable during these months of the pandemic. As we are staying safe at home to protect ourselves and others, focusing on creating peaceful, cozy surroundings can fill us with the feeling of contentment. Here are a few, simple ways you can bring holiday hygge into your home.

Warm lighting – achieve a great sense of hygge, by lighting some candles, having a real or gas fire or setting up string lights. Warm lightning is key to coziness.

Cozy linens, blankets and textures – get out all of those soft, fluffy blankets and have them available on the couch or chairs and by the windows, so that you can easily cuddle up with your favorite books and movies and relax.

Home cooking and baking – cooking some traditional holiday meals and treats will help bring holiday hygge into your home. Comfort foods like holiday ham, stews/soups/chilis, breads of all kinds, cookies, and apple/pumpkin/sweet potato pies will waft soul-warming scents throughout the air, making your home feel cozy and cared for. Baking together is a perfect hygge activity. It may be items that have become traditions, or a way to try new recipes that may be added to that list for coming years.

Comforting scents – filling your home with festive and cozy scents can be done in a variety of ways.  You can use scented candles, scented wax in a wax warmer, or scented oils. A wide variety of scents are available – warm vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and other spices as well as pine and peppermint are some holiday favorites. Potpourri can be placed in open bowls in various rooms and refreshed with scented oils, or simmered with water on the stove or in a slow cooker. Scented pinecones and fresh evergreen trees or boughs are always a great addition.

Warm beverages – drinking these can warm body and soul. Hot chocolate can be varied in many delightful ways, as can apple cider. I wrote about the latter earlier: Apple Cider – Fall’s Delicious, Variable, Healthy Beverage!  Of course there are many other options for all ages!!

Try some new things, repeat things that you’ve enjoyed before, and have a Hygge holiday season and winter!!


If you’d like to learn more, I have two recommendations:

Here’s a great book written by a Dane who is a researcher at the Happiness Research Institute:

The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living

This coloring book not only has Hygge designs, but includes the concepts along with some journal pages, tips for coloring and some finished products to illustrate them.

Hygge Happy Coloring Book: Coloring Pages for a Cozy Life (Design Originals) Discover the Scandinavian Secret of Happiness & Enjoy the Good Things in Life with Mellow, Relaxing Hygge Images








The Miracle of the Christmas Ship – a True Story for Your Enjoyment

Many of us love to read Christmas/holiday stories and books during December. Every year there are a lot of fiction books published to feed our reading hunger.

I decided to offer a true story into the mix, The Miracle of the Christmas Ship. It is now available as a Kindle book on and will soon be available in paperback as well. It’s a short book – if it were fiction it would be called a novella. Short and sweet – no long tome. It’s an inspiring story from the past that also provides historical context. I hope you will check it out and enjoy reading it as much as I have enjoyed writing it.

I am Carol Brusegar, blogger, photographer, writer and curator. I focus on ideas and resources for help us all to live more fulfilling and enjoyable lives.