2016 Goals

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I decided this year I wanted to live with goals a little bit before posting them. AND I wanted to finish the 31 People(s) project as well. I’m still enjoying the feeling of finishing a project that meant so much to me (even if it was a little later)! But now, it’s time to share! I need the accountability of sharing these things with the world. There’s nothing magical about a goal or a resolution, and it’s okay if you don’t like them. But for me and my Type A personality, goals motivate me. They help me live my life with intention and not just let it slip by, and I welcome that.

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As you might recall, my words for last year were fight and love. They REALLY became the theme of the year – fighting for my best life along with the Holy Spirit to live a life that demonstrated the Gospel and fought for the things that mattered and loving the people in my life fiercely. I’ll probably post a recap soon of what goals happened last year and what didn’t, but fight and love happened in big ways all year.

For this year, the word that kept sticking out as I thought through all my goals was the word light. I want to bravely do things that scare me this year. For me, to not take risks and not do scary things is to stay in the dark. To do scary things and take risks is to live in and chase the light. I want to be brave enough to write and talk about the hard things – bringing them out of the darkness and into the light. I want to continue the fight I started last year – continuing to not let sin control me by living in the light with accountability and my gospel family fighting with and for me. I want to believe that God has given me dreams and that it’s okay to chase and believe in them – living in the LIGHT. Dreams are bright. Bravery is bright. Fighting against sin is bright. Hope is bright. The opposite of not having dreams, not being brave, not fighting, and not hoping against hope is darkness. More light! IMG_0462.JPG

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All of my big yearly goals fit into three categories – simplify, live abundantly, choose healthy. I want to stop buying unnecessary things and exchange frivolous spending for more simplicity. I want to live abundantly, bravely, chasing dreams, doing scary things like not being afraid to talk to boys, have hard conversations, or call myself a writer (or start new jobs and quit old ones – CHECK!). I want to choose healthy options like physical activity and better food.

  • {simplify} Buy less. For every new clothing purchase, 3 others must be donated. Shoes 1 for 1. Makeup 5 for 1. No more impulse buying or buying things just because they are on sale. A purchase has to a be  thought out commitment when it requires getting rid of other things.
  • {simplify} Save more and towards future possible car payments.
  • {simplify} Tithe regularly and bless others.
  • {live abundantly} Do something scary every month.
  • {live abundantly} Only check social media every 2 hours for 5-10 minutes, max 1 hour total a day. (This has proved to be way harder than I thought, but I’m still attempting it!)
  • {live abundantly} Be a good writer. Good writers write, read (BOOKS! Not just blogs and social media articles), connect, believe, and try.
  • {choose health} No solo drive-thrus.
  • {choose health} Eat less sugar.
  • {choose health} Workout for 30 minutes a day, 3-4 days a week at the gym, at home, or outside (do something even if it doesn’t seem “big”).

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My main focus for monthly goals is to read all the books I didn’t read last year! But I also want to be intentional to make the big goals happen through monthly goals too. This is a rough list and I know I’ll add more, but it’s a good start. I also readded some of the monthly ones from last year that I either never did or liked so much I wanted to do it again.

January: Finish Let’s All Be Brave by Annie Downs. Send snail mail. Finish 31 people(s). Write notes to coworkers. Talk to a boy.

February: Finish Harry Potter on audiobook and Make It Happen by Laura Casey. Make and share Valentine’s cookies. Invite a gospel family household over for dinner.

March: Finish The Selection Series by Kiera Cass. Write coworkers notes. Buy a stranger coffee once a week. Invite a gospel family household over for dinner.

April: Finish I Want God by Lisa Whittle. Bring neighbors and landlord baked goods. Plan 33 Things. Write gospel family notes. Invite a gospel family household over for dinner.

May: Finish A Million Little Ways by Emily Freeman. Do 33 things (TBD, but load a Starbucks card to gift Instagram followers with coffee, send snail mail, & other things). Invite a gospel family household over for dinner.

June: Finish Love Does by Bob Goff. Host a game night pot luck. Write prayers for roommates. Invite a gospel family household over for dinner.

July: Read The Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes. Make ice cream in barely used ice cream maker once a week. Wear my two-piece swimsuit somewhere (with all girls, it’s not a scandalous swimsuit but a classy one that terrifies me and a body image challenge). Invite a gospel family household over for dinner.

August: Read Restless by Jennie Allen. Write coworkers notes with a new school year survival happy. Invite a gospel family household over for dinner.

September: Read Simply Tuesday by Emily Freeman. Master a new baked good. Invite a gospel family household over for dinner.

October: Finish 1000 Gifts by Ann Voscamp. Bring neighbors and landlord pumpkin bread. Attempt 31 days again (maybe). Invite a gospel family household over for dinner.

November: Restart/read Wicked Lovely Series by Melissa Marr. Make a real turkey. Host a girls’ night.

December: Finish Wicked lovely Series by Melissa Marr. Send Christmas cards. Bring neighbors cookies.

And I made pretty printouts to put places again. Seriously, I love a January –  a new year, new goals, and new motivation. I already feel like a much braver person and not as cripplingly terrified to do scary things. I already feel like I can’t rely on shopping therapy as a controlling crutch, and that feels good. Now to figure out how to actually make the working out thing happen again and I’ll be off to a good start!

Christmas Pep-Talk

The Christmas season can be a lot of things. Busy. Magical. Chaotic. Fun. Hard. Beautiful. Exhausting.

Here are the things I want to talk to you about this Christmas season: 

1. Taking time to focus on Advent really keeps everything in perspective. It alleviates the fuss and pressure and overwhelming feelings of loss, comparison, etc. etc. etc. and brings attention to the hope and history of a Savior being born so that He could live a spotless life and die a sacrificial death to give us life. Whether it’s an advent study, a calendar with tasks and reminders, a verse a day, parts of THE story once a week, just get in there! Let your affections be stirred by the ultimate peak in THE greatest story of all time when the final Hero enters the epic story of mankind and becomes THE resolution. 

2. Stop making/following rules and ridiculous expectations. You can send photo Christmas cards of you or your cat or you and your roommates and their cats. You’re not too old, too young, too single, too child-less, too chubby, or too anything to be on a Christmas card if you want to be on a Christmas card. And if you don’t? DON’T MAKE/SEND THEM! It’s not a rule. There are no rules. Nothing has to be perfect – not your house, your outfit, your party, the candy, the cookies, the gifts, the decor, the cards, the invites, the shelf elves, and everything else. It doesn’t have to be perfect. If trying to make any of it perfect is stressing you out and taking out the enjoyment, drop it! I decorate because I like it. I sent Christmas cards because I wanted to. Do it because you want to and like it, not because you’re supposed to. And for the supposed to’s that you can’t avoid, give yourself some extra love before and after accomplishing it and then MOVE ON to enjoyable things.

3. Spread some Christmas cheer. Christmas really can trigger some unpleasantries rooted in misplaced priorities, focus, and perspective pushed on us by EVERYTHING AROUND. Not everyone gets presents or have people to give them presents, and that can make you selfishly sad for a minute. Not everyone has family to visit for the holiday, another sad minute. And many of us are missing someone we used to get to spend holidays with (loved ones we’ve lost) or someone we’ve never gotten to spend a holiday with (single adults feel their singleness around the holidays more than normal). But you know what? Some people are going through really terrible things – the tragic loss of a child, horrible terminal sickness, living under bridges, stuck in slavery, addicted to all sorts of things, and beyond. There is no better way to take the focus off of ourselves (though it’s okay to be sad and let sadness have it’s minutes!), than by spreading Christmas cheer to someone else. There are orphans, widows, and oppressed people all around us. And people who just need a Christmas hug! Buy a gift for someone at your local nursing home or a foster child. Bake or buy some cookies for your neighbor. Give your coworkers Christmas cards. Invite someone to your family’s Christmas celebration. 

4. Gratitude really does squash the bad. Let’s be abundantly aware of all the things we have to grateful for this season and always! IT’S EVERYWHERE. I’ll start, and then you go, okay? Today I’m thankful for:

  • roommates who agree to take cheesy (and awesome) Christmas card pics
  • that those Christmas cards will be displayed on people’s refrigerators, mantels, and cute Christmas card displays and holders should any single, Jesus loving, bearded men happen into their homes (I did not send Christmas cards for this reason, duh, but I’m not sad about a cute pic of my friends’ really awesome single friend named Kasia and her single roommates being displayed as a potential conversation stater/advertisement, just sayin’)
  • for all the Christmas cards I get to display on my fridge and Christmas card holder
  • that weather is cool enough to allow me to wear one of my new Christmas sweaters FINALLY
  • and for a super cute elf with my name on it that my coworker gave me for Christmas today!

5. Enjoy it! 2016 is almost here folks. Don’t let the busy of the season cause you to miss it. This year and season is seriously going to be over in a flash. Finish the things you want/need to finish for the year (like your 31 posts KASIA), love on the people you want to love, celebrate the traditions you want to celebrate, start the new traditions you want to start, drink hot cocoa, eat candy canes, watch Elf and all your other favorite Christmas movies, buy some eggnog and forget to drink it, make cookies, wrap presents, build gingerbread houses, wear Christmas pjs. ENJOY THE HECK OUT OF IT! 

And one extra tidbit for fun. WEAR ALL THE SPARKLY THINGS! Wear red and green together, you never get to do that! Wear Christmas sweaters like crazy (if the weather will cooperate). Wear Christmas earrings. Use all your sparkle polishes. Wear your sequin skirts and dresses and all your sparkly shoes. Add bling! Probably don’t do ALL these things at once, add sparkle tastefully, but do it!

Merry Christmas! Let’s make it one to remember. 

32, Goals, Taylor Swift, and Fairies

32, Goals, Taylor Swift, & Fairies

Warning: This post contains LOTS of pictures, but I’m not sad about it! I continue to be what one might call “bad” at blogging in this season of life. The good news? I’m currently feeling the writing itch. I’ve already written a couple of posts for the TWU blog (one was posted last week), and the Holy Spirit continues to make me keenly aware via promptings, messages, etc. that writing is something I’m called to do and I only get one little life on this earth to do it! So I’m gonna try harder okay? The bad news? I’m a forgetful, easily distracted human and will probably disappoint you/myself. Life happens and distracts us from things we really want to do, but let’s keep going okay?!


First up on the list of things I want to talk to you about (which I conveniently and non-creatively listed as my blog post title), I’m 32 now! I’m not one of those people who takes their birth year off Facebook so people don’t know how old I am (yet). I’m proud of my 32 years of life! I’m sure there will be days, or a stage of life coming soon, where I might not be so proud of my age and can no longer boast about being asked if I’m a college student, but for now, no shame. Does my life look like what I thought it would at 32 when I was 22 or 18 or 28 or even 30? Not at all. I think it looks better. Don’t get me wrong, I still would like to trade my last name in for a new one, BUT my life is way more beautiful and full than I ever imagined it could be, single or married. I genuinely LOVE my life. Even in the seasons where I haven’t loved love quite as much, I still loved birthdays. Combine life love + birthday love and you get some pretty magical birthday celebrating!

Sometimes I wonder/worry that my love for celebrating my birthday (and all the other days I like to celebrate/remember: October 14th, first day of fall, my dad’s heaven anniversary, my dad’s birthday) might seem selfish. To clarify, this is why I celebrate: I LOVE THE PEOPLE IN MY LIFE! I love the people I live life with daily now (roommate, besties, gospel family, college girls, etc) and I love the people still in my life that I’m not currently getting to do daily life with (besties, family, former gospel familes, etc). In the dream world I’d like to live in called Cardiganland where fairies are real and it’s never too hot or too cold (and therefore we can wear cardigans year round) and it looks like fall 8 months of the year, all of my people live close by and we have weekly/daily dinner parties and sit at a huge farm table together and magically have endless pantries and fridges so dinner parties aren’t expensive and never gain weight from the yummy food we consume. Since Cardiganland isn’t real, I use special days as an excuse to gather my people together! And I photo document it like crazy so I can always remember it and so the people who live too far away to gather can feel like they were there. So now that you know why I celebrate, pictures! I’ll let the captions share how I brought 32 in with a bang. (And then if you don’t really want that much detail, you can skip over, but if you do click on the pics and scroll through.)


Next up, a 2015 goals check in. Why? Because what’s the point in making goals if you don’t allow them to motivate you more than just in January when everyone is motivated? Also, vulnerability! You see me post all my big fancy goals, and I want to be honest with my self and you on where I still need work! The BIG goals for the year, fighting and loving are going pretty well. Fighting is going REALLY well, and loving is going decently well.

For basic year goals:

1. Forgive others and myself quickly. {Happening.}

2. React less, think more. {Getting better for sure.) 

3. Read more. {NOT happening. Still half a year to attempt though!}

4. Resist, fight, flee from temptation like never before by being dedicated to cardio as a healthy outlet. {Happening!}

5. Be more loving and kind (to my roommates, my friends, my family, and my neighbors). {Work in progress, but I think it’s happening, definitely lacking with neighbors.}

6. Write more and learn to write at home and not need to be somewhere else. {Never ending work in progress.} 

7. Make wise choices with money. Tithe consistently. Save monthly. Buy less. {Definite progress overall, but as of late need to get back at it.) 

8. Give away time, resources, and talents more liberally. Feed people, share with people, bake for people, and more. {Some yes, others no, work in progress.) 

Monthly goals so far:

January: Workout every day in January and beyond, goal – 66 days, not counting exclusion days. Exclusion(s): work + church Wednesdays and traveling days. {HAPPENED} Finish Let’s All Be Brave by Annie Downs. {Didn’t happen}

February: No drinking any sugar or artificial sugar. Exclusion(s): occasional hot cocoa on cold nights with roommates and pink coffee on Valentines Day. {HAPPENED! No longer drink sugar in my morning coffee, prefer it without! Still going strong with no diet or regular soda, gonna try for all of 2015. Only drink sweet tea on special occasions, and usually half and half unsweet/sweet.} Finish Love Does by Bob Goff. {NOPE}

March: Bring neighbors and landlord baked goods. {Nope, though I am still collecting frozen bananas to FINALLY make banana bread.} Clean out closet. {YES} Finish I Want God by Lisa Whittle. {NOPE}

April: Call a grandparent every Sunday. {Big fail. Totally forgot I made this goal, I GOTTA make this happen.} Finish 1000 Gifts. {NOPE} Make 32 things birthday list. {Ish. I didn’t write it down and think of all of them before my birthday. But there is a list – see below!} 

May: Do 32 things (TBD, but for sure plant things, FINALLY make my fairy garden, and load a Starbucks card to gift Instagram followers with coffee). {I’m extending this to go from May 14th to June 14th since May was a tight financial month due to not having an extra roommate, so not calling it a no yet, and I have done SOME of the 32 things I decided on. See the “fairies” section for the 32 things.} Finish Make It Happen by Laura Casey. {Probably a nope based on current track record haha.}June: Invite a different family from church to dinner every Thursday. Finish A Million Little Ways by Emily Freeman. {Including June to stay motivated! I really want to do this one!!} 


I FINALLY CREATED THE FAIRY GARDEN! It’s been a year long process, and will continue to be added to, but it’s finished enough for me to be proud enough of it to share the progress.

32 THINGS FOR BIRTHDAY “MONTH”: 1. “Finish” fairy garden. 2. Write an encouraging letter to someone. {this week} 3. Finally acquire tulle skirts. 4. Eat a snowball. {hopefully happening this weekend} 5. Wear flowers in hair on birthday. 6. Visit a family member. {planned for May 22 and one other time asap} 7. Eat at Froghead for free. 8. Load a Starbucks card to Instagram to spread joy to a few others. {early June, need a new paycheck} 9. Bring cake for coworkers. 10. Finish a book, any book. 11. Write for TWU. 12. Finish gallery walls. {prints acquired, need frames} 13. Blog.  14. Print some new pics of friends.  15. Actually use the photo booth “banner” made for party last year. 16. Eat from a food truck.  17. Give something away.  18. FINALLY hang hammock. {planned for this Thursday}  19. Deep clean bathroom (hey practical things count as things too!).  20. Go to the Livingston Farmers’ market.  21. See Pitch Perfect 2. 22. Plan/participate in an Indian food/Bollywood movie night. 23. Watch a fairy movie. 24. Get other people excited about and into the Clinton farmers’ market. {15 days y’all!} 25. Bake a new dessert. 26. Acquire an actual fairy figurine for the fairy garden27. Put clothes away (hiding them in the closet doesn’t count – this is ALWAYS a struggle, but a clean room makes me happier)28. Expand fairy garden with a few items from The Olive Branch. {new pay check} 29. Go to a Brilla game to support the Taylors (and play with Hazel and Henry).  30. Work out five days in a row (I work out 3-4 times a week almost every week, which is a victory and hasn’t happened in previous years, but been losing motivation). 31. Make cold brew iced coffee concentrate.  32. FINALLY SEE TAYLOR SWIFT IN CONCERT! {SEE BELOW!!!!} 

Note: Okay since I didn’t actually “pen” the list until today I cheated a LITTLE and included some things I’ve already done or had planned to do. BUT, some of them were already floating around in my head and would have been on the list anyway. And for the others, well, it’s my list and I can make the rules right? 🙂


I’M GOING TO SEE TAYLOR SWIFT IN CONCERT Y’ALL!! I haven’t shared this publicly yet because I wanted to make it an ANNOUNCEMENT! I do prefer Taylor’s new stuff along with most of the world, BUT I’ve been a fan to the core since the beginning Teardrops on my Guitar days ! She’s what made me be able to tolerate other country again. And I do so tolerate, not like, because she was never really THAT country. But because I loved her, I stopped having deep hatred for country music. I’m convinced we’re kindreds. I love her music and ability to tell stories through song. And I love the way she loves her fans. It’s inevitable that I’m going to cry. Therefore, I’m taking my cousin Marissa, who is really more like a sister, for two reasons: 1. she can’t decided she doesn’t want to be friends with me after the inevitable tears I will shed at a Taylor Swift concert because she’s family and 2. we need some quality time together!

Hello, 2015!

Well, it’s only January 10th, but FINALLY posting my 2015 goals. If I didn’t want to make them pretty, have them on a printout to post important places that was pretty, and do a 2014 recap post, I could have posted these LONG ago. But it’s still closer to January 1st than January 31st so we’ll call it a success. 

A quick look at last year’s goals

  1. Take accountability deeper. (HAPPENED)
  2. Pay attention to food intake. (So-so, but really started to happen towards the end of the year via MyFitnessPal)
  3. Work out more. (DID NOT happen) 
  4. Read more – blogs and books. (Meh, sorta sometimes but not really)
  5. Connect more: A. In person, initiate hang outs with friends, text, call, respond more, and put away my phone when I’m with people. B. In the world wide web. Comment on blogs I read regularly. Be active in blog forums. Make blog friend connections. (HAPPENED)
  6. Write more – blogging and journal. (Did not happen)
  7. Spend time with Jesus and don’t stop. (HAPPENED, few rough patches but always went back)
  8. Pray for my friends, family, and future (job, husband, calling, dreams, etc). (HAPPENED) 
  9. Wear makeup more regularly. (DEFINITELY HAPPENED, thanks Ipsy)
  10. Buy less. (Hard to say, but did manage to save this year, so maybe? Def bought less nail polish)
  11. Tithe more. (HAPPENED, needs more consistency, but for sure happened)
  12. Live UP so I can be thankful for the living IN that increases more and more and be more motivated and prepared to live OUT. (Happened, but ALWAYS room for improvement) 
  13. I prefer even numbers, but if 13 is good enough for Taylor Swift, it’s good enough for me! Believe that I have enough of God’s grace and the ability to call on the Holy Spirit to make this (being trained to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live a more self-controlled, upright, and godly life) happen (In some areas for sure saw growth in this) 

As I mentioned in the Goodbye, 2014 post, IT WAS A GREAT YEAR! And I’m full of confidence that 2015 will be too. 

I’ve never done a word, or words, for the year, but I saw some friends doing it and REALLY loved the idea. Ya’ll know I’m NEVER good at being concise, so obviously I couldn’t narrow it down to just one word. My words for this year are FIGHT and LOVE. At first glance the two may seen to be opposites, but for me they aren’t at all. 

FIGHT – I want to passionately fight for myself and along with the Holy Spirit for my best life. Not some American dream best life, but a really believing Jesus is better and the better way to live, life that glorifies that Lord, life. I want to fight to live a holy and pure life in every was possible. I want to fight against my human nature, the flesh, like never before. This involves many things, but the biggest for this year is replacing habitual sin with a healthy stress relieving outlet that has proven to be the most effective thing (along with regular intimate time with Jesus) for me consistently resisting temptation- working out. Allow me to add a little note and say, this isn’t about rules or law or legalism or shoulds or shouldn’ts. This is about seeing the evidence in my own life that choosing to live a life that glorifies God, isn’t captive to sin, and fights to be pure is genuinely a more life-giving and better way to live. FIGHT! 

LOVE – My human nature can be a B-word ya’ll. Living with roommates for the first time in four years is refining me like WHOA! At my worst I’m mean, selfish, caddy, snappy, and the list goes on. I want to REALLY strive to love the people I really do love, way better. I also want to love the people I don’t love (yet), my neighbors. God’s put me in this place for this time and I haven’t even met most of my dang neighbors! I also want to love my coworkers well, my friends well, my family well, and my gospel family well. LOVE! 

I want to fight to love and I want to love to fight!


1. Forgive others and myself quickly. The struggle to harbor bitterness towards others and myself when they/I mess up, like all humans do, is REAL. (love and fight) 

2. React less, think more. There is a beast inside me called snappiness and it is vicious (especially before coffee, when tired after work, and well, often). (love and fight) 

3. Read more. Finish the books I’ve started. Attempt She Reads Truth Bible in a year plan. Read the blogs I follow more regularly. (fight) 

4. Resist, fight, flee from temptation like never before by being dedicated to cardio as a healthy outlet. From calendar journaling over the last two years I have been able to see there is a major connection for me between working out and resisting temptation and habitual sin. The one time in the last two years they I most consistently resisted some sins that entangle me was when I was in a boot camp. Bring on the intense cardio! (FIGHT)

5. Be more loving and kind (to my roommates, my friends, my family, and my neighbors). (love) 

6. Write more and learn to write at home and not need to be somewhere else. (fight) 

7. Make wise choices with money. Tithe consistently. Save monthly. Buy less. (love and fight?)

8. Give away time, resources, and talents more liberally. Feed people, share with people, bake for people, and more. (love) 

AND this year, I also copied my friend Megan, and added a goal for each month that are more specific ways to achieve my big goals. I love lists ya’ll. And I’m motivated by goals. 

January: Workout every day in January and beyond, goal – 66 days, not counting exclusion days. Exclusion(s): work + church Wednesdays and travelling days (for a wedding I’m making cakes for). Finish Let’s All Be Brave by Annie Downs. 

February: No drinking any sugar or artificial sugar. Exclusion(s): occasional hot cocoa on cold nights with roommates and pink coffee on Valentines Day.  Finish Love Does by Bob Goff. 

March: Bring neighbors and landlord baked goods. Clean out closet. Finish I Want God by Lisa Whittle. 

April: Call a grandparent every Sunday. Finish 1000 Gifts. Make 32 things birthday list. Finish Make It Happen by Laura Casey. 

May: Do 32 things (TBD, but for sure plant things, FINALLY make my fairy garden, and load a Starbucks card to gift Instagram followers with coffee). Finish A Million Little Ways by Emily Freeman. 

June: Invite a different family from church to dinner every Thursday.

July: Make ice cream in my barely used ice cream maker every Saturday.

August: Write coworkers notes with a new school year survival happy.

September: Memorize a chapter of scripture to cling to for November and the holidays.

October: Bring neighbors and landlord pumpkin bread. Buy a stranger coffee every Monday at Starbucks (favorite month deserves a little cheer spreading!).

November: Master a new baked good and TBD (hard month so will need extra).

December: Send Christmas cards. Bring neighbors cookies.

Goodbye, 2014

Of course I want to write about my 2015 goals (that’s coming next, possibly even today) and the hopefulness of a new year to live, but I couldn’t let 2014 go without some reflection. It was a year full of transition and new things, full of growth, and full of beauty. It ended with my all time favorite New Year’s Eve I’ve ever had. Fancy food, sparkly clothes, beautiful friends, sparkly beverages in fancy glasses, a photo booth, packs and packs of sparklers, and a sleepover. At our New Year’s Eve sleepover with the lights out, in our pjs, and laying on our floor beds (aka air mattresses, but floor beds sounds more Gossip Girl-esque fancy), we took turns verbally reflecting on 2014 and spoke our focus(es) for 2015 out loud. My short summary for 2014 was it was my best year yet and every year continues to get better.

Two days later I had to get out of the house to get my 2015 goals on paper and had a moment where I knew with every fiber of my being that 2015 was going to be another best year yet. Spoiler alert: One of my 2015 goals is to work out, like for real. I joined the gym three days before the new year and had been every day since (at the time four, now eight!). The rain, a little soreness in my legs, my cozy bed, more episodes of Gossip Girl to be watched, and my tummy ache all gave pretty convincing arguments to stay in. Once I got the the gym, more cars being there than I’d seen yet also argued for me to go back home. But I didn’t. Once upon a time going into a crowded gym would have terrified me. But I went. Then I took myself on a lunch/afternoon reading/writing date to McAlister’s during lunch rush hour. As I sat in a booth by myself with my books and journals and pens, excited and happy as can be, I realized that I would have never done that, or gone to a crowded gym by myself, a couple of years ago.

Jesus changes everything. There is nothing more empowering that to realize you’re not who you once were and though you could name a million things you want to work on, you like who you are now enough to confidently walk into a crowded gym by yourself or take yourself on a lunch date during lunch rush hour. The more I accept and embrace Jesus’s love for me, the more loving myself feels natural. No self help book or makeover could do that for me, only Jesus’s unconditional, relentless, scandalous love for me could. That is why every year since Jesus has captivated my love and affection continues to be the best year yet despite bad days, messy days, hard days, and giving up days. So before I post about my goals, hopes, and dreams for a new year, I want to remember and recap the great year that just ended.

2014 Things:

  • I went three months without a car and had to learn to depend on people and let people help me
  • I jumped on the Downton Abbey train, binge watched, made cute tea sandwiches while I watched, and then realized I could never binge watch a full hour long show with no commercials again and quit Downton Abbey.
  • I watched Frozen more times that I can even count and meant to write a series of blog posts called “Life Lessons From Frozen” but never finished them.
  • I wore my hair in the shape of a heart for Valentine’s day (and will probably do it again this year).
  • I saw a vehicle two cars in front of me try to shoot at another vehicle.
  • In January I notified the job I had worked at for three years that also happened to come with an apartment that I would no longer be working there as of May.
  • I freaked out a lot about not knowing what job I was going to have in May or where I was going to live or who I was going to live with.
  • I watched God answer tons of prayers for my fellow coworkers who were also leaving and myself about jobs and places to live.
  • I baked a lot of cookies and cupcakes for a lot of different things.
  • I got to pray with a sweet girl named Jasmynn as she decided that following Jesus was the best way to live her life.
  • I said goodbye to a job and season of life that I loved where I got the mentor some of the most amazing girls I’ve ever met and watch them grow because I knew God was telling me that it was time to move on.

  • I started a new job and moved into a HOUSE!
  • I turned 31 and had a magical fairy garden birthday party involving fairy snacks and watching Hook on a big sheet stapled to my house in the backyard.
  • I said “see you later” to people who had truly become my family and some of my best friends (my fellow RDs) as we all parted ways.
  • I watched God answer my prayers for roommates who would be like a family and provide accountability in unexpected ways (and get to live with two friends I’ve know for 10 and 12 years!).
  • I fell even more in love with my church family.
  • I liked a guy and he kind of maybe sometimes liked me back and we sort of went on dates that weren’t really dates and then I got confused and decided I liked being single more than being confused.
  • I experienced beautiful, deep, loving accountability.
  • I came back to Jesus a lot.
  • I learned more about living on mission and for the Gospel.
  • I met two new friends who are now my besties and I can’t imagine life without them.
  • I was a jerk, a lot.
  • I learned a lot about myself from living with people for the first time in 5ish years, and it was and continues to be a messy and refining journey.
  • I stopped being afraid of selfies.
  • I started wearing makeup semi-regularly as opposed to only on special occasions.
  • My nail polish collection traveled to the 300s and I finally stopped buying so much nail polish.
  • I got 5 new tattoos (current total is 9).
  • I had a freakish 3 day sickness where my lips and fingers turned blue.
  • I braved church on Father’s Day for the first time since I lost my dad.
  • I finally learned how to save money.
  • I started a college girls’ group with my roommate and aforementioned new besties to love on and invest in a younger generation of women.
  • I hosted a Welcome Autumn Party to ring in the first day of fall.
  • I acquired a really awesome firepit thanks to my brother and with my roommates created an amazing backyard space.
  • I had a lot of dinner dates, coffee dates, and girls’ nights with all the amazing ladies in my life.
  • I had another magical October 14th, one of the best yet.
  • I got asked to be in a fashion show (and chickened out).
  • I survived another November, my hard month.
  • I got to spend Christmas with another friend’s amazing family.
  • I WENT TO HARRY POTTER WORLD and took myself on my first real vacation as an adult.

I realized way more days than I didn’t that I love my life even with the hard stuff, even though I screw up, even though I’m single, I LOVE MY LIFE! I love my life because though I still stray from my Savior, I always go back. Though I still am a sinful mess, I don’t live in a pit of self-condemnation and shame anymore. I’m free. My life is abundantly full, the hard days make me aware of my need for my Savior, and that makes life beautiful.

Cheers to you 2014. You were a great year!

Thankful Thursday (Week 3)

It’s Friday eve! Being crazy and attempting some more of this consistency with weekly thankfuls recap again (week 1 here, week 2 here). What has you feeling warm fuzzy thankfulness?

November 13th: 

61. cold weather (I really love it!)

62. leggings

63. warm tortillas

64. a swanky new coffee tumbler

65. CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS (and the warm fuzzies they give me)

November 14th: 

66. a solo three hour road trip for maximum car singing time

67. Total Woman U (our meeting tonight, our mission, the team aka my family, our goals and dreams, etc)

68. hugs 

69. the Holy Spirit

70. that my phone didn’t die when I dropped I in my soup at dinner.

November 15th: 

71. chapstick

72. joggers (trendy name for baggy but somehow cute-ish sweat pants)

73. meeting people who really live for the gospel by doing things like uprooting their comfortable lives to live on mission in an area most people would be fearful of

74. blueberry scones

75. being with non-pretentious amazing friends while encountering pretentious hipsters.

November 16th: 

76. hearing Myles Manuel pray for his future adopted sister and brother at children’s church this morning

77. Hazel cuddles

78. help from my roommate in the kitchen for the Thanksgiving dinner for our college girls (as well as company from her and her sister while I did my least favorite chore – hanging clothes)

79. hosting a house full of people (14!)

80. that so many of the college girls we get to hang out with came to Arise this morning and to our Thanksgiving dinner tonight

November 17th: 

81. my red coat

82. She Reads Truth

83. an understanding boss

84. therapeutic tears

85. heated car seats

November 18th: 

(Note: November 18th was the anniversary of my dad’s death. I wanted to attempt to be extra thankful on a hard day.)

86. the texts, facebook messages, and prayers of so many friends

87. an amazing department who understands that grief is worthy of a sick day too

88. hot cocoa with peppermint marshmallows (PINK HOT COCOA)

89. a cozy sweatshirt

90. friends who make me plan a dinner to celebrate my dad at the place he always wanted to go when he came to visit me in Clinton, MargaritERs (yep, that’s how he said it)

91. how my dad selflessly took care of so many people

92. that my dad gave his life to Jesus and prayed for me and my brother everyday

93. that my dad taught me to save money (even though I just recently put it into practice) and avoid credit cards (I’d be terrible at them)

94. that my dad never gave up on people

95. that I never stop missing my dad regardless of the years that pass by without him

November 19th: 

96. pumpkin donut muffins

97. blogging mojo

98. the warm fuzzies writing provides

99. my new tiny bow necklace, Wednesday nights (Missional community AND friend Nashville watching)

100. unexpected happy mail

Thankful Thursday (Week 2)

Happy almost Friday! Just attempting some consistency and my weekly thankfuls recap again (week 1 here). What has you feeling warm fuzzy thankfulness? 

November 6th: 

26. the big truck in front of me on the way to work this morning that stirred up a magical trail of leaves to flutter in front of me all the way to Hinds 

27. technology like myfitnesspal and pedometer apps that make making healthier choices seem less overwhelming

28. project starfish

29. 105.1’s 24/7 Christmas music

30. realizing in my blogging absence somehow my page views crossed the 200,000 mark (WHAT?!).

November 7th: 

31. gold glitter pointy toe flats that cost $9

32. crisp air

33. that I live in the real life version of Stars’ Hollow

34. the ability to fight lies

35. a cozy bed

November 8th:

36. new dangly earrings


38. house groceries being finished until after thanksgiving

39. cutest picture with Hazel Taylor ever

40.  Harry Potter themed birthday parties

November 9th: 

41. how free I feel to weep on Sundays with my gospel family 

42.  that bath and body works makes candles that smell like hugging attractive men (mahogany teakwood, sparkling icicles, black tie, sweater weather, flannel, etc) AND that they are 2 for $22 right now

43. a roommate teamwork productive afternoon getting our house back together after renovations, 

44. crockpots (and the best/easiest potato soup recipe ever) 

45. God giving me a prayer inspired by the message today to pray through these not so easy grief days and holiday days of missing my dad. “I pray that I would stay in my pain and grief, standing in your glory, clinging to the faith and hope that you are better, instead of running to and back to temptations that entangle, numb, and hide the pain.”

November 10th:

46. the cure for most ailments and aches being rest and the luxury of having a job that comes with sick time to partake of healing rest (made my back mad at me, no biggie, it’s feeling better now)

47. clean sheets

48. dinner at the table

49. Tyler Florence (he is a beautiful man to watch cook)

50. planning holiday party/meal food offerings

November 11th: 

51. new mercies

52. friends I can reach out to about ugly temptations who never judge but rise up to pray and fight with me

53. positive responses to a cheesy work thanksgiving brunch idea/email

54. an accountability group that’s so life giving that even when I think I don’t want to go or talk because I’m too emotional and having a heavy grief day, I still go because we love each other in our messes so much that I can talk and cry and they love and give and ask the right questions that make me feel loved and never judged

55. for the patience of amazing roommates who handle my moods and ocd tendencies way more graciously than I deserve!

Side note: I’m quite thankful that so many of my thankfuls are about the amazing people in my life. Today was an unexpectedly emotionally hard day grief day (that I’m actually also thankful for) and precisely the reason why I needed to establish a pattern of focusing on giving thanks for big things, small things, deep things, and silly things.

November 12th: 

56. how beautiful Clinton Raymond road is on my drive to and from work

57. recipe creativity success

58. memories

59. that googling deskercise produced lots of ideas that have now left me a little sore

60. cvs clearance nail polish

Thankful Thursday (Week 1)

Remember that time I used to post things on my blog? Oops.

Hey y’all, my long lost blog and the few people who didn’t give up on me and still read my words. I could say a bunch of things about the lack of posting and make promises I probably can’t keep, but I won’t. I’m just gonna say…

Hey. I missed you. How are you? Let’s be friends again.

Also, remember that time I posted this post about thankfulness last January and had big dreams of being intentionally thankful all year? For the most part that didn’t happen guys. I will say that “project” helped me focus on positivity vs. negativity, which is a total victory to celebrate. BUT, as far as intentionally taking time to be consistently thoughtfully thankful for things big and small, it didn’t happen.

It’s November, so naturally people are on the thankful bandwagon again. At first, I resisted. But, I decided I don’t want to miss an opportunity to be intentionally thankful for a month even if it’s trendy, cliche, or cheesy. Who the heck cares?! Taking time to shift how we think about life and add positivity is good for us whether it’s a bandwagon thing or not. My “make your own rules” mentality tries to skip bandwagons sometimes, but sometimes, it’s also just called pride. November is a hard month for me, my hardest (anniversary of my Dad’s death + holiday season without him). I started to post ALL of this, and my catching up for the days I resisted, on Facebook. But something about it felt more flashy than genuine and less like an accountability effort to actually do it and more about showing off my list making skills.

Therefore, today I’m sharing my catching up list and my goals with you guys. Somehow this feels more genuine and I’m okay with that. My goal is five thankfuls a day. I will be writing them in my journal and possibly posting them on Facebook most days. Why Facebook? Well, I like sharing and think social media if used correctly (not as a crutch, not as an isolation tool, not as false sense of community/community substitute, not as an addiction, and not to compare or be mean) can make our community richer and help spur one another one. I also might post them as a weekly round up here. Maybe I’ll steal the clever and catchy Thankful Thursday. Maybe. Regardless of where I share, or if I share, or if I skip a few days or a week, my goal isn’t to check it off my to do list, though I do love a good check mark. My goal is to preach positivity to myself in a month that comes with some pain and heartache. My goal is to be thankful for deep things and shallow things, big things and small things, fun things, silly things, growth things, hard things, ALL THE THINGS! Join me if you wish, but if anytime is a time to intentionally give thanks, November kind of easily sets itself up for that in America, but for me personally, my November needs this. And now, let’s catch up! 

November 1st: 

1. new tattoos/tattoo viewing crew 

2. the Babalu burger 

3. the coolest temperatures of fall so far 

4. Mallory and how pleasant and fun she makes getting new tattoos 

5. a working heater 
November 2nd: 

6. a church family that serves together 

7. being in dirty “work clothes” at McAlisters amongst lots of “church clothes” 

8. cast iron skillets 

9. cheap apple season 

10. our growing group of college girls 
November 3rd: 

11. caramel brulee lattes 

12. red cups at Starbucks 

13. meal planning 

14. days of the week notepads 

15. a fun night with my roommates 
November 4th: 

16. colorful fountain pens 

17. my new lunch box 

18. Dollar General lunch breaks (it’s the only store I’m not scared to go in in Raymond and I actually love it) 

19. texts from my best friend 

20. my amazing DNA group 
November 5th: 

21. breakfast meetings at Chick-Fil-A 

22. work encouragement/purpose 

23. #fireworkpeople 

24. seeing Arise Church traditions form (2nd Halloween party and 2nd Rake it to the Streets just happened and super pumped about our 2nd Thanksgiving dinner for people in our community) 

25. looking temptation in the face and saying no, you don’t win today! 

2014: New Year, New Goals, New Resolve

Last year I publicly declared that New Years Days was my new favorite holiday. I still agree with myself. Good job self! To borrow words from my year ago self – “It’s the second fifth (so I was a little slower this year) day of a new year. A year full of motivation, hope, and inspiration. Oh how I’m in desperate need of all those things and so excited about them. ” Last year when I wrote that, it was after an unintentional 3 month blog break because of the loss of my dad. I gave a somewhat sad update on the happenings up until that moment to catch you up, shared my reasons for restored hope, and share my goals for 2013. This year, surprise surprise, I took another unintentional break (just two-ish months this time). I’ll update you, but it won’t be sad this time!

Can we all just agree that November and December are insanely busy and a really hard time to make time for things you love doing like blogging? I now know November and December will always be hard for me to blog in. It’s just a busy season. In November I had two huge catering orders, two of my biggest, not to mention the things I had to bake and cook for holiday celebrations. I intentionally remembered the year mark of my dad no longer being on earth. I celebrated Thanksgiving three times. December was also just as full, baking, Christmas shopping, Christmas celebrations, visiting friends and family. All good updates!

Having a church family to celebrate this round of holidays with was more beautiful than I ever could have imagined. From the very first time we met in June, many of us strangers, especially me, our goal was to become a family, a group of people who are becoming disciples together, genuinely loving one another, who long to live on mission, genuinely loving our neighbors, so we can make disciples who make disciples. Most of these people, I’ve know for just 7 months, and I already can’t imagine my life without them. Last year I was terrified of three weeks off of work and wanted to get out of my town as quick as possible so I didn’t have to be alone. This year I wanted to be in my town because I knew I wouldn’t be alone. I wanted to share holidays with them. I still had sad moments where I missed my dad a lot, but it was survivable because I wasn’t alone. I had my Arise Church family. I had my loving, amazing friends. On my worst day of the year, the day I remember every moment of the day instead of random unexpected moments, that my dad isn’t here, I wanted to be with them. And they wanted to be with me. It was beautiful. Oh, and I had a wreck and am currently without a vehicle.

So to borrow words from my self again:  “And now it’s January. I have officially changed my favorite holiday to New Years. I reaffirm that New Years is my favorite holiday. It’s so full of hope, motivation, inspiration, and renewal. It truly is a breath of fresh air. Of course I know I’ll still have sad break down moments [and downs mixed in with the ups like being vehicle-less], but January and a new year feel like the sun coming out after a big scary tornado warning or hurricane landfall.”

I did look back at last year’s resolutions. Some of them were accomplished, some of them changed, some of them didn’t happen. BUT, that isn’t going to stop me from making a new set of goals for this year. Some synonyms of resolution are resolve, intent, intention, aim, and plan. My intent in resolving to make resolutions for 2014 is to be intentional and aim for my planned goals this year (like what I did there?). So without further blabbering ado (I wanted to say this but realized I didn’t know what it meant exactly, ado – hubbub, bustle, flurry, fuss), my goals for 2014.

  1. Take accountability deeper.
  2. Pay attention to food intake.
  3. Work out more.
  4. Read more – blogs and books.
  5. Connect more: A. In person, initiate hang outs with friends, text, call, respond more, and put away my phone when I’m with people. B. In the world wide web. Comment on blogs I read regularly. Be active in blog forums. Make blog friend connections.
  6. Write more – blogging and journal.
  7. Spend time with Jesus and don’t stop.
  8. Pray for my friends, family, and future (job, husband, calling, dreams, etc).
  9. Wear makeup more regularly.
  10. Buy less.
  11. Tithe more.
  12. Live UP so I can be thankful for the living IN that increases more and more and be more motivated and prepared to live OUT.
  13. I prefer even numbers, but if 13 is good enough for Taylor Swift, it’s good enough for me! Believe that I have enough of God’s grace and the ability to call on the Holy Spirit to make this (being trained to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live a more self-controlled, upright, and godly life) happen:



What are your goals? Share them with me! I’m a goal person, I love hearing about other people’s goals.

Fall To Do List

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If you’re keeping up, today is one of the making the kitchen more manageable days in my Food for Thought series. After the super lengthy meal planning post and the super length love and bad moods post I decided you might enjoy a fun less wordy more listy type post! One of the things that I think is essential to a manageable kitchen, is having fun things to look forward to. What’s more fun that fall?! Absolutely nothing in my book. Fun fall things to bake and make, fun fall parties to have and host, fun ways to decorate your kitchen and make it even more fun to be in. IT’S ALL ABOUT FUN! I’ve seen tons of fall to do lists on Pinterest, and though I love Pinterest and use it for many things, make your own fall to do list! Put things on that list you want to bake, make, cook, and do. The kitchen will always feel more manageable when you make it a fun place to be.

My Fall To-Do List: 

Make fall flavored baked donuts. (doing it this week!)
Make homemade hot chocolate.
Make homemade apple cider.
Go over board on decorating. (done!)
Make a family recipe for dressing.
Cook a real pumpkin.
Make a new fall wreath. (done!)
Master three new soups.
Make homemade apple sauce.
Make my favorite pumpkin cookies. (done!)
Host a girls’ night with fall themed goodies. (doing it this weekend!)
Take a nap outside with a blanket in leaves.
Go on a hay ride.
Make my nanny’s apple dumplings.
Go to a bonfire (and have s’mores).
Crunch every leaf possible. (in process!)
Start sewing Christmas gifts for people.
Have a picnic.
Pick out pumpkins. (done!)
Go to a pumpkin patch.
Collect real leaves and acorns for a fall arrangement.
Go on a walk through the Nature Center.
Drink a warm beverage at the Olde Towne Courtyard with people or a person. (Preferably on a date in October! Now taking applications… Just saying.)

For the month of October, I’m participating in The Nester’s #31Days blog writing challenge. My topic is Food for Thought. I’ll be writing about two main things. 1. Understanding and believing God’s love. 2. Making life in the kitchen more manageable. You can read all my #31Days posts here