Hey 2016, I’m ready for you

2016: the year of changes. There are some we already know are coming, like Albrecht Little, and others we can only anxiously await until the time is right. But regardless, there will be a lot of change.

I love change when I’m the one in control, but I’m not great at rolling with the punches if you know what I mean. So, this year I’m making only one resolution: to be thankful every day. For the small things, the big things, and everything in between.
So this year you’ll see a lot of thankful lists on this blog. I want to end every day making a short list of the things I’m grateful for, and many of those will end up in this space. Honestly, this exercise is 100% for me, but I hope it encourages you along the way. I hope you are inspired to see the good in all circumstances of your life; that’s my hope for myself, too. Let’s do this together. #thankfulprojectI patiently waited for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry. – Psalm 40:1

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. – Philippians 4:6

I read these verses in my Thirty One Days of Prayer for the Dreamer + Doer
devotional a couple weeks ago and knew they would become my heartbeat for this new year. God, whatever changes are coming… whatever our circumstances may be, may our eyes be ever set on you and our lips ever flowing with praise to you.

2016, we are ready.

Just add a belt.

Just Add a Belt Fashion Inspiration
Just Add a Belt Fashion Inspiration
Just Add a Belt Fashion Inspiration
Just Add a Belt Fashion Inspiration

This outfit was so fun to put together! I recently got this dress from Pink Blush (for $15!!) and it’s become one of my new favorite pieces. It’s so versatile and so comfortable. That’s why dresses are one of my favorite fall clothing items – you look so cute, but secretly you know it’s all about comfort. ;)For those of you who commented last week about how green it was here.. I beg to differ! Ha! These trees are so bare it’s sad… it’s proof winter is really right around the corner. Although, we have yet to get any snow! And I’m thankful for that. I know it’s bound to come, and once it comes, it doesn’t go away… so I’m embracing these snow-free chilly days.

We celebrated Thanksgiving with the youth group this past Sunday and it was so fun. We all brought our favorite food items (which for some students was a pack of tacos from Taco Bell…) and ate too much, laughed, and spent time together.

The sad part for me is that it’s already November 25th, and I’ve hardly spent time this month reflecting on all the things I’m so thankful for. I know Thanksgiving is just a day, and that we should be thankful every day for these things, but it is nice to have a reminder once a year to just slow down and name those blessings, right?

So today I’m going to take a few seconds to name 10 things I’m thankful for. Will you tell me one or two things you’re thankful for in the comments?

1. Clothes – not only that I have more than enough, but also that I am able to choose how and when to wear them.

2. My apartment – that it’s warm, filled with food and furniture and a place we can invite others into to enjoy community.

3. Our new home city – moving to New England has been so great for our marriage.

4. The ability to travel for holidays – I’m so looking forward to seeing my in-laws this week. That’s the downside of living so far away: it’s been way too long since I’ve seen them.

5. New friends – God has blessed us abundantly with new friends in New England. I’m so thankful for them because God teaches me so much through community.

6. Old friends – He has also blessed us with friends who don’t waver, despite the distance. You know who you are. Thank you.

7. Technology – not only does it make it easier to communicate with people far away, but it has given me this opportunity to blog.

8. YOU – thank you for reading this blog and leaving encouraging comments. You have no idea how much that builds me up and spurs me on!! THANK YOU.

9. The freedom, security, and hope we have in the gospel – I can’t imagine what life would look like not knowing the truth of the Gospel.

10. My dear husband – he is absolutely my best friend. I love coming home to him, laughing, goofing off, planning our futures together and dreaming about this short life we have to live. He is such a gift.

You can shop a similar look here:
 

I’m linking up with Maegen and Jana for The Creative Closet. Check out their belted looks!

In the storm, there’s still sun somewhere.

To say my weekend felt like a roller coaster would certainly take the grand prize for my personal understatement of the year. But I think it’s important to take a step back on days like that and say, “thank you” for the positive parts, too. The parts that keep you sane on the days you just can’t believe they are still going, am I right?

Despite the fact I probably cried more yesterday than I have over the 9 months since we moved, I’m thankful for

+ A lazy Saturday morning playing games with my husband, who doesn’t usually ask to play board games when it’s just the two of us. And laughter, so much laughter.

+ A quiet Friday night that was supposed to be filled with hard conversations.

+ The rainbow I saw yesterday, separating the dark section of the sky from the beautifully sunny part. The rainbow that reminded me God keeps his promises.

+ Phone calls with dear friends who know me enough to listen to me whine and cry and then say, “Yes, that stinks,” while also sharing truth that makes my heart lighter.

+ The gift we have in God’s Word.

+ Seeing the adorable invitations I made for a friend’s shower in tangible, printed form.

+ New friends who make a great effort to make me feel loved, whether through check-up texts or parking lot conversations.

+ The convictions that propel me toward Christ, even when it’s hard to face my shortcomings again and again.

We all have rough days, weekends, weeks, and/or months. I feel you, friend. What can you say “thank you” for today, even in the midst of other challenges?

I’m linking up today with Ember Grey for Grateful Heart Monday.

A Surprise Rest

This week is the first in months that we didn’t have a single commitment on a week night. I won’t lie, when I realized this on Monday I legitimately squealed with delight and hurried to call Jacob to tell him. There’s something so freeing about a schedule totally open for slow moments, like grocery shopping with Jacob, cooking dinner together three nights in a row and sitting in our living room with the breeze circling through open windows.

It’s not that we don’t love what keeps us so busy, but sometimes it’s just nice to have a break. This week has reminded me of a slower pace of life, one that often and so quickly gets squandered with all the things we have to be doing to get ahead, be present, make an impact, etc. 
Well, this week I’m enjoying making an impact right here in my quiet home, right here in my marriage. We’ve enjoyed laughs, home-cooked food, and each other’s company. So thankful.

Happy weekend, I hope you can find some moments to enjoy the gift of rest.

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Treat Yourself Today.

This winter has been sort of rough. Granted, we did just move from Tennessee to New Hampshire, so that probably has something to do with it. And everyone here has told us this is the most snow they’ve gotten in one winter in a long time. Ten years, at least.

So knowing that this much snow isn’t the norm has been comforting. Since this has been my view for most of our time here so far, I’m looking forward to spring. But last night, I sat in my flannel sipping some hot tea and felt genuine thankfulness for this season. It’s only during the winter that we spend a lot of nights curled on the couch under blankets, watching too much Netflix. That we want to stay home together more than go out and be busy. Mostly because I don’t want to brave the cold more than necessary.

And today I’m going to bundle up and walk to the coffee shop downtown for lunch. I’m going to get some fresh air, drink something sweet and read for fun. And I’m so excited.

Do something to take care of yourself today. Get some fresh air, treat yourself to something sweet, or take five minutes to just sit by yourself in silence. Whatever makes you remember that you are you and that’s special. God has given you hopes and dreams and passions and made you unique. Don’t forget that today.


A Conversation from Me to You

** This post was written at 10:30pm last night… get ready for some deep thoughts 😉 **

I’m typing this while sitting here wrapped in a blanket and scarf eating ice cream out of a mug (also known as a bowl in our household lately). We just spent the last 20 minutes trying to jump my car so we could move it to the side of our driveway in case the plow guy comes by during the snow storm tomorrow to help us out a little. I guess not moving your car for a few days in this weather wasn’t the best idea in the world.

So anyways, despite the fact I couldn’t feel my fingers and toes when we came inside–the car won by the way–I stood by the space heater and decided I still needed ice cream. And that’s why I’m here now, wrapped in a blanket with sweet moose-track goodness in front of me.

When I was washing dishes earlier today, I was thinking about how funny this transitional season of our lives looks. I forgot to pack bowls in our “temporary house” boxes, so we’ve been using the large mug pictured above and one of the three small glass pyrex containers I happened to set aside. There isn’t a dishwasher here, so we pretty much use the same items over and over…. I normally grab from the “drying dishes” pile before getting anything else out of the cabinets. So every day, sometimes twice a day, I wash the same plastic glasses, mugs, cutting board and pans. We don’t have an oven here, either, so we use pans often.

I’ve also been eating taco soup for the past…. 5 meals? Not breakfast, of course, and no… Jacob has only eaten it once. I’m not that horrible of a wife;). I made it in the crockpot on Monday for dinner while Jacob was away on his staff retreat, so I’ve had it for lunch and dinner since. Usually I take what’s left and freeze it in serving-sized portions for later, but it seemed like an easy meal to heat up on the stove… and I didn’t want to waste three out of my four bowls by letting them sit in the freezer.

Believe it or not, all of these random thoughts do tie together. At least for me. All of these little things, sometimes inconvenient things, are part of this great adventure. I want to remember this season of living in this hilarious and beautiful house, with most of our stuff still in boxes and the washing machine we usually can’t get to work. I want to remember how I reminded myself over and over again that we don’t have to be perfect, and neither does this place. I want to remember the small ways God showed me how big he is and how much he provides. This is our life, our journey with God and our story. And this small story is somehow woven into God’s much greater story, and isn’t that a beautiful thing??

I want to remember how we often don’t feel as if we have it all together (who does?!) and are constantly at the mercy of God, dependent completely on his wisdom and guidance. And I want to remember even after we move and get settled and have all of our “stuff” where we want it… that at one time, we were perfectly content (okay, almost perfectly content) eating our soup and ice cream out of a mug and pyrex container.

I hope God has been moving in your heart lately. It doesn’t have to be through big things. I’m praying you see him today and you feel the depth, the length, and the greatness of his love for you. It’s real. And it’s yours.