2020 Goals + Word for the Year

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Three years ago, I unintentionally started my own New Year’s tradition. Instead of creating resolutions that would be too easily forgotten or too quickly broken (like giving up fast food completely or working out every single day), I made a list of a few specific, measurable, realistic goals: a list that I could come back to a year later to reflect on and see how I grew. And the idea kind of stuck with me, so here I am, for the fourth year in a row, thankful for God’s faithfulness in 2019 and turning a hopeful eye toward the new year ahead!

MY 2019 GOALS WERE:

  • Each night (or as often as I can), write down something that made me happy that day. ✓
    I didn’t actually complete this for the whole year, but honestly, I’m okay with it. I started feeling guilty when I would miss a day (or twelve days), and the whole point of doing it was to bring myself joy, not guilt. So…I quit! And I gave myself permission to not feel bad about it. Instead, I’ve been taking more candid photos – my mom friends cuddling their babies, Daniel and his friends laughing while watching a game together, church friends quietly serving behind the scenes. I’ve still been preserving little moments of joy, just with a camera instead of a pen.
  • Plan a “stay-cation”.
    As much as I wanted to make this happen…I waited too long. :( I wanted to try to plan one in the midst of Daniel’s busy season, to give him a breather, but it didn’t work out like I had hoped. But I’m not giving up, and we’re going to do this soon!
  • Learn something new – an intimidating recipe, common phrases in a few other languages, maybe a yoga pose. But something brand new to me. ✓
    1. Ear candling! Super weird. Still don’t totally understand how it works, but I always wanted to try it at least once.
    2. Aerial yoga, for Robyn’s bachelorette party – SO FUN! I wish there was a studio near me so I could take classes.
    3. I planned my very first wedding (Nicole and Ben’s) as a paid event coordinator!! One of the most stressful, magical days of my life!
    4. I made my own butter, and it was FREAKING amazing. Just cream + a jar with a lid + salt. Yummmmm.
    5. Kaci Walston taught me how to make her famous pie crust!
  • Finish reading through the whole Bible chronologically. ✓
    This took me a little over a year and a half to complete – it’s a carryover from last year’s list of goals. I look back on this experience with so much joy, and I can’t wait to read it all again, and again, and again, until my last breath. ♥
  • Do just enough cardio to keep my heart from literally bursting at two of the most anticipated, most emotional, and most exciting weddings of my life: Robyn + Travis // Amanda + Ryan. ✓
    Two of the sweetest, most beautiful, and most fun weddings I’ve ever been part of. 2019 = THE YEAR OF LOVE ♥♥
  • Find a fun 5k in my area, train for it, and run in it. ✓
    I did the Color Run in Tulsa with Daniel, Robyn, Travis, Jennifer, and Stacey, and it was a blast!! I surprised myself with how much I ran versus walked.
  • Pray for Daniel every single day. ✓
    It may not have been LITERALLY every day, but I made this list to keep myself on track, and it has really helped!
  • Have at least one TV-free day per week, and one social media-free day per month. 
    I definitely did NOT do this every week or every month. Again. *facepalm* I think this is something that will always be on my list of things I want to get better at. I’m just going to put it on every goal list from now on until I accomplish it.
  • Set specific time aside to do something for our marriage: a weekend away, a marriage conference, etc. ✓
    We had a dinner date alone at the steakhouse while on our friendscation cruise in October, and that time together and our conversation were a breath of fresh air! We also had some really great conversations in the car while traveling for Christmas.
  • Host our friends for a full-fledged, multi-course dinner party.
    Between all the weddings, parties, baby showers, and traveling that happened in 2019, I just didn’t have time. This is still on my list for the future, though – it’s going to happen eventually.

• 2020 •

Continue my streak from last year and spend time in God’s Word every single day.

Go skydiving!

Do a “no-spend” week.

Visit somewhere new with Daniel.

Call my parents, siblings, and grandparents more.

Try something new: an intimidating recipe, learn common phrases in a few other languages, geocaching, maybe a yoga pose. Something brand new to me.

Go to a drive-in movie.

Make some emergency preparedness kits: one for the car, one for the basement, etc.

Have at least one TV-free day per week and one social media-free day per month.

Shop local more: downtown shops, summer farmer’s market, etc.


I’m also continuing my tradition of picking a Word for the Year! The last three have been HopeCourage, and Joy. Joy was the absolute PERFECT word to describe 2019, and for 2020, my word is:

D I S C I P L I N E .

I’m not gonna lie, my whole body dry-heaved just typing it. But I feel deeply burdened by my lack of discipline in too many important areas to count, and I am confident, yet again, that this word was given to me by the Lord for a reason. Here’s to another year of learning and growing!

What is one of your goals for this year? Tell me in the comments!

20 Questions for 2019

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What was the best thing that happened this year?
Oh wow. I thought 2018 was good, but 2019 has been killer!! The three things that shine brightest in my mind are: (1) Robyn and Amanda’s weddings, (2) Planning my first wedding, and (3) Going on our second friendscation cruise but with wayyyy more people this time around and it was THE BEST WEEK!

What was the most challenging thing that happened this year?
Saying goodbye to our old community group. It was healthy and thriving, and we were asked to help combine two other existing groups and foster a new environment of unity, trust, and affection for each other, just like we had with our first group. I had a really hard time with it at first, even though I knew it’s what we were supposed to do. But God worked things together so beautifully, and now I look forward to Tuesday nights every single week. I love them all so much!

Who were your most valuable friendships with?
My Lakepoint people. Directly related to my last answer, I have been astounded by how quickly I’ve bonded with people within our community. There are people in our previous group and even our current group that I saw at church every Sunday but never had much of a friendship with, and now I can’t imagine going a single week without seeing them. My heart literally hurts when we are apart for a long time.

What are some new skills that you learned?
I tried aerial yoga for the first time, and I got a lot more confident with normal yoga! I also planned my first wedding as a paid event coordinator, and it was freaking unreal!!

Pick three words to describe this year.
Honestly? I want to keep my words from last year: Fun, restoring, & enlightening.

What was your biggest personal change from January to December?
I’m finally starting to care about my health. I still don’t really enjoy working out or eating right, but I had a pretty big mental breakthrough when I did Keto again before our cruise, and I am determined to keep that healthy mindset alive in 2020.

What was the best book you read this year?
Passion and Purity by Elisabeth Elliot or The Mystery of Marriage by Mike Mason. Both offer invaluable insight about God and marriage for anyone, whether married or single.

What did you do to serve others this year?
Too many things to name at Lakepoint. I also volunteered downtown as a Durant Main Street Influencer, and I did Meals on Wheels with some coworkers.

Name a couple of positive memory-making experiences from 2019.
In addition to everything I mentioned in the first question…Durant was a finalist in the Small Business Revolution competition, we spent a weekend in Dallas with the Burnses, Ezra James was born, we traveled to D.C. to see the Burkes, we spent our anniversary weekend with the Wesberrys, and Craft Pies Pizza Co. opened downtown!

What 2019 accomplishments are you most proud of?
This might sound stupid, but between huge projects at work, planning Nicole’s wedding, and preparing to leave for the cruise the day after said wedding, September and October were two of the longest months of my life, haha! My mind is still blown every time I try to figure out how I got so much done the week before the wedding.

What are some things you’ve learned to accept this year?
Two big things! First, a lot of things I freak out about really aren’t that big of a deal, and I just need to get over myself. And second, marriage doesn’t look anything like what you see in the movies. Even 7½ years in, I still catch myself expecting Daniel to read my mind and say all the right things at just the right time, but I feel like I’m ending 2019 in a more realistic, patient, forgiving place than where I started.

In what ways did you grow spiritually?
For the first time in my life, I spent time in the Word EVERY SINGLE DAY this year. It has truly become part of my daily routine, and I can’t go to bed without doing it. I’ve also gotten a lot better at praying for Daniel every day and reflexively surrendering my thoughts to the Lord.

What did you gain in 2019? What did you lose?
Gained = new friendships through our new community group, and a general sense of “okay-ness” with who I am. I’m finding a happy medium between pride and self-loathing.
Lost = weight! lol

Name a difficult situation you overcame.
Truthfully, each one that came to mind is a little too personal to blog, and even more truthfully, I don’t really feel like I’ve overcome most of them – I’m still in the midst of a couple of messes. But as the year comes to an end, I can confidently say that life is still good, my faith family is a taste of Heaven, and I trust God completely with my future.

What is something you want to do better in 2020?
I want to be less self-centered as a wife, coworker, family member, and friend. And I want to plan more parties and weddings!

What was the best thing you did with your time this year?
Host people in our home. Nothing else compares to fun nights with people I love in my favorite place to be. ♥

What was the single biggest time-waster in your life this year?
Games on my phone. *I know, I’m a child*

What are you most grateful for in 2019?
If it’s not obvious already, Lakepoint Community Church, and everything that has come along with it.

What do you want to leave behind in 2019?
Hurt feelings, awkward conversations, impatience, and laziness.

Who do you want to be in 2020?
Emotionally strong. Brave. Fun. Whole.

Maybe 2019 was an amazing year and all your dreams came true! (And if so, just shut up and enjoy being a Disney princess.) Or maybe this year completely sucked, and you’ve been ready for 2020 since June. Either way, we can’t successfully walk into the future without making peace with our past, whether it was good or bad. I can’t think of a better way to close the book on 2019. Feel free to join in and answer them for yourself!

Look Inside My Summer FabFitFun Box!

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For my birthday a few years ago, my bestie/cousin Jennifer got me my first FabFitFun box. And I was OBSESSSSSSED. A huge box of full-size goodies worth hundreds of dollars for only $30-50 = the happiest of all happy mail.

Fast forward to a month or two ago. I was scrolling on Facebook and came across one of those ads you always see of famous people opening their boxes on video and offering a promo code. This particular promo code was for $20 off of your first box, and I thought, “………yup, I’m doing that!” I set up an account, got to customize a few items, and waited impatiently for my box to ship! There are only four boxes per year – one for each season, and $50 per box. I probably won’t keep the subscription forever, but I’m already looking forward to the next one!

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1. Sutra Professional Mini Travel Blow Dryer

This was one of the items I got to customize. I used it the other night, and it actually worked really well! It took a little longer to dry than normal, but it’s worth it to save space in my luggage for our next trip out of town.

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2. 111Skin Rose Gold Brightening Facial Treatment Mask

I got to pick these too! Honestly, I don’t even remember what the other options were. I saw the $160 price tag and thought “I’m getting the most expensive option I can, since I’m only paying $30 for this whole box!” I would never pay that much for these masks on their own, but I can’t wait to try them.

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3. Odeme Silicone Wine Glasses

This was the last item I got to choose; the rest were all picked for me. Aren’t they cute?? They are microwave and dishwasher safe too!

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4. Living Proof No Frizz Nourishing Styling Cream

I won’t use this myself (already found my favorite stuff!), but now my guest bathroom will have an extra special product for out-of-town visitors who stay with us! If I wasn’t completely sold on MONAT, I would totally use Living Proof.

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5. COOLA Makeup Setting Sunscreen Spray

This stuff is supposed to give your skin a matte finish, while also preserving your makeup, hydrating your face, AND giving you sun protection at the same time! I already know I’ll be packing this for our cruise in October.

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6. Invisibobble® Original Hair Rings

Have you guys ever tried these?? I’ve been curious about them for awhile. I tried one out the other day and actually really liked it! My only complaint was that it was a little difficult to get out of my hair. But it felt very secure and my ponytail never got saggy, and I didn’t ever feel like it was pulling or pinching my hair.

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7. Generation Clay™ Ultra Violet Brightening Clay Mask

Face masks are honestly my kryptonite. I read the ingredients and it sounds like total heaven: desert lime, bentonite clay, davidson plum, aloe vera….yay for my face!

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8.  Whish Exfoliating Foot Mask

Can’t wait to get my feet cruise-ready! Apparently you put it on at the end of the day and sleep in it, and wake up with softer feet. We’ll see!

 

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9. Grace & Stella Rose Facial Spray

Call me a nerd, but I’m crazy about good branding. And this is FABULOUS branding, from the box to the logo to the name…I just love it. I’ve never used rose mist or rosewater before, but I’m a sucker for cult skincare products!

Want to get $10 off of your first box?? Click here to get started!

Our Love Story in 15 Bullet Points

 

1. In 2009, about six months before we met, we both ended serious relationships that we thought were heading toward marriage. This was a spiritual turning point for both of us, and – looking back on it – God’s way of preparing us for each other by performing major heart surgery.

2. We met on August 2nd, 2009, at a housewarming party that neither of us should have even been at for very long. I had just finished working at Falls Creek all summer and was headed back to my hometown for a few weeks before my sophomore year of college started, and Daniel had a movie night planned with other friends and was only supposed to stop by for few minutes. That party was my first visit to Durant, and even though I had a lot of fun, as I drove out of town the next day, I thought, I’ll probably never see any of those people again.

3. A day or two later, he friended me on Facebook, and I sent him a message about something funny that happened at the party. Most casual Facebook conversations end pretty quickly, because one or both of you have nothing else to say, but we just never ran out of things to talk about. We wrote back and forth constantly for the next week, and he subtly (and then not-so-subtly) hinted at wanting my phone number three times before I finally gave it to him.

4. What really sealed the deal as far as me deciding I liked him was the fact that he mailed me his favorite devotional book when I told him I struggled with reading my bible consistently. He wrote a note in it and everything. And he even held me accountable to reading it! I would call him, and he would say “Have you had your bible study today?” If I said no, he would tell me to hang up, go spend time with the Lord, and call him back after.

5. One of my favorite things we did when we were getting to know each other was send lists of numbered questions and answers via Facebook message, both silly and serious. Everything from “Do you scream on roller coasters?” and “What’s your favorite midnight snack?” to “What are some goals or habits you would like to have in your relationship with God?” and “What do you need most to fight Satan on what you’re struggling with right now?”

6. Our entire dating relationship and engagement were 100% long-distance. We lived about 2½ hours apart, and until we got married, the longest length of time that we had seen each other was 9 days in a row. I also didn’t have texting until my last semester of college, so pretty much all of our conversations happened over the phone. Yeah, I know, we actually TALKED to each other…*wink*. Daniel still jokes about how long our phone calls used to be, and how that proves how much he liked me because he hates talking on the phone, but I honestly love this about our dating relationship.

7. Most of our dates happened in Ada, Oklahoma, because it was halfway between the towns we lived in. Those dinners and movie nights were affectionately dubbed “Ada dates”.

8. Daniel took me to one jewelry shop to find out what I liked, and although I had spent years thinking I wanted a solitaire princess cut, I put one on my finger and hated it. I couldn’t stop staring at a round halo ring that the jeweler had me try on, but I knew that whatever Daniel picked out, I would be happy. He ended up custom-designing a one-of-a-kind ring with the help of a local jewelry store where we currently live (white gold, round halo, plain band) and it still takes my breath away.

9. In the spring of 2011, we went on a really meaningful picnic date in Wintersmith Park. Later that year, in July, Daniel proposed at sunset in the same spot, on the same blanket, with the same picnic basket. Nobody secretly took our pictures, there wasn’t a surprise engagement party after, and I don’t even remember most of what he said, to be honest. But it was incredibly sweet, special, and personal. And I was 100% surprised, which was all I really wanted out of a proposal!

10. In the span of about six months, I graduated from college, we got married, I moved to Durant, we became members of Lakepoint Community Church, I got my first adult job, we became leaders at the local Baptist Collegiate Ministry (BCM), and we renovated and moved into our first home. 2012 was a whirlwind, y’all.

11. Our newly-married season was spent hosting friends at our house for tons of game nights, helping develop the bible studies at the BCM, and surviving Daniel studying for (and passing!!) the CPA exams.

12. Two major milestones happened around the same time during Christmas of 2015 – we moved into our second gorgeous home and got our German shepherd, Fitz!

13. A few years into marriage, our church went through a really dark season, and we started slowly pulling back from the BCM in order to invest more heavily at Lakepoint, which was a super-hard-but-necessary change. But God rewarded our faithfulness and obedience a few years later in the form of an amazing friendship with our current pastor and his wife, and our dearly-loved community groups. Aka, some of my favorite people on earth. Leading our foundation group was so instrumental in the deepening of our marriage.

14. Over the years, we’ve tackled some really hard things together in our own relationship and walked alongside lots of struggling friends and family members through all kinds of things: death of loved ones, difficult jobs, betrayal, family drama, addictions, loss of friendships, eating disorders, divorce, gender transition, chronic illnesses, suicide attempts, infertility, pregnancy loss, and a wide variety of struggles within marriage, like polar opposite communication styles, male/female differences, and just plain old selfishness. Glory to God that He has equipped us to do it all without giving up or running away from the Lord or each other.

15. We have been in each other’s lives for 10 whole years, as of today, and I can say with total confidence that they have been the best 10 years of my life. ♥

Married Monday: How to Pray for Your Husband

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As a young wife, I like to think about ways to show Daniel how much I love him. Some things are easy, like hiding a note in his wallet or taking his favorite snack to work. Some are a little more subtle, like always folding his laundry first so that if I run out of time and can’t finish it all, at least his stuff is done and he has access to everything he needs. But probably one of the absolute best things we can do for our spouses – if not THE very best thing – is to pray for them. It seems very simple, and I think Satan tries to convince us that it doesn’t really make much of a difference a lot of the time. But if we are faithful to do it and trust that God works powerfully through prayer, it can be life-changing.

I was convicted this year about how little time I was spending lifting Daniel up to the Lord in prayer, and to help keep myself on track, I did what I always do: I made a list! And I decided to share it with you all, because I know there are other people like me out there who love looking at someone else’s pre-written lists. They make tasks seem so much easier to accomplish, am I right??

Each number correlates to the day of the month, and for the months that have 31 days, I just pick a random one from the list, or whichever one I think he needs most at the time. Please feel free to use this as inspiration and add any of your own unique prayer needs for your spouse!

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Did I leave off anything important? Let me know in the comments!


This post is part of “Married Monday,” a series I started in order to expose myths and lies we’ve been told about married life, celebrate moments of joy and growth, chew on hard truths and sprinkle them with grace, and remind others (and myself!) that marriage doesn’t work without Christ in it. I have lots of ideas, but I’d love your input too! What topics would you like to see covered?

Listicle Series: Fictional Characters I’d Totally Have a Game Night With

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Jim and Pam from the Office…or the whole group from the dinner party episode

The entire cast of New Girl

Harry, Ron, & Hermione

Mrs. Frizzle

Olive from Easy A

Marshall Eriksen

Lizzie, Miranda, and Gordo

The Bluth family

Maria and the von Trapp children

Pretty much all of the fairytale characters from Once Upon a Time

Leslie Knope

Sherlock Holmes

The twins from the Parent Trap (the Hayley Mills version)

Chandler Bing

Who would you invite to a game night, if you could?

20 Questions for 2018

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What was the best thing that happened this year?
I honestly can’t pick between helping throw my sweet grandparents a 60th anniversary party, welcoming my nephew Luke into the world, going to Florida with the Simma fam, throwing my favorite party to date, taking family photos with the Hendricksons, our Caribbean cruise with the McCains, or getting asked to be a bridesmaid in BOTH of my sisters’ weddings next year. It’s been a great year! ♥

What was the most challenging thing that happened this year?
Accepting the fact that God’s timeline is not my timeline by (1) remembering that God’s ideas are more profound than mine and He doesn’t owe me anything, and (2) acknowledging that I haven’t trusted Him enough to conform my own limited idea of a timeline to His perfect, unfailing Will.

Who were your most valuable friendships with?
Our community group, without a single hesitation. We’ve done so much life together in the last two years, more than I think any of us could have ever imagined. Together, we’ve faced nearly every major life event shoulder-to-shoulder: graduations, death of loved ones, new jobs, moving, family drama, pregnancies, new babies, loss of friendships, chronic illnesses, infertility, miscarriages, and a wide variety of struggles within marriage. I get misty-eyed and lose my words when I think about how thankful I am that God helped us find each other and become a weird little family.

What are some new skills that you learned?
Hmmm. I got way more comfortable with party-planning! I learned how to pack more stuff in a carry-on suitcase. I found out that I actually kind of like lifting weights, and I got better at celebrating others getting their breakthrough/answer/miracle while still waiting for one of my own.

Pick three words to describe this year.
Fun. Restoring. Enlightening.

What was your biggest personal change from January to December?
This is going to sound way more “hippie” than I mean for it to, but after almost 29 years, I think I’m finally starting to find myself, to figure myself out. I’m in a season of learning in regards to self-awareness and self-acceptance, in virtually every area of my life: my personality, marriage, personal style, how I decorate and care for my home, my worldview, work ethic, community, etc. I’m more aware than ever of how deeply self-focused I am, how much I don’t know, and how much I have left to learn. But I also desire really strongly to make peace with the things I consider ‘flaws’ about myself that really aren’t, and to believe the truths that God says about me instead of spending so much time telling Him (and the people in my life) why I don’t really deserve that kind of love. I want to find the line between “I’ll never be good enough” and “I’m perfect the way I am, and people just need to accept that,” because at their cores, neither of those attitudes are healthy. I want to view myself and the way I make choices through a biblical lens, through the eyes of God.

What was the best book you read this year?
One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. Literally changed my life. It will change everything you think about what counts as a “good gift” from God.

What did you do to serve others this year?
I did a lot for my mom friends – hosting baby showers, taking them food, and helping around the house. I also tried to be a lot more intentional about keeping in touch with long-distance friends this year, asking how they were doing in marriage/parenthood and how I could pray for them.

Name a couple of positive memory-making experiences from 2018.
In addition to everything I mentioned in the first question…spending every Monday with our community group. The Merrill Lynch client conference in Scottsdale, Arizona. Watching Jennifer graduate from med school and spending Mother’s Day in Tulsa. My birthday when Daniel cut off the top of a bottle of champagne with a sword. Disneyworld. Celebrating the births of Abraham Burke, Nolan Savage, and Laeklyn Wesberry. Our anniversary dinner at Del Frisco’s Double Eagle. Y’all, 2018 has been LIT.

What 2018 accomplishments are you most proud of?
Completing some major projects at work (launching Naturally Slim, creating a Performance Appraisal/Salary Administration communication schedule from scratch), having a really good performance review, and getting 95% of my Christmas shopping done before Thanksgiving!

What are some things you’ve learned to accept this year?
That I am a mess. A total, complete mess. I’m still working on the whole “accepting that God STILL loves me without reservation in spite of the fact that I’m a mess” part, but getting past my self-righteousness, pride, and lack of self-awareness has been a big first step.

In what ways did you grow spiritually?
WHOA, how much time do you have??? Wow. I honestly don’t know if I can explain the stirring that happened in my heart when I read that question. This year forced me to rely on God more than any other year of my entire life. I have been broken by loss, health issues that were out of my control, and my own sinfulness, and God continued to show up. And He taught me to keep showing up.

What did you gain in 2018? What did you lose?
Gained = a stronger marriage, deeper existing friendships, and an up-close-and-personal perspective of what biblical community really looks like.
Lost = hope (temporarily), my patience, my temper, my keys…remember that other question when I said I was a mess??

Name a difficult situation you overcame.
Out of respect to Daniel, I don’t want to go into too much detail, but we encountered some major marriage hurdles and had to cope with a devastating loss this year. Praise God for His grace, our friends, and a truly wonderful husband. ♥

What is something you want to do better in 2019?
Worry less about things I don’t have any control over. Also, I want to talk on the phone more when I can’t see someone in person, like my parents, my grandparents, and my long-distance friends. I just had this thought the other day and I haven’t been able to shake it ever since – I’m pretty sure that when I’m at one of my best friend’s funerals someday, I won’t be thinking, “Man, I wish I had texted her more.”

What was the best thing you did with your time this year?
TRAVEL. I visited multiple new states and got to spend uninterrupted time with Daniel, my parents and siblings, and some of our best friends!

What was the single biggest time-waster in your life this year?
Social media.

What are you most grateful for in 2018?
Daniel’s selflessness, financial stability, and the genuineness of my friendships.

What do you want to leave behind in 2018?
My short temper, my sharp tongue, and my unwillingness to change.

Who do you want to be in 2019?
A woman known for her contagious joy. ♥

Maybe 2018 was an amazing year and all your dreams came true! (And if so, just shut up and enjoy being a Disney princess.) Or maybe this year completely sucked, and you’ve been ready for 2019 since June. Either way, we can’t successfully walk into the future without making peace with our past, whether it was good or bad. I can’t think of a better way to close the book on 2018. Feel free to join in and answer them for yourself!

Listicle Series: Currently

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Anticipating… the rest of the holiday season!! October through December is my favorite time of the year, every year. Happy Hallowthanksmas.

Buying… shoes from Target! Or trying to, anyway. I’ve been playing this game for almost a week. The shoes I want were out of stock in my size, so I signed up to get notified when they are back in stock. But I never see the notification on time, which means the shoes are out of stock again by the time I go back and look. That exact process probably happened six times. It doesn’t help that I am also the most indecisive shopper of all time, so by the time I finally manage to get the dang shoes, I’ll probably get buyer’s remorse. *eyeroll*

Cooking… these chocolate chip oatmeal bars. Pretty much all the time.

Drinking… not nearly as much water as I should be. Any tips for keeping yourself hydrated? I’m craving homemade apple cider too!

Enjoying… cooler weather! I love cloudy, rainy days and when there’s just enough of a nip in the air that all you need is a warm jacket to feel cozy.

Feeling… so good about life. I’m so thankful for our families, our best friends, our home, our dog, our jobs, our church – we are the luckiest!

Going… crazy over the fact that I get to be a bridesmaid for my sister Robyn’s and my sister-in-law Amanda’s weddings next year!! Double the fun! ♥♥

Hoarding… alllllllll the sentimental things. I did a huge house-wide purge a couple weeks ago. I went through all of our closets and drawers and got rid of a ton of stuff. But I just couldn’t bear to get rid of some of my mementos.

Imagining… how amazing it would be if our German shepherd would stop marking in the house overnight. *facepalm*

Joking… about killing the German shepherd for marking in the house overnight.

Keeping… the German shepherd even though he keeps marking in the house overnight.  (Okay I’m done now)

Listening… to Christmas music NONSTOPPPPP.

Making… stovetop potpourri for a few Christmas gifties!

Neglecting… my health. :( It’s hard during the holidays.

Organizing… my to-do lists on my phone and updating my wish list.

Packing… for a Christmas weekend at my in-laws’ house with (almost) all the sibs – missing you, Amanda and Ryan!

Quitting… snacking at work. It’s turned into a bit of a problem…lol.

Reading… Crazy Rich Asians and Emotional Intelligence 2.0.

Saving… box tops for education. I have a big handful in a drawer that I need to send off!

Thinking… about throwing a Galentine’s Day party a la Leslie Knope, come February…!

Using… a lot of my free time to Insta-stalk Carly Jean Los Angeles because their stuff is so. dang. cute.

Valuing… sweet Christmas cards we’ve gotten in the mail from loved ones.

Wanting… to fast forward to my next vacation with Daniel because #wanderlust.

Wearing… new jeans from Madewell and Loft, thanks to some good advice from friends on Facebook and Instagram! I’m officially obsessed.

Waiting… impatiently to have Christmas at my house so Daniel and I can exchange our own gifts!!!

Come on, gimme a break – X, Y, and Z were impossible, so you get extra W’s instead. :)

Listicle Series: 16 Things That Make Me Feel Pretty

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The world we live in is ROUGH, y’all. Especially because of social media. Day in and day out, we are inundated with verbal and virtual opinions. No matter what we’re doing or not doing, the message is the same: we are either too much or not enough.

“You need to work out more.”
“Don’t lift too much or you’ll look like a man.”
“Your makeup should look flawless.”
“You’re wearing way too much makeup.”
“You should wear more makeup.”
“Stop eating so much or you’ll get fluffy.”
“You eat like a bird, are you anorexic?”
“You should always strive to be better.”
“You should like yourself the way you are.”
“You should be more like ____.”
“Don’t be so emotional.”
“You’re so cold, don’t you have feelings?”
“Make sure you always look pretty and put-together.”
“Stop trying so hard – who are you trying to impress?”
“If you got it, flaunt it!”
“You should cover that up, you look desperate.”
“Take more pictures, people want to see the real you.”
“Too many selfies – obsessed with yourself much?”
“Your style is too boring.”
“Your style is too crazy.”
“Do you even know what your style is?”
“You post on social media too much.”
“You don’t post on social media enough.”
“Don’t post anything too controversial.”
“Don’t you care what other people think?”
“You shouldn’t care what others think.”

Yiiiiiiiiiiiiiikes. I’m pretty sure nobody can ever measure up to all of that.

It’s startling to realize that I’ve spent years – literal years – of my life worrying what other people think. “Do people like me? Do they think I’m funny? Do they think I’m pretty? Do they think I’m weird/a prude/too loud/too honest/a good friend/a bad friend/etc.?” In actuality, most of the time, ‘those people’ probably haven’t been thinking about me at all. And meanwhile, I’ve been making decisions and tailoring my actions based on what ‘those people’ (the ones who aren’t even thinking about me) are supposedly thinking about me.

………uh.

You do the same thing too, though. Right?

Here’s the cold hard truth. You can’t make everyone happy. You are not a jar of Nutella or a basket of puppies. There are even people out there who don’t like Nutella or puppies (although I find that fundamentally strange and will probably never relate to those people because HELLO, Nutella and puppies are everything).

No matter what you do or don’t do, somebody will be able to find something wrong with it. But it’s pretty freeing when you are finally able to just do your thing without being so tied up in what everybody else thinks about it. In light of that, I want to share a list of things that make me feel pretty. Not things that “should” make me or anybody else feel pretty. Not shallow, hollow constructs that I use to hide who I really am. Just…things that make me feel pretty!


THE PRETTY LIST

Good hair days.

Painted toenails.

Neutral colors and jewel tones.

That delicious feeling of crawling between clean sheets after you shave your legs.

Wearing high heels.

Taking professional photos.

Yoga. I don’t ALWAYS feel pretty, but it makes me feel strong. Which is pretty dang close.

Floor-length dresses.

Eating better, exercising, and seeing the difference in the mirror.

Red lipstick.

The way my skin feels after a face mask.

Putting together new outfits from pieces in my closet.

My wedding rings.

Getting my teeth cleaned. Weird, I know, but I seriously feel like I could conquer the world after my dentist appointments.

Wearing perfume. Not body spray; real perfume.

Going out with Daniel or with one of my girl gangs.


I think it’s important to know what things give your heart a little joy, especially if they are things you have control over. Who cares what other people think?? Taking care of yourself in simple ways is important, and just because someone else says something is shallow/lame/weird doesn’t mean that it actually is.  Girl, listen – as long as the things that make you happy are God-glorifying, healthy, legal, and not dangerous to yourself or others……YOU. DO. YOU. ♥

What kinds of things make YOU feel pretty?