Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Things That Make Me Happy

Life has been busy since I started my new job last week. But there's always time to enjoy a few of my favorite things. 

Lately, these are a few of my favorite things!

1. My new succulents! They look so pretty sitting on my coffee table. 

2. Smoothie bowls. I think I've gone on about smoothie bowls before, but how about this Chocolate Peanut Butter one? Dessert, for breakfast? I'll take it.  

3. This Fruit of the Spirit book. This is one of my very favorite books and I highly recommend it. The author is super down-to-earth and gives practical, meaningful ways to live out God's word. 

4. This gorgeous calendar from from Gracelaced. I showed it to my bestie after I saw it on Amanda's Instagram. We ooohhed and ahhhed... and she surprised me with it! It's so special to get gifts "just because."  

5. This fancy schmancy glass water bottle. I'd mentioned to Daniel that I would like one and he came home the next day with it. I love it (and him!)... I guess I should mention things more often (;

6. Getting ready for my book club... guys, I'm so excited to announce that I have found a co-host for the book club! Morgan, from The Messy Bun Mama. Don't forget to get reading for the book club!

7. This quote: If you're always racing to the next moment, what happens to the one you're in? 

And that about says it all. 

8. Our new board game, Pandemic! It's seriously so much fun. And this is coming from someone who doesn't like games (or maybe I do?!). We got in from Daniel's parents for Christmas and I've really been enjoying playing it! 

What makes you happy lately? 

Friday, January 13, 2017

You Can Do It (but you don't have to)

It's January 13, which means that we are close to halfway through January and also means that it's about the time when our "resolutions" start to fizzle. Maybe your goals are the traditional ones like going to the gym more or starting that new diet. Or maybe you're super trendy and you've picked out a word to guide you in 2017. #iamsohip 

Whatever the case, it's hard to do. It sounds so easy and appealing when you aren't doing it, but so horrible when you're waking up at 5:30 am to go to the gym.

I'm here to encourage you that it's okay. It's okay to have already messed up on your resolutions. You can do it! Seriously, you CAN do it. If it's a goal that you love and is rewarding, don't give up. Miss a day here and there. Forget about it for a week. That doesn't mean you're finished. 

Keep going, friend. 

But it's also okay to realize that your goal isn't actually want you want. Let it go. Did you make a goal to go to the gym when you hate the gym? It's okay to let it go. **cue Frozen theme music for this paragraph**

But seriously, don't spend your whole year beating yourself up for not being consistent with a goal you aren't serious enough to love. If your goals aren't enjoyable and rewarding, they probably aren't good goals for you (and you probably won't be able to stick with them). 

Life is just too short and too precious to spend on things that don't really matter. Sometimes I get 20 days into the year and think, I don't even care about this goal. But, I made a goal and I must press on! I can't stop! If I give up now I'll always be a loser! 

Just. Don't. 

Being such a perfectionist myself, I think I place a lot of my self worth in whether I accomplish the things I set out do (whether a New Year's resolution or just a plan). For example, last year I didn't write in my daily journal once, and every time I thought about it I got frustrated with myself. It's such a silly little thing but it's important to remember that those things aren't what define you. 

It's well and good to make goals for yourself, especially goals focusing around how to improve yourself. Your self-worth is really found in what God thinks of you. And honestly, I can assure you that God doesn't care if you write in your journal daily or go to boot camp 3 times a week.

Your self-worth does not come from what you do but who you are.  

P.S. Don't forget to read the book for the month!! 

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

My Hardest Fruit

I wanted to write something inspirational so I decided that I would write about the fruit of the spirit that is the most difficult for me to do. Then I realized that most of them are equally difficult for me to do, so how the heck would I choose?

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23

I feel like there are quite a few of the characteristics that I have addressed multiple times on the blog (I'm talking to you love, joy, faith, kindness). But patience is an attribute I don't talk much about and, unfortunately, don't think much about. 

Pretty much the only time I think about patience is when someone is being impatient with me and I need to let them know to calm down and be patient. Because, obviously, the only person in the world who doesn't need to be more patient is me. #theyloveit 

Have you heard the saying that patience is a virtue? Well, the Bible tells us that's true. Not only that, God requires us to develop patience. I'm sure I'm not telling you anything new but it is HARD to be patient. It is often patience (well that, and a lot of hard work + God's blessing) standing between us and our dreams.

It's so natural to want everything to fall into place now. But it doesn't. We have to get through college to get that good paying job. We have to get that job to get the car and the house. We have to have patience to find the right person. We have to find the right person to build a life and have children. 

But we don't have to just have patience with life. We also need to have patience with others. And that takes a lot, sometimes, when people hurt us and let us down. Give them the same grace you would like to receive. Remind yourself that they are human too and that the things they struggle with might not necessarily be what you struggle with. 

But you know who we most often neglect to have patience with?


Don't make excuses for yourself, but also learn to give yourself grace. Is there something you are struggling with? Take it to God and be patient with yourself. He is working in you for a greater purpose. He is working in you to make you His child, if you will only follow. So now that I think about it, I think patience is one of the fruits that is most difficult for me! 

What fruit of the spirit do you struggle with? 

Thursday, January 5, 2017

New Year, New Fun (-->Book Club!!)

I'm very excited to share with you my newest project for 2017. I have selected 12 inspirational/encouraging books to read for the year. On the last weekday of each month, I will post a review of the book, including inspirational points. You are invited (and encouraged!!) to link up on your blog or to simply add your own take on the book in the comments. The whole point of the book club is to get us all inspired in 2017!

Here you have it, the breakdown of books for the year with the post dates. I've linked them all up to Goodreads so that you can see if you are interested in reading (although I think you should try them all!!!!)

1. Let's All Be Brave, Annie F. Downs (January 31)
2. When Breath Becomes Air, Paul Kalanithi (February 28) 
3. Daring Greatly, Brene Brown (March 31)
4. Marriage Matters, Winston T. Smith (April 28)  
5. How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie (May 31) 
6. The Nesting Place, Myquillyn Smith (June 30)       
7. An Uncomplicated Life, Paul Daugherty (July 31) 
8. Make It Happen, Lara Casey (August 31) 
9. The Measure of Success, Carolyn McCulley & Nora Shank (September 29) 
10. Wild in the Hollow, Amber C. Haines (October 31)
11. Simply Tuesday, Emily P. Freeman (November 30) 
12. The Story of My Life, Helen Keller (December 29) 

As you can see, I've tried to chose a wide range of topics-- from relationships to faith to historical to self-growth. I hope you will join me in this journey for inspiration and encouragement in 2017. If you are going to participate, please grab a button or share on Pinterest! Thanks! 

P.S. If you are a blogger and would like to co-host this book club with me, send me an email

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Welcome 2017

Happy 2017, my friends!

There is so much hope in new year. Hope for the future, hope for growth and change. I hope this will be the year that Jesus returns, but if not, I want it to be a year of personal growth for me. I don't make resolutions, per se, but I do make small steps for myself that I believe will help me grow. 

For example, this year I desire to be closer to God and closer to my siblings, so I am going to pray every morning right when I wake up and text my siblings more often (at first I said every day, but that might be going overboard, ha!). 

Whether or not you like to make resolutions, I encourage you to do a self assessment and see where you stand. Where do you feel like you need to grow? Are you where you want to be health wise? How about spiritually? Are your family and your marriage relationships where you want them to be? Maybe you are great in some of these areas but you need to work on your patience or your kindness.

If not, now is the time to change. What's holding you back? The new year isn't the only time to make changes in your life, but it is the perfect time to rethink where you're going. 

It doesn't have to be huge changes. Realistically, it probably shouldn't be huge changes. But little steps take you to huge changes. If you aren't making any changes in your life, you aren't getting anywhere. Being content with where you are is good, but it's also important to grow. 

Use 2017 as the year to get closer to God. Use it as the year to do good and show love to the world. Use it as the year to step closer to the person you desire to be. You can do it! 

Ringing in the new year with friends and family! 
I'm so thankful for all of you who share in this life with me! What are your goals/resolutions/changes for 2017? 

Friday, December 30, 2016

Goodbye, 2016

This year has been a truly great year for me! Here are some of my favorite times of the year. 

Favorite posts from 2016:

Favorite moments in 2016:

1. Starting, finishing, and loving my first clinical rotation this summer
2. Finishing my last semester of classes and passing my doctoral project
3. Going to a week long Bible school
4. Moving into our wonderful new place in Placerville
5. Our church's Jesus for King campaign and food drive 
6. A family trip to Lake Tahoe this summer 
7. Visiting my grandparents in New Mexico
8. Seeing my nieces and one of my nephews for Christmas

Favorite pictures of 2016:

Yosemite with friends 

Family selfies 

My grandparents in New Mexico 

Spreading the good news!

Trip to Pismo with lots of friends!

Dressing up for Halloween! 

My lovely BFF
Watching my brothers perform at Bible school-- so proud of them!
Pictures with my favorite

Passing my doctoral defense!
Seeing our nieces and one of our nephews for the first time in almost 2 years!

Goodbye, 2016! You have been good to me. May 2017 be just as wonderful and may it bring the return of Christ! 

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Forsaking Your First Love

Every year, Daniel and I follow a daily Bible reading plan that takes us through the whole Bible in a year. We are finishing up the book of Revelation this month. The book begins with Christ giving a message to the churches at the time, with messages of encouragement but also warning.

Revelation 2:4:  Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first.

With one church, Christ warns them that they have lost their first love. And isn't that easy to do? When we first become believers, first get baptized, we are so excited. The difficulty of life can wear us down. It can make us a little jaded. It can make us feel too busy to go to church or do good. It's so easy to get wrapped up in all the physical people and things around us. 

Our first love should always be for God and Christ. Whatever else we love in life, we can't let it diminish our love for God. In the Bible, God even uses the term adultery to refer to His people who have forsaken Him. That's how serious it is! 

Forsaking your first love (GOD) can be dangerously easy to do. We can't see Him or hear Him. He doesn't yell at us if we don't listen. Of course, we have His word but only if we chose to read it. But the amazing thing is that He is always calling to us to Him. 

I know I've been feeling like I've lost a little of that first love. I still love God and I still read the Bible and go to church and do all the things I am supposed to do, but it can feel mechanical. We all slip there sometimes but we need to get back! I need to rejuvenate my first love, and if you are in that place too, so do you!

I thought this picture was a great illustration of this. We are looking at this beautiful ocean but the forest and the rain on the window are blocking our view. Life can be that way. The cares of this world, our spouses, our kids, our friends can cloud our love for our Creator. They are all good things but they can't be our first love. God wants to be first in our hearts. 

So if you are feeling in a rut I encourage you to reach out. Reach out to me, reach out to a close friend, but most importantly reach out to God. He longs to hear our prayers. He longs for us to maintain our first love. Start 2017 with a rejuvenated love for the Creator of all!