Thursday, December 31, 2015

In 2016

As 2016 begins, here are some things that I would like to see accomplished in my own life. These aren't resolutions, exactly, because my resolutions I usually set to be small and measurable. These are more like reflections on what I want to focus on in the new year. 

A bad habit I'm going to break: I'm going to be working on breaking my addiction to my iPhone. As with most of the planet, I check my phone about 948248 times a day. I want to stop being so connected to my phone and more connected to those around me!

A new skill I'd like to learn: Might sound crazy, but I am hoping to learn to knit socks. We'll see how that goes, as I don't know how to knit a stitch.  

A person I hope to be more like: I hope to be more like the person I want to be. That is a person who is patient, filled with compassion, on fire for God. A person who always put others first and who never backs down when it comes to showing the love of Jesus. 

A place I'd like to visit: I'd like to go driving along highway 1 with Daniel. I've driven along small portions of it and it was so gorgeous. I know Daniel will love it, especially driving in his Camaro (: 

A book I'd like to read: a few on my list: Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas, Better than Before by Gretchen Rubin, and For the Love by Jen Hatmaker. 

I'm going to do better at: having patience. One of my biggest struggles is being patient. I'm going to work on this, especially in the area of my patience with others. 

So what's on your heart for 2016? Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 24, 2015


As 2015 draws to an end, I am reflecting on what was the best and worst in the year. I try to always be introspective about my year so that I can continue to grow. Here is my list of highlights. It's been a good year so I'm sure there are more, but this is what I think of most. 

10 Highlights of 2015:

1. Daniel's back surgery; it was scary and of course, I didn't want him to have to have surgery. But I'm so thankful to God for bringing him through it and healing him of his pain! It really has changed both of our lives. 

2. Moving into our first apartment-- it was bittersweet, but now that I'm here I do really love it. It has been fun to make it into our own sweet home. I miss my family but I still get to see them lots. I LOVE having people over for dinner or to just hang out. 

3. Treating my first patient at school! Our neuro class got to treat patients with stroke. Mine was an absolutely phenomenal experience and I loved every second!

4. Our anniversary trip... same place as our honeymoon but a year better! 

5. Getting all As this semester in school. Maybe I'm bragging, but ever since I have started grad school I have really hated it and struggled to get good grades. This semester has been a lot different and, though hard, I am enjoying it so much more. I finally feel like I'm making it. 

6. My summer bucket list, which included finishing my wedding scrapbook and visiting my grandparents in Virginia. This summer was SO full of sweetness. 

7. Um, Christmas?? Hasn't even happened yet but I can tell it is going to be way better than last years! I am so excited about the gifts that I got for everyone AND it's so much less stressful than last year! 

8. My birthday party... Daniel went all out and threw the most super duper funnest party! I'm thankful that he gets me and knows how to make my day rocking. 

9. My two favorite blog posts from this year: here & here. 

10. And of course, I'm so thankful to God for blessing me with this year. It's been overwhelmingly wonderful. I hope your 2015 has been this good and if it hasn't, I hope 2016 holds wonderful things for you. Maybe even the return of Jesus! #JesusforKing2016

Monday, December 21, 2015

When Your Heart is Full

photo by my sister, Melissa!
From the end of November to the New Year, life seems so packed with holiday goodness. 
But do you ever feel so bogged down with expectations for the holidays that you can't enjoy the goodness? I do.

For me, one of the biggest things is decorating. I LOVE to decorate. I find myself (as my poor husband knows), drooling over all kinds of Christmas decorations every time we enter a store. If I could just have that wreath and those ornaments, I'd be happy... right??

Sometimes, I think we all need to step back and realize that this time isn't about decorations. It isn't about gifts. It isn't about my Shutterfly cards or matching address labels. To me, it's about spending time with your loved ones. The crafts and the presents and the cookies and the ice skating are just a way to spend special time with them. 

There are those who don't have loved ones, who are spending this season hurting for love. There are those who don't even have homes to live in or food to eat. And I'm worried about my decorations??

If you are like me and spend the holidays with a full heart, I hope you will consider thinking of others who don't have what we do. The websites here, here and here give great ideas for giving to the homeless. If you want to help someone all year long, my church has this awesome organization where you can do everything from giving a mosquito net to supporting a child all year long. Let's all do what we can!

And if your heart is hurting this season, I pray that God will give you comfort and peace. 

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

The Most Wonderful Time

As we creep further into December, life feels full of good things. For me, the holiday season stretching from Thanksgiving to New Year's is truly the most wonderful time. It's full of celebrating family and love and appreciation. Here's a little holiday/winter break themed list of things that I plan on doing. 
happy memory of me being at Butchart Gardens for Christmas lights! so beautiful
// take pictures for our New Year's cards
// continue our (one-year old) tradition of going to the bookstore and buying a book on Christmas eve
// drink hot chocolate on our back porch with the Christmas lights on (& cuddle, of course!)
// watch It's a Wonderful Life
// go to the mall just to see the decorations
// volunteer 
// make homeless bags
// ice skate
// Christmas dinner party
// make cookies
// decorate the windows with paper snowflakes
// pancakes at IHOP
// do good
// drive around and look at Christmas lights 
// write letters reflecting on the past year with Daniel to share with each other
// make gifts for people at church
// do a puzzle with Daniel
// visit the Theatre of Lights in Old Sacramento
// karaoke with friends 
// make a new dessert 

What are your favorite holiday traditions??

Friday, December 4, 2015

James 5

Ahh, Friday! It's been a long week for me, mostly because I've been sick. Why can't I just go back to being a kid and be able to skip life when I'm sick?? Those were the days. 

Anyway, I hope you will enjoy this last chapter of James! Have a wonderful Friday!

James 5

Verses 1-6:
It seems that James harshly speaks to rich people. I think we can safely assume that he isn't speaking to all rich people, but rather those who have taken pride in their riches. Like it says in verse 5, there are some that use their riches to indulge themselves and oppress others.  I think it is safe to say that James is rebuking those who live without care for others.  

Verses 7-12:
The believers were withstanding great persecutions at this time. As we know from reading the gospels, many believers also thought that the setup of the Kingdom was right around the corner. And it is... to God. To us mortals, though, it seems awfully long it coming.  James encourages the believers to stand firm.  Life was hard for them, and it might be for us too, but remember that the Lord is faithful.  

But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years , and a thousand years are like a day.  The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish ,but everyone to come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:8-9

It may be slow, but God has a purpose for that "slowness." He is doing it for the benefit of us! And when I think of all that others have had to suffer for their beliefs, I don't think we have it bad at all.  Sadly, this may have the opposite effect and allow us to become complacent instead of longing for our Lord Jesus to return. 

For those who were going through great persecutions, James reminds them of the prophets (such as Daniel and Jeremiah) who had suffered greatly before them. If they can endure, then so can we all. 

I always thought the part about not swearing by heaven or earth seemed randomly placed, but I think it is actually referring to this same idea of not being able to control when things happen. Therefore, we should take care because you never know when something will happen that is outside of your control. You don't want to be making promises that you are not going to be able to keep.

Verses 13-20
James reminds us of the importance of turning to God! In good times and bad. Sometimes, that's the last place we turn, and then only when we can't figure out things on our own.  But as we grow, we learn more and more to turn to God first in our joy AND in our sorrow.

There is also something to be said for confessing your faults to another person. It can be a humbling experience, but also renewing. I think when I share my failures with another, it helps me realize the gravity of my sin, and to pray for forgiveness. It also helps others to realize that we are all in the same boat, so to speak. Sometimes I feel like I am the worst sinner out there, but it is relieving to know that everyone messes up but that there is still forgiveness! Praise our loving Father!

These verses about Elijah are pretty amazing. I never really thought about the phrase "Elijah is a man just like us" until I heard some classes on Elijah. The speaker pointed out that it truly means Elijah was LIKE US. So often, I look at characters in the Bible and think they have some kind of superhuman faith. But they don't, and we can see that in Elijah. Elijah was a passionate man.  He got afraid. He got angry. He pouted. He ran from God. But in the end, he was faithful. God understood Elijah's weaknesses, and He was still with him. God understands ours too! 

Lastly, James points out the magnitude of saving someone spiritually. It's wonderful to save someone's life by preventing them from getting hit by a car or performing the Heimlich maneuver, but this life is only temporary. How much greater to save someone spiritually by giving them a hope for eternal life! Like the angels who rejoiced over the one found sheep, we should be seeking that ALL should come to a knowledge of our God.

I hope that you have enjoyed these devotions on James. If you missed one, here are links to each chapter. Have a joyful day!