Saturday, December 31, 2016

Year in Review

The year of 2016 has almost gone and 2017 is coming. Therefore, it's time to review my 16 goals for 2016:

1) GO! on a cruise. Done! And I want to go on another one.

2) Stop checking e-mail on my phone while at work. I think I decided that I like doing this, but it is helpful to monitor how often and how much I use my phone.

3) Use more glass storage containers and less plastic. Improving. I recently bought more Pyrex-like containers, and my brother and sister-in-law gave me three more for Christmas.

4) Find my rambunctious side again. I don't think I accomplished this one. Maybe I'm just a serious old person.

5) Memorize some new scripture, or at least review the old. I realized that Scripture memory doesn't happen unless I make it happen. Now I try to memorize at least one verse, or part of a verse before eating my snack at night.

6) Clean out the pantry (fridge, freezer, et. al) and go on a grocery spend fast until it is done. This was a good experience and made me realize how wealthy I really am. I seek to continually be vigilant about using what I have, but also enjoying the blessings of sometimes having excess.

7) Purge excess. Soak up blessing. Moving helped some, but I'll need to purge again when I move out on my own. I have so much stuff!

8) Run a 5K. I ran three: the Race for the Cure 5K with housemates, the LPGA 5K with co-workers, and the Patriot Run with my family as spectators.

9) Embrace the quiet. I reinstated silent retreats once a month after realizing that I'd forgotten to do them since I moved to Arizona. I think I will need to learn more about silence for as long as I live.

10) Pursue counseling licensure. Done! Praise the Lord for granting me favor with the State Board. Now I just pray to find a place and a way to use my license.

11) Rest. I'm resting more, but again, I need to learn more.

12) Trim down the processed. Bulk up the produce. (In my diet) Ditto. I can always learn to eat better, but also to have grace with myself when I don't.

13) Bullet journal plan—streamline my to-do list. I find it very helpful to bullet journal my tasks lists in my personal and work planners. I plan to continue this in 2017.

14) Finish the books I have and read more. I think I read 48 this year. That would be four per month.

15) Spend time with and love the people around me. I enjoyed Thai dinner with little brother twice, a weekend away with Mom, and watching a movie with my sister-in-law who visited us for Christmas. I could probably do a better job about being present (not on my phone, cross-wording, crocheting, etc.) while with people, however.

16) Blog. Instagram. Something. (Experiment.) This marks a year of blogging, and almost six months of Instagram. Are these efforts really worth it? Beneficial to me? Beneficial to others? I don't need to write or post for others, but it does make it more fun. It also takes time. If I quit social media (sometimes I have the urge), I'd have more time. But what would I do with it? Crochet (hand-allowing)? Read? Volunteer? I need some down time, but is social media the best use of it? That might be a question for 2017.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Things I've Learned in 2016

As I reflect on 2016 (A Review of 16 in 2016 coming tomorrow), these are things that I've learned:
  • To trust my gut more. Sometimes something is the right thing to do just because it feels right. The still, small voice inside me is the Holy Spirit, and instead of debating with myself so much, I just need to listen and act. This will relieve my stress and anxiety and when I'm wrong, I'll probably sense the conviction of the Holy Spirit more.
  • I love my people! I've been so blessed by coworkers and housemates and college friends and family, both near and far. Thank you to all who have poured into my life!
  • God provides. I needed a job. I needed a place to live. I wanted my counseling license. I wanted friends. God provided at just the right time every time. God's provisions don't always as I like or as I expect, but God truly does take care of my needs.
  • Unanswered prayer is hard! We're still waiting for answers to months of prayers for someone I love very much.
  • I use my phone a lot. (Hence its diminished memory availability) I use and enjoy Facebook and Instagram and Pinterest-a lot. But are these healthy for me? How do I find balance? I haven't quite figured that out, and maybe I never will.
  • Cooking is therapeutic. I am so thankful to live at home and not eat leftovers every day, but I miss the processes of making and crafting food. Perhaps more in the future.
  • Good versus best. This is a recent realization. I want to do a good job at everything, but not everything deserves my best efforts.
  • Rest is a choice. There is never "enough" time for it, so I have to choose to embrace it. That means letting cleaning projects and to-dos and want-to-dos go. But rest is worthwhile, and rejuvenating.
  • The Word is crucial! In these changing, trying times, I must continue to read and memorize the Bible. God reveals Himself through it and I need its truths.
It's been a hard year, but a good year. I guess it's time to say, "Bring on 2017!" It's coming, whether I like it or not.

God is the Ancient of Days.

In reading Revelation, I ponder the horrors of things to come and wonder when the end of the world will eventually arrive. But then I read about the "ancient paths" in Jeremiah 6:16 and remember that I need to follow God here and now, regardless of what is to come. It's good to remember that God is before all things, in all things, and in all things to come. He is both Ancient of Days and everlasting.

Psalm 24:7
Lift up your heads, you gates; be lifted up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in.

Psalm 68:33
To him who rides across the highest heavens, the ancient heavens, who thunders with mighty voice.

Psalm 119:52
I remember, Lord, your ancient laws, and I find comfort in them.

Isaiah 43:13
Yes, and from ancient days I am he. No one can deliver out of my hand. When I act, who can reverse it?

Isaiah 46:10
I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say, "My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please."

Isaiah 64:4
Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him.

Jeremiah 6:16
This is what the Lord says: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls."

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Peppermint Chocolate Oats

This isn't my favorite recipe ever, but before the Christmas season ends, I need to post it. A candy-cane striped mug (pictured below) inspired this oatmeal, as did recipes from The Breakfast Drama Queen and The Athletic Avocado. Without further adieu, here are peppermint chocolate oats.


1/2 c quick oats

1 c water
1 T dark cocoa powder
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t vanilla
1/4 t peppermint extract


1. Bring oats and water to a boil.

2. When oats reach desired consistency, stir in remaining ingredients.
3. Serve in a nice Christmas-y mug.

Friday, December 23, 2016

God Works.

Our sermon at church this past week was on waiting, on believing in God's timing, that He is preparing the way before me. Poignant quotes included, "With God there is not a wasted day," and "God can do a lot in a day." With this sermon in mind, I am reminding myself in prayer this week that God isn't inert or inactive. He works.

Exodus 15:11
Who among the gods is like you, Lord? Who is like you— majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders?

Deuteronomy 3:24

Sovereign Lord, you have begun to show to your servant your greatness and your strong hand. For what god is there in heaven or on earth who can do the deeds and mighty works you do?

Deuteronomy 32:4

He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he.

Psalm 19:1

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

Romans 8:28

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Ephesians 2:10

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Philippians 2:13

For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Jesus is the Prince of Peace.

It's easy to get overwhelmed by all the evil in this world: the killings, the natural disasters, the insult-slinging, the racism, the homophobia, etc. etc. This is all the work of the prince of this world (John 12:31), the "roaring lion" (1 Pet 5:8) who only comes to "steal and to kill and to destroy" (John 10:10).

But then I remember that I, too, have a prince: Jesus, the Prince of Peace. As God's own son, he comes to bring "a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair" (Isa 61:3). I choose to focus on and worship Him.

Isaiah 9:6
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Matthew 14:33
Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

Mark 1:1
The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God.

John 1:49
Then Nathanael declared, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the king of Israel.”

John 11:27
“Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”

John 20:31
But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

Acts 5:31
God exalted him to his own right hand as Prince and Savior that he might bring Israel to repentance and forgive their sins.

Romans 1:4
And who through the Spirit of holiness was appointed the Son of God in power by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord.

Hebrews 4:14
Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess.

Hebrews 7:3
Without father or mother, without genealogy, without beginning of days or end of life, resembling the Son of God, he remains a priest forever.

1 John 5:20
We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true. And we are in him who is true by being in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

God Deserves Praise Forevermore.

With Thanksgiving recently over and Christmas nearly here, it's easy to let gratefulness become seasonal, to forget about our blessings and get caught up and the hustle and bustle of the holidays and of life. Scripture, however, tells us that God deserves praise forevermore: now, in the past, and in the future. Can we commit to giving God a little more of what he deserves this time of years, and for as long as "forever" lasts for us on this earth? Then it will be truly only to giving God praise forevermore in heaven.

Psalm 113:2
Let the name of the Lord be praised, both now and forevermore.

Psalm 115:18
It is we who extol the Lord, both now and forevermore. Praise the Lord.

Psalm 117:2
For great is his love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever. Praise the Lord.

Psalm 131:3
Israel, put your hope in the Lord both now and forevermore.

Psalm 146:10
The Lord reigns forever, your God, O Zion, for all generations. Praise the Lord.

Romans 9:5
Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of the Messiah, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen.

Jude 1:25
To the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.

Friday, December 2, 2016

November News

I don't know how many people read these monthly updates, but I said I'd do this as my New Year's resolution, so here goes. These are the things I'm still working on, haven't done yet, or decided not to do.

2) Stop checking e-mail on my phone while at work.
I think I've decided that I like checking e-mail on my phone at work. It leaves less to do at home and gives me a brief distraction. BUT...I need to limit the amount of checking. Once in the morning, once at lunch, and once before I leave is a good amount for me.

3) Use more glass storage containers and less plastic.
I asked for more glass containers for Christmas. I still enjoy using mason jars as much as I can. I use plastic in moderation and try not to microwave in it whenever possible.

4) Find my rambunctious side again.
I think I've given up. I'm an "old person" now and I realized today that my former housemates were a big part of me being more lighthearted. (Miss you girls!) I enjoy life here, but I'm more serious.

5) Memorize some new scripture, or at least review the old.

I've come to the conclusion that I have to give up nightly Psalm of the day reading if I want to make time for memorization. I no longer force myself to memorize an entire verse, but rather try to work on a phrase or two. It's slow-going, but helps me examine Scripture in order to see it in new ways.

7) Purge excess. Soak up blessing.
I purged my Arkansas house. Now I'm purging here. But living at home, I have a basement full of home goods in another place. I need to find my own space or sell/give away a lot.

9) Embrace the quiet.

Nighttime snack is about all I get. I try to wait until others leave the kitchen to start, but sometimes I just have to try to make my own quiet amidst the chaos.

11) Rest.

Let's be honest. I spent (and enjoyed) a lot of time on Pinterest, Thanksgiving, and Facebook over Thanksgiving break. I also read a lot.

12) Trim down the processed. Bulk up the produce. (In my diet)

Sometimes I don't know what to eat. So I just eat.

4) Finish the books I have and read more.

15) Spend time with and love the people around me. 

Dad and I went to the Christmas light parade and Panera Bread this weekend. Good times.

16) Blog. Instagram. Something. 

Blogging is cathartic, but I don't always know if people read what I write. (Does it matter?) I like Instagram, but often think my posts promote egotism. Sigh. Most good things in life have great potential to become vices.

God Surpasses Human Understanding.

God surpasses human understanding.
Goes beyond in achievement, amount, excellence, extent, or degree; exceeds (, n. d.).

Psalm 150:2

Praise him for his acts of power; praise him for his surpassing greatness.

2 Corinthians 3:10
For what was glorious has no glory now in comparison with the surpassing glory.

2 Corinthians 4:7
But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.

2 Corinthians 9:14
And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you.

Philippians 3:8
What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ.

Surpass. (n.d.). Unabridged. Retrieved November 20, 2016 from