Five Faves- September 2016

I tend to like things in spurts. A while back I became obsessed with Mumford and Sons… their songs are sadly no longer enjoyable because I played them into the ground. I went through a hat phase and was rarely seen without one… now I feel much like Kathleen Kelly, most hats are a mistake. The point is that at any given time, there are some things I am really into and are current favorites. I thought it would be fun to list 5 of my current favorites!¬†Hopefully I don’t wear any of these things out!

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  1. Thieves essential oil. I have dipped my toe into the sea of essential oils this summer, and I am glad I did. I ordered a starter kit from Young Living, and have used my oils for cleaning, fighting off colds, healing burns and rashes, and battling anxiety. My current favorite oil is Thieves, because I don’t go a day without using it. I keep getting a sore throat, and after using my Thieves roller, it goes away every time. PLUS it smells super good. ūüôā
  2. Brie cheese… best if paired with Salami and Red Grapes. Seriously, this is a delicious combination. My love for Brie cheese began in France, so obviously it makes me feel very cultured, but it also brings back such happy memories. (Please note this hilarious and hidden joke referring to cheese cultures. Thank you.)
  3. LuLaRoe Carly dresses. Yes, I sell them- but I don’t love them because I sell them,¬†I sell them because I love them. ūüôā This dress is seriously so comfortable that I wear it on days I’m not “doing” anything. I have NEVER been one to wear a dress just because… but the Carly is the exception. (If you want to shop, I have a weekly Popup on Thursdays in my Facebook group!) I cannot wait to layer these dresses with leggings, boots, and long cardigans!!!!
  4. Pumpkin French Toast Bake. I made this last weekend for our growth group retreat, and I am a fan. I am someone who struggles to make breakfast happen every morning, so I love making casseroles like this that I can just warm up. Minimal effort, people.
  5. Cam’s album Untamed. This ALMOST turned into a Mumford & Sons situation… but I quickly realized my trajectory (and remembered the graveyard of albums I used to love)… and took a break. So, now I’m back to loving the album. Even if you don’t like country, just listen to Burning House… and if you don’t cry, I’m not sure you’re human.

A Big Summer For the Cornelissens

Friends, the last few months have been packed full of crazy changes. I have been meaning to sit down and get back into blogging, but stuff just kept happening! So here’s a whirl-wind update on our summer. ūüôā

May was a BIG month.
My parents celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary and went to Ireland for a few weeks, so we visited my brother Andrew in Columbia and celebrated his 18th birthday at Carowinds. What a blast! A week later, Josh graduated with his M-Div from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, and started a full-time job at CarMax! He is working as a sales consultant, and frankly crushing it.
Aaron moved out! He is adulting like a boss, working 2-3 jobs, paying his bills, making meals, and we are so excited with him and proud of him.
We bought a car for Josh, because Aaron is using the Explorer. ūüôā We got a Nissan Versa from a motivated seller on Craig’s List, in our price range, and with crazy low miles.
I researched and prayed and decided to sign up with LuLaRoe. At the time, I thought it would be good to have something to keep me busy in the evenings and the weekends, because Josh’s work schedule requires a lot of evening and weekend hours at work. I was working full-time in May, but Josh knew I couldn’t shake the idea of starting my own LuLaRoe business. So the day he graduated, I submitted my on boarding paperwork.
ALSO in May we bought our first brand-spanking-new major appliance, a dryer. This may not sound exciting, but I could not have been MORE excited. Long story short, we have paid ridiculous power bills this year because a bird made a nest in our exterior dryer vent, and our dryer was running for hours without drying the clothes. Once we fixed the bird issue, we realized the dryer was just dead and we could keep paying ridiculous bills or bite the bullet and buy a new dryer. Obviously we bought a new one, and we haven’t doubted the decision once! (Also our power bill is HUNDREDS of dollars lower each month. Isn’t that insane?!)
I think was in June… but it might have been May… we took a short trip to Charlotte and hit Ikea for some LuLaRoe supplies and ended up meeting my parents for dinner! It was a great time away, even though it was short.

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June was frankly a month of struggle. Josh and I were both working full-time, and I cried a lot. Our schedules completely collided and my love cup was completely dry. I was gone from 7-5:30 everyday, and Josh was working mostly from 12-9 every night. By the time he got home it was 9:30 or 10, and I had fallen asleep because I had to get up early the next day for work. We agonized over what to do, and finally decided that the best decision was for me to quit my full-time job.
Growing up, my mom would always ask “What’s the goal?” Josh and I had a lot of conversations, serious conversations, over g-chat while we were both at work, because there wasn’t time to actually sit down and have a conversation. I felt so strongly that the goal of this season- just being married without anyone living in our house and before we have kids- is to focus on our marriage and make sure we are the strongest we can be. Secondary goals are to pay off Josh’s student loans and to gain direction for future ministry… but if our marriage isn’t strong, we won’t be able to accomplish much. Ultimately, we decided that both of us working full time may accomplish paying off the loans at a faster rate, but we might accomplish it at the cost of quality time and the ability to strengthen our marriage.20160725_085847

July was a month of endings and beginnings. Josh finished training at CarMax, I concluded my employment at my office job, and I got the call from LuLaRoe to order my initial inventory! We got to spend a long weekend with the Gilmores, and the dream of me spending more time at home because a reality. august

August was a month of excitement. The first week I was home, not working full-time anymore, Andrew came to spend the week with us. We did a lot of fun stuff, but we spent the most time playing Pokemon Go. ūüôā In the middle of his visit, my initial inventory arrived! At the very end of his visit, he bought his first car. Josh was able to find the perfect vehicle, in Andrew’s budget. Isn’t that insane? When did he get old enough to buy a car?!?!?!
A week and a half later, I had my official business launch. It was what I hoped! I had several friends come to my in-home launch and fall in love with the clothes the same way I did. It was such a joy to see the giant smiles on their faces, and you could tell how amazing they felt about themselves.

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Right now, I am loving the flexibility of my schedule. I’m establishing new routines and habits to take better care of myself and our home and enjoying the experience of owning my own business. Most of all, I’m thankful for Josh! He has been so supportive of my desire to spend more time at home, to pursue the dream of owning this business, and encouraged me to push outside of my comfort zone. I’m not sure what the next few months hold, but I am sure that we made a great decision putting our marriage first.

I have weekly LuLaRoe sales in my Facebook group (facebook.com/groups/lularoedeborahc) and THIS weekend I have an exciting multi-consultant sale! I’d love to see you there. It’s a great opportunity to try all the clothes on and get your sizes, as well as to see other styles I don’t carry yet. ūüôā Here are the details!
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How I Fell in Love with LuLaRoe!

I want to share something I am super excited about, and also a pretty big life announcement! A few months ago, I was introduced to a clothing company named LuLaRoe. I was invited to an online shopping group, where a consultant posted her inventory, and people claimed by commenting Sold. Some of my first thoughts were:

“What the heck is going on?”
“These patterns are insane!”
“How are you supposed to know if these clothes will even look good on you?!”
“Does that pattern come in another size? Can I please find it?”
“Why is everyone losing their minds over leggings? Leggings are leggings, people.” ¬†*

Something else I noticed was that this was a group of women… and not a¬†small group of women. There were over 1,000 women in this Facebook group, and they only had nice things to say to one another. I saw people tagging their friends saying “This would look AMAZING on you!” I saw women posting shameless selfies of their outfits, and other women (who probably have never met each other in real life) were commenting “You look fabulous!” “You’re rocking that, girl!” “I told you that you could pull that off, look at your amazing curves!”
It was like I had transported into another dimension. A place¬†where women were saying nice things to one another instead of tearing¬†others¬†down to lift themselves up. A place where instead of focusing on the 15 pounds they’d like to lose, they were confidently posting pictures of how they rocked their outfit that day.
I wanted to try the clothes, so I found a local consultant in Raleigh that was hosting a pop-up (a pop-up is when a consultant takes their inventory and sets it up at someone’s house and people can come shop and try stuff on). I went,¬†I tried on all the clothes, and I fell in love with these clothes. They are well made, ethically made, unique, flattering, and super versatile!¬†Something that I love is that they can be worn throughout pregnancy! (No, this is not an announcement.) As you guys know, I love to invest in things I can get a ton of use out of… which is why I bought kitchen sponges I can throw in the washing machine, wool dryer balls, and I love that I can invest in a wardrobe that would adapt with¬†my¬†changing body as we grow our family¬†in the future. (Have I stressed that this is not an announcement?) These are clothes I feel sooo good about purchasing because I am supporting small businesses, ethical clothing production, and it’s a wardrobe that can move through seasons of life with me.

Some of own shameless selfies. :)
Some of own shameless selfies. ūüôā

I bought an Amelia dress, which is practically perfect in every way. It has a zipper, pockets, and hand-set box pleats. Wearing it, I feel put together, insanely comfortable, and never worry about modesty for a moment… and I want to tell everyone about LuLaRoe. I went from being completely oblivious about this clothing line to absolutely obsessed. It felt like every time Josh asked what I was doing on my phone I was looking at a new Facebook pop-up, just to see what they had even though I had spent my budget for the month.

An awesome thing about LuLaRoe is that only about 2,000 pieces are made of each fabric. That means that the likelihood of someone you know having the same piece of clothing as you is incredibly low… and it also means that it is always exciting to see what consultants have because everyone has different prints! When a consultant makes an order, they can only pick the style and the size not the print. Every shipment is like Christmas!

ANYWAY… I decided that if I was so obsessed with the clothing, and I was going to tell everyone about LuLaRoe because I love it so much, it only made sense to sign up as a consultant. Buuut that’s another story for another day. ūüôā
(I don’t have a shopping group yet, there’s a long line of people waiting to sign up, but if you want to know more please email me or send me a message on Facebook!)

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*To answer the questions above:
LuLaRoe is a serious addiction, and the clothes are insanely comfortable. What was (is) going on? People were (are) feeding their LuLaRoe beast. Now I get it.

Even if I think some patterns are crazy, I really think each pattern has a person. I have found patterns I am in LOVE WITH and I am glad I stuck around to find them!

They will. They do. Trust me.

These are no ordinary leggings. Say goodbye to pathetic leggings that fall down and you have to yank back up… these leggings stay up and they are so soft and so comfortable sometimes you have to look down and reassure yourself that you are wearing clothes.

Managing Expectations

Last night I looked down at the beverage I was holding and just kind of chuckled. Seminary life is a strange, strange time… full of things I never expected and the gender stereotypes¬†have been reversed. For instance,¬†I’m the one that comes home from a long day and wants a beer.¬†I have rarely do dishes, grocery shopping, or clean the bathroom.¬†In fact Josh does a lot of chores for me while I’m at work so that when we’re both home we can spend time together.

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It all feels backwards and it’s been hard for me to let go of all the things I’m¬†supposed to do. I used to¬†think¬†that when I got married maybe I’d have a part time job, but that my main job would be taking care of our house… the floors would never be in dire need of mopping, the dust would not be out of control, the sink would be perpetually emptied of dirty dishes, and the counters ever clean and wiped down. Isn’t that a nice dream?
The reality is that I rise before the sun and I spend¬†10 1/2 hours out of the house each day… and in that time, there are other humans, with other standards of cleanliness, in my house. Yet, I still inwardly hold myself to that standard of cleanliness and when it’s not met, I feel like I’m not doing enough. WHY IS THAT? Am I comparing myself to other wives I know?¬†Is it a fair comparison? (The answer is no, because it’s not fair to compare.)

I spoke some truth to a friend yesterday, and the truth is that I desperately needed to hear it for myself. The person you’re comparing yourself to isn’t perfect. In fact, they have sins that Jesus needed to die for… just like me.
Ironically, I’m finally learning to recognize the lists I make of things I should be doing just as we’re about to make more transitions out of seminary life, and into both of us working full time. I’m sure the amount of grace we’re giving each other will only need to be increased as Josh won’t have free days to get chores done. Just as I’m becoming aware of the unrealistic lists I’m making for myself, I need to be mindful of the list of “shoulds” I’m making for my husband. I can either be thankful for the things he is able to accomplish, or resent him for the things he can’t. I think the right choice is obvious, but often difficult to make. I pray I’m actively aware of this, and avoid hurting the one I love.

Last night, after a long day of work, a long walk by myself, and time spent¬†in serving others, I didn’t list the things “I should be doing”… I rested and enjoyed that beer (and Grey’s Anatomy). Maybe the counters needed to be wiped, maybe I should have vacuumed our room- instead, I was grateful for the life we have, a husband that serves, and the freedom to say “this is all I can do today.”

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Love One Another

Obviously this space of mine on the internet has been neglected lately. Life is so¬†full. I am finding myself tired, in a good way. My moments of rest are sweet, my time is being spent well, and I don’t regret being too busy to sit down and record it.

Something I have struggled with¬†over the years, but especially the last 2 years,¬†is a balance between social time and solitude. I lean much further towards the introverted side of the scale, and it’s been hard for me to figure out how to be in community without being burnt out. Y’all, this year I have discovered it’s simple. Invite people to do things you’re already planning on doing. We have found that we’re able to deeply engage in community by hitting the gym with friends, having girls over to watch The Bachelor, and¬†just having friends over for a lazy Sunday afternoon. Community is simply doing life together… that means having people over even if the floors aren’t swept or the dishes¬†are dirty. It’s been hard to let people see a messy house, but much harder to let them see a messy heart. How are you doing with letting people see the real life version of you? I have found two things: 1) It gets easier with practice, and 2) honesty and transparency encourage honesty and transparency. I am¬†not saying live like a slob on purpose. I¬†am saying that community can be messy… so worry less about the mess and be real.

At church, we’re doing a study called “Life Together.” We’re studying Biblical Community, and it’s been so convicting. Do you realize that our example of sacrificial love is JESUS? The one who gave His LIFE for us!? It certainly wasn’t convenient for Jesus to take the form of human, and die as a sacrifice for all of our sins. Yet, He is our example… and how many times do I back out of something because it isn’t “convenient?” That was so convicting to me. I tend to think that if I have time, I’ll love and serve my community. It isn’t always convenient, and it isn’t always what I want to do… but we’re called to love sacrificially.

A few months ago we were studying in Acts, and I was struck by the verse “there was not a needy person among them.” I want our community to be a place where we meet each other’s needs, and part of that has been meeting people’s social needs. We have a friend in our Growth Group that works from home, and lives alone. Guess what? He needs friends! He has social needs! I have a tendency to be selfish with my time at home, and was extremely convicted about closing my home when I know people are in need. He is a pretty permanent presence in our house on Sundays, and surprise- I don’t hate it. Additional surprise- I don’t have to entertain him. He just wants to be around us, and it’s turned out to be a huge blessing for all of us.

Click HERE to find our church sermons online!

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Since January? Well, we paid our taxes. Our return has gone into “intentional savings” which is basically money we’re setting aside for a car or to put towards student loans. Anyway, we got taxes out of the way as soon as we were able. It was SO freeing!

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We’ve traveled a lot… and I am enjoying being one of 3 drivers with a license which means I get to hang out in the backseat and watch movies¬†on said roadtrips.

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We’re in a season of routines. Every night of the week is packed full of exercise, cooking, chores, and social time. Every day my checklist resets (vitamins, morning devotions, walk, weights, drink over 64 oz of water, remember to brush your teeth, put away your clothes), I go to the same job and do the same things. I come home and try not to beat myself up for not getting everything done. I remind myself this is a season… a strange season that will not last forever. My brother in law will not always be here, Josh will not always have papers to write, and I will not always be the primary breadwinner. I pray every day that the Lord would show me His grace in the midst of the routine. That I would be shown a new truth in my devotional time, that I would not dread my commute, that I would be content in Him instead of discontent in my circumstances.

I made a lot of cooking goals this year, and we’re off to a splendid start! I have wanted to add more variety in our diet… we eat a lot of chicken. Honestly, I love chicken… but we need diversity. We’ve been eating more fish, I¬†made¬†a pot roast, and I made pulled pork! Next on the list is lasagna, salmon, and a deep dish pizza. I’ve also been baking a lot of bread! I love my bread machine, but don’t LOVE the block of bread shape. I started letting the bread machine do the hard work and then baking it in the oven. I love it.

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Josh only has about two more months of school, so we’re almost at the point of him looking for a job. We’re also dreaming about taking a vacation this fall to celebrate the end of seminary and to have some fun. To say it’s been a hard year is an understatement… and it’s fun to dream.

 

Dear Josh,
I’m so thankful that we’re able to engage in ministry together. Thanks for leading our growth group and taking “life together” so seriously. Thanks for challenging me to love sacrificially, but also take care of myself.
I’m excited about all the new meals we’re trying! I really appreciate the fact that you do the grocery shopping for me every week. It is so nice to make a list of what I need, and for it to “magically” appear in my kitchen when I get home. You’re the best. I know that this season of Seminary has been really stretching for you, but you have not failed to find ways to love and serve me. So thanks for bringing me coffee every morning while I do my devotions, for packing my lunch, and for doing the grocery shopping. I don’t thank you every day, but I’m thankful for you every day.

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What I’m Reading in 2016: When God Doesn’t Fix It

As I have shared in a previous post, my goals this year are mostly focused on¬†taking care of myself so that I can take care of others. The most radical change has been creating a purposeful time of prayer and reading each morning. (It doesn’t necessarily happen first thing in the morning on the weekends, but otherwise I am diligently doing it first thing before work.)
My morning devotional routine involves 3 things:

  1. Prayer
  2. Scripture Reading
  3. Devotional Reading

I record who/what I’m praying for, read a chapter of scripture (going through Genesis right now), and read a chapter of a book I have selected for enrichment purposes. Real talk: if I try to start with reading the Bible, I won’t absorb nearly as much as if I make reading the Bible my second reading… which usually happens halfway through my coffee. This has been working for me!

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This month, I am reading When God Doesn’t Fix It by Laura Story. I don’t even know how to express how much I have loved this book. Laura and I graduated from the same college, and I applaud her handling of scripture. She unpacks hard Biblical truths with integrity and clarity. She speaks from experience, and doesn’t always put herself in a good light. This book is incredibly encouraging,¬†because she reminds the reader about things that are fundamentally true of our God. He is good, he has a plan, and all things are meant to be for His glory.
Maybe you’re not going through a trial right now, so you feel like the content doesn’t apply to you. Here’s what I know: you have either gone through a trial, or you will in the future. Since trials are inevitable, I think it is important to have resources at your disposal to encourage you and remind you of the truths that are hard¬†to speak to yourself. I strongly recommend this book; it’s packed full of good theology, feelings and thoughts I have related to, and pierces through the lies we believe about (and in the midst of) trials. Laura’s vulnerability is beautiful, as she shares the way God molded her heart and mind and used a tragic¬†situation to grow her. I haven’t quite finished the book, but I have read the majority- enough to say GO BUY IT.

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Holiday Recap

December feels like a distant dream. We had my company Christmas party (yay for free margaritas and steak), and the next day Josh and I headed to Myrtle Beach for our annual anniversary trip. We scored a super sweet ocean-front hotel Groupon that meant we could afford to stay there for 4 nights! Unfortunately, we quickly discovered why the hotel was so cheap… and had to change rooms because I found long, black hairs everywhere. In the shower, all over the bathroom, in the bed, on the pillows… it was like no one cleaned the room, and I got grossed out. We switched rooms, ended up with a better layout and a better room, and we were happier. ūüôā The first night, we decided to run to Publix to get some groceries… and a fun anniversary treat. We got our wedding cake from Publix (highly recommend), a grocery store we don’t have in NC (at least anywhere close to us), so we got a little cake for our anniversary treat. It’s been a few weeks, so honestly the trip is a blur of eating out, and enjoying the hotel’s cable (HGTV)!!! We had all sorts of food- wings, breakfast, Mexican, pizza… watched two movies- Hunger Games (SO GOOD) and Ricki and the Flash, played board games, went to the aquarium, walked on the beach, read, and slept in. It was so refreshing to have a break from cooking, cleaning, working, commuting… and so nice to be on a vacation alone.

Next, we headed to Columbia for Christmas! It was hot and muggy our entire stay in South Carolina. “Welcome Home,” right? My mom blew us away with her cooking, and Josh got to experience all our “weird” traditions including glow sticks and books on Christmas Eve. We decorated gingerbread cookies, exchanged presents, ate a ton, and watched the¬†neighbors’ house burn. In the middle of Christmas dinner, fire trucks rolled down the street and stormed the house two doors down. It was incredibly sobering, and I gained renewed respect for fire-fighters. The owners of the house were out of town, and the fire was started by a heat lamp for one of the reptiles. The owners are avid animal lovers, and we saw two dogs and a cat be carried out of the house, then watched the workers attempt to revive them… and cover them with a white sheet. It was so hard to walk back inside, knowing this family’s Christmas was ruined and forever marked as a sad occasion.
In contrast, our Christmas was a joyous occasion. We went on tons of walks, ate tons of food, laughed until we hurt, and I am so thankful my entire family was able to be together. Every time we’re with¬†with my parents, I am so encouraged by the ways they invest in and love people. I’m so thankful for the hours they spent with us talking, processing, and advising. The most hilarious moment was when Josh opened a pair of shoes… and we realized that instead of putting an adult-size 12 on his list, he put a child-size 12. ūüėÄ Since Josh is a detail-guy, my mom figured he had the right link on his wish-list and didn’t even double check what she was ordering… we all laughed until we cried!

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New Years was spent with our BFFS the Gilmores. We celebrated Joseph’s birthday with an amazing meal at Outback, introduced him to fire works (his birthday is New Years Eve!), turned his high chair (and his body) blue with acrylic paint- he really liked painting- just not the aftermath (also now mommy and Aunt Deborah know that acrylic paint stains BADLY), decorated for and had a Winter Onederland (get it?) birthday party,¬†stayed up late playing board games and laughing hysterically, doing ridiculous things to get a laugh out of Joseph, and wishing we could stay longer.

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My birthday was simple: we got Taza Grill and Cheesecake for date night, then on my actual birthday we made cheese fondue (wasn’t awesome) and Josh surprised me with a beautiful book of letters from my friends and family. I cried and cried and it was basically the best birthday gift ever. YAY for 25 years! The guys decorated our house to replicate an episode of The Office where Dwight decorates with balloons and streamers that match The Office. Spoiler: it looks like crap. I walked into the house after a long day to the hilarious decorations and it made my day!

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We’re on week 3 of my goals, and I have to say I am getting pretty consistent. The best thing I did was download a checklist app… I kept forgetting (thanks, 6:15 am) if I had taken my vitamin, and always felt like I was forgetting something. If you’re a list maker like me, and trying to form a habit… get a checklist app. It is a game-changer.

One of my goals for this year is to add recipes to my arsenal. I tried my hand at pot roast, without a kit, and it was AMAZING. Huge huge hit with the boys. I threw a bunch of potatoes and carrots in the bottom of the crock pot with some water, with the roast, packs of brown gravy, Italian Dressing Mix and Ranch Mix on top and let it cook for hours. I made a delish ravioli dish, and made the easiest, most addictive ham and cheese sliders of my life. This weekend I am going to try a baked potato soup, since it is supposed to be insanely cold and they are calling for snow. When it snows, I need soup. It just makes sense.

Dear Josh,

I am so thankful for all the happy memories we made over the holiday weeks,¬†but I am also thankful we are able to enjoy some time at home now. Thanks for always being enthusiastic about new meals, getting up early so I can do my quiet time, and bringing me coffee while I do my devotions. You’re the best.

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2016: Looking Forward

As I reflected on last year, I saw a common theme… doing things for others. I’m not trying to puff myself up, but it was a year of sacrificial giving and I have found myself saying (more than once) “I’m taking care of everyone else… who is taking care of me?”
I started this year saying this HAS to change. My goal was/is to establish habits and routines- no matter how small- that make me feel like I’m taking care of me. Josh and I hope to have a family in the next few years… and as wonderful as that is, I know even more will be demanded of me¬†since babies need a little bit more attention¬†than the people I have in my life right now. ¬†ūüėČ I want to be purposeful in establishing some self-care habits this year. So, this is what I am setting out to do.

  1. Take care of my body.
    That includes using lotion after a shower, washing my face before I go to bed, brushing my teeth twice a day, taking a daily multi-vitamin, continuing to put good food in my body, and make exercise a priority. These may seem like obvious things to do… but there are so many times I feel like I can’t slow down and take care of myself. That’s going to change.
  2. Take care of my brain.
    That includes reading. I realized I only read like 4 or 5 books last year! This year, my goal is to read at least one book a month, or 12 books in the year. Hopefully I’ll read more, but I feel like one book a month is at least achievable. I want to keep challenging myself by learning to make new things…. new recipes, new sewing projects, I want to keep learning. I also want to say nicer things to myself.
  3. Take care of my soul.
    This is probably the most radical change I am making, but the most important. I have struggled with having a quiet time. I have tried doing it during lunch, I have tried doing it before bed, I have tried doing it when I first get to work. Those worked, for a time… and then I would skip a day because I was tired, stressed out, or some other stupid reason. Because Josh and I have been talking about the next 5 years and when we want to have kids (not any time soon, people), I have been thinking about habits I want to carry into the season of Motherhood. A daily quiet time is something I know I need for myself, and I want¬†to serve as an example for my children. Growing up, I saw my mom sit at the kitchen table every morning with her coffee and her Bible. We knew that a day wouldn’t start without mom spending time with the Lord, and I am so thankful for her dedication and her example. I was thinking about this the other day and realized that it is only going to get harder to establish that habit. If I want my kids to see my start every day with the Lord, I need to make it a habit now. So that’s what I’m doing. I’m getting up 20 minutes earlier… sitting down with a book, journal, Bible, and coffee and starting my day the right way. Today was the first day of this habit, but I’m excited about it continuing.

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How are you taking care of yourself? What goals have you set for this year?

2015: Looking Back

2015 held a lot of change, joy, blessings, disappointments, pain, fears, struggles, and loss.

Overall, this past year was the¬†hardest year I have ever had. It would have been so easy to just glide into 2016 without looking back because I didn’t want to look back and re-experience the pain. In looking at my blogs from the last year, I’m reminded that it wasn’t all pain. There was a lot of growth. I learned to make more meals, I learned to sew, I learned to grieve, I learned to ask for help, and my marriage grew. Am I glad it’s over? OF COURSE. I pray 2016 is marked with joy and growth, not overshadowed with the same pain that 2015 was. I want to share some of my goals for this year, but this post is about looking back. So, here’s a year in review.

 

January was a month packed with change. I turned 24, Aaron moved in with us, and I got a FitBit. I was extremely motivated being able to see how much I was exercising (I love stats) and went a little crazy… which meant I wrecked my knees and had to do knee drains for a few weeks. Gahh.

February we hosted a Superbowl party for the first time. At work, I fought for a raise, and I got one. It was a huge blessing to our family, since we had increased expenses with the new house and Aaron living with us. I used a sewing pattern for the first time, making pillow cases for my friend Elise. Snow and I hit a rough patch in our relationship… lots of stress missing hours at work, and lots of late starts. Off the blog, I started struggling with depression, but didn’t fully realize that I was. Looking back, it’s crystal clear.

March held a lot of joy. We met our godson, Joseph, for the first time… and fell in love.¬†Josh and I had a hard time adjusting to sharing our home/time with Aaron.¬†Luke came to visit.¬†I found the perfect dress at Kohls for Easter.

April held changes and I met some personal goals. I¬†chopped my hair off.¬†My boss gave us a giftcard to a super fancy steakhouse.¬†We celebrated Aaron’s birthday, complete with homemade Apple Pie.¬†We spent Easter in Virginia.¬†I learned to crochet… and then¬†I destroyed my crochet project because I dropped a lot of stitches and it looked AWFUL.¬†Josh’s family visited.¬†I went to my first Blogger event.

In May, we took a Corneli-Sims vacation¬†to Disney World.¬†I came back to a mountain of work and cried.¬†Life turned to crap and I couldn’t blog about it.

In June,¬†Josh fixed our laptop and saved us $200.¬†I got an unexpected raise! I learned how to make my own cold brew coffee. We upgraded our phones. I bought flowers for outside. I then killed the flowers. Josh’s grandpa passed away, and Josh went to Wisconsin for the funeral.

In July, we spend the 4th of July with the Gilmores. I taught Joseph how to smack his lips like a fish and died because it was the cutest thing ever.¬†Andrew (my brother) spent a week at our house.¬†My mom came to visit! We saw Minions and Jurassic World at the Drive In.¬†We got kicked out of our house, cried a lot, and house-hunted.¬†Signed up for a 401-K plan.¬†Got a bonus at work.¬†Found the perfect rental house, and an awesome landlord. Looking back, I can see God’s faithfulness. The blessing that my mom was present when we got horrible news, the provision of a bonus when finances were tight, and a house that met our needs perfectly.

In August, we moved into our new house, with my family’s help!¬†Paid off a TON of loans.¬†Had a weekend¬†away¬†at the beach.¬†I reached the depths of my depression, and reached out for help.¬†Josh started his last year of Seminary.

September started with a visit to Columbia, and celebrating Josh’s 25th birthday. Our house became a home. I got super sick and had to call in sick multiple days. I bought a bread machine, which was truly life-changing! Aaron got his drivers license. I made homemade laundry detergent.

October was full of so much rain, I thought Raleigh was going to float away.¬†It rained like crazy and I had cabin fever- like every other person in the city.¬†Columbia¬†flooded, and I cried seeing pictures of my favorite places immersed in water.¬†I struggled with feeling like I couldn’t blog from my heart and strongly considered abandoning this blog.¬†Had major foot pain, and had to buy new shoes. We implemented a quiet hour in our house- for my sanity. Aaron got a job!¬†Spent Halloween in Virginia and I went trick-or-treating for the first time with my sisters-in-law.

November started with the craft sale, where we made a lot of money! The next day, I threw a baby shower. I didn’t blog a ton, because we were in constant motion.¬†I posted¬†about my struggle with depression.¬†We spent Thanksgiving with Josh’s family, and I contributed stuffing and Pumpkin Cheesecake.

December didn’t have a lot of posts…¬†but we survived finals, had free steak and margaritas at my company Christmas party, went to Myrtle Beach for our 2 year anniversary, had Christmas in Columbia, and New Years with the Gilmores.

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Dear Josh,

This year has been hard, but this year has also been full. I am so thankful for the way you have¬†encouraged,¬†loved, and served me this year and¬†I’m excited to see what the Lord teaches us this coming year. Most of all, I’m thankful we have the most important thing in common: we love Jesus. Without Him, I don’t think we would have gotten through this year as a team. With Him, I think this year has made us a stronger team. I love you.

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