New Year, New Perspective: My Word for 2019

Over the years I have been pretty big into making goals for the new year and don't get me wrong, I still am.  I have a little list tucked away in my brain for 2019 but there is something more that I want to focus on in the coming year.  I think that a lot of times with goals we can get caught up in the pressure of accomplishing them.  Whether or not we reach those goals or not we tend to lean on our own strength.  It's about bettering ourselves or our lives of our own accord.  Again, I am all about it, looking towards something better, looking towards growth.  But this year (and beyond) I really want to focus on the Lord's strength by trusting in the things that He has laid on my heart and trusting Him to be my strength in accomplishing them.

Which is why I decided that I really want to dwell on one word that points towards the Lord's strength and what I am believing of Him in the coming year.  I have spent a lot of time praying and meditating on this over the past several months and so without further ado my word for 2019 is...


For the sake of being honest, over the past several years I have been extremely frustrated with God and His timing.  I had this vision for my life.  This vision of how I could use writing to contribute to both my family and ministry.  I began seriously working towards this vision three years ago and haven't seen much fruit.  I fell into the world's pace with ease, fighting for instant gratification, instant results.  I've been FRUSTRATED but I continued to hear from the Lord:  keep going, keep going!

It's hard though, when you pour your heart into something and see little from it.  It makes you want to quit.

There was a time recently though when God laid something on my heart like a brick.

"Are you seeking fruition for your own gain or are you seeking it for My glory?"

It's tough to admit selfish intentions but I think that's ultimately where I was at.  I needed to feel big and accomplished.  For me.  So I had to really work that out with God and He used this conviction to change the perspective of my heart.  Through much prayer I have come to this place where I have realized a life of servitude.  I will never be perfect but I want to use my gifts and talents to serve God as a vessel.  I want people to look at the things I have put my hand to and then see something greater beyond it.  

Now, on to the promise.

God does not owe me fruit but He has promised me fruit and to the benefit of His Kingdom I am believing Him for a portion of the harvest in the coming year.  There are seasons of preparation for each calling in our lives and if I really take a good hard look over the course of my life I can almost pin point the time when God gave me a passion for writing.  It was almost ten years ago.  TEN!  I was seventeen years old and without really knowing it I was stepping into a calling that would take ten years of refinement.

God has the ability to take a glowing ember and nurture it into flame.  It amazes me and my frustration fades when I trust in His slow burning process because I know that He is changing me.  When it comes time to gather my crop I will know that He has readied my heart for such a time, that I am who He needs me to be in that moment in order to fully glorify Him.

It's honestly one of the most terrifying things to come out publicly and share what the Lord has shared with me in private but I always believe in the purpose.

I just feel like the Lord is telling me, "Your harvest has ripened!"

I got in the Word before writing this today and God lead me to Luke Chapter 1.  I am reading about Mary and this unapologetic faith that she had in God when an angel appeared to her and told her that she, as a virgin would conceive a child by the Holy Spirit.  Not just any child but a King whose kingdom shall have no end.  She was filled with joy and ran to share the good news with her cousin, Elizabeth.

This is how Elizabeth responds to Mary in Luke 1:45 -

"Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill His promises to her!" 

Woah!  One little sentence and the Lord confirmed me to write this today.  I do not even have the words to express my gratitude for the Word of God.  Guys, if you seek Him, you will find Him and He will speak to you.  I urge you with my whole heart to get in that Book!

So, like Mary, this year I am believing with no apology for the Lord to fulfill a promise to me.  I am going to see fruit for His kingdom.  I simply cannot wait to see Him move in the lives of others through the things that I create by His strength and for His purpose.

I'm giddy.

I don't know if you have a word for the upcoming year like me, you certainly don't have to.  But what I do hope is that you continue to plow the fields that God has called you to, even when you look up and there are miles to go.  Wipe the sweat off your brow and keep going, keep moving your passions and your talents forward.  God is shaping you for your season ahead.

There is coming a day and it's going to be good!

keep tending your crops. 

2018 Reading Wrap Up!

We are nearing the end of the year, which means that its time to go over all the books I read in 2018.  This is such fun for me, getting to reflect of all of the books that entered my life in the last year and I love getting to share them with all of you!  Hopefully you will find some books that you might want to pick up for yourself in the coming year!

Without further ado...

1. Number of books read 


2. Number of rereads 

Just one.  Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets!

3. Most read genre 

Just by a quick overview I would say fantasy but I also read a lot of mysteries this year as well.

4. The best book you read in 2017 

Without a doubt this goes to Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis.  My oldest brother had read it and told me it was the best book he ever read.  He gave it to me and I devoured it in two days.  This is a retelling of the classical myth of Cupid and Psyche.  C.S. Lewis rearranges this myth to create an allegorical representation of the relationship between the one true God and man.  I've said it a thousand times and I'll say it again.  This book wrecked me and I think I will spend a lifetime rereading it!

My honorable mention has to be Nevermoor by Jessica Townsend.  This is a middle grade novel that I read back in the fall and I absolutely loved it!  This is such a whimsical and charm filled adventure and it's just so good.  It gave me almost the same feeling as reading Harry Potter, which is a win in my book!  I can't recommend this enough!

5. What's a book you were excited about and thought you were really going to love but didn't 

Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson.  This is a mystery novel that I had heard so much about.  I was really intrigued so I picked it up.  I ended up not really liking it.  I thought it was really slow and it didn't hold my interest.  I am really hard on Mysteries though because I want to be gripped.  If a mystery doesn't have me flying though the pages then it doesn't really work for me.

6. Most surprising book that you read

The Rock, the Road, and the Rabbi by Kathie Lee Gifford.  I am going to be honest.  I picked this book up because I had traveled to Israel at the end of 2017 and absolutely fell in love.  I wanted to read this book so I could relive my time there and of course this book definitely did that for me.  What really surprised me though was the commentary provided by Rabbi Jason Sobel.  He shared so many eye opening realities within scripture that I have never studied before.  I love the way both He and Kathie Lee really shed light of God's redemptive work in Israel:  Prophecies coming to pass and promises being met.  It makes me so giddy to see what God is going to do further.  I believe we are living in exciting times and Israel plays the most important role in that!

7. Best series you started in 2018  

Hands down Nevermoor by Jessica Townsend.  I keep hearing that this series is going to be a long one and I am hear for it!

8. Best series ender you read in 2018 

This one wins by default because it was the only series ender I read this year.  Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han.  Contemporaries don't tend to be my favorite but I thought I would give this series a try because I had heard so many great things about it.  In the end I really enjoyed it!  I thought it was super cute and by the end of the series I kind of got sad that I wasn't going to be with these characters anymore, which to me is a true hallmark of a good book!

9. Favorite new author you discovered in 2018 

Stuart Turton!  I read The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, which I actually believe is his debut novel.  Now this was a mystery that kept me interested!  This was such a fun read and I definitely did not guess the outcome!  I really hope that Stuart Turton keeps writing books because I will surely be reading them!

10. The most action packed, thrilling, unputable down book of the year

I will give this to The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle.  This book was so intricate and there was always something new to discover.  I loved it's mansion setting and the whole cast of characters.  It was a good time!

11. A book that you read in 2018 that you will most likely reread 

I know I already mentioned this but without a doubt, Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis.  But I will also say that I have already thought about rereading Live Fearless by Sadie Robertson.  I read this book in an extreme time of need and her words were so inspirational in lifting me out of a place of anxiety.  I think it will be a reread for me throughout my life.  Especially as my family and I enter into different seasons of calling.  I always want to say "Yes" to whatever God has called us to no matter how scary or difficult it may seem.  Like I said, Sadie's words really inspire boldness!

12. Favorite book cover of a book you read in 2018 

Snow & Rose by Emily Winfield Martin.  The author of this book also did the cover art and illustrations throughout and these illustrations are seriously stunning!  They are so whimsical and dreamy.  It's without a doubt one of the most beautiful books I own!

13. Most memorable character of 2018 

Morrigan Crow from Nevermoor.  I loved reading about this character!  She is strong, smart, loyal, unique, and adventurous.  I cannot wait to continue following her journey!

14. Most beautifully written book of 2018

Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis

15. Most thought provoking book

Till We Have Faces.  Sorry guys....just read it!

16. A book that you can't believe you waited until 2018 to read 

I would have to go with the Battlefield of the Mind by Joyce Meyer.  This was another book that I read when I was going through a bout anxiety.  I wish I would have read it sooner.  It's definitely one of those books that hits you right in the face with conviction.  Joyce Meyer really knows how to shed light on truth in a no nonsense way.  It's definitely what I needed in that season of my life but I honestly wish I would have read it sooner!

17. Favorite quote from a book you read in 2018

"I know now, Lord, why you utter no answer.  You are yourself the answer.  Before your face questions die away.  What other answer would suffice?  Only words, words; to be led out to battle against other words." 

-C.S. Lewis, Till We Have Faces

18. Favorite non-romantic relationship in a book you read in 2018 

Most definitely the relationship between Morrigan Crow and Jupiter North in Nevermoor.  I don't know how to explain this without giving too much away but at the beginning of the book you see that Morrigan has a rather strained relationship with her biological father.  Jupiter North ends up taking Morrigan to a magical city called Nevermoor because he has chosen her to compete in a prestigious competition in which the winners earn the right to enter into an organization called the Wondrous Society.  Throughout the story you really see Jupiter North become like a father figure to Morrigan and his mentorship towards her is so pure and authentic.  He truly believed in her when no one else would.

I also have to go with Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte, and Helen Burns from My Plain Jane.  They are a hilarious dynamic trio.  I was laughing constantly during this read!

19.  A book that made you cry in 2018

This is strange for me because it does NOT take much to make me cry, like ever!  That includes books but this year I can really only remember crying during two different books.  Till We Have Faces, obvi!  and also, Live Fearless by Sadie Robertson.  I was going through a lot while reading this and her words were just so encouraging.  I knew that God was using her to call me towards a place of peace and for that....tears were shed.

20.  What are your reading goals for 2019? 

I love setting reading goals.  It's fun for me, especially when I pile up new books on my shelf but I also know that I will just end up reading what I am interested in at the time so I usually don't put too much pressure on myself!

1.  My first reading goal is always to read 20 books.  For the past several years I have always exceeded this goal but I keep it lower so that I don't feel any pressure.

2.  First and foremost the book I am determined to finish is Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy.  This was a goal I had for this year and sadly I didn't start it until a couple of days ago.  This book is a monster so I know I won't finish it by the end of this month but most likely in January.  I LOVE this story so much.  I have seen the absolutely stunning film (with Keira Knightley) several times and I just can't get enough of it.  So I am excited to finish the book!


4.  Another big priority is of course Wundersmith by Jessica Townsend, the sequel to Nevermoor!

5. The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkien (I say this year after year...will this be the year?)

6.  I would love to read more mystery.  Like good classic mysteries that have a lot of support already behind them.  I haven't read a lot of Agatha Christie or any of Arthur Conan Doyle.  I think those would be good places to start!

So there is my 2018 reading year in a nutshell.  It's so fun to look back and see what I have been reading all at once.  I am so looking forward to yet another year ahead filled with lots of books!  What are you currently reading?  What are some of your all time favorite books and authors?  I would love to hear your suggestions! 

Hadessah Turns Two!

Wow guys!  Our baby bear, Hadessah is two!  It gets overused, I know but as a mother, how do you come up with anything different:  WHERE IS THE TIME GOING?!  I just want to be able to kiss these squishy two year old cheeks forever but I know that won't be the case.  So I think I am just going to just have to be super mindful during year two (and all the years) I want to soak it all in!

What to say about Hadessah?  What not to say about Hadessah?  She is our passionate girl.  She knows what she wants and when she wants it, which results in a lot of screaming.  There are some hard days I won't lie but I love her passion.  It will take stewarding as she grows but I know without a doubt that Hadessah will be able to do hard things.  I know that she will be persistent in her mission and always, always stand firm in what she believes.  I can sense it now and I pray that God would bring that to fruition in her life.  He is SO good, I know He will!

Over the last several weeks she has been a talking machine.  Like more than ever!  Just this morning we were reading a book together and she was looking at a picture of a dog wearing a hat.  I said to her, "Hadessah do you like that doggy's hat?"  She said, "It's so beautiful!"  I was amazed.  It put the biggest smile on my face!

We keep our Birthdays pretty simple in our household.  If we can, we will get together with close family but nothing ever too fancy.  That may change in the future but this year we had cake with just the four of us.  My mom used to always make our birthday cakes growing up and I always so appreciated that.  She knew how to make our birthdays special so I knew that when I had kids I wanted to do the same.

This year, since Hadessah is our December baby I wanted to do a Nutcracker themed cake.  I don't have a lot of piping skills so I opted for the sweetest cupcake toppers.  I ordered them from Paper Source and I think they were perfect!

I started this tradition where I would write out things that I want to remember about my kids as they are now.  It's going to be so fun to look back on as the years go by.  

The things I want to remember most about Hadessah right now are... 

1.  Her insatiable appetite for trying new things.  She especially looks up to her big sister and two of her new favorite phrases have become "I ty, I ty!"  and "watch, watch!" 
She loves to get our attention so she can show us how she can jump off the first step of the stairs or do a somersault off the couch.  It's so darn cute!  And I love getting to see her grow into this new confidence.  I am always so torn as a mother because on one hand it's so heartbreaking as they get older but on the other hand it's my biggest joy to watch them grow! 

2.  How funny she thinks she is.  I know it's still early on but I think Hadessah is destined for a quick wit.  She is always laughing at herself and trying to make everyone else around her laugh too.  It's the sweetest thing to watch! 

Uggggghhhhh I just love her SO MUCH!  What a blessing she is to our family! 

I am so looking forward to the years to come with our Hadessah girl!