oh, hello there, 2016–Free 2015 Year Review printable!

It’s a new year! I love autumn, deeply, truly. It speaks to my heart in ways other things and seasons can’t. But, oh my, oh my, how I love the season of new year’s leading to Easter.

I could use a second chance. I could use every opportunity of a second chance I can get. And New Year’s, Lent, Easter, all of it reminds my heart that I have just that each and every day.

But it’s hard to look forward without taking a moment to look back. Today, I grabbed 12 pieces of printing paper and wrote a month in the middle of each piece. And I’ve been going through my calendar, pictures, and social media accounts and making notes on important happenings in each month. I’m planning on taping them to the wall tonight for my family to read after dinner and maybe add their own moments. They’re not fancy, just like many of the moments we’ll add on later. But they meant everything to us.

new year's tradition

I also found a few kid friendly New Year’s pages we’ll fill out as a family, but I also wanted something for Lance and I to fill out together after the girls’ were in bed. So, I made us a cute little year end review, and I’ll make us a New Year 2016 goal list too that I’ll share with you. But for now, I wanted to share our year end review list as a printable for any that would love to look back on their year and breathe it in one last time.

Here is the printable as an image to right click and save as…

year end review

and here is the file as a pdf that makes it a bit easier to print ;)>> Year End Review

I hope you have a lovely (and safe!) New Year’s Eve! Now I’m off to go tape up a balloon drop to my ceiling fan and plan a yummy year end dinner for my family. You can’t end the year with mundane food, right??

Word of the Year-End of year review

So, there’s two more days left for 2015. This year was the year of renewal for me. I had every intention of continuing with my word of the year posts, but things got crazy. real crazy. Like, husband graduates, we wait in limbo for months for him to be licensed, then he moved away from us for more than a month while I packed up our lives with the blessed little old house we called home for three years fell apart all around us.  Then we moved to a new city and about the time I began to catch my breath, my dad’s health spiraled down and he was in the hospital and before we knew it, he was gone. Then the next week was Thanksgiving, then Christmas…and now here I am, looking 2016 dead in the eye. However, though I wasn’t able to stay consistent with blogging about my word, it was very much a part of my spiritual life throughout each and every month.

And you know what? I don’t feel renewed. Today, I was sitting in my living room eating a salad and having a conversation about it. To be honest, I was alone and that conversation was happening in my head, but it’s still applicable, right? (Also, while I’m on the topic of honesty, the “salad” I was eating was basically chicken and bacon with ranch and barely any lettuce, but Walmart made it and who am I to judge. It was delicious.)

anyway, I was thinking about my word “renew” and my 2015. My favorite thing to do with my word is to google my word by itself and read the definition that pops up. So in between bites of my “salad” today, I googled “renew.”

  1. resume (an activity) after an interruption.
    “the parents renewed their campaign to save the school”
    re-establish (a relationship)
    “he had renewed an acquaintance with McCarthy”
    repeat (an action or statement).
    “detectives renewed their appeal for those in the area at the time to contact them”

And suddenly, I saw it. I had a year of nothing but interruptions. If 2015 was anything at all, it was a year of resuming and repeating. It was a year of perseverance. A year I hoped would end with tall, healthy stalks actually left me with raw plowed soil. So, I’m entering 2016 with aches and questions, but I’m also entering with confidence and hope. …which reminds me, 2016’s word of the year? Hope.

What about you? looking back on your one word, can you see now how it outlined your path? Can you google and read the definition with new eyes? and anyone have a new word yet? This is seriously the earliest I’ve ever had mine! I’ll leave you with one of my very favorite verses…a verse that led me to my word renew, and ironically, also led me to my word Hope.


Be Still this Christmas…

I got the opportunity to share my heart this month over at My Journey of Faith Magazine…


“The Christmas tree is decorated. Gifts are being wrapped and lovingly placed beneath it. It’s Christmas time again. I know this not just because of the beautiful decorations everywhere or the calendar, but also because the mall and commercials made sure to tell me about it months ago. So many things are left to do and experience, but though my schedule and life are saying “hurry, rush,” I can’t miss how often my heart is whispering, “slow, be still.”


———–To continue reading, click here….————–

Christmas communion

It seems the closer Christmas draws near, the more distracted I can become from the real point of it all. You too? Schedules seem to squeeze out each opportunity to bask in the grace of an infant child come to save us all. Honestly, sometimes it’s hard for me to even connect with that. How can it be that the tiny babe we see in the nativity scenes would be the one to die a man? He was innocent at death, but in a manger? Swaddled in cloth and laying next to His mother? He is even more so the image of innocence.

...we swallowed hope down, and let it spill back out of our hearts...

the beauty and heaviness of a Christmas Communion

Yesterday, this truth hit me harder than usual while at church. We began a new sermon series called Coming Soon, and yesterday’s sermon was all about the lead up in the Old Testament to Jesus’ birth and death. We sang Christmas songs about the birth of our Lord and ended it with a song about a rugged cross. And then, we took communion. Communion with the image fresh in our minds of a sweet baby boy.

I walked to the table and could barely look the man in the eye as he quietly spoke of body and blood as I took my portion. Then, I sat huddled next to my husband back at our small table toward the back of the dark room. The line to get cup and bread stretched right in front of our table…right against it. And as people stood right in front of me, I wished to sink under the table. I bowed my head with my tiny plastic cup of juice and piece of cracker in my hands. How could I? How could I take this knowing such innocence was poured out for me? I twirled the cracker in my fingers nervously and soaked the table in the tears that wouldn’t stop flowing. It was my sin that put him there. If everyone in the entire world had managed to live victoriously over sin, my sins would still be enough to nail him to a cross….and he would have still given his life for me, because that’s the kind of God we serve.

I finally drank and ate, but the crackers felt stuck in my teeth and throat. As the minutes passed, the silence in the room faded, and I looked up to see the people of my church. They crossed rows to greet and hug. I saw smiles and slaps on the back with laughter. And for one moment, I thought, “how do we jump from such heaviness to laughter so quickly?” Then, I remembered that the Hebrew word for “glory” actually comes from the word meaning “to be heavy.” This heaviness is the only way that laughter happens. His Glory is what brings our joy. We had just listened to a pastor speak on hope, and then we swallowed hope down and let it spill back out of our hearts.

I walked out watching the faces of so many. I saw smiles and tears, laughter and loving hugs in sadness. A room full of broken people who are brokenly desperate for that hope so painfully offered up to us. And as we walked out, we passed a beautiful nativity scene, and I looked again at that baby and thought on a life without His birth. What would even be the point? What would even be the point of laughter and grief and finances…even presents and decorations without Him? What would be the point of Christmas if there were no hope for us all? If this was all we had?

We went home to bake cookies and watch Christmas movies, all the while, the hope of Jesus swam through my mind and heart. What about you? Where does your hope lie this Christmas?

Dining Room reveal!

dining room reveal

So Thanksgiving has passed, and we’ll pretend the aftermath of Thanksgiving is cleaned up. (gotta use BIG imagination there) And my hunny has been home from work this week while I work on a big upcoming project.

And with him home, it also apparently means home project time. …maybe I shouldn’t have introduced him to Fixer Upper until my project was finished….;)

So, I walk out of my bedroom this morning and see the entire contents of the girls’ bathroom and the shower doors in the hallway. I had to run in and have him let me take a quick “before” pic first! He’s been in overdrive all day with that room, and so I can’t quite show it yet. BUT! It did occur to me that I never showed you pics of our updated dining room!

So far, we painted and updated. But, we still have two main projects left in the dining room. We have to finish the frame wainscotting on the walls *swoon* AND we have to put in new flooring. Now, the room actually has brand new flooring, BUT….it. is. carpet. Seriously? yes. Someone put carpet in a room that used to have wood floors. Obviously the floors weren’t in great condition since they removed them and carpeted over them, but bad wood floors with a toddler eating spaghetti has to be better than carpet and spaghetti…right? anywho…new flooring will be coming. probably a pine rustic floor.

So here is the before pic

dining before

And here is the after:


That table is adorable and we love it, but it also has to be replaced with something much larger. We bought that one on craigslist years ago when we were only a family of 4, one of which was in a high chair. It was sanded down, repainted and stained dark, and it has served us well for the last 4-5 years for only the $100 we paid for it and all the chairs!


over there to the side is a breakfast/coffee bar. It’s equipped with a keurig, stackable coffee mugs, fruit, k cups, a microwave, toaster, and a galvanized steel bucket on the bottom shelf full of packages of oatmeal. It gives my girls independence, which we all love. We often use it for after dinner coffee and hot chocolate while we’re still sitting around the table after the plates are cleared.

The entire time we talked about what to do in this room, I just kept saying, “I want it to be pretty, but not fancy. I don’t want it to be one of those fancy dining rooms that no one ever uses and is just another room to vacuum and heat and cool.” I purposely bought a table for the breakfast nook in the kitchen that isn’t big enough for all of us to sit at simply because I was afraid it would become too easy to sit in there and not in our dining room! ha! But we love how this room turned out, and once it’s completely finished, I know we’ll love it even more. We’re in there each night eating, laughing, and asking our girls to be careful and not fall off the bench again. sigh. it’s crazy, but fun!