I love mail. Real mail. That isn't bills. Even if it isn't a handwritten letter, there is something exciting about opening the mail and seeing your name. Even better, one day I went out to get the mail and everything was for me! Yay!
This is the story of my life. And if you have to choose, you should always choose quads. Skinny looks good in clothes; strong looks good naked!
My sister and brother-in-law went to Miami for their 10-year anniversary so the girls came to Memphis for the weekend. My aunt decided to come in town too with my nephew (technically, first cousin once removed). We met up with my cousin and her daughter for a playdate at Shelby Farms and then lunch at Las Delicias. It was a fun, exhausting afternoon! We tried for a picture, but this was the best we could get. There's lots of energy between these four!
In July, when I decided to make the list, I added that I would play the lottery. Not expecting to win anything, but I thought it would be fun. Since I was going to do it anyway, why not when the pot was up to 1.5 billion. I had no idea what I was doing- or even what to ask for. Luckily, there was a line at the gas station so I just got in line and followed their lead.
I didn't select numbers. I just had the computer pick them and hoped for the best. (Okay, not really. I really didn't care at all how this turned out). I bought 2 tickets. They are $2 each, in case you are a lottery virgin like I was. And you have to pay in cash. FYI.
I didn't watch the drawing, because I was already asleep, of course! Why are these things so late?! I did get online and check the numbers in the morning though. In case you have somehow been living in a bubble, I didn't win the jackpot. But... I did match the powerball number which means I won $4. So I broke even and I consider that a win! And I got to cross something else off the 30-by-30 list!
If you've been around here for any length of time, or been around me, you know that I love a good list! And I love fresh starts, which means I super love New Year's resolutions. I even had 15 resolutions for 2015! Knowing all that, you may be surprised to find out that I'm not really doing resolutions this year. Don't worry, though. It's only because I already have an extensive list made...
In July, I made a list of 30 things that I want to do before my 30th birthday (Click on the 30-by-30 link at the top of the page to see the full list), but I have been majorly slacking! I decided that instead of coming up with New Year's resolutions and even more things to accomplish this year, I would stick to my 30-by-30 list.
I've currently divided my list into 2 categories: things that I can do now and things that need to wait until Spring when it's warmer. Then I split each of those 2 categories into 2 more: things that I can do anytime and those that need to be scheduled. Now I'm trying to slowly work my way through the items on the list that can be done anytime and then start scheduling some things for the spring/summer.
It's a little bit overwhelming! I have a ton of movies left to watch. And I got a Netflix DVD subscription to help with it. I have 87 movie in my queue right now so they just keep sending them to me as fast as I can watch them. And I'm working on planning some trips to knock some of these things out. Here goes nothing!
I started writing this on December 31. And then continued to write it (in my head and through notes on my phone) for the next couple of days, but I'm finally finishing up and posting it.
I posted this on Insta last week:
"'And when you're tired of fighting chained by your control, there's freedom in surrender. Lay it down and let it go... Stop holding on and just be held...' - Casting Crowns
2015 has been filled with valleys and peaks. It has truly been a year of laying down and letting go. Spent some time reflecting on the year this morning and have been totally blown away by what God has done! I think 2015 just might have been my best year yet!"
I said that I would elaborate, so here it goes... Feel free to press play and listen along while you read:
As I have reflected on 2015, I have realized what a roller coaster of a year it has been!
People always say that rock bottom is a good place, because then there is no where to go but up. And while that may be true, it's not the whole story. What they fail to mention is how long you can stay in that place before "going up." I hit my rock bottom in November 2014. November 21 to be exact. (At least I hope that it was rock bottom, because I can't even imagine things being any lower...) Then I stayed there, wandering aimlessly and hopelessly, for an entire year. I spent a whole year at rock bottom! Until one day I was sitting at the river and actually took time to look up and stop wallowing in my sin. And, man, did God show up in major ways! He has remained faithful in my faithlessness and loved me with an unfailing love even at my most unlovable!
I didn't realize it until I looked back at journal entries today, but my day at the river was November 22, 2015. Exactly 1 year and 1 day after sliding to the bottom of the pit. God never ceases to amaze me!
Last January, I got my tattoo- a symbol of hope. I came into 2015 so hopeful: hopeful for the future and hopeful for change, but it took me a long time to get there!
My tattoo verse is Hebrews 6:19-20. We have this as a sure and steady anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.
One year ago, when I got this tattoo, it was about hope- a sure and steady anchor of the soul, but a year later, after diving deeper into these verses, it's about so much more. It's about God's covenant with Abraham. It's about His promises to us. His character is faithful!
I am so hopeful and optimistic about 2016. A little over a month out and I can already start seeing glimpses of how God is going to use this chapter of my story for His glory. I can't wait to see what else the Lord is going to reveal to me and I continue to cling to Him.
I love the sky and admiring the beauty of creation. Seriously, God is an artist! This was the moon on the way up to Nashville for Christmas. It was awesome!
After Christmas, my brother came back to Memphis. It was his last time in Memphis before his cross country move so he wanted to see some friends and get in some of his favorite things. That, of course, meant that we went to lunch at Houston's on Sunday. I know it's a chain, but really, it just never disappoints!
These were just a few of my Christmas presents. I haven't tried the whiskey rocks or the wedge yet, but I'm super excited about them...
This was a repost from someone else's insta. I saw it and laughed so I had to share. I really do struggle with how late is too late to drink coffee; never so much how early can I drink alcohol though. Ha!
I went to the gym Monday night after work and it was in.sane. I did power, which was super packed and then I went into the fitness area to look around. Most of the treadmills and ellipticals were taken and I just couldn't do it. I waved at the people working the desk and told them that I would be back at 6. Morning workouts, for the win!
This was one of my Christmas presents to myself. It's a little smaller than my usual coffee mug (because it's a standard size, and I prefer soup bowl size) but I love it. And it's so true!
2015 is now long gone so let's see how I did on the resolutions this year...
If you want to catch up: here are my original goals and here are the updates from March, May, July, September, and November. Financial 1. Put $x in savings. I didn't do this all year. Seriously, I put zero dollars in savings for 11 months. Then things changed and I may be looking into buying a house earlier than I had initially anticipated. More on that later! But I adjusted some things and ended up putting some money in savings in December and met my goals! 2. Pay off $y of loans. This one isn't happening. It wasn't happening before, and it definitely wasn't happening after I decided to move some money around. So now I'm trying to figure out my life plan and how to best budget for it. Being an adult is hard work! 3. $z monthly cash budget Looking back over the year, I actually didn't do too badly with this one. Better than I thought I was going to do after the initial check-ins.
Mental/Professional 1. Read 20 books. Check 2. Attend a conference. Check 3. Choose a research topic. Check. Although, I didn't do any actual research. At least I chose a topic.
Emotional/Personal 1. Travel. Check. New Orleans, Gulf Shores, Atlanta, multiple trips to Nashville, and Costa Rica. Now I'm planning some trips in 2016 which just might include Seattle, New York, and Mexico. 2. Be a better friend. Still working on this one, but I think that as I was more selfish and focused on what I needed to for myself, it made me a better friend and will only continue going forward! 3. Be selfish. Check- and it has paid off tenfold!
Physical 1. Work out 4 times a week. I have not been super diligent about recording this, but I would say that I probably averaged 3-4 workouts a week.. 2. Run 300 miles. I ran mile 301 on December 30! 3. Train for and run a half marathon. The "train" part didn't so much happen, but I ran the St Jude half last month- and already planning my next one! Spiritual 1. Create a prayer board. Check 2. Memorize scripture. This probably didn't go as well as I would have liked for it to, but I was definitely in the Word more this year, so I'm counting it as a win. 3. Find a church home. Check So that's it. 15 resolutions of 2015 and I didn't do too bad. I'm super excited about what's next! Next week, I'm planning to post my reflection on 2015 (if I get it finished) and a look at some goals and resolutions for this year, so stay tuned. How did you do on your resolutions? Were you able to stick to them all year?
I know I'm late, but I'm finally getting around to end-of-the-year things so that I can start new year things.
Christmas was a little different this year than in past years and it was super low-key. I worked Christmas Eve, so my dad and I left Memphis around 3 or 4 to drive up to Nashville. We arrived just as the rest of the family was getting home from Christmas Eve service at church so we all hung out for a little while and then we sat down for dinner.
My brother and his girlfriend were leaving early the next morning to drive to Kentucky to see her family, so he wanted us to go ahead and open his presents that night while they were there. So we opened a few presents. Then my mom realized her flight left at 9:30 the next morning. (She was going to Seattle to see her mom and all her siblings). We opened the presents from her too. Then we laughed about how bare the tree looked for Christmas morning! After presents, we sat around and talked and answered some trivia before some people started drifting off to sleep (ME!).
The next morning, I woke up and told my mom bye before my dad took her to the airport. When he got back and the girls woke up, we did all of the Santa gifts and then they wanted to play. Between the gifts from the night before and what Santa had brought, they were kind of in overload, so we decided to hang out for a while and let them play and eat some breakfast. Eventually, we got around to opening the rest of the presents.
The rest of the day was pretty lazy. I don't think I changed out of my pajamas for most of the day. That night my sister and I decided to actually get out of the house and we went and saw Sisters. The theatre was packed (mostly for Star Wars), but we got to our seats and made friends with the people around us. The movie was hilarious! And somewhat inappropriate. But hilarious!
The next day was another lazy morning. I drank coffee and snuggled on the couch with the girls while we played with Christmas presents some more. Then it was time for dad and I to get back on the road. When we got to Memphis, I went home, unpacked, and did laundry before getting ready to go out to a little after-Christmas party. It was a fun night just hanging out with friends. And somehow the only photographic evidence I have that Christmas even happened. Ha!
After that, it was time to face reality and get ready to head back to work...