Monday, January 30, 2017


Ha! Puns are funny. Also, I get weekly "pupdates" from the AKC and it makes me chuckle every time. I just realized that while I have posted pictures of Molly on SnapChat and Insta, I haven't done an update here since the very first one and so much has changed.

First of all, we went back to the vet last week and got our last set of vaccines! So now she can officially start going to the dog park and to daycare. Praise Jesus; Hallelujah! And we are finished at the vet for a while. She'll go back in a few months to get spayed and then we'll only have to get yearly shots! (Technically, we still have to go to the vet monthly to get her heartworm pills. They are weight-based and since she grows so fast, I can't buy in bulk. So every month we go in and weigh and get meds. But that will change once she reaches her full weight...)

I didn't even realize how much she has changed until I looked at these comparison pictures!

She is so much fun! She does pretty well following commands- as long as she's not too excited. She knows how to sit, lie down, and high five. She is doing so- much better on the leash and gets excited when I bring it out because she knows that means that she's going for a walk. She has 2 teeth that are coming in and 2 more that I can see are just about to break through her gums so I know that she's hurting. We've been doing a lot of frozen toys lately. Her favorites are her rope and her Kong- someone suggested freezing peanut butter in her Kong and it is a great way for me to eat dinner (mostly) uninterrupted.

She doesn't love cars yet. That's the only time she still wants to be a lap dog. But I think that's also because pretty much the only place she's been is to the vet. Now that she's had her shots, I need to get her out more so that the car will be a fun thing.

She doesn't like going outside alone- especially if she doesn't have to go to the bathroom. If I just want her to go outside and play, she stubbornly sits on the other side of the room and just looks at me. But I think we are about 98% house broken! I put some bells on the backdoor and I'm trying to train her to ring them to let me know when she wants to go outside, but no luck yet. We'll keep trying.


She loves walks and is doing pretty well with walking with a loose leash and not pulling. When she starts to pull at all, I just stop walking and she slows down again. I am also teaching her to sit at the corner before crossing the street. She is doing really well and I would love for her to be off-leash at some point. She does well with other dogs and people on walks. She slows down and looks at them curiously, but does not bark or make any attempts to chase them. It's a different story when we are in the backyard and she hears barking! She is very protective of me and will bark and try to assert dominance if she feels someone is coming into her space.

She loves to curl up on the corner of the couch- especially when the sun shines through the window just right. We have taken a few naps together there recently. Bliss! She is still not allowed on my bed though. I'm not planning on her ever being allowed up there, but we'll see. I may cave...

Overall, it's been a lot of fun. My one piece of advice if I had to do it over again, would be to get a puppy in the Spring, not Winter. She doesn't like the cold (neither do I) and it can be hard to get all her energy out in the house. Otherwise though, she's a mess and I love her!

** Update: She has her interview for daycare on Wednesday, so hopefully everything will go well and she can start next week!

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Sunday Smiles

Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren't always comfortable but they're never weakness.
- Brene Brown

Thursday, January 26, 2017

God is Love, And...

So. Much. More.

This post is in response to social media. I was recently looking through Insta and saw a picture (or a quote or something). I don't actually remember what it was now. It was posted by someone that I have had issues and theological differences with in the past. She is somewhat of a public figure and I mistakenly went down the rabbit hole of reading the comments...

There were people that were totally against what she was posting about and people that were vehemently defending her. For the most part, it was all the typical arguments. The people against her said that she was sinning and the people defending her said that the other people were being judgmental and not "good" Christians. And I feel like we have that discussion all the time and it always leads back to the argument that "God is love" which I feel like is very misguided.

Before you object, let me explain. God is love. Yes! Absolutely! But to say that, at the expense of everything else, is a very limited view. It's like saying someone is a teacher and not taking into account that she is also a wife and mother.

God is love! And grace and mercy. For that I am so thankful! But God is also a jealous God. He gets angry. He calls us to be holy as He is holy.

Now let me take that one step further. I feel like, especially in the context of these Instagram comments, people were saying "God is love" to encompass the idea that "because God is love, Christians must be tolerant of all things and 100% nonjudgmental." There was an underlying idea that people should not say negative things about this woman, because they should be loving like God. I am not denying that people should be loving and I certainly do not think that Instagram, or any public social media outlet, is the place for these conversations, here is my blanket statement on the issue:

Jesus socialized with sinners- tax collectors and lepers and adulterers... He was loving and nonjudgmental and desired a relationship with them because He wanted them to know Him. But He also called the Pharisees out on their shit! The reason for this: the Pharisees claimed to be Christians. They called themselves followers of God and were therefore held to that standard- the standard of holiness.

I think that as Christians, we are called to hold other believers to that standard. This can be done in a nonjudgmental way- and should never be done over social media! My tattoo represents (for one thing) mercy and holiness. God is merciful! He forgives our sins and pardons us when we do unfathomable things, but that does not allow us to stay in our sin. He is also holy. We serve a perfect God!

Jesus reacts to the sins of believers and nonbelievers differently and I think we are called to do the same. God is love! And we can love because He first loved us. But love does not mean that we accept everything. Live in the tension of grace and truth. Hold each other accountable. Push one another further to the cross. Strive to be more like Jesus!

That's all. I'm stepping off my soapbox now...

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Sunday Smiles

He must become greater, I must become less.
- John 3:30

Thursday, January 19, 2017

30 x 30: Throw a Dinner Party

I don't know if this "technically" counts because I don't know if it was really a party, but I rarely cook and I doubt this is going to happen again soon, so I'm counting it. I have been really contemplative recently- even more than usual. I think it's because I'm trying to find myself. :)

I decided that I wanted to have some girls over before the new year to reflect on the year and talk about what God taught us in 2016 and then look to the future and get excited about upcoming adventures. New Year's Eve was on a Saturday, so I figured Friday night would work perfectly.

Confession: pretty much everything was store-bought and I threw together the easiest dinner possible. Also, I took no pictures so it might not have even happened! I got chicken from Fresh Market and threw on some quinoa and roasted veggies. Super easy! I also grabbed a raspberry bar cake and champagne for dessert.

Dinner was good. I'm glad I had people over. It was fun to host and not super stressful. And Molly did a pretty good job. But more than that, it was fun to hang out with girls and connect. And have real, meaningful, deep conversations. It made me realize how much I love hanging out with people. I am the epitome of an introvert. Textbook case. Sometimes, it can be perceived as shy. I am not shy! I'm learning more about that this year. I'm sure I'll fill you in on all the adventures as I try to figure out who I am and what I like. But I do know that I am not shy. Being in large social gatherings, however, drains me! Especially when I have to make small talk. I don't do small talk. I don't get it and I kind of think it's pointless. But having actual conversations with people- that I can do! So it was fun to reflect and reminisce and dream and plan. We talked about doing it monthly or so to catch up and see how the year is progressing.

PS. This post was super not about throwing a dinner party! Sorry! I had people over. I semi-cooked. We ate. The night was about so much more than that!

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Sunday Smiles

I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
- John 15:5

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Lists on Lists on Lists

If you know me at all, you know that I love a good list. And I love setting goals and new beginnings so New Year's resolutions were essentially designed for me! On December 30 I had some friends over to reflect on 2016 discuss our goals for the upcoming year. I'll talk about that dinner in its own separate post, but it was a good time to get me started thinking on my resolutions.

I tend to stick to categories: spiritual, physical, mental, financial, professional, personal. I have a few resolutions for each category, which probably means that I have way too many, but I'm going to go with it anyway.

My word for the year is:

I feel like this is going to be a big year. A lot has been stirring over the past few months, and there is a change coming. I'm not exactly sure what that means or what it's going to look like, but I'm excited to lean into God with faith and find out.

I'm not going to share a list of all my goals like I have in the past. For no real reason. I just don't really feel like it. Maybe I will later on. Who knows? But here's a general idea:

Spiritually, I want to be more consistent with my prayer life. I am currently reading through the Bible and I feel like it has been so beneficial so far. Something that started as a goal and checklist has become something that I desire and that I miss if I go without it for a day. But I feel like my prayer life has been slacking and I want to feel the same way about prayer that I do about getting in the Word! I also need to figure out this whole church thing. Ugh! I don't think I've even talked about that here, but I feel unsettled and I don't entirely know why. I'm planning to do some studying and prayer and try to figure it out. I'll write about the whole story and my thoughts when I get around to it.

Physically, I super slacked the past month or so on working out. Again, I blame Molly. And the cold. But Molly can officially start going to daycare in February and so I won't feel guilty about her being in her kennel all day. But I'm working on getting better about it and not waiting until February- even if it's taking her out for walks, which I've actually gotten to do because it's been in the 60s! I'm committing to running 300 miles again this year. And I've signed up for the Winter Off Road Series again so I'm excited!

I usually always make some sort of financial resolutions and, looking back now, I seem to always fail at them. Although, in my defense, last year my financial goals were to pay off a certain amount of debt and then I bought a house so things got pushed around. But this year, I really do want to focus on being a better steward of my money and being more cognizant of where my money is goin. I was talking with some friends about this and one of them suggested the app WellSpent. I've only been using it for about a week but so far I really like it. I'm hoping it will help hold me accountable to where my money is going and unnecessary spending.

Life is chaotic! Professionally, I would love to do some research. And go back to school (or at least take some classes) but I don't think that is feasible right now. So for now I want to read more. Journal articles, references, abstracts –just to stay on top new research and evidence.

On the vein of reading more, I want to read 20 books this year. I have had this goal in the past and really enjoyed it, but I thought my reading has slacked off I'm hoping that this will help. I also want to journal more. And work on my book, My Life on Repeat: The Story of Love, Scandal, and DejaVu. It's been on the virtual to do list for a while now...

I don't really have any specific personal resolutions this year –other than to finish my 30 x 30 list. Sheesh! So much left to do...

It's a new year! Let's see how this goes.

Do you have any resolutions for 2017?

Monday, January 9, 2017

Stones of Remembrance

I am super behind on blogging. Sorry! Can I blame it on the puppy? She's in her crate all day while I'm at work and so when I get home I play with her and don't want to sit down at the computer to write. But now it's Saturday and she's napping on the couch (She just learned how to climb up on her own. My poor furniture! Nothing is safe now!)

I have started this post previously. Twice actually, but then as it kept getting delayed, I kept thinking of different things to say. And now I'm due for a 2016 year end post so I'm combining it all into one and rewriting this post a third time!

2016 was a big year for me. A year of a lot of growth and healing! I believe in celebrating milestones- marking the baby steps and how far I have come. So I have hinted about it on social media, but I got another tattoo. This one was planned, and mentally in the works for months. I knew the date that I was going to get it before I even knew what I was going to get. But I thought I had an idea of the design for a while. Even though I actually changed the idea about an hour before I got it. Oops! But after living with it for a little over a month now, I am certain that the change was the right one!

So the backstory (at least the part that I'm willing to share on the internet...), November 21, 2014 was when I hit rock bottom. This is the point where I would typically link to a previous post, but I didn't blog from April of 2014 until January of 2015. I was spiraling down fast and the blog got lost in all that. Then things turned around a year later. Here is the original post and here are my thoughts about as I reflected on the 2015 year.

I think that pretty much sums it up. I can't really say it better than I did last year. I wish I could say that everything has been better this year, but that's not really how life works. It is definitely still a roller coaster. There have been plenty of ups and downs, but the downs haven't been as low so I consider that a win.

On November 22, I went down to the river again. It was overcast and the sunset wasn't as brilliant. It was different, but in a good way. I put on some worship music and once again prayed for God to speak to me. And then, just like last year, I wrote down what He said. Some of the things were similar and some weren't, but they were all exactly what I needed to hear in that moment.

It was around the time that I wrote that reflection post on 2015 that I knew I was going to get a tattoo. On November 22. One year later. So when I left the river, I headed to the tattoo parlor. I thought that I knew what I was going to get. I had an idea in my mind for months, but sitting at the river, something changed in my mind and my heart. And my tattoo idea changed too.

But I love it! It is a permanent stone of remembrance of where I have come and the things that God has brought me through. There are no pictures of it and I've only shown it to a handful of people- people that know the entire story, because this one isn't about other people. This one is for me. And maybe one day I'll share it. I'll probably write about it in my book, but for now, it seems a little too close to home.

2016 has definitely been a year of healing. This year was defined by mercy and holiness. Mercy is not getting the punishment that you deserve. But Jesus does not just forgive us and give us a pardon. He calls us to holiness. To a standard of perfection. To be set apart for him.

It has taken me far too long to get here (in my humanly opinion), but I finally feel like a huge weight has been lifted off me and that I can live in freedom. I am so excited to go into 2017 emotionally and mentally lighter and am ready to conquer the next stage of life with this new found freedom!

Here I am, God. I'm ready!

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Sunday Smiles

{Source Unknown}

Though He slay me, I will hope in Him; yet I will argue my ways to His face.
- Job 13:15