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2017, let’s do this!

I love the excitement and hope that a new year always seems to bring. We are very much looking forward to this 2017 year and all of the possibilities it brings. Like a lot of people, I always try to start out my new year with a set of goals rather than resolutions. Oftentimes, these goals build off of previous goals I’ve had, because I truly believe that we should never stop seeking to become better people. I read this the other day and thought it was a good mantra for me this year: “The proper response to the grace you experienced in the past is thankfulness, and the proper response to grace promised to you in the future is faith. We are thankful for the past grace of the last year, and we are confident in the future grace for the new year.” (Full quote can be found here.)

Annual New Year's hike had to be moved to New Year's Eve. We got snow flurries, mini hail and rain on our hike! So exciting!

Love the Sawnee Mountain hike! It never gets old. Last year’s New Year’s hike photos here.

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What I’ve learned from 2016

Okay, I think we all say this every single year…but really, where did this year go? We’re in the last month of 2016. Wasn’t it just 2009 and I was graduating high school? And then college flew by and now I’ve been married for almost two years. But, here we are celebrating the end of a really exciting year. Oh my goodness, we had so many sweet memories this year (see my 2016 travel diary here). 2016 has been full of lessons (as is every year), but I think this year was especially challenging, exciting and beautiful for me. Our world has seen so many hardships, really scary things, political divides and challenges of getting through to a stressed out “microwave generation.” Over and over again this year, I was reminded that this place is not our home and it is well with my soul despite what the world around me tries to say. That’s ultimately the only true hope we have and the entire reason we celebrate this season.

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I always said one of the best gifts my parents could’ve ever given me was the gift of siblings. And man, these guys are the jackpot rockstars of siblings. :)

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Life Lately

The month of October has been a much needed change of pace from the rest of the year. It was filled with evenings with friends, visits from family, a cooking class, farmer’s market mornings and antique shop finds. We’ve been able to work on our house a lot lately and find a bit more time for “staycations.” Also, I finally got to bring out my fall sweaters and it felt so good. :) Here are a few photos of life lately.

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One of our favorite parts about our city is Main Street and how much our town is investing in this area. It’s given us a few really awesome restaurants and some great memories with friends.

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Tips for first time homeowners

I learned firsthand this summer how stressful a move can be, especially a local move to your first home. Add to that an international trip, some unexpected home damages to handle and the start of a school year…and you’re looking at a very stressful few months. But, I found a few things helpful as we were prepping to buy, packing and unpacking. Here they are! Ps. door mat in cover photo is from Target.

1. When friends or family offer to help, let them. Our family and friends offered to paint, drive furniture, move us, pack our stuff and unpack our stuff. I felt weird about accepting so much help, but then I realized that’s kind of a pride thing. In truth, they made our move happen. My aunt unpacked my kitchen, my father-in-law painted our house & our friends moved all our stuff. I was left feeling so grateful and inspired to help others in their time of need. Continue reading

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Living Room Inspiration

Since purchasing our home, it’s been a whirlwind of moving boxes, furniture, slight annoyances, repair men and visitors. We’re trying to get adjusting to owning a home, but it’s sometimes a lot to wrap your head around. We are finally ending this busy streak we’ve had going for about 4 months and I’m really excited to refocus our life a bit. More about that in a future post. 😉 But for now, I’m working on decorating (one of my favorite things to do) my living room. Here I’m sharing my living room inspiration and a few of my favorite resources for things like hanging artwork and paint colors we love. Happy decorating!

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1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

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5 Things I’ve Learned From Teaching

Earlier this week, I finished another school year and this one was one of my favorites. Sometimes there are just classes that will forever hold a special place in your heart because of the collective personalities of the kids, their sense of humor and the way that they love each other. This was definitely one of those classes. I will genuinely miss these guys, which made their graduation bittersweet. I also really love the school I work at and the people I work with, so the end of the school year leaves me feeling grateful and genuinely excited for next year. Next year, I’ll be taking on a different age group, K4, and I can’t wait! I have learned over the last three years that early childhood education is an area of education that I thoroughly enjoy, because it’s challenging and rewarding. I love how much of an impact you can have when you’re helping the kids grasp new concepts, encouraging manners, teaching them how to be good citizens and helping them have more successful school careers.

Working in education these last three years has taught me more about myself than I ever thought possible. There’s patience, organization, diplomacy, and a slew of other skills you have to polish while educating children. I love how this career path has forced me to think outside of myself and find ways to help others. I like that I can be creative and literally get paid to do just that. I wanted to share 5 things I’ve learned and been reminded of as I work with kids. The more I work with this age group, the more I realize that pretty much all of the basic concepts adults need to be successful in life can be learned in these early years of education. Continue reading

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My Quarter Life & Lessons Learned

This weekend marks my 25th birthday. How do I feel about turning 25? Well, since you asked…honestly…I’ve been a little nervous about it. Twenty-five is a big deal. It’s a quarter of a century, it’s officially old in the eyes of kindergartners and it’s a little too close to thirty. But, then I remember that age is just a number and it’s all about making each day count. When I was a teenager, I really thought I’d have it together at 20 or 22 or 25. But, the older I get, the more I realize you actually never truly get it all together. And that’s kind of a relief. I do know that you never stop learning new lessons and you never stop needing God’s grace.

So, in honor of this very big birthday of mine, here’s a look at what I’ve been learning over the past year and how God’s been working in my life. I promise, it’s worth reading. 😉 Continue reading

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Life Lately

Life lately has been really sweet, quiet and…normal. Matt and I have waited a long time for that and we are both so thankful. After long distance dating, two years of him being on the night shift and our wedding festivities, we finally have time to invest in our new city together and live life on the same schedule. I never thought I’d be so excited to just have a normal life with a normal schedule. I’m grateful for what we went through over the last few years, because it taught us both a lot about trusting God’s timing and showed us what we’re made of (the good and bad). When I wrote my New Year’s goals last month, one of the main things I wanted to focus on was trying to do a better job of keeping a life balance and I think now is the best time to start working on that. I realize this is a big goal, because it’s part of so many areas and aspects of daily life. Continue reading

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Our 1st Married Christmas

This Christmas season has been so special because it’s our first married Christmas. We are able to start our own traditions and borrow some of the ones we had growing up. This time of year has probably been one of my favorite parts of our first year of marriage. We haven’t had a shortage of celebrations-Christmas parties, weddings and quiet nights at home by the tree. We’ve had too many baked goods, lots of hot coco and Christmas shopping. I even got to carry on one of my favorite traditions of going to see the Nutcracker with my aunt. That ballet will never get old. And the kids at school make Christmas even more exciting, because we literally listen to Christmas music all day long while we do some sort of Christmas craft or Christmas themed lesson. Ps. Is it weird that I still haven’t gotten over Mariah Carey’s All I Want for Christmas is You? 😉

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