January In Review {2019}

What I focused on in January

  1. Working on my new book, so eloquently referred to as TCKnovel
  2. Delightful family time as the world outside was wrapped up in snow and ice
  3. Getting into the rhythm of a new year and working on my goals

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Reading Update

Fiction: 7
Nonfiction: 3
Audiobooks: 2
Books for Review: 5

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Nights Gone: 2
New Places: 0



  1. Decide for sure on my year-long Goals – YES
  2. Write plot and character sketches for TCK – YES
  3. Blog 16 times – YES
  4. Walk 30 miles – YES
  5. Decide about Vlogs – YES
  6. Look into Sunday School curriculum – YES
  7. Track hours/money made – YES
  8. Track all money spent – YES
  9. Print pages or draw graph for yearly goals – YES
  10. Send thank you cards – YES
  11. Clean bathroom – YES
  12. Read two nonfiction books – YES
  13. Talk with Aubrey about goals – YES
  14. Mat or water and quiet time thought every day – YES
  15. To bed by 10:30 ten times – YES
  16. 8 Bookstagram pictures – YES
  17. Plus 3 more personal goals – YES

And I had (all together) 58 weekly goals, and I accomplished 45 of them.


What I’ve Been Learning

Goodness. My brain feels full from this month.

A friend recommended I read the book Anthropological Insights for Missionaries so I bought it and have been reading it for the last couple weeks. It’s been eye-opening and really interesting. It takes me a while to process everything I’m reading so I’m crawling through it but really enjoying it. It talks about how and why we view the world, and how a lot of the time we don’t even realize how different our culture is from other cultures and so we try and relate to them through our worldview and mindset and there’s a huge disconnect. I’ve learned a lot about other cultures and a ton about myself (and those around me) as I read.

Another book I read was Historical Fiction and it took place in Hawaii. Reading about the culture there while reading about how different people think and why they do what they do was exceedingly interesting.

I began working on a book about TCKs – third culture kids – which goes right along with the above information. Trying to imagine the world through their perspective has been good for me and has shown me how much I try and project my normality on others.

My book has a mystery in it, so I’ve been learning about mysteries this month. I’ve read plot charts, listened to mysteries, gleaned wisdom from blog posts, Pinterest, and Googling. It’s a fun, stretching experience.

This month I learned how to go to a coffee shop and sit down and focus on writing. This sounds silly, but it’s really something I had to work on learning because I’m far too ready to jump from task to task.

Another thing I’ve been working on learning is what to say yes to and what to say no to. I’m far too ready to push myself to accomplish a goal to simply check it off then I should be, so learning to reassess on a regular basis and decide what I really want to and should be focusing on is important. Also, my identity isn’t based on checkmarks. But that’s (so far) a life-long thing I’m working on learning.

Planning ahead and cooking healthy is something I did a lot this month. I’m working at filling my body with healthy things and the best way for me to do that is to have a ready supply of pre-made meals I can just grab. This was good on some levels, and I also learned that not all meals freeze well. (I’m looking at you, Napa cabbage.) Also, the app, Mealime is pretty cool and y’all should check it out.

Money. Folks, I sometimes wonder where all my money goes so I decided to start tracking all of it. I use a nifty little app that’s aptly named Spending and it was eye-opening to not only see how much money I spend but also where it all goes.



Snow tires cost a lot, y’all. But being able to actually make it home instead of literally having your car stop in the middle of the road with no traction whatsoever? Well, it’s kinda worth the money. Also, having brothers who will take care of figuring all the details out for you? Priceless.

Speaking of snow tires… Ohio makes my heart happy, and January is one of my favorite months of the year. I will say though, having church be canceled so much can be a huge bummer. A lot of people who go to our church (including us) live very rurally, so if there’s a lot of snow or ice then they sometimes have to cancel, and this month they canceled Sunday morning church twice and Wednesday evening once.

January was filled with words. I got back into the habit of reading for review and read five books for review this month, plus I worked a lot on writing. Goodness did it ever feel great to be surrounded by words again.

For the last half of 2018 I kinda let my health slide which obviously isn’t good, especially for someone who’s still working at getting their body back into a fully healthy condition after dealing with health issues (aka Lyme disease) for a long time. So, I got some things figured out with my thyroid (which included having it go hyper instead of hypo for a week or so which was horrible). And, I started back on Paleo, began tracking how much water I drink, worked on walking more (quite often while blogging), and getting to bed at a more reasonable time. It’s been good.

January was a fantastic month despite the week or so that I wasn’t feeling well, and I’m so thankful for all I was able to learn, do, experience, and focus on.


What was one of your highlights in January?

November 2018 in Review

What I Focused on in November:
1. Family time – visiting grandparents in Florida, Thanksgiving, and staying with my “adopted” mom, talking late at night, and just hanging out
2. Getting back into the rhythm of blogging, taking Instagram pictures, and working on writing, etc…
3. Youth Camp – I attended as staff, plus did a fair amount of computer work for it beforehand


Reading Update:
Fiction – 4
Nonfiction – 5
Audiobooks – 2 (?)


12 Nights. New places? None.


1. Walk 20 Miles (bonus 30 miles) – YES & YES
2. Track all money spent – YES
3. Thanksgiving with family – YES
4. Stay with skunk mama – YES
5. Review 4 books – YES
6. Read 3 non-fiction books – YES
7. Cook at Youth Retreat – YES
8. Blog 4 days a week – YES
9. Beta Read twice a week – NOPE
10. Edit 3 times a week except for last week – NOPE


What I’ve Been Learning:

November is always one of my favorite months, and this year was no exception. Looking back I see it as the month where I began to find my new normal. After the craziness of the first ten months of the year, I started settling back into life and discovering the joys of this season of my world.

A lot of what I learned during the month wasn’t anything I consciously decided to work on learning, it was mostly little things that I took note of in my life and realized I needed to change, work on, add, or eliminate from my everyday existence.

I also got back into the rhythm of reading nonfiction which was a lot more fun than I had realized it would be. Bless Your Husband and Unexpected Blessings were both great reads that covered a lot of information that I’d already heard, but they pulled it together nicely. Winning the Battle for Your Mind, Will, and Emotions was very beneficial to me and continues to be. It reminded me of how important our thought lives are, and how much control we really do have over our lives. (Or at least control with how we handle what goes on in our lives.) Unimaginable and Saving Your Marriage Before it Starts were my two favorite reads of the month and opened my mind to a new set of thoughts which then in turned help change little day-to-day things in my life.

In addition to reading books, going to Camp proved to be a great learning experience for me. For instance, faceplanting in ice cream while hiding in a pantry actually works wonders. Highly recommend. I also realized (once again) how much I love people. Like, a whole, whole lot. But I also not only crave but actually need alone time. Having a way of escape (aka an apron) is something of a necessity to me.

Learning about myself and reading books that deal with human feelings, thoughts, and actions as a whole is something that has helped me a lot in life. Being able to gauge what’s (probably) going on in certain situations – especially when I’m not in my comfort zone – is really important to me.

My comfort zone is small, so I have to bust out of it a lot, and I do. Also, although it’s slightly terrifying, being outside of one’s comfort zone kinda provides a rush and can be very beneficial.

God is totally fantastic and amazing. I knew that, of course, but November reinforced it. I was praying about several specific things, and those prayers were answered beyond what I had imagined. Not totally what I was imaginaing, but better than I could have wanted because guess what? God knows and sees everything. I’m still in awe that the God who knows everything from beginning to end pays special attention to my life. So cool, right? I’m also rather convinced He has a sense of humor.



Y’all. I love my family. And by “family” I mean both those who are related by blood and those who have become family to me and will push me into a pantry and tell me to calm down when I’m completely freaking out in public.

November was a hugely wonderful month for me. It was cozy. Gray. Filled with blankets, car rides, airplane rides, kitchens, and swinging late into the night. November was filled with people, like, huge amounts of people. And so it was good but exhausting. And rather memorable.

I started out the month in Florida, bopped around in Ohio, then ended the month in Tennessee. Sometimes my life amazes me.

Camp was fantastic and so far outside my comfort zone that I followed my few comforting people around like a little puppy dog, and found a few more people who I felt free to freak out in front of, then commenced to freaking out quite thoroughly. It was probably enlightening to anyone who happened to be in the vicinity.


What was your favorite part of November?


October 2018 In Review

Oh my lands. People, what is up with this? I’m actually on time for my October Review? Say What?!? The last Month Review I posted was in the middle of August and was for the month of July. Goodness is it good to be back in some kind of routine! 


What I Focused on in October:
1. Lots of wedding prep, plus ya know, being a flower girl/bridesmaid in that wedding
2. Getting back into the rhythm of being a writer after a five-month unofficial sabbatical
3. Visiting family (in Florida, etc…), and Young Adult Retreat with church


Reading Update:
Fiction – 9 (Or more?)
Nonfiction – 0
Audiobooks – 1


11 Nights. New places? None.


1. The wedding = YES
2. Begin editing again = YES
3. Proofread GTW = YES
4. Begin beta reading Dreams = YES
5. 10 Sit-ups a day = YES
6. Begin blogging 3+ times a week again = YES
7. Church Young Adult Retreat = YES
8. Get out winter clothing = YES


What I’ve Been Learning:

Goodness folks! It’s good to be back in the land of blogging. And editing. And beta reading. And writerly things in general. This year has been a huge one for learning things that I didn’t even realize I didn’t know. Since I’ve not posted a Month Review since July, some of these “things I’m learning” might also compass the last few months a bit.

  • I knew I had the tendency to choose “safe people” – those who I feel comfortable around – and then seek them out during times when I’m extra anything: Tired, happy, overwhelmed, emotional, etc… These people are mostly my family or people who I have spent a lot of time with. Yet every once in a while someone I don’t know slips into that core group of people and it’s amazing and pretty much perfect.
  • Being in two family weddings in five weeks takes a lot of emotional energy. Emotional energy is also not limitless, which means when you’re giving all of it to certain things you have to take it away from other things. A big part of growing up turns out to be learning how to figure out what’s the most important thing to spend your energy (emotional and physical) on. And it’s tricky my friends. Tricky but rewarding.
  • Caffeine makes me feel like I can keep going, going, going. Yet it’s kinda really bad for me, so limiting caffeine (aka, not drinking it except on days when I’m at the coffee shop) means I have to take more naps, but it’s investing in my health so I’m okay with that.
  • Sometimes it’s okay to say “Not Now” or “No” to your goals when life happens. It’s not failure, it’s changing what you want for something better. (Aka: My garden was a patch of weeds and I didn’t run the half marathon.)
  • Writing. Folks, there’s never a time when you’ve learned all there is to know about writing. There’s always something new to learn, work on, or discover.
  • When you mix exhausted and stressed, a side of me that I’m quite unfamiliar with emerges.
  • I really, hugely, totally love my children’s church children. I started teaching children’s church in February and have learned so, so much through the process! I had to pass the duty off on to other people for several weeks because of the weddings and when I finally came back I was delighted at how much I’d missed the kids.
  • Last weekend our Young Adults group at church had a retreat. It’s a delightful time where we get to focus, learn, connect, and hang out. We all turn off our phones and put them in a bucket so we can totally focus, and it’s utterly amazing. The sessions



Yo, folks, I’m pretty sure October lasted like 238 days this year. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed it thoroughly, oh so thoroughly! But so, so much happened in the month. I’m not even sure where to begin because it’s not all stuff I can put a finger on. Just when I think back to September it feels like it was ages upon ages ago.

  • In October I got to be a flower girl. You know, where you walk down the aisle before the bride sprinkling little flower petals? Yep, that was me in my twenty-six-year-old glory. (Yeah, I had a birthday at the end of September but was too busy with wedding stuff to post about it.) Being a flower girl in my twenties was fantastic and whimsical and a dream come true.
  • We had a lot of company in October. That means a lot of visiting in the evenings which is pretty epic. As our “at home” family gets smaller and smaller, I find myself welcoming guests more and more. 😉
  • One of the guys who visited did me a humongous favor and somehow figured out to convert a file for me from my Gmail to my computer. This might seem like a big deal until I mention that I hadn’t worked on that particular book for a year because of the issues I’d had with not being able to convert it the correct way. (And I only had the file on my Gmail because the computer I had written the book on was stolen.)
  • Hanging out with Chadwin (aka my lawn mower) in October is generally a rather exciting experience which more times than not means bundling up with a coat, gloves, and scarf, and being in awe that this is the life I get to live.
  • Y’all! I got to proofread the new edition of my most favorite writing book ever! I was beyond honored to be asked and hope to write a whole post about the book soon.
  • The last four days of the month I got to spend with my grandparents in Florida. I’m so glad I was able to visit with them again and spend quality hanging out and listening to their stories and playing games. (Fighting a cold put a bit of a damper on the trip, but it has still been amazing.)


And that folks is a quick look at October! What was your favorite part of this wonderfully glorious (and beautiful) month?

July 2018 in Review

This, my friends, is my attempt to keep July from disappearing from my life in that foggy place titled: “I Don’t Really Remember What Happened For A Whole 31 Days.” (Actually, let’s not kid ourselves, July already lives there and I’m having to pull out photos, Overdrive histories, and emails to try and remember what happened last month.)


What I Focused on in July:
1. Family time – camping, bridal showers, and making memories
2. VBS!
3. A week at the Creation Museum with my adopted parents


Reading Update:
Fiction – 13
Nonfiction – 0
Audiobooks – 2


7 Days. New places? None.

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Oops, folks, and I can’t find these. I know I took a vacation from goals for the first and third week of the month, but I had week-long goals for the other two weeks. (And this is the reason I try and write these reviews sooner….)



What I’ve Been Learning:

VBS really is so much more fun when you’ve been able to properly prepare. Three out of the last four years I’ve helped taught or taught VBS, but it’s always been a last minute thing for me. (Oh wait, we need to split this grade cause there are too many kids, can you take half?) But this year I had been assigned my grades (3rd and 4th) six weeks before VBS started, I had my teaching materials, and I was prepared. And goodness folks was it a delightful week! I had two amazing helpers and everything went really well. The first night we had 14 kids, and ever after that, we had 18-21. It was high energy, the kids were all engaged and asked great questions, and we had a delightful time learning (and singing at the top of our lungs) together.

Packing light is my motto and will continue to be, but from now on I might also try and be a bit more prepared for unexpected ventures. I went somewhere for one night and ended up being gone for a week. The week was actually hugely helpful for me to figure out what I really do miss when I don’t have it.

Sometimes letting go of dreams and expectations is hard, but necessary. (You might think I’m being deep and eloquent here, but mostly I’m talking about my garden. Aka the weed patch.)

Crying can actually be very helpful. Staying hydrated is fairly important, too.

Life is a lot more about people than goals. So, when you’re goal-oriented, sometimes you need to have goals that have to do with people.



July was a jammed packed month:
-We camped the first week (over the 4th of July), but I was still working at the Coffee Shop so I’d have to leave our campsite really early to go to our house and get ready for work.
-Then came the week of VBS which is glorious and wonderful and so much fun and something I threw all of my energy into.
-VBS ended Friday night and at 3:45 Saturday morning my sisters and I headed to TN for a bridal shower.
-It worked out at the last minute for me to spend the week at the Creation Museum on my way home from TN.
-The last week of July I mostly spent trying to catch up for all I’d missed when I was gone.

What was your favorite part of July? (I mean if you can remember that long ago…)

June 2018 In Review

What I Focused on in June:
1. A huge week at the retreat where I work
2. Eating/Being Healthy
3. Getting into the summer routine – Cutting grass, working evenings at the coffee shop, etc…


Reading Update:
Fiction – 4
Nonfiction – 0
Audiobooks – 4


I was only gone one night in June. My life has kinda exited the season of travel for the time being, but the adventures are still real and I’m quite happy with them.


1. Strict Paleo for 28 Days – YES {I might have been a day or two off cause of the retreat, but I should have factored that in. I count this as a total win.}
2. Clean Car – YES
3. Huge Week at Retreat Job – YES
4. Track Spending – NO
5. Write 7,000 WOrds – NO
6. Start Doing Bookstagram Pictures – YES
7. Keep Up with Cutting Grass – YES
8. Take The Rest of my Giveaway Stuff to Goodwill – NO


What I’ve Been Learning:
– Prayer is super, duper important. And it’s incredibly nice to serve a God who actually answers prayers and cares about us. Yes, I’ve known this for a long time – all my life, probably. But this month it was reiterated to me time and time again as I saw God bless different situations and give very direct answers to prayer.
– How to stage Bookstagram pictures. I’ve been having so much fun with my Bookstagram account and for pretty much the first time ever feel artistic in something other than words. I wouldn’t consider myself to be really good, but I’m putting a lot of work into making the pictures actually work, and that’s rewarding.
– How to balance my thinking energy when it comes to various jobs. This last week was the biggest week at my retreat job since I started at the coffee shop last year, and I might have had several (several? haha) freak out moments leading up to the retreat because I didn’t have the dedicated prepping time that I generally have. But, everything worked out and it was fantastic and I’m really thankful for that.
– More problem-solving skills. Growing up being a problem solver was something that was praised in my family, and that’s helped me a lot as I get older. This month had some pretty good problem-solving moments.
– Why I haven’t had a garden for the last seven years. This year I’ve been feeling so nostalgic that I decided to plant a garden. Yo, folks. That was not quite the most brilliant plan on my part. Planting it was fun, but the upkeep? Let’s just say there hasn’t exactly been any of that going on. So, #oops


– One of the ways I remember what happened each month is to look back through the pictures on my phone. June this year? Wow, folks. June was so incredibly long and packed full in the best way possible. I keep seeing and remembering more and more I did this month and it makes me feel slightly overwhelmed and very thankful for all that was stuffed into 720 hours.

– During the first half of the month, I had some pretty great impromptu hang out time with various family members, and that was delightful. I’ve been considering this my summer of memory making ventures, and so far the memories have been piling up pretty fast. ❤
– Storytime, folks: Two and a half years ago a writer friend I met through my blog was like “Hey! I know a girl named Kaitlyn and I think you two would get along great. Can I introduce you two via email?” I said “Yes” so introductions were made and sure enough, Kaitlyn and I became great friends. The only slight problem with our friendship was she lives three states and 750 miles away. But ya know, with some friendships eleven and a half hours of driving isn’t that huge of a roadblock, and so Kaitlyn came to visit last year. And then again, and then again. This June was the third time we got to see each other in a year, and that’s pretty epic. We volunteer at a week-long event together which gives us lots of bonding time over hard work, late night Veggie Tale songs, and exhaustion.
– This June was every other year’s May. Normally June is hot, tiring, and lovely, but, well, ya know, hot. But this year? I think May and June got confused and May was too hot, but June was probably the most delightful, beautiful, and perfect June I can remember.


What was your favorite part of June?

May 2018 In Review

What I Focused On in May:
1. Quality family time during vacation
2. Deep cleaning my office and library
3. Getting into a rhythm with adding a lot of grass cutting into life again


Reading Update:

Fiction: 7
Nonfiction: 3
Audiobooks: 2
Book Reviews: 22



Nights Gone: 12
New Places Visited: 0


1.Deep, deep, deep clean my room {YES}
2. Schedule vlogs before Mexico {YES}
3. Full vacation mode in Mexico – no computer, etc… {YES}
4. Set up library for vlogging, etc… {YES}
5. Thyroid work {YES}
6. Begin new blogging schedule {YES}
7. Write 10 book reviews {YES}
8. Beginning training again for half marathon {No}
9. See Aubrey {YES}
10. Work lots at coffee shop {YES}


What I’ve Been Learning:

Life folks. I’ve been learning life.



One of the biggest, craziest, most unexpected things in my life from the month of May was… I decided to get a bed. I’m not sure why folks, I can only chalk it up to nostalgia. I was deep cleaning my office (which is also where I slept on the floor) one day, and I had a sudden longing to get a bed. I haven’t had a bed since we moved nearly four years ago, and I hadn’t slept in my bed for several years before that. I still had my old bed in storage, so some friends helped me move it into my room when the rest of the family was gone on vacation. It fits perfectly into a little nook and takes me back to my childhood.

I also decided to plant a small garden, and several months ago I got a CD player – both things that were a big part of my childhood/early teen years but haven’t been part of my life recently. I guess this must just be the year of whimsical remembering.

One of my favorite things about warm weather coming around is getting to cut grass. My lawnmower’s name is Chadwin and we’re great friends. We often have picnics together (aka me multitasking and eating as I mow), listen to audiobooks, and dance through the fields with music playing through noise-canceling headphones. It’s truly a lovely life.

The month of May also signals our family’s annual vacation. This year I didn’t go quite as long as everyone else because of working at the coffee shop, but as much fun as vacation was, catching up on things while (nearly) alone at home was wonderful, too.

Some of my vacationing highlights were: Staying up all until 4:00 am (twice!) to play cards with my dad and older brother, watching the Royal Wedding, shopping with my sister, and swimming in the ocean during sunset.

Life at the coffee shop really goes with the flow of school, so now that school is out, the coffee shop is a lot more laidback and relaxed. It’s been fun going at a different pace and getting caught up on some deep cleaning. The slower pace has also been nice because the rest of my life has amped up with a lot going on.

Catching up on book reviews was another fun thing I did during May. Now mind you, I didn’t catch up on reading books for review – just on reviewing the books I’d already read. I was a couple months behind with that, so it took several rather intense reviewing sessions to catch up. It’s a relief to have that done.


What were some of your highlights from May?

April 2018 in Review

What I Focused on in April:

1. Work (Coffee Shop and trying to find balance with writing/blogging/etc…)
2. Family time and church and trying to stay healthy
3. The A to Z Challenge


Reading Update

Fiction: 6
Nonfiction: 1
Audiobooks: 3



Nights Gone: 3
New Places: 0


1. No dairy 15 days – NO
2. A to Z Challenge – Haha. YES, but not the correct way
3. Comment 150 times on A to Z Posts – NO
4. Four books Reviewed – NO
5. Train 15 times – YES
6. Track Coffee Shop Hours – YES
7. Find Theme for Children’s Church – YES
8. Celebrate (things with family) – YES
9. Spend quality time with sisters – YES


What I’ve Been Learning

Balance, y’all. Balance. Yo, folks. This is a crazy season of life. My family has all sorts of wonderful and crazy things going on which I’m a huge fan of, but sadly finding time in the midst of the craziness for everything I need to accomplish is impossible. Therefore I’ve been focusing on being really intentional about what I do. There were so many times this month when I had to just stop and think through all my options and decide what would be the best decision long-term. That’s why I didn’t always blog. Or always write. Or always do something, or not do something, or read the books I had on my list, or fill-in-the-blank. It was a good month for learning balance, and I’m so looking forward to May and hopefully having a better starting point this month than I did last one.

About the Amercian and French Revolutions. People, somehow I randomly picked up three books that all had to do with the revolutions. Well, I knew two of them were from the same time period, but not the third one. I’ve never really studied the French Revolution because it’s so horrible, so to finally find out a little bit more about it (than just what I had to learn for school) was enlightening and makes me want to study it even more.

Instagram. My sister told me forever that I should get on Instagram and I finally complied last autumn but didn’t do much with it until this past month. It’s been so much fun becoming a part of Bookstagram and wowzers, folks! There’s a lot to learn. I want to have a specific style and all that for my feed, so I spent a lot of time looking at bookish posts and connecting with other bookworms and deciding what I do and don’t like.

I’ve also been learning more about blogging – and about myself as a blogger. I’ve been blogging for a long time, but I haven’t really delved into the ins and outs of the blogging community like I want to, so I’m working at figuring out a way to do that, and really pinning down exactly who I want to be as a blogger.

Food vlogging. Haha, can we just take a moment to shake our heads at me? This has been a lifelong dream of mine, (like, something I wanted to do way before I even thought of blogging, etc… probably even before I wanted to be a writer), so I’m so glad I took the plunge and did it. But let’s be real folks, my cooking vlogs need epics amount of help. If I’m going to do more in the future (which I’d really like to), then I’ll have to have a far better set up then what I used this month. I learned so much from the experience though – one of the big things being I truly DO enjoy making cooking vlogs, and I want to get better with them someday.

Did anyone notice a lack of review for the month of March? Yeah, I didn’t forget that, and yes, I’m still planning on writing it. That’s another thing I learned about myself. When I have huge things happening in my life, sometimes I simply can’t pull my energy and thoughts together at the same time to write the posts I want to write. (And by “huge things” I mean just the normal “my family is growing up and look at all those exciting things happening right now!” type of huge.)



April was sadly a month with a lot of sickness. I had some sort of flu that lingered on, and then near the end of the month just when I was feeling better again I got strep throat. Thankfully I was able to make some strides forward, as well as doing some things which will hopefully make the rest of the year better.

We had Christmas in April. Well, we had it in December, too, but there’s a certain Christmas celebration that didn’t fit into December, or January, or February, or March, so when April rolled around my sister and I decided to pull out all stops. We decorated the house (or at least a few rooms), made two kinds of Christmas cookies, had Christmas music blaring, and dressed up in red, white, and green. It was rather glorious.

Everyone talked about the weather so much in April that I hardly feel the need to mention it. Except, y’all, except to say that in the midst of the back and forth and fickleness of April I was able to cut grass! Mowing with Chadwin (my lawnmower, in case ya didn’t know) is one of my most favorite things ever, so this was a highlight indeed.

All in all, April was a really good month despite being sick and not accomplishing all my goals. I learned a lot and worked through a lot that I know will help make the rest of the year so much better and more productive. SO YAY.


What I Listened to While Blogging:
Lindsey Stirling on Youtube
Where I Blogged:
In my office with the windows open and birds singing
Fun Fact:
Growing up we were allowed to begin going barefoot May first.
Question of the Day:
Do you generally like April or May better?

February 2018 in Review


What I focused on in February:

  1. So. Much. People. Time. My best friend had a baby and I spent a fair amount of time at her house, plus we had weeks of company. ❤
  2. Getting into the groove with “healthy” – eating well, exercising, sleeping enough
  3. Learning a rhythm and system for teaching Junior Church


Reading Update
Fiction: 2

Nonfiction: 1
Book Reviews: ?
Audio Books: 4



Nights Gone: 4
New States or Countries: None



  1. Work for HIS 20 Hours (if certain things happened that made the work available – they didn’t, so this goal was void).
  2. Keep track of Coffee Shop Hours – YES
  3. Edit Ten Thousand Words – YES
  4. Help Sarah with the baby – YES
  5. Help Hosanna move – YES
  6. Teach Junior Church each Sunday – YES
  7. Vlog each week – YES
  8. Post by 9:30 15 times – NO {only 14 times}
  9. Walk 22 Miles – YES
  10. Eat Paleo 20 Days – YES
  11. Eat fresh veggies or fruit twice a day for 20 Days – YES
  12. Bed by 10:30 12 Times – YES
  13. Weekly Goals – YES


What I’ve Been Learning

 Well, obviously my lesson from last month about reviewing the month before the next one is halfway over stuck – and here I am, writing a review right on time.
One of the biggest things I worked on learning this month had to do with exercising. Hosanna and I signed up together to do the Columbus half marathon (only 234 days away!), and we also started a coaching program to help us get ready. Walking is one thing that I can do endlessly without getting bored or too tired. But! Add in running and I about die. As it turns out strength exercises help a lot with this. When I started out about mid-way through the month I could plank for about five seconds. (It was baaaddddd folks.) By the end of the month, I could plank for 70 seconds at a time. That was rather encouraging. Following the system and learning about different things to do has been immensely helpful, and also led to gales of laughter as I lie on the floor realizing how truly weak I currently am.
As evident with my reading update, I didn’t read much at all during February (yay for #life). I did listen to several totally amazing audiobooks though, and I realized even more fully how much I can learn from listening to an audiobook. It helps me catch the details and learn more about writing. I also finished listening to the New Testament and started on the Old Testament – listening to the Bible is a great way to get new perspectives.
Goals. Folks. Having accountability helps me so, so, so much. I’ve mentioned previously that my cousin, Aubrey, is my goal accountability partner and that has made a huge difference. This month I’ve been on time with setting my weekly goals which would have not happened without her. For instance, mentioned to her that I was having a hard time writing my to-do list each night for the next day. We talked over ways to help me be more consistent with it, and we ended up deciding that I would text her each night after the list was written. Y’all – I probably would have only written the list half of the month if it hadn’t been for her giving me that push to stay faithful, but thankfully I’ve written it each night since then.
I started teaching Junior church (for kids ages 3-6) full time. (We have two services at church, so I attend the first and teach the kids for the second.) It’s been a good learning experience to figure out how to time things right, what to do with fussy kids, try and make the lesson stick, and show God’s love even when there’s a lot going on. It’s been really fun, but quite tiring. I look forward to getting into a better rhythm as time goes on.



It’s funny because I don’t even know how so much fit into February. Life was full of going, going, going, and people from all over the place.
I got to hang out with:
*Marta, my wonderful friend from Peru who lived with us for a year a while back
*Hosanna and Melody – my “soul sisters” and absolutely amazing friends stayed here for over half the month (closer to three-fourths of it). That was glorious and memory-filled and somewhat chaotic as normal
*Kaitlyn, one of my blogging friends and favorite people, stopped by with some of her family on her way back from Europe. We hadn’t seen each other in person since last July so of course, we crammed pretty much as much visiting as possible into the 38-hour visit
*After work one day I drove up to my adopted parent’s and spent the evening and night with them which was great and relaxing
*My best friend had a baby so I ended up spending a good amount of time up at her house – visiting, holding children, and just helping out
*And of course there was still the normal ebb and flow of guests around the house and people to visit with elsewhere
In addition to people, training for the half marathon started during the second half of the month and has been quite fun and rewarding and painful. There have been some absolutely beautiful days which prompt me to 1) Begin to miss winter already and 2) Get outside and run.
This is the first February that I’ve been in Ohio for the entire month in who knows how many years? I used to not like February very much because the vacillating weather was a rollercoaster. This year though? Well, this year I’ve discovered that I really do like February after all. Especially the snow and ice (as long as it stays off the roads). The last two weeks have been full of lots of rain though, and not as much snow and ice.
Another addition to my life in February was learning about My Story on Instagram. I’ve had fun sharing some of the “behind the scenes” with y’all. You can check it out here.
February was wonderful and life-ish, and goodness, am I ever looking forward to March!

January 2018 in Review

What I focused on in January:

  1. Getting into the groove of a fantastic new year
  2. Writing and Coffee Shop Work
  3. Family and friends time (and, unfortunately, being sick)
Reading Update

Fiction: 12
Nonfiction: 1
Book Reviews: 10
Audio Books: 2



Nights Gone: 4
New States or Countries: None



  1. Edit 7,000 words {YES – plus more}
  2. Prep for Junior Church {YES}
  3. Dorcas’s Wedding {YES}
  4. Car Title Work {YES}
  5. Money-ish Work (figuring some things out) {YES}
  6. Four vlogs {YES}
  7. Walk 20 miles {YES}
  8. Eat Paleo 20 days (my version) {YES}
  9. Bed by 10:30 10 times {YES}
  10. Research Scrivener 2 hours {YES}
  11. Weekly Goals {YES}
  12. Bathroom cleaned once a week {NO – 3/4}
  13. Blog by 9:30 10 times {YES}
What I’ve Been Learning
That I need to do my monthly reviews right at the end/beginning of months because I easily lose track of what happened during what months. 😉
I spent a lot of time in January just working at getting into a new rhythm of life – it’s a new semester at the college near where I work, and so, therefore, I have a new schedule. It’s a new year for everyone, and so I’ve completed some goals, and have a new list to start out with.
Oh, and speaking of goals. I’ve been continuing my life-long discovery of how to use goals to the best of my advantage. I want goals to be a tool that helps me do and become what I’m supposed to be, but that doesn’t hold me captive to unrealistic expectations. That means that sometimes when my circumstances change, I need to change my goals. Other goals end up being unworthwhile because of how life happens, and yet other goals are too lofty to complete in the time frame I’ve assigned them.
If you’ll notice above I was able to complete all of my goals for the month of January – and yet it wasn’t like that happened easily. Instead (lowly though they may be), I had to break the goals into weekly, and sometimes daily, portions to make sure I accomplished them on time. That’s how I want my goals to be – a challenge, but still attainable. One of the biggest things I’ve realized about goals is they work SO MUCH BETTER when I have an accountability partner. My cousin and I had been goal partners several years ago, but over time it fizzled out. Recently I asked her if she was interested in doing it again, and after thinking it over for a few weeks, she agreed. Even though we don’t have a ton of communication at the same time (it’s mostly over text), knowing that I’m going to have to give her updates REALLY keeps me on track.
In January I also spent a couple of hours researching Scrivener. It’s amazing to me how much easier it is to learn something when I actually sit down and read what I’m supposed to, instead of just stumbling around trying to figure it out on my own.
I’m teaching Junior Church for the months of February, March, and April, so I spent a fair amount of time in January researching what and how I wanted to teach. It was good for me to think through what I wanted the kids to learn and how I wanted to present it.


As mentioned at the beginning, I was sadly sick for a fair amount of January. I had a horrible cold/flu that took me down for a few days and then kept reappearing in a lighter form. I even had to miss a day of work, which was a total first for me. (Working around food while being really sick didn’t seem like an incredibly fair thing to do, besides, I could barely keep my eyes open and it’s a 45-minute drive.)

I also ended up missing a day or two of work due to icy roads. Living fairly far out in the country is wonderful, but roads that are gravel and up and down and all around don’t always mesh well with snow and ice. One day I slid right into a tree on my way to work (thankfully I was going slow and didn’t have much damage), so decided it was probably best to just go home. (I still had miles of icy back roads to traverse before I got to main roads.) The next day it took me nearly 45 extra minutes to get to work, but I really didn’t want to miss another day of work. That night I stayed at my sister’s house because she lives closer to town, and getting to work the next day was much easier.

Near the middle of the month, I went to PA for the wedding of a good friend. It was fun and I got to hang out and help set everything up. I also got to be a bridal table server, which is an honor and made me quite happy.

The last half of the month was filled with company and hanging out with people, and nearly always feeling behind (but in a good way) as I tried to balance work and family and other life-ish things.

January was wonderful and sped by and I can hardly believe it’s already nearly the middle of February. Who knew 2018 would go by so fast?



December 2017 in Review

What I focused on in December:

  1. Family, friends, celebrating Jesus’ birth, making memories, and being thankful for a year well-lived
  2. Work – all three jobs
  3. Making a couple of short surprise trips


Reading Update

Fiction: 7
Nonfiction: 4
Book Reviews: I’m not sure (but I got all the way caught up)
Audio Books: 2

Screen Shot 2018-01-01 at 9.22.43 AM


Nights Gone: 6
New States or Countries: None



  1. Read 4 non-fiction books – YES
  2. Catch up on all reviews – YES
  3. Vlog 4 times – No: Only 3 times
  4. Edit 5,000 Echoes words – YES (I changed it to WLHYL words)
  5. Work on setting goals for 2018 – YES
  6. Write weekly goals – YES
  7. Go to bed by 10:30 15 times – YES (I think….)
  8. Eat paleo 20 days – YES
  9. (This one is a goal about some of the Christmas gifts I’m working on, so I’ll not specify) – YES
  10. End the year with a clean room, clean bathroom, and laundry basically caught up – YES


What I’ve Been Learning
 As it turns out sometimes traditions have to move along when life changes, and that’s not always a sad thing. There were several things different this year in my holiday celebrations, and even though in years past that would have made me sad, this year it just felt like part of the flow and I went along languidly.
Praying out loud is important. I knew that. I know that words are extremely important and that we need to be careful not only what we think, but also really careful with what we say. A book I read this month about prayer helped bring this truth to the forefront of my mind, and I’ve been working at praying out loud more often.
I love my family. I know this, but I’m learning more and more just how much I love them and how crazy special they are. (And just plain crazy.) We had some fun adventures and family time this month, and that was delightful and filled my little soul with happiness. I’m so very, very, very thankful for this era in my life.
Twenty-Seventeen wasn’t at all what I had expected or imagined twelve months ago, life didn’t take the curves I’d expected, instead, it kept yelling Plot Twist! and it was wonderful. I am incredibly thankful for all I learned, the opportunities, opened doors, changes in expectations, and the hardships I was able to work through. I’m learning to embrace the unexpected and really (despite what it may look or feel like) be flexible.


People. This month. It was like a firehose of life aimed straight at me. After recovering from the blast of water, I jumped into the puddle with both feet and didn’t look back.

  • I randomly joined in the Christmas play for the last couple of weeks of rehearsals
  • I won second place at a tacky sweater party (Y’all. I have tacky down.)
  • I rode around on a hay wagon with about 50 other people from our church for three and a half hours Christmas caroling (and I might have howled like a wolf once or twice)
  • I got my first flat tire
  • I surprised one of my bestest friends in PA by randomly showing up at her house
  • I also surprised my adopted parents right before Christmas Eve by being at their house when they got home from work
  • I sighed in delight at the beautiful snow we have
  • I worked a bunch of evening shifts at work (before this month I only worked one evening shift)
  • I attended a life-long friend’s wedding
  • December also meant epic amounts of guests
  • I went to our church’s delightful Christmas Eve Service
  • I played lots of games and made lots of memories and felt incredibly busy the entire month, but the best kind of busy.
  • I read a lot during the first week of the month and then hardly touched another book until near the end of the month, and therefore thought I didn’t read a lot. Apparently, I have a skewed view of what “a lot of reading” entails.
  • I also listened to a couple of audio books that in reality were nearly life changing – not because they had amazing info, but because of the writing style and what it did to artistic me


December was a wonderful month, and the best way to bid farewell to 2017. I’m thankful. Very thankful.

What were some of your highlights of December?