chasing perfect + good things + lessons learned in 2016.

i have been looking forward to december twenty-sixth for weeks. i woke up early on my day off and committed the entire morning to my twenty-seventeen powersheets! the founder of this awesome goal-setting planner, lara casey, is sharing her sixth annual make it happen goal setting series this week. i devote this entire week to planning for the coming year while reflecting on the current year.

the prep work for the powersheets is good, y'all. i put on my praise music, sip a latte, and dive in. this year, instead of keeping it all to myself, i wanted to share bits + pieces of my progress. i'm following lara's outline in her blog post from today, if you want to explore the reasoning behind the questions first.


i tried to chase a perfectly curated online life. as a photographer, it's a passion to capture the world around me. but it became evident this year that i can't always have the perfect photo. whether it be time or lighting or the fact that i'm just plain tired, many things caused me to feel like my creative gift was lacking. but this is something i desperately needed to become aware of because i was striving to succeed at things that don't matter and have no value.

other areas include being a great wife, working homemaker, employee, etc. i wanted to be so great at everything. it was exhausting. there was no purpose at my attempts other than to be perfect at all the things. no grace and ultimately, not leaving any room for God in most areas.

nothing i strived for was rooted in scripture or faith in the Lord.

just self. me. myself. amber.

as i wrote out these thoughts, the song, "when i survey" was playing. these lyrics hit me so hard that i knew it was a God thing the moment it happened.

"all the vain things that charm me most, i sacrifice them to His blood."

YES, LORD. the perfection, the things that hold my attention, all of it - i give it to Jesus because this isn't about anything but Him. only Jesus. i so needed that reminder.


-  grew in our marriage.

-  started helping out in children's ministry at church.

-  a great promotion at work.

-  God healed me from sickness after sickness.

-  God gave us a huge, beautiful blessing of a baby in my womb!

-  flourishing friendships.

-  jared + i found a wonderful doctor.

-  we traveled to beautiful estes park, colorado for a fun vacation.

-  celebrated one year of marriage!

-  stood by my soul sistah as she married the love of her life.

-  attended my first hockey game.

-  visited luke's diner!!

-  countless laughs from our dogs, tyler + milo.

-  participated in the blogtember challenge.

-  celebrated my thirtieth birthday.

-  watched the olympics with friends and had so much fun doing so.


-  let go of how i think things/situations/circumstances should go.

this was a big lesson to learn -- and one i had to continuously learn throughout the year. i tend to have ideas of what things/people/situations should be [aka: how i want them to be.] but when i try to assert my control, i rob myself of the joy in learning from it. trying to will something to my preconceived notions only ends in disappointment. i'm learning to sit back and be teachable in those moments. there is room to grow + see in ways i don't expect when i stop expecting. beautiful moments + happenings aren't always planned. i'm holding everything with open hands.

-  our God is faithful to provide.

this is not a new revelation in my life, but i was reminded of it in big ways this year. countless times, actually. from really rough health problems, work stresses, the discovery of my pregnancy, and just life in general, God was/is faithful to provide in the hardest of circumstances. this doesn't mean He gives me everything i want in the way + timing i desire. it means He hears my prayers + cries. He know it all. He provides what i need, just when i need it. always on time, always enough.

-  leave work at work.

this was huge. i was bringing home the stresses, shortcomings, and mistakes from the day and letting them eat away at me at home. jared finally talked to me about his one evening while i was stewing over something from work [that most definitely wasn't as big of a deal as i made it out to be.] i have significantly noticed a change since i've put this into practice. i'll continue to do so in the coming year, which will be super helpful since a baby will be added into my daily life!

other lessons learned:

-  check out one book at a time from the library. ain't nobody got time to read five books at a time.

-  a package of spaghetti noodles will feed sixteen people. #leftoversfordayz

-  self-care is not selfish if done right + well.

-  little by little progress is so much better than procrastination.

-  finding the balance of a working wife while taking care of our home was so incredibly challenging. most days, i'd come home exhausted. laundry + dinner were the last things on my mind. jared helps out tremendously, but my heart wasn't in the right place about it all. thankfully, i have a better handle on it all. plus- it helps that i married a man who doesn't expect me to be the perfect wife. ever. he gives me the grace that i should probably give myself.


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