L E S S O N S  

-  waking up early to start my day in scripture is the single best habit i created this year. it is the best part of my day. 

-  it's okay to change your mind.

-  cotton ovals > cotton balls

-  lead with gentleness. nothing is ever received from a sarcastic/judgemental/scoffing heart.

-  parchment paper is such an underrated kitchen necessity.

-  i stopped using a straightener on my hair this year. i just spray a little dry shampoo + run the blow dryer over it + i'm done.

-  another underrated kitchen necessity is a meat thermometer. 

-  it's okay to plan + and prepare, but be fluid.

-  the internet does not need to know our opinion on every single topic.

-  sometimes it's not about the thing God is asking us to do, but rather obedience to Him.

-  discontentment is like a bitter root- sucking like from the good parts of our life. it robs us of our joy + Him of His glory.

-  tidying up 30 minutes at the end of the day is always a good idea.

-  something shifted in the way i view different ideologies of others. i have more empathy + a willingness to listen. 

-  pray for them instead of obsessing over their faults.

-  bullet journaling > planners

-  cookie scoops are not necessarily a necessity, but they are a little luxury.

-  fake nose rings > real nose piercings

-  anything that pushes me to the feet of Jesus is a blessing.

-  we are made for community. even in our differences, we are better together.

-  there are better things i can hold in my hands than my phone. 

  H A P P E N I N G S  

-  jackson turned three.

-  i started working in downtown ICT. 

-  we got our luna girl! she is loving + playful + keeps us laughing.

-  i kayaked down the river for the first time.

-   we lost our fifth baby (fourth miscarriage). 

-  jared built me a greenhouse. he also remodeled the back room + made a patio.

-  i got to work from home twice.

-  we took a trip to colorado springs.

-  i read 30 books.

-  lots of puzzles were worked + lots of board/card games were played.

-  jared + i voted in the election.

-  wichita collective grew a lot! 

-  we camped so much in the spring when i worked from home + jared was furloughed. 

-  my grandma went to be with Jesus. 

-  jackson started preschool + loves it!

-  we became plant people. 

-  the chiefs won the super bowl + the sooners won the cotton bowl! 

-  jared + i celebrated five years of marriage.

-  jackson caught his first fish.

-  we ate a lot of great food + drank a lot of great coffee. 

*affliliate links are included throughout this post. no cost to you. 

-  cookies for santa
-  i made a lot of tater tot casseroles this month 
-  toasted white chocolate mocha latte
-  homemade chai lattes

-  cheese-its 
-  white chocolate popcorn 
-  indoor s'mores    

-  "the unraveling of cassidy holmes" - elissa r. sloan
-  "all things reconsidered" - knox mccoy
-  S.W.A.T.
-  wonder woman 2

making me happy:   our new lava lamp • cuddling with luna • twinkling lights on the christmas tree • winter sunrises + sunsets • the quiet of the morning before the day starts • pacifica lip balms • watercolors •  true crime podcasts     

  H A P P E N I N G S  

-  jared + i started a weekly scrabble date night. it is lovely, even though he has beat me twice.

-  i met a friend for lunch + ended up staying at the restaurant for four hours. it was so delightful!

-  we ate mexican food + drove around to look at christmas lights. 

-  this christmas was one of my favorites. we spent time as a family + with both sides of our families.

-  after over a month of working from home, i went back to work + it felt SO weird! i definitely had to readjust.

- lots of board + card games were played. 

-  i finished studying the book of jude. now i'm in the book of titus. 

  R E A L I Z A T I O N S  

-  i have adapted a little motto: properly plan + adjust accordingly. basically reminding myself that planning is good + keeps me sane, but keep it fluid. 

-  i have not used a straightener on my hair since march. just some dry shampoo + a quick blow dry to get the kinks out + i'm good to go. never thought i would stop using a flat iron!

-  i realized how much the enemy had a hold of my thoughts this month. like- it was crazy. i have resolved that when think about a particular person or situation, i will just pray for them. it was sucking the life out of me + i didn't even know it. 

*there are affiliate links throughout the post. no cost to you; just pennies in my pocket. 

BEST ADVENTURE/TRAVEL/TRIP:  our trip to colorado in september. we stayed at a lovely airbnb + ate good food + had the best time. jackson still talks about that trip months later. 

BEST BOOK:  "open book" by jessica simpson. i knew when i read this in february that it would be the best book i read all year. jessica narrates the audiobook + it is so good. other books i loved: "lock every door" by riley sager; "american royals" by katharine mcgee; "followers" by megan angelo.

BEST MOVIE:  as i looked back on our purchases + rentals for the year, i felt a pang of sadness. no date nights to the theater. no overpriced food/drinks. no discussions about our favorite parts on the ride home. there were still a few movies we rented at home though. "love and monsters" was cute. we rented "frozen 2" and had a fun family night. 

BEST TV SHOW:  it may not have been the year of movies, but for me, it was the year of tv shows. i watched the full series of bones, little fires everywhere, + S.W.A.T. i caught up on the blacklist + NCIS.

BEST ALBUM OR SONG:  there wasn't just one album for me, but there were many songs. "never lost" - elevation worship; "another in the fire" - hillsong united, taya; "constellations" - ellie holcomb; "available" - elevation worship; "goodness of God" - bethel; "peace be still" - hope darst; "holy ghost" - maverick city. 

BEST PODCAST:  verity  //  murder with my husband  //  crime junkie  //  from the front porch   

BEST FOLLOW ON INSTAGRAM:  kristen lavalley. in the age of choosing sides, whether it be politically or spiritually or whatever the discussion, i often find myself falling somewhere in the murky middle on hot-topic issues. it's often mistaken as apathy, but i try really, really hard to see from multiple perspectives. kristen has shared nuanced views on a lot of christian topics + i find it refreshing.

BEST DATE:  we supported our local businesses on small business saturday this year. it was such a fun day of local food, coffee, plants, + other little things. jackson was with us, so it was more of a family date, but it was so much fun! 

BEST KIDDO MILESTONE:  i initially was going to say successfully potty training + getting rid of the binkie, but the best milestone is starting preschool. jackson has exceeded (and surprised!) our expectations. he loves school! i am so thankful for his teachers + the school. hands down, one of the best decisions of the year for jackson.   

BEST FAITH GROWER:  our fourth miscarriage. i hate that last year's answer to this question was our third miscarriage. but when death happens in your body, you have two choices: you can live with the grief or you can live through it (although it will never truly go away). i chose the latter. the night i discovered we were losing our baby, i sat in the passenger seat, stunned. what a difficult night. and then the morning came. and with it- a peace amid the pain + grief. He has walked with me each step since. 

BEST TREND YOU TRIED:  tiktok. i thought the app was just a bunch of teenage girls dancing + twerking, but it so much more than that! there are recipe/food videos, makeup tutorials, and all different kinds of videos. 

BEST BEAUTY PURCHASE:  cleen vitamin c serum + cleen moisturizer  //  pacifica lip balm  //  elf brow liner  

BEST FAMILY MEMORY:  our camping trips in the spring. jared was on furlough + i was working from home. we would camp during the week when absolutely no one was around. i would wake up + drive home to work, and then drive back out to the campsite that evening. it was springtime, so the trees were blooming + in the middle of the chaos, the lake was our safe haven. 

BEST HABIT YOU CREATED:   waking up early to have time in scripture before i start the day. i was trying to squeeze in bible study in the evenings when i had this realization that i should never look at scripture as a checked box. i started waking up 45 minutes earlier + it has changed my days. yes, there are mornings when i want to hit the snooze button, but i make myself get up. i am a better wife, mom, + person for starting my days with the Lord.

FAVORITE BLOG POST WRITTEN:  "i luv u" // i wrote this post at the beginning of quarantine. 

BEST NEW RECIPE:  avocado brownies + cream cheese chicken chili + these tiktok cookies  

BEST LIFE OR MOM HACK:  parchment paper. it's my new BFF when baking or cooking. 

BEST MAMA MOMENTS:  when jackson caught his first fish • working from home + being with him throughout the day • his bigs hugs as i cried after learning about my grandma's passing + our miscarriage • how much he loves school • and as i type this, i can hear him singing with jared "oh, there's nothing better than You" 

BEST HOME IMPROVEMENT:  this was the year of house projects! jared built a greenhouse. he remodeled our back room into a second living space. he also put in pavers by the pergola. 

BEST LITTLE LUXURY YOU'VE ENJOYED:  house slippers. they're so cozy + make me feel fancy. 

this idea came from em for marvelous  

at the beginning of quarantine, rachel shared her NYT collage project. i loved the idea, but didn't have a newspaper subscription. as i thought about how i could document this weird time, i remembered when, several years ago, i briefly collected little remnants of my everyday life: movie ticket stubs, stickers, wrappers, etc. so i started saving random things to fill this journal to document 2020.

a card from the little shop, a duplicate puzzle piece, + a card from my niece.

newspaper that was used to wrap china that my mom bought early in their marriage. 
if you zoom in, you can see the date: july 1, 1988!

a "Word before world" sticker that was on the box of a well watered women order, 
jackson's wristband from the pumpkin patch, + a piece of my shopping bag from vortex souvenir.

a piece of paper jackson colored, part of the census envelope, stickers, + a postcard from an online order.

a card from my love.

my voting sticker. 

other things not pictured: jackson's name tag from his preschool's orientation, clippings from my hometown's newspaper, a card from my grandma's funeral, various things from jackson's school, a note from our airbnb host when we vacationed in colorado, + ticket stubs from the train ride.