Clothing on hanger at the modern shop boutique

Where I Invest My Love and Life

I began the first full weekend of this year at a funeral. My grandfather passed away several weeks ago, so I spent last weekend in my hometown grieving and remembering him.  I walked away reminded that how we spend our days is how we spend our lives.

What do my days look like? It’s a question I’ve been ruminating, looking at the minutia of my days. I’m not happy with some of what I see.

Consider my consumerism.

new-year-loading

Four New Year’s Resolutions (and Why I Made Them)

You’ve probably heard the statistics before. About half of the U.S. population makes New Year’s resolutions, but only eight percent of those who make resolutions succeed in keeping them.

So why do I, year after year, sit down with a sheet of paper and pen to write out resolutions for the upcoming year? Don’t the statistics indicate that I’m doomed to fail?

While there is certainly no biblical imperative to make resolutions, and their efficacy isn’t promising,  I tend to approach resolutions with the perspective of Dwight Eisenhower: “Plans are nothing.

Bible sitting on a table

Keeping Christmas All the Year

“I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.” ~ Ebenezer Scrooge (A Christmas Carol)

What would it look like to honor Christmas beyond December? What does Christmas mean without the Christmas tree, jolly music, Pinterest crafts, gift buying, sumptuous meals and twinkling lights?  I was raised by parents who faithfully taught me that the real meaning of Christmas was the birth of Jesus, so I know these festivities aren’t central to the holiday.

Lonely snow man sitting at picnic table in winter

2 Ways to Deal With Holiday Blues

I’m a sucker for Christmas. I love the ugly sweater parties, evergreen decor, homemade cookies, festive dinners for family and friends, gift buying, classic holiday music and movies.

Yet during the lulls from festivities and cheer, when I’m alone on quiet nights, I can find myself fighting a quiet melancholy unique to the season. My grandmother died on Christmas day five years ago, and the months leading up to and following her death were some of the darkest of my life.

christmas-house-lights

3 Fictional Characters Inspiring Me This Christmas

I entered my first Christmas season in Cincinnati with enthusiasm, passion and a desire to do my first Christmas as an adult the right way. I was ready to be merry. I was ready to show hospitality. I was ready to rest and establish rituals that reminded me of the “true meaning” of Christmas.

It’s probably not hard to believe that I fell short of these goals. A car accident three weeks before Christmas left me unsettled and worried.

An open calendar on the desk

Why You Need Rituals

When I graduated from college and started working a few years back, I felt disoriented by how the days blurred from one to another. Gone was the exciting start of a new semester that came with new textbooks and reunions with friends. Gone was Christmas break. Gone was the finality that came with finals week.

Instead, my life started to feel like the young professional version of Groundhog Day. Though I enjoyed my work, I’d come to the end of a day, week, month wondering where the time had gone.

A chef adding garnish to soup

Why I’m Giving Myself to Cooking

By the time you read this, I’ll likely have invented a new recipe. This Halloween my husband and I are hosting a few neighbors on our porch for dinner and drinks while we give candy to adorable, costume-clad children. While reading How to Celebrate Everything last week, I was moved by Jenny Rosentrach’s description of the yearly Halloween dinner of beanie weenies she hosts for her neighbors, and I was inspired to do likewise.

Yet, reading Rosenstrach’s beanie weenie recipe and imagining the flavors, I found myself looking for more from beanie weenies.

A woman flipping her hair around

What I’m Learning About Beauty

I made the hair appointment with the same trepidation I felt when I pulled out my phone to show my stylist what I wanted. The picture? A woman with hair several inches shorter than my conservative chin-length bob.

For years, I had oogled over photos of pixie cuts on Pinterest. I kept saying to myself, however, that a short haircut like that would make my face look fat and ugly, take away from my femininity and cause me to look like someone I’m not.

Woman baking in a rustic kitchen

A Reality TV Show Is Helping Me Follow Jesus

If you recommend something to me, I’m the type of person who will internally buck your recommendation because I like to think of myself as not easily nailed down.

So for several weeks late last fall I kept scrolling past the Great British Baking Show on Netflix’s “Recommended for You” queue. Why would Netflix recommend this show simply because I love all things baking and British?

The Great British Baking Show is a reality television series where ordinary men and women from across Great Britain compete to win the title of best amateur baker.