My “Twenty 15’s” of 2015

It’s a New Year. Which has been said so much in the last 24 hours that it is almost annoying. Regardless, I’m still excited about this New Year. 2015. It’s a fresh start for some, a wake-up call for others, and for some it’s the same old same old.

Personally I’m excited about this New Year. I’m ready for whatever it holds, and all of its unknowns. I’m also excited for all of the things I do know will happen this year. I’m excited about the opportunity to continue learning and improving in my job. I’m grateful for the friendships I’ve made in 2014 that will continue to deepen this upcoming year. Most of all I’m ecstatic that I get to be an aunt in June! Seriously, my brother and sister-in-love will have a tiny human roaming around in a few months—cue squeals of joy!

For everything that I know will happen, and for all the unknowns, I am planning on being intentional this year. That’s why I’ve come up with a list for 2015.

It feels a little silly, but I will be doing “twenty 15’s” this 2015. Some of them are going to be challenging as I’ll get out, while others are going to be a grand adventure. Regardless of how easy or difficult completing everything on my list will be, I’m pumped about the growth that’s bound to happen. I’m anxiously awaiting these 365 days to come along because of how exciting I know this year is going to be.

So, without further ado, here is my list of twenty 15’s I will be striving to accomplish this year:

 

  1. Write 15 handwritten letters and mail them the good old-fashioned way—snail mail!
  2. Read 15 books*
  3. Add 15 people to my Young Living Team
  4. Go on a walk for at least 15 minutes every day (preferably I’ll be more towards the hour mark on this one since it’s one of my favorite things to do)
  5. Try 15 new foods I’ve never eaten before*
  6. Do 15 things that scare me*
  7. Drink NigXia Red every day for 15 weeks
  8. Devote 15 minutes to prayer, meditation, and/or silence daily
  9. Write and post 15 blogs this year (one every month with 3 thrown in randomly)
  10. Learn 15 basic conversations in sign language
  11. Go on at least 15 different hikes
  12. Watch 15 sunrises
  13. Watch 15 sunsets
  14. Visit 15 places I’ve never been before (hello Wisconsin and New Orleans!)*
  15. Completely unplug my life for 15 different days throughout this year (I’m talking live like a freaking cave woman…no phone, no computer, no car, and no electricity-ish)
  16. Devote 15 minutes to writing every day (who knows what I’ll come up with…maybe another book!)
  17. Every Sunday evening I will think back on my week and write down 15 things I saw that reminded me of the goodness human beings posses
  18. Spend 15 days outside of America
  19. Complete a 15-day Daniel fast
  20. Read/study 15 books of the Bible (Job, Philippians, Daniel, Proverbs, Psalms, Malachi, John, Ephesians, Colossians, Philemon, Genesis, Exodus, Lamentations, Joel, Galatians)

*For numbers 2, 5, 6, and 14 I am still in the thinking process of what the specifics will be. However, here’s what I’ve got so far:

#2- Daring Greatly by Brené Brown, The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman, Blonde by Joyce Carol Oats, The Brief Wonderful Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz, Hogfather by Terry Pratchett, Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut, The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins, Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou, The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan

#5- Laksa, Udon, kimchi, spam, Crème brûlée

#6- Learn to long board, get set up on a blind date, go to a party by myself, hitchhike, go shopping on black Friday, go snowboarding again, scuba dive

#14- Wisconsin, New Orleans, Oneonta Gorge (Oregon), Yellowstone National Park, Chicago, Skagit Valley Tulip Fields (Washington)

 

Please share your suggestions for how I should fill in the 4 lists above!

 

So, what are your plans for this New Year?

Women and theology. Do looks matter? Reason for the season. Make an impact. Proverbs 31 doesn’t have it all.


This post made me literally give a fist thrust in the air, and loudly proclaim, “AMEN!” [and no, I am not joking.] Jessica Thompson talks about the importance of women knowing theology and the Word of God well. She speaks about women not shying away from this knowledge and truth, because we are important, and this isn’t a man’s world…We need to be knowledgeable as women about what the Bible says. Check it out here.

Jeremy Pierre talks about whether looks matter or not in a relationship. I really appreciated his insight and different perception. Check it out!

Sammy [I’ve mentioned him before] talks about how our hearts are so unfocussed, and numb to the reality of what the season we are in [Christmas…or rather, Advent] is all about. He reminds us to not live for ourselves, but rather to focus on the real reason to celebrate. Jesus Christ. One thing he said really saddened my heart: “I was gonna end this post by challenging us to redeem Christmas but then I realized how sad that is. Redeeming a season that celebrates the very essence of our redemption? :( ” It’s true. We shouldn’t have to redeem this season, that should be our natural response…but sadly it is not. Read the whole thing here.

Grit and Glory is one of my favorite blogs to visit, and re visit. Alece writes about her heart, and she both challenges me and reminds me of my purpose here on earth. This post was no exception. This post promotes us being ourselves, and pursuing the ministry God has called us to and making an impact in peoples lives no matter what, via any form. I love it. You should read it…and then read it again. Focus on what she’s saying, it’s good stuff.

And last but CERTAINLY not least…this post. Oh my, I have never been so happy to find someone who wrote about this. And the best part? This is coming from a guy [Preston Yancey]! So often throughout my life, everytime I hear about becoming a woman of God, I am referred back to the Proverbs 31 gal. Oy. Not going to lie, my biggest thought about this lady is that she must be tired [not saying that we can’t learn things from her!]. And maybe I’m crazy, but I’ve always disliked that people never pointed me to Mary, or to Deborah, Ruth, Lydia, Hannah, Dorcas, or any other women talked about [and not to mention praised] in Scripture. But here…oh my, I found a post that spurred me on to greatness. That reminded my heart that there is not simply one mold for a woman, but rather a Heart to chase after…Christ’s heart. This reminded me that there is adventure to be had, that I am not a bad woman because I don’t just want to be a homemaker [while some women are called to that, and fulfill that ministry wonderfully, I just don’t think that’s me.] You need to read this post. Whether you’re a woman or a man…but I’m going to say it…especially if you’re a woman. You need to know that there is no mold, or right way to be a Godly woman. The only way is to pursue God’s heart. Oh yes. I love that truth.

What have you found that’s been interesting this past week? Share the love :)

{From the Archives} Here’s Why [Christian Phrases Style]

I’m just gonna say it…Christians say some stupid things. We think we are being helpful, wise, spiritual, encouraging, and Godly, but in reality we are sticking our big feet in our big mouth.

There are quite a few phrases within the Church that get under my skin. I suspect you feel similarly. Here are the Top 10 Christian phrases I would rather not hear again…starting with…

1. “I’ll pray for you.”  This is a little tricky, because I don’t want to judge someone when they say this. I really want to believe that when someone says this, they will actually pray. However, I suspect that Christians throw this out there to either make someone feel good or because it’s become a habit for them to say.

Side note: I take this phrase very seriously and I want you to know that when I say that I will pray for you, I will.

2. “Quiet time.” To be completely honest-I detest this phrase. It does not exist anywhere in the Bible (the concept does to some point, perhaps), but we throw this around like it’s law. Always asking “did you have your ‘quiet time’ today?” “Don’t forget your ‘quiet time.’ ” It just falls out of our mouths. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s important to set aside a time to be quiet before the Lord, but what about the crazy times, the exhausting times, the confusing times-pretty much throughout our day and throughout our life?

3. “I don’t feel led.” Just say what you mean. More often than not, it’s not that we “don’t feel led,” but rather, we just don’t want to. Instead of being honest, we blame God, as if He was directing us elsewhere. Don’t point fingers, just take responsibility and be honest with people.

4. “It was the Lord’s will…” when something fails. This is not always the case, but I’ve watched as this phrase has become an all encompassing excuse for irresponsibility or sin. Perhaps a ministry, or church, or (worst of all) a marriage failed because responsible parties allowed it to fail. Perhaps it really wasn’t “the Lord’s will.”

5. “Walk with the Lord.” I don’t dislike this slogan, so much as I think it has become cliché. Also, we say this in front of nonbelievers constantly and they must be wondering, “What does that even mean?”

6. “Invite Jesus into your heart.” I don’t despise this Christian-ism, however, I think it’s not entirely scriptural. This phrase fails to communicate the fact that a life devoted to Christ is our goal–total and complete surrender, nothing less.

7. “Jesus loves you.” It is completely 100% true. He does love you…and me. But a bumper sticker or saying it in sarcasm isn’t the way to communicate His love. Action is.

8. “Lord be here” or “Holy Spirit come” when we are praying.  As a follower of Christ, we have the Holy Spirit living inside of us, and God has promised us that He will never leave us nor forsake us. So to pray for Him to be with us seems to be a little overkill, or worse- that we don’t believe He already is.

9. “Give it to God” – While as a believer, I do lay my burdens at the feet of God in prayer, I often hear this when I open up and go to a brother/sister in Christ over some major problem in my life that I can’t solve. “Give it to God” has become a Christian-y non-answer that people who have no advice give to get off easy. I’d rather just hear someone say “I wish I had an answer for you, but I don’t. The best you can do is pray, and I’ll pray with you.”

10. “The Proverbs 31 Woman.” I have a beef with the “Proverbs 31 woman.” Well, not her exactly, but the pressure those passages place on women. The amount of pressure this passage puts on women is ridiculous. It makes us feel like we have to be married with kids in order to be considered a woman of God. It’s just not true. You can be single and serving the Lord just as well (if not better) than if you’re married.

I know you have some to add and I can’t wait to hear them! What Christian phrases would you rather not hear again? What Christian-isms really get under your skin?

Here’s Why [Blogs Style]

I love blogs. I mean, I bet few of you actually know how much I love reading blog posts. I learn so much from other people, and they inspire greatness in my life, or they make me think about some things I normally wouldn’t have thought about. Well, today I want to share with you all some of the blogs that I’ve found. Some might be their entire blog [because I think you should read everything they have to offer] or some might be certain posts [not that I don’t think you should read everything on their blog too…] Enjoy!

1) Ally Spotts: Wow this woman is amazing. She talks about everything including life, running, relationships & dating, faith, and so much more. I think you should check out everything on her blog, I believe you can benefit from it all, whether you’re a girl or a guy, it is good stuff. Here’s one of her post that I particularly enjoyed.

2) Modern Reject: Confession time: I’ve been reading her blog for nearly a year now, and quite frankly I’m obsessed. I’m pretty sure I’ve read every post she’s put out, and I go to her blog every week day [she doesn’t blog on the weekends] and read her new post. This lady is awesome. She blogs about the taboo stuff, the things no one wants to address. I love it, I enjoy the conflict it stirs, the feathers it ruffles, both my own and others. If you check out her blog, read the comments, Nicole is really good at replying, and people really add to the conversation in the comment section. This is just one of the many posts that I love from her-

3) Sammy Adebiyi: I actually just found this guy yesterday, so I haven’t seen too much of his stuff yet, but from what I’ve read so far…wow. This guy is a no-nonsense kind of guy. He doesn’t put up with junk, he tells it like it is, and he challenges you. One post I read made me really think about the way I respond to a simple question, one I’m asked multiple times a day. And his post was simple. I mean, 35 words kind of simple. Yea, he’s that cool. Check it out

4) An Ironic Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum by Matt Appling of The Church of No People. This post really made me think about how I’m living, and how my generation will be defined in 50 years. Very thought compelling.

So there’s a few of my favorites this past week. If you want more reading/blog suggestions, feel free to ask, I’d love to share. :)

What blogs have you stumbled across lately? Have any rocked your face off/made you think/made you want to punch a baby? [sorry…that’s kind of an awful image…]