friday favorites – 2014.

Welcome to 2015! How’s it going so far for everyone? There is something so fresh and exciting about a new year, capturing an entire blank book of what’s ahead, the air eager with anticipation about what the next 12 months will bring.

Instead of doing Friday Favorites today, I thought I would take the lead of my friend Sweet Mama K and do a Favorite Things of 2014 list. THIS IS HARD! But without further ado….

Music: Tough category for me. I feel like there was some great music that came out this year and some great music I rediscovered. But the album of the year for me goes to Damien Rice for My Favorite Faded Fantasy.  The songs are raw and cut your heart out, prance it around for a bit, and then heal you back up. Beautifully done and after a long 8 year break, it was well worth the wait.

Honorable Mentions: YES! by Jason Mraz, Hozier’s EP’s, I am Mountain by Gungor and Magestic by Kari Jobe.

Food: 2014 brought in my first full year as a gluten free gal and much of the year I managed a paleo-ish/Whole 30 diet. However, there were some delicious cheat meals nestled in there! My favorite meal of the year was found at 45 Bistro in Savannah, Georgia. There were 3 unique and delicious salads tried, a caprese, a modern greek salad, and a beet salad. The main course was an espresso rubbed ribeye, topped with a mushroom medley, asparagus and served over whipped mashed potatoes.

Honorable Mentions: Melting Pot fondue, La Fiesta fish tacos in San Diego, and the Reuben omelet from Brian’s 24, also in San Diego.

Book: Shauna Niequist rocked my year and reading her words brought a lot of healing to my soul as well as helping me find my own words. While I loved all three of her books, Bittersweet is my favorite.

Honorable Mentions: Cold Tangerines by Shauna Niequist, Crash the Chatterbox by Steven Furtick, Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty and the Divergent series by Veronica Roth (I was late to the boat on this one).

Experience: This year was packed pull of beautiful experiences, all of them so different from one another. In the end, I have to say my favorite experience was my trip to San Diego with Josh in September. We did so much during this trip – seeing Jason Mraz’s opening tour concert (in his hometown too!), going to Sea World, roaming the beaches, seeing Planes on the USS Midway on the ocean, eating so much great food, biking all over Coronado – all with my best friend. It’s safe to say we both fell in love with the San Diego life while out there.

Honorable Mentions: visiting Savannah with my mother-in-law and sister-in-law, being in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico with family, and visiting my hometown of Chicago, catching up with friends and attending the Storyline Conference in October.

Podcast: I love listening to podcasts while I drive. It’s a great way for me to tune out the world and tune in to God. There were some great series this year, but my favorite was the #Struggles series by Pastor Craig Groeschel. There were 5 parts – Contentment, Relationships, Authenticity, Compassion and Rest, each one just as good at the other. (I even guest wrote about one of the podcasts on my friends blog here!).

Honorable Mentions: the Crash the Chatterbox series by Steven Furtick and Stronger by WillowCreek Church (Pastor Bill Hybels + others).

Discovery: This summer, Josh and I, along with some friends and family, decided to get healthier by joining a fitness program called Farrell’s Extreme Bodyshaping. I am so thankful for the opportunity and encouragement it has given us to get healthier and more active. I couldn’t have done it (or continue to do it) without the support and encouragement of my friends and family, specifically Courtney and Jana.

Honorable Mentions: Americanos, Amazon Prime, and the cooking inspiration of @whole30recipes (instagram).

That’s a wrap! I feel like 2014 was a good year. I am excited to see what 2015 is going to hold. As always, stay tuned for more!




perfect peace.


Today I am reminded of the need for my continued desire to e*a*r*n*e*s*t*l*y seek God. “Oh God you are my God; earnestly I seek you, my soul thirsts for you…” (Ps. 63:1) I often find myself seeking Him, not because I am thirsting for Him, but because it’s part of my routine, on my to-do list, or even worse, I need something from Him. (Can you imagine if your significant other only connected with you when they needed something? Ouch.)  And then Isaiah 26:3 reminds me “You will keep in P-E-R-F-E-C-T  P-E-A-C-E all who trust in You, all whose thoughts are fixed on You.”

So here’s the formula I have figured out:

True, earnest desperation for God –> earnestly seeking Him –> trusting in Him and His character –> perfect peace –> continued desperation and longing for God.

The longing for Him can’t come out of needing something or be rushed because it’s “on the list”, it has to be genuine. And in order to build that genuine adoration, we have to take the intentional time to get to know Him. It takes authentic energy. What a reminder this is for me today! And what a perfect example of why seeking Him and staying grounded in Him for no reason other than I thirst for Him is so important. Side benefit: perfect peace.

My relationship with God, like any others, can hit nice easy strides. However, just as we have to be intentional to pursue our friendships and make sure that we are taking time for relationships in our life that are so important to us (and expressing that!), so we have to do with our Creator.

We are wrapping up 2014 this week. Whoa. Where has this year gone? In the past, I have had a word of the year – a word that drives my heart and intentions for personal growth. The word for 2014 was “contentment”, based off of Philippians 4, “I’ve learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. I’m just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I’ve found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am.”

How did I do? I would like to say I did good, but of course know there are always ways for significant improvements. I do feel like this verse and the prayerful intentions to find contentment whatever my circumstances has helped me to grow. I wrote in my journal a year ago today “To a year where trust goes ahead of trials and His work is accomplished through us an in us.” My prayer for this year repeats itself, as I pray for trust that goes ahead of anything that comes our way (or doesn’t) and that He would continue to be glorified in it all.

So what’s the 2015 word? I have it – I am praying on it and flushing it out and can’t wait to share it with you soon.

Thanks for all your continued prayers sent as we are midst our 2WW. Tick tock tick tock. We are trying not to think about it and I am ignoring it nearly completely which is actually pretty impressive. Typing this message is the most thought I have given it to it in a while. So when you text and ask how I am feeling and doing, know that my brief “good” isn’t trying to be rude, it’s keeping me from over-analyzing and stressing about something I have no control over. I am thankful for the distractions these holiday seasons give us.

Enjoy these last few days of 2014 – let’s strive forward with an earnest pursuit of Him because He is who He is, not because of what He can do for us. Amen?!

And while I type, Cali sleeps on MY new heated blanket. She thinks this is the best Christmas present her mom has ever gotten! Ha!

And while I type, Cali sleeps on MY new heated blanket. She thinks this is the best Christmas present her mom has ever gotten! Ha!

If you haven’t already entered the New Years Giveaway, take a minute to do so! You still have a few more days!