Happy New Year: Goals for 2018

Happy New Year everyone! I’ve spent some time thinking and praying for this new year, and I have such hope for this year. Last year was pretty amazing- I went on my first plane ride, and have done quite a few things that make me proud, but I just know this year is going to be different. This Christmas season, I feel like God has been trying to teach me a lesson on unexpected changes and change in general. It was unlike every Christmas I can remember- and I embraced it instead of rejecting it. I had such a lovely time. It was peaceful and perfect.
Something I’ve been thinking about for this year is to live intentionally. That phrase kept repeating over and over in my mind and I’ve had some time to reflect on it. It’s not about having good intentions, rather it’s about spending time with my family and friends intentionally. Spending intentionally. Working and studying and going to school intentionally. Having intentional faith. If you think about it, living intentionally can be about every aspect of our lives. To this end, I’ve decided to do something really drastic, at least in my opinion. Some time ago, I read an opinion piece in the New York Times by Ann Patchett. She’s an author I look up to, and she wrote about her year of no spending. (If you’re interested, it’s a great read). It gave me a lot to think about and I’ve decided to have a no shopping year myself. I’ve allowed myself exceptions, such as necessities and school supplies, but aside from that, I am challenging myself to not shop. This may be the hardest thing I have done, to be truthful. I’m looking forward to putting together a years worth of outfits from my current wardrobe, and the challenges that come with it.
I have to be honest, I’m already feeling the burn, because there are so many great sales happening right now. But I know this is important to me, especially as I try to live intentionally. I will keep blogging and let you all know how it is going!

Finding My Christmas Spirit

IMG_5789Where are you Christmas?
This year has been the hardest in terms of getting into the Christmas spirit. It’s always been hard, particularly when money was tight, but this year feels really different. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, and I felt like something was terribly wrong. The lack of Christmas spirit alone was enough to make me dejected, but then there came conversations with people, friends and strangers, who told me that they feel Christmas is just another day. The magic of Christmas no longer shines in their lives. I felt really sad when I heard that. That’s not what it should be. Christmas is not presents. I repeat, Christmas is not about money or gifts.
I’ve spent days thinking about the meaning of Christmas, thinking perhaps I’d given in to the commercialization of Christmas, and thus the reason I felt this way. I tried so many different things. Hallmark movies, Christmas carols. I went to a Christmas parade. Watched classic Nothing helped. Then I remembered that I hadn’t actually been to any church services in the last month or so- I’d spent every Sunday in a library studying and doing my assignments. I started to realize that the reason I wasn’t feeling very Christmassy is because I put Christ on the back burner. I made a promise to myself that the next Sunday I would attend service, no matter what.
This past weekend I attended church for the first time in a long time and it was beautiful. I love when the entire congregation sings and yesterday we ended the service with  O Holy Night. It. Was. Magical. I went home singing carols and even when I was cleaning our apartment, I still felt a joy in my heart.
I am praying for everyone who confided in me, and am hoping they get to experience the joy of Christmas as well. I guess we now know the cure: Jesus! Once you get back to the heart of what Christmas is and why it is so special, you start to see the magic in the Hallmark movies and all those Christmas carols.
The warmest wishes to you and yours! May your Christmas truly be merry and bright, and filled with the joy and wonder that Jesus brings. May you experience His peace and comfort this season! God bless!