Friday, December 29, 2017

reflection for a new year: and looking back at 2017


Well... I'm no good at intros, but I'm taking a break from my normal "recaps" to do a bit of reflecting on what worked... and what didn't... this past year! I hope you'll join me for a bit of a ride!




~What was your biggest accomplishment this year?

Flying across the country with a young baby just for the sake of a reunion with my sister and her family is in my top five.

Also I would add giving birth to our sixth child, as that humbling accomplishment will be one I'm thankful and grateful for in a deep way for the rest of my life.



~What was your biggest regret?

I didn't share this (till now) but our girls quit Ballet this Fall. They are hoping to join a different company this Spring (or maybe next Fall?).  That was hard for me, because the transition has been gradual. Their desire to be in the Nutcracker with an opposing company has finally trumped their desire to have a break from Ballet classes. Honestly, I'm still holding my breath and crossing my fingers because they all faced some serious burnout after their recital this past Spring.  They have been involved in After School art instead. They have made tie dyed shirts, worked with felting, sculpting with clay, and learned all of the watercolor techniques one can possibly learn!



~What was your biggest obstacle to good health?

Imagine you are home with six kids, two of them are babies with constant needs and daily naps, four of them still need help finding shoes (and putting them on) and all of them need clean laundry everyday.  Imagine that once you get them outside, they want to gather ten bikes and scooters, you still need to put two in the stroller, and you need to put one in the baby carrier.  Can you imagine why we don't go for many walks?  Add to that my husband who doesn't really care for outdoorsy stuff, and we are pretty much screwed on the weekends if we want to do something as a family (that doesn't involve TV, Nintendo, iPads, iPhones, or Kindle Fires).  We are enjoying our backyard when we can (and when it isn't freezing!)



~What was the healthiest thing you did?

Anytime we did get outside was simply lovely.  I have deemed myself "outdoorsy" because I do indeed have a passion for hiking, camping, and swimming/skiing/riding bikes.  But the truth is, I don't do any of it much really at all. I walk. And sometime run-ish.

Seeing my sister and getting outside for long walks and hikes everyday around Seattle was so eye-opening for me. I realized how slothful I have become and I had a renewed appreciation for God's creation and his marvelous FRESH AIR and SUNSHINE and what a gift it is to his people.




~What was the hardest thing you did?

Yeah, it definitely goes without saying that pregnancy and laziness do not go hand in hand.

I had one of those, "moments you will never forget" this winter. I was having weird heart palpitations, so I told Stephen I thought I needed to get out and jog. The only time I could do it was when he was home, so I went out running, and I saw... wait for it.. a real bunny rabbit!  And then, it starting pouring down rain and I was drenched (thankfully I had a good North Face on and I stayed dry *and* toasty. :)



~What "worked" for you in 2016?

-Definitely doing the stairs and as much time on the Riverwalk as I can muster!

-"Organizing" the dishes worked for me.... let me explain.  When you have 6 kids, you have a lot of dishes!  I sometimes run the dishwasher 2 times a day and load it 3 times.  Instead of wasting all of that (Precious!)  water, I figured out that I could fill an empty sink with soapy water, put all of the silverware in a soapy pan, sort the pans, and let the rest soak overnight.  It isn't IDEAL and I don't do it every night.... but otherwise, believe me! Dishes are a nightmare.  When I have a cold or I'm not feeling my best for personal reasons, "organizing" the dishes is a lifesaver.

~ What are your New Years' Resolutions?

-See this little guy as much as I can (that's my new nephew, Aiden Daniel.)  He. is. stinking'. huge.  He was 10 lbs at birth and now he's 8 months but looks and weighs as much as an 18 month old. No lie!

-Keep in touch with family, just in general!

-Continue our habit of keeping eating out to a minimum

-Doing my hair and make-up and looking "put together" as much as I can and as often as I can (just like my resolution for last year)

-Continue growing a following on instagram and stay engaged (without being addicted!)

-Staying organized--- using the happy planner again

-Keep a record of our family, I love this scrapbooking method-- Becky Higgins' Project 'Life'

-Improve my handwriting-- this youtube video on cursive is really helpful!

~ What was your favorite movie this past year?

Oh, definitely The Revenant, although I know we are behind a year on that. Stephen and I were captivated by the cinematography, so much so that we watched it twice before sending it back. Leonardo DiCaprio really redeemed himself in my eyes by traveling to the Canadian Rockies and enduring the freezing cold. The scenes of fire and ice took my breath away countless times. Snuggling up with a good movie and my husband (especially when great food and great wine are involved) is my favorite memory of 2017.

I also have to mention Stranger Things. (TV time) I love it. So creepy and so fantastic. Bob's character, played by Sean Astin was just delectable.  Dustin cracked me up in each scene he played.  I was among those who thought Eleven's storyline in Season 2 was fantastic... don't be a hater.


~ What was the most fun or creative thing you did this past year?

I needed a last hurrah before Conrad was born, so I went to Florida with my family.  It was a lovely trip and just what I needed- swimming in the ocean and in a real pool. The best part? We brought our dear and sweet babysitter Mackenzie and she made it so relaxing on us.




~ What was your favorite book?

I read The Graveyard Book on our trip to Birmingham for Fall Break and I just fell in love with it.  I've been on a creepy kick this year but really guys, you just have to read some Neil Gaiman for yourself to understand the charming British creepiness and fantastic pacing for what it is!  You can hear (and see!) Neil Gaiman read the first chapter of th ebook, here, if the idea of a boy called "Bod" being raised by the dead of a graveyard, and learning about the history of the dead, intrigues you!

~ What was the best thing you ate this past year?

No doubt about it, the delicious spring rolls and pho with Kira in Seattle. Also, if you are in my area, I think the best restaurant in town (aside from Two Ten Jack) is Sitar for Indian cuisine.  Ridiculously delicious. Try the stuffed naan and Lamb Biryani and tell them Tacy sent you> :)


~ What album did you listen to most this year?

Joseph:  I'm Alone, No You're Not


~ What was the most expensive thing you "bought" this year?

Plane ticket to Seattle

Baby


~ What are you most proud of?

My sweet kiddos.... need I say more? ^^^^ No really, Molly with her obsessive Percy Jackson reading and (outgoing personality and) love for friends and family, Frances with her meticulous, slow and calculating gingerbread house skills (and many others!) and wit, Madeleine with her detail-oriented hysterical commentary and an eye for order, Anders and his jolly, happy soul and fiery determination and intelligence, Annabel with her sweet, sensitive spirit and love for singing and dancing.... and even little Conrad, who is already the sweetest baby alive.... I'm astounded at God's love that he would give me and Stephen these *gifts*.



~ What do you want to do better or differently in 2018?

I want to grow closer to God this year, but I am praying for *joy* and *peace* and merriment, despite trials, all the year through.

Soli deo gloria!



~ What is ONE way that you can make your life better (What's missing in your life?)

Definitely more time with my niece and nephew, Ivey and Grey. :0)

I need for the "hustle" and also the "bustle" to stop.  I think more than anything else, deep and abiding peace is missing from my life. I'm too quick with the coffee and the tongue... I need to chill. out. and I'm not just talking take a chill pill. ha.



~ saint, posts, word:

My saint for the year is St Teresa of Avila-- which is apropos because I love her! :)

My favorite posts for the year were:

My word for the year is BRIGHT.  I need sunshine like I need God. So much. This year I am devoted to doing more out of doors. For pushing myself out of my comfort zone. For extending myself and stretching myself in humbling ways.)


Outtakes from 2017....


Me with my dear friend, Libba at Ikea! 💕💗

My very handsome husband :) 💙

Molly Jane in her "Annabeth Chase" costume 🙏🌟

Sweet sisters before Ballet class

Siblings... brothers only 3 days after Conrad was born ⭐

Annabel going for a bike ride with Daddy 😘

Conrad Eugene in his brand new highchair 😍



What are your favorite things from 2016?  Bee honest!

I'm linking up with Leigh Kramer for What I'm Into and Kelly for 7QT

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Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Another "Recap!" Adventure~ Advent Week One and Two~ 2017




Ohhhh... the Christmas season. Yes, we may have lit the candles on our Advent wreath....
but this has been a different Advent for me. I have had *plenty* of parenting and Adventing fails this year. Believe me, it all came too fast, and I celebrated feast days on the wrong days, completely forgot Santa Lucia this year, and I just feel so behind. :(  I think having a newborn(ish) baby may have something to do with it!


That's ok, guys!  Don't reach for perfection in the blogosphere or in your decorating at the expense of your family and/or kids. It's not worth the stress! #tired #sotired

And maybe for some of you, this is an error, but we actually got an Elf on the Shelf this year (!!!) Named Johnny Jingle or Jingle Johnny... I can never quite remember which one. :-)~



We "bought in"f! Oh nooooooo! haha. :)  The funny thing is, it has been really fun.  Stephen and I have really gotten into the creative antics, hiding him each night, and our kids are very conscious of good behavior because "the elf is watching" (shhhhh!). Ha.  I sewed him some jammies and I think he's cozy!

Jingle Johnny has a surprise...

Picture with Santa...
Standard fare for our annual traditions of Breakfast with Santa!

Our conscientious objector, who was "Shy of Santa Claus" :)

All in all, we had a fun "Breakfast with Santa" event at our school this year, with bean bag toss, coloring contest (fun!), and making REINDEER FOOD! (scooping oatmeal, sprinkles, glitter, etc into festive bags with a cute tag- the kids fall for this every year so. hard.). 

Added to that event was the Book Fair.... my favorite part of having kids in school. 
#notshythen #notshyatall
We have it every year on Christmas with Santa and it is so fun! :-)~




Feast Days~ St. Nick and St. Lucy

Can we say "Low-key" feast day celebrations using our Santa Plate?! Ho, ho, ho, Merry Christmas? More like.... HA HA HA. Recipe for mint chocolate sauce here


Our Lady of Guadalupe

Rice, refried beans + cheese, tortillas, grilled chicken, quesadillas, guacamole= feast! :)


Decorations


I love this book... highly recommend it - it's like a huge Advent calendar with doors on each page, Which, open to tell the Christmas story.  We love Advent and we are advent-people, but we're are anticipating Christmas day and the 12 days of Christmas!  Bring on the cookies, Christmas music overload, merry and bright lights, and playing with our new toys. :)

I have loved getting my hygge on, getting cozy and snuggly warm by our Christmas tree. That is definitely *one* piece to the puzzle! Reading this lovely book as the kids nap/rest and I have loved it.  I'm hoping to sew a Christmas skirt before Christmas day is here. I love being Catholic. Why? There is absolutely no pressure to do any of this until the day comes. Bring on the merry!!!! 😅

We rotate out hot cocoa with green smoothies- my favorite is with spinach or kale! :0) Gotta love peppermint whipped cream season!



Our December looks more like many people's October. Oh well. ha.

Brrr...... :)


We have loved enjoying the decor around town... both in the art district, and here, at our local creperie!




We have gone for several hikes and walks to collect glittery greenery! We particularly love: cyprus, pine, rosemary, magnolia, and holly!  This is proving to be my most favorite tradition. I have loved passing this to my girls. They love going for nature walks to clip their wreath supplies from the bountiful supply in nature nearby!  I love how cozy it looks all around our house!  Hurray!

Kids' Activities
After many years of baking salt dough ornaments, we have finally gotten into air-dry clay, and I have to say, I'm enjoying it! I might even love it a little. I think it looks more classy than salt dough ornaments, and I would be lying if I said we didn't already have a few of those on our Christmas tree... :)



Need another as-we-wait idea for your kiddos? Pick some play-doh up at your nearest Tarjay and... (duh...!) bring on the festive!
Turns out we didn't really hang any of these on the tree, but they're still fun as an activity, and glitter + glue is the new cool thing, guys. :)  Actually, the reason the yellow play-doh looks brown isn't germs, my fellow germaphobes. That's cinnamon.


Random~ re-entering the workforce (not really, but sort-of)


Goodnews and goodness: I have become a seller at a locally owned CONSIGNMENT STORE. I feel like this has been coming for a while, and I am so glad and thankful to be working with some very professional ladies reselling kids' clothing here in town.  #loveandpeacecometoyou Hurray!


Music with the theme of "snow"

Thoughts on instagram:  does anyone else feel an encumbrance to be perfect? Particularly this time of year, in the already-but-not-yet that is the waiting and anticipating?  Let's learn to view our photos as "Where can I improve" rather than, "I have everything, I'm done, look at me shine!"  We all feel the pressure, the heavy crushing stress, to make sure we have everything, have everything looking perfecto before we take a pic. Hey, I'm here to say it's ok to be in process, it's ok to do a little... and then stop haha... that's what I love about Advent.   You can quote me on that. :)

This has been a really wonderful Advent. I love being able to share pictures of our life with you here.  Thank you for patronizing me our crazy traditions and antics, friends!  #nerdalert


<3 Tacy  ;)


P.S.  Kendra Tierney recently posted about a family who lost their home in the Montecito, CA area "Thomas Fire"  I attended Westmont College for 2 years, which is located in Montecito near Santa Barbara, CA (and transferred to Covenant College because of theological differences), but I can vouch that they are a praying people. Consider supporting all of those who have been affected by these fires. My heart goes out to them and hurts for them at this time. Here is a news story about Westmont being a hub for fighting this fire.

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Friday, December 15, 2017

My Yearly Book & Reading Recap 2017



Welcome to my annual book post-- the time when I recap all that I've read for the year, and I give out awards!  This is the third year and counting that I have read 50 books. Four years ago, I started writing down how many books and which exactly I read, and I read 30 books.  I actually upped the ante, this year, and was hoping to read 60 books. Although I didn't go up in my grand total {this year}, instead, I feel like I blew the goal of 50 to smithereens. Which is fine. Just fine with me.  :0)  It is exciting to think that I have read 180 books in total in 4 years! :)  To check out my reviews and see my reading challenge in total, click here.

On to the awards.... just FYI, I love to read! These award categories are self-created and designed, and based on the types of books I *want* to read. (so important).  If I'm interested in a book, that's either because (a) it's brand new (Not all of these are, FYI),  (b) it's a great story from the get-go, (c) it's simply a fascinating work of nonfiction, (d) it's a quick read, (e) it's heartwarming, or (f) everyone is saying it's awesome and it just is awesome from page one.  So on that note, and with that in mind, aaaaaand without further ado, here they are... my awards for the best books I read this year!

Best Nonfiction Book of the Year:

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

Although this isn't new, this is the best book (by far) that I have read in years. I'm giving it the award for best nonfiction because I've read a considerable amount of great fiction this year. But, listen: I have read a lot of mediocre books. Take my advice and drive right past them. You can go straight here and you won't be disappointed or led astray. :)  Louie Zamperini lived an endlessly fascinating life. It's a true story and it will suck you right in.


Best Fiction read of the Year:

Rebecca  by Daphne Du Maurier

I had been wanting to read this classic for a while, and folks, it is a hyped classic for a reason.  It is about the mystery behind a woman's older but new husband: Who was his wife, why and how did she die, and what is Rebecca's role in all of this. (???) The book has a twisty plot, a mysterious but satisfying ending, and it absolutely lives up to its promotion!  I definitely hope to re-read this someday.

Most Readable (Quick Read):

Hillbilly Elegy  by J.D. Vance

I enjoyed this autobiography, and I found it immensely readable and even absorbing.  I could relate, being from the South, and yet I felt like an outsider looking in because I simply wasn't raised this way. (For various reasons).   I loved following his story into the military, into grad school Ivy League, and what he came away with from his roundabout journey to success.  I give it 5 stars because he is able to explain the upward-downward mobility and how many of his peers are trapped by poor, rural education  (and I sincerely agree) do not even glance at the type of lifestyle he ends up leading/living.

Picnic in Provence by Elizabeth Bard 

I almost didn't pick up this memoir, but I bought it in the Spring and fell in love with this sequel to her first book Lunch in Paris.  I'm so glad I gave it a chance: her honesty, humility, and vulnerability are just so relatable, and her recipes do not dash hopes.  She touches on some deep notes of humanity and parenting that are rarely explained with such profound wisdom and truth.

Honorable Mention: Talking As Fast As I Can by Lauren Graham

I loved this memoir, and I had to mention it.  I unintentionally read it in a day. Wasn't this such a fun year when Gilmore Girls reunion show came out?!  She may not be master of her craft, but Lauren Graham is a GREAT author-- give her a chance. :0)

All in all, this category was a toss-up.


Award for Feel-Good and Heartwarming:


Toss up: between Summer Island by Kristin Hannah and The Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella.

I just love books that are absorbing and fun, and both of these fit the bill. I can unconscionably recommend these without reservation. Kinsella can crack me right up. Hannah has a soft and special place in my heart because not only is she a great writer, her novels take place in the Pacific NW where my sister lives - good memories. They both have the skill of writing and wrapping up an amazing, true-to-life story that hooks you from the get-go.  If you're looking for a bit of fun in your reading life, let the others in my list fall to the curb as compared with these!


Best Book of Faith: 

All is Grace by Brennan Manning

I am adding a new category of awards this year, and I hope to keep up with it in the future! This book was stunning. I love love love his unguarded tone. As much as we need wisdom, intelligence, and people who are highly educated and well-spoken (Like Pope Francis), we also need people who are real and profoundly vulnerable.  You see the fruit of the holy spirit in his life and story. (Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness... etc.)  These people are the ones who are growing. These people are the ones who have many friends. These are the people who love unapologetically.  I have read other memoirs. Let this one by Brennan Manning take the cake. :)  Buy it now, and love it!

Favorite Book of the Year:

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Underrated (I feel, don't you find?), but just so amazingly good! :)  This was a hard choice, and I easily could have gone with something by Nick Hornby or played it safe and said Rebecca again.  I'm choosy and I just think Gaiman is brilliant with ideas, contemporary society, and the mind of children.  He captures the childlike imagination with spotless, imaginative, and memorable prose. He is able to cross between literature for children *and* adults with unique wit (I think it may be that he is British and just so very charming!?), and he creeps me out (as he did in Coraline) without making me feel unsafe or betrayed in any way. Let's put it this way: I don't feel like I'm making a compromise when reading his work.  Rare find, and so gratifying when you're looking for something a little thrilling.


Reading Challenge 2017 (for more info, see this)

A Book You Chose For the Cover ~ Idaho
A Book With a Reputation For Being Unputdownable~ Talking As Fast As I Can
A Book Set Somewhere You've Never Been But Would Like to Visit~ Winter Garden
A Book You've Already Read ~ Hinds' Feet On High Places
A Juicy Memoir~ All is Grace
A Book About Books or Reading~ The Writing Life
A Book in a Genre You Usually Avoid~ Gift From the Sea
A Book You Don't Want to Admit You're Dying to Read~ Seriously, I'm Kidding
A Book in the Backlist of a New Favorite Author~ Truly Madly Guilty
A Book Recommended by Someone With Great Taste~ Crossing to Safety// Winter Garden
A Book You Were Excited to Buy or Borrow But Had Not Read Yet~ Graveyard Book
A Book About a Topic or Subject You Already Love~  Tender at the Bone

books from the "reading for growth" category 
A Newbery Award Winner~ The Giver
A Book of poetry, play or an essay collection~ The View From the Cheap Seats
A Book of any genre that addresses current events~ They Say We Are Infidels
A Book Published before you were born~ Rebecca
A Book with an unreliable narrator or ambiguous ending~ The Graveyard Book
Best Beach read book ~  Summer Island   👍

What I read, and when.... :

January

Lunch in Paris by Elizabeth Bard

A Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance

Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson

Tender at the Bone by Ruth Reichl



February

Every Wild Heart by Meg Donohue

The Hypnotists' Love Story by Liane Moriarty

Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier


March

Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner

Lunch in Paris by Elizabeth Bard

Tender at the Bone by Ruth Reichl

Roots and Sky by Christie Purifoy

The Revenant by Michael Punke

April

Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson

Today Will Be Different by Maria Semple

Talking as Fast As I Can by Lauren Graham

May

A Fatal Grace by Louise Penny

Starring Sally J. Freedman As Herself by Judy Blume

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Picnic in Provence by Elizabeth Bard

The View From the Cheap Seats by Neil Gaiman

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

Best. State. Ever. by Dave Barry 

June

The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides 

Seriously... I'm Kidding by Ellen Degeneres

High Fidelity  by Nick Hornby

About a Boy by Nick Hornby

July

The Magnolia Story by Chip and Joanna Gaines

Wuthering Heights by Charlotte Bronte

The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

August

Loving My Actual Life by Alexandra Kuykendall

They Say We Are Infidels by Mindy Belz

The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer

The Longest Ride by Nicholas Sparks

September

Bridget Jones' Diary by Helen Fielding

Reluctant Pilgrim by Enuma Okoro

All is Grace by Brennan Manning

Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah

Home by Toni Morrison

100 Cupboards by N.D. Wilson
October

Bridget Jones' Diary  AND >> Bridget Jones' Baby (!!!!) by Helen Fielding

The Giver by Lois Lowry

The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Summer Island by Kristin Hannah

The Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella

November

Range of Motion by Elizabeth Berg

Possession by A.S. Byatt

Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella

The Last Thing He Wanted by Joan Didion

Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver



December

Idaho by Emily Ruskovich

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan{not done yet}

Gift From the Sea -Anne Morrow Lindbergh (reread)

Hinds' Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard (reread)

The Writing Life by Annie Dillard (re-read!)

reading challenge on goodreads

What I Read 2016
What I Read 2015
What I Read 2014
What I Read 2013

One quick last note, on audiobooks:  I am, by nature not really an auditory learner. I have bad hearing from too many college-days concerts, and I'm often cupping my ears during movies so that I don't miss a line.  I do enjoy the occasional classic on audiobook, (I adore my classic app), but I'm often bored and lost if a book is too slow. I will say I've "read" it and listened to the entire audiobook, but often I end up cheating (skipping some of the book, or the ending, etc) and I just don't like myself if I don't understand a book or didn't finish it because I tried it on audiobook.  I say that because I don't tell you I read a book unless I really actually read and understood the whole book. :)

Linking up with MMD's >> Quick Lit <<  :0)

Have you read any of these books? Any you want to read? Let's chat new books in the comments!

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

God helps those who... (finding peace in the hustle, an Advent reflection)



Recently, I experienced a situation on the interstate in which I really had to reach for my big girl jeans.



via GIPHY



 I was stuck in traffic. It was standstill and a tractor trailer had flipped, blocking the entire interstate. On a curve, and on a hill. Cars were creeping slower than Christmas, and it. was. terrible.

We waited for 30 minutes (at min), we had a full car as I was on the way home from school pick-up, and I believe everyone in the car had to use the restroom except those wearing diapers. I was about to sprout some real tears.
#all6kids

I saw the man next to me flip several cigarettes out his window as we waited.  I saw him throw up his hands in anger, so high I could probably smell his armpits, then grab his cell phone.

"What a jerk, no patience" I said and thought- and I was soon rebuked by my oldest.

I was inwardly judgmental, but I was honestly just as angry as he was, and replace "Diet Coke" with "Cigarette" and I was doing the same thing as him. :0)  Not to mention I had had a spinked drink the night before, which means I was probably overtired and needed caffeine more than I would normally!


via GIPHY
Amidst the crazy, I prayed and asked God to give us patience. People were screaming in my car and not in a cheerful, elf-y way.  Despite what you might think, I did actually feel patience amidst the humility. I think it is all the fresh air I have been getting recently. I felt God's peace and his blessing.

Asking for peace in the midst of the bustle of this busiest of seasons is a wise move, I think. :)

And it made me wonder.

Who does God bless?

Is it true, the saying, "God helps those who help themselves?"

I think a better and more biblical phrase would be (not that I'm a master of the Bible):

"God blesses the poor in spirit." #humility  What does it mean to be poor in spirit?  It means we are honest about our shortcomings, mistakes, and weaknesses (idols, even).  It means we aren't self-righteous even though many- including our leaders- are shockingly arrogant.  It means we are seeking God's spirit- his love, joy, peace...

So, in this Advent season, let's take a minute to reflect... God blesses those who:

1. Keep his commandments

Why?

We have a way in which to walk. It is found in his commands. And a higher law, the law of love and gospel of peace is found in the Beatitudes.  Need a refresher?  And here is quite a beautiful Bible for sale!

2. Truly believe

Why?

The season is magical only if you truly believe that Jesus is the Son of God, born to man, died on a cross, rose again (truly!) and is coming back. He is the Savior of the world, and he came to set us free from sin.

3. Live by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God

Why?

Tremendous blessing will come if you surrender your entire life over to his teachings. Gotta problem? The Bible has something to say about it.  Start by reading the Psalms and Proverbs every morning or every night before bed.

4. Live generously

WHY?

People who are truly happy- the happiest- in my book are people who are willing to live their life for others. Give it away... be creative, but share your ideas and gifts with others. This is the joy and magic of the season-- everyone is thinking about what everyone else wants! Right? Right? :)

5. Pray and ask earnestly - and with faith- for blessing

Why?

If you're really stuck in a rut and jealousy is the name of your primary game, I think it is good to share that once, I was there. For me, it was wanting to get married in my twenties. I prayed for a husband and I'm not kidding, by the next Spring we were dating steadily. But I had to really believe! I prayed with faith that he would answer that specific prayer! And he did!

6. Are educated in the ways of God

Why

All in all, the Bible is where we start, but we need to understand the deeper meaning to the commandments and never beat it over others' heads.  Love is a garden-- have you heard the saying, "Plant kindness, harvest love"?  I know my Mom has something in her house hanging somewhere and it says that.  I see that fruit in her life and I know it is because she knows and lives it. (and has real faith)

and Finally

7. God blesses those who love."

Why?

He loves us and never shirks our cries for mercy. Believe him and love him, for he will bless you as he longs to do!


via GIPHY
And remember that fresh air works wonders.

cross-posting at the ACWB