New Year, New Goals

Happy New Year, everyone!

I hope your holidays were full of fun, love, and peace these past couple of months. I have been quite busy myself with work and the holidays, but it is nice to take a moment just to sit and think.

Like many other people, the year of 2016 has been a pretty crazy one for me. I had a stressful time with school, I struggled with food, and I was overcoming some insecurities. To top it off, this year was pretty crazy with the national election and not really knowing how to process many of the things done and said by people close to me.

However, there have been many good things that have happened this year. I graduated college with my Bachelor’s of Science, Mr. Yell and I have started new camping adventures and rescued a cat, and I started a new job which I love. Personally, I have overcome many fears and issues that developed in my heart and mind, and overcoming those alone are enough for me to celebrate this year.

With all that being said, I have been trying to think of a new “Word of the Year” for 2017. If you have been following me for a little while, you know that last year my word was “Kind”. I wanted desperately to work on being kind to myself and to others. I believe that over the course of the year I was stretched in this area in many ways and that having the simple mantra of “kindness” helped me to remember my goal for the year.

This year there are so many things I want to accomplish. I want to love more, learn valuable skills at my job, be warm and encouraging, and I want to be content with life. After thinking about the things I hope to accomplish in 2017, the word “Peace” has been laid on my heart.

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I need to find peace in the busy moments.

I need to seek peace in times of anger or sadness.

I need to have peace with what I am doing and how I am able to do it at a point in time.

Peace is what I need to seek.

After about a week of praying and thinking, I am learning that this type of peace comes from wisdom. A righteous, pure, wisdom is what brings true peace.

James 3:13-18

13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth.15 Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.

17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving,considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.18 Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.

I hope you will join me this year as I yearn to remember peace in my life and peace in my relationships with others. I hope that I can live by the wisdom the Lord gives. I pray that the simple word of “peace” will bring to mind what wisdom looks like for this upcoming year.

Bring it on 2017, I am ready for ya.

Much love. Much grace.

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Married Christmas

I am loving this Christmas season! I mean I do every year, so that isn’t much of a surprise. I just really love the holidays. I love the decorations, the food, and all the joy. Around Thanksgiving and Christmas, I feel like the joy is just contagious and people can’t help but to feel a bit of happiness.

This Christmas marks Mr. Yell and I’s second holiday season as a family and it has already been such fun! Yes; the holidays are always stressful trying to figure out whose house to go to and what times we need to see everyone; but this year has still been wonderful. This year we decided to dive into the Christmas spirit by making some new Yell family traditions. Making these traditions has been one of my favorite parts of being a “newlywed”. By making these fun little things to do each year, we feel like we are becoming more like our own little family and it literally makes me giggle with excitement!

It’s been an interesting process trying to find things we want to carry over from our own families into our new one. My family has several traditions that I have enjoyed putting into Mr. Yell and mine’s holidays; and Zach has some new ones he has invented for us to do.

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Decorating for Christmas

Mr. Yell and I started decorating the Saturday right after Thanksgiving. We put up Christmas lights, decorated our (live!) Christmas tree, and decorated the kitchen with cute little towels and other little Christmas things. It has been such fun getting to decorate together in our new home and it looks so cozy now! We even managed to get Mru, our cat, a little stocking for Christmas this year. Too cute, right? 😉

12 Dates of Christmas

This year we each created 6 different dates and put them into envelopes. Each day that we open an envelope, we get a surprise date that is Christmas themed. It has been such fun so far! Some of our dates have included: driving to see Christmas lights, getting hot chocolate from Starbucks, and …

Christmas Party

For the past couple of years Mr. Yell and I have hosted a small Christmas party in our home. It is a fun time of sharing Christmas cheer and just spending time with friends before the holidays. It also helps me get some good practice on making Christmas goodies and deserts!

I hope this Christmas season fills you with warmth and love and joy.

Much love. Much grace.

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This Summer: Come Home

Home… Such a funny word. For some, this brings memories of family in cozy rooms, yummy food, and welcoming smells. Memories of fights between siblings, traditions for holidays, and getting ready for school. For many people, home is wear they grew up; a town, a house, a school, or a city. To “come home” is what a person does to visit their childhood room and show visitors their teenage haunts around town.

Home [hohm] noun
1.a house, apartment, or other shelter that is the usual residence of a person, family, or household.

2.the place in which one’s domestic affections are centered.

For me (and many others)… home is different.

In the traditional sense I don’t have a “home”… and I never have. I have never experienced the giddy feeling that one attaches to a building. I moved around several times in my childhood so houses, even towns, don’t really provide me with warm, fuzzy feelings of “being home.”

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The closest I have ever come to feeling at “home” in a place is with climates. I feel at home in cool mountain air or when smelling a cool, salty ocean. Smelling evergreens and feeling cool breezes through my hair are things that feel at home to me. I am not entirely sure why, but places with these things are places where I feel not just relaxed, but a sense of belonging and purpose.

Since I haven’t lived in that type of a climate since I was very young, home to me has since become the people in my life.

Not family as much as the friends who have surrounded me. My family has always been very spread out, so while that family is obviously there and loving, the friends I have made have become family.  Those who have taken the time to know me and love me, even at my worst, these are the people who enable feelings of comfort and “coming home”.

So this summer, take some time to figure out with whom your home lies, and come home. Take time to visit with those who love you and care for your well-being, and be home to those people as well.

Much love. Much grace.

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Feelings and Choices

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Love.

A concept that is wrapped up with many definitions, stigmas, and stories. We can love hot dogs, people, or places. Love can be seen as a strength, or even as a weakness. We as people crave stories about enduring love as we read books, watch movies, and pressure friends into dating relationships.

What if I told you that love was not any of these things? Instead, love is a choice.

Weird concept, right? Some say, “You can’t choose who you love!”, but I believe you can. While falling in love may have a less controllable feeling, loving that person day to day is a choice. When that person is hard to love, we have to choose to stay with them, to forgive, and to love them even at their lowest. Even friends (and family) are hard to love at times.

Friends, I feel so humbled writing this. It is so hard for me to love others. I feel very blessed that the Lord gave me a best friend, and now my husband, who is full of love for me no matter what I seem to do, he is right there next to me. Forgiving me and showing me what real, true love is: a choice. He chooses to not just “deal” with me or ignore me, but listens, cares, and is so wise.

I wish I could say the same about myself. I am finding myself becoming more and more impatient with people around me. I struggle with jealousy, that turns to bitterness in a very bad way. I become angry quickly when I don’t get my way or if I feel overlooked by others.

I am not choosing to love.

In fact, that is so very much the opposite of what love is supposed to be.

Love is supposed to be kind, patient, and not self-seeking. It is to be slow to anger and quick to forgive. In 1 Corinthians chapter 13, there is a whole paragraph about what love is, and what love is not. Even if reading the Bible isn’t your thing, we can all learn a thing or two from this passage. We can all learn how to love others from this.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices in the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7

This is just a piece of what the choice of loving others looks like. Friends, family, and significant others; the choice always looks the same when choosing love.

I challenge you to try choosing this love. Choosing not a fleeting feeling, but the trust, hope, and forgiveness that everyone desires; and that everyone needs. Let’s go change the world by loving in a new way.

Much love. Much grace.

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