Friday Links {Christmas Edition}

Friday Links are a round-up of my favorite posts/videos/projects/photos from around the web.

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I honestly can’t believe Christmas is over.  December flew by, but it was such a rich, sweet season. We had such a wonderful time celebrating this season with our families.  We spent Christmas Eve with Bryan’s family and then went to the Family Christmas Eve service at our church. It is probably my favorite service of the entire year. The kids dress up as the characters from the nativity story, and we tell the story of Jesus’ birth as we celebrate the gift of love and peace. It is absolute chaos—kids screaming, crying, and laughing throughout the entire thing. I’m pretty sure Jesus would LOVE it! 🙂

We drove to my parent’s house after the service for dinner and some of our favorite Christmas Eve traditions—family game night, Christmas movies, and wine (which we need to get through family game night). We spent the night there and woke up open gifts from Santa (and yes, my sisters and I still put out cookies for Santa every single year). We spent the rest of the day visiting extended family, baking cookies, going to see Unbroken, and just being together. It was such a great Christmas!

I hope you all had a fantastic Christmas, too! Happy Friday! XO

For your weekend reading pleasure…

  • There are a lot of posts about holiday decor circulating, and I love this one from House of Turquoise (especially the mantle).  Is it sad that I’m already excited about decorating next year??
  • This incredibly beautiful post from Ann Voskamp on suffering and Christmas.  God is so moved by our being entangled in suffering—that he moved himself into our world and entangled himself in the suffering with us. God with us. 

Friday Links

Friday Links are a round-up of my favorite posts/videos/projects/photos from around the web.

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We’re prepping for a party over here, so this weekend is all about catching up with friends and spending time with people we love. It truly is the most wonderful time of the year!

Have a lovely weekend, friends! XO

For your weekend reading pleasure…

  • This interview with theologian Roger Olson on the differences between Calvinism and Arminianism.  An important read for young people (or any people, really) attempting to define their faith and what they believe.
  • This post from The Handmade Home about genuine hospitality and creating a space where people can bring their baggage, put it down, and just be. I love this post!
  • This reading list from Hollywood Housewife. I love reading about what other people have read and loved. I tend to like her recommendations, so I’ll be adding a few of these to my own reading list in the next few months.

The Best Days

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We put a lot of weight on tomorrow.

Everything could be different tomorrow.  I’ll get to it tomorrow. Tomorrow could be the best day of my life.

But why are we always holding out for tomorrow?

Obviously we all have those days that no matter how we look at them, twist them around, or spin them, won’t make it onto our best days list: Sick days. Moving days. The day you got dumped. The day you got rejected from your dream school or fired from your dream job. The day your best friend moved away. The day Duke won the national championship. Those days are bad days, no matter what.

But I also think most days—our normal, ordinary days—have the potential to be our best days. But we miss them. We sweep them under a rug and forget about them. Why?

For me, I find that I’m always looking ahead to the next thing.  What’s next? Where’s the next step? What’s bigger and better and more exciting than this season I’m living in right now? Something in me is wired to keep waiting. Something keeps me looking ahead for something better instead of stopping to look around and notice that the life I’m living right this very second is pretty spectacular, too.

I think we all do it. We keep waiting for the big moment—the perfect job, the pivotal relationship, the smaller jean size—so that we can really start living. But when we do that, we miss it. We miss the beauty and sacredness and profound moments that are happening right here in the middle of this seemingly ordinary day. We miss the little glimpses of the divine that are taking place all around us.

This season is all about hurry. It’s about the hustle and bustle of creating the perfect holiday, shopping for gifts, decorating, crowded malls and parking lots, deadlines, and overpacked schedules. But it’s also about gathering around the table for story-telling and prayer and the clinking of glasses. It’s about learning to find joy in giving, in taking care of someone else who needs it more than you do. It’s about twinkling lights that add a little more magic and beauty to our world. It’s about hope and peace and joy and a baby who changed the world. I want to notice that side, too. I don’t want to miss this season because I’m too focused on getting to the next one.

These days, the ones I’m living right now, are my best days, and I want to treat them that way. Give them all my energy and passions, because there’s no point in waiting. Today is already here.

*Photo Credit

December Reading List

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1. Delancey by Molly Wizenberg. I super enjoyed this book—in fact, I finished it in two days. I love Molly Wizenberg’s voice. It is honest and easy to read, but also articulate, witty, and incredibly rich. Delancey is a memoir about opening a pizzeria in Seattle with her husband, Brandon. It’s about the dream and the heartache of opening your own business, but it’s also about marriage and relationships and change and figuring out how to fit into the life you’ve chosen. Also, Delancey is about food. And I love reading about food. I just love it. I hate cooking (although I’m working on that), but I love to eat really good food and reading about it is almost as good. If you’re into food and novels, Ruth Reichl’s Delicious is another favorite. Just make sure you have a snack when you sit down to read.

2. The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith.  I picked up this book because a friend clued me in to the fact that Robert Galbraith is a pseudonym for J.K. Rowling, and I will read any and everything that woman ever writes.  I was skeptical about this book after being really disappointed by Rowling’s other adult novel, The Casual Vacancy.  The Cuckoo’s Calling is a mystery thriller that follows private detective’s Cormoran Strike’s investigation into the suicide/murder of a world-famous supermodel.  I actually really enjoyed this book.  It was intriguing, well-written, and I didn’t guess the ending (which is always crucial with mysteries).  The sequel is on my reading list for next month.

3. The Vacationers by Emma Straub. This book would have been a great beach read, but it’s 28 degrees outside. So instead, I enjoyed this novel snuggled up in bed with my Christmas pajamas and a good cup of coffee.  The Vacationers was a fun, easy read about the things that really go on inside a family—the hurts, the laughs, the lies, and loving each other in spite of it all. The story was set in Palma, Mallorca, an island off the coast of Spain that I travelled to when I went to visit my friend Laura in Madrid.  I love reading books set in places I’ve been, and I also love Spain—the sun, the people, the food. Take me back!

Friday Links

Friday Links are a round-up of my favorite posts/videos/projects/photos from around the web.

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This week has been CRAZY, and it’s not looking like the weekend is going to slow down very much.  I’m off to spend the morning with some of my favorite kiddos, and then the rest of my weekend is filled with more Christmas parties, work functions, and family gatherings.  Tis the season, right?! I am super thankful for a wonderful Christmas dinner with the Angels last night, and on the way home we just had to stop and take a picture of this house! No I don’t live here…but whoever does it pretty awesome! 

Happy weekend, friends! XO

For your weekend reading pleasure…

  • I love this house tour from House of Turquoise—the colors, the patterns, the pillows! Make sure you check out the whole week!
  • This wise and insightful interview with Walter Brueggemann made me thankful for our call to action, communication, and justice.  Beginning with the Exodus narrative and the Elijah narrative and the Jesus narrative, they are all stories about public transformation that happened by courage of uncredentialed people. Just wonderful.
  • This post from Sarah Bessey on the importance of female relationships and why we need each other so badly. This lady speaks my love language. So good.
  • That one time all of the most awesome people in the world were in the same place at the same time. If Taylor Swift had been there too, the whole arena might have imploded.
  • The “2014 Hater’s Guide to the Williams-Sonoma Catalog” might be the best thing I read all week. And it is SO true! Enjoy a little funny for your weekend, friends!