• Inspired,  One Word,  unexpected blessings

    My Focus for 2018

    I’ve joined in the practice in selecting a word at the beginning of each new year. Most of the time, I have forgotten the word (as we forget or fail at resolutions), but I feel like it’s still an important exercise to end one year and begin another. A few days ago a friend posted a helpful resource, which helped me begin to think ahead for a word for 2018. I thought about this past year and how challenging it has been. Many words came to mind: listen, strength, attitude, etc…As I thought about all the different aspects of life in which I wanted to feel differently or more positively…

  • Faith & Life,  One Word,  unexpected blessings

    2017 Year in Review: Reaching the Depth of My Soul

    In this final post about 2017, I refer to several previous posts that do a better job of describing this aspect of our year. The first 2/3’s of the year were a blur in many ways. My spouse spiraled down into a depressive state and I did everything I could to maintain what needed to be taken care of while also doing my best to emotionally support him. He did an amazing job of being supportive of me in my own struggles as well. We really worked as a team, even when circumstances were tough. I am so thankful each of us have had counselors that could be our sounding…

  • Faith & Life,  One Word,  unexpected blessings

    2017 Year in Review: A Huge Learning Curve

    I am very thankful for high school US history and government classes for giving me a basic understanding of our democratic system here in our country. But this last year has been a huge learning curve for me in regards to what happens every day in each of our three branches of government and how it impacts so many lives. I will admit that since I became a voting member of society, I had chosen to be ignorant. I didn’t like watching the news. The brokenness of our political system was too much to bear. It was easier to remain ignorant. …Until I realized how human lives are affected. No longer…

  • Faith & Life,  One Word,  unexpected blessings

    2017 Year in Review: New Adventures

    2017 brought some new adventures, with travel to some new places, visits with family and friends and meeting new people! We had family visit from Michigan and got to experience a few of our favorite places (and some new ones) through the eyes of our 4 year old nieces! Jack and I celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary with a short trip to Rehoboth Beach. We had heard rave reviews about the beaches in Delaware and we loved it! 8 days after surgery (Dr. orders were a week on the couch), I got on a plane and headed to Salt Lake City for a Jamberry conference! I have been a consultant…

  • Faith & Life,  One Word,  unexpected blessings

    2017 Year in Review: Physical Endurance

    I am planning to send a few Christmas cards this year, but they won’t include a review of 2017 from the Phoenix family. So instead, I thought I would write a few blog posts (and include pictures) to review the year. I came across a note I wrote to myself for individual priorities for this year and thought that I would reflect on some of those across a few posts. I have been blessed with great health in my mere 30ish years of life, but the last couple had been a bit of a struggle, with no real answers on what exactly what was going on. It was rather frustrating…

  • Faith & Life,  unexpected blessings

    Forgiveness

    This weekend I was struggling with forgiveness in regards to processing several particularly difficult situations. In a conversation with my spouse, he shared some Scripture and a devotional exercise. I am used to being the one leading the Bible study or devotion, so it was nice to listen and also a surprise, as he is not religious at this point in his life. Yet, we talk about God and faith quite often, and I am thankful for his perspective. A Bible passage that has always resonated with him is the Parable of the Unmerciful Servant in Matthew 18. 21 “Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, ‘Lord, how many times…

  • Advent

    “Come & behold Him…”

    In the middle of November, our Sunday school curriculum focused on Jesus’ journey to the cross, death and resurrection. While this is typically the focus around Easter time, it is also the crux of our Christian faith, so I love that we were studying and highlighting this portion of Scripture together. I used a technique called “Lectio Divina” to read a section of Scripture with students. They closed their eyes as a passage was read once, and then the 2nd time they followed along and circled words and phrases that caught their attention. We took turns writing those words/phrases on the board and had a discussion about what we saw.…

  • Faith & Life,  unexpected blessings

    God Will Not Delay

    Earlier this week I had a terrible interaction with someone I care about. It left me in a state of mind I thought I had rid myself of a few months ago. It took me back to a darker time over the summer, when life was really messy and many relationships were strained. I was angry at myself and the person I interacted with because I thought that counseling, time and many conversations had helped me move on from this dark place. Things were far from perfect, but they were better, more hopeful. It took less than 24 hours to improve my state of mind after this interaction, which completely…

  • Faith & Life,  unexpected blessings

    The Devil is in the Distractions

    As I formulated this post in my head, I kept thinking about the themes of Satan’s presence in this world and all of the things that were distracting me this past weekend. I thought, isn’t there a phrase, “The Devil is in the distractions”?  When I googled it, I discovered the phrase was, “The Devil is in the details.”  I guess I just came up with a new phrase…one that I wish would rather not exist. This past weekend brought to the forefront of my mind, a few examples of a broken world and many distractions that kept me from focusing on God. On Friday I learned of a tragic situation,…

  • Introversion

    Grace Expectations

    A few weeks ago, right before falling asleep, I began stressing about the holidays. It was the strangest thing, because it is my favorite time of year. I was thinking about to do lists,  travel plans, family dynamics and how busy the next month could potentially be. Then I read this blog post, which put my mind at ease. This season isn’t one that has to be stressful or busy. We choose for it to be that way. The great expectations I had placed upon myself weren’t required. The author presented a challenge: “Write down everything you feel like you MUST do this holiday season, and then prioritize. What do…