Thursday, August 08, 2013

My Hope is Built

My early life was spent in a small, country church listening to and singing the old hymns in a Cokesbury hymnal.  I love the words of the songs and how the resonate with our life.  Don't get me wrong, I love a modern praise song that quotes word for word from scripture, but I will never not find a place for a hymn to carry me through.  A lot has happened in the past couple of weeks.  Our company had to make some tough decisions and therefore I lost a handful of co-workers that I had grand hopes of working with for many years.  These were my people.  These are my people.  I enjoyed working with them professionally, I enjoyed chatting with them personally.  And as I work through the change I can't help but lean on some of those old hymns, and know the Truth that lives in them, is the Truth the lives in us.

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly trust in Jesus’ Name.

On Christ the solid Rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

When darkness seems to hide His face,
I rest on His unchanging grace.
In every high and stormy gale,
My anchor holds within the veil.


His oath, His covenant, His blood,
Support me in the whelming flood.
When all around my soul gives way,
He then is all my Hope and Stay.


When He shall come with trumpet sound,
Oh may I then in Him be found.
Dressed in His righteousness alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne.


And for your enjoyment, a combo of an old hymn with a new twist.  I love how they change the refrain to "Cornerstone" to describe that not only is He a rock, He's the most important rock.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Lock, Stock and Over a Barrel -- A Book Review

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Lock, Stock and Over a Barrel
B&H Publishing Group (April 30, 2013)
Melody Carlson


Over the years, Melody Carlson has worn many hats, from pre-school teacher to youth counselor to political activist to senior editor. But most of all, she loves to write! Currently she freelances from her home. In the past eight years, she has published over ninety books for children, teens, and adults--with sales totaling more than two million and many titles appearing on the ECPA Bestsellers List. Several of her books have been finalists for, and winners of, various writing awards.

She has two grown sons and lives in Central Oregon with her husband and chocolate lab retriever. They enjoy skiing, hiking, gardening, camping and biking in the beautiful Cascade Mountains.


With high hopes, Dorothy Ballinger lands her dream job at The New York Times. But it's not long until writing about weddings becomes a painful reminder of her own failed romance, and her love of the city slowly sours as well. Is it time to give up the Big Apple for her small hometown of Appleton?

When her eccentric Aunt Dot passes away and leaves a sizeable estate to Dorothy, going back home is an easy choice. What isn’t easy is coming to terms with the downright odd clauses written into the will.

Dorothy only stands to inherit the estate if she agrees to her aunt's very specific posthumous terms -- personal and professional. And if she fails to comply, the sprawling old Victorian house shall be bequeathed to . . . Aunt Dot’s cats.

And if Dorothy thinks that’s odd, wait until she finds out an array of secrets about Aunt Dot's life, and how imperfect circumstances can sometimes lead to God's perfect timing.

If you would liketo read the first chapter of Lock, Stock and Over a Barrel, go HERE.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

When Technology Makes the Connections Real

Growing up I lived on the same 20 acre plot of land from birth through HS graduation.  My parents still live there.  My sister, she grew up and well, built a house on the original corner of that plot we first lived on.  Me, I always wanted to move.  I wanted to have adventure, see the world.  I moved out when I went to college, came home one Summer and babysat, and that was it.  I was on my own.  I've lived in bug infested apartments, condos with amazing landlords, owned two houses, and followed my love from one coast to the other.  But I've left one thing behind in every move: dear friends.  And as I get older the more I realize just how dear those friendships are to me.  This week has been a constant reminder of those whom my heart adores on that other coast.  I've been reminded that though 3,000 miles separate us physically, part of my heart is still with these people.  I love that technology allows random phone calls from Autumn, chats with Davida, read Annette's blog, send text messages of laughter and encouragement, and cry and laugh and rejoice with each of them (and more!) in their seasons.  And though I may not be as connected to as many people because I don't embrace Facebook, I do know that the connections I have with my friends are intentional and meaningful.  And that is really what it's all about.  

Monday, June 17, 2013

A Garden Update

If you'll remember back to the beginning of the year, one of my goals was to plan a garden that would feed us beyond the growing season.  Well, it's June and the garden is in full force.  Right now we are enjoying salads every day or so with fresh spinach, arugula, and lettuce.  The peas are starting to pod out and the raspberries have made lovely snacks, salad additions, and pancakes.  Here are some shots of what's in store for the rest of the Summer.

 Broccoli before I replanted it for better spacing.

The pea trellis with netting hung.

Peas ready to grow up the netting.

The broccoli is growing and has been spaced appropriately.  We square bed garden (to an extent) and so one plant per square is more appropriate for growth.

 Spinach, perfect for a salad, pesto, or lightly sauteed with some pasta

View from the deck looking over the garden area.  Broccoli plants are the large ones on the left.  Cauliflower goes in a row next to the tall bed.  The tall bed will house carrots.  YUM!

The first pea pod!

The tomatoes are staked.  With the cooler weather here, I might see ripe tomatoes by then end of August.  Thank goodness for the weekly farmer's market!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Follow the Heart -- A Book Review

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Follow the Heart
B&H Books (May 1, 2013)
Kaye Dacus


Humor, Hope, and Happily Ever Afters! Kaye Dacus is the author of humorous, hope-filled contemporary and historical romances with Barbour Publishing, Harvest House Publishers, and B&H Publishing. She holds a Master of Arts in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University, is a former Vice President of American Christian Fiction Writers, and currently serves as President of Middle Tennessee Christian Writers. Kaye lives in Nashville, Tennessee, where she is a full-time academic advisor and part-time college composition instructor for Bethel University.

Kaye Dacus (KAY DAY-cuss) is an author and educator who has been writing fiction for more than twenty years. A former Vice President of American Christian Fiction Writers, Kaye enjoys being an active ACFW member and the fellowship and community of hundreds of other writers from across the country and around the world that she finds there. She currently serves as President of Middle Tennessee Christian Writers, which she co-founded in 2003 with three other writers. Each month, she teaches a two-hour workshop on an aspect of the craft of writing at the MTCW monthly meeting. Kaye lives in Nashville, Tennessee, where she is an academic advisor and English Composition instructor for Bethel University.


Set during the Industrial Revolution and the Great Exhibition of 1851, Follow the Heart is a “sitting-room romance” with the feel of a Regency-era novel but the fashions and technological advances of the mid-Victorian age.

Kate and Christopher Dearing’s lives turn upside down when their father loses everything in a railroad land speculation. The siblings are shipped off to their mother’s brother in England with one edict: marry money.

At twenty-seven years old, Kate has the stigma of being passed over by eligible men many times—and that was before she had no dowry. Christopher would like nothing better than to make his own way in the world; and with a law degree and expertise in the burgeoning railroad industry, he was primed to do just that—in America.

Though their uncle tries to ensure Kate and Christopher find matrimonial prospects only among the highest echelon of British society, their attentions stray to a gardener and a governess.

While Christopher has options that would enable him to lay his affections where he chooses, he cannot let the burden of their family’s finances crush his sister. Trying to push her feelings for the handsome—but not wealthy— gardener aside, Kate’s prospects brighten when a wealthy viscount shows interest in her. But is marrying for the financial security of her family the right thing to do, when her heart is telling her she’s making a mistake?

Mandates . . . money . . . matrimony. Who will follow the heart?

If you would like to read the first chapter of >Follow the Heart, go HERE

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Undeniably Yours -- A Book Review

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Undeniably Yours
Bethany House Publishers (May 1, 2013)
Becky Wade


During her childhood in California, Becky frequently produced homemade plays starring her sisters, friends, and cousins. These plays almost always featured a heroine, a prince, and a love story with a happy ending. She's been a fan of all things romantic ever since.

Becky and her husband lived overseas in the Caribbean and Australia before settling in Dallas, Texas. It was during her years abroad that Becky's passion for reading turned into a passion for writing. She published three historical romances for the general market, put her career on hold for many years to care for her kids, and eventually returned to writing sheerly for the love of it. Her first contemporary Christian romance, My Stubborn Heart, has been named a finalist for Romance Writers of America's RITA Award. Her newest release, Undeniably Yours, is available now.

These days Becky can be found failing but trying to keep up with her housework, sweating at the gym, carting her kids around town, playing tennis, hunched over her computer, eating chocolate, or collapsed on the sofa watching TV with her husband.


When Meg Cole's father dies unexpectedly, she becomes the majority shareholder of his oil company and the single inheritor of his fortune. Though Meg is soft-spoken and tenderhearted--more interested in art than in oil--she's forced to return home to Texas and to Whispering Creek Ranch to take up the reins of her father's empire.

The last thing she has the patience or the sanity to deal with? Her father's thoroughbred racehorse farm. She gives its manager, Bo Porter, six months to close the place down.

Bo's determined to resent the woman who's decided to rob him of his dream. But instead of anger, Meg evokes within him a profound desire to protect. The more time he spends with her, the more he longs to overcome every obstacle that separates them--her wealth, his unworthiness, her family's outrage--and earn the right to love her.

But just when Meg begins to realize that Bo might be the one thing on the ranch worth keeping, their fragile bond is viciously broken by a force from Meg's past. Can their love--and their belief that God can work through every circumstance--survive?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Undeniably Yours, go HERE.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013


"Fairies aren't even real except the tooth fairy!" 

Brought to you by a 1st grade boy in my friend Abi's class.  If that doesn't make you smile, well, you're broken.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Jennifer -- An O'Malley Love Story

I already professed my love for Dee Henderson in this post.  And again, she has outdone herself.  After re-reading the O'Malley series after reading Full Disclosure (twice) I was more than ready to dive into Jennifer's story.  Jennifer was such an integral part of the O'Malley family and their journey to Christ yet we didn't know her story, how she found Christ, or how she learned the news that made it all so very important.

I couldn't do a better job of summing up this book than this, so here you go...


It's a summer of change for Jennifer O'Malley. The busy physician has a pediatrics practice in Dallas, and meeting Tom Peterson, and falling in love, is adding a rich layer to her life. She's sorting out how to introduce him to her family--she's the youngest of seven--and thinking about marriage.

She's falling in love with Jesus too, and knows God is good. But that faith is about to be tested in a way she didn't expect, and the results will soon transform her entire family.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Jennifer: An O’Malley Love Story, go to HERE.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Thursday Thoughts

Seriously, I just want to brain dump so that is probably the lamest post title ever.  But whatever.  I'm blogging, which is something, right?

1. Frontera -- I am seriously in love with this line of products by Rick Bayless.  The sauce mixes are so tasty.  It makes for the easiest meal.  In fact this week we have already had the red enchilada sauce and the green one will go down this weekend. We've also had the salsa.  True story: I love flying through Chicago because there is a Tortas Frontera restaurant in O'Hare.  A former co-worker clued me in to it, and I have been known to walk from E to B for food and back again.  Yes, it's that good.

2. Gardening -- I need to do a whole post on our garden.  If you'll remember, one of my goals for this year was to plan a garden that would feed my family for the Summer and beyond.  We are well on our way to achieving this goal, unless the slugs eat my plants.  Dern slugs.

3. Work -- It's been interesting for the past month or slow.  Anyone who knows me in real life knows that my job has been a little slow the past 9 months or so.  I am in between clients so I've been a jack of all trades helping out different departments with internal needs while supplementing with actual payroll work anywhere I can get added to a ticket.  However, about a month ago I was request to loan into our mobility group to help with testing (or breaking as I like to say) our new app.  It has been very eye-opening and interesting being involved in an app behind the scenes and what goes into making it work.  I know a lot of acronyms now, but don't ask me what they mean!  The work has been fun, but no worries, payroll is still my first love, this is just a fun "fling."

4. Food -- I bit the bullet a couple of months ago and got a haircut.  It's not that I dislike getting my hair cut, it's that I dislike finding someone who will cut it the way it needs to be cut since it has a mind of its own.  So I went, the guy was fabulous, and we spent 45 minutes discussing sports.  (Note: I am not a sports girl, but I know enough to be able to carry on a conversation with a guy which I have found is necessary to not go nuts when traveling with a bunch of guys.)  One question the guy did ask me before we dove into the world of sports was when I travel back to the South do I miss any food here?  The answer is a resounding "No."  I mean, yes, I would miss the local Thai restaurant we frequent and I would miss good Dim Sum, but here is what I really miss: Chic-Fil-A, Sonic, Firehouse Subs, Krystal and don't even get me started on the amazing food Charleston has to offer.  Oh, and Mexican restaurants here don't have queso.  There aren't even words for how wrong this is and how wronged I feel when I ask and they say no.

Yeah, so we'll end with that.  No queso.  No worries, I've pinned a couple of options on Pinterest and I'll learn to make my own queso.  And I'll eat it with my yummy Frontero enchiladas.  And all will be right with the world.  

Friday, May 10, 2013

Katie's Choice -- A Book Review

I have a love/eh relationship with Amish fiction.  I either love it of I'm like "eh, I read it, let's move on with life."  Katie's Choice falls into the first category.  This book really entertained me and made me think.  Told from the perspective of modern day journalist Zane Carson, a man used to covering stories or war, poverty,  and violence, the story dives into what makes Amish culture work.  The hard work, helping your neighbors, and kindness of the community all built around a faith in God.  Zane, who grew up an orphan raised by a detached uncle, this is his first experience in a community of people who love and help each other out without having to constantly watch that you are stepping into a trap to be fooled or taken advantage of.

The book follows Zane's evolution from someone removed from technology and the luxuries of the first world (electricity) to someone who realizes there is value in faith, a hard day of work, and helping your fellow man.  It also follow's Katie's journey from being a slightly older, single woman who feels called to help her brother raise his children to learning to give this outsider a chance.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who loves a good story of the Amish culture, learning to live more simply, and simply the idea of God always giving us second chances, whether it's the choice to fall in love with Him or a second chance at love.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Katie's Choice by Amy Lillard, go HERE.

Friday, March 15, 2013

The Friday Rundown -- 5 Positives to Focus On

Let me just say that this has been a week.  A week of highs and lows, and tears and anger, and yummy food and skipped meals.  The whole Spring forward thing always throw my body into a tailspin, but I am enjoying the extended daylight into the evening hours.  With that being said, here are 5 things I am thankful for.

1) Fabulous friends who will come stay at our house, take care of our dog and let us have a weekend to celebrate my FIL's upcoming 75th birthday.

2) A belated wedding gift of an overnight stay in downtown Seattle. We'll be staying at Hotel 1000 and since this is a mini-vacation we are going to indulge in massages Saturday afternoon.  This girl cannot wait.  I love a good massage.

3) Great food.  Food is simply my love language.  Yes, I know it's not a legitimate love language, but I really appreciate good food.  Lots of family are in town for a long weekend as we celebrate the FIL so it's night after night after night of good food.  Family style Chinese, Metropolitan Grill, Dim Sum, fried chicken, and who knows what else.  What can I say.  I love food and I married into a family who loves to eat.  Win, Win!

P.S. When this week got to me, take out of Crispy Garlic Chicken from Bai Tong was how I coped.  Then I got to surprise the Mr. in his lunch with the leftovers.  And that's how I get wife points.

4) A husband who brings me breakfast in bed.  He has to fast for 8 hours today for a physical so his last change to eat was at 5:45 this morning.  Since I have a 6 AM meetings every other Friday, he got up, made breakfast, and brought it to me in bed.  I may still be in bed.  I really need to teach that man to make me coffee too.  ;-)

5) Like minded financial goals.  The Mr. and I are both fans of zero debt and have always paid our bills and debts on time and even early.  We were able to start our marriage with nothing but two mortgages as our debt, and that's how we plan on keeping it.  Still there are the months when the bills are a little higher, and I am thankful that because we have both always saved and always paid things on time, when the bills are higher we aren't stressed or wondering how they are going to get paid.

So that's it.  I thought after the funk of this week I needed to focus on the positives because after all I have a roof over my head, a man who loves me, and family and friends who stand by me.  

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

What I'm Loving

1) My library membership.  Specifically the ability to download books to my Kindle or ipad to read.  Plus did you know you can check out cookbooks?  I'm sure you did (I'm always late to the game) but I currently have a Weight Watchers book and an Alton Brown book that I am reading while I eat.  Yes, cookbooks are reading material.  I love to dream that I could make all of the recipes and they would be as pretty as the pictures and taste as good as I dream they would taste.  All this while eating a Tyson Chicken Pot Pie or a Tostinos pizza, mind you.

2) Reading.  I used to read a lot then I stopped for a bit.  However, I've been indulging lately and getting lost in a story.  For those interested, I am re-reading the O'Malley series by Dee Henderson and the Maggie Hope series by Susan Elia MacNeal.

Dee Henderson released Full Disclosure this past year which is a fabulous book if you've read the O'Malley series.  (Note: it would be great on its own, but if you've read the O'Malley series, it is even better!)  Then she has a new book coming out in May to tell the story of the final O'Malley who had a thread through all the other books.  So re-reading the original series is both fun and necessary.  I'll probably even re-read Full Disclosure after reading the original series again because I enjoyed it that much.

I don't remember where I first read about the Maggie Hope series, but the title "Mr. Churchill's Secretary" caught my eye.  I added it to my Amazon Wish List for Books I Would Like To Read and when I got my library membership I immediately downloaded it.  I read it on a recent trip and just loved the characters.  Then I realized it was a series so #2 is waiting on me.

3) My friends.  I mean really, could God have blessed me any more than He did?  I just spent a glorious long weekend in Charleston, mainly plopped down on a couch at Danna's, in sweatpants no less.  I got to eat Chick-Fil-A for breakfast and eat queso and chips at Senior Tequila.  (Note: Seattle doesn't have queso or Chick-Fil-A.  It's tragic.)  I got to hang out at some point with Abigail, Stacy, Annette, Lauren, Davida, and Whitney.  It was refreshing, encouraging, full of laughter and tears.  I love these people and in a perfect world, I could just beam me there or them here in a moment.  But I'll settle for our weekends here and there and just soak them in as much as I can during that time.

4) My Mr.  The fact that the he and I can be apart and realize it's not the end of the world, but that we love each other enough to know that those times grow us.  He lovingly let me go see my people and then told me he missed me.  He then left me alone to go on a work trip and I miss him.  Though we both admit we enjoy having the bed all to ourselves.  30+ years of living alone will do that to a person.  Or persons.  But it's still nice when we're together again.  

Monday, February 04, 2013

God Made a Farmer -- My Pick for the Winner

1. My grandfather was a dairy farmer.  I have the utmost respect for the men and women and their families who work harder, longer hours, 7 days a week, than I will ever know.  The stories my mom and aunts tells of the hours my grandfather kept, the role my grandmother played as his mate in life, and how they helped out growing up still resonate within me to a level that makes this so much more meaningful.
2. I listened to Paul Harvey  my whole life.  I loved his voice and his message.  He was one of a kind.
3. After this commercial ran, I was done.  I didn't need to see any more.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Ashton Park - A Book Review

I must say I was drawn to wanting to read this book when the synopsis says for people who love Downton Abbey.  If you know me at all, you know I am absolutely smitten with the show and have seen seasons 1 & 2 many times.  I love the snark, the relationships, the drama, the laughter.  So, you tell me a book is similar and I'll give it a go.

However, this book is not one I will be reading over and over.  The book focuses on the Danforth family of Ashton Park.  Sir William and Lady Elizabeth are the parents to seven children.  The book tells the story of each of the children, as well as focusing on Sir William, Lady Elizabeth, his sister, and one of each of their parents.  Once I finally learned to keep all the characters straight I enjoyed the dialogue and the relationships that were happening.  Did I love it as much as Downton?  No.  I found it to be a bit too cheesy and predictable in the story lines. Were there some surprises, of course, but the overall who will end up with who was pretty much obvious from the first meeting of each of the characters.  However, I feel for writing a book which focused on a family with 7 children, and each of the children had a story line in the book, that Murray Pura did an excellent job of giving each their own unique experiences and share of the pages.  I felt at times that I would have rather read a book on each of them, than the combined story, but at the same time with the book being written this way, it kept from having to read a lot of useless pages that might have been necessary to fill each character's story.

So if you would like to read something set in the early 1900s with a similar feel to Downton, I would recommend this.  It was not the easy reading chick-lit that I usually pick up (since I had to keep referencing the character list at the front of the book to see who I was reading about) but it was enjoyable in its own way.  It's a one time read, and I cannot say I regret having read it as I have other books.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Ashton Park, go HERE.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Book Review: Doctor to the Rescue

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Doctor To The Rescue
Love Inspired (December 18, 2012)
Cheryl Wyatt

I admit there's not much more I like in life than to sit down with a mindless read and get lost in the stories of the characters for a while.  This book was the perfect thing to come home to after a few weeks of traveling for Christmas.  I was able to read it in a couple of sittings and the story warmed my heart while distracting my mind from the fact that I would be returning to work the next day for the first time in almost 3 weeks.

I loved the characters that Cheryl introduced me to and how the community came together to help those in need when so often today we all pass by each other without a care for the greater good of others.

Book synopsis:

Combat doctor Ian Shupe returns home from overseas with his most important mission: to raise his little girl. But Ian's a single dad, and working at Eagle Point's trauma center means having to find child care. When bighearted, struggling lodge owner Bri Landis offers babysitting in exchange for construction work, Ian accepts. He vows to keep his emotional distance from Bri, yet can't deny that his daughter is blossoming under her tender care. But is he ready to believe that his heart's deepest prayer may finally be answered? If you would like to read the first chapter of Doctor To The Rescue, go HERE.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

2013 Goals

I'm doing goals this year.  Written, published goals.  Not resolutions, because well, I just don't like the sound of that.  Plus a goal sounds like something you can check off when it's reached.  And I like checking things off.  Which is why I usually put brush my teeth on a daily to do list since I know I can then check at least one thing off and feel accomplished.  Don't lie, you do the same thing.  

  1. Finish the music room -- I started this project in August of 2012 when R was away at a band function.  We need to install crown molding, get the pictures rehung on the wall, and figure out how we are going to display the music boxes, etc.  All in all it shouldn't take long to finish, but considering there are still moving boxes cluttering the space, it will take some planning.  I'd like to say 1 room of the house is done though and then move on before starting another project.  

  2. Read one non-fiction book per month -- I am the queen of reading fiction.  Give me something mindless to read and I'll read it.  Quickly too.  But I have a bookshelf (literal and on my ipad or Kindle) of non-fiction books which I need to read.  So I am committing to one per month.  

  3. Organize the office -- This is where I should be spending most of my day since I work from home.  But since I don't have an office chair yet and there are boxes and piles of papers were are "merging" everywhere, it needs a little help to make it feel like a sanctuary that I will enjoy sitting in for 8 hours each day.  

  4. Lose and keep off 5 pounds -- Yep, that's it.  Just 5 pounds.  If in 365 days I can be five pounds lighter than I am now I will consider this year a success.  Would more pounds be nice?  Of course, but I am tired of setting unrealistic goals for this so I figure that is less than .5 pounds per month to lose and maintain.  I can do that.  

  5. Run a 5-k -- True story, I have never run an official 5k.  I have run them in training for half marathons, but I have never run the whole 3.1 miles in a race.  It always seemed too little.  Ridiculous, I know.  So this year I hope to complete this.  

  6. Unplug for a weekend, preferably at a cabin on a lake -- I can read a paper book.  I can play board games or card games with my husband.  We can take walks.  We can cook together.  We can do a puzzle or watch a movie.  But no phones, iPads, etc.  Just quiet and rest.  I know it would do me a world of good.

  7. Plan a garden that will feed us beyond the growing season -- R has a garden in the back yard but it always needs a lot of work during band season when he is really busy.  So this year I want us to sit down together and map out the garden with things we will actually eat (no we don't need 4 square feet of onions) and grow a garden which will feed us yummy fresh vegetables this summer and provide other foods for freezing and canning to eat the rest of the year.  

  8. Cook a new recipe and eat off the good china, at least once a month -- I love dishes.  I have Fiesta for my daily china and I own Pfaltzgraf Winterberry for Christmas. I inherited my granny's fine china and R has his grandmother's set.  And we both like to use the good stuff.  It doesn't sit idle by through the year, but I want to make it a point to use it more regularly.  We have too many pretty plates to just let them sit in boxes.  And I love to cook new food . I have a Pinterest board of items I have cooked this year and another board with >100 recipes to try.  So this will happen.

  9. Send snail mail -- I am horrible at this.  I'm horrible about communication at all.  But I want to be better at this so I've listed it as a goal.  Plus I love receiving a real piece of stationary in my mailbox so I assume other people like to know that more than Citibank and Visa are thinking about them as well.  

  10. Sew something -- I have a sewing machine.  I have had it for more than 10 years. I have completed zero projects on it.  You read that right.  Zero.  Doesn't mean I haven't started projects, I just haven't finished them.  So this is the year I do that.  I hope.  Again, goals not resolutions.  

  11. Pray more, and with a purpose -- I like to pray.  I'm just not consistent with it.  So my goal for this year is to create a plan that works for me.  How to pray consistently for myself (I have the hardest time with that) and for others.  Whether it's a journal, a visual board, etc. I'm not sure, but I plan on finding a process that works for me.

  12. Memorize 24 verses -- It's doable.  I am no going to sign myself up over with Beth Moore to do this, that seems like too much pressure/work/etc. but I do want to commit to this.  I am still searching for where to start, but my goal is to complete this in 2013.

So there you go.  12 months, 12 goals.  I'll try to keep you updated.  And we'll definitely review in 365 days to see if I checked any or all of them off.  May 2013 bring you more than you had ever imagined and my all your days be merry and bright.