the little things // vol. 6

Well friends, somehow we’ve managed to survive another month of quarantine, and it’s slowly starting to feel like the light at the end of the tunnel is growing larger. I don’t know how it is where you live, but in Wyoming we are making steps to test out re-opening the state starting May 1st! But rather than talk about the coronavirus (because I’m sure we’re all pretty tired of doing that), I’m here to wrap up this abnormal month with another addition of The Little Things – an ongoing series where I share some simple things that have been impacting my life in big ways. Because it’s the little things in life that add up to make the greatest of impacts. I have received some of my best recommendations from blogs, podcasts, or friends, so I want to be a pal and pass along some things making my life just a little bit better lately, in case you might find some value in them too. And in light of all of the craziness we’ve been undergoing, now more than ever we could all use some extra life-giving intention in our lives. Here’s what I’ve been enjoying during the month of April:

My Favorite Primer: Tula’s Face Filter

I’ve been an avid user of Tula’s skincare products for about a year and a half now, and even as I’ve attempted to veer away to try out a few different brands, I find myself coming back again and again. I didn’t realize just how much I loved this specific product until I ran out of it and couldn’t replace it right away because they were sold out. I finally got my hands on it again when they restocked recently, and have been happy to have it back. I wear very, very minimal make up – and would even prefer to go make-up-less most days, but my face often needs a little something extra to blend my skin tone more nicely. Enter in the Face Filter. It’s a blurring and moisturizing primer, so while it technically serves as make-up, it’s kind to my skin while giving it some extra, even glow. It’s fairly lightweight and can be worn alone, but sometimes I will still add on some foundation over it if I’m needing some extra coverage. If you’ve never tried out Tula before, you can get 20% off your first purchase here.

An Uplifting & Relatable Podcast: The Within Her Podcast

When it comes to my taste in podcasts, I tend to enjoy ones that give a peek into the lives of everyday people for the chance to learn more about how they manage their priorities and choose to be obedient to God in their own unique settings. One of my more recent finds with this format has been the Within Her podcast, and so far I’ve really enjoyed the topics that Kaci has covered with her guests, as well as the intentionality she has in the questions she brings up. As I’ve started from the beginning (which was just back in October) some of my favorite episodes have been How to Get Stronger Physically, Mentally & Spiritually with Jen Diaz; Choosing Obedience Over Fear in Seasons of Waiting with Evie Rupp; Motherhood, Body Image & How God Redeems in Unexpected Ways with Natalie Borton; and Getting Organized & The Power of Sharing Your Story with Mika Perry. If any of those topics, or that kind of podcast format, appeals to you, I’d definitely recommend giving it a listen.

A Daily Devotional: Take It Too Far by Jess Connolly

If you’ve been reading along here for any amount of time, it’s likely you’ve heard me rave about anything that Jess Connolly seems to be involved with. From her book writing, to her current Made Up Morning Show, to her podcast, she’s been a truth speaker in my life for years now. My favorite part is that in everything she puts out into the world, I grow to love her more because she points me to Jesus more. The latest recommendation I have of hers is her most recent book Take It Too Far: Abundant Life, Boundless Love, Unending Grace. It’s a book of 100 topical devotionals centered on putting an end to playing it safe in our faith and taking the attributes of God further in our lives. Each day includes a Bible verse, a reflection from Jess, and a charge to take it too far in your own life today. I don’t always enjoy the quick formats of devotionals like this, but I have been spurred on in a variety of ways through topics that I hadn’t considered. Just the other day I came across these words that I’ve started to speak over my days:

I’d highly recommend this read for some daily doses of truth and encouragement to take your own faith too far.

A Freeing Habit: Leaving My Phone Across the Room While I Sleep

This was a habit I honestly avoided for a long time, simply because me and my snooze button have been good friends since I started using an alarm clock as a kid. But in an attempt to reinforce the elimination of my bad habit of scrolling on my phone before even getting out of bed in the morning, I decided to finally give it a try this month. And I’m pleased to say it has been effective and surprisingly life giving. Since I’m not hitting snooze at the first sign of life from my phone, I seem to feel the grace to take a moment to wake up slowly and then get out of bed to start my day (it’s helpful that my husband usually wakes up before me, or at the same time, so my alarm doesn’t annoy him). It’s just been that extra boost of motivation to kick start my morning routine. And the habit of scrolling in bed feels long gone since I don’t have the chance to even debate the choice. This kind of habit is just one method I’ve utilized in my life to build better boundaries with my phone, and I’ll actually be sharing more about all of the ones I’ve tried in a post next week, so be on the look out for that!

Something We Could All Always Use More Of: Fresh Air

I love this time of year in general for this purpose, but amidst all the quarantining that basically the whole world has been doing the past two months, now, more than ever, I am snatching up opportunities to take in the fresh air and get outside (or bring the outside in). I’ve been taking the pups out more consistently for walks, and now that we’re finally starting to get some warmer weather in Cheyenne, I’ve been opening the windows on nice days to get some air flow in the house. It’s even been nice enough some days to sit out on our back patio for my morning quiet time or to do some work in the afternoon. It feels incredibly life-giving to breathe in the fresh air and soak up some Vitamin D. So if you haven’t already, I highly encourage you to spend some extra time outside when the weather allows. I can almost guarantee that it’ll bring an extra boost to your day.


And there you have it! Five little things that have been helping me through this pandemic, and making a big impact in my life this month. I hope if you give any of these things a try that they add value to your life and make a big impact for you too. You’ll have to let me know if you end up trying any of them OR if any of them are already little things in your own life!

Until next time friends,

p.s. For previous recommendations from The Little Things series, check out vol. 1vol. 2vol. 3vol. 4, vol. 5

Note: this is NOT a sponsored post. All links are to products that I have personally used and truly enjoy, and I just want to share the love. I do not make any profit from these links, with the exception of the referral link for Tula in which case you can get 20% off your first order, and I get some credit towards my next purchase.

the little things // vol. 5

Hi there friends! Amidst these times of uncertainty and chaos, I’m bringing you another installment of The Little Things – an ongoing series where I share some simple things that have been impacting my life in big ways. Because it’s the little things in life that add up to make the greatest of impacts. I have received some of my best recommendations from blogs, podcasts, or friends, so I want to be a pal and pass along some things making my life just a little bit better lately, in case you might find some value in them too. Here’s what’s been making a difference in March:

A feel good video that will surely brighten your day: Some Good News

If you haven’t already seen John Krasinski’s viral contribution to the current state of things, this is an absolute must see. And if you have seen it already, it’s probably worth another watch. We could all use some uplifting and positive news to increase our hope and joy amidst a season full of so many unknowns. I cried tears of joy numerous times my first watch through – it’s just that good.

An “morning show” that’s worth your time: The Made Up Morning Show

Jess Connolly continues to prove to be one of my favorite people to glean wisdom from as her and her sister, Katie Walters, have been hosting an Instagram Live every morning, Monday through Thursday, called the Made Up Morning Show. They spend 30-60 minutes chatting about a variety of topics, but also focusing on tips for joy and strength in this season of turmoil, while being the down to earth, goofy sisters that they are. It feels just like having an encouraging chat with close friends. Plus they do daily giveaways, and who doesn’t like that? It’s been a must watch for me, and I haven’t missed an ‘episode’ yet. It seems like they are going to continue with it for the foreseeable future, so you can either tune in live at 10am EST or rewatch the saved video within 24 hours over on Jess’s instagram. I’ve been enjoying it either while I’m getting ready for the day, or with a cup of coffee on the couch.

A chill album to listen to: Vacancy by Will Reagan

Will Reagan became a fast favorite of mine a few years ago when I was turned on to his music through his participation in United Pursuit (an indie-folk worship collective). Their album, Tell All My Friends, continues to be one of my top picks, so when I recently realized that Will came out with a new album last summer, I instantly listened to it over and over again (& wondered how I didn’t know about it sooner!). It’s less meditative worship than Tell All My Friends, and lyrically seems a bit more like a processing of life. Musically it sounds a bit more experimental than its predecessor, but it’s still incredibly calming to have playing in the background at home.

My current can’t miss TV show: Survivor Winners at War

Apart from This Is Us and A Million Little Things (who else caught the season finales last week??), the show I most anticipate each week right now has got to be the latest season of Survivor. While we’re well into it at this point, it continues to bring me incredible thrill and excitement every week (& sometimes massive frustration when some of my picks are voted out). The nostalgia of all these great players together amidst some great game play makes for fantastic entertainment each week. If the recent cancellation of sports has been bumming you out and you need something else to watch, this show can definitely offer you the competitive edge you might be seeking.

A recent read: Move for Joy by Kasey Shuler

This book has preached to my soul practically everything I’ve been needing in regards to my fitness journey. It’s been incredibly helpful for my ever-evolving journey to pursue health in a way that glorifies God. Kacey dives deep into the variety of motivators we might have in regards to fitness and then tries to connect them with more lasting motivators to help us truly enjoy moving our bodies. I will say, there were a lot of typos and grammatical errors in my copy that were a bit distracting at times, but there were so many nuggets of gold throughout the book that I still would highly recommend it. If you are looking for some freedom and joy in your health and wellness journey, then definitely check this book out.


And that’s all for now, friends! Five little things that have been making a big impact in my life this month. I hope if you give any of these things a try that they add value to your life and make a big impact for you too. You’ll have to let me know if you end up trying any of them OR if any of them are already little things in your own life!

Until next time,

p.s. For previous recommendations from The Little Things series, check out vol. 1vol. 2vol. 3, vol. 4

the little things // vol. 4

As we end off another month, I’m here to share another installment of The Little Things – an ongoing series where I share some simple things that have been impacting my life in big ways. Because it’s the little things in life that add up to make the greatest of impacts. I have received some of my best recommendations from blogs, podcasts, or friends, so I want to be a pal and pass along some things I’m loving with you all, in case you might find some value in them too. Here’s what’s I’ve been enjoying in February:

The newest addition to my skincare routine: Primally Pure Cleansing Oil

Back in December my face hit an exceptionally high dry spell. I think it was due to a perfect storm of our typical dry climate, the cold weather, and possibly an overuse of some of my skin care products. As I worked to revive my skin, I tried a few different tactics, but one in particular was Primally Pure’s Cleansing Oil. I have done oil cleansing in the past with coconut oil, but strayed away from the habit awhile back (if you’re unfamiliar with oil cleansing, you can read more about it here). I had recently heard numerous recommendations of this specific product, and my overly dry face was desperate enough for some rejuvenation that I ordered the dry skin blend. After two months of use I can officially say that it has become a new staple in my skin care routine. My skin feels much cleaner, softer, and hydrated when I use this in combination with a handful of other products. It feels like I’m giving myself a small spa treatment each night when I use it. It smells lovely and is made with all natural, organic ingredients. If you’re interested in giving it, or any of Primally Pure’s products, a try you can get 10% off your first order here (and I’ll end up getting a little bit of store credit as well).

A tried & true healthy habit: Starting my day with a full glass of water

Along the same lines of combatting dryness, this habit has been benefitting me in a variety of ways. Ever since we moved to Cheyenne over two years ago, the elevation and drier climate have increased my body’s susceptibility to dehydration, so I’ve been working to maintain a high water intake ever since. One way I do that is by starting off my day with a full glass of water before I do anything else. Before a cup of coffee (which I’m actually taking a step back from), before I eat anything, before I settle in for my morning quiet time, I drink a full glass of water. There are what feels like endless benefits to drinking enough water each day (I myself have seen it improve my skin, hair, digestion, energy, mental clarity and more), but most people are drinking far less than the suggested amount. So I’ve found that a helpful way to ensure I kickstart my intake is getting a full glass in before anything else. I’d suggest giving it a try to see what it can do for you.

My all time favorite candle: Yankee Candle’s Pink Sands

As the days slowly become longer and the sun is shining a little bit brighter, I’ve been getting my first waves of spring fever. Even though winter will still be around for a bit here in Wyoming, my mental state is shifting, so I’m preparing myself for warmer days ahead. One way I’ve been doing that is by setting the mood in my house with one of my all time favorite candles: Pink Sands. While I typically opt for Bath & Body Work’s candles, this one has been a favorite of both me and my husband for at least ten years, and it still holds strong. Between it’s satisfying scent and the nostalgia I have for it, it helps foster some warm weather feels, which I’m all about right now.

An encouraging podcast episode: What to Do When You Doubt You Have What It Takes (She Podcast)

I very recently was introduced to Jordan Dooley on Instagram, and quickly found the She Podcast in lieu of that. I’ve only listened to a couple episodes so far, but this episode in particular was a huge dose of encouragement for me as of late. It’s fairly short but it packs a punch. I’ve listened to it twice through already, and I found myself taking notes of a few things she shared. I’d highly recommend it if you are in any way struggling with some self doubt.

My 2020 Planner: Get To Work Book

I’ve been following Elise Cripe online for 5-6 years now and I’ve witnessed the creation of her planner business, but I didn’t take the plunge and purchase one until this year. I’ve learned that I’m a bit of a planner snob and when I was in the market for a new one for 2020, I took another peek at the Get To Work Book and realized that it checked all the boxes for my preferences. It’s minimal, simple, sturdy, and has plenty of space for making notes in the margins. Plus there are extra pages for project planning and goal setting. I’ll be honest that I was hesitant at first with the price tag, but it’s proved to be a quality planner that I’ve loved so far, and it’s supporting the small business of a pretty awesome gal. If you haven’t gotten a planner yet for this year, the Jan 2020-Dec 2020 Get To Work Book is currently on sale so now is a great time to snatch one up.

Honorable Mention: Pilates…again

I know I shared this last month, but pilates through The Balanced Life has continued to be an incredibly life-giving practice for me, and they have an offer right now that is too good not to share. They just announced a FREE online 5-day Pilates challenge designed to build strength and reduce stress in just 15 minutes per day. If you’ve been considering giving pilates a try, or if you are looking for simple, quick & effective workouts to fit into your busy life, NOW is a fantastic time to check out The Balanced Life. I honestly can’t recommend it enough. You can find out more details and sign up here.


And there you have it – five (well, technically six) little things that have been making a big impact in my life this month. I hope if you give any of these things a try that they add value to your life and make a big impact for you too. You’ll have to let me know if you end up trying any of them OR if any of them are already little things in your own life!

Until next time friends,

P.S. For previous recommendations from The Little Things series, check out vol. 1vol. 2, vol. 3

the little things // vol. 3

I’m back with another installment of The Little Things. This series was started as a way to share some simple things that have been impacting my life in big ways. Because it’s the little things in life that add up to make the greatest of impacts. I have received some of my best recommendations for products, books, podcasts, or life tips from blogs, podcasts, or friends, so I wanted to be a pal and pass along some things I’m loving with you all.

(For previous posts of The Little Things, check out vol. 1 and vol. 2)

Here are five little things that have been making a big impact this month:

1. The Office Ladies podcast

Calling all fans of The Office – if you’ve been living under a rock and haven’t heard, Jenna Fischer & Angela Kinsey started a podcast last year as they rewatch the entire series, and dive deep into details on each episode. It’s full of nostalgia and behind-the-scenes information of this amazing comedy, occasionally including some of their former co-stars as guests. If you are a fan of The Office and you haven’t given this a listen yet, hop on over to your favorite podcast source and enjoy! (And if you’re not a fan of The Office, then do yourself a favor and soak it up while you can during its last year on Netflix).

2. Pilates (specifically through The Balanced Life Sisterhood)

After being introduced to the Balanced Life podcast with Robin Long, I was inadvertently turned on to try out some of her at-home pilates workouts last fall. I enjoyed the intentional movements that aim to create better posture alignment, core strength, and muscle balance. But at the time I already had a solid workout regime that was working for me, and I didn’t want to invest any further if I knew I couldn’t commit. Fast forward a couple months and I was in search of a new workout routine as the gym I worked at closed. Robin’s motivating mantra of ‘grace over guilt’ and her countercultural approach to health and wellness stuck with me and I wanted more of that pouring into my life, so it felt like the opportune time to give The Balanced Life Sisterhood membership a try. I started on the first of the year, and I am 100% loving it. I enjoy the workouts and the variety of strengths they are helping me maintain and develop. I love the attention to detail on each movement to ensure proper form to prevent injury). I truly look forward to spending time on my mat each day. It’s been an amazing addition to my workout routine.

3. Single Column Journaling Bible (currently sold out, similar option)

I recently invested in what I refer to as my “dream Bible.” I love to write notes in the empty spaces of my Bible to remember the things the Lord teaches me about it, and for the last 6-7 years I’ve squeezed as much writing as possible into the small margins on the Bible I’ve had. I’ve been eyeing a journaling Bible for quite some time, and came across this beauty awhile back, but I wasn’t sure I wanted to spend the money to replace something I already had. This Bible stood the test of time in my mind, though, and for me that often implies a worthy investment. On Black Friday I took advantage of a sale and finally purchased this perfect-for-me Bible. I love all of the extra margin space to take notes, and it is larger print so it expands the space even further. Plus, the cover is a soft leather that I can’t get enough of, and it’s ESV which is my preferred translation. My suggestion is that whether this is the Bible of your dreams, or not, find yourself one that fits what you want, and love it for years and years to come. It makes it all the more thrilling to open up the Word of God.

4. Praying for someone each day

A new habit I’ve been working on establishing this year has been intentionally praying for someone each day. I spend a lot of time journaling prayers and thoughts to God and sorting through some of my own mess, and when circumstances arise I will pray for someone as needed. But in an attempt to increase my compassion and regard for others this year (read more about that in my 2020 goals here), the thought came to me to more mindfully pray for someone each day – regardless of if a circumstance comes up or not. This has looked like praying for someone on their birthday, praying for a friend I spent time with the day before, praying for someone I’m supposed to chat with that day, or praying for someone that showed up in a dream. I’ve only been practicing this habit for a few weeks, and it seems that it’s already helping me think more about others and consider how life may be weighing on them, and in turn helping me to empathize and care for them through prayer.

5. Shark Steam Mop

Now that I have one, I’m not sure how it’s taken me so long to get one, because I am loving the ease and practicality of having a steam mop. Up until this point I’ve been using a Swifer wet jet to clean our floors, and while it’s done a fair job, I wanted something that was capable of some more effective cleaning. I was also ecstatic to realize that I wouldn’t need to regularly purchase cleaning fluid or cleaning pads either. Once I got the mop and started using it, it quickly showed how much better it is at cleaning my floors (i.e. it was able to clean up spots that had been on our floors for months from the dogs that the Swifer couldn’t even do damage on). My only fear is that we have laminate floors and there were many reviews that exercised caution over it, but I’ve been using mine on the lowest setting and following the creases as my mop instructions suggest for our floors, so we’ll see how it all holds up. I sure hope it does because it’s made cleaning the floors 10x more enjoyable, cost effective, and efficient.


And that’s all for today friends – five little things that have been making a big impact on my life in the last month. I hope that one (or more) or these meets a need in your own life and benefits you as much as it has benefitted me. If you give any of these little things a try (or if you already utilize them) let me know in the comments below with what you think!

Until next time,

what I read in 2019

I know, I know – It’s the latter half of January. Aren’t all the 2019 recaps over with? But in case you are on the search from some new reads, I wanted to put some options on your radar. Today I’m sharing about the nine books I finished in 2019. It can sometimes feel daunting to determine if a book is worth our time, so hopefully this helps take some of the guess work out of these options. I hope you find at least one that piques your interest!

Reading People: How Seeing The World Through The Lens Of Personality Changes Everything by Anne Bogel | My Rating: 4.5 Stars

This book gives a nice overview of many different personality frameworks (i.e. Myers Briggs, the Five Love Languages, Strengths Finder, and the ever popular Enneagram) in a way that helps you better identify who you are at your core, as well as better understand others. When we seek to really know ourselves and know each other, we can have a greater appreciation for our differences and find ways to come together – each with our own strengths – rather than cast each other apart.

Lagom: Not Too Little, Not Too Much: The Swedish Art of Living a Balanced, Happy Life by Niki Brantmark | My Rating: 3 Stars

This was a quick little read, but it’s more like a good coffee table book. It dips into Swedish culture and how so many aspects of it are impacted by this concept of “not too little, not too much,” which is quite radical in comparison to the American way of life. It’s a concept that coincides well with what I value in minimalism. This book covers how this mentality can affect all facets of life – our homes, our clothes, our schedules, our parenting, our relationships, and more. It gave some simple, practical ideas of how to live life with slow intention.

Discipline Equals Freedom: Field Manual by Jocko Willink | My Rating: 4 Stars

My husband has been a fan of Jocko’s methods of motivation and discipline for years, so I’ve been on the receiving end of many Jocko-fueled pep talks in my time. But I picked this book up for myself because discipline and boundaries truly do bring freedom to my life, so I wanted some extra reinforcement on that. Made up of short essays of motivation and tough love from the perspective of a former Navy Seal, this book is filled with quotable statements to push you to get after it. Jocko also includes his thoughts and methods for nutrition and exercise, even incorporating some workouts of his own for you to try.

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown | My Rating: 4 Stars

This is another book on this list that aligns with the concept of minimalism and how our typical tendencies to live overstuffed, rushed, and busy lives is draining us and preventing us from enjoying what really matters. This book formats practical ways to be more selective in how we spend our most precious resources: our time and attention. It’s about doing less, but better, in every aspect of our lives. You’ll come away from this book equipped with ways to set better boundaries, as well as fuel to chase after what you deem to be essential in your own life.

Imperfect Courage: Live a Life of Purpose by Leaving Comfort and Going Scared by Jessica Honegger | My Rating: 5+ Stars

This was the first of three books I read last year that quite literally shook me. God was just in the beginning stages of revealing to me how much I cling to comfort and this book reached into those dark crevices in my soul that I try to hide and lovingly exposed them. As Jessica shares her own story of fear and struggle, and how her business (Noonday Collection) came to exist through it, she connects strongly with the reader to encourage action, despite the presence of fear, in order to live a more fulfilling and impactful life. This book feels deeply personal and it radiates a vibe of chatting with a friend over coffee. The kind of chat that you don’t walk away the same from.


You Are the Girl for the Job: Daring to Believe the God Who Calls You by Jess Connolly | My Rating: 5+ Stars

Book #2 of 2019 that wrecked me was this one right here. I’m a big underliner when I read, and I’d dare to say that more than half of this book is COVERED in ink. While the title can make you think this is another “you go girl” pep-talk kind of book, it’s rather a disarming, yet equipping coaching session that spurs readers on to live unconventionally in wild abandon and obedience to God. My favorite summary of it is that our obedience + God’s capacity = abundance. Unbeknownst to me, this book prepared and equipped me for the current season I am in, and it has even been shepherding me through it as I just finished it for a second time in six months (it’s that powerful). If I could give you one book recommendation out of this entire list, this would be it, without hesitation.


Something Needs to Change: A Call to Make Your Life Count in a World of Urgent Need by David Platt | My Rating: 5 Stars

This book was a very fitting follow to ‘You are the Girl for the Job’ because it was basically an example of someone seeking to live in obedience to God and trust in His capacity to endure through a heavy journey. David Platt is one of my all time favorite authors and preachers, and it was no surprise that this book was the third one of the year to rock me to my core. Different from his typical book format, this is more story-like as it follows what feels like his otherworldly journey through the Himalayas to encounter people who have never even heard of Jesus, and how it wrecked his soul. While at times heavy, it was an incredible chance to stop ignoring the reality of the broken world we live in. I will say, don’t read this book if you aren’t ready for a solid gut punch that could change your life. Then again, even if you aren’t ready for that, I hope you still do.


The Wellness Revelation: Lose What Weighs You Down So You Can Love God, Yourself, and Others by Alisa Keeton | My Rating: 4 Stars

After three attempts starting in 2018, I finally finished this book last year – not because it wasn’t good, but because it was dense with a lot of truth that I needed to hear and sift through. As I’ve been on a journey to seek health in a way that worships God rather than fueling my own empty, vain pursuits, Alisa provided a countercultural perspective on health and wholeness which helped lead me to even more freedom in this area. The book has an eight week work book format that includes reading, studying the Word, responding to questions, and taking steps towards spiritually healthy eating and exercise. While in the end I didn’t follow the exact format of the “program” for my own reasons, the truths shared within the book, as well as the questions that helped me to deeply reflect, allowed me to shift my motivations and mindset towards my health. This will definitely be a resource for me for many years to come.


More or Less: Choosing a Lifestyle of Excessive Generosity by Jeff Shinabarger | My Rating: 3.5 Stars

If you haven’t already noticed the trends of books I like to read lately, this is another that falls in line with intentional living and focusing on what matters most. Jeff shares about how he found a variety of areas of life that he had more than enough, and then how he and his wife tried multiple “experiments” to challenge their limits and redefine what generosity can look like as a result. Some were simple and easily repeatable, while others seemed out-there and more challenging. Regardless of if you take on some “enough experiments” of your own, Jeff goes first to share how we all too easily live in excess, and we have more than enough to generously give to others.


Well there you have it – the nine books that I managed to start and finish in 2019. They all challenged my thinking in some way or another, and some of them quite literally changed my life. I’m looking forward to another year of reading that will hopefully do the same.

I hope at least one of these books sparks your interest and makes it onto your must-read list for 2020. Let me know if it does! And I’d also love to hear about your favorite reads to possibly expand my own list. Let me know in the comments!

Until next time,

the six questions that changed our marriage

One of the things I mentioned a few times as I recapped 2019 was our new use of the Marriage Journal, and I’ve left you all hanging as to what exactly it is, and how we use it. But today I will end your suspense and finally shed some light on this tool we have been using and how it has drastically impacted our marriage.

I came across this journal last year, and it felt like a direct answer to prayer. Our marriage wasn’t in a bad place, but I was longing to go deeper and connect further. I’m a firm believer in life long learning and continual growth, and I wanted more of that for our relationship. Plus, I had been starting to recognize my shortcomings when it comes to communication. I personally have a tendency to think and feel a lot of things, but I lack strength in boldly, tactfully, or eloquently verbalizing those thoughts & feelings in constructive ways, and I don’t want to be a nagging wife, so sometimes I avoid bringing them up, which then leads to a lack of communication. And I was fearful of ever becoming one of those couples that over the years falls out of really knowing each other (again, not that we were at that point – just wanted to prevent ever coming close to that). So when this practice came to my attention, it felt like a very loud & clear response to my heart’s desires. I immediately ordered a journal as an anniversary gift to Adam, and when I explained what it was to him, he was willing to give it a try with me.

So what is the Marriage Journal exactly? In short, it is an incredibly powerful, yet simple tool to create a weekly rhythm of communication in your marriage. The basic premise of the journal is that you come together once a week to read through a quick devotional thought, get on the same page with any plans for the week, and then ask the following questions:

  • What brought you joy this week?
  • What is something that was hard this week?
  • What is one thing I can do for you this week?
  • Is there any unconfessed sin, conflict, or hurt that we need to resolve and/or seek forgiveness for?
  • What is a dream, craving, or desire that has been on the forefront of your mind this week?
  • How can I pray for you this week?

In addition to those weekly questions, once a month you also add in:

  • How are we stewarding our finances?
  • How is our sex life?

The questions are simple in nature, but they have the opportunity to unlock really profound conversations. For me, it felt like a chance to go beyond the surface and really hear more of my husband’s heart; a chance to have a platform for more challenging conversations without catching the other person completely off guard; and a chance to make sense of what goes on in each of our very different minds.

So how has it affected us? Let me count the ways…

  • It gives us set aside time to chat more thoroughly each week. We’ve always been pretty good at debriefing each of our days at the end of them, but we’d end up saving our deeper heart to hearts for date nights, which may or may not happen on a consistent basis. Now we are able to more frequently do a heart check and go beyond the basics. Plus it holds us accountable to not spending every night’s dinner in front of the TV – though we do still enjoy that together.
  • It has impacted the way we communicate day to day. There was a shift after we started getting into this new habit. I can’t exactly put my finger on it, but the best I can describe it is more tenderness towards each other in communication. We seem to ask more thoughtful questions in-between these weekly “meetings” that stem from things we had talked about as a result of them, displaying a greater care and regard for each other.
  • It’s empowered us to serve each other more effectively. By discussing things we can do for each other, we can more directly meet a need, rather than assuming what might be helpful.
  • We are each given a chance to speak our minds, while also taking the time to hear each other our. We both get to be heard – and I can bet that is something that matters to just about everyone.
  • It has unveiled our hearts more towards each other. There’s an extra sense of security in knowing, and being known by, your spouse when you lay it all out on the table and you still choose to stand beside, and love, each other.
  • Though we don’t argue too much in a traditional sense (not because we have it all figured out – Adam is just extremely laid back, and I’m so much of an over-thinker that I talk myself out of bringing up concerns), this journal helps to disarm conflict because we either address it more quickly before it builds up, or we prevent it from becoming a conflict in the first place. We have the space to address concerns that the other didn’t even realize was an issue. And rather than getting riled up about them not noticing, it offers the chance to be heard without either party becoming explosive or defensive.
  • It has helped to align our hearts more closely – whether one of us comes alongside the other with better understanding, or we both form a united stance on a situation.
  • We’ve been able to continue coming alongside and supporting each other amidst transitions, challenges, and chasing dreams. We’ve talked through job transitions and Adam’s marathon training, as well as my new unemployment, and even my commitment to this blog. And it always feels good to be affirmed that you’ve got someone on your team.

In all, like any marriage, we are two very different human beings, with different personalities, perspectives, thought patterns, upbringings, and so on. And while there is incredible beauty in that, it also means we always have something new to learn about each other, so we get to adjust the dynamics of our relationship as we do. This journal has helped to do that.

I’d also like to add that we do not use this journal “perfectly,” and each week can look a little different. Sometimes we miss a week, and sometimes we have to shift which day we do it. Sometimes neither of us have much of an answer to a question. Sometimes one of us has a lot to say, while the other has crickets. Sometimes it’s quick. Sometimes it takes awhile. Sometimes we dive deep into a challenge one or both of us is facing, and sometimes it’s very light hearted and simple. The point is that we make it work for us. And I hope to encourage you to make something like this work for you. Whether you buy the journal, or you simply just ask these questions to each other once a week, this could be an incredible opportunity to dive deeper and change your marriage for the better.

I’m a passionate advocate for this tool because of how much of a game changer it has been for our marriage. I’ve shared about it with friends, who have gone on to purchase it and give it a try. I’ve given it as an anniversary gift and as a wedding gift numerous times now, because it’s something that I wish we had from the start of our marriage. And I wanted to share more in detail about it with you here today because I believe your marriage is worth investing in. I believe that when we put in the work, we can reap a bountiful harvest of abundance as we dig deeper and connect with our spouses. Whether your marriage is in a perfectly healthy place, or you are barely hanging on; whether you have been married for 5 years, 50 years, or you are getting married next month – this journal is for you. You can always learn something new about your spouse. You can always go deeper in conversation. You can always become a more united front. And it’s never too late to start.

If I haven’t convinced you yet, you can check out more details for yourself here, where you can also purchase a copy. Or, like I said, maybe just go through the questions each week without purchasing the actual journal. Regardless, I hope you give this practice a try and I hope that through time you see a beautiful impact on the development of your relationship with your spouse.

I’ll leave you with these words from Mark 10:7-9: “‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”

P.S. What’s one question from the Marriage Journal that you think would be most influential if you added it into your weekly conversations with your spouse? I’d love to hear in the comments 🙂

NOTE: This post is not sponsored and I receive no compensation if you purchase a copy of the Marriage Journal – I just truly love what this tool has done for me and my husband, and I want you to experience it too!

best of 2019

Hello friends! I’m back for day two of my 2019 review. Yesterday I recapped the year’s most defining moments, memories, and adventures, and today I am sharing my ‘Best of 2019’ list. I saw a couple other bloggers do this, and I instantly loved it. It’s a mix of highlights from the year and recommendations for things I’ve tried and loved. I hope you enjoy!

Best adventure/travel/trip: In November we too a week long vacation at an all inclusive resort in St Lucia. It was the perfect trip full of relaxation, with some adventure. We had been saving up for a vacation like this for a long time, so to finally go on it and to enjoy it as much as we did was incredibly satisfying.

Another outstanding adventure was our hike 8.5 mile hike to Sky Pond in Rocky Mountain National Park. It was a perfect day in the mountains, and the entire trek was nothing short of a fairy tale.

Best book: Three books stand out to me as total game changers for my heart and life this year:

  1. You Are the Girl for the Job: Daring to Believe the God Who Calls You by Jess Connolly
  2. Something Needs to Change: A Call to Make Your Life Count in a World of Urgent Need by David Platt
  3. Imperfect Courage: Live a Life of Purpose by Leaving Comfort and Going Scared by Jessica Honeggar

Each of these books were laced with the right balance of truth, encouragement, and a total kick in the pants. Each of them were a call to something more. Each of them spurred me on in my faith journey in ways I didn’t realize how badly I needed. Each of them are going to be books of lifelong worth to me (I’m already on my second read through of You Are the Girl for the Job since it released in September – it’s just that good).

Best movie: I mean, there couldn’t possibly be another winner for this category other than Avengers: Endgame. Just absolutely epic.

Best album or song: I think this category can best be summed up with the help of my Spotify Wrapped. According to the stats, my sound changed with the seasons (which is usually the case) and the four top songs for each season it identified had me nodding my head in agreement.

Winter: Cringe – Stripped by Matt Maeson
Spring: Waiting for My Time to Come by Colony House
Summer: Live Forever by Mike Mains & the Branches
Fall: Carry Me Away by John Mayer

If you’re interested, you can listen along to what was on repeat for me in 2019 here.

Best podcast: The Balanced Life Podcast with Robin Long. Each week Robin interviews women who appear to be “doing it all,” and she talks with them about what they do AND don’t do to find their own unique sense of balance. Balance is a fairly consistent buzz word in my life, so I have found myself incredibly encouraged and inspired by the conversations in her first season.

Best follow on Instagram: Jess Connolly has been a consistent source of encouragement and truth on my instagram feed for years now. If it’s possible to be discipled by someone you’ve never even met, then she’s certainly done that for me. I’ve also followed Elise Cripe for years now and I find myself loving her real-talk attitude about goal setting, balance, and just living your life in a way that works for you.

Best date: We’ve had a conglomeration of date days that revolve around heading down to Fort Collins to explore or adventure. They’ve included going to the rock climbing gym, browsing REI or Trader Joe’s, wandering around Old Town, landing at some yummy restaurants with nice ambiance, and usually finishing with either Insomnia Cookies or Churn ice cream. Every time we have a day like this, I find myself enjoying the adventures with the company of my husband. Also noteworthy: we’ve never gone wrong with going out for a hike or doing an escape room.

Best faith grower: Two things stand out to me this year, each having to do with our jobs.

The most recent has been the gym I worked for going out of business, and then determining what my next steps would be. The road leading to closure was bumpy and challenging, and I found myself falling at the feet of Jesus each morning as we navigated through it. As a result, He provided me with so much peace and hope in His faithfulness amidst the feelings of turmoil, and He took it even further and revealed His plans for me in this next season. I dive more into this story here.

The other would be deciphering the right steps with an opportunity Adam could have had in his career. The decision making process had us going back and forth over the course of a year as we took our logistics, preferences, and past experiences that affected the decision into consideration, and for awhile we weren’t getting a clear ‘yes’ or ‘no’ from God. It not only drew us towards each other to process the decision together, but amidst the uncertainty of what to do, I again spent a lot of time handing it all over to God and trusting Him to lead us to the best decision. In the end, Adam decided to not pursue the opportunity and we both have been united and at peace about the decision.

Best trend you tried: This summer I gave intermittent fasting a try during our staff fitness challenge, and it was a total breakthrough for me in my health journey. I’ll likely be sharing more about my story with it here in the future.

Alternatively, I don’t know if you’d consider this a trend, but since it’s been a popular TV show for the last 10 years…despite my strong distaste for reality TV, Adam somehow got me hooked on Survivor this spring, so I decided to start from the beginning and watch all the way through. I’m currently on season 21, which is just past the halfway point as season 40 will be airing in February. Needless to say, I got into a much bigger commitment than I realized.

Best beauty purchase: I think I technically started using this in 2018, but I will still rave about my favorite dry shampoo more than any beauty product I use. This one actually makes my fine hair look and feel clean on days that it certainly doesn’t start out that way.

Best family memory: There’s not one specific day that stands out, but some of my favorite moments have been the simple, mundane ones. The evening summer walks we’d go on with the dogs, laughing hysterically at one of the dogs for something ridiculous they did (usually it’s Rizzo), playing in the snow – which just led to the dogs eating the snow. I think of those times and think of how one day I’m going to look back on moments like that and think “those were the days.” I love this simple little family of mine.

Best habit you created: Slow, quiet mornings with Jesus. I have usually spent my time praying, journaling, or reading my Bible in the mornings, and I have tried different routines to really maximize that time. What seems to work best for me is starting my day with Jesus before anything else. This led me to start getting up even just a little bit earlier to make sure I’d have time to take it slow before I jumped into my day. Even now that I’m not working, I have continued with the habit of starting most of my days with downing a glass of water, and slowly sipping a cup of coffee while I pray or read.

An honorable mention that I can’t quite claim as a habit because I don’t do it consistently enough – but definitely want it to be – is phone/scroll free days at least once a week. On those days I avoid time wasting habits on my phone (usually Instagram and Facebook), so that I can actually do the things I think about doing. Each time I do it, I’m always very glad I did.

Favorite blog post written: In honor of 10 years having passed since I graduated high school this year, I wrote a letter to my 17 year old self. It was cathartic to look back upon my younger self with grace and tenderness, and it was fun to reflect on how much I’ve grown and how much my life has changed since receiving that diploma.

Best new recipe: This instant pot chili recipe has been on repeat since the weather turned. An easy, hearty meal that we usually pair with some honey cornbread.

Best life hack: Two words: Pizza Friday. Most nights I’m not overly thrilled about the process of cooking dinner, but at the end of the work week, I was all the more over it. So on Friday nights we started spending the night in with two Jack’s pizzas and a couple TV shows (& usually some Ben & Jerry’s to go along with it). We started doing this sometime in the summer, and basically haven’t stopped. I’ve dubbed it my “Sabbath meal” because it allows me to rest from the work of planning and preparing a meal. It’s become a time of rest that we look forward to every week.

Best home improvement: This summer I got an outdoor rug and some string lights for our back patio, and it made my summer days even more joyful, and my summer nights even more magical.

Best little luxury you’ve enjoyed: On Amazon Prime Day we took the plunge and got ourselves a robot vacuum. While at times we both can have mixed reviews about the one we have, I’m thankful to have a little help at trying to keep the dog hair tumbleweeds at bay.


And that’s a wrap, on this post and on 2019 – though some reflections may trickle into the new year as I discuss goals for the year ahead. It’s been a good year in the real life Pruim life, and I hope that 2020 has some beautiful things in store for you all!

Happy New Year,

P.S. I’d love to know – what are some of your “bests” from 2019? Let me know in the comments!