2017 Bible Reading Plan

2016 is quickly coming to a close.  I’m not terribly upset about that.  While 2016 had some amazingly wonderful moments, it has also included some of the hardest of my life.  And whether it will be or not, the hope withheld in the newness of a brand spanking untouched and untarnished year, makes 2017’s approach all the more exciting.  Something about fresh starts, new days dawning, hope comes in the morning. Ah, hope.  Such a generous & grace-filled word.  I am counting down these last few hours until we say au revoir to 2016 forever!

I’m not really a resolution kind of gal.  I lie.  Actually, I am.  If you know my personality even a smidgen, you can see that I am a goal setter.  I put my mind to something & I get it done.  Often with lots {and lots and lots} of complaining at times.  But I, nevertheless, get the goal met & crossed of the list.  So, I actually am the resolution type…except that for some reason this goal-setting, list-crossing-off, bucket-list-finishing gal has a problem getting through resolutions.  And as much as I love a good goal set and achieved, I loathe the setting a goal & missing it even more.

So resolutions.  They’re a strange bunch.  Perhaps fueled by all the hope I was talking about before.  New day dawning, spanking fresh start…blah, blah, blah.  Resolutions get somehow thrown on paper in permanent sharpie in a whimsical, wishful way full of hopes & dreams.  And nearly every actual new year’s resolution I’ve ever set for myself has gone uncompleted.  GASP!  I hate unfulfilled goals.  Failure.  That’s what resolutions bring.  From all out hope to utter failure in a matter of usually two-three months.  It’s daunting.

All this to say.  No resolutions for me.  Well.  Except one.  But I’ve given this some real thought, not just unicorns dancing on clouds thought & I’ve put some real planning in motion to see that I fulfill this new year’s resolution.  Because a goal without a plan is just a wish.  So plan I have.

This year I resolve to read the New Testament.  You see, every single year in recent history that I can remember I have resolved to “this year read the Bible”.  And by mid Leviticus I’m out.  Done.  Fini!  Have you ever tried to read through the Bible cover to cover?  It’s not an easy read.  Some of these Old Testament books are weird.  Just plain weird. They are hard to get through.  So I quit.  sigh…

But not this year.  I’m tackling the New Testament & while i know there will still be some weird moments {like all of Revelation} I’m thinking I’m much less likely to throw in the towel like I do every time I get to Noah getting drunk and sleeping with his daughters.  To make this resolution even more attainable, I’ve made the reading fairly easy.  One chapter a day with a very relaxed 2 chapters a week over the summer.  No excuses about time. Oh, and I’ve given myself Saturdays off too.  I’ve picked an order that will likely keep me interested {such as separating the gospels, one per quarter rather than all four back to back}.  And if all that weren’t enough, I made cute little cards to put in my planner to remind me to read.  I have no excuses for this not being a resolution I can accomplish.  And I’m kind of excited. Both to actually finish a resolution & to read the New Testament.

 

If you’re in the mood to read through the New Testament or part of it, I’d love to have you join in the fun.  I have included a printable for free that you can print off at home that includes the entire year of reading. It will print 2 months per letter sized paper.  Or if you are interested, I also have printed sets that will fit the medium sized The Happy Planner available for $6 at my Etsy site.

You can get a Happy Planner from Michaels right now on sale {HUGE SALE}.

Please let me know if you’re reading along.  I’d love to know there’s someone else out there in the same part of Scripture with me each day.  My plan to is post about what I’m reading fairly regularly to help keep me accountable.  The more the merrier.

 

day 15 :: Almost There

Today’s Christmas song {Almost There} is a flashback to two artist from my younger years – Amy Grant & Michael W. Smith.  A simple & beautiful song.

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free printable advent cards

Today’s verse is an absolute favorite of mine!

Luke 2:19

But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.

The angels had heralded the shepherds, reporting on the breaking news.  The shepherds had gone “without haste” to see what the angels had spoken of.  They didn’t sit around to discuss whether they should go.  They didn’t form a committee to talk about the best way to proceed.  They just went.  And although there are times in which planning, preparation and committee formation are vital, there are times when it is obvious that going without haste is the best choice.  This was one of those occasions.

The shepherds found the situation exactly as had been reported.  Mary, Joseph, a baby wrapped in cloth.  Exactly as reported.  From there the shepherds, we are told, made known what they had seen & heard.  They heralded the news to others.

But Mary.  Mary ‘treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart’.  She had delivered the promised Messiah.  She had done so in a less than ideal location. They had no cradle.  They had no blanket, just some strips of cloth to cover their newborn with.  The first visitors were lowly shepherds.  Stinky, dirty shepherds.  Some women may have questioned the wisdom of the circumstances surrounding the arrival of the King.  Some women might have felt robbed of a grand event with pomp and circumstance & “worthy” visitors.  Some women may have believed that this was wrong and certainly a mistake.  But Mary.  God chose her for a reason, and I can see a glimpse of her character in these simple verses.  Her heart.  Mary treasured these moments – no matter how ridiculously strange they must have seemed.  Because let’s be honest, the fact that deity, the Word made flesh, the Great I Am was born a baby in a stable and the first to visit were some of the ‘less thans’ of the time does seem ridiculous.  But Mary held on to those memories, treasured them up.  They must have carried her throughout her life.

I also am always struck that Mary treasured but didn’t herald.  The angels heralded, the shepherds heralded, but Mary pondered.  Mary didn’t herald.  Mary didn’t appear to need to convince anyone else of the events of Jesus’ birth.  She treasured and pondered.  Of course there was no social media at the birth of Jesus {obvious comment there, yes}  But consider it a second.  Instagram.  Twitter.  Facebook.  Can you even?  The shepherd’s Instagram would have been lit up like a Christmas tree with all the selfies of them and the angels and with Mary, Joseph and the baby. Tweeting #wemettheKing #theMessiaharrived #angelssaiditwesawit. Can you even imagine?  But what about Mary?  From these verses I believe we wouldn’t have seen a post or selfie from Mary with the baby.  Her feed would have been silent as she lived in the moment.  Treasured her baby, her family, her God.  Her memories would have been stored in her heart.  Sometimes it’s not our job to herald.  Sometimes it’s our job to treasure.  Wisdom dictates when.  Mary knew she must treasure rather than herald.

Thanksgiving Week – Let’s Plan

thanksgiving graphicI look forward to this week all year long.  I cannot tell you how excited I get just thinking of the Thanksgiving feast ahead of me.  Although not always the case, in the past several years, cooking for Thanksgiving is a highlight.  The recipe searching, the shopping list making, the shopping, the prepping, the planning, the actual day of cooking it all…glorious!

I’ve been scouring for perfect recipes for weeks now, finalizing this year’s menu & I think I have it all figured out.  I stick with my trusty and true important recipes {the stuffing, the potatoes, the green beans} and then I give myself some play room in the other areas of turkey and non-required sides.  Call me a geek.

In an effort this year {and all years} to make sure I have all my ducks in a row {or should that read turkeys?} I make lists.  I love a good list.  And I decided that it would be fun to share it with you.  I remember back to my first on-our-own Thanksgiving being completely overwhelmed by the entire Thanksgiving process.  I’m hoping that maybe if you’re new to turkey day, this will be helpful. You can print it here – thanksgiving to do

thanksgiving to do

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Tomorrow, I’ll be sharing my recipes for Thanksgiving 2015 along with a printable shopping list!  Thanksgiving is nearly here!!!  Let’s get cooking!

 

encourage one another

What a weekend!  I am a big fan of the Hearts at Home ministry & this weekend was the annual Hearts at Home conference in Rochester, MN.  Hearts at Home is a Christian ministry designed to build up women, no matter their age or stage, so that they can be the best wife, mommy, friend, woman they can be.  And, let’s be real here, it’s a weekend away from the responsibilities of home with some girlfriends to just relax!  Winner Winner Weekend.

This year I was so excited to be a volunteer for the conference.  I was a personal assistant for one of the speakers.  And what a speaker I got assigned to!  Courtney Joseph! I have been hanging out over at Good Morning Girls for a long time & following along with her journey through Scripture.  I also absolutely love her book!  And I discovered this weekend that she is an incredibly kind & God seeking gal! And she’s real & normal.  I love real and normal!!

But the very, very, very best part of the weekend was the time after the conference.  When all the gals that I traveled to Rochester with would meet up, attempt to make a decision about where to eat {harder than you can even know!}, go back to the hotel room & laugh and cry and laugh a lot more!  There is something incomparable to time with girlfriends.  Longtime girlfriends & new ones too…no matter!

One of the evenings, we sat in the hotel room all cozy in our sweats, eating up all the chocolate & mints we brought along.  Never mind that we had just finished some of the best burgers we’d ever eaten. {shout out to the Half Barrel in Rochester, MN!}  There is always room for sea salt chocolates!  One of the gals said “we are going to share what we like best about each other.  I’m not kidding!  Let’s start with you.”  We sat, eating taking turns sharing the things that we loved most about the other women in the room. It was awkward at first – both to share and to be the receiver.  But as we all shared, it became so much less awkward and so much more refreshing.   Character qualities and skills and talents and stories filled the hours.  Some of us had known each other for decades.  Others, just a day or two.  But we shared what we saw, what we loved, how much we appreciated each other.  It was powerful!  To hear what others see in you, deep inside you…life giving!

We are called to build each other up, encourage each other, do good to one another & a whole host of other things that help us to thrive in this life.  It’s not easy to do, awkward at times, but it’s so powerful!  Sometimes it’s easier to pull down.  To remind people of the areas that are not so swell, not the best, not what you love.  Other times it’s easy to think that people know what you love about them, that they already are aware of the qualities that make them special to you.  But, often we don’t know & often we even question if any of those qualities exist in us.  We see them in others, but can’t find them within ourselves.

So today, be thankful for your friends and take time to remind them that not only are you thankful for them, but share what you see in them that makes them lovable & wonderful to you.

{click on the image for a printable version}

Thankful Cards // part 1 :: Free Printable

Let’s call this a freebie Friday!  Because we all love Friday & we all love freebies!  Especially free printable!  Am I right?

I need many, many reminders to focus on being thankful. I forget sometimes to count my blessing & thank the giver of those things.  Sometimes I’m counting other people’s blessings instead of my own.  Which is utterly stupid, because I have enough blessings to not need to worry about other people’s, but that is the ridiculousness of me being a human.  I don’t count every single blessing of others, just the ones I’d kind-a, sort-a like to be counting in my blessing column.  Ugh!  So yucky!  Truth is my blessings column is probably full enough, if I’d just take a second to really look it over.  Silly humanness.

So to try to remind myself to spend some quality time this month actually thanking the giver of all for every amazing thing he has provided to me in this life, I decided to make some little scripture cards.

IMG_2340And {this is where the freebie part comes in} I’m sharing them with you.  Today I’m including the first 8 thanksgiving printable.  {hopefully more will follow leading up to Thanksgiving}  Scripture that reminds me to look to God and be thankful.  In all circumstances and situations because he is my strength when life is hard & for that I should be thankful also.  So enjoy these little cards!  Print them out on some nice cardstock {i use 65 lb.} and cut them using the cutting guides.  I used my decades old Creative Memories corner rounder to give them a little softness.

IMG_2342Hang them up where you’ll see them.  Or read one each day.  Or memorize them.  Definitely share them with your kids around the dinner table.  And be thankful.  Because we have SO much to be thankful for.  Enjoy!!

UPDATE

More FREE Thanksgiving printables available for download here & here.  Enjoy!