Here's to fighting the winter blues

Screen Shot 2016-02-11 at 10.16.01 AM Although February is short, it's probably my least favourite month. It's like a constant state of exhaustion. You go to sleep tired, you wake up more tired. I don't understand how that even works.

Author Sarah Dessen tweeted this, which made me laugh:

I think the winter blues are a real thing, and here's how I'm fighting them -- with lots of my favourite things.

1. I'm reading blogs.

I don't normally read too many blogs, but this winter I have. My current favourites are Flower Patch Farmgirl (she's a gem in real life, too!), Hannah Brencher, and Flannery O'Connor. All right, I know Flan doesn't have a blog, (she and I are on nickname level friendship now) but I've been reading her Prayer Journal which feels more personal and vulnerable than a blog might feel. I hope she doesn't mind the millions of people reading her journal entries. They have comforted me considerably. I wish I could thank her.

I think I like all of these women so much because they are raw and open and real about God, and in the middle of winter I really don't want any more fluff.

2. Summer candles.

These are the candles I keep lighting: lemonade, mango tango, and grapefruit. If you close your eyes, you're basically on instant summer vacation.

3. Cuddling my boyfriend nephew.

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I wish everyone had a baby nephew. I wish everyone could hold their nephew and stare into his deep blue dazzling eyes, and wonder why their chest is hurting -- quickly realizing it's because their capacity to love is literally growing deep within them. I have loved more in the past three weeks than I have in my life. Noah Justice is the kindest, smartest, most beautiful baby in this entire world -- and yes, I know I'm biased, but I think you would agree if you knew him.

4. Starting each day the same

I don't generally love routines, but for this year I think I have found a routine in the morning that really works for me. A few people have asked me about it, so I figured I may as well share. It might be too long or too short for you, but it works for me!

  1. I begin with my bullet journal. I heart my bullet journal so much.
  2. I read the daily devo from My Utmost For His Highest, which I am madly in love with.
  3. I write in my journal. I used to only use my bullet journal, but I really missed long form writing. Since I've started up again, I feel like my head is clearer to begin my day.
  4. I read my Bible -- following a three year reading plan. Last year I made it my goal to finish my Bible in a year. It was great, but I felt so much stress! It was always about the goal, instead of about what I was reading. This year I'm trying this -- it's slower and I can savour it more. No stress, and there's more time to get it inside of me.

Now that it's Lent, I've switched a few things around to focus more on the journey to the cross, but the essence of it is the same. This is working really well for me.

5. Prison Break.

Oh my gosh, I forgot how much I love this show. I flew through the first season on Netflix, intermingling with my other new-to-me favourites, Grey's Anatomy and The Office. I still haven't finished Gilmore Girls because I don't want it to end. I also am working my way through Lost.

I can only read one book at a time, but I can have seventeen hundred shows in my brain at once. Although I think I've been watching too much Prison Break because I've started to dream about it:

 So this is what's helping me fight my winter blues. Tell me what your favourites are this winter! 

PS. Thank you so much for all of your support with my previous blog post. I don't think I've ever been so encouraged. 

Happy Thursday, pals. 

My faves of 2015


When I think of 2015, I think of planes, trains, and automobiles. I think I took -- minus a helicopter, dang it -- every sort of mode of transportation this year. I'm pretty sure motorcycles top my list of my favourite ways to get around. 2015 was a year of adventure. My passport has six or seven new stamps, including the gorgeous one from Machu Picchu. It was a year of going new places, and meeting new people, and trying new food (like guinea pig and alpaca, to name a few). I'm so deeply grateful for these experiences and the stories I have collected from them. But I think 2016 will be a year of staying. That's fine with me, too.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset Here are a couple of favourite things of mine from 2015 --

*contains Amazon affiliate links

Favourite books:


All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven was my favourite book in the fiction category. I inhaled it on my trip to Peru. I hardly slept the way there because I just kept reading and reading. I hope Jennifer Niven continues to write more young adult novels. I thought it was beautiful, tender, and truthful.


Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide by Nicholas D. Kristof was my favourite book in the non-fiction category. Oh my gosh. I read this during my time in Uganda, which made everything so much more real. I would come home from seeing pregnant women about to give birth in the hospital hallways because there was no room for them, and then I would read Half The Sky. Both my experience in Uganda alongside the book changed me. I keep buying copies and giving it to people.

Favourite hand lettering pens:

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Faber Castell Pitt Artist Pens are my favourite pens to use for simple hand lettering. In the quote I lettered above, I used the S tip. But I also love the M, as well as the B and F. I'm a big cheater (it's okay to cheat at hand lettering in my books!) and I draw all of my letters out in pencil first, and then I fill them in afterwards.

Favourite TV shows:


How have I never seen Gilmore Girls before this year? Sister started watching it at the beginning of the year, and convinced me to start too. I'm just on season 7 now, and I reallyreallyreally don't want it to end. Lorelai and Rory forever!


And of course I watched Friday Night Lights like there was no tomorrow. I'm going to re-watch the whole series again. It's just too good not to. Two words: Tim Riggins.

Favourite social media platform:

Instagram's probably going to be my favourite forever. I know there are a million new apps, but I keep loving Instagram. Something about seeing people's lives in picture form -- and there's so much art!

Here's a peek at my most liked photos from this year:


Favourite adventure/experience:

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Naming baby Eve in Uganda tops my list of experiences this year. Machu Picchu was an incredible adventure, but naming that precious, tender baby girl was one of my most favourite things I've done in my life, let alone 2015.

Favourite blog posts:

Most looking forward to in 2016:


The birth of my baby nephew! He's set to arrive at the beginning of January. Auntie Aliza's going to go all out, that's for sure.

So tell me -- what are your favourites from 2015? And what are you most looking forward to this next year?