Monday, December 29, 2014


We're in the final days of 2014, and I'm ready. Not because 2014 hasn't been good (it has), or because there aren't any unknowns in 2015 (aren't there always?), but because it feels right. It feels like it's time to wrap up the year, put the lessons and struggles and precious, precious memories into a box, absorb them into my heart, and start a new, blank page. Time for new.

There were some real rough patches this year, and some tremendously sweet times, and the crazy thing is, sometimes I can't remember which is which. There were some moments where I totally dropped the ball, times when I wanted to crawl into a corner and never, ever come out again, and afterwards there were times when people's grace found me and loved me and made it okay again. There was a unusually intense (although, thankfully, also unusually short) struggle with depression. There was a lot of happiness. There were a lot of people who stood around tossing criticism like it was a darts contest, and there were a few incredible people who stood on the sidelines of my life and cheered loud and long. There was a long of learning new things, and there was the comfort of returning to things I've done a hundred times and could probably do in my sleep. There was a lot of sleep lost, and a lot of sleep caught up on (thank God for the latter!).

It's crazy how my soul instinctively starts "taking stock" this time of year, thinking and recapping and planning. There's a sort of soothing rhythm to wrapping up the year this way, a sort of "going boldly forth" confidence that springs from it. I found myself deep-cleaning my cabinets at midnight this past week and had to laugh - it's what I always end up doing, cleaning and organizing and decluttering my physical space as a sort of counterpoint to the same mental clearing that happens at the same time.

I'm excited about the directions God has given me, and excited about the new year, but mostly I'm just blessed. So tremendously blessed. It would be almost impossible to list all the blessings that have come this year, and the year before, and even this week I was thinking about how God was pulling up things from my past that I'd never attached much significance to, that have become incredibly important in the here and now. That whole, "Taste and see that the Lord is good" thing has never been so true.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

On Christmas Cookies

I've been wanting to do a post about my Christmas baking just so I'd have all my information in one post for future reference, so if this is boring, feel free to skip.

Here are the basics:

- My cookie baking list usually has about eighteen people on it (most of which are my coaches from swim). One double batch each of four kinds of cookies makes enough for everyone, with a few leftovers for my dad and I to enjoy. :)

- Here are my standard recipes, all from the same issue of Everyday With Rachael Ray (all my fav recipes come from there!): Peppermint Patty Cookies, Apricot Cheesecake Cookies, and Hot Cocoa Cookies. As time/money permits, I've also made the Coconut Snowflakes and the Ginger Peanut Butter Cup Cookies, but they're fussy (all of them are, really) and generally my patience doesn't hold up that much. :)

- You can make all of these in advance and freeze them EXCEPT the Peppermint Patty cookies. They will explode. Don't do it.

- It costs almost exactly $50 to buy the ingredients to do my holiday baking. I always think I'm going to remember this, and I never do, so this year I saved the receipt! :)

- It's worth doing. I always question this when I'm in the middle of baking gazillions of cookies, but people genuinely appreciate homemade goodies, and it's a great way of saying "Merry Christmas!"