Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Got Plans?

Sometimes it's easier to think our plans are better than God's--that we know better, and if only He'd listen and do things our way, He would see how great our ideas are.

Ever been there? I know I have--and it's a battle to remind myself that He knows better. He sees our future.

Miles Sweeney preached at our church last fall, and at one point in his sermon, he said, "God enters our life from the future."

There's a Casting Crowns song that says it like this: "To you my future is a memory."

Over and over again, God's word is clear that He has good plans for us, that He determines our steps, that He leads us to the best place--green pastures and still waters.

And in my life, I can recall example after example where God had a better way. Like the time I really wanted to go to A&M and study journalism. And God wanted me to go to Angelo State instead--a much better plan for my life because it's where I met Howell.

Speaking of my hubs reminds me of  another one of my plans. It was my senior year at Angelo, and I was going to grad school the next fall, moving back to Lubbock. I had it all figured out--and my plan did not include dating. What a distraction! I told the Lord I didn't want to date until I finished my PhD.

Then enter Howell, stage left.

He was not part of my plan. His timing was all wrong.

How could we date if I was moving?

How we could get married if we lived three hours apart?

How could I be married if I wanted to focus on grad school?

I'm so glad when I graduated with my PhD in 2012, Howell and I had been married for four years. What a blessing he was to me during one of the harder seasons of my life.

Sometimes I took at my life, and I think: this is not what I planned--thirty-two, ten years of marriage, and an empty five-bedroom house.

It's easy to say, this is not how it was supposed to work out. It's not how we planned it.

I have to remember--to remind myself--God knows the best way, the best plan, the best timing, the best story.

He writes far better than I do, and He's got a great plot in mind.

I don't know it. I can't predict it. I can't see it right now.

But He does. He sees from the future to now, and already, He's called it good.

What about you, friends? Is there something in your life you're waiting for? Is there a dream that's delayed?

Are you facing circumstances that feel unfair? Or life's not what you would've wanted? Not how you would've written this chapter?

Take heart. Take courage.

God's plans are far superior to ours, and we really can trust Him. He is good.

My prayer for 2019 is "lead me." Lead me to green pastures. Lead me beside still waters. Lead me to the path everlasting.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Fav Reads of 2018

Y'all, 2018 was a good year for books. I surpassed my reading goal for the year (and devoured six books in ten days over my Christmas break! :)) Today, I'm sharing my top-five favorite fiction I read in 2018 and my top five from the TBR pile for 2019.

Favorite Books I read in 2018:

5. Things I Never Told You by Beth Vogt

4. The Nightingale by Kristen Hannah

3. A Fall of Marigolds by Susan Meissner

2. Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate

1. Katherine Reay. Yes--not a book, just an author because in 2018, I read everything she's ever written (so far!), and I can't pick just one favorite (Dear Mr. Knightly and Lizzy and Jane and The Austen Escape and The Bronte Plot and A Portrait of Emily Price)

Books I'm excited to read in 2019:

1. The Rancher's Unexpected Baby by Jill Lynn (release date: January 15). (Spoiler alert--I already read this and loved it, but it's not out for all of you until TODAY--Jan 15--so go get a copy! :))

2. The Printed Letter Bookshop by Katherine Reay (release date: May 14)

3. Moments We Forget by Beth Vogt (release date: May 7)

4. The Memory House by Rachel Hauck (release date: April 2)

5. Summer by the Tides by Denise Hunter (release date: May 21)

What about you, friend? What do you recommend that you read last year? And what books are on your TBR pile for 2019?

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Top Nine of 2018

Happy New Year, friends! I couldn't figure out how everyone was posting their top nine in a single photo on social media, but I wanted to share mine with you:

We went to San Diego in March for a conference and found $13 lobster! I was completely freaked out to eat it, but I love this picture because it reminds me that my precious hubs makes me brave. (p.s. It was delicious!)

We lost Charlie in April, and I still miss him. He was an incredible dog. We didn't rescue him; he rescued us! 

We went to Charleston in June for our 10-year anniversary.

My hubs always makes me feel special on my birthday, but I especially love the faith he has for our family. 

Giving my thank-you speech for the ACFW Genesis Award was definitely a highlight of 2018.
We took our annual family trip to Wimberley, and this was one of my fav pics from the weekend. Canyon's face is priceless. (Don't worry, Doc got Canyon a telescope for Christmas. :))

We spend as much time with our nephews as possible, but our day at the Corn Maize may be one of my favorites in 2018.

Our only TTU Football game of 2018 (and a disappointment at that)--but my family is my favorite. I'm so glad I have a sister because I'll always have a friend.
I don't even know how to caption this. We spent a lot of time at Caprock Canyons this summer and fall. Camping. Hiking. Disconnecting from the world and connecting with our maker. I can't put into words how grateful I am for this man. I will follow him always. 

How was your 2018? What're your top nine pics--or memories?