Wednesday, December 30, 2015


I’m sure you’ve seen the flawlessly put together images as you scroll through your Instagram feed-- mommy bloggers, inspiring publications, home and lifestyle styling gurus, all posting these perfect images weaved together in a 3 by 3 grid to showcase their pictures with the ‘most likes’ received throughout 2015.

While I will take part in this trend as a fun way to look back on the advancement of my baking skills (since it’s all maracons and cakes people like on my feed anyways), I am reminded that even though the ‘likes’ on social media of the picture-perfect moments we share may be awarded the title of ‘Best Nine’, we should take time to reflect on the real best moments of 2015. These are the moments not put on social media for the world to see, but those that have left us a little more humble, a little more grateful, and a little more in awe of how God works wonders in our lives when we surrender to Him the room to lead while we follow.

What’s so fascinating about our personal Best Nine is how they can be composed of things no one even knows happened. The quiet moments of overcoming a struggle, the sigh of relief signaling the completion of a job well done, or the reflection of time where leaps of faith transformed a chaotic canvas into God-send scenes of tranquility in the landscape of our lives. These moments, unlike those we view on Instagram, aren’t always pretty. Sometimes they are gritty and covered in years of battle scars. However, sometimes they are truly as beautiful—moments of triumph and success willingly shared with those around you to spread love and joy.

When I think of my best moments of 2015, a lot of them are the results of hard decisions and hard work—not the things you post on social media that would garner many ‘likes’ for their lack of mindful composition and precise colour palette.

The craziest thing to happen in 2015 was the move back to Manitoba. I’ve written about it before and it still amazes me that we are here (and have been back for almost an entire year!). This move spiralled into a year where my 2015 theme word really shone through in unimaginable ways. My word, by the way, was Thrive, and while reflecting on the year that has past I can see how I’ve managed to live it out.

Memorable moments of 2015 include the decision to work at Jenna Rae Cakes and the growth, challenges and goodness which has resulted; moving to Winnipeg instead of staying in Winkler; being intentional with relationships in a way I’ve never been before and the result; and finally becoming more pleased with myself than hard on myself in terms of self-esteem, confidence and body image. Especially noteworthy moments include the return of my wonderful husband from Dubai and resuming life together, fully enjoying all the benefits of cat-ownership, and learning more about myself as I evolve into the person God has designed me to be—focusing on virtues important to eternal life and not those that communicate success in the mainstream.

Reflecting on these best moments gives me immense gratitude for trials and struggles and moments where God has to come through (um, hello finding an apartment two days before we had to move). In the good moments and the more trying moments God is there to guide—if we let Him show us the way, and if we choose to follow. 

That is what I think my theme for 2016 will be.

While 2015’s word of Thrive made it easy to focus on success and accomplishments, 2016 needs to step away from the idea of wordly success and focus more on living a Christ-centered life. The general sentiment (while still working on ideal phrasing) is: Listen and Live Out.
It’s one thing to speak to God…and ask, and complain, and express gratitude, and praise, and express thankfulness and fears and joys. It’s another thing to listen to answers and receive guidance. And it’s a whole different ball game (ha, sports) when you decide to internalize the lessons and live it out.

Living out a life where God leads will be uncomfortable.
It will be contrary to societal views of success, in its various forms.
It will be challenging.
It will be unique.
It will be scary.
It will be different then anything I have ever imagined my life to be, because God has direction for our lives more grand then we can, and could, ever imagine.
More than anything, it will be this:
Full of Love

Happy Holidays from our little family
to yours! 
Everything God does is rooted in the context of a loving relationship. Moments will be scary because they will require looking ridiculous to people, and doing things that don’t seem normal, and stepping out with faith in unknown rooms where no lights have yet been turned on.  But all the lessons learned, challenges along the way, and unimaginable end results will be sewn with strands of Love to create the very fabric of it’s existence. To know Love is the base makes it all sorts of intriguing.

Here’s to your Best of 2015 and to an even more amazing 2016. I hope your best moments of 2015 guide you into a 2016 with more than a #BestNine, but a life lived with grace and love and challenge and grit all the moments of make 2016 your best yet.

Happy Holidays from our little family to yours!