2020 Vision

Today the date is January 12, 2020. It has been 12 days of reflecting on what my vision is for 2020. I loved last year how I had laid out goals for different passions within my life. Reading, art, moving, self empowerment and the 7 challenge. Why did I love ALL of those goals? They all were focused around things that I love. Even though I tried to scale down my monthly goals, there were a lot of goals each month. I didn’t achieve all of them, and they even tapered off as the year went on. I learned to be ok with that. I learned a lot about myself in 2019. I learned about why some of those goals were more important and why some were not. This year, I think it has to be less. Less in a way that may turn into more. More meaningful that is.

I decided to go with a phrase this year.

BE PRESENT.

Being present should rein in all of the important things that I need to focus on. I am hoping this will help strengthen the person I am and strive to be. The person that makes me strong for those that around me. God. Family. Friends. Co-workers.

Here are the things I want to focus on and more BE PRESENT with:
Faith

Family

Food

Workouts

Strengths

BE present IN FAITH

Daily reading of the Bible

Monthly Bible study

No judgement of people

BE present WITH FAMILY

Make eye contact

Less multitasking

More hugs

More silly times

More freedom

BE present WITH FOOD

Healthy food

Proportion

Intermittent fasting

Ayurveda practices

MyFitnessPal app

Be present WITH WORKOUTS

Cardio that is good for me

Weight training that strengthens m back

30 minutes a day/ 5 x a week

10,000 steps a day

Be present WITH STRENGTHS

Discipline

Input

Relator

Responsibility

Intellection

Learner

Belief

Developer

Arranger

Individualizations

2019 brought a lot of joy back into my life. It created space to be ok with what is important to me. 2020 is going to be a good year.

The Year 2019

Everyone has been reflecting over the past few days as 2019 came to an end. I have too in my head and have not known where to start. I even felt at one point, why write about it? My answer? Write about it for me. Write about it for those that will read it. Write about it to document your past. Talk about it, just in case it helps someone else. So here I am and it’s January 1, 2020.

Born in 1982, I have now lived in 5 different decades, 2 centuries and 2 millenniums. I am not certain if I would have thought that deeply about it had it not been floating around Facebook and Instagram. Goodness gracious. I feel like I have seen a lot, however, my grandfather-in-law passed away last week at the age of 92. Think about what he saw! I graduated high school almost 20 years ago. *almost hyperventilating* It doesn’t feel like that as I remember it so clearly. My best friends are still from that time in my life or shortly after. Maybe that helps with that feeling.

Since getting married in 2011 life has had it’s ups and downs. Marriage is not easy. Moving to a new town was not what it was cracked up to be. Being a mom is difficult. Throw those 3 things into a 10 month span, it was a rocky ride. A rocky ride that didn’t settle down. Until 2019 that is.

What happened in 2019? Let me back up a ways. I had a doctor tell me late in 2017 that I was normal. The overwhelming feelings I was having was normal. Nothing was wrong with me. She prescribed me some medication, yet didn’t think I needed it. She was right. I tried it. It made me feel tired and I quickly tucked it away knowing it was not right for me. She referred me to a counselor. This counselor was amazing. She too, said that what I had experienced was normal, that the rocky road I had endeavored would have caused a lot of people to feel the way I was. Sad, overwhelmed, exhausted, feeling heavy, and not knowing what else I could do. I felt alone in this town. I saw her many times and it helped me become aware. This awareness taught me that I was not alone. I had to go with my gut and take time for myself. I had to put distance between me and some people in my life. Without going into too many more details, details that I promised I would not share, I had to make some decisions. I had to speak my mind in a calm and direct manner and make some decisions. 2018 was a long year. A long year of reading books by Rachel Hollis and Jessica Turner. A year of discovering the Enneagram. It was the start to realizing for myself that I am ok to be me. I am ok to know what I am. I am ok to know that I am normal. I am ok to know that I am not asking too much.

2019 happened. Right at the beginning lightbulbs were turned on in our home. It was like the universe shifted. We, or I, but really, we, waited out the storm. I was blessed to attend two courses through my work on leadership. Again, my eyes were opened. I was not alone. There were tools to help me and others through our troubles. We just have to be open to them. We have to be open to change. Not everyone is and that is ok too, but, some changes have to be made to remain healthy. Thanks to Brene Brown, thanks again to Jessica Turner and to Elizabeth Gilbert, I was brought back to life. These authors speak very powerful words!

Now, don’t get me wrong. 2019 still had its downs. It was not peachy keen all the time. However, with hard conversations, keeping an open mind, acknowledging people’s differences, and because of the hard work I put into studying myself, it was less overwhelming. We are still climbing this newer steep hill, or at least, in my mind we still are.

Towards the end of 2019 I took a new job. One that caters to my strengths. I am excited to test how this works out for me in 2020. Now, if someone reads this from my new place of employment, they may have caught the word “test”. I am not going anywhere. Testing my strengths at this job has already proven how it lifts me up. Focusing on my strengths has worked for me. I am not fighting a part of my life like I was. I can’t wait to dive more into this topic and share what I learn. I am fascinated with how others work. How do we help others find their light? I ponder what the world would be like if we all realized how to be our best self, how to acknowledge our wrong doings and lift each other up.

I welcome the new year and all that it will bring. The good and the bad.

2019 Book List

Here I will list the books that I read in 2019. Most of them I will provide a link to my book review. Beware, if you read the review, it may give away what happens in the book. Read with caution *smile*

Three Wishes, Liane Moriarty

Coffee Pines & Designs Book Review Here

Still Alice, Lisa Genova

Coffee Pines & Designs book review here

Of Mess and Moxie, Jen Hatmaker

Coffee Pines & Designs has many posts referencing this book.

Friendly Deceit, L.V. Hope

Coffee Pines & Designs book review here

The Fringe Hours, Jessica N. Turner

Coffee Pines & Designs book review here

Big Magic, Elizabeth Gilbert

Coffee Pines & Designs book reviews:

Big Magic and Encouragement

Big Magic and Enchantment

Big Magic and Permission

Big Magic and Persistence

Big Magic and Trust

Dare to Lead by Brene Brown

Uninvited by Lysa TerKeurst

Review here

The House Pinterest Built by Diane Keaton

Review here

The Bridal Quartet by Nora Roberts

Review here

Educated by Tara Westover

Review here

Still in the Game by Devon Still

Review here

From Scratch by Tembi Locke

Review here

Flow Grip Still by Kennedy Ryan

Review here

Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Review here

Soul Series by Kennedy Ryan

Review here

Summer of ’69 by Elin Hildebrand

Hoops Series by Kennedy Ryan

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger

White Fragility by Robin Diangelo

Review here

Come As You Are by Emily Nagoski

Review here

The King Maker and The Rebel King by Kennedy Ryan

Review here

Winter in Paradise and What Happens in Paradise by Elin Hikderbrand

Wild Game by Adrienne Brodeur

Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

Bible Study

Happy (almost) December! The snow started to finally fall this morning in the Northland. I expected to see inches of snow upon waking up as we are in a Winter Storm Warning. I finished up a wonderful Bible Study just now and felt the urge to share.

For the past month a couple of friends and I followed Courtney Joseph and the Good Morning Girls’ Making Your Home a Haven Bible Study. Part of her method is quite simple. She calls it the SOAK method.

read the SCRIPTURE

OBSERVE what verse sticks out to you the most

APPLY it to your daily life

KNEEL IN PRAYER over your sins

If you purchase her Making Your Home a Haven study guide she also has you list out what you are grateful for and what you are praying for that day. This 4 week Bible Study focused on Gratitude, Meditation, Prayer and Fasting. I wonder what Courtney was thinking…fasting for the week of Thanksgiving? *smile* I tried to fast for one day- I ended up eating a banana at lunch and ate a salad for dinner as I “couldn’t” push through. I could have. I know I could have. I realize this was a challenge I failed. I prayed and journaled a lot about fasting for the week. Food is a weakness for me. It is my go to for comfort. It is something I work on daily.

I think why I liked her method, or found it easy to adapt to, is that it mimics what I have being trying to do for over a year. It started with a devotional a friend gave to me, Be Still and Know. I would read the daily devotion, pray and journal about it, write down what I am grateful for and I would write down my 10 dreams (Rachel Hollis driven). This fall I came across an app called First 5 by Proverbs 31 Ministries. It was a nice change to read more verses from the Bible. I used this rather than the Be Still and Know devotion.

Thanks to the Annie Down’s podcast, That Sounds Fun, I was introduced to She Reads Truth. There is an Advent 2019 Bible Study they put together. I look forward to starting this tomorrow morning. It is beautifully put together with music, crafts, and recipes.

Once January comes around I look forward to journaling in my Moleskine Professional Journal again. Each page is sectioned just write for the continued use of the SOAK method, writing what I am grateful for and writing out my daily prayers.

As with any goal, it takes time to make it a habit. I am glad that this habit is more “on” than it is “off”. One of my dreams I would list out each day, is that “I walk with God daily”. I think I can cross this goal off of my list. It is simply part of my life now.

Curiosity Leads To More Books

We have all heard about the dog that gets distracted by a squirrel. Or someone gets lost down a rabbit trail. Well, I get distracted by shiny objects. Or, maybe I can call it being curious. I took the Gallup Strengths Finder test this summer. Input and intellection were two of my top five strengths. Both talk about reading to become more knowledgeable about subjects so I can relate (another top five strength) to others. That would explain how I read two totally random books this year. I started them this summer and finished them both just recently. Kennedy Ryan’s writing encouraged me to read White Fragility and Come As You Are.

I have always been interested in other cultures. Our heritage, our race and our upbringing helps shape us. Whether we embrace it or shy away from it. Often times, Kennedy has her characters intertwined in interracial relationships. I am a Scandinavian woman living in the Midwest. I grew up listening to gangsta rap and watching Boyz n the Hood. I am far from the world 2Pac lived in. So very far away. I came across White Fragility by Robin Diangelo as I tried to find a book that discussed living as a minority. I listened to the audiobook version. It changed the way I tried to prep myself to explain race to my girls. I thought I was going to teach them that they should treat others all the same. I realize I was not preparing myself to say the right words though. They need to acknowledge the differences we all bring to this world. We are all unique. We have our ancestors. We have all struggled in some way or another. We may have different skin colors, speak different languages and maybe have a different God. What we all deserve is love, kindness and respect. That is what I have always prepared myself to say to my kiddos. This book helped me come up with the right words. This book made me feel shame. It made me feel sad and angry. It was not an easy read, however, I hope that it opened up my eyes and my heart. I hope that it helps form me into the loving human God wants me to be.

Come As You Are. Far from any book I have read before. I tell you though, I plan on providing this book to my girls when they near adulthood. It’s “far too much” for a teenage girl to read, but I wish I would have known what a “normal” woman’s sexual health is like. There is no normal. That is the thing. I read about Kennedy Ryan’s strong women characters with sexual confidence and desire. Far from this girl right here. I am not like those girls. I am hardly a rated R version *sigh* all I am going to say is I highly suggest this book. For the hubby’s out there, not a bad one to read to gain some perspective.

To wrap this up, I am amazed at where by brain wonders these days. I am amazed that I go to read a mindless romance novel, which I am so thankful for, and I turn the page wondering what is the best book to educate me on random topics.

Thank you for the many talented authors out there. Ryan’s latest work, The King Maker, is another great piece of art.

Thai Carrot Soup

Last weekend I started to use up the many pounds of carrots we were blessed to have out of our garden. Many things did not grow well, or a critter got to them, however, the carrots were plentiful. I could not decide which soup to try first, so of course what did I do? Have a small bowl of both. By far the Creamy Thai Carrot Soup with Basil was the winner for me. This came from the Minimalist Baker. The bottom soup was a Roasted Carrot Soup. It tasted awfully close to the Slow Roasted Tomato Soup I make from Gwyneth Paltrow which has remained one of my absolute favorite recipes from her. Please enjoy the unique taste from the Minimalist Baker.

Knoephla Soup

Knoephla (pronounced neh-fla) soup is a recipe I grew up on. My mom can whip it up without a recipe. In fact, When I asked her for a recipe years ago, she could not even give me one. She just throws random amounts of ingredients into a pot. Once I tried to write it down as she made it. Then I found I could not make the dumplings from scratch like she does. It is truly an art, and store bought dumplings are just not the same. It is quite disappointing when I can not carry on a tradition like this. This being said, I can mimic the scent of the butter cooking the onions, carrots and celery. Win for me!

I was excited to see Molly Yeh put her Knoephla Soup recipe in her cookbook, Molly on the Range. The ingredients are slightly different than the one my mom makes. I was excited to put her recipe to the test. I would say it passed. It is almost as good as my mom’s. Molly just can’t duplicate the love my mom puts into hers. *smile*

Chicken Paprikash

Is it fall or winter? This weekend it happens to be both. We have reached our peak fall colors. Vibrant orange and gold surrounds us in all directions in Northern Minnesota. However, snow has fallen on and off for the last 24 hours. As the temperatures drop again this evening it is accumulating on the ground. No matter how pretty it is, it’s too early if you ask most of us!

I visited Just Dandy this afternoon for one of their Sip and Shop events. Of course I left with one of her wonderful smelling lotions and some scented melting wax. Wildflower Farm had her baked goodies there for sale. I picked up a loaf of her Roasted Garlic Bread which was the perfect addition to our Chicken Paprikash dinner. The recipe was out of Molly Yeh’s cookbook, Molly on the Range. I followed her recipe with a couple of changes. Rather than cooking it on the stove I dumped all the ingredients into a crock pot, minus the cream, and let it cook all afternoon. Once the chicken was cooked through I shredded it and placed it on top of *egg noodles. This is definitely a fall-ish recipe and one I will make again. After all, it was Stella approved!

*Egg noodles cooked in chicken broth. Once cooked I added some onion powder and Parmesan cheese.

Staying Warm in the Fall

A group of us got together last weekend at the Holiday Inn in Baxter, MN. 3 mommas and 5 littles (who are not really little any longer). We crammed ourselves into a suite and spent 24 hours at the fun indoor water park. Even the adults had a grand time screaming down the slides and hanging out in the “river”. The girls and I can not wait to go back with T. We were all exhausted by the end of the evening. I think we all crashed by 10:00 that evening.

We brought an abundance of veggies to snack on with dip and hummus. We actually did a number on those veggies prior to eating pizza and dessert *smile* however we still had plenty of leftover carrots and celery. With the temperatures dipping low the last couple of weeks I have been craving soup. I love my Vitamix in the summer for breakfast and protein smoothies, but when fall creeps in, I am all about the frothy soups it can whip up in seconds. The Vitamix recipes call for blending the ingredients for at least 7 minutes as it will heat the soup to a temp that you would want to eat soup at. However, I purée the ingredients and then transfer them over to a kettle and simmer on the stove.

Here is a spin on the Vitamix Cream of Celery Soup

Ingredients

2 1/2 cups chicken broth

1/2 of a small onion

4 cups chopped celery

1/3 cup chopped carrot

1 cooked sweet potato

1 garlic clove

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup Half and half

Direction:

Place all ingredients in Vitamix, blend until puréed. Simmer over low heat until desired temperature is reached.

Gingered Carrot Orange Soup is amazing too! And check out the color, how beautiful is that?

Soul Series Book Reviews

What would summer be without a no-nonsense romantic beach read? Or 3? Or 6? Kennedy Ryan’s Grip Series was followed by the Soul Series. Amazon offers these books for free on their Kindle App. Kennedy Ryan traps you into Rhyson and Kai’s characters with such visual detail. It is difficult to escape their world to go back to your own reality. You may as well take a couple of days off of work, or block a weekend and leap into their soundtrack complete with lust, life lessons and love.

Soul Soundtrack

Ghost- Ella Henderson

Somewhere Only We Know- Keane

Lost Stars- Adam Levine

Crash Into Me- Dave Matthews and

V.3005- Childish Gambino

See You Again- Wiz Khalifa

Adventure of a Lifetime- Coldplay

Fly Before You Fall- Cynthia Erivo

Mistakes- Andra Day

Believe- Mumford and Sons

It Will Rain- Bruno Mars

Half Crazy- Musiq Soulchild

Piece by Piece- Kelly Clarkson

Girl on Fire- Alice Keys

Lay Me Down- Sam Smith

Hymn for the Weekend- Coldplay

Our Love Will Survive- Wild Belle

Happy Birthday- Kygo

Call Me When You Get This- Corrine Bailey Rae

Stitches- Shawn Mendes

Find this playlist on Spotify.