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First Things First

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In April (my birthday month) I made a list of 25 things I wanted to do while I was 25. It’s November now. Seven. Months. Later…and I haven’t crossed many items off that list. Frustrating? Totally. Bummer? You Bet. On the surface, at least, I feel like a total loser. I mean, I've only finished reading one book (my goal was one a month). That’s pretty rough.

But when I scratch beneath the surface and take a minute to reflect on all that has happened in the last seven months, and all the things that I have done, I feel awe-struck. God is so good.

Indulge me for a moment as I toot my horn (I hate that phrase), and list all the totally awesome stuff that's happened:

In April:  I set up shop at Etsy Little Rock show, and had my best show ever. That same weekend, I got to see my very favorite (and only) Godson, and break in my hiking boots as Boo and I climbed ‘Pinnacle Mountain.'

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In May:  I saw some good friends, Greg and Madeline, get married. Their wedding was lovely, but the wedding reception Boo and I crashed, yep CRASHED, later that night was even more fun. Also in May, I set up a better storage system in my kitchen to help keep me organized. Aaaand, I got in a car wreck, so I got to learn a lot about insurance, rental cars, deductibles, and asking for help.

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In June:  I had an amazing time in Oregon (well...once I actually got there). On the trip out, I got to learn what it feels like to have delay after delay after delay, and what sleeping in an airport feels like. Finally in Oregon, I saw little Linda Ann get married, and celebrated til the break of dawn. That same trip, Boo and I visited Crater Lake. We drove all night to California to wake up and hike through the Redwoods. We meandered back up the coast to beautiful Florence, Oregon where we drank good coffee, relaxed with family, watched a high school baseball game, and yeah, missed another flight.

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In July:  I launched the wholesale branch of my business. I visited my family in Kansas, I went on a float trip, I partied in the Center of the Universe, and was part of the Estilo Cards launch.

In August:  I welcomed Boo home from the oil field for The. Last. Time. I helped him find an apartment. I got to see and share in his excitement about getting a job at KGOU (yeah, he’s on the radio now…super cool). And celebrated his birthday by taking a beer brewing class (totally forgot to take pictures).

In September:  I went to PAPER CAMP!!! This had been on my goal list for two years, so even though it was only a weekend, it pretty much consumed my whole month.

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In October:  I visited my (now very pregnant) sister and brother in law, and my favorite Godson and set up shop at HarvestFest in Little Rock. I completed and installed my very first fine art show at STASH. My Year of Yesses calendar got featured on BuzzFeed. Also, I dressed as an Unguator Jar for three days at a trade show. Yeah, that happened.

And now it’s November, and I’ve already bought a new car! After a summer of car woes, it’s such a relief to have a reliable car. So I’m happy to introduce Rita, the Rogue. 

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Whew. Not too shabby, eh? I don’t think so either. 

It's difficult to put things into perspective. Sometimes we just need to take a moment (or several moments) to reflect on all the goodness in our lives. I especially need to do this more often.

Last month, when I realized October was coming to a close, I felt a very real sense of pressure to kick things into gear. I felt like I was busy, but I wasn’t really accomplishing anything substantial. I felt like my lists were just getting longer and longer. I slipped into a habit of always looking forward, seeking more, filling in the few quiet moments with details and to-do's and still to-do's. I forgot about the now, I forgot to just...be.

Life shouldn't always be filled with work or criticism or doubt. There should also be time for rest, for gratitude, for hope. Simplicity doesn't come easily for me. I'm a doer. I'm a seeker. But more than my desires are His. And Christ calls me to live simply, humbly, and quietly. We (read I) need to put first things first. As Thanksgiving swiftly approaches, let's quiet our noisy minds and calm our racing hearts. Let's replace the hustle and bustle with simple joy and sincere gratitude.

Whew. Happy Tuesday, everyone.