Check. Check. Is this thing on?

Oh, good. Hello. ūüôā

I’m back from a bit of a blogging break and ready to ease into a new year of creating in this space¬†with a short list of things I learned in 2014.¬†Let see if I remember how to do this.


1. Entertaining is fun when you stop trying so hard.

We entertained in our home A LOT this year, and I got real comfortable with cheating my way through meal prep and pre-guest arrival housecleaning…all with no guilt. I used to get caught up in feeling like I had to homemake every little thing and scrub my floors before guests arrived, but 2014 cured me of that for life. Who needs to get all pitted and swampy scrubbing surfaces that are going to get walked all over and spilled on ten minutes later? Just sweep up the dog hair and light an Anthro candle, loves. No one gives a rip about the scuz. They came for the food and booze.

Speaking of which, to curb the crazy around these parts, I finally learned the art of picking up a salad from here or ordering a pasta dish from there to go with whatever else was on the menu. My favorites included Smashburger’s Spinach, Cucumber & Goat Cheese Salad and Mac Shack’s Bottle Service and Broccoli Pesto pastas. I also relied exclusively on Trader Joe’s to fake-that-I-baked-it through the fall months. Their pumpkiny box mixes saved my apathetic baker self nearly every week.

I’ve already declared 2015 the year of buying up all manner of pre-made things from the Mexican market, so brace your innards for authentic refried beans if you plan on stopping by.

2. Tablecloths = Curtains

table cloths hung as curtains

3. Golden Retrievers are replaceable.

I used to run into people at the park who were on their second, third, or fourth Golden and wonder how on Earth that worked. I¬†didn’t understand how they could just go on replacing their dogs like furniture and not be even a little sad about it. It seemed so insensitive and impossible.¬†I was so torn up after we lost our first Golden that I couldn’t imagine ever again having a sweeter, gentler pal in our family.

Then we bought #Douglasthegolden and I became one of those serial Golden Retriever replacer-types.

las vegas engagement photos_0280

Good gracious. This dog? Just as loyal, just as kind-hearted, just as stuffed-animal-come-to-life like as Simon had been. Same mannerisms. Same co-dependence issues. Same shedding challenges. The only difference? Douglas is occasionally allowed on the couch because life is too short to leave a hunk of love as cozy as he is on the floor. Amen.

4. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it (John 1:5).

This year, perhaps more¬†than any other, God led all five of us¬†into unexpectedly dark places and told us to stay there, to be light there. He walked us into the¬†shadowlands and taught us how to¬†engage the¬†brokenness around us with grace and conviction. He gave us opportunities to love people we knew would hurt us,¬†to¬†endure circumstances that he knew would be¬†difficult for us, and to cling¬†tightly to the¬†identity he’s given us in¬†the One who goes before us.

las vegas elementary school

5. Las Vegas is home.

It’s been my experience that¬†it takes at least two years of living in a new city before it begins to feel like home, and 3-4 years before you¬†start running into people you know at Target. So if 2014 taught me nothing else it’s that in¬†2015 I have GOT to stop¬†running errands in my pajamas.

We will celebrate four years of living in this marvelous, misunderstood city later this month, and we are very, very much at peace here.

Wishing you and yours an equal measure of peace as the curtain rises on 2015,