I’m writing this post on Christmas Eve, but when it goes live, I’ll be 33. 32 is my favorite number, so I knew heading into this past birthday year, I’d mature a little more emotionally and intellectually, deepen in my faith, and explore the world a little further. I’ve loved most moments of 32, and thought I’d share with you some of my highlights.
- Visiting England (again!) and Italy. Holy moly. Viva Italia! Trip of a lifetime with my Aunty’s family and my own family. We explored Tuscany for a week, and I cannot get over the food, views, and culture. I look forward to returning one day!
Riomaggiore, the first village in the Cinque Terre if you head North
- Meeting my niece, Brooklyn Grace. My brother and sis-in-law welcomed her in July, and she is just the happiest of babes.
- Writing for Anchored Voices monthly. If practice makes perfect, by golly I need to practice oodles more when it comes to my writing. Some months the words seem to leap onto the page, and some months I got a little stuck. I even missed a deadline or two this past year, and had to learn that space in the creative process of anything is needed from time to time. I developed a love for designing prints of Scripture as well.
- Challenging myself career-wise. I studied for my National School Nurse Certification with two other friends/coworkers, and ventured about an hour away to take the 200 question exam. We then had to wait about a month before the results were mailed- in a digital era, let me tell you: this is torturous! Thankfully, I passed. In June I went with 4 friends/coworkers to a school nurse conference in San Diego. It was a fun and informative trip, filled with delicious meals, and that perfect 70 degree F sunshine. I also completed my fourth year as a school nurse, and I no longer feel like a novice. I know I have a long career ahead of me as a nurse, and this first job has been the truest blessing.
Visiting the Bob Hope statue, Navy Pier, San Diego with Beth & Janis
- Learning to slow down, and submerse myself in the present, especially in my faith. I am learning to listen more, and talk less when it comes to my relationship with God. To read Scripture with expectant eyes. Emulate Jesus more- seek justice, and truth. Be peaceful and hope-filled. Look for opportunities to serve others, sacrificially and with a joyful heart. Pray without ceasing. Be okay with unanswered prayers- God is always working things out for my good. Ask God for His highest and best in all circumstances.
32 was a wonderful year, filled with family, friends, and God. I look forward to 33, or my Jesus birthday. I am anticipating more travel, time with friends and family near and far. I look forward to learning more about God, and life in general. Thanks for reflecting with me on year 32- I truly think life gets better, richer, as I age.
Goodbye 32, Hello 33!
I love the Lauren Daigle song “Behold”. Any Christmas song that speaks about waiting for something long desired speaks volumes to my heart.
I normally make Takeaway Tuesday prints with Scripture, but I’ve made an exception for the month of December.
I hope this image reminds you that Emmanuel, meaning God with us, loves you so very much.
Click here for a free 8.5*11 print.
I always think of November as a month to reflect on all that I am thankful for. Let’s give thanks especially to God, for His steadfast love that endures forever. Oh how I need this encouragement.
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As a gal who knows and loves Jesus, I am acutely aware of the grace I’ve received. However, I am far from perfect, and my shortcomings present themselves- sometimes glaringly, sometimes subtly. I need God’s truth, through His word, to remind me that NOTHING can separate me from the love of Jesus Christ. I am His. End of story. This month’s Takeaway Tuesday, Romans 8:38-39, declares this truth.
Click here for this free 8.5*11 print.
I love Fall, ya’ll. Sweaters, boots, pumpkin baked goodies. Tea and coffee galore. Dinner with friends. As I’m thinking about Fall, and how it begins on Friday, I am prone to think about gatherings. Fall is the quintessential time of year to gather in our homes, for it naturally hosts holidays such as Thanksgiving. This Fall, I’m challenged and reminded to be hospitable to my fellow neighbor. This may mean someone who thinks completely differently than me, and that’s okay. There is beauty in gathering together. Let’s not forget that hospitality is not just for those gifted in it, but for every single person who knows and loves God. Let’s make this Fall a season of bringing together friends, new and old.
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Friends, I’ve got to be honest. I love school, perhaps a little too much. There’s just something about putting my nose in a book, writing an essay, or taking exams. Ya’ll, if I could be a professional student, I would do just that!
Unfortunately, school costs bucks. Lots and lots of bucks. I graduated from nursing school in 2013, with around $92,000 in school loan debt. Yes, cry big tears with me, please. That number was so daunting when I first started working as a school nurse.
I know what you are thinking- “You’re a nurse, Sarah. Nurses make great money.” However, friends, I’m going to let you in on a secret. Non-hospital nurses do not make as much money as hospital nurses. Despite this reality, I set out determined to defeat the debt beast.
God confirmed through a few awesome people in my life that this debt beast had to go. I’m not entirely sure what freedom from debt will bring for me, but if God says go for it, ya just do.
I’ve come up with a list to share with you, in case you are wondering where to begin.
- Start with your smallest loan and pay it off. I had about 20 different lines of credit when I started paying back loans, and knew I’d eventually want to snowball my money, but I needed to see something tangible in the beginning. My smallest loan was $600, so my first paycheck went to paying off this loan. It felt so good!
- Set a reasonable budget to pay off your debt. Make sure you allow yourself room in your budget for your bills and other expenses, such as gas. It’s no good to pay off loan debt but have no extra money around when needed (and consequently rack up credit card debt). See step 3.
- Keep a “rainy day” fund in your banking account. I keep about $1,000 as my “rainy day” fund in my banking account. That said, I myself have allotted double my monthly payments for loans each month. Thanks Mum & Pops for allowing me to trade chores and dog sitting for free room & board.
- Snowball your debt beast. This means that after I paid off my smallest loan, I starting attacking my highest interest loans. One of my private loans had an interest rate of 7.5%. That’s just nuts. I slayed that loan first, and allowed that monthly payment roll into the next highest interest loan payment. Soon enough, that extra $25 a month turns into $150 extra a month toward your payments.
- Make sure to have fun along the way. Debt beast slaying is a journey friends. For me, this means a good handful of years to pay off my loan debt. I cannot reasonably function without some fun every once in a while. This means I use my yearly tax refund to help with travel expenses. If you enjoy a daily latte, by all means, get yourself a cup of joe. I personally got bitten by the travel bug long, long ago, and need to explore somewhere outside of Oregon every year. I scrimp and save, and use my tax refund to help me get there. By allowing yourself some fun along the way, your attitude toward paying off the debt beast will be positive, instead of miserable. I promise.
Here’s to you, friends, paying off your debt beasts. May your journey be delightfully swift, and may you never lose sight of the end goal- FREEDOM FROM DEBT!
There’s a lot of “newness” going on in my nuclear family’s lives, specifically in the work department. All the men in my family (Pops, Luke, and Jordan) are all starting new job ventures within the month. I am thinking and praying this verse over them all as they remember that ultimately, our job on Earth is to build God’s Kingdom. We are His, and our plans are always in His hands.
Click here for a free 8.5×11 print.
I just finished She Reads Truth‘s Romans study in print form. It was beautiful, and the book of Romans truly is one of my favorite books in all the Bible. Romans packs a lot of punch, but my favorite verses in Romans encourage Christians. Don’t give up hope- keep pressing forward. Paul knew life isn’t easy, and equipped us with verses to commit to memory. My particular verse that I rely upon when life hits the fan is Romans 12 verse 12. I created a free Takeway Tuesdays Print for ya’ll. Hope you find it to be the exact words you needed to hear today.
Download your free print here.
I don’t know about you, but summertime in Oregon means LOTS of fresh produce. I love picking fruit from the plentiful trees, plucking vegetables from their vine. It is a time of celebration: from seedling, to mature fruit. Summer reminds me to slow down, enjoy God’s goodness, and praise him! I’ve created a print to remind us to do just this.
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I just listened to Annie Down’s podcast That Sounds Fun. The specific episode I finished had guest John Mark Comer, who is a Portland pastor/author. I so enjoyed this episode and loved how he shared about millennials (given I am one of those peeps), the post-modern church, Portland, and the like. One of my big takeaways from the podcast was the prayer John Mark suggests the listeners pray, coming straight from Exodus 33:18. In this passage, Moses is asking God to show him his glory- meaning, reveal who God is in totality. I love that. I want to know ALL of God, and hope that this verse is your prayer too.
Download this FREE 8.5*11 print here.