Happy New Year!

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As I sit here typing, it is difficult to believe that we are in 2014. Where did 2013 go? It seems as if the year went by at an alarming speed!

I realize that it has been quiet here for the past month, but the time between Thanksgiving and the end of the year tends to be my “reflective” time, when I look back on the year and think about all that has transpired– the beautiful, the tearful, the laughter, the pain, the learning, the disappointments.

I have also been sick since right after Christmas, so even though I have some new books I’m excited to read and review, I haven’t been doing much at all.

All that being said, I wanted to share with you some of the highlights from my 2013, and wish you all the very best in 2014!

2013 was a year of personal struggles and growth for me, and while I know my sanctification process will never be complete, I hope that I will carry what I learned and experienced this past year with me as I begin 2014.

I’m sure some of you are familiar with My One Word? I have found it to be a wonderful idea, where, rather than making a long list of resolutions for your new year (do those work for anyone?!) you instead choose one word you want to be in the coming year, and you work towards implementing it in your life.

My “word” for 2013 was joy. And while I wouldn’t win the World’s Most Joyful award, I certainly feel like God has been at work in my life, stretching me, asking me to find joy in the now, the here, the good, the painful. I believe one of the best things I did in 2013 to help me develop joy was writing down my gifts, the little everyday blessings that God pours out on my life. While I do have a physical journal, I found I used the 1,000 Gifts app more.

I also believe that every year is only as good as it’s soundtrack. While I listened to a wide variety of music this past year, there were two albums that stayed on repeat: RED by Taylor Swift, and Fortunate Fall by Audrey Assad. I listened to RED for two reasons, first, because it’s by Taylor Swift, my favorite artist (duh) and second, because I love the variety of sounds and emotions on RED. And while Fortunate Fall did not come out until August, I listened to it just as much. I have been a huge fan of Audrey’s music for several years now, but I think Fortunate Fall is her best album yet. The music is beautiful, and the words are so powerful, packed full of wonderful Biblical truths I need to hear.

I didn’t get to go to the theater in 2013 as much as I would have liked, but I did get to see two amazing films– Catching Fire and The Book Thief. They were both well-made, beautiful films, based on two books I also happened to fall in love with in 2013!

I want to thank you all for joining me here in this little nook of the blogosphere and reading my thoughts on a few of the many varied books I read in 2013. It was a joy and adventure, and I hope to join you all soon.

So what changed or influenced you in 2013? Was there a book, song, or film that really inspired you? I want to hear about it!

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