Sunday Style: Alleluia!

I’m a little late to the party, but it’s always a struggle to celebrate the whole Easter season, so let’s call this my tiny contribution, alleluia! I have a few Easter observances going, but I’ll save those for a future post. In the meantime, here’s what I’ve been wearing to church.

Easter Vigil, April 15

Sunday Style for April 15: The outfit

I used to follow a fairly modest fashion blogger who posted her outfits like this.

Sunday Style for April 15: The accessories

Just the accessories.

Top and skirt: Target
Tank/shell: Old Navy
Shoes: Famous Footwear
Flower hair clip: random accessories shop
Cross necklace: gift
Tiny butterfly earrings: Claire’s

This was the first time in years that I completely forgot to take my selfies! I don’t have a trigger reminding me to take photos anymore; it used to be walking past the large mirror just inside my front door. The “left behind” photos above include all the items I wore even though I am not wearing them.

Mr. Man and I attended all the Triduum liturgies together, at his parish. It’s a tiny little parish. I knew the Easter Vigil wouldn’t have any receptions of new Catholics (yes, that was strange!), so it wouldn’t last very long. Therefore, I could wear less foot-friendly shoes. I could work in those, but I don’t usually think about wearing them for Mass. Maybe I will now.

I realize that purple was the liturgical color for Lent. It’s also my favorite color. My skirt still works for liturgical dressing because it’s gold, and gold is liturgically white, and white is the color for Easter.

Fr. T celebrated the Easter Vigil, but Deacon P gave the homily. The deacon has a very large role at this particular parish, so I was surprised and delighted that he also gave the homily. He is a champ!

He spoke about how the vigil’s journey through salvation history (by way of the extra Old Testament readings) emphasizes God’s care and protection for his children since the beginning of time. God promised a redeemer all along, and he finally sent one. Jesus’ resurrection appearances are so astonishing partly because they ask his disciples and us to believe. Mary Magdalene didn’t even recognize Jesus at first, but when he called her by name, she recognized him and believed. The other disciples who see him resurrected are those whose faith was open to the miracle of his return from the dead. Even now, in the Eucharist, the Church calls us to believe that Jesus is just as fully present as he was on that first Easter Sunday. Do we believe that we have been found worthy to see him and be in his Real Presence?

Divine Mercy Sunday, April 23

Sunday Style for April 23

Sweater, tights, and t-shirt: Target
Skirt and shoes: Old Navy
Necklace: holy medals
Earrings: I forgot to wear any!

It got cold again here, so I pulled out a sweater again. Mr. Man likes this one. And yes, more purple. I like purple, and my red and white options (for Divine Mercy Sunday) were limited.

This weekend, we went to what is becoming our second parish. It has Mass on Sunday evenings, and that fit our schedule this time. Fr. C did not mention Divine Mercy Sunday at all, which made me sad (especially after so many references to mercy in the readings), but he did offer a practical parallel to Jesus. Among the reasons the disciples struggled to recognize and welcome Jesus in his resurrected body was that he looked so different. He looked similar enough for basic identification, but he still bore the wounds of his crucifixion. He was broken, but beautiful.

Fr. C told a story about visiting a fine china shop in Japan (not China, which was disconcerting) and seeing broken dishes for sale that were more expensive than intact dishes. The shopkeeper explained that the broken dishes were repaired with 14-karat gold, making them more valuable than the others that were never broken. If they hadn’t been broken, they never would have been made great. Similarly, we often have to go through brokenness, like the crucified Jesus, to reach glory, like Jesus resurrected.


For more Mass fashion and commentary, visit Rosie at A Blog for My Mom for My Sunday Best.

My Sunday Best, hosted at A Blog for My Mom

Wunderlist and GTD: My Weekly Review

A sad time has come, dear readers: I have to find a new app for my to-do list.

Microsoft acquired Wunderlist (WL) in late 2015. Nothing much had changed since then besides an Outlook integration. But last week, MS and WL announced the preview of the new app, which is called To-Do. The name and current bare-bones functionality leave much to be desired. I have to face the reality that my beloved, life-changing task management app will be shut down in the next few months.

I used Sunrise, too, and I ran away as soon as Microsoft announced its sunset (pun intended), so I am doing the same with Wunderlist. I always had a second-choice app in mind, so it’s time to make the move.

In the meantime, I’ve had the draft of this post ready to go for a while, so it’s also time to press “publish.” The concept of applying GTD principles to specific apps remains relevant even if my specific app will soon be no more.


I like to have an elevator pitch ready for my life-changers, so of course I have one for Getting Things Done (GTD). It sounds like this:

GTD is a productivity methodology popularized by David Allen in his book of the same name. It’s based on three principles: ubiquitous capture, the two-minute rule, and the Weekly Review. When you think of something you need to do, you capture it. Write it down immediately—unless it can be done in less than two minutes. In that case, you do it immediately. Once a week, you review everything you’ve written down.

The part that thwarts even GTD black belts is the Weekly Review. In my opinion, if you’re not doing the Weekly Review, you’re not doing GTD. Period. Once you build the Weekly Review (WR) habit, you will wonder how you ever maintained a to-do list before.

Do I always do my WR? No—but when I skip it, I feel the pain. When I was home with my family for Christmas 2015, I fell out of all my usual routines. I skipped my WR for two weeks straight and was horrified at the result. But I recovered, and now I make the WR a priority.

Tips for Actually Doing Your Weekly Review

  • Pick your best day and time. I do my reviews on Tuesday. The middle of the week is when my life slows down a little bit. I started out by scheduling it for Sunday. I never did it until Tuesday anyway, so I finally just changed the schedule. The best productivity method is the one that works for you!

  • Move quickly. It’s a review, not a retreat. It is easy to get bogged down in your Projects list or to get distracted by items you capture along the way. Just keep going. Project planning is a separate process.

  • Finish your review every time. It is best to complete the WR all in one go, but that’s not strictly necessary. A WR checklist is a checklist for a reason: if you need to stop before you’re finished, you can pick up where you left off. The point is to do a complete review once per week. Starting on Friday afternoon and finishing Saturday morning is okay. I start mine on Tuesday morning… or afternoon… and sometimes finish on Thursday. That works for me.

My Weekly Review Checklist

Screenshot of my Weekly Review.

Click for full-size.

I adapted this from the official checklist (scroll down at that link), and I have modified it since then as my needs have changed. I keep my checklists right in Wunderlist (WL) so I can check them off as I go. They are set to repeat weekly (duh), so they regenerate right away, which gets the checklist ready for next time.

As you can see, my actual checklist starts with step 00. Wunderlist will sort that to the top alphabetically, so I use it. Step 00 is processing my physical inbox. That doesn’t always happen at the same time I do the rest of my review. It’s limited to a place (my room) and time (when I’m at home), whereas everything else can happen online from anywhere.
The rest of my Weekly Review goes like this:

  1. Process Inbox list. Almost everything I put into WL goes to the Inbox smart list first. Here, I do the second and third steps of the GTD workflow: clarify what I’ve captured, and organize it into my other WL lists.

  2. Review Completed list and past week on calendar and write entry in Done Journal. This is the “get current” part of the official checklist, and it’s one of my favorite aspects of the WR. My Done Journal is not part of GTD, and I do not keep it in WL. It deserves its own post. For now, suffice it to say that I go through the Completed smart list in WL and look back on my calendar (from the time since my last review to “today”). Anything that triggers a new thought gets captured. I move over to the Inbox list, type, hit Enter, and go back to reviewing. Don’t stop to clarify!

  3. Delete completed tasks. WL keeps every task you mark as complete. Every single one. That, to me, is clutter. I don’t need that kind of clutter in my system, so I delete them at this point in my WR.

  4. Review upcoming week on calendar. I capture anything that comes up as I look over the next week or two. This step frequently reminds me of things I forgot about! GTD is designed to let you forget about things until you need them, so it helps you set up a reminder system. This is one of the reminder phases.

  5. Review #monthlygoals. I don’t use stars or subtasks, but I do use limited tags. This is one of them. I currently have just one monthly goal, but this step reminds me that I should be making progress on that one goal every week. My monthly goal is also part of a Project. This part of my system is still messier than I’d like, but it works for now.

  6. Review Week list. WL makes a smart list of everything that has a due date for the next seven days, sorted by day. I look through it and reorganize as needed. Using WL for web, I drag-and-drop items from one day to another. In the web app, I can also remove due dates completely or change them to today or tomorrow with the right-click context menu. I capture anything that emerges in the process. I also compare my scheduled tasks for each day to my calendar. If I’m not going to be home until 9 p.m., there’s no use pretending I’ll get much done that has to happen at home. And yes, a lot of things are scheduled. For me, what gets scheduled gets done.

    Screenshot of my Projects and Project Plans.

    Click for full-size. Blurred for privacy. Yes, that says 2016; I’ve been working on this draft for a while.

  7. Review Projects list and plans for #NA or #waitingfor and #outcomes and log completed projects. I keep one Projects list and a separate Project Plans folder in WL. For this step, I sort the Project list alphabetically and add or remove due dates where applicable. I make sure I have the same number of lists in my Project Plans folder as items on my Projects list. For example, if I have 15 Projects and 16 Project Plans, then I’ve finished a Project and I need to delete the now-empty Project Plan list.
    Then, I click the tag (which is a clickable link because it’s written into this step on my WR checklist; see WR screenshot) to search for each Project’s Next Actions (NAs). The search results are sorted by list, so I count to make sure the number of lists with NAs matches my number of Projects. If not, one or more of them needs a Next Action, or it has something I’m waiting for that keeps me from taking any action right now. I click the “outcomes” tag and do the same thing. I do not review my Project Plans here! That’s how you get stuck doing a three-hour WR.

    Screenshot of my AoF list and items from my Dance AoF.

    Click for full-size. These are my real AoFs, by the way.

  8. Review Areas of Focus. I keep most of my tasks sorted by Area of Focus, so this is an important step, and it usually takes the longest. I actually read/skim through every single item. I sort each list by due date and review what’s in there—especially items I added in Step 1 of this WR.

  9. Review Waiting list. I follow up on anything that’s been here for a while, adding dates for hard and soft deadlines. Throughout WL, I use due dates as an electronic version of my physical tickler file. I’m okay with just remembering the difference between hard deadlines and soft ones.

  10. Review Someday/Maybe list. I skim this. I save the hard work of digging in and deleting things for my monthly review (which also deserves a separate post).

  11. Review Trigger list. I customized a version of the official list that I copied-and-pasted from 43folders. It doesn’t always jog my memory, but sometimes it does!

  12. Review Goals, Vision, and Mission. These are separate lists I keep for the “higher horizons” of GTD. GTD is not great for managing the higher horizons (long-term goals), but it’s useful to remind myself on a weekly basis why I do what I do.

  13. Download Wunderlist backup to hard drive. Just in case. Considering how much I rely on this app, I should probably back up more than once a week. I could probably recover if I lost a few days, though.

And that’s it! Everything I’ve captured during my Weekly Review is now waiting in my Inbox list, where I will process it. If I somehow miss processing for a whole week (like that Christmas), those items will be processed during Step 1 of my next Weekly Review.

The Weekly Review is just an overview. Finish it so you can get back to doing.

Additional Resources

Leo Babauta offers some tips for getting your Weekly Review done in under an hour. Tip #6 is my favorite.

If you’re an audio person, the rebooted GTD podcast has an episode that walks you through your Weekly review. You can download it and play it every week, if that helps you. It’s like having a free, non-personalized coach!

Currently: April 2017

Currently at Lindsay Loves

Well, I missed the link-up for this month entirely, but that is partly because I moved to Kentucky!

Here’s what I am currently…

Accomplishing: Moving to Louisville. (I promise this won’t be the answer to every prompt.) The toughest part was keeping it all on the DL. I had to do things like correspond with my old landlord to show the house where I no longer live, visit the city to look at new apartments, and say goodbye my friends in Austin—all without my now-former boss accidentally finding out. As I put it to Mr. Man, I needed to be able to leave when I wanted to and not because I accidentally got fired. That wasn’t likely to happen, but plenty of unlikely things have happened in my life. Haven’t they in yours?

Feeling: Sneezy, like the dwarf. Mr. Man warned me that Louisville is known for inciting people’s allergies. I had never experienced an allergic reaction until grad school, I got my first sunburn when I was in my twenties, and not even Austin’s infamous “cedar fever” got to me. I was skeptical. He was 100% correct. I am humbled and taking Claritin.

Needing: Motivation. I was not getting enough sleep when I was working my previous job, and now I am getting plenty, but I’m somehow still not getting enough done. I managed to finish all my packing and moving (with Mr. Man’s help), and I’m all unpacked except for decorations, so now I need to focus on finding a new job and getting some of my personal projects crossed off the list. I don’t have a 9-to-5 in my way at the moment, so I can’t use that as an excuse. After the Triduum, things will be full speed ahead.

Practicing: How to use a good knife. My dear trivia teammate Gene gave me a beautiful Japanese chef’s knife as a going-away present. It is exactly the kind of thing I always meant to buy for myself and never did. (To be honest, it is also the kind of thing one often receives from a wedding registry, but that is not my life.) I’ve mostly been using it to slice up my apples at lunchtime, but it’s tricky because I keep them in the fridge. I could probably use a bit more force than I am, but I don’t want to damage the knife or, say, my fingers.

Pinning: Nothing. I’m between jobs, so although I have blank walls and an empty pantry, I’m not quite in a position to start filling them with gallery displays and tasty-looking recipes. Does adding new cells to my job search spreadsheet count?

Recapping: March (and almost half of April)

  • I moved to Lousiville. (Last time, I swear!)
  • I liked the end of Bones. It was time, but I’m sad to see it go.
  • Several dear friends threw me a going-away party. The night ended with Lindsay Trivia. It was delightful.
  • I finished my salvation history Bible study. So amazing.
  • I ate the fried avocado at Trudy’s and instantly regretted having only ever had one.
  • Mr. Man helped me pack and drive from Austin to Louisville. He’s a champ.

So what’s new with you? What are you accomplishing currently?


Currently is hosted on the first Wednesday of each month by Anne of In Residence. This month’s guest co-host is Jess of Jess Gets Dressed Sometimes. Won’t you join us?

Sunday Style: Kentucky Catch-Up

In case you missed the news yesterday, I moved to Kentucky! Life in Louisville is still taking some adjusting, but one constant is that I’m still dressing up for church on Sundays. I’m even getting Mr. Man on board… kind of.

March 26

Sunday Style for March 26

Dress and shirt: Target
Earrings: craft fair
Necklace: gift
Shoes: Payless
Sunglasses: Ray-Ban

My last summery Sunday in Austin featured a dress I dragged out from my “out of season” bin for the occasion. On Gaudete Sunday, we wear pink. Or coral. (I’m pretty sure Mr. Man did not wear pink.)

Deacon G (I think) gave a mostly unhelpful summary of the Gospel. As one of the snarky Catholics I follow on Twitter noted, “Year A” is also translated as “Year of the Really Long Gospels.” We had just heard the whole thing! We didn’t need to hear all the details again. A quick version might have been nice, but trust me, it was not quick.

Despite the unnecessary and unnecessarily long recap, our deacon did go on to say that the Gospel showed the journey of the man born blind from not knowing Jesus to “a confirmed faith in him.” It turns out that this deacon is from Maryland, like me; he told a story about seeing a blind woman being escorted into the courtyard at the National Shrine of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in Emmitsburg on a very sunny day. The deacon noticed the sunshine because he could see it, but the blind woman didn’t notice the sunny day until she could feel it. She knew the shining beauty she was missing. Unlike her, the Pharisees didn’t notice the Son of God at all because they didn’t know what they were missing.

Our closing hymn was “O God, Beyond All Praising,” which is my very favorite. It was a nice little goodbye from the parish with the best music of any I’ve belonged to.

April 2

Sunday Style for April 2: Me with Mr. Man

We are so happy to not be driving a moving truck anymore!

Sunday Style for April 2: Just Me

Dress, leggings, and belt: Target
Sweater and shoes: Old Navy
Earrings you can barely see: craft fair
Necklace you can barely see: holy medals

I picked this outfit because it packs well. I was technically moved in before we went to Mass on Sunday, but I’d predicted that I would be unable to choose an appropriate outfit in my post-move exhaustion, unwilling to do so, or both. I was mostly correct. The sweater was a little wrinkly, but fine. I did pull the belt out of my dresser drawer, so I guess it was part pre-packed outfit, part day-of outfit, and all awesome outfit.

We went to Mass at a parish other than Mr. Man’s usual one. I am so glad to still be living in a city where multiple parishes and multiple Mass times are an option. I don’t know how rural Catholics do it! I also took my homily notebook again. The people at that parish don’t know me from Adam, so for all they know, everyone in Austin takes notes during the homily.

Fr. C said that a long Gospel should get a short homily, which I guess makes sense. Then he proceeded to tell that maudlin “Footprints” story about Jesus carrying us in the toughest times of our lives. It has a good message, but I could have heard that story anywhere. And I was distracted by my memory of an irreverent “Footprints” parody, so that didn’t help. But Fr. C also told us to be Christ to each other and not to lose our faith in times of trial. Those were good lessons with zero schmaltz.

He also sang kind of a lot. After Communion, he burst into a beautiful a cappella rendition of “You Raise Me Up.” It didn’t sit quite right with me after “Footprints”; I wanted more Catholicity than generic Christianity. My disquiet was assuaged when he chanted the Salve Regina while recessing at the end of Mass. Chant is very Catholic, and a cappella is definitely in the spirit of Lent. That helped.

April 9

Sunday Style for April 9

I’m still figuring out the best location and pose. Also, isn’t the lace in my skirt cool?

Top: Target
Skirt: Marshalls
Shoes: Payless
Necklace: My Daily Grace at Etsy
Earrings you probably can’t see: ancient gift

My outfit is definitely a repeat from a previous liturgically-red day. I would like you to know that Mr. Man chose to wear his outfit of his own free wil, and he asked me to remind him both that he should wear that outfit and that it was his idea. I just like it when he wears a tie.

Sadly, I forgot my homily notebook, so I had to take notes the old-fashioned away: on my phone, after Mass. We were back at Mr. Man’s parish, and I appreciated that the priest did not even try to apologize for the long Gospel. It only happens once a year; we can take it. Usually. Like a rookie, I thought my wedges would be fine for the long period of standing. They were not fine, but I had some suffering to offer up, so it evens out.

In the homily, Fr. Something-I-Can’t-Remember started by highlighting that the Gospel features two very different processions (to Jerusalem and to Calvary) under different circumstances (the beginning and the near-end of Christ’s passion) and to very different responses (cheers and jeers, basically). He also mentioned that this story reminds us that God is with us in our suffering, not just in our joys.

That last part stuck with me. Call me crazy, but I feel like we are more inclined to feel that God is with us (or to ask him to be with us) precisely when we are suffering. It’s much, much easier to forget that he’s with us when we’re joyful and things are going our way. How often do we thank God for a great day just because it’s great—not because we needed a win? How often do we pray for blessings on someone for their birthday—not just their day of death? I struggle with remembering to invite God to be part of the happy times in my life. Do you?


For more Mass fashion and commentary, visit Rosie at A Blog for My Mom for My Sunday Best.

My Sunday Best, hosted at A Blog for My Mom

Surprise! I moved to Kentucky!

Dear readers, you might have been wondering why this space has been so quiet as of late. It’s because I moved to Kentucky. Surprise! Now that the move is complete, I can finally share here on the blog.

Mr. Man and I dated long-distance for almost a year and a half. Some time ago, when I realized that we were actually pursuing a relationship that might lead to marriage, I had to make a decision. He has a career here in Louisville, and I did not have one in Austin, so it made more sense for me to move to his city. That meant I had to decide whether I felt more peace about moving to his city without being engaged first, or whether I wanted to get engaged without ever having lived in the same city.

It was all about that feeling of peace, really. Sometimes feelings get the short end of the stick when it comes to discernment, but it shouldn’t be that way. God speaks to us through our emotions, our conscience, and our intellect. I knew which choice brought me peace and which just didn’t feel right.

We’re not engaged. And I live in Louisville now.

kentuckylicenseplate

New license plates means this is for real.

Wise women before me have faced the same decision. Wise women have decided to move without a ring, and wise women have made the move only after receiving a proposal or taking vows. This was what made sense for me—and for us.

I am between jobs now, which is less than ideal. The details make up a long story. But these days, we should be more concerned with the greatest story ever told, so I will bring this announcement to a close.

If I missed saying goodbye to you in person in Austin, I sincerely apologize. If you’re in Louisville, drop me a line so we can say hello! Either way, Mr. Man and I appreciate your prayers for our continued discernment.

7 Quick Takes on Reading, Planning, and Dating

7 Quick Takes, hosted at This Ain't the Lyceum

— 1 —

As evidenced by the “old news” in last week’s 7QT and my ridiculously overdue 2016 year in review post, I am still clearing out my backlog of things I wanted to share here. Will you humor me with just a few more oldies?

For the third year in a row, I was among Pocket’s top 5% of readers. Or maybe it was the opt 1%. I can’t remember! I neglected to clip the email properly to share a screenshot, so just trust me; I read a lot in Pocket.

If you like to read articles online (or watch videos), but find yourself wandering down the rabbit hole of links or worrying about wasting data loading ads on your phone, you’ll enjoy Pocket. It’s been revolutionary for my reading habits. Why scroll through Facebook aimlessly looking for something to read on the go when I can read articles I have already curated?

— 2 —

I don’t have the link to my Pocket Year in Review anymore, but I do have my Goodreads 2016 Year in Books. I was pleased with last year’s reading. I read plenty of nonfiction early in the year and slipped in some awesome fiction towards the end, and I met my overall book goal. Goodreads has been excellent for my book-reading in much the same way Pocket has for articles.

Read ALL the books!

— 3 —

I was much less pleased with my life planning. I still have the plan, but I haven’t reviewed it for at least six months. I’m pretty sure it still shows calling my grandmother once a month as an action item, and she died in August.

I am expecting to have some time in the near future for some extensive revisions, though, so I was glad to pick up a free life plan review tool from Building Champions back at the turn of the year. The video is no longer available, but the review tool (and the free tool for writing your first draft of a life plan) are still there.

We plan vacations, and we plan weddings, but have you ever planned your life?

— 4 —

I am still reading and loving Verily magazine. I especially like their “Gentlemen Speak” feature, which consists of articles written by real men or roundups from interviews with the same. Before I met Mr. Man, I often wondered why the nice, smart, charming, churchgoing men I met were never interested in me. We clicked so well! Wasn’t there something more than just “not feeling it” or the standard-but-infuriating “intimidation” factor? Andrew Mentock offers a few novel ideas why a great conversation doesn’t always lead to a date invitation.

Fun fact: I have had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Mentock (not to be confused with Mr. Man) in person. The Internet is maybe not such a huge place after all.

— 5 —

Related to the dating theme, I was fascinated by an essay posted in ZENIT about the effect that promoting chastity has had on slowing the spread of AIDS in Uganda. Americans in particular seem to think of Africa as one homogenous zone that needs saving, where AIDS spreads like wildfire. That’s not true any more than it’s true of the U.S. The A-B-C method really can work.

— 6 —

I manage my email really well, so I tend to stay subscribed to email lists for a long time and actually read what they send (or unsubscribe properly). I was not, however, expecting to hear from Small World of Words. I participated in their word association study online so long ago that I have absolutely no memory or record of it.

It was neat to see the results, of course, but getting that random email was also a reminder of just how long scientific research takes. We tend to just hear about results—especially when they are sensational—but I always forget that it might have taken years of data collection and analysis to get to those conclusions.

— 7 —

My life as a YNABer is still going well. I am currently casually mentoring a recent convert to budgeting. It took some encouraging to get past the idea of waiting for a “normal month” before committing to building that first budget. There’s just no such thing as a normal month!

There will always be something unexpected. Your car will need repairs. Your child will get sick. A bill will arrive. There’s a reason I built my first budget with a category called “Stuff I Forgot to Budget For.”

Budgeting is not about being able to predict the future or relying on historical spending data. It’s about using the money you have now to pay for the things you need now, some things you just want, and things that you’ll need later. Budgeting is about facing reality.


For more Quick Takes, visit This Ain’t the Lyceum.

Year in Review 2016

I didn’t even plan on publishing this before 2016 was over. I was too busy vacationing with Mr. Man for that. I did, however, plan to post this before the end of January. Trying to follow that plan turned into a lesson about priorities!

My 2016 Best Nine

My “best nine” photos from Instagram, based on likes.

So yes, I’m reaching back really far at this point. One of the benefits of focusing so much on personal productivity is that I keep detailed records in order to back up my terrible, terrible memory. Those help me with my GTD Weekly Review, and they also help me publish Currently each month.

I made my first pass through my year in an attempt to order and send Christmas cards “on time.” I don’t have a family to take a photo of, and I like to celebrate as much of the Christmas season as possible, so I started sending Epiphany cards a few years ago. You can get a good discount for ordering later in the card-sending season, and they seem more like New Year cards for my secular friends.

This year, I decided to forgo the “Christmas letter” style and go for bullet points. If you didn’t get your card, here it is!

Find Your Joy in the New Year

I had the back printed with just text (and space for signing!), so here’s that part:

2016 By the Numbers

Weeks of Bible study: 22
Appliances repaired or replaced: 3
Cities visited: 2 (Chicago and Houston)
Months I have been dating my boyfriend, Mr. Man: 14
Times I auditioned for Jeopardy!: 1
Hours on retreat: 9.5
Funerals attended: 2
West Coast Swing classes: 40
West Coast Swing workshops: 2
Books read: 22
Student loans paid off: 2
Blog posts published: over 130

I was also diagnosed with morphea (MOR-fee-uh) this year. It is a rare and incurable autoimmune skin condition, but I’ll be fine. Follow me at LindsayLoves.com, and share what’s new with you! Make 2017 a great year!

I always sign and address them by hand. It breaks my heart a little when I get a card that doesn’t bear any personal signs of the sender: sender and recipient addresses on plain white labels, pre-printed cards, no signatures. Yes, customizing them takes time, but that time is part of the gift.

Here are my “most posts” of 2016, in the style of Sarah Mackenzie of Read Aloud Revival:

  • Post with the most clicks: My most popular post published last year was a review of a video about discernment by Fr. Mike Schmitz and an article about discernment by Peter Kreeft. Believe it or not, the popularity was actually due to Twitter. I tweet a link to new blog posts automatically, and for that one, I used Fr. Mike’s handle to tag him. He retweeted it, and my poor little blog never knew what hit it!

  • Post with the most comments: I try to reply to every comment I receive, so the count is undoubtedly inflated, but my essay post about making friends as an adult got the most posts of any last year.

  • Post with the best picture: I really enjoyed my illustrations last year. So many online Jeopardy! screencaps. So many tweets. Several photos with Mr. Man. A couple of household organization wins. I really like the “demons are spiritual, too” meme from one of my 7QT posts, though, so that wins for 2016.

  • Post that was hardest to write: I sat on my morphea awareness post for a long time. I spent a long time hiding the visible signs. I struggled with how much I wanted to share here on the blog, and when, and what exactly to say. Finally, I just decided to do what I’ve always done here—share my heart. The compassionate responses I’ve received have brought me so much joy.

  • Post that was your personal favorite: I was very happy to introduce everyone to Mr. Man. We dated for so long before we met in person! Facebook technically still does not know we’re dating (I prefer it that way), but I’m sure that mysterious algorithm noticed the surge of traffic to my blog when I shared my post there. I’m very grateful that he’s in my life and that he allows me to talk about him here.

Finally, my recurring themes of 2016 were:

  • West Coast Swing: A returning character from last year. I continued the passive weight loss I’d started by getting any exercise at all (as opposed to my previous zero). I made it through enough of the Level 3 syllabus to start repeating months, so I got to experience learning from a new angle. I took a workshop with Jordan & Tatiana. I didn’t participate in the annual West Coast Swing flash mob, but there’s always 2017!

  • Endings: My grandmother died. Spirit & Truth disbanded. The Not Alone Series faded away. I went to the summer shows at Zilker for the last time, missing the literal ending of Macbeth due to a storm. I stopped hiding the morphea patches on my legs.

  • Marriage: Of course. Also a returning character. It has been an enlightening experience to put more of my dating preparation, so to speak, to practical use. I attended a retreat that was focused on relationships (not just marriage), and it was excellent. I have also had an adventure navigating a long-distance relationship. I always knew that a God-centered romantic relationship would take work. I am very grateful to be working with such a wonderful partner.

What were your recurring characters of 2016? How has 2017 been going? What are your goals for the rest of the year? Every day is a good day to resolve to change your life—and then do it!

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