The Illusion of Better + My Word for the Year

A few years ago, I saw that a lot of bloggers I follow had chosen a single word to define the upcoming year. This word would be something they could focus on and remind themselves of as the year continued. I've never chosen a word before, but as 2014 drew to a close, I felt one word impressed upon my heart over and over:

I'm ashamed to admit this, but as I look back on 2014, I realize that I spent a lot of time being jealous of other people and not being content with the many wonderful things I had. Last year I watched people proudly post about pregnancy announcements, job promotions, European vacations, and smiling pictures of themselves standing in front of a beautiful house with a "Sold" sign. 

I've felt like we're just here, treading water.

But seriously. 
Enough of that.

I don't want to spend any time in 2015 being anything other than content. 

Last July when Jordan and I got back from Nicaragua, we were amazed by the sheer blessing of running water, toilets that flushed, and houses with doors. We came home to a bed. And air-conditioning. I forgot about that.

This year, I want to wake up every day and be thankful. I want to see pictures of other people's successes and be happy for them without feeling bad that I don't have what they do.

Because when I honestly, truly, think about it: I don't want any other life than mine.

Until we see in ourselves how unique God's touch 
on our life has been, we will always live 
under the illusion that being someone else 
would be better. 

-Ravi Zacharias
"Recapture the Wonder"

Did you pick a word for the year?


Things I Like Doing (When I'm Not Blogging)

If you were to ask Jordan what I normally like to do on the week days after I get home from work, he would probably tell you I blog. A lot. And while that is true, blogging is not the only hobby I enjoy, nor is it (if I can toot my own horn) the only hobby I am good at. 

In case you're interested, here are some other things I like doing when I'm not blogging:

1. Crochet

I learned how to crochet in high school, and I've been doing it ever since. Mostly blankets and scarves because, let's be honest, I can't crochet anything not in a straight line. I tried to make a hat once, but it never turned up and I ended up with a giant circle potholder. Not really the same thing.

I've made blankets for almost everyone in my family by now. Here's a picture of my brother and I from this past Christmas with the blanket I made him. 
Crocheting is mostly a winter hobby because it's dang hot to have a huge blanket in your lap in the middle of summer, but it's so fun to snuggle up on the couch with my crochet hook and an episode of Downton Abbey.

Plus, it's awesome to see a $40 scarf in the window of LOFT and say, "I could totally make that myself!" Boom.

2. Scrapbook

I have my grandma to thank for my love of scrapbooking. Back in the day she was a Creative Memories consultant, so she was always buying us tons of paper and books to scrapbook with. My wedding scrapbook took me an entire year to finish and is the one I think I'm the most proud of. I also have books from middle school (that are quite hilariously terrible) and high school.
Sadly, in recent years physical scrapbooking has gone digital, and I haven't worked on a scrapbook in a long time. I do love making photo books in Shutterfly, though. I have one of 2013 and 2014 (if I don't do it immediately, it doesn't get done), and I made ones for our trips to Nicaragua and South Dakota.
This year, 2015, I've started something I'm really excited about: Project Life. I have Christina to thank for the inspiration to start! She is doing one herself and was really helpful in getting me pointed in the right direction. It can seem overwhelming at first.
I made a Project Life Inspiration Pinterest board to get the ideas flowing, and I finally got started last weekend. I'm loving it so far!

If you're interested, you can find out more about Project Life here. It's basically a hybrid of a scrapbook and a photo album. It's supposed to be quicker and easier than a traditional scrapbook while allowing you to add creative flair to the pages. I'm still totally a newbie to all of this, but feel free to let me know if you have any questions!

3. Read

Duh. This shouldn't surprise anyone. My parents saw it coming at the ripe old age of 4.
Usually I read a half hour to an hour before bed every time. Of course, that all depends on how tired I am/how long I get sucked into scrolling through my FB feed. Just keeping it real.

Follow me on Goodreads if you aren't already!

4. Watch TV

Yes, I do love watching my shows, although I'm typically doing something else while watching TV like blogging, editing pictures, or crocheting. Rarely do I just sit and watch TV for hours on end.

Jordan and I particularly enjoy the following: Friends (I own all 10 seasons and have seen them so much I can quote them all, but you can never have too much Friends), Parks & Rec (it's an acquired taste, but it's hi-larious), Castle (we're watching them on DVD and are only on Season 4 currently), The Middle, New Girl, and Modern Family. I also love Parenthood and Downton Abbey. One Tree Hill is terrible, but it's my Netflix guilty pleasure. Don't judge me.

5. Cook & Bake

I enjoy cooking and baking. I do not enjoy doing dishes, but that's inevitable I suppose. I love trying out new recipes and also making delicious staples we know and love. And I like baking cookies and pies. Yum!

Pictured: Pioneer Woman's French Silk Pie. Get in my belly.
Feel free to check out my Pinterest board of "Entrees I've Tried and Liked"
Follow Amanda Bumgarner's board Entrees I've Tried & Liked on Pinterest.

6. Run

Duh x 100. You guys, I literally cannot imagine my life without running. I say literally because I've tried, and I can't do it. All I see when I think back to those days before running is a giant black hole of sadness. I'm not exaggerating.*
*I might be exaggerating.

I know people say they hate it and blah blah blah, but you will not be able to convince me that you would not (double negative!) love running if you gave it a legitimate try and were patient enough to keep going even when you feel like you're dying. I might have to force myself out for a run because it's cold or I'm tired, but I never feel better than when I come back from a run. It's just the best.

// Want to know what it's like to run with me? Click here.

So those are just a few things I enjoy doing in my spare time or when I'm not blogging! Honorable mention goes to: organizing random crap, wandering the aisles of Target (click here for more on how I feel about Target), perfecting my selfie pose, Googling funny questions, and clipping my fingernails, which seem to grow at an abnormally fast rate.

Do we have any of these in common? Any Project Life fans out there? 
What hobbies do you enjoy?


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