Starting Fresh in September

Last week I wrote about how September is my favorite month and holds so much meaning for me. This month signifies a new start, the beginning of a new birth year for me, and reflection over the last year. September is about starting fresh.

Today I’m going to encourage you in some ways that you can also have a fresh start this month. What do you love most about this month??

Personal Health

Start a new workout plan. Be better at healthy meal planning and prepping. Go to bed earlier. Drink more water.

Relationships with Family and Friends

Put the phone down more. Be intentional about spending time with others. Have people over and look for ways to gather others. Send more texts or messages to friends and family to let them know you’re thinking of them. Look for ways to serve those you love.

Work Life

Get to work early. Focus on work tasks and really give it your all. Facilitate a positive work culture and environment. Clean and organize your work space.

Spiritual Health

Make a point to spend time with God each day. Spend your commute in prayer and as you go about the day. Be open for opportunities to share the love and compassion of Christ. Begin a new Bible study plan.

Home

Bring out the fall candles and decorations. Make a point to keep the house clean and cozy. Put away your summer clothes and bring out all the fall wear. Declutter. Finish a project you’ve already started.

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Happy 2nd Blogiversary: My Biggest Takeaways

HAPPY 2ND BLOGIVERSARY!

Today is a reason to celebrate! Two years ago, on this day, I started this blog and it’s been such a fun journey! I am so glad that I started this blog and for what it has become! To celebrate today, I’m going to share with you some of my biggest takeaways from this past year and some of my favorite posts that I wrote. I’m going to celebrate with cake today and I invite you to do the same!

Do what you love!

On days when blogging can seem overwhelming, remember why you wanted to start blogging and don’t get lost in the rest. Remember your passion. And have fun!

Pray for growth and opportunity!

I think that God has given me the desire to blog and so I’m praying that He will continue to use me in whatever way that looks like. It’s been amazing to be a part of some conversations that have been the result of blog posts and the people I’ve been able to reconnect with. I’ve also been given some amazing opportunities to write about and I’m praying that there will be more to come.

Quality over quantity!

I have learned that I would rather post higher quality content rather than sub-par content–just to post a certain number of posts. This year I want to work on producing higher and higher quality content.

There is no perfect way to blog!

Your blog is your blog! Don’t compare yourself to others and enjoy your own creative process. Easier said than done sometimes, but remember that you have a unique platform to express your heart.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions and to ask for help!

I have found that a lot of bloggers are so helpful when it comes to answering questions and giving advice. You will never learn new things if you don’t ask questions or seek out others to learn from.

Go to workshops and listen to podcasts!

What a fun way to learn! There are so many good podcasts out there that can help bloggers learn new information and tips. If you are a blogger or writer interested in going to a conference–I highly, HIGHLY recommend that you go to Declare 2018!


My top 7 from 2017:

  1. Awkward Much–this was a funny post to write! Here’s a little peek inside my everyday life and a little dose of transparency.
  2. Master Packing List for Carry-On Luggage–I have used this PDF so many times!
  3. Maine Travel Guide–this was a favorite because it meant I got to see my bestie!
  4. Living with Celiac Disease–a little bit of information about Celiac and what it’s like for those who live with it.
  5. Snapshots of 26–this was so fun to look back on my 26th year of life!
  6. Declare Conference Haul–this was also such a fun post because I got to talk about Declare!
  7. Ways to Style: Fall Outfits–I was really happy with how this post turned out because it was the first one shot on my Canon.

A HUGE thank you to my family, friends, and bogging buddies who have been with me every step of the way! Thank you for supporting me and encouraging me on the days when I didn’t feel like blogging was important. Thank you for always giving me inspiration and for asking me to write about things. Thank you for telling me to keep going. Y’all, it’s meant the world to me and I’m so excited for year 3 of Love from Amy! I love you all so much!

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Whole30 Must-Haves

Hi my friends! Happy hump day! The beginning of a new year always seems to bring around the “new year, new me” mindset and desire to become healthier than ever. Lots of people go on diets, hit the gym more, or determine to just make better choices. One thing I like to do a couple of times a year is Whole30. If you’re never heard about Whole30, I wrote a post about it last year that can be viewed here. I have, personally, seen amazing results from doing Whole30, I’ve felt better than I have in a long time, and it’s helped me to make better choices. If you are interested in doing Whole30, or you’re planning on doing Whole30, or you’re just curious to know what you can eat–I have some must-haves to share that I would recommend you keep in stock. This post is not sponsored by Trader Joe’s, by the way, but I just have a lot of things that I like to get there for Whole30.

RX BARS: These protein bars are great because they only contain a few ingredients! Make sure you read the labels though because I think a few are not Whole30 approved.

LARABAR: These have been a staple for me ever since I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease years ago. Certain flavors are also not Whole30 approved so make sure you read labels.

SPARKLING WATER: I love drinking sparkling water or mineral water on Whole30 because it’s helps to satisfy the craving for something sweet. The flavors of sparkling water at Trader Joe’s are so good and they usually have seasonal flavors, as well. La Croix is also another thing that I like to have on hand during Whole30. But then again, would I really be a basic white girl if I didn’t love La Croix?

CHOMPS: I have not tried these yet but have heard they are really good if you need some protein. I have been doing the Daniel Fast with my church this month and haven’t been eating meat during the fast. I will give these a try though once that fast is over.

ALMONDS: Always, always, always have these on hand! Almonds are a good source of protein and healthy fat and nobody likes a hangry person.

DRIED FRUIT: Be careful to read labels and not get dried fruit that has sugar added. These “Just Mango Slices” at Trader Joe’s do not have any added sugar and it’s also another good snack to throw into a bag when you’re on-the-go.

CAULIFLOWER RICE: This is nice to buy because it’s been “pre-riced” and less of a mess. I will sometimes “rice” my own cauliflower but stuff just gets everywhere. This definitely doesn’t taste just like rice but it’s a great alternative during Whole30.

RICED BROCCOLI: This is another thing that has been good to have when you want to make a “pasta” dish, salad, or just to pan steam.

SWEET POTATO CHIPS: I bought these at Aldi and there are only two ingredients. These are great for when you have the munchies!

PLANTAIN CHIPS: These are also another thing that I love to have on hand for a snack, to dip in guac, salsa, or make “nachos.”

GHEE: This is an alternative to butter and it’s really yummy! It definitely has a more bold flavor than butter does but I really like it.

SEASONINGS: Trader Joe’s has really good seasonings that can help make more bland meals taste so much better. My favorites are seasoning salt and the everything bagel seasonings.

COCONUT MILK: A good alternative to dairy and can be used in SO many different dishes. Definitely taste test with coconut milk though because you don’t want to overpower your meal with coconut.

ALMOND BUTTER: So good! I eat almond butter with plantain chips, apples, bananas, in smoothes, etc.

GUACAMOLE: Always. Just. Always.

Have you ever done Whole30? What was your experience like and what kinds of things do you like to eat during Whole30?

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Books I Want to Read: 6th Edition

It’s been a while since I’ve written a book-related post and thought I would do that today. Do you like to read? It’s one of things that I love to do in my down-time and while traveling. I like to read books about history, fiction, Christian living, and mystery. While I always have a list of books that I want to read and a stack of books that need to be read on my bookshelf, I try to just have a few books going at a time so that I finish them.

Also, this is totally unrelated but I’m just curious–have you ever started reading a book, decided it wasn’t for you, but then still read the whole thing? Or do you just stop reading? I’ve encountered this a few times but then felt guilty for not finishing it, haha!

These are the books that are currently in the rotation to read in the next couple of months. If you need some reading inspiration, I hope this helps you! What are you currently reading?

Reading People: How Seeing the World Through the Lens of Personality Changes Everything by Anne Bogel 

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I can’t wait to read this book! I like to think that I’m good at “people reading” and having good instincts–but I’m so curious to know what’s inside of this book! I think learning about different personality types is fascinating.

Courage: Fighting Fear with Fear by Wayne Mack & Joshua Mack

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This book was recommended to me by my dad, after learning what some of my goals are for this year. I’m looking forward to reading this and the insight it will give to help in my journey of worrying less. A big shoutout to my dad, also–he’s one of the biggest supporters of my blog and comments on every single post that I publish. Love you, Papa!

Dance, Stand, Run: The God-Inspired Moved of a Woman on Holy Ground by Jess Connolly

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I love hearing Jess Connolly speak and encourage women in their walk with God. I’m really looking forward to reading this book!

Grace, Not Perfection: Embracing Simplicity, Celebrating Joy by Emily Ley

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I have heard a lot of really good things about Emily Ley’s books and wanted to give this one a read. The title seems like it would be something that would really speak to me in the ways of “embracing simplicity and celebrating joy.”

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My Goals for 2018

Bye, 2017! Hello and welcome, 2018! I can’t believe another year has passed and it was definitely a full year! It’s been awesome to reflect over the past year and also start to make plans for the next. I’m looking forward to seeing what 2018 will bring and tell you about those highlights next year. Before I get into telling you my goals for 2018–here are some of the highlights from the past year.

Highlights of 2017:

-1 year anniversary of my blog
-Went to Chicago to see my sister and her family
-Ran a St. Patrick’s Day 5k with my dad
-Went to Maine to see my best friend
-Helped to pick out my sister’s puppy named Franklin
-Did Whole30 twice
-Went to DC with 2 of my sisters for a week
-Went to Dallas with family
-Went to Virginia to see cousins
-Bought my first real, nice camera and started taking photos seriously
-Went to Dallas again for the Declare Conference
-Ran my second half marathon and this time with my pregnant sister (she’s a rock star)
-Ran a Thanksgiving Day Hog Jog with almost every member of my immediate family
-Went to Chicago again
-Went to 7 weddings
-Celebrated lots of family birthdays
-Had lots of aunt time
-Finding out that I’m going to be an aunt to more babies in 2018

My heart is so overwhelmed with all of these amazing things that happened and I’m so glad that I wrote each thing down. Although there were some bumps and difficult times in 2017, the amount of good things and experiences totally made up for them. I am thankful for every single thing that happened in 2017.

I have a few goals that I am setting for myself this next year and I thought I would share those with you today. Do you usually set goals or resolutions for the new year? I would love to hear what some of yours are!

My Goals for 2018:

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I wrote a post, last year, about my struggles with being fearful and wanted to share some encouragement to others in that post. Even though I wrote that post and know those truths to be real, I still struggle with this battle every day. Even when I may seem like I’m fine, the battle within can sometimes be crippling for me. But this year, I want to be more purposeful about giving fearful thoughts straight to the Lord and not allowing them to consume my mind. Joshua 1:9 says “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go” and in Mark 6:50, Jesus says this to his disciples when they were afraid–“Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.” I want to worry less this year, and in years to come, and trust completely in God and His plans for my life.

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This year I would love to try to put out 3 blog posts a week! I’m going to be changing my posting schedule from Tuesday/Friday to posting Monday/Wednesday/Friday and will try my best to stick to that new schedule. Some weeks are much harder than others to publish new content, especially because of my full-time job and those commitments. However, I’m excited to share more posts with you this next year!

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The last 2 months haven’t been great ones for me when it comes to staying active. After training and running a half marathon, I decided I was just way too tired and would rather be a couch potato. But the times that I have been consistent with exercising have been the times that I’ve felt and slept the best. So, this year I want to be the most consistent with going to the gym and go at least 3-4 times a week.

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I bought my first Canon in September and it’s been so fun to use! The photos that I’ve taken have turned out so well and I can’t wait to travel with the camera and take more photos. I hope to also share some of those photos with you this next year.

Happy new year friends!

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