Arizona Vacation 2017



Arizona holds so many special memories for us. It is where my husband and I first began to build our lives together after we got married, where I graduated from college, and the home of so many good times and so much growth.



Although we’ve moved back to the area where we grew up in the Midwest, Arizona has such a nostalgic feeling.


The opportunity arose to visit our friends before they move out of Arizona as well, and we jumped on it. It was a fairly quick and spontaneous decision, but we booked the flight and didn’t look back.


The day after we flew in, we visited Sedona. I could try to describe it, but you really just need to go. It gives you that same frightening-but-breathtaking feeling that you get when you look out at the open ocean.



I’m growing to like that feeling. It gives you a sense of humility at how small you really are, yet gratitude that God chose to give you life in a universe full of such amazing things.


We had such a fun time hiking and even just driving with this beautiful landscape around us.


Above all, it was great to see our friends. Life takes us in different directions and I’m notoriously bad at staying in touch (working on it!), but even so, when we get back together the relationship feels like we’ve never left. I’m thankful for these and other great people in my life.



I also appreciated the 90 degree weather when there was a snowstorm happening back home. Gratefulness comes in all sorts of forms!


Where will you be headed for your next vacation?


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Or in the comments section below, of course!



Six Weeks of Wellness- Week 6- Social Wellness

Social Media

What is the one thing that has the power to consume your time, distract you from your work, make you feel both lonely and connected, increase anxiety, and mess up your sleep?

Social media.

Sure, it can help us keep in touch, but it can also help us feel terrible. Countless studies have shown that social media has some pretty nasty effects on people.

That constant checking? It can cause anxiety. It also decreases your ability to concentrate long-term, because your brain gets used to switching back and forth between tasks so quickly.

Also, social media has been found to make people feel lonelier. One thing we humans are good at is comparing ourselves to others, and social media is a great place to do that and wreck your mental health.

Having Facebook friends you rarely talk to or just giving an occasional “like” is far from “connectedness.” Instead of making our friendships deeper, social media helps to make them wider, which isn’t healthy from a social wellness point of view. It’s better to have rich relationships than to have many acquaintances, and social media can easily steer us away from this.

On top of all that, the actual content of social media can be pretty toxic. Sexual photos, politically charged anger, horrendous footage of abuse, and fake news can crowd out the social aspect of social media altogether.

So what’s a person to do?

Well, you could quit social media altogether, like this talk by Cal Newport suggests. I don’t think it’s a bad idea.

You could also find some ways to use social media more intentionally. By this, I mean avoiding aimlessly scrolling or falling down the rabbit hole until you’re on your cousin’s friend’s ex’s mom’s page. I mean not wasting time and finding ways to make sure you feel happier after using social media, not like you just lost an hour of your life.

Some ideas to use social media more intentionally:


Put Your Phone Down

Put Down Your Phone

We, as a society, have got to put our phones down.

I recently went out on a date and was sitting with my back facing the rest of the restaurant. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see a family at a table in which every member of the family was on their phone or tablet. Yes, that’s right, mom, dad, and a couple kids were eating “together” yet were 100% disconnected from reality in their own worlds apart from one another.

I pointed this out to my husband, and he said it wasn’t just that table. I turned around and was shocked to see many, many families being robbed of quality time because their eyes were glued to a screen.

I can’t say I’m completely innocent of this crime, either (although I’ve been working to mindfully be present with those around me).

How did this happen to our culture?


How to Improve Every Relationship

What is important to a relationship? The resounding answer is always “communication.” The interesting part about communication, though, is that it involves a lot more listening and a lot less talking than we sometimes think.

To be a good communicator, you have to be a good listener.


Some people seem to be naturally great listeners. My husband is fantastic at this. Others (like me) have to work at it and practice. Anyone can improve their listening skills, though, and it’s definitely worth the effort.

Here are some key things to remember to become a better listener: