Year in Review

So much for my aspirations of blogging regularly whilst in school! It turns out that when you have a paper due every week (plus a final paper, plus a final exam) and would still like to see your husband occasionally and have other commitments and aren’t as young as you used to be, there’s often not enough left in the tank for the “extras” you were hoping to accomplish! (To wit: never did use that Bento Box of Preparedness this term… oops!)

I know for many people 2016 was a rough year, but for me it turned out to be amazing! Last October, I was feeling a little sensitive about my age and life stage, in the sunset of my 20s and feeling a bit like a failure. But I decided I would do my very best to make 29 a year well-lived, and by God’s grace I can look back and see how He enabled me to grow so much and provided above and beyond what I could ask or imagine! So, this short recap is my tribute to His faithfulness in my life in 2016. Soli deo Gloria – all glory to God!

Highlights of 2016

  • Monthly dinners with friends who are really family
  • RCCF Winter Retreat
  • Discovering a local florist with amazing deals on spring bulbs, and buying an embarrassing number of mini daffodils
  • Enjoying Afternoon Tea dates with people I love
  • Participating in an international book exchange with strangers from around the world
  • Purchasing a green wing chair for our living room, in memory of my late grandparents whose beautiful home was filled with the comfiest armchairs
  • Cramming 16 people into our apartment for a last-minute fellowship program
  • Hosting RCCF committee meetings & the footwashing ceremony when the old committee passed the baton to the new committee
  • Finishing the study of Revelation with my BSF class
  • Celebrating our anniversary with a delicious trip to Nadege & mini photo shoot in the park
  • Reminiscing about undergrad, growing in my faith, & meeting tons of new students at AFC’s Campus Challenge conference (held at my alma mater)
  • Making excellent use of our outdoor pool & logging more swim hours than in any other year
  • Hosting & feeding students… whether they were invited or just showed up at the door & brought the whole squad along to mooch dinner leftovers
  • Organizing a bridal shower for a dear friend, and then playing the piano at her wedding
  • Marking an entire decade of life together (10 years since our first date!)
  • Participating in an inter-generational women’s small group over the summer
  • Hosting an Afternoon Tea Party for the ladies of my former church
  • Enjoying a FANTASTIC month off in July
  • Taking a ridiculous number of sky/sunset photos because God’s artistry just never gets old
  • Grilling on the patio with summertime guests
  • Making a homemade Korean Feast with foodie friends
  • Recharging with solo couch time & Netflix
  • Starting my first bullet journal and falling in love with the process
  • Going back to school (online courses from CCEF)
  • Marveling at the gracious way God pursues us in love
  • Deciding to pursue a Master’s degree
  • Getting wall shelves installed to complete our new home layout/design
  • Celebrating my 30th birthday with a giant party!
  • Writing a new worship song as a reflection on my counseling studies thus far
  • Making a Julia Child-inspired meal (including her classic boeuf bourguignon) with friends, while wearing pearls & watching “Julie & Julia”
  • Getting accepted to the online MAC program at Westminster Theological Seminary
  • Spending quality time with family & friends over the holidays
    “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22-23)

    Wishing you a new year filled with true and lasting joy, peace that passes understanding, and just the right amount of adventure!

    xo,
    Kate

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Incongruity

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What I Want To Accomplish Tonight:

1. Finish weekly course reading

2. Begin rough draft of weekly response paper

3. Bake muffins

4. Finish the laundry

5. Wash/prep veggies for the rest of the week

6. Send important emails

7. Defrost and marinate chicken wings

8. Wash the dishes

9. Quick tidy of the condo

10. Evening swim

11. Reading in bed for a bit to wind down before drifting into a peaceful and refreshing slumber

 

What I Will Actually Accomplish Tonight:

1. Fatigue denial

2. Reclining on the couch

3. Convincing myself I am only resting for a few more minutes

4. Reading the same sentence over and over again… (that counts as doing coursework, right?!)

5. I refuse to have a nap.

6. Thinking about getting up to put on another load of laundry

7. Why is the kitchen so far away?

8. Defrosting the chicken in the fridge (marinades are overrated)

9. Deciding not to go to bed early because that will only lead to insomnia (true story)

10. Still not napping – my eyelids are this droopy all the time, I assure you

11. Finally admitting defeat around midnight and making an epic To Do List for tomorrow, then crawling exhausted into bed

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Real life, y’all. #FatigueStruggles #NotEnoughSpoons

Closed Today for Temple Maintenance

Today was supposed to be a Super Productive, Get Ready For Next Week, Do All The Things kind of day. I woke up after sleeping quite well, thinking, “Ok, let’s do this!” and then was promptly and unceremoniously smothered in a blanket of fatigue. I get these days, sometimes. For me it’s just the way things are, a part of life.

[For the record, though, struggling with fatigue really sucks. You know you should have energy, having just slept for eight hours, eaten a balanced breakfast, and given yourself time to ease into the day (or, alternatively, jumped into the day right away in a vain attempt to jump-start your body). But you don’t, or, as Michael Scott would say, should, maybe, but shornt.

Sometimes this feels like someone is sucking away all my energy, or like I’m being crushed under the weight of fatigue and barely have enough energy to hold up my head (these are definitely the worst days and unfortunately this is not a hyperbolic description, but thankfully this hasn’t happened recently), or like today, where fatigue feels like a fog or a wet blanket that’s enveloping me. Can’t quite seem to outrun or escape the fog, can’t quite get my arms free to disentangle myself from the blanket.]

So, today will probably not be a Super Productive Day after all. Whenever I decide not to go into full-on battle against my fatigue, guilt is often not far behind. Saturdays are not supposed to be a day off for me. (As a rule, I rest on Mondays to recover from the weekend, which I always find exhausting.) This was not the plan for today, and there is (as always) work to be done! Shouldn’t I be fighting harder? Aren’t I just being lazy? Isn’t this just an excuse to take it easy?

But, today I was reminded that we are called to work according to the strength God provides. And that I have to measure myself according to the way God has made me, with all my weaknesses and physical limitations, and not in comparison to anyone else. Tomorrow will be another busy day and I need to prepare for that by, as a friend once put it, “taking care of the temple!”

So, today I’m doing just that. I will do what I can, with the strength I’ve been given, and apart from that I will rest. It may seem counter-intuitive, but this is also a way to honour God with my body, by respecting the way He has made it, by embracing the reality of what is/is not reasonable or healthy for me, by doing less of what is less important (deep-cleaning my house) so I can do more of what is more important (spending time worshipping and serving God tomorrow, through fellowship with my church family).

Today will be a productive day after all, then – because productivity doesn’t always look like ticking items off a list, flurried activity, and doing All The Things. Sometimes, productivity looks like inactivity, just being, resting, doing only a little, and maintaining the temple.

 

September Update: Back to School Edition (!!)

 

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That’s right; it’s true; your eyes do not deceive you; this adorable (and unintentionally gigantic) google calendar graphic is indeed correct…

 I’m going back to school!!!!!

To be even more accurate, I’m actually going back to school TODAY, because this is the official start date for Human Personality, the online course I’ll be taking this semester. Of course it’s not quite the same as doing a residential/on site program (to wit, I’m about to watch my first lecture while sitting on the couch in my PJs), but it is school, the course is for credit (ie. I actually have deadlines, assignments, and a final exam), and I haven’t been a student for a loooooong time, so I think it’s an accurate description.

The nutshell version is this: I’m doing some additional training in biblical counseling online through a school in the States, hoping to work towards a master’s degree eventually. This term I’m taking just one course but the plan is to enroll in a full course load come January. I’m hoping to submit my application for the degree program before Christmas, and so hopefully next fall I will officially be a grad student. (Ahhhhhhhhhh!!!!)

And here’s the slightly more complicated and comprehensive version: Towards the end of the summer we found out about a brand new Master of Arts in Counseling (MAC) that is offered entirely online. I’ve long been passionate about biblical counseling* and so the MAC program seems like a perfect fit for me. Although I’ve never had a desire to pursue further studies (quite the opposite in fact, as I practically fled hotfoot from university the moment I could escape with diploma in hand!), I’ve been won over by the intensely practical nature of these courses and the opportunity to study topics about which I am truly passionate under professors with unparalleled experience, insight, and biblical wisdom. Basically, I have done a complete 180 in my thinking and I now have all the heart eyes for the thought of grad school! 😍 😍 😍

The MAC launches in September 2017 (so that’s next September) and will be offered at Westminster Theological Seminary (WTS), in partnership with CCEF, the school from which I’m currently taking courses. Well, a course, for now. But wait, why am I taking a course right now if the MAC doesn’t start until next year? Because clearly I can’t do anything in a straightforward manner. Because to reduce costs (the price per course is significantly lower at CCEF) and to get a head start on your degree, any CCEF courses taken before September 2017 can become transfer credits for the MAC. Thus, my plan to take a full course load next term, and hopefully in the summer as well. (Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!)

Of course there’s no guarantee I will actually be accepted into the MAC program to begin with (hopefully we will know that by late this year or early next year, as I am aiming to submit my application fairly soon), but if not I will probably continue with a few more courses to complete a certificate at CCEF. True, it won’t be a degree, but much of the learning will be the same (I will be missing some courses in biblical studies, but the counseling aspect will be fully covered) and the whole point of this is to mature and develop greater skill as a biblical counselor, not add more initials after my name.

Honestly, it all feels a little surreal still (a feeling I’m sure will quickly dwindle into something more akin to panic and “what have I gotten myself into?” when I start my first lecture, in approximately 10 minutes…) and of course there are the usual nerves and jitters that always accompany a new experience (at least for me, devote lover of routine and familiarity), but I’m mostly really excited for what I will be learning, not least about myself, and for where the path from here might lead.

Guys, I’M GOING BACK TO SCHOOL!!!!!!!!

 

*Wondering about the difference between biblical counseling and Christian counseling? The terms are often used interchangeably but they actually mean quite different things. (Don’t worry, I used to think they were the same as well!) If you’re interested in learning more I’d love to chat sometime! 🙂