As January comes to an end, I wanted to reflect on all that happened this month. Not just reflect, but find praise in the little and the big things that happened. I want to be more intentional about having a heart of thankfulness and gratitude. I read a “praise report” on another blog and absolutely loved the idea, so I compiled my own.
My January Praise Report
1. Jeremiah and I met our monthly savings goal!
It has been no secret that one of our struggles as a married couple was learning how to manage our money. Both of us had never had to communicate with anyone on where our money goes, so learning how to communicate, plan, and budget as two instead of one did not come easily. Although a challenge, it was one we faced head on and intentionally. As we discussed bills and paychecks, we slowly learned which one of us had a knack for budgeting and how the other could help. We opened a joint bank account, monitor our accounts through our bank’s app, and started using a budget planner. On January 1st, we went purchase by purchase and really dug deep into where our money was going and how we could save better. We created a monthly savings goal and I am very very proud to announce that we exceeded it!
2. We made the most of being a one-car family.
A couple months ago, Jeremiah’s car quit on him. We took it to a shop and got one thing fixed only to have another thing go wrong. The new problem will cost more than the car is worth to fix. Together, we made the decision not to pay to fix the car, but instead share the one we already have. This wasn’t an easy decision for me, because I really like the freedom having my own car provides. I could shop, grab lunch, or run errands as I please. Sharing means that I would have to plan my days around when my husband would need the car. Little did I know, sharing a car would bring us closer and strengthen our communication. I will admit, occasionally I go a little stir-crazy, but for the most part only having one car hasn’t hindered us much. In fact, I like being the last one to put a smile on his face before work and the first one there afterward for him to talk about his day.
3. I got the high score on Tempest.
This is a silly one, but one of my greatest accomplishments! I have never been a video-gamer. As a kid, I would play the occasional playstation or gamecube game, but I much prefer cards or board games. On a whim, Jeremiah, my brother-in-law Joshua, and I went to an arcade one weekend. It was $5 free play for an hour. I don’t know too many games nor am I very good at them, so I felt a bit overwhelmed and out of my element. I recognized Tempest as a computer game I used to play as a kid, so I gave it a shot. On my first try, I made it onto the scoreboard. It was such an incredible feeling, so I just kept playing and playing. It was a bit addicting. Sure enough, by try twenty… or was it thirty?… I had beat out all the other players for the top score. In that moment, I felt invincible and ready to try all the new things.
4. We got to visit family in Michigan.
Being from a family that basically lives all within an hour from each other, I cannot even imagine what it is like to have your family spread out all over the states. Jeremiah’s family lives all over, so he doesn’t get to see them that often. His parents live in a small town in Michigan and it has been such a blessing that we have had the opportunity to visit them the past three years. I always want visiting his family to be a priority, because I adore them and want us to stay close! So far our new tradition is taking a winter-cation to Michigan to spend a week with them. So grateful we were able to do that again this year!
5. I tried my hand at candle making.
Over the years, I have become a person that shys away from trying new things. I let the fear of failure keep me from experiencing something really wonderful. Well, I had been really wanting to create something. I’m not typically very good at DIY projects or crafts, but I just had a feeling. While at Hobby Lobby, I wandered to the candle making aisle and had no doubt that I could create a candle… how hard could it be? I love candles, but they are so pricey and I figured why waste the money if I can just make them myself. Turns out, making candles is so much fun!! I tried melting the wax multiple different ways and experimented with color and texture. I was at it for a couple days, making a mess of our kitchen. By the end I had made 8 candles, none of which will light. I’m not sure what is wrong with the wicks I bought, but I don’t even care, because making candles was such a delight!
6. I finished my first book of the year!
I have been in such a reading slump lately that this year I am setting the goal of reading one book a month. Only reading 12 books this year seems so low, but I want to remember how to enjoy reading. Although it took a little time to to get back into my groove, once I got into it, I couldn’t tear myself away. This month I read Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers and it was the most wonderful story that completely wrecked my heart! Stay tuned, because a review is in the works.
January was a great start to the new year! It didn’t come without struggle, but I feel that I made big strides toward my goals. I have a long way to go and God still has a lot to show and teach me, but I’m proud of what I accomplished this month and I hope being more intentional with my thoughts will help me to be more gracious and thankful.
I encourage you to write your own praise list. Let me know how YOUR January was and what God is doing in your life!