I feel like we were so richly blessed this Christmas. It was such a wonderful treat and blessing to have Cathy and Jim here for Christmas. It was the best time we’ve spent together ever! It was really, really special. We also had Yu Yi here, a friend of Conor’s from Scotland. Conor baptized Yu Yi 10 years ago and it was such a pleasure to have him as a guest in our home. I love having friends and family in our home. It is so sweet.

As we enter 2016, I can’t help but feel overwhelmed by some of the things Conor and I are choosing to do next year. We’re starting a slow carb diet in January and in February we’re beginning 6 months of not spending any extra money. The idea with that is to not purchase anything extra, with a very few exceptions such as shoes and clothing for our growing children. No art, no furniture, no clothing for Conor and I, nothing. I think it’s going to be a great experience. I hope to feel more gratitude for what I have, but it’s going to be a little tough. Spending money is very habitual for me. There’s some house things I’d like to tackle this year (like that lawn and a garden), and we would love to grow our family. I feel like I’m starting 2016 with a lot of emotion right on the surface!

So! It’s good for me to choose gratitude! I’m so grateful for this past Christmas and it’s bounty. I’m grateful for the gifts we were able to give to friends and family as well as to those in need. I’m grateful to have had loved ones in my home. I’m grateful I got to spend another Christmas with two beautiful, healthy daughters and a husband that loves me. I’m grateful for our wonderful home. I miss California something fierce, but I am so grateful that we live closer to family. Seeing family has strengthened bonds in a way that I really needed. I look forward to 2016 with as much hope and courage as I can muster. I’m going to try my best to keep my chin up and work on changing my heart.

Photographs always help me to be happy. I love the memories that they capture. Here are some of my favorite photos from Christmas. And many wishes for a peaceful, prosperous, lovely 2016.