Cupcakes and Sunshine: December 2017

Friday, December 29, 2017

2017 With a Side of the best ever (EASY) Pad Thai

Yesterday I highlighted my favorite memories of 2017, but today I've been doing lots of reflecting on all I've learned in 2017 (& also the best Pad Thai recipe you need in the New Year!). I think this is the year I've learned the most about myself, about living fearlessly, and about trusting the Lord in the good and bad. (& what happens when you don't!)

This year I've learned...

Cold pizza is the best. And it's okay to have it 2-3 times a week if necessary. And especially for breakfast. 

Good friends are also the best- which is a duh- but friends who want the best for you and who will tell you like it is, and pray for you through it all...those are the friends you need! 

If you have an inkling and the Holy Spirit is leading you in a certain way, you're probably making the best move. Listen, pray, act. Don't let your flesh lead the way! Especially when the going gets tough. If God's not at the center, you're not taking the right path. 

And if you've taken the wrong path, bring it to the Lord. He's redeeming you and sanctifying you. And He has big plans for those who follow Him. (Actually had some cool conversations with my Uber driver from Nigeria yesterday about this truth. The coolest.) 

Become a life learner- this year, I felt at capacity much of the time and skipped reading and knowing people personally and learning and adventuring and exploring. I don't suggest it! I've learned to keep on learning, asking questions, moving forward, and trying new things. This is life GIVING and important! 

Eat the cupcake. I've been through seasons of life where I skipped out on lots of things- cupcakes, parties, gatherings, events- because of shame or fear or loss of control. Eat the cupcake. Go to the party. Say YES. 

But if you tend to say YES too much, stay in. Wear pajamas. Make a fancy dinner for yourself. Light a few candles. and watch New Girl. 

Write a thank you note. I used to do this habitually, but definitely have slowed down on writing letters and maybe even being grateful with all the busy (yikes)! But Thank You's can make someone's day. And I believe can even change the world. Share kindness and gratefulness! Be thankful!  

Slow down. Rest, sit, sleep. This used to be something I was terrible at! I stayed busy and filled the quiet times with projects and to-dos. This year, I've learned to slow down, rest and take it easy, and it's been really good friends! 

Now what does Pad Thai have to do with any of this? Maybe it's something to prepare. It isn't Chick-fil-A (which I've also had a lot of in 2017). It takes some slowing down and chopping. It's new, colorful, and fun. You can make it your own. And it's best shared! So invite over some friends, laugh a lot, and don't take things too seriously. Especially in 2018. I've learned a lot in 2017, and I think YOU should learn how to make this recipe in 2018 because it is pretty life changing itself! 

The Best Ever EASY Pad Thai: 
  • 8 oz. Rice Noodles
  • Rotisserie Chicken (Shortcut tip!!) 
  • Pad Thai Sauce (Shortcut tip!!- I used this one that I got from Whole Foods and it. was. incredible. You can make your own, but this one is so good!) 
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • Green onions
  • Broccoli 
  • Red Peppers 
  • Bean Sprouts
  • Shredded Carrots
  • Fresh Thai Basil 
  • Lime Slices
  • Cashews 

  1. Boil your rice noodles 7-10 minutes. (Shortcut- toss in your broccoli and boil with the noodles so it  cooks simultaneously. Then drain together!) 
  2. Chop all vegetables- red peppers, green onions, lime slices.
  3. Shred your rotisserie chicken, and toss in a pan to warm a little olive oil, chopped garlic, peppers, bean sprouts, carrots, and Pad Thai Sauce. 
  4. Top Rice Noodles (and cooked broccoli) with all ingredients. Squeeze fresh lime and add Thai Basil and chopped green onions and cashews. 
  5. Enjoy! 
Happy almost 2018, friends! 

A Look Back at 2017...

Anyone else feel that with this break you just want to do all. the. things?! For the first time in a while I've set new goals and gone to the gym and caught up with a lot of friends and cleaned and organized and watched the news and read all the books and made a list for all the books I want to read this next year. I feel like going and doing and well, like a brand new person! Rest provides the perfect canvas to re-set and re-energize, friends! I also saw this today, and believe it is most accurate...

I know reality will hit in just a couple days when it is back to the grind, but for now, I'm reading and growing and doing all. the. things...including taking a look back at 2017!

Wow, what a year has it been! I blinked my eyes, and we're here! Staring right at 2018.

I tend to get stuck in the rut of thinking that not a lot has happened or really changed. Old friends call to catch up, and the first thing that comes to mind is...hmmm, well not much has really happened! But then I get to looking at pictures and memories from the past 365 days, and I'm just incredibly thankful because so much has happened in the ordinary and extraordinary of everyday.

I absolutely love yearly recaps because reflecting on new adventures, friends, and family makes my heart feel so full. (Here's a look back at 2016)

2017, it's been a good one!

The very best of 2017:

1. Community: Community was my 2017 word of the year and WOW has it been an incredible year full of friends and family and being rooted in knowing community will be wherever I go. I started off this year in a tough place in a new city not really knowing many. But now, Dallas is home and I'm surrounded by so many people each and every day who are pouring into me, encouraging me, and just making every day FUN.

I have never laughed so much!

2. New Cities: This past year, I set a goal to visit 3 new places in Texas-- Houston, Austin, and even Midland, TX were where I ended up spending a lot of time this year. After barely being able to stand the cold of Georgia and South Carolina these past few days, having a new interest in TX sports (Go Cowboys?!), and knowing Texas geography better than the eastern USA, I would say friends- I've become a true Texan! (still need some boots and a cowboys t-shirt though)

3. New job:
I would say 2017 was most defined by a new position with an incredible team. I really don't think I've ever learned (or laughed) so much in such a short period of time.

It's been an adventure for sure, and I'm thankful to be a part of a team of world changers!

4. New appreciation for REST:
I think this is the first year I've ever really appreciated REST, and 2017 is the first year I've really appreciated introverting. "Rest" was my 2016 word of the year, which I almost had to force myself to do, but this year- there was no forcing necessary. I deeply emerged myself in rest between busy work days and weekends. 8 o'clock bedtime? No problem! Home with a side of New Girl and a heated blanket? Sounds like the perfect Friday night to me!

5. Surprise Trips:

This year, I ended up taking a few surprise trips to Georgia and Disneyland. Surprise trips are the best, and I hope in years to come they never stop. No weekend plans? Let's go somewhere!

6. Best Roommates:
Goodness, I have the best roommates. We aren't always home, but when we are, we have the best time!

Abby and Allison, you two are THE best, and helped to make 2017 so great! Can't wait for more roomie adventures in 2018.

7. And lastly, 2017 Favorites:
When I think about 2017, I'll think of...

  • Sour Patch Kids
  • Fliptop water bottles
  • New Girl 
  • Chipotle Queso
  • Really early mornings
  • Whole Foods and Trader Joe's
  • Cheddar Popcorner chips 
  • Taylor Swift's Reputation Album
  • Star Wars
  • That one time we met Flo Rida 
2018, we're ready for ya!! 

What are you most looking forward to in 2018? 


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