Blogmas 2017 Day 24

We didn’t have Sunday School this morning–just church. But even though I got to sleep in, I still felt completely horrible all morning. It’s been a long week of going places, staying up late, and eating sugar, so I need to stop doing those things, haha. It wasn’t a great morning in many ways.

We had refreshments after the service. Someone I haven’t seen in years said, regarding my book and my other writing exploits, “I’m so proud of you! You figured out what you wanted to do, and you went out and did it.” Which was so nice because–yes. Exactly. “If you want something, go get it,” is a quote I live by.

I felt especially awful by the time we got home and I just wanted my bed. By the time I woke up (and watched a Julia Robertson vlog) I felt much better. Joshua and I tried to make a gingerbread tree (expectations vs reality); I live streamed it on my Instagram, so you can go watch the video until approximately 4 PM tomorrow (Christmas day), when it will disappear. Then I journaled until dinnertime.

(I win) (Have I given an appreciation shout out to all my amazing blog friends yet this holiday season? They’re amazing)

We had the most amazing fun dinner… ham and cheese pinwheels, chocolate covered strawberries, Tostitos and Rotel dip, strawberries and grapes to go in the cheesecake dip, white chocolate covered pretzels, carrots, and cookies. It was so delicious!


After dinner, we sat under the Christmas tree to read The Cajun Night before Christmas, the Christmas story from Luke, sing a few Christmas songs, and tease each other about presents. Then my mom and I cleaned the bathroom while the boys made a cake, and now we’re watching The Christmas Story because it’s not Christmas Eve if we don’t.


Today is the best day of the year… I can’t believe it’s almost Christmas!

Here’s what I did last year on December 24th. What did you do today?


Blogmas 2017 Day 23

This morning I finished up the Christmas project I started last night, and now I’m completely ready for Monday!

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We’ve almost taught Sophie this month to get excited and run to the fireplace when we say “Santa.” This morning my mom was trying to take her on a walk, but Sophie was so excited-slash-obnoxious that she kept biting my mom’s shoelaces and untying them.

Today’s workout was a short resistance band video and then a quick kettlebell circuit of my own planning, making sure to focus on low reps and low cardio–it went far better than yesterday’s. Then I got sidetracked with some old choir music.


After lunch I sent a LOI to a healthcare marketing company, painted a Christmas tree cutting and took a cute Christmas picture for Instagram, tried to learn how to use my new curling iron, and finally made myself do laundry so my brother and I could watch a TV show highlighting the MLB best plays of the year. Also, we had a Harry and David’s box delivered (from my grandpa) with all kinds of cute cookies!

We went out to look at Christmas lights in various neighborhoods after dinner. We thought we were doing something nice by letting Sophie come with us instead of leaving her home alone, but she sat there trembling for an hour and then threw up three times. So it wasn’t nice for any of us.

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I’ve been thinking about majors and school today. My plan recently has been to get my associate’s degree in sports management within the next year or two (online, so I can keep writing and making money). However, now I’m rethinking that. Although it wouldn’t hurt, I don’t really need a degree to coach softball… and I’ve already established that I don’t need a writing degree to write. So now I’m considering getting an associate’s in marketing or something. It would be a good skill to pair with my writing experience. Spanish is still an option, too; there are always jobs open for people who speak Spanish. I know I want to write and have a ministry through softball, I just don’t know what degree would help me do both of those things to the fullest and make money! And I have so many interests that I can’t narrow it down. Oh well, we will see what happens.

Tomorrow is the best day of the year!

Here’s what I did last year on December 23rd. What did you do today?

Blogmas 2017 Day 22

I’ve probably talked about Julia Robertson here before, but ugh I just love her so much. If you’re looking for uplifting YouTube content and you’re frustrated by Vlogmas videos where people seem to worship Christmas instead of Christ–like Julia said in yesterday’s video, which was so encouraging–you should definitely check her out. She’s my favorite ever–desires to follow Christ, is such a sweet genuine person, and she has a job that I would absolutely love to have one day! (Currently she writes content for Adventures in Missions.)

A small peek into my journal from this morning (I do write out prayers and meditations of my own, but more often I will just copy down things I have read online so I can save them and think about them further):

“If you dwell on your own feelings about things rather than dwelling on the faithfulness and love of God, you’re likely to have a very bad day… but dwelling on Him is always safe.” (Elisabeth Elliott)

“Jesus knew deep shame. He despised it because He saw beyond it. Shame was powerless to define Christ. It could not influence Him or control His future, because He saw joy beyond it.” (Desiring God)

“We count down to Christmas… but before Him, people counted UP. There was no end in sight to their waiting. But He had not forgotten them. Suddenly, hope was restored.” (Instagram)

“CHARA–joy. Ancient Hebrew had a variety of words to express happiness. Joy is a key theme in the whole Bible. But obviously, our world has been corrupted. Joy is our attitude because of our hope in His love. When Moses led the Israelites to freedom, the first thing they did was sing for joy. (Psalm 105:43) Joy in the wilderness. (One of my many favorite Isaiah verses. “Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away…”) Joy in the anticipation of their future redemption. The good news of Jesus brings GREAT JOY. The early Christian communities were known for being full of joy, even when they were persecuted. The joy of faith/of the Lord (Paul). Don’t suppress sorrow–but yet, rejoice. Our loss will not be the final word.” (Word study video by the Bible Project)

Joshua and Dad were gone all day. I pitched a magazine, entered a fiction contest (which had the most beautiful name–Celestial Musings), sent some emails, brainstormed for a nutrition website I’m blogging for (can you spell ashwagandha root tea? Because now I can). I also cried about my favorite scene of my favorite movie (hint: it’s the ending of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince). It’s never a bad time for some Harry Potter laughs, so here you go (click to enlarge and then scroll through):

After lunch I cleaned my car out–I’ve been living out of it lately more than ever, and I was getting tired of telling people “just move all the stuff,” especially because I often have three kids in the backseat. Then I cleaned my room, which took forever and was exhausting and required much JohnnySwim Christmas music. I tried to do this thirty-minute FitnessBlender kettlebell workout, but I’ve never actually used a kettlebell before, I was still recovering from my busy week + not working out for seven days, and I was so dizzy and fatigued halfway through that I just collapsed. Then we watched The Brady Bunch, ate dinner, I spent time looking at different churches + working on a Christmas project, and now I’m off to end the evening with another Julia Robertson vlog!

Here’s what I did last year on December 22nd. What did you do today?

Blogmas 2017 Day 21 (finally got my Hogwarts letter)

Last night a cheesecake from my grandpa was delivered to our house, but we didn’t see it until this morning! I started my day super exhausted with some McKenna Kelley vlogs. Then I listened to Amelie and Great Comet and Christmas music on the radio during my long sleepy drive to meet Hannah for a lunch-and-shopping day. We started at the bookstore, of course, and then had quesadillas at a Mexican place; I also had jugo fresca de guava, which was exciting because I haven’t found many places in the US that have jugo fresca. Also, Hannah gave me the BEST Christmas gift–a stuffed owl bearing an official Hogwarts letter and a list of supplies needed by first-years. So cool! Click through the pictures to see how realistic my Hogwarts letter looks.

My grandpa had sent me some Christmas money this week. I bought a 20 lb kettlebell, some resistance bands, a gingerbread tree-making kit, and a curling iron. We ran into a lady who used to go to my church, and Hannah’s sister joined us at Target. 

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In the afternoon I tried to be productive, but I was just too exhausted, physically and emotionally. I ended up in bed, slept for a while, missed dinner, and could NOT feel my legs when I woke up. But now I’ve eaten (including cheesecake), I’m going to make Christmas cards for my out of state friends, and we’re all watching Fixer Upper. 

I have this nagging feeling to give myself time off until Christmas–I’ve been so busy I haven’t even had time to be excited for Christmas yet–but I can’t. I just have too much to do. If I can be productive tomorrow and Saturday, though, I won’t do anything on Christmas Eve and will also hopefully take a few days off after Christmas.

Here’s what I did last year on December 21st. What did you do today?


I’ve been up for SIXTEEN HOURS now and I am dying of tiredness. I don’t know how I am even typing this. But this was SUCH a fun day.

Here’s what I did last year on December 20th. What did you do today?

Blogmas 2017 Day 19 (so much driving + work Christmas party)

Started out the day with two Desiring God articles: Lift the Heavy Burden of Shame–How to Care for Parents of Prodigals and Pray Them Home–Three Prayers for Prodigal Children.

When I added things up, I drove for about three hours today… but it was okay, because I had the Amelie and Great Comet soundtracks! I had a counseling appointment, and then I went to our youth pastor’s house and visited with Erin (his wife) for a while and ate lunch.


I stopped by home for a snack and to try to figure out some PDF forms with my dad. Then I headed to work. I did some social media and advertising before the kids got there; the kids dragged in slowly, so we all just sat around and told funny stories about them. I worked with two second-grade girls today when they finally arrived, and besides a lengthy meltdown involving one of them lying on the floor under a table sobbing… it was a good day. We saved the last thirty minutes for our Christmas party–JR, a high school tutor, brought supplies for the kids to decorate cookies and play a game. Want to see some adorable pictures of my amazing kids? Of course you do! Click here to see the Facebook album I created, and drop our page a like while you’re there.

My caption today on my personal social media (Instagram @haileyh412):

Eight months ago, I began looking for a job at a local nonprofit that works with kids. When I looked at the pictures of the kids on the Next Generation Focus Facebook page, I knew it was the one. Not only do I get to tutor amazing and hilarious kids on a daily basis, but I also do grant writing, advertising, marketing, and social media (now I’m the one posting cute pictures of the kids). Besides writing, my future plan is to start a nonprofit where kids can play softball and baseball at a high level for a low cost + hear about Jesus, and my job at NGF makes me feel like I’m taking huge strides towards that dream. Ending my first full semester here with a grateful heart.

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A concept that has been on my mind lately is being “for” someone. There’s a church near me whose motto is #ForGwinnett, and I just LOVE that. There is so much power in telling someone that you are for them. God is for us, so why shouldn’t we be for others? I am for my friends. I am for these beautiful kids I work with. I am for my city, my nation, and my world.

Here’s what I did last year on December 19th. What did you today?

Blogmas 2017 Day 18

Today I had a guest post published on my friend Sara’s blog. Go check it out!

I was so completely exhausted this morning. I couldn’t move when I woke up because the nerve pain was so bad, especially in my legs. But the big long-term writing job I spent so much time applying for recently? I got it!! It’s been a few months since I’ve had steady money from writing. I’m pumped. (And I’m remembering how much I hate signing W9 forms and independent contractor agreements, because we don’t have a working scanner.)

I had to spend the morning at the shop getting my headlight fixed. I planned Wednesday’s Christmas party and journaled/read my Bible. Some journal thoughts:

“My heart craves so much more than to just exist. It craves to exist LOUDLY, love abundantly”…”I have no reason to doubt Him. He is forming me for beautiful things. I am growing. Wonderful things are coming”…I am SO EXCITED for the rest of my life < and so excited I can truly say that…”It’s not a wasteland just because I labeled it one for so long”…From today’s Advent devo: “humility is not thinking of yourself as less. It is never forgetting the fact that it is Jesus who made you more.” This meditation and prayer (“A Private Litany of Humility, p 87) is EXCELLENT. I need to pray it every day.

By the time I got home, it was basically time to leave again—I went in to work two hours early to learn about grant writing. It’s a skill that will be really useful both as a freelancer and when I have my own nonprofit one day, so I’m really grateful I could learn about it. And it’s really not that hard! After that I did some advertising work and then hung out until the kids got there. I took the three fifth-grade girls today.


Here’s what I did last year on December 18th. What did you do today?

Blogmas 2017 Day 17 (show day)

I had a guest post published on An Ordinary Pen today. Go check it out, and check out the rest of Chelsea’s blog!

Because of being tired after the festival and because of the snow, today was the first time I’ve been to Sunday morning church this month. Mornings are so hard because of my chronic fatigue; getting up today was horrible, haha. My Sunday School teacher (“college and career class”) wasn’t there, so I went in my dad’s Sunday school class because he has been saying I would like it, and I really liked it. The service was nice; it included lots of Christmas music and a Skype call with our missionaries in Colombia.

After lunch (where the conversation/argument mostly centered around how guys never observe and remember important details) we all sat in the living room. I was having a lot of trouble not falling asleep, but I emailed a few magazines and wrote a letter and read my book. Then Joshua and I had to leave mid-afternoon for rehearsal.


We had a good rehearsal, then ate and hung out for a while, and then people started to arrive.

Every year, we think we aren’t going to pull things together in time… but every year, we always do. This year the musical was titled In a Galilee Far, Far Away, and it focuses on the crew of a spaceship. The crew time-travels back to the time of Jesus’ birth, with a few accidental detours along the way. Joshua played Otto, the ship’s captain. The rest of the crew included a navigator who is always lost (kind of like me), and a robot. The crew picks up a few “hep cats” from the 1950’s when they travel back to the wrong time period.

There were only a few small mistakes that were quickly covered; there were lots of lines nailed and songs loudly sung.

It was a great evening! I was thinking on the way to church that I need to write out the names of all the children I’ve had the opportunity to invest in on a regular basis during the past couple of years through church, nannying/babysitting, coaching softball, my job at the nonprofit, etc–the number is probably up towards one hundred. But these twelve–this was our sixth musical together, and they’ll always be my favorites.


I’m overwhelmingly sleepy and I have a huge headache. This coming week is shaping up to be the busiest of the year, and tonight I noticed one of my headlights is out–so that’s how I’ll start my Monday morning. Yay. Hopefully I survive the week…

Here’s what I did last year on December 17th. What did you do today?

Blogmas 2017 Day 16 (Dahlonega adventures + alpha reader party)

This morning I picked up my friends Anna and Lydia and we went to Dahlonega, a cute town close to us. We took pictures, ate lunch, and looked around in cute shops. They’re the best kind of friends because we’re always laughing hysterically, but then we also had deep conversations about our atheist/agnostic friends and how to approach and witness to them.


The cutest sisters wow

Anna: “I probably look stupid but I feel boho and hipster”

We made Lydia try on a crazy dress and bought marshmallows covered in chocolate that looked cute but actually tasted disgusting. (Ignore my thumb scar haha)


I was exhausted when I got home, but I had something else fun… my friend Sara from R5:3-5 (a blog that encourages teens with chronic illnesses) finished writing a book recently, and she threw a Skype party for all of her alpha readers! I enjoyed reading her book as she wrote it, and the Skype party was so much fun. Then my family went to a holiday party and left me at home with Sophie because I was way too tired to leave the house again–we did fun stuff like laundry and wrapping gifts for the kids’ Christmas party I’m planning at church next week. Now we’re going to read The Unexpected Everything (Morgan Matson), journal, work on memory verses, and go to bed. (Also, I just want to note that considering how many cookies I’m home alone with tonight, I think I have shown remarkable restraint.)


Here’s what I did last year on December 16th. What did you do today?

Blogmas 2017 Day 15 (goldendoodles and dress rehearsal)

Shoutout to blog friends for telling me that the pro version of the ScriptureTyper is just a one-time payment. Now I can have unlimited memory verses and do cool stuff like make wallpaper! I worked on that this morning and then had a quality ball time with Sophie.


Spent the morning applying for six freelance jobs and pitching a fitness website while listening to Once Upon a December (love Anastasia) a million times. I did several voiceover auditions too. My workout was a thirty-minute low-impact strength video by HasFit. But I only did half of it because I couldn’t breathe, and because I got distracted coordinating with some friends about a super exciting opportunity next week!

Then we went to see the family my mom nannies for; she hasn’t been working this month since they recently had a baby, but we took them their Christmas presents and visited for a couple of hours. It involved lots of Lego-building, lots of goldendoodle kisses, and lots of kids hanging all over me. Quotable quotes from the four year old boy: “I can’t count to 12 on my fingers because I don’t have 12 fingers. If I did have 12 fingers, I would be a hot mess.” “I’m the Lego expert. Right?” (Anyone is more of an expert than me.) It was such a fun afternoon!

Then Joshua and I had to rush to church for dress rehearsal. I sat and played Peppa Pig with my favorite three year old for almost an hour before we finally got started. It was a loooong rehearsal with lots of stops and felt very unproductive. We only got through it once, and we have so much stuff to figure out before Sunday night. Every year we say that we’re sure it can’t come together in time, and then it always does. So… we’ll see.


Here’s what I did last year on December 15th. What did you do today?