Butternut Squash Pizza | amandabixler.com

BUTTERNUT SQUASH PIZZA

As much as I love the new year – a fresh start, an empty planner, a clean home after taking down all of the Christmas decorations – I still find myself craving the wonderful flavors of November and December. Pumpkin ravioli, roasted Brussels sprouts, cranberry crostini. Give them all to me. And maybe it’s because it’s been freezing in Colorado for the past week or we had our first official snow day last week, but I am seriously craving cozy comfort food. So when I started looking around my freezer this past weekend and found a bath of the Pioneer Woman’s homemade pizza dough (it makes two batches of dough and freezes really well so I almost always have some in my freezer) and some butternut squash cubes, I knew a simple fall pizza was in my future.
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Some of my favorite things to stay focused, productive and motivated in graduate school. | amandabixler.com

GRADUATE SCHOOL ESSENTIALS

I am in my fifth and FINAL year of graduate school. It’s crazy to think that this has been my life for the past five years – juggling assignments, work, reading, research papers, group meetings, confusing homework, all of it – and in under six months it will be over. And I will take a deep breath, a long nap and give thanks for making it through. But until then, focus and motivation is essential. And to do that I need some of my favorite tools to stay productive and get assignments done, little by little. This list is certainly not exhaustive but as we kick off a new year and new semester of school, these are the five essentials I turn to.

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Gratitude: Some of my most loved, read, watched, and cooked memories from December 2016 | amandabixler.com

GRATITUDE: DECEMBER 2016

Goodness, how is it already January?! How does this happen? But truly, as much as I love Thanksgiving and Christmas, the quiet that the week between Christmas and New Years brings is so calming, so peaceful, so lovely. Having time to pause and reflect on the past year and make plans for the new year is one of my most favorite things – remembering our big move, reflecting on how faithful God has been to us adjusting in Colorado, growing this blog and making amazing blogger friends (shout out to Grady at Grady Bird Blog who writes awesome inspiration, especially for any stepmoms out there) – it’s truly been a year for the record books.
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An Advent Love | amandabixler.com

AN ADVENT LOVE

Love is all you need – or so the song goes, right? From sappy chic flick movies to over-the-top seasons of the Bachelor, our minds and eyes and thoughts and hearts are filled with how love “should” look. Passionate kisses in the rain, angry fights in the rain, friends running towards each other in the rain after finally figuring out they loved each other. Seriously, what is it about rain that seems to make every scene that much more romantic?
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An Advent Joy | amandabixler.com

AN ADVENT JOY

Earlier this year, we were going through a really tough season of life. It seems easy to brush it off – nothing externally was necessarily going wrong. Our health was fine, we had a home to live in, we had some friends and a good sense of community. But it felt like we were drowning in our mid-twenties, stumbling to find our footing and shape a life called by God and formed by Him. There were many days I woke up, uncertain of work or school or where I was headed, and I did not feel happy. I didn’t want to get out of bed and all I had to sustain me, to give me hope and peace of God’s sovereignty and promises was His Word. I poured myself into scripture and proclaimed His truths over my life.
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An Advent Peace | amandabixler.com

AN ADVENT PEACE

Last Sunday was the first Sunday of Advent, a season that denotes the four weeks leading up to Christmas. Advent marks a beautiful season of slowing down and yearning for the birth of our Savior, literally meaning “waiting” or “expecting”. Often times, these four weeks are marked by four themes – hope, peace, love and joy. Last week we looked at what an Advent hope can mean, placing our hope not in our external circumstances that can change or disappoint, but in Jesus’ humble birth, life, death and resurrection.
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What We Did on Vacation in Boston, MA | amandabixler.com

VACATION RECAP: BOSTON, MA

Last month, A and I got to celebrate my amazing brother’s wedding in Charlotte, North Carolina, and then decided to celebrate our anniversary a little early and take an extended vacation up through Washington D.C., Delaware and Connecticut, before ending up in Boston, MA. Neither one of us had ever been to Boston so we weren’t sure what to expect or how we’d feel, but it was by far our most favorite place we visited – good food, historical sites, awesome people, what more could you want?
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An Advent Hope | amandabixler.com

AN ADVENT HOPE

hope I get that new job. I hope my home gets cleaned soon. I hope to have time to make it to that party. I hope my parents get healthy soon. I hope my brother finds someone to marry. I hope my kids turn out to be good people.

Plenty of things to hope for, right? And these are all good things – healthy family members, successful careers, good relationships. But what happens when those things don’t turn out the way we think/hope/work for? Where is our hope found then?
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Happy Thanksgiving | amandabixler.com

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Happy Thanksgiving, friends! A and I are in Oklahoma this week celebrating the holiday with my mom’s side of the family and it’s been wonderful so far. It’s about a 9 hour drive so we woke up super early on Sunday and drove down. I’ve all been busting out tons of homework, papers, and content this week as well and am just loving the break from work and home-life to relax, refresh, and be creative.

I hope wherever you are today that you are able to find something to be thankful for, knowing that even in the midst of great tragedy, pain, or discontentment, that God truly is still good and is still walking with us through all.

Happy Thanksgiving! And make sure and check back in next week as we kick off a new Advent blog series.