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The Best Things of 2017

Every year, I find myself exploring far and wide for the best the world has to offer. I scour reviews for books, movies, and TV shows. I install and try a lot of iPhone or Mac apps until I find the best one. I listen to different podcasts. I research products and services before I spend my hard-earned money.

Which means at the end of the year, I have a list of things I can confidently recommend based on my experience.

Below you’ll find my collection of those things from 2017 grouped into various categories.

If you try any of these things, I hope you’ll find as much joy in themĀ as I have!

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How to Dig Yourself out of a Bible-Reading Rut

In college, I remember a piece of surprising advice. I remember thinking, “Is that something a Christian is allowed to say?”

A friend shared how reading the Bible had gotten boring and monotonous for him. To which someone suggested he stop reading the Bible for a season.

Say, what!?

I’m surprised my friend didn’t turn into a pillar of salt after giving that advice.

But many years later, I get the underlying principle. Sometimes you just need to shift things up when you’re in a dry season.

To maximize the Word’s impact on our lives, we need a consistent habit. But to keep that habit from going stale, we need to vary our approach so our reading remains fresh.

So here are some different ideas to try if you find yourself in a Bible-reading rut.

Be disciplined in your Bible-reading but keep things fresh by varying your approach.Click To Tweet
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I got convicted

Frog Stealing MoneyConviction come’s in the weirdest ways sometimes.

Over the past year, I’ve gotten more serious about running. Initially, I chose running because it was cheap way to stay fit. Hah, what a lie. Running hasn’t been cheap. But that’s a post for another time.

As my pocket book dwindled from one running purchase after another, you better believe I jumped at the chance to become a brand ambassador for Janji. Perks included a racing singlet and 35% off future purchases.

In my head, I imagined this equation:

Sale items + 35% off = #winning

The only roadblock?

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My Freshly Review (28 Days of Outsourced Cooking)

Overview - FreshlyI hate cooking. Abhor and despise could also be used interchangeably. So when I stumbled across a meal delivery service, Freshly, with a much different approach than season veterans like Blue Apron, Hello Fresh, and Plated, I was eager to give them a try.

Unlike those three, Freshly delivers individually packaged, chef-cooked meals. Literally, you pop the meal in the microwave for a few minutes and it’s ready to eat.

Given how much internal grumbling happens when I have to meal plan, grocery shop, cook, and clean up, I pounced at the thought of having a pre-made meal in just three minutes.

So for 28 days, I outsourced nine meals a week to Freshly.

Here’s what it’s like eating microwaved meals for a month…and whether I would recommend Freshly or not.

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The New You Need a Budget (YNAB) vs YNAB 4

YNAB Logo

Official support for YNAB 4 will end October 31, 2019. This primarily impacts Mac users upgrading to Mac OS (Catalina), however, there appears to be a workaround.

It’s been almost two years since You Need a Budget switched to a web based, subscription model for their software. When I first tried the new version in January 2016, there were significant gaps in features that prevented me from switching.

Now that YNAB’s had a couple years to evolve, it’s time to take a second look.

So here’s a review comparing YNAB to the old YNAB. For this review, YNAB means the web based, subscription version and YNAB 4 refers to the old, downloadable version.

I used YNAB and YNAB 4 side-by-side for about a month and a half in order to answer these questions:

  1. Is YNAB worth using for new users?
  2. Should YNAB 4 users upgrade to YNAB?
  3. Would I recommend YNAB over Mint or Dave Ramsey’s EveryDollar?
  4. Is it time to look for YNAB alternatives?

Well, here we go. Let’s jump in and see what I like about YNAB compared to YNAB 4.