The Power of a Plan (with meal planning / grocery shopping form freebie)

What is this blog formally about? I don’t know anymore. Today it’s about grocery shopping with a plan. Do you mind? 

I love a plan, I love a planner BUT… I also struggle occasionally to commit to a plan and I currently lack the energy to make one some weeks.

I’m a wishy washy planner, it’s a blessing and a curse.

Yet, I find that when I go into something with a plan it becomes a total game changer.

Take meal planning and grocery shopping. Last week I made a crock pot based meal plan with attached grocery list, all in one document.

I bought the stuff for the decided upon recipes and executed them early in the day when I had the energy.

Our entire week felt pulled together by this one act. It was insane.

I once heard a pastor say that flossing was his game changer or hinge habit. If he was flossing, it led to other healthy habits. When he stopped flossing? Things started to slide.

I think there is truth in this logic. When we feel good about the way we are approaching our week we feel more confident about adding in other good stuff.

Like last week I finished some sorting and got our coat closet and medicine cabinet in order. I give credit to the original meal planning.

I used to work at Franklin Covey, back when they had stores in the mall, and we sold a paper form called the meal planning / shopping list. So I sort of recreated it in google docs a while back.

Last week Monday I scanned the ads, pinned easy recipes and then acted upon it.

10641002_740097116060968_7982779061456432719_n Continue reading

32 things I’ve figured out in my 32 years.

Monday was my 32nd birthday and for the most part we spent it snowed in and entertaining kids. It wasn’t fancy but Kel did everything he could possibly do to make it special, including gluten free french toast and a total takeover of my Facebook page.

He hacked my Facebook page and asked my friends and family to share thoughts or memories of me and it was over and above the best part of the day.

It’s fascinating learning about yourself through other people’s memories of you.  People chimed in from every stage of my life reaching all the way back to elementary school and it made me feel whole.

I saw the continuity of myself, the seeds that were planted in 3rd grade tell the story of the person I am today. Someone who is comfortable being honest and unique, who loves words and apparently has and will always love musicals and movie soundtracks.

Seeing the story of yourself told through the eyes of those you who love you is an amazing gift and to all who chimed in, thank you.

So that being said I’ve spent the last few days reflecting on the things I’ve learned along the way.  So here they are:


32 lessons learned in 32 years of life.

1) The moment you think you don’t need to pack a spare diaper, tampon, or hand sanitizer is the exact moment you should turn around and get it, because? Life is mean like that.

2) Eat real food made from real, understandable ingredients. It tastes better and it’s what your body was designed for.

3) Having kids is exhausting and it takes everything you have, and more, much more.  Then, in a surprise instant it gives you more than it ever took. I say this with a 6 inch scar across my abdomen.

4) Most things are better with a good playlist. Listen to good music, I use and adore Spotify.   

5) If you wash your makeup brushes regularly you’ll get less zits. True story. You can do it using baby shampoo, it’s not hard. 

6) Going somewhere? Bring a book, you’ll end up waiting and will enjoy it more than mindless phone surfing.

7) If you’re feeling small or less than worthy, get off the internet. Often it’s the compare / contrast that has you feeling scattered. (I get paid to do social media and currently don’t have facebook or twitter on my phone for this very reason)

8) Take more baths, they’re good for your nervous system and your soul.

9) Discipline sounds constricting, but usually it just frees you up to live a deeper, healthier, happier life.  Sounds backwards, but it’s not.


10) Having company? Don’t freak out about the house. Set the timer for 10 minutes, do what you can, then pour wine and remember that your friends love you just as you are.

11) If you’re ready to explode, take a walk.  There is something about moving and nature that resets the crazy, it’s probably even science.

12) There is more than one way to do everything: This includes parenting, marriage, eating, working, everything. Judge not.

13) It’s easy to get wrapped up in who is not noticing you but it’s far better to love and tend to those who are. It brings with it contentment and depth.

14) Hot breakfasts change lives.

15) Gratitude fixes nearly all internal struggles. There’s this stat that says that one week of daily, intentional gratitude affects the next three months of your mental health and outlook.

16) Celebrate things. Buy champagne, toast the milestones, write on and save the corks.


17) “I’m sorry” is one of the hardest and most important tools you have. I know, I KNOW it’s hard, but do it anyway.

18)  Try to stop worrying about other people’s bad habits and choices. You can only change you.

19) You will never regret a night of going to bed early with a book.

20) Learn this phrase: “I’m not in charge and it’s wonderful.”

21) Go to therapy as needed, maybe more. No shame, NO SHAME, we all need mental tune ups or complete overhauls at times.

22) Potty training is not a litmus test for good parenting. They won’t go to college in diapers. Stop listening to whoever is making you feel like a failure in the diaper aisle.

Read Books

23) Don’t feel guilty over reading more novels than non-fiction. Stories change lives as effectively as “how-to” books.

24) Reconciliation isn’t easy but it’s worth it to go to long haul with people.  This being said some people will walk out of your life and you can’t fix it, for this I suggest a good cry and maybe some ice cream. (refer to 18)

25) Laughter is a salve for so many wounds, especially in marriage.

26) It is no small thing to get to know yourself, it’s hard and worth it.  I recommend this sorter to find out your MBTI temperament. 

27) Avoid “When I’m a _____, I’ll never ______” statements.  They’re judgey and often times they just make you feel silly later.

28) Your concept of home will change as you get older, this is really scary but also natural.


29) Give your children your time and attention before they start demanding it in the wrong ways. I schedule kid time before I schedule work from home, it’s like making a deposit in their love tanks.

30) In this DIY world it’s tempting to do ALL THE THINGS.  Pick some things that you just don’t do, I’ve learned this the hard way.

31) As often as you can take 100 things to Goodwill or the equivalent.  Less really IS more. I promise.

32) Embrace your age but never, ever stop allowing the wonder of this wide world to stop you dead in your tracks like a child at Disney world.

What would you add?  Come on chime in, consider my birthday present. 

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To the Idealist at New Years

I’m an Idealist, which means that I am passionately concerned with personal growth and development. I have insanely high standards of how I should live, how our family should behave, how our house should run, how I should relate with God.  High, high, high.

Nigh unreachable and certainly exhausting.

And now it’s New Years, the time to reflect upon my 2013 goals and set new ones for 2014.

Can I tell you a secret? I haven’t looked back on my 2013 goals yet, I’m terrified to do so.  I don’t even dare open that blog post for fear that I will set off a shame spiral from which I will never recover.  But I know that I need to, so here goes.... reading post now….. 

Okay that was rough.  I only hit about 40% of my set goals for 2013, much of this has to do with the fact that we moved 1,000 miles and lived on half our normal income.  But still I struggle with unrealized goals, everything I set out to do in 2013 were things I seriously believe I SHOULD be doing, but didn’t.

Things like Run a 5K.  Ideally I would be someone who does that, but I don’t like running.  I want to like it, I like the way I feel after it, but I don’t like it overall.  Maybe I’m doing it wrong.

I read all the blogs about how to do it better, make it easier, more effective, change your mindset, your outfit, subscribe via email or there’s an app for that.

This me at New Years:  I can do EVERYTHING BETTER THIS YEAR!  Look at me go, I have Goals!  Big Ones!  I will subscribe to all the blogs, use all the tools, buy all the systems ensure I succeed at doing all the things better!  

2014 will finally be the year that I’m okay with myself!  Continue reading

When 2013 Was Me.

I’m going to hoist up my nerd flag, hear the squeaking? There it goes, flying at the peak of the roof of this blog.  It’s up, you’ve been warned.

Doctor Who Edit

Well here we are, 2013 is on it’s very last legs. The old man has hours left on the clock and bouncing, brand new 2014 is on it’s way, it’s practically here.  A fresh start, a blank calendar, a snow white new beginning to do something completely different, right?

Well yes. But also no. Not really.

Tomorrow morning you will wake up in YOUR house, with the dishes from YOUR new years eve shenanigans still in the sink, maybe you’ll have a mild headache from said shenanigans, a bit of 2013 following you into the new year.

The point is that 2014 will still feature something that played a key role in determining the outcome of 2013.  It will contain you.

If you don’t approach your New Year with this in mind, I can’t see how you’ll succeed.  Because really, truly wherever you go… there you are.

I’ve made a thousand million trillion mistakes in my life. I got a tattoo I don’t love and I dated a few total jerks. I once bought a car before test driving it and I chose my first college based on the laptop they’d give me.

I’m not saint in the good choices department.

But the one mistake I’m through making is this one:  I’m done ignoring the continuity of me.   

This plays out in two specific ways
1) I’m done transposing other people’s goals, habits, successes and subscriptions onto my own life. I’m a specific person and I have to take my preferences and personality into account when I make action plans in my own life. I can learn, I must grow, but I have to play to my strengths and know myself and my call.
2) I’m done ignoring all the mes who have gone before, I’m done being ashamed of them.  I’m done hiding those pictures in a box and pretending that we’re not the same people, that we are not me.

I want to know myself and own my life, from start to right this second.  I want to own it, and in a bittersweet way, I want to love it.

I don’t know how these two things would change your life, but for me they’re huge.  They stop me in my tracks when I look around and feel inadequate for who I’m not and they offer me grace and a chance to love myself in spite of who I’ve been.

You know what was the catalyst for these revelations?  It was the Christmas Special of Doctor Who.  Here’s where I get nerdy, hang with me.

On Christmas day the BBC show “Doctor Who” (with which I am in love) said goodbye to the 11th Doctor, played by Matt Smith.  (The Doctor regenerates as the same being in different bodies with different personality quirks. Read more here if you’re in the least bit curious. Then make a resolution to catch up on the show in 2014.  Do it, get past the first season before you quit, trust my stamp)

Anyway, the last few lines of the show were a speech by the departing doctor and perfectly summed these feelings I’ve been mulling over and learning as I store away one year in return for a new one.

CLARA: You, you are the Doctor.
ELEVEN: Yep. And I always will be. But times change and so must I…We all change when you think about it, we’re all different people, all through our lives, and that’s okay, that’s good you gotta keep moving, so long as you remember all the people that you used to be. I will not forget one line of this, not one day, I swear. I will always remember when the Doctor was me.

If you are a Whovian, those words will cause tears and if you’re not I hope they at least give you pause.  I hope you can see the concept in spite of the geekery I’m throwing at you.

2014 is something new, yes, it is.  We aspire to become newer, better versions of ourselves.  It’s a new chance to be a new you, this is good stuff.  But you will only make something of it if you make peace with all the yous you’ve been. If you name them, own them, bring them along for the ride.

If you see your story as this continuous and ongoing narrative.  2014 isn’t a brand new year, it’s a brand new chapter in the book of you.  And as Jesus followers we are people of second, third and seventy-seventh chances.

We become new creatures as life brings us along with it’s storms and it’s peaceful valleys, but when we put up barriers, when we try to split our souls, when we refuse to take into account the essence of ourselves… that’s when our souls feel divided, when we become frantic and wild creatures, adopting things to cover up who we’re afraid we might be or who we have been.

So I welcome the newness and the hope of 2014, with open arms.  2013 has been a wonderful, terrible, beautiful shaping journey and I’m thankful for it.

It was hard.

We moved home, said goodbye and then hello!  Kel and I slept apart every weekend.  We lived on a half salary and bled our bank accounts dry.  I relapsed into grief driving by the cemeteries and train tracks where I lost my parents.

We fell apart and then God tenderly rebuilt us into these new people who are still the same people we were on this day last year, essentially.

And God Bless it, I want to be the me he made me to be.  Any year that involves steps closer to the Eden pure version of me shall be counted as a gift, a success, a good chapter in the novel of my life.

May you feel the same way about all that awaits you and all that you leave behind.  May you remember every line, every moment, may you be grateful in the best of ways,

May you always remember when 2013 was you.

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Cognitive Dissonance (Rugs, Writing and Fear)

Do you know what Cognitive Dissonance is? This is clearly a reference back to my short-lived grad school days when I was studying counseling… but all that to say, I’ve been experience a sickening amount of cognitive dissonance lately.

Here’s a little definition of CD: Cognitive Dissonance is a psychological conflict resulting from incongruous beliefs and attitudes held simultaneously 

And may I add: it’s one of the most uncomfortable, pinching, squeezing nauseating feelings in the world.


In music it’s described as a clashing of chords… nails on the chalkboard of the finely tuned ear.

I first heard about this concept not in a psychology class but in doctrine class.  I sat there, probably with crazy hair and an expensive planner when I hear him say something like this:

“There are few things more uncomfortable than believing one thing and behaving the opposite.”

(This is not a direct Dr Felch quote BUT it’s close!  And it stuck!…  I bet my friend Jill still has those notes still perfectly kept somewhere)

When played out in life, it makes you feel like an unevenly distributed washing machine, always thumping and shaking, still spinning but all out of balance.

And when you repetitively do something you don’t believe is right, self loathing soon follows… and it messes. you. up.  Continue reading

Scary and Exciting (Going sharpie public with my 2013 goals)

Hiya!  You’ll notice that things look a bit different around here today.  Well, that’s because the site is undergoing a facelift and we’re in the middle of construction.  So, what you’re seeing now is a place filler, a small glimpse into the new site that the amazing Hannah Beasley is cooking up, which I can’t wait to show you, truly.

So onward we go:

PicMonkey Collage- goals

This past summer my husband Kel had a meeting with a pastor who had also, interestingly enough, taught my senior capstone class in college.  Kel mentioned this fact over hamburgers and my former prof. had struggled to remember me, he finally said: “You mean the girl with the planner?”

Yes, it’s true, my trademark accessory in college was my planner. I rarely went anywhere without it, in fact I worked at the planner store in the mall where I was a certified productivity consultant.

I was so into planning, in fact, that Kel included it in his wedding vows: “I vow to be more organized because I’m amazed at how much you accomplish with your little planner.”

Oh planner girl, how I miss you, you were so put together and organized, lists flowed from your brain and you checked them off efficiently.  Where did you go?

I still buy planners or refills each year, but I rarely stick to them like I used to.  I just can’t find the right system and so much of our life is unscheduled and repetitive.

Kel’s and the kid’s schedules are very repetitive from week to week. Kids have preschool on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. Kel has worship on Tuesday nights, Basketball on Wednesdays etc.

It’s been tough going from the professional with a plan to the mom in yoga pants whose life seems to revolve around everyone else’s needs.  It’s taught me a lot about sacrifice and grace, I’m sure most stay-at-home parents can relate to this.

Nevertheless it’s time to re-think things and put some systems and strategies in place around here, because “those who fail to plan, plan to fail” right?

And on this note I’d like to share my goals for the year with you, do you mind? Continue reading