Making Time for You

Is self care bringing you joy?

Monday morning I went on a walk/run and enjoyed the moments in the windy fresh air. It was really windy, but fortunately it wasn’t too cold to enjoy being outside. As I was running I was listening to a book and it was talking about taking time for self care. What’s funny is earlier that morning I was catching up on some podcasts and self care was the topic too. Maybe I am supposed to hear what they were saying? 

I am all for self care and have been learning to make this more of a priority in my day. However, I was challenged to see if I really was practicing this fully. I realized that even though I may have been aiming for self care, I could do a little more.

One thing that struck me was the author asked you to write down a few things you like to do that you don’t make time for. She said to write down something that brings you joy and isn’t something you have to do. I wrestled with this for awhile because most of what I do has led to something I have to do for someone or something. So, I paused the audiobook and started thinking more.

I realized after spending some time thinking, I have not made much time for things that bring me joy. However, I am an advocate for taking care of yourself. Even though I listen and grow to books and podcasts, I don’t think that is what I need. I enjoy learning and applying what I learn, but most of the time it is tied to doing something better or more effectively. Most of what I was doing for self care was for me to strive to be better, not for joy.

Time to examine

So, I am on a quest to really think about this and examine what I like to do a little more. As moms, so often we put aside the things we love and enjoy for our kids. I love being a mom and am thankful for the opportunity I have to be a mom to my kids. However, I lost a little of me along the way.

One of the things that finally did come to my mind was pictures. Every time I run I always take a picture or two of things I see along the way. Many times they are not great pics and many of them are taken while I am running. Anyone see Yes Man? I always think of that movie when I do that. lol. However, I enjoy looking for something to catch my eye to take a picture of during my time outside.

I post the pictures and many times they are not great, but I still find joy in them. I was thinking about why I don’t spend more time taking pictures of things I see along the way. Why not stop and “smell the roses” and take some more time to snap some pictures of what I see.

Quarantine lessons

Since the quarantine we have really enjoyed watching the pond by our house. The pond used to be covered with brush so we have never had a Spring with the pond seen. We have had our nature lessons as we watched geese, ducks, blue herons, and an egret stop at the pond. There are a few other furry animals, I am guessing they are muskrats. Anyhow, I have been pulling out the camera to take a few pictures. The pictures are not anything that would win prizes, but they are little pieces of our day captured in time.

Maybe this quarantine and time to reflect on self care has been good for finding a hobby? Even if nobody ever sees the pictures, I still enjoy capturing what I see. The next warmer and less windy day I will grab my camera instead of my iPhone. I will spend some quality self care time snapping some pictures along the way.

This is only the beginning of ideas that are beginning to flood my mind for joyful self care items. I look forward to discovering more about what I can enjoy as the days move forward.

I encourage you to take time to examine what you are actually doing for self care? Do you set time aside each day to do something just for you? How about spending a little time focusing on you and nobody else? What brings you joy that you haven’t done in a long time?

Let’s work together to encourage each other to spread our wings and start doing things to brighten our days. When we take care of ourselves, we will have a lot more available to give once we are done. What will you try doing? Let me know!

Mindset + Skillset + ACTION = Success

The Equation for Success

In the free training I am privileged to have each week, I hear the equation, mindset + skillset + action = success, quite a bit. It is a formula for working toward a goal with your whole self committed to your “why”. When you have a vision in mind and have a specific “why” (the reason you do what you do) determined you can make successful steps toward achieving what you want. It makes sense and I say “I get it” and “I am doing it”, but in reality, I don’t think I am. 

I have been thinking today about all the different goals and habits I hope to have in place. In my time of reflection on dreams and desires I have on my vision board and all the things I have on my to-do list, I realized there was something missing from my equation.

I spend a lot of my time filling my mind with great things. Between my new desire to read more and the amazing ability for listening to audiobooks and the plethora of podcasts, I have been able to hear and learn so much! I have learned how to organize my time, use time blocks, write blog posts, go after dreams and goals, how to 10x things, create a morning routine, encourage others to do their best, and on and on. I have listened and successfully finished so many avenues of learning that it truly blows me away. However, today I really settled on one big problem, I am missing a step in the plan.

What is that step?

Action! In order to implement all I have learned, I must take one more step in the equation. Have you done this before? You listen to or read a book and they say something like this: “stop right now and write down…” or “before you go any further, take this step or do this action…” and you don’t. Now, in my defense, sometimes I am running and I cannot literally stop and write down my thoughts or do the action steps, but I don’t do it when I get home either. I really think this is an excuse to not take action.

Learning to ride a bicycle

For example, let’s look at riding a bicycle. I could do all the studying I can about how to ride a bicycle, spend time watching video after video of instruction, research and choose the best bike on the market, join the best cyclist group around, or even dress the part of an avid bicyclist. However, I don’t know how to really ride a bike until I get on one, right? Maybe I could get on the bike, balance and ride the very first time, but I really highly doubt that. No matter how much I desire to ride a bike and what I learn on riding a bike, unless I take action and get on the bike, I am not a cyclist. 

My point is that without action, we are missing a key component in growth and success. I think that it is really easy to learn things, but when we choose to take that step of action, it becomes real. There are chances of failure to come. We may not do something well the first many times and that causes us to not try. We worry about what others may say if we take action and they don’t like what we are doing. So often we can be so caught up in the excitement of learning and growing that we fall away from actually implementing it all. 

It’s time to take ACTION!

I encourage you to take action today. Whatever it may be, stop learning about it and move forward with action. Make a commitment. Find an accountability partner and let them know your plan and ask them to keep you in check. Here is an example of action I made this week. I created a video and posted my next goals and aspirations for my health on Facebook. Choosing to be vulnerable I let others hear and see I was taking action. Next I chose to not model learning without action so I laid it all on the line and took action. I was done reading and building the how to and finally went to work. I did this, and you can too! Now, I am not saying you have to put all of your goals on social media, but I do want you to take action on something. 

As for the rest of the equation I didn’t talk about today, If you are curious about the other steps, I encourage you to reach out and ask (Action, right?). Let me know what you want to take action on and I will do my best to support you however I can. 

In a world of such uncertainty, I am thankful for the chance to continue to grow and learn and be a better Stephanie each day. I do hope you will join me in Action this week! I would love to know what you are ready to take action on. You’ve got this!

Please remember to take a moment and subscribe to my email list. I don’t want you to miss out on my posts and it will also help us grow to allow others in your life to be encouraged too.

I appreciate you!

First or Last

After a fun and exciting weekend at my daughter’s cheer competition I could not help but look back and reflect at all I was able to see and experience. Determination, Hard Work, Exhaustion, Dedication, Drive and more. This is what I witnessed this past weekend. Each teen that hit the mat this weekend has been working hard for their spot at this State competition. Every teen had had a goal to reach. Each team had something they were shooting for and a coach with desires and hopes for their teams. Every parent was hoping for the spot their team fully deserved. It is emotional, fun, exciting, hard to watch, breath-taking and sometimes heart-stopping. Cheer has been such a great sport to witness. I admire the kids for their hard work and drive to be and do their best. They have a goal and they shoot for it with all they have. Nothing holds those who want it most from working their hardest to achieve the goal.

This weekend our cheerleaders received State Runner Up in their Game Day division and 3rd place in State for their Traditional routine. Top 3 in two events! This is an incredible accomplishment, for sure. These kids worked hard, tumbled, practiced, motivated one another and on and on. Though they were proud of what they achieved, many of them still walked away feeling defeated because they didn’t hit the mark they so desired. I, however, see such massive success in their weekend.

Success comes in many forms, not just the first prize. Have you really thought about that? It is like the quote “if you’re not first, you’re last.” in Talladega Nights. Ricky Bobby believed this crazy lie in this farce movie about car racing. It took some defeat and silliness for him to realize that second place, is still a place. It is still an accomplishment. For that matter, so is third, or fourth or even being qualified to reach a place. Or, maybe you didn’t even qualify, but you scored higher than the year before? What if you didn’t achieve the rank you wanted, but a few more lives were touched? Who are we to say that it is failure just because you don’t win the prize you are striving after? Many of these kids on our team reached tumbling goals they had never hit before. They worked and grew as a team as the season went on. They came together as a team and did their best they could do at the time. They didn’t quit, but pushed forward. Each one of these kids had work ethic and drive that so many of us lack these days. 

I find myself constantly looking at my failures and taking time to look at the rear view mirror of life. I compare myself with others and always feel like I don’t measure up. Why do I do this when I know better? In my amazing leadership call this morning, one of my mentors used an illustration she uses often and this morning it clicked with me. She faced one way and said this is what I have always seen myself. This is the view and direction I have lived ____ (fill in the years you have lived) years of my life. I need to recognize what I have been telling myself all these years and flip the script in my head and focus on what I envision for myself. My focus should not be on what I have always thought or how I have always done, but where I want to be. Look to the future and act in the Now…not the past. 

If each of the cheerleaders only looked at what they accomplished in the past, how could they see themselves as rising above where they were? As a team they had forward focus. They envisioned themselves in first place. They did their routine at the best they could and should be super proud of what they accomplished. Did they reach the ultimate goal? No, they didn’t see the results they wanted, but they grew. They learned so much about themselves and their team. With guidance from a good coach, they were able to see all they did that went well. This is forward thinking. Looking at what they accomplished and not what they didn’t.

I so want to live my life in the future, not in the past. The verse I read this morning in my devotional said this:

13 Brothers and sisters, I myself don’t think I’ve reached it, but I do this one thing: I forget about the things behind me and reach out for the things ahead of me. Philippians 3:13

Do you think I was supposed to learn a specific message this morning? Hee hee Let’s stop looking at our past and thinking we don’t measure up. From now on, let’s take hold of our future self and let the lessons learned fuel our future. I am a confident and capable woman who has been equipped to do amazing things. My Heavenly Father has given me all I need, I just need to step out in faith and live out my best life. No more excuses, no more worries of not measuring up and just live. Are you with me?

I Just Can’t Justify It

Or am I worth it?

As many of you know, I am a health coach and have the privilege to help many people along their journey of health and wellness. Wellness in all areas including the Mind, Body and Finances. I love the chance to help others along their own personal journey and meet them where they are at. It is so rewarding to hear all my clients choose to do for their own health and how the results multiply on their own. Many people have renewed energy, which in turn has helped them be more engaged in activities. Consequently, these changes have strengthened their family dynamic. Others, like me, have increased in confidence and desires to help others and be their best selves. 

The hardest part of my coaching experiences is not the clients, the program, the failures, or successes. What is hard are the times when I have a wonderful connection with someone and they don’t see their worth enough to make a change they desire in their heart. I don’t mean this to be pointed to one person or even to anyone I have interacted with, but to the women like me.  At one time I never thought I was worth anything. I didn’t believe I was worth any time, energy or money invested in myself. I thought that if everything else was taken care of, I did my job as expected. However, since I decided to begin my overall wellness journey I have learned a few new things. As a mom, we want what is best for our kids, but we never really take in the effect that as mom, we also need to take care of ourselves. 

This “I just can’t justify” mentality hits us all hard at times, doesn’t it? Believe me, I have totally been there. I have days where I push my thoughts and opinions and ideas to the side and try to ignore them so I don’t rock the boat or mess things up. Everyone and everything is put above my needs and I serve to the point that I am depleted. Does this sound familiar? Now, I know we are not to be fully focused on ourselves and our needs, but you and I both know this is not what I mean. God created us in His image. He did not create us to put ourselves down or even last all the time. We are created to serve Him and bring glory and honor to Him, right? So, are we really serving Him by saying no to ourselves all of the time? I certainly don’t think so anymore. 

The day I said yes to my health I was scared. I was worried about the money, concerned about who would find out, and angry at myself for needing a “program” to lose weight. I thought I was a failure of nutrition, and didn’t think I was not worth the money spent on little old me. The worries and concerns piled up and went on and on. That is really what it all comes to, I did not believe I was worth investing in myself. I always put myself on the back burner. I have mentioned the analogy before about the oxygen masks in the airplane. You know what I am going to say. They tell you to put on your Own Mask First before assisting those around you! Why? Because if you are not in a state of safety and health, you cannot effectively do your job, be the best mom you can be, perform at your best. I mean, if you are not breathing, how in the world are you going to help someone else breathe? You can’t! 

I was also scared of complete failure. There were many “diets”I had tried before. I thought I knew what to do, but just didn’t follow it well. I thought I had to do it all on my own and be all I was supposed to be and be calm, collected and perfect at the same time. This was absolutely not a way to fully live out the potential God had instilled in me.

Then something amazing happened, I got on a call with my now friend and coach and she was fully invested in listening to me. She listened to my heart, my fears and my hopes and we began a friendship and coaching relationship. I will be forever grateful for her and the time and investment in me. After talking to my coach, I truly saw the value of taking care of myself. It was not my place to decide if I was worthy enough to become my full potential and I was able to borrow her belief in me to get there. 

Now, when I first came to my coach Sheri, I was looking for weight loss. She had a wonderful transformation and I hoped that if she did it, I could too. You know what happened? I accomplished a goal I had written down for at least 5 years, lose 40 lbs. Yep, in about 4 months I lost 4o pounds and have kept it off. However, what is the greatest part of this relationship with my coach and my journey? It is my shift in mindset. It is the ability to learn and grow from others in a safe and fabulous community, the chance to grow in personal development and wrestle with my scarcity mindset and the limiting beliefs I have carried along in my life for as long as I remember.

I always thought I was made for more, or at least meant to do more than I was doing, but I never could put my finger on it. Then I took a step. Not only have I changed my physical health, I have grown in so many more ways. I now have more confidence, poise, strength, relationship, encouragement, focus, clarity, hope, and more. It was one big, scary and much needed step, but I did it!

So, before you  say to yourself you are not worth it, or “I just can’t justify” this, think about what I have written. I know there are financial needs out there. I know there are times when life hits you hard and you’re just trying to make ends meet, but we each have one life. If your spouse or kids needed something to keep them alive and well and living at their best potential, we as moms would pull out all of the stops to make sure they are taken care of, right? So, why don’t we do this for our own needs? Won’t we be living at our full potential, when we do? Wouldn’t that mean we are able to be more and do more for those we love because we are healthy and strong enough to do it?

Looking at Failure Differently

Turning the Negative Self-Talk Around

It is funny how fast time flies by, isn’t it? Here we are almost done with January and I am just now writing a post. Can I let you in on a little secret? This part of “failing” to not meet my posting goals at one time would have completely derailed me. Yep, I would have spent hours and hours worrying about not doing what I wanted to do, not meeting my expectations for myself and beating myself up for not completing what I had planned. In the past, I would have (and did), decided to just give up and think I was not meant for this whole blogging thing and just move on with my life. I would have then let those ideas of failure fester in my head and would long to be a blogger, but because I “failed” I no longer should even try.

Wow, super negative, huh? This is how I used to be. Sometimes I still let that stinkin’ thinkin’ creep in, (I am a human, you know.) but honestly I have learned over the last few years how to shift my mindset and look at my failures as a stepping stone toward better. I now see the “failures” I make actually drive me forward and I get to use them as fuel to be better and grow more. 

Over the last year I have listened to quite a few books helping me see the benefits of looking at things above the line or with the glass half full. There are so many books and podcasts I can recommend for this type of personal growth, and I have mentioned some of them in previous posts. For instance, this one here and this one too. 

I have had a lot of life go on the last month or so since I wrote. My son came home from college for his Christmas break, we had Christmas and New Year and all the festivities that come along with that, we took a mini trip to Columbus with the family, (I do wish I would have written about that, it was a great trip. Who knows, maybe I will still?), funerals for friends, cheer competition and basketball games and then getting back into the swing of the new year! Man, we live fulfilling lives, don’t we? Now, I didn’t write all of that as an excuse, but to let you know that it is okay to let go of good things to make time for great things sometimes. 

I know, if I always choose to do things that take me away from my goals, I would not have posts to share with you. However, in this instance, I know it was what was best for myself and my family. One of the many things that has changed in me is that I don’t feel guilty anymore. I no longer look at choices as selfishness, failures or not having what it takes. Now I look at the choices I make daily as stepping stones toward the better. I am chasing better one day at a time.

What about you? Do you constantly bad talk yourself and put yourself down when you don’t meet the expectations you put on yourself? I learned many years ago, even before my health journey began, that I had a very high expectation for myself. Extreme high standards were set for me to meet in order to feel like I was worthy. I would never expect anyone else to meet the standards I had for myself. If I heard a friend of mine speak of herself the way I did, I would tell her to stop. My actions would include breaking apart everything I did and see if it measured up to the standard I envisioned. I would compare myself with everyone I knew, and think I had to be more just to be worthy to be considered a successful woman. Yeah, I had high expectations of myself. 

Can you relate to any of this? Do you put standards up for yourself that nobody in the world can actually meet them all? Do you constantly look at yourself as a failure as a mom, wife, friend, employee and so on? If so, I do hope this will help you. 

Do this exercise with me, would you?

  1. Write it all down – Write everything down that you think you are. Jot down what you think you should be, and what you think others expect of you. Write it all down. Do this like a brain dump. Don’t take time to think through it, just write it all down. This is not a time for thinking through what you are writing down, just jot it down.
  2. Read this passage of scripture: Psalm 139:1-6, 13-18, 23,24 You can read it here
  3. Write down what you learn about who you are in Christ from this passage. Again, write it all down without thinking too much, just write what you learn.
  4. Ok, now go back to the first list you wrote down. Take a good look at the list and now look at it through the eyes of how God sees you. How does this list look different to you? What can you learn about yourself after comparing the two? It is pretty hard to be down on yourself when you read how much love was put in about your before you were even born. Isn’t it?

Now, I know that one exercise isn’t going to change all the negative self talk you do to yourself, but the next time you start a “should” or I “failed” enter your thoughts, I hope the words of Psalm 139 would echo in your mind. It takes lots of practice to build healthy habits for your mind. I encourage you to find ways to put healthy thoughts into your mind daily. Listen to a podcast or a good book. Read Scripture daily and journal what you learn. Write down a few things you are grateful for each morning and even write down some of your own aspirations you can review daily.

I created a printable of the passage in Psalm 139 we read today. Print it out and post it in places where your mind wanders or where you do your time of quiet each day. You can find it here. If you are wanting to learn more about how to change your mindset, let’s chat. I would love to have a chat on the phone, video on zoom or if we are close enough, maybe grab a cup of coffee and talk.

I hope you have a wonderful day and remember you are fearfully and wonderfully made! 

Don’t forget to print your copy here!

“Just Do It”

It is time to think, time for action, time for change.

Today I am writing with such deep sadness. On Saturday night there was a terrible car accident involving a young couple who have been part of my life and so many others. Unfortunately, this accident left us with a giant hole as this young man did not survive.  I am at a loss for words as we now must say goodbye to this young man. Jake you will be truly missed. 

If anything I learned from Jake it would be his passion for life. He was a rock for his siblings and family, he was committed to serving his country and was dedicated to being a loyal friend. I didn’t know him well, but I do know he lived his life without the worry of what others may think, he followed his passions and loved his family deeply. 

This is the lesson I wanted to focus on today. Passion and willingness to follow through. How often do we make excuses for the actions we take or do not take? I know I am guilty of this, maybe even on a daily basis. We allow fear, doubt, pressures from those around us, and more to keep us from our goals and desires and passions. All of these things swallow us up and we put our light under a bushel. Everything is halted, we stop dreaming, stop moving ahead and stay stuck. 

Life is so short, it really is. If I have learned anything over the last almost two years during my health journey, is that life is fragile. We have been given One life to live here on earth. One chance to live for God and be all He has designed us to be. He has equipped us and given us tools and abilities, passion and focus, determination and will power, gumption and grit, and on and on. However, we are not expected to do all these things without His guidance and strength, but we do have to use them. We do have to take control and go forward. What is next? We need to stop making excuses and go forward. It doesn’t matter what others may say or matter who may stand in our way, we are to go.

We are all called to move into action. I am not talking about doing things that are against God’s laws, but I mean those desires of your heart. The desires that burn deep inside you and you know you are meant to do them.  It is time to move forward in these areas where you will be used for His glory and do those things you want to do. You need to do the things you have always been in your own way to do. We need to stop making excuses, stop limiting ourselves for the potential we have been given and Live out Loud. One life, we have ONE LIFE here before we see our Maker. He is our Everlasting Father our Wonderful Counselor. He provides the way, He gives us hope, He is fully present and He is the way. 

Do you get the passion here? I am done making excuses, hiding under a cover and worried about what others may think as I strive forward toward the desires in my heart. I say, paint that mural, climb that mountain, go on that family vacation, start that class, begin that health plan, go to a counselor, fight for your marriage, see that loved one, buy that house, run that marathon, whatever it is, just do it. You have one life and it is time for you to live it out loud. You are worth it. Your God loves you with all He has and He has equipped you to do hard things because He has your back every step of the way. 

In the words of Nike, “Just Do It!”

There is a Go Fund Me account for Jake’s family to cover medical and funeral expenses. If you are able and would like to contribute, you can do so here. Thank you.

Kindness Challenge

Recently I saw a document shared on Facebook that was an Advent of Kindness. It had a dated calendar with kind activities through the days leading to Christmas. There were some very simple acts of kindness that I hope I do every day and some others that make you maybe take a step out of the norm to do. Overall, a fun and practical way to spread kindness each day. 

I was thinking about the challenge and was excited about the response I had from others on Facebook for wanting to join in. People are generally kind to the core, sometimes it is harder to see, but truly I do believe they are. I want to live my life with kindness and give grace to those around me, but let’s face it, sometimes I don’t hit the mark. Have you ever had one of those moments where you would like to go back and rewind and change your behavior to a different response? I know I have. We are not perfect and not expected to be, yet we still want to do what we can each day to show love and kindness to others. Choosing and spreading kindness can be difficult some days, but it really is fulfilling in the end.

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    Today I was thinking a little more about this challenge and my mind led me to some popular verses in Philippians chapter 2. In this passage, Paul encourages us to be imitators of humility. He asks us to be wrapped in love and humble ourselves and be examples of Christ and show love, kindness, compassion and tenderness for the needs of others. Philippians 2:3,4 says,

    3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of others.

    I always looked at this as a practice of humility as making myself weaker or seem less than others so they can be built up, but this is not what he is asking us to do. In fact, we have to dig a little deeper to see where this is coming from and read what Paul is actually saying. In the first part of Phiippians 2 it has there word ‘therefore’ which actually ties chapter two into the end of Philippians 1. In Philippians 1 Paul begins his letter to the people of Philippi and thanks them for their support, prays for them as they learn and grow in love and depth of insight (vs 9-10), talks about suffering he may endure for advancing the gospel and then moves on to how the people should conduct themselves. In this passage we learn how to act and respond to all that comes our way with the whole picture of what Christ has done for us. He ends the chapter with these verses Philippians 1:29,30 which say,

    29 For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him, 30 since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had, and now hear that I still have.

    Here Paul finishes up telling us about living a life worthy of the Gospel of Christ and then brings us to chapter two which ties the verses together. Philippians 2:1 says,

    Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion,

    Here we learn to live the life of worthiness and build on it to ultimately work toward having a mindset like that of Christ Jesus. We have a road map of how to conduct ourselves and then use what we learn to encourage others. 

    So often verses 2-3 are interpreted differently and we try to de-elevate ourselves rather than hold fast to all God has created us to be for Him. We are created in God’s image. We ourselves are not worthy of the sacrifice He did for us, but because of that sacrifice, we are equipped and loved enough to do His work and love others through the abilities He has given us. I always thought that I was lowly and not worthy of love and as long as I uplifted others, even at the expense of putting myself down. I thought if I lowered myself I would somehow be worthy enough of the love God had for me and others would be lifted up. This is so not the case.

    The other day I had a talk with one of my mentors from our company. She pointed out an observation about myself and other Christians she knew. She said that she noticed that we often don’t have a belief in the gifts and abilities we have. She said that as Christians we claim to do all we can “through Christ who gives us strength”, but then we doubt the abilities we have. Her statement really made me think. Am I just saying these words, or do I really believe God has equipped me for Him and to do His work? Am I really going to lower myself, a woman fearfully and wonderfully made in Christ, a woman made in His image, and say I am not enough? Wow, that really cut a cord in me. Why do I doubt or put myself so low? Is this really what God wants me to do?

    In Philippians, Paul is not asking us to think of ourselves as worthless, not good enough, or less than others, but really we are just called not to elevate ourselves above others. We are not to live in pride and take away our true identity in Christ, the one who ultimately gives us what and who we are. God has made each one of us in His image, why do we put ourselves down so much? It really is a slap in the face to God, isn’t it?

    What God wants from us, is not to think of ourselves in a lowly state, but instead rely on Him to be our force and strength and example. He wants us to be considerate of those around us, be encouragers, to lift others up, not tear ourselves down. So, with all of that in mind, I do hope this helps you to encourage others with kindness and love with a little bit different perspective. 

    What do you need to do to change your thinking about who you are in Christ? What were you challenged by today?

    If interested, click here to see the kindness challenge I saw and shared. It’s not too late to start your own challenge today!

    Goals, Deadlines & Pressure

    So, we all have times where we put a ton of pressure on ourselves to get things done. We make a long list to add all the things that we want to accomplish and then feel overwhelmed. We rarely take time to focus on the things that really matter because we allow the urgent to creep in and take over our lives and schedules. This urgency creates an overwhelming pressure and most often nothing gets fully completed.

    I wanted to write through some of the struggles I have with feeling overwhelmed. I used to be the person that would write down all the things I wanted to do and even wrote down “cry” a few times on the list. I was in a state of pressure always wanting to accomplish more and thinking I was never amounting to more. I would spin around and look at the day and wonder what in the world did I do all day. This is usually after I have been able to check off an enormous amount of tasks on my to-do list, but not completing it, so therefore, I failed. Anyone relate?

    What do you have set on your heart and mind that you want to do? How are you implementing your goals and dreams into your day-to-day routine? What structure are you setting up to make sure the things you do each day point toward your ultimate goals. Do you even have goals? Taking time to brain dump all the things that clutter your mind and really find out what the purpose and passion you have first will really help you as you move forward. How can you move forward if you don’t have the general direction you’re heading to?

    When it comes to different roadblocks in our lives or different shifts of focus, it is helpful to have some sort of vision ahead of you. Yes, there is room for those big goals, but what about the weekly goals? What is the one thing you can do today to chase better and reach for your next milestone? Maybe it is finding your top 3 things to complete in a day; maybe you have a top 5? Maybe you choose one goal each day and then if you have time you can focus on the other things that are important to you? 

    Do you ever wander around the house like this? I am on my way to put something in the recycling bin in the garage. I put it in the bin and turn around and see the laundry needs to be switched. I fluff the dryer and fold the clothes I pulled out earlier that are laying on the dryer. I then stand there and fold the clothes I just fluffed up and put the next load in the dryer. Then it is off to get another load of laundry, but wait, there are a few dishes that need to be put in the dishwasher. So, you do that quickly, wipe up the counters, pick up a few items that needs to go to your kids room and on the way you notice a few cups that need to go in the dishwasher. You gather those cups up, go back to the kitchen, put those away and then remember you were going to start another wash. Off to gather the clothes for the next load and notice the dog got to some tissues. You clean that up, and realize he needs brushed, so you get the dog cleaned up, give him his treat for dealing with the brushing torture and so on. Suddenly, two hours have gone by and you still haven’t started the load of laundry and it is now time to start dinner…anyone relate?

    When we move through the day without structure we often walk around like that aimlessly. We get “a lot done” but we feel more overwhelmed and less accomplished then we would have if we would have had set main goal tasks to complete in the day. Had I just stuck to the plan and worked on the laundry and had a plan of what to do while waiting to switch the next load, I would have been able to complete the laundry and finish a few other items I had in place to do. I would have accomplished important things on my list and not a ton of things half done because I didn’t stick to my structure. 

    This summer I took a course called The Fifteen Minute Formula with Cara Harvey. Let me just say she is awesome! This course is so worth your time and I HIGHLY recommend it. You can click the link here to join the course. She helps you break down your day in 15 minute increments to stop feeling overwhelmed and help you take charge of your daily schedule and habits. Seriously, go check it out right now. (Well, after you finish reading of course.)

    Between Cara’s class and reading through The Joy of Missing Out by Tonya Dalton, my perspective has changed dramatically. I have read so many books on productivity, tried out a ton of planners and implemented so many programs, but always have come up short. I get in my own way, don’t follow the tips and help I have learned along the way and let stinkin’ thinkin’ creep into my mind again and again.

    With these two tools, as well as the training within my company, much of that has gone away. I am in NO means doing things perfectly, but I do have a rhythm and flow to my days when I stick to my structure. When I became a health coach and started some of the AMAZING training provided for free by the company. Through the training I began to learn more and more about myself, my structure and the need for it. I have been learning to put the important rocks in place and how important these rocks are to have a successful business, home life, self care and development routine, spiritual growth, physical health and more. You can read the illustration about the Mason Jar and putting rocks in your schedule here. When you make time for the most important things in your life AND actually do the things you have set out to do, there is a huge change. Life flows and you really do accomplish the things that are most important to you. There are a ton of resources for your health on this website, but please reach out if you have any questions, I would be more than happy to help you!

    So, I challenge you to really examine the main priorities in your life. Write them down and then find ways to actually implement these in your schedule. For a free Top Priority sheet to help you focus, you can click the link here! If family is your top priority, how is this showing up in your day to day life? What about your health? Do you have the things necessary to work on your health in place? Do you really make time for your priorities?

    Decorating Time is Here!

    Full Confession, this post has been written for a few weeks and I am just now posting it. Why you ask? Honestly, I needed to take a few pictures and I just didn’t get them done. So, please enjoy this post even though the timeline is a little off. I do hope you find these tips useful.

    I am taking a break from my book recommendations to talk about winter and holidays. We are at that time of year. We had our first snow of the season last week and even broke records for the amount of snowfall on such an early date. It is pretty, but I am not quite ready for all of the cold!

    However, when you have a snow day and school is cancelled due to several inches of snow on the ground, it really gets you in the holiday spirit. Since school cancelled my daughter and I really propelled into the holiday spirit. Makenna asked us to decorate for Christmas a few times that day, Christmas music filled the air and we enjoyed some coffee together this morning taking in the pretty snow. Full disclosure, I couldn’t take it and started decorating about a week later. I have never decorated before Thanksgiving before, but I am not hosting Thanksgiving dinner and I just was too excited not to start!

    I love Christmas and look forward to decorating my home every year. It is so cozy and warm feeling with all of the lights. It is fun to have special decorations I only see once a year. Last year was our first Christmas in our new house and, at the time, the Christmas decorations were the only decorations I had up, so our house looked super bare when I took everything down. Christmas is an enjoyable time for me and I really am excited for it to come!

    I have always been fairly “crafty” and enjoy repurposing items, but I have not used those creative juices lately. I have always liked to take something and restore it or use it in a different way. I always look at clearance items and see if I can make something out of it. It takes me a little bit to get the mind flowing and come up with some new decorating ideas, but once I start I am ready to roll.

    Today I wanted to write about ways you can prepare your home for the holidays without having to spend a lot of money. It is amazing how a few sprigs of greenery and some lights can transform a room. You can make really cool things out of finds from the Dollar Store and really have fun with it all! So let’s dive in!

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    One thing I was super excited about was a few lanterns I found at Aldi on clearance. I think they were marked down because they considered them a Fall item, but the were black, so I snatched four of them up! They were only $2.50 each and then I picked up a few winter flower picks from the Dollar Tree and made a pretty cute addition to my decor. Here is a pic of one of them. I decided not to glue anything on because I wanted to be able to use the lanterns other ways. (I will have a grad party to plan next year… I mean, Makenna is only a junior, but time flies and you need to be prepared!)  🙂

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    I recently watched a story on Instagram and the girl talked about some fun decorating ideas she found at Wal-Mart. I am not typically a Wal-Mart shopper, but I loved the ideas and have found some pretty inexpensive goodies there too. I bought this wreath for my front door and added a few picks and wala, an adorable wreath ready for Christmas! I didn’t add anything for Fall, but I will next year. I love how you can just move around a few picks and you have a new look! Plus, it was a good price! I also found some really nice flower picks in Wal-Mart too.

    Some of the picks were $.97 and some were $5, you cannot beat that price! I have always wondered why craft stores charge so much for theirs. Some of them may be more elaborate, but in the scope of things, who really can tell? You just have to be careful what you choose and look for items that look nice. Make sure to avoid too much plastic and look for the most authentic you can find. 

    Another thing you can do is use a scarf for a tree skirt. I saw a display of this and thought it was a great idea. You can find some pretty inexpensive blanket scarves at places and you have a great addition to your tree. Especially those of us who have several trees in our home. 🙂

    Often I take something from the Dollar Tree and transform it to use in a different way. For example, I haven’t done anything yet, but I found these signs with metal words that say “Jingle all the Way”. I am going to pop the saying off and either paint the background to fit my style, or add it to something else. The more you think out of the box, the more you find some neat things to make. They look like they cost a lot and, in actuality, they didn’t cost much at all!! 

    As I come up with more ideas, I will let you know. What are your favorite inexpensive decorating tips? I would love to know, comment below! 

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    Continuing to Grow

    After reading the book Change Your Questions, Change Your Life by Marilee Adams I mentioned in my last post I was ready to read more. I have been encouraged to continue to read and listen to books and podcasts to grow. I now have a Traveling University. I listen on the go, while making dinner, during my morning clean up, on my walk, and so on. I have found it so inspiring to listen and learn as I begin my day during my exercise or ending the day with a good listen.

    I have so many books that have impacted me in one way or another and I still cannot believe I am recommending books. I was always the one that didn’t have time to read or just didn’t make it a priority, but when my mind was expanded to all I could listen to and read that would help me develop into the woman I was meant to be, I now love to read.

    I have several books I wanted to highlight, but today I will narrow it down to books written by people I have met! I don’t know any of these authors well, but I feel like I do. All three of these authors are people who are part of the amazing wellness/health coaching program I am privileged to be part of. They are all leaders in the company and take a lot of time out of their lives to help pour into other coaches like me, clients and friends to help them learn to live their best lives. I truly look up to them and have loved the chance to read and listen to their books!

    First of all, I want to make sure you know many of the books I “read” I actually listen to. I invested in Audible as well as use the amazing Hoopla app that allows me to listen to audiobooks for free through my local library. I typically look at Hoopla first, but always have a book I am excited to use my credit on for Audible. I think it is a wise investment because there is so much you can learn from a book. Whether you listen to fiction or really enjoy non-fiction, there are so many options.

    The first book I want to highlight is Chasing Better by Corey Baker. It is a quick and easy read or listen. I have the physical book and the audio version. Because I have heard and seen Corey speak, I enjoyed listening to the audiobook because I know his sincerity and passion and can hear that while I listen. He challenges you to chase better each day. You don’t have to make crazy huge leaps to be different, but just strive to be a better you than you were the day before. He is straight to the point and guides you along a journey of bettering yourself daily. In the book he mentioned Ed Mylet’s podcast where Ed spoke about meeting your future self. Corey says, “Ed talks a lot about this subject in his podcasts. One of the things that he said, which has become my lifeline mission, is at the end of his life, he wants the person he is striving to be and the person he actually is to be the same person.”  I want to meet the Stephanie I was meant to be and I definitely want to recognize the woman I am when it comes to that day.

    Church Boy to Millionaire by Doug Wood is the next book I wanted to mention. Now, before you leave the post, I want to let you know the book is not about what you think it is about. Doug is talking about having a Millionaire Mindset, living life above the line and removing the junk that weighs us down. He has such passion and you can pick the book up and really read whatever chapter you want in any order. He has Dougisms throughout the book which are little nuggets to live by. He has such a passion to help others and doesn’t let the things around him get in his way for helping others find success. He teaches you not to settle for average, but to keep going for more. You learn to not limit your dreams to a social standard, but put forward your goals and aspirations and run toward them. He has a great podcast too, you can listen to this here. Plus, sometimes his wife Thea is on the podcast and she is amazing. I have mentioned her in a previous blog post. You can see that here.

    Last, but certainly not least, is Megan Valentine’s book, No Place Like Known. This book rocks! Seriously, if you think you don’t have what it takes to live out your dreams and be a mom, wife, employee, etc., she shows you that you can. You can go for your dreams and be an excellent mom. Your dreams matter. What you are passionate about has a purpose. Megan relates her own story and growth to help you learn on your own journey to greatness and living your best life. She has a mantra, you have one life, live it to the fullest and gives you permission to live it out loud. She encourages that you are made for more, go do it, don’t settle, you are worth going for it. Don’t doubt who you are meant to be, who God has designed for you to be. You are amazing, you really are.

    I could not even give each of these books enough justice. I find filling my mind with positivity like these books makes me a better mom, friend, wife, and so on. If you have read or listened to any of these books, I would love to hear your thoughts. If you haven’t, invest in yourself and pick up a copy today!


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