My Brilliant Plan for How to Plan

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My Brilliant Plan for How to Plan

Was I always a little flaky? I don’t know. For years, I could get away with being very loosy-goosy with my planning because I was a stay-at-home mom of preschoolers. We moved all the time too, so by the time people developed expectations of me, we were off and away to the next town.

Over the years, I have slipped into a routine of planning as little as I can get away with planning. I’ll procrastinate decisions until they are made for me. Yep. Guilty of that. Sometimes I get this fear of commitment. If I sign up for things, I’m going to have to figure out how to actually accomplish those things with toddlers in tow.

And I never knew when my husband would be here or not be here, so making plans felt like shooting darts– real darts–in a room full of people, blindfolded.

No thanks.

So friends, that is how I became the version of April you have today.

April, are you going to the yada yada yada meeting?

**Total deer in the headlights**

Ummmm. Uhhhhhh.  Umm, yeah, you know, I might…

(Inside my head I’m thinking……IF all 4 kids are well, IF Alan is in town, IF I have energy left that day…..IF I am not supposed to actually be at Dan’s tee-ball game or some Army function that I can’t remember the exact dates for…..If, If, If…..)

My Brilliant Plan for How to Plan

I love to rock me some babies. Go away, world, until I finish this.

 

Actually, for the past 11 years those were all perfectly good reasons to be flaky, indecisive, unprepared, uncommitted, and unsure. Did I shut the world out a little bit? Yes, yes, I definitely did.

In fact, I had to google the word “twerking” not too long ago. I’m so out of touch with pop culture, and I kept hearing that word. All I can say to that one is ew, girl! Ew. Somebody get that poor girl a sweater and some capri pants.

But things keep popping up on our calendars, and I’ve re-entered the world of work with my blog. I actually HAVE to FORCE myself to plan and be less free-spirited, more grown-up like.

You people who have a plan amaze me, and I mean that in a good way. You totally have my respect.

You know when you are going on vacation. You’ve actually committed to specific dates, and you probably even know how you are gong to pay for that.

You have a budget.

You know when people’s birthdays are, and you plan for that accordingly.

You keep some sort of planner or calendar.

 My Brilliant Plan for How to Plan
About that….Y’all! I have purchased TWO different “planners” this year. They are both mostly blank. I have a calendar hanging in my kitchen too, which makes 3 planners, really. All I’ve written on that one is what the kids are doing for lunch and when their dentist appointments are.

I even downloaded an editorial calendar plug-in to try and start planning my blog posts. (It’s actually extremely helpful, fellow bloggers, check it out. It’s called “editorial calendar.”)

Only I’m so anti-structured in my thinking, I can rarely bring myself to write about what I’m ‘scheduled’ to write about.

I also have 2 different e-books I’ve written half of, and now they are just sitting on my hard-drive taking up space. My hard drive is so full, my computer has actually stopped letting me download or upload new things.

And suddenly I find myself wanting to change.

See, I bought all those planners. That’s the first step. I WANT to do the right thing and be all responsible again. I always was one-half responsible and one-half not at all, even back in high school and college. I used to make myself plans and stick to them, sort of. Well, I used to make plans. Maybe I never did really stick to them. I almost always turn in everything on time, actually, but I live in fear of signing up for extra things.

So I decided to pray about this today.

And this was my answer:  If you can plan out each day by making a list and crossing things off, then you can apply that same strategy to weeks. Then apply it to months. Then do that for years. Do it at the start of each week, each month, and each year, just like you are doing now for days.

Huh. Brilliant. Maybe even doable?

My Brilliant Plan for How to Plan

My planning tends to never go past the day that I’m on. This is the typical extent of my planning.

 

What I do now for each day is this. After I have safely delivered all of my children to school, I come home and have a little time for Bible study and prayer. You have to pour inspiration in to yourself if you expect to pour any out, right?

I close with prayer, and I ask God to help me make my to-do list for that day. I write the list out on the wipe-off board in the kitchen. Then I mentally prioritize the things that HAVE to get done.

That’s why I usually cook supper in the morning, by 12:00, because I know everyone HAS to eat, and I don’t want that task hanging over my head. Also, I have no energy left at 5:00pm.

I see no reason why this method for planning each day could not be applied to my weeks, months, and years, with one of the 3 planners I’ve purchased laying open on my lap.

My Brilliant Plan for How to Plan

And don’t even say that I should use my phone as my planner. I can’t do it. This falls under scatter-brained people problems. The minute I open my phone to use the calendar or some other useful, productive app, I immediately forget what I was doing and end up reading Instagram or my email or something.

So watch out, world! I now have a plan for how to plan!!!! Who knows? Maybe next week I will make a budget, a meal plan, or catch up on my 2,809 emails…….nahhhhh…

Please share your best planning tips in the comment section! We would love to hear more ideas! Thanks, y’all!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Persistence: My Word for 2017

Persistence: My word for 2017

Daniel’s persistence is paying off in basketball skills. That same principle pays off in other areas of life too. Look at his feet in the picture! This shot doesn’t look like it went in, but he took about 200 more shots, and many of them did go in.

The Christmas presents have all been opened, the grandparents have all been visited, the cousins have been played with, and the tree…..well, the tree is still up. It’s pretty. I’m reluctant to take it down.

And today is New Year’s Eve. Time to pick a goal, a resolution, a plan!!! Or as my adorable little boys say, “It’s time for our New Year’s revolution!” That makes me smile every time.

Persistence: My word for 2017

I may not have daughters, but I have adorable nieces.

So did you set goals? I have goals in mind, but this year I’m focusing more on this word: persistence.

For me, that’s about persisting in what I know is the right thing to do, even when I’m not seeing immediate results. I’m often guilty of throwing in the towel when results aren’t as big and quick as I want them to be. I get bored with a thing and move on to another. That’s not a highly productive way to live.

Persistence: My word for 2017

Fishing takes persistence too. The boys enjoyed fishing this Christmas, but they didn’t catch anything this time.

I want to be more persistent:

 

Persistence: My word for 2017

one of my boy’s Bible journal tabs

-With Bible reading and prayer

I have found this to be most effective when done in the morning, and mornings are rough when you are raising children. One thing I am working on is getting up earlier to get this done before the morning rush, but when I fail to get up early, Bible time has to move to 8am, and that’s okay. Late is better than not at all.

-As a wife

The hardest part for me sometimes is just being “nice.” Bahhhh. Niceness. But niceness is extremely important in a marriage, in any relationship. I want to be right more than I want to be nice. I actually need to stop being so persistent about being right!

Persistence: My word for 2017

-As a mom

The hardest part for me is sticking with a plan. I’ll assign chores, and I’ll make sure everyone’s dong their assigned chores for about a week, and then I start to slide, especially about the “kitchen helper” chore. They need to do it. It’s good for them. I need to persist in making sure they are there to help me with dinner and not be lazy by doing it myself.

Yes, sometimes simply doing it yourself is actually the lazy way out. Training a tot to do a job is much more work than just handling it for them.

I need persistence with discipline too. It’s such a drag, but the kids are so much more pleasant to be around when you do it consistently instead of hit and miss.

-As a blogger

There should be a schedule. Posts should come out like clock work instead of so very mixed bag. I know there should be a schedule. I can’t promise a schedule, but I will make one. I can’t promise to stick to it, because I am a scatter-brained, free-spirited mom of four.

-As a writer

I’m hoping to enroll JD in part-time pre-school a couple of days per week. This will help me get more writing done, and I can start going to the dentist again.

-With my health

I’m using a Fitbit Charge II to help me get into better patterns this year, and I’m loving it.

Persistence: My word for 2017

-With my house

I’m good about getting dinner cooked each night, and Alan has now taken over the laundry. That goes a long way. However, I need to be more persistent about spending an hour or two  each day cleaning house. Yes, in our phase of life it requires that.

 

So who’s ready for 2017? What would you like to accomplish this year? Do you have a word? Our pastor gave us a list on Christmas day of words we could pick from. It was a helpful list. I lost that list, and I can’t remember them all. Persistence was on there. I think it had several fruits of the spirit, so I will do my best to re-construct the list:

Words to Focus on for 2017:

faith

hope

love

faith

persistence

joy

peace

goodness

self-control

kindness

Persistence: My word for 2017

Us with Alan’s side of the family

Persistence: My word for 2017

This is us with Alan’s mother’s side of the family. It was a fun Christmas.

Happy New Year’s! I hope it’s a happy one! I’d love to hear about your goals.

Did you blog about your goals? Link up below. We’d love to read it!



 

 

 

 

 

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The Weight of the Choices that We Make

the weight of the choices we make

Caleb drew it. We all colored it. This is a tradition that we enjoy.

Wow! What an election year, eh? Alan got to be in Washington, D.C. for election night, but it was not just me and the boys here. Nana came over too! We had an “election party”, which is basically where we feed the boys Oreos and let them fill out the electoral map with red and blue markers as the results come in. Of course, most of it had to wait until the morning.

I always stay up as late as I possibly can to watch the results. I only made it until midnight this year. Parenting takes it out of you. Doesn’t it?

The whole election thing got me thinking about choices.

Choices, choices, choices.

They are constant aren’t they? So many decisions all the time. Some of them harder than others. We’ve all made our presidential choice. Check. Phew! Done. But there are so many choices left to make.

Today I had several messages on my phone to answer. I had house cleaning that I’ve been neglecting (as usual, because bleh–house cleaning). I had this absurd need to watch news anchors discuss the election with the experts. Then there was John David, wanting to be taken outside. I had a blog that needed updating. And I have growing boys that need me. Every minute that I spend doing or not doing anything is a choice that I make that says something about my priorities.

I try to always start my day out with God’s Word and prayer because when you put first things first, everything else should fall into place.

“Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.”   Matthew 6:33

I loved this quote from Beth Moore:

“You may have many different things that you want to do, but they may not have anything to do with what you want your life to be about.”

I wrote it down and stuck it to my wall. I need that reminder. Am I trying to do every little good thing and ending up stressed? We can’t do ALL the things. We have to do some picking and choosing somewhere.

OR am I carefully choosing to focus on what it is I want my life to be about?

Just a little food for thought on this sleep-deprived-post-election day. What is your mission in life? That is the most important question here.

I want mine to be about serving the Lord. I want to walk in peace with Him, serving him by serving others through the ministries that He has given me. I want my boys to feel cherished and to know what is important. I want my husband to have a wife that builds him up and is a trustworthy companion. I want my blog to be a gospel-sharing ministry that brings joy. I want to live a life that is in line with God’s plan for me.

How about you? What do you want your life to be about? What things do you say ‘no’ to in order to focus on your mission?

 

 

 

P.S. Congratulations are in order to Angela, of Missouri, for winning the bamboo cutting board!!!!  Hurray!! Want your own? Go here to order one. Want a sweet deal on it? Try one of these coupon codes!

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Those codes will only work for the first 3 customers to try them, but I have more for those of you who ask! That’s a $5.00 DISCOUNT!! So try the coupon.

 

veterans

Click on this picture to read the Veteran’s Day article I wrote for Monterey Premier.

 

Happy Veteran’s Day! Hope you all get a day off!

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My New Year’s Resolution (Yes, I know what month it is.)

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It’s never the wrong time to turn things around. (Doodle art by Caleb: I found it on his “to do list” that he’d made himself…so proud that he made a to do list!)

Did you make goals for 2016? Or “New Year’s Resolutions?” We’re over 3 months in now. How are you coming on those?

I remember vividly saying something like, “I’d like to get rid of my hip pain. That’s my goal.”

That was it. Even when I said it, I had mixed feelings about having such a simple, dull, and yet seemingly unachievable little goal.

So I went to doctor appointment after doctor appointment. I surely took every blood test ever invented. There were x-rays. We kept MRI’ing the wrong body parts. We never did MRI the hip, but oh well, I’m so done with that.

I completely overhauled my diet, I went to physical therapy, and I had chiropractic adjustments.

And you know what? My hip is better, just as long as I don’t ride in a car, my hip is fine.

No cross-country road trip. No car trips at all.

Oh, and then the v-tach thing started, so also no exercising allowed.

No running. Only walking. No hiking.

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Did you say I shouldn’t care because I wasn’t a runner anyway? Ha.Ha.Ha. Well, okay, you have a point…..But still.

The fevers went away for a while, but now they are back, and guess what? I’m feeling depressed. Wait. Am I feeling sorry for myself?

Ugh! How obnoxious!!! But yes, I think I am. Or at least, I’m definitely thinking about it a lot. It’s a problem that I would like to solve. Fevers are about impossible to work through, y’all, and the doctors have no idea why I have them. What can I do?

Nothing, really.

So I think it’s time to come up with a new, FAR BETTER New Year’s goal. I’m a firm believer that it’s never too late to turn your show around. Why keep walking in the wrong direction? Let’s back-track.

It’s time for Plan B.

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Turn this train around, JD!!!

I’m going to quote my Life Application Bible study notes on the book of Zephaniah. I literally just opened my Bible, and there it was:

“Hope is the silver shaft of sun breaking through the storm-darkened sky…..Hope is knowing God and resting in his love.”   (p. 1290, 2nd paragraph, Life Application Study Bible)

When hard times rain down on you, and many of you have faced far worse things than I ever have, hope is everything. It’s not an ideal. It’s not a flowery concept. It’s not even abstract. It’s REAL. Hope has to be real in times like these. Hope has to surround you, touch you, and permeate your being.

This is the time for great hope. Changes have to be made!

So I came up with a new goal.

I love this verse:

“Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you.”  Matthew 6:33

If you put God first, everything else will fall into place. That’s what this verse is saying.

I cannot solve my health problems. I tried that. Don’t worry. I’ll still have the ventricular ablation. I’ll still go to the dermatologist and get my skin checked out.

But I want to move my focus. What does this look like? Here’s what I’m thinking:

  1. I want to have a solid time of Bible and prayer very first thing in the morning and again, right before bed.

Reading the Bible will not take away my heart disease. Being spiritual doesn’t heal fevers. But God can, and even if he doesn’t, praying and seeking God will have a profound effect on how I handle these problems. I believe I will be more centered, less overwhelmed, and more capable just from becoming more serious about my prayer and Bible reading time.

When things are desperate, who whispers occasional prayers? No. That’s not what you do. You beg. You plead. You mean business. You take those requests to the throne of Heaven over and over and over again. You pray harder.

What will these changes look like?

I started a prayer journal (again) yesterday. We talked about it in Sunday school, and it helped me to solidify my plan. I need a place to write prayer requests and important verses to remember, a place other than just my hand. (Yes, I write notes on my hands.)

No one gets breakfast until after this time of prayer has been done.

Unless they want coffee, juice, or chocolate milk. Coffee is an extremely important part of the plan. I go downstairs, and I pour my coffee. If JD is up, I pour him a drink in his sippy cup. Whoever is awake has prayer and Bible time with me. No sweat. 

I will repeat this before bed. When you have a crisis in life, you have to step up how you meet it, right? There are many great changes on our horizon, and the time to rise up and grow to meet these challenges is now. I will keep you updated on how it goes.

But no more compromising this. I’m letting you all know so that you can hold me accountable. Of course, I will feel sheepish if you mention it to me in person. I am way more shy than you realize.

“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart:  and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”  Matthew 11:28

What challenges are you rising up to face? How can I pray for you today? We can do this, y’all. Sometimes we just need grace and determination. I am determined to pray for that grace!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Bring it on, 2016!

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After a 19-day vacation to see our folks, it warmed our hearts to find this in our driveway when we returned. What a hug to come home to this sweet driveway art! Our friends did this for us while we were away.

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“We can do small things with great love.” –Mother Teresa

Isn’t it funny how it’s the little things like this that make our days bright and cheery?

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And oh, while vacation was fun, it is always wonderful to be “Home Sweet Home”.

Joshua, Caleb, and a buddy of theirs (one of them that did the driveway art) were discussing “New Year’s Revolutions.” Yes, I corrected them. Joshua quickly understood the difference. He joked, “Ha!!  This year is a revolution!! Yaaaaaaaah!”

One of the boys said that he wants to have peace and goodwill on earth. Another one wants to own every single Lego Star Wars buildable figure.

“What’s yours, Mom?”

Um, uh…”Well, I haven’t fully decided yet, but I do hope to get rid of my hip pain this year.”

I got blank stares for that one. It’s hard for elementary kids to relate to chronic pain, I think.

So yeah. Not planning a revolution this year…..I don’t even have a concrete resolution.

I just want to do my job well, love my family, and move the family back across the country without stressing out about it. I’m so done with stress.

You know what I want most for this year? I want to focus on being a good mom and a loving wife. If we all did that, the whole world would be sweeter.

small things with great love

making gingerbread houses with the little guys

“Do not think that love in order to be genuine has to be extraordinary. What we need is to love without getting tired. Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.”
― Mother Teresa

Yes, I got a bicycle for Christmas. No, my hips didn't love it, but the boys were so excited to have their mom ride bikes with them. Thanks, Santa Alan!!

Yes, I got a bicycle for Christmas. No, my hips didn’t love it, but the boys were so excited to have their mom ride bikes with them. Thanks, Santa Alan!!

Wishing you all a Happy New Year! I’d love to hear your resolutions/goals. No, really. I get my best ideas from other people, so do share.

Bring it on, 2016.

 

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