Here’s a little review on the no spend month I did in February! LINKS No Spend Month Announcement: …
I love setting goals and intentions each year. To be honest, I know some people like to distinguish between the two, and even I have at one point, but really, they are pretty much the same thing.
I don’t really do much in the way of measurable, “SMART” goals. I just make goals and then look back at the end of the year and see if I think I did a good job or not.
My word/theme for the year is love one another. I wrote a bit about that already but I was keeping that in mind while creating my goals.
I decided to try to break my goals into three categories: personal, family and “online stuff”.
read through the Bible
I’m doing this one right now! It was supposed to be a 90 day Bible reading plan but I accidently made it into a 60 day plan. I actually started this the day after Christmas, so I got a bit of a jump start on the goal but I’m okay with that.
continue Bible journaling
I’m not really talking about “pretty” art journaling here, I mostly just mean keeping my study notes in my Bible. I plan on continuing to use my CSB notetaking Bible for that this year.
art journal more
I have been loving getting back into mixed media art journaling this winter and I want to continue this habit throughout the year and not make it a winter only thing.
reply to penpals within a week
I got a few penpals this winter (is it pen pal or penpal? I randomly alternate between the two). I want to make sure I am good at replying to them. I am also considering filming some “penpal with me” videos, it’s a thing and I may do it if I find some spare time in life.
buy books from authors I’ve read before and trust
I want to make sure I’m not buying books that I am just getting rid of right away.
buy some skirts
I was a tomboy as a child and hated dresses and skirts (don’t even get me started on tights!) but then about five years ago I had a little girl who loved wearing dresses so I felt like I needed to up my outfit game to match hers and I realized I loved wearing dresses. I don’t wear dresses as much these days (well, especially in winter) but for 2021 I want to buy (and wear) some skirts. I’ve been pinning some to a board and I’m obviously drawn to a very specific style (it’s definitely a librarian look):
buy a steam mop?
I saw someone use on in a vlog and I’ve been thinking about getting one ever since.
try to add in at least one more natural cleaning or beauty alternative to my routine
Over the years I’ve slowly been trying to add in more natural cleaning and natural beauty alternatives. I tend to get overwhelmed if I try to do too much at one time so I’ve slowly over the years been trying to add a little more natural stuff into my life. For Christmas I got the book Simply Living Well and I want to use that to find at least one more natural recipe to add to my routine.
Every few years I write a post about things I no longer buy and it’s about time I either wrote an updated post or else I may just write a post with my favorite natural living and beauty “recipes”.
laugh more, smile more, forgive more, love more
Does this need an explanation?
reading when the power went out during a winter storm (see the snow and ice on the windows?)
continue going for daily walks as a family
We’ve been doing this since December and it’s been really good. Especially for my mental health in the winter. Hopefully we can keep it up. I feel like if we can make it through January we can make it through anything.
figure out what is going on with fostering
I realize I put something on this list that is completely out of my control but I’m putting it on here anyway. The hardest part about fostering has been the unknown. We still have R2 and within two months he could be gone and we could have Buzz and Woody back. Or, he could go and we could be done fostering. OR, he could stay and we could gain his sister.
Apparently I’m not good with so much up in the air!
get rid of Ember?
Yes, getting rid of our cat is on my list. And it’s on here with a question mark. So, we’ll see what becomes of this.
Edit: So, this one got a lot of comments on my YouTube video. Ember has some anxiety issues around little kids and with us fostering (and perpetually having toddlers) it’s been adding up. Unfortunately she’s almost always on edge and little R2 almost always has a scratch or two on his face.
celebrate the seasons
I’ve been creating little bucket lists for each season since the beginning of the fall and I feel like it’s helped me to enjoy each season and month better so I want to continue this.
go on a road trip
If all goes well I would like to take a road trip out to BC this summer.
continue on with our relaxed homeschooling
I’ve been enjoying our relaxed homeschool approach that we’ve taken in the last year. But I would like to add in weekly poetry tea time. We used to do this on a regular basis and we all enjoyed it a lot.
get rid of baby stuff
So, this kind of goes with figuring out fostering. We’ve realized the baby stage is not our favorite stage but we would make an exception for R2’s sister so we’re just kind of waiting to see where things go before getting rid of the stuff.
make 2015-2020 photobooks
Um, I’m a little behind. I hope to get started on this next week.
two videos a week on my BookTube channel
I’ve been posting book-ish videos on YouTube for a year now and for this year I would like to continue with two videos a week.
weekly blog post on my homeschool site
I totally neglected my homeschool website this last year but I want to get back into it. I’m not making any crazy commitments right now but I’m going to commit to one post a week. They will mostly be book lists (middle grade books and picture books) but there will be some homeschool specific posts as well.
use this site “more”
More is in quotations above because I have used it in the last year but it’s mostly just been a place to share my book-ish videos. This year I want to write more personal posts – more goals, more about fostering, and more of whatever else I feel like.
possibly start sharing some art journal videos on YT
I kind of mentioned this already when I shared about penpals. I like watching art journal and stationary videos on YT and whenever I like something I also like to get involved in the community. So this is a maybe on my list. First I definitely need to finish my Bible in 60 days plan before I make a full decision on whether or not I have time for this. If I do it I will just share it on what I’ve dubbed my personal, random channel.
step back from Instagram a bit
I’ve really lost most of my interest in Instagram in the last six months to a year. I think it’s partly because when fostering I can’t share the kids’ faces online anyway so it just feels hard and weird. Plus I don’t know, I’m just not enjoying it as much. I’m not deactivating my account or anything (I did that to Facebook back in the summer and haven’t missed it) but I want to intentionally be on there less.
continue to give away a book each month to my newsletter subscribers
Since the fall I’ve been giving away one of the best books I read each month to one of my book-ish newsletter subscribers. If you are interested in entering to win, sign up for the newsletter here.
hit 10,000 subscribers on BookTube (but I’d love to hit more than that, 50,000?)
So, these feel like weird goals to set but I would love to increase my subscribers over on BookTube this year. I’m currently just over 3,000 and I think hitting 10,000 by the end of the year is attainable, but honestly, I think 50,000 would be sweet. Other than being consistent there really isn’t much I can do in this regard, it’s very much up to YouTube and other people but I’m curious to see where it falls at the end of the year.
grow my Patreon to 75
For those who want to hear me talk about books even more, I started a Patreon page in December. I would like to continue to grow that to 75 patrons by the end of the year.
run at least two readathons over on Hey Reader
I had fun organizing the Hey Reader-athon back in October and then a kids one in November and I would like to do more this year. At least one regular one and one kids one but I’m hoping to actually run two regular ones and one kids one.
Okay, there are my goals for the year! It feels vulnerable to share them here but I like to look back and see how I’ve done (and if I write it down on paper apparently I can’t find it because I have no idea what happened to last years goals). Plus, I think it gives me some good accountability.
I hope to do an update at least once to share how things are going in the middle of the year.
Oh, and soon I’ll do a mini update on my birthday goals, keep an eye out for those!
Did you set goals for this year? I would love to hear some of them!
Well, 2021 is here! And that means it is once again time for me to share my One Little Word for the year.
I can’t believe I am in my ELEVENTH year of doing this.
I have found picking a word (or words, or phrase) for the year so beneficial.
I love setting goals and intentions but it can be hard to remember them throughout the year. Picking a word or phrase it a lot easier to remember and be thinking about throughout the year, at least it is for me (but, of course I’m setting goals for the year as well as choosing a word, the goals will be up here in a few days).
Once again, when I started thinking of what my word could be at the end of November nothing was really jumping out at me. But, like every other year before, God really used the last few weeks of the year to consistently bring up a theme that I am making my word, okay, phrase, for the year.
My phrase for 2021 is:
love one another
This phrase really stuck out to me as I was reading Blessed are the Misfits in December and it “just so happened” to come up a lot in the Advent study I was doing as well.
There are two verses that jumped out at me right away when I chose this phrase:
By this all people will know that you are my disciples,
if you have love for one another.”
“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God,
and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.
1 John 4:7
WHAT THIS PHRASE MEANS FOR MY YEAR
Ultimately, I want this phrase to remind me to check in on my friends and prioritize relationships this year. Even if restrictions continue to stay in place where I can’t see my friends in person, there are still things I can do.
I want to make sure to check-in on a regular basis more.
I want to make sure to make birthday cards for my friends and family.
I want to continually see how I can pray for them throughout the year.
I want to make sure to reply to my pen pals within a week of receiving their letters.
And when possible I want to get together with my friends to chat again!
I am sure there are other things but that’s a start at least.
If you are curious as to why and how I choose my word each year you can check that out here.
Here are some of my previous words (unfortunately I didn’t write blog posts for all of them):
- 2020: generous
- 2019: adventure
- 2018: gentle
- 2017: discipline
- 2016: encourage
- 2015: hospitality
- 2014: do
- 2013: serve
- 2012: create & celebrate
- 2011: move & pray
All my One Little Word posts can be found here, including the recaps at the end of the year.
Here’s to 2021!
Do you choose a word for the year? If so, I would love to hear about it!
I always like to take some time during this season and start thinking about my word for the next year as well as my goals. I plan on sharing both my word and my goals in the next few weeks but first I have a freebie for you!
A few newish-to-me blogs that I follow share their monthly intentions instead of their goals and I just love that slight change in wording. With the new year less than a month away I’ve been thinking about my goals (or intentions) for the year and I want to make an effort this year to do better with creating monthly goals.
To help myself out a bit I created monthly intentions printables and I thought I would share them with you!
The sheets have three different sections:
This space is for your goals for the month. I left a fair amount of space, I know I won’t usually have that many items each month but I do tend to write big so this way if my intentions take up two lines each at least I know I have room to write them down.
You don’t have to be around me long to realize that books are a big part of my life. I share my monthly TBR in my book-ish newsletter and I am always looking for great books to add to my collection. I like the idea of writing my monthly TBR down on these sheets because I can look at it throughout the month and it will be interesting to look back on at the end of a year and see which books I finished and which I didn’t.
This section is for whatever you want. This month I wrote a verse out, in the future I may write a cute quote or conversation with one of my kids or a quote from a book. I may even use this space for ideas on how to carry out my one little word throughout the month.
To grab your free printable intention sheets just sign up here, you’ll also get access to all the other freebies on the site:
Since my birthday was nearly two months ago I figured this would be a good time to share my goals for the year.
I like to set goals each year at the beginning of the year and around my birthday, though I always go for a longer list of goals on my birthday and generally include some simple ones and some that I probably won’t reach.
I like to dream big and imagine possibilities and I like my goals to reflect that.
Though, apparently if I take two months to actually share my goals some are completed or in the process of and some I’ve already decided to change or completely cross off, such is life!
Curious about previous birthday goal lists? You can see my goal lists for twenty-six, twenty-seven, twenty-eight, twenty-nine, and thirty. (And then apparently I went goal-less for two years before thirty-three.)
1) something big – so I’m not really being vague here to be mysterious, this “something big” has changed a few times in the last six months so I thought if I intentionally left it to be a fairly broad goal I would have a better chance of being able to check it off, so that’s where it stands for now.
2) increase my online income – I feel very fortunate to be able to make some money from my online hobbies/endeavors and I would like to see if I could increase it more in the next year.
3) actually live radically for Christ
4) get outside more
5) kingdom school the kids – pretty much I just want to teach my kids to live with eternity in mind.
6) get rid of stuff/live smaller
7) give more
8) pick a word of the month – well, I’ve already been failing this one . . .
9) have evenings in the backyard
10) bake some good gluten free bread – let me know if you have a good recipe!
11) take a class online
12) go on five Saskatchewan adventures – where should we go?
13) keep a nature journal
14) learn to sketch and/or watercolor
15) find a handicraft
16) study the Bible
17) go on a trip in the winter
18) make a plan for the front and side of the yard
19) —- I already decided not to do what I had written down for this goal
20) write a line a day – I got this journal for Mother’s Day and have been really enjoying it
21) figure out a topic for a book – though honestly, I don’t think I’m there yet
22) buy a fireplace – before you get grand visions, I am thinking a tiny, portable fireplace, aka cheap. But, I figure if we’re going to live in such a cold province I may as well get a little comfortable.
And that’s where my goals currently stand for the year! Since it took me so long to write them out here and there have been a number of changes I’m contemplating having a continual goal list for the future where I can just continually add, remove and check off my goals as I go through life.
I love it when I come across a passage in the Bible that I have heard or read numerous times but suddenly something jumps out at me that I hadn’t noticed before.
That’s exactly what happened the other week when I was reading through Mark. I am going through the book very, very slowly, after about a month of starting the book I am only on chapter 3, but it was last week while going through chapter 2 that something jumped out at me.
The story at the beginning of Mark 2 is of Jesus healing the paralytic man. In this case Jesus doesn’t just happen to pass the guy and then heal him, this guy actually has to go to some work to get healed.
Actually, he has some friends that go through some work for him to get healed.
While Jesus was busy speaking to people in a packed house these four guys couldn’t get passed the crowds to see Jesus, so do they go home feeling defeated or decide to try again the next day?
Not a chance.
Do you know what they do? They actually carry their friend, on his mat, up to the roof of this home and start removing tiles and then they lower their friend down so he arrives at Jesus’ feet.
Can we say grad entrance?
It’s really a crazy moment and this event never ceases to amaze me but it’s not that part that jumped out at me this time, it’s what came next.
If you’ve read the story you know that Jesus heals the guy (sorry if that’s a spoiler for you) but it’s the reason why that is really cool. I’ll back it up a bit and share verses 3-5:
And they came, bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him, and when they had made an opening, they let down the bed on which the paralytic lay. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”
Did you catch that? Let me repeat it and add some emphasis:
And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”
Jesus forgave this man and as a result healed him not only because of his faith but Jesus healed him as a result of the faith of his friends.
Not only were these friends dedicated; when they hit obstacles when getting their friend to Jesus they found a way around them (or technically, in this case, through them) but it was a result of their faith that their paralyzed friend was healed.
This was not a mission of duty, they were not trying to check a box or make themselves feel good about putting an effort in. They weren’t trying to impress people by being friends with someone who needed their help and they weren’t doing it out of a favor for their mom’s friend’s second cousin twice removed.
These were real, true, dedicated friends.
They didn’t laugh at their friend when he told them that Jesus would heal him. They didn’t drag him there silently muttering that it wasn’t going to work. No, they didn’t doubt that Jesus would heal their friend, they knew he would be healed.
These were friends with faith.
I can’t believe I missed the bigger part these guys played in helping their friend get healed. They weren’t just the delivery men or the brawn, they were so much more.
It was because of their faith their friend was healed.
This story has me thinking a lot about friendship. I’ve admitted before that I’m not exactly great at friendship, unfortunately on top of that I’m also a bit of a skeptic – had I been one of the people carrying this guy to Jesus, He probably would have called me out as one with little faith and I have my doubts whether or not the friend would have been healed.
This story has been a hard reminder on friendship and faith.
It’s left me with some questions . . .
How would things change if I took my friendship queues from these four guys?
What if I was as dedicated to my friendships as they were?
What if I was a friend without expecting anything in return?
How would God use me if I had more faith?
Are there passages in the Bible that you have read over and over and then finally something jumps out at you? If so, would like to hear about them!
Have you ever felt like God was calling you to do something; He gave you the desire, some gifts to help you with it but it feels like He forgot to give you the map to get there?
This is the space I have been in lately.
And by lately, I really mean the last four years.
It has me completely restless because I feel like I was made for more (which is pretty much the title and subtitle of the book, Restless).
This “normal” western life is not the kind of life I feel called to live.
I feel as though I am supposed to make a difference somewhere else but I don’t know where.
Don’t take this as me saying “so I’m not going to do anything here” – it’s not that at all, I’m just talking about more than that.
Last month I re-read the book of James for the fifty-bazillionth time (approximately) and like all the times I’ve read it before James 1:22 hits me in the heart:
Be doers of the Word, and not hearers only.
If I’ve talked to you at all this winter you’ve probably heard me say this winter has been hard and you’ve probably assumed it’s because it was a frigid cold winter (or because I hid behind that excuse) and while that definitely has played a factor, the majority of the difficulty for me this winter has been this feeling of restlessness, this desire to not just be a hearer of the Word.
BLOGGING AS THERAPY
I used to use this space to share the restlessness of my soul and I found it very therapeutic, this post may be me bringing that practice back.
The last thing I want is for this space to look or sound like I’ve got it all together, I think sharing honest posts like this will help keep any thoughts of that sort in check!
While I am an introvert and live in my head a lot I also do find it necessary to talk or write out my thoughts so I can comprehend them better – there are so many thought bubbles bouncing around in my brain and it’s nice to be able to pull a few out and put the words down. (And it’s a great excuse to share random, non-related recent photos to break up long winded posts.)
THOUGHT BUBBLES OF MY INTERESTS AND GIFTS
Some of the thought bubbles bouncing around these days are the different areas, interests, passions, gifts, etc. God has given me. When I think about this restlessness I am feeling there is no one defining answer. I am Jack-of-all-trades and dabble in a lot of things. I wish I had one overwhelming gift or passion that I could point to and say that is what I am supposed to do.
I used to have one specific passion: orphans in Africa. But after returning home from South Africa with Ephraim it felt like God took that passion away.
Now my vision is not as clear, but I do have a few things I have been thinking about. I thought writing them out may help me process my thoughts and there is always the hope that someone out there will come across this who has a specific need that matches.
After drafting most of this post I picked up the book An Intentional Life to start reading – I’ll admit I totally picked it up based on the title, I had no idea it was being written but it came out three months after I started this blog and don’t feel like it’s a coincidence that it has the same name as my blog and the subtitle is: A Life-Giving Invitation to Uncover Your Passions and Unlock Your Purpose. I’m not very far into it yet (30-ish pages) but this paragraph jumped out at me since I had just written most of this post:
Your passion? That thing that echoes through your mind and is constantly drawing you in? Relentlessly? It may not even have a point or a destination, or any real mission that you can make sense of in the beginning. But still, you can’t seem to go against the grain of your own heart and resist it. Whatever it may be.
We need to trust that our tears mean something. That God put them there for a reason and is pressing His finger harder and harder on that sweet spot until we wake up and give it the attention He wants it to have.
We need to press into it.
To do something.
Because chances are high that someone out there is waiting for you to step out, to start. To share your story, or come up with a solution or create a place for them to belong.
Here are four different things/areas I’ve been thinking of lately:
#1 MISSIONAL JOURNALIST
I’m honestly not sure if this is an actual term, to my knowledge I completely made it up. This idea combines my love for travel, photography, missions and writing all neatly in one package. This idea is just to travel to different places and help raise awareness about different mission organizations. This is similar to what we did when we went to Uganda though I didn’t go into that trip with this intention, that’s just what it sorta ended up as.
I would love to document stories of what different small ministries are doing and share their stories with the world to help raise awareness, build a praying community and monetary support – things most small ministries need. Plus, if they need a website, I know a guy . . .
This idea is similar to what they are doing over at The Archibald Project though they specifically share about the orphan crisis and adoption stories and I’m open to a broader range of Christ-based ministries.
I know this is a thing within many bigger organizations, they have people in journalist roles, but I think I would like to do this on a smaller scale, not under a bigger organization.
This idea has been brewing in me for a long time but I don’t even know where to begin. How does one find small ministries
a) if they need help raising awareness they aren’t easy to find online
b) if they are easy to find online they generally don’t need help raising awareness.
Oh the conundrum.
#2 PARTNERING WITH AN ORGANIZATION AS A FAMILY
One thing we’ve talked about doing lately is partnering with a small organization as a family. I would love for us to regularly be able to go out and see/help out with on a regular basis and also do something in regards to it when we are at home (fundraising, raising awareness, something tangible, etc).
In talking with Raeca she said she would like it to be something with orphans. She mentioned working with an orphanage which is fine but I think there also needs to be the other side – doing something to help keep children with their families.
Once again, my problem is that I don’t know any small organizations like this!
#3 WHAT GOD THROWS AT US
Kay, I don’t really have much else for skills/interests but I want to be open to whatever else God has in store for us, especially if it is something, I much prefer that to nothing.
My word for the year is adventure and I’m open for God to throw one at me.
#4 A ONE DAY DREAM
I’m not sure I’ve ever written this before but this kind of falls in this category: one day I would like to write a book. Like a legit, hold in your hands, highlight the lines, dog-ear the pages kind of book. I do feel like I need to follow what God has in store for me for the next few years before really thinking about this dream but it’s there in the back burner of my brain on a low simmer until I can bring it to the front and start the full boil.
Ahh, it felt good to write like this again! I think I am going to try to make writing here, like this, a weekly discipline.
Thanks for reading all the thought bubbles I took the time to write out today. If you have any suggestions or connections with small ministries I would love to hear about them!
I am a fairly productive person. I love creating to do lists and that satisfaction of checking things off of the list (admittedly, I will sometimes add a task to the list after I’ve already done it so I can have the joy of checking it off).
So, it may come as a surprise to people who know me now that I used to be, and still am at times, a procrastinator. (Just ask Jared, I am terrible at procrastinating when it comes to putting receipts into our budget.) But I’ve come a long way from my serious procrastination days.
I thought it would be fun to share a few productivity tips for any other procrastinators out there!
5 PRODUCTIVITY TIPS FROM A FORMER CHRONIC PROCRASTINATOR
#1 KNOW YOUR WHY
It’s so much easier to get something done if you know why it needs to get done! As a rebel knowing (and believing) in the reason for things makes me actually able to accomplish them.
When I say less I mean have less commitments, less stuff, less pulling you in all different directions. This is one that I struggle with the most because I am a chronic dabbler – I like to do a little bit of a lot of different things but that can result in overwhelm and therefore not doing anything.
Less is better.
#3 HAVE A GOOD PLANNER
I would be lost if I didn’t write things down.
I’m not saying you need to go out and buy an expensive planner, you can buy or make something really cheap. My “planner” is actually a notebook I got at the dollar store and then I’ve just written the days of the week myself. Each day I write a handful-ish number of tasks I want or need to get done to keep myself on track. I don’t get everything done every day but I get a lot more done than if I tried to keep all my tasks in my head.
#4 HAVE A GOOD DAILY RHYTHM
I have always disliked the word “routine” but now totally embrace the word “rhythm”. I have my daily rhythm down pretty well during the weekdays and am able to be quite productive each day. But on weekends or the odd days where the rhythm is disrupted I feel like I don’t get anything done.
The bones of a good daily rhythm for me means starting the day with a good breakfast, reading my Bible while drinking my homemade dairy-free hot cocoa and then getting some work done.
#5 MAKE DEADLINES FOR YOURSELF
Now, here’s the thing, I’ve always heard that if you want to get something done you should tell someone so they can keep you accountable and that pressure will force you to get it done.
But really, how many times does that person actually keep you accountable? For some reason, for me (and this may not be true for you), when I tell someone I am going to do something that usually lowers my interest in doing said thing.
I’ve personally found it more helpful to keep a list of deadlines for myself and not tell others about them.
WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE PRODUCTIVITY TIPS?
Gorgeous photos of Venice courtesy of Unsplash.com – this photos are giving me the motivation to continue saving for our upcoming trip to Europe!
For the past few years I have been trying to get better at memorizing Bible verses. When I was young I was in the habit of memorizing a lot of verses thanks to school, AWANA and Sunday school but the expectation to continue memorizing verses went away as I became an adult and so did the habit.
One way I’ve been trying to get into the habit of memorizing verses in the last few verses is by choosing a verse for the season.
Taking time to dive into the verse, displaying it in my home or other visible places and reading it often have helped me to memorize a number of verses in my adult years. Unfortunately, I’m still not at the memorization rate that I was as a child but to be fair I don’t think my memory is as good now as it was back then either.
CHOOSING A VERSE FOR THE SEASON
Picking a life verse or a verse for the season helps root you in God’s Word and is the perfect way to remind yourself what is truly important in life. It obviously makes sense to pray through the process, and remember: all Scripture is God-breathed, so there really is no wrong verse!
To choose your verse you can begin by looking up certain themes or topics that you need to work on and/or seem to occur often in your life. If anxiety is an issue for you, maybe look up verses about trust, if patience is not your forte, looking up verses on that topic.
Think about what God has been teaching you the last few years. Look through the scriptures and write down the verses and passages that really jump out at you.
Spend some time praying over the verses and choosing your life verse or your verse for this particular season.
Find a place to display your verse somewhere in your home so you can remember it often. You can go ahead and save the images below in the verse ideas section and use them as a screensaver on your phone so it is visible in your everyday life.
IDEAS FOR YOUR LIFE VERSE OR VERSE FOR THE SEASON
If you need some inspiration, here are some great options:
“So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.” Galatians 6:9
“But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.” James 1:22
“Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.” James 1:27
“Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.” Colossians 2:7
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.” Psalm 46:1-3
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Philippians 4:6
“One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: “Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent.” Acts 18:9
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Philippians 4:8
“But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:31
“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7
“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9
“By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:35
“When troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.” James 1:2
“So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings you! Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. There you will receive all that he has promised.” Hebrews 10:35-36
“Let us think of ways to motivated one another to acts of love and good works. And not neglect our meeting together as some people do, but encourage one another.” Hebrews 10:24-25
The LORD turned to him and said, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?” Judges 6:14
“This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalms 118:24
“Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keeps the law, happy is he.” Proverbs 29:18
“Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:16
Do you have a life verse or verse for the season? I would love it if you share it in the comments below!
I share about choosing a life or season verse in my Map Your Life ebook workshop which is all about creating an intentional road map for your life. (And if you sign up for my free mini email course on three common mistakes people make when setting goals you’ll receive a special discount code!)
Welcome to the first week of our Simplicity Parenting book club! This week will be be chatting about the introduction and chapter 1, here’s the schedule for the rest of the book:
September 12 – chapters 2 & 3
September 19 – chapters 4 & 5
September 26 – chapter 6 & epilogue
This book was a re-read for me. I believe I read it for the first time about four years ago. What I really enjoy about the book is how practical and straight forward it is. The idea of simplicity parenting is not a hard one to grasp but it can be a difficult one to actually follow through on.
While this book is (to my knowledge) not written by Christians and I think it is the kind of book that Christians and non-Christians alike can learn from. I actually think a lot of the ideas in the book are very biblical; Jesus himself had hardly any possessions and one of my favorite parables is when he tells the rich, young ruler to sell all his possessions and give them to the poor. Obviously your heart and motives have a lot to do with it but I think this book can be a great reality check for a lot of parents.
HOW THIS BOOK CLUB WORKS
I am going to share some of my thoughts on these chapters and ask a few questions throughout the post, I would love it if you would leave your thoughts and responses in the comment section below. It would work even better if you can make sure to come back and see if others have replied to your thoughts as well, let’s keep the discussion going! There is also the option to subscribe to comments so you can be sure to get emails when others comment on this post and your comment.
We are all learning and growing as parents so let’s remember to be respectful of others on this journey. Disagreeing with someone is fine but let’s keep things polite, don’t post a comment you wouldn’t say out loud in front of other people.
The introduction was pretty short but there were a few things that stuck out to me this chapter . . .
First of all the statistic that said “children have lost more than twelve hours of free time a week in the past two decades.” This stat came from David Elkind’s book, The Power of Play, I tried to find the exact stats that shared exactly how much free time children had two decades ago and how much they have now but I couldn’t find any definite numbers.
Since I couldn’t find any specific numbers I started thinking about how much free time my children have. Right away I see that we are at a huge advantage in this area because we homeschool. While many school children around us spend 30-60 minutes a day on the bus and then six hours at school my children complete all their school work in less than two hours, already giving them the advantage of at least four extra hours each day, and if I’m honest, most days those extra hours are spent in free play.
I thought this line from the introduction sums up the entire book very well:
Simplification is often about “doing” less, and trusting more. Trusting that -if they have the time and security- children will explore their worlds in the way, and at a pace, that works best for them. – page XIII
We have become a culture that over-parents our children and a huge part of simplicity parenting is taking a step back, saying no to many things (even good things) so that our children have space to be children.
QUESTIONS FOR THE INTRODUCTION
- How many hours do you children spend in free time each week? How could you increase this number?
- Any other thoughts on the introduction?
CHAPTER ONE – WHY SIMPLIFY
There has been this amazing phenomena of more in the last 10-15 years. I think it came on us so slowly that many of us didn’t even see it coming (and many don’t even know it is here). If you think back to your childhood chances are you had a lot more than your parents did when they were young, but compare what you had to what your children have now, I’m guessing for most of us we would have to admit our children have more.
The thing is, it’s fun to give. More is fun, until it’s not . . .
There is a big part of me that wishes I could play the more game. I wish I could want a huge, perfect house and a brand new vehicle, a camper with regular trips to the lake. I wish I wanted all the clothes and to look perfect all the time. But honestly, I don’t.
We started to play the more game shortly after we were married. We started out as broke newlyweds with my husband fresh out of college in a low paying job and me in university full time. We lived in a house trailer that leaked in the spring and the furnace broke in the winter. And when the house shifted in the winter the front door would become so jammed it was next to impossible to open the door. The floor in the bathroom was obviously rotting under the linoleum because the toilet was crooked and it always felt like you were going to fall through.
We started at what I would call pretty near the bottom. We lived month to month as we struggled to afford our tiny mortgage but over the next few years Jared got a better job and I finished university and started working. All of a sudden the money was coming in! We sold that trashy trailer and moved into something bigger and better. And it wasn’t long before we wanted something better than that.
Once you start playing the more game it doesn’t stop unless you make it.
And I’m ready to stop it.
Reasons I want to simplify:
- to give more
- to travel more
- to be intentional with my time and money
- to be intentional with motherhood during this season
- to have more of less
When you simplify a child’s “world”, you prepare the way for positive change and growth. This preparatory work is especially important now because our world is characterized by too much stuff. We are building our daily lives, and our families, on the four pillars of too much: too much stuff, too many choices, too much information and too much speed. – page 5
I am excited to change life so it is no longer built on the “four pillars of too much”. I’ve been working on these for the past few years and have come a long way but still feel like I have farther to go.
The pillar of “too much speed” is not usually a problem for me. I’m an introvert and know it so I intentionally build a lot of white space into my week. Sure, there are the odd weeks where it seems like everything is happening at the same time (holidays are usually the worst) but it helps knowing those aren’t long seasons.
LET’S TALK TOYS
Before having children I did not realize that toys would be such an issue. By “such an issue” I mean, keeping them to a minimum! It seems nearly every place we go gives out toys these days: the dentist, the grocery story, the restaurant, and those are just on regular days, never mind what happens when a child has a birthday or it’s Christmas!
I actually have a post on here from last year where I did an experiment where I took my kids’ toys away. It was a great experiment and really worked to show us all that the kids play with the same few toys and definitely don’t need the heaps that society teaches us they need. (I also have a free Eliminating Kids Clutter course that is similar to the toy elimination process in the book).
My kids are at a fun stage where they actually realize they only want a select few toys instead of everything they see. Now if I could just get them to see that while they love Lego and play with it for hours each day, they don’t need all the Lego.
The problem in our house though is not getting rid of toys but keeping them out of the house. I think we’ll talk a bit more about this in future chapters to come.
I completely agree with these statements:
By reducing mental and physical clutter, simplification increases a family’s ability to flow together, to focus and deepen their attention, to realign their lives with their dreams. – page 23
Yet simplification is not just about taking things away. It is about making room, creating space in your life, your intentions, and your heart. With less physical and mental clutter, your attention expands and your awareness deepens. – page 34
QUESTIONS FOR CHAPTER ONE
- What are your reasons for wanting to simplify?
- Which of the “four pillars of too much” do you find you struggle with the most? And which, if any, is the easiest?
- What were your perceived family values before having children? Are you actually living by them now?
- Have you decluttered your kids’ toys? How did the process go?
- Do you have any other thoughts on chapter one?
Thanks for joining me for the first week of the Simplicity Parenting book club! Go ahead and leave your comments below, I am excited for the discussion to start and for the discussions we will have over the next few weeks.