At this current stage in my life (young child, working full time), my ideal night (almost every single night) would be to put on stretchy yoga pants and stay at home. It is very rare that I want to make the effort to do anything at all.
I know this “having a young child” phase is just a phase, and let me tell you - it is real…full of exhaustion and added responsibility and added things to manage and more. However, I find myself using the “having a young child” situation as an excuse for many things.
Because I have a young child, I make excuses so that I do not have to:
• Have people over for dinner
• Actually pick up the phone when someone calls (or call them back)
• Make an effort to talk to our neighbors
• Do something thoughtful for a friend I know needs it
• Ask someone I don’t spend as much time with to do something
Yes, having a young child is overwhelming, and it demands all of me, all of the time. But, I allow it to also be a crutch I use to bypass many things that I feel the Lord calling me to do…it’s just so much easier to do nothing!
And let’s be honest, for lots of us (myself included), it’s not just during the “young child phase” - I made excuses before my son was even born when I was working long hours at a demanding job, or when I had a lot of “change” going on in my life due to moving, or when it was really cold and I just didn’t want to get out.
Being intentional is hard work. It requires forethought and planning. It requires you to do things even when you’re tired. It requires you to think about someone else besides yourself, even after long, hard days that demand so much of you.
But, I really don’t want to look back on this season in my life and see how devoid it was of love. Because, to me, being intentional is about showing love.
What are ways we can be intentional, or “glow” love locally to those around us, even in difficult seasons?
Here are some things I am planning to do this month:
• Send a card (in the mail!) to a friend
• Take half of a batch of cookies (I'm already making) to the older neighbor across the street
• Invite someone I don’t necessarily know as well to come over for coffee
• Text someone I haven’t talked to in a really long time just to let them know I am thinking about them
• PRAY for someone who pops in my head
• Invite someone to go out to eat with us (no house cleaning then!)
• Send a book I recently read to someone I think will really enjoy it
• Cook a meal for a new mom
I hope by giving myself a goal and writing things down that I will be more intentional this month….each of these should take me less than 5 minutes to complete (well, except the cooking ones, but I’ll already be cooking for our family, so pretty easy).
I am always surprised how doing one intentional thing stirs me to be more aware and eager to do another - once I start making the effort, I am more in tune to continue making the effort…which makes it all easier.
Do you struggle with being intentional during certain seasons of life? What are small ways you are more intentional?
It’s been a while since I have done a Best Friend Friday around here…so time for another. I’ve had a few people ask me recently about resources or ideas when starting your own company or starting a blog, so I thought I’d share some of my favorite books focusing on that topic. So, if you were my best friend, and we were sharing a cup of tea on my dog-hair covered couch, I would want you to know about these great books:
• Let’s All Be Brave: A wonderful book by a wonderful author, Annie Downs does a great job touching on how fear really holds so many of us back from doing what the we are passionate about. I read her book this fall before officially starting Glowing Local, and it was extremely influential in pushing me to trust God!
• Start with Why: This book by Simon Sinek was inspirational in so many ways when I read it a year ago. As a Christian in business, I want the Why of everything I do to be about Jesus. This book helps give you a great frame of mind for putting your Why into perspective - why are you doing what you are doing?
• We are All Weird: Super short read from a favorite author Seth Godin, this book really narrows in on niche markets, and how you don’t have to be everything to everyone. As Godin says, there is a new “era of weirdness” these days, and in business, it can be great to embrace that.
• Make It Happen: Just finished this excellent book by Lara Casey, and I keep going back to it over and over. We can chase money, self-glorification, others' perceptions, acceptance…or we can chase Jesus. A great read for anyone thinking about what’s important in business and work.
What great business books do you recommend, especially in regards to starting something new?
Reading is one of my favorite things. If I can get out of the house for a little bit of mommy time, my first choice of activities is always a hot chai latte and a good book.
I hear people say all the time that they just don’t have time to read. And, I know there are times in everyone’s life when reading can be difficult and harder to do. But, if you want to be a reader, part of the battle is just making it a priority.
Here are some ways I am able to read over 100 books in a year:
1. Always have a book with you. I never go anywhere without a book, so if there is ever downtime in the carpool line or before a meeting, I always have a book handy.
2. Read a chapter a day. I try to read a chapter a day out of a Christian book and a business book. Most Christian and business books have only about 10-12 total chapters, so reading one chapter a day gets you through a book within 2 weeks.
3. Get rid of cable. We don’t have cable, so every night, once we put our son down, I get in bed and read for 1 - 2 hours before going to bed.
4. Put your phone somewhere else. Don’t set your phone next to you while you read - it will greatly diminish you’re reading goals. Maybe try this iPhone background for your phone?
5. Resist the temptation to “get things done.” When my preschooler is happily occupied for 10 minutes, it is easy to try to clean dishes, unload the dishwasher, etc. I try to resist the temptation and just enjoy reading. It means our house is more of a mess, but I’m a happier person.
7. Read multiple books at one time. Some people won’t agree with this, but I usually have 3 books going at a time - a Christian book, a business/non-fiction book, and a fiction book. It makes me want to read more.
8. Stay on top of library requesting. I get an e-mail notice from my library about 3 days before our books are due. When I get it, I go online and request new books to be put on hold for me. This is great, as the books are usually ready when I make it to the library 3 days later, always giving me something new to read.
9. Consider a book club (or start your own). I had never done a book club until this year (I had heard some funny horror stories from friends about them!), but gave it a go. It is fun and makes reading fun.
How do you make reading a priority? Any tips you’d add to this list?
December always makes for a busy month of fun and lots to do. With many work-projects, hours of travel, much family-time, obligatory preschool programs, and much more, there was much to learn.
Things I learned in December:
1. Don’t ever approach a pet turkey wearing a hat. My mother-in-law learned this in a most unfortunate way.
2. When you read 117 books in a year, your Christmas pile looks something like this. And you also receive a lot of awesome Barnes & Noble gift cards.
3. Be careful when making a Happy Birthday Jesus cake. Gumballs from 1997 don’t necessarily taste good anymore.
4. Getting up early has great advantages with a view like this. A back porch can declare the Glory of the Lord in so many ways.
5. The Tennessee Aquarium does not disappoint. I think my husband and I enjoyed it more than our 3-year old.
6. Making online-friends is the best. Being featured by Life Lived Beautifully was a real treat.
Around the web, I am loving:
• The one resolution from my fave author of Love Idol
• "Step on snake before breakfast” - great words for the new year
• Good ideas on reading more in the coming year
• Why do we glorify busy?
• Good thoughts on being unseen this year
• The Modern Mrs. Darcy book linkup of favorite books
In January, I am hoping to:
• Finish up work on a new Glowing Local journal!
• Send out the first birthday newsletter with a birthday discount code!
• Host 3 baby showers
• Take my son to the Monster Truck Show (oh me, oh my)
• Start my 2015 book list as this 2014 is now history
Happy 2015! What are you up to this month?
In between Christmas and New Years, I always spend time getting myself organized for the new year. With balancing working at home, while taking care of a 3-year-old, I have to stay on the ball, or I don’t get anything accomplished.
For this edition of Best Friend Friday, if you were my best friend, sitting on my dog-haired covered couch, and we were sharing a cup of tea, I’d want you to know about these great products to get organized in the New Year:
• Live Life Beautifully Journal: I am most excited about using Gretchen’s new 52-week journal. I have used a prayer journal for a long time, but have never used a journal to really just look at my life. As she says on her website, “this journal has been intentionally designed to help you craft your mission statement, dream big, and plan ways to serve Jesus and remember what He has done throughout the year.” Yes please!
• Lara Casey’s Powersheets: I just cannot wait to dig into these (mine arrived yesterday!). I see these as a way to make sure my year doesn’t go by without accomplishing the things that are important to me, while also focusing on Jesus. I have some big dreams and goals for 2015, and these powersheets are going to keep me on task. (I also cannot wait to get Lara’s new book Make It Happen in the mail!)
• Simplified Planner: Went with this planner as I am a super simple girl, so this definitely appealed to me. I had been using a weekly calendar, and have switched to a daily one, as I need so much more space than my weekly is allowing for these days. (They are sold out on her website, but saw one at a store the other day, so check out some of her retailers in your area).
• Book Journal: Because I read so many books each year, if I don’t take the time to write down my book-thoughts, I will forget too much from the book. This year, I am planning to keep a book journal, to record my favorite quotes, thoughts, and ideas from each book I read. I found this cool Moleskine Book Journal - anyone every used it?
What organizational tools will you use in the new year?
Well, to say a lot has been going on around here would be an understatement. November really kicked off the start of Glowing Local – a dream in the works for over a year. Here’s an overview of the big things that happened in November:
For December, I’m hoping to:
What do you have planned this month?