Pitchin’ A Fit

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A few weeks ago, I posted about something I’m working on in my own personal life and spiritually – specifically in the area of parenting and the frustrations that come along with that for me. I’m recognizing just how often I become frustrated as a parent. I don’t know if it’s just my personality type, my struggle with perfectionism, that I have a really challenging child, or if it’s just something God has pinpointed in my life right now to work on in me. Nevertheless, I’m aware of it now, so it’s something I’m working diligently on.

Let me tell you – since the very day that I published that post, it’s been pretty rough. I texted a friend and said, “Why on earth did I post that?” You know that’s exactly how this thing works. The thing you are praying for is exactly the thing you will get more of so that you can practice what you are learning and working through. So this month I’ve had a lot of time to practice what I preached in that last post.

And this book I’ve been reading this month, Pitchin’ a Fit by Israel & Brooke Wayne, has been preaching to me for sure. It’s one of those books that has so many good little nuggets, but “Ouch! My toes are getting stepped on repeatedly.”

These are the practical steps from Israel & Brook Wayne’s book, Pitchin’ a Fit that I’m reading and working through right now…
1. Evaluate where you are on the anger spectrum.
2. Recognize your need to change, and your inability to do it on your own.
3. Ask God to forgive you and change your heart.
4. Believe that God can and will change you.
5. Saturate your mind in God’s word; memorize, and apply it.
6. Recognize your own anger triggers.
7. Confess and repent every time you blow it.
8. Strategically practice speaking words of encouragement to others. It will help rewire your brain with thoughts of gratitude rather than bitterness and anger.
9. It generally takes 30 days to create a new habit. Disrupt your old patterns, and intentionally replace them with new ones.
10. Be will to seek accountability and prayer support from others.
11. Journal your progress (and setbacks). This will give your perspective over time.
12. Tenaciously guard your daily time alone with Jesus, and don’t neglect your spiritual disciplines.

I made a list of my own anger triggers – the things that set me off. We all have them, though they may differ from person to person. Here are mine…
-Clutter and Chaos
-When “stuff” becomes too much and needs to be decluttered (I’m bad about just re-organizing, when I really just need to declutter and get rid of things for good.)
-When we can’t find things (Currently, we are missing a pair of flip flops that weren’t put away properly after a trip to the creek so my child has had to wear his tennis shoes all week.)
-When I get behind on laundry and we can’t find the clothes we need
-When we are running late
-When my children don’t obey right away
-When my children hide from me (especially when we are already running late)
-When my children say, “I don’t want to…”
-When we are so busy and I have to either “just wing it” or leave things undone

Before I read the chapter on “Yelling Moms, Hollering Dads”, I really didn’t think I yelled that much, but I’ve since realized that I raise my voice at my children more than I should. You know when you say it calmly first, children don’t listen, so your voice gets louder and louder? Honestly, I don’t know why I even bother because the yelling really isn’t effective for me either. It’s just a way for me to let off some steam of my frustrations, but it really does no good – for anyone.

So here are some significant steps I’m taking (From the book Pitchin’ a Fit)  to break the habit of yelling:  
1. Make a plan ahead of time what you want to do differently next time you feel like raising your voice. Do the opposite of your instinct, and talk very quietly. You are retraining yourself to control your volume by doing this.
2. Be near your child. It is really hard to holler at someone you are a foot away from.
3. Save yelling for times of immediate danger. (“Stop running into the street!”)
4. Stop yourself if you find yourself yelling. If you need to take five minutes in a separate room, do it.
5. If your child is disobedient, address it right away. If you find that you are repeating your instructions frequently, it is because you are not following through with your commands, ensuring that they are followed. Constantly repeating yourself will lead to frustration.
6. If your children are old enough to read, write down your instructions for them. You’ll probably be more concise that way, and this can be useful as you reset your patterns. Children need to know what is required of them, and having their responsibilities in writing often removes the “forgetting” factor, or the “I didn’t know that” excuse.
7. Repent to your kids when you blow it. They know losing your cool isn’t very mature, but it can also do them a lot of good to hear you acknowledge that.

“One thing to remember is that when you have lost your control in an argument, someone else has it. When you are all out of sorts, they have you exactly where they want you. Rein it in, and be respectful. If you want respect, you can’t act like a child.”

Yall, I also learned some things about patience by reading this book…. what it is and what it isn’t. One of the things it is – is that it’s a door to relationship, whereas anger is what slams that door shut. As I’ve become frustrated and angry in my parenting, this month – God has reminded me that He’s never once yelled or lost it with me, no matter how bad I’ve messed up. He’s always there calmly waiting for me to learn my lesson and come back to Him, my safe place. It’s much easier to do that because I know that He loves me unconditionally. But what about our children? Am I that safe place that they want to run back to, even if they’ve messed up? Or are they afraid of me and how I will respond to them? Would it just be easier for them to hide from me instead? Ouch. Those were my toes, but I’m glad they got stepped on. I’m glad I’ve had this revelation.

I WANT to be that safe place for my children. I want to be the one that says “You may have done wrong, but I want to walk alongside you and encourage you to gain godly victory. I will persist in loving you to truth.” The old fashioned word for patience, “longsuffering” says it all.

The thing about parenting is that it’s not just a one and done thing. It’s not a sprint – it’s a marathon, and it takes a long time and lots of work to reach the end of it. It takes lots and lots of small victories to win our children’s hearts and teach them the things that they need to know.

What’s the opposite of anger that slams the door to relationship in our children’s face? It’s nurture, a deep, kind interest in helping another grow, and it promotes a softening of the heart.

Have you ever seen that one in action? I have. Just last week, Justin and I were both frustrated with one of our children, and I (because I’m practicing these tips I’m reading about) decided to take a different approach. I knew that my child was also upset because he had faced the consequence of losing some of his beloved toys for the evening when he refused to clean them up. So instead of yelling, I took the time to hold him and talk with him. He didn’t want to be held or to talk because he was angry, so I did the talking until he was ready. I tried to relate the situation to things I face now as an adult… such as what would happen if I don’t do things that are required of me – the consequences I would face and how I would feel. Honestly, I had no guidelines or plans for how this conversation would go or if it would even work, but I gave it a go, and you know what? After a minute or two of me just being genuine and talking to him, I saw him melt. He softened and came over to me with a big hug. He couldn’t get his words out at first because he was so upset, but I asked him simple questions to help him form his thoughts and words. “Did you feel angry when….?” “Do you understand why that happened?” “How can we do that differently next time?” and “What can we do right now to make it better?” And then, as he asked me to go with him to talk to Daddy about it again, Daddy offered him grace and let him try again. He gave him the opportunity to do the job he was required of cleaning up his toys so he was able to do that and earn them back. It was a beautiful moment. But that moment would’ve never happened if Daddy and I had kept ahold of our pride and just went on with things. We had to actually take that intentional time to lay our pride and anger aside and nurture our child until his little heart softened and we were able to have a great teaching moment with him, which I think He understood pretty well.

There are two ways that people (including our children) can be motivated: Intrinsic Motivation (From Within), which is our goal as parents that they learn to have their own values and embrace the things we’ve worked to teach them and Extrinsic Motivation (from without), where we are the ones making sure they do everything that they are supposed to do or not do the things we try to steer them away from, especially as they are young. In addition to these two types of motivation – there can either be a positive influence there or a negative one. So with the extrinsic motivation where we are diligently parenting our children to teach them these important lessons and values, are we doing it in a positive and affirming way, or in a negative, criticizing way? Think about that. In which of the two were you raised? In which of the two do you tend to do more with your children? And then think about it this way… the way in which you speak to your child becomes their inner voice and ultimately the way that they will speak to themselves when they begin to be motivated in more of an intrinsic way. So if we are always harsh and critical with them, then chances are that they will have a low self-esteem and be harsh and critical with themselves later on.

I’ll give you this secret that I gleaned from this chapter on “The Power of Affirmation”, and it might be eye-opening for you too. “Someone with a perennially negative attitude is acidic and repulsive to most people. People tend to try to get away from someone with such an outlook on life.” Don’t let that be you as a parent.

Do your children know that you are well pleased with them? Are you someone who has a pleasant disposition and a ready smile? Are you enjoyable to be around? If so, your home will be a haven of peace. In contrast, consider the woman of Proverbs 25:24, “It is better to live in a corner of the roof that in a house shared with a contentious woman.”

When your child needs to be corrected, there should be no severity, anger, or violence involved; no contempt or disgust. You should address the action or behavior without attacking the person.

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen… Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.” Ephesians 4:29-31

Speaking gently and kindly to our children is not an area in which most of us excel. Sometimes we realize that we are not doing what is right, but we find ourselves resorting to a default mode of fault finding and being critical rather than being constructive.

Over time, the net result of this approach of negativity is that your children will disrespect you, tune out, quit trying, and seek to avoid contact and communication with you. People tend to seek out those who will affirm and inspire them, not those who will constantly point out their flaws and drag them down.

The goal is not to ignore sin and laziness in our children or avoid confrontation with them. There is no need to live in defeat in this area. “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of Him who called us by his own glory and goodness.” 2 Peter 1:3 By God’s grace we learn to be encouragers (those who inspire courage) rather than those who discourage (take away courage and inspire defeat).

Thankfulness for our children plays a big part in our turning from angry parenting. When we truly realize that these children are not “our” children, but rather “God’s children, a sense of respect and carefulness is bound to enter into our parenting. He cares intensely how we treat these children of His. Gratefulness turns our attentions from us, and our rights or irritations, to the call of God on our lives to raise our children.

Loving our children in their unlovable moments may not come easily at first, but over time, doing the right thing can become our default position.

Yall, I can honestly say that this book and this month of practicing what I was learning from the book has been so good for me! I feel like I have turned a corner in my parenting. Yes, it does take much longer to discipline in a loving and positive way – a way in which will build my children up, but it’s going to be so worth it in the end when I look back. I just know it. I definitely don’t want to be the “woman who tears down her house with her own hands”… I want to be the wise woman who builds her home and builds her family up, not the opposite (Proverbs 14:1). We’ve already experienced some beautiful moments where I think I have been able to exemplify Christ in my parenting this month. I wasn’t doing that before. I didn’t know how, practically speaking. I think it’s something we probably all need to learn, and I’m very thankful that I’m learning it now, still early in my parenting journey. This is going to be good!

My June Goals

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Zig Ziglar once said, “If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time.” Well, I don’t want to be the someone who aims at nothing. I want to be the one who is striving to go further, to unlock more of my potential, and do my part and getting one step closer to God and to the person He designed me to be.

While I realize I’ve been pretty inactive on the blog lately, I thought I’d give you a little update of what’s going on and what I’m working on.

First, if you haven’t read my post, Increase, that will explain the whole reason that I’ve been a little lax in my blogging recently. I’m giving myself grace, and I so appreciate the grace you are giving me as well, as well as your accountability with your sweet comments of how you’ve missed hearing from me here. 😉 I’m trying to arrange my day so that I can have some time to write and to work  because mornings just aren’t working out for me so well right now. Hopefully, you will be hearing more from me this month as my energy is starting to return.

After reviewing my yearly goals, here are the things I will be working on for the month of June…

Spiritual Goals:
I’m still working through reading the One Year Bible, and I’m looking for a supplemental study to do next month, so let me know your favorites you’ve done!

One of the things I’m really being made aware of lately is my identity – who I am and who God made me to be. Ya’ll know I’m a sucker for all things personality-type, but lately I’m just being made aware of some of my flaws and the areas in which I really just need to grow and mature. It’s not been fun, and I’ve shed some tears (thanks, pregnancy hormones!), but it’s a good thing. I love to know that God is still working in me, even when it’s hard. I know I will be able to look back and see growth and maturity, and for that, I’m excited.

For now, you can be praying with me on this, specifically in the areas of control and perfectionism. I’m just finding that there are so many things that are out of my control, and out of my hands – mostly in my parenting and my mothering, but also in our finances and our situation there. I know that God takes care of us always, and that His plans are greater than our own, but I’m learning how to trust and how to grow even more in the meantime. I’m also becoming extremely aware of my emotions and how I tend to get really frustrated and annoyed in certain situations, whether it’s in parenting challenges or just life in general. I’ve always tried to be so careful not to say anything that would hurt someone else, even my children. I would never want to say hurtful words that will stick with them later or do anything to crush their little spirits. Instead of yelling or lashing out, I’m one to shut down and want to retreat. I think I’ve learned this about myself – that instead of “fight or flight”, for me it’s usually just flight. I run away from confrontation and hard things. I cower, and I just feel lost and don’t know what to do in those really frustration situations. It’s caused me to question and wonder “Why am I like this? Why do these things bother me so much?”

I know that it’s just a struggle with my own identity, and I want you to know that I do not stay in those negative spaces long. I have a good cry, pray, maybe vent a little to my husband, and then pick myself up and try again with whatever it was that we were working towards. I just know that I’m being made aware of this in me, that it’s up to be to be purposeful in learning how to have a correct response to it, instead of letting it get me down. I’ve been inspired by a book that I’m reading in how to practically, but spiritually deal with my annoyances and frustrations in a really healthy way.

One of the most important things we can do as Christians when we are made aware of something sinful or immature in us, is to bring those things – those thoughts and responses – in line with Christ and His Word.

“Take every thought captive, and make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5

And as we do that we will be transformed by the renewing of our minds.

“Do not conform to the patterns 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

I’m so thankful for His Word and that He does this for us on a regular basis, and I’m glad He’s still working in me!

This month I’ll be working through these practical steps from Israel & Brook Wayne’s book, Pitchin’ a Fit.
1. Evaluate where you are on the anger spectrum.
2. Recognize your need to change, and your inability to do it on your own.
3. Ask God to forgive you and change your heart.
4. Believe that God can and will change you.
5. Saturate your mind in God’s word; memorize, and apply it.
6. Recognize your own anger triggers.
7. Confess and repent every time you blow it.
8. Strategically practice speaking words of encouragement to others. It will help rewire your brain with thoughts of gratitude rather than bitterness and anger.
9. It generally takes 30 days to create a new habit. Disrupt your old patterns, and intentionally replace them with new ones.
10. Be will to seek accountability and prayer support from others.
11. Journal your progress (and setbacks). This will give your perspective over time.
12. Tenaciously guard your daily time alone with Jesus, and don’t neglect your spiritual disciplines.

Mothering/Family Goals:
So if you haven’t already noticed, we’ve had some parenting challenges lately (well, for the past few years actually). I actually took one of our children, and we met with a child psychologist this past month to see if we could find some solutions. I came home with evaluations and an armful of materials to read through and try. I’ve worked to find a solution to help some of those challenges we’ve had, and for some of them – I’ve really seen some improvement and progress, but in others, we’re not quite where we need to be yet. We are praying right now about our next step… whether we should go back and try to pinpoint a cause of what we’re dealing with in order to find a key solution, or if the problems will resolve themselves with time. It’s really just beyond my areas of expertise in early childhood, and deeper than my understanding. I’ve done as much research as I can possibly do, but I have yet to find something to work for us in this. Pray for us that we’ll know which direction we need to take.

We are finishing up our homeschool year this week, so I’m working on our Summer plans. We decided that we definitely needed to take a Summer break from our homeschool, at least for a month or so. It will give me some time to do some much-needed planning and strategizing for next year, which I’m excited about. I just ordered my new Teacher Planner so it should be here soon for that. I’m working to add dates to my calendar of all of the Summer plans we are hearing about on a daily basis… Vacation Bible Schools, Michael’s Craft Camps, Theater Dollar Movies, Excel by 5 Fun Days, and more. It will be so much easier to go and enjoy these when we don’t have to worry about getting our school work done first. And most of these ideas are free or really cheap, which is awesome! I do want to be intentional with our Summer, like always, so we will be working through a Summer Reading Plan, as well as a few other educational things, but mostly Summer fun things like making s’mores, going to the splash pad, and watching some fireworks!

My Personal Goals: Reading Plans
One of my yearly goals was to read 12 books this year, which I am still on trackto do. I’ve made my reading plan for the month , and I’m currently working through two books.
Pitchin’ A Fit! (Overcoming Angry and Stressed-Out Parenting) by Israel & Brook Wayne
Israel was one of the speakers at the Teach Them Diligently homeschool convention we just went to in Mobile this past month. Justin was able to  talk with him for a while about some of our similar parenting challenges, and we ended up buying his book while we were there too!
Stengths Based Marriage (Build a Stronger Relationship By Understanding Each Other’s Gifts) by Jimmy Evans & Allan Kelsey
I’m a sucker for anything personality type & strengths based. Jimmy Evans was one of the speakers at the Marriage Conference our church hosted and is the founder of Marriage Today.

Marriage Goals:
We attended a marriage conference this year, participated in a marriage small group this past semester, and have had one weekend getaway as a couple this year (the homeschool convention). We are trying to still have monthly date nights and intentionally have some quality time at home at least once a week. He’s been so busy with work, and our kids demand all of his time when he’s home, so I get jealous and really miss him sometimes. We really have to work to make this time a priority. I think we will be leading a family small group this Summer.

Health & Fitness Goals:
I am still doing Crossfit! I’ve worked out 14 days so far this month of May, and there’s still two days left. My only goal really is to just keep working out throughout this pregnancy. Justin thinks that if I do this, I will be surprised to see how much easier it is to bounce back afterwards. I’ve already lost my ability to do proper push-ups and my pull-up strength is already gone too, which makes me a little sad, but it’s just part of it I guess. It’s so crazy how easily fatigued I feel now doing simple things I’ve been doing for months. We took a family walk this weekend, and I was struggling… makes me feel really out of shape again. Just keep moving, and try to eat as healthy as possible. That will be easier once this nausea subsides, but I’m just doing the best I can with what I have.

Financial Goals:
Well, our house is for sale, and it’s funny that I’m not entirely stressed about it not selling yet. I know that it just takes time, and I just feel like God will do his thing in His timing. I really don’t like not knowing what the future holds or what’s in store, but I’m learning to trust anyway. It sure would be nice to be rid of our financial strain, but we’re doing the best we can in the meantime. We’re being good stewards, as best we know how. We’re working to pay down these pesky student loans. We’d really love to be able to reach some financial goals, but right now we’re just keeping on keeping on…. tithing, paying our bills each month, and trying to make things work for us and what’s important for us. We are just praying for God to do something miraculous this year! He loves us, and we can trust Him.

Professional Goals:
While I’ve been inactive on the blog recently, I have been praying about which direction I should take and move in with it. I actually do have some plans that I’m praying about and trying to decide if they are worth the investment. Everything worthwhile costs you something, doesn’t it? There is something else very exciting that I’m working on, which I will be sharing with you soon. I can’t wait!

What goals will you be working on this month? If you’re just starting out, you can read my series on My Purposeful Planning and hopefully be inspired with one thing to begin with and how to reach that one goal, which will only lead you to want to achieve more.

Let’s go make a plan to be purposeful! 

Increase

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Towards the end of last year, God gave me the word “Increase” as my word for the year 2018.  I didn’t know exactly what this would mean for me or for our family, but I went with it and looked up the definition to gain more clarity.

increase – (verb) become or make greater in size, amount, intensity, or degree; add to, make larger, make bigger
synonyms…. grow, get bigger, get larger, enlarge, expand, swell; rise, climb, escalate, soar, surge, rocket, intensify, strengthen, extend, heighten, stretch, spread, widen, multiply

increase – (noun) an instance of growing or making greater
synonyms… growth, rise, enlargement, expansion, extension, multiplication, elevation, inflation; intensification, amplification, surge

So after reading the definitions of the word and the synonyms, I absolutely wanted this to be my word. I was reminded of the Prayer of Jabez, “Oh that You would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from hard times so that I will be free from pain.”
1 Chronicles 4:10

Jabez wanted to succeed and increase his sphere of influence for God. What is important here is that when we want to reach for goals and accomplishments that we have God on our side. Proverbs 16:3 says, “Commit thy works unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be established.” This has been my prayer this year, that I would increase in my trust and faith in what God has for us, and my plans and thoughts would be established that are aligned with His will for us.

This is April, and I’ve already seen so much Increase in my life for 2018. After losing our baby in December of last year, our response has been worship and trust. We didn’t understand. It wasn’t our choice, but we accepted what God had us go through.

The most beautiful moment for me was worshipping with my husband in the car the evening of my surgery as we traveled to visit with family. The fact that we chose to worship together, amidst one of the biggest struggles we’ve ever faced was an incredible thing for us. I can’t say that I would have always chosen that response, but I just knew that God had greater plans still. I was thankful that He’d brought me far enough along in my Christian walk that I could just fall into his arms and let Him hold us there.

Since then, I believe that we’ve leaned in all the more closer to Him this year to see just what He has in store for us. He’s led us to make some tough decisions, and we don’t know what all they will lead to, but we are trusting Him fully, knowing that He has great things in store for us always, better than we could ever imagine. He has never let us down, and He won’t start now.

One of the songs that we sang together in the car on that ride was Captain by Hillsong United. Music always speaks to me, and since that day, it’s been one that I’ve played most often.

“Through waters uncharted my soul will embark
I’ll follow Your voice straight into the dark
And if from the course You intend I depart
Speak to the sails of my wandering heart”

“Like the wind You’ll guide
Clear the skies before me
And I’ll glide this open sea
Like the stars, Your Word
Will align my voyage
And remind me where I’ve been
And where I am going”

“Lost in the shallows amidst fear and fog
Your truth is the compass
That points me back north

Jesus, my Captain
My soul’s trusted Lord
All my allegiance is rightfully Yours”

“Jesus, my Captain
My soul’s trusted Lord
All my allegiance is rightfully Yours”

This year I have seen Increase in my trust and my faith in the Lord. I have grown. My faith has intensified, strengthened, and it’s a good year.

The Lord has remembered us; he will bless us; he will bless those who fear the Lord, both the small and the great. May the Lord give you increase, you and your children! May you be blessed by the Lord, who made the heaven and earth! Psalm 115:12-15

After our miscarriage, we weren’t emotionally ready to get pregnant again. I needed some time to heal there. Then, God spoke to us, we put our house up for sale, and lots of things are now up in the air for us. It feels like we are following God’s voice straight into the dark, like the song says, because of all of the unknowns we are facing this year and decisions we’ve made. Into the dark, maybe, but still fully trusting. I began to start thinking about our family again a few months ago, and I just began to pray about it and bring those thoughts to the Lord. I didn’t think I was ready to have a baby, and with all of the unknowns we were facing, it didn’t seem like a very wise decision to make. I just voiced my prayers and asked that God would align my heart with his will for us in this area, and that He would do the same for Justin. And with that, He did. We didn’t know it at the time, but God already had plans for us to Increase our family as well this year. We are expecting baby #4 in December.

After our miscarriage last year, we decided to keep this pregnancy a secret until we had a healthy ultrasound. I had full faith that this was going to be a healthy pregnancy, but I guess we just proceeded with caution to make it a little easier for us, emotionally. Today, was that day. My ultrasound tech measured me about a week ahead of what we calculated, and I saw our baby on that screen today. I can’t tell you that relief that I felt just by seeing something in that gestational sac, where last year I saw nothing. And then to see movement, and know that there is a life there, with a healthy heart rate of 166, it’s our baby! We are blessed, and I am so filled with joy today.

I couldn’t help but cry tears of joy on my way home today, as I, again worshipped, and thanked God for this blessing. I guess it’s a trend that I always cry on that drive home from Lucedale, Before it was tears of fear and sadness, but today it was joy and gladness.

We planned three, but we couldn’t see… God’s plan was four, so we’re having one more!

“Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from Him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them.”
Psalm 127:3-5

 

My Purposeful Planning: Goal-Setting Worksheet

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Now that we have completed our series on My Purposeful Planning, I’d like to give you a helpful resource for you to use in your goal-setting. It’s a Free Printable Worksheet I’ve created for you!

Note: To make this printable fit perfectly in your classic-sized Happy Planner, print it at 80%.

Click the image below to get your Goal-Setting Worksheet!

 

My Purposeful Planning: Health & Fitness Goals

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We are in a series called My Purposeful Planning where we explore different areas for setting goals and planning to be purposeful and intentional in our lives.

We’ve already explored Spiritual Goals , Personal Goals,  Family Goals , Marriage Goals, and Financial Goals so you can read those in case you missed them.

Today we are discussing Health & Fitness Goals. To me, health goals are a big part of self-care and wellness. If you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t take care of others, at least not as well as you could be. I’ve learned that I am able to serve and love much better when I prioritize “me time”, whether that’s time to myself to read or write or even time to work out. I feel better, I have more energy, and I can give my family time and energy that they need and deserve. It comes from the overflow of me taking care of myself first. So it’s very important.

I will be sharing my own Health & Fitness Goals at the end of this post, but I’d like you to think about and make your own. Here are some ideas for you…

Health & Fitness Goal Ideas: 

My Current Health & Fitness Goals:
My goals in this area have shifted completely. Last year when I began to feel insecure and want to lose weight, my one goal was to look better and feel better about myself. I lost the weight, felt better about myself, started CrossFit, and began to love fitness. Then, I got pregnant and had to take some time off with some complications I was having in my pregnancy. I had a miscarriage, and after I allowed myself time to heal, I jumped back into CrossFit with the new year. Since starting back, I think I’ve found a better outlook on CrossFit. Before, I was comparing myself – my looks and my abilities to others, and finding that I couldn’t compete. It was an unhealthy view because there will always be someone that is stronger or can do more than you. There will always be someone that learns the skills faster than you do, and life just isn’t always fair. I’ve learned to just “get a good workout in”, as Justin says. No matter how I feel about a workout or view my own abilities, I’m just doing the best I can with what I have. I want to be a fit mom who can be active and keep up with her little ones and enjoy them to the fullest. So that’s what I’m doing… No more stress if I miss a class or stress if I don’t do as well as I think I should. It’s really not about that.

With that comes my view of food, which I’m honestly still working on. I feel like my view of food is still an unhealthy one – as I view foods as “good” or “bad”. I crave the “bad” ones but still feel guilty when I eat them. I made so much progress in this area last year, and I have made a little progress this year as well in eliminating flavored waters and cleaning up my morning coffee, but with that I’ve also had lots and lots of cravings. I’ve had a lot of stress the past few months, and it has definitely affected me. So my goal in this would be to start again, do my best, and not give up.

I’ve got some ideas of some things I’d like to try, especially for the sake of my children. I’ve heard that there are certain foods that really affect behaviors, and I’d like to see if that proves to be true for us as well. So I might be doing my own study in this area soon, by doing things like removing foods with dyes in them and seeing how my children respond. I have one child that has meltdowns on a regular basis, and I’m willing to do whatever it takes to help him. Of course that means the rest of us will probably go along with it as well to make things easier. We’ll see!

My Purposeful Planning: Financial Goals

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We are in a series called My Purposeful Planning where we explore different areas for setting goals and planning to be purposeful and intentional in our lives.

We’ve already explored Spiritual Goals and Personal Goals, Family Goals, and Marriage Goals, so you can read those in case you missed them. Today we are discussing Financial Goals.

Before I get into the list of ideas for Financial Goals, I’d like to share with you some Financial Absolute Notes I took from a fellow blogger and business-owner, Lisa Rippy.

Wealth is having something compared to nothing. In this case, we are all wealthy. This is something that society has definitely tried to change.

What is it that you need? Write it down, and ask God for it. God possesses every single copper penny to meet your needs.

Key Points: Work, Save, & Plan.

We can absolutely trust the Lord in all matters concerning money.

It is a privilege to care for what God has gifted us.
Will we absolutely empty our heart to Jesus in the concerns of money and possessions?
What will our trust look like?

We can absolutely care and take responsibility of the money God gives.

God gives the power, ability, opportunity, and talent to make money (Proverbs 12:11).

You work, you have. You don’t work, you have consequences. (There are so many scriptures on this.)
We are co-workers in God’s field (1 Corinthians 3:9).
Give yourselves fully to the work (1 Corinthians 15:58).
God works in you to fulfill His purpose (Philippians 2:13).
Work unto the Lord, and you will have all your needs met.

The tendency is overspending… impulsive spending & materialistic spending. The signs of materialistic spending are Anxiety, Covetousness, Selfishness, Preoccupation with Money, Greediness, Flattery, and Idolatry. Materialism is not what you have, it’s how you think. Materialistic actions are a result of materialistic attitudes.

Do I really need it?
Is God testing my trust?
Have I misused what He’s already given me?
Have I violated a biblical principle?
(Stinginess, Hastiness, Stubbornness, Laziness, Indulgence, or Craftiness)

We do the planning. We are wise when we do. We have to have priorities. Planning requires discipline. God requires and rewards discipline.

Write down the priorities that require money... not just the needs, but the things that are priority to you that require money. Ask the Spirit to surface these priorities in your heart.

God has a plan, and we want to get in on His plan. God has a plan for growing wealth, making money, and when we follow through with His plan, we are living as a kingdom resident.


I will be sharing my own Financial Goals at the end of this post, but I’d like you to think about and make your own. Here are some ideas for you…

Financial Goal Ideas: 

  • Begin to tithe 10% of your income if this isn’t already something you do.
  • Pray about increasing the percentage of your current tithe.
  • Make a budget, and stick to it.
  • Avoid using credit cards.
  • Stop impulsive spending. (Pray first, and ask God his decision concerning your spending.)
  • Save up $1,000 for an Emergency Fund.
  • Pay off as much of your debts as possible, starting with the smallest one.
  • Save 3-18 months Living Expenses.
  • Live on half your income. If you’re a two-income family, see if you can downsize and only live off of one of them. If you’re a one income-family, see if there’s a way for you to live off half of that.
  • If there’s something big you’d like to purchase, first pray about it. Then, save up to pay cash for it. (I have countless stories of things God has provided for us that we’ve needed just by answering our simple prayer requests. He can do the same for you.) Save up cash to buy it instead of financing them. Instead of making monthly payments after you sign the dotted line and make the purchase, imagine that you are making payments as you save to buy it instead. Thinking this way and doing this, will keep you from getting into more debt. (We’ve actually done this with both of the vehicles we own, and we’ve never had a car note in the almost 8 years we’ve been married. Our cars are nothing fancy or anything to brag about, but the fact that we’ve never had to make payments on them is.)

My Current Financial Goals:
Our family is mostly debt-free, except for our current mortgage and our student loans. We’ve made the decision to sell our home in order to get ahead in our finances and begin to reach some of our financial goals. We have family that is graciously allowing us to live in their house as we save up money for a while. We would love to be able to pay off our student loans and begin to save cash for our next home. We also really need to build up our savings for things that could come up such as needing a new vehicle at some point or paying for something else that we might need. It’s just smart and wise to have a savings of several month’s of living expenses, in case something ever comes up. Studies have shown that most Americans are only one emergency away from financial ruin, and we just don’t want that to be us. We want to be “more than just making it” and be able to use our money as more of a resource to help us do other things in life that we want to do.

My Purposeful Planning: Marriage Goals

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We are in a series called My Purposeful Planning where we explore different areas for setting goals and planning to be purposeful and intentional in our lives.

We’ve already explored Spiritual Goals and Personal Goals, and Family Goals so you can read those in case you missed them. Today we are discussing Marriage Goals.

I will be sharing my own Marriage Goals at the end of this post, but I’d like you to think about and make your own. Here are some ideas for you…

Marriage Goal Ideas: 

  • Pray for your spouse. Pray for his relationship with God, your marriage, his roles, him as a parent, and anything he may be struggling with or temptations he may face.
  • Love & Respect your spouse. Treat him the way that you would want to be treated. Don’t stop sending sweet texts, doing nice things, fixing his favorite meals, or just spending time with him doing things he likes.
  • Plan monthly or even weekly date nights in advance, and put them on your calendar. (Make room for these in your budget also.)
  • Plan a weekend getaway or to attend a Marriage Conference.
  • Plan time to talk daily and have intentional, serious talks weekly. Work on communication.
  • Study the love language of your spouse and be purposeful in each day about filling their “love tank”.
  • Pursue your spouse like you did when you were dating. Listen to them talk about what interests them, and engage in the conversation (even if it’s not your thing). If they don’t talk about their interests with you, it could be a red flag that you haven’t been a good listener in the past. It’s not too late. Start now, and ask them about it.
  • Plan to be intimate. It’s important, so if it’s not already happening spontaneously, it’s okay to plan for it. (I recommend the Ultimate Intimacy App for tips, tricks, and resources for emotional and physical intimacy. I love that it’s created especially for Christian, married couples so it’s entirely appropriate.)

My Current Marriage Goals: 
We’re in a season of life where we don’t have much time… which means we have to work that much harder to make our marriage a priority. I can easily see how couples could mess this up, and the enemy could come in and do some damage. When you are strained for time or strained for money, it makes things really difficult. Right now, for us, it’s time. We’re making it financially, but we are lacking in the time aspect. And it’s hard. I’m not even gonna lie and say it isn’t.

So here’s how we manage… I may or may not see Justin before he leaves for work around 4:30 am. That’s my wake-up time so sometimes I see him, but not always. Some mornings we go to the gym and catch glimpses of him there while he is busy working,  or else we won’t see him until about 2pm. He’s home with us for about an hour and a half before he goes back to work, and he has to divide that time between 4 people all craving his attention. This is the time that I communicate with him anything that we need to talk about. I don’t know if I should admit this or not, but I actually keep a running list of “meeting notes” in my phone so that I won’t forget to talk about them with him when he’s home and available. He’s with clients and coaching CrossFit classes all day, so he usually can’t text me back during the day.

One of our marriage goals this year was to attend our church’s Marriage Conference, and have a weekend getaway for just to two of us. We attended the XO Marriage Conference in February, and I’m thinking we should still plan a getaway at some point. This semester we are also participating in a marriage small group called Love and Respect. Some of the busyness in our current season is coming to an end so we can now start planning our next date night, and in a few weeks we will celebrate our 8th anniversary!