Strides of Increase for the Month of February

As you know, my word of the year is Increase. When I think about the word Increase, I think about personal growth, getting better, being intentional and purposeful. I wanted to post a regular update of sorts of how I’m using my Word of the Year in a personal way. Sure, it’s easy to choose a word to claim over your year, but if you do nothing with it, it’s really just a word.

So that is what I’m going to do with my word, Increase, and I’m going to bring you along on this journey with me. Hopefully it will inspire you to do the same with the word you’ve chosen and your own New Year’s Resolutions & Goals. Apply it to your life in a personal way and make some positive changes.

Lately, one of the ways that we’ve really been focusing on our “Increase” is that of our financial stewardship. We’ve always lived by a budget and did the best we could (or at least what we thought was best). I’ve been tracking each and every expense recently, so we can actually look back at our months and see exactly how much we spent in various categories. We’ve seen a few instances where we need to tighten up, but for the most part we’ve already cut out the things that weren’t necessary.

I’ve been reading “More Than Just Making It” by Erin Odom, and as it turns out – we don’t really have a spending problem. It’s more of an income problem. So what do we do when we both feel strongly about me being home with our children and homeschooling them, and Justin is basically already working two jobs?

Well, for one I can find something that I can do from home. This month, I started keeping a little girl (Layten’s age) in our home. I thought that would be an easy way to bring in a little income, but not affect our regular routines too much. It was temporary, as she will be starting regular daycare next week, but it’s a big help to us now and for their family as well.

The other thing that was kind of a radical idea, but one that we’ve really been praying about and seeking counsel on, is to make some big changes to our lifestyle. We have actually decided to put our home up for sale. We will also sell as much of our furniture and belongings as possible. While I’ve known from the very beginning that this was the right decision for us, I was pretty emotional about it in the beginning. I mean we have an awesome home! It has been just perfect for starting our family. It has met all of our needs, and we are so blessed to have a place this nice. But we have a great shepherd (not just a good one), and if he is leading us away from green pasture (so green, yall!), it’s only because He has even greener pastures for us somewhere else. We truly believe that He has our best interests at heart, so it makes the whole idea that much more bearable. We’re excited to see where He is leading us! We’re also *really excited* to not have a mortgage for a while, which will allow us to save and get ahead in our finances. Financial freedom, we’re coming for you!

So how am I striving to INCREASE this year and this month specifically?
(Personally, Professionally, & in my Family)

  • I’m working to build worthwhile habits.
    February’s habits were…
    No Added Sugars – I felt like this was the next step in my journey towards health. I have a major sweet tooth, and while I do eat clean “most” of the time, there are a few tweaks I needed to make. While I did terrible in my daily tracking of “no sugar” days (just being  real here – yall are my accountability), I’m choosing to focus on the wins and the successes and the progress I did make this month. I successfully have given up flavored waters with artificial sweeteners like aspartame, and I’ve cleaned up my morning coffee.
    -Being Playful – This one has been the most challenging for me this month. I want to find time in every day to play and be present with my children, but it’s been a little hard for me to balance time between four children. The little ones took priority mostly, and the little lady I cared for this month required a little more attention, which is completely understandable. However, this meant that those little moments in my day where I did have a little break (like nap time), I spent catching up on things in my personal task-list, those things where I needed to focus. Looking back over the month, I’m definitely seeing where I needed to prioritize this play time more than I did, but I think being mindful of it and checking back in with my goals helps me to see the progress I’m making (or not making), which is a win in and of itself. I can work on this again for the month of March.
    -Drink my water – I already mentioned that I’m eliminating added sugars. This means the aspartame that was in my Crystal Light- typed flavored waters that were my go-to beverage. It’s unfortunate, really, because I find that without flavor, I don’t drink fluids much at all and find myself really thirsty. In the past,I’ve used this as an excuse to keep purchasing and consuming the flavored varieties, even though I knew they weren’t the best option for me. So far, I’ve found that I like room-temperature bottled water the best, but honestly, plain water makes me feel ill sometimes. Without my flavored water, I’ve craved everything from diet coke to sweetened coffee, even milk.  I will most likely track this for the month of March as well. I definitely need to drink more water. I think I will also experiment with some different recipes to naturally infuse my water with some flavor.
  • I want to GROW as a Christian and as a person in general.
    -I am loving Priscilla Shirer’s study called Discerning the Voice of God. At a time in my life where I feel so conflicted on so many things, it couldn’t have come at a more perfect time.
  • Celebrate the wins & Focus on the Positive. This is for me in life in general. I’m constantly working to replace the negatives in my mind with positives and truths from God’s Word. I can easily think things like “I’m terrible at this..” or “I’m failing at that…” OR I can choose to say things like “I’m working to get better at this…” or “I’m challenging myself in that area…” See the difference?!
  • I want to build my blog and expand to new territories of influence.
    If you haven’t noticed, my blog has just transitioned to! Just a tiny step in the next direction. I’m also recognizing relationships outside of my blog, home, and church that I have opportunities just to minister to people and be who I am.
  • GROW my Platform. I’ve been seeking God about what it is that He would have me share with my readers and my social media followers. There is a challenge this month on the topic of Self-Care, as well as a Facebook group to dive deeper into this topic with my readers.
  • Work on and Build each relationship. To do this, I am studying the personality types and love languages of each of those in my immediate family. I am reading and thinking about how to create a life-giving home. I want to better understand, love, and serve those closest to me.
  • Focus on hearts & character. These will be things we will focus on more in our home school and home-life in general. I will strive to be more like Jesus in my mothering and as a wife. Right now I am just focusing on being present with my family and children.
  • Financial Goals: Add to Our Savings & Increase the Percentage of our Tithe
    We have a portion of our income that goes directly to savings, and we are trying to stick to our strict budget and not touch that for anything. When our house sells, we would love to save at least 25% of our monthly income. One smart financial thing for families to do is to live off of only one income. Since we only have on income right now, for us, this would mean living off of half of our current income. While we can’t do this now, that is our goal for when our house sells.
  • Spiritual Goals: Read through the One Year Bible, Do a few Supplemental Bible Studies, and Pray in my Prayer Language More Often
    I’m working through all of these. I’m at the end of my first supplemental study for the year.
  • Health & Fitness Goals: Get Better at CrossFit, See Some Actual Muscle Definition Somewhere at Some Point this Year, Compete in the CrossFit Open or Another Competition
    See my post for how I’m trying to “get better at CrossFit” here. I’m currently competing in the CrossFit Open. It started last Friday, and it’s every Friday until March 23.
  • Relationship Goals: Study my family member’s personality types. Plan a date with each child per quarter. Plan a date with Justin each month.
    Justin and I have had a few dates already this year. We used gift cards we received for Christmas… so thankful for those! We’ve got to put a few kid dates on the calendar now.
  • Blogging & Writing Goals: Create subscriber freebies for my followers. Purchase domain name. Start an email list.
    I’ve made a few free printables available, but I have intentions of doing more for sure. I’ve purchased a domain name and transitioned my blog to Starting an email list is going to be my next step, but it doesn’t fit into our monthly budget at this point.
  • Read 12 books this year.
    I’ve read The Fringe Hours, Reading People, and More Than Just Making It. I’m working through The 17 Indisputable Laws of Teamwork and Stronger Than the Struggle.
  • Plan one “Mental Health Day” for myself each quarter.

  • Plan one family getaway and one getaway for just Justin and I.
    I haven’t planned and made preparations for these yet, but I would love for us to attend the Teach Them Diligently Homeschool Convention in Mobile this May as one of them.

    So these are the ways that I am personally working towards INCREASE in my personal, professional, and family life. Now, go take your Word of the Year, and make a purposeful plan to bring about positive change in your own life. That’s what it’s all about!

Ya’ll have a great weekend! Go make a plan to be purposeful!



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