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Our Favorite Home School & Educational Resources

As promised, here is my list of favorite Home School Games, Arts n Crafts, and Books. Of course, these could definitely be used for non-home-schoolers as well. It’s just a short list of educational and fun things to do at home with your little ones. Try to enjoy this time of rest and enjoyment with your family!


*This post does contain my affiliate links. If you make a purchase through one of these links, I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. I do thank you for your support in this way though.

Games

My First BananaGrams
Sum Swamp
Sight Word Swat
Scrabble Junior

Arts n Crafts

Alex Kits: My Giant Busy Box
Toddler Box
Watercolors Set
Similar Paint Pen Set to the My First Crayola Paint Brush I Shared
Oil Pastels
Chunkies Paint Sticks

Books

Julia Rothman Collection of Nature Anatomy, Food Anatomy, and Farm Anatomy
Christian Liberty Nature Reader
Beautiful Stories for Children
Who HQ Book Collection


  




“I shall not want”… but yet I DO want.

**This post does contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase through one of these links, I do get a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you for your support! 

​”The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want” (ESV)
Yet, we DO want. We want more and more and more. ​

This was one of the scriptures on my list to study when I was trying to heal from my Depression a few months back. I desperately needed to work on some mindsets, and when I came to this scripture I remember being open and honest with God and saying…

but I don’t FEEL that.

He makes me lie down in green pastures.
But God, it feels like I’m dying. 
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul.
 God, I’m gonna need you to restore me.
I cannot do this myself. 

He leads me to paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
(which is exactly what depression or pain can sometimes feel like)
I will fear no evil, for You are with me.
Your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table for me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Psalm 23:1-5

I remember vividly not FEELING this at all. Our feelings don’t always align with God and his words. Our feelings can betray us. We have to decide to trust God even when we’re not feeling it. Even when our circumstances don’t make sense.

I want to share with you a few excerpts from the book I’m currently reading (In Want and Plenty by Meredith McDaniel) because it is blowing my mind with how seen I feel when I’m reading it. She is a counselor, and every time I read it, it feels like a therapy session in a book. I’m reading, re-reading, pausing to think… it’s that good:

What if we gazed up at our Maker, locked eyes with him, and trusted that what He has in store for us and our people is actually best?
What if we believed that He is already providing for us nonstop, even in the midst of our chaotic circumstances that make no logical sense to us?

She inserts questions into the book for the readers to ask ourselves…

What do you want? Like what is it that you REALLY want?

I don’t know about you, but I want to love who God created me to be and know that I was not an accident but that a well-meaning, intentional Creator handcrafted every gift and quirk of my being. I want to find calm in the chaos of every season and live freely and confidently in who I am.

I want to feel richly connected to friends and family and strangers alike, with a profound knowing that we are all in this broken world together.

Recognizing that we were made for something more, I want to be deeply rooted with a firm foundation I can stand on no matter what storm comes my way. 

I want to be compelled to look beyond myself and love others out of an overflow that simply cannot be contained. 

I want to be known and loved just as I am and live out the purpose I was created for right now. 

That kind of wholeness is what we were made for. 

However, we all know that every day there seems to be something else that makes people want to give up and reject all they know to be true.

You guys, when I was trying to come out of the depression I was struggling with, it was probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.

One little thing gone wrong, could derail my entire day. Again. And I would sit back in my chair and wonder why this little, tiny thing would affect me so much. We’re talking normal things… a simple mess or someone asking for socks. (I don’t know what it is with socks… it’s like a recurring trigger for me.)

There’s the belief that, as God’s people, we are to be obedient and to pretend like we have it all together.
But it is OKAY to be sad in the longing, and it’s even okay to expose our pain.
We innocently use verses like Romans 8:28 (“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him”) as ammo to fuel our hardworking mentality. Many days we go through life denying that there is a deeper problem beneath the surface. We tend to suppress the loud longing and live blissfully ignorant within the rat race of our jobs, schools, and families. We simple cannot work hard enough to ease the pain we feel. The truth is that we are not enough; we need Someone greater than us to rescue us and do what only He can do.

I have realized this so much to be true in my own life. I’ve always been taught how to pray scripture or apply it to my situations… to find a verse that speaks to me about what I’m dealing with and claim it over that thing.

But the thing is – this takes TIME and intentional effort.

I apologize for this gory illustration, but…

You cannot take a gash or an open wound, simply place a band-aid on it, and call it good.
(That’s what I was doing with scripture. I’d find one that fit and basically just call it good, be done with it for the time being.)

If you’ve got a large wound, you’ve got to first clean it. Get out all of the dirt and germs.
Find the root of what’s causing the hurt in your life.
Why do the “little things” feel like such big things?
What’s the underlying cause of your feelings of pain and longing?

Then, you’ve got to apply a healing salve… the good stuff that’s going to soak in and give comfort and healing to the wound or situation.
This comes in the form of scripture, because Yes, it IS powerful, if you use it in the right way.
It’s not a quick fix. You have to meditate on it, soak it in, ponder it, ask yourself questions about it, get in deep with it, and let it transform your thinking. That’s how it’s intended to work in your life.

And also, sometimes, you’ve got to change out the bandage, clean it up again, and apply a new one. Let the new salve (or new scripture) soak in and transform your wound, bring it all together into healing.

We were made for more than this inability to enjoy the moment and the gifts right before us due to our stubborn focus on what is missing. 
We simply cannot fill the hole in our hearts that we are born with, no matter how hard we try. 

We all long to live once again in the bliss of garden-like innocence with all of its abundance, yet we each await heaven in this in-between space called Earth, craving what is still to come. Meanwhile, in the desert places God says, “I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day.” (Ex. 16:4) They named this bread manna. 

They were desperate for nourishment, but when God provided it, they had many doubts and questions. Manna reveals the intentional love of our Creator, who uniquely tailors provision for his people out of his deep knowing of our personalities. Manna is a smile from a stranger. Manna is a child catching fireflies. Manna is a salty breeze. Manna is a check in the mail. Manna is God’s love. Manna stuns us in our steps. Manna reminds us that God is near, no matter what is happening around us. Manna prompts us to see the reality that God loves us and can be trusted, even when our circumstances or the state of our heart may beg to differ. When we are ready to throw in the towel and say enough is enough, God gently extends grace in the form of manna and proves that he is indeed more than enough. 

Can we look for God’s manna for us in our lives today? Can we find his simple reminders of provision and that He’s truly got this? Can we trust that He’s working behind the scenes for us? Can we believe that He has our best interests at heart, even if we don’t really FEEL it right now?

What is it that you want?

[Ep. 014] – My 2020 Goals & My Best Goal-Setting Tips

This post does contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase through one of these links, it does give us a small commission, at no additional cost to you. We thank you for your support!

This episode is not sponsored, but we do have sponsorship opportunities including pre, post, and mid-roll as well as instagram and facebook. We would love to partner with sponsors to support their brands while helping our listeners find products and resources that help improve their lives as well. Contact laney@mypurposefulplanning.com for more information about potential sponsorships.

If you want more ways to interact with these episodes including discussion questions, applicable worksheets, behind the scenes info, and ad-free episode audio, be sure to check out the My Purposeful Planning Patreon community!

Show Notes –

In this episode of the podcast, Laney shares her goals for the year 2020 and how she breaks down each one into mini goals with starting steps. The method of taking the big picture ideas and breaking them down into bite size chunks is proven to be efficient and successful!

In This Episode:

  • Welcome / Intro.
  • Birthday Request
  • Feedback FYI
  • How I’m giving back to YOU for my Birthday
  • You can set goals any day / This is the perfect time to start.
  • My Best Goal-Setting Tips
  • I’d love to simplify the planning and goal-setting process for you! Join our community at www.patreon.com/mypurposefulplanning where you can join others, and I can help coach you one on one through this process.
    Additional Benefits: FREE Daily Pages, Home Management Planner Pack, Financial Planner Pack and the Quiet Time Planner Pack (You’ll also get the Health & Wellness Planner Pack which is coming out next week!) 
  • Show Notes Reminder
  • Outro

Additional Links and Resources Mentioned:

Blog Post: 19 in 2019
Blog Post: My 2020 Word of the Year
“Little Loves List” found inside The Planner I Designed
Daily Pages
Resource: Verse-Mapping
Book: Your New Money Mindset
Home Management Planner Pack
Blog Post: My Not So Quiet Time
Blog Post: How to Have your Quiet Time All Day Long
Fitness Blender
Enneagram
One Year Chronological Bible
Podcast: The Bible Recap
Easy Budget Debt Snowball Calculator
Financial Planner Pack
Sinking Funds (Click her “$” Highlight.)
Ally Accounts
 

Find Laney:

Instagram
Facebook
My Purposeful Planning Facebook Group
My Purposeful Planning Community on Patreon
Email: laney@mypurposefulplanning.com

Listen to the My Purposeful Planning Podcast –

[Ep. 013] – Choosing a Focus Word for Your Year

This post does contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase through one of these links, it does give us a small commission, at no additional cost to you. We thank you for your support!

This episode is not sponsored, but we do have sponsorship opportunities including pre, post, and mid-roll as well as instagram and facebook. We would love to partner with sponsors to support their brands while helping our listeners find products and resources that help improve their lives as well. Contact laney@mypurposefulplanning.com for more information about potential sponsorships.

If you want more ways to interact with these episodes including discussion questions, applicable worksheets, behind the scenes info, and ad-free episode audio, be sure to check out the My Purposeful Planning Patreon community!

Show Notes –

In this episode of the podcast, Laney shares with us how she has chosen a focus word of her year for the past few years. She shares her previous word choices, words she almost chose for this year, and finally the word she did choose and how she will apply it to her year to really focus on what matters most.

In This Episode:

  • Welcome
  • Choosing a Focus Word for Your Year – Really Trendy “New Year” Thing to Do
  • Do you follow through with your Word of the Year and New Year Goals?
  • I’d love to simplify the process for you! Join our community at www.patreon.com/mypurposefulplanning where you can join others, and I can help coach you through this process.
    Additional Benefits: FREE Daily Pages, Home Management Planner Pack, Financial Planner Pack and the Quiet Time Planner Pack
  • My Previous Words for my Year and Why I Chose Them
  • The Words I almost Chose for this Year
  • The Word I Chose for this Year and How I Plan to Apply It to My Life
  • It’s not too late to set a focus word. There is nothing magical about January 1st. You can start today!

Additional Links and Resources Mentioned:

Blog Post: My 2020 Word of the Year
The Planner I Designed

   

Find Laney:

Instagram
Facebook
My Purposeful Planning Facebook Group
My Purposeful Planning Community on Patreon
Email: laney@mypurposefulplanning.com

Listen to the My Purposeful Planning Podcast –

My 2020 Goals

Finally sharing my 2020 Goals or New Years’ Resolutions with you guys!

Now that the holidays are over and we’ve moved and are getting settled in, I can finally get this post published about my goals for 2020. What I love about planning and goals is that, you can set them any day! There is nothing magical about January 1st. You don’t have to feel bad because you are just now setting goals the last week of January, and you certainly don’t have to wait until next year if you’re already feeling behind.

You can set goals and begin any day! Actually this is the perfect time… consider this your “planning week” and January could be your “trial month”, where you actually begin in February! Let’s get it!

Now, since I’ve been thinking about my 2020 goals for several months now, I’ve been able to get started on them, even through us moving and all that craziness. I’m feeling pretty confident that this is going to be a successful year!

-Write down your goals.
Studies show that just by writing down your goals, you are 1.2 to 1.4 times more likely to successfully accomplish those goals than people that don’t.

-Break them down.

I love to break down big yearly goals down into monthly goals, weekly action steps, and even daily habits. It may seem like a big list of “to do”s, but just know that I’m not focusing on all of these steps at once. I’m just doing the next thing on the list. One step at a time, one thing I’m working on, etc. It’s really nice to have a plan in place so I’m not just wandering about unsure of where to go next.

I’m also not fully prioritizing all eight of my goals at once. Some of them (like my pursuing health goal), I’m still thinking through and figuring out. You’ll see over the course of this year how my goals will likely change as I decide exactly what I want to do with them.)

-Review them often.
  I love to post my goals for accountability, but I also review them in my planner pretty often… probably at least once a week, I sit down to review and think through my goals. It helps me to “plan” my weeks and my days with more focus and purposefulness.

-Give yourself grace.
  Life changes. Things happen. We grow. We learn. We’re human. Learn to be okay with progress over perfection. If you didn’t read your Bible every single day this month, don’t beat yourself up. Instead be proud for those days that you DID make it a priority. That’s better than nothing, and it’s great progress you’ve made. Keep going!

-Evaluate and Revise them, if needed.
It is TOTALLY okay if my December 2020 goals look a little bit different than my January 2020 goals I originally set.
Yall know your life can change completely in 12 months, right? Anybody ever had a surprise pregnancy?? Yeah, I have experience with that one too, and it completely changes your yearly goals sometimes. 😀 It’s the perfect example of how things can change in a short time. It’s completely okay (and encouraged!) to review & revise your goals throughout the year, as needed. I actually like to do this seasonally now. My Fall goals last year were completely different than the 19 in 2019 I set in January last year. 😉


With all that said, here are the goals I’ve set for this year:

1. Love my [actual] life; Work on Contentment.

This one comes post-depression for me. When you are depressed, it’s hard to see All.The.Good.in your life… the things that DO bring you joy, the things you prayed for and now have. When you’re depressed the things that once brought you joy just don’t seem to be enough. So for me, this goal is mostly about moving on from that season of depression I have been in this past year.

At times, it feels like I am having to learn how to live life again. Everything seems like it’s brand new. I’m having to regain confidence in myself and my roles as a wife, as a mother, etc. I’m still figuring it all out, but here are some of my mini action steps for this goal.

Mini Goal 1: Create a Life I actually Like.

Starting Steps:
-Create a “Little Loves” List.
  (I did this in the My Purposeful Planning 2020 Workbook & Planner, using the Plan your Purposeful Year Online
       Course.)
-Brainstorm ways to implement these things into my everyday life.
-Begin adding these things to the daily pages of my planner to begin establishing habits for adding the things I love into my everyday; Write a “personal win” down every day.

Mini Goal 2: Cultivate Contentment. 

Starting Steps:
-Verse-Mapping with Scriptures on Contentment
-Listen to the Audio Book: Your New Money Mindset
-Begin writing down things I’m grateful for on my daily pages of my planner.

2. Create a beautiful, memory-filled home school experience that fulfills all of us.

This one took some visualization. I think visualization is a great tool for dreaming up and imagining what you want something to be. I want our kids to look back on our homeschooling days with joy and lots of fun memories. So it’s my job to create that while still giving them all of the tools that they need for educational success.

Mini Goal 1: Involve the kids in the planning process.

Starting Steps:
-Ask the kids what they are interested in learning and doing.
-Start an “Ideas List” where they can write all the ideas they come up with.
-Make a plan to consult the list each week (when planning) and pick something, grab the needed supplies, and actually do it.

Mini Goal 2: Work on a home school journal together.

Starting Steps:
-Let the kids rate the activity, book, field trip according to what they learned and if they enjoyed it.
-Let them write in the journal something they learned every day.
-Keep up with Bible verses, memory work, spelling words, any review items, etc.

Mini Goal 3: Design a beautiful “Circle Time”. 

Starting Steps:
-Pick a name and a time of day that works best.
-Use this time for Bigs to help teach Littles.
-Also, review Bigs’ work like spelling words and Littles can help name the letters in words.
-Review things like calendar, weather, preschool basics, memory work, Bible time, pray together, sing, play games, etc.

Mini Goal 4: Implement some incentives to homeschooling.

Starting Steps:
-Paying for A’s
-Monthly incentive charts (Complete all the work listed on your monthly chart, and you get to pick out a new educational game or book.)
-Homeschooling with a good attitude all week = fun snack on the weekend

3. Move into a home and make it our dream home where we can live out our dreams right now.

This past year, I stopped dreaming for a while… even though “Imagine” was my Word of the Year. I just felt so stuck in our financial situation. We had sold our home because we were overwhelmed by the burden of our mortgage, moved in with family, and it was just hard. It all felt very hopeless because we couldn’t figure out how to get back on our feet again. There only seemed to be more obstacles in the way. With the help of my husband trying to get me to dream again, we started to look at houses. To make a long story short, we decided that moving and changing our environment would be the best option for my mental health, even if it meant that our finances would be tight again. We walked forward in that, but we ended up walking away from a home we were planning to purchase because of some needed home repairs. When we made that wise decision to walk away, God provided another way – an even better way that we could’ve ever imagined. A beautiful rental home became available to us, in our price range, and it’s EXACTLY what we needed! It was definitely God’s provision and favor for us!

Mini Goal 1: Move

Starting Steps:
-Don’t pack much… most things are already contained in something anyway.
-Make a thousand little trips carrying things from place to place (what I can fit in my car along with 4 car seats). Put them away at the new house, and then do it again. (Wooden crates were amazing, by the way… especially for breakable things like dishes.)
-Have CrossFit friends and other heavy-lifting friends help with moving the furniture and big things.

Mini Goal 2: Set it all up.

Starting Steps:
-Decide what the function of each space will be and which furniture will go where.
-Hang things on the walls.
-Organize spaces as you go.

Mini Goal 3: Plan out the rest.

Starting Steps:
-Use the Home Management Planner Pack to plan out each space and list what’s still needed to make it homey and cozy.
-Use the Home Management Planner Pack to plan out new systems and routines for the new place.
-Put these plans into action.

4. Celebrate our 10th Anniversary.

This year, Justin and I will celebrate our 10th year of marriage. We have been through so much in these ten years, but I am so thankful for this man of God that I get to do life with. We haven’t gotten to get away much on our own (unless you count home school conventions or marriage retreats where there is an agenda with other people). We’re excited to plan a trip and celebrate each other this year. We might even renew our vows!

Mini Goal 1: Plan a little getaway.

Starting Steps:
-Decide where we want to go and what we want to do.
-Talk to a trip adviser.
-Book it.
-Set up a babysitter for our kids.

Mini Goal 2: Decide if we want to renew our vows this year.

Starting Steps:
-Plan it: location, attire, food, ideas, etc.

5. Lead a sermon-based small group that teaches women and mamas how to study the Word and live a spiritual life WITH their children in the mix.

This is something I’ve been really excited about lately. I’ve realized how many women don’t actually know how to study God’s Word. It seems difficult to them and hard to understand. I remember being that way too, but this is a barrier that I want to be able to break down this semester. I want women to gain some confidence in the life skill of Bible study so they can really grow spiritually! I’m also hoping that I can inspire women to put aside the “ideal quiet time picture” and all of the excuses of mothering and stress and just let God meet them where they are. I want us to learn how to invite our children into our daily time with Jesus too. I want to learn how we can do spiritual life WITH our children among us.

Mini Goal 1: Sign up. 

Starting Steps:
-Fill out a Small Group Leadership Opportunity Form.
-Talk to someone special about co-leading this group with me.
-Pick a time for the group to meet.

Mini Goal 2: Recruit.

Starting Steps:
-Start mentioning to the group idea to women in the church.
-Social media posts about the group.

Mini Goal 3: Lead

Starting Steps:
-Set up a snack schedule.
-Plan & Study for the lessons each week.
-Text the group during the week.

6. Pursue health (in all forms of the word).

This one has definitely taken a backseat in my life the past few months. However, I know that I need these things in order to help me to continue to make progress in my other goals like loving my life again. I need a good diet to help me feel my best. I need those good endorphins from exercise to help my hormones level out as they should. I need to focus on the rhythms of renewal in my life.

Mini Goal 1: Begin a workout regimen again.

Starting Steps:
-Think through some ideas and pick something: Yoga Classes, CrossFit, Fitness Blender, Walking, etc.

Mini Goal 2: Eat smart.

Starting Steps:
-Focus on drinking my water.
-Meal prep.
-Timed meals.

Mini Goal 3: Wellness

Starting Steps:
-Wellness journaling with the 4 rhythms of renewal ideas in my planner.

7. Learn & Grow; Teach & Inspire.

I’m a 5 on the enneagram so I always love to read and research and learn new things! Give me all the knowledge! I also feel really fulfilled when I’m able to share some of that with others in order to help them in different areas of life… specifically planning a life of purpose. 😉

Mini Goal 1: Learn & Grow

Starting Steps:
-Read or listen to the One Year Chronological Bible & The Bible Recap Podcast.
-Read or listen to an audio book every month.
-Listen to podcasts while I do household chores.

Mini Goal 2: Teach & Inspire

Starting Steps:
-Social Media Posts
-Blog
-Podcast
-Write emails
-Speak

8. Focus on Finances.

After crunching some numbers this past year, I realized that (now that we no longer have a mortgage), we could be debt free in as little as three years. Now – that’s if all the odds are in our favor and we REALLY buckle down with it. But it’s still a pretty neat thought! So obviously, it’s one I’d love to pursue if we can. And of course, I’m sharing it here with you for accountability, and I’ll let you know how it goes!

Mini Goal 1: Monthly Budget

Starting Steps:
-Adjust monthly budget using the Finance Planner Pack to fit our income and new expenses with moving, etc.
-Evaluate our budget monthly to make sure budget lines / amounts are correct.

Mini Goal 2: Set Up Sinking Funds.

Starting Steps:
-Make a list of most common sinking funds.
-Choose one or two to start with. (As debts are paid down, add in more as needed.)

Mini Goal 3: Debt Payoff

Starting Steps:
-Use the Monthly Debt Payoff Worksheets from the Financial Planner Pack to note how much we pay each month, minimally and extra debt payoff.
-Use the Easy Budget Debt Snowball Calculator to determine a debt-free date to work towards.

 

I’m so excited about this year! I would love to know that you are also setting goals and working on them this year. Leave a comment and let me know some of your goals! 2020 is going to be a good year!

Let’s plan a life of purpose, shall we?!

Why Goal-Setting is Necessary

It’s that time of year where everyone seems to be setting new goals,writing out new intentions, and choosing a focus word for their year. I’ve talked to some people recently who don’t set goals, and I ask them why. They tell me things like “I can’t seem to follow through on them.” or “I write them, but then I don’t know how to actually make them happen.”

And I get it. I do. Of course, you all know that I LOVE to dream and plan, but I’ve also been one to get pretty bummed and disheartened when those plans don’t seem to be working out for me.

Take our finances, for example. We planned and followed many of Dave Ramsey’s suggestions, but yet we still couldn’t afford basic life necessities at times. It felt lame. Why couldn’t we get it right? We’d beat ourselves up for the times we had to use a credit card to make some purchases for important things like clothes our children needed or maternity clothes for myself, and honestly we were getting pretty religious about our finances if that’s even a thing. Rule following and not allowing grace for ourselves to just do the best we could. That, and our “plan” was results-based, not action based.

See, one thing about goals is that they could focus on OUR ACTIONS… what we can ACTUALLY DO, instead of the results we want. Sure, the results should be a part of the planning process, but when we only focus on the results, and for whatever reason they don’t happen, we get discouraged. So instead, our focus should be on the actions we take instead. We should be proud of our efforts and keep going little by little until we DO see the results we were after in the end. It’s really about having a GROWTH MINDSET, and not a FIXED MINDSET. We all have the ability to grow and change and get better. We are not stuck where we are now, but we have to do the work to get to where we want to go if we want to see it happen.

Anyway – sometimes when we do feel like we’re failing at something – and it makes us think
“Why even bother trying anymore? It’s not working.”

Well, here’s why. Two reasons.
1. God’s Plan is Bigger than our Plan.
2. Our Life has Purpose.

God’s Plan is bigger than our Plan.

We never know what He is working out behind the scenes for our good. We only see from our own vantage point (which is sometimes a skewed view) – We don’t always see from His big picture. That’s where faith and trust come in. When we believe, trust, and have faith that He is always working on our behalf we can know that He has good things for us. Even when we go through hard things and start to doubt, we need to take those thoughts captive and trust that He’s working it all out.

Here’s an example from our story… the short version if you can believe that. We’ve struggled with finances for nearly ten years – our entire marriage. We couldn’t seem to make our “financial plans” work. But we did do our part to not make things worse by acquiring too much debt that we knew we couldn’t afford. We lived below our means as much as we could and tried to steward what we did have well, even though many times, it did not feel like enough. We felt really burdened by our mortgage, and we proposed the idea to family for us to sell it and save money for a while until we felt like we could move forward towards another house. They agreed to let us live in their house in order to do this. We continued to make “plans” but really couldn’t see how they would ever work out. However, as we began to pray over these plans that seemed really great and would allow us to be debt-free in three years, God began to meet us in that and work on our behalf. We started looking for a home to buy, earlier that we had originally planned because we didn’t think we could afford a rental with our large family. The home purchase fell through because of needed repairs, but the very same day that we walked away from that option, God provided another way…. an ever better way! We weren’t looking for it, but it found us. It was a large-enough, beautiful home for us to rent where we could pay whatever we were comfortable with. A total God thing for sure! That’s how it usually happens for us… we start doing our part, making the plans, looking for what we can do with wisdom, and then God totally meets us with what we need and shows us that He was always working behind the scenes, even when we couldn’t see it.

Our Life has Purpose.

We all have purpose, and once we find that purpose it makes us want to LIVE life to the fullest and do that thing that we were created to do. We no longer want to “just get by” and keeping doing what we’ve always wanted to do…. just letting life happen to us. We want to see change and growth, and so we set out in pursuit of those things. We begin to live with intention and purpose, and to do this well – we need a plan. We MAKE life happen. It’s up to us to at least do our part.

It was hard for me to see Purpose in the middle of my depression. But God spoke it to me anyway. He reminded me of His plans for me and even gave me new ideas. I thought, “There’s no way. I can’t even function with the normal life responsibilities right now. There’s no way I can say ‘yes’ to any of that.” But still, there it was, and there it kept coming to me. My excitement for it began to grow, and my depression began to lessen. I had to choose to fight for my life and for my life’s purpose. Little by little, I’m inching my way towards that more and more every day. You can too. Ask God to reveal to you His ideas for your life… His plans and how you can be a part of what He’s already doing. He’s got something special for you too, something specifically designed Just For You, and you’re going to LOVE IT! 

 

My 2020 Word of the Year

Choosing Focus Words for the Year…. a Recap of the Past Few Years

My very first word of the year I ever set was “Intentional”. I wanted to be Intentional in the areas of life that were important to me – my relationship with God, my marriage, my parenting were among the top priorities. I didn’t do it perfectly… In fact, I was still trying to figure this whole goal-setting thing out then. My planners were a jumbled mess, and I remember a friend telling me how overwhelming my planner was to her. (That was back when I was trying to make a regular ole planner work for me and include all the things I need it to… it’s much better now that I’ve designed and created my own.) But I was working to be intentional, and it was the start of some pretty good things.

The following year, for whatever reason, I didn’t set a word of the year… but as the year went on and I struggled and learned through some things, I set a word of the year to summarize the year I’d had instead. I could’ve used the word Insecurity to note the struggle of the year, but instead I chose the word Identity to summarize the positive growth I had that year.

Then, the next year I chose the word Increase. It was a word that God gave me for the year, but after a miscarriage the month before, I did not see how it was going to be applicable to my life, honestly. But I kept that word at the forefront of my mind all year, and by the end of the year I began to see it. We had increase in our finances, in our family (baby #4 exactly one year after my miscarriage to the day), and especially in our relationships with God. We decreased, and he Increased. It was a pretty amazing year.

This past year, my word was Imagine, and it has been such an interesting word choice. I started my year full of hope and excitement for whatever God had in store for us, and about mid-year, I began to deal with depression and stopped dreaming at all. I felt so stuck in life in many areas. Things felt hopeless, and I couldn’t see how our situation could get any better.

With the help of my husband pushing me to dream again, renewed vision and purpose in my life and God’s plan for me, and the decision I made to pretty much fight for my life…. I began to Imagine again. I also began to see pieces start to come together, and my goals and plans right now are even bigger than they’ve ever been before!

Looking Forward to 2020!

And as I was thinking about praying about a word for this year – 2020, I decided I would stick with the letter I again for one more year. Maybe next year, I’ll switch to a different letter for the next five years.

I wrote down lots of words that begin with I and circled a few that jumped out at me. I looked up the definitions of those, and I looked in the Bible for further inspiration and a purpose behind one of these that would inspire me.

Some of those words were…

Inspire – fill someone with the urge or ability to do or feel something, especially to do something creative
I thought this might be a good one, because I really do hope that I can inspire you all as you read my posts, emails, or
listen to my podcast.

Initiative – the power or opportunity to take charge on a fresh approach to something
This one also would’ve been good, especially because of my renewed vision for My Purposeful Planning, and the
incredible things God is teaching me and I can use to help others.

Innovative – introducing new ideas; original and creative and thinking
Again, this one reminds me of the planner I just designed and am still adding to monthly – how it is such a neat tool
that helps people plan to be more purposeful in their lives.

But… I needed a word that would speak to ALL of my life – not just My Purposeful Planning. And so the word I chose for 2020 is IMMERSE.

immerse – to involve oneself deeply in what matters

Yes! I want to IMMERSE myself in the things that really matter to me… Jesus, my family, my purpose. I want to be so enthralled, engaged, fascinated, and involved with these that I hardly notice the unimportant things.

Cultivate these things. Immerse yourself in them. The people will all see you mature right before their eyes! Keep a firm grasp on both your character and your teaching. Don’t be diverted. Just keep at it. Both you and those who hear you will experience salvation. 1 Timothy 4:15-16

The Challenges of Opening my Shop & Lessons Learned

This was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. The things that are most worth it usually are the hardest, aren’t they??

I worked hard to get the planner finished and ready to sell. Of course there was an unspoken deadline because the year 2020 is fast-approaching. I wanted the planner to be ready by Christmas. I wanted to be done with it so that I could enjoy time with MY family instead of working.

So I did it. We worked hard at the end of November…. all of us. Justin helped me with the kids so much!

I faced obstacle after obstacle… everything from our spotty internet to issues with the printers. Since I had a deadline, I used the convenience of a chain store printer instead of a local face-to-face commercial printer. I was editing, re-editing, and printing a new copy almost daily until I got it just right. Then the “chain store printer” would print it all wrong, and I’d have to push to have them fix it to make it right. They weren’t too happy about having to do the whole project again sometimes. Then I would get home to find that there weren’t enough copies made, or that it was printed on the wrong type of paper. I learned my lesson.

But when I was pretty sure it was good, I opened the shop for planner sales. I made one big print order for that first sale, and guess what. The printers messed it up again. I did what I could to get those planner pages cut down to size, punched with my disk punch, and assembled. But there was a problem with the laminated covers. See, I’d paid extra to have a really durable laminated cover for the planners, but when they printed them incorrectly, and I cut them down to size, the lamination began to separate. I tried to re-laminate them but my home laminator wasn’t heavy-duty enough. Then I try to punch them with the heavy-duty punch I’d purchased, and I jammed it because it was now too thick. Boy, oh boy.

I ended up going out and purchasing new covers for these planners and eating the cost. And with that, I closed down the shop to future orders. At home, planner manufacturing may not be my thing. 😉

So if you got one of the very first *LIMITED EDITION* My Purposeful Planning Workbook and 2020 Physical Planner, you should know that you are special. I’m not sure that I will be doing that again after all of the trouble.
It was a Labor of Love for sure! At least that’s the nice way of putting it. 😉

(I’m not saying never, because I might possibly go back to my local printer and see if they’d like to help me out now that the deadline has come and gone.)

But here’s what I AM working on for right now….

  • Printable Planners and Planner Pages. I worked really hard on the insert pages of this planner, and I don’t want all of that to go to waste. (Of course, I’ve got my planner in hand so I guess it was worth it to have an actual planner that’s everything I want it to be and more.) But what I’m working on now is making the worksheets, goal-setting pages, monthly inserts, and daily pages available for you to be able to download and print yourself.

    You can currently download the My Purposeful Planning Workbook & 2020 Planner in it’s original size by visiting my shop. Mypurposefulplanning.com/shop

    If you have a printer that will print “Booklet Style”, you can easily print the planner in it’s current size on front and back pages, cut the pages in half, punch them with any disk-bound punch and assemble it – you’ll be ready to go! You can even download and print the covers I designed if you have a color-printer. You can laminate them yourself or have a local print shop do it for you. All you would have to purchase separately would be your disks to assemble the book, that is, if you want your planner to be disk-bound. I’m partial to the disk-bound system, but you could do whatever type of binding that interests you.

  • I’m also working on making different sizes available. I want this to be “your ideal planner” like it is for me, and sometimes there’s a size that’s your favorite. Currently, the size is 5″x8″ or 5.5″x8″ just depending on how you cut your pages. I’m looking to make a letter size and classic size next.
  • Planner Packs! Each month this year, I’ll be releasing a new Planner Pack to my shop! These packs will be FREE for my Patreon Members as a special thank you to them for their monthly financial support. You can join us there, and I’ll send you the new pack each month as well! Patreon.com/MyPurposefulPlanning

    Home Management Pack
    Finance Pack
    Spiritual Pack
    and more!

    I’m excited about what’s to come for this year. I’m excited to be setting goals again, and I’m ready to hit the ground running to work on all of these things that God has placed on my heart with My Purposeful Planning. And I’d love for you to join me in planning a life of purpose. Let’s make 2020 the most purposeful year yet!

My Purposeful Planning Workbook & 2020 Planner

*If you’ve found this page, by clicking a link in my email – rest assured – you are on the list and you’ll be one of the first to know when it becomes available to you!

Do you want to live a life full of purpose?!
You can plan a life full of purpose… one day at a time.
I’ve created the perfect planner to help you do that!


This is the Planner to Help you Plan your Purposeful Life.

Features…

  • Disk-Bound System that makes it so easy to customize your planner according to YOUR needs
  • Worksheets to help you evaluate your life right now and determine where you want to go
  • Goal-setting process to help you take your big picture ideas and break them down into bite size chunks month by month and day by day
  • Habit Trackers, Monthly, & Perpetual Calendars
  • Extremely versatile Daily Pages that can work for anyone!

    The first batch of these planners will be available in a *very limited quantity* for pre-order very soon. I’ve just got to get it back from the printer, assemble it, and do any final edits that might be needed. 

2019 Christmas Gift Guide

Hey, friends! I know Christmas can be a stressful time… I want you to know that it’s okay to not give gifts to everyone on your list if it means spending outside your budget. Pay your bills. Feed your family. Prioritize your list of people to buy gifts for. But if you have a budget set, and you’re looking for the perfect gift for someone, I really had a fun time putting this gift guide together. Let me know what categories you would add to the list! I hope you enjoy this holiday season and have fun shopping, finding good deals, and have sweet moments giving to others. It can be such a special time with family and friends!

And if you missed my Kids Gift Guide, you can find it here. I’ve added a few items to it since I originally published it. 


**This post does contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase using one of these links, I will earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you for your support!

For the Coffee Lover

Let me just tell you that since buying the Nespresso for our home, we have become such “coffee snobs”, and it is hard to drink regular coffee. I even love it better than ordering coffee out now, and that’s saying something! If you want an amazing coffee experience at home, Nespresso is the way to go! The pods are a bit pricier than regular K-cups or coffee grounds, but once you’ve tasted the Nespresso difference, I promise you, it will be worth the price! I have begun making all my friends “Nespresso-believers”, aka “Coffee Snobs” one by one.

What’s amazing about the Nespresso is that it adds in that layer of creamy froth as it pushes the air through your coffee pod, and it begins pouring into your cup within 30 seconds so it’s also super efficient!

If you are partial towards “Regular Coffee Makers” and want to save money on the coffee pods and buy regular coffee grounds or beans that you grind yourself, I recommend the Bunn. Bunn is always a great option because you want to duplicate that “coffee shop aroma” as much as you possible can each morning at home as you make your coffee, right? It’s all about the Experience!

If you want a simple upgrade to your coffee experience, try a milk-frother! There are lots of great options out there, but this one makes a great stocking stuffer! It’s the one I have and use everyday, and I love that it has a travel case because it definitely comes with me when I travel! I’ve been frothing my coffee for YEARS now, and it’s another thing I can’t go back on. Frothed coffee, for me, is a must!

You can continue to buy all the cute mugs if you want to, but if you want to eliminate all that clutter and find one mug that feels fancy every time, go with a glass – double wall mug. This just seemed like a necessary purchase after I got my Nespresso because I love to see those creamy layers that you can’t duplicate with a regular cup of coffee. Make sure you get a mug a little bigger than the amount listed on the pod to allow room for that lovely crema or any frothed creamer you plan to add.

I also think, if you’re going to get the Nespresso, you need a nice set of Espresso-size mugs as well. A friend gave me these, and I absolutely love them! It just feels a little funny if you make a 1.7oz shot of Espresso in a big ole mug, so these are necessary for your Espresso shots, which I like to make to pour over a bowl of ice cream. Yum!

If you know a Nespresso-lover, gifting them with their favorite Nespresso pods is a great idea! They’ve already fallen in love with them, can’t go back to regular coffee, and they will appreciate you getting something you know they’ll love! My favorites are the Alto Pods (because they make 14 oz of coffee!) and the Best-Seller pack that offers a few different intensities for regular-size cups of coffee.

If you’re looking for an easy gift for a coffee lover, you can’t go wrong with a coffee shop gift card! This makes a great stocking stuffer or gift in general. Everyone has those days where you just need to run through on your work break and go get yourself a treat. And let me just tell you that there have been quite a few occasions where I’ve needed a change of scenery as a stay-at-home-mom, so I load up the kids, we sing in the car, grab a coffee for mama, and come right back home with refreshed attitudes and moods. Works like a charm, most days! 😉

For the Loaded Tea Lover

This is the latest craze in nutritious “fast food” although they are becoming so popular so they aren’t always as fast as we’d like. 😀 I got hooked on this teas and shakes like everyone else, but then quickly realized these could be made so much cheaper and pretty easily at home!

My mom is an Herbalife Distributor, which is where these “Loaded Tea and Shake” Ingredients come from, so she gave me the hookup and helped me order. She’d be glad to help you too, and you can save money in the long run if “Loaded Teas and Shakes” have become your newest addiction. You can easily google or look for the recipes for your favorite Teas & Shakes and order the needed ingredients on her distributor site!

I use my Ninja system for this every time because I love that I can just blend up a “single size” for myself and not have to use the big blender. This system is also great because it’s a single blender, full-size blender, and food processor/mixer all in one! I love products that have multiple uses like this one!

The Blend-Tec is another blender people sweat by! I don’t have personal experience with it, but it’s the one you see them all use in the Nutrition shops. It always goes on sale on Black Friday or Cyber Monday, so be watching for that if it’s something you’re interested in!

My mom bought me an insulated, drink holder for my teas, and I love it! You can use it on the store-bought drinks or for the ones you make at home, and I love that it has a handle I can slide my hand in and carry more things when I’m out and about.

 

For the “Plant Lady”

Okay, so I’ll admit that I’m still just a “Plant Lady Wannabe”, and I’m still learning how to keep plants alive.
Children??I’ve managed to keep four alive, but plants are another story. I’m still trying though, and in my defense – the home we are living in now has no windows so the circumstances are a little more difficult. I’ve had one here for several months, and it is still going strong so I’m still hopeful for others to do well too. If all else fails, there are some really nice faux plants out there now I’ll have to try.

Nice, pretty watering cans to sit on your shelf for “Water Wednesday”. Sorry, I saw the elephant one and had to include it too… I have a thing for baby elephants.

Macrame plant hangers – how fun?!

Pretty planters & pots – I think using a plant pot as a basket to fill with goodies and small gifts would be a great gift idea for a plant lover! Succulent sets, growing kits, and did you know you could buy actual LIVE plants on Amazon?! Yep, I just learned that not too long ago too! The Fiddle Leaf Fig Plant and the Snake Plant are the “trending” plants these days, second to succulents and cacti. I think they are fairly easy to keep alive (maybe!), but I like the idea of buying a well-established 4 ft. Fiddle Leaf Fig versus a baby one.

And if you still need help as a plant-lover, you can pre-order Lua, the Smart Planter with Feelings. I have a feeling if I ordered these, I’d be surrounded with a bunch of sad faces. Hahaha! We don’t need all that negativity around here, but if you’re confident you can keep your plants happy or at least learn how to, go for it!

 

For The One Who Loves to Clean

Scratch that! Okay, I know there are actually people in the world that like to clean. But I would say that for the majority of us – it’s not that we like to clean, but we do like to have a clean home, and we get excited by fun, cleaning gadgets and supplies. Am I right? Okay, now that we’ve addressed that. Let’s get on to the list.

We’ve got a Roomba, because I’m sure anyone would love a Roomba, am I right? My kids even wanted me to get a Roomba… I think we had them at “Robot”. Then, there’s a carpet steamer… because kids = messes. So… necessary. Ecloths are great cleaning cloths that use only water to clean. But if you like to have special cleaning products, here’s a clean line for you… Branch Basics Starter Kit.

 

For the Homemaker

When I think about a “homemaker”, I think about someone who is working to make a “home” for her loved ones. It’s not just a house that we live in – but it’s setting up that cozy environment, that safe place that our spouses, children, family members, and friends can come into and relax, unwind, and feel at peace. Your home should be a place that you feel the most peaceful, and we have to work hard to create that cozy, homey atmosphere.

Scents and fragrance helps. Try an Essential Oils Diffuser & Oils. Don’t waste your time with store-bought oils. Invest in a starter kit if you’re new to oils.

Turkish towels are so beautiful when they are hung. If there’s something you’re going to be using everyday, it might as well be something beautiful that can act as decor for your home as well!  You can do this with so many things! Little by little, you can replace your everyday, household items with quality ones that are beautiful to you and make you excited to use them. If they excite you, chances are, they will also bring joy to your other family members or visiting friends as well. Start thinking about those every day items like mixing bowls or a nice wooden cutting board.

Have you heard of Woven Nook? They offer pillow cover sets that are already coordinated and matched up. (You can order singles as well.) But aren’t these coordinated sets amazing?!

You can’t go wrong with a Target Gift Card or maybe a gift card to Wayfair. I told my family, they could get me anything from the Hearth & Hand line at Target, and I’d be happy. 😉

 

For the Makeup Lover

These are my favorite palettes and skincare that would make great gifts! I love thinking of makeup as an art, and while I’m certainly no professional – it sure is fun to “paint my face”. I love these makeup organizers, and I have one similar. I mean – how genius is that vertical palette storage?! I also have the makeup travel case, and I love it for going on trips! If you don’t know what to get a make-up lover, you can’t go wrong with a Sephora or Ulta giftcard.

 

For the Organizer

Everyone loves to have a nice, organized and lovely space, right?! I love these drawer organizers from Ikea, these space-saving kitchen utensil organizers, and velvet hangers. Velvet hangers are such a simple upgrade, but they really make your closets look so nice! We’ve upgraded all of our closets to these, including the kids, and I couldn’t love it any more!

Also, I think this is a great time of year to be thinking about cubbies and shelves and toy organization because our kids are about to get an influx of them in the coming month. Having something great to organize it all is a must!

If you have an organizer you are gifting for, you could do a giftcard to Ikea, The Container Store, or I’m currently in love with Wayfair. I’m also going to add Hobby Lobby gift card to this because my absolute FAVORITE furniture piece is from there. It’s the one with ALL the drawers, and I love it so much! It is GREAT for organization!

For the Reader

For the reader in your life, you could gift them with a tin of book darts. Book darts are little page markers that a reader can use to note something they want to come back to. They are also good for future common-placing. This is when a reader adds those notable things to a special notebook, also known as a Commonplace Book, and I’ve got some of these shown here too. I like to use my Frixion Highlighters to highlight as I’m reading something good. I’ve also included a set of magnetic bookmarks and a reading light.

If you’re unsure what to get the reader in your life, go for a Barnes and Noble, Books a Million, or even an Amazon gift card so they can order more and more books. Or a nice bookshelf would also make a fabulous gift for a reader. You can never have too many bookshelves…

For the Christian who Loves Spiritual Resources

I love my journaling Bible like the one I’ve included here, and this version is such a nice gift edition. It’s a great investment into someone’s Christian walk. The Filament Bible is a pretty cool resource I’ve started seeing lately too that offers a digital app component with commentaries and other resources included! Bible journaling pens are a must for note-taking and doodles in your Bible.

If you’re looking for a good Bible study to gift, the Journal and Doodle Bible Studies from Kari Denker are my favorite. I feel like these really helped me to learn the skill of Bible Study, and the same with Kristy Camrbon’s Verse-Mapping resources. Phenomenal Tools!

I’ve included a few other commentaries and resources as well as a great devotional.

I love my Val Marie Paper Co. Prayer Journal! There’s also the Quiet Time Companion and The Give Me Jesus Journal that I feel like would make fantastic gifts as well.

 

 

   
   

 

For the Planner Girl

For the bullet journaling planner, these Moleskine Volant books are my favorites! The 5×8″ size is perfect because it gives you enough room to write and take notes, but it’s also small enough to fit in your purse. I also really love May Books. These are great because they already have the calendars, checklists, whatever you need already in the books for you. You can get them in the same size and mix and match them together. I add these to my Traveler’s Notebook covers. My favorite is my really nice leather one from Foxy Fix.

I really love Traveler’s Notebooks because they feel so nice and fancy, but I would have to say that a disk-bound planner is my ALL TIME MOST FAVORITE PLANNER… because the customizability of it is just fantastic! I love that I can take things out, add things in, shift things around, even print my own pages to add to my planner so easily! They are like a spiral bound book that you can open up flat or turn it inside out to write and take notes in as well. I’ve included my newest disk-bound planner cover here. It charges your phone. Say what?! I’m serious! I’ve never seen a planner cover that can do so much like this one. It even has pockets and a pen loop inside!

**Psst. If you haven’t already heard, I’ve just created a disk-bound planner of my very own for My Purposeful Planning. It has SO MANY GREAT features! Make sure you’re on my email list to get more details about its release. 

I added my favorite Pilot FriXion Clicker Pens here. I love the color-coding I can do with these, and they are ERASABLE! Like they really erase very well, and they are pretty much the only pens I use nowadays. I’ve also included planner clips. I love the decorated “paper clip” style ones because they lay flat, don’t bend your planner pages, and they stick out from the top of your planner so you can easily find today’s planning page.

And… of course I have to include Power Sheets in my “Planner” section. I LOVE my new Power Sheets Goal Planner. It would make a fantastic gift, as well as many of the other items on their website like their Write the Word Journals.

Wishing you happy shopping, great deals, and sweet moments of giving to those you love this Christmas!
Merry Christmas, friends!