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Notes & Links from the HomeSchool Live

I so enjoyed talking with you and sharing a little bit about our homeschooling in our Facebook Live yesterday. We are happy to be finished with one school year (Mama and kiddos are tired, lol), but I’m also really excited to plan the next. I tried to include links to the things mentioned in the video. I’ll update it throughout the week as I have time.

Things We Discussed in the HomeSchool LIVE:

Filing HomeSchool Stuff

  • Completed work – we use a wall file (Each child has their own pocket where they file their work.)
    At the beginning of each month, I try to sort through it. That’s the goal anyway so that it doesn’t get too
  • Portfolios – I use document boxes (well, similar ones that I saved from when we ordered our nice planner covers)
    to keep up with work we want to save.
  • What we keep and What we dont – I don’t keep random worksheets or math pages. I only keep really cute crafts,
    some handwriting samples, projects that are easy to save, or our favorite art. I do keep all of their Writing Workshop, all of their Bible Work because it’s kind of like a journal of what they’re learning and how they apply it to their every day lives, and I love that to have and keep. I don’t save random workbooks. I’d only save a unit study if it was really cute.
  • Records – My lesson planners are my best records that I keep. There’s no doubt that we ever did school when you take a look at those.
  • Long-term Filing – I have two big square fabric bins in our homeschool cabinet. It holds binders of work from previous years, notebooks of work portfolios, and even “out of season” curriculum. It’s hidden storage because it’s not pretty storage,¬† but maybe one day I’ll get around to re-organizing those and probably doing a big purge as well.
  • Easy-Access Filing – I have a magazine file turned on it’s side on our shelf. It holds things that we need for our curriculum some days and in future lessons… things like “sight word cards” I’ve printed but not yet cut because we don’t need them yet, timelines pieces for our history, curriciulm I printed myself and havent put in student books yet, things like that…

How I Plan Each Week

  • Future LIVE video on this topic – It will be so much easier to show you because every curriculum is different.
  • Advance Planning – For some subjects, I plan them weeks in advance – Science, History, Bible, Read-Alouds because those things take prep work. Things need to be added to my shopping list or ordered sometimes, so I need advance time to be ready for them. They aren’t open and go subjects, at least not with the curriculum we are using.
  • Interval Planning – We plan our calendar six weeks of work and one week break. This gives us regular breaks throughout the year. It also helps me to do this advance planning during that break or prep week, whatever you’d like to call it. I can also use themes in my planning this way.
    **I’ll add my Interval Planner to my shop so you can use it too.
  • We do the next thing – When I’m planning our weekly lessons of our “skill-based subjects” (Math, Reading, Phonics, Spelling, Grammar, Writing, etc.), we just do the next lesson listed so planning is fairly simple. I do look through my lessons list for each curriculum to make sure we’re “on track” with where we need to be. But that’s the extent of the planning portion.

Free Resources We Use

Balancing Our Day Between Different Grade Levels

  • We try to do school when the toddler is napping. That works best.
  • If the toddler is awake and with us, I have to be okay with some messes… like pulling all the books off the shelf or supplies out of the drawer. As long as he’s not destroying anything or hurting himself, I can always clean up a little mess later.
  • Give the toddler something to do! We LOVE LovEvery Play Kits. Lyndon has the Pioneer Kit and the Babbler Kit.
  • Work with the Little Ones first. Usually after they get their one on one attention with you, you can easily set them up with a simple activity in the next room and they’ll be good.
    **Listen. I know this can be hard. All my kids are still pretty little too. You are a capable mama. You can overcome any of these obstacles if you decide it’s important enough. I’m personally terrible at multi-tasking so it took some training on my part to get my kids to be okay with playing independently. It’s an important skill for them too.
  • Keep all of your kids together. We all sit at the same table so I can keep an eye on each one of them and help as needed. One day, the goal is that I would be able to leave and switch out a load of laundry or something while they continue to work and stay on task, but we’re not there yet. I have to stay right with them during school time so that we can get done what we need to and I’m there to help them.
  • Encourage independent work. My oldest is finishing second grade. This year, I wrote his daily assignments on the board for him and let him work on his own. I checked his work, helped with only what he needed, but he mostly worked on his own. The idea is that we teach our kids how to learn for themselves… not just to be fed information. (Hmm… that could apply to another area of life, couldn’t it? Yes. That’s why we teach our kids to read. We want them to be able to read the Bible and learn from that. It’s the whole foundation of this homeschool stuff.)
  • Learning Centers – We’re going to try a homeschool version of this next year I think… Computer Work, Table Work, and Activities… more on this later ūüėČ

Our Favorite Home School Tools & Resources…

This is a list from a previous post that I updated a little bit. I added some thing we discussed in the video in case you’re in search of something similar. This is not an exhaustive list. I’ll add to it more as we plan for the next school year.

  1.  My Purposeful Planning HomeSchool Lesson Planner
  2.  My Favorite Disc-Bound Planner Cover (We splurged on this one a little, but you know I waited for a sale too!)
  3.  Disk-Bound Planner Covers the Kids Have Now (We were on the search for covers that would last multiple years and look more masculine for my boys.)
    *I’ll post more affordable options from Amazon at the bottom of this post.
  4.  Our Pencil Sharpener
  5.  Our Favorite Pencils
  6. Frixion Erasable Colored Pens
  7. Frixion Erasable Colored Highlighters
  8. Erasable Colored Pencils
  9. Our “New” Favorite Watercolors
  10. Disc-bound Covers (We use these with our printable curriculum.)
  11. Metal Discs (We use these with our printable curriculum.)
    **I like this option better than bulky binders or having the pages bound because the spirals always seemed to come undone throughout the year which would drive me nuts. This way we have the customizable flexibility of a binder by easily being able to take pages in and out and also the ability to flip it around like a spiral-bound book. It’s the best of both worlds, in my opinion.
  12. Laminator
  13. Dry Erase Markers
  14. Wet Erase Markers
  15. Printer
  16. Label Maker
  17. ESV Children’s Bible
  18. 365 Great Bible Stories
  19. 66 Books One Story
  20. Window on the World
  21. Large Notebook (We use this for note-taking in our group subjects or in anything we’d use a chalk or white board for, except we get to keep it and refer back to it if we need to.)
  22. Spelling Power Student Record Book (This has been a game changer for our spelling lessons this year!)
  23. The Homeschool History Book of Centuries
  24. Rand McNally Historical Atlas of the World
  25. The Student Bible Atlas
  26. Amazon Kindle Fire Tablets
  27. Wooden Easel (We originally purchased this for Typing, but we use it for so much more than that actually! I love to display a book we’ll be reading or something fun like that.)
  28. Jelly Telly App
  29. Teaching from Rest Book
  30. The Same Page Podcast (Great for car rides with your kids- even for non-homeschoolers!)
  31. Your Morning Basket Podcast
  32. The Homeschool Solutions Show Podcast
  33. The Homeschool Sanity Show
  34. Raising Arrows Podcast
  35. Wall File – Great for Completed Work!
  36. Document Boxes – Great for portfolios!
  37. Magazine File – Great for loose curriculum, prepped pages and activities, etc.


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.


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


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! 

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

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 Рthis 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 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 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
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:

My Purposeful Planning Facebook Group
My Purposeful Planning Community on Patreon

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 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 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:

My Purposeful Planning Facebook Group
My Purposeful Planning Community on Patreon

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. ūüėÄ 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. ūüėČ

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 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
-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. ūüėČ

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
-Write emails

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. ūüėČ

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. ūüėČ

(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.

    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!

    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.


  • 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.