My Purposeful Planning: Spiritual Goals

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

Today we are discussing Spiritual Goals.

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

Spiritual Goals:
-Establish the habit of a daily quiet time.
-Make a Daily Bible Reading Plan.
-Write down one scripture a day from your daily readings that speaks to you.
-Start keeping a prayer journal.
-Plan to do some Supplemental studies- either on your own or with a small group.
-Plan some scriptures to memorize and a process for how you will do this.

Since I already have an established daily quiet time and Bible study plan, it’s not something I need to keep working on. It’s just something I’ll continue to do. It’s working well for me, and it’s included in my morning routine so I don’t have to think too much about when or how it will get done. It just works.

However, I can find another way to be purposeful in this area. The goal I am personally working on now is Scripture Memorization. I’m using the Scripture Typer App, which allows me to type in or import my verses from whichever version or translation of the Bible I prefer. It’s easy for me, because it sends me an email reminder to review my verses so I take a few minutes and do that when I get that email. I always have my phone with me, and this is a better use of my time with it than anything else I could be doing.

At first it shows you the verse with a just a few words missing. Then it disappears fully, and you type it in by typing the first letter of each word. You get points for accuracy, and it tracks your level, rank, and progress for you so it’s kind of like a game.

I’d love for you to answer a quick question for me if you could…

What to Plan

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If My Purposeful Planning is all about making a plan to be more purposeful, then how do you do that?? Maybe you say, “My life isn’t that busy. I don’t have anything to plan.” or maybe it’s the opposite…, “I’m so busy. I don’t know that I have time to plan.”

The whole reason for planning is to fix an area that’s not working (such as struggling to pay your bills on time) or to grow and get even better at an area that is working (such as being more purposeful in your already established quiet time). It’s all about having a growth mindset and being intentional with our lives instead of just letting life happen. We make a plan of action to take us from where we are to where we want to be in life.

And as far as the whole time thing goes…. If you are too busy to plan, but you are having issues financially or struggling spiritually, maybe you are really too busy NOT to plan. If you are too busy to make time for your Core Values and Priorities, then you are way busier than God ever intended you to be. You could start with tracking your time to see where it’s actually going. Then, use my Time Budgeting Resource to help you use your time more wisely by telling it where to go and what to do instead of just letting it pass you by.

I’m going to start by giving you some areas for goal-setting and some ideas of things you can plan for in those areas… 

Spiritual Goals:
-Establish the habit of a daily quiet time.
-Make a Daily Bible Reading Plan.
-Plan to do some supplemental studies either on your own or with a small group.
-Plan some scriptures to memorize and a process for how you will do this.

Marriage Goals:
-Plan monthly date nights in advance, and put them on the calendar. (Note them in your budget also.)
-Plan a weekend getaway or to attend a Marriage Conference.
-Plan time to talk daily and have intentional, serious talks weekly.
-Study the love language of your spouse and be purposeful in each day about filling their “love tank”
-Pursue your spouse like you did when you were dating. Listen to them talk about what interests them, and engage in the conversation (even if it’s not your thing). If they don’t talk about their interests with you, it could be a red flag that you haven’t been a good listener in the past. It’s not too late. Start now, and ask them about it.
-Plan to be intimate. It’s important, so if it’s not already happening spontaneously, it’s okay to plan for it.

Household Goals:
-Make a plan to declutter your home.
-Make a plan for Spring cleaning.
-Make a plan to update family wardrobes.
-Walk through your house and list simple ways to make each space more comfortable, inviting, and life-giving. With your budget in mind, slowly begin to tackle this list one thing at a time.

Health Goals:
-Set up annual physical, dental, and wellness appointments for yourself and your family.
-Plan a workout program. Track your exercise. Keep a log of it.
-Plan a diet program that works for your family and lifestyle. Make a meal plan for it, grocery lists, etc.
-Track your water intake.
-Track your progress: before and after pictures, measurements, weekly weight averages.

Financial Goals:
-Track your current spending to figure out where your money is going each month.
-Make a budget plan.
-Make a savings plan.
-Set up a budget specifically for a certain event, vacation, or holiday.
-Track your “no spend” days.

Family Goals:
-Plan family fun activities, and put them on the calendar.
-Plan one-on-one dates with your children, and put them on the calendar.
-Plan a family devotion/Bible story time to implement.
-Take time to be present, play, and listen to your children.
-Take interest in the things your kids do and enjoy. Help them with their homework, with studying, or with practicing for their sport or arts class.
-Pray with your children.

Other Ways to Plan and/or Use Your Planner:
-Write down appointments, meetings, birthdays, anniversaries, parties, upcoming events, play dates,
-Organize a chore system for yourself & your family.
-Organize your budget & bill-paying system.
-Organize your kids’ school papers, invitation, mailer coupons, etc.
-Use it for memory-keeping, journaling, daily gratitude, and writing down the funny things your kids say.
-Keep up with your daily and ongoing task and to-do lists.
-Set goals, and track your progress.
-Create a blog schedule, or plan social media posts.
-Make a list of books you’d like to read or podcasts to listen to, and start tackling that list.
-Keep track of car and household maintenance (oil changes, air filters, etc.)
-Keep up with your pet information.
-Use your planner for your prayer list, answered prayers, and prayer journaling.
-Use it to keep up with your Bible study notes, Sermon notes, or meeting notes.
-Use it to track your moods, your pain levels if you have an illness, headaches, etc.
-Use it for homeschool planning.
-Plan your daily routines- morning routine, after-school routine, evening routine, and bedtime routine.
-Make a wishlist of personal items, household things, books to read, etc.
-Make a list of gift ideas.
-Track kids’ growth.
-Make a list of books you read to your children.
-Keep track of work schedules, Church serving schedules, school schedules, and homework assignments.
-Use it for tracking habits you are working on.

Choose one goal to work on, and let’s get to it! In the coming weeks, I’ll be sharing with you on each of these areas – the goals I’m currently working on and my processes for how I’m working on each goal.

Let’s make a plan to be more purposeful!

Let’s Make a Time Budget!

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You probably have heard about how to correctly make a financial budget. The first step is to track where your money is actually going. Then, you take what you have (your income), and make a plan to tell your money where to go.

The same can be done with your time, but this difference with time is that we all have the same amount of it… 24 hours in a day, 7 days a week, and 52 of those weeks per year. If we are purposeful and intentional with it, we can do a lot with that time. Or we can choose to just let life happen and waste our time. It’s really up to us to make that decision.

The first step with making a time budget would be to track where your time is actually going. You can use my Time-Tracking Resource to do that. Print multiple copies so that you can do this over the course of a week for best results, as every day of your week may look differently. This will give you a clearer picture of how you are actually spending your time.

Here is my Time-Budgeting Worksheet to help you take the next step. Imagine that I am handing you 24 one-dollar bills. Each of these dollar bills will represent an hour in your day. Now, make a budget with that. Automatically, you’re probably going to devote 6-9 of these bills, or hours, to sleep, and maybe 1 hour to your daily quiet time. What will you do with the rest of the time you are allotted? Maybe you don’t need a full hour for something? I’ve given you space to divide up some of your hours by 30 and 15-minute increments. Just remember to cross out one of the “hours” at the top if you do that, because you only get 24 hours in a day – just like the rest of us. 😉

I’d love to know how this works for you! Let me know how you were enlightened by the way you have been spending your time or how you make a plan to spend it more wisely in the future.

What is My Purposeful Planning?

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My whole vision for My Purposeful Planning is to be more purposeful and intentional in life and inspire others to do the same. Instead of just letting life happen, I am choosing to own my life and take action to make things happen. Yes, sometimes life hands you lemons, but I’m making lemonade over here!

I think it’s important to “make a plan” to be purposeful, and I use my planner to do that — But you don’t have to be a planner girl like me to be more purposeful with your life. All you have to do is start right where you are and choose something to work on. Just one thing at a time. Really, that’s it. Now, I’ve been doing this for quite a while so it’s become a lifestyle for me. I started small just like you with one thing. Then, I felt that as I accomplished that one thing, I wanted to do more.

Kind of like when you start on a journey of health… first you might start exercising, and then pretty soon you’ll want to start eating better too. Things usually go hand in hand, and when you improve in one area, other areas are soon to follow. It’s all part of having a growth mindset.

So, how do you know what to start with? Well, I personally think it’s great to start with thinking about where your priorities lie. If you haven’t taken my Core Values Assessment, that’s a great place to start. Or you could choose to set a goal in one of these areas:

Spiritual Goals
Marriage Goals
Mothering/Family Goals
Health/Fitness Goals
Church/Serving Goals
Financial Goals
Personal Goals
Professional Goals

These are just a few areas to get you thinking, and I’ll be exploring each of these areas in the coming weeks. I want to take you from where you are to where you want to be. I’ll be sharing my goals and my actionable steps to achieving those goals in each of these areas.  You can do this with me. Choose your own goal, and set steps to accomplish it.

The point is to take where you are now and work on something. Learn something. Get better. Grow. Mature. And then when you look back months from now, a year, or a few years you’ll see that you’re not the same person you were before. You’ll be much more accomplished, and it’s all because you decided to take that first step towards being purposeful, and you made a plan to carry it out! Welcome to My Purposeful Planning. I’m glad you’re joining me here.

Strides of Increase for the Month of February

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Patience, Please

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“When our eyes are open to detect God’s fingerprints of providence, when our hearts are reminded of His never-ending care for us, our internal posture becomes reframed and our conversations with Him are transformed. Instead of offering a string of requests born out of disappointments and frustrations, we pause in His presence and – we see Him. Prayer becomes less about what we want and more about who He is.” (Priscilla Shirer in Discerning the Voice of God study)

I can see God’s fingerprints in our current situation… I’m actively looking for them, and I’ve already seen a few…
-Cabinets given
-Oven and Stove given
-Microwave given
-The opportunity for me to design, organize, and decorate this home we will be moving into. Those are some of my favorite things, things I’ve never really had the opportunity to do to the full extent because of lack of those budget categories each month. Now, I get to do them! This weekend, we even went to pick out some things. I got to pick out some base cabinets and pantry cabinets. We looked at storage and accessories, kitchen islands, furniture… We even looked at things like barn doors to eventually close off the bedroom area under the kids’ loft. It was so much fun, and we went ahead and purchased two of the cabinets to install. We’re doing a little at a time, and it’s exciting! I’m seeing my design and vision for this place come together!

John Powell writes, “The Lord widens my vision, helps me see what is really important in life, and to distinguish the really important from the unimportant… He comes to me, in the listening, receptive moments of prayer, and He transfuses power into me.”

I’m widening my vision to see where God is already working. I’m actively looking for his hand at work and seeing all those fingerprints He’s leaving. And because of that, my whole posture in prayer has changed.

Habakkuk writes in chapter 2:1, “I will stand at my watchpost and station myself on the tower, and look to see what He will say to me, and I will answer concerning my complaint.” He wrote of a military watchman who would elevate himself on a tower placed strategically and intentionally so that his eyes could be peeled on the horizon without his attention being diverted to any movements on the ground, which could easily cause anxiety. His vantage point was broad, his perspective unique. (From Priscilla Shirer’s Discerning the Voice of God Study)

I love this illustration. When we elevate ourselves to be able to see where God is at work, it is so much easier to trust Him. We have the patience we need to stand and press on. We know that God’s timing is everything, and His word is worth waiting for. I’m one of those who once a decision is made, I want to go ahead and act. Get the plans made, and start checking boxes off the list! Planner girl here 😉 But sometimes my plans are not God’s own. Sometimes things may seem like they aren’t working out or are taking longer than I expected, but I’m learning to see that His timing is much better.

I have a speculation right now that our house will not sell super quickly, and I am okay with that. Even though that means that our financial freedom may be a little farther off, we are making it now, and God always provides. I think I can see His purpose in this (to allow time for us to finish the place we are moving into – the kitchen, and build the loft for the kids). I could be wrong, but that’s what I “think” He is up to. We’ll watch and see. I’m just trying to be patient as I watch and see what He’s doing – where He’s working, and see if those little glimpses are accurate or if He’s got something else up His sleeve. I think His plan is much bigger than mine. He is a God of detail. Just look at the specifications He gave for building Noah’s ark or the Tabernacle. He has a specific plan and process in place. I love that He made me in his image, and I love to design and create with Him. I like to think that as I’m drawing out sketches, we are working together. He’s already got the big vision, and He gives me the little details to sketch. And then sometimes I see that measurements won’t work out, so I have to erase and redraw something. It’s such a fun process for me, and I like to think that He is right in the middle of it, giving me these ideas!

The value we place on an object or person dictates the amount of time and the vigilant posture we’re willing to take when waiting on them. If we value God’s voice as Habakkuk did, we should be willing to wait for it – patiently – trusting in His sovereign timing, standing firm until we’ve received it. God gave Habakkuk  a stern lesson, encouraging him to relax in God’s sovereignty. 
1. The time was appointed.
2. Wait for it.
3. It will certainly come.
4. It will not delay. 
We can claim these truths God gave to Habakkuk for ourselves. Rest and trust. Cease striving and know that He is God. (Psalm 46:10). Be free from the burden of trying to make things happen, and trust that your God loves you and will fulfill His word for your life.

Abide, not Strive.
He loves us; We can trust Him.

Are You Financially Frustrated?

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Financial frustration could be defined as low income, lack of savings, or debt. It could be student loans and credit card debt, or maybe you’ve had hardships in other parts of life and your spending is out of control. I feel that more and more Americans are financially frustrated… more than would ever admit to it. We’re all striving for the American Dream, right? 😉  It could be from falling on difficult times, from choices made, or a combination of the two. Being financially frustrated is emotionally draining. It could even start as simple as having low income and you end up spending out of control because you don’t know WHAT to do or HOW to fix the situation. We’ve definitely been guilty of that one from time to time.

We are financially frustrated, although I don’t like admitting it either. Multiple items in that first paragraph affect us. In Erin Odom’s book, More Than Just Making It, which is the inspiration for this blog series, she writes, “Sharing our financial details started us on a journey of financial freedom.”

If you are financially frustrated… how long can you handle the emotional stress of living this way? For us… We’re at the end. We’re emotionally tired, and we are ready to make changes – despite how uncool or radical they may be. We are ready to go from financial stress to financial success.

“Regardless of your financial situation, there IS hope.” Join us on our journey to financial freedom… where we are learning how to be More than Just Making It.

What We are Personally Doing Now to Gain Financial Freedom:

  • We are reigning in our spending. Our budget is set. It is strict, and we are holding each other accountable in our spending as we stick to it each month.
  • We are selling our house. We have family that is generously giving us a place to live when our house sells so that we can save money.
  • While we would love to follow the rule of “live off of only one income”, we only have one income so the next step would be to live off of half of that income. Can we do it?! We’re going to try! When our house sells, this will eliminate our mortgage and the cost of utilities – which most likely makes up about half of our income.
  • Pay off our student loans. Between the two of us, we have about $28,000 in Student Loan Debt. That number makes me cringe, but when our house sells, it will be our only debt. We plan to chip away at it month after month until it’s gone.
  • Our intentions are to live off of half our income, put a quarter of it towards student loans, and a quarter of it towards savings for a future down payment.
  • We actually have an even bigger goal to pay cash for our next house… whether that means building one and doing it a little at a time or a tiny house, or just whatever we can do. I don’t know if this will be possible, but it sure would be nice!

    From Financial Frustration to Financial Freedom
    More Than Just Making It