7 lessons in 7 years: part 2

Since last time’s post went much longer than I expected, here are the remaining three lessons. If you didn’t read that one, you can find it here.

5. Find out what’s most important to the other person. This could be in figuring out their love language. It could also mean what’s most important to them in caring for the house. It’s also figuring out what’s most annoying to them if it doesn’t happen, then make sure it does! 🙂 My husband is a great chef, but is highly bothered by mess. So he’s totally fine with cooking supper each night, as long as I keep the kitchen in decent shape so he has space to work.  Each person has a different way they receive value and different priorities for family life.

6. Listen to God. The biggest piece of marriage advice I would give anyone is listen to the Holy Spirit. Over and over again in the middle of a frustrating conversation, one of us takes a breather then comes back to apologize. You’ll often find me stepping into another room, or silently praying for help when things get tense. More often than not, my heart is softened and my half of the problem is pointed out by the Holy Spirit. I’ve also learned that I don’t need to point out his wrongs. If I leave it be, I can trust Jesus to change his heart as well. The key is I have to listen.  The Spirit is waiting to convict, soften hearts, and restore…but I have to be ready to hear it and act on it.

7. Celebrate with Cherry Coke! He proposed to me over Cherry Coke (like he seriously drove us to town to buy Cherry Cokes and back to my parents house again, so he could get over his nerves to ask me to marry him), and Cherry Coke was a requirement in our hospital bag for our first baby. It’s our ‘go to’ when the kids get stressful, and it was a staple for date night (until we started trying to be healthy).  Find something that is ‘your thing’.  Something that is part of your culture as a couple/family.

 

I dream big dreams and I want big growth/progress moments. But what I’m learning in life is also true in marriage. Small repeated actions lead to health. Brushing my teeth daily, working out for 30 minutes most mornings, drinking water, choosing a salad…….they aren’t really ‘fun’ but they support my bigger goals.  In marriage, small repeated actions that speak value to the other person provides the strength needed to keep saying “I do” even on the sleepless nights when all the kids are up in the night, and everyone is grumpy.

Here’s to saying “I do” everyday through small ordinary actions.

Sojourning together,

Felicia

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Growth hurts

A friend once told me that God answered her prayers by helping her learn to cook and I heard on the Risen Motherhood podcast that God helped her in learning to keep house……

This got me to thinking. If Jesus can part seas, calm storms, multiply bread and fish, raise the dead, etc…….then growing me in the things that weigh on my heart must be doable.  Compared to all that, organizing my laundry room, getting anything accomplished while raising three littles, navigating the energy level of a toddler boy, and keeping the dishes at a maintainable level must be simple…right? So instead of praying for world peace, right now I’m just praying for peace here and that we would be messengers of peace to others. Literally my morning prayers with my kids are “help us to get our jobs done and help us to be a blessing to others”.  Because when you are navigating sibling squabbles, a hungry baby, and a barking dog…only by God’s strength can you accomplish big things.

But the thing about growth, is that sometimes it hurts. Sometimes Jesus has to poke at the time wasters, stinky attitudes, ‘me first’ mentality, and selfishness and pull off all the dead stuff before He can do a new work. Sometimes I just want a moment of mindless scrolling, but then I hear the gentle  reminder of what I need to be doing. And little by little, as I listen to His voice, He pulls the dead stuff off so I can begin to develop new habits of growth. Sometimes that looks like making sure I get up early enough to start the day before the kids, while other times it looks like having the dishwasher ready so my helpful husband can load the supper dishes in. It’s definitely not choosing the easy route!

Sometimes growth is messy. There’s words said, and tension built. There’s tears, prayers, and long conversations. Sometimes you wonder how you’ll ever grow past this hurdle. I don’t have the answers for I wonder the same things for myself.  I especially wonder it as I raise a little “mini me”, a daughter who walks in my footsteps with all the emotions and tendencies. But mess can be cleaned up when the project is done. And I trust the Master Gardener to skillfully work the soil of my life to grow healthy plants….even if it’s messy in the process.

 Sometimes growth can feel isolating. It can feel a bit like having a cozy life of 3 or 4 baby plants all growing in the same container and feeling happy all squished together. Meanwhile, the Master Gardener knows that eventually you will all grow big enough to need your own space, and that what was once a “good fit” for you is now unhealthy.  It can feel isolating and stressful to be ripped out of your place and replanted in a new pot. But it is still…..best.  The Lord knows my optimal growing conditions and what I need to survive. 6 years ago, I stepped down from serving in youth ministry with one of my best friends. It felt a bit like being ripped out of a pot where we were all growing together. But I have totally loved facilitating Women’s Bible Study these last 6 years, which wouldn’t have been possible if I had clung to the sides of my little pot and refused to trust the Master Gardener.

And let me remind you, Jesus raised the dead. Even if you feel like my poor violet whose stem started rotting from the roots up…..Jesus raises the dead. Sometimes, conditions like these call for drastic measures like cutting off the root system and placing the freshly cut crown into new soil inside a miniature greenhouse in hopes of saving the plant. Trust the Master Gardener. He has your best interests in mind.

Wherever you are on your journey, with dead leaves waiting to be cleaned out, feeling isolated in a season of tough growth, or flourishing with hope in a new place, trust the Master Gardener.  He will not neglect his garden or toss you aside. He has plans for you to bloom again though the growth process is painful, messy, isolating, and uncomfortable. Those blooms will seem even more beautiful when you consider the journey you’ve been on.

Sojourning with you,

Felicia

Farmer Boy and Faith: two books that inspired me

I just finished reading two more books off my list: Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder, and Faith by Chuck Smith. That makes 6 books done this year, but it doesn’t make my wish list of books to be read any smaller. Sigh…..  Though I’ve read more books this year so far than in years past, the stack by my chair keeps getting bigger, along with the stack upstairs, and my Amazon wish list…..while knowing that a dear friend from church also has a whole library with many books that are on my list.  If I could spend my days reading books, nature hiking, and gardening, while taking tea and pumpkin treat breaks that would be lovely!  But alas, real life beckons to me (it often sounds like the dryer buzzing or the toddler crying).  🙂

My kiddos and I read Farmer Boy for our book club, and next week we are going to a farm to visit the goats and chickens! We also get to make butter, plant seeds, do a potato relay race, and book discussion. I’m just hoping it doesn’t rain! It’s been so wet here.

Reading this book makes me dream of a life that’s more in touch with our roots and where things come from. In Almanzo’s time, you couldn’t buy a big bag of nuts from Costco.  You had to go rake the forest, load the wagon, carry them to the barn, and then separate the nut meat from the leaves and shell. Now let me be clear, there are many things I’m quite fine with not doing. I’m OK with buying my clothes instead of raising the sheep, sheering the sheep, preparing the wool, dying the wool, making the material, and making the clothes. I’m also quite thankful for all my kitchen appliances and household machines that make bread making, cooking,  laundry, cleaning etc much faster.

But I really respect their work ethic, family teamwork, self-sufficiency, lack of entitlement, and the character traits that were instilled in the children’s lives.  Almanzo and his siblings learned early on, that only through hard work were you able to have something. They learned delayed gratification, planning for the future (gathering resources for winter), care for others, how money represents work/earned income, and the need to spend their resources wisely.  They lived for something more than their immediate happiness. These character qualities are seriously lacking in our culture and more people should take notes from their way of life.   I hope that through reading good books, and living life together, our littles will develop similar habits.

A group of us are reading Faith in preparation for our church Ladies Retreat this summer. We’ve owned this book for several years, but it had just been collecting dust in our collection. There’s nothing like group peer pressure to motivate your reading! I don’t know how to describe it other than that it examines faith from multiple viewpoints and gives many Biblical examples of people who lived by faith. It’s divided into three sections: The Nature of Faith (what it is), The Look of Faith (Biblical examples), and The Walk of Faith (how to live it out).

These are some of my favorite quotes:

“You must never measure any problem by your ability to handle it. You must measure it by God’s ability to handle it, for He is the One in whom you trust. God is able to do whatever He has promised to do.”

“Your concept of God is limited because you are limited.”

“They were living in the land of promise, but when they looked at the power of the enemy rather than at the power of God, fear gripped their hearts.”

“The Lord did not appear again to Abram until he entered the land of Canaan. His disobedience stalled the work of God in his life.”

“Stepping out in faith may seem like foolishness to a host of skeptical observers, but if God is the One who has inspired your step of faith and you obeyed, you too will find grace in the eyes of the Lord.”

“God keeps His Word. Always.”

So much truth! Very easy to read!  I definitely recommend it!  I’m still torn between highlighting in books or taking notes from books. With this one, I took notes and recorded my favorite parts in my notebook.

What have you been reading lately? Send me a message or let me know in the comments! Remember…..one page at a time.

Sojourning with you,

 Felicia

Taking my little and making it enough

The thing about people is we make messes….a lot of them. Somehow, when we added the third little one to our family, the laundry doubled and the dishes tripled. I don’t know how, but somehow everything is dirty all the time. I hate dishes. They are like weeds in the garden…..no matter how many you pull there are some more waving at you in a matter of hours. I can never just mark it off the list, like I can vacuuming. Couple that with trying to keep the little ones healthy, fed, bathed, entertained, out of trouble, educated, and cuddled….and it feels like a lot.

One early morning, the baby decided that sleeping through the night wasn’t fun anymore, so the two of us headed downstairs to find her milk and hopefully not disturb the sleeping family members (admittedly, I was jealous of them being able to sleep). As I waited for her to eat, I started feeling the weight of raising these little ones and the work in caring for them. I knelt by my chair in the wee morning hours and told God I didn’t have much to offer. Try as I might, I was not super-woman. No matter how much I got done, there was always at least one more chore begging for my attention.

God began to remind me that he is the master of taking little and making it enough. In the gospels, we read of the little boy who willingly gave his lunch to Jesus. Clearly, he didn’t expect it to be sufficient to feed 5,000 people….but Jesus made it enough. (John 6)

In Luke, we read of the widow who gave a couple of coins while everyone else around her was giving bags of money. Jesus said her gift was worth more than the rest because she gave all she had out of her poverty. It was her heart, not her amount. Jesus made it enough. (Luke 21)

The prophet Elijah asked a widow for food during a famine, though she only had a little bit of flour and oil left for making their last meal. God blessed her offering, and neither the flour nor oil ran out during the whole famine. (1 Kings 17) God made it enough.

In my ‘to be read’ pile, is a book by Sarah Mackenzie called “Teaching from Rest”. In her book, she talks about offering our ‘little’ like the small boy offered his little lunch. There’s a lot of things I can’t do, but I can bake bread, I can read to my kids, and I can send encouraging text messages. I can offer up my “little.

God makes it enough.
What ‘little’ do you have to offer? He is sufficient. The house will never be completely clean, there will always be more I could teach the kiddos, and even while I’m marking off projects, there is more being added to the list. But……He is sufficient. He takes the little I have to offer and makes it enough.
Let’s offer Him our little together.
Sojourning with you,
Felicia

 

Finding a quiet place

The last last couple weeks, we’ve hunkered down to hibernate. With crazy cold temperatures and lots of snow, we settled in (to the dismay of my social daughter) to our warm-ish house.  Usually I’m running around for errands and play dates, so it was a bit of a change for me.  Honestly, there were times I felt a bit like a prisoner as I would view the forecast for the rest of the week. Thankfully spring is just around the corner….according to the calendar anyway.

During that time, something changed in my mindset. I began to treasure days at home, and to view this place as more than a landing spot after adventures or as a place to clean. One of my favorite Instagram ladies wrote in one of her posts of the need to create a life a life you don’t want to run away from. That idea has echoed in my head over and over….creating a life you don’t want to run away from. A dear friend was just sharing how she had the same mental transition after her third child was born.

As you create quiet, you begin to notice the beauty the ordinary moments of life. (also it’s the name of one of my favorite podcasts “Out of the Ordinary“) We’ve made forts, gone on imaginary trips to grandma’s house with our ‘dinner pail’ (our new vocabulary word from our read aloud Farmer Boy) and made “monster fighters” (cardboard rolls decorated with flames so they could go hunt for monsters).  We made memories.

The other day, a former coworker came to visit, and complemented the small tree we have on the counter. She mentioned that she hadn’t noticed that plant before. It’s possible since this was only her 2nd recent visit to our house, that she simply hadn’t noticed it. But more likely is that I recently cleared off that catch-all place on the counter so the plant and salt lamp could be decoratively displayed instead of being part of the pile.  When you quiet down the space, you can notice the beauty around you.

It is said that Susanna Wesley who taught her 10 children between 1700 and 1720 would pull her apron over her head to make a personal tent space for two hours each day so she could read her Bible and pray. I find it hard to find quiet time with my three children, let alone 10 children. But in that calm space under her apron, she found the beauty of Jesus.

Jesus also often withdrew to quiet places to pray (Mark 1) and he brought his disciples away from the crowds to get some rest  (Mark 6). He understands our limitations and our need for quiet spaces in order to refocus, gain perspective, and appreciate the beauty around us.

When we left to go meet up with friends today, my daughter paused half-way down the sidewalk…”It’s so quiet.  I don’t hear anything”. So we listened together to the quietness of the winter wonderland.  Sometimes we are so used to the noise, that the quiet takes our breath away and makes us marvel.

This weekend, let’s cultivate some moments of quietness by saying no to an unnecessary  commitment, quieting down a space so sentimental decor can be noticed again, making quiet places to sit with Jesus, and make memories with those important to you. Let’s create a life that we ‘don’t want to run away from’.

Sojourning with you,

Felicia

Finding a quiet place

The last last couple weeks, we’ve hunkered down to hibernate. With crazy cold temperatures and lots of snow, we settled in (to the dismay of my social daughter) to our warm-ish house.  Usually I’m running around for errands and play dates, so it was a bit of a change for me.  Honestly, there were times I felt a bit like a prisoner as I would view the forecast for the rest of the week. Thankfully spring is just around the corner….according to the calendar anyway.

During that time, something changed in my mindset. I began to treasure days at home, and to view this place as more than a landing spot after adventures or as a place to clean. One of my favorite Instagram ladies wrote in one of her posts of the need to create a life a life you don’t want to run away from. That idea has echoed in my head over and over….creating a life you don’t want to run away from. A dear friend was just sharing how she had the same mental transition after her third child was born.

As you create quiet, you begin to notice the beauty the ordinary moments of life. (also it’s the name of one of my favorite podcasts “Out of the Ordinary“) We’ve made forts, gone on imaginary trips to grandma’s house with our ‘dinner pail’ (our new vocabulary word from our read aloud Farmer Boy) and made “monster fighters” (cardboard rolls decorated with flames so they could go hunt for monsters).  We made memories.

The other day, a former coworker came to visit, and complemented the small tree we have on the counter. She mentioned that she hadn’t noticed that plant before. It’s possible since this was only her 2nd recent visit to our house, that she simply hadn’t noticed it. But more likely is that I recently cleared off that catch-all place on the counter so the plant and salt lamp could be decoratively displayed instead of being part of the pile.  When you quiet down the space, you can notice the beauty around you.

It is said that Susanna Wesley who taught her 10 children between 1700 and 1720 would pull her apron over her head to make a personal tent space for two hours each day so she could read her Bible and pray. I find it hard to find quiet time with my three children, let alone 10 children. But in that calm space under her apron, she found the beauty of Jesus.

Jesus also often withdrew to quiet places to pray (Mark 1) and he brought his disciples away from the crowds to get some rest  (Mark 6). He understands our limitations and our need for quiet spaces in order to refocus, gain perspective, and appreciate the beauty around us.

When we left to go meet up with friends today, my daughter paused half-way down the sidewalk…”It’s so quiet.  I don’t hear anything”. So we listened together to the quietness of the winter wonderland.  Sometimes we are so used to the noise, that the quiet takes our breath away and makes us marvel.

This weekend, let’s cultivate some moments of quietness by saying no to an unnecessary  commitment, quieting down a space so sentimental decor can be noticed again, making quiet places to sit with Jesus, and make memories with those important to you. Let’s create a life that we ‘don’t want to run away from’.

Sojourning with you,

Felicia

Living with intentionality and an update on my goals.

This last weekend, we completed our second successful road trip! We’ve taken others with the littles, but the travel time was not so ….”successful”. Our magic button this time was the DVD player gifted to us by friends, that kept them calm for our 6 hours in the car Saturday. My husband and I actually got to…..(gasp) talk! This gives hope for future road trips. 🙂

One of the things we discussed is how our baby will soon be too big for her bassinet, and need to move in with her siblings. How can my baby be this big already? I wish the house would just clean itself so I could snuggle the littles all day everyday as they grow way too fast!

The problem with her growing so fast is we currently don’t have room for another bed. We have two small rooms for the two kiddos which also function as the office and nursery. So some creative arranging and downsizing must happen within a month or two. Eeek! This is definitely my area to grow in! I’m not good at letting go of things. It also means I must be focused with how I spend time, as daily life must be juggled with preparing for this next stage.

I love this verse from our Bible study this week 2 Timothy 1:7 “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” A sound mind refers to a secure, sound, disciplined, calm, self-controlled, prioritized mind. Definitely what I need with these littles and preparing for each stage of their development! Did you also notice that it says “God has not given us a spirit of fear”? Remember, my word this year is courage, courage to act or speak what is right without fear of approval. I ‘waded into the waters’ with speaking at our last mom’s group, and next week I’ll take another step as I share the devotional to start our meeting. I’m excited and nervous this group is still new to me. God is so faithful to bless those steps when we obey. Last week at our co-op, I got to pray with a mama who was doing some medical testing the next day. Life is too short to live quietly, without making deep connections with those around us.

Here’s an update on my goals this year:

1. Read 12 books this year (honestly if I can make it to 10, I’ll consider it a win)

Update: I finished Cozy Minimalist Home and Peter Pan.

I’m currently reading Sacred Holidays by Becky Kiser. It definitely makes you think about holiday expectations, and living intentionally and with grace. I need to read faster though! There’s three books in route to me that I couldn’t resist!

2. Explore the alphabet with my preschooler: our “preschool” takes different forms through the seasons. Sometimes we do letters, but through the holiday season we’ve read a ton of books.

Update: We’ve been working through our letters with practice sheets, videos and games. Today we were working on letter I.

3. Identify 5 plants/tracks: I think it would be amazing to be able to go on our nature hikes and …..gasp….name what I’m looking at. But, alas! I have no idea. So I ordered this book based on a recommendation from a friend.

Update: Now, the trick to being able to identify things is… I have to read the books. (sigh, there’s never enough time to read all the books I want) Hopefully this summer I can practice identifying plants/animal prints.

4. Get rid of 50 things:

Update: I have a box in my closet where I stick things to donate. It has a couple items in there.

5. Learn to make more things from scratch.

Update: So far I’m learned to make yogurt, bread in the dutch oven, homemade cream of chicken soup, and my husband has made pretzels. I’ll have to share those photos in another post.

6. Prepare for secret project

7. Blog/writing (I have ideas…but life seems to take all my time)

Update: At least I’m writing each week…mostly. It definitely is life giving to be able to write.

8. Finish 2nd kids baby book and do the 3rd kid’s book

9. Clean out freezer and use up pantry (you know all those unmarked surprise dishes you find in the back of your freezer? yah….)

Update: I’ve been using up containers from the freezer, and tossed some things out today. My husband has been watching YouTube videos of a British chef which has inspired us to be more creative with our meal plans.

10. Do 10 projects with the little ones.

Update: We haven’t done anything big yet, besides our ‘school time”, nature journals, and birthday/Valentines day cards.

How about you? Where have you used courage lately? Have you made progress on a goal? I’d love to hear! Please comment below!

Sojourning together,

Felicia

2nd book of the year and breath your own oxygen first.

I’m feeling hopeful for completing my reading goal this year. Especially, since I just downloaded our library’s reading apps which give you access to tons of e books and audio-books that you can “check out” without even leaving your house! I just finished reading/listening to Peter Pan, the original version. It is sooooo not like the Disney version!

I was surprised by the violence in the book, and honestly read parts of it very fast hoping my preschooler would miss those details. We are doing a book study for our co-op, and have some fun activities planned to celebrate reading the book as a group.  (ideas for character costumes anyone?)  But us moms learned a lesson: Review the book before choosing it for our group book. I ended up listening to the rest of it, then telling my kiddo a summery of each chapter. I think we’ll watch the movie before the party to gain a better picture of the whole story, without the violence and extensive details. The original version is very, very, very detailed and can get kind of long to read especially in the first couple chapters. That being said, it was interesting to note some things about human nature: most all of the characters longed for a mother to care for them (even if they were tough), we long to be needed, our pride gets in the way of good decisions, and we love adventures.

I’ve been trying to be more disciplined with reading my own books.  Otherwise, I get to the end of a week and realize I’m still on the same page I was last week! 🙂 Life….it has a way of sneaking past us!  One of the many habits I need to develop is taking a few moments each day for something life giving. In the Charlotte Mason educational philosophy world, it’s called ‘mother culture’.   It’s the idea of reading books, participating in hobbies, etc to feed your mind/heart.

On an airplane, the emergency instructions remind us to put on our own oxygen mask first before assisting others with theirs. If we don’t have that supply going, we won’t last long to help others.  Admittedly, I have not done well in this area. It’s so easy to run around busy, caring for everyone’s needs while neglecting my own. Then I get to the end of the day, and feel wiped out and cranky. I have nothing left for them, because I spent it all without receiving any input. It’s been so cold here, that I went outside to run my van for 10 minutes so the battery wouldn’t die. When I came in, I commented to my husband that those 10 minutes were the most alone time I had experienced all day. 🙂

Here’s some life giving habits I’m trying to develop:

1. Read Bible/prayer time in morning: this habit has been my daily routine for years.  But as my oldest likes to start the day between 6:30 and 7:15, I’m reminded that this must be FIRST in my day if I hope to have it be a quiet time (without preschool chatter in the background).

2. Drink more water: I’m not good at this. Do you have any tips for me? Today I’m trying out my new fruit infuser water bottle and hoping it’s more motivating.

3. SIT DOWN to eat lunch with my kiddos, instead of snacking while I continue house projects. This calms my mind (pausing for a moment) and feeds my belly.

4. Choose something ‘life-giving’ as soon as the 3rd kiddo goes to sleep. The margin of time between getting the last kiddo to lay down for a nap, and when the 1st kiddo wakes up from their nap (also known as the ‘magic hour’), can be short. So if I want to do anything ‘life-giving’ (write, read, organizational project, etc), I must be intentional with that time.

How about you?  What personal habits or boundaries do you have to make sure you are not running on empty? Please share!

Sojourning together,

Felicia

The way to big things is little steps

The way to big things is little steps….but oh, how those steps are tiresome!  I’m sure I’ve written about it before, but it’s been on my mind again. I want big things!  No, I don’t have dreams of climbing mountains (though the view would be amazing) or founding my own corporation.  My goals are a little more…..plain.

Honestly, the biggest goal each day is to survive with all the littles and pets in a healthy condition, and to not have the house torn apart when my husband gets home. And then if I have time for something extra, I’ll attempt something from the goal list for the week. But survival…that is the basic goal. 🙂

This last week, it was so cold in our house due to below zero weather, that we were baking, cooking, pressure cooking etc to warm things up.  My kiddos love “helping” me bake, so I had a step stool and kid seat situated so they could be up at the counter. Dumping in ingredients and mixing it up are their favorite parts. This time I let them put muffin batter “into” the muffin pans. Notice that I said “into”…because when you give a two year old a spoon and tell him to put the batter “into” the pan….it will go everywhere on  the pan in his attempt to get it into the pan! All the while he’ll keep telling you in his sweet little voice…”Make! Make!”

Honestly, my husband questioned (and the thought crossed my mind) if it was worth it to let the kids help make the muffins due to all the mess that ensued. But the way to big things is little steps. If I want my kiddos to be capable helpers in the kitchen as they get older, then it starts with learning basic steps now. Stir gently, put the batter in the pan, pour slowly, and lots of waiting.

We all want to be the big ones, the ones people write stories about. But do we ever stop to think about how much little is in the big?  How many stones had David practiced throwing since he was a little boybefore his famous stone hit the big giant?  How much time did Mozart or Bach practice before anyone knew who they were? How many normal, everyday people impacted the lives of George Washington, Martin  Luther King Jr., and Billy Graham over the course of their lives to help them achieve great things?

The way to big things is through little steps.

 

If I want my little ones to be able to care for their own homes someday, then I let my toddler drag the kid size broom around “sweeping”.  I have them help put away the kid dishes, set the table, put away laundry, etc. Clearly, it’s much faster, neater, quieter, and less stressful if I do it myself. But if I don’t allow for the time consuming little steps to happen, the big goals will never be achieved.
If I want to finish 10-12 books this year, I need to read this page today. If I want to lose the postpartum weight, then today I’ll eat some vegetables. If I want to grow in knowing God more, then today I’ll read my Bible. If I want follow Jesus’ path for my life, then today I’ll ask Him what He wants me to do.
When I taught school, we celebrated each small bit of growth as a big accomplishment. There’s a lot of little steps between counting to ten, and double-digit division. We had to break it down into small steps, that built on each other until you reached the big goal. Each small accomplishment meant you were further down the track to where you needed to be.
Life’s greatest achievements are broken into a series of little steps and small acts combined with perseverance. So often I feel overwhelmed looking at the big picture and wondering how I’ll ever get there. But the secret isn’t some magical program you can buy off the shopping channel.  It’s in small steps combined with great perseverance.  It’s in faithfully doing the mundane.

PS. Those muffins turned out great!  So I’m hoping that the kids’ character will turn out just as wonderful with time. 😉  Little steps, guys….little steps.

Goals

I love this quote from my new planner!

I have so many ‘wishes’, bucket lists, ‘some days’….(whatever you’d like to call them) that I can’t make plans for all of them because there just isn’t physically enough time for them. There’s also the danger of wanting to do all the things, so I don’t actually do anything well. Goals are tricky things.  You have to make it high enough to have something to aim for while making it attainable. We have to “know our limits“.

This year, I’m trying something different. I’m trying to do a list of specific goals and keep track of my progress. But my view of goals is very grace filled. 🙂  I’m going to set a goal and if I get anywhere in range, I’ll count that as a success.  See???  Lot’s of grace!  With all the littles and the pets around here, you have to have breathing room on your goals.   I’m also going to try reporting back on progress, so I’m accountable for it.

Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss it you will land among the stars.

Les Brown

1. Read 12 books this year (honestly if I can make it to 10, I’ll consider it a win)

This month I read  Cozy Minimalist Home  by Myquillyn Smith.  Loved it! You can read my review of it here. I’m currently reading Sacred Holidays by Becky Kiser.  It definitely makes you think about holiday expectations, and living intentionally and with grace. 

2. Explore the alphabet with my preschooler: our “preschool” takes different forms through the seasons. Sometimes we do letters, but through the holiday season we’ve read a ton of books and maxed out the reserve limit at the library multiple times. (When they have over 300 Christmas books for little ones, you have to check out a lot to narrow down your list of favorites for next year) 🙂 Her new favorite thing is books with CD’s so she can follow along with the story instead of waiting around for me to read.

3. Identify 5 plants/tracks: I think it would be amazing to be able to go on our nature hikes and …..gasp….name what I’m looking at. But, alas! I have no idea. So I ordered this book based on a recommendation from a friend.

Tree Finder by May Theilgaard Watts

 

And these ones Winter Tree Finder by May Theilgaard Watts,

 Flower Finder by May Theilgaard Watts,

Track Finder by Dorcas Miller.

Now, the trick to being able to identify things is… I have to read the books. (sigh, there’s never enough time to read all the books I want) Hopefully this summer I can practice identifying plants/animal prints.

4. Get rid of 50 things

Update: I passed on 1 cookbook in a book swap.

5. Learn to make more things from scratch.

Update: So far I’m learned to make yogurt, bread in the dutch oven, homemade cream of chicken soup, and my husband has made pretzels.  I’ll have to share those photos in another post.

6. Prepare for secret project

7. Blog/writing (I have ideas…but life seems to take all my time)

8. Finish 2nd kids baby book and do the 3rd kid’s book

9. Clean out freezer and use up pantry (you know all those unmarked surprise dishes you find in the back of your freezer? yah….)

10. Do 10 projects with the little ones.

I’ll be posting some progress updates on Instagram so be sure to check out that page. How about you?  What are your goals or dreams for this year?  Comment below so we can cheer each other on.  Remember….grace filled. Make it something that is attainable and life giving. And if there is any way I can help, please let me know.

Sojourning together,

Felicia

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