Category Archives: books

2013 Goals {Believe}

OneWord2013_believe

New year, new start, clean slate, fresh perspective…

I love it.

Last year I chose to focus on Finish, but it seemed to be anything except that on December 31, 2012. I did not finish the career goal I envisioned, I did not reach the financial milestone I pursued, and I did not memorize James. Book covers collected more dust and my Allume ticket went to another faithful woman. What did I do? I served a group of Christian military wives, I moved again, and I came home to be with my mom after the passing of my stepdad.

How do I list goals for a new year while still unpacking the last one?

Tsh has a great set of questions that I used over a year ago to draft long term goals. Those goals are filtered through our current circumstances then I’m left with this year’s babysteps. Goals for 2013 seemed to start pouring out of pen onto paper.

I don’t want my goals to just be a grand to do list, I want them to be vehicles to helping me become more like Christ. This has been what I’ve prayed about over the last two weeks as I’ve reminisced over 2012. Finally, today it hit me. That goal to memorize James last year? I only got about halfway through chapter 1. When I started thinking about what I truly believed God wanted me to focus on this year, all I could think of was:

“But when he asks {for wisdom}, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.” James 1:6

I’m asking God for wisdom for this life, I’m believing in Him. As I journey through the next twelve months, I will continue to incorporate the 3 in 30 Challenge monthly.

20 Goals for 2013

Spiritual

Financial

  • Increase average monthly income {specific target set}
  • Payoff two debts

Physical

  • Complete 90 day fitness challenge with friends
  • Reach goal weight {90 day challenge goal set}

Career

  • Increase my business targets by 13%
  • Increase workload to reach financial monthly target
  • Complete 3 educational trainings {corporate events, online training, etc}

Personal Growth

  • Read 50 books
  • Blog consistently {2-3 times per week}
  • Attend Allume Attend a Blog Conference {Looking for something more technical}
  • Learn to shoot in manual mode with my new DSLR {yay!}

Family

  • Plan our 20th Anniversary trip
  • Preserve more of our family photos in albums
  • Visit with our extended family at least once per month
  • Attend extended family reunions this summer
  • Plan four adventures for our family of four {camping, etc}
Thank you to Melanie for providing these images for MyOneWord! I’m also linking up with Crystal at MoneySavingMom.com.

 

 

25 Days to Christmas EBook

If you have been around a while, you may have notice that I completely abandoned my Creative Giving Challenge goal. Of course, you would know we are moving since that is all I seem to be talking about. You might even be wondering if I know how to blog anything except Five Minute Friday and 3 in 30 Updates.

I am happy to say that God has given me many new ideas to write about while I’ve been busy with the move. I’m very much looking forward to sharing more of them after the new year.

For today, I wanted to share something with you that is absolutely free.

Last month, I was invited to be a contributor at A Biblical Marriage. My first post with them should be up in December but there is great content available now! When you sign up for the daily emails you will get encouragement for your marriage and a great free e-book as well.

How are you planning on keeping the Christmas season focused on Christ?

21 Days to a More Disciplined Life

Crystal at MoneySavingMom.com is pretty much my go-to source when it comes to frugal ideas and recipes. She also has an amazing gift of encouragement. This probably means I opened her new e-book with a slight bias given all I’ve learned through her blog.

After reading 21 Days to a More Disciplined Life, I am convinced I would recommend this book had I never heard of Money Saving Mom! Obviously I love goal-setting, but sometimes I just don’t actually do what I need to do to reach my goals.

There often seems to be a disconnect between my thoughts and actions: Self discipline.

The encouragement, practical steps, and resources in 21 Days To A More Discipline Life are like having a personal coach. She helps guide you through daily changes to increase self-discipline, while simultaneously tackling one “mega” project in bite sized pieces.

Crystal reminds us that when it comes to discipline, “I may be the problem, but I’m also the solution!” She takes the journey alongside us with this book, acknowledging challenges and
offering solutions to them.

During the official launch, this e-book is only 99 cents. Grab a copy* before the prices go up and let me know what you think.

*In the spirit of full disclosure, this is an affiliate link, which means that I may get a commissions if you decide to purchase this book. I only recommend products & systems that I use and love myself, so I know you’ll be in good hands.

 

Wide {Farewell}

Today as the clock starts it’s five minute countdown, I open Lisa Jo’s page to see her prompt for me. Welcome. But just underneath she talks about last week’s prompt, wide.

And all I can think of is music. It echos inside of memories of our church singing…

How deep {oh, how deep},
How wide {oh, how wide},
How great….is His love for me.

And I know, that today, the man who married my mom when I was in elementary school, the man who loved me as much as any father could, the man who chose to serve His Lord and Savior; is celebrating that love in a way I cannot yet fathom.

Yes, the tears flow today. Because we will miss him, because I know my mother’s heart will ache for many days to come.

But not because of where he is now.

For that reason, I start collecting One Thousand Gifts. Thank you Papa, for giving me a reason to focus on joy for the next year. Thank you, for pointing everyone to Jesus. Welcome home.

1. A second father, home with His Savior.
2. Quiet, last moments together.
3. Friends, who rally around me in prayer.

The One Minute Organizer Giveaway

Here in the Pacific Northwest, today is Back to School Day.

You know, the national holiday where moms celebrate a whole day of silence.

It can also be the day you look around the house and wonder what-in-the-world-happened to your closets and cleaning routine.

Some of you are laughing and saying, “A cleaning what?”

Today’s giveaway is a back to school celebration and a chance to help you reclaim your home after all that summer fun.

This little book has 500 ideas to help you get more organized. The book has two parts: Getting Organized and Staying Organized. Chapters cover:

  • Getting Started
  • Clearing Clutter
  • Paper Stuff
  • Spaces & Things
  • Everyday Strategies
  • Clutter Control
  • Home Management
  • Schedules & To-Do’s

These chapters are not complicated theories of how we can become perfectly organized, but bullet points of tips, ideas and suggestions you can read in under a minute then get to action.

The winner is Amanda! Congratulations!

Here’s how to enter! Leave a separate comment for each entry you complete.

  • Leave a comment with one area you already keep organized {make sure to include your email so you can be contacted if you’re the winner!}
  • Subscribe to the blog updates in the box at the top of the page
  • Become a fan on Facebook or tell me you already are
  • Follow me on Twitter or tell me you already are

This contest is open until Friday, September 7, 2012, at 11:59 pm PST. ONE winner will be selected at random and announced Sunday. Open to US recipients only. Please read my full disclosure policy and contact me with any questions you might have.  

 

Debt Free U

One of the books I read during June was Debt Free U by Zac Bissonnette. At first glance, it doesn’t sound like the kind of book I would review here on the blog. However…

I cannot recommend this book highly enough!

It isn’t just high school seniors and their parents seeking a way to pay for college without student loans. The slow economy of the last few years means many individuals are seeking to complete higher education. The political debate surrounding student loans, not to mention their complexity, is only the most recent news that makes us want to run far, far away from the recommendations of most financial “aid” offices.

In Debt Free U, Bissonnette uses a captivating blend of facts, figures, and humor to educate the reader on options for paying for college without debt.

The myths and facts surrounding each of the following are explained in detail:

  • FAFSA form – both its nuances and inaccurate method of assigning family contribution
  • Student loans – types, default rates & policies, promotion by colleges
  • Admissions offices – strategies, marketing tactics
  • School types – community colleges, private schools, public universities, online options
  • Choosing colleges – campus visit myths, housing options, program options
  • Scholarships – determining value of applying for them vs. working

One of the most useful tools is his detailed plan for paying for college without loans even if you have nothing saved and don’t earn a penny in scholarships.

Combining his suggestions from several chapters, Bissonnette outlines the combined use of work, community college, and a public university to pay for a degree without debt and without having the student average more than 30 hours per week on average.

Funny stories mixed with the nuts and bolts of the college financial process means this book is the book I recommend to anyone who is or will be paying for college.

Did you pay for college without using any loans? How?

3 in 30 Week 25 Update

It felt great to get back into a little more routine this week, including 3 trips to the gym. The kids finished their school year and our first summer visitor arrived the very next evening. Before going to the airport, I took the kids to a huge mall in Seattle to shop and watch a movie. KitKat can out-shop us all now. I need to get back in the habit of taking the camera everywhere because I seem to focus on objects instead of people with my camera phone.

I didn’t get these gorgeous shoes when we were shopping, but I’m thinking I’ll regret it.

Run/Walk 30 Miles

Since adjusting this goal to include cardio equipment at the gym, I completed fourteen more miles this week towards the goal. That leaves 11 miles towards the goal. I believe I’ll be able to finish this without a problem.

Write 30 Notes of Encouragement

I am almost on track for this, I simply ran out of stamps this week. I’ve gotten a few responses from this but I have to say that is not motivating to me…I truly love writing them. I rarely think about them once they are sealed and placed in the mailbox.

Read for 30 Minutes Per Day

I can’t remember for sure, but I am almost certain I did not read even one day for 30 minutes. I think this is in part because the books I am currently working through are physical books instead of on my Kindle. Hopefully I’ll make much more progress this week.

3in30 ChallengeWhat are you finishing this week as we wrap up June?

Becoming More Than a Good Bible Study Girl

I have participated in dozens of Bible study groups since we got married. I have gone through books of the Bible in a Sunday School setting, taken dvd/homework series with other women, and even participated in groups focused exclusively on prayer.

Many of them have blessed me, but few of them have rocked me to the core.

There comes a point – hopefully after just one study – that we have to ask ourselves why we continue to take classes if we aren’t willing to change as a result?

Becoming More Than a Good Bible Study Girl was highly recommended and I’m so glad I took the time to read it cover to cover. Even if it did take me about six weeks!

Lysa’s ability to take the most mundane task  (think cutting a pineapple) and apply it to studying the Word of God is both insightful and entertaining.

She shares the kind of stuff we normally prefer to hide: failures, insecurities, doubts. In doing so, she allows us to recognize the real motivation for study of God’s Word…

“So that you may know him better.” Ephesians 1:17b

Lysa says, “Becoming more than a good Bible study girl means I separate my shortcomings from my identity and let Jesus be the only measure of my worth.” Later adding, “It’s being able to sit in the noise of the arena of life with every worldly distraction imaginable bombarding you and suddenly thinking of Him – talking with Him, smiling with Him, and realizing that every longing you’ve ever had in life to be more…is already filled. By Him. The One who chooses you.”

There aren’t just broad principles and lofty ideals in these pages, but practical application for our hearts, walk with God, relationships, struggles, thoughts, and calling.

She closes the book asking us if we are willing to pray dangerous prayers. The kind where we tell God: inconvenience me, change me, get my attention.

How do you apply what you study to your daily life?

3 in 30 Week 17 Update

Confession time.

I did not accomplish what I had planned for April.

I missed the mark on my 3 in 30 goals as well as other goals that I have been continuing from earlier this year. My tendency is to think of all the excuses or try to gloss over it.

But if there was only one lesson I learned from the amazing speakers and women I have met in blogging, it is that being real is the way we bless most.

So I am being real. I watched television, had a three hour lunch with a friend, and sat outside on sunny days. I didn’t do half the spring cleaning I had planned, my contact lists are improved but not finalized, and I only made it half way through the blogging book.

And I am okay with all of it.

Our pastor shared a great message yesterday about families and I realized {again} how blessed we are. I wouldn’t change one minute of it all just to have these three items crossed off my list as the final sunset goes down this month.

Tomorrow I start fresh. I am not going to carry over any of the goals, although I’m sure I will actually finish them in May.

So here they are, the goals I have for May. I pray that I will be diligent to work to their completion, but even more so that God would take me a completely different direction if it is His plan…because ultimately these goals are about being who He designed me to be, to serve those He has placed in my life.

Deuteronomy 7:9 Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations

21 Days of Prayer for Sons

I will be reading this book and praying for our son for 21 days in May. We are so grateful that our kids are both healthy, hard working, and love God. We also know they face challenges even greater than what we did just a few short years ago when we were in high school. I cannot think of a better goal for the month we celebrate Mother’s Day.

21 Workouts

I have been working out fairly consistently this year but I want to ramp up that activity. I really wanted to set a goal to workout 31 days this month but I tend to assume ideal conditions which are never gonna happen rare. I plan to include a variety of activities to reach this goal including running outdoors, spin class, and more weight training.

Plan, Host or Attend Key Women’s Events

A friend and I are finalizing plans for a baby shower we are going to host this month, our PWOC Group is holding our annual Spring Retreat, and I am hoping to host an event in my home for moms and their teen daughters. God is still working out the details of the last idea in my heart and mind, but I am excited to be a part of encouraging women in so many different ways this month.

3in30 Challenge What is on your calendar in May? Do you have specific goals set?