Baby Step Update — Financial Freedom

Baby Step Update — Financial Freedom

Hi friends! How are you doing!?

I’ve been meaning to do this post for a while, but for whatever reason it just kept getting pushed to the back burner. Financial peace is something I think about a lot and I thought it would be fun (and hopefully encouraging to you) to update you on where we are in the baby steps.

My husband and I have been following Dave Ramsey for a bit. I honestly don’t remember when we started learning more about his Financial Peace system and baby steps, but we’ve been taking it seriously and moving along the steps. Maybe about a year at this point? We read Dave’s book, The Total Money Makeover, in January and I listen to his podcast, The Dave Ramsey Show, regularly. By regularly, I mean every day.

I really appreciate his no-nonsense attitude about finances and how willing he is to provide free resources for people that want to learn and make the changes. Not everyone is open to changing, but the ones that are have a proven system to build wealth and leave a legacy. I was hesitant to get on board with his methods, but the more I listened, the more sense it made to me. It feels good to have a plan and it has helped Eric and I with our communication about money. We’re on the same team working toward the same goals. What a blessing!

If you’re not familiar with Dave Ramsey, he talks about 7 Baby Steps to get out of debt, save for your future and ultimately be able to build wealth and give.

Baby Step 1: Save $1,000 (starter emergency fund)
Baby Step 2: Pay off all debt (except for your home) using the snow ball method
Baby Step 3: Save a fully funded Emergency Fund (3-6 months worth of expenses)
Baby Step 4: Invest 15% of household income
Baby Step 5: Save for kid’s college
Baby Step 6: Pay off your home
Baby Step 7: Build wealth and give

Simple and to the point. Once you complete a baby step then you move to the next. It takes out the guesswork so you can focus on using your money best for your stage of life.

You may remember we officially paid off my student loans (you can visit the post here) back in September. Best feeling ever! Since then we have made a lot of progress. We did things a little off plan at the beginning as we were learning, but at the end of the day things got done.

Baby Step 1 completed November 1, 2017.
Baby Step 2 completed November 2017.
Baby Step 3 completed February 14, 2018 — sweet Valentine’s Day gift 😉
Baby Step 4 started on February 18, 2018
Baby Step 5 skipped for now (we will start this once we’re blessed with kids)

That leaves us to paying off our home and/or saving up for a future down payment on our next home! We’re not sure when that move will happen, but we want to be prepared. We’ve accomplished all the goals we have set to this point, so it’s time to set new and bigger ones!

Last month we decided to start working with a Financial Advisor to help with our retirement savings and be a guide through this financial journey. We found him through Dave Ramey’s endorsed local providers, SmartVestor Pro. Our advisor also happens to attend our church which sealed the deal for me! We are young, so retirement seems so far away, but it’s important to us to start this right so we can maximize our efforts.

Our journey up to this point hasn’t been perfect. There have been times that felt clumsy and hopeless. Especially at the beginning when we were trying to figure it all out and get systems into place. Debt snowball. Budget. Weekly budget meetings. Things I wanted, but knew I shouldn’t buy. It was tough, but it did get easier each day.

I have to be honest, we’re not 100%. We do our best to follow the plan exactly, but sometimes it won’t be 100%. But we’re as close as we can be for right now.

We still have a leased car. A “fleece” as Dave would say. Worse comes to worse and we’ll finish out the lease then pay cash for our next car.  We have been busy with work and opening up the new ice cream, Vida Dulce, that other things may go to the back of our minds for the time being. We are only investing 15% of my income instead of our household. Since Eric is a business owner, the investments aren’t as straight forward — I’m sure we’ll discuss that with our advisor. With the shop opening recently and getting paychecks figured out, we’ve put a pause on paying extra on the house to make sure we have enough money to pay our bills. We’ll get it all together, but for now I feel good about where we’re at and what we have accomplished!

If you’re already on your financial freedom journey or want to start one, I have some encouragement for you. 

It will be hard. Financial peace + freedom isn’t normal. Normal is debt, credit cards, loans. We want to be weird! It will take intention and hard work.

If you are married, communication is key. You have to be on the same page, otherwise you’ll be spinning your wheels and get frustrated. You are stronger together. Once you attack this, you’ll realize you can do anything as a team!

You may want to give up and throw in the towel. But don’t! It is worth it. Each positive step you take moves you that much closer to your goals.

You are doing this to live a life a freedom and leave a legacy. You are doing this so that you can be a blessing when the opportunity arises. You are doing this so that your life isn’t full of money stress, but full of peace and joy.

Don’t get me wrong, money isn’t everything. But it is a major tool that allows us opportunities and choices. You don’t have to be “rich” to do this plan. My husband and I do well, but we certainly don’t make a ton. We had to make sacrifices and decide what’s more important. I’ve heard success stories of single moms, of couples that make annually $750k+ and everything in between. It can be done if you decide.

Do you have a financial goal you’re working towards right now? I’d love to cheer you on! As always, I’m available to chat if you have any questions or just need some accountability ❤

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My Whole30 Reset Flop

My Whole30 Reset Flop

I thought about just letting this go and not actually sharing it. I technically “failed” with my Whole30 Reset, so why talk about it? Shouldn’t we only share things when they go perfectly? Well, of course, the answer is no. At least for me. I definitely want to share about things that go well, but I also want to be transparent with you. I think we can learn from any type of experience if we’re open to it and take the time to reflect.

So lets talk. 

My original plan was to start my Whole30 reset Monday, April 23rd and stick with it for 9 days. Easy enough, especially since I’ve completed a full Whole30 not too long ago. 9 days would go by in a flash.

Things were different with this reset than with my first ever full round. It was a lot easier to plan since the whole concept and guidelines were familiar to me. I was able to get into the swing of things much faster and had an easier time making purchasing decisions in the store. I had missed the structure and built in “choice system” of the program. When I’m doing Whole30 I automatically know certain things are a no-go. This makes it a lot easier to resist and say no. Unless you’re not fully committed. Which happened to be my problem. I think since it wasn’t a full round, I was easily convinced to go against the plan.

Everything was going well. I was hungrier the first few days, but had compliant snacks ready if needed. I wasn’t thinking about food 100% of the time like I did during my first round (yay!) I wasn’t feeling the full on positive side effects yet, but I was feeling good.

It was all good until Thursday night. There was a delicious chocolate and strawberry triffle being served at small group and I rationalized ‘I’ve been doing well with this reset, so a little bit wouldn’t hurt.’ That threw me off because it confused my mind and body about what we were doing. This was supposed to be a time where I was fueling my body with whole foods and giving it a break from all the carbs and sugars. Whoops…

It pretty much fell apart from there. My brain is too good at rationalizing what the ‘dark side’ wants. Added sugar, french fries, dessert. I’m totally not against those things in moderation, but my moderations had gotten out of control which was the reason for my reset. Those things don’t fit into a Whole30 Reset, but once they made their way in, it was tricky.

So it wasn’t a wonderful reset by any means. I felt a little guilty when I flopped, but then let that go. Guilt doesn’t do any good especially when it’s in our relationship with food. Life happens outside the walls of a perfectly planned program. Sometimes we get it “right” and other times we don’t. It’s not an all or nothing kind of thing.

What did I learn?

I have the choice. I don’t need a particular program to make a change. It can be helpful to have a program if I need the guidance or the extra push, but ultimately every moment is a chance for a better choice. When I look at each moment as independent of each other, it helps me stay out of the mindset of one misstep blowing the rest of the day. I’m sure we’ve all been there — one bite turns into a whole weekend and then you feel crummy. Ican be empowered to make the right choices for my own body and health.

Be gentle during crazy stressful times. On the scheduled last day of my reset, Vida Dulce had their friends and family celebration and set to open to the public the next day. In retrospect, this probably wasn’t the most ideal time to do a reset. My focus was all over the place and treats were on the brain. I think it’s beneficial to treat your mind and body especially well during crazy times, but putting too much stress on it can cause an adverse effect. Maybe during that time relaxing a bit in the food department would have allowed more breathing room in other areas.

Buy the good things. Only buy the things you want to eat. This seems pretty obvious, but isn’t always done in practice. If you want to eat the veggies, buy the veggies. It’s easier to just not buy something than to rely on your will power.

Consider the WHYs. When bumping up against something that I “shouldn’t” do, I can consider the why. Why do I want to do this? Why do I feel like I shouldn’t? Those answers can help guide my choices and actions. Maybe that something is a big dessert. I feel like I shouldn’t because it’ll make me feel sluggish and bloated later. If I feel like I should because its been a long day and I need a treat, it’s best to avoid it. If I feel like I should because it’s cake to celebrate my sister’s college graduation, that’s a special time and I can enjoy a smaller piece. The why behind it makes a difference.

Keep accountability. I enjoy keeping accountability with myself through a journal and with others through honest conversations. Journaling helps me work out the deeper layers of a situation. It helps me uncover patterns and missing pieces. Health is important to me and I have close friends that feel the same — these are the people I share goals, struggles, and victories with. The best part about being vulnerable with others is often times they have been there too and can help you overcome the struggle! I don’t know everything and can learn so much from the experiences of the people in my life. Take comfort in knowing you are not the only person who has ever gone through that situation.

What now?

It may be a while before I complete another round or reset, but that doesn’t mean it’s back to my treat yoself daily ways. Once in a while, yes, because #balance. While it’s still a crazy season, I think it’s best to take the pressure off. I want to enjoy fueling my body with whole foods, but allow some space for flexibility. It seems like everyone has been sick (I haven’t been feeling so well myself), and I know rest and food are our first lines of defense.

So if I put a label on it, maybe it’s a loose Whole30. Which is itself an oxymoron, but I think you get the point, yes? There is a time for everything. Right now is the time to take what I have learned and nourish myself — mind, body, and soul.

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April Progress | May Goals 2018

April Progress | May Goals 2018

This post contains affiliate links. See affiliate disclaimer here.

I’m so excited about May! April was great, but May just has a different feeling to it.

As you’ll see in my Powersheets, there is a lot to celebrate this month! Plus everything is continuing to bloom and come back to life since it seems like the warm weather is actually here to stay! My Spring-loving heart is oh so happy!

One of the things I love most about my intentional goal planner is how it encourages me to reflect and dream. I can reflect on what worked well and what could use a change. This month I’m saying no to other people’s emergencies and saying yes to myself. It may seem selfish, but it’s a way to protect my time and energy. I love helping others and being a blessing, but I can’t do that if my time and energy is drained. Can you relate?

April Progress

Monthly Goals

  • Stillness + Rest: I’m getting a lot better at this! It’s not exactly one of those goals you can check off completely since it’s something to always revisit, but I feel like I made good progress here in April. I’m learning more about what being still and resting looks and feels like for me.
  • Support opening of Vida Dulce: Vida Dulce didn’t open in April as we had planned, but all preparation was underway! The shop is really Eric’s baby, so I helped however he asked me to and supported by keeping things in order at home. That’s an important task too! 😉
  • Plan April blog content: I love planning out my content for you all! It doesn’t always go according to plan — sometimes I’m inspired by something other than what I had intended, but it’s good for me to have an outline. If there’s anything specific you’d like to see here, please let me know!
  • Set up our wills: This is moving to May.
  • Decide on financial advisor: We decided on a financial advisor and I’m so excited! We found a great one through Dave Ramsey’s Endorsed Local Providers. We’re beginning our investing young, so want to make sure we’re doing it in the smartest way possible. Having a trusted professional in our corner will help us do that!
  • Read book #4: I read Candace Cameron Bure’s newest book, Kind is the New Classy! I loved it!! I’m sure I’ll be sharing more about the book soon. I’ve enjoyed winding down my day before bed with some reading.
  • Declutter upstairs: I didn’t make as much progress here, but that’s okay. My focus shifted and this fell down the list of importance. Oh well, that happens.

Weekly Goals

  • Lift up others — be a light: I’m striving to live out 1 Thessalonians 5:11″Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” Sometimes it was a kind word, a smile, a quick text, or time with a friend. I’m going to continue with this goal for May.
  • Social media free day: It wasn’t always a full day (so maybe I didn’t reach my goal?) but I was intentional about at least taking some unplugged time. Instead of making it a weekly goal, I’m going to do it as needed for the future.
  • Be early: I’ve gotten so much better with this since I made it an intention! It stresses me out to run late, but I often was. I started building more time into my getting ready process and commute time, so that’s helped a lot.
  • Blog post: Check! New blog post has been coming to you every Thursday! I’d like to work on batch writing these so I don’t feel so last minute putting them together.
  • Instagram with intention: This is one way to be a light. Posting with purpose on Instagram instead of posting “just to post” or worrying too much about what’s going to get more likes. I want my feed to be a place of real connection.

Daily Goals

  • Bible plan — Achieved 29/30 days
  • Outserve Eric — Achieved 25/30 days
  • Soul care — Achieved 30/30 days
  • Pure Barre — Achieved 19/30 days
  • Write the Word — Achieved 21/30 days

Good things are being cultivated through these daily goals. One goal I’m particularly pleased with is the second one, Outserve Eric. This was inspired by a previous discussion in our small group. We’re studying Francis and Lisa Chan’s book, You and Me Forever, and there was a point where they were talking about not just serving your spouse, but outserving them. Making it a competition of sorts.

Eric and I don’t get to see each other too often, so I struggled with how I could even serve him. By having this as a focus, I got creative and it stayed at the front of my mind. I sought out ways I could serve and bless him. This has a positive impact on our relationship. Even though we still don’t have a lot of time together, I feel connected and loved because I’m serving him and being served by him! Marriage is the best and most challenging thing I’ve experienced so far and I’m always looking for ways to develop as a Godly wife.

May Goals

Monthly Goals

  • Vida Dulce Opening
  • Celebrate Sarah Jane’s graduation
  • Budget meeting
  • Set up our wills
  • Complete Financial Plan
  • Friend date
  • Read book #5

Weekly Goals

  • Rest + Care
  • Be a light
  • Spend time wisely
  • Blog post

Daily Goals

  • Bible Plan
  • Write the Word
  • Serve Eric
  • Pure Barre

It’s amazing what will grow when you give it attention. They say the grass isn’t greener on the other side, it’s green where you water it. I believe that’s so true! If we want goodness to grow, we must water it and that starts with setting the intention! You can think about watering it all day long, but until you actually set aside the time and take the action to get the water, nothing will happen.

What do you want to grow this month? Now, what is it going to take to make that happen? ❤

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How to stay organized with a busy schedule

How to stay organized with a busy schedule

This post contains affiliate links. See affiliate disclaimer here.

We are all busy.

Commitments, work, family, friends, responsibilities, chores. And the list goes on, right?

It’s been an especially busy season in the Torres household with the preparation of opening up the ice cream shop amongst everything else. It can be challenging and overwhelming as you enter a new season, especially a busier one.

Stress and burnout are common because we feel like the days are slipping past us and we don’t have a grip on the things that matter. That’s why I’m sharing my tools and tricks that have helped keep me on track and make progress in the areas that are important to me. Busy can be fruitful. It’s going to be inevitable at times, so lets be intentional in making the most of it!

Set your goals

If you don’t know where you’re going, how will you know when you get there?

One simple thing that has made a huge impact for me is setting and writing down my goals. This is a chance for me to look at where I’ve been and plan for where I want to go. It doesn’t always work out the way I have planned, but it’s a place to start.

My favorite tool for goal setting is my Powersheets*. This is an intentional goal planner that allows me to learn more about myself, my goals, and my intentions through prep work. It’s a place where I can see my progress and plan for what’s ahead. I make sure my “busy” is purposeful (and organized!) by cultivating what matters and letting go of the rest. It’s easier said than done sometimes, but it’s made it so much easier to say “no” to things when I’ve already realized what’s in alignment for this season.

Now you don’t have to use the Powersheets to make this happen (although I highly recommend them because they’re amazing)! You can start by simply writing down goals you have in the different areas of your life.

Health. Friends. Spouse/Significant Other. Family. Finances. Spiritual + Personal Growth. Work. Recreation.

Not every area will be important in every season, but you can use as a guide and focus on what’s most important to you right now. You might be in a season of a brand new job, so the Work area is important to cultivate, but maybe recreation isn’t for right now. And that’s okay.

Use a planner

In the spirit of “not everything is important all the time,” not everything needs to make it into your planner. If you’re someone who doesn’t use a planner of some sort, I honestly don’t know how you function. I’ve kept a planner for years and years. My current favorite is the Simplified Planner*, but find that works best for you!

There have been seasons where I overwhelm myself because I pile too much onto my plate. Reserve your “yes” for those things that move you closer to where you want to be. Again, not everything is important or right for this season.

I’ve also gotten myself into trouble when I’ve committed to something, but forgot to add it to my planner. Now any commitment goes right into my Simplified Planner. Every meeting, appointment, Pure Barre class, friend date, reminder, anything. It all gets written down so nothing gets overlooked or forgotten.

This has made life so much easier because I don’t have to store all this information in my head. I can make sure I’m not overcommiting myself and that I’m using my time well. I feel a lot less frazzled and more organized when my days are straight!

Keep a running list

 

 

If I don’t write something down, usually I’ll forget it. This used to drive me crazy! Busy season or not, I’m sure there are moments where something pops into your head that you need to remember, like pick up dry cleaning or don’t forget to grab milk at the store, but the next moment you’re sidetracked by something else and forget. This only makes the busyness feel more crazy.

I don’t always have my planner on me, but I pretty much always have my phone. So I use it to my advantage! I used to keep a “to do list” in the notes section on my phone, but this got a bit cluttered. For a while I’ve been using an app called MinimaList and it’s amazing! I can quickly add things to my list and it serves as an external brain for me, remembering everything so I don’t have to. From there I can add things to my planner as needed or just let it live in my app until it’s crossed off (yes it gives you the satisfaction of crossing items off a list!)

Just last night I was laying in bed and thought of a few things I needed to get done today. Instead of letting this keep me up trying to make sure I remembered, I simply added it to my list and moved on. I set it up as a widget on my main screen so it’s easily accessible and used all the time!

Prep your food

You’re probably sick of hearing about this, but I cannot stress enough the magic of meal prep! Or at least ingredient prep! What I mean by this is instead of prepping your whole meal and putting it together, you prep the ingredients so they’re ready when you are. This seems less overwhelming to me and I can mix and match the ingredients to make different meals.

I really got back into meal prepping again during my Whole30. It’s such a dream to have good, healthy food ready to go especially when you’re super busy and/or super hungry. Yes, in a situation like that you could just hit the drive through, but food prepping saves you time and money. Plus it’s usually healthier! Win-win-win!

I feel more relaxed and enjoy my food more when I’m not trying to scramble putting things together to cook it. Set aside 30 minutes this week to plan your meals (they don’t have to be fancy). Make your grocery list based on your plan and what you already have. Go to the grocery store. Then set aside 1-2 hours prepping whatever you can! It does take time up front, but it will save you so much time and hassle throughout the week.

I took it a step further and got my lunch boxes ready for a few days and that made me feel like I was queen of the world! Set yourself up for success!

Choose your outfit the night before

Have you ever noticed picking out an outfit might take you 2 minutes at night, but 30 minutes in the morning!? That is precious time and mental energy that does not need to be spent.

I have been picking out my entire outfit the night before for a while and it’s incredible to not have to make that decision in the morning. It makes me feel prepared and on top of it. Mornings can be so hectic, so why not make it easier for yourself? The morning sets the tone for your whole day — don’t let that tone be panic, stress, and frustration.

Moral of the story: get things out of your head and simplify.

We tend to make things more complicated than they need to be especially when we’re busy and not thinking clearly. My hope is that these tools and tricks will help you flourish no matter the season you’re in ❤

What is your best tool or trick to flourish with a busy schedule? I’d love to know in the comments below.

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Life after Whole30 + why I’m resetting

Life after Whole30 + why I’m resetting

If you’ve been following along, you’ll remember I completed my very first round of Whole30 back in early March. It was honestly something I never thought I could do. Could I really cut carbs, sugar, and wine for 30 whole days? I found out the answer is YES! I had amazing results that you can read about here and I was feeling good.

Fast forward a month and a half later and I can tell I’m slipping back into some old, bad habits. Like dessert every day. And all the breads. It’s like my brain is saying “I went without this for 30 days so EAT ALL THE THINGS!” Did this happen to anyone else??

But on the bright side, my views and awareness around food have remained positively changed because of my Whole30 experience. I’m more mindful of what I’m consuming (although I still don’t always make the best choices). I pay attention to labels and ingredients more than I ever did before and try to select better alternatives based on what I’ve learned. That’s a win!

I’m more in tune with my body. The Whole30 gave me an opportunity to see how my body is “supposed” to be right now. It wasn’t perfect, but it was a body without bloat, sugar cravings, and better sleep. It gave me a new baseline to evaluate other experiences against.

Before Whole30 I had gotten into an exercise funk. I was bored with my workout routine and couldn’t find the motivation to stick with anything. I got back into Pure Barre after being away for a couple years when I started my Whole30. Barre + healthy eating choices is a wonderful, feel-good combination. Good news — the regular exercise train has continued and I’m still really enjoying it! I even attended the 6am class this morning. Proud of myself!

With all that being said, there is still a mental shift that needs to happen around my nutrition. I guess it takes longer than 30 days to rewire 26 years of brain programming. As they say, it’s a marathon, not a sprint. I’m choosing to give myself grace while still learning and doing better.

Know better. Do better. 

Immediately after completing my first round of Whole30, we took a trip to the west coast to visit Los Angeles. A bit of poor planning on my part since I didn’t allow myself the recommended “reintroduction period,” but honestly it’s really hard to set aside the perfect time without any distractions, events, or commitments. So I did my best, but everything got reintroduced pretty much at once. I wasn’t able to take my time and identify how the different foods affected my mind and body.

Maybe that’s part of the reason old habits are sneaking back in. Maybe it’s just because I need more time with the positive habits. Either way, I believe a reset will do me good.

This reset is going to be exactly how it sounds: a chance to reset my body and my mind. To get back into good eating habits — whole foods, minimized snacking/grazing, not fueling my body with sugar, better sleep. It’s going to be an all around focus on wellness.

I think I did so well with Whole30 because it’s a black and white, structured plan. I didn’t have to think about my choices as much because the guidelines are clear. Eat what nourishes your body in the best way. Say no to processed, sugary, gut wrecking foods. Easy peasy.

Although it’s much easier said than done, my will power is stronger when I’m equipped with my game plan. It’s a lot different than the real world where every decision has to be considered. Am I okay with eating gluten today? How about a little sugar? What about a coffee with creamer? How about a few extra snacks just because I’m hungry, but maybe I’m just bored? That whole thought process will be eliminated for the reset because I’ve already determined the answers.

This reset will give me a chance to evaluate my food choices, nip those bad habits before they come back full on, and add some more delicious and nutritious go to meals to my arsenal. I can flex my Whole30 muscles again and, since it’ll be for a shorter period, really laser focus.

My reset will be 9 days beginning THIS Monday!

I’ve had a feeling I should get back to Whole30 for a couple weeks now as I’ve noticed my sweet tooth and cravings coming back, but decided to go for it once I saw a Whole30 Instagrammer that I follow talk about it. It was the confirmation I needed to just do it and stop thinking about it.

Are you in??

Follow the Whole30 guidelines and principles for 9 days. 

Simple as that.

This wouldn’t be recommended for you if you’ve never completed a Whole30 because I believe you need the 30 days to get into your groove. But this will be perfect if you’ve previously completed a Whole30 and need a “tune up.”

I’ll be sure to let you know how this reset goes and what I learn along the way! ❤

If you’ve done a Whole30 reset before, do you have any tips?? Definitely let me know in the comments below if you’ll be doing this with me! Yall are the best! 

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Wisdom from the yard

Wisdom from the yard

It’s officially spring here in North Carolina!

Despite the chillier weather lately, we have blooms and our grass is slowly turning back to green from icky brown. This also means the pollen is here, but necessary evils, right?

It’s my favorite time of the year because it’s finally getting warm again (praise!), but more importantly we get to witness first hand seemingly dead things come back to life. It’s amazing and I appreciate it more and more every year.

For a homeowner, spring also means we can no longer ignore the mess that is our yard. Eric and I do decently well in the yard department, well at least enough to get by. We don’t get complaint letters from our HOA and we’re usually pretty proud of the overall state of our home. But with our increasingly busy schedules and the fact that we can no longer rely on the landscaping from the seller of our house (we bought our home almost 3 years ago, so that may have expired a while ago…) lets just say things have gotten a bit out of control.

As I was pulling weeds last week I couldn’t help but see a parallel between this dreaded activity and certain areas of my life. Areas I wish had grown more by now. Areas that I’ve been neglecting that are now feeling overgrown, out of control, and struggling. Can you relate?

“If you plant nothing, you know what happens in your backyard? Weeds. Know what happens in your life if you plant nothing intentionally? Weeds.” — Dave Ramsey

I wish I had proactively taken better care of it so I wouldn’t have to clean up. 

If we had done the necessary minor work up to this point, pulling weeds wouldn’t be such a big deal. If we treated the yard when we were supposed to, addressed any concerns immediately, and kept a watchful eye our yard would be in good shape now. But we didn’t and it isn’t. The weeds had taken over many areas of our yard, but the worst was in the spot that isn’t visible since it’s blocked from view by the deck.

Isn’t this so relevant to life?

Just like our yard, when we take our eyes off an area the weeds can grow freely. No area is immune: health, finances, relationships, career, etc. Not only are the weeds unsightly and a pain to get rid of, they can choke out the things that are meant to be there.

What weeds are growing in your life? Might as well check your yard too while you’re at it. Weeds can look like worries, distractions, toxic people, laziness, bad habits. They may not seem like a big deal at first, but left unchecked they become a problem.

A weed that’s been growing in my life lately has been snoozing and sleeping in too late. Sleep is important to me. It’s crucial to good health and I’m cranky when I consistently don’t get enough of it. But the bad habit of staying up too late and then sleeping until the very last moment is a weed that needs to be pulled. I can’t even remember when this habit started, but it’s stuck around for a while and the roots have gotten deeper.

This weed is choking out my mornings and impacting the rest of my day. I would say sleep is a pretty good use of time, but there are other more important things that deserve my time before the craziness of the day gets a hold of me. Time in the Word comes first for me. Morning sets the tone for the remainder of the day and honestly my days have felt overwhelming and out of whack because I’ve let this weed take hold.

I wish I had given more time and attention so it wouldn’t be dead or struggling. 

I love buying perennial plants because they’re meant to come back year after year. I don’t have the greenest thumb, so it isn’t unusual for my perennials to accidentally become annuals and die after the first year.

When I think about it, though, it doesn’t take too much to have a green thumb. We know plants require sunlight and water of varying amounts. I can’t control the sun, but I can control the water. I’ve forgotten to water and then try to redeem myself too late. We have two potted plants on either side of our back door that were thriving last year with beautiful yellow blooms and evergreen leaves. Now they’re just dried up brown sticks in the pots. I’ve tried, but Google search tells me it may be too late to save them.

What if I had been more intentional throughout the fall and winter to care for them? They would probably be flourishing right about now. Other things demanded my attention and I took my eyes and focus off of them.

I’ve noticed this same thing happen in my relationships. Some require more care than others, but for any relationship to continue to grow and withstand winter-like seasons, time and attention is needed. The sun and water.

Our marriage is strong, but like every other couple, we go through seasons where we struggle. I can feel when we’ve been distracted and taken our attention off each other. Unlike our plants out back, this is repairable when we can bring it back into focus, but it can take extra care to get it there.

Tending to our yard left me feeling overwhelm, anxiety, and general annoyance because we played a part in this by not tending to it over time. I didn’t know where to begin. And once I actually did start it didn’t feel like progress was being made because every time I looked around there was still so much more to do.

I just had to start. I had to identify the areas that I could impact and then get to it. Not everything got done in one afternoon. There’s still more weeds to pull and plants to replace, but I took steps in the right direction. Progress was made and I’m intentional about fixing it.

Where do we go from here?

Determine what needs to be done. Block out time in your schedule to tend to it. Ask a friend for help. Pray through it. Put in the work. Be patient. Celebrate the progress.

In life and in your yard, whatever you plant will grow. If you don’t plant anything you’re likely gonna end up with weeds. If you plant and don’t tend to it, weeds will grow. Plant good things and help them flourish.

A little tough love for you: nothing good will happen just because. Even a lottery winner needs to intentionally buy the ticket. Not everything is worthy of your attention and focus right now. Set your intentions on what matters most.

Soon that overwhelm will transform to empowerment. What will you grow? ❤

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March Progress | April Goals 2018

March Progress | April Goals 2018

This post contains affiliate links. See affiliate disclaimer here.

Hi friend! I always feel a bit thrown off when there’s a holiday or a big trip right at the beginning of the month. Thrown off in the best way possible, of course. It’s like there’s the anticipation and excitement over the event and then once it passes you realize the new month is well under way and you’re just like whaaaa??

Well that’s been me in the beginning of April as I’m still trying to get a grip that March is over and spring is finally here. I mean like it’s officially here because the pollen is out in full force in our great state of North Carolina. My least favorite part of the season, but hey, gotta go through it, right?

I hope you had a wonderful Easter! Our day was full of friends, family, and celebration. It was jam packed and beautiful! We worshipped our risen King with friends, spent time with family, and celebrated Stella’s fourth birthday (aka gave her a big treat cookie). Perfection ❤

Now lets dig in to my Powersheets progress and what’s ahead!

March Progress

Monthly Goals

  • Health Appointments: dermatologist and eye doctor: Both went so well and were much needed. It was my first dermatologist appointment and I haven’t been to the eye doc in years so yay for health! I did have to get one mole removed on my arm, but everything else looked fine. SPF and better skin habits for the win! My eyes aren’t 20/20 anymore (adulting…), but they’re pretty close and I got some cute new glasses
  • Pack + prepare for LA: Packing is always such a hassle, but it gets easier everytime I do it. I have a post all about packing, but maybe an updated one is needed?
  • LA Trip & celebrate Eric’s birthday: We had an absolute blast in Los Angeles and we’re ready for our next trip out west! You can read all about our trip here.
  • Try/cancel Blue Apron: Mission accomplished! I actually enjoyed Blue Apron better than Hello Fresh (better meals, no shipping delays, easy instructions). It’s a service I would be open to trying again in the future, but not a need for our budget right now.
  • Read book #3: I read “It Starts with Food” by Melissa and Dallas Hartwig (the creators of Whole30). It was a super interesting read and taught me a lot in regards to Whole30 and how food affects our health. I would definitely recommend it if you’re thinking about doing Whole30 and/or want to learn more about the relationship between what we eat and how we feel.
  • Plan March blog content: Done! This has been so helpful in getting blog content up and out for you! Is there anything you’d love to read?? Let me know in the comments below.
  • Upgrade blog plan: Done! I went for years with the free blog plan, so having my own domain, more flexibility in the blog theme, and more opportunities in growing my little corner of the internet is so exciting!
  • Research financial advisors in area: We utilized Dave Ramsey’s SmartVestor Pro Program which helps connect you with financial advisors in your area that are endorsed by Dave. It is a paid endorsement, but the professionals are vetted. I’ve spoken with all 5 and will actually be meeting with one we feel will be a good fit. More to come on all this financial stuff soon!
  • Be still: Still very much a work in process. I suppose I won’t ever “arrive,” but I have more progress I want to make in this area.

Weekly Goals

  • Unplugged date: We did well with this, especially since we had a few Thursdays off together. Day dates are my fave since it’s such a treat! I do feel we need to get back to being more intentional here. The unplugged part of this is still key so that we use our time together well.
  • Check in with E: This has become part of the flow in our days and weeks. Since we’ve gotten into such a good rhythm I’m removing it from my Powersheets for April. We will continue to check in as needed, definitely at the beginning of every month and I’ll add it back if we start to slip.
  • Intentional Instagram: Through my quarterly refresh prep work, I determined my social media mission statement is: I intentionally use my platform to spread light and positivity. I connect purposefully and focus on what’s most important. I shared things that were real and meaningful to me instead of just posting to post.
  • Blog post: I strive to be intentional in my blog by sharing what’s important to me. I posted weekly — I’m enjoying the writing and sharing process.
  • Be early: I did well here, but still have work to do. I get lazy sometimes and choose to snooze instead of using my time well. Time to refocus and pull this back together.

Daily Goals

  • Bible Plan — Achieved 28/31 days
  • Meditate — Achieved 28/31 days
  • Pure Barre — Achieved 22/31 days
  • Soul care at night — Achieved 26/31 days

I’m very happy with the progress I made in March. These daily goals are all positive habits I want to cultivate and I think they’re going well! All are easily measurable (I completed it, yes or no) except for the last. I realized it was hard for me to judge if I had actually completed this goal for each day because “soul care” is a loose term. When I was setting goals for April I better defined this phrase. It’s an important goal to me because when I haven’t given the necessary care and attention to myself and what’s going to fill me up, I feel burnout and overwhelm. Those aren’t good places to live from, so I’m being intentional to do something different.

April Goals

Monthly Goals

  • Stillness + Rest
  • Support opening of Vida Dulce
  • Plan April blog content
  • Set up our wills
  • Decide on financial advisor
  • Read book #4
  • Declutter upstairs

Weekly Goals

  • Lift up others — be a light
  • Social media free day
  • Be early
  • Blog post
  • Instagram with intention

Daily Goals

  • Bible plan
  • Outserve Eric
  • Soul care
  • Pure Barre
  • Write the Word

You don’t have to wait for a new month or a new week to go after what you want. So many of us wait for “next Monday” to begin a new exercise program or “next month” to start working towards that goal we’ve been wanting to accomplish. No matter when you’re reading this, the time is now! His mercies are new every morning and each day is a brand new fresh start. Lets use the gift we’ve been graciously given!

What have you been wanting to accomplish? What’s one step you will take today to start moving towards it? I believe in you!

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