Back to Circling

As the story goes, there was a man living long ago in a land desperate for rain. You can imagine the grumpy attitudes. Throats parched. Land scorched. But what happens when a God fearing man named Honi kneels down and draws a circle and shouts prayers to the heavens that he is not moving until he sees a torrential downpour? Nothing.

At first.

But then.

Drop…drop…drop. Honi is not satisfied. He continues to ask the Lord for more rain. And keeps asking until the down pouring finally comes. Filling the cisterns and quenching the crops, the people begin to shout for joy and dance and sing praises God!

Actually, that is how I remember the story Mark Batterson, a D.C. pastor and author of one of my favorite books (The Circle Maker), wrote. The encouragement is to circle your prayers and keep praying until you see a breakthrough. Walk around the city of Jericho 7 times before the trumpet blasts and the walls come down. Pray and keep praying! I love this!

Confession time: it has been a while since I have really circled my prayers. I have a journal to prove it. There are circles of prayers and dates written along side those circles when God answered. Some don’t have dates on them…yet. Somewhere along the way, I have gotten off track. (How can you get “off track” when it’s a circle? Seriously!) There has been some dust and distance between me and those circles; and I am feeling the dryness.

But today, I am encouraged to kneel, draw a fresh circle on some prayers in my life, and keep praying.

Photo by Jeremy Perkins on Unsplash

Marie Kondo was right.

People pitch tents for the camps they are in regarding Marie Kondo and her Magical tidying up life. I’ve read the book. I’ve attempted the follow through. I have even binged a few episodes. And I will admit, I like the idea of thanking your items before letting them go. How kind. How lovely. And oh how absolutely necessary for a person like me.

See, a few weeks ago my husband helped my daughter go through her room. It took about 2 days. There were several trash bags and a num er of Goodwill Bags. One of the items was a stuffed animal that I was surprised was in there. My gut told me to ask her about it (now I realize it was my gut vs. fear of giving things away), but I didn’t because I could “hear” my husband saying “she put that on her own in the bag. Don’t teach her to go backwards with her decision.” So moving forward, I stuffed that tiny warning bell down as we put the bags in the garage until the donation stores opened back up from the Covid-19 lockdown. So, Yay for us!

And then, this happened…

Then this past Friday, I had to run a few contact-free (from close proximity to people) errands and I checked to see that Goodwill was indeed open. Grabbing the first bag I saw, I noticed that stuffed animal in the bag and again had that “bell” go off, but my husband was right. I had to move forward. Dropping off those bags first, I finished my errands, and went back home for more bags. By this time, my daughter came out and was looking through the bags in the car. I knew exactly what she was doing but asked her anyway hoping against hope she was just browsing.

Her facial expression changed slightly, like she was trying go be strong and shield herself from my answer that the stuffed animal had gone. I told her I would run to the donation center and get it back. She was like “that’s ok,” and went into the house. Straight to her room. Into her closet. And I heard her cry softly.

My mother heart was breaking and I almost couldn’t bear it. I went to the donation center and apparently in the time I did my errands, a truck had come to pick up the items and hauled them off. The two men checked for the stuffed animal. Nothing. They also gave me the number for corporate so I could call to see if they could help track down the truck. I made lots of calls to corporate and other Goodwill centers trying to locate the item myself. Nothing.

But the moral of the story…

But the whole moral to the story is that Marie Kondo was right.

So, I was just sitting here asking the Lord why this incident still feels so heavy on my heart. I know it’s not like losing a person. It was just a stuffed animal. But to her, this stuffed animal was special. And then it hit me. I didn’t teach her to properly say goodbye. Revelation (lightbulb moment): That is the reason behind Marie’s “hold each item. Say thank you. And let it go.” I believe had my daughter been able to go through that process, as silly as it may sound to some people, she would have realized she should keep that item or have been happy to see it go on to someone else.

And then later on, when the memory of that item comes up, there would be a spark of joy that she was able to pass it along to some other person to love.

Who do I want to be…

At present, this is day 23 of Quarantine for most of us. Still, there is a long way to go. I’m waiting for my homemade bread to toast so I can toss some cinnamon on it. (Hold the sugar, thank you!) So while I am waiting, thoughts of “when this whole Shelter in Place/Quarantine is all said and done, what memories do I want to look back on? That I binge watched “Private Practice” on Netflix? That I finally read all those books I towering on my nightstand like a medieval fortress?”

Well, kinda. BUT, I also want to look back and say “I was the kind of person who played games with my family and got creative with them.” And, “we prayed together as a family. I encouraged them to pray for others.” Above all, I want to say “I met someone’s needs. I encouraged someone. I prayed for our country, world, family, friends…” I want to know that I did my part by staying at home. Or if I did have to run out (for toilet paper and eggs) that I wore my mask. Above all else, I want to remember the times I prayed silently, on my knees; read the scriptures for hope and encouragement; praised God for who HE is; stood firm in the knowledge that He is still on His throne; rejoiced in the reality that more people are seeing God’s love through random acts of kindness.


Dear Diary, Day 1

“So many high hopes I had for myself by this age.” That is what I obviously just typed. But is it true? I don’t recall ever really sitting down and stating out life goals. Sure, my passion planner was a great tool that I used to start getting ideas on paper. A wonderful place to get excited about the possibility of mapping out my future.

But as all things seem to go for me, I stopped with the goal planning mid-Jan and just started listing out each day. Now, don’t get me wrong. That is exactly what you do in a planner. At the basic level that is. BUT the whole idea about planning is to learn how to take your dreams into goals and then into action steps. And there it is folks. The word I believe I ultimately have problems with. The word that perhaps is my demise for not fully engaging in the first line of this entry.


As a 9 (with a strong 6) on the Enneagram, (if you believe in that personality type of revealing – which I do), it’s only logical that I would have trouble with this idea of “dreaming.”

All this to say is that I came to this entry to honestly share that I have come to the conclusion that perhaps my dream if I dare use that word, of becoming a Writer, was really just a “blip” on my screen of life. Perhaps it really wasn’t a dream at all. “Mere longing?”

However, if my dream -my real desire for what I want to do with my life- was to really become a writer, then my daily action steps written in my planner would reflect that more. Don’t you think?


Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Halfway through

Everyone has been counting down to Christmas since July, basically. And now we are halfway through November.

So, albeit Nov 16, it seems like Christmas is in full swing. And Thanksgiving is next week looking like “what am I? Chopped liver?” Well for my family, this year is THE YEAR for Thanksgiving. 26 is the number gathering around my mom’s table this year. Why? Because she houses my grandfather. The Patriarch of our clan.

And although it’s been one of the hardest years of my existence on this planet, it seems fitting to have the biggest Thanksgiving I’ve seen in a long while. See, this is what matters: Family; People. Recognizing all the wonderful things God has given me in my life. And it starts with the 26 people gathering around the table next week.

Photo by Pro Church Media on Unsplash

What I learned from Yesterday – Day 1

As I ate pizza and watched Thor: Ragnarok with my family a few family date nights ago, my mind drifted to the FB messenger conversation I had earlier that day with an old friend. One whom I have not really had contact with for several years.  What had she been up to for the past 10? For starters, living in another country with her family. No doubt doing something missions minded and “Jesus like”.

My friend is a sweet, kind, caring, Jesus loving person. One whom I would compare myself to and say  “wow, I am NOT like her. She really loves God and does things for him and I struggle in that area.” (She’d probably laugh if she read this.) I actually have another friend whose life almost parallels hers. Same heart and missions mindset. My comparison of myself and this particular friend is the same. “Wow, I am NOT like her. She really loves God and does things for him and I struggle in that area.”

And in that next bite of pizza, I thought about how, first of all, I didn’t want to be eating that slice of pizza (actually there were 2 on my plate). Honestly, I really enjoy more of a Paleo/Whole 30 eating style. To me, pizza is the white flag of surrender. Or rather, it’s me “throwing in the towel.” It means I’ve given up on caring what goes in my body and how it will affect me. It means I don’t believe I have any fight left me for changing my eating habits. (I know what you’re thinking – “a little dramatic, don’t you think?”)

Stay with me here.

So although I was enjoying family date night, I started to feel a little depressed.  I have settled in life for pizza- comfort food. And comparing myself to the life of those 2 particular friends made me think “what else have I  settled for in the name of comfort?” Settled for out of fear. Fear of engaging with life – my life- to the fullest. Now, do NOT get me wrong. If you want to eat pizza and watch Thor (it was actually kinda funny) then go ahead. No judgment here.

What I learned from yesterday was that I do want to pursue healthy eating. I don’t want to feel like I’ve let myself down or thrown in the towel of life. And not just in eating, but what challenge has God called me to that I have turned away from out of fear? Fear of giving myself to others because then I wouldn’t have time to myself? Fear of being great in an area and “shining” for God because then I would have to get up the next day and be great again? (I hear another blog post forming in my head).

I thought “what if I was made for more?” What if I had something to offer the world like my missionary minded friends? My journey looks different from theirs because I am different. I get that. But the take away here is I want to make this life count. I only get one shot at this life. And my life- what I do with it- impacts my children and how they live theirs. And that is a lot of pressure when you think about it! But if I am holding on to Jesus and looking to Him for direction, I am gonna be ok. I can do this. Life is about the journey. It’s about failing and falling and getting back up. It’s about learning from yesterday. The good and the bad from it. It’s also about “nailed it” outcomes and “high fiving” others.

So each morning, one of my first thoughts is to pray and ask God for his guidance on the day. And often I feel in my spirit “You got this” because I know that if the day belongs to God- if I surrender my day to Him and trust Him for that day- then with Him all things are possible. So yes, let hope rise up in me today because “I got this!”

And that is what I learned from yesterday.

If we only get today, what do we do with it?

Two things I wanted to share with you today. First, my husband and I watched “Mom’s Night Out” last night (I got to choose because it is Mother’s Day weekend. He got to take a little nap during the movie). I loved it! Mostly because Sean Astin is in it. But also because of an analogy, he gave for mom’s taking time for themselves. Think flight attendant speech before take off and the instructions for when the oxygen mask comes down – put it on yourself first and then your child. In order to be of help to anyone, you have to make sure you are up for it. If you aren’t breathing, what help can you possibly be to someone else?!!

That thought let do this:

Do you ever get stuck thinking about all the things you want to do and the fact that there is only one day to do it? Yes. Only one day. You are not guaranteed tomorrow. Only this minute. You aren’t even guaranteed the next hour. (Work with me here.)

Consider this: if you have been around scripture for a minute, you know that each day is enough to worry about on its own (Matthew 6:34).

So what does this mean to me? Well, if you know me, you know I love planning. LOVE it. Understatement. So is this verse saying not to plan for tomorrow? Not exactly. It says not to worry. There are plenty of other verses about planning (ex: What I am talking about is not worrying and how that relates to us today.

Still with me? Ok. What would you do differently if you knew you only had today? I’m not trying to be Debbie Downer or morbid. Just posing a question. Would you work harder? Spend more time with your kids? Read more? Exercise?

I was thinking about today being Mother’s Day and kind of an “off day” from Motherhood if you will. Because let’s face it. Today is the day when Mom’s are taken out to eat or a meal prepared for. They are encouraged to relax. Because the rest of the 364 days, they will be “On.” Ok, birthdays are taken off too. But you get the idea.

Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by all the things I want to do and the fact that there are only 24 hours in the day. Simple math, right? I mean, if I only have today, then the things I want to do divided by the time I actually have left after sleeping, eating, cooking, working = head exploding. I worry that I won’t get it all done!

That is where the ONE thing principle comes in (or whatever time management principle you use.) For me, this idea of “what is the ONE THING that I need to do right now that helps me move the next domino in my task list or helps makes another thing obsolete” helps bring sanity to my chaos. Whether it is about productivity or relaxation, the same rules apply. When I get overwhelmed by what to do next, I just ask myself what will make the biggest difference for me. For today, and relaxing, it is picking one or two things of fun and then planning the rest of them out for this upcoming week. Something to look forward to if I get the time.

So, I’m going to act like I have time for things. Even if I am not guaranteed time. I am going to prioritize putting my oxygen mask on first. And then what can I do for others.

Photo by Tanya Patrikeyeva on Unsplash


Finally at the starting gate

Finally, I am here at the starting gate of 2018. Yes, I know it’s halfway through January, but I feel that I am finally getting some traction to starting the year well. See, back in November/December of 2017, I did start looking into which planner I wanted. I felt alive! Ahead of the game even. I picked out the Panda Planner Weekly 1-Yr and was ready to order but I didn’t at that time because someone (who shall remain anonymous) asked me to send him the link so he could get it for me for Christmas. (How sweet!)

Honestly, I don’t want to seem like I am throwing him under the bus here. I am so appreciative of him and his wanting to get this for me. However, the bottom line is by the time he went to order my planner it was “Sold Out.” GASP! Overall this really is ok. I just printed off a few pdf sheets Panda Planner sent me and pasted them into pages of my current Passion Planner. Problem Solved! Why am I telling you all this? Because I want you to know that I am an extremely patient and forgiving person. HA HA HA! Totally kidding. What I mean to say is that I love planning. It makes me feel that I have control. And I have come to grips over the past few years that I am a control freak (right, honey?)

Another reason I share this is that I am learning that I can print off pdf versions of my fave planners allowing me to craft my own very special and perfect planner. Thus sending me to my happy place (enter “Nerd Zone” here).

Life Skills 101.

Also, I share about being at the starting gate because I had my kids pick out their planners to purchase. We went to the craft store and bought stickers (all on Sale!) and started our planning class the next day! Yep, this is a class we are having in our Homeschool semester. It’s part of Life Skills 101. It is helping them to see what needs to be done in their day and learn how to plan the fun things they want to do along with the school things they have to do.

It also teaches them how to make goals and set them. How to take steps towards accomplishing them. And who doesn’t love to “sticker” things up! So money well spent to teach a life lesson on how to “live the life you love and love the life you live.”

In the planning zone: it makes me happy

My happy times look like this

  • A rainy day (cloudy, drizzly, pouring, you get the idea).

Generally, with this rainy day, I’d love to be curled up on the sofa by the window, with a book and beverage (coffee, wine, whatever– the time of day may or may not matter because I’m not driving anywhere in this rain. Are you crazy?!)

  • Or, my happy looks like this (and yes, I mean for happy to serve as a noun in this sentence): my planner, pencil, colored pencils, and stickers.

For example, today’s happy blog comes from my desire to be intentional about my life. I’ve been doing some research on how to make sure I am staying on track with homeschooling (because I do have a fear that I will stupid my kids– and yes, I did that on purpose… to enlist a “shock face” from you. No, I am not serious about using “stupid” as a verb).

I found a blogger who is a homeschool mom of 8 and she has joyous lessons to share her experiences with her family. That’s the name of her blog, Joyous Lessons. Love it!

So I use my love of lists and a blank page in my planner. I titled it “Things I like that others do” and I started to jot down ideas people have or systems they have in place. I wrote down the idea. And broke it down into steps or things I need. For example, one of the examples that Joyous Lessons shares is that of a Morning Basket – “all the work done together as a family.” I love this idea. See, she likes nature drawing and journaling and so I wrote that down because that sounds like something my family would enjoy, and I listed ways to make this happen. (As creatively demonstrated below).  I added Binoculars for birdwatching, journal and pencils to document/draw, etc. All I need to add now is snacks and water bottles. And wallah! Let the Happy Begin!