Monthly Archives: January 2018

Five Minute Friday: Intentional

Where has this month gone?

Here we are on another Friday, linking up with Kate Motaung and the Five Minute Friday community.

This week’s word is intentional.


It’s ironic that this week’s word is intentional.

I’ve been beating my head against the wall on a blog post that I just can’t pull together.  It’s  about what kids need, ages 0 to 18.

It comes from my desire to be more intentional with grandparenting than I was with parenting, but it’s bigger than that, too.

It’s about what kids need in general.  What they need from the church.  What they need from their parents.  What they’re learning from our culture.  The messages they get from different sources that aren’t helpful.

Advertisers are generally not thinking of kids’ best interests.  The educational system has a lot of pros and cons.

What can we do to be intentional about what kids are really learning?


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What I’m Reading, January 2018

Around here, January means crazy Indiana weather and basketball.

We had a good Christmas with our kids.  Pete got a puppy for Christmas.

The stress of December spills over into January, but good things are on the horizon.

Linking up again with Modern Mrs Darcy’s Quick Lit.

(Disclaimer:  This post contains affiliate links.  At no extra cost to you, a percentage of your purchase will support this site.)

Buy now from Amazon

How to Think: A Survival Guide for a World at Odds by Alan Jacobs

I had trouble focusing on this book, but I think it’s indicative of stress in my life, not necessarily any fault of the book.

I liked the fact that he comes from the perspective of a Christian and an academic and even addresses biases people tend to have against those two groups.

Chapter one, Beginning to Think, has the subtitle “Why it wouldn’t be a good idea to think for yourself, even if you could.”

My favorite Chapter was The Age of Lumping and the very telling illustration of the author’s experience with Timothy. The point here is that we’re conditioned to categorize people, but sometimes it works against us.

Buy now from Amazon

The One Thing: The surprisingly simple truth behind extraordinary results by Gary Keller

I’ve been wanting to read The  One Thing FOREVER. I think I’ve been on my library’s waitlist for over a year.

Now I know what all the rave reviews are about.  This is a GREAT book!

It addresses the problem of distracted focus and the importance of lasering in on your most important work in order to achieve excellence.

A huge light bulb moment for me reading The One Thing was the idea of chaos derailing you and distracting you from your one thing.

Chapter 17, The Four Thieves of Productivity hit me hard.

The Four Thieves are:

1. Inability to Say “No”
2. Fear of Chaos
3. Poor Health Habits
4. Environment Doesn’t Support Your Goals.

Wow. These were so good and right on the money.

Buy now from Amazon

Count to Ten by James Patterson

I picked up Count to Ten at the library because I know James Patterson is a super best selling author and I wanted to study his work.

The story is fast moving.

It has short chapters.

There were quite a few characters with strange names that were hard to keep track of.

That’s one thing that John Grisham does well– starts with only a few characters and adds them slowly.

Interesting plot. It’s a mystery, so the intrigue and unanswered questions moved the story forward.

In my mind, every great novel is a mystery answering the question, 
What happens next?

Another reason I picked up the book is that it is set in India. My parents live in India 8 months out of the year, so I was interested to learn more about life in that country.

Although there were a few tidbits here and there that reminded you of the setting, I didn’t feel like it really explored the culture. I felt like the characters could have been Americans. They didn’t seem to think and act like Indians.

Maybe I was expecting too much.

I just know that it’s possible to live in a country and not really understand the way of thinking of the people around you.

I won’t be picking up another James Patterson soon. Even though language and thematic elements colored only a small percentage of the book, it’s enough to put me off further reading.

Buy now from Amazon

In Bloom: Trading Restless Insecurity for Abiding Confidence by Kayla Aimee

I started following Kayla Aimee’s work after I took her Affiliate course as part of The Genius Bloggers Toolkit. Her course was packed with so much helpful information. I knew when she offered something it was going to be high value.

When I had the chance to be part of the launch team for the book, I jumped at it.

In Bloom is about overcoming insecurity and Kayla tells personal experiences.

Chock full of funny stories. Her daughter is a hoot and she’s got some pretty funny stories herself. I enjoy her writing.

I love her views on traditional values.

I haven’t finished reading it yet, so I’ll do a full review next month.

The book releases February 6th, but you can pre-order on Amazon now at the link above.

I will definitely be hand-selling this one at the store.

What are you reading this month?



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Five Minute Friday: Simplify

Well, Christmas officially ended (even though our tree is still up) when we took our college kid to the airport.

Our weather has been crazy– snow, warm days and freezing rain.

Linking up with Kate Motaung and the Five Minute Friday crew.

Writing five minutes on a word prompt. Today’s word is simplify.


I mentally cringe when I think of the word “simplify”.

It reminds me of purge and declutter, two things I’m terrible at.

I love the idea of simple living.

But getting there seems impossible.

I think some of it comes down to decision fatigue. Purging and decluttering involves making lots of decisions. I get stuck. I get overwhelmed. I quit.

Attacking paper clutter while a timer is going has helped.

When the timer goes off, I stop. It doesn’t matter if there were decisions I couldn’t make. It doesn’t matter if the job is done. I put in my time and made progress.

Maybe that approach will work in other areas, too.


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What you can learn from my blogging fails

I love it when bloggers are transparent and generous.

These qualities vary from person to person, but they are characteristic of many successful bloggers.

And it isn’t always the success stories that are most instructive.

Sometimes it’s the fails.

My biggest fail in the last 6 months is trying to get an email list off the ground.

I’ve made two attempts and fallen flat on my face both times.

What’s the problem?

I get hung up on technical issues that prevent me from moving forward.

I can’t keep up with a regular posting schedule and still add something new.

I miss deadlines and get discouraged.

I don’t take into account busy seasons of the year when I can’t get much accomplished.

I’ve also struggled with finding clarity for my blog and staying focused.

So what can you and I learn from by blogging fails?

Learning what doesn’t work is a win.  

Thomas Edison is famous for realizing that every time he discovered which materials didn’t work to make a light bulb, he was one step closer to discovering what did.

Finding out what doesn’t work is valuable.

It’s not a failure if it’s a learning experience.

Run your own race.

This nugget from Jeff Goins  has been echoing in my head recently.

This is true even if your race has false starts. Even if people can see your fails. Being transparent and humble are both qualities that people admire.

I think comparing our lives to others is a bigger temptation than ever due to prolific social media.

Some blogs gain traction and a following and an income quickly.

Mine has not.

My blogging journey doesn’t look like anyone else’s. I’ve had a hard time getting clarity on why I’m writing and who I’m writing for. Progress has been slower than I’d hoped.

It’s okay if my journey looks different.  It’s okay if progress is slow.

I like reading Victoria from Snail Pace Transformations for this very reason. Slow progress is still progress. Moving forward inch by inch takes a clear vision and tons of perseverance.

Don’t beat yourself up for missing goals.

It’s better than not trying at all.

It’s the man in the arena who will get criticized, not the spectator on the sidelines.

Sometimes failing means you’re trying. Trying is commendable.

Failure is not final. Keep getting up.

It’s hard to keep running after a fall.

But getting up is critical.

You can’t finish the race if you don’t get up.

You can’t run your own race if you don’t get up.

Don’t lose heart.  Don’t stay down.  Slow and steady wins.




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Five Minute Friday: Motivate

I’ve missed Five Minute Friday.  It’s good to be back.

Linking up with Kate Motaung and the FMF community.

I’ve fallen off the exercise bandwagon countless times. Also, countless times I’ve started new programs.

So, I didn’t anticipate that this time would be so hard.

Just like a rocket leaving earth’s gravity, getting started takes more momentum than continuing on.

It took a lot of pieces to get a new exercise program off the ground this time.

I needed a strong why to overcome resistance.

I needed help overcoming the technical obstacles.

I needed new shoes.

I needed to work and re-work my schedule (and re-work it again) to pull it off.

I needed a time-bound goal to work for: running a 5K on March 25th.

Motivate has a lot of components. I forgot how complex it was.


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