Healthy Soul

When Life Isn’t Fair

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“This is our life, and it doesn’t even seem fair.”

I was standing by Brian one night recently and confessed this thought of mine to him. He nodded and agreed. We both often wonder what we did to deserve this life we live.

If you look at our life from the outside, you might see our current location.

We are almost exactly 3,000 miles from my parents. We are a little further from Brian’s family and a little closer to my hometown. Regardless of the mileage, there is an ocean that separates us from the people we came from and grew up around.

We devote a lot of our time to other people.

Three or four evenings a week we have people in our home sharing meals and lots of cups of coffee. We give every Friday night to running a youth club and countless hours to our church.

And then there is our family dynamic.

We lost a child. Our kids lost a sibling. We all four loved that kid with a fierce love. Grief is a part of our everyday life. Beckett is mentioned in our house almost on a daily basis. And even if his name is not said in a day, his memory is there.

Some people would look at our life from the outside and say, it’s not fair. Why does a good family have to go through so much heartache?


But that’s not what I meant when I told Brian that our life didn’t seem fair. I see something else when I look at our life.

I see our location.

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Earlier that same day we had driven a short twenty minutes to a lake in the middle of the mountains and gone on a beautiful three-hour hike as a family. Then later that evening we walked across the road from our house and played on the sand as we watched the sun set on the sea. We live in a ridiculously beautiful part of the world. It almost doesn’t seem fair that these adventures are right on our doorstep.

I see our home and our opportunities to serve others.

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God has blessed us with resources and a schedule that allows us to have time for relationships. We can have people into our home and open His Word and see lives changed. Yes, sometimes our commitments mean we don’t always do whatever we want with our time, but when we get to be a part of what God is doing in other’s lives, and when we get to point out that opportunity for our kids—that’s special.

And then I see our family dynamics.

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We are raising two kids that love each other and generally get along very well. They are both out of diapers, we don’t have to plan around their naptime, they can walk long distances on their own without strollers, they eat the same food as us, and they sleep through the night.

Brian and I have communication that is more open and honest than ever before in our marriage. We are working through some tough stuff, but we are working through it together.

I am getting healthy again. I have energy to go for hikes, to cook healthy meals, to keep our house clean, and still have time to go after some dreams in the meantime.

Our family is in a pretty sweet spot right now.

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And all of that is what I meant the night that Brian and I stood on the sand with the waves gently coming toward our toes and the sun setting a bright orange in front of us. I wondered how this could even be real life. How did we get so fortunate to live this life?

As I said it out loud, the phrase felt familiar and foreign at the same time. It’s a thought I had a lot before we lost Beckett. I almost felt guilty for our beautiful life. I often asked him in complete awe, “Why are we the fortunate ones who get to live this life?”

Then we went through tragedy and suddenly life didn’t seem quite as fortunate anymore. We were the ones living the nightmare, not the dream. Why us?

Through all these stages of abundance and loss, I have known one thing to be true: It’s never about what I deserve.

I don’t deserve to live close to my family. I have not earned healthy, beautiful children. My nice home is not my prize for saying yes to God’s plans for my life.

It’s all grace.

And God has poured out that grace on my life. He didn’t pour it out through a beautiful home, or loving husband or fun family time. He poured it out through His Son, and specifically His death for my sins.

That truth doesn’t change when my life circumstances change. His grace is constant and it is for me.

 It’s been almost a year and a half since we lost Beckett. In that time, I have struggled a lot with the thought of losing someone else in my life.   I tell God that I have clung to Him through this whole thing, but please don’t take any more. And He has repeatedly put one question on my heart, “Am I enough for you?”

Is God enough for me? If He takes away everything I have in this beautiful life, is He enough?

I have meditated on this a lot since then and I don’t think I am done asking myself this question. But on good days, the answer is yes. Yes, He is enough.

I have not become angry with God over the loss of my son. I have not turned from God because “my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety. He is my refuge, my savior, the one who saves me from violence.” (2 Samuel 22:3)

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I refuse to turn my back on my source of strength.

I can look back now and say, God has been enough for me. I fully believe He has sustained me and carried me through my grief up to this point.

But that still leaves the question, what about the future?

What if we try to expand our family again and again we experience loss? What if I lose another person I love? Can my faith handle that? Can I still trust God after that?

For me, it all comes back to this: I don’t deserve anything in this life. I don’t say this in a woeful, hopeless way. I actually say it with joy. I say it from a heart that is starting to embrace that this life is all His grace anyway. If I can cling to God and believe that He was in control in the past, I have to believe the same for the future.

Friend, life is not fair. Sometimes we get abundantly more than we deserve, sometimes it seems like we get hardship on top of hardship with no warning at all. Let me encourage you to step away from those scales of justice we like to use to measure fairness. Please, leave the “deserve to” life behind and step into the grace life.

There is freedom in grace. There is joy. And there is perspective in grace.

This life is a gift. I don’t deserve this life, but I am sure thankful I get to live it.


— Rebekah

healthy family

How to Raise an Enthusiastic Reader

5 Steps to Take Your Child from Media Zombie to Engaged Reader



I travelled many places growing up.

I went to the world’s largest chocolate factory that was only accessible with a golden ticket.

I became friends with a girl named Fern who was trying to save a runt pig.

I even went back and experienced primitive times on the prairie.

From my little small-town Indiana home, I could go anywhere with a good book. When I was reading those classic books, I was learning new vocabulary, I was learning about geography, I was expanding my worldview. I didn’t know this when I was young, I just knew I loved reading! And when I became a parent myself I knew I wanted my kids to love reading.

We have read to our children since they were babies. I think this has established a basis for them loving a good story. They love when daddy uses silly voices and the suspense that hangs in the air while you turn a page. I am a huge advocate for reading to your children. But that’s not where I am going here.

As our oldest learned to read on her own, we saw that just reading to her was not enough to make her love reading herself. There seemed to be a disconnect and a lack of desire to take the leap from passively listening to devouring the books herself. Last spring I realized I had a child who could read, but had no desire to read. I’ll be honest, this kind of broke my heart. I was not content to just say, “Oh well, reading is not her thing” and move on. I knew something needed to change.   I knew I needed to take action.

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When I was growing up my parents did not have to come up with a plan to make me love reading. I was a youngest child and I constantly saw the other people in my house reading and I wanted to read. I remember sitting with a pile of Berenstain Bear books and looking through pictures while the other four members of my family all sat with “real chapter books” on quiet week nights and I just couldn’t wait until I was old enough to do that too. Okay, I know I’m a nerd and this scenario might have been a bit weird even back in the late Eighties, but I cannot imagine this happening in too many living rooms in today’s culture!

So what has changed?

A lot has changed. But I think the glaring truth is, screens have invaded our kid’s lives. I know this sounds all doom and gloom, as if I think technology is the devil. I don’t think that at all. But I think the advancement of technology and amount that children are exposed to it has hugely impacted their attention span, interest levels, and lives in general.

I said that reading to my kids made them love a good story, but so did watching an exciting episode of Paw Patrol. They could be just as entertained by holding a tablet and watching a show or playing a game as they would be reading a book, and they didn’t have to think nearly as much to watch the show. The problem came when I told them to turn off that show and they either threw a fit or had no idea what to do on their own to have fun. They had a playroom full of toys, desk full of art supplies and shelf full of books, but they were constantly at a loss of what to do. I started realizing I was raising kids dependent on being entertained in an easy, fast way. And I didn’t like it.

Fortunately, I also realized my kids were still very young. I knew there was still plenty of time to make changes. I knew that technology was not the only problem. We made some changes in habits and I got a little more intentional about learning my own child, and it worked!

These are the steps we took:


  1. Limit Technology Time

This seems like an obvious first step. If you want to keep your children from being dependent on technology for entertainment, you need to keep them away from the technology. It sounds so simple. Yet this is probably the hardest step for us as the parents. Technology is easy. Technology is convenient. And chances are, your child already loves playing games or watching shows on their tablet, phone, or the TV.

When I got serious about wanting our oldest to love reading, we went on a 30-day no-screens adventure as a family. Yikes, this just got personal. If I wanted to detox her from the constant flow of images and screen time, I knew I needed to do it myself. Kids are excellent imitators. They also are excellent at pointing out hypocrisy. My husband and I were both on board to set a good example. Together we did 30 days of no TV, video games, or computer games and very little phone usage. We had a few exceptions—texting and face timing, business on the computer, or family movie nights. But we locked up the kindles for a month and told our kids they had to find a different way to entertain themselves.

Fortunately, we are at the stage in parenting where we can unplug the TV and hide the tablet and our kids don’t have a way of going around the system. As your kids get older, I’m sure this is harder to inforce. This is where you have to be determined. Your kid will throw a fit. They won’t like that you have taken their favorite toy away. The more reliant they were on the device before, the bigger the tantrum will be when you take it away.

But please, take this to heart—you are not depriving your child!

If the tears and the constant begging begins to wear down your resolve, take a moment to Google the effects of technology on a young child’s brain. (oh wait, that uses a screen, you better do it before you begin and print the article out!) There are studies that compare the use of screens to the use of heroin and the results are scary-similar.

However, all the articles I have read have also said that screen addiction might actually be harder to break and cure than drug addiction! What?! Mama, if your 5-year-old was hooked on cocaine, would you give up the detox a week in just because it was just too hard on them? No way!

As hard as that beginning week may be, keep the end goal in mind. During the thirty days, I actually saw my daughter blossom into a voracious reader! It was kind of amazing to watch. Now is this guaranteed to happen on a technology break? No, of course not. But your child might become a Lego-building maniac, or a dedicated artist, or develop their creativity in ways you did not even see coming. Be ready to notice these new developments and praise them like crazy when they happen!

I know I compared screens to a drug, but the problem is the addiction to the screen, not the screen itself. Technology is neither good nor bad—it is a tool. After the total break from technology, we brought it back in moderation. We use wisdom now to try to guard our kids from that addiction. They use their Kindles two evenings a week when we have company over and we basically need a babysitter.   They can watch TV on Fridays when their brains and emotions are tired from a long week at school. And sometimes this mama just needs to get some work done uninterrupted and they get to watch a show or movie.

We don’t have strict rules on technology. I think it’s fun. I think it’s useful. I think it is important for my kids to know how to use it. But more than anything, I think it needs to have an appropriate place in their hearts and priorities. In order for our family to get to that appropriate place, we had to start extreme.


  1. Discover Your Child’s Genre

Once your child is detoxed from technology and in a place where their creativity is awake, next you must begin to foster that love of reading. At this point the question becomes, what books would my child actually enjoy?   You can start by asking for recommendations or doing a Pinterest search for ideas. It’s a great start to find a general list on the Internet of ‘Books 7 year-old Girls Love’.

But not all seven-year-old girls are the same. Remember, I knew our daughter could read, she just didn’t want to read. So, we looked at her interests. The girl loves animals! She also loves make believe—fairies and magic. Once we combined those two loves and found some books on magical creatures and animals—she was engaged!

As her love developed and she read more and more she reached a point where her ability outreached her maturity. She could be have begun reading larger, more challenging books. But she was still seven-years-old and still loved short books about magical animals and people that get swept off to their land. I knew her time for bigger, more mature books would come, but I didn’t push it. The goal here was for her to enjoy reading.

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  1. Become Friends with your Local Library

We knew that short, magical books was our daughter’s sweet spot. The problem is that she can read one of those books in a night.

How do we keep fresh reading material for her without going broke? Use your local library!

Create a love of the library in your children. Most libraries have story times you can take your kids to when they are young. Make it a fun adventure to pick out books. Get to know the librarian by name. Let them know what types of books your children like so they can help.

Our local library is very small, so we checked out all of the fairy books and animal books there in a very short time! But they have an interlibrary sharing system with the entire county. So, when she finds a new book she likes and finds out it’s one of a series, we let the librarian know and we pull in books from all over! It’s an endless free stream of books at your fingertips.

I often check out a few books outside of her normal genre, just to see if she’s changing. Sometimes she reads them, sometimes she doesn’t. But I haven’t wasted any money if she looks at the cover and turns it down. Not only are we saving money with the library, but space as well. If you’re a mom who dislikes clutter, this is a great way to get books in your kid’s hands without having to find a place to put the large collection they are growing.

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  1. Set Attainable Goals and Rewards

Our girl began reading like crazy in the Spring. When summer holiday came around, I decided to challenge her. I told her she would earn £1 for every book she read. Money is a powerful motivator. Pick a reward you know your child will love, but be careful that it does not reinforce the wrong thing.

If 20 minutes of reading is rewarded with 1 hour on the tablet, you are not lessening the pull of technology on your child’s heart. I’m not a big fan of using food as a reward either, but do what works for you.

Summer holiday was six weeks long, we were gone for two of those weeks, I thought money was a reasonable reward. In those four weeks, she read 39 chapter books! Yikes! I don’t think we will be using money as a motivator for reading anymore—I can’t afford it!

The point is to find what motivates your child and go for it. What motivates your child may change as they grow and their ability grows. Don’t try to get it perfect from the beginning, just start with a small goal and small reward and work your way up.

Prize boxes work well for our kids at their current ages (seven and four). You could let them choose a small prize for every 100 pages read or 500 pages read as they grow. If you have multiple reading age children or a community of friends you can use competition as motivators as well. See who can read the most pages or books in a month, have a group ice cream party if they can read 100 books together over the summer.

Why limit parties and group goals to schools and classrooms? Bring the celebration home!

Once they start reading, don’t be conservative with your praise! If you really want your children to love reading, reinforce that with your words and face. After they finish a book, have a special date with that child to discuss the book. Make two hot chocolates and sit down at the table and listen as they describe all the events of the book. Ask them what the character’s names were, who in the book they liked the best, why they liked them.

Let your children relive the story in their own words.

If you are a reader yourself, you know you are never quite ready to exit that make-believe world in your head when you finish a book. Let your child stay there a little longer.

I’ll be honest here, magical creatures are not my genre (unless we are talking Harry Potter!). A story about a Pegasus who injures its hoof is not really peaking my interest. But for the ten minutes it takes my daughter to tell me all about the book, I act like it is the coolest thing I have ever heard.

We don’t discuss every book she reads, sometimes she is not in a talkative mood, but this gift of your attention and time can be a powerful reward for your child.

One last tool we use to track reading and rewards is This is a free site run by Amazon where you can record all the books you have read and review them. I set our daughter up with a private account (there is a social aspect that we don’t use) at the beginning of the year when she set a goal to read 100 books within the year. There is a tracker for your own personal reading challenge. She loves going in and recording which books she has read and watching the progress percentage go up. As she records what she has read, there are suggestions on the side of books that she may like. This has been a helpful tool for her as well.


5) Set the Example 

I touched on this earlier when talking about limiting technology, but I want to end by restating the importance of this. It was up to me, and my husband, to set the example of what would be important in our home.

In our family, I had to look at myself when I was questioning why my daughter was so addicted to technology. I went back to that same weeknight scenario in my childhood home, the one I talked about earlier. I compared the old image of my family sitting around reading books to the current situation in my adult home I was creating. My husband and I on our phones while the kids either ran around crazy or sat in front of their own screens. There was a constant cry of my heart that there wasn’t enough time in the day all while I spent countless hours scrolling through social media feeds.

I know that my children are their own little people with their own big personalities and hearts with very real desires, but they are a product of me. I don’t say this to guilt myself and for sure I do not say it to shame you if you have a child you are struggling with. (I have had many struggle moments, weeks, even years!)

I say this because I am passionate about having a healthy life and a healthy family. By ‘healthy’ I mean our bodies, our souls and our family rhythms. All these areas are important and they all take work. This health depends on a lot of balance. The funny thing about balance is you can’t just find it once and live out the rest of your life balanced. Balance is about constantly readjusting and changing to fit your needs. Keeping a balance requires action.

What action does your family need you to take?

Do you need to sit down with your partner and decide on a social media break?

Do you need to set aside ten minutes each day this week with your child to learn what they are interested in and encourage those interests?

Do you need to take a trip to your library and check out a book?

Maybe you can schedule a no-technology reading night tonight. (Seek and Find books are great for young non-readers on these nights.)

Whatever you decide, comment below and let me know. And give me your ideas! What works to motivate your kids to read? What books are they reading right now? I’m always looking for more ideas.



Note: All of these fun photos of our family reading together were part of our family photos last fall photographed by the amazing Hannah K Photography



healthy family

Four Ways Grief has Changed Our Family


Today marks one year since we lost our baby boy, Beckett.   In the past year we have learned a lot about grief and we have been changed by grief.

Our family has changed 4 different ways this year.

1) Brian
2) Rebekah
3) Brooklyn
4) Boston

Probably one of the hardest things to handle for Brian and I was this summer when four-year-old Boston started verbalizing his questions and grief. For a few weeks straight he prayed, “God, please send Beckett back to us.” He told us each on different occasions, “I didn’t know Beckett was going to die.” We have patiently explained that we didn’t know either and answered questions to the best of our ability.

We have prayed as seven-year-old Brooklyn has become more introspective and less talkative about her grief.

I am an introvert. I don’t feel comfortable talking in depth about all I am feeling. It takes an intimate setting and a lot of trust to pull these conversations out of me in person. But I also process my thoughts with a cup of coffee and a keyboard. I have found comfort in writing privately and publically throughout the year. Being around people often drains me.

Brian is more extroverted than me. He might not like to talk about his emotions, but he is energized when he is with a group of friends having fun and deep conversations about other aspects of life.

We hit ten years of marriage this year. I had long thought this was a milestone that would put me in the “expert” category. (I’m only slightly joking) Instead of feeling like we had things figured out after ten years of marriage, we found ourselves feeling more like we had no idea who we were anymore.

Grief is as individual as the people experiencing it. I don’t feel I can give any advice on how to comfort someone else going through the same situation we did, unless I know that person. It’s not about what has happened, it’s about whom it has happened to.

I don’t know what to say to anyone else, but I know how we have handled this year.

We have loved each other where we are. It’s been hard. But when Brian looks at me, or hears what is coming out of my mouth, and doesn’t recognize me, He has shown me love anyway. I don’t expect Brian to be the same husband today that he was a year ago. I don’t expect myself to be the same mom I was a year ago.

This is true for us in grief, but I think it’s a good rule for all relationships. People change. Hopefully we are changing and growing in good ways, sometimes we aren’t. But life is constantly changing and people change with it. In friendship we have to give people room to change. I love the friends that I can sit and talk with and explore new thoughts and concepts I am learning and not feel like I have to apologize for contradicting something I previously said. I’m not talking about being inconsistent, I’m talking about growing and changing as people and leaving room for others to do that in our relationships.

Grief is not something I like experiencing. But change—that’s becoming exciting. As we round the one-year corner, we are starting to feel a fresh stirring in our souls. I am starting to feel expectant for the year to come. I know God has not left us this past year, and I am excited to see what He has in store for the coming year. And I am excited to share those lessons with others.


healthy family

Celebrating and Grieving at Christmas Time

IMG_6563Christmas Baking Day 2016

Today was our 3rd annual Christmas baking day. The kids were excited, we had fun and we carried out our plan. We enjoyed the day. We have had a lot of fun this Christmas season already and we have a lot more plans for even more fun. When I smile and enjoy Christmas this year I am in no way being fake, I am enjoying the present.

But each new memory we make brings back memories from last year. Memories with Beckett. Sometimes we talk about those memories. Sometimes we just all get quiet and know what we are each thinking. Sometimes I cry. Sometimes I get a bit hard to live with.

We are going to the States for Christmas. I am so excited to see my family! The kids are so excited to see grandparents and cousins and we have plans. I made an itinerary. For real. I am excited. But I am not going “home” for Christmas. I am home right now.

I am home because this is where God has placed our hearts. This is where we have a house that we have made memories in. I am home because this is where Beckett lived his life. As I walk the streets, as I do routine things, I remember him with me as I did those things a year ago. I daily see people that knew Beckett too. They held him, they cuddled him, they loved him. It keeps him close. I don’t have to talk about his memory, because it feels alive. It feels like it’s here. I had an irrational pain when we went to the States last February feeling like I was abandoning my baby. It didn’t make actual sense, he was gone, but the pain was real.

I know grief is a weird thing. It’s different for everyone. It knows no time boundaries and it knows no rules. I know if you are human, you have experienced loss in your life. Loss of a child, a parent, a friend, a person, a pet, a job, a dream; none of us escape grief completely. I also know Christmas is a time when people struggle more with handling this grief than most other times of the year.

As Christians, Christmas is a time when we celebrate the birth of Jesus. It is no small thing that He was called Immanuel. Immanuel means God with us. As much as I grieve Beckett no longer being with us, I celebrate that God is always with me. He came in the form of a baby so many years ago, and He comes to me continually in Spirit form. He is the Comforter.  I don’t say this lightly. I say it because it’s His power that saves my life daily. ‘God with me’ is what I celebrate when I celebrate Christmas. And as hard as this Christmas season has been and will continue to be, it also has held a whole new meaning and specialness in my heart. I’ll say it again, everyone grieves differently and I certainly do not want to shame anyone who is struggling to celebrate this Christmas. But for me this Christmas, I’m not just putting on a smile for the kids. I’m not just faking my way through the holiday season. I feel like I have tried to be pretty transparent all year long and this is no exception. This Christmas I am celebrating. I am celebrating memories in my heart, new experiences, special time with family, and most importantly I am celebrating God with me. Thank you God for sending us a rescue plan!


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Choosing to Thrive

I believe you can go through life one of two ways: You can survive or you can thrive. I have a hard time defining what these two lifestyles look like, but I don’t think I have to. I think if you stop and think about your life, you will know exactly what I mean. You can probably think back on times of your life when you can say, man that was great, I was thriving! Then you could look at times—months, years, decades even—when you say, I was doing all I could to survive.

Before January 4, 2017, our little family was thriving. And then we lost Beckett. It was an event that we had no control over. It was not something that we chose, and it was not something that we liked. We slipped into survival mode. It took all of the energy Brian and I had to go through the normal motions of life. Grief is exhausting. Emotions take a lot of energy. Every day I miss Beckett. Every day I am reminded of him in some way. I could choose to focus on all of the things my life is missing. I believe this choice would plant me firmly in survival mode. I don’t want to live my life in survival mode.

Instead I want to choose to thrive. I still feel sad. I don’t expect that to change any time soon, if ever. I still do not like being a family of four again. This life we are living right now—it’s not part of my perfect plan. However, I believe with all of my heart that in the midst of imperfectness, we can catch glimpses of perfect. And when we begin to look for those things and notice and appreciate those little moments, we begin a mental shift that takes us from surviving to thriving.

This concept of thriving is not original to me. Over 2000 years ago Jesus told his followers, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10) The Message puts that verse this way:

I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.

For me, my choice to follow Christ changes everything about this life. Yes, it gives me a hope for after this life. But right here, right now, in the midst of some serious ‘stealing, killing, and destroying’ of my life; I have a strength, a peace and a better life than I could ever dream of. And that strength does not come from me, it comes from God within me.

Sometime around the end of January, Brian and I took a look at our life and we decided it was time to make the choice to thrive again. It wasn’t an instantaneous, one time choice. The first time it was a choice we made to take Brooklyn and Boston out bowling for the first time. We laughed at the kids; we had fun as a family. We missed Beckett. Deciding to do one fun thing as a family did not “fix” our pain. But it did set us on a path to thrive. Next, we made a choice to get away as a couple for a night. The next month we went miniature golfing.   We did family nights and went for walks. The choices slowly started adding up.

At first, I had a hard time grasping the concept of thriving in these circumstances. It almost sounds irreverent or wrong to even think about.   I can’t give a generic definition of thriving, because I think it looks different for every person and every family. But if I personally define thriving as choosing to be thankful, choosing to look for glimpses of perfect, choosing to trust God despite how I feel—then I want nothing more than to thrive in this season of life. And I want nothing more than to encourage others to do the same. On the top of the mountain or in the bottom of the valley, look for the chance to thrive, thank God when you find it, and share it with someone else.




Healthy Soul

How I Intentionally Plan my Week

IMG_9894_2My family moved to Wales two weeks ago. That is a reality I am still having a hard time grasping. This thing we have been working toward for 4 years is actually happening now. God has worked in some amazing ways and our last 2 months have been crazy good saying good-bye to our life in the US and hello to our new life in the UK.

In the past two weeks we have had an ever-opening door on our apartment as we have invited people over and welcomed in teens that need a place to talk and a willing heart to listen. To add to all that crazy goodness, our baby girl started school for the first time this week! A new routine is starting in our home and a new phase of family life.


This past week has been amazing, but very full. I decided I needed to go out and decompress and just spend some time alone. Brian graciously said, “GO!” (I might be a tad bit hard to live with when I get to this overloaded state)

When I need to get my priorities back in line and organize my life, it usually goes like this:

  • Go get coffee
  • Start with a small project that will give me a sense of accomplishment

So that’s what I did. I took a bus ride to Starbucks and started deleting old photos off my phone – tell me I’m not the only one that waits until I my storage is full to finally delete those photos that have already been on my computer for months. Anyway, as I did this I found a screenshot of a quote that spoke to my heart right where it was at this exact moment.

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“Guard your time fiercely. Be generous with it. But be intentional about it.”

Generous but intentional. This is my heart right now. I have made “Simplify” my word of 2015. With this I have wanted to be intentional with what I have, spend, eat, and probably most importantly- invest my time in. But I also want to be GENEROUS. Oh, how I want to be generous with my time. It is one of my greatest fears to take this amazing opportunity to live and minister in Wales and live for myself instead of God.

I love my iphone, my laptop, and I love talking- but I think with a pen a paper. So I got out a notebook and got intentional. 6 full pages and a major cramp in my hand later, I had an idea of what guarding my time and being generous would look like.

This was my process:

I wrote “What is Important?” across the top of the first page. I started with God and then moved on to people. Under people I wrote out every name that was important to me. People I wanted to invest time in, people I wanted to impact, people I wanted to get to know better, people I love and people I want God to make me love. Under people came my health, my home, and my personal interests.

IMG_0020 After I wrote out everything that I have a desire to spend real time on, I moved on to the next page – “What Do These Priorities Look Like?” The names and things written on the first list were goals, but they weren’t a plan. So on this page I started really dreaming. What would it look like to really put time into these areas? Discipleship, dates, budgeting, letter writing, and many more real tangible ideas.

IMG_0018 Then comes the putting it all together step. If I had been at home I probably would have gotten out a wipe off board or some cute post- it notes. But I worked with what I had: paper and pen. So I ripped up little slips of paper and wrote an activity or event on each slip. Then I made a week-long schedule and placed the slips of paper where they fit in the week. I intentionally placed the most important items first and worked through my slips.

IMG_0017 Will my week really go as perfectly as I have it laid out right now? Goodness no! But I am taking a step in being intentional but generous with my time.More important than following my schedule, it is my prayer that I let God guide my time this week and make it count. May you have a meaningful week too!