Revolution of Love

Revolution of Love

Do small things with great love.

How I Use a (Blessed Is She) Planner and a Bullet Journal

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I have been a planner and journal lover since I was a little kid and learned how to staples pieces of paper together to make my own journal. In the winter of 2015, I switched from a traditional planner to a bullet journal and fell in love all over again. I had no intentions of going back to a regular planner. However, when Blessed Is She came out with their gorgeous liturgical planner I was really tempted to give it a try but didn’t want to give up my bullet journal.

As I debated about it and reviewed over the bullet journals I had filled over the year, there was one thing that bothered me. I loved looking back at my monthly logs, various lists and journal entries but I really had no need to go over all my daily To Do lists. They were taking up space.

That’s when I decided to use a traditional planner to keep track of all the appointments, To Do lists, grocery lists and such that I didn’t want to keep for the future. For my bullet journal I would keep all my monthly logs, monthly reviews, journal entries, workshop/podcast notes and the things I wanted to keep for the future. Here is a peek at how I set it up. First, here is my planner.

Blessed Is She Planner

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My Blessed Is She planner has a traditional calendar, which I prefer.

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The weekly overview has my Sunday brain dump/TO DO list, meal planning, grocery list, prayer intentions, weekly goals and contact list. There is also a color key to keep track of daily goals (ie. prayer, drinking water, exercising, etc) but I’m not using it at the moment since I have a larger tracker in my bullet journal.

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On Sunday night, I sit down and do a brain dump, literally writing down everything in my head that I need to get done in the future. Then I go back and mark which days that task should be assigned. I leave blank the items that can wait until the important stuff is done.

When I plan my weekly meals, I use a post it to jot down food I need to eat up that week and meal ideas. Then I look over my schedule for the week and see which meals can be cooked when. Once I assign a meal a day, I can toss the post it. And if I do need to update the menu, my pens are erasable so no problem. 😉

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In the weekly schedule page, I keep track of the places I need to be or work I have to do.

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There is a space for the things I must get done that day. I color code my schedule. Purple for work and errands, green for school, orange for speech therapy and doc appointments and pink (or red) for activities to attend.

Then I take the items from my earlier brain dump and assign them to their days. If I have a long list of errands, I just add it on the schedule.

At the end of the day I check of my must do’s, if I took care of myself and two or three things I’m grateful for (that I later add to the gratitude log in my bullet journal.)

My Bullet Journal

Next up is my bullet journal. I use the Leuchtturm2017 Medium Sized Hardcover journal. I prefer graphed but there are also lined and dotted versions. I talk about why I chose this journal here.

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I started a new book for 2017.

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The index and key.

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For the new year, I completed Lara Casey’s Goal Setting Series. (I blogged all about it here.) Instead of filling out her powersheets, I used my bullet journal. Here are some sample pages.

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My saint of the year. (I used Jen’s Saint Name Generator to find one.) My word of the year – Simplify. (I explain how I chose this word here.)

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My inspiration board. (I wrote more about that here.)

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On the fifth day of the series, I finally decided on my goals for 2017.

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After my goal section, came my lists such as my house project list and movies to watch.

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My movie log of the movies I’ve watched.

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My list of TV shows to check out.

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My book log for the books I’ve read.

RevolutionofLove.com - planner_bujo_jan_17_uLast year I started a separate bullet journal for reading where I keep greater details such as book challenges, lists of books to read and character notes and book quotes.

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After my lists I have my faith and inspiration section.

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I have things like favorite quotes.

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I don’t need a list of liturgical feast days since I have one in my BIS planner but I added a confession log.

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And a list of spiritual books I’d like to read this year.

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After that I have other information such as Important notes, pen pal addresses, and podcast and workshop notes.

In my monthly section I have…

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My monthly title page.

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Monthly challenges such as Plan with Me Challenge, Rock Your Handwriting Challenge and the 52 Week Dogwood Photography Challenge.

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When I review my day at night, I mark off it in my monthly tracker if I completed my goals of the day. I printed this tracker from Bohoberry.com.  It is free to those who subscribe to her Tribe Resource Library.

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Next is my Fitbit tracker log.

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Monthly spending log.

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Monthly blogging calendar.

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At the end of the month, I add highlights of the month. Here is a sample from September 2016.

I’m two weeks into January and so far it has been going really well but it will take a few more months to see just how much I like using both systems. I’ll keep you posted!

Daily/ Nightly Review

If you are not used to planning, pick a time that works for you. Maybe it is in the morning or while the kids nap in the afternoon or on the train going to work or at night. I wrote previously:

Some people like to do their planner review in the morning before the day starts. Since I’m not a morning person, all my energy in the morning is focused on simply getting myself out of bed, ready and my four kids fed and off to school by 7:40 AM. Yeah, a morning planner review if not happening. For me, an evening review after all the kids are tucked in bed and kissed good night, the dishes are done and the next day’s lunches are made…this is my me time to unwind.

This still holds true. In the evening I take some time to say my night prayers and write in my prayer journal and then review over my day and planner. If I’m beat, I keep it short. If I have energy and am feeling creative, I’ll draw in my bullet journal while Brian reads or while we watch a TV show. The main thing is to make sure I use it every day and I write everything down. (Or I WILL forget.)

It used to be that if I couldn’t decorate my bujo and make the page pretty, I wanted to wait until I had more time. I’ve learned to forget about it. Just get the info down. Besides, that is the essence of a bullet journal. Short and easy to use. I just happen to use a decorated, hybrid version. If I have time to make it pretty, fine. But if I don’t, it doesn’t matter. Just. Get. It. Done.  😉

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For those of you interested in the Blessed Is She planner, it is currently sold out. In late May 2017/early June 2017, pre-orders should be open for the Aug 2017 – Aug 2018 planners. I’ll post the link when it is ready.

For those interested in bullet journaling or want more info on how and when I plan,  you can find my other bujo posts here: How I Use My Bullet Journal and How I Use My Bullet Journal – Spring 2016 Update.

Lastly, I always get emails and messages asking where I bought my supplies, so here is the info in advance.

 Staedtler Color Pen Set, Set of 36 Assorted Colors These are my favorite regular thin pens.

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When I write in my planner, I MUST be able to erase. I used to use pencil until I found these awesome erasable pens. I have three sizes:

The thicker Pilot Frixion Colors Erasable Markers.

The thinner Pilot FriXion Pencil, 0.7mm Ballpoint Pen, 12 Colors Set. (Also available in the 24 pen set.) 

The even thinner Pilot Frixion Ball Knock Retractable Gel Ink Pen, 0.5mm, 10 Colors Set.

(One note: It has been said that the ink of these pens disappear in extreme heat but the ink will reappear if book is placed in the freezer. I have never had an issue but I also don’t live in extreme heat.)

Weapons of Mass Creation Pouch – Love this. It’s available in three sizes. 🙂

Star Wars Tattoo Flash Nylon Pencil Case 8 x 4in – When I wrote this post, this pencil pouch was sold out. I am adding the link anyway in case they get more or you find another Star Wars style you may like. 

YOUSHARES 120 Slots Pencil Case – I use the above Star Wars pouch for one set of erasable pens that stay with me and my planner in my purse. The other pens and pencils I keep in this larger case that stays at home. I bring it out when I have time to decorate my bullet journal.

London Magnetic Bookmarks – These little book magnets are cute ways to mark my pages. 🙂

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Tiny Saints CharmWe have lots of these cute saint charms on backpacks and adding my patron saint (also patron of mothers) to my planner seemed appropriate. 🙂

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Photo credit: LuckyDuckDesigns. – I purchased this bullet journal pen holder from this great etsy shop but she is currently out of stock. Check back often or message Ahna if more are coming. I love her holders and have a couple designs.

Luke’s Diner MugJust for fun!

Okay, I hope you enjoyed this peek into my planners. If you have a question I didn’t cover, just let me know. Happy planning!

PS – You can follow RoL on Bloglovin, Feedly or another news feed. If you are a social media fan like me, we can stay in touch through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, GoodReads, Letterboxd, or Spotify, 😉

PPS – Disclaimer: “Revolution of Love.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.”

In other words, if you click on my affiliated links and make a purchase, I get a small compensation that goes towards keeping the blog online. Big hugs to those who click and help support the blog! xoxo 🙂

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2017 Goal Setting Series Part 4 & 5: My 2017 Goals

I am working on Lara Casey’s 2017 Goal Setting Series. Here is my reflection of Parts 4 & 5 of 5.

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PART 4: Uncover Intentional Goals

In Part 4, Lara asked us to review over what we’ve written so far, write out some goal ideas and then check to see if the goal ideas are rooted in what matters most. As she puts it:

The idea here is to SIMPLIFY your life, not to give yourself a new to-do list of random things that sound good. Be intentional about what you decide to spend your time on this year, with your own unique gifts and talents. How you spend your time is how you spend your life. Check each of your goal ideas to see if it’s worth spending your time on.

Read more here.

The sentence “How you spend your time is how you spend your life” really hit me!

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I added it to my bullet journal as a reminder. Then I brain stormed and jotted down a long list of things I want to have as goals. I sifted through it and crossed out things that were good but not necessarily right for me in this season of life. I took to heart Lara’s words:

You never know how long you have left here on this earth to love others and use what you’ve been given to grow good things. Life is to short and too meaningful to coast through. The good you do today has the potential to change generations. That’s why uncovering good goals and having a clear focus is so important. Otherwise, you may spend your time lost in distractions. Lost in Instagram. Lost in the chase for perfect, or significance, or approval, or whatever it is that has been holding you back from really living. You may find yourself restless, knowing deep down that there’s more to this life.

Read more here.

Part 5: Make It Happen

Now it’s time to gather all my notes and narrow down my main goals and answer the prompts Lara provides for each goal.

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GOAL 1: Nurture my spiritual life and relationship with God.  I’ll do this by spending 15 minutes of prayer in the morning and a 10 minute night exam. During the day, turn my mind towards God, converse with him and offer up each chore or little cross for a person who has asked for prayer.

Why? To always have God at the center of my life and to deepen my love for Him. I want his will to be my will and motivation.

The positive effect taking action on this goal may have on my life and others: I will have a stronger and deeper relationship with Our Lord. I will be more aware of the importance of my vocation as a wife and mother. I will be more open and capable or helping out those God has placed in my life.

How will I feel at the end of this year having made progress in this goal: Hopefully, more at peace, grounded in faith and more charitable with others.

Starting steps:

  • When I take my morning walk, I’ll listen to the Blessed Is She daily devotion on my iPhone (using the speak text function,) reflect on it, then pray the rosary (or at least a couple decades.)
  • During the day when I am doing mundane chores, I will do it in a spirit of love for a special intention.
  • In the evening, I’ll reread the scripture of the day that I listened to earlier  and write down any thoughts or insights in my prayer journal. I’ll close by doing a short examination of conscience, ask God for forgiveness then thank Him for two things I’m grateful for that day.

How I will know I accomplished or made progress on this goal: Spending time in prayer with God or reading Scripture will come more naturally and not be such a struggle to quiet my easily distracted mind.

Encouraging words: “Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thes 5:16-18

How I will celebrate at the end of 2017: I have to think more about this but my first thought was to attend a retreat. I’ll work on this one some more.

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GOAL 2: Nurture my marriage with Brian. I will work on this by doing a daily act of kindness for Brian and be faithful to our monthly date nights.

Why? To be a loving wife and show Brian in concrete ways that I love him and appreciate how hard he works for me and the kids. Spending time alone allows us to reconnect, nurture our friendship and helps keep our marriage strong.

The positive effect taking action on this goal may have on my life and others: A stronger marriage, which benefits us and the kids, and a stronger friendship with each other. This especially helps us weather the tough times when they hit.

How will I feel at the end of this year having made progress in this goal: I’ll be a happy wife (which will give the family a happy life.) 😉

Starting steps:

  • Read over my 25 Acts of Kindness for Your Husband post.
  • Print it out in a size that will fit into my bullet journal.
  • Schedule a date night for January using one of the restaurant gift cards we have.

How I will know I accomplished or made progress on this goal: I’ll see “that look” Brian gets when his heart is filled with love for me. (insert blush) 😉

Encouraging words: “The love of husband and wife is the force that welds society together.” – St. John Chrysostom

How I will celebrate at the end of 2017: This seems out of reach but I would love to spend a night away at a nice hotel with Brian.

 

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GOAL 3: Give the kids more one on-on-one time with me in work, play and prayer. This includes after school during homework, play time with me on the weekends and being consistent in our family night prayer.

Why? To be a good mother that loves her kids and spends time with them and is not always “too busy.” I want to teach them about their faith and how to love and serve God in their young lives.

The positive effect taking action on this goal may have on my life and others: A closer family life and an environment of love within our home. (Albeit noisy, but loving.)

How will I feel at the end of this year having made progress in this goal: I’d be happy that I am taking my vocation as a mom seriously and spending more quality time with my kids.

Starting steps:

  • Make a weekly meal plan that matches out weekly schedule, such as crock pot meals on days when we have sports or speech therapies. Keep meals simple on those days.
  • On mornings when I have more time, do what dinner prep I can (ie. wash the lettuce for salad or chop the veggies for soup) so the dinner making hour is not so hectic.
  • On the days we have an easier afternoon schedule, let the kids take turns cooking with me. It sometimes stresses me out but they love it.
  • There’s more things popping in my head but I don’t want to overwhelm myself. Baby steps and one step at a time.

How I will know I accomplished or made progress on this goal: More peace in the home, especially in the hectic hours of after school and before dinner. 

Encouraging words: “Let us love one another as God loves each of us. And where does this love begin? In your own home. How does it begin? By praying together.” – St. Mother Teresa

How I will celebrate at the end of 2017: Plan an end of the year family outing TBD.

 

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GOAL 4: Cultivate an orderly home run on a balanced budget. Right now I am dealing with two problems – too much spending and too much stuff in our house. I want to simplify and get rid of the things we aren’t using or have outgrown so someone else could use them instead. (Not super easy with my slightly hoarder-ish tendencies.)  I also need to curb the impulse spending, which is not helping the clutter situation. It’s a vicious cycle.

Why? To bring order into our home so I am not stressed out by the mess and chaos. To be better stewards of the blessings we have.

The positive effect taking action on this goal may have on my life and others: When things are organized our family life runs so much smoother and there is more peace. We’ll be able to save more when we budget.

How will I feel at the end of this year having made progress in this goal: I am messy by nature but when I force myself to organize, clean, and plan, I am much happier and at peace. I will also be thankful that I have been able to help someone else out by passing on items they could put to good use.

Starting steps:

  • Sit down and review our spending over the year. Make a budget based on our spending. Figure out what excess spending we can cut out.
  • Make a master list of each room and what decluttering I can do to simplify our home.
  • Each week choose a small task to check off the list, even if it’s 10 minutes of dumping junk out of a drawer or driving that bag of baby clothes to the charity drop off. (I chose one thing a week instead of each day because I want to be realistic. If I have a free morning to do more than one, that’s great but not expected.)

How I will know I accomplished or made progress on this goal: I won’t see a pile of junk everywhere I turn. Our checkbook won’t be in the red at the end of the month.

Encouraging words: “Live simply so others may simply live.” – Ghandi

How I will celebrate at the end of 2017: Take some of the money we saved and donate it to a charity we choose as a family.

 

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GOAL 5: To take care of myself physically, spiritually and mentally. I already took care of spiritually, in goal 1. For physically, I want to get into the habit of taking better care of myself through the basics – walking, water, vitamins and better food choices. Mentally – being creative is usually my outlet, whether it is writing a post, taking a photo or decorating my bullet journal.

Why? Physically,  I want to be alive and healthy for my children and husband so I can be an active part of their lives as they grow up. I want to be a good steward of the life God has given me and not take it for granted. Mentally, so I can be a happy wife, mother and friend.

The positive effect taking action on this goal may have on my life and others: I will be healthier, physically and emotionally, and have more energy to keep up with my family.

How will I feel at the end of this year having made progress in this goal: Like a new woman. 😉

Starting steps:

  • On Monday through Friday, after I drop off the kids at school, take my 30 minute morning walk. If I can’t walk in the morn then do an after dinner walk for 20 minutes.
  • Keep my blue water jug with me all the time. Fill it up once in the morn and once in the afternoon to get at least 8 glasses.
  • Remove the Christmas cookies and candies from the kitchen so I’ll stop being tempted to nibble on them.
  • Put my vitamins in a 7-day container so it is easier for me to take them each day.
  • Do one creative act each day, even if it’s just posting a photo to IG or jotting a few ideas down for a future post.

How I will know I accomplished or made progress on this goal: In the evening when I review my planner, I’ll mark off my progress and keep track of how much I walk in my monthly tracker in my bullet journal. By the end of the year, I should see improvements in my general health and energy levels.

How I will celebrate at the end of 2017: Hopefully the healthier habits will also mean some pounds have been lost so I will treat myself to a new Christmas outfit, if it’s in the budget. 😉

Well, there are my 5 goals of 2017! It may seem daunting to someone else but I know I won’t be doing all this at once. I’ll be working on a couple of things and get it down pat before I move onto another step. My minutes, hours and days are going to pass whether or not I act. I may as well get something accomplished while I’m here living. 😉

If you want to take a step in making some goals that suit your life, I strongly encourage you to follow Lara’s series. I’ve heard from so many people that have made progress following her guidance. I believe the Powersheets are sold out now but you can still follow her blog series.

I also got Lara’s book Make It Happen at Christmas so I will be reading that and maybe tweaking my goals lists as I learn more.

So, what is one thing you want to work on this year? Share it in the comments and I will pray for you and your progress. Please say a pray for me! 🙂

PS – You can follow RoL on Bloglovin, Feedly or another news feed. If you are a social media fan like me, we can stay in touch through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, GoodReads, Letterboxd, or Spotify. 😉

PPS – Disclaimer: “Revolution of Love.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.”

In other words, if you click on my affiliated links and make a purchase, I get a small compensation that goes towards keeping the blog online. Big hugs to those who click and help support the blog! xoxo 🙂

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2017 Goal Setting Series: Part 3


I am working on Lara Casey’s 2017 Goal Setting Series. Here is my reflection of Part 3 of 5.

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Step 7: What things fire you up?

I looked over the good things that happened this year. I thought about the things in my life that get me excited, bring me peace and put a smile on my face. I jotted down all these things in my bullet journal.

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There were many things including big stuff like God’s mercy and love, family, nature, creativity, kindness and little things like my kids giggles and playfulness, road trips, movies and stationary.

Step 8: Write a list of what you are saying YES to in 2017 and what you are saying NO to.

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I am saying NO to…

  • Stressing over the small stuff.
  • Overspending.
  • Taking poor care of self
  • Too much screen time.
  • Negative thoughts and situations.
  • Clutter.
  • Being “too busy” to pray.
  • Not being grateful.

I am saying YES to…

  • Family time.
  • Being out in nature,
  • Quiet prayer with God.
  • Scripture and the rosary.
  • Acts of kindness.
  • Keeping.
  • Simplifying.
  • Time with friends.
  • More play with kids.
  • Trusting God.
  • Enjoying small things.
  • Creativity.
  • Affection and comfort.
  • Being grateful even when things go wrong.

I especially love Lara’s advice about making decisions. She said:

I came up with a little check-in to help me evaluate whether or not purchases, projects, or potential commitments on my calendar are worth saying yes to:

1. Have I prayed about it?
2. Does it honor or help other people draw closer to God?
3. Is it life-giving?

I love that! I will use is in the future.

 

Step 9: Pick a word for 2017

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After looking over the areas I want to work on, one word kept coming back to mind – Simplify. The synonyms of simplify was hitting all the right marks – reduce, streamline, order, clean up, and get down to basics.

Getting back to basics was just what God was trying to teach me in regards to prayer towards the end of the year. I wrote a post in October and said:

I was in a small group discussion and we were talking about prayer in our personal life. I was quietly thinking about it when suddenly my mind turned to the print I received. Our Lord (interiorly) spoke to my heart  saying, “Do you know why you received that print? Because you need to get back to the basics. Sometimes you get so caught up in the distractions that you lose the essence of prayer. You need to get back to Me and you.  Just be with Me.”

So whether it be decluttering my house, working on the budget or my prayer life, I’ll be remembering to simplify and get back to basics.

I’ll post Part 4 tomorrow (hopefully.) 😉 See you then!

PS – You can follow RoL on Bloglovin, Feedly or another news feed. If you are a social media fan like me, we can stay in touch through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, GoodReads, Letterboxd, or Spotify, 😉

PPS – Disclaimer: “Revolution of Love.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.”

In other words, if you click on my affiliated links and make a purchase, I get a small compensation that goes towards keeping the blog online. Big hugs to those who click and help support the blog! xoxo 🙂

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2017 Goal Setting Series: Part 2

I am working on Lara Casey’s 2017 Goal Setting Series. Here is my reflection of Part 2 of 5.

 

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Step 4: What the one thing I want to cultivate this year.

Getting back to basics and simplifying.

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 Step 5A: What challenges did I experience in 2016? What areas need work?

Challenges included: Dad’s death, mom’s cancer, feeling far away from extended family, stress, worry, hectic afternoons, feeling overwhelmed at times. When I don’t have a plan to follow I feel like I am spinning in circles not actually getting anything done. And when I didn’t put prayer first it just made all these issues worse.

I already discussed what needs work in Step 1.

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5B: What lessons did you learn from those challenges.

  • Prayer brings peace and strength.
  • Family time is important.
  • Charity begins at home.
  • Less screen time = more positive activities.
  • The boys especially need lots of physical exercise.
  • Walking improves my health and stress levels.
  • I feel like Jesus is calling me to be a source of comfort and joy to His Sacred Heart and his children.
  • I need spiritual strength before I can share it with others.

Step 6A – Who helped me cultivate what mattered most in 2016?

Brian, my kids, my father-in-law, my mom, mi familia, my Blessed Is She sisters and a few close friends.

Step 6B (Optional) – Make a Pinterest inspiration board of things you want to make happen in 2017.

I made a Pinterest board here.

I also took a couple of favorites and made an inspiration board in my bullet journal.

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I’ll post Part 3 tomorrow. See you then 🙂

PS – You can follow RoL on Bloglovin, Feedly or another news feed. If you are a social media fan like me, we can stay in touch through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, GoodReads, Letterboxd, or Spotify, 😉

PPS – Disclaimer: “Revolution of Love.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.”

In other words, if you click on my affiliated links and make a purchase, I get a small compensation that goes towards keeping the blog online. Big hugs to those who click and help support the blog! xoxo 🙂

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2017 Goal Setting Series: Part 1

I am working on Lara Casey’s 2017 Goal Setting Series. Here is my reflection of Part 1 of 5.

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Back in the summer of 2014, I started thinking about making goals in my life. It was a rather foreign concept at the time. I said back then:

I never gave much thought to having life goals before now. (Well, except for the huge goal of finding a good husband when I was still single. ;-)) Seriously, I always imagined “goals” as being grand, lofty things like starting a business or going back to school or writing a book or something. It seemed ridiculous to make those kind of goals when I was just trying to make it to the end of the day with my sanity and perhaps a clean load of laundry. Lately, I’ve definitely been surviving, not thriving. Then I read what Elizabeth Foss said here:

What do you want your life to look like? What do you see as your unique calling? These might be grand, lofty, complex things, like starting a ministry or taking a mission trip. But they might also be less grandiose, but deeply textured things like running a well-ordered home and opening your doors to your neighbors. Honestly, for right now, in this season, one of your primary goals might just be to get some sleep!

Elizabeth recommended Lara Casey’s Powersheets and I decided to give them a try. They were truly instrumental in helping me evaluate what is most important in my life and what I’d like to achieve. Lara showed me how to make big goals and break them down in manageable bits that reflected my season in life. It has been successful over the last two years, making improvements and progress in various area of my life.

However, when I completed the Powersheets, my youngest was still in diapers and I had little ones at home with me during the day. That season was different compared to now.  This is the first year that I have all my kids in school all day and while other commitments keep me busy, I have some flexibility and more time to pursue other things that I couldn’t with little ones under foot.

I was debating whether or not to order Lara’s powersheets again but I was hesitant to spend the money because I was trying to reign in my spending after the holidays. Well, God bless Lara because she offered a 5-day Goal Setting course on her blog. You can follow along with her powersheets or just use plain paper. I decided to take the course and use my new 2017 bullet journal.

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Lara encourages us to share our progress with friends so we can be held accountable to each other. Since sharing these things with you helps me to plant them in my heart, as well as holds me accountable, I share some of the steps in Lara’s course and how I answered them.

Step 1: Evaluate How I Am Doing in Various Areas of my Life (on a scale of 1 – 10.)

I focused on the positive things but also mentioned the “needs work” areas that brought the ratings down.

Heath (6) – Progress made: I am few pounds lighter than last year and completed my summer 100 Miles in 100 Days challenge. Yay! Although, lately I have been slacking off, especially with the holidays. Too little walking and way too many sweets has made me feel less than healthy.

Friends (7) – I have made some wonderful connections with online friends, meeting many of them in person. So fun! However, I haven’t seen many of my nearby real life friends in ages! There is always an excuse or reason we’re busy but I crave some girl time. I am feeling the tug to make it happen.

Family (8) – I used this category is for extended family. I feel like we are keeping a good connection with each other, especially after starting a private FB group just for our family. In regards to my mom-in-law, my FIL’s death has brought us closer, although I could work on being a little more patient with her when our ideas on life clash, especially now that she needs more help attention as she gets older.

Wife (8) – I think our marriage is going strong and we are making sure we have alone time together. The main thing I want to work on is to continue to do a daily act of kindness for Brian. He always does so much for me, it is my way to say thank you and let him know I appreciate his love and friendship.

Mom (7) – It’s harder to be positive about this because there is always room for improvement as a mom, but I have good kids who are kind to others, relatively well behaved in public, love God and want to serve Him in their little ways. The areas that need work are having more one-on-one time with the kids, especially after school. They need my full attention for homework so I have make sure I have all my stuff done so I can focus on them. I’d also like better consistency in our family evening prayer.

Homemaking – (6) – Progress has been made over the years with better meals, some pockets of messiness cleaned up and a much better morning routine. (I haven’t been late for school once all year!!)  But there is still much more decluttering to do. Frankly, we just have too much stuff. There is also a list of house projects I’d like to start.

Finances (3) – Ugh. This is the area I need the most work on this year. On the positive side, I have given more to charity and we have saved some but I sorely need to update our budget and stop spending money on spur of the moment purchases. I’d like to be more intentional in my spending and stop contributing to the “too much stuff” problem.

Spiritual (7) – I have definitely read Scripture more this year than any other year, thanks to the Blessed Is She devotions. I’ve practiced trusting in God when nothing else made sense. My desire to pray for others has grown and there have been moments when I really felt connected to God. As for improvements, I need consistency. Morning prayer when the kids are at school is much easier but while they were home during vacation, I had such a tough time quieting myself before God. Plus my night exams have been spotty at best. So I’d like to work on consistency and giving God’s time with me top priority.

Blogging (6) – I’ve written less this year but I think I have made better connections with online friends. To be honest, I added this category but right now it is not a huge priority. I have no “plan” to grow the blog. I simply use it as a way to express my thoughts and stay connected with you. I don’t really care if it grows and it’s not a money maker so if I could post just once a week (maybe twice, if I’m feeling crazy,) I’d be happy.

Recreation (8) – Now that the kids are older it’s much easier to have pockets of time to myself so this area is fine (minus the above mentioned needed girl time.)

STEP 3A: What good things happened this year?

I made a page of highlights, including trying to look at the good in bad situations. My father-in-law died but he was surrounded by those he loved the last days of his life and passed away peacefully as his son read Scripture to him and prayed over him. Even with my mom getting cancer, the surgery was successful and she is well today. Those are both blessings.

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Step 3B – What lessons did you learn in 2016?

  • Life is short. Let go of the little stuff that bugs you.
  • When you are at your weakest, God is at his strongest lifting you up.
  • Family is everything.
  • Close friends can become a second family.
  • Enjoy the little blessings (and crazy kid moments) each day because they will be what matter most in the end.
  • Even in the darkest moments, you can still find beauty or a smile if you search for it.

I’ll post Day 2 tomorrow. In the meantime, if you want to know more about making goals that fit your season in life – whether they be lofty or simple – I strongly recommend following the series. Lara is so positive, yet honest about her struggles, that you really feel like you have a friend who cares and wants to bring out the best in you. 🙂

Happy 2017 and see you back tomorrow!

PS – You can follow RoL on Bloglovin, Feedly or another news feed. If you are a social media fan like me, we can stay in touch through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, GoodReads, Letterboxd, or Spotify, 😉

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