Friday, December 30, 2016

What I've Learned About Resolutions

Today is a day just like any other.  Tomorrow will be a new day.  The day after is a brand new day. The day after that is a brand new day, too.  Are you sensing a pattern?  

It is almost a new year.  It feels like we should be starting over, setting resolutions and writing down goals.  And you should...if you do that in April or July, or another part of the year.  You should write new goals...if you've already learned that your goals are only as good as the habits already developed.  The daily habits that you set in motion way before January 1st are what will make resolutions stick.  

So enjoy this new day.  Enjoy tomorrow, too. Have a beautiful 2017.  Admit that a new day will not automatically get you to your goal...your established, productive habits will get you to your new goal.

Make it a beautiful day, friends.

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Monday, December 26, 2016

Who is Rooting for Your Marriage?

Alone together.  That's how I heard one person describe our culture of social media.  We sit alone on our couch looking at other peoples' posts on social media.  The posts are the highlight reel.  It's not that they are bad things we's just not all the things.

I don't believe we should air our "dirty laundry" on social media.  We've all seen the posts that are vague and specifically angry. Um.  Be a grown up and go talk to that person.  Don't post it on facebook.  But that's not where I'm going today. I found out last weekend that a couple I thought I knew is getting divorced.  Apparently, I wasn't the only one surprised by this announcement. Someone else commented that they had no idea the couple was having trouble.  

"They didn't want to air their dirty laundry," was the reply.

While I don't think it's everyone's business if someone is having trouble in their marriage, it's my hope and prayer that you have someone in your life that you can talk to and have that real conversation:

"I'm having a really hard time in my marriage right now with ___." Fill in the blank.  Anything, on any given day can be really hard when you are married.

I have a wonderful husband, but there are still times that I want to choke him with my bare hands.  At that point, I need a real friend to tell me that they are rooting for my marriage...not what a jerk my husband is and that I should leave him.  Divorce is not easier, friends.  That is the lie the world tries to tell you.  That is the lie Satan whispers in your ear.  Marriage is not always sunshine and roses.  It's work...and it's a choice.

 colors: UL sugared plum & lilac bouquet

If you are the one struggling, please reach out to someone.  There are so many resources available. You are not alone.  If you don't know anyone you think will be on the side of your marriage, please message me.  I will pray for you. (Here is one resource you can look into.) If you are in a real physically or emotionally abusive relationship, that is another matter entirely.  You need help, too, and know that is not okay.  Please, get outside help.

We all want our happily ever after.  Sometimes we need to roll up our sleeves and work for it.

Make it a beautiful day, friends.

I'm sad for the heavy topic today.  This has been weighing on my heart.  After you get done pondering the current state of your relationship, visit me on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook for some light hearted decorating fun.  If you are looking for some color change up in your home or business, stop by for ideas and consult information.  Thanks for sharing.  You don't know who might need to read this today.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Mountain Lions and Ninjas

I hang around funny people.  Life is more fun that way.  Two of these maybe-a-bit-competitive gentlemen may have an ongoing competition/hypothetical discussion about whether or not they could kill a mountain lion before it kills them.  Fortunately, this is only a hypothetical discussion and not a retelling of a real life, horrific situation.  This discussion has been going on for years, apparently, but now it's shifted...

A couple weeks ago, one of these pranksters approached me at the gym and told me that even with my black belt, he felt he could take me.  He could take me down before I could kill him.  I'll be honest, at first my feelings were a little offended.  Sure he may have 50 pounds on me, but I have some skills and some knowledge that should give me the advantage.  (I hope that studying karate for 8 years has taught me a little more than just how to punch or kick!) While I wouldn't say I'm super aggressive, I do feel like I could hold my own if there were to be a random "mountain lion" situation.

 color: UL cotton candy

The funny thing is that I didn't know about this particular discussion before the throw down was issued at the gym.  I thought my friend was being the sarcastic, sometimes filter-less, often outspoken, albeit hilarious person that he is.  But the more I got to thinking about this weird challenge to my hard earned skill set, I realized they were comparing me to a mountain lion.  (If you live in Colorado, you know that if you encounter a mountain lion in the wild, it's probably too late for you.  Sorry.)  What I'm saying is this: it's kind of an honor to have grown men wondering if they can kill me before I kill honor in a weird, twisted kind of way, I know, but I'll take it.

What strange compliments have you received today?

Make it a beautiful day, friends.

When you're done contemplating what kind of strange people would come up with such a discussion in the first place, pop over to Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook for some inspiration that's a little more tame.  You can also subscribe to this blog simply by entering your email in the box below.

Monday, December 19, 2016

What Did You Ask for 10 Years Ago?

At my gathering of friends for my birthday-ness, one of my friends asked me about the highlights of the last decade. I'm sometimes hesitant to pull up to the bragtable, but I do believe it's good to reflect and see how far we've come, on occasion.  

My list accomplishments that I'm proud of could go on, but it wasn't until a week after my party that one of my friends pointed out something else that I have accomplished in the last decade: friendships. This particular friend, I have known since I was about 12. She reminded me of a conversation we had about 10 years ago. I was a stay at home mom and we had just moved back to the area and I was looking for relationship with depth and accountability and honesty. I had a few friendships that were close-ish, but I was desiring the next level in friendship and spiritual growth.

 Colors: UL shoreline blue & matte black

Through a series of circumstances, we ended up with a small group Bible study...that we're still a part of. Some of the faces have changed and there are some newer ones I've also grown to love, but these are my core people. We've even split a couple times because we were too large, but I still love all of  the people. They are the ones that tell me when I'm having unreasonable expectations of myself. They're the ones that will stop what they're doing to pray with me. They're the ones who bring me a coffee and a hug just because.  Ten years later, I'm glad we made the choice to find our people.

I know without a doubt that God brought each of these people into our life. He knew exactly what I needed to stretch, grow, challenge, and encourage me. That safe place to be vulnerable and honest has made me better at other relationships, too. My point is that it was a choice to put ourselves out there.  It was a choice to be vulnerable and willing to develop relationships...and I'm so thankful we did.

Make it a beautiful day, friends.

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Friday, December 16, 2016

Rootin', Tootin' Flutin'

I played the flute all through school.  I won't say that I was exceptional, but I was good and more than anything, I enjoyed it.  

Last year, being the musical creature God made her to be, my daughter started to play flute, too. She was good, and, of course, a natural. Long fingers, great rhythm, and an amazing ear for all things musical, it was no surprise when she quickly picked it up.  Tonight, I was so proud to witness the legacy continuing.

It's the time of year for winter recitals, so away we went to watch our girl do her thing. Of course, every parent was proud of their child. They all did well. But I was especially proud to see how confident she was as she played in a duet and a solo that she volunteered for.  Volunteered. My baby girl who likes to think she's shy, but then has these glimpses of sparkle that break out every now and then.  It's really beautiful! She's amazing!

 color: UL Italian Turquoise

I appreciate your letting me brag on my kiddo for a moment, but I want you to understand something else about this little recital: she wasn't amazing just because she practiced. She was amazing because the music was in her and she couldn't help but let it out. She is living in and expressing her gifting. What kind of glow do you have when you're living in your purpose? What's in you?  Who were you created to be? 

Make it a beautiful day, friends.

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Monday, December 12, 2016

Planning for Help

I have a lot on my plate.  I think I always will, or at least for a good while.  It's just the season I'm in.  

I'm fairly organized, at least as far as my calendar goes, but I believe I can do better.  I do manage to get my family fed on a regular basis--just kidding. They have food available every day, and usually there is some semblance of a meal (thank you, emeals!).  That part of my schedule feels like it works most of the time. Where I run into trouble is my to do list...I don't think I'll ever get done with it.

I was discussing this issue with my coach last week and we decided I need to add some priorities to my scheduling, as well as changing the format a bit.  I know there are a TON of different planning and/or calendar systems out there.  I'm currently using Google calendar, which I really like in a lot of ways, but it has some short comings.  Here's where you come in: I'd love to know what calendar/planning systems you use. My qualifications are that it has to be portable and intuitive.  I don't want a wall size calendar to carry around with me all the time, or something so complicated that I can't use it well.

 colors: UL bright white & crimson red

I don't usually ask for much feedback in this blog space, but I'd really live to hear what you know on this one.

Make it a beautiful day, friends.

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Friday, December 9, 2016

Looking Back to Move Forward

Then I had a client ask me this question last week,

"Did you always know you would do something with artistic design?" I believe I just took me a while to get there.

There were little snippets of my future sprinkled in my past...smoldering twigs, if you will.  I took art classes during a lot of kids do.  Coloring, painting, drawing.  I always liked to do that stuff.  At age 10, I started taking painting lessons.  Apparently, my parents saw something in me that I thought was just something people did, but they saw as more exceptional.  I'm not saying I was a phenom.  I wasn't.  But it was something I was fairly good at and that I could develop.

 color: UL mulberry wine

Along the way I have developed many skills and many more are still in the growth process, and hopefully will never leave that stage.  I love learning.  That is part of who I am.

What have you always known you would do?  What can you grow into a marketable skill?  What can you grow simply for the joy of learning?

Make it a beautiful day, friends.

Find me on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.  You'll see some snippets of some of the things I'm having fun creating.  I've also added new posts and updates at, so stop by and see.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Happy Birthday to Me

I'm turning 40 this week.  I didn't think I'd be so contemplative about it.  I have several beautiful, amazing friends that are a few years ahead of me...and they make it look good so I'm not too worried. Nevertheless, conversations keep popping up in my mind.

      -Do you realize you're halfway through your life?  What have you done?  You'd better get started!

     -Do you realize you're halfway through your life?  What have you done?  You're too late.  You might as well lay down and quit.

They may not happen simultaneously, but both those conversations happen in my head.  Yes, I realize the dichotomy.  It happens.

Thirty-eight (as in, last year) was a exceptional year for me. I earned my black belt in karate.  I was offered and accepted (and completed!) a project in my business that was bigger than I had ever done before.  I learned some of what I was capable of.  

In the time since I've completed those bigger milestones, I haven't had other "huge" successes.  I didn't have the huge explosion I thought I might after I finished my big project. I have had some firecracker moments, though. Our karate school is growing and we've implemented some new programming I'm really excited about.

 color: UL lucky green
Cute up your birthday reminders with this adorable birthday board.
Just hang a mini card from each month with the birth date & name on it.

I've had some bummer moments, too.  I injured my foot and couldn't participate in my regular CrossFit routine for 3 months...causing me to slow down a little and gain a little weight.  Ugh.  My son fractured his leg in his first season of football.  I've had a slower season in my creative business.

But I'm not done yet and there are new adventures on the horizon.  I still feel like I'm just getting started. Maybe I'll always feel like I'm just getting started, and that's a good thing. It means there's room for expansion.  It means things are exciting and fresh.  It means I'm growing...even though I'm almost  40.  What new dreams do you have today?

Make it a beautiful day, friends.

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Friday, December 2, 2016

Little Man

"I might not have responded like I know I should have." That's what my 14-year-old son said when he called me to tell me he and his sister were fighting. He had the self-realization to know he was angry and that even though his sister was pushing his buttons, he knew he needed to not lose his cool completely.

 colors: UL valencia orange & hot cocoa

It was one of those rare moments when I wanted to congratulate myself for being a great mom...then I realized it was more a reflection of the amazing man he is becoming despite my best efforts.  I have great kids. They aren't perfect, but they are terrific.  It's easy to get down on yourself when one of your offspring makes a choice contrary to what you believe you taught them.  

I often try to remember that I didn't birth little robots. They have ideas and dispositions that are all their own.  I'm comforted by the thought that God gave Adam and Eve a perfect world, environment, and an actual perfect parent--and they still screwed it up. I'm not throwing in the towel, and, just like my Heavenly Father, I will always love  my stubborn, feisty, smart-alecky, silly kids. 

Make it a beautiful day, friends.

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Monday, November 28, 2016

It Feels Good clean out my laundry/utility room.  It's been eating at me.  The only thing keeping me going in that room was that I had to do laundry.  (Laundry today or naked tomorrow, remember?)  So in I went--stepping over piles of not-quite-put-away-yet tools, stacks of I-really-need-to-give-these-to-Grandma pictures, sleeping bags, and, oh, the next-load-needs-to-be-put-in-the-wash laundry.  Admit it.  We all have that space, but I can't do every room at once, or nothing will get finished.  So it had to wait.  And like most big projects like that, I waited until my husband was working and I was at home. Yep.  The day after Thanksgiving.

Black Friday was cleaning day.  I even got most of it done before said husband came home for lunch to find the laundry room exploded in his office (unfortunately for him, his office adjoins my laundry room).  There was no turning back.  I wasn't putting all the junk back in like it was, so onward we went.  Keep, toss, or give.  Those were the piles.  My beautiful 11-year-old daughter was the sorter of the pictures.  That was truly helpful, and while we're not completely done with the pictures, we are making great progress.

 colors: UL varsity blue & electric lime
Get your own warning expression by clicking here.

The irony in all of this purging is that I really just wanted the pictures.  I know.  My husband didn't believe me either, but it really is the truth.  I got the carpets cleaned in the other end of the house, and afterwards we rearranged the furniture.  There is now a naked wall where there used to be a china hutch.  And if I'm being really honest, I haven't really hung pictures since we moved into this house...4 years ago.  Oops.  Between remodeling and rearranging, I just haven't quite made it to picture hanging...yet.  Progress is being made, though.  You remember my clutter confession? Well, I'm almost ready to post new and clutter free pictures.  Almost.  Rome wasn't built in a day, you know.  My initial confession was on September 9th.  Yes, I realize it's now almost December. Apparently, I had a lot of caca to go through, but it feels good to be getting closer to the end.  The lesson in all this is that sometimes you have to dig through the crap to get to the really good stuff. Now to just keep it that way, but that's a post for another day.

Make it a beautiful day, friends.

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Friday, November 25, 2016

What It Means to be Perfect

Perfect can be defined as flawless, without blemish, not making any mistakes, without fault.  While I'd love to say that I'm perfect, I'm not.  I can't be.  This is a broken world.  Outside of Christ Jesus, there is no one perfect, so why do we seem to expect others to be perfect..and get really disappointed when they are not?

Someone told me recently that I expect too much from other people.  My "expectations are too high" they said to me.  Which at first glance seems like it would be a problem--and without grace it definitely would be--but I'd counter that it's not.  What if I can see more ability in you than you can see in yourself?  What if I can see vast amounts of potential that is untapped hiding beneath the surface, but you don't feel it?  I speak from personal experience.  I've had people do that for me. They can see something I'm capable of that I don't see in myself, and in the end I was able to accomplish more with others' belief in me. Here's the spectacular part of that: it increased my own belief in myself and my abilities once I realized I was able to do it.

 color: UL varsity blue
Do you need a daily reminder for your wall of your potential?  Get yours here.

I'm still not perfect, though, no matter how much someone else believes in me, but the growing confidence that comes after accomplishing something huge can be off putting to someone that is still struggling to find their own confidence.  Once again, I will remind you that just because I am successful at something, doesn't mean that you can't be successful in your own endeavors.  Just because you are pretty, doesn't mean I'm not, too.  Just because I am celebrating a success of mine, doesn't mean I'm demeaning your struggle.

Make it a beautiful day, Friends.

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Monday, November 21, 2016

Have I Offended You?

It's okay to be upset with someone. It means you have feelings and you own your opinions.  You're human. 

But what if I don't know I've hurt you?  It's unintentional, accidental, or maybe just a flippant error, but the fact remains that I hurt you.  Should you tell me?  That's up to you, but it's been my experience that sometimes yours truly just has a big mouth, and I don't know I've said something to offend.  I don't know I've hurt you. And while I'm not saying I enjoy that conversation, I appreciate in the end that you told me.  

 colors: UL sunshine yellow & cherry red #JensWallsTalk

Let's explore this a little more.  Hypothetically speaking, of course, let's say I hurt your feelings.  I insulted you in jest, or I made fun of your favorite sweater thinking it was an "ugly sweater contest" day. Now you're hurt, but I don't know your hurt.  Have you thought of what that looks like to be mad at someone and they don't know it? You fester.  They move on.  You stew...and they're not thinking anything more about it.  Now you're really mad--and I still don't know I've wronged you.  See who's feeling pain here?  You.

Not only are you the one growing your pain and hurt muscle while I'm living in ignorant land, but eventually we'll probably have to interact again.  You'll still be mad, and I'll still have no clue.  Do you see how this is working?  Not well for you.  In addition to the unhappy stew you've made for yourself, you're not doing me any favors if you don't tell me I've hurt you. You're robbing me of the chance to apologize and ask forgiveness.  You're robbing me of the chance to make it up to you. You're robbing me of the opportunity to take our relationship to a deeper, more authentic level.

All this is to say that if I've wronged you, please tell me.  I'd appreciate if everyone could coordinate and not do it all today, but let's be honest and real.  In the long run, we'll all be better for it.

Make it a beautiful day, friends.

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Friday, November 18, 2016

There Are No Ducks

Life is hard sometimes.  It's easy to think that if we could just get our ducks in a row, it would be easier to handle the hard things. Here's the truth: is going to happen anyway.

 color: UL antigua blue

If difficult situations are going to occur no matter what we do, then how do we prepare for that? Truly there are only so many things we can be prepared for.  Sometimes we will just be caught off guard. As I was practicing blindfolds last night at karate, I got a push from behind that I wasn't expecting.  It jarred my back a little, but I had to immediately recover because someone was coming for me. (To explain a little more, it wasn't a real attack situation.  I was blindfolded and searching to catch my opponent who is not blindfolded. It's part of my ongoing, black belt training.)  An attacker is not going to wait for me to get set up and ready.  They want to catch me off guard--when I am most vulnerable.  

The enemy is the same way.  If he can catch us when we are unfortified and unsupported, then he thinks he has a better chance of picking us off.  You're not always going to have time to prepare when it hits.  Know what you believe, know who you are, know what you will do before the attack comes. Come to me all who are weary and heavy burdened and I will give you rest.  That's what Jesus tells us.  He knew this world is troublesome at times. (He told us it would be.) So He gave us a place to rest in during and after toils the world will throw at us.

We can't do this alone, friends.

Make it a beautiful day.

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Monday, November 14, 2016

Democrats are People, Too.

It would be very easy for me to complain about all the complaining going on about the election results, but we all know how lovely that is to endure.  But here's something impacting I did notice about all the post election grousing: I'm really surprised by who's doing it.

We usually associate and are in close community with people who think similarly to us.  Obviously, not everyone that is a friend will think exactly like we do, but it stands to reason that we don't want to go around arguing all the time, so we gravitate toward people that have similar core values.  So imagine my surprise when I saw persons that I respect and get along with being vocal with their disappointment in the election results that I was relieved about.

There appears to be a trend of mass "un-friendings" on Facebook due to just such issues.  Why?  Did our friends suddenly become a stranger we didn't know?  Probably not. Did our friends suddenly have a massive change of heart on major issues?  Probably not.  Were they taken over by aliens?  I'm going with no.  So why was I surprised by their unrelenting passionate views expressed opposite of mine?  Maybe some of those relationships are more superficial.  I see them at the gym and talk sometimes, but apparently not about politics.  I work with them on a professional level on extended projects, but we never quite get around to chatting about discipline techniques we use with our kids. We may talk about disciplining our kids, but never quite get around to discussing our personal financial practices.  You get my point.  Some people we just don't go in depth with.  It doesn't mean I dislike them.

They are still good moms, dads, employees and neighbors in many ways.  Our world would be a boring, unimaginative place if we were all the same.  God is creative.  He made us to be, also.  I can like your creativity, admire your tenacity, or be inspired by your journey while at the same time not agree with the way you choose to only eat carbs on Wednesday (or whatever your particular belief is). It's okay. If we can look at each other and understand that we are all on the same team (um, hello, humans), then things look a little differently.  I believe at the heart of things we all want our circumstances to be better, but we have differing ideas on what that looks like and how to get there.  So stop throwing the hate bombs.  Stop harassing.  Look for opportunities to discuss with an open mind.  It may not change your mind, but at least you'll have a new understanding of your fellow human that we're sharing the planet with.

Ultimately, the President is one person.  We (as in you, me, and the millions of other human beings that comprise our nation) are the face and heart and soul of our country. Let's start treating each other that way.

Make it a beautiful day, friends.

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Friday, November 11, 2016

Your Pain is Showing

Have you ever had someone tell you they would rather pretend they like you than actually do the work to have a real relationship?  It seems like an odd question and who would put themselves in that kind of situation in the first place?  It seems it would be better to walk away from a relationship like that...but what if you can't?  It might be a co-worker, client, or even a family member.  Then what?

On first response, it's hard to not be hurt and maybe even lash out in anger--bite back like a wounded puppy.  Then in the back of your head you hear it: hurt people, hurt people; healed people, heal people.  People that are hurting inside or that feel pain (whether physical or emotional), are the ones that so often seek to hurt others.  Or maybe they don't.  Maybe they just keep their pain inside and don't let it show...except that it shows to everyone but themselves, apparently.  Hurt people hurt people.  Out of the abundance of the heart flows the tongue.  Garbage in, garbage out.  Here's a news flash for those of you reading this that are hurting: please get help.  You aren't hiding anything.  We know you're hurting.  It's time to deal with it.

colors: UL cherry blossom & electric pink

 colors: UL crimson red & warm stone

Healed people, heal people.  I'm not saying that people that have worked through the hurt have miraculous healing powers, but I am saying that they may have a greater propensity to see past the initial slight.  People that have been healed, understand that a healthy person doesn't pretend.  People that have been healed don't need to pretend because they are comfortable with who they are, or are working to be.  No one is perfect, aside from Christ.  No one.  But I am still likable (lovable, I dare say), worth being around, and worth knowing.  Do I mess up?  Absolutely.  Even healed people mess up on occasion, but we're willing to talk about it and work it out.  But we don't need to pretend.

How can you be a genuine lover of people today?  How can you be real with yourself and those in your life?  Real and sometimes difficult is much richer than fake and semi-hidden unhappiness.

Make it a beautiful and real day, friends.

When you're done appreciating yourself for a moment (or setting an appointment with a therapist), click your way to Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook to see what color fun I'm having.  You can subscribe to this little blog to have my insights delivered to your inbox by entering your email in the box below.  You can also find me at  Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Biting More

We wrapped up our current session of Financial Peace University this morning.  We talked about the "Great Misunderstanding": that to have more we must hold more tightly to that which we have--wrong!  We talked about how far we have come in the past 2 months.  Changes that have been made in our lives and in that of our children and their children.  We've changed our family tree if we can grasp and hold onto and truly implement the lessons we've learned in the past 9 weeks.  But it feels like there is so much to do! 

It's a bit cliche, but I'm going to say it anyway: how do you eat an elephant?  One bite at a time.  As we worked through the class, each week we covered a topic that is critical to our financial peace.  It can be a bit overwhelming to look back at the whole 9 weeks and see all that has yet to be done...I haven't even made it past baby step 2 yet.  I don't want you to jump to baby step 4, though.  It's like building a house.  The foundation has to be set before you put the roof on or it just won't stand.  It will crumble and fall and you'll have a bigger mess than when you started.  It's okay to know what's ahead, but I have to focus on where I'm at right now.

 expresssion color: UL Sugared Plum
A lovely reminder for the upcoming holiday season?  Get yours here.

The same thing is true of my house decluttering.  I know I have a long ways to go in a couple rooms, but I need to focus on one area at a time or I will get totally overwhelmed.  In my efforts to intentionally get more organized, I was looking for resources and plans that are practical and applicable.  I came across the Flylady.  She's been doing this for years, and like Dave Ramsey, has a proven system that breaks it down into bite sized tasks.  Here's what she says that I've really been trying to take to heart (and it applies to cleaning your house and your financial house):

So no matter where you are, don't bite off more than you can chew today.  Look at what you can do and start little bite at a time.

Make it a beautiful day, friends.

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Friday, November 4, 2016

If You Don't Fix It, It's Not Fixed

Of course it's not fixed.  So what on Earth am I talking about?  Anything really.  Relationships. Clutter. Intentionality.

I talked with you a little while ago about organizing and decluttering my house. It's not done yet. That makes me sad to say that, but I am on my way to fixing the problem. I have noticed, though, that there are several problem areas. For instance, the front door area. We walk in, we set our stuff on the dining room table, we walk away...and it's still cluttered like before, even though I just cleaned it. Result: I still can't use my dining room table. I can't just clean it off and expect the behavior to change that got it that way in the first place. I have to implement specific procedures to fix that specific problem.  

 color: UL bright white

I don't have a definitive answer yet, unfortunately, but I have acknowledged that there is a problem. And now I'm trying to find a solution. One of them may have something to do with mouse traps... Not for mice on my dining room table, but to deter people setting things on the table. Before you get all up in arms that I'm trying to catch my children in mouse traps, understand that I just want to startle them to make them remember not to set things on the table. This is as much for me as it is for them. Okay.  Maybe more for me than them, but the result is the same.

Sometimes we have to take drastic measures to change our behavior. I am both laughing and serious as I type this. What will you do to fix a problem or challenge and your life today? I hope it doesn't involve mouse traps, but maybe it does call for a little bit more drastic of a measure. 

Make it a beautiful day, friends. 

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Monday, October 31, 2016

Glowing Hair

I did it.  I cut my hair.  I didn't shave my head, but I cut quite a bit off...and I dyed it bright red.  It's a little bit sassy--and I love it.  

You might recall my post from last week where I was seriously deliberating about whether or not I was going to cut my hair.  It's been a point of contention for my entire marriage.  Not contention. That's not the right word, but a sore spot anyway.  It's like a little bruise that you forget is there until you push on it, then it's sore.  That's how my hair is.  I know that's a weird analogy, but that's the best way I can describe the conversation that happens from time to time about whether or not I will trim my locks.

Since my hubby is the best hubby ever and he told me that I'm always beautiful to him, I took the plunge and chopped away.  It's been a while since I have had it this short (and I've had it shorter), but I forgot how good it feels.  Not just literally because my hair isn't plastered to my head due to length. I mean it feels good because it's like my hair likes to be shorter.  It's happier.  It's free to have bounce and body and movement.  I know I'm going out on a limb here, but I like how I feel when my hair is happy.  I feel more confident.  I feel a little bit bolder (which is probably a little scary if you know me).  

 colors: UL crimson red & chocolate brown
This expression is perfect for your favorite beauty salon!

I'm going to go one step further with this crazy hair analogy.  What if we're all like my hair?  No, we don't have to be short and bright red.  What I mean is that maybe we'll all function better if we're being how we're made to be.  As in, I'm a creative, artistic kind of person.  I like me when I'm being those things.  I like doing those things.  I should do them more often because I'm a better version of me when I'm doing what I'm created to do.  Hear me when I say this is not permission to avoid hard things in life and only do the things we're good at.  That's not it at all.  I'm just saying be who you were made to be.  Grow that person.

Make it a beautiful day, friends.

P.S. This is also not permission to go cut all your hair off because some blog lady inspired you to do so.  I don't want to get angry letters from husbands!:)

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Thursday, October 27, 2016

Why is Money More Private Than Our Body?

Marriages can fail for any number of reasons, but statistics show that money issues are often a contributing factor to marital strife.  That's part of the reason why my hubby and I continue to work on that particular area of our marriage.  We want all facets and areas to be stronger and smoother functioning.  It will never be perfect--we're human, after all--but we want our marriage to be the best it can be.

I was recently having a conversation with a lovely friend who happens to be in her second marriage. She made a comment about she and her hubby having separate money on this go round.  It got me thinking.  This is not the first time I've heard someone say they have separate money from a spouse or significant other.  This couple appears to be doing well with money and marriage; planning, communicating, living life together.  While I know it's never safe to assume that everything is 100% perfect all the time (because no marriage is), it works for them. 

 colors: UL warm stone & berry red
For the pirate or the private person in your life, this expression is perfect!

So here's my question: when a couple is married and shares every other facet of their person and life (i.e. food, home, children, family, their body), why keep finances separate?  I'm asking because I really don't know the answer.  I get that it's hard to combine on the logistical side of things, and perhaps a previous spouse or partner was unfaithful financially, or any other number of issues.  I get that.  But you're sharing your most intimate physical self when you are in a marital relationship, so why not share money, too?

I don't have an answer or advice on this one.  I'm throwing it out there for someone smarter than I to answer.  I'd love to hear some different thoughts.  Feel free to comment below.

Make it a beautiful day, friends.

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Monday, October 24, 2016

The Hair Dilemma

I have hair.  I am married.  It seems to me that almost every woman with hair that I talk to has the same dilemma.  Husband says,
"I like long hair."
Wife says,
"Long hair is fine, but not for the particular hair I have on my head."
My husband is blessed with thick, wavy hair.  I'm not even kidding.  I'm jealous of his beautiful locks.  (The good news is the kids got it!) I do have a ton of hair, but it's fine and straight.  It's not that he doesn't like my hair, but I don't think he understands what stringy hair is.  I am not inclined to, nor do I have time to, run around brushing my hair every 10 minutes so it doesn't look stringy.  Nor do I want to wear a ponytail all the time.  So 20 years into this relationship, we're still having the same discussion...because I want to cut my hair off--again. 

 colors: UL cherry blossom & nautical blue
This cute expression makes a great gift for your beautician!

For those of you that don't know me live and in person, my hair has grown quite a bit since my head shot I have posted.  I've tried.  Really I have, but it is making me crazy to have it longer. I realize there are people out there that would love to have this problem, and it's probably really vain of me to even be blogging about this, but, nevertheless, here I am.  It even caused hubs and I to have a major "discussion" this week. Ugh.  In all his patience with a wife who tends to get really annoyed by these weird little things, but can handle the big stuff, my precious husband even took time to bring me flowers at work.  Purple flowers because he knows that's my favorite color.  NOW how can I cut my hair??

I tell you all this not to whine about my uber-gooberness, but to remind you that it's really just small stuff in the end.  It won't have the ripple effect that the election results will.  It won't cure cancer or feed starving children.  Enjoy the people you love.  Tell them you love them.  Tell them what you like about them.  Be intentional.  Today. I'm blessed with an incredibly patient husband. 

Make it a beautiful day, friends--no matter what your hair looks like.

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Friday, October 21, 2016

Wood and Friends

I was making a picture holder board for a friend.  You know the's an old beat up piece of wood with pieces of paint falling off and it's a little bit warped.  I found it at my local Habitat Restore (love that place!).  It looks like an old piece of exterior window trim.  It was perfect for what I was using it for.

As I was turning the hooks into the wood, my hubby observed that as a trim carpenter, one must have precise cuts and joints.  There is very little room for error, and if errors are made it's obvious and undesirable in the finished product.  But the opposite is true when creating rough cut pieces.  When making a door, or drawer front, or table from rough cut wood, the imperfections are highly desirable and intentional.  The ironic part is both are beautiful.  

 Colors: UL electric pink & slate gray

The tight angles and the knotty, rough wood are both beautiful--each in their own way. I was talking with a fellow mama the other day.  Her beautiful 13-year-old daughter had been a little sad and maybe a tad bit jealous of another friend who happened to be very athletic and outgoing.  The friend was amazing!  It seemed that her daughter thought she wasn't amazing because she wasn't those things.  A bit more introverted, but no less smart, and certainly no less beautiful, she felt less than because she wasn't outgoing or super athletic.  It's a lie.  

The enemy wants us to feel less than and this is one of the current lies being permeated to our daughters.  Here's the truth: just because you're beautiful, or smart, or sparkly, or wonderful in any number of ways, doesn't mean that I'm not.  My beautiful may be different than your beautiful, but we're still both beautiful. That doesn't mean same.  I want my daughter so much to understand this. Just like the rough and knotty wood is beautiful, as well as the tight corners and precise panels are both beautiful...

Be your kind of beautiful today, friends.

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Monday, October 17, 2016

Sharpening the Iron

I've often talked about what wonderful friends I am blessed with. They are true and honest and real friends.  I am so often thankful for them, but sometimes I forget to be thankful for my kids' friends, too.  

In this age of cyber bullying and sexting, I found it refreshing when my son's friends came over for a sleepover without apprehension in matters of silliness.  Thirteen and 14-year-old boys are obviously not known for their maturity, but it's a funny, in-between age where we are simultaneously looking to the not too distant future at impending adult responsibilities and the not long past fun of being a little kid without responsibility.  Middle schoolers are beginning to figure out they have an identity of their own that isn't completely attached to their parents, and it's scary and exciting and unsettling all at the same time.  All that while wanting to be accepted by peers.  It's quite a conundrum, really.

These boys came over.  They threw the football around outside.  They drank too much soda and proudly belched in true teenage boy fashion.  They ate and then ate some more.  They played foosball and discussed flatulence and Star Wars.  They ate again.  More than anything, though, they were just silly.  Hilariously silly.  They laughed.  They laughed at everything from hamburger buns to poo poo emojis and hockey. It was a safe place.

 color: UL nautical blue

While I can't say that I've been a perfect parent by any stretch of measure, I can say that we have modeled having and valuing real and honest friends.  To this point in their lives, our kids seem to get that because they've made great choices, as well, and it has been a real blessing.  These kids are navigating this space together.  It's hard to let them do that sometimes.  I want my kids to always be protected and not make any poor choices, but they will never learn to be productive, able adults if I protect them every step of the way.  It's not God's design for them to be dependent on their parents into adulthood, but I do feel better about them taking those steps when they have peers who let them be themselves.

As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. 

Who are you surrounding yourself with?  Are they making you a better or worse version of yourself?

Make it a beautiful day, friends.

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Friday, October 14, 2016

Little Wins

We're doing this thing.  For real this time.  We've been poking at our debt for quite some time least a couple years anyway.  And now it's time to get it taken of.  This week we fully paid off our first little snowball piece in full.  The next piece will be done soon, but we're holding back a little due to my son fracturing his foot a month or so ago.  We still have bills coming in for that, so we're stock piling a little while we wait for those to all arrive, then we'll continue to pick up more on our snowball.  

Here's the thing: we're not going to be perfect because life happens.  As I was driving with my daughter in the car today, she was telling me about her multiplication test.  When I started to congratulate her on her growth, she hesitated.  She wasn't sure I should congratulate her because she got a less than perfect score, but a year and half ago, she was struggling to get half way finished on a very similar test.  This time she got a 99% correct!  That's a victory and a huge one, at that.

 colors: UL matte black & bright white

What do multiplication tests and personal finances have in common?  In both cases, we need little victories along the way.  Without them, it's a whole lot easier to give up at whatever endeavor we're working at.   Embrace the little victories and keep moving.  Keep growing. Embrace and enjoy the process.  

What hard thing are you working at right now?  Find the little victory to celebrate, then keep moving forward.

Make it a beautiful day, friends.

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Monday, October 10, 2016

It's Time to Tip It Over

I have voted in every election. local and national, since I turned 18-years-old, minus the last one because I forgot to turn in my ballot (ugh!).  While unfortunate, it doesn't have as much bearing as this upcoming election in November.  While I'm bummed that I missed that ballot turn in, I won't be missing the upcoming 2016 presidential election...and you shouldn't either.  

In each case where I was voting, I always voted my party line when voting for candidates.  Usually, not because they were Republican, but because I agree with the values they were representing.  But sometimes I wasn't familiar with both candidates to really know what they stood for, and in those cases, I just voted with my party.  It's a cop out, I know, but it's not a strategy that can be employed in this election.  I think candidates and parties are counting on it, but there comes a time when it's not good enough anymore.

In elections past, it was often a choosing between "the lesser of two evils." We were afraid to split the vote.  In other words, it's Candidate A vs. Candidate B as the front runners.  And while I may like Candidate C, I don't want to vote for Candidate C because I know there aren't enough people to vote for Candidate C  for him/her to win.  In other words, I vote for who I think will win rather than vote for who I want to win. 

In his book, Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell explores the phenomenon of reaching the point in which an ongoing trend changes.  Examples include the reemergence of Hush Puppies shoes from near extinction within a less than 2 year period, drastic changes in crime rates, and teen smoking trends, among others.  "The Tipping Point is the moment of critical mass, the threshold, the boiling point." It's a fascinating read (and you can pick it up at my affiliate link here).  My point in mentioning this is that I believe we are at that point in history.  

We are at a point where something is going to give.  Few people trust Hillary and those that were supporting Donald, well, his supporters are jumping off the bandwagon right and left.  I wouldn't leave my daughter alone in a room with either of them.  That's not what we want for any President Candidate, let alone a President.

 colors: UL whipped cream & crimson red

So what's left? What are we supposed to do when neither choice is good--not only is neither choice not good, but they are both awful?  Do we vote our party lines or do we make the leap to vote who we believe in?  While no candidate is perfect or without some aspect that we disagree with, some are definitely better than others.  Gary Johnson is a respectable, viable candidate--who has record of winning when not expected to.  He's a successful business man that ran and grew a very successful construction company from nothing--without declaring bankruptcy along the way.  The biggest thing Gary Johnson has going for him is that he is anti-big government.  I would encourage you to check him out.

It's time.  It's time to tip the scales and show our government that we are no longer apathetic to the voting process.  We are informed and watching what they are doing.  We're not falling for it anymore. You are responsible.  I am responsible.  To not vote is to vote the side you don't want to win.  The process is broken.   I get it, but that's not a reason to give up. We have the voice to change this.  Like King Saul's son, Jonathan, when faced with an impossible situation and outnumbered by a strong enemy, we have to do something and God will meet us where we're at...even if we feel like the only one.  Let's create a ripple effect.  Share this post on all your favorite social media outlets.  Let's let our voice be heard.  Let's create ripples.  It's time.  Vote.  Vote your conscience.  I cannot in good conscience vote for either Hillary or Donald.  I really can't.

MAKE it a beautiful day, friends.

Instead of sending you to my other outlets today, I'll offer you a couple of articles with what I believe to be sound logic on these election matters.  It's not an easy decision.  We need to be informed and honestly pray for God's direction and forgiveness of sins as we move forward.

Friday, October 7, 2016

A Marriage Fixer Guarantee

I don't like debt. I'd like to say I hate it, but that would imply that I've mastered control over it.  We're not quite there yet, but we're working on it.  In fact, at our Financial Peace University class last week, we cut up our last two credit cards!  Whoo hoo!  Now to pay them off and close them...  We didn't accumulate it overnight, and we won't pay it off overnight, either.  It's easy to see why marriages struggle because of debt. They call it "financial challenges." That sounds mundane and almost harmless when it's phrased like that, but it's anything but harmless.

 colors: UL cherry blossom & rosemary tea

Here's what it looks like.  Both you and your spouse know you owe money to people--credit cards, car loans, school loans, whatever.  It seems to play out in one of two ways: either you're nagging each other to death (often treating your spouse like a child), or you're both silently dancing around the woolly mammoth elephant in the middle of the room whilst punishing yourself in your head or blaming your spouse. FYI, neither one of those are conducive to making a good or happy marriage.  It's really difficult, but I'm offering a third solution.  What if it started with something like this...
Hello, Love.  I know this money situation sucks really badly right now, but I'd really like to figure out the way to get out of it.  We got in this together (or we're in it together now), and I know we can get out of it together, too.  I'd like to have more fun time to spend with you without stressing about the bills later.  Will you look at this with me?
How do you say no to that?  Yes, it is hard.  Yes, it takes daily discipline.  Yes, it takes planning and delayed gratification.  And more than anything if you're married, it takes working together.  Really and truly looking at the goal of debt free and working toward it together.  I promise your marriage will be better and stronger.  Because, let's be honest, it's not a happy place to be in nagging land or elephant in the room land or cry about it all the time land.  Those are all places I've visited.  I'm not going back.

Let's start with forgiveness, then move forward.

Make it a beautiful day, friends.

If you have any questions about the topic of debt or getting rid of it, please feel free to comment below.  If you want a break from reality for a few minutes, jump over to Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook to see my current wall talking fun!

Monday, October 3, 2016

Listen to the Loud Voices

I have a lovely friend named Amanda, who also happens to be a blogger.  Occasionally, she writes guest posts for another friend of ours, Ian, who happens to own a lovely, little company called Double Under Wonder.  Last week she wrote one of these posts and it struck a chord with me.  Here is the original post.  

One more than one occasion, I've talked about the voices in our heads...specifically the voices in my head and what big, fat liars they are.  In her post, Amanda states the following:
I find that most of the athletes next to me at the box have an ability to talk themselves into working harder than they think is possible, to push through when they wanna stop. I think, in their minds (and sometimes out loud, here's looking at you, Sarah), they say things like, "Come on! You can do it! One more! You've got this!" 
She goes on to say more about what goes on in her own head. my mind, I am saying things like, "Come on, you can't do this. You are gonna die. You should quit now." I'm not kidding.  This is the mantra in my head during almost every workout that takes longer than 20 minutes.
I can't say that I'm an elite athlete, but I do pretty well for someone pushing 40.  And I like to think I'm only getting better from here on out.  What I would counter with is not that those elite athletes don't hear negative voices.  I believe they do.  They are just talking back to them.  At least that's what I'm doing.  I hear those voices in my head that want to quit when I'm doing something hard, whether it be a CrossFit workout, a karate test, or working through my budget with my husband.  I have just learned that voice is a liar, and so I talk back to it.  I have to talk back louder than the voice in my head that is telling me to quit, or that I don't deserve to be exceptional, or I don't deserve to grow my giftings.  And that's just not true.  God put me here on purpose.

 color: UL nautical blue
This applies to other people and ourselves...

This week when you're working at something hard that makes you want to quit, talk back.  Look at where you are going.  Look at where you are growing.  Tell that big liar in your head that it's wrong. You can keep going.  Just because you've had that voice in your head your whole life, doesn't mean it's your friend or that you can trust it.  Talk back with truth.

Make it a beautiful day, friends.

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Friday, September 30, 2016

That Groove Thing

I'm not in my groove. I moved out of the groove on purpose, as I wrote about a couple weeks ago. I stopped exercising to let my foot heal. It was frustrating and annoying, but now I'm going back...and its really surprising to me how much more it makes me want grow my discipline in other areas, too. 

By getting up early and going to work out, I want to rest better. When I get up early and work out, I want to eat better. It gives me motivation to keep up the momentum...and it makes me realize how much I've lost. Even though my choice to step away from my workout plan was intentional, I had to admit that it was really disruptive to my general self discipline habit.

 UL terra cotta

Now that I'm wrapping up week two of being back in the habit, I'm ramping up my mental habits, too. And it feels good. I missed it.  It just struck me.  It's only about 3 hours each week that I take to workout, but it makes such a difference in all I do. Three hours of self care.  What small amount of time are you not using to care for yourself? Now that you realized it, you can address it.

Make it a beautiful day, friends.

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Monday, September 26, 2016

Oh...This Kneeling Thing

First of all, I will admit that I don't love watching football...not on TV, anyway.  I'm more of a let's-watch-it-live-and-in-person-and-get-the-whole-feel-of-the-experience kind of person.  Alas, my hubby and son like to watch it, so watch it they do, and hear about it, I will.  I hear about the great plays and the exciting moments and the good calls and the bad calls, and about this new kneeling thing.  

At first, I thought this new kneeling thing was a kneeling thing like Tim Tebow did: a kneeling of reverence to show humility and thankfulness through his faith in Jesus Christ.  Unfortunately, this is not. It is my understanding that these players are kneeling during the National Anthem to create awareness of racism and/or alleged police brutality against black/African American people(sorry for not being more pc on the term, because in my mind people are people are people).  

Here's my problem with the recent trend: it's not productive and it only serves to offend and exacerbate rather than help the problem.  Seriously.  The National Anthem.  They live in a country that allows them to have a voice and an opinion, so they are using that voice to denounce the country they live in and the people that stand up for and fight for that freedom.  How does that make me want to support their cause?  If anything, I have less respect for someone (and their cause) if they feel the need to be disrespectful to get my attention.  I'm not saying racism isn't a problem.  Not at all.  It is worse now than it has been in my entire life, but that's not where I'm going today.

colors: UL hot cocoa & mustard seed

I don't often blog about hot topics in the news and especially in sports, but this doesn't seem to be going away and I'd like to offer a suggestion.  Instead of kneeling for the National Anthem (and thereby dishonoring our country and veterans), how about players wear something on your uniform to show you're feeling out of sync with our current racial climate?  Green socks?  Purple sticker on your helmet?  I don't know, but this kneeling thing isn't working. You may get a fine from the NFL for being out of uniform, but then I would be more inclined to believe your conviction level.  It would cost you something personally.  Let's have this discussion about racism.  But let's not do it at the cost of creating more rifts.

One final thought on this.  No one enjoys being told they're wrong.  I don't, but sometimes I need it. Our response is the only thing we have control over.  
Do not speak strong words to a man who laughs at the truth, or he will hate you.  Speak strong words to a wise man, and he will love you.
The modern version of these words is "haters gonna hate." Let's be wise.  Let's be kind. Make it a beautiful day, friends.

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