Family · Planning · Reflection · travel · vacation

Resetting – Low Country Makes it So Easy

I am enjoying every morning this week sipping my morning coffee as well as every evening cocktail or glass of wine while sitting in a rocking chair like this and seeing these views: rain, shine, dawn, or dusk.

Phoenix just doesn’t have as much green as South Carolina. We can try to manufacture it but it just will never reach this beautiful level of green. My

Our gracious host has encouraged us to treat his home as if it was ours. Being so blessed to have this sweet retreat is immeasurable. I spend my quiet moments remembering the fun time exploring the Low Country and thinking of the next path of a new day’s journey. Living in the moment is not always easy for me because I love to plan. I promised myself that our days would be slow starting and gently flow from one thing to the next with no sense of urgency. In fact, yesterday was rainy and my daughter was, in typical teen fashion, disappointed that it wasn’t a good day for the beach. She stayed inside and I went traipsing in the rain to explore local shops and brought home trinkets and treats. I even cooked dinner for everyone with some fresh shrimp I bought at the local fish market. Our host did say to make ourselves comfortable and cooking shows I am all in on that invitation.

Today ends phase one of our visit, experiencing Charleston and Summerville. We have done so much already.

We spent a day exploring Summerville, the homes of sweet tea and two of the greatest people I have the privilege to know. Historic downtown is full of small local businesses and charming sidewalks that are fun to explore. It is also the home of the oldest pharmacy in the state that still exudes a small town charm while honoring the history of the generations who have been serving the locals over the years.

Our day downtown in Charleston was relaxing. We spent most of the day exploring its history contemplating the history and wondering how women in hoop skirts ever walked these narrow sidewalks We wandered in and out of the famous Spoleto and Piccolo Spoleto festival events including

We grabbed lunch at the famous dive bar near Waterfront Park and left our mark on the walls like so many other patrons have done over the years. I can’t wait to visit again and find our moment in history. While we ate, we read the numerous dollars that lined the walls talking about the girl weekends, anniversaries, and family trips that have been memorialized by countless others. How cool is it to think that someone else may be doing the same when they read about our mother-daughter trip?

We enjoyed the peaceful spaces at the park on swings and benches. We quietly evesdropped on conversations that floated around us and tried to guess where folks were visiting from by focusing on languages and accents and stories.

We loved the trees and memorials in every park. Each stop was a history lesson just waiting to be discovered.

We visited Dock Street Theater, the oldest theater in the country. It has been standing and operating since the mid 1700s. It is beautiful inside. Our host works here and gave us the back stage tour before treating us to Chamber Music sponsored by the Spoleto Festival. What an amazing piece of history. While sitting there I thought of all of the plays and operas that must have been performed here and all of the historically significant folks who may have sat in the same seat as me.

Speaking of history…

We also visited St. Peter’s and in the West Cemetery discovered Vice President Calhoun’s resting place. Very cool find.

Charleston is rich in beauty and history and just walking to discover what we found was much more resetting and relaxing than making a list and schedule and pushing us to see so much. This wasn’t our first visit to this lovely city and likely not to be our last. Why rush to take it all in. Our slow roll really let us just take in the beauty and digest a little at a time. I loved it.

In our down time we spent the past few days just driving around with no destination. We found ourselves looking at the homes and imagining ourselves in them. We even stopped in some of the new developments and toured a couple of model homes.

A writer can dream. Heck this girl can dream any day of the year. And I do. Every time I visit this place I can easily picture living here. This time my daughter seemed to see it too. We may have to visit Clemson and some of the other schools in the area during our next visit. Always planning…

Now off to explore vacation phase two – Isle of Palms, South Carolina. Beach day. Yay!

Family · lists · Planning · Reflection · travel · vacation

Managing Mondays – Holiday Style

I am not sipping coffee in my normal spot today and it is not really Monday. Here is my morning quiet place.

What nonsense is This? It is called vacation. I am taking the week off from my weekly spread. (And work.) What? I know. Call me crazy. No planner in sight! I left it at home. Instead of planning the week I left it blank. When I get home I plan to make those pages memories instead. I bet you are wondering how I will survive a week with no planner or no plan, even. Ha! I am not that nuts.

I am in Charleston, South Carolina for the week. We got here yesterday which is why my Monday post is a day late. And while sipping coffee this morning, I have my notebook, pens, stickers, highlighters, and my one pager.

See! I have a loose plan. I left behind the hustle and the structure because I want to relax. So, I have goals. And whatever shape each day takes is what it is. I plan to take lots of photos, videos, and note down in my journal what I saw, felt, and thought about my experiences.

Did I mention my daughter is with me? Oh, yes, she is!

I have my journal page ready and we are heading out to explore in a bit.

I am excited to make lists about today. If you haven’t started following me on Instagram or Twitter find me. I would love to have you along on our adventures.

Goals · lists · packing · Planning · Planning · travel · vacation

Managing Mondays…and A week of one event after another

Sipping coffee this morning I thought about how busy this week was really going to be and I spent the quiet time focused on meditating instead of making lists. Afterall, I deserve to gift myself a bit. Tuesday is my birthday!

Weeks ago I told my offspring that the only gifts I wanted were ones that included their time working on projects around the house…indoor and outdoor beautification and organization. I am happy to see a little improvement each day as these small to big projects and various phases getting completed. So far so good. The goals are aggressive so the timeline was extended to the first week of June.

I love birthdays.

This week is also the last week of school for my youngest. So early release days and finals make the week hectic. As a working mom I am negotiating pick ups for the early release days. I truly am very blessed to be surrounded by a village of family and friends who help out on crazy weeks like this one.

I have work partners who are in town this week so I have a dinner out with them while they visit. I made sure I batch cooked a few meals yesterday to be easily warmed up for lunch or dinner. Good thing too since I got the invite to dinner on Wednesday very last minute.

Thursday includes an all day meeting and an appointment for my daughter. That day could be ripe with conflicts since it also the last day of school with an early noon release. Did I mention how blessed I am to have a village of support? I just need to note who is who and when so I don’t get confused or set false expectations with anyone. I cannot imagine life without my planner on weeks like this one. How would I ever keep it straight otherwise? And then there is the all day meeting…so of course there will be a lit of notes and action items. Insert a half page for a list and notes.

This coming weekend is Phoenix Comic Fest and as much as we want to attend all four days, we are only attending on Saturday.

Insert Checklist! This is a work in progress. Planning Cosplay and a survival kit for a day long convention requires planning and preparation.

But that’s not all…next week is Vacation so….I need to start making the packing list.

I want to keep it simple so that throughout the week I can add to my list and pack whenever I have a window of time. I know most will be last minute. That’s the beauty of the lists. I have a place to note down whatever I think of whenever it comes to mind. I can worry less and enjoy the busy birthday week.

So, let the list making and note-taking begin. I think I am ready for the week. Just keeping my coffee fresh and my planning time quiet and productive.

Have a great week!

Family · Goals · Planning

Managing Mondays-Busy Days with Lofty Goals Await

This week is full of fun and I have a lot to do around all of it.

  • Live Music
  • Movie
  • Mother’s Day
  • Work
  • Appointments
  • Writing
  • Home Organization and Cleaning

Will I get it all done? I have a plan. And I decided to color code my days with Work in pink and Home in Green.

This is a new idea. With so much going on I thought the segregation would help my mind focus and fight the clutter. Let’s see how it works.

If nothing else I love the symmetry it lends to the design. This layout is using 100% Happy Planner brand products. Well, and a pen.

I love busy weeks yet when I start laying out the week I get a bit anxious. The events are non-negotiable. Time with friends at movies or live music shows are Aces to me. I live for moments that make memories. And I am well rested and camera ready. By the time Sunday comes around I will definitely love the fact that Mother’s Day means I get to take the day off. No chores from this Mom! And my son gave me a ticket to the live show on Sunday which will make the day the best ever. Ending a week eating at my favorite restaurant, enjoying live music that I love all on Mother’s Day means my blessings are truly overflowing.

With a week ending in so much joy I already feel motivated to rock this week at home and at work. I know I can get it all done and more.

Back to sipping my coffee before I tackle it all!

faith · Family · Planning · Writing

Strength & Dignity-Keeping Faith and Trust Day by Day

Enjoying my coffee time when all is quiet. I cannot say all because the fur babies are awake and their paws are tapping away on the wooden floors. There are some days where I wish I had more rugs along their beaten path to muffle their clickety-clack. On days like today, I have to sip my coffee a bit more eagerly so that the caffeine kicks in and I can tune out their distractions.

I set aside 10-20 minutes in my morning meditation to journal Bible verses. In January when I built my Vision board I chose words Strength and Dignity. I choose to surround myself in reading, writing, praying, playing, and meditating on those words. And funny enough, I seem to run across or search for items and articles that focus on that positivity.

Today, I served up my java in one of those pretty finds that I came across at The Daily Grace. This site is a Women’s Bible Study ministry that is one of my go to sites for study tools and topics. I have acquired quite a collection of journals, pens, studies and accessories. And my cup is one of my most recent acquisitions. It is just so lovely.

Bible Journaling

I appreciate that there are many ways to study the Bible and journaling is a relatively new discovery for me and I enjoy how my love of writing and crafting are married with this mode of spending time with God.

Throughout each month I have 3 or 4 methods that I dive into every day. Days that are short on time you will find that I invest in only one. But invest I do. Time with my coffee and in the Word sets my day along a calming and focused path. There are days where I may oversleep and am sipping coffee on the go and the day seems to run me more ragged. On those days, I find a quiet time later, pour another cup of coffee, and just find my quiet chair in my room and ensure my day doesn’t end as it began.

I encourage you to find time with your favorite beverage and a quiet place to journal, meditate, and read. Start your day off this way and see how the day goes. End your day this way and see how your sleep is restful and healing. Do both and get a double whammy of positivity for yourself.

Here are some of the quiet time techniques that I enjoy.

Daily Verse Journaling

This is one of the simplest ways to spend 10 to 15 minutes a day. Pinterest is filled with themed monthly ideas for each day. I snagged a couple of ideas I planned for May below. I may not get to these every single day and spend a weekend morning catching up. I love how one of the many creators always seems to know what encouragement I am hoping to find in Scripture from one month to the next.

Wonder how to take this into practice? I have a planner for that. Here are some snaps from my January pages in my Happy Planner.

The Reset Girl’s Faithful Life

My girl, Cori, over at www.theresetgirl.com is so inspirational and creative. I consistently enjoy her easy way of incorporating crafting, journaling, and studying all in one space. She offers a free monthly prompt for journaling verses in a theme. Visit her website to find more.

Let me show you some past pretty pages I have made with inspiration from Cori and the Facebook Group.

This month she provided this idea and I am looking forward to some crafty journaling this evening.

Prayer Journal

Some days I really enjoy just writing out my prayers. It feels so much like writing to the best pen pal out there. I share my hopes and dreams. I thank him for the little things and the major things. I lay out my worries and I ask for His advice. I have so many journals , large and small. Everywhere I go I have one with me so that I can pop in and write a love letter to God.

Coloring The Word

I have an Inspire Bible and some days i just love picking it up and coloring the “coloring pages” in the margins while I read the verses and meditate on what I have read. Coloring is so relaxing. Many groups are out there who take this even further with mixed media and maybe some day I will explore further. These crafters have perfected such an amazing art form of beautiful expression. For now, coloring in the lines is it for me. Baby steps.

Focused Studies

In groups and alone I find time throughout the year to pick up studies and inspirational fiction and non fiction and dive in. My mornings are so quiet that I allow myself to go deep into the content and learn about God and about myself.

Some people really are neat about it. Me, not always. I confess that during some of these studies I write in my Bible and in the books. And I know when I look back that I am probably the only human who understands.

I honestly feel pleased as punch when I am in a group or self-study and a reference takes me to a place I have been. I get to see what I learned before and maybe even add something new. Continuous learning is important to me.

I have many studies in my to be read pile but I find new ones and often go back to old ones to read again. One that I regularly go back to is Fervent.

Getting through this pile is ongoing because I let the Spirit lead me through them. I never worry about them in a deadline sense. I always seem to pick one up and the context and learning is timely to my heart and need. I love that plan.

I have a group of friends whom I have worked with who are also part of the same church family. We often get together for fellowship, friendship, encouragement and study. We pick a word each meeting and go away finding related verses to study. At our next meeting we share our favorites and we discuss why. This has given me more opportunities to be crafty.

Here is one week where we studied Grateful whereI learned about a woman of the Bible I had never given thought to when I read the verses before. Strong and faithful women like Priscilla who are “every day women” are always so inspiring to discover.

So there you have it!

I like variety and flexibility. It keeps me out of a rut of boredom. So many options are presented when I am sipping coffee and asking myself what sounds like fun in the time I have each morning.

I hope that these ideas bring you blessing and encouragement. If it inspires you to change up your quiet time, please let me know. And please share with me how you spend time if it is something not presented in my ideas. I love finding new ways to learn and meditate.

I am headed back to sipping coffee.

Family · food · health · Planning · Recipe

Meal Planning -Delivery Kits Review

Coffee time equals quiet time around here and I was reviewing blog ideas realizing I owe you an update on some of the other meal kit delivery programs we tried: Sun Basket and Martha & Marley Spoon.

If you recall, I posted a few weeks ago about out family pleasing experiences with Home Chef. This Friday another delivery will be at my doorstep and I am excited. Next week’s meal planning is practically a fait accompli thanks to Home Chef.

The past couple of weeks we tried a couple of other offerings.

Sun Basket

I immediately unboxed and loved all of the paper packaging knowing how easy recycling would be.

I was not excited about the recipe book. A magazine style that included EVERY single recipes shipped to any customer. That meant I had to find the recipes by flipping through the pages. (Each time I made a meal.)

I was slightly annoyed that the ingredient list didn’t include measurements. Now, I get that it is all pre-measured but I am a girl that wants the ability to re-create a winner. What if I really like it and don’t want to wait to see it again in rotation?

We received a few meals and the first one we tried was the steak meal.

I really enjoyed this meal. It was easy and light. My dauggter, however did not. She thought the steak was bland. We both were not impressed in the quality of the steaks. We had much better cuts from Home Chef.

My daughter wanted nothing to do with the vegetable dish but I loved it!

The other two meals were really pretty tasty as well. As far as quality goes, if I were cooking foe just myself I might try it again, but no one in my family was adventurous enough to try. I, myself had plenty of options for lunch and dinner all week.

If you recall, Home Chef has very little waste for us. Sun Basket had far too many vegetables. Yes…even for me.

I have skipped the next few weeks because I want to browse the rotation of menu options to see if there may be another week to try again. But our initial review is only moderately pleased. Also, the cost per person was $1-2 more per meal on average. We all have to love it to make the cost worth it.

Martha & Marley Spoon

Did you know Martha Stewart had skin in the game too? I shouldn’t have been surprised.

So we ordered a box.

The unboxing made me smile. I loved the recipe card! The note making it seem more personalized was a nice touch. And the small magazine that introduces the team and concept was a nice addition. They didn’t send a binder like Home Chef did. And I guess that little organization perk tickled me. Not having one from Martha was disappointing but not a show stopper.

Did you notice the quantities and measurements? I was so happy to see them. Re-creation is a possibility. That made me happy.

When making this dish, the recipe was hard to follow. It is based on 2 servings with notes for 4 servings. I really struggled because the formatting, amounts, and discerning the difference between 2 and 4 servings just didn’t jive. Not sure it hurt the outcome but this wannabe mom chef did not find this experience enjoyable.

The dish was delicious! And I would make it again. My daughter is not a fan of rice so I may have over served myself and ate leftovers the next day as well. We went with the lower prices cut of meat and it was a good cut: much better than Sun Baskets option but still not on par with Home Chef. We could have spent a bit more for higher end cuts of meat. I didn’t and wouldn’t feel it made a difference.

Now Martha is new skin in the game and the menu options from week to week are very limited. Especially if you are trying to align to dietary needs.

I am not compelled to order in the next couple of weeks as the menu choices just do not interest me nor my family. I am going to skip a few weeks and jump in again. I feel Martha deserves another go to see if the one meal we tried was an anomaly in my struggle to discern the recipe and instructions.

Overall we were pleasantly surprised and are sad the menu isn’t more robust yet. Martha does give me hope to try again.

So many more to try: One Potato, Blue Apron, and Platrf to name a few.

Next month maybe we will give them a spin. But for now, I am sticking with Home Chef because they have delivered consistent winners.

Have you tried any meal kit deliveries yet? Which ones? I love having these as options on busy weeks.

Family · Goals · Planning · Reflection

Managing Mondays-Mom Priorities

It is coffee time! Quiet time is so very precious to me. And this time at the beginning of every week as I sip coffee feels paramount to how the week can go. I take time to think on all that I need to do plus what I would like to do. It is my way of getting out of the bed on the right side.

The past few weeks have been a struggle in changing priorities and I have had to shift even more to remembering what matters most. This focus adds a perspective like no other. I want to ensure I balance Mom priorities over work priorities because the family needs that right now. It isn’t just about my schedule. It is more about being “present” in mind and heart more.

I spent most of my time sipping my first cup in a retrospective state and looked back on what did and did not go well over the past couple of weeks. I asked myself what I could do differently because I felt like I was being too hard on myself and others around me. I realized that my expectations were perhaps set too high or not communicated effectively which can cause conflict on the home front.

Setting my plan for this week I designed a motivational and functional week spread in my planner. I wanted to see reminders of what is really important at work so that I can keep the negative noise and nonsense from others in perspective. And in doing that I can avoid the negativity from seeping over into other aspects of life. Most importantly self care needs to be at the front of the train and not in the caboose as a back burner.

My spread is full of motivation and focus areas. It gives me permission to delegate nonsense to the back burner. I am reminding myself to be the servant leader by focusing on my team’s needs and being a positive in the storm. Recently I have had an opportunity to observe leaders who are in the trenches with their teams and leaders who stay back in the tent barking out orders and then hiding in the shelter waiting and watching. The latter leader style sometimes seeps negativity out beyond the team and affects the bigger goal. And it is simply not my style. So while I am in the trenches I want to remember to be positive and guide my crew to the best outcomes with encouragement, gratitude, and course corrections that take us along the journey to the finish line celebrating together.

This week I want to make sure that I am focusing on the behind the scenes planning that sets the stage for every act in the play my team is cast in so they can be stars. I want to ensure the setting is right, the props are in place, and that they know their lines.

At home, I want to keep the work from seeping in. I want to protect our time so that it is of such quality that we all feel accomplished and grateful.

These may seem lofty goals for the week but I don’t think so.

In any moment of negativity I plan to step outside of it and ask myself:

  • Am I the engineer on this train right now?
  • Is this helping any of my three focus areas?
  • Should this be back burner?
  • Will this seep beyond work?

Knowing the answers to these questions should guide me to the right energy level in the moment and maintain perspective.

At the end of the week I aim to have positive energy to tackle that garage with my family: A project that we never seem to get to with our conflicting schedules and energy levels.

Share your spreads for the week and share the why. I always want to understand others why.