New Year, New Pants: A Joy List

I knew 2017 was off to a stellar start when I split my pants in class on our first Friday back to school. Now, mind you, after teaching preteen girls for so many years, I could write a master’s course on the fine arts of concealing embarrassing…uh… wardrobe issues …that come with “growing and changing”.  Typically, this kind of seam-splitting embarrassment in front of my students would drive me to rework my New Year’s resolutions. I would vow to include more carrots in my diet and fewer tea cakes (which I may have unabashedly considered a main course over the holiday…which also may have resulted in me pushing the limits of Lycra and spandex!).

I could cry, however it was so much more fun to throw on my pea coat, disguising my malfunction, dismiss the kids, …and laugh with the other teachers about my afterschool plans would have to be altered… as well as my pants!

Joy! This year, the desire of my heart to is embrace more of it…intentionally. I don’t feel that you simply catch joy, but it is something that you foster and protect. In these next 12 months, I want to invest my time in the activities that feed my soul, leaving me feel more purposeful and fulfilled, while ridding my schedule of interruptions that steal away that life-giving spirit.
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Weekend Reminder

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Juggling a full-time career, grad school, family life and (fill-in-the-blank), it has been ages since I’ve had an intentionally Calvin & Hobbes-esque “Lazy Sunday”. In the busyness of life, it’s difficult to slow down as an adult and forcefully take a guilt-free day of rest… today was that day and I loved every moment!

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Juicy Lucy Recipe

Recipe- The Juicy Lucy

My husband and I grew up in different areas of the country. Getting to know one another as newlyweds, you learn more about each other, specifically, things that are NOT common knowledge to the other. Last week I told my husband that I would make him a “Juicy Lucy” for lunch and he looked at me with wild befuddlement.

Realizing that not everyone grew up in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, I thought I’d share a Minnesota Summer Favorite!

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The ULTIMATE Spring in Your Step PLAYLIST

Cherry blossoms, warm sun, and getting to finally use the AC in my car… I love this time of year! Spring has the power to turn just about anyone into an optimist after a long winter (unless you live in Colorado… then you get a mix of summer heat and blizzard dumps this time of year)! I took me almost 2 years to transfer my old music to my new(er) iPod and now my mornings have been pumped up with the peppiest music to start the day! Sharing with you a good mix of my throwbacks favorites and my new loves that getting me moving when I can’t get my lazy butt out of bed! Continue reading

Unplugging to Connect: 7am-7pm

I got my first phone in Junior High…instead of a jewelry, my dad got me a Virgin Mobile pay-as-you-go phone (“Purity ‘Ring’”… my dad is as cheesy and practical as I am). I liked having the security of being able to call for a ride after sports practices, but rarely used it because I had to protect those minutes… God forbid anyone text me at 10 cents a pop!

Having a smartphone was never a priority until when my husband and I moved overseas. The GPS helps us navigate nameless roads in Asia and FaceTime connects us to those we love. However, if I’m being transparent, the more homesick I get, the more I cling to the device that helps me feel connecting to the happenings back in the States. Yet, the time drain from these devices is keeping me from being present in where God has placed me now.

I need to unplug to connect.

At the beginning of this month I saw a great challenge to unplug from your phone in the evening and morning hours. I decided to set a 7am to 7pm challenge to turn off my phone and see what kind of changes I’ve noticed.  Barely two weeks in and I can see the impact.

Sleep:

Without a pandora’s box of distractions in my hand, I can actually stick to my early bedtime. I’m not exactly getting up that much early, but lately I’ve been getting about 9hours of sleep consistently and I think that’s my magical “sleep number”. Getting enough rest definitely reduces my stress.

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Everyone Needs to Relax: Chronic Stress and Health

Chronic Stress Counseling Tips GumptionGrace.comSo as many of you know, I am finishing up my Master’s in Marriage and Family Counseling… One topic that I think affects a huge majority of women is Chronic Stress. Though we experience it to different degrees and our triggers for stress are as different and diverse as we are as people, chronic worry and fretting can actually cause longterm, physical consequences. How can I be a Proverbs 31 woman who laughs within fear of the future….when I was practically born with a stress ulcer? My adventure through research was exciting, my paper arduously long… so I thought I’d share some highlight on a handout I made for this project in Counseling Women. Continue reading

Nineties Nostalgia: Stress Less

Throwback Stress Solutions GumptionGrace.comIf you were among the privileged, you got to experience childhood in the 1990s…A happier and simpler time of psychedelic Lisa Frank folders, Jelly shoes, not-so healthy snack that were essentially frosting to go (remember Dunkaroos?), electronic pets, and TGIF (not the restaurant). We played outside unsupervised with more butterfly clips in our hair than were in the yard. A simpler time when there were only 2 genders to pick from, and you knew which one you were! I truly pity generations after ours that won’t get the same experience that we did (I blame smart phones and internet 😉 ) .  And… this nostalgic nerd is loving the reboots of childhood classics like Boy Meets World and Full House, 90s fashion trends, and Pandora stations that cater to my nostalgia!

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