Countdown to Christmas!

Every year, I feel like the holidays creep up on us. Before we know it, the whirlwind rush is over and it’s already time to pack up the trees and trimmings (as I type this, I realize that in our household we keep up the “winter tree” longer than socially appropriate!).

One of my favorite Christmas carol lines is “A thrill of hope, a weary world rejoices“. It can be so easy to get swept up in the things we think we have to do for Christmas, that our over-obligation offers few silent nights and run the risk of leaving us feeling run over by a one horse open sleigh. When, in reality, the spirit of this holiday is to rejoice because of the hope that is in us!

This year, my desire is to slow down. Enjoy this season of celebration with family, friends, and fellowship. I enjoy making lists probably as much as Saint Nick, so I wanted to share with you a list of favorite scripture that helps me quite my own heart each day this in this frenzied month and reflect on the promises that give us hope.

Please feel welcomed to download the free PDF version here with both the full color version and a printer friendly black and white versions of the Countdown to Christmas calendar and reflection page!

 

Many Blessing and have a Merry Christmas!

kenzie-from-gumptiongrace-com

Summer Bucket List

When you’re a teacher and your school doesn’t get out until the middle to the END of June, it is essential to create a “Summer Bucket List” so you don’t run out of time to do that fun stuff you’ve been putting off. Here’s my Top Ten…  let me know if I forgot anything 😉

SUMMER BUCKET LIST GumptionGrace.com

  1. Hike Mt. Fuji
  2. Go out [specifically and intentionally] for ice cream at LEAST once a week!
  3. Finish Master’s in Family and Marriage Counseling
  4. Find and Run with Wild Horses
  5. Go to Harry Potter World
  6. Learn to Fly Fish
  7. Empty and Reorganize my Closet (Marie Kondo Style)
  8. Run a 5k without stopping
  9. Get a [Healthy] dose of sunshine and sleep
  10. Give my family a HUGE hug!!!

Praying you all have a wonderful summer! Let me know what your Top Ten are for this summer!

Many blessings,

kenzie-from-gumptiongrace-com

February Thoughts: Doing Things You Love, Just Because

As I’ve been getting in the habit of getting to work pretty early and cranking out the laborious parts of the job before my students arrive, I’ve enjoyed the added bonus of having the freedom to leave work before the sun goes down, (which here is before 4:30). Driving home has become one of my most beloved parts of the day. I am constantly in awe of the pink clouds next to the icy blue sky and snow reflecting the colors in opal-like glory. The cotton candy skies every afternoon served as a motivation to get going in the morning and keep moving during the day!

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February Favorite… Do the things you love for no other reason except the joy it brings you!

Every year Pantone puts out it’s “Color of the Year”. I always thought it quite silly…imaging a paint swatch waddling up the stage to receive it’s  award… “I would like to thank Sherman Williams for mixing me, Benjamin Moore for creating me…” Okay… random brain tangent. Apologies. This year, the cotton candy duo, Rose Quartz & Serenity,  that was bringing me joy every day on my winter commute home was chosen for the colors of the year! So silly, but I was so happy… tickled really, over something entirely frivolous, inconsequential, but oddly personal because it reminded me of those beloved daily drives…

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New Year, Fresh Start, Blank Planners

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My mind runs away from me most days like a sugared up five year old at Disneyland, aimlessly ricocheting from one attraction to the next without a sense of purposeful motion. Jumping from anxieties about work, to home, up to marriage and family, back to hobbies, and over to never-ending things to do… pretty soon my mind has strung a web of worries, and I experience a “paralysis of analysis” and find myself neither at peace nor productive.

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Kindergarten Advice “Grownup Me” Should Follow

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“I often give myself very good advice, but I very seldom follow it” 

-Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland

I teach Kindergarten. There is immense drama when you are 5… I am my students’ sensei, learning the art of handling life at school. However, lately I’ve realized these phrases I hear myself saying daily, I should be listening to and apply in my own life .

  1. “Are you excited?!? You should be!”– Let’s be honest, there are some days that are flat out boring. Sitting in traffic, buying groceries, and answering emails can get tedious. In Kindergarten, we have a lot of routine, as we learn how to “do school”. In essence, we are practicing structure, rule following, and procedures, which is not always fun. To battle the potential boredom, I start every class period announcing all the events (like Library or Spanish class) we should be super excited for …we don’t proceed until my class is cheering! It’s kind of like a mini “pep rally” for everyday life. Cheesy, though it sounds, it starts my students on an incredibly positive note the very first thing in the day. They have goals and highlights to look forward to…

Grownup ApplicationIn my classroom, I must seem like I have the energy of a  caffeinated squirrel fresh off hibernation. I’m faking it. I slink out of bed each morning with less vigor than a sloth on Ambien. However, I have coffee… it’s something I look forward to every morning. I also have a wonderful husband (my barista) who makes me giggle first thing…and students who make sure I always have a humorous surprise during my day! These are some of the little things that bring me joy and motivate me through the tedium of the day. We should intentionally get overly excited about even the smallest things that bring joy to our lives.

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Jesus is Coming, Look Busy

Jesus is Coming, Look Busy

It’s the holiday season, and there is a volunteer opportunity at every corner. It is easy to be overwhelmed with the thoughts of what we should be doing or could fit into those blank spaces in our daily planners. There are cookies to be baked, parties to be planned, kids’ programs to be coordinated, donations to be collected, and the list goes on. During this time of year, it is natural to be busier than usual, but for some, overcommitment is a way of life. In some cases, especially with women, it becomes almost a weird competition of who can serve the most, and who can best balance the busyness of life. Lately, it’s broken my heart to hear so many of my newly-married friends joke that they are so busy that they barely see each other.

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Working Smarter (not harder) in the Kitchen

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5 Minute

Versatile Salsa Verde

Dinner used to be a huge challenge and a point of anxiety for me. I just got married last year and felt an overwhelming pressure to cook healthy, delicious meals every night for my husband and I. However, we were both working 10 hour days in new jobs and also both started graduate school, so there wasn’t a whole lot of extra time for grocery shopping and whipping up a new Pinterest recipe every night… then I remembered….

Work smarter, not harder.

Who said that something delicious has to take half a day to slave over? This recipe in a staple in our kitchen and takes less than 10mins to whip up. We literally use it in half a dozen of our meals …. (I’ll show you how to adapt it, so you don’t have to recreate the wheel every night).

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