Blogging has really changed a lot over the years. I used to write a blog post several times a week if not daily. Years ago a blog post was nothing fancy; it was just an online record of what you were up to or what you were thinking about.
As things have become more and more complicated in the world of online content creation, I thought it would be a breath of fresh air just to write an old fashioned blog post with a life update.
So here I go with an update about what I did in August:
Continued working in my garden.
I've been bringing in several varieties of beans each day, along with some cherry tomatoes that are still producing. I also cleaned out plants that were finished and replanted some fall crops.
I finished 3 books in August:
|I was afraid the biographer was going to insert her own theological opinions into the book, but in the end I was pretty pleased with how well she stuck to only the factual elements of Elizabeth Prentiss' life. The book was put together in a very logical and concise order, giving a good overview of Elizabeth's life, including family, friendships, struggles she faced as a mother, uncertainty of the future, and her spiritual ponderings. Though she lived many years ago, her life was not terribly different from any woman's today – we all find joy and sorrow, delight and frustration in many of the same things. For that reason I found it a fascinating read.|
I've seen this book recommended several places, so since I happen to be in the process of updating my living room I took a quick skim through the book. I resonated with everything this author said, and learned a couple tips along the way.
“I like pretty things, but not so much that they're allowed to make my life more complicated.”
“You're not a Stuff Manager, you're a Home Curator.”
I read this book using the Scribd app on my phone. I did a free Scribd trial three years ago, and I have kept my subscription ever since. It is one of the very few “extras” I splurge on, and it is worth every penny! Nearly every book I see recommended is on there, and I can read anything I desire without cluttering my home with more books. (Use my link here for a free 60 day trial. Normally the free trial is only 30 days, but you get an extra month using my link. Cancelling is super easy if you decide it's not for you.)
“I just finished this book, and I want to turn right back around and read it again! This book pointed my thoughts to my Father so persistently. There is nothing so fulfilling, so life-giving as to “waste time” with Him.”
“Too often we settle for lesser things. It seems easier to get a like online than it does to get quiet before God, to seek His face and listen for His whispers.”
“There are two stories in every person – the visible story and the invisible story.”
“The moments that the world doesn't witness are always his to see.”
“Hiddenness is God's way of helping us with this holy detachment, slowly releasing our clutch on the things of the earth which we were never intended to grip.”
I listened to the audio version of this book using my Scribd app. (Use this link for a 60 day free trial.)
If you prefer a hard copy, Book Outlet currently has this book for less than half what it costs on Amazon. You'll just have to check; it's always hit or miss what Book Outlet has in stock. (Create your account using this link and you'll get a credit for $10 off your first order of $25+.)
Here's a fantastic article I read and shared to Facebook recently:
I have a heart for women who are hurting in their marriage, whether that is because of misunderstandings and miscommunication or because of abuse or betrayal. If you need additional resources, feel free to reach out to me in an email (email@example.com.)
Meat and produce delivered to my door:
I continued to receive produce boxes from Misfits Market (although I reduced the frequency at which I received them since I was also bringing in produce from the garden.) If you haven't seen my thorough review of Misfits Market produce boxes, you can read it here.
I also got another huge box of grassfed/pasture raised meat from ButcherBox. I wrote a step by step plan here for how to get the best deal on a ButcherBox subscription.
What God has been teaching me this month:
A common theme has emerged this month in my personal Bible study, during worship with other believers, and through things I read and listen to. The theme has been to trust God to write the story of my days. Even when I do not understand the big picture, I can trust that He does, and that He is working all things together for good.
So when we lose our only (expensive) key to the van, I can trust that he knows why it disappeared into thin air and why we needed to purchase another.
When our washing machine breaks and the easy fix my husband thought it would be turns out not to be so easy, I can trust God even when it feels like we're wasting a lot of time and money.
God's ways won't always make sense to me because I don't know the bigger story. Faith is being okay with not knowing. It's being satisfied with knowing that God knows what He's doing.
And now looking forward to September, here are a few of the things I hope to accomplish:
Drinking more water
I feel I have been chronically dehydrated lately, and I really want to focus on getting in a good 64 oz. of water each day to see if it improves my energy and focus.
Trying a new clothing subscription
I have used StitchFix for several years, and still like it a lot. Now I'm trying a new service called Wantable. I really enjoy having clothing that helps me feel put together, and using a styling service saves me a lot of time shopping. I thought maybe with trying something besides StitchFix it might add to the variety of my wardrobe a bit. (Want to give it a try? Here's my referral link.)
Plan to Read:
Is it Abuse? by Darby Strickland.
As a domestic abuse advocate, I am always previewing books that I think will be helpful for both victims and for those who want to help a friend or loved one who may be a victim. You can pre-order a copy of this book here.
(Get a $5 off coupon if you go through this link first..)
I'm hoping to do a little freezer cooking this month.
I've been putting all my extra time and energy into the garden this summer, so I'm excited to get back into freezer cooking a bit.
This one is a maybe. It's something I've been wanting to do for a long time, but there are only so many hours in the day. I'm hoping I can fit this in!
Well that was fun! If you want to see even more, you can follow me on Instagram. Thanks for following along!
Last year I tried out Butcherbox, and while I was extremely happy with the quality of the meat (it's all grass fed and pasture raised meat) I wasn't sure if our budget could afford to continue the subscription.
However, since I was personally trying to stick to a Trim Healthy Mama plan and needed lean meat, I decided that I would keep my subscription just so I could get high quality chicken tenders for myself. Call me a snob, but I just can't bring myself to eat conventionally raised chicken on a regular basis. I do the majority of my shopping at Aldi, and the only decent meat they have available is their grass fed beef. I needed the chicken for THM so I decided to keep my Butcherbox subscription just for that even though it was an extra cost.
Fast forward about 6 months and what I've discovered is that it's much cheaper to buy from Butcherbox than I originally expected; it just takes a little bit of planning and strategy!
So without further adieu, here is the strategy I use to purchase all our Butcherbox meat for around $5/lb. (Just for reference, the grass fed beef at my Aldi is $5.29 per pound, and I don't even have anywhere to purchase any other good meat, so it's been super nice to get all manner of meats for less than what I would pay for boring old ground beef.)
Here is my step by step strategy to get the best deal on a Butcherbox subscription.
1. I purchase the custom box for $149/month. This gets you the most meat for the money because you can choose which cuts
of meat you want in your box. (You get to choose 6 selections to go in your box.) Naturally, since we're trying to cut our costs down as low as possible, I choose the cuts which give me the most meat, which would be chicken tenders or breasts, or boneless pork butt.
This gets you between 18 and 21 pounds of meat – 18 if you buy all chicken, 21 if you buy all pork.
(Tip: if you buy the pork butt you'll want to slow cook it. The ones I have purchased have been a little bit tough, but slow cooking helps a lot. The chicken, however, has been amazing!)
You may be tempted to go with the offer of a bigger box which includes 18-26 pounds for $270, making the price per pound a little bit cheaper; however if you follow my strategy I can get you a better deal, so keep reading!
So far your total cost is somewhere between 7 and 8 dollars a pound, which is not horrible if you're a chicken snob like me, but we can do better!
2. If this is your first time subscribing, you can sign up through my referral link, which will either give you money off your first box or some free product, which will bring the price per pound down even more.
(Tip: if you're using the Chrome browser on a desktop, watch for a popup if it thinks you're going to leave the page. They may offer you an additional free product to keep you on the page.)
3. You'll be prompted to select add-on products, which may or may not be a good deal. You'll just have to look. I've been able to get sausage and chicken breasts for $6/lb. when I purchase them as an add-on which is pretty good.
4. For your first box, you'll have to be satisfied with the deal you just got. Between the free products or referral credit you get when you go through my link, and any good prices you found in the add-ons section, you should have gotten a decent deal.
Now, once you've got your account set up and you've paid for your first box, we're going to get you some even better deals for your next box. Ready? Keep reading!
5. Set your subscription time to the max allowed between boxes which is 8 weeks.
6. Now, this is where the real magic happens! While you're waiting for your next box to arrive, you'll want to keep logging in to your account to check for sales. I set reminders in my calendar to check once a week or so.
7. When you see a deal that you like, go ahead and add it to your cart. You can add multiples of the same deal to your cart. It's kind of like going to the grocery store and finding something on clearance. I don't know about you, but I buy as many as I can as long as I have space in my freezer. Spending extra now will save me a heap of money later.
8. After you add your deals to your cart, they will stay in your cart until your next box is billed, even if the deals are no longer showing as available when your box bills. That is why it is so advantageous to check in often and add things to your cart right away.
9. When you add specials to your cart, it is helpful to write down exactly what the special was for and the price per pound. (I just write this right onto my calendar where I have the next billing date recorded.) You won't be able to see the exact prices of any special deals once they're in your cart, so when you're looking for new deals in the future, you won't know if what you already have in your cart is cheaper or if another deal is cheaper.
Do not delete any of the specials from your cart unless you are 100% certain you do not want them. If you delete them and they are not available on the deals page anymore, there will be no way to put them back into your cart.
10. Keeping your subscription set to 8 weeks between billing periods gives you a good amount of time to watch for deals. However, my experience has been that I find enough hot deals during that time to last our family even more than 8 weeks. If you don't yet need another box and your billing date is approaching, you can go in and delay your shipment until whatever date you choose. Click on “Update” where it shows your next billing date and then choose your new date.
11. This will give you even more time to check for sales before your next box bills too. I just continue to delay my box indefinitely until my freezer tells me it's time to restock. Then I look at my list of deals and double check that I've got all the best prices in my cart and select a billing/shipping date that works for me.
Some weeks the deals will be better than others, for instance if there are holidays they might have some really good specials. Just keep checking and adding anything you think you might want each week. You can always delete the higher priced things later if you find something even cheaper.
12. In the mean time, while I'm waiting for weeks, usually 3-4 months, I set aside extra cash from my grocery budget each month so that when I purchase a big bulk order I will have something to pay for it with.
My most recent order was $380. By the time I juggled the sales around in my cart, I ended up paying a little less than $5 per pound for all of this meat.
Now, I must say that I go for cheaper cuts of meat in order to be as economical as possible. If I were adding filet mignon to my cart every time I obviously wouldn't be able to get my order that low of a price per pound. However, I'm very satisfied with the variety of meats that I'm able to keep in my freezer for my family. We eat ground beef, boneless chicken, bone-in chicken (which gives me broth as well,) pork roasts, bacon, sausage, and turkey.
Between our Butcherbox subscription and my Misfits Market subscription, I always have high-quality meat and produce in the house, which makes up the bulk of my grocery list each week. We're eating lots of protein and vegetables rather than empty carbs, and we all feel more clear headed and energetic when that's the biggest part of our diet. In spite of being a “food snob”, and only purchasing organic produce and high-quality, pasture raised meat, we are able to keep our food costs to $700 per month or less, including toiletries and household items.
I love keeping my freezer full, which saves me trips to the store, and makes it easy for me to always be able to find something to prepare a meal for my family.
If you'd like to try a Butcherbox subscription, you can use this link to get the referral credit and current sign-up offer, then follow the steps I've outlined above to continue getting the best possible price on high quality meat!
By far, one of the biggest time wasters for me can be my phone, most specifically social media. Once you get on it, you can keep scrolling until the end of time and never run out of interesting things to look at.
Sometimes you can hop on with the best intentions (“I just need to look something up”; “Just a quick scroll to see how my friends are doing”; etc.) and find yourself still scrolling an hour later.
Usually the result is that you feel guilty for wasting time, and frustrated because you were so determined not to fall down the black hole again, yet you did anyway.
How does this happen?
While I won't go into all the technical details, it is proven science that social media apps take advantage of the same process in your brain that creates any other addiction. This is done intentionally because these platforms rely on advertising; therefore it is part of their business strategy to keep you on their platform as often and as long as possible. Negative feelings on social media actually contribute to the addiction as your brain builds up anticipation for the next positive feeling that will hit.
It's not that you have no self-discipline when you open up social media; it's that your brain is doing exactly what it is wired to do, and that is to stay mesmerized, continuously scrolling in anticipation of the next dopamine hit.
Depending on your genetics, your nutrition, and several other factors, this process will take place in some people's brains more quickly than in others.
So what can you do when you want to use your smartphone for good things but you keep getting sucked into wasting a bunch of time?
You can set boundaries for yourself that allow you to stay connected to your friends and family without enabling you to become entranced in an endless scroll.
Here are a 10 ideas for boundaries that you can set for yourself on social media:
1. Practice mindfulness
Fully engage your brain. Don't use your phone as a way to mindlessly escape from the pressures of the day. I get it. When you feel tired or stressed, you just want to check out for a few minutes watching some cute cat videos. But using these apps mindlessly is the quickest way to get sucked in and lose track of time.
2. Follow with intention
When your feed is cluttered with all manner of shiny things, it only contributes to the tendency your brain has to be anticipating that next dopamine hit. But when the people and pages you're following are on your feed for a specific reason, it's easier to keep your brain engaged.
-Am I learning anything or being encouraged to grow as a person by what this person shares?
-Are the updates I receive from this person truly helping me keep up with how they're doing or do they only share dorky memes?
-Am I angered or irritated by the things this person shares?
Unfollow anything that is not helping you grow as a person or keep in touch with the people you care about. Unfollow things that make you feel irritated and angry. Unfollow things that are simply shiny “fluff”.
3. Move apps from your phone's home page
Sometimes it just becomes a habit to open up your apps, even when you have no particular reason to. Moving them to a more obscure location on your phone will cause you to put in a little more effort to open them and hopefully think a little harder about why you're opening them.
4. Turn off social media notifications
Seeing those little numbers beside your icons or feeling your phone vibrate in your pocket is a trigger for you to immediately open up your app. There is no mindfulness involved which is a dangerous place for your brain when you're on an app specifically designed to suck you into its content.
5. Leave your phone off your body
Having your phone in your pocket can get you into the habit of mindlessly pulling it out all the time.
6. Replace checking your phone with a different action
Every time you pull out your phone and start to mindlessly open an app, start replacing it with a different action. Do a few squats, write a few lines in your journal, or read a chapter of a book.
7. Go on a social media fast
Choose a day, weekend, or week and go completely screen free except for necessary phone calls or texts. This will give your brain a chance to reset from mindless habits.
8. Use an app to restrict your social media usage to certain times of day
I use the AntiSocial app on my Android. I'm sure there are similar apps for iPhone. It gives me a lot of options for choosing which apps to restrict and when to restrict them. I asked my husband to set the password for the restrictions so that I can't cheat and log myself back in.
9. Give yourself permission to use social media at the right times
Don't view social media as the forbidden fruit, which only draws you to it more strongly. View it as the valuable tool that it is, and use it with intention. Using an app to restrict my usage has helped me be much more mindful and intentional when I do get on. I know that I only have a certain amount of time, so I'm careful to prioritize looking at and commenting on the content that is truly important for me to see.
10. Remove apps from your phone
If necessary, remove the temptation completely by getting rid of your apps altogether. If you do this, you might want to ask someone else to set a password on your phone for adding and deleting apps so that you won't be able to download them again.
There is no reason to feel guilty about using social media. It can be a very valuable, worthwhile thing when used with intention. I hope these boundaries will help you use your time wisely!
Social media isn't the only aspect of online life that can eat our time away. The good news is that with intention, there is a whole lot we can do to ensure we are accomplishing more with our time.
If you're tired of ending each day frustrated because you just can't seem to “get it all done”, then use the box below to sign up for a free 5 day email course, Time Management for the Busy Homemaker.
For a while now, I’ve seen various bloggers mentioning produce box delivery services, and I was quite intrigued about the idea of ordering organic vegetables online. The only problem was that these imperfect produce boxes were never available in my area. One day I ran across some information about Misfits Market, and on a whim I decided to check the availability. Lo and behold, they were available in a quite a large market, including my state.
Of course the next thing I looked at was the pricing, and I was honestly a little shocked at how affordable it was to buy organic vegetables online from Misfits Market! We are not a family who can afford luxuries, so when I realized that a Misfits Market subscription was something that could fit into our tight budget, I was quite excited!
Misfits Market is a produce box delivery service. They rescue imperfect produce from small farms that would otherwise go to waste since grocery stores only want “perfect” food. They sell these ugly fruits and vegetables to people like you and me who don’t mind an onion that’s too big or a potato that’s too small. I can’t honestly say that I’ve seen too many truly ugly fruits or vegetables come in my boxes. The produce I receive in my box is always fresh and looks pretty normal to me. However, if it has marks from sitting on the ground or some such imperfection, it is considered imperfect produce and can’t be sold in the grocery store. Personally, I prefer the real stuff that doesn’t look like it was engineered in a lab!
Misfits Market has two sizes of boxes available. This Mischief box costs $22 for 10-13 pounds of organic produce. The Madness box is $35 and contains 18-22 pounds of organic fruits and vegetables.
You can set your account up to have produce boxes delivered either once a week or once every two weeks.
We have 2 adults and five children in our family, and we get the larger sized box every week. Our produce delivery is a large part of our weekly groceries, and it’s just about the perfect amount for our size family for a week.
My mom, on the other hand, gets a small box delivered once every two weeks for her and my dad.
(Scroll to the bottom of this post for a discount on your first box.)
Throughout this review of Misfits Market, I’m including photos of our past produce delivery boxes so you can see what they typically include. We have been subscribed for 10 or 11 weeks now and have been super happy with every single box.
I suppose the only way to know if a Misfits Market subscription is worth the cost is to look at some real numbers. Let’s take a random box of mine and break down the numbers. I'll just post the next picture in my file so I'm not intentionally the best value; it's just totally random.
How much would I pay for these items at the store? I'm having to sort of eyeball some of this, but I'll give it my best shot.
Pears: I would pay approximately $3 for a bag of pears this size at Aldi. This would be for non-organic pears, while the Misfits Market pears are organic.
Salad Greens: Since I typically purchase organic greens, I pay about $4 for a week's worth.
Chili Peppers: I would expect to pay around $2/lb. for non-organic chili peppers at the store, so roughly $1 for these two peppers.
Eggplant: approximately $1.49/lb. for non-organic at the store, so roughly $3.50 for these two.
Broccoli: It would cost me around $3 for a package of organic broccoli at the store.
Bok Choy: Approximately $1.69/lb. for non-organic at the store, so roughly $2 for these two.
Pomegranates: These have been $1.50 each at Aldi, which is about the cheapest I can find them. So $6 for these 4.
Apples: I would pay around $3.50 for this many organic apples at the store.
Turnips: This is roughly a pound of turnips which would cost around $1.69 at the store for non-organic.
Celery: I pay about $1.25 for a pack of non-organic celery at the store, so $2.50 for these 2 bunches.
Onions: This is around a pound of white onions, so about $1.69 for non-organic at the store.
Lemons: Four lemons is approximately one pound, so somewhere around $1 for the lemons.
Red potatoes: Organic red potatoes are pretty pricey; a bag this size would cost me around $3 at Aldi.
Green Onions: I would pay about $1.50 for non-organic green onions at the store.
Grocery store total: Roughly $37.38
Misfits markets total: $35 (plus $4.50 shipping, so $39.50 total)
As you can see, I paid a very similar amount to what I would pay for this food at the grocery store. However, most of what I purchase at the grocery store is not organic, and all of the produce from Misfits Market is organic.
Additionally, the produce I receive from Misfits Market has almost always been more flavorful and deeper colored (more nutrition!) than what I can find in the grocery.
There may not be any significant cost savings over buying my produce from the grocery store, but I am paying roughly the same amount and getting what I feel is better quality food.
Any time I sign up for something new, it’s comforting to know that I can back out easily if I change my mind. I’ve been incredibly happy with my subscription, but I like knowing that if I ever need to cancel for any reason, it’s a simple process. Some companies try to make cancelling their services impossible, but Misfits Market makes it so easy!
There is literally one button on your account that you click to cancel your subscription. Or if you do not want to cancel entirely but just need to take a break, you can pause your subscription with one click.
If you’re going out of town for the week, simply click “Skip delivery” for the week you want to skip. We have a trip planned out a number of weeks away, and I was already able to select to have that week skipped.
Their account management is one of the easiest I’ve used among all the various online accounts I have.
Yes, all of the fruit and vegetables in a Misfits Market imperfect produce delivery box are organic and non-GMO.
Currently their delivery area includes all zip codes in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Maine, Ohio, West Virginia, Washington, D.C., Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Alabama, Georgia, and Florida. Tennessee orders are opening now, and they are regularly adding new states! Sign up for their wait list if they do not yet deliver to your state.
The produce is delivered in insulated boxes with ice packs, and I have not personally had any problems with the food going bad during delivery. I live several states away from their shipping location, so I think that most people should have no problem. I haven’t had to deal with their customer service but have spoken with friends who had a very easy time getting some items replaced that had gone bad.
Along with being an affordable way for me to keep organic produce in the house for my family, I'm also really enjoying being surprised each week! I have a personality that gets bored easily, so I love not knowing what produce we're going to have each week until we get our box. (I realize that depending on your personality, that could actually be a downside, but I personally love it.) When we get something we don't particularly care for (like eggplant) I enjoy the challenge of finding a recipe that will knock my family out of the park and surprise their taste buds. But when all else fails, I just chop up weird vegetables and throw them into a pot of soup. When it's mixed with all the other soup ingredients, no one can ever tell it's in there.
Also, we have been eating more fruits and vegetables now that they show up on our doorstep every week. It's something I know I ought to do, but then I chicken out at the grocery store because I don't want to buy too much and waste it. But when it shows up at my door, then we have to eat it, and it's been a great thing for our nutrition.
Also, I have found that even though we now have the privilege of eating nearly 100% organic produce, we are actually spending less on groceries each week. Because our Misfits Market produce and the meat I purchase online from ButcherBox comprise the bulk of our groceries, I don't have to go the grocery store very often. The less I go, the less I spend! For a family of 7, we spend less than $700 each month on all our groceries, toiletries, and household items, while using nearly all organic and all-natural products.
Use the following coupon code at checkout for a discount on your first Misfits Market produce box: COOKWME-GR9QPE
Remember, it's very easy to cancel, so if you want to just try out a box to see how you like it, you can totally do that.
Visit Misfits Market here, select which box you'd like, and paste the coupon code in when you check out.
After the birth of my 3rd child, it began to dawn on me that I was more than just a tired mom. Day after day I waded through a dark fog, barely able to place one foot in front of the other. My children were all good sleepers, so there was no logical reason for me to be so tired.
Although I've never been one who's quick to run to the doctor, I scheduled an appointment for some bloodwork. Unfortunately I came away from the appointment with the answer that everything was “normal” and that I should “take more vitamins.” But I most certainly did not feel normal!
To make a long story short, I spent the next seven years trying new doctors, new supplements, new dietary changes, and I’ve lived through all of it with the diagnosis of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, which basically means “You’re extremely weak and tired all the time but we don’t know why.” Yeah, thanks doc. I kinda already knew that. I could go off on a rabbit trail and talk about how so many other diagnoses are the same way -pretty much just giving a fancy name to something you already know. But I won’t get sidetracked there. All I’ll say for now is that praise the Lord I have found some answers that have truly been life-changing for me and my family. I’m not yet at 100% (will any of us ever be until we get to heaven?) but I am definitely in a much better place health-wise than I was 10 years ago.
What I want to focus on is how I survived all those years of living in a deep fog, with small children to care for and homeschool.
Whether you are chronically ill or whether you’re just tired all the time because you have a lot of demands on you that wear you down, here are 3 ways you can be productive even when you’re exhausted.
I say this a lot, but I'll say it again: True productivity occurs when you’re productive at the things that actually matter.
My house was a disaster all the time during those early years (my house still needs help – I’m still catching up from years of neglect!) I rarely went to bed with a clean kitchen. My husband took so many of the household responsibilities on him every evening after he’d already worked a full day.
I didn’t do a whole lot, but I was intentional with what I did do.
The children needed to be educated, so I made sure to prioritize their homeschooling each day. I spent my time learning ways to help them self-educate so that they could still be learning even when I wasn’t able to teach them.
Whether you’re chronically ill or just exhausted, you can be productive when you realize that being productive doesn’t mean “doing all the things.” It just means carefully choosing what is most important and keeping your focus there.
You may feel that you’re too busy to stop your day and prepare healthy meals for yourself, to exercise, or to take a nap.
But if you’re exhausted, one of the most important ways you can spend your time is to take care of yourself! Running on caffeine may make you feel like you have more energy, but if it’s becoming a crutch and causing you to neglect proper nutrition and rest then it’s only defeating the purpose. And if you’re tired because you’re not sleeping well at night, you may want to re-think the caffeine for that reason too.
I get it. It feels like such a pain to stop what you’re doing and chop vegetables so you can eat a salad for lunch. It feels like it’s taking up so much time that you could be spending in other ways. But if you prioritize your health, you’ll find that 1. You’ll have more energy for the other things and 2. You’ll think of creative ideas to make self-care more streamlined. For example, you might prepare a list of quick and easy, yet healthy lunches you can stop and eat. You might decide to cut up enough vegetables for a week at a time so you don’t have to do it every day. You’ll learn exercises you can do while you stand at the kitchen sink washing dishes.
When I was so ill that I spent large portions of my day in bed, I used that time to research things I could do to overcome my health struggles. I was productive, but my productivity didn’t look like doing all the things. It looked like having one goal and chasing after it with everything I had.
If you’re exhausted, you can be productive by taking steps to improve your health. Spend time soaking in a warm bath so you can let go of some stress. Take the time to eat well and hydrate yourself throughout the day. Take the time to nourish your body with gentle movement. Take the time to go to bed at a decent hour.
Burning yourself out by going, going, going might make you feel productive, but are you being productive at what really matters? Does your family want the I-got-all-the-things-done-but-I’m-so-grouchy-and-tired version of you or do they want the happy, stress-free version of you who chose to let some things go?
I need to be careful that the advice to never give up doesn’t come across as contradictory to what I just said about taking care of yourself.
By telling you that you can be productive by never giving up, I don’t mean to push yourself to do more, more, more.
I mean what I keep saying over and over: Never give up on what’s most important.
When I spent many of my days in bed, it was discouraging to leave so many things undone. But each day I woke up determined to chip away at my priorities.
Regardless of how much or how little you can do, don’t quit! Don’t decide that because you’re so exhausted you’re just not even going to try.
No matter how little you might think you’re doing, if you do the same thing consistently day after day, eventually it amounts to something big!
Teach your children about Jesus today. Then teach them some more tomorrow, and some more the next day.
Eat your vegetables today. Then eat them again tomorrow and again the next day.
Learn a little bit about health today, then learn a little bit more tomorrow and little more the next day.
Whatever goal it is that you’re trying to reach, keep heading in that direction. Don’t worry about how long it is taking you. If you keep putting one foot in front of the other, eventually you will get there.
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What do you do when you just don’t feel motivated to do anything?
As I write this series, it’s the end of winter – those days where everything just feels “blah”, and all I want to do is sit around in my pajamas and watch movies.
Sometimes our flesh just gets the better of us and tells us that it would be more enjoyable to sleep an extra hour than it would be to get up and get our day started on the right foot.
I'd like you to grab a scrap of paper or print out this worksheet and record a few thoughts over the next few days.
When you realize how much stress you take out of your life by staying on top of things, you become more and more motivated to do it. Sure, you may be tired when you stay up to finish those dishes, but when the next day is so much more peaceful, the reward is worth it. And the chemical reaction in our brain says “I want more of that.” So in order to get more of that reward, you have to put the work in to get it again.
The more you do something, the more you are engraining that pattern into your brain. They’re becoming habits now, and a habit is something you do automatically without even thinking about it. So instead of agonizing each night, talking yourself into finishing the dishes, you just do them because that’s what your brain knows to do. It gets easier and easier!
Decide on three habits that you will work on for the next month, and use the habit tracker to keep yourself on track. Once you’ve developed the brain pathways and created a habit, the task will turn from something you have to force yourself to do to something you just do.
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