Keep It Simple, Sister

When I’m writing, designing or basically making anything, I’m a firm believer in the KISS method. I first learned about it from one of my favorite creative directors of all time, Nick Nicholson. The phrase stands for Keep It Simple, Stupid. I prefer Sister, because “stupid” is a bad word in our house.

Nick would encourage us (and even challenge us) to cut the number of words in our copy or even go without any words. Could the story be told in photographs? Or what about a single photo?

Every time I went through this exercise, I was floored by how much stronger the message became. Sometimes showing less, saying less, and not trying so hard was the secret to a more powerful way to communicate. Less can truly = more.

On a grander scale, maybe it’s a more powerful way to be?

What if we were to KISS everything?

If we get overwhelmed by a busy schedule, we could peel away the layers of commitments that aren’t necessary or don’t contribute to our happiness.

If we’re drowning in clutter at home or just in our purses, we could dump all of the things that literally weigh us down.

If we unraveled the sweater of busyness that we knit around ourselves, what would we uncover? What kind of bare and beautiful life could we find?

Kisses,

-Kate

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Friday Wrap: Adulting Like a Champ

Have you ever had one of those weeks where you really feel like an adult – even though you’ve officially been an adult for many, many years? That was me…this week.

I was in “get ‘er done” mode, and checked tons of things off my to-do list. Many of those things were very grown up, too, like prepping for taxes and getting an energy audit on the house.

Before you start yawning, though, check out some of the highlights from the week. Adulting can be way more interesting than expected.

{ONE} Updated Front Door Decor

This was by far the most fun project on my list, so we’ll start here. Easing into things.

I decided it was time to take down the “Happy New Year” message on my front door and replace it with something else seasonal – like a heart for Valentine’s Day!

I actually made this, y’all!! 

My inspiration came from this wreath. But when I looked for a heart-shaped form, I couldn’t find one…anywhere. I ventured into the “Valentine” aisle of Hob Lob, which is 40% off right now, and I found this wooden plaque. #bingo

First, I made bunches of burlap rosettes using this tutorial >>

I skipped step #8 since I was gluing these directly onto a flat surface.

And this is a closeup of what mine looked like.

Once I had all of my burlap blooms ready, I hot glued them onto the wooden sign. I had to overlap a few of them so you couldn’t see the wooden sign underneath.

Tip: Wear an old pair of gardening gloves when using your hot glue gun so you don’t burn the ever-living prints right off of your fingers. Speaking from experience.

The final step was adding a pretty pink ribbon to the top of the heart and calling it good & pretty!! (Then peeling the glue from your throbbing fingers if you forgot the gloves.)

{TWO} Completed an Energy Audit

Now this is where we get to the real adulting.

We have a few drafty rooms in our house, and our electric bills seem pretty high, so I’ve always been interested in having our energy company come out and do an audit.

They’re totally free, but they do take several hours. And you need to be there to see all of the things that need fixed…or in our case, caulked!!!

If your window ledges have cracks like this, you can apply caulk so you’re not leaking precious hot (or cold) air out of your home.

The whole process was super educational. For instance, I learned that the five recessed lights in our kitchen, which have incandescent bulbs, cost us $6/month in energy alone. LED lights only need 1/4 of that amount. And that was just one example. I literally have two pages of notes!!

When the energy people left, they gave me a free kit that included three tubes of caulking (thank you very much), a package of weather stripping, LED lightbulbs, and all kinds of other odds and ends.

This is just a small sample of the energy-saving stuff they gave me…for FREE!

I highly recommend going through one of these. It’s definitely worth the time.

{THREE} Prepped for Taxes

Taxes stink. There’s no way around them, though. So the best we can do is try to be organized, right?

I keep folders in our home office (remember that sweet little nook?) where I collect “all things tax related” throughout the year.

Sometimes having pretty folders helps me stay more organized.

We itemize our taxes, so our receipts from donations, business expenses, medical expenses, etc. all go into files as we collect them.

When it comes time (like right now) for year end statements, W2s and other important tax stuff that comes in the mail, I can simply add them to our files. And then we’re ready to rock our meeting with the accountant in no time at all.

Tip: H&R Block does our taxes, and they provide a handy envelope that includes a checklist on the outside. If you don’t already have something similar, you can download a checklist here.

{FOUR} Organized the Coat Closet

I have been so frustrated by our coat closet lately. I mean, look at it. >>

Coats were falling off their hangers and hats, gloves, and scarves were spilling out of bins on the overhead shelf.

Side note, I gave myself a half-point of credit for having bins in the first place. But we obviously didn’t use them very well.

I spent a quick 20 minutes organizing. And I promise it was only this long, because that’s all of the time I had between unpacking groceries and running to get the kids from school.

Here’s what went down. >>

  1. Removed all of the coats we never wear and bagged them for donations.
  2. Hung all of the remaining coats the same direction and picked out all of the white hangers. That instantly created a uniform and clean look!
  3. Dumped all of the hats, gloves, scarves and other misc. items on the floor and matched/sorted.
  4. Found a shoe caddy and stashed all of the newly sorted items inside.
  5. Got rid of the mismatched bins (overhead) and narrowed them down to three clear bins.
  6. Lastly, I put some of the odds and ends, like rain ponchos and detachable hoods, inside the upper bins.

Look at the instant transformation just with the same color hangers – and coats hanging the same direction.

A hanging shoe caddy is perfect for storing small items like gloves and mittens!

I put things we don’t use very often, like rain ponchos, in the matching overhead bins.

Now hopefully I won’t feel so embarrassed when guests need a place to hang their coats. Welcome to my closet nirvana, everyone!

{FIVE} Joined a Book Group

This is a legit book group, too, that’s organized through a church in our area. (So I probably won’t be making 3-gallons of sangria for this gathering) Lol!

This is a 12-week course about Calming My Anxious Heart. And heaven knows I could use some of that. Just going around the circle at our fist meeting and having to share about ourselves made me feel off-the-charts anxious. (Am I the only weirdo who feels that way?!)

Our first gathering was on Tuesday, and so far so goodish. I’ve been challenged to memorize scripture and uncover the secrets to contentment. All things I’ve never done before. But I’m sticking with my plan to stay “open” this year.

And, I’ve decided to keep this verse near over the next 12 weeks…

After such a productive, grown up week, I can’t wait for a weekend full of movies, board games, girl talk, family snuggles and a few glasses of wine with my sweet B.

I hope you have a playful weekend planned, too!

XoXoXo,

Kate

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When in Doubt, Toss a Coin

Have you ever felt stuck trying to make the right decision about something? I sure have. When I get into this predicament, my first resort is to make lists. I’m the queen of pros and cons…exhausting every possible reason I should or shouldn’t do something.

It’s funny because I’ve noticed my kids doing this, too. Avery came home from school yesterday asking if it was a “work day.” I told her it was, and we talked about how sometimes I work from home and other times I go into the office to get things done. She decided to make a list of pros and cons to figure out where she wanted to work one day. (Yes, she’s only 10, and I totally love her planning skills.)

After much thought, she came to the conclusion that working in an office would be better for her because there are less distractions (like stuffed animals, pets and iPods), you get to make new friends and have lunch together, and it’s just fun to get out of the house sometimes. She made a pretty darn good case.

But what do you do if your pros and cons are completely even-steven? Then what?!

I turn to Friends. As in the sitcom from the late 90s – early 2000s. Remember that show?! My real-life friends are incredible and helpful, too! But, in one of my favorite episodes of Friends, this happened…

Rachel took a pregnancy test to see if she was having Ross’ baby. She was so nervous and unsure about the result, that she had one of her BFFs, Phoebe, look at the stick and tell her the news.

At first, Phoebe told her it was negative. No baby. When Rachel felt sad about it, Phoebe told her the real result…positive. And then she explained, “Well, at least you know how you really feel about it now!”

Such a tricky move, but powerful. And it stuck.

As silly as it may sound (that a sitcom gave me advice on life), I still go back to the essence of the lesson. If I’m really not sure about something, I can ask myself how I’d feel without it.

Instead of getting stuck in my head and making logical list after list, I need to stop for a minute, get real with how I feel, and then go with my gut.

And here’s a surefire way to check your gut. Toss a coin.

And I don’t mean because you’ve given up all hope and you’re leaving your decision to pure luck. I mean because of this beautiful exercise…

Kind of like the Rachel moment when she felt sad because of the thought of not having a baby…you can check your emotions with literally the flip of a coin.

Once you have that pure, instinctual answer, don’t waiver. Believe in yourself. Make the choice. Go for it – and don’t look back.

XoXoXo,

Kate

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Five Inspiring, Must-Have Books

{More great book quotes here!}

Welcome back! It’s another Friday, although it’s not a typical one with the Presidential inauguration on the schedule. It’s an important day for our nation, and I pray we can find ways to work together in the name of progress and peace.

One way I plan to generate peace in my personal life is to log off social media for a bit. I’m looking forward to a weekend of R&R with my family at Indian Hollow, my brother’s cabin on the creek. I also plan to add another “R” to my list – and that’s “reading.”

I’ve collected a small stack of books on my nightstand, and I can’t wait to dive in. I’ve started reading a little of each book, so I have an appreciation for what I’m about to learn. I’ve also noticed that this particular collection has me feeling energized. They’re all action-oriented and downright inspiring.

They’re the kind of books that light a fire in your belly and challenge you to do something, feel something, be something…and I wanted to share them with you. >>

{ONE} Leading Through The Turn

{You can buy it here.}

This is one of the most special books on my reading list now (and possibly forever). It’s written by Elise Mitchell, who is the founder of Mitchell Communications – among other fascinating and endearing roles.

Mitchell is the agency that led me to Northwest Arkansas, challenged me to build a creative department, and blessed me with lifelong memories and friendships.

While my role with the agency is different today, Mitchell is still very dear to me. And not just because my brother, Michael, was a partner with Elise in the business, but also because of the impactful work and unprecedented growth the agency achieved. I’ve never been part of such an inspiring business story like this before, and it was possible because of Elise.

Elise’s leadership, friendship, and unending inspiration is truly special. Anyone who meets her is immediately impressed with her energy, knowledge, and patience. She credits her accomplishments to her journey…and the willingness to crack open her heart and truly learn along the way. She believes the secret to enjoying life and succeeding in leadership is in how you navigate the inevitable twists and turns.

Her book guides future and current leaders along a path of meaning and significance, which is much more than achieving a title or dollar figure. If you’re looking for inspiration in your career and life, you need to read this book.

PS. Elise plans to connect with all of her readers, so sign up for her emails at elisemitchell.com!

{TWO} The 52 Lists Project: A Year of Weekly Journaling Inspiration

{You can buy it here.}

I first spotted this book at Sundog Books in Seaside, Florida last spring. I don’t know why I didn’t snag it at the time, but I do know it left an impression. When I saw it displayed on a front table at Barnes & Noble recently, I had to have it. The timing is perfect, too, because now I’m able to start it at the beginning of the year.

This book provides ideas for a year full of list making that’s designed to help us explore our interests, passions, and beliefs. I’m only a few weeks into the book, and this will be one that sits on my nightstand for a full year, so I’m excited to see where it leads me.

Here’s the book’s description on B&N:

“With perfectly timed prompts that meet you where you are throughout the different seasons, this journal will open up new avenues of self-knowledge and help you celebrate, enjoy, and take ownership of your life, as each week of the year becomes more thoughtful and vibrant.”

Let’s do this!

{THREE} Craving Connection

{You can buy it here.}

If you’re not familiar with the robust online community at (in)courage, you should definitely check it out. There are more than 24 women who contribute to this blog, and they discuss just about everything including faith, marriage, parenting, divorce, and death. It’s real life, shared among friends. And the big news for this community is they’ve published a book!

Craving Connection is now available for purchase. It’s a book of devotionals, scripture, and 30 specific challenges for connecting with God and others. Throughout the pages, the (in)courage community invites you to grab a cup of coffee, pull up a chair, and commit to creatively and prayerfully fulfilling your cravings for connection.

How could life be different after prayerfully and intentionally connecting with God, friends, and your community? I hope to find out!

{FOUR} 10 Secrets for Success + Inner Peace

{You can buy it here.}

This book gets filed in the “oldie but goodie” category. My dad introduced me to Dr. Wayne Dyer many years ago. Since that time I think I’ve read most (if not all?) of his books.

Somehow this one, 10 Secrets for Success and Inner Peace, resurfaced on the side table in our living room. I think my husband pulled it off the bookshelf? It amazes me how books will literally show up when I need them most.

I took the magical appearance of this title to heart and started reading. The first chapter is about being open to everything and attached to nothing. In fact, it’s what inspired my word of the year: Open!

I have since moved the book to my nightstand and plan to keep reading and soaking in the much-needed wisdom.

{FIVE} Gratitude: A Journal

{You can buy it here.}

I realize this isn’t a juicy book to sit down and devour. It’s literally a blank book. But it’s quite possibly the most important one we could own.

Blank pages = hope and encouragement. It’s a reminder we have the power to write our future. It’s also a space where we can document our blessings.

This particular journal is dotted with inspiring quotes that help remind me no matter what experiences come my way, there’s always something to be thankful for. Gratitude is the the light and the way to a more meaningful and fulfilled life. And that’s something I could get used to.

Have a great weekend, dear friends. I hope you can squeeze in some time to rest, relax and read something that empowers your unique soul.

XoXoXo,

-Kate

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Ditch Your Resolution Day

Did you know Tuesday was officially “ditch your resolution day”? That’s right. It’s a thing. And according to research, 88% of us have given up on our resolutions by now. Sigh.

The silver lining (because I always look for one) is that if you fall into this statistic, you shouldn’t feel bummed out. You’re not alone. It’s not only normal, but also totally okay.

Resolutions can be hard, especially if you set out to make major changes in your life. Realizing this fact should ease some of the self-inflicted disappointment.

But what if you don’t want to give up so easily? What if you honestly want to make some adjustments? How do you muster up the willpower and endurance to make it happen? I turned to the experts and found some insight for us. >>

Start with the Right Questions

The Stanford-educated psychologist Kelly McGonigal (and the one who recently taught me how to embrace stress) wrote an entire book about willpower.

Willpower (or lack thereof) is pretty much the reason we keep (or ditch) our resolutions so quickly. She explains that willpower is not a virtue. It’s a biological function that can be improved through mindfulness, exercise, nutrition, and sleep. So she’s saying there’s a chance.

In this article, Kelly specifically talks about resolutions and graciously offers tips on how to stick to them. She gives credit to our willpower, which is essentially fueled by our desires.

We have to have a solid understanding of what it is we want out of life and what impact we want to have on the world before we can begin making changes of any kind.

Then and only then can the map plotting and goal setting begin. We’re finally in the frame of mind to ask the right questions: How do I get there? What should I do (or stop doing) that will make a difference?

The answers to these questions are where we should be digging up ideas for our goals and resolutions.

It sounds simple, but I think this subtle shift in planning can be transformative. I usually make resolutions asking questions like: What’s wrong with me at the moment? What do I need to fix? So the advice from Kelly was pretty eye opening.

Once we define our “why”, we can be inspired with a determination we’ve never had before.

Find the Olive

I heard a story one time about a major airline saving a million dollars simply by removing a single olive in all of the salads they served in flight. That was during a time when airlines were still serving us fancy meals – and not charging extra. Remember those good ol’ days?

Well, the airline was faced with a budget challenge and needed to find a way to cut costs. Instead of making wholesale changes, such as firing a bunch of pilots or increasing airfares, they looked for something simple.

If you apply this logic to setting resolutions, we can think about our challenges and look for small, simple adjustments.

Let’s assume you’ve asked the right questions and one of your resolutions is to drink more water so you feel better and have more energy when you’re with your kids.

Instead of telling yourself you have to drink 8-10 glasses a day, which sounds like flooding your system, what if you drank a few more sips or one more glass than usual? Then the next week, add another. Over time, this little bit of extra water will add up. You’ll start feeling more refreshed, you may have even lost weight – and you will have found your olive!

Write it Down

I was listening to Joel Osteen in my car the other day, and he talked about the importance of writing down our plans. He said, “Success is intentional, not accidental.”

You don’t accidentally get your closet organized, lose 20 pounds, or finish making that arm-knit scarf you started four weeks ago. You have to write down your plans. Then set aside time to move forward with your olive in hand.

In my last issue of Real Simple, I read that 61% of people who wrote things down for the next four weeks actually accomplished them. Just by writing. them. down. (I guess I’ll be getting a new notebook soon.) Seriously, though, I didn’t realize the importance of this step. Writing = action.

Okay, I don’t know about you, but I feel more armed and ready than ever to re-tackle these things called resolutions. Who cares if it’s not January 1st. Let’s make it an awesome day – and even better tomorrow.

XoXoXo,

Kate

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The Art of Thank Yous

As a properly raised Southern girl, I grew to love writing and receiving thank you notes. Even with emails, texts, Facebook messages and snaps (actually, especially because of those things) I adore receiving a good ol’ fashioned paper note with ink and a stamp. I assume others do, too. So I send them!

As a small confession, though, I still have notes to write from the holidays. That’s why I’ve been doing some note shopping. There are so many beautiful options to choose from, I gathered a list of my faves.

Walmart: Polka Dots & Roses

{I actually picked up these darling cards from Walmart yesterday. They’re not specifically labeled as “thank you” cards, so the girls and I can use them for all kinds of note sending.}

Here are some more beautiful options. I might have to stock up on these for future gratitude. >

Zazzle: Black Stripe with Pink Flowers

{Don’t these remind you of the ones I bought at Walmart? They have a more direct message, though. And I love that pink flower. Such a pretty detail.}

Rifle Paper: Wildflower Postcard

{I like the idea of sending a simple postcard. And these are just downright gorgeous.}

Kate Spade: Paint Brush Stripes

{This one has it all…hand lettering, a designed envelope and plenty of shine. Thanks, Kate Spade.}

Minted: Personalized Citrus

{I found this in the bridal section of Minted, but there’s no reason you couldn’t order personalized notes like these for some everyday thanks.}

Papyrus: Merci

{This wins in the “playful” category. Love the bright polka dots and circus-style lettering. Oui?}

Rose Arbor @ Target

{Look at that pretty floral font…and matching envelope. Too stinkin’ cute. I can see my girls giving these out to friends. Oh, maybe for their upcoming birthday?}

Paper Source: Typewriter Notes

{Typewriters make me feel nostalgic. When I was little, I would visit my Gram’s house and pound away for hours on her Smith Corona. I’d write poetry and hang it on the walls of her apartment. Seeing this thank you note made me think of those happy moments – and gave me a double dose of gratitude.}

Davie Paper Co. @ Etsy

{Sometimes adding a pinch of humor to a thank you can be just what you – and your friend – needs. And this is a great one.}

Well, I guess I should scoot and write some notes already. If you want some tips on composing a great note, I have some for you here!

Have a great day and know that I’m always and forever thankful for you. I appreciate you reading and being my blog buddy.

XoXoXo,

Kate

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Friday Wrap: Five Things I Love Right Now

Happy Friday, dear friends! It has been one strange week in terms of weather around here. One day we had freezing temps and the very next day was nearly 70-degrees…sending us searching for our flip flops.

Outside of a few wardrobe dilemmas, it was a pretty good week. I found a few things worth mentioning. In fact, a few things I really love…

{ONE} Tulips in Winter

Ahh, the sight of tulips instantly and always makes me happy. When I saw fresh bunches of them at the grocery store, I snatched ’em up like they were the last piece of cake at a party. I put this bouquet on my dining room table where I can admire its beauty for the next week. Crossing my fingers for longer.

{TWO} Personalized Yeti

Can I tell you how much I LOVE this cup? It truly keeps cold things cold and hot things hot, and it’s monogrammed with my absolute favorite color. My girls gave it to me for Christmas, which was extra sweet of them. I use it every single day. In fact, I’m sipping on some hot tea out of it right now.

Brandon drove the girls over to a local monogram shop to get it made, and he said it was super easy and didn’t cost too much. So now I want to give one to everyone I know. If I were Oprah, I’d be like, “You get a Yeti. You get a Yeti!!”

{THREE} Hot Booties!

All I have to say is don’t knock these socks until you’ve tried them. They’re microwavable wonder socks that “treat your feet to long-lasting heat.” It’s true. The As Seen On TV commercials don’t lie.

My MIL bought them for me, and anytime the temps dip anywhere below 40, you can find me curled on the couch wearing my Hot Booties.

They’re filled with lavender and linseed that not only smells lovely, but also holds the heat once you’ve popped them into the microwave. The only downside (and I do mean only) is that you can’t really walk in them. These are pure lounge wear. The lavender and linseed are in a built-in pillow on the bottom of the socks, so it feels weird when you try to walk. I’ve done it before, though, to heat up some tea for my Yeti!

{FOUR} Beaded Wrap Necklace

This little number gets filed in the “surprising pretty things you can find at Walmart” category. Yes, you read that correctly. Walmart. This is such a great beaded wrap necklace. The gold tassels are a nice touch, and the navy glitzy beads go with just about everything in my closet right now. Score.

And guess how much it cost. If you said $10, you’d be too high. This was only $7. Say whaaaaat?

{FIVE} Hanging Fish Tanks

We recently gave the girls’ room a complete makeover. (I promise to post more pictures soon!!) Some of our favorite touches included these wall-mounted fish tanks for Bubbles and Squirt, our family Beta. Since Beta don’t like looking at each other, especially males, we staggered the tanks a bit. Now they can swim more privately.

This is Squirt. He’s Clara’s fish, and was the only thing she wanted for Christmas. So of course we had to indulge that sweet girl. Sqiurt seems to enjoy swimming in and out of his yellow submarine, which is pretty cute.

Bubbles is Avery’s fish and has been with us for nearly 2 years. The verdict is still out on whether or not he loves his new home. He hasn’t seemed as playful, IMO. Avery said he’s just getting old and grumpy. The average lifespan is 3-4 years, so she may be onto something.

I can’t wait to show you the rest of their room. It turned out so pretty. Stop by next week for a peek. In the meantime, that’s a wrap for this chilly Friday (at least it’s chilly for now.) Have a cozy weekend!

XoXoXo,

Kate

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Friday Wrap + Year Beginnings

Hello and welcome to 2017! I finally plopped down long enough to write something, and it feels really good. It’s so nice connecting with you again.

In case you were curious, here are five highlights of our year so far – all six days of it. >>

{ONE} Creating A Fresh Welcome

We decided to take down Christmas decorations this week, which usually leaves our house feeling empty. Seriously, was my house always such a yawn?

Brandon and I were both off for the week, so we took this opportunity to make some updates. And boy did we get to work.

In addition to freshening up accent pillows and artwork here and there, we completely overhauled our garage. I know. Garage? Really? But hear me out. It had become a source of frustration every time we looked at it, which was every day – sometimes 3-4 times a day. So it was time.

The garage disposal, which is what I lovingly called the project, consisted of removing nearly 25 trash bags full of who even knows what or why we had it. We also sorted and LABELED the stuff we decided to keep. It was a really happy day for this neat-aspiring-freak. And it was Brandon’s idea! He goes in the keep pile. Always.

And if that wasn’t enough of a project, we also decided to totally redecorate the girls’ room. Oh, and their and bathroom. We painted, hung new mirrors, bought new bedding and an area rug, and even removed the doors from their closets and replaced them with pretty curtains. Are you as tired as I am just thinking about all of that work?

It was also a lot of fun. And seeing how much the girls are in love with their “new” room made it worth the effort. <3

{I pinky promise I’ll dedicate a post to this project to show you how it turned out. In the meantime, here’s a snapshot of their bedding from Pottery Barn.}

This is the Brooklyn bedding from PB Kids.

Somehow, through all of this, I also managed to dig up my chalkboard door hanger and write a new year’s message for the entrance. It still feels a little bare out there, though.

I had Christmas trees in the urns on either side of my front door. Now that they’re gone, I’m not sure what to put in them. I’m really at a loss and would love any suggestions!

{TWO} Adulting with my Day Planner

In addition to wanting to jazz up the house, I always get the strong urge to pull out my fresh Day Designer and make all kinds of plans and goals this time of year. 2017 proved no different.

I’m a thousand percent in love with my new planner and can’t wait for events to pop up just so I can write them down. #plannernerd

If you haven’t replaced your planner, yet, should totally check out the Day Designer. It’s one of the only ones I could find that has a full page for each day. It also has a section in the front that helps you define your personal mission statement, vision and values. Powerful stuff.

{THREE} Keeping Traditions

I’m a fan of traditions. They help me feel grounded and comfortable, like a pair of well-worn jeans. There’s a lot to be cherished in that feeling, too. Especially in a world full of bloated schedules and uncertain tomorrows. It’s nice to have something simple, like cheesecake on your birthday, that you can always count on.

Our New Year’s Tradition

Several years ago Brandon and I created the tradition of choosing one word that sums up our intention for the year ahead.

For instance, last year my word was “adventure”. I wrote it in my planner and put it on a sticky note on my computer so I was always reminded of it – and had no excuses. And it worked.

We logged more miles across the country and into the woods than we ever had before as a family. I think my focus on having a more adventurous spirit led me on many exciting journeys.

So now what?

I put much thought and many prayers into choosing my word for 2017. And…

I landed on “open”.

When I told my kids, they twisted their heads with question. It might not be as clear as “adventure,” but it strikes a chord deep inside of me for many different reasons.

I explained to my family that I want to live my life more open.

I want to…

Open my heart and find the courage to always be myself.

Open my mind to new ideas and possibilities.

Open my arms to anyone who needs me.

Open my eyes to see things that are important and meaningful.

And that’s just the beginning!

I want to open more books, open more doors, open more conversations…maybe even open a store?! I don’t know. All I can say is that I’m open to it. 😉

{FOUR} Illustrating My Faith

Okay, so one other thing I’m open to is a new hobby. And I think I just found my new love.

This starter kit for illustrating my faith was one of my most favorite Christmas presents (other than a subscription to the Magnolia Journal!!!)

Brandon even bought me a special bible that has plenty of space for journaling and illustrating scripture. The kit came with pretty stickers, washi tape, paint, markers, and a devotional guide. {They had me at stickers.}

I’ve never done anything like this before, which is why I have started collecting as many ideas as I can. I’m also taking suggestions.

Are there good resources I should know about?! And how do I get over the fear of making a total mess of my book?

{FIVE} Embracing Stress Like a Gift

As you can tell, this has been a whirlwind of a week. When you toss in annual goal setting and some existential questioning, you’ve got yourself a tiny bit of stress. I think this is why I was stopped dead in my tracks when I stumbled upon this TEDTalk by Kelly McGonigal.

You may have seen this at some point. I think it’s from 2013 and has something like 12M views. Um, where the heck have I been? All I know is that I needed to hear this message right here, right now, smack dab in 2017.

Kelly explains, so easily and eloquently, how stress shouldn’t be something to fear or get rid of. We should embrace it – like a gift – and let it work for us. She even explains how it can heal us. Not even kidding. It totally transformed my thinking. Now I’m open to stress. Crazy, right?

I hope you’re off to a great start and that you’ll share some of your thoughts and ideas with me. Here’s to another year of friendship and figuring things out together!

With open arms,

Kate

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