To free from something that binds, fastens or holds back. To let go of. New Year’s Resolutions have NEVER worked for me, but something I have started doing over the past few years is what… More
I have been wanting to create a Goff family calendar for awhile now in order to help our family stay better organized in schedules. It proves to be more challenging with 2 toddlers under the age of 3 to get any simple item checked off my to do list. So, it was not any different with this project. At times, it became a thought to just purchase one already made up but then the reality of the sticker shock reeled me back in to do a DIY. There is no way I can justify purchasing this for well over $100 when I can do it myself for under $15.
I searched everywhere for a background frame that I could brush over with chalkboard paint. I found a gem at Hobby Lobby for $13 that had already been painted with chalkboard but had an unfinished wood trim. It was perfect, and I couldn’t agree more with the price!! I wanted the trim to be the exact same color as the crown molding and base boards in our home. This was perfect in allowing me to do that.
Step 1: Sanded down the wood frame to create a clean, smooth surface.
Step 2: Painted the wood trim giving it 3 good coats.
Step 3: Researched the different ways I wanted the layout and design of our calendar. Then began measuring and sectioning it off to create the format.
Step 4: Filled in the days of the week, dates of the month, the name of each month and then all of our commitments and scheduled events.
Step 5: Waited for Goff to hang it! (This one took the longest!!) 🙂
I do not have much of an artistic gene inside of me, but I am happy with our final finished product!
‘I went to the woods because I wanted to live deliberately. I wanted to live deep and suck all the marrow out of life.’ ~Henry David Thoreau
I recently finished reading Notes From A Blue Bike: The Art of Living Intentionally in a Chaotic World by Tsh Oxenreider. This is a wonderful read if you desire to live a better life making conscious choices that align with your values in life. A challenge to live more simply, more fully and with more purpose.
‘What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.’ ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
In reading this book, I couldn’t help but become challenged to look at my own life to see where I could tweak adjustments in order to live this one life I’ve been given with more intention. I am starting with 3 and will build from there.
- Purposely slowing down to enjoy the very process of living more intentionally. I wanted to create a unique daily ritual that would serve as a reminder to me the importance of this. In my world, when the littles wake up my day is a go with any ‘ME’ going out the window. So, if I want to capture a moment that speaks to my spirit and energizes my soul, the time has to be found on purpose. I intentionally get up a few hours before the rest of the house and do different things such as: exercise, shower, devotional time, read, blog or journal. Doing a combination of these things delights my heart and helps bring quality inner peace to help clear the clutter and chaos.
- Increase sensitivity to the little things in life. I usually compare my days with my littles to the movie Groundhog Day. Our schedule is structured and aligned to their needs and brings them comfort in knowing the routine. Yet, there are little tweaks in each moment of the day to bring a bit of uniqueness to it. So instead of letting the monotony mangle my mind, I shift my thoughts to seeing the small, little changes. The new words my youngest is speaking, the chatterbox my oldest is becoming, the sweet embraces and kisses of siblings, laughter that erupts when gas is passed (yes, I have boys!!), the excitement they have when they see me…because these moments will not last forever. They will transition into new phases as their little lives change them into little men in the blink of an eye. I want to keep a keen sensitivity to these little things in life so I created a gratitude journal that I write these blessings down to help me to remember the moment now as well as a list to reflect on later to remember what was.
- Making daily choices that align my life with passions and values that reflects my unique personality. There are so many different paths one can journey along. To me, this is weeding through the mass quantity in order to value the quality. I’m applying this in different areas of my life, but for a simple example I am putting it to use in the world of the web. With all types of social media ~ facebook, instagram, twitter, pinterest, etc…it can be overwhelming and quite burdensome to navigate through these daily. I’ve chosen a few I want to invest in while putting aside the others for a season. I’ve done the same with blogs I enjoy reading. I could literally get lost within myself reading blogs all day. There are many great ones out there! Yet, I’ve chosen a few that I will read on a regular basis that fit my personality and interests best (weeding through the mass to value quality).
If you find yourself following your life instead of consciously making daily choices that align your life to your passions and personality, you might enjoy this book. It is not one that you read once and never pick back up. It will be one that I revisit often to guide me deeper into this intentional living.
By Shana Goff
It’s starting to get that time of the year when our clothes become lighter and our skin gets darker. Where there is a deep settling within our souls of a more relaxed way of life. With even as active as my life tends to stay on a daily basis, I find that during this time of the year I am led with a gentler sense of myself.
I’ve come across some things that have made my want list…my birthday is coming up soon! It’s right around the corner…3 months away! 🙂
This lovely needs to find its way into my closet very soon! I absolutely adore this Olive & Oak lace shirt dress. A classic white dress never goes out of style and can be fashioned int many different ways! Did I mention it is on sale?
I can never have too many little black heels. I have a hard time justifying many things, black shoes is not one of them. Loft has these delicate beauties, and I’m seriously crushing over them!
Have you ever heard of Kelly Moore bags? I live out of my purse, honestly, it’s more like a luggage bag. So, I have to make sure what I carry can carry not only all my stuff but the littles as well. The Esther bag shown here is the one I’ve mentioned to the hubby. All the colors are beautiful, but caramel is more my style.
For a fun idea, what do you think of this tee? Love the camouflage, as I feel most days I’m in the trenches of Motherhood. What a light hearted, fun way to drift through the spring/summer months.
May this beautiful time of the year welcome you with the delights of your heart. Enjoy the lighter pace of life!
“Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her.” ~Proverbs 31:28
Recently read a devotional blog post on-line called The Day I Lost My Smile by Lysa Terkeurst, where she recounted all the duties as a Mom she had with lunch kits, backpacks as well as taking her children to school on time while also juggling her own work responsibilities. Always overwhelmed and running either late or behind. Can you relate?
The Motherhood world is challenging, not to mention increasingly complex and mind numbing at times. Overwhelmed by the demands of the littles, the world, other people and for me the case of MYSELF!! It’s as if this cloud of chaotic clutter hangs over me.
I remember a significant ‘MOM’ent when I became quite aware that my smile was lost. I woke up in my usual ‘early bird’ good mood. I headed upstairs to get a quick workout in on the treadmill, and it hit me as I was standing in the shower ~ water pouring over me washing away all the ‘stink’ of what life was throwing at me. I noticed that something deep within was lacking.
Desire. Passion. My heartbeat. All gone. Along with it the joy in my spirit that my smile was attached to. As I got dressed and ready for yet another day, that to be honest, I didn’t want to do, (insert the movie Groundhog Day here), I welcomed the hot tears and let them stream down my freshly made up face.
That morning as I went about the ritual of lighting our candles in our home that serves as a reminder that I am to shine His Light to those I love most, I could feel the weight of my heavier heart as it sunk deeper inside of me. Thoughts of being a horrible Mommy for not wanting to be a stay at home Mommy that day and resentment for being stretched too thin without a much needed break crept into my heart.
These words came to my heart as I remember reading them from Lysa (yes, I know…I read a lot of Lysa’s words!!), “Bad moments don’t make bad Mommys.” She has such a great way of putting words into those very complex emotions we all feel. Goff, my husband, and I sat down to put steps in place to reinvent how our family could function healthier. Changes are moving us forward and transitions for our family are coming. (Prayers regarding these changes are much appreciated..but that is another post one day).
Through this process I feel that my peace, passioned purpose and joy are finding their way back to me…along with that missing smile.
As we approach this Mother’s Day weekend, I honor, respect, support, applaud, encourage, pray over and love each woman blessed to be known as Mommy!
“Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her.” ~Proverbs 31:28
In early Spring the state flower of Texas, the bluebonnet, begins blooming its beauty in certain parts of the state. It is a well known tradition for families to flock to fields covered with these treasures and take pictures of their children nestled around the bluebonnets. Growing up myself, I didn’t live in an area where the bluebonnets thrived, but fortunately for my children, we now do! We are so blessed to literally just drive 5 minutes down the road to capture these. My boys are still very young and ALL things ‘boy’… not really into capturing the beauty of a well photographed picture (like their Mommy)! Here are a few of the best ones we captured this year:
‘Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out; you formed me in my mother’s womb. I thank you, High God ~ you’re breathtaking! Body and soul, I am marvelously made! I worship in adoration ~ what a creation! You know me inside and out, you know every bone in my body; You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something. Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth; all the stages of my life were spread out before you, The days of my life all prepared before I’d even lived one day. Your thoughts ~ how rare, how beautiful! God, I’ll never comprehend them!’ ~Psalm 139: 13-17 (The Message)
I have always said that there is one thing, without a doubt, that I am perfect at. I’m quite the expert at it! Pretty sure no one can do it any better. I have had many years, situations and experiences to perfect it! I would wear my gold star (by the way, I love to get gold stars…I mean, who doesn’t right?), but I try to be a pretty humble human being. 🙂
What is this great and wonderful perfection that she owns? Don’t be jealous when I let you in on it, but I am quite perfect at being imperfect! #PerfectlyImperfect
Imperfection defined by Webster is ‘a flaw; fault or defect’. Yes, I have many of those. Let’s see where do I begin? Well, we could start with my physical flaws that I really can’t change: an enormous forehead that takes up what feels like half my face, my pinocchio nose that has a weird indention at the tip, my pencil shaped body frame or my long ‘giraffe’ neck…just to name a few. Or we could focus on the behavioral imperfections I have developed. That would include: people pleasing, unrealistic ideal self image, caring too much what others think of me along with a tendency to be a detailed planner. I also carry some baggage of negative thoughts and grumbling that can become quite heavy if not extended to Him to carry. I took to my Facebook and Instagram community and was encouraged by the authentic transparency of those that commented. The list included: control of everything, jealousy, perfectionism, self image/body image, difficulty defining true beauty, carrying the weight of the world, and trying to ‘fix’ everything. Some related to my own such as pleasing others, worry, negative thoughts, grumbling and comparison.
There are situations and maybe even people that enter our world to bring to the surface the intensity that these insecurities are embedded within us. I know this to be truth in my own life where I thought I was no longer insecure regarding an area until a situation arose to help me realize how strong it was within me. The idea of this post was birthed as I was having a conversation with my mother in~law. She complimented on the scarf I was wearing, in which I replied, “Yes, I have to cover up my giraffe neck.” (True story…I said those insecure words out loud!!!) Her response “Oh Shana, you have a swan neck that is absolutely beautiful.” Why do I tend to focus on all my unique qualities and view them in such a negative, ‘there is something wrong with me’ perspective.
The issue isn’t that we have these struggles as His Word says that, ‘in the world you will have trials and tribulations, but I have overcome the world’; it is to Whom we take them to and the actions we do in response to them that allows us to embrace them fully. To be fully rooted and grounded in your identity in Christ! When I react in a way that disagrees with my spirit, I pray a simple, short prayer of 3 words, “Change me, Lord.” There is a reason for my reaction in which God desires to make me a better me and more into His image.
“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” ~Psalm 51:10
In my own journey, as everyone’s is different, I am learning this is a process…a daily decision on my part to pray these insecurities up and release them in the reality of His perfection. I know that He created me perfectly with such flaws not to make me imperfect but to reveal His perfection and strength in my weaknesses. To Him be all the glory! I know the need for Him through my imperfections which helps me to own and love them. Finding a new found freedom to embrace the confident and beautiful woman He destined me to be!
Top three words right now….It’s.The.Weekend!! Right? As a stay at home Mommy, the weekend really is just another two days, but there are two extra hands to help out…known as Daddy! The weeks have been on the rougher side lately so I scheduled some much needed down time. Not that I did anything extravagant, but just a few relaxing things to unwind. So, what did I do to disconnect, you ask? Why, I connected to the world wide web of course!
- One of my favorite quotes right now is ~ . If you are needing some inspiration and encouragement, check here: http://www.pinterest.com/shanagoff/quotes/
- Some goals I have set for this week include:
- Finishing 2 books that are speaking my language right now. The first one is called Notes from a Blue Bike: The Art of Living Intentionally in a Chaotic World by Tsh Oxenreider and the other is Praying for Boys: Asking God for the Things They Need Most by Brooke McGlothlin.
- Finishing a custom design chalkboard calendar for our family’s increasing activities. Once I’m done with my DIY project…I’ll be sure to post pics!
- Personal goal of writing/blogging 3 times a week. Two seems too few and 4 seems unreachable…so we are compromising on 3.
- If you are interested in making the 1st work hour productive, I came across this article that had some great ideas. Check it out here: http://www.fastcompany.com/3000619/what-successful-people-do-first-hour-their-work-day
- If you are need of some decor inspiration…check out The Inspired Room website! Love her stuff! Here it is: http://theinspiredroom.net
Wishing you all a wonderful rest of the weekend! May you be abundantly blessed this week.
“You wouldn’t be too terribly upset if I pawned off the littles, huh?”
This was a real life text message I sent the husband just yesterday. Take off the judgment glasses because we have all been there! As Ann Voskamp said, “Sometimes the bravest thing is showing up for your life everyday.” #Word
Anyways,it was ONE of those days! A day where overwhelming oppositions about shattered my calm place, and Mommy nearly came UNGLUED. I always use to pride myself on being patient, that was until I had my own children.
Should I tell you that my oldest was lacking in the sleep department, is fitting quite nicely in the outfit of the terrible 2’s, has the same number of major meltdown moments as there are hours in a day over the simplest of situations. Both boys have bronchitis, our youngest is teething, going through a major growth spurt, is in that ‘into everything’ stage, and seems to be a bit more on the emotional/clingy/ sensitive side this month….which translates into outbursts of his own. In this challenging season of Motherhood, where life is stretching me so thin that I am becoming anorexic in other areas that I’m passionate about.
Investing every moment of each day into my boy blessings I have no extra time or energy to fill my own bucket. Writing. Reading. Conversations. Connection. These are just a few things that make me come alive and feel like Shana…not Mommy. I matter. You matter. We have great and mighty purposes within us waiting to be exhaled to enrich others.
I came to this place recently one night. This place where sometimes you have to be raw with the realities of your life ~ scratching beyond the surface level of all your good intentions. As I quieted myself from all the chaos and calmed my mind to regroup my thoughts to hear His still, gentle whisper I asked for Him to start the process of stitching up the brokenness of my heart, during this season of what feels like climbing a mountain.
Opening the Word I knew Isaiah is where I would find comfort…turned to chapter 40 and began reading. I fell into verse 9 and stayed awhile. “Climb a high mountain, Zion. You’re the preacher of good news. Raise your voice. Make it good and loud, Jerusalem. You’re the preacher of good news. Speak loud and clear. Don’t be timid! (The Message)
When negativity surrounds your circumstances/situations and you become a clanging voice trapped inside, there is always hope for transformation into the new. When you are in a ‘climbing the mountain’ type of season, just remember the words and comfort of Isaiah 40:9.
“The brave are the ones who trace the inside of their everyday wounds and don’t grow hard.” ~Ann Voskamp
On a recent Saturday morning jog, I began to notice the beautiful wildflowers that had started to bloom. Overnight, literally, these beauties came into view. I am a lover of all things beautiful and flowers are very high on my list. To much of my experience I have received these as a sign of love and admiration filled full in a vase of water. Yet, I started to think on ‘wildflowers’ as I was putting one foot in front of the other for the sake of health. I love the fact that these flowers are wild, meaning they were not intentionally seeded or planted. What made me savor these treasures even greater was they bloom in the most random, not on purpose kind of places. Wherever they land, they bloom beauty in the ordinary.
Pondering my own life, in that many days are ordinary and often times dull. With two littles under the age of 3, I tend to find myself following the same routines and schedules to make it through the day successfully. Mundane to say the least. Yet, this lesson of the ‘wildflowers’ comes to my mind and reminds me that there is beauty in each ordinary moment if I choose to bloom in the season of where I am planted. Dare I be….on the wild side!
Peace. Sparkling jewelry. Candles burning. Inviting atmosphere. A book. Crackling fire. Coffee. Befriending a cozy chair bundled up in a blanket. Vase full of lovely flowers. A rain storm. Helping those in need. Watching my littles sleep.
What are these things, you ask? Just a few of my favorite things that I have fashioned into joy! Joy is defined as a feeling of great pleasure and happiness. Everyone finds peace in a variety of ways and in different things. I have come to find that there are many moments, ideas, experiences, expressions that cross my path daily in which I must gaze upon and give thanks to the Creator for them. In this gratitude is a journey that only leads to joy! I can’t begin to express in words how thrilling it is to shape these things into your own personal joy that only He can give! That is exactly what it is…a gift! To us. The Beloved who knows the inner most parts of our very being, the intricate weavings of what makes our heart beat wildly…these gifts are from Him!
He is the giver of all good things! We are surrounded in every day living with His goodness. It is when I slow down enough to unwrap all the amazing little gifts that He places before me in every moment that my heart overflows with gladness. Yet I wonder if it is really the gifts that bless me more or the instant joy I feel knowing that I am wildly loved enough to be lavished upon by my Husband! Immediately, thankfulness and gratitude fill my mouth and are spoken through the lips to Him who provides beauty in the beats of my heart. He knows exactly what provides me with joy as He alone fashioned me together in my mother’s womb.
In this toxic, stained world that also encompasses us, each day I choose joy. I decide to push forward beyond the hurt, pain and numbness that is open for my heart to accept and reach for joy in the small that I see to change the way I experience life and the world that spins around me.
What makes your heart happy and beat with pleasure? One of the greatest things about grasping this concept of fashioning your joy that I have found is that it keeps my mind always looking for the positive and finding the happy in all things at all times.
“Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world.” ~ Sarah Ban Breathnach