How to Stunt the Growth of Anxiety in Your Kiddo

Right now we are living in a season when the simplest tasks can seem overwhelming. Going to the grocery stores isn’t the chore it used to be. Now it’s full of even more stress and tension. We don’t know if someone will bump into us, yell at us, or if we are crossing the aisle at the wrong time.

As much as we tell ourselves, I will not let this bother me (raising my hand here), it does. It’s a palatable feeling in the air. The anxiety settles down on all of us collectively. As much as we feel it, our kiddos do too.

Our kiddos  mirror us. If we feel stressed, they feel stressed.

If we feel overwhelmed, they feel overwhelmed.

If we feel anxious, our anxiety adds to their stress shaped brain and squeezes.

This is true for any kiddo, even more so for kiddos from hard places and who has a capital letter syndrome.

My anxiety Story

When I was growing up, there was a lot of political unrest. Adults around me had an unwritten rule – Kids should understand how serious this is. I didn’t know what “this” was, and I wasn’t sure how to act. So, I did what any kiddo would do in the situation – I felt anxious. My anxiety grew over the years and became my constant companion in my adulthood. I felt as if I SHOULD FEEL ANXIOUS ABOUT EVERYTHING. So I did. I was like the character in The Great Divorce with the creature on his shoulder:

“What sat on his shoulder was a little red lizard, and it was twitching its tail like a whip and whispering things in his ear.”

My anxiety is like the lizard. It whispers things in my ear, and I act upon them. But this isn’t about me. It’s about the growth of anxiety in a child.

Tips for Stunting the growth of Anxiety

With my experience in mind (and science) I’m sharing a few tips to stunt the growth of anxiety in an already anxious kid.

  1. Tell them what’s going on. Your kids need not know everything. On the flip side, they don’t need to know nothing. Not knowing breeds anxiety. Whatever the situation, let them know what is age appropriate for them. This applies to any life situation. If Great Grandma dies, a five-year-old needs to know the truth. Not, she is floating in the air. But don’t go as far as the embalming process. 
  2. Let your kiddo talk about it. Whatever it is. One of the healthiest things a kiddo can do after a tragedy is talk. For example, my two-year-old Granddaughter fell while playing and suffered a concussion. At the ER she had a CT scan. Later, via Facetime, she told me several times about the giant camera that took a picture of her (and her daddy’s) head. She retold her story of falling and her ER visit. We make progress in our healing journey by telling our stories to an empathetic listener. So do kiddos. When something happens to a kiddo, it tempts us to tell them they will be all right. It’s tempting to tell them to forget it and move on. The truth is the world is full of adults who never talked about “it” and who have never moved on.
  3. Realize although your kiddo may have a stress shaped brain, anxiety can also become a habit. When I was a young mom, struggling with depression and anxiety, a friend recommended a book to me (that I can’t remember the name of!). The author had many of the same anxiety driven habits. She didn’t like closed-in places; she didn’t want to do anything in which she wasn’t in control. On a ski trip, she asked an exuberant  friend – Aren’t you anxious about going down the hill. To which her friend replied, “Yes, isn’t it glorious!” I’m paraphrasing here. The point is one woman took the anxious feeling, and it caused her to miss out. Another took the feeling and let her body feel it and felt joyful about it. While I’m not saying you can teach your kiddo to feel joyful about everything they are afraid of, it’s good to look for the habit of anxiety. When you see it, talk it through, work it through. Do whatever you need to help your kiddo form a new habit. “I feel anxious” can turn into “I feel excited!”
  4. Talk through an event before you go. Guess what. I still do this to quell my anxiety. One of my adult ways for handling this is looking at routes on the GPS. I ask someone who has traveled it how many tunnels there are. I plan my rest breaks when traveling alone. I count out my change for toll booths. These practices lessen my anxiety. Sure, I run into unknowns, traffic jams, a pit stop, my cooler sliding off the seat so I can’t reach my food (true story). I handle these unknowns better if I know the majority about the trip. Kids need to talk through events even more than adults do. It moves them to their upstairs brain. They can look at the event logically and stunt the growth of anxiety.

Remember, anxiety grows if fed. I fed mine for years. Now, I’m working on starving it out. I use these tips with my kiddos. They know them so well; they use them on me! 

I hope these tips help you and your kiddos. Do you have your own tip? Share it here.

Moving Toward Critical Obedience

In my last post I talked about -When we are acquaintances with Jesus –

  •  We pray before mealtimes
  •  Say please and thank you
  • Recite prayers
  • Put the empty grocery cart away
  • Replace the empty toilet paper roll

These are all good foundational practices. We just can’t stay there. Staying in the acquaintance stage is like choosing to remain a five-year-old your whole life. Then you stay stuck when it comes to obedience because you can’t hear His voice. You only do what you know which has come through rote memorization.

My Sheep Hear My Voice

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. – John 10:27

The first time I heard the voice of the Lord, I was a teen who needed a miracle. My family had returned from a weekend trip to find our yard covered in snowdrifts. I was half asleep when I stumbled from the VW van to the backdoor mudroom. I took my coat and boots off and went straight to bed. The next morning, I couldn’t find my glasses. I can’t see two feet in front of my face without them. Mom helped me look. They weren’t in the van, my bedroom, the bathroom, or anywhere. I stayed home from school. I sat in a rocking chair and read The Secret Garden for the thousandth time. I had a severe headache all day. I prayed for the Lord to show me where my glasses were. 

Suddenly, in my mind’s eye, I saw them at the bottom of a snowdrift behind a snow shovel. I got up, walked outside, picked up the shovel, stuck my hand into the snowdrift, and pulled out my glasses.

Obedience Bumper Cars

I wish I could tell you from that point forward I walked in complete obedience and relationship with the Lord. I haven’t. It’s been more like a bumper car ride. I have an inkling of what He is saying and I reason myself out of obedience. Then I bump into consequences. 

Just last night, I was feeling super exhausted. I knew I was heading into a CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) crash zone. I asked the Lord why I couldn’t stay in the zone – feeling good physically- instead of piece of pummeled meat. With CFS, I have to keep some pretty wide margins to feel the way most people do on a daily basis. Normalish – not as though they are walking through quicksand. 

A Smaller Yard

It’s as if I have a smaller yard than everyone else. If I stay in the fence, I’m fine. If I leave the yard, I’m not. If you read my article the other day, you know I’ve been overdoing it a lot and bumping into some consequences.

I do hear the still small whisper telling me to slow down, stop, and rest. Then I just want to paint one more wall, watch one more lecture, clean one more room, and guess what happens? I don’t hear the voice as much. I’m too busy praying for God to heal my body and relieve me of the circumstance.

This lesson is one I’m still desperately trying to learn. It’s completely different and even more critical than big obedience. The big obedience will flop if the little ones don’t happen. By that I mean, my relationship with God will stalemate. I’ll be too physically ill to do what I’ve been called to do and that’s so sad – all because I wanted to paint one more wall.

ARE YOU STUCK IN ACQUAINTANCE OBEDIENCE?

During this time of social distancing, I’ve been doing some deep thinking. I’m a thinker, to begin with, so it’s not a huge leap that with more time, I’d think more. The idea of planting seeds, adjusting to a new normal, and stepping back from trying to do it all, I’ve been thinking about obedience in a new light.

Obedience is an interesting concept. In the Christian faith, it is often equated with “being good.” It can mean being kind and not taking the last piece of pie or chocolate. Out in public, it may be letting someone go in front of me in line. You know- walking in the fruit of the spirit – walking in love toward one another – putting the needs of others before yourself. It’s kindergarten Sunday school level obedience. I can imagine myself sitting at a circular table with other kiddos and the teacher leading us in simple recitation – We love because God loves us. I learned important foundational concepts there and acquaintance obedience.

Acquaintance Obedience

The sort of obedience I’m referring to is acquaintance obedience. It’s the kind of niceness we extend towards strangers or someone we just met. I think of it in terms of adoption (I think of everything in these terms). Adoptive families have what we term a “honeymoon” phase when we put our best foot forward and we Moms wear our makeup. Funny story -when we were in Poland living in the orphanage, the morning after we had “moved in,” there was an knock at our door. It was a caregiver with Gregory, who wanted to see his new Mama. I didn’t want Gregory to see me without my hair brushed and my makeup on. What craziness. Times have changed in our relationship, for sure. 

We can get stuck in acquaintance obedience with Christ. It’s like being nice and eating your veggies without complaining. It’s low-level obedience. Children are required to do that. Higher-level obedience means staying after class and asking the teacher (Jesus) exactly what He wants you to do with your gifts and talents. Then doing it, no matter how crazy it sounds. 

Jennifer Lee says it like this in It’s All Under Control:

“Nothing else on our to-do lists matters as much as knowing we were completely obedient to His.” 

I spoke of to-do lists the other day on the blog. They are my jam. I like to get it done. Sometimes, I find myself doing things, being nice, and then asking God to bless the things. 

Ask God what to do first

It’s not the best way to navigate my life. Obedience is asking God what to do first and then expecting Him to show up and guide me. When we are in a close relationship with Jesus, we are in conversation with Him. I think of the day when I die and meet Jesus face to face. I’ll literally be in the middle of a conversation. I won’t need an introduction because we weren’t just acquaintances when I was on earth. Someone won’t have to introduce me like this:

Here’s that freckle face girl who cried a lot and told everyone to adopt kids.

It will be more like:

Picking up a conversation where we left off.

My conversations with Jesus these days

My conversations now are along these lines –

Yep, Jesus, it was super scary when you told me to step out and buy that house in the mountains and then the world kind of went to pieces. You were there with me. We had fun listening to Jennifer Allwood and Joanna Penn podcasts, painting, hanging up pictures, moving furniture, and getting the house ready to be a respite. We did it together. 

And when you asked me to spend money on a course in the middle of our “What if” scenario of financial scariness? Yikes. I did it. Learning a lot. Bundles of scary stuff to do. You’re right here with me, helping me face new challenges creatively. 

More on obedience tomorrow!

In what ways are you moving from acquaintance obedience to close relationship obedience? 

Mistaken Goals for Adults During Quarantine

We’re living in a strange time. There seems to be an emptiness layered with anxiety, it’s a cake we would never order.

Looking for “Normal”

Yesterday when hubby and I got back from the Blackwater River, we did some yard and deck work, arranging furniture, raking the yard, picking up sticks, and it felt so normal.  We like the “normal” feeling so we came inside afterward and hung up some of my book wreaths. We were tempted to keep working after a late dinner. It was nearing 8pm ( my wind-down til bedtime). I think our reason was double fold. We both like to work and we want to get projects finished. Secondly, we like the “normal” feeling. I liked feeling as if all was right with the world as we picked up sticks in our new yard. I like the feeling of finishing a project. The problem? Only working is a mistaken goal. Time is a gift of this season. I’m tempted to squander it on projects instead of people. Squandering time is never satisfying.

Mistaken Goals

I’ve been doing a short series on Facebook and Instagram from How to Have Peace When Your Kids are in Chaos on mistaken goals. It’s easy for kiddos and adults alike to slip into a mistaken goal for this or any season. Since I don’t have anything in our lifetime to compare this COVID 19 season to,  I’m feeling my way through the tunnel. I bump into some walls along the way. I’ve bumped into a few physically, emotionally, and spiritually. 

Give  Choices

A few days ago, I shared the mistaken goal – total control. 

“When a child has had no control over his life and no guarantee that he will be cared for, he will try to exercise control in any war he can. Even as an adult, I often fall into the trap of trying to control my circumstances, so it’s not surprising that kiddos from hard places do the same. 

What can you do to realign this goal? Give choices.”

In the past few days, I gave myself some choices. Are you giving yourself some? Or are you also (raising my hand) working to feel “normal” until you are exhausted and then feeling empty and unsatisfied. Don’t get me wrong. Work is good. Obedience is better. Obedience is gazillion times more satisfying than plain old work. 

I think of a vision of a mama saying, “I sacrificed all my energy and every second of my day so you can have a good meal and a clean home ( worthy of a magazine).”

 Then I hear the scripture echoing in my head:

“Has the Lord as great a delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices

As in obedience to the voice of the Lord?

Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice,

And to heed [is better] than the fat of rams.”

I Samuel 15: 22

OUCH. Yep. Why is obedience better than sacrifice? Obedience is about relationship with God and unbroken companionship. Relationship with God without obedience is like saying, “I love you, I’m just not going to do what you ask me to.” Imagine our kiddos saying that to us.

The other day, I was talking to Marcy Holder*, and I shared with her how I keep working way too hard. It’s as if I can’t turn it off. I think I invented my own mistaken goal – I’m not valuable unless I’m working. I’m like a cartoon character who keeps running into a brick wall. Then I stop and say, okay, I’m feeling broken and exhausted. Then I get up and do it again the next day. 

A few weeks ago, I wrote down a to-do list in my Sunday coffee meeting with God. Then I proceeded to work straight through my list until, you guessed it, I hit the wall. I prayed and asked God to show me what was wrong, “God you told me to do all of this? What’s wrong?”

I could hear the whisper of the Holy Spirit say, “Not all in one day.” 

There are no quarantine metals

It’s tempting during this time to think we have to do all the things and do them perfectly. It’s tempting anytime, but more so now. Moms, there’s this invisible pressure to be the most grateful you have ever been, work harder on your home, make the best meals, play all the games, all with the heavy burden of trying to carry it all. We know in our hearts, God is in control. Let’s just be real here. Feelings and truth don’t always agree.  It’s as if I think I’m going to get some sort of prize or medal if I do everything perfectly during the quarantine. Will there be some sort of celebratory ceremony when this all ends? Will I get a medal for most walls painted? Books written? Online workout classes taken? (Asking for myself).

Plant Seeds

I’ve said this several times in the past few weeks, I feel as if this is seed planting time. With that said, we must decide what sorts of seeds we are planting. Obedience? Mistaken goals which will produce mistaken fruit. Pursuing “normal” feelings instead of resting and trusting God is in control? Which seeds are you planting? Apparently, I’m planting a variety pack. 

*Marcy is spiritually-focused personal coach, you can find her here plus she’s a guest on The Whole House Podcast releasing Monday, April 6th.

My Word for 2020

I started choosing a word a year many years ago because some friends told me about it. Actually, God chose it for me. Some years it took months for me to hear it. Some years I tried to reason it out of existence. The word would sneak into my thoughts again. The word would suddenly appear in my Bible reading, in conversations,  and on signs. Then I wrote it down in my journal. (You can read about last year’s word here). About four years ago, I found out Debbie Macomber wrote a book –

ONE PERFECT WORD: ONE WORD CAN MAKE ALL THE DIFFERENCE

I checked out of the library on cd and listened to it on a solo trip to South Carolina. I had lots of “aha” moments during the listen and wished I could write and drive. If you are wondering what all this “Word of the Year” stuff is, I recommend you read or listen to her book! On to my word. 

My Word for 2020

In September I attended Winsome Retreat for women at White Sulphur Springs. I really needed some time with the Lord. My stress level was on overload. I needed to make some drastic decisions or my body would go into full-on CFS crash mode. I’ve been there before (almost bedridden) several times. I know the signs. 

My problem? I like to work. Really. I do. I like to do good things that help people. I like to do ALL the things. What happens is I treat life like a buffet, I put all the good things on my plate, I try to do them all well and I get sick. Literally. Then one by one or all at once, I have to quit, I have to scrape all the things into the metaphorical trash.  My body crashes. 

My Vision

I was really hoping for an angel appearance at the retreat. I wanted an angel to show up and read a list of items to “scrape off my plate” followed by a “thou shalt do this.” I didn’t get one. What I did get was a tiny vision in my minds-eye during a worship session. I was suddenly a freckle-faced toe-headed little girl with my hair sticking out on the sides. The table was laden with food and adults were sitting around it. I heard a voice say, “Act like you are chosen, come to the table.” I walked to the table and climbed up on a stool. I was grinning. That’s it. 

As I drove home, I kept thinking of the word chosen as I listened to Taylor Leonhardt’s “Diamonds.” Here are some of the lyrics:

Shadows can speak louder than anything

And you believe the lies they’re saying

You are not an afterthought, love himself dreamed you up

Dressed you in diamonds, called you his star

Been hiding all this time, your hands over your eyes

I see you, darling, you have my heart

Not good enough, that’s what you tell yourself

Invisible, nobody notices

You are not an afterthought, love himself dreamed you up

Dressed you in diamonds, called you his star

Been hiding all this time, your hands over your eyes

I see you, darling, you have my heart

I see you darling

You’re a precious thought hidden in the heart of God

How good it is to know you

You became a word none of us had ever heard

How good it is to know you, how good it is to know you

I cried as I listened to “Diamonds” over and over the hills and around the mountains. I often think of myself as an afterthought and truth be told, I hide behind work. 

With all this talk about self-esteem and the Christians yelling things on social media, “Don’t talk about self-care or self-love, just talk about Jesus.”

Before you pick up a stone and pelt me with it, may I point out that being chosen was God’s idea. Not man’s. The whole reason we live and breathe on this blue and green orb is that God chose to create us. He chose to love us. He chose to adopt us as His own because it was his kind intent.

Even as [in His love] He chose us [actually picked us out for Himself as His own] in Christ before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy (consecrated and set apart for Him) and blameless in His sight, even above reproach, before Him in love.

For He foreordained us (destined us, planned in love for us) to be adopted (revealed) as His own children through Jesus Christ, in accordance with the purpose of His will [[a]because it pleased Him and was His kind intent]—

– Ephesians 1: 4,5


I’ll end with the above Scripture which is one of my favorites! Make sure you read it a few times and let it soak in. Did you chose a word for 2020? Feel free to share it in the comments! Join me here next time for “What Chosen-ness Looks Like in Daily Life.”

Foster/Adoptive Parents – It’s Okay to Ask for Help

It’s Okay to Ask for Help

I’ll be the first to admit, this is difficult for me. I struggle with perfectionist tendencies which translated means – I want to do everything myself and I want it to be perfect. This doesn’t work well in reality. 

You may wonder why I’m talking about asking for help when this month’s theme is goal planning. The idea our American culture puts forth is you can do it all and you can do it all by yourself.

That’s just not the way God designed us. He designed us to be in community. We are all part of the body of Christ (if we are Christians).

Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.

-I Corinthians 12: 15-20

To take it a step further, as this set of scriptures does, we are part of a body. Each one of us is a part. If we don’t do our part, the body doesn’t work properly. And if we don’t let someone else do their part, the body doesn’t function well.

I said on the podcast this week my husband is a servant. He is totally focused on serving more than I am. That’s his part. 

When we don’t let people do their part, we are robbing them of the blessing.

The first time in my adult life that I really had to ask for help was when I was pregnant with my third child. I went into preterm labor at twenty-eight weeks, which was stopped. The result was I was on bed rest for the rest of the pregnancy. I was only allowed to walk to the bathroom. That short walk caused contractions. My church set up a rotation of ladies to check on me and prepare meals. I hired a college student to help with the other two kiddos. It was one of the hardest things for me to do. 

Fast forward to our adoption journey.

We were in Poland on our first trip of the adoption for five weeks. We left before Thanksgiving and returned five days before Christmas. During those five weeks, a good friend came and cleaned and cared for the house (my step-father, Bud lived with us). Another friend set up the Christmas tree and decorated it. Another friend who owned a bakery made us some cookies. We came home after about twelve hours of flights to find a clean house and our house Christmas-ready! What a wonderful gift.

I’d like to say after the experience of receiving help, I was more willing to ask for it. I wasn’t. I’ve had many more practice tests on asking for help – including during a CFS crash or two, homeschooling, and planning events and the list goes on and on. What stops you from asking for help?

Let me leave you with this. James 1: 27 mandates we care for the widow and the orphan. 

27 External [a]religious worship [[b]religion as it is expressed in outward acts] that is pure and unblemished in the sight of God the Father is this: to visit and help and care for the orphans and widows in their affliction and need, and to keep oneself unspotted and uncontaminated from the world.

Not everyone is going to foster or adopt. You can help someone fulfill the mandate by asking for help. Some people are the part of the body designed to help you and your kiddos. They can’t do that if you don’t ask for help. 

Want to hear more about this topic?

Are you an adoptive/foster parent? Are you sometimes overwhelmed? Do you struggle with asking for help? (Raising my hand here!) You’re not alone. If you have been following the series this month on goal planning for 2020, don’t skip this episode. Maybe it’s time to ask for help! Grab a cup of coffee and join Kathleen as she shares some real-life stories about the importance of asking for help to achieve our goals.

How to Assemble a Vision Board

Write down your vision.

I covered this in more detail here. If you missed it, go back and read it first.

Grab a board

This is the simple part. Go to your local craft store and purchase a canvas or poster board.

Find Pictures that represent your vision

You can use Pinterest, magazines, take photos yourself, make some graphics on Canva, or draw your own. The possibilities are endless. Last year, I made some fake book covers on Canva to represent books I planned to write. The actual covers changed and that’s okay. The board is a representation of the work you are going to do. Remember to be flexible and have fun!

Think about what your vision will look like on a daily basis.

Think through your day. Make sure you block out time for your vision. It won’t just magically happen. You must make time for it to happen. This means giving up something else. It may mean giving up something good. There is a myth that everything will be balanced -that you can maintain everything perfectly all the time. You may have to give up having a spotless house for a season while you work on a project. It may be sleep while you get up at 4:30 to write (true story). Maybe we gals have to give up late-night Netflix watching because we need sleep so we can get up in the morning. Maybe kids’ nap time is the time to work on a project. Find time to work on your vision. I guarantee in order for a vision to come to pass, we have to be more intentional about how we spend our time.

My Vision

Years ago, when my eldest was a toddler, hubby and I moved in with my parents in order to stop renting and buy our first home. Most of our belongings stayed in boxes. I had limited space, was living on someone else’s schedule, and had a toddler who recently learned how to flip out of her crib. What did I do? I decided to start writing again. It was my first pursuit of writing as an adult. I didn’t own a computer. I had a typewriter. I set it up in my brother’s drum room and typed while I listened for Audrey who was next door in her room.

I gave up evening TV watching for a long season while I typed away. I felt satisfied, empowered, and productive. And guess what – the circumstances were not ideal. I didn’t have a pretty office. I didn’t have a desk. Nothing I wrote during those eight months was ever published. And yet it was time well spend. The time was profitable. The season reminded me writing is where my passion is parked.

This reminiscing and rambling is a reminder all the work your pour into your vision is profitable in some way. Don’t enter the process of creating a vision board with the idea that you will or should have perfect circumstances. Or the mistaken assumption – I will create a perfect product right away. If this is your frame of mind right now, you may need to do some reframing.

2020 Vision Board

Here’s my completed vision board for the coming year. It’s more of a summation of ideas than actual events. I break down my goals into smaller achievable objectives on paper and a calendar. I have :

  • Typewriters to represent writing more books
  • A computer to represent e-courses
  • A clock to remind me to spend time wisely (I’m using the 5 Second Journal and The Morning Sidekick Journal to help with keeping track).
  • Flowers represent time in my flower garden which is still part of my overall vision
  • Family time is super important – I mentioned some of the activities we do in the article here.
  • I have some house projects represented including some outdoor ones.

2019 Vision Board

This is last year’s board. It’s seems much different than this year’s. Last year, The Whole House had finished up its first year of the podcast, some e-courses, and a live gathering. It had poured so much of my energy into The Whole House. I still will this year, however, I have realized that my room is me. Everything I have to offer is my experience, the way I do things, and the topics God puts on my heart. I guess what I’m trying to say is your vision board is not some way out there idea, it’s not projecting some vision of something that isn’t in your wheelhouse. It’s you.

Want to know more about creating a vision board? Listen to this podcast episode!

Are you looking for a way to plan your goals for 2020? Have you ever tried creating a vision board? A vision board is a great visual to look at your goals on a daily basis. Vision boards can be fun, colorful, creative, and a great group project to do with friends. Why create a vision board? Grab a cup of coffee and join Kathleen and Kristin as they share what a vision board is and three reasons to create one.

Next Steps in Planning Your Vision Board


Yesterday, I talked about Three Reasons to Create a Vision Board, you can read it here. Today I’ll share one of the ways I plan projects and goals.

Create a Document or Paper for each project or goal.

 Break the project down into measurable, attainable objectives with deadlines for each. This is important. If you don’t have deadlines or dates to work on your goals, you probably won’t do it.  You’ll wish you could/would. 

Next thing you know another year has passed since you wanted to get healthy, better that relationship, start the website, make the quilt, etc…

Here’s an example from my own life. 

I’m an empty-nester-ish. I want to continue to spend time with my kids and grandkiddos in creative, intentional, and memory-building ways. *Just a note here – your vision board NEVER have to focus on being Insta-famous. Your vision should be about impacting your sphere of influence which starts with your family. 

Back to my example. Some things I have done (and continue to do) with family and friends. These fit in my family and relationship buckets.

  • Weekly swim days in the summer
  • Apple picking days
  • Fall Harvest and Craft Day
  • Christmas Craft/Cookie Day
  • Camp Lemon-Lime (Family Camp)
  • Joe and Throw (local coffee place) with my daughter to work – typing this there!

When I have these events on the calendar, I break down measurable goals to make them happen. Some are easier than others but all take effort.

Here’s a recent example.

Goal: Christmas Craft/Cookie day

Once I had a date scheduled, I worked out a list.

  • Plan crafts
  • Shop for supplies
  • Choose cookie doughs to prepare and mark recipes
  • Clean cookie cutters
  • Make dough

The list is a lot longer, but you get the picture. I literally write down everything I have to do on a list then I break it down into smaller jobs. After I have smaller jobs written out, I schedule them on the calendar. I used to use my journal (and sometimes randomly write things in there). The problem is I would lose the list and have to search. I’ve been using Trello now. I can make checklists, schedule things for certain days, see what’s next, and use the app on my phone or computer. Kristin uses this too! Maybe this seems like a lot of work to do for something. Consider the alternative, I schedule the day, freak out the evening before, go to the store, make the cookie dough, stay up until midnight trying to find a craft on Pinterest, and scrubbing toilets. I’ve done that before. It’s not fun. I’d rather break things down and do a little at at time.

Does this mean you have to do it this way. Nope. You don’t. You do what fits best with your personality and way of doing things.

These are just ideas. If one of your goals is to spend time with family, you’re going to have to be intentional. Otherwise, you may (like I have on many occasions) end up with a someday mentality. 

  • Someday when I have more time.
  • Someday when my schedule opens up.
  • Someday when I have more people to help me.

Remember the saying – Necessity is the mother of invention. It’s true. If you believe in investing in family relationships is important, you can find a way to make it happen with lots of intention and little or no money. For example if your goal is spend more time with your family -reading books aloud is free. Pop some popcorn. Sit by the fireplace and read. If you want it to happen, you must plan it. 

Rethinking your Vision Board

You may be thinking – wait, I thought this vision board was about starting a ministry/building a business, or some huge idea!

It is. For sure. But everything must be in its place. Like the illustration of adding rocks, gravel, and sand in a jar, to be effective, we must start with the big rocks first – God, family, relationships. If we don’t, everything won’t fit correctly. If you try to build a ministry without having the other aspects in order, it will fail. (This is just a friendly reminder.) 

It is important to be as proactive as possible. The saying – If you fail to plan, you plan to fail is true even or especially when it comes to God, family, and relationships.

Let’s say you have a great plan for spending time with God, family, and friends already in place and you want to move on to starting a business, a podcast, a website, teaching a class, starting a coaching business, hosting  retreat, or fill in the blank -you could focus your whole vision board on one of those.

Remember, your vision board is for your season, your sphere of influence, and your personal habits and goals. No one else’s. Well, no person’s. Like I said yesterday, it needs be be in God’s time and His plan. If you have never asked God to help you plan a goal, then be patient with yourself. Don’t expect to come up with a vision board to save the planet or have a Ted Talk that everyone watches. Your vision board will be a reflection of your authentic self with your personality and giftings shining through, not someone you think you should be. If you’re spending lots of time thinking how others will react to what you want to do, stop. This isn’t about your aunt’s opinion about whether you should write a book, have another baby, paint your house pink, or start a podcast. This is about aligning yourself with God’s will and His purpose for your life. If you want to paint your house pink, that’s not a moral issue, its’ a personality perk – maybe you just like pink. Let me end with this scripture to guide you:

11 And [His gifts to the church were varied and] He Himself appointed some as apostles [special messengers, representatives], some as prophets [who speak a new message from God to the people], some as evangelists [who spread the good news of salvation], and some as pastors and teachers [to shepherd and guide and instruct], 12 [and He did this] to fully equip and perfect the saints (God’s people) for works of service, to build up the body of Christ [the church]; 13 until we all reach oneness in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God, [growing spiritually] to become a mature believer, reaching to the measure of the fullness of Christ [manifesting His spiritual completeness and exercising our spiritual gifts in unity].

Ephesians 4: 11- 13

Want to hear more about vision boards? Listen to this week’s podcast episode!

Are you looking for a way to plan your goals for 2020? Have you ever tried creating a vision board? A vision board is a great visual to look at your goals on a daily basis. Vision boards can be fun, colorful, creative, and a great group project to do with friends. Why create a vision board?  Grab a cup of coffee and join Kathleen and Kristin as they share what a vision board is and three reasons to create one.

Three Reasons to Create a Vision Board


What is a vision board and how does it work?

vision board is a tool used to help clarify, concentrate and maintain focus on a specific life goal. Literally, a vision board is any sort of board on which you display images that represent whatever you want to be, do or have in your life.

-makeavisionboard.com

A vision board is a great visual to look at your goals on a daily basis. Vision boards can be fun, colorful, creative, and a great group project to do with friends. Why create a vision board?

We need a visible vision to help us achieve our goals. 

Seeing your vision on a daily basis helps you remember it.

“Now the boy Samuel ministered to the Lord before Elie. The word of the Lord was rare and precious in those days; there was no frequent or widely spread vision.”

I Samuel 3: 1

Sometimes people think they should just live by the seat of their pants because they think having a vision or plan isn’t spiritual. The attitude, well if it happens it happens usually means nothing is going to happen.  How often do we live reactionary lives instead of lives of action and proactive plans?

Jesus’ final word before the ascension was full of action words (see Matthew 28: 18 -20). Go into all the world. Preach. Publish (I love this one) the good news.

Without a vision, people perish. 

Where there is no vision [no revelation of God and His word], the people are unrestrained;
But happy and blessed is he who keeps the law [of God].

Proverbs 29: 18

We like to quote the scripture. It sounds cool. Think about it for a minute. Maybe your vision provides disaster relief and you show up after a tornado. You didn’t bring water or medical supplies because you were just winging it. People could really perish in that situation. We need to have a plan. 

The Hebrew word paw-rah’ means “to perish”. Paw-rah’ was the word used in a biblical proverb where a woman’s hair was let flow out of its covering (hairband). Unconstrained in the wind her hair is directionless and blown in all directions.

medium.com

How can you go if you don’t have a plan? 

When my kids were younger, we studied Paul’s missionary journeys. While Paul didn’t have an actual canvas from the local art store with his vision hot glued on it, he didn’t just wander aimlessly either. He had a plan. His plan was inspired by the Holy Spirit and he followed through despite shipwrecks, snakebites, and imprisonment. 

3. God always has a plan.

Another important point – Pray before you plan. Also, don’t give up even when you have obstacles. As I write this, I’m on what was supposed to be a working vacation in the mountains of WV. The plan was I write while my husband fishes. That plan isn’t working out. More likely, God had another plan. My body is finally relaxing. I’m sleeping a lot more here than I do at home. I’m listening to worship music and dancing around like a crazy woman, bingeing on blogs about goal setting and taking notes on them in my favorite way – by hand in a notebook. God is directing my path, it is narrow. I could fight, be stuck and feel frustrated. Or… I can let the oil of the Holy Spirit grease my path so I can slide through easily. Hopefully, I’ll continue to choose the latter. 

In September, I attended Winsome retreat in the mountains of PA at White Sulphur Springs. The retreat was a refreshing time in a gorgeous setting. I connected with some friends and overcame a fear (that’s a story for another time).  What I didn’t do is receive a typewritten answer from the Lord about what my next year’s plan should be. I went to the retreat with an expectation of seeing some writing on the wall. It won’t. What was there was what God knew I needed at the time. Affirmation. Confirmation. And a message – You’re already chosen.

My Point? Don’t force the issue of a plan in YOUR time frame. Pray and wait for God’s time. He’ll show you. 

Turns out, this trip to the mountains is God’s time. So, today, I work on the skeletal plans of my vision and watch “dem dry bones hear the word of the Lord.”

Ready to make your vision board?

Don’t get out the hot glue gun just yet.

  1. Write out your biggest goals for the year. No matter how crazy they sound, do it. 
  2. Check and make sure your goals line up with the Word. Get someone close to bounce your ideas off of, someone who will support you and cheer you on.
  3. Get on Pinterest, Google, magazines, anywhere you can find visuals of your goals.

Still not sure what to put on your goal list?

Here are some suggestions to get you started.

If you’re like me and you like the physical act of writing plus you like to break things down into categories. My husband and I use the bucket method. It’s our bucket list. Each bucket represents an area of our lives. I think my hubby only uses three buckets – God, Family, and Work. He recently added health. I have more buckets – you can have as many as you like. 

For instance, if one of your buckets is homeschooling, you may have goals like – Get Jane reading on a 3rd-grade level. Read ten books allowed each semester. Here’s the key. Your goals need to be trackable, measurable, and flexible.

You can make a bucket for home projects, adult kids, friends – pretty much anything you want to work on.

Keep in mind you can shift gears later and decide which of these are most important. This is an exercise, not something set in stone.

The first year I did a vision board for my new career – writing, I got a little carried away. I decided I would write ten books within the next five years. It has been five years and I have seven books out now which is okay. It’s better to dream big and make progress than not to dream at all. 
Be sure to read tomorrow’s post where I share next steps, and the following day for how I put together my 2020 Vision board and pictures of the process!