Category: Living

Spring Clean Your Life in 7 Days

With Spring comes Spring Cleaning. While the chores aren’t necessarily fun, don’t you love the sense of accomplishment and fresh feeling you get after finishing those tasks? How would you like to have those same feelings about your life rather than the state of your home? I’ve got just the thing – and it’s super simple and free!

spring clean

Spring Clean Your Life Tasks

Whether it’s tackling chores in the home or organizing my life, I get overwhelmed by the giant list of stuff that should be accomplished. That leads to me trying to hide or escape, which doesn’t help at all. But if I break it all down into baby steps and just keep doing the next thing, I can handle the tasks and before I know it, I have accomplished a lot!

Let’s try spring cleaning your life! I’m not talking about cleaning your home. I have some simple tasks that you can do in roughly 15 minutes a day that do not actually involve cleaning. They are the tasks involving health, organization, connection, etc. that you tend to put off or don’t think about (and some of them are even fun!), but will give you that sense of accomplishment when you actually complete them. And when you finish a few, you’ll feel a little of that weight lift off your shoulders, breathe a little easier, find that smile, and feel ready for your next project.

Spring Clean Your Life Emails

For 7 days, I’ll email you a simple task each morning that you can tackle that day – usually in about 15 minutes. No overwhelming projects. No big lists and wondering how you’ll ever finish. Just 1 simple task a day to focus on. After 7 days, you’ll have accomplished 7 tasks. Feeling like you can take on more than that? The email will actually include 2 choices of tasks – that way you can either do the one that fits your life best or be bold and do both!

Join up now so you don’t miss out! Emails will begin on Monday, April 17th. Totally free. No spam. No selling anything. Just me and you – spring cleaning our lives.

spring clean

 

Goal-Setting for 2017

We just started 2017 and it is not too late to do some goal-setting for the year. Let’s take a little time and plan out what we would like to achieve this year. We can’t make it happen unless we set the goals and plan them out first (also totally speaking to myself here)!

goal-setting

How to Set Goals

When we’re talking about goals, we’re talking about something different than your One Word for the year or your general New Year’s resolutions. These are specific goals that you want to achieve in 2017 and they need to be SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, timely). Your goals might tie into your one-word theme for the year and they might help you keep your resolutions. You can come up with big or little goals, depending on what is most important to you to make happen in 2017.

When you set goals, you’ve got to write them down. Writing them down is a big part of the road to success. It helps make the goal clear in your mind and it gives a sense of commitment. In fact, if you’ve been avoiding goal-setting, or just thinking of them in your mind, it may be because you don’t want to hold yourself accountable! Writing your goals down makes them real (yikes). Once you write them down, you can start to plan out how to reach those goals.

goal-setting

Goal-Setting in 5 Fives

As you think through some of your goals for 2017, I’ve got a tool for you to use. I call it 5 Fives ~ 2017 Goals. It’s a way to help you brainstorm, prioritize, and plan out your goals. It might seem overwhelming at first to come up with 5 goals in each of 5 different categories. But this is a great way to help you really think through what kind of goals you want to set and which ones are truly the most important to you at this time.

You’re not going to work on 25 goals at once! You’ll focus on your Top 5 first. As you accomplish one or two, you tackle the next ones on your list. You might only accomplish 3 of your Top 5 or you might knock out 15-20. Either way – you. accomplished. goals. Shoot for the moon, right? If you accomplish even some of your goals, then you’ve ended up in the stars. Accomplishing some goals is always better than never goal-setting and never reaching your goals.

goal-setting

Are you ready to do some goal-setting? Get your free 5 Fives ~ 2017 Goals by clicking below and let’s get going!

goal-setting

Do you already have some goals for the new year? What is your most exciting goal for 2017? What keeps you from setting goals? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!

Offset the Holiday STUFF With a December Declutter

I did this a few years ago and it felt GOOD. So. much. STUFF comes into our homes during the month of December and it’s nice to get rid of a few things at the same time so we don’t get to January and feel overwhelmed by the clutter. This declutter challenge is enough to be effective but not enough to be an overwhelming task during the holidays.

declutter

The December Declutter

Just randomly trying to declutter through the month won’t help you be accountable, so we need a goal. The goal is to get rid of 100 items! That should be enough to offset all the extra holiday decorations, goodies, and gifts that are coming into the house this month. Don’t let 100 items scare you – it’s only 5 items or less a day for the rest of the month. And I’m super nice about what counts as items. A pen that has run out of ink totally counts as one item or even an old magazine can be one. Sounding simpler all the time, isn’t it? You can do this! We can do it together and offset all the STUFF.

So the December Declutter challenge is simple:

1 – Find about 5 items per day to either throw away or donate. Anything in your house, garage, shed, yard, purse, etc. counts.
2 – Items that are to be thrown away should be tossed out immediately. Items to be donated can be collected in boxes or bags.
3 – Share pics of your daily declutter finds and share on social media with #decemberdeclutter to help with accountabiity and making it fun!
4 – At the end of the month, zip on over to your favorite charity with your donation items and get a receipt for a tax write-off.

declutter

That’s it! Don’t spend more than 5-10 minutes a day to keep this from being too much to handle. This is not the time to completely reorganize the closet. Hit the easy spots to find your items to donate. Remember that the items don’t have to be large – any item heading out is offsetting something coming in. Here are a few declutter spots that always work for me to find items quickly:

  • Junk drawer
  • Silverware or utensil drawer
  • DVD, CD, or video game collections
  • My clothes closet
  • My purse

Start now! Take 5 minutes and find 5 things to get rid of. Who’s with me?!

declutter

Thanksgiving Grace

Thanksgiving Day is almost here! We know that Thanksgiving is about gratitude, but maybe this year we can make it about grace as well. If I asked for a show of hands of all those who are overly stressed out right now or who have had a difficult year, I wouldn’t be able to count them all. Let’s make this Thanksgiving less about ourselves being grateful for all our blessings and little joys (for which we ARE grateful) and more about extending a gentle grace to those around us. That includes grace for ourselves and making an effort to relax, enjoy, and not let stress overwhelm us.

Thanksgiving Grace

When I think of grace, I like to roll several parts of the definition into one. Grace is given to you and then you can share with others. And in another sense, it’s about treating others the way that you would hope others would treat you. While I talk about grace here, I mean something like this all combined into one:

Thanksgiving grace

But I also like another meaning of grace, the idea of a Grace Period – a postponement, delay, or pause. We can make Thanksgiving our Grace Period, a time set apart from the daily stresses and our issues with family and friends, and focus on how we can extend grace to those around us if even for a day or two before jumping back into the rat race with both feet.

Let’s start with giving ourselves grace! Stop setting the bar ridiculously high for yourself to have the “perfect” Thanksgiving. It’s about family, friends, food, and fun, not about fancy tablescapes, picture-perfect recipes, serving dinner on time, or acceptable behavior of children (and adults!). Learn to simplify, go with the flow, and appreciate the smaller victories of the day (like, hey I didn’t light a pie on fire this year!).

Thanksgiving

Give grace to those around you during this holiday. When we are stressed out, we are more irritable and far less tolerant of others. By making sure that we are in the right frame of mind first, we can love those around us this Thanksgiving no matter if they didn’t bring the food we asked for, showed up unexpectedly, started a political argument at the table, broke a dish, or had a bad attitude. Remember that we are all imperfect sinners. Take a deep breath, smile, and show love to your friends and family. There is beauty in the gift of grace.


I created a simple (not too fancy so I wouldn’t be too stressed out!) PDF with thoughts and tips for having a Thanksgiving with more grace and less stress. It includes thoughts on how to de-stress during Thanksgiving, 3 of my favorite Thanksgiving recipes, and tips for hosting. I wish all of you a blessed, happy, peaceful, grace-filled Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving

Let’s Talk About Infertility

Sometimes I don’t write what I have planned but rather what I feel led to write, but that’s what keeps life interesting, right? I didn’t realize in time that it was recently National Infertility Awareness Week. And even though that’s over doesn’t mean we can’t talk about it anyway.

Why would I bother writing about infertility? I have a son after all. I want to write about this subject because I experienced what is referred to as secondary infertility and because infertility is a subject that is kept far too quiet which makes women (and men) feel alone in their struggles when actually, there are far more people going through this than you realize. I did share a brief post on my old blog on the subject, but that’s all I’ve ever really said about it.

infertility

Join me today as I talk about my thoughts on infertility and then in my next post of this series, I’ll share my infertility story. There may even be a third post – you just never quite know with me, which is why you should go ahead and subscribe to receive my posts automatically by email.

Why We Don’t Talk About Infertility

We don’t talk about this subject because first of all it’s painful. And sometimes we don’t like to make others feel uncomfortable by discussing our own struggles. I never knew how to bring up the subject. Was I supposed to wait for somebody to say, “How are you doing?” and then say, “Well, we’ve been trying to have another child but just had another miscarriage – how are YOU?” And after going through the awkwardness of telling people that I had a miscarriage after I just told them all I was pregnant and the awkwardness of telling people that I had been pregnant but miscarried but I never told them in the first place that I was pregnant, I decided to just skip the whole telling anybody anything anymore. I didn’t want to deal with how uncomfortable it made others, especially couples announcing pregnancy who shouldn’t have to feel guilty about their blessing.

Infertility

But was that the right approach? I don’t think so. When we don’t share our struggles with others, not only do we deprive others of blessing us with prayers, wisdom, hugs, and comfort, but we also miss the opportunity to open the door for another woman or couple to discuss their own infertility struggles and to realize that they are not alone after all. If you are currently struggling with infertility, please don’t be afraid to share about it with your friends and family and let them be concerned for you. You might be surprised to find out how many of them have previously struggled or are in the same boat you are.

What Is Secondary Infertility?

Secondary infertility is defined as the inability to become pregnant, or to carry a pregnancy to term, following the birth of one or more biological children (who were conceived/born without reproductive technologies assistance or fertility meds). It’s probably a struggle you know less about because the couples who are dealing with it already have a child or children. And while those of us who deal with secondary infertility all have the blessing of having a child, it makes the inability to have more even more perplexing.

Sometimes secondary infertility is caused by medical reasons and sometimes there is no known cause. Age plays into it as well since many women are having children later. By the time they realize they have secondary infertility and try to use treatments to have a child, they are already past the point of peak egg production. A woman is born with all of the eggs she will ever have and both quantity and quality decrease significantly after mid-30’s. If you have had a child already, you are likely to keep trying to get pregnant longer before seeking help, since you assume that you have no issues because you’ve already had success. That means a woman that doesn’t realize she is suffering from secondary infertility until she is in her mid-30’s will have a much more difficult time having another child, even with fertility medications or treatments.

Encouragement For Those Struggling With Infertility

There is nothing I can say to make light of this struggle or to get you to shrug it off, smile, and get over it today. I get that. It’s a painful journey, and different for each person or couple going through it. But I can share encouragement and hope. My journey was difficult but certainly not as difficult as it is or has been for many. But I am on the other side and can look back without fear. I got through my journey by leaning on God and with much prayer. Maybe I could have got through it easier if I had talked about it with more women, but I’ve always kept my struggles fairly private.

Seek comfort from the Lord, but also from other women and couples going through the same journey. That means that you have to be brave enough to open up about the subject in order to find others who are struggling like you. I promise you – you are not alone. Not at all. When you look at families around you, with their beautiful children, you may not realize that some of those families have suffered infertility. Some waited for years to have children. Some only have children through fertility treatments, or adoptions, including embryo adoptions. Some have never been able to have more children than the one or two that they have. Some have suffered miscarriages, even though they have several children. Some have had infants die at birth or while very young. Some have had to suffer through their non-infant child dying from an illness or an accident. You are not the only one suffering and while it doesn’t necessarily make everything better for you, it helps to remember that.

infertility

Whether or not you have a child, or children, or more children – it is possible to find contentment. It may not come quickly. It can show up very gradually until you finally realize that you are indeed okay. Remember that even if you don’t have the family that you imagined or initially desired, you are truly blessed in many ways. Not only that, you are a blessing to others and don’t forget that while you are on your journey. Maybe by reaching out to help others, you can step out of your struggle for a bit.

If you are struggling now or have struggled and haven’t healed from the pain, my prayers are with you, friends. Please speak up and ask for help, prayers, comfort, and love from your friends and family. And you’ve got virtual hugs from me right now. If you have not experienced infertility, please remember to offer a listening ear to your struggling friends, but try not to say things like – oh, it will happen soon enough – or – just stop worrying about it. Don’t feel pressured to give advice. Just be there to listen and comfort the best way that you can.

Sometime soon, I’ll share my own infertility story with you, so come on back for that. The details have all gotten a bit fuzzy (many years have gone by), so it’s good that I’m finally writing it out. Thank you for joining me!

If you have resources for women struggling with infertility such as books or websites that have helped you or online groups to join, feel free to share those in the comments. If you’re looking for Christian support from someone who has experienced the heartbreak of infertility, I do recommend Jennifer Saake’s resources.

Do You Struggle With Self-Doubt?

Do you struggle with self-doubt? Newsflash: Everybody does. In fact, that’s really more of a rhetorical question, isn’t it? I’d like to share my thoughts about self-doubt and find out how some of you have overcome this issue.

Do You Struggle WithSelf-Doubt- (2)

Honestly, now that my age is in the middle of a certain decade beyond the thirties, I find that I struggle less with self-doubt than I did years ago. It’s not really that I think I’m more awesome as I get older. It’s more that I know that most of us struggle with something, and perfection simply cannot be achieved (though we should still strive to improve). But even with that knowledge and a strong sense of confidence in one area or another, wow – does that self-doubt show up SO quickly and almost take over!

Experiencing Self-Doubt

We experience self-doubt in just about everything: our spiritual walk, marriages, parenting abilities, job knowledge, hobbies, service, writing, blogging, Facebook Live video (had to mention it because I tried it for the first time yesterday and felt like nobody was going to watch or care!). I’m not saying that it would be good that we forge ahead in everything that we do, never wondering if we’re doing the right thing or could do something better. I think there is a healthy amount of doubt that can be helpful and point you in a new direction.

When I’m talking about struggling with self-doubt, I mean that sudden feeling that you are not worthy or good enough to do what you are trying to do or that you are making a very bad decision and why in the world did you ever think you could do this and you wonder if everybody is shaking their head, thinking “What is she doing?” It can be overwhelming and make you suddenly quit the very thing you are doing. That is not healthy doubt. Fight through it, friends. It’s okay to take a step back and look at everything objectively, but don’t let it scare you away from doing something awesome or even doing the regular daily things that we all need to push through and move forward.

I’ve experienced that feeling many times in the past in motherhood and jobs and marriage and on and on. I experience it less now, but it still pops up unexpectedly. I started a new job and of course had to learn all new things which always makes me question myself about 3 days in wondering if I can really do the job (yes, I can and already learned a bunch and am improving). And then restarting this blog was another experience. I have been working really hard on planning and writing posts. All it took was one day of almost no views of a post that I had worked so hard on for me to suddenly feel like maybe I shouldn’t be trying to blog again and what was I thinking – why would anybody want to hear what I have to say? Happy to say that I conquered those feelings and am forging ahead anyway, but I was really caught off guard at how overwhelming that feeling was and how quickly it came on. It helps to be on the lookout for it and realize that it may be a fleeting feeling and 24 hours later you’ll be fine. So never make any rash decisions when you feel that self-doubt – wait a bit!

overcoming self-doubt

Overcoming Self-Doubt

Try to remember that NOBODY is perfect and EVERYBODY experiences self-doubt about something! We’re all here trying to do the best that we can. And don’t worry too much about what others think – keeping on with what you’re doing isn’t always about others. Sometimes it’s just about you. Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help, advice, and encouragement when needed. People can’t always read your mind and know to give you the blessing of that extra boost that you need. If you’re experiencing some self-doubt right now, take a deep breath, take a mental step back and think about whether your self-doubt is reasonable. Consider me your encouragement today that you should keep moving forward! You are more amazing than you know – don’t wait for others to tell you that in order to believe it. You are worthy and what you do does make a difference even when you don’t think it does. Have confidence, hold your head up high, and power on!

This post didn’t quite go where I originally meant it to, but I’m not going to have any self-doubt about it. Obviously somebody needs some encouraging words today and I hope that you find them here and are blessed by them!

What things are causing you to experience self-doubt? Have you felt overwhelmed by it? What helps you to overcome it? Share in the comments and help the rest of us! Thanks for joining in, friends!

[Conversation]: Does Work-Life Balance Exist?

I decided to make this type of post a  “Conversation” because I really want to hear from YOU! I’m not the expert of everything and expert level in very few things if I’m being real, so it doesn’t make sense for me to tell you the right way to think about this subject. In fact, this is one of those topics that it really helps to hear lots of great thoughts, input, and feedback, then digest it all and come up with what makes sense for you. When I look things up online, I don’t just go to one source, I find several and take all the ideas into consideration before coming to my own conclusion.

Let’s do that! The only way this works is if you’re not afraid to speak up and share your thoughts on the subject. If they’re the same as everybody else’s thoughts, that’s valuable because it shows someone else that many people feel the same way. If your thoughts are completely different, that’s valuable because we need all the angles to think through and you might show us another way of thinking about the whole thing. How to speak up? Comment directly on the post, leave comments on the shared post in Facebook or Twitter, and if I can manage to get the conversation going on Facebook Live, you can comment there too.

work-life balance

Work-Life Balance

It’s a term that’s e.v.e.r.y.w.h.e.r.e. these days. What does it mean? Supposedly there is some sort of perfect balance between devotion to your work life and devotion to your family life that means you will achieve ultimate success in all aspects of life. I’m not saying that some of you might not have achieved something close to it, but I do know that nobody’s perfect so maybe we should stop trying to chase an unrealistic goal for ourselves.

I’ve noticed that the term Work-Life Balance seems to be directed mainly at women. Not that men don’t have balancing to do, but it does seem harder for women who are working and also trying to raise a family.

The definition of Work-Life Balance mentions proper prioritizing between career/ambition and lifestyle. I have a few issues that come to mind when I read that definition.

  • Issue #1: “Proper prioritizing” implies that there is a perfect ratio of “work” to “life.” I’ve already said that perfection can’t be achieved, but I also think it’s incorrect to think of this as one simple ratio. Don’t these things blend together? Isn’t working part of living? And vice versa? Maybe this is like thinking of how much oil with how much vinegar to make salad dressing – sure, there’s a recommended ratio but even if you don’t get it perfect it all mixes together and you’re really just concerned with the flavor.
  • Issue #2: Work-Life Balance only applies to people (I’m talking about women here) with careers/ambition. This makes it seem like only women with a career are the ones who “work.” Are you a woman, especially a mother? Then you work, my friend. And work hard! Whether you’re at home, at an office, working online, working in the home, home-schooling, cooking, cleaning, taking care of family, driving kids around, you are working and you also have a need for balancing all those responsibilities with putting the focus on loved ones (and yourself) and truly experiencing and enjoying life! And those things don’t have to be mutually exclusive.
  • Issue #3: The definition suggests that achieving balance may look similar for each person. I don’t live your life. You do. What defines balance and proper prioritizing to you will not be the same as what defines balance to me. It’s about finding what works for you and your family in the life that you are living right now. Should you make an effort to find some balance? Yes, it’s worth looking into and making some shifts when necessary, but what you need to do right now is not the same as what your neighbor needs to do and that’s okay. And how you find balance in your life right now will not be the same as how you need to find it 5 years from now. It’s a constant shifting around depending on the circumstances of your life.

But those are just my initial thoughts. I wonder if we really even need this term at all. We always want to find a balance between all of our responsibilities in life, whether it’s work, play, or rest, but maybe finding balance is illusive. Is the term work-life balance just causing stress where it isn’t even needed? Is it truly a term meant only for those working in jobs outside the home and figuring out how to devote proper amounts of time to each priority in life? If we focus on family first, will all the rest of it fall into place?

convowithlisa

What do YOU Think?

I don’t have the answer ready for you. I want to hear your thoughts and I think a lot of women are wondering about this, too. And hey, if you’re a guy, we need your feedback, too, and whether you think this term is meant for all or targeted to women. Chime on in with your feedback! Here are some questions to get the conversation started:

  • Do you agree with the basic definition of work-life balance or do you feel it should be expanded to include all types of work, not just careers and ambition?
  • Do you think the term is a good one to help us think about how we prioritize our time or do you think it’s causing us to stress out unnecessarily?
  • As far as balance in life, do you have some thoughts about how everything in our lives should be prioritized?
  • Have you found balance in your life and family and if so, how did you find it? Is it always shifting?
  • If you work outside the home, do you find that it is more difficult to make time for other priorities than it would be if you were at home?
  • Do you think people are working too hard/too many hours in general and that lifestyles and families are suffering because of it?
  • Should there be a different term for the overall balance in life that includes more than work? What would you call it?

Please do share your thoughts and feedback! I really want to hear it all and I know that others will be interested in what you have to say. Thanks for joining in the conversation, friends!

work-life balance

 

A Blog Post From Lisa Marie – Yes, I’m Back!

blog post from Lisa MarieHello, friends! I really can’t believe it’s been so very long since I wrote a blog post here. I meant for this blog to be my fresh start and a place to be inspired to write more often. Well. Turns out working full time sucked all my brain power away each day and I didn’t have the mental energy left to write. But a couple of things inspired me to start up again – one of them being trying the Whole 30 eating plan which inspired me to write about how that experience was (look for that post coming soon). The other inspiration came from a marketing post and I realized that I could indeed decide what I wanted to accomplish here, make a plan, and return to blogging regularly. I also had a job change which did free up some of my brain power (not enough to do Precalc or anything – ha!) and all of a sudden plans and ideas flowed.

I’ll be posting about what my renewed vision for this blog is and what will be coming up. Yes, that means I actually decided what I wanted to write about ahead of time and wrote several posts before relaunching. Whaaat? Can this be the same Lisa Marie that posted so sporadically before? No, I’m not the same. I’ve been living life and learning new things. And that just means that I have more to share. I hope you’ll stick around and see what sorts of subjects come up. I’d love to hear your feedback on the direction of this blog as we go along.

In case it’s been too long since I last published a bog post and you really don’t remember much about me, you should know that I write in a more casual conversational style – not trying to win awards for big words here. :) <— I also like smiley faces and exclamation points (!) a little too much, but my professional side sometimes wins out and cuts back on those. I try to balance my professional side with a good dose of humor. Overall, I’m just regular old Lisa Marie: Christian, wife for over 20 years, mom of a teen boy, workin’ gal – nothing too over-the-top. I do hope you’ll find that we have some things in common and that some of the posts I share here end up being helpful for you in some way.

Thanks for reading & stay tuned for more (you can subscribe to my blog posts at the top right if you want to make sure you don’t miss out on any new content and come find me on social media)!

An Open Letter to the Uncool Suburban Moms

I took a look at my blog after many months and discovered this post in draft, written last May. I remember now why I didn’t post it and it’s really not great writing. But since it’s somewhat amusing, I’m gonna go ahead and post it, with a disclaimer at the beginning, in case you don’t know me or my sense of humor very well.

Disclaimer: In my world, uncool does not equal unawesome, OK? All moms rock, whether downtown or in a suburb, colored streaks in hair or going grey, minivan owner or bicycling to work, 1 kid or 10 – you all are truly awesome! I have decided that I’m “uncool” but I’m fine with that and am just trying to make fun of myself a bit here. So there you go; just take the post for what it is – a laugh at my life. Ugh – disclaimers are soooo uncool.


Well, I don’t even really know what an open letter is, but I know it’s the new cool title to use. I thought it might help.

You see, I’m not actually cool. Oh I used to be. But now I’m a run-of-the-mill suburban mom and that automatically cancels out the cool factor these days. I know there are other uncool suburban moms out there and I think know you all rock, but somewhere along the line we’ve been put in the same category as “mom jeans.”

uncool suburban mom

I had subtle clues that I was becoming uncool over the years. But it really hit home when I went back into the work force. All of a sudden I was keenly aware that showing up for an interview at a startup company in my conservative, suburban mom church clothes, wasn’t perhaps quite cool. Shockingly I was hired in spite of my faux pas [Coolness Tip: Work foreign phrases into your speech]. The more I looked around outside of my little circle and connected with new circles, the more I realized that I was no longer cool. And I do work at a cool company with cool coworkers, so hopefully a bit of that will eventually rub off on me.

Here are a few more signs that clued me in to the fact that I am an Uncool Suburban Mom:

  • I don’t own an electric car, and don’t even know which brands are hybrids
  • My suburb has a name that ends in “-ville” – not Downtown or Midtown or Uptown
  • I go through fast food drive-throughs more often than I care to admit [Coolness Tip: NEVER admit going to McDonalds]
  • I get Starbucks drinks regularly, which is tolerated, but it would be best if I went to an independent coffee house
  • I don’t shop daily at a Farmer’s Market for dinner ingredients [Coolness Tip: Use a vegetable that most people haven’t heard of in a new recipe]
  • I drive my kid to school – we don’t ride our bikes there together and it’s too far to walk
  • I buy my mass-produced clothes at suburban department stores rather than individual boutiques
  • Sometimes I get my groceries in plastic bags at the store because I already have too many paper bags at home
  • I don’t frequent all the micro-breweries in the area [Coolness Tip: Order an unusual beer at a restaurant and post it on Instagram]

coolness tip for uncool suburban moms - cool beer

And if you’ve been following along and memorizing the Coolness Tips, I hate to inform you that you, my friend, are definitely not cool. If you were, you would have realized that the phrase “Coolness Tips” isn’t cool at all and should actually be called “Hipster Tips” except that hipsters don’t need tips. So we are in the same boat – glad to have you on board.

Awkward feminine high five coming your way, friend.

Spring Into Hope

I’m a little sad that the most recent post on my blog is about the new year and it’s already Spring. But Spring is a great time for new vision and maybe that will mean that I’ll write here a bit more often.

Spring flowers

Winter is my least favorite season, so I am thankful when the signs of Spring begin to appear – leaves and blooms and greens and birds. The appearance of Spring feels like God is starting to paint the world with watercolors. The new life and colors of Spring bring the hope of fresh starts and new possibilities.

I feel inspired to write at the times of year we associate with renewal of some sort or new beginnings, and Spring is one of those. For me, there are a few: The New Year, Start of Spring, Start of Summer, Start of School Year, and sometimes Thanksgiving. Frankly, I’m glad there are a few or I might feel like there’s no chance to start fresh during the year! But why do I feel that need for so many times of renewal?

Throughout each year, there is the nagging feeling of failure – falling short in different areas of life. Household disorganization, workplace deficiency, family disconnectedness, friendship neglect, and personal imperfection can lead to discouragement , discontent, and depression. But hope is always there and the reminders of it are just around the corner – the beginning of Spring, the start of a new week or month or day, a celebration, an inspirational story, a birth, the colors of nature, and so much more. These times of renewal help us to take a deep cleansing breath, shrug off the feelings of failure, and dream. We can dream and plan and find our way back to encouragement, contentedness and joy.

It’s Spring. I feel hopeful and I’m ready for yet another fresh start. Want to be hopeful with me? What ways do you want to experience renewal this Spring? What are you daring to dream about?

With love,
Lisa Marie

P.S. I had to edit to add this quote I just saw – goes with this post so nicely!

“Spring drew on… and a greenness grew over those brown beds, which, freshening daily, suggested the thought that Hope traversed them at night, and left each morning brighter traces of her steps.”
― Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre