July 6, 2015

A "Hello!" And A Quick Update

Hi everyone! I just wanted to stop by the blog here to give a little update since it has been such a long time. We have had so many things going on in all areas of our lives, and to say the blog has been on the back burner is quite the understatement. 

The last time I was with you all was in January when I wrote my goals post. You should be happy to know I have met and am continuing to meet those goals, particularly those in the area of Faith.
I have also been very successful in my Personal Health and Growth goal list. The only one I’m really slacking on is the taking some time to pamper myself weekly. I am much more sporadic with that one, but I’m still working on it. The good news is I am taking some time for myself in other ways, so that has really assisted in my journey toward a less stressful life. 

Now to tell you a bit about where I have been. I have certainly not gone anywhere, but I have been very busy. We had a big financial goal to eliminate a lot of our debt this year. I did not include that in my goals here on the blog just because I prefer to keep things like that private. However, what has kept be from blogging has been the onslaught of work I’ve done to eat away at our debt. I have really amped up my freelancing business, and I am happy to say that hard work has really paid off. 

We have paid off almost 90% of our debt (except our home) since the first of the year. It was through a lot of work, sacrifice, and late nights on the computer to get where we are today. I have a little more to go before we are completely debt free, but it is such a small amount that I no longer have to work quite as much as I did before.

That means that I will soon be able to turn my attention back to JTTB and build it up to what I dream for it to be. I have big plans for the blog, including some sight redesign, a video series, and more. I hope to have the blog updated on a regular basis beginning in August when my children return to school. Most of you moms out there can probably understand when I say how difficult it is to get good videos with a bunch of rowdy boys in the house!

So, I want to say thank you to those of you out there who are still hanging in there with me despite my lack of activity. I am planning so many great things, so please check back!

January 16, 2015

My Goals for 2015 and How I Set Them

As promised, I’m back to share a bit more about my goals for this new year. In my last post, I mentioned how easy it is to fall off the wagon with our goals because we have overreached our ability to attain those goals. The idea is to set goals that are:





Using these parameters, I have set some goals in my own life that I believe I can achieve with ease and confidence. However, I have long ago accepted that I am not Superwoman, so I will give myself grace if something has to fall through the cracks if something more pressing comes up. 

Using a new strategy to me, I sat down at my desk and wrote out some things that I would really like to do this year. I wanted to purpose to finally take care of some of the things that have long been on my to-do list.
Once I looked at that list, I tried to break it down into actionable, specific goals that I know I will be able to attain. I would like to think that all the goals I am setting for this year are realistic. I certainly believe they are reasonable. The idea is not to set myself up for failure by putting too much on myself, so I kept my list relatively short. Anything I achieve beyond my original goals is lagniappe (It’s a Louisiana thing.)

When I broke my goals down into simple goals, I also decided to categorize them into different areas of my life that I need to spend the most time improving. The categories are:

  • Faith
  • Personal Health and Growth
  • Family Health

I’ve taken each category and listed some things I hope to achieve using actionable language. This can really help with motivation to complete the goals on the list. Again, you will notice that my goals are quite specific. 


- I will faithfully read through the Bible in one year using the Olive Tree Bible Study app by December 31st.
- We will officially join a Sunday School class at church by January 31st.
- I will faithfully read through the Children’s Bible with the kids by December 31st.
- I will faithfully take time every day for prayer and meditation.
- I will excitedly develop a faith-based activity plan for the entire family and implement it by March 30th.

Personal Health and Growth

- I will excitedly join the gym by January 31st.
- I will happily commit to working out four days a week.
- I will remove the unhealthy carbs from my personal diet by June 30th.
- I will faithfully take one night a week to pamper myself with manicures, pedicures, facials, etc.
- I will faithfully read two books a week by December 31st.
- I will work hard to practice patience with myself, my family, and in all areas of my life. 

Family Health

- I will commit to removing 75% of the processed foods from my family’s diet by March 30th.
- I will happily serve at least one vegetable with every evening meal.
- I will commit to lessen the chaos in our home by the use of behavior charting and positive reinforcement by February 20th.
- I will happily encourage as much outdoor activity for the entire family by organizing specific activities such  as volley ball, basketball, and soccer by April 30th.
- I will happily have a date night with my husband once a week, including at-home dates.

In addition to these goals, I also have goals for my home that I won’t bother sharing right now. I keep a running list of goals and projects in our family planning binder, and they are nothing out of the ordinary. You probably have some of the same goals as me, like getting closets organized, develop a filing system for bills, and so on. Quite frankly, that list is as long as my arm, but I am not intimidated by it. There will always be stuff to do around the house, so I don’t stress myself out about those things. 

Throughout the year, I plan to update my progress on these as much as possible. The goal is to do a monthly check-in to share how I am doing.

As you can see, I have laid out my goals in a way that is attainable, specific, reasonable, and realistic. In fact, I have already accomplished a few goals on my list. I hope by sharing my goals that you will also make some solid, simple goals to make your life more fulfilled and happy.

January 7, 2015

Goal Setting for 2015-- How I Plan to Make Realistic, Obtainable Goals

At the beginning of each and every year, I like most people, plan out some lofty goals that I hope to achieve. And like many other people, I tend to set myself up for failure because many of my goals are:
  • Unattainable
  • Unspecific
  • Unreasonable
  • Unrealistic

By the end of the year, I look back on the goals I set for myself with disdain because they either weren’t accomplished or only partially accomplished. Then comes the pangs of guilt and feelings of failure that discourages many of us, which can lead to either not setting new goals or shirking off goal setting altogether.

This year, it is going to be different. 

I have done quite a bit of reading about setting goals in a way that they are achievable and not so overwhelming, which I truly believe is the downfall many of us have to deal with each and every year. 

Here’s the current problem with setting goals for the new year:

Come January 1st, we set these enormous goals for ourselves. It is a season of refreshment and starting anew.  Just like me, you have probably sat down and made a year-long to-do list of things you want to accomplish during the year. Then, like me, you likely put that list in a place where you can’t see it every day. Or maybe you’ve lost it in a pile of paper clutter that is piling up on your desk. 

By the middle of the year, that list re-emerges from the abyss from whence it came and you realize that you have accomplished absolutely nothing that you had hoped. At that point, you recommit yourself to your list of goals and vow that you will accomplish every single one in six months instead of twelve. You now feel like superwoman.

Only, you realize that there are some things you just can’t do in that short amount of time. 

Like lose 80 pounds.

Or earn an extra $50,000 this year.

Or write the next great American novel.

Or meet and marry the person of your dreams.

Then you toss your list of goals aside and forget about them again until the end of the year. You begin to feel badly that you did nothing (or very little) to meet those goals you set for yourself a year ago. Then the vicious cycle begins all over again. 

This is me. Every single year. I make too many big goals that are unspecific and unattainable in my current season of life. 

So this year, I am re-thinking my goal setting strategy and giving myself some grace to achieve goals that are realistic for me.

That is the key—to set goals that are:

  • Attainable
  • Specific
  • Reasonable
  • Realistic

To set goals that are achievable for you, it is important for you to realize that while you may have big dreams for your life, right now may not be the best time to set short term goals to make those dreams a reality. It will only set you up for failure and disappointment. 

If you are a mother to young children, right now may not be the time to set that goal to travel the world. 

If you have recently graduated from college, this may not be the time to set a goal of getting that executive vice president position at your company. 

Reaching for huge goals like these in one year, during a time in your life when those dreams are not realistic is the fastest way to set yourself up for disappointment when you can’t achieve them. 

Make no mistake—I am not in any way discouraging you from dreaming big or making long-term goals. I set long-term goals and have dreams for myself as well, and I will be talking about that process in a different post. I realize that some people can achieve these big dreams during a busy time in their life. Hard work, sacrifice, and dedication can get anyone just about anywhere they want to be. 

 I am simply speaking about short-term goals that many of us set for the new year. I am all about dreaming big dreams and planning for the future. My goal in this post is to help you realize where you are in your life right now and set yourself up to make some goals that are achievable in your current season of life. 

I’ll give you an example in myself. In my current season of life, I am a stay-at-home mother of three young children. Right now, it is not possible for me to set a goal to vacation four times this year. It is also not a great time to make any major home improvements because we are a single-income family who is focusing our budgeting on more pressing areas of our lives. This does not mean that I do not dream about doing these things eventually—just not right now.

If I had made those my goals for this year, I would have been sorely disappointed by the end of this year because I would not have accomplished my goals, setting off those feelings of guilt and failure. 

This is why it is so imperative that you set your annual goals with your current lifestyle in mind. 

Please come back tomorrow for more on my specific goals for the year, and how I set them up in a way that is achievable and attainable for me.

December 30, 2014

Hello Friends!

Hi Everyone!

I hope you all have had a wonderful holiday season!

I'm dropping by the blog today to say hello and to let you all know that I'm planning a big relaunch of this site very soon! I've some exciting plans for JTTB in 2015, so make sure you hang around and check everything out. I've made it my mission to bring you some new and exciting information, and I can't wait to get started!

Have a wonderful New Year!

April 1, 2014

This Week's Menu Plan

Breakfasts- Eggs, cheese toast, cereal, oatmeal, fruit, super power smoothies

Lunch- Leftovers, pb&j, grilled cheese sandwiches, crackers, veggies and dip


Chili, hot dogs, baked beans
Spaghetti, salad, cheesy garlic bread
Red beans & rice, sweet cornbread
Turkey and bean tacos with guacamole, pico de gallo, and all the fixins
Homemade pizza, salad
Grilled barbecue chicken, potato salad, baked beans, salad

What is your family eating this week?

March 4, 2014

We are getting pretty busy here. Soccer has started up again, and we have two boys playing this season. That means double the practice, double the games, and double the excitement! Usually, soccer practice days mean we either eat something easy like sandwiches, soups, freezer meals, and leftovers. Another thing I do is start a meal in the crock pot that morning. This week, we have three days of practice, so that 's three days of meals I need to have ready to go.

January 25, 2014

7 Steps To A More Productive Morning

Are you a morning person? I know for certain that I am not. Despite that, I often have to be up and ready to go just about every morning every day of the week. I have found that a little preparation makes my morning much more smooth, which is a blessing for a non-morning person like me.

For years, I have had such hectic mornings. That makes for a very stressful, unorganized day. And the more stressed and unorganized I feel, the less productive I am overall. So, I've implemented seven steps I take each day and night to have a more organized, productive morning. Taking these steps each day has made such a huge difference in my life, spiritually, physically, and mentally.

1. Read my Bible-- With the start of the new year, I began anew with my Bible reading plan. I'm using the one-year reading plan on YouVersion.  I had planned on reading the entire Bible last year. I instead chose several different plans that were shorter in length but delved into specific areas of the Bible. I find that reading for a few minutes each morning sets my mood for the day and gets me in the right mindset for the day.

2.  Make my Bed Daily-- I know it probably sounds like a mundane, think-less chore. But making my bed every morning sends my brain a signal to keep on task. My bedroom instantly looks 100% neater than it did before I made the bed. There is something about straightened sheets and fluffed pillows that is more aesthetically pleasing than a ball of sheets and blankets in the middle of the bed.

3.  Keep the Bathroom Counter Clear-- This is always tough for some reason. I make a conscious effort to keep my bathroom counters clear of clutter. It is so easy to leave the hairspray, curling irons, and toothpaste laying out on the counter when I'm in a hurry to get myself ready in the morning. It takes only seconds to put those things away, and it creates a sense of calm in the bathroom. I also encourage my boys to do the same in their bathroom.

4.  Program the Coffee Maker-- God bless whoever invented the automatic timing feature on coffee makers. Getting my coffee together the night before saves me much needed time in the morning. It is so pleasing to wake up and have my coffee waiting for me. It takes less than five minutes to prepare my coffee each night. I typically get it together while I'm doing my dishes each evening.

5. Wash a Load of Laundry Each Night-- One way I keep my laundry under control is by washing a load each night before I go to bed. I turn it on right before I get in bed and place it in the dryer first thing the next morning. I have a pretty basic washing machine, but if you have a fancier model with a automatic timing feature, you could set it to wash about thirty minutes before you wake up.

6. Set Out Clothing the Night Before-- I always have my children's clothes set out and ready to go the night before school, church, or any other outings we may have. The same goes for me. If I have to leave the house, I have all of our outfits laid out, ironed, and ready to go. This includes socks, belts, and accessories for me. This saves me precious minutes in the morning. I don't find myself running all over the house trying to find clothes for everyone.

7. Unload the Dishwasher--  One of the first kitchen jobs I do in the morning is unload the dishwasher. This sets me up for an easy cooking day. Many days I will do a baking or freezer cooking session, and an empty sink and dishwasher gives me a feeling of motivation and relief. And, a clean kitchen just looks better and creates a productive environment for cooking.

I have found such a peace when I complete these steps every day. What are some things that make your mornings easier?

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