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Being a “Bad Mom” Makes me a Better Mom

Being a “Bad Mom” Makes me a Better Mom

Being a “Bad Mom” makes me a better mom.

While there are some inappropriate instances in that movie, I swear it has become my mantra. “Just say no. Be a bad mom. It’s okay.”

Here’s what I mean: when life gets totally overwhelming, say no. To everything.

If you wondered why I fell off the face of the Earth, here it is: Spring is completely overwhelming for me. Well, not just spring. January through May. :/

Mondays right now are insane. We have two hours of soccer, somehow eat dinner, and get two boys’ homework done. We do baths, PJs, brush teeth, bedtime stories, prayers, and have kids in bed by 8:30.

Last night we skipped it. All of it.

They played in the backyard, had frozen fish sticks and tater tots for dinner, took baths (because, boys) and went to bed. They did get prayed over because I love them, and they asked so sweetly, but the rest of it? No.

Do I feel guilty? No. Nope. Not one tiny bit. 

I am only one person. I can do the best I can, and nothing more. And that’s okay. (My husband reminds me of this too, because I swear y’all if I died tragically, homework and folded laundry would never get done in the Bennett house.)

What I noticed about myself is this: when I feel overwhelmed, and just keep pushing, forcing it, and doing things that I have no energy for, I am miserable and so is everyone around me. I start yelling and huffing, and feeling totally frustrated about MY. ENTIRE. LIFE.

Last night, there was no yelling. It was peaceful and calm, and a sweet night. I still ended the day exhausted, but not with regret.

So, Mama, I’m saying the same to you: You are only one person. Do the best you can, and it’s enough.

Even if you never got out of your PJs. Even if you literally did nothing except KEEP. PEOPLE. ALIVE. That is more than enough! And, I think you’re awesome. 

If you do struggle with feeling guilty, read Jen Hatmaker’s “Worst End of School Year Mom Ever” post. You’ll laugh till you cry, and feel totally better! 😉

I swear I will be around more when summer gets here, but until then… you probably won’t see much of me because, sanity. 😉

What are you saying NO to?

How to Have the Best Valentine’s Day Ever

How to Have the Best Valentine’s Day Ever

Happy Valentine’s Day!!! Y’all, I love LOVE! I adore this day spent celebrating all of the love in our lives.

To be honest, in the beginning of my marriage days like Valentine’s Day were a setup for disappointment.

Like most women, I love romantic comedies and chick flicks. Pride & Prejudice is my favorite book and movie. When I was marrying a man with the last name “Bennett,” I was very excited.

These stories, however, set up incredibly difficult expectations for the men in our lives. Often, they don’t live up to them, and we are left feeling rejected and unloved.

Over the years, I learned to be intentional about my expectations and recognize the love that I had right in front of me. My husband is my absolute best friend. He works incredibly hard for our family. He makes me laugh constantly. He plays with our boys all the time.

I would challenge you to do the same. In order to love your husband well, and have the best Valentine’s Day ever here’s a couple tips:

Let Go of Unrealistic Expectations

Like I said, after the first few years of our marriage, I had expectations of romance that my husband just couldn’t meet. We had a baby, we were both in school, he was working 2-3 jobs. Our life was insane. 

I chose to focus on all of the things he was doing for our family. He was working crazy hard, allowing me to stay home with our son and finish my college education because he knew that was important to me. He rarely hung out with friends; he spent his free time with me and our son.

I still focus on this because my husband loves me so well. Last week, he literally took care of our entire life while I laid in bed sick with the flu. Laundry, kids, dishes, dinners, bathtime, bedtime. All of it. He’s amazing. He loves me. 

Be Appreciative & Kind

Today, of all days, don’t criticize. Be appreciative and voice it. Honestly, even if he doesn’t give you a thing, make a point to express your appreciation for him. Tell him what you love about him, what he does that you are grateful for, what he does that makes you smile.

If you’re in a hard season of marriage, make this a regular thing. Decide that no matter what he says or does, you will be kind. You will only speak kind words. You will only make kind actions. And if you can’t, be silent until you can.

Kindness rubs off. 

Celebrate Your Marriage

Find a way to celebrate the day together that fits your season of life. 

Since we had kids, we celebrate Valentine’s Day as a family. We grab a heart-shaped pizza and watch a movie together. We give some extra hugs and kisses, and simply spend time together.

For us, it’s perfect.

Reflect on your life together. Sit on the back porch together. Simply celebrate the love in your life.

 

I hope you have an amazing Valentine’s Day with your husband and family! 

Let me know your Valentine’s traditions in the comments below!

How to Find Your Calling in Life

How to Find Your Calling in Life

We all have the same purpose in life, yet with a different calling. Let me explain.

When I was younger, my Dad was the preacher at this tiny little church in the hill country. We had a bible class teacher for several years who became my “second grandma.” I treasure the time that I had her as a teacher. She has a clear love for God and a passion for studying the bible. I’m most thankful, though, that she taught us over and over again the most valuable lesson of my life. We all have one purpose: To glorify God. 

You were created to bring glory to God. That’s it! That’s your purpose. That’s why you were born, why you exist.

Of course, how you bring glory to God becomes the really exciting part because He made each of us very different. So, let’s spend some time talking about “your calling.” How do you know what it is?

Here’s a few ideas to help you discover it:

If you’d like, you can click here to download and print out a worksheet to use as you go through each question. 

1. What did you love as a child?

Often, we think our “calling” is a magical epiphany that is going to appear and completely blow our minds. Really, it is most likely something that has been with you all along.

What did you love as a child? To sing? To spend hours creating a magical story? To adventure? To write? To draw? To run?

For me, I have always loved to organize and adventure.

When I was a kid, I lived in the hill country. My best friend and I loved to explore in the woods. In fourth grade, after reading the Wizard of Oz, we imagined the land next to my house was the Emerald Forest. We created names and complete storylines for everything. She created many of the stories, and I crafted a detailed map of our “new land.” I organized every single piece into this functional, beautiful tool that we would carry along with us. We had so much fun there.

As I look back on that experience, I can see this innate part of my personality that thrives on taking big ideas and dreams, and piecing them down into functional, useful, beautiful tools to carry along with us on the journey. That is a big part of what helped me to create this website, the Anchor study, and plans for several projects down the road.

Take a moment and think of a few experiences from your childhood that were so fun and exciting. What do you notice about yourself and what you enjoyed in that experience? 

2. What are you skilled in?

What comes naturally to you? Are you creative? Are you an organizer? Do people seek out your counsel?

Take a moment to think through what areas you are skilled in. 

3. What personality traits do you possess? 

Are you comfortable in a big group of people? Do you easily make friends with most anyone that crosses your path? Outgoing or introverted? Enjoy talking or sitting in silence?

Take a moment to think through your unique personality traits.  

4. In the last 12 months, what 3 experiences have brought you deep joy? 

Write down your 3 experiences.  

Many experiences or relationships that bring the most joy, the most satisfaction require a deep level of tenacity and commitment. Do you notice that to be true in this list?

What aspects do these 3 experiences have in common?

5. In the last 12 months, what 3 experiences have brought you stress? 

Often, these are things in our life that we feel we should do or should want to do, but in reality they cause frustration and stress. Things that you used to enjoy may not be beneficial to your life right now.

Take a moment and write these 3 experiences down.

What do they have in common? What about it made you feel stress or frustration? 

6. What are your values?

Write down 5 things that you value highly.

Examples: God, Family, Friends, Health, Spirituality, Finances, Travel, Home

One of my favorite quotes came from a Donald Miller podcast. They said, “Your values aren’t really your values if they don’t cost you something.”

Often people say their values are one thing, but spend their time, money, and energy on the complete opposite. So, take a few moments and evaluate the things you wrote down.

Is this something you really value or you simply think you should value? How can you prioritize these things so that your time, money, and energy truly reflect what you find most important? How will your values impact your calling? 

7. How do they fit together?

Take a look at all these things you have written about yourself, and spend some time thinking on them.

What is it that really brings you joy? How do they work together? How can you glorify God through them? How can you include more of these things into your life? 

For me, that looks like this:

  • I love to organize.
  • I love to take big ideas and break them down into functional steps.
  • I love to adventure and try new things.
  • I find joy in quiet moments spent reflecting and writing.
  • I find joy in creating beautiful things.
  • I find joy in sharing my experiences to help some one else.
  • I find stress in disorganization.
  • I find stress when I don’t prioritize time correctly.
    I love God and want to know Him deeper.
  • I love my family and want to be more purposeful in our time together.
  • I care about my health.

After spending much time last year evaluating myself and my values, I discovered my passion, and am leaning into it more every day.

My purpose is to encourage and equip women to Love God and Live on Purpose through writing, speaking, and creating products that will be by their side every day.

What is your purpose?

What have you discovered? Let me know in the comments below! 

And if you need some help, feel free to shoot me an email any time! hello@RachelBennettShop.com

 

Recommended Resource:

I read this a few years ago, and found it so insightful! At the time, I didn’t have big plans for my blog or business. I simply wanted to figure out how God could use me in this stage of life as a stay-at-home mom with little-littles. So, whether you are staying home or working, this book can be really useful tool!

Free February iPhone Wallpaper!

Free February iPhone Wallpaper!

It’s February 1, and I have a gift for you: Beautiful wallpapers for your iPhone!

You can download them from Google Photos here.

Enjoy!

If you’d like to receive more FREE stuff in your inbox, or would like to get regular encouragement to Love God & Live on Purpose, sign up below! 

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If You Quit on Your Resolutions, Here’s Your Next Step

If You Quit on Your Resolutions, Here’s Your Next Step

So, here we are at the end of January. How’s it goin’, friends?

I don’t know about y’all, but my new year doesn’t usually start until February. As I have now noticed this about myself, I plan to do it differently next year! This year, though, Christmas Break (with 3 crazy lil men and all kinds of family obligations) wore. me. out. January got here, and I just couldn’t. 

Could. Not. 

So, here we are, getting ready to head into February, and I’m finally ready to go, y’all! If you’re in the same boat or simply dropped out of those New Year’s Resolutions, here’s a few ways to pick yourself up and get movin’!

1. Write out a list of your most important life accounts.

Here’s mine:

  • God
  • Chris
  • Boys
  • Health
  • Family & Friends
  • Business
  • Self-Development
  • Finances
  • Home

2. Spend a little bit of time envisioning what you’d like for each of these life areas to look/feel like.

Write out a sentence for each area with your envisioned future. (Think 30 years down the road.) Here’s a couple of mine:

Chris: God has blessed me with my perfect match; Chris and I infuse our life and marriage with fun and we work together to build a strong, happy, purposeful family.

Boys: I am raising men who are confident, kind, strong of conviction, courageous, and compassionate; we genuinely enjoy being in each other’s company and regularly talk about how God is working in our lives. 

Health: My body is healthy and strong; I have energy, flexibility, and feel great about the way my body looks. I emanate strength and vitality. 

3. Write 1-3 specific, attainable goals that you will work to accomplish in the next 90 days.

Here’s a few of mine for the next 90 days (Not all of them, but you get the idea!):

  • Spend time reading my bible, praying, & in quiet for at least one hour every day.
  • Go on a date night at least once a month.
  • Go out of town overnight without kids once this quarter (with Chris, of course!)
  • Take the boys on their special nights each month.
  • Visit a state park as a family once a month. (Go camping once this quarter)
  • Weightlifting every morning Mon-Fri, and do cardio 3 times a week.
  • Write on my blog twice each week.

4. Schedule out each activity

Figure out exactly when it is going to fit in your calendar, and put it on there right now!

If you wait, some one else will fill up your time. Don’t allow your priorities, your most important activities, to get overshadowed by urgent, less important tasks! 

5. Tell Some One Else

Tell your spouse, your best friend, your Facebook world. Tell other people what you plan to accomplish. When you say it out loud to another person, it makes it more real. And, you’ll have some accountability!

5. Read Your Sentences Every Day

Read your sentences from #2 every single day. Spend some time envisioning the future that you are creating, and feel confident that you are taking steps right now that will lead you there.

Leave me a note below with a few of your sentences or goals! 😉 I’d love to hear them!

Also, in a few months I’ll be releasing a new course, Design Your Life Plan. If you are want to be updated on its release, go ahead and sign up here!

Get Notified About the Release of Design Your Life Plan!

One Thing That Will Save Your Marriage

One Thing That Will Save Your Marriage

The one thing that will save your marriage is this: courageous vulnerability. 

In the beginning of this year, Chris and I were in a crazy stressed-out place emotionally. We both felt completely overwhelmed with life and all of the responsibilities that come with it.

We were carrying each other’s burdens and working as a team, but it was just us and Jesus. We needed more. 

I know that sounds like total heresy, but hear me out.

Jesus didn’t come and die just for you. He came and died for the church. For you, yes, but for all of us. Together.

There is a significant difference between the two because when we try to live out this life on our own, it is too heavy. It is too much. We were meant for each other. We were meant to carry our burdens in community.

Too often, we are walking this road alone. Just you and your spouse. You need more people. You need people that love Jesus and love you, and are going to help carry the load. 

Here’s how it changed for us: one crazy act of vulnerability. 

We went with some friends out of town to celebrate Chris’s birthday in January, and after everybody else went to bed, Chris was talking with his friend and just laid it all bare. 

He told him things that only I knew, and in that one moment of courageous vulnerability, not only did he lift a giant weight off of his shoulders and mine, he deepened his friendship and created a brotherly bond that will not ever be broken. 

From there, he and his friend started talking every day. They have studied the bible together. They hold each other accountable to loving God, and loving their families well.

And, in his example, I have stepped out to deepen my relationships. To be honest, I don’t have a friendship in my life like his, but I am praying and trusting that God will provide it.

That one courageous act changed everything. We’re about to start 2017, and y’all, we are in a tremendously different place than we were a year ago.

So, I encourage you, wherever you’re at today to take a step toward vulnerability, and encourage your spouse to do the same. Reach out for Jesus first, for each other, and for the community he gave you in His church.

What has changed everything in your life or marriage?

4 Purposeful Ways of Living In Transition

4 Purposeful Ways of Living In Transition

Hey there friends! Today, for the very first time, I have a guest blogger here: my new friend, Amber! I am so excited to introduce you to her, and would love to see you check out more about her at her online home here. She writes about how we are empowered by God’s grace as shown to us in the Gospel in all areas of life and how this truth moves us to service in marriage, missions, and missional living.

Amber lives with her husband and two “wild babes” in Kathmandu, Nepal where they are being used by God in church planting and camp ministry.

 

I’d love for you to drop a note in the comments section below to say hi!

Without further ado, Amber…

4 Purposeful Ways of Living In Transition

Even the word gives me a feeling of uneasiness. Transition has been almost a constant feature of the last few years of my life. We moved shortly after marriage, got new jobs and started training for ministry. We had a newborn babe thrown into the mix of constant traveling, fundraising for a country which would eventually deny us a visa. Consequently, we changed fields, made our international move, started language school and were met by a whole host of challenges.

In the better part of my adult life, I’ve felt unsettled. I vaguely remember a sense of security before where I, at least, felt like I had some kind of idea of what each day would hold and a general picture of what the future may have looked like. I’ve learned that even in these times of perceived security, a sudden event can instantly lurch me into a new season of life. The whiplash of such change is unwelcome and uncomfortable, however, these times of transition have proven to be catalysts for needed change in my life. I can’t always sense God’s hand at work in each moment, but I can see it clearly as I look back on all that He was brought to pass.

I don’t know what transition you may find yourself stuck in today. You may be between jobs, on the verge of a move, or encountering major change within your church or family. I’ve learned a lot during my seasons of unsettledness.

I’d like to share with you 4 ways to live on purpose in times of transition, all of which can be found in Proverbs 4:23-27.

Guard your Heart
Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.
In times of transition, we must be careful what we allow to enter into our hearts and minds. We must be faithful to fill ourselves with the truths of God’s word so that when the hard edges of change scrape us down to our bare bones, we are grounded in godly wisdom. We take a break from the things and the people who fuel our negativity and hinder our service for God in the midst of change.

Cut Out Complaining
Put away from thee a forward mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee.
In times of transition, we must be mindful of the words that escape our lips. These words come from the hard places of the heart but can take on a life of their own once released, bringing destruction on ourselves and our loved ones.

Keep your eyes on the prize
Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee.
Resist the temptation to compare your situation to the plight of others. There is always someone who seems to have it better or worse than you. These glimpses into the lives of others are more accessible than ever and can leave you feeling either prideful or envious. We must trust that God is working uniquely within us and in the midst of our transition. We must not be distracted by lesser goals than pursuing Christ wholly with our lives. We remember our calling and press on to the prize. The prize is grand; it’s Jesus.

Make Progress Cautiously
Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established.Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil.
As we seek to move forward, we must measure all ambitions and decisions on the sure scale of Scripture. The Lord will never lead us to do that which conflicts with His will laid out for His children in the Bible. We must consider both the personal and peripheral repercussions of our decisions and how we might best glorify God with the opportunities given to us. We can move forward steadily but cautiously, trusting God to guide as we go.

In times of transition, we trust and wait for God to move towards positive change in our lives, for the greater good, and for His glory. Waiting is the hardest part, but there is purpose in the waiting.

As followers of Christ, we must steward the opportunity to serve Him in periods of uncertainty and change. Though our knees may wobble and our faith waver, we have an unfailing confidence in the person of Jesus Christ. No matter how long we wait and whatever  the outcome, we know who is the Savior of our story and who wields the tools of change. We find Him at the center of transition, and He meets us, at the end, too.

Somewhere along the way, we find ourselves. Not surprisingly, and to our benefit, we find that we’ve changed.

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving

Just a quick note to say Happy Thanksgiving! I am so grateful for you!

I hope you have a wonderful day with your family and friends!

Let Yourself Rest

Let Yourself Rest

You know those moments when you feel like you’re coming completely unglued? Like you’re ready to just pull all your hair out? Like EVERYONE wants something, needs something, needs to talk, needs you to find something, needs a snack, needs homework done…. And all you can think about is going to hide in your bed from the entire world?

In the midst of a crazy life, you want to be awesome at everything. You want to be able to get all the homework done, the house picked up, the laundry done, time with your husband, time for yourself, time to workout, time to spend with Jesus, time to cook an amazing dinner.

The hard truth is keeping yourself in a cycle of constant work, stress, and anxiety puts your heart in a dangerous place. It’s so easy to feel unloved, unappreciated, and inadequate when we’re just so tired.

Life happens so fast, and before we know it our schedules are crazy and full. Right now, the very first thing you need on your schedule is rest. You need time, just for you, to do whatever it is that makes you feel rejuvenated.

As I’m writing this, I am literally sitting in a coffee shop at 8:30 pm, taking an evening of Sabbath because I felt exactly like that crazy version of myself not two hours ago. For me, spending time alone writing, reading, organizing, dreaming are all things that make me feel refreshed and ready to go again.

About a year ago, my husband and I completed a type of quiz that basically took the temperature of our marriage and life. His results said that life was FANTASTIC. Mine made me sound like I needed to be admitted.

We had some heavy discussions after that, but it mostly boiled down to this: I was taking on the world, and never stopping to rest. I was taking care of our three boys, of my husband, of our house, of myself (sorta) trying to create, trying to read. I needed time by myself in order to recharge, and at that point, it had been YEARS since I had dedicated a set amount of time to spend completely alone.

I allowed myself to feel guilty when I spent time away from my family. I felt guilty asking my husband to take care of the kids when he was working crazy amounts of hours. I felt guilty because we were both exhausted; maybe I should give him a break.

To be clear, he never gave me reason to feel that way. I put that on myself, and I know I am not alone in doing so. As women, we feel like we should be able to take care of everything. We feel guilty about needing help, needing rest, needing space to be nothing more than just ourselves.

At that point, Chris and I decided that once a week, I would leave the house, go to a coffee shop and spend time in rest. And y’all,  I come home feeling peaceful, relaxed, and a bit more free. I’m ready to love more, and give more. I feel like myself again.

I’m not perfect about going out every week. Honestly, it is a huge gift that I easily guilt myself out of asking for. Often, my husband notices I’m about to lose my mind and tells me to head out for the evening. I’m so thankful that he notices, but I’m working toward getting better about asking clearly for what I need.

To love God and live on purpose is a big task, one that many will never undertake. It’s a path that requires self-awareness, reflection, and the courage to make changes.

Here’s my point: If you want to be a woman who lives on purpose you must start by taking care of yourself, by taking a sabbath, and by not feeling guilty for doing so. 

What makes you feel refreshed? When are you going to go do that? Find a time and mark it on the calendar right now. 

Trust Yourself

Trust Yourself

When my oldest son was a baby, I felt self-conscience about every decision I made with him, especially when we were in public. I felt like every mom was looking at me, thinking, “Oh my gosh! I can’t believe she’s doing THAT!” (And as I hung out with some moms, I figured out that I had good reason for thinking that. I don’t hang out with those moms any more.)

After my second, and especially after my third, I definitely learned to let go and not care about other people and their opinions. My parents always told me that God put each child exactly where he wanted them, to give them the best chance of finding Him. So, unless some one was abusing their child they kept their opinions to themselves.

“And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him.” -Acts 17:26-27

Chris and I are super laid back parents. We believe 1000% in natural consequences. So, as we have THREE BOYS, it is not infrequent in public places for people to reach out their hands and say, “Oh my gosh! Is he going to fall?!” and look at me with panic and repugnance.

And, you know what? They might fall. They’ll learn a boundary. Something they can’t do. Or, they’ll try again and conquer it!

I’m not going to walk around teaching my boys to be afraid of the world and everything in it. I’m not going to teach them to be afraid of their own curiosity and adventure. I absolutely refuse to make them quiet, scared little people.

It is my job to bolster them, to teach them to be strong and courageous because the Lord your God is with you wherever you go!

So, “Go! Be brave! Do hard things! I believe in you!”

When Chris takes them out and they are being crazy, it’s “Adorable and sweet! Look at those boys with their dad!” 

When I’m there, I get the looks. I’m not fitting into the mold.

It’s cool. I don’t care. 

I encourage you to not care either. God gave your kids to YOU! He believes in you! He’ll cover whatever gaps are left behind because He loves your kids infinitely more than you have the capability to.

Trust yourself and God’s grace.

Be bold. Be courageous. Be brave. I believe in you.

Summer’s Over & A Gift For My Friends!

Summer’s Over & A Gift For My Friends!

The other day we were looking through old pictures and videos of our sweet boys. They are only 7,5, and 3 but I can’t imagine them being such tiny little guys any more!

We came across this video of Micaiah reciting a bible verse he had learned at age 4 (He’s 7 now!): Joshua 1:9.

Be still my heart.

I was moved, but also convicted.

This bible verse has been really helpful for us over the past few years. Any time the boys are scared or worried, we ask them to tell us this verse and talk about how God is always with them. He never goes away!

I was convicted because that is the only bible verse that our kids have memorized. 🙁

Committing God’s words to our hearts is such an important endeavor because when life gets hard or scary or whatever it is, we need an arsenal of truth in our minds and hearts to overcome it! It’s so easy for us to speak negative words to ourselves, to get down and stay down, but God tells us over and over and over again to, “Be strong and courageous!” 

It is much easier to overcome our negative inner talk when we have God’s words to speak over it.

So, I have committed to be more purposeful about helping my boys (and myself!) memorize important truths from God, and I created these cute printable memory verse cards to help us!

They are all bible verses around the subject of courage because, well, I need more courage. Anything worth doing is scary! God meant for us to live our lives not in fear, but abundantly!

I plan to do just that. I hope y’all are with me. 😉

The cards are free! I just ask you to subscribe so I can send you more great stuff, and so we can become friends! 😉

Intentional Summer

Intentional Summer

As the end of the school year is approaching, I have started to feel really anxious about the summer. I love my boys, and am super excited about doing fun things with them! But, I’m also a little nervous about having ALL of them ALL day long. Together.

And so, I have set out to create a plan to be intentional with them this summer. I want to have fun with them and not be stressed out about all the things I “should” be doing. I want to go swimming and exploring, to the dollar movies and the park. Part of that means taking a break from this blog.

So, today is the last time you’ll hear from me until school starts back in August! 🙂 I hope that y’all will  be intentional about your summer break too! Make some plans, and have fun!!!

You can check out our summer bucket list in the image below, and download the PDF to create your own! 😉

 

Click here to download the Intentional Summer Bucket List sheet & the Summer 2016 Calendar!!! 

Good luck, friends! Let’s keep in touch on Insta and Facebook!

See you in August! 😉

Vision Boards: Why You Need One & How to Make One

Vision Boards: Why You Need One & How to Make One

Today, friends, we’re talking vision boards! If you like being crafty, or dreaming up the future, or thinking about things that make you happy, you’re in the right spot! 😉

Vision boards are super important when it comes to making things happen to live the life you’ve imagined! I truly believe that a vision board can be a huge catalyst  to push you toward your dreams.

What A Vision Board is Not

But first, let’s talk about what a vision board is not.

A while ago, on a podcast, I heard this guy talking about how he thinks vision boards are ridiculous. That people believe you put something on a board, and it will magically appear in your life. He was a little frustrating, honestly.

While I wish they were magical, that is a completely inaccurate view of vision boards. They are not magical, nor do I believe they are magical. They will not make things simply appear in your life without any work.

What A Vision Board Actually Does

What it does do, however, is set you up for success in these few ways.

  1. A Vision Board helps you get in the right mindset.

I try to spend a few minutes every day looking at my vision board.

I’m looking into the future that I want to have, the things I want to experience with my family and friends, my personal health goals, reading through the quotes that inspire and encourage me.

As I think about these future experiences, I get really excited for them! I allow myself to feel the excitement and gratitude for this future life.

This puts me in the right mindset to start my work. It helps me keep pushing through resistance when I know what I’m working toward.

2. A Vision Board Reminds You About What’s Important.

Like I talked about the other day, when I’m tired or feel meh, my vision board helps remind me about what’s important and how I should be prioritizing my time. 

A few weeks ago, Chris and I had a lot of work to do at our house, but also had not spent time with friends like we want to. My vision board reminded me that our friendships and relationships are a thousand times more important than housework. So, we had friends over, had a fun Friday night, and still had time to get our work done. 🙂

3. A Vision Board Is Eye Candy

I read through my life plan at least once a week to continually remind myself of who I want to be and where I’m headed. When I do, I feel encouraged and inspired.

However, words on a paper just can’t inspire me nearly as much as vivid images of the life I imagine! When I created my vision board, I made sure to include images and quotes from every part of my life plan. Because of that, it serves to encourage and inspire me to keep going!

Also, it’s super cute on the office wall! 😉

How to Make A Vision Board

Here’s how I made mine:

  1. Pull “life accounts” from your life plan, or simply write down the areas of your life that are most important to you. (i.e. God, Spouse, Kids, Health, Personal Growth, Friends, Family, Calling/Purpose, Career, Finances, Travel, Hobbies, etc.)

  2. Find pictures that remind you of fun memories with your spouse, kids, friends, etc. (memories that you would like to make more of!) and put them into a folder

  3. Find pictures on Pinterest that inspire you and make you feel excited for each “life account.” Put those images in your folder as well.

  4. Find quotes for each area of your life that inspire and encourage you.

  5. Order the pictures in your folder online or print them out!

  6. Buy a cork board, and anything you need for decorations!

  7. Put it all together, and hang it up!

  8. Look at it for a few minutes each day to stay motivated toward living the life you’ve imagined!

Do you have a vision board?? If so, post it to your Instagram with the hashtag #lifeihaveimagined and tag me in the comments, @rachelbennett! I can’t wait to see it! 

Expressing Gratitude

Expressing Gratitude

We’ve been talking a lot about gratitude here lately. It protects us from indifference and allows us to be the kind of friends we want to have! I wholeheartedly believe that a heart of gratitude must be at the foundation of our mindset to live the lives we imagine!

Today, we’re going to talk about expressing gratitude. It’s not only important for us to feel grateful, but it is equally as important for us to express that emotion to the people in our lives!

This week is Teacher Appreciation Week, and boy, are we grateful for our kids’ teachers! They are so kind, they look after our sweet boys, and help them learn some amazing stuff… like reading! The idea of teaching a kid to read boggles my mind! We got them these beautiful flowers (you can check them out on my IG feed!), and though it’s a small token of thanks, I hope they can see our hearts. We are so grateful for them. 

It got me thinking about how or if I express gratitude to the people in my life, and how it brings such joy when they express it to me.

The other day, Chris turned to me and said, “Do you know that you are the number one factor that has led to my success?” 

Umm, I didn’t cry. Maybe just a little. Isn’t that one of the sweetest things you’ve ever heard?! I thought it was. It made my day. 

Occasionally, I think to write notes to Chris telling him how glad I am that I married him, but to be honest, I rarely do that to other people in my life.

So, today let’s challenge ourselves! Seriously, this is one of the most simple, yet profound challenges you can do!

Write down 3 people you are grateful for, and what you appreciate about them. Then, write them a letter – snail mail, an email, a FB message. Let ‘em know! 

In the comments, let me know who you’re writing! 😉  Talk to you soon!

A Lack of Gratitude is Costing You in the Most Important Way

A Lack of Gratitude is Costing You in the Most Important Way

I recently read a blog post by MooreLittleLou where she talked about how we have so much to learn from our little ones about friendship by watching them play and cheer each other on.

We love when other people cheer us on. It makes us feel unstoppable, and loved! However, like Lou said, “Too often comparison and jealousy can stop me being that kind of cheerleader for others.”

That’s so true. Comparison and jealousy. Ugh.

They stem from a lack of gratitude in our lives. When I practice gratitude daily, when I look around and find the things in life that make me joyful and grateful, I speak and act out of love, out of compassion, out of a sense that I am enough and what I have is enough.

When I’m not practicing gratitude, it is easy to feel like I don’t have enough, like problems abound, like I wish life was just different. And, in that state, it is almost impossible to be the kind of friend we all want to have!

It’s almost impossible to feel truly excited for your friend who just got a new job, or your friend who sold their house and is building their dream home, or your friend who is going on an amazing vacation!

In that place, it will also be almost impossible to hold on to those relationships. Nobody wants to be around a negative person, and even if you think you are hiding it well, you’re not.

When we come from a place of gratitude, our mindset is completely shifted from lack to abundance, from worry to peace, from discontentment to fulfillment. And in that place, we can be the best kind of cheerleader for our friends and family. We can truly feel excited and celebrate with our friends! We can put the focus on them and this amazing experience in their life! We can praise God for His goodness and blessing on our friends.

Here’s a few ways you can start cultivating more gratitude in your life:

  1. Start every day by writing down 3-5 things you are grateful for! Don’t write down what you should be grateful for, but what truly brings you joy TODAY.
  2. Recognize when you are thinking negatively, and state something you appreciate about that person or thing. (Example: I’m super annoyed that my friend is always late and I’m stuck waiting on her. Stop that thought! Instead think: I’m so grateful that I have this awesome friend who is coming to spend time with me! Not every one has friends that they get to spend quality time with, and I love that my friend is so (wise, joyful, fun, etc.)) 
  3. Give at least one genuine compliment every day. Whether you are simply complementing God’s creation (What a beautiful sunrise!) or another person (You are so awesome at creating these graphics! Thanks for doing that!) find something to point out and say it aloud to some one else. Gratitude is contagious!
  4. Vow to not complain, criticize, or gossip for 10 days! Notice how much better you feel when you aren’t spending all that energy on negative thoughts and actions!

As for me, I’m super grateful for YOU! Thank you for being here! 🙂

Go ahead and get started right now! Let me know what you are grateful for right now in the comments below! 

When You Feel Stuck

When You Feel Stuck

About 4 years ago, I woke up one day and realized that I hated my life. I was exhausted, frustrated, completely overwhelmed, and felt trapped. 

Don’t get me wrong, I had a husband who was (and still is!) my very best friend, 2 amazing lil men (now 3!) that I got to stay home with! I’d finished my bachelor’s degree which was a huge goal. We rented a cute little house and had great neighbors! I was in shape, walking 6 miles a day!

On the exterior, it was all wonderful. I had no reason to complain, but I was miserable. And of course, I felt terrible for even feeling that way.

Let me give you a little back story. Growing up, I excelled at almost everything I did. I played varsity soccer and loved it, I was in the National Honor Society, I took AP classes in high school and aced them. When I graduated, I was headed to UT Austin with the intent to complete a pre-med program on my way to become a neurosurgeon. (I find the brain fascinating!)

However, a few weeks before school started, God spoke to me. Honestly, it feels a little weird for me to say that, given that I grew up in a church that believes that God does not speak to you except through the bible. But, I have no other explanation. I heard a voice. And that voice was so compelling that I completely changed my plans. Plans that I had since I was a little girl!

So, I did not immediately go to college. Instead, I went into a missions program, where I learned a lot, grew a lot, met my amazing husband, and my dreams changed!

I tell you all that to say, my whole life I thrived on creating goals and reaching them, but 4 years ago for the first time in my life, I felt like I had listened to God’s call and I felt stuck. I was miserable.

Here’s why: because I didn’t just feel stuck, I was stuck. After I finished my degree, we planned for me to stay home with my sweet boys. I loved that plan!

I failed to realize, though, that all of a sudden my entire life was now wrapped up in other people. My entire life was filled with changing diapers, playing at the park, cleaning the house, doing the laundry, helping my husband. I hadn’t dreamt up anything for me! I had no goals, I had nothing to achieve.

You see, we’re meant for change. We’re meant to grow, to bloom! Other than flipping furniture and planning birthday parties, I had no goals! I had nothing that was moving me forward in life!

That’s dangerous. 

I realized that everything in me was shouting out to DO SOMETHING! Anything! Make some goals. Create a dream! 

So, I did.

I slowly started my journey to figure out what the life I imagined actually looked like. What did I want? What fires me up?

I created a new dream, new goals. I started learning, discovering, growing, changing. I’m still walking in God’s calling for my life, but now I’m unstuck.

It made all the difference in the world! Not only for me, but for my family! They didn’t want me to be miserable and frustrated. They want me to thrive, just like I want for them!

Now, 4 years later, a big part of my dream is to help you do the same thing!

I imagine there are some of you who feel like I felt. You feel bored. Stuck. Frustrated. Overwhelmed. Exhausted.

I don’t want you to feel that way. I want you to dream big. To live the life you’ve imagined! And, I want to help you get there!

Thanks for being here with me. I’m so grateful for you! And I’m so excited for us to be on this journey together!

If you want to get started now, go ahead and evaluate the life you’re living!

Leave me a comment below to let me know you are ready to start your journey!

Always Think Both!

Always Think Both!

Last weekend, Chris and I planned to tile our hallway on Friday night. If you didn’t see my Instagram post a while back, the boys flooded our half bath, which led to the decision to tile our entire downstairs! (It’s a huge project!)

So far, we had done the office, and were ready to get the hallway finished. (We still have the living room, kitchen, pantry, and dining! Ugh.)

As I was getting some housework done on Friday afternoon, though, I had this really strong pull to spend the evening relaxing, hanging out with friends, and just enjoying ourselves. The week is soooo long, and we work hard!

Also, I was reminded of my life plan. (With a little nudge from my vision board!) One of the commitments I made was to spend more time with friends and be intentional about inviting people over. We have some really great people in our life. I want to make sure that I cherish those relationships, and contribute positively to their lives!

 

So, with a messy house and nothing planned in advance, we texted some friends and invited them over!

I literally only had time to pick up downstairs, clean the bathroom, and run to the grocery store for some food! By the time I got back, some of them were already there! Our kids’ rooms were messy, as was ours, the floors weren’t mopped, the rug wasn’t vacuumed. No one cared.

We had a really great time! It was so nice to watch our kids play with friends, and to spend time having fun with ours too! We had delicious tacos. We built a campfire. Made s’mores. Talked and laughed.

For the rest of the weekend, we still had time to take the kids garage-saling for treasures (We both did that as kids, and it’s really fun to give them each $2 and see the awesome treasures they find! They got some cool stuff!), finished the hallway, and drove to San Antonio Sunday afternoon to spend some time with some of our best friends who were on a mini-family vacation!

All in all, not only were we able to spend some time relaxing and building our relationships, but we were ALSO rejuvenated to get our work done too!

Here’s the big picture:

  1. When you have the urge to invite people over, DO IT! 
  2. It’s okay if your house is messy. Real friends don’t care!
  3. When you spend time relaxing and having fun, it rejuvenates you to get your work done!
  4. Friends are way more fun than Netflix!
  5. Always think both!
  6. Cherish the people God has put in your life. 

The weekend is going to be here again before we know it! I hope y’all are going to have some fun! 😉

Start With Gratitude

Start With Gratitude

When life starts to feel overwhelming, it’s easy to give in to anxiety and let it breed frustration, anger, disappointment, and the worst of all, indifference.

We want to live out an amazing story! I want you to live the life you’ve imgained!!! Gratitude is the key.

Recently, I watched a Tedx Talk by Hailey Bartholomew. In the midst of immense indifference about her life, she sat down with a nun hoping to get a new perspective or some golden nugget of wisdom! Here’s what the nun said:

The secret to happiness is reflection and gratitude.” She told her for ten days to watch out for and recognize the things she was grateful for… NOT the things she was supposed to be grateful for, but the things that actually made her feel joyful!

Daily gratitude exercises have been proven to make people happier, more joyful, more self-disciplined, able to achieve goals, and frees them from emotional pain. By practicing gratitude every day, we tap into our brains and can actually CHANGE them!

After Hailey’s 10 days, she knew that this was exactly what she needed! So she decided to continue the project and take a picture every day of something that she was grateful for. At the end of her 365 day project, she realized a few things that really spoke to my heart and hopefully will speak to yours as well.

Her Expectations on Other People

She realized that “[her] expectations on other people prevented [her] from appreciating them for who they are.” Specifically, she talked about the new way she was able to see her husband, and appreciate and love him more deeply than before.

I teared up when she told a story about how after dinner one night she was looking around for something she was grateful for that day, and noticed her husband scooping out pie for everyone. He put the biggest piece on her plate, and in that moment she realized that he was putting her first. She had never thought him to be romantic, but in that one moment, because she was looking for it, she began to notice all the little things he was doing especially for her every single day. 

As A Mom

As a stay-at-home mom, she said, “This project showed me what a delight and honor it was to be in their company.” 

That one really struck a chord with my heart. SOOO many days just feel overwhelming and frustrating. My three boys are so loud and crazy. Who knew that some day I would have to be lecturing, “Boys, we don’t wrestle on the floor at the grocery store!”  or “Please don’t run outside naked.. People can SEE you!” 

I want to fully recognize “what a delight and honor” it is to be in their company every single day. These years won’t last long and I want to soak in every single one that I get to spend with my sweet boys.

It’s Within

Last, she said this: “I see delight, I see beauty, I see a life I’m incredibly rich and grateful for… It isn’t happiness on the outside of me; it’s within me.”

In the simple act of practicing gratitude, it changes us from within. It changes the way we see the world, and the way we see our own life.

Before we start working toward creating the life we’ve imagined, we must stop and appreciate what’s right in front of us. And then, from a new way of looking at the world, we get started!

5 Steps to Make Daily Bible Reading Part of Your Life

5 Steps to Make Daily Bible Reading Part of Your Life

Saying we want to do something is easy, actually following through is the challenge!

We talked about seeking after God, getting our spiritual house in order so that we have the foundation and courage we need to take the big leaps in life!

Here’s a few ways to help you make seeking after God part of your daily ritual. 

1. Set up a comfy spot!

I have this little corner set up in our living room where I go for my morning bible reading. I have a little table with my journal, my bible, and a pen (that stays kind of hidden so my 3-year old won’t find it!) I also have a super soft blanket to curl with and spend time with God.

Set up your spot so it’s your happy place! Make it comfortable, peaceful, and relaxing! Make it somewhere you want to be, especially if you are going there straight from bed!

2. Decide on a Bible Reading plan

I don’t know about y’all, but when I don’t have a plan I don’t get very far! When I drag myself out of bed early, and then sit down to read my bible, if I haven’t already decided what to do, I typically end up going to the same places over and over and not really growing. I want to read my bible to learn new things about God, to grow in my relationship with Him, to become more wise, to deepen my faith.

All of those things don’t happen on accident. So, find a reading plan that excites you and do that!

In case you’re looking for something, I have a 90 day plan that takes you through the Wisdom Books of the bible in The Wisdom Journal!

3. Get the Right Tools

Get a journal! Get some new pens! Since I was a little girl, new “office supplies” have always been really exciting to me! (I’m a big nerd, I know! School shopping for my kids is super fun for me!)

So, when I’m starting a new journey in anything I stock up on some new supplies to get me amped up and ready to go!

This is the same idea as setting up a comfy spot. Get yourself some tools that will excite you to sit down and read your bible! Get some highlighters and decide on a color scheme to mark your bible for things that jump out at you! Get some pens to write in your journal with! Get a new journal! Whatever tools you need to get excited about spending time in your bible and journaling, go get ‘em!

P.S. I am SUPER excited to share The Wisdom Journal with you guys! It’s a 90-day bible reading and prayer journal to help as you become more intentional in your time with God. So, if you need a new journal, this one is pretty great! 🙂

4. Choose the Right Time

When you form a new habit, it is best to do it at the same time, in the same place every single day. So, choose the right time for you!

A lot of people feel like they need to get up early and spend time reading their bible first thing in the morning before they do anything else! Here’s the deal: If that works for you, GREAT! Do that!

But, if you have a super hard time dragging yourself out of bed in the morning and then end up not spending time with God because you didn’t do it first thing in the morning, I’m here to tell you “You can choose whatever time you want!” It doesn’t have to be first thing in the morning! 

Our kids are still pretty young, which means sleep is a commodity! It’s so hard for me to get out of bed any earlier than I already do!

So, my time with God typically happens after the craziness of the morning! After getting the older two to school, and helping my husband get off to work, I get my littlest man some breakfast, turn on a cartoon, and sit down to spend some quiet time with God.

Yes, I let him watch cartoons so I can take care of my most important relationship first. And, in the long run, that’s what best for both of us! 

So, pick a good time for you and stick with it!

5. Stop Beating Yourself Up!

For the longest time, I would do ALL of these things and they wouldn’t help because of this last one. 

When I missed a day, I felt bad. (Especially when I set up reading plans with reminders on my phone!) I felt like I needed to catch up on that day AND do today’s reading. But, I’m a mom! I’m busy! So I felt like I needed to wait until I had the time to do both readings! And then it wouldn’t happen, so the next day I had an even bigger chunk to do!

You get the point! It’s maddening. It’s this terrible cycle of feeling like I’m terrible, I’m not good enough, etc.

Your time with God is not meant to be a checkmark on a daily list that beats you up when you don’t do it. It’s meant to be life-giving! It is our soul’s food and water! We need it.

When I don’t spend time with God, I start becoming more irritable. I yell at my kids easier. I get snappy with my husband. I start believing the lies that Satan whispers in my ear: “You’re not good enough. You’re not pretty enough. You’re not lovely. You’re not special.” Ugh.

But, when I do spend time with God, I am reminded of who I really am. I am the daughter of the Most High. I am loved more deeply than I can even imagine. God has placed dreams in my heart and has prepared my work far in advance and with greater possibility than I know is possible!

And when I know the truth at the core of my being, the fruits of the Spirit naturally spill out. I become more loving, more joy-filled, more peaceful and patient, more kind, more faithful. 

You can have that. You can be the Proverbs 31 woman. Step by step, little by little, day by day. Take your small steps of faith, and over time they add up to become your legacy.

I’m here to help. Let me know what you need!

And if you haven’t, I’d love for you to join the Facebook community group, where we encourage each other to live the lives we’ve imagined!

Seek After God

When I laid out the framework of the 8 Steps to Live the Life You’ve Imagined, right after we’ve evaluated the life we are living, before anything else, we Seek After God.

When we want to accomplish something big, especially stepping into our journey to live the life we’ve imagined, we must have our spiritual house in order. We need to know who we are, that we are loved and treasured, that we have a firm foundation and that no matter what comes, that foundation will stand. 

We all know that when we spend time with God, we feel more patient, more joyful, less anxious.

We all want to be like the Proverbs 31 woman, but often feel like she is some crazy ideal we just can’t live up to! Really, I think what we are supposed to learn from her are 5 core values. She didn’t start out with an amazing marriage, wisdom, confidence, being this strong pillar for her family.

She started at the beginning. As a newlywed, as a first-time mom, as a mom of toddlers, as a first-time entrepreneur!

And, she was faithful. She took small steps every day of her journey, and little by little, she became an amazing woman and example.

Our lives are the same way.

We won’t have this rock-solid relationship with God after one day. Our relationships, our legacy for our families happen little by little, day after day, through faithfulness.

That’s how we live the lives we’ve imagined!

In our most important relationship, as we see God show up for us, as we watch Him work, our faith gets stronger and our relationship with Him grows deeper.

In the last few months, I created a system for myself to watch God work in my life. I knew intellectually that He has always taken care of us, always provided for us, and I have a few very specific examples of things I have prayed that He came through on. Those very few examples speak so strongly to my heart, and help me to know without a doubt that God has put us exactly where we are.

However, I also know that He is not just working in the big moments of my life, but He is coming through on little things every single day. He’s here, He’s working. And I’m missing it because in the normal moments of everyday life, we aren’t looking for it. I’m missing the opportunity to recognize these moments, fully take them in, and let them speak to my heart.

When we see God moving, when we hear His answer to our prayers, our hearts are drawn closer to Him, and we know, not just by reading the bible, but by seeing His work that He loves us dearly. Not as a small part of His church body, but each of us individually. He cares deeply about the details of your life. 

That is a rock-solid foundation. God is in your corner, and because of that, you can step out and take the big leaps in life. You can risk big, and know that no matter what comes, it’s all okay! You can live the live you’ve imagined.

If you want to start being intentional about watching God work in your life, you can subscribe below and I’ll send you a free PDF of the Wisdom Journal! I created the Wisdom Journal as a daily tool to journal through bible reading and to write down specific prayers in every area of life.

You can print it out, and use it during your quiet time. Watch God work in your life, and let His actions speak to your heart.

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Hey There, I’m Rachel

I wish we could meet over a delicious cup of coffee, but even without that, I expect we will become good friends here. That is my hope!

Welcome to the community where we Love God & Live on Purpose together.

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