7QT : imperfect progress, porridge, and grippy feet

So what's been going on around the ole Ally-sphere, you may be wondering.

Well lucky you, I've got mundane-life-type stuff to share!

...   .1.   ...

When last I wrote, I was explaining my goal for 2020 -- to be JOYFUL. And then telling you what I thought through in order to get me on the right track.

And of course, the very next day, I found myself knee deep in a Not So Joyful afternoon. Sigh.

Working on it. Progress, right? Small steps. But yeah, parenting is hard and marriage can be hard and life is just hard. Those are my wise words for today.


Joyful in 2020, Continued

I have decided that this year, I'm going to focus on being joyful. That's my goal, my resolution, my "one word" for 2020.

Like I discussed before (on this post back here), there are a lot of expectations I put on myself... but joyful is probably the most important (and overlooked) one of them all.

The trouble is...


It's not like I spent all of 2019 thinking, "Hm, I'd like to use today to be a grumpy grouch," or "Joy? What is this strange concept?!" Let's be honest, we're not -- well, I'm not -- inclined towards joy. It takes some work. And I realize that if I just leave this goal up to chance, it's simply not going to happen.

I need a blueprint. And so I sat down and thought about the three things (only three, let's be realistic, here) that I really need to be able to live more joyfully this year. And from there, I came up with three action steps - trying to be as specific as I could - to meet each of those needs.


Joyful in 2020

Well, here we are. 2020. A fresh new year and a fresh new decade.

I've seen the sentiment a couple of times- why all the pressure on setting goals and resolutions on January 1? Shouldn't we just start a new plan or a new idea whenever we're ready, whenever it's just time to make a change? And while I agree that change doesn't follow the calendar and any time is the right time to begin again, there's just something that I find so helpful about having this day; a day that is marked, set aside, celebrated - a day to start new.

To be honest, I've never really been one for resolutions. I have a perfectionist streak - and typically what happens is that if I fail once, I totally throw in the towel and give up. It's all or nothing. Probably not the best way to go about things, but oh well. I am who I am, I suppose. I'm not much of a resolution person, but there was a trend that started a couple years ago where people chose one word for the year. I liked that. Unlike "have quiet time every day" or "exercise three times a week," one word is much simpler, and in my mind, it's much less likely I'll fail.

This year, I knew exactly what word I wanted to focus on.


Advent : week 3 (or, the week that didn't happen)


You know when you have some wonderful plan for something like an Advent calendar? And then circumstances totally mess with your plan?

That's where I'm at this week.

Last week, my children both came down with a stomach virus of some kind. Not much sleep, lots and lots of terrible diapers. So. Much. Poop.

So I spent most of last week's writing time doing laundry (because we had poop on sheets, poopy blow outs on jammies, poop on Evert's stuffed teddy bear named Tigey...), bathing a poop-covered toddler, and comforting sick children.

And then, of course, I got the same virus. So I'm out of commission this week. No Advent posts for week 3 - I'm sorry.

I got such a good response from readers, though, that I'll definitely do it again next year, and I'm still hoping to be able to do the few days of week 4 this year.

Thanks for the grace, friends.

I'm off to take a nap.

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Advent : preparing our hearts, preparing our homes {Week Two}

We're continuing on our Advent journey of preparing our hearts as we prepare our homes.

This season can be so focused on making sure everything gets done, and when our to do lists take precedence over everything else, our souls suffer and we burn out quickly. I want to spend this Advent building up my relationships with other people, being intentional about preparing my home for the holidays, treasuring the gift of Jesus come to us, and preparing my heart to receive him once again this Christmas.

So here's the plan for week two!


Advent : preparing our hearts, preparing our homes {Week One}

December is often a very, very full month. Between preparing for Christmas, all the celebrations and parties, keeping everyone fed and clean, and trying to keep up with just the regular things that keep my house running, I feel like things fall through the cracks.

Like preparation.

There's usually a huge (often not very cheerful) rush to clean all the things when we have company coming. I never feel like my house is really all that prepared. And honestly, my heart is even less so. I often find myself with a bad attitude, or unconfessed sin, or relationship conflicts that really stem from my own heart issues. I need to get my heart prepared so that I can fully engage, fully experience, and fully worship during this very special season. That's really what Advent is all about- preparing our hearts.

So this year, I came up with a little "Advent calendar" to help me prepare my heart as well as my home. I figured I'd share what I'm planning! Here's the first week!


Bubbles! a toddler invitation to play

We started exploring the letter "B" this week with our first "B" theme-- Bubbles!!

Of course, the weather didn't cooperate with my planning (whoops) and we started our Bubbles invitation to play riiiiiight as the weather turned cold and dreary. Ah well. I was kind of hoping to spend more of our time outside with these activities, but they ended up being great ways to keep my two year old busy indoors, as well.

Here's how we played with bubbles this week!!