Sunday, January 31, 2021

Sundays are for Setting up your Week

 


One thing I’ve done to set myself up for success is to take some time on Sundays to get prepared for the upcoming week. 

Here’s what I do:

1. Outline the upcoming week in my planner. I use inkWELL press* because it’s just. so. pretty. And functional! 

2. During this time, I also make a meal plan based on our plans for the week. This allows me to know which mornings I’m going to need to take a few extra minutes to prep the slow cooker. 

3. Then, I look through the cupboards and fridge to see if we need anything and place a pickup order for the next day. LOVE that grocery stores do this now. GAME CHANGER.

4. I fill up my pill organizer because if I don’t *let’s be honest* I will not take the time to gather my pills in the morning. I put my Monday pills in a little cup with a lid to take to work the next morning because I have one pill that needs to be taken 1 hour before the others. This way, I have NO excuse to take my meds/supplements. I’ve noticed a major difference when I slack on taking these things. DO YOURSELF A FAVOR - TAKE YOUR MEDS. 

5. One way I’ve simplified but beautified our home is to fill it with plants. I have chosen to surround us with succulents because they need the least amount of care. I can get by with only watering them weekly and Sunday is that day!

6. Then, it’s ME-TIME. Sundays are the days I redo my nails (that silver jar* there). My nails are weak and brittle and they actually hurt if they are bare so I found a dip powder that doesn’t require a UV light and for $26, I get about 6 months of manicures. No time at the salon for me! Love it. (The manicures can actually last up to two weeks but I love having a fresh mani each week)

7. We attend church on Friday nights so we can take Sundays to be well-rested for the upcoming week. So, I make sure to do a devo or listen to a sermon at some point on Sundays just to revive my heart before the week starts. 

8. Right after the kids are in bed, I prep my breakfast and lunch for the next day so that I can sleep as long as possible in the morning. I found great little reusable bento boxes at the store and both myself and my husband have found them to be great when meal prepping!

9. And, the best way to end the day well (and what I do every night, not just Sundays) is to close the kitchen at a certain time and use my trusty H2O chiffonnettes* to do one last wipe down of the counters and handles. Who doesn’t like waking up to a clean kitchen?! Then, once I’m done getting ready for bed, I do the same thing in the bathroom. Again, who doesn’t like waking up to a clean bathroom?!

I can see how you might think this is a lot. But, truthfully, each of these things don’t take very long and the satisfaction that comes from setting myself up for a win makes it all worth it!

Tell me, what works for you? How do you set yourself up for a successful week?


Products:
*inkWell Press - click here for $10 off your first purchase of $50!
*Revel Nail - click here for 10% off!
*H2O at Home - click here to see more! 

Thursday, January 7, 2021

January 2021


2020 was definitely a year for the history books.

And, 2021 is starting as if there's some sort of competition between the back-to-back years. 

Here's what I know:

I can show up and do my civic duty by voting, but I am one person.

Obviously, nothing I can do will change or solidify election results. 

I can't stop people from storming the capital.

I can't heal all the brokenness in this nation or the hearts of those who live here. 

I really can't keep living in this desperate helplessness/hopelessness.


So, here's what I can do:

I can pray for our leaders. 

"First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, the two may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way." - 1 Timothy 2:1-2

I can teach my children to be kind and to love people both the same and different from themselves.

"Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others." Philippians 2:3-4

I can rest in the fact that God is in control.

"You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD GOD is an everlasting rock." - Isaiah 26:3-4 

I can continue to grow and change so that I can make a positive impact on those who I am around. 

"...But we urge you, brothers (and sisters), to do this more and more, and to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you." - 1 Thessalonians 4:10b-11

I can't control what I can control. 

"Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand." - Proverbs 19:21

But, I can spend my energy on what good we can bring to our home, friends, family, neighborhood, schools, local restaurants and stores, and so on. 

"As for you brothers (and sisters), do not grow weary in doing good." - 2 Thessalonians 3:13

Maybe each of our influences reach further than we know after all...


"And let us not grow weary of doing good,... let us do good to everyone..." - Galatians 6:9 & 10


"Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to sho hospitality.

"Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Lie in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be conceited. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, 'Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.' To the contrary, 'if you enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.' Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good." - Romans 12:9-21

Saturday, December 26, 2020

H2O at Home vs. Norwex: What’s the Difference?

 *this post was originally written by Rachel Swanson and published here. She has given me permission to repost my links.


Some of you have asked if H2O at Home is similar to Norwex.

I wanted to give you a factual breakdown of what I’ve found comparing these two companies that contain similar products. Do your own research if you’re not satisfied but here are some things to look at.

  • H2O at Home submits their products to be regulated and approved by 3 European companies (Qualit France, EcoCert, and Cosmebio). Norwex has only 1 (but they do claim to have other built-in regulations within the company, just not submitted to outside companies for further review and certifications).
  • H2O at Home has a less overwhelming catalog (less products) because they claim to focus on simplifying their products and formulating them for multiple purposes.
  • Most of the H2O at Home products are less expensive and seem to provide better quality results, and you get the same amount or more than Norwex.
  • H2O at Home products are mostly made in Europe, many with Fair-Trade labels. Norwex products are all made in China.
  • Many H2O at Home products are fair trade, biodegradable, and made from the best organic/natural resources. Norwex…I’m not sure but I don’t believe they provide many of these benefits.
  • H2O at Home is regulated by the Direct Sales Association. Norwex is not. Enough said.
  • H2O at Home pays their advisors MORE in the mid to upper-level brackets than Norwex (I worked out the numbers which proved to be true for this). Norwex pays more for the initial start into the business (although H2O at Home is updating their compensation plan Jan. 2021 and this will no longer be true!)
  • Norwex does offer an incentive where you can get your business kit for free (which is pretty cool), but if you don’t it costs more than H2O at Home’s business kit (only $119 but you receive over $450 worth of products!).
  • H2O at Home is a Direct Sales company, NOT an MLM- Multi-level Marketing (doesn’t have the MLM structure); Norwex demonstrates an MLM company.
  • They both provide great start-up bonuses in your first couple of months. Yay!
  • This is my own personal preference but I like the look and feel of the company colors and the way H2O at Home lays out their products on the website (feels less overwhelming) than Norwex. H2O at Home is minimalist and modern.
  • Again, personal preference, but H2O at Home microfiber cloths are softer than Norwex. (Many have said the same for this, too).
  • Norwex has silver in their microfiber cloths that they claim self-clean within 24 hours (The science behind the anti-microbial properties of metal in microfibers is inconclusive. https://minds.wisconsin.edu/handle/1793/79905). These silver strands within the fibers are shown to wear out, losing effectiveness over time. Additionally, metal nanoparticles make their way down the drain and into water sources posing a potential threat to the environment. https://jab.zsf.jcu.cz/pdfs/jab/2008/03/01.pdfH2O at Home says tests have shown no statistical evidence of metals being self-cleaning nor does it show a significant difference between microfibers without metals for self-cleaning. H2O at Home also believes based on some statistical studies that metals pose a risk to the environment which goes again their eco-friendly mission and standard. So H2O at Home provides an organic-based soap that cleans the cloths within 30 seconds (in my opinion, I’d rather have a clean cloth in 30 seconds than 24 hours), which has additional uses: remove stains from textiles, makeup from exfoliating cloth, remove bacteria from microfibers, etc. H2O at Home microfibers are some of the thinnest fibers available (makes them even more effective) and have a special patented ultrasonic cutting edge to prevent fraying of the fibers.

Regardless of what you use, both do a great job of ridding your home of toxic products and provide an eco-friendly alternative.

However, I chose H2O at Home because of some of the reasons above. It is better quality and lower cost, while lasting longer than other eco-friendly over-the-counter “green” products which makes my bank account happier.

Want to know more? Do you have further questions? What do you think? Do you use Norwex, H2O at Home, or a different product line to clean your home?

To find out more about H2O at Home and browse their products, click here! (I highly recommend the Premium Set as this will take care of 90% of your home cleaning and save you more money!) Want to sign-up for the business? Email me and I’d love to chat with you: Kelley @ gracefilledimperfection.com


Saturday, December 19, 2020

Light

 




Tears stung my eyes while watching my youngest child singing the final verse of Silent Night, holding a candle near her sweet face. 

Have you ever truly thought about those last few lines?

Silent night, holy night
Son of God, oh, love’s pure light
Radiant beams from Thy holy face
With the dawn of redeeming grace
Jesus, Lord at Thy birth

I imagine a calm snowy night. You know the ones. Where you can almost hear the snow fall. 
And, the moon is providing just enough light to see your path. Where the air is still and the world has seemed to stop for a moment. I imagine Mary holding Jesus. Him nuzzling into her breast. His little fingers searching, getting caught on his own eyelids and in the blankets, and probably Mary’s hair. 
The soft warmth provided by the animals and the light from lanterns or candles creating a very cozy atmosphere. 

But, Jesus. Her Lord. Her baby. Her Savior. 
How would this all work out? 
There were so many unknowns. 

Have you even been in the complete darkness? The kind of dark where you can’t stop your eyes from opening wider and wider as you are straining to see ANYTHING? If there is even the tiniest bit of light, your eyes are immediately drawn to it. It’s comforting. You move toward it. The darkness cannot hide the light. Any bit of light destroys the darkness.

The night Jesus was born, a tiny baby destroyed the darkness.

In my darkest days, I considered giving up. I had truly begun to believe that the world, my family, my children, would be better off if I didn’t exist. I was in the darkest of dark places. But, I had just had a baby. That little girl in the picture above. She was my light. She was a good thing I couldn’t take my eyes off of. I was afraid that someday, she’d blame herself for not being worth living for. She may not have destroyed my darkness (that came later), but she was a glimmer of light that God provided to pull me through some of my darkest moments.

And grace.

Do you know what that word means?
Traditionally, Christians refer to grace as unmerited favor. 
An undeserved gift. Unearned preferential treatment.

My Evie.

You can find more of her story here, but the short version is that we were told we miscarried her. My body went through all the steps of a miscarriage. We went back for an ultrasound to make sure that my body had expelled everything and yet there she was. A beautiful, 13 week baby with a strong heartbeat. 

Grace. 

I didn’t deserve to keep her. Many mommas have lost their babies. But, she was God’s great act of grace in my life. My undeserved gift. My reminder that I am seen by Him. 

That’s why Grace is her middle name. 

It has been quite the journey with her. Her battle with epilepsy has not been a walk in the park, but God still shows us grace everyday with her life. 

No matter how dark things have been in my life, there has always been a glimmer of light. Sometimes it’s small. Sometimes it’s been blinding. No matter what, it cuts through the dark. 

There were days when I lived with my eyes closed, ignoring the light in front of me. Afraid it was too good to be true. Fearful that the good thing would be taken from me. Convinced I didn\"t deserve it. 

But His grace was too good. It reached into my darkness. That little light could not allow the darkness to overcome. 

His dawn of redeeming grace entered my life and was undeniable. 

Open your eyes, friends, and embrace the gracious Light and His redeeming grace. 
He’s there if you want Him. 


Thursday, December 17, 2020

I Am Not Special

 This week I attended the funeral of a newly 17 year old young man. 

His family shared that he had been struggling with depression and it was not clear whether or not he was taking his meds. 

I've been there. 

I spent 2 1/2 years in a dark depression where my mind was consumed with trying to plan a way to commit suicide that wouldn't look like I actually committed suicide. 

Depression is no joke. 

A friend of mine watched my kids so I could be fully present at the funeral. Upon returning to her house, we sat down with a couple cups of coffee and a tub of puppy chow (we're midwest girls at heart) and talked and laughed and shared moments of grace and understanding. 

These types of conversations seem to be few and far between, thanks to COVID. 

At one point, she shared with me an exchange that she witnessed between my two daughters. My youngest looked at her older sister and said to her, "Fine. If you won't play that way, I'll never play with you ever again."

Of course, my friend stepped in to coach my youngest through how to appropriately talk to her sister, but her reaction was, "Oh, thank God, it's not just my daughters who talk to each other like that!"

Sweet friend, you are not special. And, I say that with all the love in the world. 

You are not the only one whose sweet, precious daughters can turn into selfish little meanies. 

I think our lack of interactions with people in real time and the in tendency to withdraw to social media to decompress has left many of us feeling that despair that comes with truly believing that we are the only ones in the world dealing with our circumstances. 

Thankfully, you're not. 

Sometimes I am tempted to believe that no one else could possibly understand what it is like to have a child with uncontrolled epilepsy. But, I'm not the only one. And, it took until the LAST soccer game of the season this year for us to connect with one of our son's teammate's dads who has a son with a similar (and even harder) epilepsy diagnosis. This usually quiet father was surprisingly chatty once he found out that we understood what he's gone through and can empathize with him. 

I still struggle with depression and anxiety. 

Meds have been a God-send for me. 

Currently, I'm not walking through one of my dark times. But, one of the most important and life-changing things I learned after my darkest days stopped being so frequent was that I'm not the only one who has been there. 

I found others that could empathize.

I found others that made it through their dark times. 

Maybe I could, too. 

I am not special.

The truth is, neither are you.

Take comfort in that, friend. 

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Every once in a while...

 ... I get the urge to unearth this little space I've buried. 

... I get the urge to write.

... I get the urge to express myself. 

Someday I'll have the words. 


Today, it's just comforting to know that this space exists If I need it. 

Monday, February 18, 2019

On the end of 2018

2018 rapidly came to a close.

So much so that I wrote this post and forgot about it until now... in February.
*palm smacks forehead*

Here are some thoughts on that...

2018 brought me so much that I never expected. I found myself in situations that I never thought would happen. Found myself doing things I had never imagined I'd do. Some things have made me incredibly proud; some have caused losses I never imagined.

We've moved our family to the city.

I have yet to make a friend.

I find my heart aching with loneliness but fearful of letting anyone in.

But Jesus,...

He has been such a sweet place of respite for me.

Gently reminding me of the truth.

I am forgiven.
I am loved.
I am of great worth.
I am accepted as the mess I am.

Feeling as if nothing is promised has led me to cling to the One who, despite knowing every thought/feeling, has no plans to leave. he has no plans to bring me shame. He desires for me to be whole and healthy and is willing to walk that path to wholeness with me. He is not ashamed to walk along side me. He is not afraid that I will taint His reputation. He is not afraid of my mess.

I wish I was being metaphorical when I talk about the accusers coming at me with their stones,

and yet, He comes... hand out to cup my cheek, staring into my weary eyes, and says, "sweet woman..."

He loves me so.

Now, the question is...
Will I be brave enough to say the things He's asking me to say?

When my critics and accusers come, will I back down?

This post is a first step.

Here's to new beginnings.

And, here's to those who join us and support us on the journey...