Category: Lifestyle

Time Tip: One Way to Plan Your Month

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I have a habit of not knowing what day it is. Special occasions tend to sneak up on me, and I find myself unprepared and usually rushing off to the post office last minute because there’s some birthday I’ve forgotten. I think everyone experiences this at some point (at least, that’s what I tell myself to feel better about it), so I decided to share my limited wisdom on time management. If you want to avoid days sneaking up on you, try my method to see if it works for you.

Using a calendar with extra large squares, I grab a bunch of flag stickies and plan out my month. I use stickies instead of writing it on the calendar, that way if something comes up and I need to rearrange, I don’t have to erase. My month ends up being color-coded as follows:

Green – church events
Pink – holidays/special occasions/birthdays
Orange – writing deadlines
Yellow – Bills due/library books due/miscellaneous deadlines

I don’t do this because I’m organized – I do it because I’m forgetful. Using little flags on my calendar is great because it makes me intentional with my days instead of watching them waste away behind me.

What’s important to you? What do you need to allot time for? Do you need to be more intentional about church involvement? Put it on the calendar. Do you need to be more intentional about date night? Put it on the calendar. Do you need to be more intentional about sorting out your thoughts and brainstorming ideas? Put it on the calendar.

Don’t let days sneak up on you. Make sure each day gets the proper attention it deserves.

How do you effectively manage your time? Comment below!

Lost, Without a Map

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It started out as a normal trip to the bank.

Of course in my situation, “normal trip to the bank” means driving an hour from Nashville to Kentucky because my branch barely exists in the South.

I had just switched phone carriers. It was necessary considering my last carrier had lame signal, as in, I could make phone calls upstairs but not downstairs. This new carrier has fantastic coverage – fantastic coverage for everywhere but Kentucky. But I wasn’t aware of this before my journey.

Life gets interesting when you don’t have a map or GPS, and you’re in that part of the country where “endless waves of grain” is more of a warning than a sentiment. Driving down a endless country road, I was positive I would end up in West Virginia. This led into an interesting conversation with God.

“Where are we? Where am I going to end up?”
Keep going.
“I’m in the middle of nowhere. I have no cell reception or map. The bank closes at one. I need to get out of here.”
Keep going. Look at the beautiful scenery.
“I don’t want to look at the scenery. I want to be at the bank. I’m running out of time.”
We’ll get there.

After a large loop on a country road (that took me almost an hour to complete) I came to a busy highway. As ridiculous as this sounds, I turned on the radio and sat at the intersection, deciding God could tell me which way to go through the radio. After a minute, the DJ announced: “No need to TURN to another station, you’re in the RIGHT place for the best music.”

I turned right. After a couple moments, I saw a BBQ joint on the side of the road and decided to ask for directions. It was also almost noon, so I decided to eat as well.

Then the storm hit. Pouring rain, thunder, the whole bit.

Wait awhile.

I played on my phone while munching on a gross plate of BBQ until I felt it was a good time to leave. It was still pouring, with low visibility. But as I drove, I determined this: either the storm was coming at me and it would pass over soon, or the storm was coming after me and sooner or later I would out run it.

Regardless of which was the storm went, it eventually left, and at 12:45 I pulled up to the bank door. I was elated. I made it. The Lord had got me to the bank with 15 minutes to spare. He was good. He got me where I needed to go on time.

But I was wrong. The bank didn’t close at 1 – it closed at 2:30. God didn’t just get me there “on time.” He got me there early, even with the ridiculous detour I had made by my own error.

I assume by now you can see the moral of the story. Adventures in life aren’t always pleasant. There are detours we create by our own mistakes, there are storms we didn’t anticipate and end up having to face. Even if you’re lost with no idea where you are and no idea where you’re going, know this: the Lord sees where you are, He knows where you’re going, and He’s going to get you there with plenty of time to spare. You may never know the purpose of the detour, but you can have faith that you’ll reach the destination.

Also, whenever you go, buy a map. It’s not spiritual, but I felt I should pass it on.

No Goals? No Worries.

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In middle school, all my teachers emphasized the importance of high school goals. It was the biggest decision in the history of ever. High school shaped college, college shaped your career, and your career shaped every element of your being, so if you chose the wrong high school classes you might as well self-implode and save yourself a miserable existence. Okay, maybe they weren’t teaching that, but it sure felt like it.

Flash forward about 15 years later and you have a generation panicked because life didn’t follow the plans we made right after discovering that members of the opposite sex do not, in fact, have cooties. We went for those goals as best as we could, but we didn’t end up at our planned finished line, leaving us not knowing what to do next.

And – honestly – that’s okay.

I would never advise someone against making goals, however, I will say that there are going to be seasons where goals are going to be foggy. You won’t know what to do next. But your life will not be ruined forever because you don’t have your next 5-year-plan today.

Life isn’t about achievements – it wouldn’t be enjoyable if it were. Life is about exploration, ¬†adventure, and discovery; it’s about creating lasting and meaningful relationships; it’s about getting ready for eternity with Christ, and telling others they have the chance to join you.

If you have dreams and goals, go at them fervently and relentlessly. But if you don’t, there is no need to panic. Dreams have a way of coming into being on their own as you explore different areas of life. Don’t try to force dreams and goals because it gives you the illusion of a fuller life. Our achievements do not determine the quality of our lives – we do. You don’t have to conquer a bucket list to give your life meaning. Your life all ready has meaning no matter where you are at.

You can reject the pressures of middle-school goal setting. God loved us and gave us worth long before we ever accomplished anything. With that in mind, go out and live. Purpose, direction, and fullness are sure to follow.

Things to Do in May

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What are some fun activities you plan on doing in May?

Comment below!

Things to Do in April

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What are your plans for April? Comment below!

5 Tools You Should Be Using

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There are five tools that you probably aren’t using right now, but should be.

Newspaper
If you’re looking for date night plans or ways to fill up your weekend, newspapers are the way to go. Not only that, but headlines give you some conversation topics, and the puzzles in the back can be a fun activity with a loved one. Plus the paper has comics. You can’t go wrong with comics.

Travel Guides
Pick up travel guides on foreign countries, different states or provinces, nearby cities, and your own city. Set a goal each month to visit someplace out of the ordinary. You’re never going to end up where you want to go accidentally. Plan. Plan one large trip a year, a day trip every three months, and half day trips in between.

Directory
Pick whatever medium suits you, whether it’s a copy of the Yellow Pages or Yelp.com. Keep a directory of services, shops, and restaurants in your area on hand. Use this resource for date night, a weekend out, or gift ideas.

Calendar
A calendar not only makes you organized, but it teaches you to prioritize and to be purposeful with your time. Take an hour or two each week to plan your schedule, with a goal in mind for each day. Don’t over-schedule, and remember to stay flexible; however, give each day a purpose. Pencil in date night, quiet time, nights out, and travel plans.

Dry Erase Board
A dry erase board is an incredibly good investment. In fact, you may want more than one. If you’re single and live alone, you can use it for scheduling out your week, planning projects, writing vocabulary words of foreign languages, inspirational quotes, or anything that motivates you. If you live with others, use it for loving messages, games, and date night or dinner plans.

What are some tools you use? Comment below!

Things to Do in March

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What do you plan to do for the month of March? Comment!

5 Magazines You Should Be Reading

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Last week we told you what 25 websites you should have bookmarked on your computer. But a lot of great resources are also available in paper form. Don’t miss out on these excellent materials whether you’re married or single, male or female, young or seasoned.
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