WT 93: How Can I Be More Intentional in 2018?

We’re a few weeks into the New Year and while Karen isn’t big personally on making new year’s resolutions I know a lot of us are setting goals and trying to do some things differently this year. Today’s episode is full of questions from moms trying to be more intentional in 2018 and create some habits that are good for the mind, body and soul. 

Question 1: I’d really like to be more intentional with my kids in this new year. Any advice on goal setting with middle and high schoolers? I mean, should I set those for them (i.e. you need to earn $5000 by summer if you want a car! Or ….You need to make an 1800 on your SAT to get into the school you want to go to) or leave them alone to figure it out?

Karen's Answer: Boy, this is a great question, and one I think we could spend a whole day talking about. I think the answer to this question is yes and no. Depending on the age of your children I would suggest different things. First off, NEVER leave it to a middle schooler to make their own decisions, especially if you have boys! Their brains are not fully developed. But, I do think middle school is a great age to communicate to your son or daughter that as they grow older you will start letting them be more independent and explain what that looks like. In middle school, map out the rest of the time with your child while they are in your home. Just like when our children were toddlers, we gave them one baby step at a time. Ways a mom can encourage their child to grow up:

Middle School - Have them set their own alarm and get up and get ready in the morning. Help your child with their schedule of classes, but don’t dictate what they will or will not take. Explain the pros and the cons of each of the classes.

High School -  They need to get up on their own. They should make their own lunch and breakfast, (mom have the groceries there, but let your child do the work) Teach them to do their laundry and expect them to do it. Even if you can buy your child a car, ask them to chip in a bit. Greg and I had each child contribute $1,000 to the car fund once they turned 16.  Your teen should pick their classes from start to finish and do ALL his/her projects himself. If they do a sport then they have to manage their time. We had a rule that if the grades dropped below a B they were off the team. We allowed our children to manage the rest.

Late High School - Talk about colleges and what each school’s qualifications are for admissions. Let the teen decide where they want to go and then work toward that. SAT, ACT is on them, not you as a mom. Our children signed up for those tests on their own and applied for colleges on their own. (We would give advice, reminders, but it was on the teen.)

What is the old saying, “Feed a man a fish and you’ve fed him a meal, teach him how to fish and you’ve fed him for life." Get into that mindset. Start setting your teenager up for success now, don’t wait until they are a senior.


Question 2:  My husband and I are polar opposites when it comes to spending. He thinks the house we are in is fine (it is 30 years old and could use some updates) and that the kids never need new things (we have 4 growing kids and I’m embarrassed by how they look sometimes) How do we get on the same page?

Karen's Answer: Whew! I get it! Greg and I are polar opposites too. Compromise is the key. Sit down and share with your husband what you want to do in your home and what you are thinking about your children’s wardrobe.  Instead of doing a whole room of furniture, do one piece at a time.  With your children, put their clothing allowance in your budget.  Start with the basics and work your way out. Communicate to your spouse that this is important to you and you want to work with him, not against him. Talk through ways you can both be happy. One suggestion for the clothes is to go to consignment shops. You can get nice things at a huge discounted rate.  Today, these stores have great stuff at a fraction of the price. Also, TJ Max is an excellent place to get some staples for your children’s clothing. Write down what you want to accomplish in 2018, and then take a step toward that goal. It might just be, getting a price on a new sofa so when you talk to your husband you are giving him a #, not, “I want a whole new house of furniture”.


Question 3: I’d love to try and memorize Scripture this year but I have no clue what to memorize or even how to start. Any ideas on getting started?

Karen's Answer:  What a great question. When I memorize scripture, I want it to minister to me in an area that I am struggling with, to help me be stronger.  Here are a few of my favorites in the areas that I need help.

Fear- 2 Timothy 1:7 "For God did not give us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power, love and self discipline."

Control- Romans 8:28 "And we know that in ALL things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."

My Actions- Romans 12: 17-18  "Do not repay evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody.  If it is possible , as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone."

The Greatness of God- Isaiah 40 (maybe too long to memorize, but it is great to read on a regular basis to remind us all how BIG God is, and how He is in control. This chapter brings me peace.

When I feel Defeated- Philippians 4:13 "I can do everything through Him who gives me strength. vs 19 And my God will meet all your needs …."

Think about areas in your life where you need encouragement, direction, or wisdom. Then look up key words in your concordance and look up those verses. When a verse speaks to you, write it down and memorize it.


Question 4: I had a baby last summer and have finally admitted that I’m not going to magically fit back into my old clothes. I have bought a few new things, but I am really hoping to lose most of the baby weight. How do I manage the new baby, my job, caring for the home and finding time to work out!? Just thinking about it stresses me out...and makes me want ice cream. #maybethatsmyproblem

Karen's Answer: One step at a time. :) Exercise: Think through your day and be creative on ways to make small changes that could make a big impact over time. For instance, if you work on the third floor of your building, walk up the stairs instead of taking the elevator everyday. Park further away from your office, except on days that it is raining, and get a few more steps in your day. At work, do a few squats at your desk, about 10-15 every hour or so. On the weekends take your baby on a walk around your neighborhood and push the stroller while you walk. Killing two birds with one stone! Weight: One easy way to drop a few pounds is to cut out soda.  Even diet soda.  Last year I also cut WAY back on my bread, and it made a huge difference.  Think about having a different side other than french fries.

We don’t have enough time for me to re-live the days when I struggled with this,  but, yes! I went through this.  I think it was with Taylor, the weight was not coming off, and I had the two girls as well, so I never felt like I had any me time.  One day, I was complaining to Greg about my weight and he said, “tell me what you are eating”.  I went through my normal routine, and he said, “Are you eating these muffins everyday?” I said, “Yes”. He was like, “that is your problem, each muffin is 500 calories and then when you smother it with butter, you are adding more fat and calories.” I had no idea because I never looked at ingredients like that. I stopped eating the muffins, and sure enough, some of the weight started coming off. Just take one baby step today and be gentle with yourself.

Moms, we know your time is precious. Thank you for spending it with us. We hope you feel encouraged, equipped and most importantly—the peace of God.  If you want to have weekly encouragement emailed to you, enter your email address in the sidebar to the right to sign up for Karen’s free weekly newsletter.

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