Tag Archives: goals

New Year’s Resolutions and and update on “Brian”

UPDATE: As many of you saw on social media, Caitlin LOVED the enormous Yeti bear! She has named him Brian much to my chagrin. I’ve never minded the name Brian, per say, but when my daughter tells me she’s going to “sleep on Brian tonight” it kinda wigs me out. She’ll understand in a few years so for now I keep my opinions to myself and let her sweet innocence prevail. She is so proud of this bear and anyone that has come into our home has had to go up to her room to see it for themselves. She and her friends spend hours in her room playing with him. “How do you play with a stuffed animal that big?” Well, from what I hear downstairs it sounds a lot like running and jumping on him. We’ll see how long he lasts. He takes up about half of her room so I’m wondering when the novelty of Brian will wear off. Hopefully not until college seeing that it took Caitlin, Kyle, and 4 of her friends to get him upstairs. I wished I had snapped a pic of THAT! If Ross Gellar were there, he would’ve been yelling, “PIVOT! PIVOT! PIVOT!” All in all, I think this will go down as her favorite Christmas ever. (The video of Caitlin seeing “Brian” on Christmas morning is at the bottom of this post in case you missed it on social media.)

Ok, moving on to the matter at hand.

New Year’s Resolutions.

Are you the kind of person that makes them every year? Or do you skip it so as not to feel bad about not keeping them by the end of January?

I used to never make resolutions but I’d say in the last 5 years or so, I’ve consistently made resolutions every year. Maybe “resolutions” isn’t the right word; I make goals at the beginning of the year. I think this is partly due to my husband. When Kyle got into sales many moons ago, he would make goals at the beginning of the year for work. Then it kind of turned into making personal goals also. Then he sold me on the idea that it’s important to write down your goals because it offers more accountability and you’re more likely to meet them, yada, yada, yada. He’s a brilliant sales guy.

My goals for 2016 were to publish 2 books and floss every day. I met one of those and the other, well, it lasted until March. And I just heard a couple of months ago on the news that some dentists came out and said flossing doesn’t really matter. I highly doubt the validity of that but it makes me feel better about not flossing.

I remember one year writing like 2 pages worth of resolutions/goals in my journal. Bless. I had personal goals, writing goals, parenting goals, marriage goals, financial goals, and the list went on and on. And many of them started with “Every day I will ________________.” This is failure waiting to happen. The only thing I can actually guarantee I will do every day is eat, sleep, and breathe.

This year I’m keeping it simple. My goals this year are short and sweet. They are fairly trivial in nature and one of them even has a time cap. Drum roll please…

  1. Use only my iPhone calendar and get rid of the paper calendar.
  2. Write more consistently (2 blog posts a week)
  3. No social media for the month of January.

That’s it. And I will tell you the first one will be the hardest for me. I adore a paper calendar! I like to see my whole month laid out because the more I see it; the more likely I am to remember it. Alas, I’m making more appointments on the go and it would be easier if all my junk were in one place. So for any of you planning anything with me that requires me to show up, I would be so appreciative of some grace if I forget. Changing systems is HARD. It’s like re-training my brain and this old brain isn’t good with new tricks.

As for #2, writing more consistently helps my writing to become better and generates more ideas, so setting a goal to do it more seems like a no-brainer.

And the “no social media in January” is for my mental health. I need a few less voices in my head so I can hear my own. And since I won’t be on social media, I won’t be posting as much about when I have something new on the blog. If you want to get my blog posts sent straight to your email so you don’t miss any, just sign up here! A good way to contact me in January (and all the time) would be via email: courtneypallen216@gmail.com. Would love to hear from you guys!

2017 is gonna be a stellar year. I can feel it in my bones!

As promised, here’s the video!


Follow me on Facebook and Twitter!
Follow me on Instagram: @thecpallen
Can’t get enough? Click here I’ll send these straight to your inbox!

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

The One Thing I Want To Do In 2016

“I never knew how strong I was until I had to forgive someone who wasn’t sorry, and accept an apology I never received.”

I’m not sure if @pastorralexander actually came up with this or got it from someone else but it sums up in one sentence what would’ve taken me a thousand words to write. My brother showed me this quote the other day, not knowing that I had been writing about this very thing in my journal. It articulates everything I’d been trying to put into words the last month or so.

While we’re reminiscing over 2015 and thinking of goals/resolutions for 2016, this one’s mine: forgiveness. That’s my number one goal for 2016. Just like the quote says, the person I need to forgive isn’t sorry nor will I receive an apology from them. And that in itself is what makes forgiveness far more difficult. I want this person to be sorry. I want this person to want my forgiveness. They don’t. So what am I supposed to do with that? Why is it necessary that I forgive if the other person doesn’t feel they need it?

I’ll tell you exactly why it’s necessary: forgiveness will set me free. If I can choose to forgive then anger and hurt won’t control me anymore. I will hopefully be able to move on. There will be scars from the relationship but they won’t be open wounds anymore. Forgiveness will help me heal.

This might be the hardest act of love God has called me to do. I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “Forgiven people forgive people” like that’s some easy task. Then I remember what Christ went through to forgive me. He absorbed all the sin and darkness of the world into Himself then hung naked on a cross for hours before His soul was released to His Heavenly Father. This isn’t even telling of the brutality He went through on His way to the cross. Forgiveness isn’t easy. Forgiveness is like love; it’s a choice and sometimes, it’s a hard choice. It is an act that is performed in contradiction to how I’m feeling. In Romans 5:8 the Word says, “-but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” He died for us before He received an apology. He died for us when we weren’t sorry. He didn’t hold forgiveness in his fist waiting for us to earn it. He just gave it because that’s what God does. He doesn’t wait for us to come around; He opens His hands to offer us grace we don’t deserve nor do we earn.

So this year, I’m going to try to choose the hard thing every day. I’m going to choose to rise above my feelings. I’m going to ask God to take captive my angry thoughts. I’m going to try. Then when I’m weary from trying I’m going to have to go before the Lord and tell Him I can’t do this on my own and I need His strength to do it for me. I know there’s peace on the other side of forgiveness because I’ve experienced it before when I first believed in Jesus. 2016 may look a lot like God prying open my hands to share the gifts He’s graciously given to me.

I’ve got a lot of learning to do in 2016. What do you want God to teach you in the New Year?


Follow me on Facebook and Twitter!
Follow me on Instagram: @cpallen216
Can’t get enough? Click here and I’ll send these straight to your inbox!

Tagged , , , , , ,

The one tool you’ll need to get your kindergartener ready for school

It’s almost here. The beginning of a new school year. And if you’re anything like me this is about the time you start thinking about how you’ve let your kids slack during the summer on any kind of school work. Many of you are those over achievers that make your kids do the summer packet to turn in at the beginning of school. If you know me at all, or have read my blog for any length of time, it will come as no surprise that we have done next to nothing related to school this summer. I did make my oldest read his REQUIRED reading for 6th grade. I know, I really play hard ball.

Two weeks before school is usually when I start trying to get my act together and make my kids do more regular reading. I want to tell you we practice math also, but that would be quite the fib. Reading is about as far as I go. Sorry, math teachers, you will have to re-teach my kids every year because I am totally inept at math. I use words like “inept” to make up for my mediocrity in this area. Now that my kids are older I realize not everything falls out of their head during the summer so I don’t worry about it as much.

When my oldest was little, I worried a lot more about sending him to kindergarten. These days it seems that’s the big question: “Are they ready?” Parents go back and forth over this ad nauseam trying to figure out should they send them on to kindergarten or should they hold them back. And since many parents aren’t teachers by trade it’s hard to know what the little ones need to know before they start “Big Kid School.”


photo 5-2

The Kindergarten Toolkit.

Guys, I don’t have kids going into kindergarten anymore but if I did this little kit would’ve been a lifesaver! It has EVERYTHING you need to set your child up for success in their first year of school. And I can tell you after having seen a kindergartener’s report card/assessment, this kit is on point in giving you EXACTLY what you need to practice with your child.

Let’s take a looksy, shall we?

First of all, how cute is the little bee logo?

photo 4-2

When you open your toolkit, this is what you’ll find. Flashcards, a dry erase marker, a workbook, a dry erase board, and a business card from the amazing Carrie Ball, creator of the Kindergarten Toolkit.

photo 1-4photo 2-5photo 3-4

Flashcards. Yes. Flashcards are awesome because once your kids get the hang of it they can go through them on their own…while you fold laundry, or cook dinner, or check email, or clean a toilet, or do any other chores that need to get done. The flashcards include colors, shapes, numbers, and sight words, all of which will be taught in kindergarten so knowing some of these ahead of time may give your child some confidence going into their first year. I like that all of these are included in this kit so I wouldn’t need to buy any others. I’ve got everything I need in one box.


I’m not sure I’ve ever met a kid who doesn’t like a dry erase board and markers. It’s an excellent tool for practicing letters, numbers, shapes, and words. It’s also good for drawing pictures when your child needs a break. For older kids, this would be great to take in the car to let them practice their writing. For the littles, I would stick to flashcards in the car. If your littles are anything like mine were, marker would just end up everywhere except the white board.

photo 2-4photo 1-3

The toolkit also includes goals and has lessons for each goal. This gives non-teachers like me direction and ways to assess how much my kids know when we begin and an end goal to work toward. The lesson plans are well layed out and easy to follow. There is a lot of repetition in the lessons so it’s easy for the kids to catch on. I also love that it gives examples of ways to utilize the toolkit while you’re out running errands. As parents our lives sometimes seem to revolve around errands so it’s nice to have ways to teach your kids while you’re getting stuff done. I think it also helps promote conversation in the car which can be easy to miss when we’re listening to the radio or our kids are watching a show or playing electronics. Not that we would ever do that, wink wink.

I can’t tell you how I wish I had had one of these when my kids were starting school. It tells you exactly what to work on with your sweet one before they go off to big kid school. And it comes with its own box that’s big enough for all its supplies. It practically organizes itself for those who may be challenged in that area i.e. me. If your kids are in preschool, you need this toolkit. Here’s how to get one…


Or you can email Carrie directly at:  thekindergartentoolkit@gmail.com

Hang in there, moms of littles, summer is almost over. You can almost envision going to the bathroom by yourself again.


Follow me on Facebook & Twitter!

Can’t get enough? Click here! I’ll send these to your inbox.

Tagged , , , , , , ,

High Hopes.

Happy New Year


2015. New year. New resolutions. New hope.

What is it about the New Year that seems to fill us with so much hope? January 1st holds so much promise for the next 365 days. I think I can do anything on January 1st. I dare to dream of fulfilling all the resolutions I’ve made for the year. I hold so much hope that this will be the year I do ____________. Every. Single. Year.

This year is no different. I did actually take a moment on New Year’s Eve and write down some resolutions and goals for 2015. I think the studies are on point when they say that you’re more likely to accomplish goals when you write them down. (For the record, I have no idea who “they” are that do these “studies” but I’m naïve and believe they’re legit). I wish I could say I have a special place where I keep my past year’s resolutions, but that would be a lie. I don’t know where they are. Probably in 3 different journals that have the first 10 pages filled in and the rest are blank. This year I wrote them in the journal Kyle gave me. And one of my goals for this year is to fill that journal to the very last page. There’s that hope again, rising up in me. (Don’t worry; this is not the prelude to break into a worship song. Feel free if you feel led on your side of the computer though).

So here are a few of my resolutions for 2015:resolutions

  1. Floss more than I did in 2014. So basically, if I floss more than 20 times I’ll probably be flossing more than I did last year. I can do that, right?
  2. Read at least 12 books this year. A book a month. That’s doable. It may require me to turn off the TV though…or at the very least, mute the TV. I just ordered 4 books on Amazon so I think I’ve got a good start.
  3. Exercise at least 3 times a week. It’s always on the list. Every year I drink the “workout resolution” Kool-Aid. Can’t help it. For some people, 3 times a week seems like a lot. For others, ya’ll think I’m a sissy. It’s the consistency that will prove difficult for me. Consistency is the goal.
  4. Try 2 new things/adventures with my family. I’m not sure what this looks like so I’m open to suggestions. If you’ve done anything super fun with your family, please leave me a note in the Comments section letting me know what you did. Preferably something outdoorsy since we tend to be “indoor” people.

Now that I’ve let you in on a few of my resolutions, let me tell you what I won’t be doing this year. These are some of my “Unresolutions”:

  1. I will NOT get more organized. This year I’ve decided to embrace my unorganized tendencies. To me, being a naturally organized person is a gift. It’s not mine. I will more than likely need someone (cough, cough, Kat) to help me organize something this year. Instead of feeling ashamed that I’m not gifted at something, why not ask for help from someone who is? #winning
  2. I will NOT lose 25 lbs. I’m trying to reverse psychology myself. Just go with it.
  3. I will NOT wake up super early to spend time with Jesus everyday. Oh, how I wish this wasn’t true. I wish I had it in me to wake up at 5:30 every morning to read the Word of God. To have rich time with God for an hour before the crazies get up. It may happen some in 2015, but I can promise you it won’t be happening every day. I will try to spend time with the Lord daily because I need it, but it may not look the same every day. What if I just resolve to do my best and accept grace for the rest? (It dawns on me that that’s a rhyme. Ugh. I’m one of those rhymy people now).
  4. I will stand firm in NOT putting seasonal/any decorations on my car. No antlers, elf ears, Rudolph noses, eyelashes, mustaches, and definitely no body parts hanging from the back. That last one, they should be ashamed of themselves (#gross). I don’t understand this practice and refuse to partake in it even if it is something of a phenomenon in suburbia.

So there it is, friends. The resolutions and the unresolutions. Please share in the Comments section what goals you’ve set for 2015. I’d love to hear from you!



Follow me on Facebook & Twitter!

Can’t get enough? Click here! I’ll send these to your inbox.

Tagged , , , , , ,