Tag Archives: resolutions

5 Things I’ve learned from being off social media

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In following through with my New Year’s resolution to stay off social media for the month of January, I’ve noticed a few things:

  1. I check my phone far more than I thought I did.

*I never realized what a habit it is for me to look at my phone! It’s like any time I have a spare second I’m reaching for the thing! I feel so silly grabbing it so much now since I’m off social media. Like do I really need to check my email 100 times a day? No, because, let’s be honest, I don’t need to check and see how many coupons have been sent my way from every website/store I’ve ever shopped at…EVER. Which reminds me I probably need to go through and unsubscribe from all the junk mail I get it my inbox.I get maybe 5-7 legitimate emails that need tending to a day, so to check my email all the time is a waste.

  1. I thought I might get FOMO (the “fear of missing out”) but it turns out I’m not.

*I do miss engaging by commenting back and forth with people, but otherwise I’m not sitting around wondering what everyone I follow is doing every second of the day.

  1. I’m reading more.

*I forget how much I enjoy reading until I sit down to do it. I know I love to read but sometimes I let mindless activities steal my attention; watching TV and checking social media being at the top of the list.

  1. I’m more productive around the house.

*More often than not, if I’m looking at Instagram or Facebook at home, I will get lost in the black hole for 30 minutes or more. I would start clicking around and before I knew it I’d wasted so much time just staring at my phone. It’s like I would black out for a while and when I came to I’m looking around thinking, “Where am I? What have I been doing? How is it already 10:30?! I should be in bed!” Now, instead of succumbing to the social media tractor beam, I fold clothes, I pick up around the house, I unload the dishwasher, I write, I don’t put off emails/phone calls, etc. Basically, I get stuff done more quickly because I’ve lessened my distractions.

  1. I go to bed earlier.

*Because if I’m trying to eat healthy AND I’m off social media, what else is there to do after 9:00pm? If I can’t sneak junk food while my kids are asleep or stalk people on the internet, what good is staying up late? Truth bomb.

So here’s to one New Year’s resolution that’s been good for me and hard for me. How are your resolutions going? Good, bad, or ugly? I want to know!

-Courtney

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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!

-Courtney

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Dancing with Fear

Fear. It’s a powerful feeling. For me, it’s probably second only to love. It has the ability to cripple me if I choose to let it. It gives me thousands of excuses as to why I don’t need to chase dreams or do anything out of my comfort zone. Fear is a bully. Fear digs deep inside of me and plants seeds of doubt and anxiety so they will grow roots and attempt to strangle hopes and dreams that are planted deep down as well. Something interesting that I’m finding as I am chasing something God dreamed up a few years ago, is that hopes and fears are not mutually exclusive. They don’t have to be separate. They can coexist in my life and create enough tension to propel me forward. Hope is supernatural. There is no other reason for hope except that God placed it in our hearts through Christ. Fear is human. We fear because we are human beings that aren’t in control.

This year, 2016, I’m resolving to marry hope and fear in my life in order to give birth to courage. Courage doesn’t come in absence of fear nor can it come without hope. I must have both as a means to practice courage. Without fear, the dream is too easy and without hope I would be crushed under the weight my fear. I need both.

Some of you know, some of you don’t, that I have been trying to publish a children’s book in the last year. It has given me all the feelings. ALL OF THEM. It’s getting close to being finished and printed and I couldn’t be more excited/scared/humbled that this little story is coming full circle. I will tell you more as it gets closer to releasing but for now, I’m trying to live in the tension of hope and fear.

Much of this revelation came from a song I heard this year. It’s become one of my favorites and I hope you like it too. It’s by Ben Rector who is amazing and wonderful and talented and entertaining in concert. Appropriately the song is called “Fear.” My favorite line of the song says,

“I learned to dance with the fear that I’d been running from.”

This line spoke straight to my soul. Dancing with my fear. I’d never considered that I could do that. Thanks, Ben. If you have a couple of minutes, give it a listen. As a matter of fact, listen to the whole album. It’s well worth your time.

Here’s to doing things that require courage this year. Why not do something that seems scary and uncomfortable just to see how it turns out? More times than not, these are the things that grow us more into the people we want to become. On a side note, my family gave up desserts for the month of January and this is VERY SCARY. I don’t recommend courage in the form of “no desserts”; this is lunacy.

-Courtney

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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?

-Courtney

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Update: Resolutions

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I thought I’d give a quick update on how mine are going (in case you missed my resolutions the first time you can see them here). I’m doing…ok. Some are going better than others. Why don’t we start with what I’m doing awesome at because I’m shallow like that. The book reading has been phenomenal. I tend to binge read so I’ve got 3 books under my belt so far. Every time I get on a reading kick I wonder why I don’t do it more. Then I remember I tend to get nothing done around the house when I have my nose in a book. I don’t mind it but apparently my family likes clean clothes. It’s an unfortunate reality.

The flossing hasn’t been an every day event but it’s definitely several times a week. I’m sure my dentist would be so proud. But I just switched dentists so he probably doesn’t remember me. Anywho, I’m doing better but I still don’t floss under my retainer. Who has time to get the little loop thing to go underneath the fixed retainer? Probably people who care more about dental hygiene than I do. Baby steps.

Now let’s talk about working out. I’ve been pretty good. Last week I only ended up working out twice. Unless you count when I took my dog on a walk up and down the street. And let’s be honest, if I’m being lazy, I definitely count it. I know. It’s pathetic. But overall, it’s been ok. I so wish I was one of those people that loved to work out. But I am no such person. I do feel better when I do it, but getting myself geared up to go is the hard part. So this resolution I already feel is going to be tough to keep, but I’m trying. I can only assume it’s comparable to people that like kale. They just keep eating it until they like it. Maybe one day I’ll like working out if I just keep doing it. Moving on…

Since I didn’t really put a timeframe on the adventures with the kids I haven’t exactly done a new adventure yet. I did take them hiking which counts as an adventure, but we’ve done it before. Not often because, well, my kids tend to like the indoors. It can be a struggle to get them outside sometimes. They don’t always love outdoor adventures. One, who shall remain nameless, would rather poke out his eyeballs than spend the day hiking, but he humors me and does it anyway. I’m thinking maybe in the spring taking them horseback riding because we’ve never been before. Anybody ever taken their kids horseback riding? Was it a good experience?

So, that’s how the resolutions are going. Not totally awesome, but not epic failure. I’d love to know how yours are going! Leave me a note in the Comments section and let me know!

-Courtney

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High Hopes.

Happy New Year

2015!

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!

-Courtney

 

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