This topic contains 53 replies, has 32 voices, and was last updated by  Lauren Scott 6 months ago.

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  • #54463

    Mystie Winckler
    Keymaster

    Share your 3-part seed habit – The habit part we’re working on is a dedicated time to repeating our key truth so it will “haunt” us – prompt us – to do or say the right thing in the midst of the crazy.

    Trigger:
    Action:
    Reward:

    All three together make a habit sticky!

    Mine is

    Trigger: Sticky note on top of my planner page & also a half-index-card I’m sticking over my phone when I plug it in for the night so I see it when I get water before going to the gym.
    Action: Mentally repeat at minimum, whisper to self preferably: “Let all that you do be done in love.” from 1 Corinthians 16. I had been trying one of my vocation statements: “I serve God and my family, not myself” but I wasn’t finding it as sticky and convicting-in-the-moment as I was looking for. This week I read this verse and it hit me between the eyes, so I figured it needed to be my self-talk focus point.
    Reward: Boot to the rear back onto God’s will for my life instead of my own will for my life.

    How much of the way I respond or what I do is done because it’s love of myself and my own way? This verse also reminds me of “Each of you should look not only to his own interests but also to the interests of others” and “consider others better than yourself.”

    Whatever your motto is, it is a good idea to think it through, either after saying it or another time like while driving, particular ways you might apply the truth in active ways. When you pray, ask God to open your heart and eyes to application moments.

  • #54485

    Lauren Scott
    Participant

    I think I have a fear of missing out that rears its head in several ways, perhaps summed up by the word discontentment.

    Part of it comes in the area of disciplined eating (or lack thereof). When my kids or family get to enjoy something glutenous that I can’t have, I tend to focus on what I’m missing and then justify finding a replacement for that thing (especially when it comes to deserts). This can lead to overeating and unneeded sweets (and the long-term result–extra weight and further discontentment).

    I need to be able to see what others are enjoying and be happy for them rather than allowing that to be a trigger for me to want to “get what’s mine”. The biblical terms I’m thinking of concerning this are Covetousness/Discontentment, Greed, Comparing, Gluttony… So the things to put on (correlating to those) would be Contentment, Satisfaction (in the Lord), a God-oriented focus, and potentially Fasting or at least learning to say “No”.

    I’ve had a hard time reducing those thoughts to a single verse or statement, but here’s what I’ve got so far:

    TRIGGER: Written out on an index card by my computer and probably in like five places in the kitchen. :-P I may also implement the idea of attaching it to the phone for when I wake up. I need this reminder in a LOT of places.

    ACTION: Read to myself what’s written: “The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.” By God’s grace, I can be happy for others and content with the Lord’s provision for me. “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want…” (I have this psalm memorized, so if there’s time and I’m so led I can remind myself of the rest of it.)

    REWARD: Turning off the discontentment and making decisions from a place of contentment and from a God-oriented vantage point.

  • #54504

    stefani.mons
    Participant

    I’m struggling to figure out my 3 cues. Honestly, visual cues (like taped up index cards or even entire sheets of paper with large print) do not seem to help, but I’ll try again… somewhere different. :( I was thinking at my spot at the kitchen table, but sometimes lunch isn’t at the table, so that doesn’t add up to 3 anymore. Or maybe on the Big Berkey water filter that’s right by my laptop–but I’m trying to reduce the time/times I’m at my laptop! LOL

    Ooh, ooh! I just sat here thinking for a minute… since I now have a book near me all the time (for the reading habit), I’m going to replace the tiny post-it note bookmark that I’m using with a big one with the “motto” written on it.

    Trigger: Opening my book to read (which is my new “go-to” for when I’m feeling frustrated or thwarted in the days progress instead of my phone) and seeing the giant bookmark with words on it
    Action: Read “The two most powerful warriors are patience and time.” (Leo Tolstoy) If I can fit more–maybe use bigger than 3×3–I may also add “This child is a human being. Human beings are unpredictable.” (Susan Wise Bauer)
    Reward: Deep breath and perspective shift. If you can’t tell, my current struggles are anger, annoyance and impatience with my children when I feel like they are derailing “my” day.

  • #54516

    caroljaime
    Participant

    This is my favorite habit thus far! I really like what Mystie said in the email “Our self-talk habit must be repeating truth back to God, aligning ourselves with His Word and His story and His standards. We’re not choosing words to say so that our day and our lives conform to our expectations. We’re choosing words to say so that we conform to God’s, more and more each day.”

    Trigger: On my computer, In my bible, index card holding the page for my five minute reading of Proverbs for that day, and index card at bed-side table.

    Action: Say aloud, thankfully pray and claim the promise that “If you can believe all things are possible to him that believes”

    Reward: Getting to walk in God’s love and enjoying His promise of a more than abundant life.

    I continue be so excited about how beautifully all of the habits weave together and sprout in different areas and moments through my day even when the cue is not visible. They are truly sticking like TAR!! :)

  • #54519

    ladydusk
    Participant

    Trigger – when I see my [conform] bracelet
    Action is say “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”
    Reward – relief in remembering that it is God who is making me holy, not myself.

  • #54522

    Lynette Dickson
    Participant

    Trigger: when I reach for my phone anytime during the day, I will see my notecard rubberbanded to my phone that reads Psalm 37:4.
    Action: I will read it and pray that I delight myself in God (so I don’t need to complain to myself about any situation).
    Reward: The relief that I don’t have to worry about a situation (which is why I complain to myself about them) because my delight is in God, and He has me and any situation I face! Basically my reward is more peace ?

  • #54528

    Robin Mureiko
    Participant

    Trigger: sticky note on my phone
    Action: Greater love than this no man has than to lay down his life for his friends ~John 15:13
    Reward: Peace that I am doing His will and not my own.
    Pray for me, ladies. I’m having insomnia for several hours every night. It is really hard right now to do my days! ??

    • #54604

      caroljaime
      Participant

      Praying for you Robin☀️

  • #54543

    Brynn Oly
    Participant

    I have a really hard time with this one…I love what you ladies have already written…I’ll be back to see what the other great minds chime in later, and I may have to straight up steal one, maybe several.

    I can’t seem to rub two thoughts together with my guys running around in all their glory, so I’ll just think here “out loud”. The bad-attitude things I often tell myself are “It doesn’t matter” and “I can’t do anything right”, but the Bible says in Ps 73:26 “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever”. In our study of 1 Peter, I’m supposed to be memorizing 1:13 this week: “Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (I was super intrigued by the pastor’s assertion that we are not called to a life of ease but of adventure; I didn’t really appreciate how scary adventure could be until I had children.)

    I’ve been a little discouraged through the process of the course at how irregular my days are. Oh, I’ll attach the prayer to brushing my teeth…am utterly HORRIFIED at how hit and miss brushing my teeth is in this season!!!! O.o Everything I’m thinking about attaching this habit to–microwave, car, water cup–are all so variable. I get at least two drives in, three days a week; nothing two days when I’m lucky; and passenger the other two. Grr! I think the microwave is going to be best…even if I don’t use it, it’s in the middle of the kitchen, and I use that little strip of counter all the time.

    Trigger: tape the verse on the microwave door to see when I’m making coffee, nuking anything, and pouring milk
    Action:Say Ps 73:26 “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever”
    Reward: breath of peace whispering through my heart because I don’t have to do it all by myself after all

    • #54580

      caroljaime
      Participant

      Brynn,I am right there with you! The beauty of these little seed habits is that we can take baby steps. Just a little at a time. I think it so cool that our Father let’s us know that there is therefore now no condemnation to them who are in Christ Jesus! Because it’s in our nature to beat ourselves up and second guess ourselves. Gentle baby steps, mustard seeds planted, all the while He assures us that He’s holding our hand every step of the way!
      I will be praying for you ☺?

  • #54579

    HeidiS
    Participant

    I am loving this series. I started strong on week 1, and am seeing God already build a more robust prayer life in the hidden moments of time I never before noticed. Also, regular exercise and Bible reading are back to daily habits in awesome ways. However, THIS is the week that really hits home. I think so many things that I never question.

    Trigger:Pop-up on my phone each hour, on the hour, from 6am – 8pm. (I am almost certain to swipe a few away in hectic moments, so I figure this gives me a fighting chance to truly complete it at least 3 times.)

    Action:Pray my life scripture passage in order to repent and start fresh: 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 “Rejoice always, prayer without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

    Reward: The pleasure of knowing that I am in the will of God and that I am setting a better tone in my home and workplace.

    • #54586

      caroljaime
      Participant

      Yes! I have been seeing the same! The way each seed habit gives New seed. Scripture pops up in my head at crucial moments throughout the day and at restful moments alike! These are rewards in themselves. God tells us in His word that His word does not return void! So awesome! We get to see His word grow in our lives as we apply it! The rewards are worth every tiny effort! ❤

      • #54599

        Lauren Scott
        Participant

        Yes! I’m seeing the same impact on my mind and heart. More scriptures (and songs) than the ones that I’ve written on my cards have been coming to mind. God is so good to grow these seeds, isn’t He? :-)

      • #54605

        caroljaime
        Participant

        It’s Beautiful! Truly reflects and reconfirms what a tender, kind, and gentle Heavenly Father we have❤ We take just a little step towards Him and he opens up the windows of heaven for us!

    • #54639

      Lea Stage
      Participant

      Great verse and great idea about the phone pop-up!

  • #54607

    Taphath
    Participant

    Being patient with my kids is a challenge for me more days than not. They seem to have trouble “hearing” (not literally). For some reason, I take offense that they don’t listen to me. I have been praying for patience for a long time, praying for my heart to show love instead of frustration, and praying for my attitude. I write verses, I have notes in places, I pray over myself- but I can’t seem to stop being irritated by my kids. I know they aren’t perfect, but MY attitude is a problem. This habit is what drew me to join you ladies. I’m hoping the daily checklist will help motive me.

    Trigger: Seeing James 1:19 “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry.” written on my hand.
    Action: Say this verse out loud as a prayer over myself.
    Reward: Feeling like s better mom.

    Please pray for me- I want to be an example of the love of Christ to my children.

    • #54610

      jaymediane
      Participant

      Have you journaled your feelings throughout the day to identify what is triggering you in those moments?

  • #54609

    jaymediane
    Participant

    If someone had asked me what three things do you want to do that you don’t do I would have chosen a) rise early b) exercise c) eat healthily. I have been successfully rising early in the morning for the past month and have really enjoyed it (I have a strict no work-out rule which keeps me willing to get up) and thanks to Mystie’s seed habit, I have incorporated stretching into my day (and intend to add more exercises). But food is a HUGE problem for me. And always has been. It’s my secret sin. The thing I feel guilty about. The thing I hide. The thing I can’t control. So when thinking of doing right, this came to mind.

    Trigger: 3x5s on the fridge, pantry, stove, and by the cutting board.
    Action: Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. 1 Cor 10:31
    Reward: Glorifying God.

    I can already feel my brain trying to work around this.

  • #54619

    Lisa Bosma
    Participant

    Trigger: index card with my to-do list

    Action: “Let us not grow weary in doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up” Gal.6:9

    Reward: Renewed perspective & encouragement to persevere

    My days have been extra exhausting the last few months & I usually feel like giving up by 10 AM! This is definitely a verse I need to be meditating on!

  • #54624

    Abby Wahl
    Participant

    My bad attitude habit I want to replace is my critical spirit towards others (often my children).

    Trigger: Picture (I have printed little pictures of a chainsaw cutting a log. I am placing them strategically around my house).

    Action: Say the motto: “Log or Sawdust?” then reading the verse on the back of the picture card.

    Reward:Remembering that I need to aggressively remove the log in my own eye and gently sweep the sawdust.

    One verse per card:
    Galatians 6:1-2
    Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. 2 Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

    Proverbs 14:1
    The wisest of women builds her house, but folly with her own hands tears it down.

    Matthew 7:3-5
    Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.

    John 15:4-11
    Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.

  • #54630

    kobi
    Participant

    Trigger: A notecard above my bathroom sink: I’ll see it throughout the day, but privately.
    Action: Read/pray Proverbs 31:26-28
    “She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
    She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.
    Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her.”
    Reward: I will give my children or husband physical affection, a hug or a kiss.
    Plus, hopefully I will speak more kindly to my family, take care of my family better, and use my time wisely because I’m thinking on such things.

  • #54631

    Alison
    Participant

    I have a bad habit of being lazy, I will get overwhelmed with the crazy and mentally check out. Then I waste my time, I ignore the kids & my other duties. I become lost in my own malcontent. I really hate this cycle and I need to plant the seeds to replace it.
    Trigger- picking up my phone seeing the sticky note
    Action- pray, “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. His mercy endures forever.” (Psalm 117)
    Reward- Giving thanks to God for whatever my currant circumstances & being grateful for His mercy.
    Hopefully this will encourage me, in the moment, to endure by drawing on His Strength.

  • #54634

    meghan.sides
    Participant

    I would like to change my attitude from stinginess (selfishness) with my time, energy, smiles, and stuff to generosity, especially towards my husband and kids. I love the little motto from Rachel Jankovich, “when you need, give” and the verse behind it, Luke 6:38 – Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.” So I’ll probably use that, taped to the side of the coffee table that I see when sitting on the couch to do school – probably also in the kitchen somewhere to catch me during meal prep. Although I really identified with the comment made earlier about food being a thing and the verse about glorifying God in my eating and drinking would be great for there.

    Also, This may not be truly kosher habit-change methodology because it was kind of an internal trigger but it was huge for me. A couple years ago our 16-month-old son had to go in for full anesthesia surgery and I was struggling with fear. And my lightening bolt thought was “I am not allowed to worry about this. That is sin. So I have to hand this over to God. Every time.” And it wasn’t a one time decision. So my trigger became every time I was tempted to fear, my action was to ask God to protect my son and help me to trust Him, and my reward was great peace. And it’s still a habit when I catch myself starting to worry. The prayer seed habit has been so good for getting me praying when there’s nothing scary right in my face reminding me! I don’t want to pray only when there’s a problem, of course. ?

    • #55504

      Mystie Winckler
      Keymaster

      Beautiful! Yes! That’s exactly the kind of habits we all need to be forming – the habit of repentance. ?

  • #54640

    vickibeddingfield
    Participant

    I’m wanting to rebuild my relationship with my 14DS by not reacting harshly to his moodiness and know-it-all attitude. I’ve realized that my responses stem from pride – pride that I want it my way and that I know-it-all! I want to react with gentleness, humility, and patience, mirroring the loving way that the Lord responds to me.
    Trigger: Verses painted on small card and framed. I’ll place one by my bedside to see when rising and going to bed, and one by my workspace and computer.
    Action: Say aloud and turn it into a prayer…
    1) “Love is patient, love is kind…it is not proud…it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.” ICor 13:4-5 .
    2) “Always be humble and gentle, be patient with each other, making allowances for each other’s faults because of your love.” Eph.4:2
    Reward: Inward smile to self, knowing that small seeds of God’s amazing love are being planted into my son as these truths become actively alive in my responses to him.

  • #54642

    Anna Gibney
    Participant

    I finally figured out a seed habit for this week!

    I know I have poor reactions and feeling, but had trouble articulating them in a way to address them. Then I found that the counter to these negative thoughts and feelings is peace.

    I wasn’t sure my trigger u til I scrolled my Facebook feed (bad habit, I know). It’s posts can leave me confused, overwhelmed, anxious, not feeling enough, many things.

    So trigger is when I’m scrolling through social media or negative news sites.

    Action- repeating this verse

    “My peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

    Reward- recentered, calmed down, stepping away from the troubles of the world and closer to God.

  • #54643

    Caroline Tobin
    Participant

    I need to think through my trigger better. I did put a pop-up on my phone, but I do tend to just swipe those away more often than not.
    My verse is Luke 1:38: Be it done unto me according to your word. (That’s actually my word for the year too – Fiat, short for the Latin translation of this verse.)
    I’m hoping it will help me with any feelings of resentment or “Why am I always the one…?” while taking care of my house and family.

  • #54651

    jenn56093
    Participant

    Trigger: On my planner, which I look at throughout the day.
    Action: Repeat~ Be patient, love well, do kindness!! Taking from bible verse Galatians 5:22-23 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!
    Reward: Fulfilling what God has called me to and being and being example of Him, amongst that melt-downs and struggles that pop up during the day.

  • #54660

    TawniM
    Participant

    I am not a naturally vigilant person. It’s very easy for me to get lost in my mental world (or Facebook, tbh) and just assume that everything in the physical world is fine. So my verse is 1 Peter 5:5: “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walkers about, seeking whom he may devour.” Interestingly, this comes right after the verse “Casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you.” So, it doesn’t mean to worry, but in our lack of worry still to be awake and aware and diligent.

    Trigger: phone alert (at 9, noon, and 3)
    Action: Read 1 Peter 5:5
    Reward: Regaining focus and awareness

  • #54663

    Ljb2001
    Participant

    I just want to start by saying how much I appreciate everyone’s courage for being so honest and real. It helps me not to feel so alone in my struggles, and proves how y’all have shown up and committed to improving your lives through this course.

    I tend to get overwhelmed with all the activities and responsibilities that suddenly appear. It isn’t like I’m not properly preparing, but life continually interrupts (in big ways) my plans. I finially realize I react like Ricky Ricardo because that bravado covers my fear, and usually works to get things done. I am now in the habit of restating in a calm voice what I had just hastily spewed from my mouth. But I want to change my thoughts.

    Trigger: Feeling my shoulders tighten, noticing I’m tense and holding my breath.

    Action: Whisper “I serve God and my family, not myself.” Or “God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever,” depending on if I’m feeling put off or fearful. Relax shoulders and deep breath.

    Reward: Smile and thank God in a whisper.

    • #54674

      amarichal
      Participant

      Which habits app do you use?

  • #54673

    Amberley Almarode
    Participant

    Trigger: Phone alerts in my Habits app (I am seriously loving this app!!) :)

    Action: Read/pray the verse that pops up
    Give thanks to the Lord for he is good. (1 pm)
    Be kind and compassionate to one another. (3 pm)
    Don’t worry about anything, instead, pray about everything; tell God your needs, and don’t
    forget to thank him for his answers. (5:30 pm)

    Reward: Refocusing on Jesus and the kind of thinking he wants me to have.

  • #54675

    Lea Stage
    Participant

    I deal with constant back pain that gets me worried that I am getting worse not better.
    Trigger: feel the pain and start worrying
    Action: Tell myself, “Rejoice in the Lord, always!” “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation.” I am too blessed to be bitter and I shouldn’t wait to celebrate all that He has done for me. He doesn’t make mistakes. Cast all of my cares on Him for He cares for me.
    Reward: I lay aside the burden of responsibility to cure myself. I feel better because I am worshiping Him and giving praise in times of tribulation is a special kind of blessing to Him and to me.

  • #54687

    Kristie
    Participant

    I’m gonna be a rebel and not use the format that I’m supposed to. :)

    I need constant reminders to stop complaining about my circumstances so I have written on my planner, “This is the day that the Lord has made. I WILL REJOICE and be glad in it.” I see this reminder at least three times a day. The preschool version of this song is also in my head quite frequently. I am hoping to remember that God uses all of these things for good and I should stop complaining that my life plans didn’t fit into what God had planned for me. I’m quite stubborn.

  • #54694

    Lyne
    Participant

    TRIGGER: when I feel I am not enough…when there isn’t enough of me to go around, when there isn’t enough time in the day, when my house isn’t perfect, when attitudes stink, when people are difficult, when I can’t or won’t meet expectations of others—-HIS GRACE IS SUFFICIENT

    ACTION: First, remember that no one can make me feel inferior without my consent, to include myself.so I don’t give consent.
    Second, HIS GRACE IS SUFFICIENT FOR ME. Pray these verses:
    2 Cor. 3:4-6 And we have such trust through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God, who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

    2 Cor. 12:9And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

    REWARD: peace and walking in strength and dignity

    **My 17 year old says about kids teasing each other, “if you just acknowledge what someone is picking on you about, it takes the elephant out of the room and they stop. Yes, I’m Awkward. What are you going to do about it?” ;)

    So, yeah, I’m weak and imperfect and make mistakes and I leave things incomplete. BUT HIS GRACE IS SUFFICIENT!

    Lyne

  • #54723

    Lauren Scott
    Participant

    WOULD LOVE FEEDBACK
    I think I’m going to change mine up this week as I can see a particular area that REALLY needs attention in my attitude and work ethic (and what I came up with initially is a bit too general).

    I’m the family accountant by delegation and my husband likes us to track everything we spend. And so it’s my job whether I like it or not. I just tend to not like it.

    I’m also supposed to enter everything I eat into MyFitnessPal. But guess what? I tend not to like that, either.

    Common thread running through my head: “Data entry is the bane of my existence.” But it’s also a necessary part of my existence.

    I’d love to hear if anyone has suggestions for countering this attitude (scriptures, tips, etc). Here’s what I’m brainstorming right now for my TAR:

    Trigger: Card on phone and computer (since the phone is a way of escaping and the computer is both a place of escaping and the place where repentance can happen).
    Action: Data entry is good, valuable, necessary work. Good data means a more accurate big-picture and power to make informed decisions. Data entry is empowering! (or something along these lines)
    Scripture… I need to look up the one on “he who is faithful in a little thing is faithful also in much…” But I’m also thinking I really need to do something with this…maybe it will just give me pause before escaping to my phone, but then maybe I should hunker down and do 3-5 minutes of data entry before doing anything else at my computer… thoughts?
    Reward: My self-talk above really focuses on the rewards…so when I DO tend to the finances and data entry, I can pause and consider what a blessing I am providing for myself, for my husband, and for our family. It is GOOD work.

    • #54729

      stefani.mons
      Participant

      Hey Lauren,

      Let me throw out a few ideas about data entry for you with a little background. The last two jobs I had in college involved a fair amount of data entry, which I didn’t mind, or I even enjoyed as I worked through the piles of paper (sense of accomplishment when it was done!), but for my entire married life, I have resisted tracking our spending. It seemed annoying and tedious–plus as an ISTJ, if ever anything was “off” (you know, trying to balance the checkbook and somewhere it’s off by 8 cents) it drove me crazy! I would just pay attention to some monthly markers (bills, credit card statements, etc.), but that was it. Near the end of last year, I decided that we needed to budget, and I have been budgeting and tracking our spending ever since last November.

      What changed? I came up with a why. For us, it’s to get out of some credit card debt that we have fallen into. From there, I’d like to increase our retirement contributions. So I have some goals! What are your goals for tracking spending? Paying off debt? Saving for retirement? Saving for a vacation? If you are tracking spending for no reason, I think it WILL seem very tedious and annoying because it seems pointless.

      Here are some other things that help me feel like it’s not so tedious:
      1. I make my own spreadsheet in “Excel” (really Spreadsheet in OpenOffice) to track everything, with categories that make sense to ME, and laid out in a way that is visually appealing to me. If I had to do it on paper (which I’ve tried before), I think I’d die. But maybe it’s the opposite for you.
      2. I have separate tracking for bills (less control, some are fixed, some are variable) vs monthly spending (more control: groceries, clothes, etc.), so I can focus my effort where it counts.
      3. Some things are tracked separately (like credit card payments) because sometimes the spending and bill-paying of said spending are separated by some time (which would make things not line up “correctly” and bug me).
      4. I still don’t “balance the checkbook” LOL Everything on our statements has been or is recorded (I double check all charges), so I just trust the banks’ balance number instead of searching for the missing 8 cents for two hours and still not finding it! (Maybe someone will say that I shouldn’t trust banks like that, but frankly, it’s not worth the stress it causes.)
      5. I made colorful graphs!!! I’m a visual person, but honestly, the clutter of the whole month’s spending entries look just like that: clutter. Making graphs puts all the little numbers in perspective without overwhelming me.

      Anyway, I have no idea if any of that helped you, but I think that exploring your options for recording everything might help change your attitude about it. Since like you, I’m CFO of my house by default, my husband trusts however I’ve decided to put it all together and do it each month. He’s just happy he didn’t have to set it all up (though he’d probably do it all differently if it was his job!).

      Also, this is my go-to Bible verse for lots of vocation related tasks:
      “Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful.”
      – 1 Corinthians 4:2
      I’m a steward. In this case, I’m stewarding our financial resources. (For other vocations, I’m stewarding children, or time.) God has blessed me with these resources, and as a faithful servant, I should care for these resources with care, love, and an eye toward Him.

      • #54735

        Lauren Scott
        Participant

        Thanks, Stafani. That was really helpful.

        It’s hard for me to organize things in my own way since my husband was using Quicken before we got married and passed it off to me to manage and we’ve logged ten years now in Quicken, so that probably won’t change. It does feel like it stands in judgment of me all the time, though, because if I’m not 100% caught up on everything, all of the fancy shmancy reports aren’t worth much (or they don’t seem to be). It seems to make our tracking very all-or-nothing rather than based on personal priority.

        I’m an INTJ, which means I love analyzing data but struggle to find the motivation when I’m the one responsible for entering every little detail. I think I need to see those details as pieces in a puzzle, and think of how frustrated I am when a puzzle is missing pieces and how rewarding it is to have all the pieces and see them fit together.

        I loved the reminder of stewardship. Thanks for the scripture reference to that point–I need to meditate on that one!

        And I think you nailed it when it comes to knowing the WHY. I’m honestly mostly coming up blank (aside from the puzzle analogy above). I think I need to sit down with my husband and get his take on the why–I’m sure he has specific goals in mind, but they’re not clear in my head, so it makes it hard for me to own them as my WHY. Thanks for the tip in that direction. :-)

      • #54736

        stefani.mons
        Participant

        If you need some direction for a WHY, and help if you need to get “on the same page” with your husband, I’d recommend Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey. I just finished it a few days ago, and it was helpful for putting a clear vision in front of me. I told my husband he has to read it now, and I put on his nightstand. :)

        Honestly, though, if you hate Quicken, you shouldn’t feel bad ditching it for something else. You won’t lose your past data or analytics, would you? It would just sit there if you ever wanted to reference it. I tried Quicken for a while (when I was trying to balance the checkbook) and wasn’t a fan–just a digital checkbook register. Maybe it does more than I thought it did, though (over 12 years ago) to snazz it up for various goal-setting. There are so many other “budgeting” applications now, though–maybe even some that would import your Quicken data! It’s worth a quick browse–a few off the top of my head are YNAB (You Need a Budget) and Every Dollar.

        And you are right, if everything is not perfect in Quicken, then it would mess up reports, which is why I separate things. Really, I have a budget separate from the “checkbook balancing” (that I don’t do LOL) as they are two different operations! I might spend $100 at Costco on my Costco card, so I want that showing on my budget (in proper locations: food, household products, etc.) in that month, rather than just seeing the monthly $400 Costco bill that its on when it arrives the next month–which is when it would come out of the checking account and be logged in Quicken (not as helpful!).

      • #54744

        caroljaime
        Participant

        Total Money Makeover is an excellent Read! It helped me out a lot When I was,a single mom. And now newly engaged! His podcasts are great!

      • #54760

        Lauren Scott
        Participant

        Thank you both for the thoughtful comments. :-) I just had an awesome talk with my husband (for almost two hours, lol). I did a lot of research today regarding Quicken, other options, and then to convince myself that I could learn Quicken thoroughly enough to set it up more to my preferences and thus have personal buy-in. When I talked to the hubs, he loved the way I was thinking about it and elaborated on his guiding principles (guess what? he mentioned stewardship) and his goals. Very good discussion.

        And now I have a much better understanding of what stewardship means–the church-y explanation I heard growing up was mostly just “you should tithe”. My husband gave some great examples… Joseph was steward under Potiphar and everything he touched prospered. The hubs said that this doesn’t mean he merely kept up with dusting or menial tasks, it meant he took what his master had and maximized it–managed it so that it grew or had added value. This applies to how I approach finances and how I manage our home, our kids, my time and energy…I’ve been lacking vision in all these areas lately, and this discussion of what stewardship IS is helping me to renew that vision. :-)

        Now to remind myself that I won’t just magically be a new person tomorrow morning with this new mindset…sigh…I can hear Mystie reminding me of that, anyway. ;-) But at least I have much more of a compass to guide those little moment-to-moment decisions.

      • #54811

        Sarah Nelson
        Participant

        I haven’t read all the ideas above, but wanted to agree that Dave’s Total Money Makeover is a great book and resource.

        I have use Quicken, Mint, Excel off and on over the years. But the first budget tracker to stick and become a simple group effort for both my husband and I is YNAB (you need a budget). It is by far my favorite tracking program. Their website also has so much great info available.

        I hope you find what works for your family.

    • #55503

      Mystie Winckler
      Keymaster

      I’m not sure if there’s a budget version of this, but when I was using MFP, I entered everything I was *planning* on eating the night before as part of my evening review – then it was planning, not data entry, and so I liked it. Plus, it made it easier to make good food choices, because if I deviated from the plan, I’d have to go in and change it, which would be *such a hassle*. :)

      The best success (very limited) I’ve had with keeping up with budget spreadsheet/software is to set aside time on Friday or Saturday with a cup of coffee or some other pleasant thing and collect the pile and get ‘er done – I like clearing a stack whereas dealing with each thing as it comes feels like a pain (#INTJproblems).

      • #55527

        stefani.mons
        Participant

        Ha! It must be that difference between S & J (you an INTJ, Mystie and me an ISTJ). While there are some things I do weekly for finances/budgeting, I prefer coming home with my receipts and putting them in the spreadsheet IMMEDIATELY. LOL You know what though, I’m crazy, and I actually break up my receipts! That was another reason I resisted budgeting because I knew if I tracked spending like that, I’d want to break up receipts, so that the giant packages of toilet paper and paper towels from Costco go under a different budget heading than the vat of coconut oil and 10 pounds of carrots. (That way I can know if I’m overspending on food or clothes or home goods etc. when I shop–a much more accurate picture!)

      • #55600

        Lauren Scott
        Participant

        Ah, yes, the craziness of breaking up the receipts into categories…we do that, too. Both my husband and I are N types (ENTJ/INTJ respectively), but he is way more S-leaning than I am (probably due to training by his ISTJ dad) and puts our whole lives into Excel spreadsheets, so of course he loves having all the details exact. But he was glad to pass that job off on me when we got married. LOL

        And, update: we went ahead and upgraded to the latest version of Quicken so I at least have all the techy stuff on my side and the interface is more user-friendly/visually appealing, so that helps. AND I went ahead and set up a budget in excel so that I don’t have to wait until every little detail is in place in Quicken in order to make a budget (AND this is all immediately necessary since the hubs is about to change jobs with a cut in pay in return for less travel, so there’s extra motivation). :-) Things are lookig up. My seed-habit has turned into telling myself “It is required of stewards that one be found faithful” any time I’m wondering what I should do next. And the feedback here has been super helpful in thinking through this whole big process, so thanks a bunch!

      • #55599

        Lauren Scott
        Participant

        That’s a great way to approach MFP, Mystie. Thanks for the tip. :-) Planning is way more fun than data entry. lol

  • #54810

    Karina Lorenc
    Participant

    Trigger: Change a ring in my hand every week. When I see the ring in my hand:
    Action: Repeat to myself, “God I’m grateful for…(say something from the many things that I’m grateful)”, “I choose love”.
    Reward: Peace in my soul.

    Lately I feel very guilty that my kids don’t get enough sleep. Our body is rested fully when we wake up by our self without an alarm, and that is not happening for my kids, neither for myself.

  • #54812

    Sarah Nelson
    Participant

    A somewhat simple idea that I found last week. I used the YouVersion Bible app on my phone to make an image out of my verse. Then I printed it on 4×6 photo paper that I had. Now the verses in my kitchen are multiplying. I have “Let not your hearts be troubled…” John 14:1 and “Trust in the Lord with all your heart…” Proverbs 3:5-6 on my kitchen cupboards so far. I already had “Do not grow weary…” and “The faithful love of the Lord never ends” on my phone backgrounds. I like having more scripture in my physical world. I think I need to make an image for my bathroom index card next. :) I find them nicer than my handwriting.

  • #55067

    Valerie Niemeyer
    Participant

    Here’s what I’ve been working on.

    Some background…I’m a recovering procrastinating-perfectionist, quite ADD-ish, easily overwhelmed gal who has been pretty sunk for most of my adult life. Stuff came easy for me…too easy for me…most of my life, and I was able to get by jumping through the hoops people put before me in pretty pleasing fashion, pretty easily (though I always procrastinated until the last minute on things…but got A’s and stuff). Then came grad school, marriage, home management, lots of pregnancies and kiddos, homeschooling…and I’ve been struggling with a profound sense of constant “failure” for most of that time. I was on retreat recently, and in pondering/praying what I desired from God, I expressed (yet again) that I wanted to ENJOY my relationships, my life more. And that I wanted the gift of greater simplicity from God. I have struggled with depression quite a bit, I’d say, though only last year started to take a little medicine for that, which has helped. Anyhow, I recalled a quote I’d written in my journal from Fr. Robert Spitzer:

    “What we are looking for turns out to determine
    what we are living for (our life’s purpose),
    and when we live for a particular purpose long enough,
    it becomes our identity (the essence we give to ourselves).”

    I prayed with that…imaging myself going through my day…and what was I chronically looking for? The answer I came to was that I was looking to “BE ON TOP OF THINGS” and to “HAVE IT TOGETHER”……which I have ever so RARELY experienced, if ever. So, as someone who’s personal poverties and life circumstances make that goal pretty much unattainable, I live with a chronic sense of failure, which leads to a resentful heart and a cussy mouth (lots of repenting, rejoicing in the mercy of God after confession, and repeating over the years in this area). Another thing that came up in prayer was that I am also always childishly looking for “blue skies”….seeing the frustrations and failures in my life, myself and my family members as unwanted “clouds” that spoil my attainment of sunshiny “success” and unfettered loveliness of life. Now, as an adult, I LOVE clouds. Driving around, I delight in beholding God’s ever-changing artful beauty of clouds on the horizon. Clouds are a thing of BEAUTY. I took comfort in pondering how God was inviting me to change my posture, my relationship with the “clouds” in my life…to see them as a medium through which God is artfully beautifying my soul. It is really only another iteration of “take up your cross”….but this was a graced time of prayerful reflection that somehow rendered that invitation more attractive/hopeful and “doable” to me. I drew little clouds in my journal, labeling each with the things that “threaten” my sense of well-being and adequacy as I go through my days…and my goal is to really be intentional about seeing the beauty-potential in those clouds and embracing them with God’s help. SOOOOOOO…that brings me to my self-talk 3-Part seed habit I’ve been working on, which encapsulates my new idea of success that is achievable, life-simplifying and worth striving for:

    Trigger: At sink/mirror, after reading my prayer notecard (week 1)…
    Action: Read/imagine/pray –
    “TOGETHER with Jesus, Jesus, Jesus,
    ON TOP OF Abba’s lap,
    enjoying sunshine AND CLOUDS.”

    Reward: Resting in the doable “success” of the only truly necessary thing….union with God.

    In addition to doing this at sink/mirror times of day as a starting point, I’m trying to pray “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus” and envision myself resting on Abba’s lap/heart whenever I feel “sunk”/overwhelmed/failure or like I’m falling apart with impatience or frustration. That, then, should be the trigger to see the silver lining in the clouds of that moment and embrace the beauty God is wanting to realize in me through them. God help me to persevere with this! Pray for me, ladies. I’m praying for all of you just now. Sorry for the very lengthy share on this thread….but I’m offering my mess and my graces in case they bless any of you sisters who have similar struggles. Peace to you in Christ… :)

    • #55068

      Robin Mureiko
      Participant

      I love your honesty and transparency. Praying for you this morning!

  • #55135

    Mrs.S
    Participant

    Thank you, Valerie for sharing so openly. I can relate to often feeling like a failure as an ill-equipped mother, wife, and newbie homeschool educator. I also give into the lie that the housework, tantrums, discipleship of my children, and conflicts with my husband are obstacles to achieving success in my roles. (If only everyone/everything else would shape up, I would be great!). I love the picture that God gave you of clouds in the sky- this is so true- the most beautiful skies we photograph or paint are complex and full of color and clouds all mixed together. Praise God for His goodness to us and to revealing these things to you! I was very blessed and encouraged by your post.

    • #55147

      Valerie Niemeyer
      Participant

      Thank you, Mrs. S! Glad we could exchange blessings. :)

  • #55487

    Nealiette T Simpson
    Participant

    This is all so encouraging to me. Thank you, ladies.

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