Grace for Myself

“I didn’t go swimming like I’d planned,” I told my mom this morning.

“That’s okay,” she said, and invited me to exercise with her.

• • •

It’s easy to be motivated when things are going well. The hard part, of course, is going forward when I don’t feel like it.

Talking with my mom reminded me to extend grace to myself, and that got me back on track toward my goals.

I’m not exercising for just a day or until the next race; I’m exercising for good health—for life. I’m in this for the long haul.

• • •

“But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” ~Philippians 3

Black mortarboard from College Without the Campus

Embroidery wrapped cell phone charging cable craft

Five Things I’m Loving: Spring 2017

In my “Five Things I’m Loving” post series, I share five of my current favorite things or activities. The theme in this post seems to be the little things in life making a huge difference. Feel free to share what your top five are in the comments below.

1. Handy Healthy Snacks

The tip that I heard many years ago of having nutritious, easy-fix snacks available is the first example of the small things in life having major impact. Grabbing a handful of almonds has saved me many times from being hangry. A few more snack ideas?

  • Trail mix
  • Granola or snack bars
  • Ingredients for a simple salad (strawberries and pre-washed spinach, for example)
  • Bananas
  • Dry cereal
  • Cheese sticks

2. Craft Time: Wrapped Cell Phone Charging Cable

Recently I happened upon a listing for earbuds wrapped in embroidery floss on Etsy. I was inspired. So I sat myself down with some American Southwest-colored floss and began wrapping the charging cable for my phone (this is the cable I currently use the most). Following the instructions from these tutorials[1], I wound and knotted for a few hours to wind up (hehe) with the cable in the header photo.

3. Learning from others by discussing ideas

“Two heads are greater than one” and “Iron sharpens iron” are two sayings that describe my third fav. A few discussions with other people who put a priority on growing and learning has given me new ideas to ponder, new brain connections between subjects, and new inspiration to pursue positivity. My experience corroborates that of Megan Gebhart, who went to coffee once a week with someone new for a year and wrote about what she learned. Wisdom and encouragement can be found in a coffee meetup. Thank you to those friends who have shared their time and encouraged me this spring!

4. Spring Flowers!

How awesome is it to see and smell the lilac trees in bloom! And wildflowers, cherry and dogwood blossoms, and alliums. Just lovely.

5. YouTube Exercise Videos

A friend mentioned Yoga with Adriene’s 30 day challenges, and I thought that sounded fun! Adriene is a calm and self-depricating yogi who leads by doing. I learned a new yoga pose and increased my strength and concentration by completing this 30-day challenge.

And that’s the top five things in my spring that I hope will spark an idea of something fun you want to try.


[1] Embroidery wrapping tutorials: and

Black mortarboard from College Without the Campus

Feeling Motivated (Even when We’re Not)

On school days when I was in seventh grade, my mom would wake my sister and me at 6:00am so we could exercise before getting ready for the day. I vividly remember half of me trying to wake up and the other half falling back asleep until my mom called again, this time with one of our exercise tapes queued up. Her loving but insistent “second call” voice did the trick to get me out of bed.

These days I’m the one queuing up a YouTube exercise video to start my workout. My motivation for exercise has become internally driven. I have taken charge. Thinking about this change in my life makes me realize that self-motivation is part of the maturing process.

I needed this internal motivation during my college years. College requires students to become their own boss in ways that life may not have required before. I certainly needed motivation to select a course from my degree plan, find the appropriate credit-by-exam test, and then study. I also needed motivation when I felt like I might never finish my degree because of the number of tests left to take.

Pulling from chapter 7 in College Without the Campus, I’m going to share a few of my favorite ways to kick start my day and find motivation to get things done.

    • What motivates me?

      Perhaps writing down why you are working your tail off will help you to press onward. I find periodically writing down long-term goals helpful for reorienting my outlook on life. I’ve seen some inspiring Instagram posts of goals written in bullet journal style.


    • Kick procrastination to the curb.

      Procrastination is quietly deadly. It kills my creativity and focus. When I’m procrastinating, I rarely feel satisfied with the work I get done in a day (because I’ve left off doing what needs doing most!). This dissatisfaction leads me to dread the next day of more stalling—which doesn’t make for a happy attitude to wake up with. Fortunately, procrastination can be quickly killed by simply attacking the problem. Note that I say quickly, rather than easily. 🙂


  • Use positive habits to nurture your self-motivation.

    Sometimes moving to a quiet area to complete a project can help, as can capitalizing on the morning hours. One of the more drastic measures I take is hiding my phone. Having a break from this distracter can be unsettling at first, but freeing in the long run. Probably my all-time favorite motivating strategy is to schedule a reward for completing a goal. There’s nothing like having a coffee date or a ice cream trip in my sights to make me buckle down. One final point is to pray. Without the purpose of something greater than myself, I wouldn’t continue fighting everyday battles. If I talk to God about these problems, I can find peace and even joy to bring into my life struggles.

Though I completed my degree in 2012, I’ve continued to use these motivation techniques to keep me on track toward reaching new goals. Even during the final week before Christmas with all the last-minute errands, the final preparations for gatherings, the buying and wrapping gifts, motivation is crucial. Something inside has to give me the will to move forward, especially when I might rather just sleep in! I hope these tips will spark ideas on what motivates you!