Currently….

Currently :: maximizingdaysblog.com

I Am Currently…..

Wearing

All of the same things that I wore last year.  Boring, I know.

But I shop for the current season at the end of it because that’s when stuff is cheap.  For instance, I bought this sweater in April or May on clearance and it’s been sitting in a drawer with the tags on since then.  I wore it on Sunday for the first time, and loved it.

Reading

Grace Not Perfection by Emily Ley.

I  said last month that I was reading this, but hadn’t actually started it yet.  I’ve since finished it and am now re-reading it.   This time through, I’m soaking it all in and taking the time to think through the practical changes that I can make to hold myself to a standard of grace, not perfection.

I got all mushy talking about it here.

Eating

Chicken Pot Pie.

I got this recipe from a friend via The Pioneer Woman.  My friend made it for a group of us and I am proclaimed pot pie dislike-er.  No more.

I made it a few weeks ago on the first “cold”(ish) day and have it on our menu again this week.  You can make the filling ahead of time, substitute a packaged pie crust and add a bagged salad for a delicious meal.

Watching

Ocean’s 8.

The hubby and me have started a new thing where we pick one night each week and designate it “Home Date Night.”  After the kids go to bed, we put away our phones, walk away from to-do lists and spend the two hours before it’s our bed time doing something together.  We take turns planning it and last week was my husband’s turn.

He nailed it.

He got home late, but made up for it with (store-bought) cheesecake, sparkling grape juice (neither of us like wine) & Ocean’s 8.

In our 7 years of marriage, I can count on one hand how many movies we’ve watched, so this was a big deal.  He remembered a conversation from a while ago where I saw a preview for the movie and mentioned that I thought it looked interesting.  He tucked that little nugget away, and cashed it in last week.

We are both big Ocean’s 11 fans.  Ocean’s 12 & 13, not so much.  In our opinion, Ocean’s 8 wasn’t as entertaining as Ocean’s 11, but was better than Ocean’s 12 or 13.

Loving

The new Simplified Line at Office Depot & Target.  I haven’t purchased anything (YET), but I have been looking at all the goods online.

If you like the idea of a Simplified Planner, but don’t want to spend that much money, these more cost-effective options may be just what you’re looking for.  And, ooooh, the accessories…..

Thinking

That it’s time to purchase a giant bag of the really good Halloween candy and stash it in my desk drawer.

Black Bean Avocado Salad

Protein & Veggie Loaded Black Bean Avocado Salad :: maximizingdaysblog.com

A few months ago, my husband and I strongly considered doing Whole 30, but couldn’t commit to the time it would take to prep all of the food every.single.day.  That and #iheartcheese.

We decided, instead, to be intentional about eating mostly vegetables and lean protein and limiting refined sugar and carbs.  Breakfast was easy; Scrambled eggs & berries.  Supper was doable by making meals where carbs could be left out.

But I really struggled with lunch.  By lunch time, no matter how much lean protein I ate at breakfast, I am starving and I want something fast.  And by fast, I mean from empty to full plate in less than 4 minutes.  I’m not exaggerating.

About this time, I found this recipe when Kate at The Small Things Blog posted a link.  I decided to take her suggestion and add some chicken and give it a try.  I made a few adaptations the second time I made it, so feel free to do the same.  Add stuff you like.  Take out stuff you don’t like.

Protein & Veggie Loaded Black Bean Avocado Salad :: maximizingdaysblog.com

I’ve eaten it every day for lunch since then.  A huge bowl of it.  I may add some pita chips, fruit or cheese to the side.  Or not.  It’s that sustaining.

This salad also keeps really well – even the avocado!  I usually make it on Sunday and it’s good all week.

Black Bean Avocado Salad

(Recipe Adapted)

  • 1 seedless cucumber, diced
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed
  • 1 1/4 cups corn
  • 1 orange pepper, diced
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup packed fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 lime
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1 package pre-cooked chicken breast strips
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Protein & Veggie Loaded Black Bean Avocado Salad :: maximizingdaysblog.com

Instructions

  1. Place the cucumber, black beans, corn, orange pepper, cherry tomatoes, red onion and chopped cilantro in a bowl.
  2. Squeeze the fresh juice from the lime onto the salad & stir well.
  3. Mix in the chicken & avocado, season with salt and pepper.

Protein & Veggie Loaded Black Bean Avocado Salad :: maximizingdaysblog.com

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Simplified Summer Challenge PRIZE

#simplifiedsummer challenge - A Simplified Life by Emily Ley :: maximizingdaysblog.com

This past summer, a group of people from this community read through Emily Ley’s A Simplified Life together and used the book as a guide to simplifying our lives.  At the end of each chapter, Emily Ley has a ‘Simplicity Challenge’, which are 5 steps that you can do right now (most take less than 5 minutes) that make big strides toward achieving your goal.

I’m giving away all of these goodies to the person who completes the most Simplicity Challenges by Friday, September 28th.

Prizes include:

Grace Not Perfection by Emily Ley

Grocery List Pad by Emily Ley

Y-Weave 5 Piece Basket Set

Kenra Volume 25 Hairspray

Essie Gel Couture Set

Post-It Page Markers

Cable Clips

Go-Go squeeZ Variety Pack

To earn these prizes, comment on each blog post with the number of simplicity challenges you completed from that chapter.  I will track each person’s progress (this is a total honor system thing) and the person with the most challenges completed will get this swag.

I’ll make things easier once you’ve completed challenges, by linking below to each chapter’s blog post.  Log your challenges in each blog post’s comment section, and I’ll add them all up to determine the winner.

Chapter 1 – Simplified Space

Chapter 2 – Simplified Style

Chapter 3 – Simplified Meals

Chapter 4 – Simplified Schedule

Chapter 5 – Simplified Finances

Chapter 6 – Simplified Hospitality

Chapter 7 – Simplified Technology

Chapter 8 – Simplified Self

Chapter 9 – Simplified Motherhood

Chapter 10 – Simplified Faith

Happy Simplifying!!!

Currently…..

Currently :: maximizingdaysblog.com

I Am Currently…..

Wearing

This shirt.

A few months ago, I told you about my discovery of Athleta.  My love for that store has only grown.

In July, they had their big annual clearance sale, and I snagged this shirt.  The moment that I tried it on, I knew that this was going to be a closet staple.

It is the perfect layering piece.  And is ideal for these fall days that start out chilly in the morning and then are warm and sunny in the afternoon.  It’s made of a lightweight, breathable fabric that transitions really well in those middle temps.

Reading

Grace Not Perfection by Emily Ley.

Confession: I’m not actually reading it yet.  But I ordered it this week and am PUMPED to get it so I can dig in.

If you’re new around here, we spent the summer reading through Emily Ley’s second book, A Simplified Life.  By the time I finished chapter one of ASL, I knew that I wanted to read Grace Not Perfection.  I have high hopes.  And absolutely zero concern that I will be disappointed.

SIDENOTE: I am giving away a copy of Grace Not Perfection, along with some other goodies to the person who completes the most Simplicity Challenges.  Read more about it here.

Eating

This Salad.

Grab a napkin to wipe your drool after you read the recipe.  Yep, a salad that makes you drool.  This is no joke.

I add cooked chicken and eat it for lunch EVERY DAY.

Watching

The Newsroom.

I am an Aaron Sorkin superfan.  You may think that you hear a little bit of shame in that proclamation, but you are mistaken.  I have zero shame about my love for that man’s talent.

He wrote The Newsroom for HBO, but because we don’t have HBO, I’ve only ever seen the pilot episode.  But a friend, who knows of my love for all things Aaron Sorkin, informed me that you can watch The Newsroom on Amazon Prime.

So there goes all of my free time while the hubs and I binge watch.

Loving

BROKEN RECORD ALERT

My Simplified Planner.  I wrote all about how I use it here, but suffice it to say that this little “book” is the only reason anything in my life gets done.

This past week, Simplified launched their 2019 calendar planners, of which there are 6 covers to choose.  In listening to people talk about how they didn’t know which cover to choose, I realized that I don’t think I’ve seen the cover of my planner since I started using it on July 31st because it’s always open.

And messy.

Thinking

That it might be time for my five year old to drop her nap.  I’m drowning in my pool of tears.

A Simplified Life by Emily Ley :: Simplified Faith

#simplifiedsummer challenge - A Simplified Life by Emily Ley :: maximizingdaysblog.com

“And what does the Lord require of you?  Seek justice.  Love mercy.  Walk humbly with thy God.” – Micah 6:8

I love that this book ends with this chapter.  Reading the book through a second time as part of this group has made me think more deeply about each of these areas of my life.  As it should.  And as I read this chapter the for the second time, one thought couldn’t escape me.

It all comes back to faith.

With each chapter, I have shared my struggle in each of these areas in my life.  They are (but are not limited to….):

  1. I have more stuff than I need and I just keep accumulating it
  2. I don’t really like the way I look
  3. I’m well-intentioned with my meal planning, but when the time comes, I’m just too lazy to actually make the food I planned
  4. I want to do all of the fun things and not miss out on stuff, but I also thrive from just being home and doing nothing
  5. I want all the stuff.  The nice, pretty stuff.  All of it.  But I can’t afford everything that I want
  6. I love the idea of being hospitable, but really, I just want to stay in my comfort zone in my home and not have to make small talk with people I don’t know or don’t really like
  7. I get an endorphin rush when I see ‘likes’ on my Instagram photos
  8. I want all the things I need to feel rejuvenated (and there are A LOT of them) ALL.THE.TIME.
  9. Motherhood is so darn hard.  I want to do it all and be the best and I am just not.

Do you sense a theme in all of that?  Discontentment.  Lack of trust.  Selfishness.  Laziness.

Each of those struggles is deeply rooted in an area where faith is lacking.  And no amount of simplicity challenges are going to fix that.

Simplicity Challenges are great.  I highly encourage everyone to do all of them.  You have got to start somewhere.  But the deeper struggles will only be resolved by a healing that does not come from ourselves.

#simplifiedsummer challenge - A Simplified Life by Emily Ley :: maximizingdaysblog.com

It is only when we trust in God’s promises that He has redeemed us from ALL of our sins through the death and resurrection of Jesus that we can even begin to deal with these issues.

  1. God has given us more than we will ever need.  Even if we die of starvation and live a life on this earth riddled with pain and heartache, the promise of eternity with God in heaven is the only thing that we really need.  And the only thing we absolutely could never attain on our own.
  2. I am God’s child.  Created by Him.  My value is not determined by my outward appearance, but rather, by who made me and calls me His own.
  3. God’s grace and forgiveness covers my sins.  All of them.  Even the silly ones like being so lazy that I won’t get up off the couch and make food for my family.
  4. The things in this world are good and many are blessings from Him, but the moment they become THE thing in our lives, our priorities need some readjusting
  5. The stuff of this world does not bring real happiness, satisfaction or joy.  Stop expecting it to.  Or hoping it will someday.
  6. My time on this earth is not about my comfort.  I have been put here to be an ambassador to a gospel whose cornerstone is inclusion and love.  Live in response to the undeserved inclusion and love that I have experienced and pass it on.
  7. I am God’s child.  Created by Him.  My value is not determined by other people’s approval of me.
  8. True rest comes from a relationship with God
  9. I am not enough.  I never will be.  And depending on myself to be everything my children need not only sets me up for failure, but it is lying to them.  I have to rely on God’s strength EVERY DAY and trying to do it on my own will only end badly.

When people hear that I write an organizing blog, I get the question, “Where do I even start?” quite frequently.  I don’t always answer this way, but my honest answer to you now, in light of this chapter, is….

Start here.  Start with what matters.  Start with where you started.

Created by God, separated from Him, and bought back at an immeasurable price. And end with His promise that this isn’t all fixed in a day.  Or a lifetime.  God spends our entire life refining us, continually pointing out our sin to us, so that we can continue to see our need for Him, ask Him for His forgiveness, which we are guaranteed in Jesus, and living with a purpose that is bigger than ourselves.  And is bigger than an organized home, a simple wardrobe and a delicious dinner menu.

Simplifying begins and ends with faith.  Trusting God isn’t easy.  And trusting God doesn’t make things easy.  But when we start with trusting in His promises, this simple life that we are called to live is filled with purpose and joy.  And that’s why we all started reading this book in the first place.

Simplicity Challenge

At the end of each chapter, Emily Ley has a ‘Simplicity Challenge’, which are 5 steps that you can do right now that make big strides toward achieving your goal.

Comment on each blog post with the number of simplicity challenges you completed that week.  I will track each person’s progress (this is a total honor system thing) and the person with the most challenges completed at the end of the book will get some swag.  Like good, helpful swag.   No clutter-y stuff.

Don’t forget to take photos of the process AND the progress and use #simplifiedsummer so we can all celebrate together!

#simplifiedsummer challenge - A Simplified Life by Emily Ley :: maximizingdaysblog.com

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