Grateful {New Day}

A month into my new year and I’ve stuck by my “no resolutions” mantra. Now before you start laughing and scoffing “No resolutions, but that’s the whole point!” I’ve been working on a new idea – habit stacking and using this method to help me to reach and accomplish my goals.

True to my people pleasing/second guessing self, I have thought of all of the arguments against this new method I’m trying: 1) just an excuse to not be more disciplined; 2) easier to give up; 3) takes longer to get results and etc. I’ve come to the conclusion that maybe these are all true and maybe this method doesn’t work for every one, but it does work for me.

That all being said, can I share how I’m habit stacking?

The idea was first shared with me from my Thirty-One Gifts director. She is amazing; really, I am very grateful that God has put her in my life and especially in this position. I’ve been in different direct marketing ventures before and didn’t really expect much from myself, but Elisa expects her team to do their best and to realize that every one’s best is different. That’s where I always struggled (don’t we all!). Anyways, even though she brought this up doing a video on our team page, she explained how it doesn’t have to be just business centered, but that it works with everyday habits, too.

It was like a light bulb for me! I like routine and even though someone looking in might say “Are you sure that’s what you like?” I do really have a routine for a lot of things and I really think habit stacking is great for routine! As most who read my blog knows, my life is a bit chaotic; between trying to keep a relative peace between two little boys and making sure everyone is well-fed (does anyone know how picky boys can be!) and trying my best to keep a decent amount of clothes clean, well let’s just say I’m still trying to figure out the routine for the chaos! But when it comes to my more personal goals, habit stacking is wonderful! I really do enjoy working out and I’m not a morning person so I needed to find another time to get my workout in – afternoon naps! Even though at first that seemed to take away from my “quiet time” (oh the peace of sleeping boys!) I reworked my mind frame into “making-a-better-me time” and once I got into that routine, it became a habit and so started my habit stacking journey.

The next habit is eating better. In the past I’ve noticed that when I work out regularly I don’t crave the crappy stuff. Why would I right? Now, a bit of a disclaimer, I haven’t set myself on any sort of diet, I’m simply WORKING on not eating the crap. I still indulge and I haven’t thrown out all the bad stuff, but I’m WORKING on forming the habit to grab an apple instead of a cookie or just a few crackers instead of the bag of chips. There are days when I go without eating bad stuff and there are days that I snack all day, but those “bad” days are hopefully becoming less and less.

Another habit I’m working on is getting organized when it comes to household chores. I am a TERRIBLE housewife; cleaning is like my arch-enemy. This habit is definitely still in the “infant” stages (as my husband will readily agree!), but I’ve found that if I write down what I HOPE to get done there’s a slightly better chance it gets done. I’ll keep you updated on how well this habit forms!

But I think the most important thing I’m learning is that every day is a New Day. A new day to try to be better about cleaning; a new day to eat healthy; a new day to not lose my temper at every little thing that goes wrong…a new day to work on my good habits.

“The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” ~ Lamentations 3:22-23

Graphic credit: TobyMac

Grateful {Small Moments}

I’ve had a hard time coming up with this second “Grateful” post. Which sounds really terrible, but I’ve been struggling with how to put into words what is it I want to say.

It started out with being content and grateful with the life I have right now, which is something that I need to work on, but a devotion I read recently challenged me to “pray bold prayers.” It was a very convicting message asking why do we pray for things that we can “answer” ourselves? Like our daily bread – I already know that I will have more than enough food to eat today, so why do I pray for it? Anyways, so while I need to be grateful for where I am, I also shouldn’t be guilty for looking forward to what will be.

Needless to say that post was deleted and so now here we are.

Small Moments; I have actually read a few posts and devotionals about this. About finding God in the small moments/miracles of the “ordinary” day. For me it’s come to finding JOY; making the choice to FIND, not just look, but FIND joy in my day, to help me get through the day.

I have always been a person that needs alone time. I need to have time completely to myself to recharge. Some may call that introvert or a hermit, but if I go too long without some time to myself I start falling apart, and my husband can be a witness to that! I am completely comfortable doing things alone; going to the movies, having lunch, shopping – you name it I can enjoy it by myself.

So the whole point to this is that when I make the conscious effort to FIND JOY, it helps me to not long for that alone time. When I choose to enjoy the sweet laughter of little boys and I indulge their need to wrestle (something I probably don’t do often enough) my spirits lift. When I make myself take the time to just sit and read a book (which they both love!) and soak up their need to be close, if only for a minute, my heart feels overwhelmed with love.

Joy of being together

Most of all, when I just sit in the silence of nap time and really think about the amazing gift God has given me of a loving, supportive husband and honor of being momma to my sweet, energetic boys – I realize I should not have to try so hard to find joy. I can get to caught up in wanting my alone time and not realize that the joy here in my home can often give me the peace to get through the day.

The small moments piled together make for the best kind of journey through life instead of relying on one big moment to define who I am.

Wow….a bit deeper than intended, but so glad I chose a change of subject.

“Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying.” ~Romans 12:12

“Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” ~1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Grateful {Positive Vibes}

I know this may seem cliché, but so be it! I am so very grateful for so many things, but in the next few weeks I’d like to share with you what I am so very grateful for and why I strive for an “attitude of gratitude” every day.

To begin, I am so very thankful for the POSITIVE vibes – so to speak – that I see on my social media. And by extension, I am grateful that I can edit whom I follow so that I can keep my news feeds positive. I think everyone can agree that as humans we tend to lean towards the negative and bad news. Whether it is from hearing only about the terrible terrorist or the arrogant business man or the movie star who went off the deep end; finding the faults and negative in others’ lives….for what? Makes us feel better about ourselves?

Now, I’m not perfect, but I do feel like I avoid this fairly well. I really don’t feel like it’s worth reading about how terrible of a person someone is. I would much rather take the time to really LOOK and be able to read the success stories.

One of my favorite positive pages I follow is TobyMac, a Christian singer. I love the “memes” they post; most of them I save and make my wallpaper on my phone.

credit TobyMac Facebook page

They always seem to #SpeakLife (one of his songs) into my day! (Really crazy side note: that song just came on my Pandora as I’m typing this!)

While I feel like I am generally pretty positive – or at least try to be – this is one thing I struggle when I think or talk to myself. I know I’m not the only one. I am my toughest critic and I am very, very unforgiving to myself. Isn’t that they way it goes? If this applies to you, can we make a pact? Let’s make the conscious effort to “talk” positively to ourselves! What’s your favorite thing about YOU? Your BEST quality? Now, write the answers (yes, plural! There should be more than one!) on a few sticky notes and stick those to your bathroom mirror or somewhere that you will see them everyday. Fun little reminders about why you need to be grateful for YOU! Being positive doesn’t just apply to how you view the world, it needs to start within yourself. Can you imagine how much MORE positive vibes we could create when we become positive to/about ourselves?

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” ~Philippians 4:8-9

Shipping Calves 2016 Photo Story

We had a beautiful October morning to ship the Volf Ranch calves. Thanks to all of our help, everything went quickly and smoothly!

I decided a “photo story” would be a fun way to share the day!

















The land yields its harvest; God, our God, richly blesses us. ~ Psalm 67:6

Outdoors + Boys = A Great Adventure!

We went on our first camping trip as a family last week.

We’ve been “planning” to go camping for quite a while, but as all farm/ranch wives know these things are usually spur of the moment and 12 hours (or less!) of heads-up time to get things ready.

Anyways….as we’re getting ready for this big trip I’m making sure we have literally any possible item that the boys might want/need while we’re gone for 36 hours. Of course, we didn’t need half of it, but I was prepared for anything!

It was a blast! Was I tired, worn out, contemplating on putting Miles into a plastic bubble? Yes, but it was fun.

EJ loved every moment; from riding his bike everywhere – I don’t want to take it (helmet) off!; to “swimming” in the lake – splashing our feet and throwing rocks; to making s’mores -which he wouldn’t eat! He even did great on our hike – picking every dandelion within reach and trying his best to “blow” it out (he found that if he just throws it really hard they fall off and float away just the same!). DSCN0473
Miles did well, I think, for a one year old (yes, he’s one already – where did the time go?!) Besides wanting to touch the fire and walking right into the lake – socks, shoes and all, like there wasn’t even water there – and just being his ridiculously rambunctious self, he did good. He loved the water. Even with the wind blowing and the coolness of evening he didn’t want to leave. Then the next day when we went back and it was warmer he tried his hardest to “swim” but only was able to partially sit down before I swept him out, but he immediately wanted to go back in!DSCN0456
We definitely have two outdoor loving little boys! Bikes, dirt and Lord, knows whatever else they can get into, they would stay out all day, rain or shine, if they could!CrystalLake

I’m looking forward to many more camping trips in the future and to discovering what their wild imaginations will cook up. Like EJ racing up the hill on our hike and calling down “So tall Momma! Ima super hero!” Miles will be right behind him next time, trying to be faster and taller; seeing who can throw rocks the farthest into the lake. How long will they enjoy picking dandelions and try to blow the seeds off? Or have wonder at watching a deer walk through the campsite? While I do look forward to the day when we can enjoy camping as we used to, without worrying about one falling down and getting hurt or if/when nap time will be, I dread the day that they start to slowly lose their funny little imaginations and sense of wonder. I know they’ll have it for a while still and I pray that they will always of a sense of wonder for God’s creation, but for the sake of being able to watch how their little minds learn and play, I can live with a few more years of “uncomfortable” camping.

Children are a gift from the LORD; they are a reward from him. ~ Psalm 127:3

Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it. ~ Proverbs 22:6


I was schooled in a lesson of gratitude today….by my husband (shhhh don’t tell him!) Actually he doesn’t even know he did, until he reads this.

He was explaining an argument he’d had and how it’s frustrating always hearing about how “terrible” things are when in reality (and in nearly every situation) things may not look great, but “it could be worse.” He told them that complaining doesn’t do any good, ever, and it usually just makes things worse since your outlook on life will only be negative.

He said, “If you’re ungrateful for what you already have, why would God want to give you more or something better?”

Insert “hand slap to forehead” – well actually that didn’t happen to me until later when I saw this on Facebook:

credit to TobyMac Facebook page
credit to TobyMac Facebook page

See, I have been feeling a bit sorry for myself lately. I mean yes being a mom can be tough, right? But everyone has “those” days; you other moms know what I’m talking about – you’re so tired you don’t want to function which means NOTHING gets done, therefore you have a disaster of a house; then the baby needs to be constantly held…by only you; the toddler has a great “potty” day and the next he poops in the pull-up three times; dirty dishes everywhere, dirty clothes everywhere – same load of clothes in the washer has been washed three times in three days because I keep forgetting to be them in the dryer…..and so on and so forth. Oh, and on top of that you are trying to be healthy, but gosh that soda helps to wake me up and chips go great with soda and both kids are finally sleeping at the same time so I’ll enjoy these in front of the TV.

So I’ve been having pity parties and the cycle of “ungratefulness” begins. I’m tired and don’t want to do anything, leads to nothing getting done, leads to frustration that nothing gets done, leads to impatience with EVERYTHING, leads to a short temper, leads to “I’m a terrible mother,” leads to I can’t do anything right…..WOW.

What happened to my attitude of gratitude?

Being grateful my eyes opened this morning instead of dwelling on being tired. Grateful for a nice, sturdy home and its messiness showing a family that wants for nothing. Grateful for dirty dishes because we have food. Grateful for sweet baby cuddles because they won’t last forever. Grateful for a healthy toddler….with regular bowel movements? Haha you know where I’m going with that one….grateful for the good days! Grateful for a body that works, it maybe not be “in shape” (yet!) but I’m grateful that it can do what needs to be done and when I get that walk in I know how good I’ll feel afterwards.

So friends will you hold me accountable? Help me pursue an attitude of gratitude and to remember that it may be tough today, but oh the possibilities of a great day tomorrow all because of the gratitude I have for today!

Remembering Why

May has been a crazy, busy month for me and it is very fitting that it ends with Memorial Day/Weekend. This day and the reason we “celebrate” it is making me sit back and think about how incredibly blessed we all are. Let me start from the beginning….

I just completed and submitted a cookbook that I have been working on for a few months that is for my family’s reunion this summer.

The ranch I grew up on was settled 119 years ago. The Olson family’s last reunion was in 1997 to celebrate the ranch centennial and this summer we celebrate the centennial for the barn that was built in 1916. My grandpa is one of 16 brothers and sisters; as I was putting this cookbook together, I learned quite a bit about all of them. Out of the 16, only four are still alive today, but the reason I have more understanding and respect for this long holiday (yes, that’s sad to say) is after learning about the six who served in the Military.


John (1)


Roy (1)Three of them fought in World War II. I have three great-uncles, whom I’ve never met, but I have heard stories about, that fought so I can be free today. I don’t know why it hit me so hard as I was reading these, but it did. And the stories I’ve heard – mostly from my dad and grandpa – reflects the men they had become after the war; the brother who would jump at any loud noise is the story that always sticks out to me.

These men and women fought to protect people they didn’t know. I’m sure at the time they were thinking of their families, but did they understand the impact on the generations after them? It’s sad that many in these recent generations don’t understand – not the devastation at Pearl Harbor or the pure joy of V-Day. I know I don’t understand it, but I have a renewed respect for them. And for those who serve today – whether people choose to believe or not the soldiers today are fighting just as hard for our freedoms as the soldiers from 50, 60, 70 years ago. Why are so many against them? Why do so many lash out at them? Why have we lost our desire to show respect and gratitude?

It breaks my heart.

Veterans (and their families!), please forgive me for not showing you the gratitude and respect you have not only earned 100 times over but that you deserve to hear every day of your lives.

• “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” ~John 15:13 •

• And he said, “The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge; My Savior, Thou dost save me from violence. I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised; And I am saved from my enemies.” ~2 Samuel 22:2-4 •