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The Best Things in 2013 | Getting Organized

I am so happy that I can look back on 2013 and say that it was a great year. There were certainly things that slipped through the cracks, and there is a lot of room for improvement in 2014, but it really was a good year. I think that the biggest reason that 2013 was different in regards to getting organized and getting things done was that I was much more aware of what needed to get done and could make a plan to do it.

There were so many things that helped me start to build systems and purposefully think about what I really wanted to make happen in 2013. I loved using my Simplified Life Binder in 2013. I will still be using the binder for 2014 as well as adding some other organizational tools for 2014 and I can’t wait to share those with you in the coming weeks. (If you follow me on Instagram you might get sneak peeks of how I am getting organized for 2014.) Switching to having a paper calendar instead of trying and failing at keeping track of things on my phone was a huge help for me this year, and I will be keeping a paper agenda in 2014 as well. The binder helped me to not only keep track of my calendar, but also to have a hub for all of the papers that I needed for life and business. Blog posts, business to do lists, and so much more.

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I definitely realized in 2013 that writing things down is a huge help in making them happen. Whether it was my daily agenda and goals or my bigger goals for the year and even the coming years. Lara Casey’s Power Sheets and Goal setting series were a part of my year and helped me to focus on what what was really important and what I wanted to happen this past year. Even more than helping me realize what I wanted to accomplish in 2013, it helped me realize what I wanted to accomplish each day. You can’t accomplish your goals unless you are working on them.

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We tried to get more organized at home too, and I think this is something that is always a work in progress. Trying to find ways to better organize each room and make the best use of our space have been priorities. Getting rid of clutter has also been huge. If you are anything like me, clutter can give you a mini heart attack, and totally distract you from getting things done.

I am hoping to write a post soon about my plans for organization in 2014, but in the meantime, I would love to hear what helps you stay organized

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The Best Things in 2013 | Contentment and Making Our House a Home

Do you know what is really ugly? Unthankfulness and discontentment. Unfortunately, I have seen this ugliness pop up in my own heart on a few occasions. It is something that I began to recognize in 2013 and it has helped me to put things into perspective. With Jeremy in Seminary we have been living in a tiny little house (800 sq.ft)  in Seminary housing since we moved to TX. It is tight. We currently have four people here; Jeremy and me, Stella, and my younger sister who is finishing up college close by…soon we will add #5 to our little house when Sophia makes her debut. I would be lying if I said that I never wished that we had a bigger house…but I have realized this year that it is not square feet that make a house a home, and it isn’t even beautiful decor. For me, this year, learning to be content meant learning not just to not complain about our little house, but learning to love it. It meant changing my attitude, and it meant God would need to change my heart.

I learned this year, that if we only focus on the future, we will miss out on the present. I didn’t want to wish away this season of life that was full of diapers, and seminary textbooks, and miss out on the beauty that was right in front of me. I hadn’t really decorated a ton since we moved in, other than the nursery. It bothered me that we weren’t supposed to paint and that the rooms seemed to small to do the things that I wanted. But, then I decided to change my attitude. Instead of complaining about what couldn’t be done, I would do what could be done. I don’t think this attitude applies just to your home, but could be applicable to any area of life we struggle with contentment in. So, this year we decided to make our house into our home, and fill it with things that had meaning and purpose. We saved for new furniture in our bedroom and our living room, learned how to organize better, cleaned out a ton of excess clutter and stuff, and filled our walls with meaningful photos and Scripture.

I don’t think our house will be on HGTV anytime soon, and I am still trying to work through the details of fitting another precious little one here, but I know that we will make it work, and it will be good. We will learn to be content with less stuff that really just clutters our home and our minds. We will fill our house with people we love. We will try to focus on just how much we really have. We will always strive to leave room for our Savior

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Tammy Damore

Beautiful!

Donna Carr

so so so much truth in this tiny little post. thank you kristin.

The Best Things in 2013 | Shooting Weddings and The Meaning of Marriage

If you are reading my blog you probably know that Jeremy and I are wedding photographers. There are so many reasons that we love doing what we do. We love working together, we love photography, we are both creatives, we love being self-employed…and the list goes on. One of the big reasons for me though, is capturing memories and focusing on the meaning and covenant of marriage.

At the beginning of this year a read an amazing book called “This Momentary Marriage” by John Piper at the recommendation of my sweet friend Amanda. The book was life changing and taught me so much about how marriage represents God’s love for us and is a picture of Christ’s relationship with His Church. I love that we have a job that celebrates this covenant week after week. It is such an honor to capture the love between a husband and wife, and to see them commit their lives to each other.

We got to shoot an anniversary session this summer for one of our sweet couples celebrating their 6 month anniversary just weeks after Beth, the gorgeous bride had been diagnosed with Leukemia and begun Chemo. It was one of the most touching sessions we have ever photographed…because, really…isn’t this what marriage is all about? Loving each other through everything that life brings along.

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Teresa Layne McCluen

How Beautiful!! What a inspiration! Praying for complete healing in Jesus mighty name!

The Best Things in 2013 | Less Facebook

Back in March I wrote a blog post about clearing the Facebook clutter, and to my surprise it was one of my most popular posts ever. I got so much feedback to the idea of keeping our social media interactions positive and simplifying who is showing up in your newsfeed on Facebook. I talked about how for me personally, I need to make a big effort to remove negativity from my life, even things as simple as people complaining on Facebook gets me distracted. I start dwelling on other peoples silly Facebook comments on things from parenting to business and it distracts me from real life…that is ridiculous. For me the solution was to unfollow a lot of people and remove posts from showing up in my newsfeed. As I have drastically cut back on what shows up in my Facebook feed I have also cut back on the time I spend on Facebook. I honestly prefer instgram anyway because I think it is much more positive, but I just have found that Facebook needs to be limited strictly.

Here is a quote from the post I mentioned above and a challenge for you as we look to start 2014.

“So here is my challenge to you, and if you will do it will make a huge difference. Head over to Facebook, and clean up your newsfeed. If someone is contantly negative remove them from your feed, if you don’t even know this person remove them from your feed, if you find yourself feeling jealousy when you read their posts remove them from your feed, if you feel like you are in constant competition with someone remove them from your feed, if you feel irritated by their posts remove them from your feed. You don’t have to unfriend these people if you are not comfortable with that, but I think it is so important to clear the clutter and negativity from every aspect of our lives including social media. This might seem silly to you, it did to me at first too. But, when I actually did it, I can’t even tell you how relieved I felt. Removing negativity from your life will have a profound effect on how much you can accomplish and how you feel.”

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Jari Butler

Love this post :) As hard it will be, I think I am going to heed to this post and de clutter my facebook. Facebook has been a problem since many people post crazy things which get me upset, or jealous or irritated. Cant wait to start!!

The Best Things in 2013 | Focusing On What Matters

I have been contemplating doing a mini blog series of some of the best things about 2013, and decided that it was time to do it. We have been snowed/iced in for several days, which is a very rare thing for TX and it has given me some time to reflect on some of these things, as well as play games, watch Christmas movies, and spend extra time with my little family. The posts will kind of be a hybrid of things I am thankful for from this year, as well as what I have learned. I hope that it will be an encouragement to you as we approach 2014.

I started 2013 knowing that it was going to be a great year, and I am happy to look back and say that it was. That doesn’t necessarily mean that I met every single goal, but I met a lot of them and accomplished things that I am so happy about. You will hear about lots of those things through this series, but this first one is huge.

I Focused on What Matters. I wish I could say that I did it perfectly, but I failed a lot too. However, overall I made a conscious effort to focus on the things that matter and give up on the things that don’t. For me that meant focusing on my faith, and my family first of all.

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I strove to prioritize time in Scripture which has been on my yearly goal/New Years Resolution list for about 10 years now. I am happy to say that this is the first year that it really stuck. That doesn’t mean that I didn’t mess up or have an off day, but consistency has come a very long way. I started the #lampandlight hashtag which has helped me so much and has also allowed me to meet and be encouraged by so many other women that had the same goal. I can say that putting a priority on my faith has changed me…that may sound cliche, but it is true.

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I also tried to make a huge effort to be a better wife and invest in our marriage. I realized that I am so often selfish, and I have to remind myself daily (ok…sometime hourly) to put Jeremy’s needs above my own and to actively invest in our marriage. Starting a family changes things in marriage, it isn’t a bad thing…but it is an adjustment. We have both learned that we need to prioritize each other to keep our relationship what it should be. I can’t really say how great I did on this one, I guess you will have to ask my hubby…but I am keeping it in my mind, and trying to always be better. I am so grateful for Jeremy and his patience with me, and constant love and support.

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I love being a mommy, it is one of my favorite things in the world. But, I will admit that sometimes I just get overwhelmed with all the day to day mundane tasks, or catch myself being distracted from intentional parenting by things that don’t really matter. I never want to look back on a week or a day and realize I spent more time on business, housework, or Facebook than I did on my children.   It takes a lot of work to carve our time and not get so overwhelmed by to do lists or a cluttered living room that mothering takes a back seat. This is a work in progress for sure, I am the first to admit that there have been quite a few days especially since I have been pregnant that I have been in tears or on the verge of tears at the end of the night when I am exhausted and the thought of waking up to a cluttered living room seems like the worst thing ever. Sometimes I leave it till morning, sometimes I push through the exhaustion to make it presentable because I know it will give me a fresh start in the morning, and there have been many times in the past few months that Jeremy has told me to go to bed while he did a little speed cleaning.I certainly don’t have it all together, but I am making a conscious effort to make my priority my family, and not all my other “to dos”.

There is so much more, but those are some of the big ones for me. What are you wanting to focus more on in 2014?

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Melissa Kolbeck

I found your blog through your IG…I love this post. I love your blog design. You’ve inspired me to put more effort into my own blog. But you’re right – carving out time is so difficult sometimes.