Of Mess and Moxie- an introduction

I found a study guide online to follow along with as I read Of Mess and Moxie by Jen Hatmaker:

In what ways are you able to find Moxie in the midst of a Mess?

Moxie means to be full of energy or determination. I feel like every day I have to dig deep to find a little Moxie to get me through the days. I don’t mean that every day is a mess as the question proposes, but each day it takes energy to fuel the list of to-dos that need to be done. Believe me, there are plenty of messes in my life of being a wife, mother and manager, not to mention the other roles I play in life. What life doesn’t have messes though, right? I find time to do things that bring me joy: watch my kids grow, read empowering books, workout, write, create etc. All of these things bring me energy. They give me the purpose to live life each day.

How are you different from one year ago? 5 years ago? 10 years ago?

A year ago I was doubting myself, my feelings, my desires and my ways of living. I was right on the verge of taking the steps to believe in myself again (thank you counseling, self help books and tuning into the things that have always made me feel full). Today I am much more sure of who I am. I know that I am a kind hearted person who gives her all to everything and everyone around her. I am not perfect, I make mistakes and I am ok with that. I am not any different than the kid I used to be, the young adult I merged into and the human being I was right before I got married and had kids. Of course, I am different, but the core of me is the same.

5 years ago I was a new mother. I had Stella who was 1.5 and was expecting Emery within a couple of months. I loved having really little kiddos around. I loved the snuggles and the coos of babies. Even though they are full of tattles and sass now, I thoroughly enjoy this stage much more. 5 years ago I was a full on mother. Exhausted from having Stella and giving Emery a home to grown in, I had lost a whole lot of “me”. I was happy to be a wife, blessed to have the girls, but didn’t have time to find myself. I didn’t have time to be Kirsten. I felt truly lost. Most moms will understand this. Dads try, but will never fully understand.

10 years ago I was 26. I was single, just meeting my husband to be. I worked in the world of Interior Design, one of my creative passions. I worked out at a phenomenal gym each day. I lived in the same town as my parents and some of my best friends. Life was pretty comfortable and carefree. I could read when I wanted to, create art if I desired and be lazy if I wished. There are days that I long to be that 26 year old again. If just for a day or two every now and again.

As a parent what do I take seriously? What do I take less seriously?

This is a hard question. Being a parent is the hardest job/role I have ever had. Some days I succeed and some days I darn near fail- or at least feel like I do. The girls are still alive, healthy and happy (most of the time) so I must be doing something right as a mom. I want my kids to be kind. That is by far my biggest fear. The first thing I ask at conferences is are they nice to other kids? Do they have good manners? Are they respectable? I would say I also ensure that they are hardworking. I want to make sure they are challenged and understand things are not just handed to them. They will not always be the best, things will not always come easy for them. They have heard the phrase “life is not always fair” to the point where Emmy recites it to her sister often *laughing*

What am I more relaxed on? Goodness, I don’t even know. They know relaxed is not a word often found in my vocabulary. We are a clean family, messes and clutter make me anxious, but I also don’t mind if they have projects out in certain areas of the house because I know they are being creative. If they are being imaginative I am less apt to hound them to clean up their mess. I am less serious about putting laundry away- maybe because I don’t like laundry. I would rather clean a toilet *laughing* By nature, I am a pretty serious person. I wish I could be less serious at parenting,

Write Goals Down = Success

Happy New Year!

We are already five days in! The kids are napping as it was hard to get back to school and not break down by Friday night! The sun is shining and I am basking in it along with the quietness that filters through our home. Shhh, Kirsten! Don’t say anymore because when you do you know you will hear them pound their little feet up the stairs.

I briefly mentioned in my last post, Reflections On 2018, my goals for this year. I already have a list of books to start the year off right, I have one book in particular, 7, that will challenge me for the first 7 months of the year, and I have a few other goals in mind as well.

Being a strong goal setter has always been a desire of mine, but not a strength. Many experts talk about how writing goals down or having image boards help keep goals in front of us and assist with accountability. This is my year for having my goals front and center!

I created a bulletin board with some of my goals listed out for the first 6 months. Some months are limited on the details as I want to fill them in as I get closer to the month. There are 4 common themes that appear. They are as follows:

Books: I will read 2 books a month, at least. One will focus on making me a better person and one will be my bookclub book.

Art: I will draw or paint at least 4 pages in my sketchbook each month.

Move: I will exercise 5 days a week for 30 minutes.

7 Challenge: I will read a particular chapter in Jen Hatmaker’s book, 7, and challenge myself for the month on that topic. I may not be as extreme as she was, but nonetheless she will challenge me to get rid of excess things.

Along with my bulletin board, I will continue to use my daily planner. I have, for the most part, been good at keeping my planner with me each day since August. I document what I need to do for the day, I list out my morning rituals (reading daily devotions, meditating and doing the Tibetan Rites), document my water intake and my workouts. The thought of having this planner with me, again has always been a nice thought, but the follow through was lacking. It takes a long time to create a habit, 5 months in, I can say it is a success and one I am proud of. It brings me joy to see the documentation and the consistency.

How is January going so far? I am 1/4 of the way through my bookclub book, Three Wishes. I have read the first 6 chapters in Of Mess and Moxie by Jen Hatmaker (plan on seeing a post soon). I successfully completed 5 days of working out to Cassey Ho’s PIIT28 program, this was my workout of choice for December and look forward continuing with it for this month.

Cheers to you and a new year! Let’s reach those goals together!

Reflection on 2018

For the past couple of weeks I have been reflecting on 2018. I completed Gretchen Ruben’s The Happiness Project. It was 12 months of focusing on topics like Boosting Energy, Relationships with Family and Friends, Money, Passions, Attitude and Mindfulness. I have tried to work on Mindfulness over the years. Not until this project though, did I realize that I do pay attention to a lot of day to day details, and then there are some, that I clearly need to work on. Some days were easier than others when I dedicated myself to this book and its project for the past year. I am proud to say though, that I did finish it.

Here are the things I took away from this project:

1. I need to move. Exercise has always been necessary for my my physical and mental health. I need it. I find times when I am not so dedicated to making it a priority and I feel it. As I get older, I find that I need to make it a priority. It might not be the hour + that I used to be able to spend on this passion, but I have to be ok with the 30 minutes I can give to it 5 days a week. It is no longer just a passion, it is something that I emotionally need.

2. Relationships with people that accept and love me for who I truly am is vital to my happiness. I am blessed to have many of these people in my life. I have to work on how to “work with those” that have a presence in my life that maybe do not accept me and support me. This is a goal for 2019.

3. Find comfort in trying to be less Type A. I have the pleasure of being in a leadership course at work that has been focusing on Myers Briggs. I am an Introvert, Intuitive, Feelings and Judgmental type of person. That last one, judgemental, still makes me cringe when I write it. Thankfully, it means that I am a very structured person who needs to stick to a schedule and not that I am a judgemental person. I am totally thrown off my rocker if I am taken off of my schedule, which is like 95% of my time being a wife/mother/manager of staff in a large department. Taking this test, along with the Enneagram, has taught me, and continues to challenge me to work on my weaknesses, highlight my strengths and be more accepting of others.

4. Do things that make me happy. If I want to read self-empowering books (call them what you want- self help, self awareness) I will. Until the past couple of years, I have not found them to be so helpful, but find a strong pul to them these days. If I want to ready sappy romance novels, ok! If I want to paint or draw or create fictitious interior spaces, go for it. I have read from multiple authors- Gretchen Rubin, Rachel Hollis, Jessica N. Turner- that so much of what makes us happy as adults are things that made us happy as kids. No wonder, art, design, reading, writing and etc. makes me happy. Again, some of these things are bigger goals for 2019!

5. I believe in being a good person. I believe in higher powers and the positive energy that drives us to be loving and accepting of those around us. My Ennegram number is 2- I am a helper, my Myers Briggs personality type is INFJ- an advocate (think Nelson Mandela, MLK, Mother Teresa, ok, I totally am not them, but they fall into this type). I want to take this last point and heighten my strengths and being good to those around me.

Tomorrow is December 31, 2018. The last day of the year. I look forward to seeing where 2019 brings me. I have a list of 6 self empowering books I have laid out to read. A couple of them I started and didn’t finish. They keep popping up on my radar, so I WILL read them *wink*.

1.Big Magic, Elizabeth Gilbert

2.Uninvited, Lysa Terkeurst

3.Wild and Free, Connolly and Morgan

4.Fringe Hours, Jessica N. Tuner

5.For the Love, Jen Hatmaker

6.Of Mess and Moxie, Jen Hatmaker

I get to attend a conference with Rachel Hollis in January. I have art and design goals laid out for each month. I am going to attempt a version of Jen Hatmaker’s 7 starting in January. I have a feeling I am going to learn a lot more about myself and those around me.

Cheers to 2018, not an easy year, but a rewarding one. Bring on 2019!

Whoomp There It Is

I was driving the kids to school the other day listening to the radio. “Whoomp There It Is” came on. I knew those lyrics from start to finish. The girls probably thought I was crazy. As it ended I laughed, I snorted because I laughed so hard and then I had tears. I had tears of joy. I was so young when that song came out. My mind was not saturated with adult worries, mommy brain or more useful/unnecessary facts. Over the years I have often commented that I wish I could remember lyrics like I once did. Yesterday morning I laid in bed and listened to Coldplay’s “Fix You”. I really listened to it and I cried again. Not only because the lyrics are so beautiful but because it is so sad that I (or we) can get so wrapped up in life to not listen, to not experience, to not feel.

I have always loved music. I am not musically inclined. I can’t sing. I tried to play the flute once. I didn’t jive with the teacher so I quit. I can still listen to a song and hear how I would tap dance to it (think Gregory Hines in the movie “Tap”).

My point is, music has always been a part of me. My first memories of truly loving music was 80’s rock, Janet Jackson- Rhythm Nation, Gloria Estefan, Mariah Carey. Music has been a part of my heart and my soul. It makes me feel emotions. I need to honor that. I need to tune in *pun intended* I need to essentially mediate to it. I need to be present.

I bet you didn’t expect such a “deep” post coming from a title of “Whoomp There It Is”. It was that stupid song though, that brought me to life on a Friday morning. It brought me to a realization that I need to feel a little more!

Monday Meals: Chicken Pot Pie & Meatloaf Meatballs

Pick up Rachel Hollis’ cookbook, Real Life Dinners for the chicken pot pie recipe we tried out last week. If you can’t get the book, The Daily Meal has a similar recipe to the one we cooked up. We used a pre-made Pillsbury pie crust for the bottom and top rather than a package of biscuit dough. My oldest loved the meal, as did I. Currently, you can’t trust our youngest’s opinion *wink*

In the winter we cook meat loaf a handful of times. It is so easy to make ahead of time and serve as left overs. We usually use the Better Homes and Gardens recipe. I took a new approach to it this time. Rachel Hollis makes meat balls rather than cook it in a pan. My kids did prefer it this way. She also uses a food processor to disguise the carrots and zucchini her recipe calls for.

I mixed the two recipes together to create the one below.


2/3 cup rolled oats

1 cup onion

1 cup diced carrots

1.5 cup peeled and chopped zucchini

1.5 lbs ground beef

2 eggs

1/4 bbq sauce

1 t salt

1 t pepper

1/4 cup bread crumbs to thicken up mixture if needed

1/4 cup ketchup

2 T Brown sugar

1 t Ground mustard


Spray baking sheets

Oven at 400 degrees

Process (or blend) rolled oats, onion, carrots and zucchini until veggies are small pieces

Mix veggie mixture with beef, beaten eggs, bbq sauce, salt and pepper

Add bread crumbs if needed to thicken (my veggies ended up fairly blended, rather than chunky- hence the need for the bread crumbs)

Roll into 2 “ meat balls

Top each meatball with a bit of the following mixture:

1/4 cup

2 T brown sugar

1 t ground mustard

Bake 15 minutes or until cooked in the center

We served these with corn on the cob and cream cheese mashed potatoes!

Another Day: Another Book Review

Another Day is the sequel to One More Day. I had a hard time getting through it, although nice to see things through the other main character, it was almost like re-reading the first book a second time. I did watch the movie other night. The book is always better, but this is the first book I would say…don’t read. *sad face*. There is a third book coming out this fall, I am so far in that I may have to read it.

Link to other books I have read this year.

Ebb & Flow

**please bear with me as I write this long post. I have been away from blogging for a short time and I feel like I have a lot to say about the ups and down that come and go, here are some prime examples**

It is so weird how life ebbs and flows. It is like the ocean tide; flowing in and out. Watching the tide is mesmerizing and therapeutic to me. Why then, when life flows in and out, does it throw me off?

I have found it difficult to focus the last couple of weeks. I did all I could to continue with the things that made me happy the last two months- blogging, exercising and reading positive words of encouragement. Slowly the blogging stopped, the reading came to a halt but I did manage to complete the 8 weeks of the Pretty Fierce Workout that I was so dedicated to. *pat on my back, smile*

I had last weekend to myself in my own home to refocus and regroup. I had great intentions for the weekend. Weekends like this do not happen often. This was my third weekend home alone in 6 years. It was going to be equal time of cleaning and organizing sans kids and then doing the true things that make me happy- blogging over cups of coffee, running by Lake Bemidji, rendering my She Shed drawings and reading happy words of encouragement.

I spent Friday night walking quietly through Target and then went home to cry over a chick flick, both things that felt good.

I began Saturday with a plan to clean for a while, work out, and run into town. The cleaning felt so good- it was a deep clean of the kitchen that left me in a sweat. So, I went with my heart and kept cleaning and decided against the work out. *win for going with the flow* Eventually I made into town, ahem, to Target, again, ahem, day four in a row. This time it was for a few things the house needed. I stopped by KD Floral in Bemidji for some much needed house plants. See, we have this planter near our stairs that has never been occupied by anything but randomness. At times it houses our keys, at times it holds things that are meant to be taken downstairs, but really, it was now the home for any toys that our kids decided to put there. KD Floral was so good to me and helped me select a few plants that would do well in the space. I met a friend for lunch at The Cabin and accidentally locked my keys in the car. *sad face* After I tried to think of how I was going to get into my locked house to get the spare car key, I saw a college kid and his dad moving out of an apartment. It dawned on me, I left my car windows open a crack for my new plants, maybe these lovely people would have a wire hanger for me to use. I felt like a criminal trying to get into my own car, but with a few tweaks and a few prayers, I was able to grab onto my keys and open up the car. **win for me, gosh I was on a role** Lunch was grand. It is always great fun to get caught up with a friend I rarely see. She was one of the first friends I had upon moving to Bemidji. I don’t know if she realizes the impact she had on my mental and social well being when I met her. I headed back home to plant my plants. All of a sudden my neighbor pulled up to see if I was missing a dog or knew of the person the dog belonged to in the back of his car. A beautiful black lab curled up in the back seat. I didn’t know, but felt so bad for this grey haired pup. I told the neighbor that if he needed help housing her for the weekend that I was free to help. Less than an hour later the doorbell rang. Guess who was the proud “owner” of a dog for the weekend? Ebb and flow, ebb and flow I chanted in my mind as I thought of how much my plans all of a sudden changed. She was a quiet companion of mine. I made her some food, called a few people to see if anyone had reported a missing dog and put her smiling face on Facebook in hopes to find her owner. She had to have been missed. This well behaving sweetie was stealing my heart already. I had to have a talk with myself to not get attached. My “fun” things were not getting completed, but maybe this was God’s way of saying to me, slow down Kirsten. I moved her up to the porch and cuddled up next to her for the night. I put in This Is Us, Season One, and binged watched a few episodes.

Sunday morning came and I was due to be a Greeter at church. I got the pup hooked up on the rope outside and quickly ran to town. I made it to church and then ran to Target- again. Dog food, toys and a leash made it into the cart. Large poster paper to hang up all over the neighborhood was purchased too.

Together, the pup and I drove around and hung up signs. I just couldn’t believe this baby was missing from someone’s life. The house got cleaned as she relaxed outside, I gave the pup a bath and cuddled up as we waited for T and the girls to arrive home from their weekend away. The girls thought she was great. We took her for a walk and then we brought her to the porch again. She and I slept together one last night. The love and peace in her eyes was beyond a feeling I can explain. She brought a sense of calm to me.

I won’t ramble too much about Monday. Long story short, we ended up finding this dog’s home. She had a chip and we were able to confirm where she came from. She is 12 years old, newly relocated to a home with one of her owners and became anxious with this move, hence the reason her for walking away from home. One of her owners is trying to find a way to make her less anxious. I have to have faith in God that a remedy will be found and she will find the calm she used to have; the calm that she showcased with me for the weekend. It was hard on my heart and my soul to leave her. There is a special place in my heart for the pups that come into my life. Maggie, Rookie, Ajax, Izze and now Daya…ok, I have to mention Lacy, Roxie and Logan too…see these pups are basically humans to me.

Life works in magical ways. Sometimes we see the magic and sometimes it left unknown. I will continue to flow as the ocean does. In and out. Sometimes there are some wicked waves we have to ride out. If we hang on tight, the calm will surface again.

Friday Favorites: A Day Off, Starbucks and Holding Hands

There is no daycare today so I was fortunate to be home with Emery today. We enjoyed taking Stella to school. It’s fun to see the girls run through the school with their friends. It amazes me that I have kids that are school aged as I often forget that I am in my mid 30’s and old enough to have kids this age. I don’t physically feel 20, but “feel” that I am still 20 at times.

After Emery had her 4 year old well child visit and shots (which we received without one tear!!!!!!) we went to Starbucks and Target. Our favorite combo. With a Matcha Frappuccino in my hand and chocolate cake pop in hers we literally walked around the store for two hours looking at everything and anything. She was such a good helper gathering groceries for us. Time in Target with one kid is so different than trying to herd them both through the store.

Now we sit and relax. Something I love to do, but am horrible at accomplishing. Holding my children’s hands are a favorite. This simple act is gentle and heart warming. We will watch Frozen together for the 2,378th time and then venture back into town to get Stella. What a beautiful day.


It’s an ugly week. Let’s face it, I thought it was Friday everyday last week- literally- and now this week is making me want to cry everyday! I can’t put a finger on it. Perhaps it is daylight savings laughing at me.

Yesterday my 5 year old, almost 6, asked if I was having a bad hair day. Check! I was. I didn’t say anything to her about how this was not a nice question to ask, I just asked why, she said my hair looked a little funny. I tried to curl it, didn’t have time to fix the disaster and it was what it was. Indeed, it was a bad hair day. My 4 year old said to me last night “you are ugly tonight”. Hmmm….thanks sweetie. We had an excellent night. Good dinner, positive communication around the dinner table, we played Guess Who and an educational game without either child murdering the other one. I just had to say to Miss Em, that hurts mommy’s feelings. No tears, just moved on to my workout after they went to bed and felt nothing about the day, besides, thank goodness it was done with.

Today, my oldest proceeded to yell at me at full force on the way to school, she then again did the same after she came home from gymnastics- really there was no reason, just her pure sassy attitude showing up. To sum it up, she threw herself into a physical and emotional fit as I carried her to bed and told her it was enough. Tears, uncontrolled tears came from my eyes after she continued to yell at top notch for the next 10 minutes about me not being nice (again, I had just walked in the door, she didn’t want to eat her peanut butter sandwich, which I guess she hates now, she literally just started to yell at me).

It is not a full moon, what gives? I question why I am sharing this. Well, because life is not perfect. I pray for her and for me. She is my mini me in so many ways, she wrestles with anxiety and worry, I see it already. I didn’t see this in me until I was in my adulthood. I don’t know how to manage this with her. I have a lot to learn. I just want me Sweet Stella back.


In a time when we need more superheroes. My love and prayers go out to the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida.

I live in a world surrounded by superheroes. These superheroes are by my side and are there for me whenever I need them. They save lives, keep the world safe, make people feel at home and create picture perfect moments. They are unbelievably talented and loving women.

My therapist asked me last week what things I relied on in my life. What would she have said if I said my personal superheroes? This makes me smile. (I am always a little behind on what I should have said). How does a girl move through life without her girlfriends or – um- superheroes? I am blessed to have a cop, nurse, rockstar momma and creative junkie to lean on and learn from. Those are just a few of my own personal superheroes that inspire me to be the best version of me.

As I watch my daughters grow I encourage them to be kind and caring to the people that surround them. It’s important to see the good in all who surround you. You never know what superpower they have or how it may save you. Perhaps, you will save them!

There is so much competition these days. Why not bind together and make it a stronger, safer and more supportive world? Thank goodness we don’t walk around in shiny spandex, but there are certainly days where we should wear a cape.

Go on now, pick up that phone and call a friend, buy that co-worker a coffee, turn her frown upside down, or simply tell her how much she means to you!



Follow her on Instagram, she is so talented! #sophieandlili