Two Weeks into Lent

We are exactly two weeks into Lent. It feels great to say I have been away from Facebook and Instagram for that length of time. To be honest, I quickly went on tonight to check in with my bookclub to see if we are still planning on meeting next week, and I will have to check in periodically over the next few days to see what the plan is. However, I have not gone on to scroll through either of the social platforms. It feels amazing! So amazing, that at this point, I may give up one of them. Now, who is to say that I will still feel that way when this is all said and done, but two weeks in, I just may! Or at least, I will scale down who I follow. Time will tell.

What have these past two weeks taught me? Tonight, my oldest out of nowhere said “mom, I am glad you gave up Facebook, I feel like you were on it too much”. Yes, Stella, I probably was on it too much. I am not proud of it. I could have been on it much more, or much less. Now, what she doesn’t realize though, is that everything is on my phone so I am not always on social media. Text communication about friend get togethers, music that she loves to listen to, email correspondence about her extracurricular activities, and shopping for things we actually need all take place on this time consuming device. The phone is with me and is a part of me. That is the way of the world. I can be better though. We all can be, right?

What have I done with this extra time? I have gotten back on board with some much needed self improvement. I have felt like I had fallen off of the train with my healthier lifestyle. It had only been a few weeks, but I was not happy to feel and see the results start to diminish. I had a friend ask me what my “why” was. What is the “why” behind my weight goals. I knew a little bit about my why, but I had A) lost site of it and B) had to dig a little deeper to provide me with some much needed motivation. I think that discussion is for another post as I am still processing through that why.

A friend at work introduced me to the YouVersion Bible app. It appeared I had downloaded the app about three years ago, so I guess she re-introduced me to it. My morning routine has welcomed some new found Bible studies and has brought a college friend back into my circle. I would say a triple win so far! I have ebbed and flowed through starting my morning with some spiritual words and I am not quite certain why it is easy to drift away from this routine as it does bring me a sense of calm. I have brought back my journal too. There is something therapeutic about writing for me. There are a few topics that I have declared off limits for this blog. I need to remind myself that a journal and a pen are just as good.

I have finished two phenomenal books in the past couple of weeks too. Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano and Daughter of Molokai by Alan Brennert. This is not a sales pitch by any means, but if you love to read and you love to get new books in the mail I highly suggest subscribing to Book of the Month. Maybe with leaving Facebook and Instagram I will find enough time to catch up on my pile of books. They all sound so good, it is hard to make a decision each month. Daughter of Molokai was not part of the Book of the Month subscription. I read Molokai by the same author years ago. It by far is my favorite book. I have not been to that particular Hawaiian island, but reading it brought me back to Maui and the heart warming feelings it brought to my senses while I was there. I have read a lot of good books by authors that bring great detail to their writing. Those authors make you feel like you know the characters. They make you feel like you sitting there next to them. This author exceeds all of my expectations with his level of detail. I lent Molokai to someone once and didn’t get it back. I ran across it at a 2nd hand store and bought it again. Honolulu is another book by Alan. Again, I lent this out and never got it back. At some point I will want to purchase it again. It was that good. Daughter of Molokai is a sequel to Molokai. You don’t have to read them in order, but I would recommend it. Alan makes learning about history fun again for me. If you have a fear of flying or are taking a trip soon I would suggest not reading Dear Edward. I didn’t know what to expect out of Ann’s story, but it brought a sense of warmth to my heart after a tragic situation occurred. I couldn’t help but feel for Edward and is family. They all struggled in their own way, yet being family they made it through together. Life is not perfect, however we have to work together.

I am excited to see what else come from the next few weeks of peace.

2020 Vision

Today the date is January 12, 2020. It has been 12 days of reflecting on what my vision is for 2020. I loved last year how I had laid out goals for different passions within my life. Reading, art, moving, self empowerment and the 7 challenge. Why did I love ALL of those goals? They all were focused around things that I love. Even though I tried to scale down my monthly goals, there were a lot of goals each month. I didn’t achieve all of them, and they even tapered off as the year went on. I learned to be ok with that. I learned a lot about myself in 2019. I learned about why some of those goals were more important and why some were not. This year, I think it has to be less. Less in a way that may turn into more. More meaningful that is.

I decided to go with a phrase this year.


Being present should rein in all of the important things that I need to focus on. I am hoping this will help strengthen the person I am and strive to be. The person that makes me strong for those that around me. God. Family. Friends. Co-workers.

Here are the things I want to focus on and more BE PRESENT with:





BE present IN FAITH

Daily reading of the Bible

Monthly Bible study

No judgement of people


Make eye contact

Less multitasking

More hugs

More silly times

More freedom

BE present WITH FOOD

Healthy food


Intermittent fasting

Ayurveda practices

MyFitnessPal app


Cardio that is good for me

Weight training that strengthens m back

30 minutes a day/ 5 x a week

10,000 steps a day












2019 brought a lot of joy back into my life. It created space to be ok with what is important to me. 2020 is going to be a good year.

The Year 2019

Everyone has been reflecting over the past few days as 2019 came to an end. I have too in my head and have not known where to start. I even felt at one point, why write about it? My answer? Write about it for me. Write about it for those that will read it. Write about it to document your past. Talk about it, just in case it helps someone else. So here I am and it’s January 1, 2020.

Born in 1982, I have now lived in 5 different decades, 2 centuries and 2 millenniums. I am not certain if I would have thought that deeply about it had it not been floating around Facebook and Instagram. Goodness gracious. I feel like I have seen a lot, however, my grandfather-in-law passed away last week at the age of 92. Think about what he saw! I graduated high school almost 20 years ago. *almost hyperventilating* It doesn’t feel like that as I remember it so clearly. My best friends are still from that time in my life or shortly after. Maybe that helps with that feeling.

Since getting married in 2011 life has had it’s ups and downs. Marriage is not easy. Moving to a new town was not what it was cracked up to be. Being a mom is difficult. Throw those 3 things into a 10 month span, it was a rocky ride. A rocky ride that didn’t settle down. Until 2019 that is.

What happened in 2019? Let me back up a ways. I had a doctor tell me late in 2017 that I was normal. The overwhelming feelings I was having was normal. Nothing was wrong with me. She prescribed me some medication, yet didn’t think I needed it. She was right. I tried it. It made me feel tired and I quickly tucked it away knowing it was not right for me. She referred me to a counselor. This counselor was amazing. She too, said that what I had experienced was normal, that the rocky road I had endeavored would have caused a lot of people to feel the way I was. Sad, overwhelmed, exhausted, feeling heavy, and not knowing what else I could do. I felt alone in this town. I saw her many times and it helped me become aware. This awareness taught me that I was not alone. I had to go with my gut and take time for myself. I had to put distance between me and some people in my life. Without going into too many more details, details that I promised I would not share, I had to make some decisions. I had to speak my mind in a calm and direct manner and make some decisions. 2018 was a long year. A long year of reading books by Rachel Hollis and Jessica Turner. A year of discovering the Enneagram. It was the start to realizing for myself that I am ok to be me. I am ok to know what I am. I am ok to know that I am normal. I am ok to know that I am not asking too much.

2019 happened. Right at the beginning lightbulbs were turned on in our home. It was like the universe shifted. We, or I, but really, we, waited out the storm. I was blessed to attend two courses through my work on leadership. Again, my eyes were opened. I was not alone. There were tools to help me and others through our troubles. We just have to be open to them. We have to be open to change. Not everyone is and that is ok too, but, some changes have to be made to remain healthy. Thanks to Brene Brown, thanks again to Jessica Turner and to Elizabeth Gilbert, I was brought back to life. These authors speak very powerful words!

Now, don’t get me wrong. 2019 still had its downs. It was not peachy keen all the time. However, with hard conversations, keeping an open mind, acknowledging people’s differences, and because of the hard work I put into studying myself, it was less overwhelming. We are still climbing this newer steep hill, or at least, in my mind we still are.

Towards the end of 2019 I took a new job. One that caters to my strengths. I am excited to test how this works out for me in 2020. Now, if someone reads this from my new place of employment, they may have caught the word “test”. I am not going anywhere. Testing my strengths at this job has already proven how it lifts me up. Focusing on my strengths has worked for me. I am not fighting a part of my life like I was. I can’t wait to dive more into this topic and share what I learn. I am fascinated with how others work. How do we help others find their light? I ponder what the world would be like if we all realized how to be our best self, how to acknowledge our wrong doings and lift each other up.

I welcome the new year and all that it will bring. The good and the bad.

Curiosity Leads To More Books

We have all heard about the dog that gets distracted by a squirrel. Or someone gets lost down a rabbit trail. Well, I get distracted by shiny objects. Or, maybe I can call it being curious. I took the Gallup Strengths Finder test this summer. Input and intellection were two of my top five strengths. Both talk about reading to become more knowledgeable about subjects so I can relate (another top five strength) to others. That would explain how I read two totally random books this year. I started them this summer and finished them both just recently. Kennedy Ryan’s writing encouraged me to read White Fragility and Come As You Are.

I have always been interested in other cultures. Our heritage, our race and our upbringing helps shape us. Whether we embrace it or shy away from it. Often times, Kennedy has her characters intertwined in interracial relationships. I am a Scandinavian woman living in the Midwest. I grew up listening to gangsta rap and watching Boyz n the Hood. I am far from the world 2Pac lived in. So very far away. I came across White Fragility by Robin Diangelo as I tried to find a book that discussed living as a minority. I listened to the audiobook version. It changed the way I tried to prep myself to explain race to my girls. I thought I was going to teach them that they should treat others all the same. I realize I was not preparing myself to say the right words though. They need to acknowledge the differences we all bring to this world. We are all unique. We have our ancestors. We have all struggled in some way or another. We may have different skin colors, speak different languages and maybe have a different God. What we all deserve is love, kindness and respect. That is what I have always prepared myself to say to my kiddos. This book helped me come up with the right words. This book made me feel shame. It made me feel sad and angry. It was not an easy read, however, I hope that it opened up my eyes and my heart. I hope that it helps form me into the loving human God wants me to be.

Come As You Are. Far from any book I have read before. I tell you though, I plan on providing this book to my girls when they near adulthood. It’s “far too much” for a teenage girl to read, but I wish I would have known what a “normal” woman’s sexual health is like. There is no normal. That is the thing. I read about Kennedy Ryan’s strong women characters with sexual confidence and desire. Far from this girl right here. I am not like those girls. I am hardly a rated R version *sigh* all I am going to say is I highly suggest this book. For the hubby’s out there, not a bad one to read to gain some perspective.

To wrap this up, I am amazed at where by brain wonders these days. I am amazed that I go to read a mindless romance novel, which I am so thankful for, and I turn the page wondering what is the best book to educate me on random topics.

Thank you for the many talented authors out there. Ryan’s latest work, The King Maker, is another great piece of art.

I joined Weight Watchers

(Almost) every morning as I sit down with my Start Journal (thanks Rachel Hollis) I list out my 10 goals.

One of them is to be 10 lbs lighter.

One of them is to be a healthy eater.

For as long as I can remember I could eat what I wanted to and stay the weight I wanted to. I was highly active in dance through my freshman year of college. I then sought out running and bought memberships to gyms. I love to workout. Til this day I would call it a passion. However. More often than before I fall out of sync. More often than before it’s not a high intensity workout. I try though. I keep trying. That is important.

The scale is not budging. Monday morning as I couldn’t sleep I pondered what to do. What do I have to do to make the scale budge? I googled options and I joined Weight Watchers.

Once I returned home from a work trip I was all in. I have to be. Why am I doing this? Why am I not accepting the scale’s numbers? I know I can be healthier. I know I can be stronger. I know this will help me feel emotionally better. I know this will set an example. I am needing accountability. I am needing a system. Here is to accomplishing a goal.

Rachel Hollis in Fargo, ND

It was roughly a year ago that I was introduced to Rachel Hollis. I woke up in the middle of the night and was scrolling through Instagram and an ad popped up for Girl, Wash Your Face. I quickly looked at the synopsis of the book and then bought it. Little did I know that I would get a chance to see her in person a year later.

Like many other women, I fell in love with her words, her energy, her honesty and individuality. The push for women encouraging women is tremendous right now. It’s evolving. It’s enlightening. It’s relieving. She is one of the leaders.

As the date approached that she would be in Fargo, ND a concern encroached in my mind and my heart. What if she spoke words I had already read in her book? What if she told stories that I had already heard on her Rise and Rise Together podcasts? What if I wasted my money? *snap out of it Kirsten, it’s going to be amazing!*

Amazing it was! I drove through a quickly approaching winter storm. Blustery winds and snow blowing across icy roads as I drove from Bemidji to Fargo. I was going to make it darn it! I spent the night at my friend Amanda’s home. After a dinner out and a chick flick in (A Simple Favor that left is laughing out loud) I laid down my head with a smile on my face. Tomorrow was the day!

We parked in the Fargodome parking lot and followed packs of women into the SHAC. This event was supposed to be 500 people in a hotel ballroom, yep, um, nope, not for Rachel Hollis. For Rachel Hollis they come in packs! 4,000 women crowded into the home of the NDSU Bison basketball teams. As we filed onto the bleachers with the music pumping you could feel the energy and emotions that seep from women’s veins as they compassionately congregate. Not only did I get to attend with my friend Amanda, one of my main personal development motivators, I got to sit by my friend, Molly, who I had not seen since I got married 7 1/2 years ago! *Let me note, she has not aged a day since*

The moment Rachel Hollis walked on stage, for as small as she is, she was larger than life. I thought I was going to cry. Why? Why was this cute little thing going to make me cry? She was going to make me cry happy tears. You see, the season of life I was in when I bought her book a year ago was when I was started to “take control of my life again”. I started to live life for me. I started to search for the spark I was missing. Her book was a big part of that movement. A lot has changed in my head and my heart in a year. God Bless this woman! God Bless the women of Fargo’s Women Connect group through The Chamber for bringing her to North Dakota.

Rachel talked about comparison. Stop comparing yourself to other people’s highlight reels they post on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, enter in any other social platform you may follow. Make it a goal to be better than the person you were yesterday. Negative comparison is easy to fall into. It is an easy way to crush your self esteem and set back your motivation.

“Check our gut, check your heart” she said. Are your goals following what your heart and gut say you should be doing?

Goals are important. She was selling her Start Today journals and of course I had to pick one up. I have been a long collector of journals. Should I mention I am not a great “journaler”? Spell check is telling me that is not a word, but you get what I am saying. I have tried to change that habit. That habit of buying journals and not writing in them. I am improving. This blog helps *smile* We will see if her method of goal setting works for me. Again, trying to not compare. Perhaps it will help me, perhaps it is not a Kirsten Thing, and that is ok.

Personal development are two words she said. Ah-ha moment for me. I keep using the words self help. I don’t like to use those words. I feel like there is a stigma with the words self help that I don’t like to associate with. Not that self help is not good, but personal development is more my “style”.

“Move your body to change your mind”. Goodness, did these words resonate with me this week. Well below zero temperatures in the Midwest were making everyone want to hibernate. This did not work well with my goal to work out 5 days a week this month. I got up, put my workout clothes on, and it changed my mind. Only 30 minutes. That was all I needed to do. I moved my body to change my mind. Thanks Rach!

“The Spark In Your Heart”. I am such a feeling type of person, after all, I am an INFJ. I was off the charts on the Feelings part of the Myers Briggs. Along with this, she asked the question, “what is your heart’s what if?” I think this was the 2nd time I wanted to cry. Can you guess another blog post might follow on this one?

The last quote I wrote down was “I don’t want to inconvenience you with who I Am”. Uf-da. That one stung a little. Be yourself is what she essentially meant, be yourself and let those that love you accept you. And if they don’t like you, if they don’t like what makes your heart spark, if they don’t like you working on personal development, than is it worth it to have them in your life? I feel like this might be a topic she focuses more on in her next book, Girl, Stop Apologizing. Maybe that is wishful thinking!

If you get a chance to see Rachel Hollis, you will not be disappointed. She is hilarious. She is honest. She is a leader.

PS: This is a post I had on Instagram following the Rachel Hollis event:

We are walking to our seat today at the Rachel Hollis event in Fargo and a nice woman asks if she can ask us a few questions for the Fargo Forum. When she found out I was from Bemidji she said her sister lives there. At the end of the interview I found out her sister is my hair stylist whom I am so lucky to see tomorrow. It truly is a small world. Rachel Hollis was amazing and I can’t wait to reflect on the chance to see her speak. For now, this girl is going to bed!

Click here for the Fargo Forum article.

Coffee and a Good Read- 2018

I am an avid reader. Here I will list the books I read during this year. I will provide a few words to describe my feelings of the stories told without giving away the book.

Calling Me Home by Julie Kibler

Unforgettable love. Inter-racial struggle. Ahead of the times. A must read.[*GCLID*]&gclsrc=ds

Darker by E.L James

This is the 2nd book written through the eyes of Mr. Grey. Enlightening. Additional details. Further perspective.[*GCLID*]&gclsrc=ds

Something Borrowed by Emily Giffen

Something Blue by Emily Giffen

One does not have to read both books and it does not matter which one is read first.

Lovable characters. Chic Lit at its best. Why did it take me so long to read her books?

See Me by Nicholas Sparks

Held my breath. Not your typical Nicholas Sparks book. Suspenseful love. Root for the underdog.

Two by Two by Nicholas Sparks

Artistic writing. Hopeful. Why do his books not get old?

Still Me by Jojo Moyes

This is the third book in the series. Me Before You was a tear jerker. After You was good but Still Me made me feel whole again. A great follow up to the second one as I was left feeling a bit disappointed.

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

This was my suggestion for the book club I was in. It is one of Oprah’s 2018 Book Club selection, but also one I kept seeing float across the Instagram account for Book of the Month. It had me at page 5 when one of the main characters references Love Jones, a movie I had on VHS back in the day. It has a soundtrack that I still frequently listen to. It is an emotional and intense read. I longed for it to be longer with more details of the love triangle that it is. Silver Sparrow did an excellent job with this piece of work.

Girl, Wash Your Faceby Rachel Hollis

Full book review here

The Crossroads of Should and Must by Elle Luna

Brief book review here.

Party Girl by Rachel Hollis

Read review here

Sweet Girl and Smart Girl by Rachel Hollis.

Here explains my love for these books.

Every Day by David Levithan

Book review here.

Another Day by David Levithan

My thoughts on the book are found here.

Never Let You Go by Chevy Stevens

The Sacred Enneagram by Christopher L. Heuertz

Thoughts here on my first Enneagram experience.

Stretched Too Thin by Jessica Turner

See my thoughts here on this gem!

Silence, Broken Silence, Players Bumps and Cocktail Sausages, Silent Night by Natasha Preston

The After Series by Anna Todd

book reviews here

The Brightest Stars by Anna Todd

Nothing More and Nothing Less by Anna Todd

With the Band by Natasha Preston

Between Breaths by Elizabeth Vargas

Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

I had the pleasure of watching the Mr. Rogers documentary this morning. I was pleased to see it at our local library already. This was a show I grew up on. I think it was on before Sesame Street each day while my grandma babysat my sister and me. I thoroughly enjoyed it as a kid.

I have even more appreciation for his great insight now that I am an adult. The messages he shared were so deep but were shown with such simplicity. He was a radical, as they said. He talked about subjects that were scary- death, divorce, war, just to name a few. How was he so ahead of his time?

It is a shame that Mr. Rogers is not on PBS any longer. I get it. Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood has some of the same messages but with a different look to entertain the new generation of kids. Our kids could learn a lot by listening to Mr. Rogers. Daniel’s messages just don’t quite hit home like they should for the scary things our kids see in today’s world. Look at his neighborhood and the recent shooting. I would like to see more of us embrace each other like he did.

I don’t remember hearing that Fred Rogers passed away in 2003. Although, I was in college and at a different point in my life. I cried for his passing this morning- like an awful sobbing mess. Rest In Peace, Mr. Rogers, and may more people act like you did.

Happiness Project: Passions and Mindfulness

Here I am, finally sitting down to write about September and October’s Happiness Project. September focused on Passions and October was on Mindfulness.

September almost made me sad when I read the chapter and prepared for the month. I almost avoided the subject to be honest. Passion is a hard subject for me. Part of the problem is I am too passionate about too many things. Interior Design, Art, Reading, Exercising, Healthy Eating, Music, Movies…and then there is my family and friends. How can one fit all of that into life? Well, I try, and then I get sad when I can’t do some of them to the extent that I want to. I know life is a balance. I know that I can’t do all of the things listed to the fullest extent that I want to at the same time. I feel like my passions are a “need” in my life, not a “should”. I don’t feel complete when I think of not being able to do some of these things. I don’t like to be told that I can’t do something, even when it is myself saying I can’t do something because of time restraints. It is a battle that I deal with daily. I think this paints a picture as to why I tried to avoid the focus of passions and essentially avoided writing about them too *sigh, smile*. I tend to dive both feet in with whatever passion I focus on. This is why I read 5 books of the Anna Todd series, After, within a few weeks. This is why I can be dedicated to my workouts for a month and then find myself geared towards my blog at full force for the next month- slacking on my fitness. All of these things make me happy, I know this, I have to continue to be mindful of being happy with whatever passion I choose to focus on when the kids are in bed, work is complete and the house is tidied up.

The focus for October was mindfulness. A word I feel has been an underlying part of The Happiness Project month after month. There has been a focus each month and with that comes mindfulness of that topic.

One of the fun take aways from this chapter was using mindfulness in conjunction with a password. So many of us need to use passwords each day for the technology we use. Take a topic you are focusing on and create a password with it. *Breathe2018*. *Smilemore2018* *Getupfromyourchair2018*

These are only suggestions and not passwords I am using *smile*

Gretchen Rubin suggested to make a list each day of items you are thankful for. I was already trying to do this as it was a suggestion from Rachel Hollis. I was feeling overwhelmed by the suggested list of ten Rachel recommended. I was at a work conference last weekend and one of the speakers suggested a list of three things at the end of the day. Now, this seemed more manageable. Not that I am ungrateful for ten things each day, but Rachel’s suggestion was to be extremely detailed with the list. For example, one day I was walking Emery into school. It had snowed that day so this little munchkin of mine was in large snow pants stomping in her clunky snow boots. She had this strut. A strut of confidence and sass. It made me smile and giggle to myself. I was thankful for witnessing that moment. I was thankful that I was not in a hurry so I could be fully present with her.

Two months left. I can not believe that this project is coming to an end. Attitude is the focus for November. Oh goodness! Focus in Kirsten, this is a good one for you!

Thanks for coming along on this journey with me. I am grateful for those around me and take the time to read through my thoughts.

Equality & the Minority

There has been so much banter about equal rights lately. Well, for as long as I can remember, really. It’s amazing how it changes over the years, and it’s even more astonishing to me as I grow older. In the words of Rodney King “can’t we all just get along”? It’s true. It seems so simple. Why? Why can we not get along? God made us different but I have a hard time believing he wanted us to live in a world where there is so much hatred, negativity and disbelief. I don’t know the Bible well, but I know there are words in there that showcase God’s wishes for love, positivity and trust.

I listened to a talk this last week. It was between two men, both caucasian, that said they are at a point where they feel they are the minority and don’t dare say anything in fear of offending someone. Why should it be that way for them? As long as they are being kind to the people around them, what does it matter? With that being said though, why has it been that way for women in the past? Or African-Americans? Or any race or minority for that fact? Are we all not a minority at some point; depending on our location? Yes, it appears that Caucasian men have had it “easy” in years past, where their words mattered most. That their words were the way of the world. Thank goodness that is changing. I know the concept of “we are all created equal” could be up for debate. Some people are born with certain talents, some are born into certain family structures that cause life to be easier in some ways, some people work harder to move up in the world. So it easy to understand that maybe “we are not born equal”. I have to believe that God wants us all to be loved, respected and supported equally in a positive light.

I grew up with a family that supported me, I surround myself with strong women who work hard to make a positive difference in our world, I get to mold my children to be strong thinkers who help lift their friends up and showcase their passions.

I pray that we continue to move to equality. I pray that we love one another for our differences. I pray that we support each other’s talents. I pray that we acknowledge other’s weaknesses and encourage change for the better.