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Relationships. Everyone has them, whether it be with your co-workers, brothers, sisters, spouse, parents, – I think you get the picture – there is no hiding from one. The beginning of last year I decided to be more intentional in my relationships. I am not one for New Year’s resolutions but I knew some change was to be in order and it just so happened to collide with the calendar. Relationships are not easy but they are oh-so-worth the effort it takes to keep them alive and well; not to mention how God will use them for His good.
I have realized the past few years how much I actually like being alone. Do not get me wrong, I do like people but time by myself is extremely valuable. Yes, I am an introvert. What I have come to realize is how selfish I am can get with my time. I constantly have ideas oozing all over the place that are just waiting to come to life if I can just get a few moments. Taking care of our little one (practically a single mom during the week until May), helping an amazing family, keeping up with house work and just life makes my time a lot more valuable these days and relationships take time and work. Often times, more than I would like to invest.

This year I felt the need to keep the ball rolling with the intentional relationship focus but stepping it up a notch, only with God’s help and grace that is. I have been trying to figure out what that will look like in my day. Adding a coffee date with a friend. Sending a card. A phone call. I have been praying fervently that God will use my days to make a small difference and I know that he has been at work. After all, he instilled this in me.

Sunday our Pastor spoke of obedience and doing what God wants us to do in faith and action. Then, Ricardo and I went to see Gungor (if you have ever have the chance to see them I highly recommend doing so, amazing!) and he went on to say nearly the same thing. Coincidence, I know better. Yes, God I heard you. There is nothing like affirmation from God. Relationships require action and stepping out in faith. They call me to give up something from myself. To put the needs of others before my own. To serve. They call me to become like Jesus. This is what living is all about.

Our view at Gungor (my camera did not want to focus)
What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder. – James 2:14-19 (NIV)
I recently read Nicole Johnson’s book, Fresh – Brewed Life, which made me realize that I needed to get control of my schedule. How you spend your time becomes the essence of who you let yourself become. You may be missing out on blessings that God wants to give you when you allow yourselves to get too busy to call a friend or say hi to a neighbor. Johnson goes on to talk about what you would want to be remembered for after you pass. What would be your epitaph? She states:
An epitaph is very ‘big picture.’ It seeks to capture the most important aspects of you're life. Since these words are not etched until after your dead, they are usually written by someone else, someone who looks at your life from the outside, all they have to go by many times is what you ‘did’ and how you spent your time, this is why it is so critical to get control of your schedule - to let who you are come out in what you do. People may look at your calendar of activities and completely miss what you would want them to see.

This inspired me to design a planner. One that would be best suited for my life now. One that would be fun; not like any other planner that I have had in the past. I have had a planner since middle school. My middle school gave a planner to every student on the first day. Those were quite fun actually. They included random facts and fun quotes. My favorite was from hockey player, Wayne Gretzky, you miss 100% of the shot you never take. I still remember it. After that, planners became basic but functional, which is why I opted out of buying another one. I needed one that would keep me focused on more than just what needs to get done. I needed one that would help me “fight to focus on Jesus,” as guest speaker, Pastor Ryan Stevenson said during his sermon on Sunday. (If you are interested in hearing the amazing message, you can listen to it via Podcast here)

This led me to the overall theme. The root of our existence is love. I can see this more so as I have become a mother, wife, sister, and friend. We are only capable of truly loving when we fully entrust ourselves to Jesus. Therefore, I have entwined verses pertaining to love throughout the pages as a reminder to myself to LOVE others because He loved me first. I cannot love on my own. True love can only come through Him. 

Monthly Calendar, starting with March through December

I also opted to make it colorful for a change. I have a tendency to keep things black and white, literally. If you have ever stepped in to my living room or guest bathroom, you may have noticed. Black and white is a classic combination. Not to mention, it goes with anything, except brown. It is easy to change accent colors but  also gets boring and predictable. It does not scream “take a chance” or “live a little” but rather a sort of complacent hum dum “been there, done that.” So, with all this in mind, my “Change the World with Love Planner” was born.
Hope you enjoy it. Feel free to download all or some of it by clicking the links below, for personal use only. 

Meal Planner with Shopping List

Weekly Pages, six colors total