When You Don’t Need Resolutions as Much as You Need Real Solutions, Soul Solutions: A Real GRACE Plan for a New Year, A New You: With Printable

So I’m a mess and we’re all failures — at least all the honest are.

And the truth is, no one ever runs before they take baby steps. 

So I scratch down these 25 points, like my own sanity manifesto, like my own GRACE Plan and there are a thousand ways in a thousand seasons to make a life glorify God.

I scrawl out mine, which yeah, would be different than anyone else’s, and make a place for it on the fridge and it’s not a law, but a scaffolding for the shaky, struggling days.

I don’t write it as a checklist, like these are All The Things I have to do, one right after another —

but I write the manifesto like a GRACE PLAN:  fluid, like limbs on a tree, just to reach for the next one that I need right now, whatever that is.

I can’t do it all, all the time — All I can do is just the. next. thing. right now, at this time.

And I write it in big letters, right at the top of the piece of paper: FORWARD — , what I need to whisper on the days when I don’t know how to keep going because everything’s going wrong — just FORWARD

Because I keep bungling the day and it’s  what that piano adjudicator said when Hope-girl muddled through her piano piece:

“So you forgot some notes! Fear and old habits and people pressure and your own interior playlist can do that — to all of us. But! When the piece started to fall apart?

You fell forward, Hope. You didn’t fret about the music behind you — you focused on the next bar.”

Hope had nodded slowly, like a dawning, smiling.

The adjudicator looked down the row of girls and budding pianists and said it with this steady beat.

“We are all going to botch it somedays. We all sometimes get the notes wrong. But the song only goes wrong when we keep thinking back to the wrong notes.”

When a piece starts to fall apart — fall forward. Fall forward into the next bar. Moving forward is what makes music.

And I sit there at the end of the year, on the end of the bed before the sock drawer with a lapful of holey, mismatched socks, and I can hear it, these notes that I might wear like a habit —

Failing? What feels likes failing is really gaining experience. Keep moving Forward!

Falling apart? Fall forward into His arms — falling forward is the only way you make music. Keep moving Forward!

Fearful? Fear is always the first step of faith. Keep moving Forward! 

Whenever you are lost, forward is always the way Home.

So, it’s there on the fridge for all the days when I just need some kind of a map, and for all the days in between, my 25 Point Sanity Manifesto — A GRACE plan.












Summer Sound [Large View]








two feet of water



Okay, Self — here are notes-to-self, just for self —

Because this is the year I don’t need Resolutions, as much as a I need Real Solutions.

As much as a I need Real Soulutions.

Maybe what we’re really craving isn’t so much New Year Resolutions — as much as we’re seeking Soul Solutions: SOULUTIONS.

Yeah just that Soul Solutions: Soulutions.

When I need soul solutions, when I need a Soul Blueprint–  I’m sticking to these real Soulutions:

1. First things first: Word in. Work out. Work plan.

Open your eyes every morning and just do three first:

Word in: Get into God’s Word and let it get into you.
Work out: Work out. Even  5 minutes of moving is better than nothing. (baby steps! together we can do this!)
Work plan: Write out the work plan. And then work the plan.


2. “What a heart knows by heart is what a heart knows”

Write your memory verses on a sticky note, on a chalkboard, for your pocket.

Because when you are memorizing Scripture, quiet time with the Lord — becomes all the time. (Who doesn’t want that?)


3. Flame first.

Light a candle first thing in the morning.

So you remember: You are the light that is put on a stand so that it gives light to everyone in the house.


4. Your work is art: it needs a soundtrack.

Find your music.

Play your music.

Sing your music. This is profound.

Vincent van Gogh said: “When sailors have to move a heavy load or raise an anchor, they all sing together to keep them up and give them vim. That’s just what artists lack.”


5. Step on the Snake Before Breakfast

Before breakfast, crush one hard thing that is tempting you to think there are impossible things.

Before breakfast, crush that one thing and prove that all things are possible with God.


6. Stay in the pool

Michael Phelps said it in an interview: “You’ve just got to stay in the pool longer than others.”

Set the timer. Get in the pool. Stay in the pool. Do your work. Don’t get distracted. Don’t flit from one thing to another and back.

Don’t get out of the pool, don’t leave your work, until the timer goes. The way to win is to stay in the pool.


7. Clean a space = clear headspace

Keeping the workspace clean, clears your headspace to think.

Every night, after dinner, the timer gets set for 30 minutes. And we all just clean. Everybody. Every day. Yeah, so things get off kilter through the day — but the boat stays afloat if we all clear the decks for just 30 minutes each day.


8. Go Slow. Life Zone. Life isn’t an Emergency: It’s a gift.

Life isn’t an emergency. It’s a gift.

Life’s so extraordinary it warrants going slow, held in reverential awe.

Only the slow see their lives. Which makes it seem longer and richer.


9. Make Laughter Your Chocolate

The more you laugh, the longer you live. You can’t afford not to laugh more. Watch this. Make laughter your chocolate.


10. No songs without rhythm

Every song needs a rhythm; every week needs a routine. Tie certain tasks to a day or another activity.

Always memorize after breakfast or always make a double batch of soup on Saturday.

Your life makes music when you play a string of tasks always together.


11. On 25, Take 5

For every 25 minutes “in the pool” working – take 5 minutes off. Live by pomodoros. Really. Life-changing.


12. Unplug to plug into your purpose

Only if you want to plug into peace and purpose and your big picture – then unplug for certain hours everyday.

Constant connectivity effects productivity like a marijuana high.


13.Watch Your Nos & Your Yeses will take Care of Themselves

Everything you say yes to, you say no to something else.

Are your yeses forcing you to say no to what really want to say yes to?

Don’t have guilt over a no – because every no is saying a better yes.


14. Daily Stillness Appointment

When is your 5 minute stillness appointment everyday?

Write that midday time in stone. No cancellations allowed. For 5 minutes midday, be still and cease striving.

Know He is God and the day looks very different.

Slow down: You only pass by this way once.


15. If the Heaven’s Declare, get out there.

The whole of the sky and the world is speaking endlessly of His glory.

When you step outside and listen, your soul revives. You need that.

You really need one walk outside a day. Even it’s just out the door to get the mail or walk the dog around the block or a walk around the yard before you have to get in the car.


16. Work on your Wall before Noon

Like Nehemiah who worked on rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem, build your wall, building whatever God has uniquely called you to — a particular work project, a creative project, homeschooling, homemaking, a ministry. Here’s the deal, Self: Everyday before noon, work on your wall, laying down 3 stones before noon.

If you don’t intentionally work on your wall, the tyranny of the urgent can make your life a rubble heap.


17. Envision the End Goal

Like God gave Abraham a vision of the stars of the sky and told him he would have that many children, hang up a picture of the End Goal — so you always have a vision of what you envision. 


18. Every day, not Every Now and Then

Random acts of greatness pale in comparison to habitual acts of faithfulness.

It’s not what you do every now and then, but what you do everyday, that changes everything. 

Do something at the same time everyday and you find yourself a new person.


19. Hard Stops

The only way to get anywhere safely is to make complete stops.

Make hard, complete stops at set times throughout the day to pray. Otherwise you’re risking a crash.

9, 12, 3, on the hour, might be times to set an a gentle, chime alarm for – and just stop and pray.

Praying at set times throughout the day is how both Jesus and the early church lived their days: God marking time.


20. The Holy, Happiness Habit {Count Gifts}

It’s not finally finding yourself joyful  — that lets you finally be grateful.

It’s being grateful that lets you finally be what you really want:  joyful.

Get this, really get this, because it’s deeply Biblical: Living Grateful is definitely 100% God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

All research says that giving thanks is guaranteed to make you 25% happierWho. Doesn’t. Want. That.?

Write down 3 things a day you are grateful for. Hunt for His glory. Look for His beauty right in the midst of the ugly. Count 1000 gifts.

Start the year afresh with the 60 Day Devotional with fresh numbered pages to write out 1000 thousand gifts, that makes JOY POSSIBLE wherever we are.

Take the Joy Dare!  Make right where you are your happy place. [Counted  1000 gifts this year? Enter the draw for a new Nikon DSLR D90 camera next Monday on the blog…. And begin counting  1000 gifts today for next year’s draw of a new DSLR camera!]


21. Ebenezers for the Efforts

Mark little milestones! Celebrate! The little things!

A treat at the end of the day, end of the week, end of the project, end of the term.

Hang a bunting. Taste something sweet. Take a happy, thumbs up picture to mark your progress!

Make an album of a year, of the process, of the overcoming.


22. Father Affirmations

You need these every day. Whisper them aloud, who you really are if you are IN Christ:

I am complete in Christ. Colossians 2:9-10
I have direct access to the throne of grace through Jesus Christ. Hebrews 4:14-16
I am free from condemnation. Romans 8:1-2
I am assured that God works for my good in all circumstances. Romans 8:28
I am free from any condemnation brought against me and I cannot be separated from the love of God. Romans 8:31-39
I am confident that God will complete the good work He started in me. Philippians 1:6
I have not been given a spirit of fear but of power, love and a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7

23. Breathe

Breathing in and breathing out like this will radically change the quality of your life. Breathe.


24. Hard, Bad Day? Hot Bath

An evening routine of a hot bath at the end of the hard and bad days?



25. Rest so you can have the rest of God.

Sleep is more than your friend — it’s your God-given fuel.

Tomorrow always begins with the night before, so turn in early so tomorrow can turn out well.

And A Grace Plan unfolds a bit of hope….

with the exhaling relief of daily being more grateful for what is than feeling guilty for what isn’t

 photo credit 1 and 2




To Download the Manifesto :

Screen Shot 2014-09-02 at 2.26.42 PM

Related posts for The GRACE PLAN to make sense:
Daily Printable Work Plan (as photographed here on the clipboard)
How not to get distracted online
Life isn’t an emergency. It’s a gift.
What does “On 25 take 5” mean
How to make hard, complete stops at set times to pray

How to really Breathe

and moving FORWARD with this 60 Day Devotional with fresh numbered pages to write out 1000 thousand gifts, that make JOY POSSIBLE wherever we are and, Lord willing…. coming up around the corner: drawing for the Nikon DSLR D90 camera, and beginning a new year of a new 1000 gifts and next year’s camera?  Forward! The future is as bright as our Father’s faithfulness.