First Focus // September


Goals. They’re great. They really are. They help us aim for something, work for something, and feel accomplished.

However, sometimes I can aim too high, or life gets uber busy, or let’s face it, I just don’t get to it. 

So this  month, instead of monthly goals, I’m sharing some of the thing I’ve been focusing on lately. I don’t know why, but this perspective feels more like an enjoyable journey, instead of the destination of success or failure. 

After our super busy summer, it’s been SO wonderful to be home and get back to a [somewhat] consistent routine. And now that Knox is 8 months old, and we’ve lived in Xenia for almost 7 months, I’m finally feeling like I’m getting a real grasp on our lives. Our ministries on campus are starting up, and the weather is cooling off a little bit, (some days…) so life is just feeling all around back to “normal.” And I don’t know if it’s just me, but fall always seems to be the season where I get my butt in gear and become really productive. But maybe that’s just me :)

I’ve recently been reading The Best Yes, and one huge thing I’ve learned is that in order to have the time and energy to intentionally focus on the things I’m most passionate about, I need to say no to other things that don’t matter as much. The following are areas in my life I’m passionate about, and am working hard to intentionally focus on: 

health + fitness

Ok, so I had a baby 8 months ago. There’s grace in this category for SURE. But it’s been 8 months, and I still have a good amount of baby weight that’s stuck around. I know my body may not ever be exactly the same as it was, but my little guy is just starting to crawl, and before I know it he’ll be walking and running. I need to be able to keep up with him without huffing and puffing every 2 seconds. SO…health and fitness are a BIG focus in our lives. 

Stuart and I decided the only real way we’d both have success in getting fit + healthy, is if we did this together. It’s just not possible to eat a salad while your spouse is eating queso smothered Mexican food, am I right??

We realized the areas we needed to focus on are portions + consistent exercise. When you’re away for almost a whole month (one of those weeks being in a house where the kitchen is under renovation…) you tend to eat out a LOT. Or at least we did. So we needed to remind our eyes + our stomachs what correct portions look like. 

I also realized that in order to be consistent with working out, I need to do it first thing in the morning. Which means waking up early. Earlier than Knox. And if you know me, you know I am NOT a morning person. So this one has been difficult, but so far, [for the past week and a half,] Stuart and I have gotten an early morning workout in! (Let’s be honest, sometimes the earlier-than-Knox part hasn’t worked and he’s jumped in his bouncer next to us…but hey, ya do what ya gotta do. Am I right?) 

If you have any advice on how to make a night owl/morning grump successfully fall in love with mornings PLEASE SHARE!!

consistent time with the Lord

This one is pretty self explanatory…but it’s been a real struggle for me to spend daily time with Jesus since Knox was born. I’ve heard it’s a pretty common struggle for moms, but when I don’t spend time with Jesus, it negatively affects every other area of my life….my attitude, my marriage, my self worth…you get the idea. I need Jesus to function, and I was merely surviving life instead of thriving. So Jesus time is back, and it’s been great to be reunited with my First Love. [I’m doing a Beth Moore study on Jesus…thought it’d be a great idea to get right to the heart of my Savior and fall back in love with Him. It’s been awesome so far!]


You guys, almost EVERY month I posted monthly goals, “reading more” was listed. And almost every month I totally failed at it. And you know why? I was addicted to TV. So maybe it’s because all my shows are still on their summer hiatus, or maybe it’s because I just got fed up with being addicted to the tube, but I finally broke up with TV.

Really, it all started with this conversation…

Stuart: “I wanna get lost in a book.”

me: “but you hate to read…”

Stuart: “I know, it just sounds like fun.”

By far one of the best moments of my life. My book hater husband wanted to read! [Ok, he doesn’t HATE books, he’s just NEVER been a big reader. So this was a BIG DEAL to me!]

stuart reading

In the past few weeks, I’ve already read 3 books [the husband’s secret, top secret twenty-one and the language of flowers…all great, but TLOF was by far my favorite!] and I just started The Girl on the Train. I am absolutely loving being back in the world of words and imagination. 

[side note: Stuart and I found a “Free Little Library” on a walk today, and it took my book nerdiness to a whole new level. I was SO pumped. Yes, I took a book. No, I did not have one with me to replace it with…but I promise I’ll return with one very soon!]



I love people. I love getting to know people, like, really getting to know them. Learning what makes them tick, their past, their families, the way they grew up. Why they think the way they do, and what they believe. God’s been opening my heart a lot lately to what it means to love people who don’t necessarily believe the same thing I do, and why that is so important. [More coming in my blog post on Wednesday!]

As a mom, it’s not always easy to spend time with others, but I’m learning to be creative. I recently became “accidental pen pals” with a friend from Philly, and it’s made me feel like a little girl again, giddy to see my name in handwriting on a small envelope. I’ve always loved correspondence, but it’s brought a new level to our friendship, and reminded me that I don’t need proximity to deepen a friendship.

I’ve also been thinking through some ways to intertwine my focus on making friendships (or deepening the existing ones) + my focus on fitness. Maybe a weekly stroller meet up to walk in a park? Who knows…but friendships are important to me, so they’re something I’m really focusing on growing here in my 7 month old hometown :)

ministry + blogging

This is another self explanatory focus. Ministry is my job, and blogging is one of my favorite hobbies. With the fall semester just beginning, it’s been fun to dream about what God will do over the next school year.

And now that Knox is a little older, I can get a little more involved on campus. He’s absolutely still my top priority, but discipling and mentoring girls is such a big passion of mine, I’m excited my job provides the flexibility that Stuart can stay home with Knox a few hours a week so I can spend some time with a few college students!

And blogging…yay! I love it. I hope you do too. Whoever “you” are. My hope is simply to encourage people with whatever is happening in my life. It’s far from perfect, just like me, but we need each other to survive. And in the internet age, I find that I appreciate the words of others when they’re authentic, vulnerable and real. So that’s what my focus is for Our Grand Life. Thanks for being a part of it :)

  xoxo jenn