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I know, I know….you parents out there have probably done enough Science Fair projects to cure you from ever thinking that they could be fun.  But our Organization Fair (that looked suspiciously like a Science Fair for grown-ups) was exactly that – FUN!  Click here for a run-down on this “Every Needful Thing” activity.

10 displays and 13 of our neighborhood women’s help later, it was decided that the second half to our activity was a hit!  For the first 45 minutes we did our Time Management lesson where we learned how to incorporate “Planning With a Purpose” as a tool for managing our lives.  It was a tremendous experience that we had together (just look at the last two posts for that lesson).  The second 45 minutes was spent milling around, looking at the fabulous organization displays that had been created, intently reading the advice and ideas shared, chatting with one another and asking our “experts” how to make it all happen in our own lives.

There was way too much info offered that night for me to give it all to you here in this blog post, but if you click here, you will find the websites that were used to get started.  They are a huge help on their own and I would highly recommend you printing them off and adding the information to your notebooks.  I will also give you some of the tips that each teacher shared in their displays.

I was humbled and amazed by the effort that went into these displays.  Each contributor had their own style and their own approach to the assignment.  We were filled with so much information and friendship during this activity that we could not have asked for more when we planned it.

Kym’s display was elegant – just like everything she does (how did I not end up with her beautiful handout about how to organize the bedroom????).

Susan and Kelli’s display was creative – including the one-of-a-kind toilet paper tablecloth that they wove just for the occasion.

3-minute Bathroom Clean-up Ideas (see if you can do one a day while the tub is filling or when you finish getting ready for bed)

  • toss towels in the laundry
  • clean toilet
  • wipe over counter tops
  • straighten linen closet
  • organize space under the vanity
  • throw away old or expired make-up
  • wipe over floors with a rag

LeeAnne’s and Diane’s was funny – although their children thought they were weird for having to take “role-playing” photos of their moms cleaning out the fridge.

Kitchen Organization Tips:

  • store items where you use them
  • discard mismatched containers
  • square containers take up less space than round
  • keep an ongoing grocery list – add to it right when you realize you need something or use the last of something
  • keep cookbooks to a minimum
  • store mix packets, Jell-O boxes and other small items in containers or baskets
  • pick a day of the week to clean out your fridge – maybe grocery shopping day when you can make room for new groceries or garbage day so anything smelly goes straight to the garbage truck
  • run your dishwasher at night when less hot water is being used and empty it in the morning

Carilee’s formula was simple and easy to follow.

Organizing Children’s Homework Papers

If you save everything your child brings home, by the time they are in college you will have a two-car garage full and overflowing with just their paperwork! – Carilee

  • each child needs a folder and a spot for their folder
  • have your child unpack the folder every day so you can look in it
  • process the papers that need to be taken care of – tossing, saving, sending back to school

Monica’s, Becky’s, Tera’s, Nancy’s and Melissa’s were a wealth of information and inspiration.

Meal Planning and Cooking Ideas

  • try one new dish a week and vote to keep it or not
  • try crock potting once a week
  • teach your children how to cool and assign them one day a week to choose and prepare the meal
  • cook double-portions and freeze one for later
  • make a menu and grocery list at the same time
  • plan meals a week at a time as a family
  • everyone who eats helps prepare or clean up
  • come up with about 20 summer and 20 winter “go-to” recipes

Pantry Organization Tips

  • pull everything out and wipe down shelves
  • label shelves and containers
  • arrange food like grocery store shelves (similar things together)
  • have a shelf kids can reach with healthy snacks
  • don’t forget the back of the door – there are shelves made just for those not-so-big pantrys
  • if containers are not in your budget, try glass quart canning jars for storage

We could have spent hours together – learning from each other this way.  But what I loved best, besides the fact that so many people were involved and sharing themselves and becoming “experts” in their individual assignments, I loved how they all learned something in the process.

As I mentioned previously (click here), LeeAnne organized all of her recipes for this event.  Pam, who was partnered with Kristy to teach us about pantry and freezer organization, decided that she needed some hands-on experience and tackled her pantry in the process.  It took her 4 hours.  I heard many comments from people who said they had just found a certain website or that they had just thought of how a certain idea applied to their lives – all because they were in charge of “teaching” us through these displays.  I loved that being involved in the event created a chance for individual application – for us and for the teachers.

I loved it all.  Thank you to all of these amazing women for taking the time to teach us.  Thank you for creating beautiful, fun, informative and meaningful displays.  And thank you for the best Science Fair…I mean Organization Fair…ever!

I {heart} all of you!

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Now that you have your values established (click here for Part I of this lesson), let’s talk about where we go from here.  After our values are determined, we don’t really have to keep creating new ones for every situation in your life.  Most often, the values that are important to you will cross over into your whole life and can be applied to everything you do.  You might have to tweak them or perhaps add a value here and there but for the most part, they will sort of remain the same over a period of time.

When should you rethink your values list?  Here’s what I do – when my life changes (such as when I changed jobs or became a mother) then I create a fresh set of values that reflect what is important to me in my current situation.  When I learn new things that make me want to rethink what I am spending my energy on – I revisit my values.  Think about your values as something that grow and change along with you as you go through life.

Now let’s look at Steps 1-3 on your worksheet (again, click here for Part I of this lesson and to get the worksheet).

#1 – Ask: What Do I Want to Have Happen?

This is the golden question when it comes to “Planning With a Purpose” and managing our time wisely.  Instead of thinking about what do I want to do or where do I want to go, we ask, “What do I want to have happen?”

Think about something that you would like to change or improve or do better at.  It can be something in your personal life or maybe something you want to change in your family.  The example that we used during our activity was: “I want my children to do their chores better.”  OK, that is an issue that many parents face and there are a million ways to go about it.  Another one was, “I want to spend less time on the computer when I could be doing more productive things.”  We also heard, “I want to play with my kids more.”  Or how about, “I want to clean out my laundry room,” “I want to not nag my husband so much,” “I want to work smarter not harder,” “I want to be more patient with my mom as she grows older” or “I want to be better at making healthy dinners.”

the "Meal Planning" display during our "Organization Fair"

What do you want to have happen? Write down something on your worksheet that you want to change or improve about your life.  Let’s just take one thing at a time – there is no reason to try and tackle everything at once because we can get discouraged or overwhelmed.  And remember, what you want to have happen might be completely different than what someone else wants to have happen in their lives.  That’s OK.  I highly recommend you not to compare yourself to others but just focus on what feels right for you and your family.

Now that you have identified something that you want to have happen (and this thing can be big or small, affect just you or other people, or be in any area of your life), let’s look at #2 on our “Planning With a Purpose” worksheet.

#2 – Ask: What is the Best Way to Make That Happen?

This is where we get down to the nuts and bolts of “Planning With a Purpose.”  It is the how-tos that get us from where we are and where we want to be.  We are all unique.  Everyone has a different style, a different way of going about things.  So that means that the best way to make something happen might be different for you than for someone else.

Do you see how when you ask yourself what you want to have happen and think about what you value, that the way you want to spend your time starts to change?  If you want your children to learn to do their chores better then that might mean you need to spend more time teaching them to do it with you.  If you want to spend less time on the computer then maybe you need to track how many clicks you are making with the mouse or how many minutes you are browsing the web and give yourself a limit.

the "Family Calendaring" display at our "Organization Fair"

Or if you value family time and you haven’t taken a family vacation in two years, perhaps it’s time to plan something to do together.  Or you could even designate one night a week to the family where you don’t schedule anything else – it takes sacrifice and dedication but if it’s what you value and it’s what you want to have happen….it seems like it would be important enough to sacrifice a little bit for.

One fabulous woman in our group brought up the point that sometimes what you think will work doesn’t so you have to try something else.  How true that is!  Making what we want to have happen a reality often takes time, creativity and the ability to tweak and change our approach along the way until it morphs into something that actually works for us.  Don’t get discouraged if it doesn’t work with your first idea!  Try something else if you need to and just take the good of what you are already doing with you.

#3 – Think About What Feels Right for You and Your Family

I’m going to say it again….everyone is different.  My sister may have a fabulous way of taking care of her yard but it seems too complicated for me.  So I need to not feel like I have to do it her way.  Maybe I keep asking around for other ideas, maybe I look online, or maybe I just adjust or simplify what my sister is doing to fit my needs.

I have started using allrecipes.com.  They send you a recipe in your email box each day.  Sometimes I want to print them out and try them (more on that another day).  This has caused me to realize that I need a new way to file my recipes.  So, in”Planning With a Purpose,” this is my Step 1: Organize my recipes so that I can use allrecipes.com better.

For me, I thought that a 3-ring binder would work great so here is my Step 2: Get a 3-ring binder and have each recipe in a sheet protector.  Figure out how to use half-sheet sheet protectors as well so I don’t have to retype all of my recipes that are on cards.

I’m still working on that.

All along I have thought about Step 3 – how to make this work for me and my family.  I will show you my finished product later but for right now, it is sitting on my desk, waiting to be finished as I figure out the best way to go about it.  The interesting thing is that during our Organization Fair, my friend LeeAnne addressed this same problem.  Her area that she created a display for was “Organizing the Kitchen.”  One aspect was recipes.  She had a pile of recipes (just like mine) and a binder next to it.


She had gone through and typed up every recipe that their family used and put them in her binder.  I was so surprised that she had done this because it was almost exactly what I was in the middle of doing as well!  But here’s the difference.  She had typed them all up.  I don’t want to have to do that so I am trying to figure out a way to either create my own divided sheet protectors or find the right ones online to purchase so that I can just drop my recipe cards into the half-sizes or use the full sheets if I print something out from online.  Options.  That’s what I need.

The point is to do what is right for you.  We both had the same idea but we are going about it in two slightly different ways according to what works for each of us.  Maybe your neighbor has one child in dance group that meets 3 times a week for 3 hours at a time and costs $400 to participate.  Maybe someone else works 16 hours a day.  Whatever someone else is doing doesn’t mean you have to do it, too.  And even in your own families – if one child is involved in something and you realize that it is taking too much time away from the rest of your family, it’s ok to pull back, reevaluate and say no to the next “opportunity.”

Once you have your values in place and you ask the golden question, “What do we want to have happen?” then it becomes much easier to make decisions of how we are spending our time.  That, my friends, is the ultimate skill in time management.

Give it a try and let me know how it goes.  If you have any questions then please feel free to email me or leave a comment.  I look forward to hearing how it works for you!


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First of all, I know I didn’t get these downloads for you last week – it ended up being a crazy week and so something had to go and in this case…it was blogging about our activity.  Which actually brings me to our lesson on Time Management!  I’m going to divide it up into parts because I think it will be too long for one post.  Today, as you can see, is Part I.  We’ll see how many parts it actually ends up being once I add the Organization Fair report as well.  By the way – that was so fun and fabulous!  But wait, I’m getting ahead of myself.  I will talk more about that later – let’s get back to our Time Management lesson.

When Jason and I were in college, we met while in the student government program.  There were 4,000 student volunteers who ran all of the activities and service programs at BYU at that time.  It was unheard of to have so many students involved in the student government program, but Jason and I both count ourselves lucky to have been a part of that experience because it taught us something.  Even in our volunteer positions, every event, every service program, every experience that came out of BYUSA was planned with a model called “Planning With a Purpose.”  You might say that by the time our years were finished at BYU (including our last one where Jason was Student Body President), we had practiced this model of planning dozens and dozens of times.  It became a part of us and it has influenced our lives in ways we never imagined or even thought about back in our college days.

our BYU days - only 17 years ago!

“Planning With a Purpose,” to me, is the ultimate time management skill.  When we talked about time management at our neighborhood ENT activity, we did not assess the latest “Busy Mom Calendars,” or determine how to use our clocks more effectively.  We taught how to use “Planning With a Purpose” because, and you’ll find this out once I explain it, it helps us all determine what is truly needful in terms of how we spend our time and then helps us get from Point A to Point B in that effort.  You will find that it is similar to methods of planning taught by Franklin Covey and other groups because the principles work.  This “Planning With a Purpose” model was taught to us like you see it here – but with my own tweaks that I have learned throughout the 20 years I have been using it.

The “Planning With a Purpose” model works in every situation and for every problem, issue, concern, or event you are trying to make happen.  If you are trying to figure out how to get your kids to do their chores?  Go through “Planning With a Purpose.”  If you are planning your family vacation….go through “Planning With a Purpose.”  If you are trying to change a personal habit that you have?  Use “Planning With a Purpose.”  Whatever the situation, this works.  And once you figure out how to use it, you will see that it can help you sift through how you are spending your time so that the important things (the things you truly value) rise to the top and the unimportant things get left behind.

I’d like you to download this handout and follow along with me as we go through learning about “Planning With a Purpose.”  Just click on it and you can print it out and work from it very easily.  Notice how it also can be cut in half and inserted into your ENT notebooks as two pages.

Determine What You Value

The first thing we have to establish when we plan with purpose is determining what we value.  Ask yourself what you value and write it down on your worksheet.  This can be anything – big or small.  Just identify the things that are truly important to YOU.  You can also do this as a family, as a couple, as a team at work….whatever.  I have things that I value personally but then Jason and I have things that we value as a family.  When we had our first committee meeting for our Every Needful Thing program, we determined what we valued and now, for every activity, we go back and make sure that what we are planning is in line with what we value.  It keeps us focused on the right things.

part of our "Organization Fair" displays

Some of the values that we had when we listed them as a group during our activity last week were: family, quiet time, one-on-one time with each child, date night, a clean house, God, etc.  You can see that this was a group of mothers making this list, can’t you!  I know that before I became a mother, the things that I valued looked a little different than they do now.  That’s the beauty of creating a list of values – it is what YOU value.  Not what your neighbor values or your mother or your friend.  It’s for you to decide.

Now, after you have your values determined, we can move on to steps 1-3.  The important part about deciding what you value FIRST, is that everything you decide after that should come back to those values.  It is a simple way to make sure that how you are actually spending your time coincides with what you value because you have already established a list of those values.

Steps 1-3 will be in our next post – the continuation of our time management lesson.  Over the next couple of days, I want you to think about these values more and refine your list so that it truly reflects what is important to you.

I’ll see you next time, with your value lists in hand!

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LaRee is a new cyberfriend of mine who decided to incorporate the ENT program into her church women’s group just like we are.  I have to hand it to her because she is kind of flying solo on this one with no “committee” to help her execute the program.  I admire her willingness to tackle this project on her own for the sake of her group.

Last week they had their kickoff activity and had 40 women there – which is a remarkable number for their group.  Kudos to you, LaRee!  Here’s how she adapted the night to fit their needs:

  • she found a “jar” of 50 flowers on sale – a variety of colors.  That dictated the color of papers she used for the pockets of the notebook.
  • instead of just making one for every person in their group, she offered a sign-up sheet beforehand.  41 people signed up and she took 8 extra kits with her.  All the kits were all gone by the time the night was over plus she is making another batch of notebooks for those who still want them.  I’m telling you, this thing is addicting!
  • she didn’t have time to put together a slideshow for this event so she is planning on doing it at the end of the year instead.  It will reflect photos of all the women and the activities throughout the year – love it!
  • instead of 3 speakers, she had 2 speakers to introduce the theme and to talk about gratitude.
  • it looks like she had rectangle tables to work with (we pretty much only have round) – I liked how she set them up in a U-shape to bring everyone closer together
  • and, of course, she created beautiful kits where everything looked absolutely perfect!  Who wouldn’t want one of those????

LaRee said, “I was excited about the enthusiasm of our group.  They are excited to have a project with a purpose that they will be able to work on throughout the year.”

Way to go, LaRee!  It’s clear that your hard work and vision has sparked a lot of excitement and energy that these women are thirsting for.  Here are some photos from LaRee’s activity.  I put the picture of the women working on their books as the largest one for a reason – I love seeing women and friends working together on something that I know will enrich their lives.  There is a great sense of sisterhood that comes from experiences like these.

This principle is often true in our lives.  We get so busy with all of the things that make up daily life that it’s hard to find time to focus on refilling our buckets with the things that are truly needful.  I think this is why the ENT program is connecting with so many people in so many different circumstances – it rings true to everyone.

Thanks for the photos, LaRee and for the ideas of how you adapted this program to fit your needs.  I know that others will take tidbits from what is shared here to make things work for them.  If you aren’t doing this with a group, please email me your thoughts of how you are adapting it for yourself, too.  I know that many of you are following along with us as individuals and we would love to hear what you are doing to incorporate this program into your life.

I wish we were all together in person right now…I feel a group hug coming on.

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Our next activity for our Every Needful Thing program is on March 11 and I am totally PUMPED about it!  If we could pack more USEFUL, MANAGEABLE and ACCESSIBLE info into an hour and a half then I would be surprised.  I’m giving you the plan because some of you are following along with us as leaders of your own groups and I want to make sure that you have time to plan ahead and make your changes or tweaks according to your own needs. If you are unsure of what we are talking about, click on the “Every Needful Thing” category on the right and start from the earliest post to find out the whole program.  Or you can click here for the initial explanation of the program.

Also, on Friday I will be posting photos and info about how another group has adapted the Kickoff Night to meet their needs so be sure to watch for that.  In the meantime, here’s the lowdown of what is happening the night of our Organization Fair in March (and just click on each of the organizing images in this post to see where I found them).

  • (45 minutes) Time Management Lesson (Planning with a Purpose Strategy lesson + Forum)
  • (45 minutes) Organization Fair + Refreshments

The Time Management lesson will be more of a teaching situation where we learn how to use the Planning with a Purpose method of planning to determine what is needful in how we each spend our time.  I will talk more about this later and give you an in-depth picture of how to easily incorporate Planning with a Purpose in your own life.

The Organization Fair will be set up in a separate room that is off of the kitchen area so it makes it easy to have our refreshments in the same place.  Using articles found on HGTV.com, we have divided our homes and lives into 10 different areas that people tend to need help with organizing ideas. Here are the three articles that we created our categories from:

Quick Tips for Everyday Organization

Your Guide to Lifelong Organization

Quick Tips for Room Organization

We then asked different women in our neighborhood to be in charge of a certain category.  Their job is to set up a small display (we will provide a table about 4′x3′ for each of them) that teaches organizing tips about that particular category.  We gave them a list of some of the things we found from those three articles on HGTV.com but we have no intention of using all the info.  We picked a few things that seemed the most helpful and passed that info along to the women and told them they can add their own ideas.  We’re not writing a book – we’re just giving a few tips.

Each person will be in charge of their table – the covering and visual display.  We have also asked them to come up with 5-7 tips that can help people with each area.  These tips will be put on a half sheet of paper and two-hole punched so that they will fit perfectly in our notebooks.  The idea is that the women can grab some finger-food refreshments then walk around to the 10 displays and pick up the handout for each display.

Some of the displays will be done by teams of women and some will be done as singles.  Overall, the 10 displays will incorporate the help and ideas of 13 different women in our neighborhood – which we LOVE!  I can’t wait to see what people come up with as easy ways to organize each area of their lives.

Here are the categories that we will have in our Organization Fair:

  1. Organizing when you have a few minutes (such as while the popcorn is popping, the water is boiling or you’re on the phone)
  2. Organizing the kitchen
  3. Organizing the bathroom
  4. Organizing the family room and bedrooms
  5. Organizing while waiting (such as waiting in line or for carpool or at the doctor’s office)
  6. Family councils and family calendaring
  7. Pantry and freezer organization
  8. General organization strategies (start small, donate, etc.)
  9. Meal planning (we will be going more in depth with this topic in April)
  10. Early morning organization (school kids) and homework

There you go.  We are not looking to conquer the world with this Organization Fair – we want doable ideas that can be used immediately.  We’re not going to talk about overhauling your garage or basement or cleaning out your attic.  That’s too much information.  We want to help people be successful right now and so instead of overwhelming them with too much info, we are keeping it simple with just a few tips per area.

This activity will definitely be a good one for photo opps so I will be sure to post them afterward.  I will also share the tips that each person has given us for their particular category so that you can put them in your notebook and incorporate them into your life as well.

When my nephew Kaden met his cousin Cole for the first time last year he said, “Cole is going to be a great kid.  I can just sense it.”  That’s how I feel about this Organization Fair activity.  It’s going to be a great night.  I can just sense it.

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We had a neighborhood cooking class at my house last week.  O-Hsaing is from Taiwan and an amazing cook.  I was told that the Beef Asparagus was to die for and that is totally the truth.  Her “recipes” include a little of this and a dash of that combined with a handful of another thing…all demonstrated at a whirlwind pace and communicated to the group by Liz, O-Hsaing’s impromptu and delightful assistant.

This particular hostess (me) learned a lot about chopping, chopping, chopping beforehand but did not get to focus enough during the fabulous event to write down the instructions.  I’m counting on someone more adept in the kitchen making it all for me again sometime!  Instead, I remained amazed at the process and feasted on the end results – Lo Mein, Fried Rice, Pepper Beef, Teriyaki Chicken and the beloved Beef Asparagus – enough to feed an army.

So that’s what I will do for you today – no cooking but you can feast upon this delicious quote that applies to all things yummy.  I am a firm believer that eating is definitely “needful” and enjoying yourself in the process is even more needful.

Enjoy!

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First of all, welcome to all of our new blog followers!  If you are looking for the entire “Every Needful Thing” program, click on the category on the right side of my blog called “Every Needful Thing.”  This will give you a list of all the posts that have to do with the program in order from most recent to earliest.  I would recommend scrolling down and starting from the earliest post first so that it makes the most sense.  That will help you get up to speed as we move forward.  Also, in case you haven’t figured it out yet….here on my blog, “ENT” stands for “Every Needful Thing.”

Don’t Start From Scratch

In just the last month I have received many, many comments and emails from people out there in the world who are joining us (in one way or another) for our “Every Needful Thing” program this year.  This is why I have given you so much information about it – not only do we have many people participating on an individual level, but we also have many other women’s organizations (including many Relief Societies or church groups in other areas) who are planning it for their groups.  I don’t want those of you planning the program for your neighborhoods and groups to have to start from scratch or feel like you are “behind” in the planning process.

Therefore, I have decided to help you with this.  Whenever we start having a more detailed plan taking form for future activities, I will tell you about it.  For example, we are making some progress on how we are going to do our “Organization Fair” in March.  I’ll tell you about it next week.  Then, if you want to do something similar you are more than welcome to.  If you want to go a different direction then I think that’s a great idea as well.  That’s the point of “Every Needful Thing” – it can be taken so many ways depending on what you are looking to accomplish.

Your Start-Date Doesn’t Matter

With that in mind I also want to give a suggestion to those who are planning “Every Needful Thing” for their groups.  True, we started in January with our program.  However – no one says that you have to have started in January as well.  It will be just as effective no matter when you start it so don’t feel pressure or rushed in your planning.  Just start it when you are ready.

I received an email from a woman who is doing this for their group and they have decided to start it in March and go until February 2011.  Great idea!  Don’t feel confined to a certain calendar year.  In fact, it’s nice to start in March because then they really can look at what we do and what ideas are shared here and still have plenty of time to plan their activities.  I think it’s brilliant!

You Might Want to Add This to the Notebooks

We were planning on having blank paper (8.5″x 5.5″ and two-hole punched) available at our next activity so that the women could take notes in their notebooks if they wanted (this would be in addition to the handouts that we will also give them). However, we are already finding that some would use that blank paper now to write down thoughts and things that they want to remember from church or books or other things they are learning.  As one woman said, “I decided that this notebook will also be my journal to write down ‘special things.’”

So, instead of waiting to add the blank paper – you might want to do it in the beginning and encourage people to use it for any thoughts that they want to remember throughout this journey.

Share Your Ideas Here

The more people and groups that I hear about who are either following our program or using it as a jumping off point for their groups, the more I want to know about their ideas.  Everyone has something to offer and I know that there are fabulous tweaks and changes and adaptations already floating around out there about how you are going to tackle this program to meet your group or individual needs.  PLEASE SHARE!  Leave your comments, telling us what you are doing or you can email me directly with your great ideas.

I have heard of a few who already have the wheels spinning in their minds as to what will meet the needs of their group.  Email me (kolette@kolettehall.com) the ideas and I’ll post them regularly for everyone to benefit from.  I would also LOVE to see photos of what you end up doing – you can email me those as well.  Just be prepared for me to brag about you on my blog!  One idea that a group is doing might trigger another idea for someone else.  Please share!

Keep It Coming

I love hearing that your group is jumping on board with us or that you, as an individual are doing so.  Please feel free to continue your emails and comments letting us know that you have joined our ENT club and thank you for sharing it with so many others as well.

I love ENT and I love YOU for being a part of it with us!  I’ve been totally pumped about it from the start but my excitement level is reaching new heights as the weeks pass.  Thank you!

And thank you to all of the lovely women in our neighborhood who have embraced this program already – I can’t wait to learn from you and share this experience together.

I got an email from another woman who is making a sign for the whole year using the ENT logo.  I thought I would give it to you here in a generic, black and white, 8.5 x 11 size.  I won’t be able to custom design things for your group but I figured that this would be something that many of you might want so here you go!  Just click on the image to download it.

Winner!

And let’s talk about what is truly needful….winning a whole set of my new clear stamps!  Thank you for sharing this blog with those around you – as many of you mentioned in your comments, I love to share and the things I like to share are often simple enough for anyone to use or be a part of and be immediately successful.  So keep sharing and spreading the love!

Congratulations to our random winner:

Chalese Groberg

I did it!! Thanks so much for always being willing to share your fabulous ideas and talents with us. You are amazing and your little guy is adorable!!!

Chalese, please email me (kolette@kolettehall.com) with your address and I’ll send this pile of stamps out to you!  Hooray!

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Peace is an interesting word with many connotations as well as denotations.  Perhaps you first think of it as being the converse of war.  Or perhaps the first thing that comes to mind is holding up two fingers in a “V.”  For me, peace is a sense of being.  There have been many times in my life where I have not felt peace – after Jason’s car accident when he hovered near death then spent 13 months in the hospital, coupled with years of intense rehabilitation and surgeries – it was a stormy, rocky time.  Peace was not easy to find.

However, since experiencing something often helps us to understand the opposite of it better, times of distress have only helped me to more fully recognize and value the concept of peace on a personal level.  For me, peace is a state of being.  It is a sense of calm that is possible even when chaos surrounds me.  Whether it is in the busyness of life in general, health issues, a family crisis or anything in between, peace is possible.

When Jason was in the hospital, I went with my sister’s family to the Outer Banks in North Carolina for a week.  I had no responsibilities and my sister was truly creating an escape for me.  As I sat on the beach with the ocean breeze blowing the sea grasses and the picket fences lining the walkways, I found peace in the middle of my personal storm.  It was one of the most treasured gifts that I have received because in that moment I learned that peace was possible despite my circumstances.

Now, it would be nice if every time I felt stress I could head across the country to the ocean for a moment of meditation.  But that’s not reality and so I had to learn how to create that feeling without the waves crashing on the beach in front of me.  It’s a mental thing.  So whether it’s through exercise or listening to music, crafting, reading, going to church or spending time with family, we all have things that help us feel more calm and settled.

One way to feel peace, that I believe is true for everyone, is to choose not to be offended, let go of grudges and see the best in others.  Criticism and finding fault in others, in life, or in ourselves is a guaranteed way to drive away inner peace. This is the message that we learned more about at a Women’s Conference that I attended this weekend.  James Ferrell, author of “The Peacegiver,” spoke to us about the sense of peace that comes from each individual’s choice to see the good in one another.  This is the activity that we are doing for the month of February in our “Every Needful Thing” program.  I didn’t have anything to do with planning it (ahh…bliss!) but it is certainly part of helping us determine what is “needful” in our lives.

We received the following message at the conference:

If we want peace in the world, we can create it by having peace in our thoughts and hearts, in our words and in our actions.  As we develop a more peaceful home, that attitude will ripple out into our communities and then out into our world.

If not Me……who?

If not Now……when?

If not Here……where?

We can create individual peace in our lives and it often starts in how we choose to approach our relationships with others.  Chaos is inevitable.  Hardship is unavoidable.   Stress is just a part of life.  But peace, in spite of it all, is still possible.

Be the peace you want to have in your life and enjoy the download (with 3 color choices!) to help you create that.

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What a night!  Our “Every Needful Thing Kickoff Night” was one of my favorite two hours ever.  As the women kept coming in and we added more and more chairs, I was thrilled to see so many people there.  Having these women use their valuable time to come together for this event meant that we were meeting a need.  I love that and I think that it was the perfect way to kick off the theme for the year.

Our ENT title poking out of the flower balls is just stuck into a wire photo holder that came from my desk. The tablecloth is a quilt my mom made me using fabulous Amy Butler fabric. Use what you have in a new way to create decor ideas.

Here’s what I learned:

ESTABLISHING ORDER: When it comes to organizing our lives, our goal is to create a sense of peace in our lives even though we are busy and active and have challenges to overcome.  As we create order, we create that peace so that we can focus on the things that are truly needful instead of frantically going from one task to another.  Kathleen taught us that this “order” comes from having a clean home, meals prepared, and all those domestic things that once they are in place, we can feel a sense of peace that helps us not feel so overwhelmed.  Order is the “needful” foundation for us to be able to then tackle all of the other things that come with being a woman and mother.

USING THE SPIRIT: What is “needful” for one person may be completely different than what is “needful” for another person.  Melisa taught us that one way we can determine what is needful in our own lives is by following the Holy Spirit as we are guided through those decisions.  At one point in our lives we may make a decision to do one thing whereas another point in our lives we need to head a different direction.  The more we are in tune with our own selves and the Holy Spirit, the better we can determine what is important at each phase of our lives and for our individual families. (See the first half of this talk to gain more information about this topic.)  This is the quote card that we gave the women that relates to this idea.

please click on image to download pdf


GRATITUDE: Gratitude is a vital tool in helping us determine what is needful in our lives. The more grateful we are the more the less important things fall away to leave room for what is truly important in our lives.  We are able to see things more clearly as we use gratitude to help us sift through our wants vs. our needs.  Our attitudes change and our hope for the future is brighter the more grateful we are.  As Staci taught us, “Gratitude is not just a tool, it’s a POWER TOOL!”  How true that is.  Gratitude brings us power.  It replaces despair with hope and defeat with strength.  Deciding what is needful in our lives starts with being grateful for what we already have.  We used the quote from President Henry B. Eyring to support this topic in our notebooks (see notebook downloads here for that excerpt or click here for the whole talk).

An easy centerpiece idea - use glass bathroom blocks in stacks and tie ribbon around them. We will use these glass blocks in many ways this year as a pretty way to add height and levels. We added chocolate to the bowls because everyone knows that chocolate is truly "needful!"


Here’s what I loved:

1.  So many women participating in making the event happen.  Thank you to all of you on the committee as well as those who aren’t but were willing to help us!


2.  Having to keep setting up more chairs because women just kept coming!

3.  Helping the women in our neighborhood feel successful with a craft that is beautiful and useful and will help them all year long.


4.  Listening to the women who gave messages that were exactly what we were hoping they would say and teach.

5.  Lingering to chat and socialize when it was all over.  That’s the sign that everyone wants to be together and are enjoying themselves.

6.  Women compiling and then taking notebooks to their neighbors who weren’t able to come.


7.  Our “Post-it Girl” marketing strategy – it was a hit!  Who wouldn’t relate to this????  Thanks for taking the photo, Rachel.  And Tanya – you’re now famous even though you don’t want to be!

8.  We tried a new thing – each of the committee members helped to kit the project and they put their notebooks together before the event.  That way we had multiple people who knew how to do the project and were invaluable as they wandered the room, providing one-on-one help as all of the women created theirs.

9.  I loved that we also pre-made notebooks for our Relief Society Presidency to allow them to be free to manage the personalized notes that went to everyone as well as being available to nurture and minister to the entire group.  It was a huge help and as I was teaching the project I kept thinking how grateful I was that they were free to help in this way.

10.  I love knowing that it is possible to have an activity full of inspiration, coming unto Christ, craftiness, and laughter all in one.  It was the perfect evening together.


Here’s what we ate (which is also something I love):

BEST EVER APPLE PUDDING

(from the kitchen of Kolette’s Mom)

CAKE
2 c. sugar
1/2 c. margarine
2 eggs
2 c. flour
2 t. baking soda
2 t. cinnamon
1 t. nutmeg
1/2 t. salt
6 large, peeled, grated apples (Granny Smith or other tart version is good)
Mix ingredients with beaters.  Pour into a greased & floured 9×13 pan.  Bake @ 350 for 40-45 minutes or until cake pulls away from sides of pan.

SAUCE
1 1/2 c. butter
3 c. sugar
1 1/2 c. evaporated milk
1 1/2 Tbs. vanilla
1 Tbs. nutmeg
Melt butter in saucepan.  Add other ingredients and bring to a boil.  Boil over low heat for 10-15 minutes, stirring often.  Pour sauce over cake to serve and watch everyone lick their plates!

One More Thing…

It was brought to my attention that I have a typo on the scripture quote that we are using for Every Needful Thing.  Thanks, Connie for catching that!  I have now fixed it and you can see it here.  Plus, I have had a request for this scripture in sepia tones so I am offering that as well.  You’ll find it below.


Consider taking the downloads and the information I have provided here and adding it to your ENT notebooks.  We will do this all year long and end up with a wealth of tips and information that all of us can use to help us determine what is “needful” in our lives.

Enjoy!


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I will go into more detail about each activity we have planned throughout the year but here is an overall list of what we are going to be focusing on as well journey along our quest for “Every Needful Thing.”  One thing is for sure, we cannot cover everything that is possible so we are choosing the most needful things and working on those.  If this gets carried over into next year, we’ll tackle some more topics.

As has been commented already, this theme is very open-ended.  It can be taken many different directions, according to what you want to have happen.  We are going to work on increasing our “life management” skills because that is what our group seems to need right now.  You will see that reflected in our plans for the year:

  • “Every Needful Thing” Kickoff Night
  • Organization Fair (time management, cleaning tips, simple organizing ideas)
  • Favorite Things Dinner (celebrating each other and what is needful in our lives)
  • Pantry Meal Kits (learning and creating meals from items you have on hand)
  • Book Club Melting Pot (individuals read a life management book of their choice and share ideas from them)
  • Girls Night Out (dinner at a restaurant – we all need fun and food)
  • Cannery (dry pack canning and food storage)
  • Recipe Exchange (easy freezer meals, crock-pot recipes or other simple meals)
  • Every Needful Thing” Craft Day (making projects that support our theme and can be used for Christmas gifts, etc.)
  • “Year in Review” Night (photo and memory management + learning how to make a “Year in Review” photo book, review the things we learned this year)

Kickoff Activity

So let’s talk about our first activity: “Every Needful Thing” Kickoff Night.  It will be held January 27 and we have a lot planned for the hour and a half.  Here’s the rundown of what is happening:

  1. theme introduction (talk from the president of our group)
  2. slideshow of all the women (songs: “Smile” by Uncle Kracker and “Daughter of a King” by Jenny Phillips)
  3. “how to use the holy spirit to help us determine what is needful” (talk from one of the women in our group)
  4. “how gratitude helps us decide what is needful in our lives” (talk from one of the women in our group)
  5. notebook introduction (discuss activities for the year, the gratitude journal and purpose of the notebook)
  6. notebook instruction (putting together their own notebooks that we have kitted for them)
  7. dessert (we’ll bring that out while they are finishing their books – socializing and eating…a perfect combination!)

I’ll share photos and more information from the activity after we have it.  In the meantime, I better do my part of the getting the kits ready!  It’s going to be a fabulous year, everyone. I can’t wait to share all of this plus so much more with you.

Enjoy!

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