31 Days to #ASimplerJoy: Do the Next Thing

Do the next thing

This week I am looking at how working toward Godly goals can bring #ASimplerJoy

Yesterday, I shared about how tiny habits can help you make real change.  Please join me Oct 27-31.  I am working to build healthy habits and a morning routine that is in harmony with my family’s schedule.

Another big helper for me when I need to bring order into my life is to simply do the next thing.  This is especially helpful when order and routine seem to have flown the coup.

A poem once quoted by Elisabeth Elliot has inspired a lot of people, here is the text of the poem:

Do The Next Thing

From an old English parsonage,
Down by the sea,
There came in the twilight,
A message to me;
Its quaint Saxon legend,
Deeply engraven,
Hath, as it seems to me,
Teaching from Heaven.
And on through the hours
The quiet words ring
Like a low inspiration-

Many a questioning, many a fear,
Many a doubt, hath its quieting here.
Moment by moment,
Let down from Heaven,
Time, opportunity,
Guidance, are given.
Fear not tomorrows,
Child of the King,
Trust them with Jesus,

Do it immediately;
Do it with prayer;
Do it reliantly, casting all care;
Do it with reverence,
Tracing His Hand,
Who placed it before thee with
Earnest command.
Stayed on Omnipotence,
Safe ‘neath His wing,
Leave all resultings,

Looking to Jesus, ever serener,
(Working or suffering)
Be thy demeanor,
In His dear presence,
The rest of His calm,
The light of His countenance
Be thy psalm,
Strong in His faithfulness,
Praise and sing,
Then, as He beckons thee,

-Author unknown

When I find myself emotionally overwhelmed or starting the day with a daunting set of tasks, I find that if I just start something, that helps.  Doing the next thing means making progress.  Doing the next thing means listening for God’s direction.  Doing the next thing isn’t complicated; it is surely #ASimplerJoy!


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31 Days to #ASimplerJoy: Tiny Habits

Tiny Habits

I am going to a really exciting conference this week: Allume.  It will be a great spiritual refreshing.  It will be a time of amazing fellowship.  It might even inspire my writing (that might be good, huh?).

But leaving my family is hard.  Traveling alone is exciting, and a little nerve-racking.  But the hardest part about going to a conference is whenever one comes around, I tend to fall off the exercise and diet roller-coaster wagon .

Conferences.  Family vacations. Holidays…Big events knock me off balance.  So when I get back–starting Monday–I will be rebooting (again).  This year I have had more than a little trouble being consistent in the diet and exercise department.  This has me thinking about my goals.

And yesterday I talked about Goals.  The point is we should allow our goals to be informed by God’s ways, rather than our own.  So, what if you need to make a healthy change and you feel like it aligns with God’s goals, but you are not sure how to start?  Well, that is what I want to look at this whole week.

For sure, the Holy Spirit is the change agent:

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit (2 Cor 3:17-18).

But there is also something to knowing about what makes people tick.  A few years ago, I was do research on the idea that it takes 21 days to form habit.  You’ve heard that, right? I heard that waayyyy back in college, and have many times since then.  Turns out, that isn’t true!  Click here to read about that myth being busted.

Whether you want to quit or start something,
what you need is a new habit.

So anyway, a few years ago, when I looked into how to people can change habits, I ran across this research by UCLA professor B.J. Fogg; it’s called Tiny Habits.  He says:

Only three things will change behavior in the long term.

Option A. Have an epiphany
Option B. Change your environment (what surrounds you)
Option C. Take baby steps

Dr. Fogg also says the two factors you can control are (1) changing your environment and (2) taking baby steps.  He has a support program to help you implement change, by way of adopting 3 tiny habits for a 5 day period.  He provides email support and shares tips to encourage success.  He also collects data about your progress toward developing the tiny habits.  He opens a new challenge every week.

You can sign up for the next challenge, or read more about it, here.  I am signing up for next week’s challenge (October 27-31).  Once I am back from my trip, I will out of excuses for a few weeks.  And that means I should jump right into some healthy (tiny) habits!

You must choose THREE very tiny changes.  Dr. Fogg says :

A “Tiny Habit” is a behavior –

      • you do at least once a day
      • that takes you less than 30 seconds
      • that requires little effort

You are supposed to start by connecting the habit to one that you already do.  I am choosing the same ones I chose the first time I did this program, two years ago.  They were very easy and my *tiny* successes really encouraged me:

  • After I get up I will dress in workout clothes
  • After I get downstairs I will turn on the exercise DVD (on pause)
  • After I start Scott’s breakfast, I will open my prayer book to today’s reading

One of the things I enjoyed the most were the daily emails.  They made me feel like I wasn’t making these changes all alone.  There is even an app for that.  If you sign up, please let me know in the comments and share your (tiny) goals there too.  That is even less alone-ness!

Tiny habits are do-able.  Tiny habits are #ASimplerJoy!


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31 Days to #ASimplerJoy: Goals

1 Peter 124-25

You see it everyday.  We are a goal-oriented culture.  Our kids have goals for school.  We have career goals, travel goals, weight loss goals, relationship goals, life-long goals.  Goals enable us to live life intentionally; they help us to determine priorities like how we should spend our time, our energy and our money.

I find myself getting restless without a goal but, being a homeschooling mom, often my goals must take a backseat to the goals of my family.  And sometimes this has felt like sitting on the sidelines, while life is passing me by.

I left behind my education and my career to change diapers, wash dishes, and do countless loads of laundry. There are still days when I feel that loss, but I know I have taken the right road for me; it is the the humble path for sure, and I am in good company:

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men (Phil 2:3-7).

This week I got to thinking about our goals vs. God’s goals. I think sometimes they line up and sometimes they don’t.  Here are just a few examples:

  • God doesn’t care about the 7 pounds I would love to lose, but He does want me to live a life of moderation, rather than gluttony, and to be a good steward of my health.
  • I used to keep my home “realtor ready”, as perfectly tidy as you can imagine, but it was a great stressor to me and my family.  I had been affected by a nasty remark someone made to me, when my husband was deployed, because I had crumbs on my kitchen counter. I have learned, instead, that while God does want me to be diligent with my time and serve my family by keeping my home comfortable and clean, my priority must be relationship with Him and others.
  • I want my children to do well in school, especially since I am their teacher.  We want our kids to find “success” in their chosen field as adults.  But God showed me early in the process that my biggest goal for them should be that they know Him, love Him, and follow Him.

When I have found myself feeling like life and career have passed me by, I remember that my goals are sometimes just too small.  God’s way for me does look unimpressive from the outside, but He is intentional and His goals are eternal.  My life is part of something so much bigger than me.

Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; for

“All flesh is like grass
and all its glory like the flower of grass.
The grass withers,
and the flower falls,
but the word of the Lord remains forever.” (1 Peter 1:22-25).

Remembering that God sets my pace and my course brings me peace.  Feeling that I am in the center of His will is #ASimplerJoy.






Image Copyright: oksix / 123RF Stock Photo

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31 Days to #ASimplerJoy: Kentucky Derby Pie

My son LOVES this pie.  In fact, this year he has asked me to make it for his birthday “cake.”  He first tasted what he called “Ken-ducky Derby Pie” at a family get together when he was 5 or 6; it is my sister’s recipe.  We still call it that.

I think it was originally from the magazine Southern Living, but I can’t find it online, so that is a guess.  Big Sis makes this pie often.  Soon after he’d tasted it, Josh started asking me to make it.  I avoided it for a while because I assumed it was super complicated.  My sister insisted that it wasn’t, and she is right!  It is another homemade dessert that is in the oven in less than 10 minutes.

Today my husband went to the store to get the pie crust, which you find in the freezer section.  He called me and said, “They only have a 2 pack.”  I told him, “That is what they always have.  They sell them in 2-packs, but I don’t know why…”  Today I found out why.

It turns out that if you are working on your book launch page for your blog (yes! launching November 2), then you stop to make a birthday pie, then you see that you need to clear dishes out of the sink (so you do that), then you need to help your hubby with a computer issue, and you are watching the movie Mr. Peabody and Sherman (another recommendation from my sister)…you might forget to put the vanilla extract in the mix.

If you forget the vanilla extract, you might have to grab the pie out of the oven, super quick.  Because it is hard to recover from that kind of mistake.  If you get to it soon enough, you might have to scrap all the filling out into a mixing bowl and stir in the vanilla extract, thereby ruining the first pie crust in the process.  Thank you pie crust number 2, for being there for me. Crisis averted.

Kentucky Derby Pie

Serves 10
Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 45 minutes
Total time 55 minutes
Allergy Egg, Tree Nuts, Wheat
Meal type Dessert
Occasion Casual Party, Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving
This pie is a cross between a pecan pie and a chocolate chip cookie. Yum! Very kid friendly. Tastes amazing. Is a super simple homemade pie. Always a big hit!


  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 1/2 cup Flour
  • 2 eggs (lightly beaten)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup Pecans (chopped)
  • 6oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 stick butter (melted)
  • 1 frozen pie crust (deep dish)


Step 1
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
Step 2
Mix flour and sugar together in a large bowl.
Step 3
Add remaining ingredients.
Step 4
Pour all into unbaked pie shell.
Step 5
Bake at 325 degrees for 45 minutes to an hour. Allow to cool before cutting.

So quick and easy.  So rich and decadent.  Such #ASimplerJoy!


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31 Days to #ASimplerJoy: Swedish Almond Cake

My name is Britta. My whole life I have had to carefully pronounce it, spell it, and then say, “No, it’s not a nickname…not short for Brittany..no, no I don’t go by Britt. Just Britta. B-r-i-t-t-a.”

Growing up,with a Marine Corps daddy, I moved a lot.  That meant introducing myself a lot.  One of my most vivid memories was me,  at the front of a classroom, with a teacher’s arm around me, and hearing that name of mine butchered.  In college, the Brita water filter came on the market, and my life was changed!  Now everyone could easily pronounce my name.  Yes.

Still, people wanted to know where I got my name.  That was the easy part.  I was named after my father’s favorite aunt, Britta.  She was from Sweden.  She was a flapper in the roaring twenties.  I just love that.  I never met her.  But that genealogical connection got me through a lot of uncomfortable moments.

So maybe that is what made me try this recipe.  Swedish Almond Cake.  I don’t remember where I got it.  I think I googled it.  When I tried to find it again recently, I found similar ones, but not this one.  And this one is pure gold.

My hubby loves almond anything, so this is a winner.  And my kiddos think it smells like Christmas cookies.  I love it because it looks and tastes so impressive but takes less than 10 minutes to get in the oven.  Love that!  #ASimplerJoy  :)

Swedish Almond Cake

Serves 10
Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 30 minutes
Total time 40 minutes
Allergy Egg, Tree Nuts, Wheat
Meal type Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
Misc Child Friendly, Serve Cold, Serve Hot
Occasion Casual Party, Christmas, Easter, Formal Party, Valentines day
Region European
This "cake" has the consistency of a thick, soft sugar cookie, but with the almond extract, it resembles a Christmas spritz cookie. Either way, it is a real treat that is in the over in less than 10 minutes.


  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup butter (1/2 stick) (softened)
  • 2 Whole eggs
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 3/4 cups almonds (sliced)
  • 1 teaspoon Wilton White Sparkling Sugar ((optional))


Step 1
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Step 2
In a large bowl, stir together flour and sugar.
Step 3
Cut butter into the mixture.
Step 4
Mix eggs and almond extract. Then stir into the sugar/flour/butter.
Step 5
Press into a pie dish.
Step 6
Spread sliced almonds over the top evenly. Sprinkle with Wilton's White Sparkling Sugar (optional).
Step 7
Pop into the oven for 30 minutes (glass pie dish).

This is the perfect thing to take to a brunch or bridal shower.   But we love it for a snack, or dessert, or breakfast.  It is perfect for Easter or for Christmas.  Or anytime.  Yum!



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