Here is the latest Coffee & Pearls Podcast:

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ANNOUNCEMENT: I am pregnant and expecting baby Jaquith #4 in July 2017! Please pray for the health of this baby. It’s been a rough first trimester but I’m almost done and I’m hoping to feel a lot better after that.  Coffee & Pearls will resume every Tuesday and Catholic Mom Challenge is going to have a busy January so stay tuned for more announcements!

So let’s get to it! Do you want to have an awesome 2017?

Here are the five things I would recommend you do to significantly increase your chances of having an awesome 2017.

Subscribe to the Magnificat 

You can get a physical version or you can get a version on your phone. While there are many places to get the daily readings online for free (Blessed Is She is one place https://blessedisshe.net/), the extra hymns, prayers, and commentary found in the Magnificat is wonderful.

My husband and I have found many conversations have sprung from what we read in the Magnificat. We try to read it every morning and every evening. It’s amazing how often we read something that seems to apply to exactly what we’re going through in our lives. It’s a way for Jesus to reach through the world and speak directly to us. I also love knowing that I’m reading the same readings as hundreds of thousands of Catholics around the world!

If you already read the Magnificat and you’re looking for something more challenging, you should pray the Divine Office also called the Liturgy of the Hours.  http://divineoffice.org/These are the official prayers of the church and while I would love to see every single Catholic pray these each day, I know it can be a bit tricky to learn and it takes discipline to say them every day.

Subscribe to Optimize with Brian Johnson

I’m not a fan of monthly subscriptions to almost anything. I don’t like spending money automatically without having to discern each month if I want to spend that money. But I do, however, subscribe to this website for $10 per month and it continues to be what fuels my self-growth.

The Master Class videos are amazing. They are at least an hour long and are jam-packed with practical tips around a particular subject. I really enjoyed Nutrition 101, Optimal Sleep 101 and Conquering Perfectionism 101.

The new app for this company is so easy to use. I can listen to the Master Classes as well as all the Philosopher’s Notes anytime I want. The Philosopher’s Notes are 7-minute summaries of self-help books. I feel like I can read 100 books in a year just by listening to these summaries. Many of the books are ones I’d never think to read so I’m grateful for that exposure.

Read Catholic Mom Challenge

Perhaps here’s some shameless self-promotion but my book is absolutely designed to be something you read and implement at the New Year.  Some of you reset your year in September with the school year, in November for Advent or in January. No matter when, this book is all about recognizing your bad habits and your common pitfalls and creating plans to prevent and overcome those obstacles this year.

Let’s be honest, while we can grow and make progress in our lives, we often suffer from the same weaknesses every year. Instead of being naively optimistic about “trying harder”, let’s come up with an actual game plan for what to do when these common weaknesses show up!

I cover faith, marriage, motherhood, rest, health, finances and homemaking. It’s not a How To Guide because we all have different lives, there is no one right way. It’s more of a “ask these questions of yourself to figure out what’s best for you” type of book!

And guess what? I want you to read it so badly that the Kindle version will be FREE from December. 28th thru January 1st!

You can also sign up for my daily email at www.catholicmomchallenge.com which features a weekly scripture verse, a virtue to focus on each week and then a daily challenge to keep you motivated!

Stop Eating Sugar

Many of you are going to tackle new gym memberships and eating plans in January. I’m not a hater of New Year’s Resolutions. I think it’s a great time to get hyped up about making good choices. What I think is dangerous is when we try to tackle too many new changes and we get so overwhelmed that we end up quitting.  Don’t do that this year.

Pace yourself.

If you managed to ONLY cut out refined sugar from your diet, you’d be well on your way to winning 2017! Sugar is not only cancer’s favorite food, it’s the source of many of the ailments we suffer as Americans. And we don’t quite realize just how much sugar we’re eating until we get educated about the many different names for sugar and the sneaky places it likes to hide.

Instead of trying to overhaul your whole diet which can be exahusting, expensive and overwhelming. I would start with just sugar. Cut out fake sugar. Trust me, that’s going to be hard enough. 

Here is a great article from a Catholic Mama I really respect: http://wellnessmama.com/15/harmful-effects-of-sugar/

Learn How To Use YouTube

It might sound silly to mention this in 2017 but I know that my YouTube use has gone up exponentially in the last three years. I now use YouTube almost as often as I Google thing.

  • Listen to Audio books for FREE (Just search for Book Title Audiobook)
  • Figure out what’s wrong with your car, vacuum, dishwasher, phone, computer etc. (I use this all the time)
  • Let a 13-year-old girl teach you how to do your hair and make-up properly
  • Learn about topics to help your kids with school or homeschooling

There’s just an endless amount of things you can learn on YouTube. I watched a fabulous series about how to write fantasy fiction novels with Brandon Sanderson.

Don’t be a fuddy-duddy. YouTube isn’t even new anymore. Learn how to use it and let it make your life easier and richer! There are thousands of Catholic videos there too include some really great ones from Ascension Press and EWTN.

You Can Do It!

I know those five things probably feel like a tall order right about now but each one is quite manageable. Take a deep breath, you are capable of amazing things and you can do this. Cut out the things that aren’t bringing you closer to Jesus and focus on living a more simple life. In the end, living simply and with Jesus is the key to everything.

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