January Monthly GREEN Challenge & GIVEAWAY

I am in love with this big, beautiful planet! I've explored so little of it, but what I've seen fills my heart with joy & wonder!

Here is a picture of my husband and me hiking in Yosemite National Park last May:

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In that vein, I would like to do more to help curb waste on our planet and YOU can help! 

Each month of 2018 I will be running a GREEN challenge. Something simple and fairly easy. And either free or VERY inexpensive to pull off. AND I'll do a giveaway each month to help you replace your old products and habits with new ones that help reduce waste!

January's challenge:

In America we use 500 million plastic straws EVERY DAY. Many of these end up in the ocean and if we don't make different choices now by 2050 there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish - by weight. 

If you'd like to know more check out this video:

 

This month as you order drinks at restaurants, fast food establishments, and coffee/juice/smoothie stands - say NO to the straw. You can carry with you a glass/stainless steel straw to use or just say no and drink without a straw.

I'll be honest: I've been doing this a while and it takes time to remember to say no - PLUS you will occasionally get weird looks from servers: at our dating anniversary dinner with my husband Kevin this past December I had to refuse straws TWICE and the server just didn't know what to do with that information. I didn't have a chance to educate him on my choice as he was a bit put-out but I hope in future to be able to share my reasons. Each of us can help educate others in kind and helpful ways!

To help you achieve this new goal I'll be giving away a set of glass straws to one luck reader. I've made the entry VERY easy so enter here:

Please comment and let me know if you'll be accepting the challenge of reducing your use of single-use plastic straws! I would love to cheer you ON! If you post about it on social media use this hashtag: #EGGreenChallenge and I'll give you lots of virtual HIGH FIVES!

Happy 2018! I can't wait to reduce waste with you this year!

Simplify: a New Years inspiration!

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I have never believed much in choosing New Year's Resolutions or a "word of the year." It all felt like a forced social ritual where we all try to convince each other (and ourselves) how great we were going to be in the New Year. And you know what? My resolutions would always get tossed aside because I while I craved change, I didn't know how to implement it.

Enter 2017 - possibly the hardest year of my life so far.

And best. Which sounds crazy - I know. Yet, in the deeply hard moments, I have discovered and cultivated growth in ways I did not know were possible. I grew in my faith. I grew in my love for life and my husband. I grew in confidence.

And I grieved. I grieved the death of my best friend Lisa. I grieved when we thought our kitten Wicket would die (praise the Lord he is doing so well). I grieved the difficult diagnosis of a very close family member. All of these moments brought me to my knees. And as I continue into 2018 I need to create space (physical and mental) to continue to grieve.

And in that vein I am making an intentional path for 2018. To create space for myself. To create an intentional life. And to give myself grace.

These last 2 months I've been working on the prep work in Lara Casey's PowerSheets. One of the pages is your "word of the year" page - and included in the PowerSheets is a small card to document your word on and display it. After weeks of writing, I found one word kept popping up: simplify.

This word was like electricity. It lit me up. It filled me with a fire to do exactly that: simplify.

We live in a high information, low buffer world. There's so much coming at us each day - how do we wade through it and still have room to breathe? We simplify by signing off. Unsubscribing. Spending less. Living more. Clearing clutter and creating space.

This year I'm making an intentional plan to simplify my daily life in small ways: decluttering each room of my home slowly and purposefully, purchasing fewer items that will only end up as clutter in my home, creating simple organizational structures to deal with paperwork instead of moving it from space to space, automated savings for retirement each month, creating monthly meal plans & ordering food online to avoid impulse/sugary purchases & overspending, batching my work hours, creating space for tea time!

I know these might seem like a lot of work initially but I'm excited about spending more time cultivating new systems in my life NOW that will give me back time over the year. 

How are you simplifying your life? Is there anything you can do before the end of the year to streamline and simplify your life going into 2018? I would love to hear how!

With love & tea,

Sara

Why I am giving up being "good."

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Hi, my friend! I love cozy days and it is especially cozy today because I'm currently drinking a cup of tea and enjoying the light rainfall outside my office window. I adore fall and its beautiful way of easing us into the quiet of winter. I've been reading Lara Casey's book "Cultivate What Matters" and I just read the section about seasons and how they represent the seasons of our lives.

Autumn is a reminder that there is beauty in letting go. This year I'm letting go of old hurts that I've been clinging to because they feel familiar. Growth is hard, and often painful, but so worth the work. Letting go of these old hurts is hard at first but I'm finding so much freedom and release in the letting go.

I'm also letting go of being "good." There is a quote by John Steinbeck: "Now that you don't have to be perfect, you can be good." It was made even better by adding this (I'm unsure of the author): "And now that you don't have to be good, you can be free."

This quote has been resonating very deeply within me. I have spent a lot of my life trying to be "good." This manifests in many ways: a good wife, a good teacher, a good person. But what is "good," and how is it measured? Instead of working to be good, I am now working to be free. Free of expectations put on by others. Living my best life by understanding my true desires and intentions to spread love and goodness (different than being "good") through whatever means I have at my fingertips. And today that means is this email. I hope this quote gives you some freedom in your life as well.

Which leads me to my final piece of love and encouragement for you today! Last year about this time I started a letter writing challenge called "Steeped In Gratitude." As a group we sent handwritten notes to our loved ones (and maybe ourselves) to practice gratitude. This year we're doing something a little different. I'm launching another challenge called "Steeped In Encouragement." It's very similar to last years challenge but we'll be working on sending encouragement to our fellow human beings!

I would love for you to be a part of this challenge. We begin on November 1st and I'll send a new prompt each Wednesday from the 1st until the 24th, the day before Thanksgiving. It's an opportunity to refocus as we enter a time of busy-ness and mental clutter. I believe intentionally supporting others through our handwritten notes helps keep us grounded and remind us to be kind to others and ourselves in all of the craziness of this particular season.

Go here: www.steepedinencouragement.com to sign up. The challenge is free and I'll be doing it alongside you!

I hope you join us! And I hope your day is cozy and your tea is hot!

With love & tea,

Sara

P.S. "Now that you don't have to be good, you can be free."