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Purposeful Living

ANTI-PROCRASTINATION/ Counting Gifts/ Emotional Health

5 Things To Do To Thrive #Last90Days

stack of rocks for yoga

Rachel Hollis and her #Last90Days 5 Things To Do To Thrive challenge started today and Instagram was lit with people using the hashtag.

It was inspiring to follow along and see so many people wanting to live their lives in a purposeful way.

5 Things To Do To Thrive #last90days is a challenge that is meant to motivate and keep you accountable for finishing the last 90 days of the year strong.

Why wait for the new year to start? I love the do-it-now approach of this challenge.


5 to thrive image

{Image via Moms & Beyond}


  1. Get up an hour earlier than you normally do and use the time for yourself.
  2. Workout at least 30 minutes a day.
  3. Drink half your body weight in ounces of water each day.
  4. Give up one food category you know you shouldn’t be eating.
  5. Write down 10 things that you are grateful for each day.

When my sister shared the challenge with me, I told her I was pretty much already doing those 5 things. I didn’t mean to be arrogant or boastful, but last June I started getting up 1 hour early.

Honestly the other 5 things just kinda fell into place, just by being purposeful with getting my bum out of bed! A snowball-type effect.

It is fun to have a challenge that will help solidify and zero in on these simple, already life-changing things that help me in my pursuit to live new, live well and live with purpose!

Want to do it too?




1. Wake Up An Hour Early

Rachel Hollis is quick to add that this does NOT apply to new Mama’s, or those in seasons of life where extra sleep IS caring for yourself.

BUT… if you find yourself saying, “I don’t have time to read” or “I can’t find time to work out” or if you know that things like prayer, journaling or meditation would benefit you more than sleep right now…then get on up!

I started doing this thanks to advice from The Miracle Morning, and after hearing it over and over from people like Brendon Burchard, Lewis Howe and Tony Robbins, it has been a goal on my mind that I wanted to pursue.

I have been doing it regularly since early June and it has been life-changing.


I spend the early morning time doing things I already was doing on a regular basis, but now I am not rushed and have a head start…it has become my favorite time of day!

I get coffee, light a candle, journal, pray, use my Bible app and meditate. By doing these habits an hour early, the rest of my day is so much more calm, focused and productive.

I am getting up regularly at 6, and there was even one week in August that I got up at 5:30 to do some extra writing for a project, and goodness was THAT ever a productive experience!

I had no idea my brain could be so clear and focused that early in the morning, but it was and is. I will write more about this discovery in another post.

Not a morning person? My advice is to try it anyway…you may be surprised and find out (like I did) that maybe you are a morning person after all. It takes time to create a habit, 20 days they say…so try it.

Wake up to do something that you REALLY, really look forward to! This is key for me.


2. Workout At Least 30 Minutes a Day

By getting up an hour early, I found myself being able to fit workouts in and quite motivated to do so. The challenge to myself was to simply move my body every day.

I took a break from some cancer medication that I have been on, and my joints felt so much better, so I was extra motivated and thankful to be able to move!

I walk daily for at least 30 minutes, with a goal of seeing my Fitbit reach 10,000 steps by the end of the day. These walks are so enjoyable thanks to nature and podcasts and my favorite Voxer app.

I decided not to put pressure on myself to jog or run, simply because I don’t enjoy it. Because of this I actually looked forward to my daily walk and it became a habit.

I also have added yoga to my ‘move everyday goal’ as it is so good for my joints and learning how to breathe is so good for anxiety. This simple 10 Minute Morning Routine is a fav, and I am on day 6 of this 30 Day Yoga Revolution series on Youtube.

I am going to use the 5 to Thrive Challenge to go from 5 days a week to 7 days a week. Eek! Good thing I really love walking and yoga. Wish me luck!


3. Drink Half Your Body Weight in Ounces of Water Each Day.

This is easy for me. Whoo-hoo! So nice to have something in the challenge that does not feel like a challenge. I drink black coffee, matcha or herbal tea, and then it is water the rest of the day.

The key for me has been my inexpensive Bubba waterbottle because it keeps my ice from melting and has a huge straw which makes getting water in a breeze.  Easy to gulp gulp gulp!

It is 24 ounces, so if I refill it 4 times a day I’m pretty much there…especially if I count my herbal tea for hydration.


4. Give Up One Food Catagory You Know You Shouldn’t Be Eating

The food category I have been working on is all the white things. White sugar, white carbs –white pasta, white flour, white bread etc. I am great with this until the weekend.

I’ve made exceptions for pizza on Friday family nights (although we have been trying out cauliflower crust pizza the last few weeks) and date nights or social outings.

I’m trying to decide if I am going to give this up completely. I think if I commit to this, I will fail…just being real and honest.

I am good with committing to 90% giving this up, but leaving space and grace on certain family nights and social outings or date nights.

Those really only come on Friday and Saturday evenings, and an occasional extended family get together on Sundays (once a month), so 90% it is!

This is doable and already something I have been putting into place, although saying no to a fun Pumpkin Spice Latte during the week will take some discipline for sure!


5. Write Down 10 Things That You’re Grateful For Each Day

I started writing what I call lists of ‘gifts’ in 2010 when I was diagnosed with cancer. It changed me and made the fight bearable. I listed them in an ongoing fashion on this blog and surpassed 1,000!

I have been listing 3/day on a daily docket I use each day and gather them at the end of the week into my journal and reflect on all the amazing things I have to be thankful for.

I can up my game on this…but it bugs me that I only left 3 lines on the daily docket I made…now I wish there were 10! Guess I will need to re-design it.

By the way, I will be sharing this docket with you in the coming weeks. It is another simple tool that creates habits that bring about purpose.


{Pin It}



So there it is. My thoughts on the 5 to Thrive Challenge. I’m 90% in for 90Days. 🙂

How about you?

Let me know if you are participating.

I will share my progress with you and give glimpses of what I do on my Instagram stories. Find me @Amy_NewNostalgia


FAMILY/ Kids/Family/ Marriage/ Spiritual

Using Scripture To Fight Fairly In Marriage


Marriage is something to fight for these days, and calling it quits is rarely the answer.  Learning how to fight fairly is key in fighting for your marriage.

I am about to turn 40 next month and I find myself a bit frustrated with how immature I can be in this area.  I am an emotional and sensitive being, which can be a beautiful thing, but it also has a few negatives. When fighting in marriage, emotional & sensitive can often translate into being defensive.

Despite my frustration, God has been faithful in showing me how He is the answer & my defense, so I don’t have to be defensive.  When I put down my defenses, I can finally, truly, hear my Todd instead of being preoccupied with my own feelings.

Putting down defenses takes a humility & grace.  It takes compassion for the other person.  It takes a trust in knowing that I am fully loved by the best of Defenders.

I have an app on my phone that sends daily readings in Psalms and Proverbs.  This week I was Proverbs 18 & Psalms 18.  Both gave me insight into how to fight fairly in marriage, and I am thanking God for his provision, as my Todd & I were able to talk through some issues that had been sending spinning, around and around in circles. You know what I mean, don’t you? Talking in circles and getting nowhere.

These verses caused me to rest in God’s provision, reminding me I am fully loved, quieting me so that I could truly listen.  This and my husbands’ humble response back to me got us off the crazy spinning wheel.

Proverbs 18

{some words from the Message version}

~Do not run off at the mouth v2

~Do not use many words v4

~Do not come down hard on the innocent v5

~Do not be like a fool & start fights v7

~Run to & say the name of God, for it is a place of protection v10

~Remember that pride causes you to crash v12

~With humility comes honor v12

~It is wise to listen & always seek to learn v15

~It is ok to agree to disagree v18

~Words can kill or give life, they are either poison or fruit–you choose v21

~When you find a good spouse, you find a good life & the favor of God v22

~Humbly speak in soft supplications v23

~Do not bark out answers v24

~A true friend sticks close like family v24


Ah, such good advice, huh?

And then there is this, words inspired from Psalm 18 & from God who is my Defender, so I do not have to be defensive, and a realization of who the true enemy is–who we are TRULY fighting.

Psalm 18

{Message version, paraphrased by me}

I love you God, you make me strong, I live in your castle and you are my rescuing knight.

I run for dear life to you, I hide in you, I am safe in your hideout.

I sing to you & find myself safe and saved.

I cry to God to help me, He hears my call.

My cry brings me right into His presence–a private audience of just me and God!

You catch me, reaching all the way from sky to sea, pulling me out of enemy chaos where I was drowning, the enemy who hit me when I was down.

But You God, stuck by me.

You take me to wide open spaces, I stand safe & saved, surprised to be loved.

God completes my life when I place all my life pieces before Him.

I bring my act to Him & He gives me a fresh start.

Oh God, keep me alert to your ways & help me not to take you for granted.

Keep me in you, everyday reviewing your ways, watching my step.

Piece by piece you put me back together.  I open my heart to you and you see me.

I taste your goodness–I am good.

I taste your health–I am whole.

I taste your truth–I am true.

When I am down and out you are on my side.  Take me down a notch when I am stuck up or stuck on myself.

Floodlight my life, in the lightroom you reveal and show me your glory–you are blazing with glory!

Your road stretches straight & smooth.  I run in God direction, a road tested, and I make it just as you promised.

You prepared me & pointed me in the right direction, You show me how to fight

You protect me and hold me with a firm hand.

You caress me and your gentle ways clear the ruble so I will not stumble

You have surrounded me well

Keep rescuing me from squabbles, Oh Lord, rescue us!

Bring your revival.

I thank you God. I praise your name with songs

You rule & win over all!

You chose me as your beloved, for my name means beloved.


The meaning of my name, Amy, REALLY IS beloved.  Oh to remember this at all times, that I am fully known & fully loved by Creator God. Knowing & believing this brings the spinning to an abrupt and peaceful stop. Yay God!


FAMILY/ Kids/Family/ Spiritual/ Sponsored

Save A Life With A Quarter

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Vitamin Angels for IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine.

There is just something about watching a young child play.

The constant motion.  They can’t help themselves.  Have you noticed?  A child rarely just stands still.  They are either swinging their arms around or dancing from side to side, walking on their tip toes or running when they should be walking.

I have a niece whose default mode of transportation is twirling.  She just twirls and twirls until she gets to her destination! It is a beautiful, uninhibited sight to behold. She is carefree, full of life, &full of joy–just as young kids should be.

Kids are in awe of the world around them and want to experience it to the fullest.  They notice things we adults are to distracted and busy to see.  They walk around with their chins raised up, curiosity getting the best of them, exploring eyes & hands that are just itching to touch everything–especially the things they are told not to!

Children walk around with a spark in their eye & a face as bright as the sun.

But not all children.

There are children around the world whose spark is literally gone from their eyes.  Replaced by dullness. Lethargy. A weakened immune system that causes bugs to get into digestive systems which cause infections that take away precious lives. Lives that can be saved by something so small that it would cost one only a quarter. Yes, Even the smallest gift can change a child’s life

What can a quarter buy?


And Vitamin A Saves Lives.  I know this because I know about Vitamin Angels.

Vitamin Angels helps at-risk populations in need–specifically pregnant women, new mothers, and children under five–gain access to lifesaving and life changing vitamins and minerals.

That quarter we use to flip? It can reduce mortality in at-risk children by up to 24% by providing one dose of vitamin A, twice a year.  Vitamin A supplements are the least expensive solution to addressing preventable child deaths.

Even the smallest gift can change a child’s life

I don’t know about you, but my head can barely wrap around that!  That simple coin that we flip to determine which of my kids has to do the dishes that night — that very coin can save a life! What? Who knew? Awesome!



Get involved. Donate now.

Want to help?  Yes, so do I.  So here is an idea.

How about this Christmas, in lieu of giving a gift, you donate to Vitamin Angels in honor of whoever is on your list that you know would get it.  Someone who will understand how this would be a gift that lasts beyond the holidays and someone who would even want to continue the legacy of giving.

When you make a donation you will receive a downloadable or sharable card that shows the donation to Vitamin Angels.  That. Is. Cool.

Just last night I unpacked our Christmas decorations and found 3 mini stockings with each of my girls initials on them.  I now know what I will do with these adorable stockings.  I will make a donation for each of my 3 girls, and put the card in the stocking for them to open on Christmas morning.  After all, this season is all about giving.  It will be the perfect way to get minds onto what really matters on Christmas morning; remembering how precious life is. So precious that the MOST precious life was given, which is the very reason why we celebrate Christmas in our family.

If you want to do the same, Vitamin Angels is having and end of the year giving campaign–which runs now through midnight December 31, 2014.

Visit their website:

Make a donation:


You can also find Vitamin Angels on Facebook

& Twitter  


Visit Sponsor's Site

FAMILY/ Parenting

Daughter Volleyball Update – Purposeful Living

Todd Bowman on purposeful living.

These posts written by Todd (Amy’s husband) are designed to model a system of purposeful living.  At least once a month, he spends time setting meaningful goals around one of seventeen core priorities.

If you missed it, consider reading the foundation post – Purposeful Living #1.

Correct Priority
Priority #5 – Children (Emotional Health)

Support my daughter Colsie in her desire to become a strong volleyball player and join a volleyball team.  Specific things I can do include the items listed below.    

  • Research and purchase an effective youth volleyball instructional video.
  • Thoroughly review the video and develop a volleyball skill development program for Colsie.

Goal Status

wooden figure with a volleyball

UPDATED Thoughts About Goal – August 2013
After a bit of research, I found a fantastic volleyball training series.  This series is perfect for youth to learn foundational techniques.  If you have a youth volleyball player at home, these videos are listed below.

Championship Productions Foundations For Successful Volleyball

Championship Productions Foundations For Successful Volleyball: Setting DVD
Championship Productions Foundations For Successful Volleyball: Individual Defense DVD
Championship Productions Foundations For Successful Volleyball: Passing DVD
Championship Productions Foundations For Successful Volleyball: Attacking DVD
Championship Productions Foundations For Successful Volleyball: Blocking DVD
I purchased these videos, watched them, analyzed them, and came up with a training plan for Colsie.  

We started training, but after a few sessions it became evident that a knee that she injured a few months ago was still giving her significant problems.  After seeing a doctor we were told Colsie needed to stay off her completely, could not play volleyball, and needed focused rehab.

Over the course of three months Colsie did fully rehab her knee and I was ready to get back to work in volleyball training.  There was just one problem – Colsie no longer wanted to play volleyball!  As excited as she was about volleyball just a few months ago, she was now equally unexcited.  

a little girl with changed my  mind bubble

So, there will be no volleyball playing – at least not for now – in the Bowman household.  I am totally okay with it.  We talked about it for a while and I absolutely believe her interests have simply changed.  It happens with children and youth.   

collage of little girls silly eyes

My sixth grade daughter recently communicated a desire to play volleyball.  She has never expressed an interest in sports before, but she assured me this is a genuine interest.  She has been hitting a ball around a lot at school with friends during recess and really enjoys it.

Volleyball is a huge sport in Nebraska with large numbers of children playing from a very young age.  Even playing in a youth recreation league Colsie will be way behind without some help.

My plan is to assist Colsie in the same way I have assisted my other two daughters – Teagan (basketball) and Avery (soccer) – in the sports they play.  I will find quality instructional material, learn the game, and teach Colsie how to play volleyball.  Specifically I am interested in teaching Colsie proper technique, not just the rules of the game.   

I understand the rules of volleyball, but I don’t know the first thing about volleyball technique.  I don’t know the proper way to set, bump, serve, or pass a volleyball.

But I can learn.  The key is finding quality instructional material.  There are many resources, but most of it is junk.  I will find as many websites as I can that sell instructional material, identify DVD’s that focus on technique, read the descriptions and reviews, and then make a purchase.

It was so much easier when it was just Avery playing soccer.  Supporting three girls in their athletic endeavors takes a considerable amount of time.   

But it is a fun way for me to participate in their lives.  And athletics are a fantastic way to build resiliency in children.

It is worth my time. 


Build Your To-Do List Around Correct Priorities – Purposeful Living #1

Outline Of All Purposeful Living Posts

Purposeful Living Outline


Charts, Chores, Allowances, & Behavior – Part 4 -Purposeful Living

Todd Bowman on purposeful living.

These posts written by Todd (Amy’s husband) are designed to model a system of purposeful living.  At least once a month, he spends time setting meaningful goals around one of seventeen core priorities.

If you missed it, consider reading the foundation post – Purposeful Living #1.

Correct Priority

Priority #5 – Children (Emotional Health)

Goal – March 2012

Invest in the emotional health of my children by revising our chart, chore, allowance, and behavior system.  Specifically this means:

  • Revising our list of morning, afternoon, and evening routines/chores.
  • Developing an easier system of connecting routines/chores to an allowance.  The system must be easy to record and monitor.
  • Developing effective and easy to implement consequences for misbehavior.   

Goal Status


ORDER – Obedience – Kindness – Peace – Honesty = BOWMAN FAMILY BEHAVIOR PLAN

Our method for managing the behavior of our children is captured in five words.  

ORDER refers to Daily Routines (Charts), Chores, and Allowances.

What Is An Appropriate Allowance?
The correct allowance depends on what you can afford, and what you believe is a reasonable amount for your children to be able to earn.  

Coins in a jar next to a yellow piggy bank

What Can You Afford?
I am not wealthy.  I worked as a public school teacher for twelve years and at a non-profit the last six.  When Amy stopped working after our first child it was a struggle at first to make ends meet.  We pinched pennies and carefully considered every dollar we spent (like many families).  

For many years, I didn’t feel we could afford (nor did we give) an allowance.  My girls did not grow up feeling entitled to stuff.  They appreciated and were thankful for things we were able to provide for them.  They asked for candy and knick-knacks when they came shopping with us, but usually heard “no” (at least from dad – mom is more of a pushover).  And on the occasion they heard “yes” they were thrilled.  

But over the past few years we have been in a more stable place (not wealthy – but stable) financially and we felt it was time for our girls to be able to earn an allowance.  

At first, Amy and I decided we could afford $60 a month total.  This meant each of our girls could earn roughly $5 a week or $20 a month.  This was a stretch for our budget and I needed several reassurances from Amy that we could afford this.  At the end of the day, we both agreed there was no better way to invest our money than to invest in our children.  $60 a month is broken down in the following manner.  

Each child could earn $.75 a day by successfully completing all charts for the day.  

$.75/Day x 7 Days/Week x 4 Weeks/Month = $21/Month

$21/Month x 3 Children = $63/Month

Five dollars a week was perfect while our girls were in elementary school.  But one our oldest two became teenagers, five dollars no longer seemed appropriate.  About one year ago Amy and I decided we could double the amount we put towards allowances to $120 a month.  This meant each of our girls could earn $10 a week or $40 a month.  It was another strain on our budget, but we again agreed it was worth it.  $120 a month is broken down in the following manner.

$1.50/Day x 7 Days/Week x 4 Weeks/Month = $42/Month

$42/Month x 3 Children = $126/Month

What Is Reasonable
Some teenagers may think $10 isn’t very much money, but for my girls $10 is a lot of money.  It’s an amount they appreciate and value.  But it isn’t so much money that they take it for granted.  

In addition, we don’t make it easy for them to earn $10 a week.  They have to genuinely earn this money and it is just as easy for them to earn nothing as it is for them to earn $10.

For the Bowman family $10 a week per child is just the right amount – at least for right now.   

Should You Pay Your Children To Complete Chores?
Many parents are philosophically against paying children to complete chores.  And I understand the reasoning.  

But Amy & I feel good about the system we developed because it rewards work.  We view it as an opportunity for our girls to earn an allowance by working reasonably hard for the money they earn.  

An additional benefit is it shifts many purchasing decisions from my shoulders to theirs.  Instead of asking me to purchase food, or a video game, or a purse, they can make their own decisions.  They have their own money.  They can ask themselves the question “Is this object worth the effort?”  They can make choices about what is truly important to them and what is not.

If we could afford it, I would prefer to pay our girls a large enough allowance that they could become responsible for nearly all of their purchases including clothes, beauty products, gas for the car (in a couple years), etc.  It would be ideal in my eyes for them to associate their work with paying for these items.

Unfortunately, we are not in a position financially to do this.  To make ends meet Amy and I have to be frugal and look for opportunities to save money on each purchase.  The downside to this arrangement is it creates an environment where it is easy for our girls to take for granted and feel entitled to these items.

Don’t Start & Stop  
If you are going to start an allowance or incentive system of some kind you should go into it reasonably sure you will be able to maintain it over the long haul.  Creating incentives and then removing them can be more damaging than never creating incentives at all.