Kris Mares

Just a woman trying to love Jesus and others a little bit more…

#MakeOverYourMorning – Part 1 May 6, 2016

Filed under: Me — Kris @ 6:37 am
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A couple of weeks ago, I shared that I would be starting an online course called Make over Your Mornings. I’m on Day 6 and it’s been really good! I’ve learned a few things about myself and have solidified some goals I have.

Day 1 – Why Make Over My Morning? Because I want to start my day off in a way that helps me and my family feel ready for the day.

Day 2 – The Night Before – We have ACTUALLY been packing lunches at night and it’s made our mornings a lot better!

Day 3 – Big Rocks – I know my priorities – Marriage, Motherhood, Ministry, Money, Me (the things I blog about), but talking to Racer about them and hearing his input was encouraging!

Day 4 – Incentive – Wanting a good cup of coffee isn’t a bad thing! It was difficult to think about what MY external and internal incentives are. This day was hard.

Day 5 – Breaking Down Goals – I’ve done goal setting before. Many times. And follow through is usually lacking. My goals are not too big, but I’ve never had a “routine” to put them into. So I hope this step-by-step thinking will help.

Day 6 – Bit-Sized Pieces – I need to think more on today. Breaking my goals into small actionable steps should be easy, but I struggled with this step too. The workbook included a great goal-setting sheet, so I’ll print extras of these out and work on them some more.

Again, I’m really enjoying the Make Over Your Mornings course and look forward to starting Make Over Your Evenings next. I’m still struggling with getting up earlier, but I have been going to bed pretty consistently (and earlier than usual), so I hope my body is readjusting.

There have also been challenges along the way. Late night activities. Sleeping through the alarm. Buying coffee beans instead of ground coffee (yeah… 2 days without my “incentive” to get up with the alarm!). And mountains of laundry that had yet to be folded and put away (which means digging for school uniforms).

But that’s why I need a better routine. Things will still happen. Kids will still be crabby. Last minute things will still need to be located. BUT, a good routine will help to lessen the rush and will give me morning margin to deal with the real emergencies and morning grouchies with grace.

How about you? How do you deal with morning madness with grace?


(Disclaimer: Links above are affiliate links.)


We hit a mini-goal! May 5, 2016

It’s no secret that Racer and I follow Dave Ramsey’s 7 Baby Steps. We are currently teaching a Financial Peace University class and as a part of the class, our homework was to have a “Budget Meeting.” Sounds scary doesn’t it? Sometimes, it is. Sometimes, those budget meetings are loud and end abruptly. But they are always worth it.


Because sometimes, you find surprises!

Racer and I sat down last week to look over April and finalize our May budget. It was pretty close to being done, so I did not anticipate any issues. But something was amiss with April. We had a bunch of extra money! Racer got excited (free spirit that he is) and I got nervous (nerd that I am). What did we not pay? Where did I mess up? What is wrong? Racer was like “Extra money!!” He wanted to allocate it right away and I wanted to figure out what went wrong. We had a 3 paycheck month and I though I’d accounted for it but something was amiss. Soooo…. after a loud discussion about starting a New Car fund and where the extra money came from, we agreed to focus on May and give me time to figure out what was going on.

Basically, I messed up. In a 3 paycheck month, we lived on two. So we had an entire paycheck to figure out what to do with. Since we’re on Baby Step 3, it was an easy decision. And Racer got his New Car fund started too. Win-win.

FullSizeRender (7)Since building our 3-6 month Emergency Fund has been a lengthy task for us, being able to put an entire paycheck away was HUGE! It means we hit a mini-goal and got to “move up” our line on our tracking chart! We are moving slowly in our progress, so we had agreed to only move our line when we hit the 25% increment marks and we did it! Hitting this first mark has really motivate us in this step again (we’re actually at 30%, but you know, nerdy me only drew up to the pre-done line that was there…).

Three things we learned during this budget meeting: A) be more diligent about our monthly budget meeting; b) always budget just the 2 paychecks and month and on a 3 check month use it toward your financial goal; c) break big goals down into mini-goals and take them one smaller step at a time.

Budget meetings can be hard. No way around that. But they keep us on track and help us stay focused on our goals. As a bonus, sometimes you get a text later that says “As much as we get at each other’s throats, I love doing the budget with you.” Who knew?

And when you’re used to living off 2 paychecks a month, why not just keep doing that? I know this would only work for people who get paid bi-weekly, but for those that do, why not use that “extra” check that comes twice a year to make a big impact on whatever Baby Step you are on, or financial goal you have?! Can you imagine being able to put an entire paycheck toward paying off a credit card, student load or car note?


And big goals… well they just seem big and overwhelming don’t they? But breaking a large goal down into smaller pieces… well, those smaller pieces seem a LOT more doable and quicker to reach. So, whatever your financial goal is, break it down into 25% increments and make those your goal. Save 25% and then celebrate! Pay off that first small debt then celebrate! Pay off 50% of the house then celebrate! Those small successes really do motivate you to reaching the next small goal and eventually, you’re at the big goal!

So, have that budget meeting today! (We use EveryDollar.) Set those goals and celebrate the small victories! And if you need a place to start, pick up Total Money Makeover and it’ll walk you through.

So let’s celebrate! What financial goals (big or small) have you reached lately! Comment below and let us know.


(Disclaimer: Some of the links above are affiliate links.)


The Best Yes April 29, 2016

This year, I am on a journey of wellness. I’ve been reading and working on “inside stuff” in order to bring some healing and health to “outside stuff.” Inner work for outer health. I am learning to be healthy and whole, inside and out.

Part of that journey is learning how to make my yes mean yes and my no mean no. For a people pleasing, think I can do it all, caretaker, extrovert like me, that is harder than it may seem. Like my plate at the end of a buffet line, I often find my schedule and “to do” list overflowing with lots of good things, not enough room to really enjoy any of them and I am left feeling overstuffed, tired and not really satisfied.

So The Best Yes by Lysa TerKeurst got put in my “to read” pile. From her website:

Lysa TerKeurst is learning that there is a big difference between saying yes to everyone and saying yes to God. In The Best Yes she will help you:

  • Cure the disease to please with a biblical understanding of the command to love.
  • Escape the guilt of disappointing others by learning the secret of the small no.
  • Overcome the agony of hard choices by embracing a wisdom based decision-making process.
  • Rise above the rush of endless demands and discover your Best Yes today.

511tofxnmol-_sx326_bo1204203200_Some of what she said was not new to me, but it reminded me to constantly put God’s priorities for me first. I needed those reminders. The stories she told from her life reminded me that I am never alone in my struggle to say yes, no, not right now.

Best of all, I know that I don’t need to feel guilty when I say no. I don’t. No is a complete sentence. And while there are many things in life that are good things, that I may want to say yes to, I must consider if it is a “best yes” for me at this time, with the resources I currently have and the call that God has before me. Sometimes, a no now may be a yes later. If I want to live a life worthy of my callings, I have to give yeses that fit with those callings.

Hard but necessary. Difficult but true.

Again you have heard that it was said to those who lived long ago:Don’t make a false solemn pledge, but you should follow through on what you have pledged to the Lord. But I say to you that you must not pledge at all. You must not pledge by heaven, because it’s God’s throne. You must not pledge by the earth, because it’s God’s footstool. You must not pledge by Jerusalem, because it’s the city of the great king. And you must not pledge by your head, because you can’t turn one hair white or black. Let your yes mean yes, and your no mean no. Anything more than this comes from the evil one.                                                                                            -Jesus as recorded in Matthew 5:33-37, CEB

So, here’s to me following through on what I have pledged to God, letting my yes be a best yes and my no be understood by those who receive it.

Have you read The Best Yes? Comment below and tell me what you thought or share your struggle with letting your yes be yes and your no be no.


P.S. If you’d like to order The Best Yes, I highly recommend the read. Just click on any of the links above (they are affiliate links).

P.P.S. Remember, I’m starting a Make Over Your Mornings journey on Sunday! Please join me in the study and we can share what we’ve learned together!


Money vs. Health: my struggle April 28, 2016

Filed under: Money — Kris @ 2:46 pm
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We used to belong to a gym. Yep, you heard that right. Used to. We had a family membership to the local Y. For a time, we went regularly, particularly the kids and I. But then life got busier, time got more occupied and the Y was less frequented. So, in an effort to save money and use our resources to pay off some debt (at the time), we didn’t renew our membership.

And my body has paid for it. You see, for every financial decision we make, there are good and bad consequences. No consumer debt = good. No exercise = bad. When we were members at the gym, I at least tried to go and “get my money out of it.” Tried. But then, I just didn’t.

Now, Racer and I have talked about needing to re-join the Y. But I’m having a hard time justifying the money for a family membership when we still are trying to build our emergency fund. We have other financial goals that those fees would go toward.

But in a physical earlier this year, my doctor and I agreed that I need to move my body. While my health “numbers” are ok, the direction of my health is going the wrong way.

So, save money or go to the gym?

So what’s a girl to do?

The answer really came to me in stages. Walking was a good start. Then my health insurance sent home pedometers with a cash earning program for reaching certain step goals. Then a morning devotion focused on the theme of “move” really hit my heart.

I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. Psalm 139.14

Yes! But if I am wonderfully made, how is my physical state living that out? Am I honoring God’s careful creation of me? I want to do that, thus I need to care for my physical self.

So, then the wrestle comes. How do I manage my money, my time and my physical self in a way that is pleasing to God and still keeps me on track for the goals our family has? How do I balance the need for exercise with the need to save money?

You see, it’s not just the gym membership that costs, but it’s also the gas to drive there as there is no location that is convenient. So how do I find something low-cost, that fits into my schedule and is convenient. I mean, why can’t I have it all?

Well, God helped. Just a week later, in my morning devotion, the theme was “walking.” Walking with God, walking God’s path for me in life, walking in God’s presence.

12998453_1136367073075192_6725095061062340834_nSo, I’m walking. Walking with friends. Walking in the morning on the days I drop kids off at school. Walking. And while I walk, I have my ear buds in, listening to Dave Ramsey’s podcast and True Stewardship podcast (and a few others) so that I can also stay motivated on my financial journey! Win win right?!

I also found a couple of free apps that lead me through a bodyweight style circuit. You know, push ups, jumping jacks, lunges… that type of thing. Totally free and does all the timing and instructions for me. So that’s good too.

So, gym membership money gets to stay reallocated to savings goals AND I’ve found a way to get in free exercise. And for accountability, I text my dear friend for encouragement.

You may have a conflict in goals – money vs. ?? Maybe its money vs. quality time with your spouse. Maybe it’s money vs. “making memories” with your children. Maybe it’s money vs. a need for relaxation. Each decision we make has consequences.

Perhaps, though, there is another way. Perhaps, there is a way to do both. Maybe not how you imagined, but still a way. Think creatively. Think outside the “normal” box. Ask God for help. It may come in pieces, but it will come.

I’d love your encouragement and ideas for other “free” ways to exercise! Please share your struggle, journey or thoughts in the comments below.

Also, remember to sign-up to join me for a morning make-over (affiliate link) starting May 1st!


Join me for a Makeover! April 22, 2016

I’m so excited! I’ve just purchased Make Over Your Mornings and Make Over Your Evenings! These are two courses offered by Money Saving Mom – Crystal Pain. In a busy, full house like mine, routines are important. Organization is key. And, since we’ll be adding another child sometime soon (did you miss that announcement?), it’s time for me to make sure I’m starting and ending my days in a good way.

Mornings in my house are hectic. I don’t get my coffee soon enough, I end up
yelling at kids that are slower than I want them to be. Instead of sending them off to school with grace, I often send them off with a “Go, go, go don’t miss the bus!” I’d much rather send them off with a sense of calm and love and readiness for whatever the school day may hold.

At night, I’m tired from “catching up” all day and just want to crash. I end up wasting a LOT of time, leaving much on my to do list for tomorrow. Then, the cycle of starting the next day behind begins again and just continues on.

I’m ready to have a make over! I hope you will join me. I will start Make Over Your Mornings on May 1st. I will start Make Over Your Evenings on May 15th. Will you join me? I’ll be blogging about my journey and would love to hear what you learn too! Just click on the link of the course you want to take and find purchase information there! (Disclaimer: the links are affiliate links and I will receive a small “kick back” from your purchase).

Order your course (I got both for less than $20) and comment below if you are joining me!


2015 Goals – Mid-year reveiw July 30, 2015

Filed under: Me — Kris @ 8:29 am
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At the beginning of this year, I set some goals for myself. I thought about them and talked them over with Racer. Some seem silly, some are more important. I suppose if I set some goals then I really should take time to review them and see how I’m doing right? No point in setting goals if I’m not actually going to hold myself accountable. So, here is 2015 in review so far:


  • One date night a month – We’re actually doing well on this one!!
  • Write one love note a month – I think I’m 4 for six so far?


  • Read out loud to the kids one night a week – I’m failing terribly on this one. My intention was to read chapter books to them. We read, but just not like I had intended with this goal. Need to do better.
  • One specific “Love Language” deposit for each kid each month – I’m doing well here except with one of my children. My oldest is working on transitioning out of the nest and our relationship is changing. I need to be more intentional with her.


  • Complete Provisional Elder application – Step one of many is done! I have also agree to be a part of a covenant peer group to hold me accountable through this process.
  • Quarterly worship planning – I’m doing better here, but can still improve. I have scripture planned through November.
  • Intentional prayer outreach to families – I took a hiatus for a couple of months while I finished graduate school, but am now back at it! I love being intentional about reaching out to intentionally pray for the needs of families.


  • Create a written budget each month – In June, we started using Every Dollar and that has made budgeting much easier!
  • Save one full month of expenses – We are 20% of the way there. With graduation expenses, some car repairs and other life stuff, the progress is slow.
  • Legacy Binder – We have one started from years ago, but it needs an overhaul. I’ve not worked on this area at all. This goal may have to be postponed to next year.


  • Crochet 5 blankets – I’ve done one, but need to get on the ball!
  • Read 1 biography a month – I’m reading, just not biographies. I think this goal will be dropped and reconsidered for next year. It has just ended up not being a priority.
  • Write one letter a month – I’ve been doing this. It’s harder than you think!
  • Get down to 175 lbs – This has been tricky. I’ve only this month been able to begin focus on this goal. 4 down and lots to go.

I’m going to start planning “Goal Time” into my week. Some things I need to be much more intentional about. How are you doing on your goals for this year? Comment below and let me know!


Weight Loss Wednesday – Stalled October 26, 2011

Filed under: Weight Loss Wednesday — Kris @ 8:58 pm
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I feel stalled in this journey. Other things in my life have moved up in priority, time is at a premium and I’m just plain tired. And I’ve slacked off. I admit it. I’ve been working hard at the gym 2-3 times a week, but when it comes to food… Let’s just say I’m still a wuss.

I enjoy food and I don’t like watching what I eat. I know that’s where I need to cut back, but I just don’t. I don’t like being hungry. And I don’t like stopping at just one piece of chocolate. I like it too much. It reminds me of why I stopped drinking any kind of alcoholic beverage – I liked it too much to stop at just one.

At this point, I know that I need to start getting really serious about counting calories. “Eating healthier” just isn’t going to cut it anymore. To make serious progress again, I need to pay close attention to how much I’m eating. I’m weaning the baby too, so need for calories is going to drop quite a bit. Ugh. We’re coming into a hard time of year for weight loss too. The holidays and family visits and not being at home to control what’s being cooked and not doing the grocery shopping to control what food is available… This is going to be hard.

So what to do? I’m not ready to go the food journal route. I’m not buying into the Weight Watchers program (meaning I’m not willing to pay for it). I guess it comes down to plain old measuring out portion sizes and keeping track of calories. I have some sample menus that I’ve started using for meal planning. I hope that will help me onto the right track.

What do you do? How do you keep weight in check during the winter party/visiting/eating season?

Here is my goal progress:

  1. Incorporate a fresh fruit or vegetable for each meal – Nope. I’ve slacked here big time.
  2. Use more seasonings to make meals more interesting – I used turmeric again. Does that count?
  3. Eat breakfast every day, cereal no more than 3 times a week – I actually missed breakfast one day this last week.
  4. Utilize the YMCA at least 3 times a week – Going at least two times, but striving for 3.
  5. Try at least one new recipe each week – I’ve been sticking with simple things we know. 
  6. Drink at least 2 big blue glasses of water a day. – I’ve been slacking here too.

Here are the numbers:

  • Starting weight:  204.4
  • Initial goal weight:  150
  • Current weight:  183.6 (gain 0.6)
  • Total weight loss: 20.8

Weight Loss Wednesday – I didn’t make it… September 7, 2011

Filed under: Weight Loss Wednesday — Kris @ 9:01 pm
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Well, it is the first Wednesday after Labor Day. If you remember from my first Weight Loss Wednesday post, I wanted to reach my goal weight by Labor Day. That didn’t happen. While I’m a little sad, I’m also at peace with that. I’ve gone from a size 16 to somewhere in between a 10 and 12. I’ve gone from XL shirts to medium in some cases. I’m stronger. I’m eating better (many days – I still like too much junk). I feel less sloth-like.

Even though I’m not at a magic number, I’m in a much better place than I was.

Last night at the gym, I tried a new work-out class. At the end, we did these lower abdominal exercises. I laid on my back, placed my hands under my hips, raised my straight legs into the air at a 90 degree angle and then lowered my feet to the floor and back up. Repeat a million times… As I was doing that – and it wasn’t easy – I was thinking about when I first started at the gym. I met with a trainer to get a feel for the equipment and learn a basic routine. A similar exercise was a part of that routine. I couldn’t even do 5 of those lower ab, leg lower, torturous things. Here I was, doing a million.

Okay, not really a million, it just felt that way. But really, I think it was more like 24. It was hard at the end, but I still did them. I didn’t give up and I could actually complete the set. Three months ago I couldn’t have done that.

I’m making progress. And I have to remember, it took me 10 years and 4 pregnancies to get to where I am. Eight months isn’t going to fully undue it all. I still have some emotional and mental aspects of it all to work out. And I still need to work out the work out schedule. Life happens. While I don’t want to use that as an excuse, I also need to be realistic and flexible. What is important is that I now see it all as important. I’ve made the decision to be healthier and I’m sticking with it.

That alone is an accomplishment.

Here is my goal progress:

  1. Incorporate a fresh fruit or vegetable for each meal – I’ve done about 75%.
  2. Use more seasonings to make meals more interesting – I used turmeric again this week.
  3. Eat breakfast every day, cereal no more than 3 times a week – Did fairly well here.
  4. Utilize the YMCA at least 3 times a week – I made it three times.
  5. Try at least one new recipe each week – Yep, but simply variations on what I do usually!
  6. Drink at least 2 big blue glasses of water a day. – I did better here, but still not 100%.

Here are the numbers:

  • Starting weight:  204.4
  • Initial goal weight:  150
  • Current weight:  182.6 (nothing)
  • Total weight loss: 21.8 (not even 1/2 of what my goal was, but I’m actually still pleased)

I’m trying to decide what my new date should be for my initial goal weight. Valentine’s Day? Easter? Not sure here, what do y’all think?


Weight Loss Wednesday – Weeks 13 and 14 April 20, 2011

Filed under: Weight Loss Wednesday — Kris @ 5:49 am
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I’ve lost the exercise bug. I haven’t been doing anything. I’m just saying that up front because this is the way I often do it. I’m great at something for a while – get into a good routine – then it all goes away. I don’t stick with it. I never seem to fully incorporate new changes into my life. I’m not sure why. I just lack persistence maybe? I need to think on this more because I know that exercise is key for me. The weather is getting warmer and there are no excuses.

When it comes to food, I’m still learning. Easter morning brings the end to my Daniel Fast. I’m a little concerned about how my body will react. I do think I’ll still eat very little meat. I hope I continue with very little sugars. I want my dairy though. I want milk and cheese. Eggs? I could go either way. I wonder how sweet, sweets will taste though. I’m thinking they’ll all be so overwhelming at first. I’m hoping that my palette has been cleansed and that only 2 cookies will do me just fine.

Here is my goal progress:

  1. Incorporate a fresh fruit or vegetable for each meal – I think I’m still doing okay here. I did try mango.
  2. Use more seasonings to make meals more interesting – Not so much this past week.
  3. Eat breakfast every day, cereal no more than 3 times a week – I did just fine.
  4. Walk at least 3 times a week – Big no here.
  5. Don’t eat after 9pm – Big no here too. It’s had when Bill is gone. One night, I pigged out on corn tortilla chips and homemade salsa.
  6. Try at least one new recipe each week – Homemade salsa and vegan chili!
  7. Drink at least 2 big blue glasses of water a day. – Yep.

Here are the numbers:

  • Starting weight:  204.4
  • Initial goal weight:  150
  • Current weight:  183.4 (lost 1.8 lbs.) – My poor eating and lack of exercise shows.

Weight Loss Wednesday – Weeks 11 and 12 April 6, 2011

Filed under: Weight Loss Wednesday — Kris @ 10:54 pm
Tags: , , ,

Yes, I know. I missed a week. Last week was… well, it could take up its own post. And yes, I realize I haven’t been blogging about much of anything lately. It’s not that I haven’t had anything to say, I’m just not sure how to say it all I guess. But, since I have had at least 3 people mention me not blogging (I guess I didn’t realize it was that profound), here I am, telling you about my last 2 weeks.

I’m still fasting. I will say that this last week it has been hard. I’m not missing the meat as much as I am the dairy. I want cheese. I want it plain. I want it on soup. I want it on my lentil filled tacos (yes, that was one of the new recipes). A few years ago, I had a youth group member who gave up cheese for lent. I warned this young person to be careful after Easter morning when re-introducing cheese back into the diet. I warned of the back-ups that could occur. I just hope I remember to head my own advice!

Here is my goal progress:

  1. Incorporate a fresh fruit or vegetable for each meal – I think I’m still doing okay here. I’m getting a bit bored of the same things though and need to branch out.
  2. Use more seasonings to make meals more interesting – Not so much lately. I have been using interesting food combinations though.
  3. Eat breakfast every day, cereal no more than 3 times a week – A couple of mornings it was a slim meal or late in the morning. And I don’t consider “hot cereal,” like oatmeal, to be cereal.
  4. Walk at least 3 times a week – Big no here. We’ve had rainy weather and I was sick (both excuses I suppose). I think I’ve walked twice in the last 2 weeks.
  5. Don’t eat after 9pm – I think I had a bite or two after 9 one night.
  6. Try at least one new recipe each week – Yep, we tried several. Indonesian tofu stir fry was good (I thought). Blue even made a stir fry one night!
  7. Do sit-ups or push-ups each day– Nope. I didn’t even think about it. I suppose I need to just eliminate this one. Your thoughts?
  8. Drink at least 2 big blue glasses of water a day. – Most days. When I was sick I should’ve been drinking more, but I think I actually drank less.

Here are the numbers:

  • Starting weight:  204.4
  • Initial goal weight:  150
  • Current weight:  185.2 (lost 4.4 lbs.) – I’m down to a size 12; I actually had to buy new pants!

As Easter approaches, I’m starting to think about how I will “re-enter” regular eating. I’m also wondering what effects I will see from going off the fast. I will reincorporate dairy, but I’m really not missing the meat that much. I may stay very low meat. I’m also learning that I can satisfy a sweet tooth with fruits too. I am loving purple grapes, cut in half, as a salad topping!

So those of you that are on a weight-loss journey too. How have you been doing? What successes have you had? What are you struggling with?


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