How To Make Life More Liveable

Time for a random rambling today ~ pull up a chair and pour a glass of sweet tea – this one just might take awhile. 🙂


As I shared last week, this move has been not-so-easy on our family (or on me.) Thankfully though, this last week things have eased up a bit, and I know with time we’ll find our place here too.  In the midst of it though, there have been things that I’ve noticed have made life a little more liveable each day. The reality is, we all struggle through difficult things in life ~ whether it be a move, an illness, parenting struggles, or the death of someone we love dearly. 


Life (at times) is hard. There’s just no way around it. But, choosing to do a few certain things have helped ease a little stress here, and maybe they’ll be helpful for you too.

1. Get dressed, pray, exercise (even if only for a few minutes) and shine your sink, every single day. 

I don’t know where the magic is in these tricks, but they really do work ~ promise. 😉


2. Skype, call, or text a friend.

I’ve so missed a few friends from home, but have checked in with them through Skype, by sending a quick text, or calling them while folding laundry. I can’t tell you how much fun I had skyping a friend video of our new home (she even gave me decorating tips while I walked through the house), and just a simple one-sentence text to another friend really brightened my day. It’s amazing what simply connecting with real people who care for you can do to lift your spirits!


3.  If you need to, do some tidying.

Y’all, last week when I just about lost it, my husband came home and saw me in one mess of an office, and knew something had to be done.


I kept telling him that since we didn’t have anywhere for most of the items to go until we had bookshelves, there was no point in tidying so I just needed to live with it. (It may be months or longer before we get those bookshelves as I’m trying to come up with a perfect plan – clearly spending hours each day in an office which is a disaster is not a great plan!)

UPDATE – our new office finally got finished ~ take a peek of the pretty amazing tramsformation over HERE

He enlisted the help of our kids, and in less than 30 minutes the entire room was cleared out to storage in the basement. I had no idea how much the clutter was bothering me, but goodness just having a tidy (albeit empty!) spot to work in has drastically reduced my stress level.  If you’ve got some clutter in your life that’s making a difficult situation even more stressful, determine to take a few hours this weekend to just clean something out. (I promise, you’ll be so glad you did!)


4. Watch Facebook less if you need to.

Goodness, I love Facebook for keeping up with friends as much as anyone does, but last weekend I realized that watching what my friends were doing in Alabama that our family was missing out on was not helping. More importantly, I realized it was making a challenging situation even more difficult for my kids if they happened to scroll through and see what their friends were up to while we weren’t there.


Instead of living the life we’ve been given here in Ohio, Facebook (or Instagram, or Twitter, or whatever it is for you), made us wish for something that couldn’t happen right now. If you’re going through something difficult (especially with a friend), limiting your time on social media and just really living might just change your perspective.

My son took these pictures in our backyard the other night ~ amazing!

5. Find the beauty right where you are.

Never (ever) in a million years would we have snapped that picture in the backyard of our home in Alabama, and it truly is beautiful here. We used to walk to Publix (which I miss ~ so much!), but now we can walk to the river. We used to have a back yard full of landscaping, now we have a yard abuzz with thousands of fireflies each night and watch deer from our kitchen window at just about every meal. I’m still praying for grass one of these days (ugh!), but there’s beauty here already, if I just take a moment to open my eyes to see it.


If you’re going through something that just hurts so badly, try to find something oh-so-beautiful even in your situation. It might be a special snuggle with a child who’s struggling through a difficult season of their life, or maybe a walk outside to see some flowers in bloom. No matter what your situation, there is something beautiful to be found right where you’re at, so take a second to find it and just drink it in.


6. Realize you can’t do it all.

I’ve been attending a Bible Study at the church we’ve been visiting here, and the message from Priscilla Schirer last week was on prioritizing. (Yikes!) She shared that a Godly friend encouraged her that she couldn’t do everything during the season of her life when her kids were young, so she needed to focus only on her top priorities.


This summer, the only things I can really tackle are making our move as painless for my family as possible, and keeping up (somewhat!) here on PPP. I’ve been convicted that I so often put my business ahead of my family, and right now they need to be first. School will be here before you know it, and I’ll never get back today with my family. I hate that in many ways (because I really do enjoy what I do here so much!), but until at least mid-August, they need a wee bit more attention right now.


What that means also is that there are lots of things I’m saying no to. This isn’t a season when I’m going to run 20 miles every week, I’m not going to bake homemade bread for dinner all that often, most of my penny pinching will be done just by shopping Aldi, and my house isn’t going to be perfectly clean even once. If you’re in a stressful season, really consider what your big priorities are, and then give yourself grace for the stuff you just can’t manage.

From my old office  ~ we waited years for that room and I can’t wait to figure out what we’ll do here! (UPDATED – see what we did over HERE!)
7. Dream. Big. 

Taking the time to dream has undoubtedly been the thing that has helped me to just feel some peace this last week (and even a little excitement as we’re here.)  We’ve always put some effort into dreaming big in our homes, and I think in the midst of the move I’d forgotten how precious it is just to imagine something new for our future, even if we can’t have it all today.


Last week my (wise) husband encouraged me to really start thinking about my new office specifically and in general about our home, and to start dreaming about what I really wanted it to be. I hemmed and hawed, and generally felt like I’d come up with the simplest way to tackle what we have, just settling for something that would work.


He encouraged me instead to really dream about how I could make this space absolutely perfect – no holding back. Now, we may never get that big ole’ dream I’ve started thinking up, but since my dreams are free, I might just as well imagine ~ and maybe one day those dreams will become a possibility.  We’ve walked around our yard and started planning what we’d like to see in each spot one day. In our last home we did the same thing, even staking out trees that didn’t get planted for years, just to start dreaming. Eventually, much of what we dreamed really did happened, but we would never have gotten there if we didn’t dream big to start with! 


If you’re struggling through something that just feels overwhelming, try to look past the mountain in your life right now, and dream of where you may be in a year, two years, or even five years down the road. Dream of what you really want, not just what you’ll settle for. Work towards your dream even in the midst of your struggles, and know that those dreams might just become real for you one day too.

There are seasons of life that just come with so many overwhelming things it’s hard to even see outside right where you are. This week as I’ve struggled to find peace here it hasn’t all been easy, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t good. (And it sure doesn’t mean God doesn’t have a plan right here!) If you’re struggling too, be encouraged that you are not alone, and that God has a perfect plan only for you. 


And on a very short side note, I cannot thank you all enough for your kind words, emails, and texts encouraging me through our move after last week’s post (or on this one.) I feel so very blessed to have such kind people cheering for me along the way, and am so very thankful for each of you! If you have any other tips on how to get through something difficult, I’d love for you to share those too. (I really do love hearing from you!) 


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  1. Kristy Sheffield Elders says:

    Thank you so much for this beautiful post! This is exactly what I needed to read as I am like many seeing the big mountains right now instead of beyond the mountain. You're so right that life can be hard at times for many of us for various reasons! This article allowed me to breathe a little deeper and think about all these things. I LOVE PPP and what you do everyday to help give us all inspiration, encouragement, ways to save money and spend more time with our families among many many more invaluable things! We appreciate your time and commitment! Wishing you and your family a smooth transition during this season of your lives!!!

    • You are so welcome Kristy – thank you so much for your kind words! I think the mountains in front of us sometimes just seem so big and it’s hard to even see forward, so I’ll be praying you can see around those mountains too right now!

      Thank you so much for your encouragement -I’m sooooo glad you enjoy PPP!

  2. Aaaaaand I cried.

    • 🙂 Lydia! I’m not one to usually get too weepy, but I’ve definitely been there a bit more these last few weeks ~ I’m right there with you 😉

  3. Mary Helen Ingram says:

    I would love to know the name of the bible study. That would be perfect for myself and all my young mom friends!!! Thank you for sharing.

  4. Sweet Laurie,
    Like you, our family is in a period of extreme hardship. I’ve been thinking a LOT about how important that it is to cast a WIDE net of gratitude. My teen has been spending a great deal of time in doctor’s offices and hospitals. Not much fun in that! However, in the midst of that we have had some amazing, deep, meaningful, heart-to-heart conversations. For that I am truly grateful. His doc is one of the good guys. My Mom had my babe for a few days- precious time for Grandma. Our awesome God works most of His amazing miracles in the hard places. Just ask Jacob’s son, Joseph. I’m glad to see you “casting a wide net,” too! Your love and gratitude bless me! Hugs to you my sister, Julie

    • I’ll be praying for your son in the midst of this of these doctor’s appointments as they figure out what’s going on – I think having a child who’s struggle might be the most difficult thing for anyone to face! Thank you so very much for your encouragement and kind words – they’re appreciated so much more than you know. 😉

  5. Adversity causes some people to break, other people to break records! Praying you break all kinds of records in your new home 🙂

  6. Lea Ann says:

    Your words helped me so much today. I’ve been struggling with MANY life changes & I’ve been making myself & everyone around me miserable! Just reading your words opened my eyes, I will do better starting right now!
    I know how hard this is for children. Growing up, because my step dad was in the Navy, I went to 13 different schools in 6 years! I hate moving as a result. I know your children will find their place. By the time school starts things will be much better. Believe me, I know.
    So back to my task at hand, getting rid of clutter/mess that I have ignored for way to long 🙂
    Blessings on you & yours as you adjust to the “new”.
    Lea Ann

    • Thank you for your kind words of encouragement Lea Ann! I think de-cluttering is something we so often put off and think it just doesn’t matter, but it does. It’s amazing how that alone improved my attitude! Thank you for encouraging us in the move – moving is HARD, but I know we’ll get through. 😉

  7. Alisa Kee says:

    I soooooo needed this today, this week, this month. Thank you! You are so right!

  8. Thank you so much for your wise words of wisdom. As any of us know whom know The Lord. He does have that master plan. We don’t always understand his plan, but remember it’s always a good plan.

  9. Debbie Pagan Robinson says:

    You have just helped me tremendously with your wonderful words. We never know what the other is facing. Our paths cross for a reason at just the right time. Keeping you and your family in my prayers!

  10. Aimee Lombard says:

    Perfect encouragement I needed today. Thank you!

  11. This really hit home for me. And as I read this and identified with everything you were saying I saw you said you moved to ohio! We just moved to ohio a couple weeks ago leaving my lifelong hometown 6 hours away. I am not sure where you are but I am in the Cleveland area. I just haven't found my neighborhood very welcoming and without a job or anyplace to go it sure is hard to meet people. Feeling kinda crappy about it all.

    • I’m so sorry Andrea – it is soooo hard (and we’ve been fortunate because so many people have been nice here (we’re near Columbus) – not the sugary sweet kind of people we knew in Alabama but they have at least been kind!)

      I’ve got you in my prayers tonight and I know (really!) that things will change for you soon too. It’s HARD to move into a new neighborhood (I’d forgotten that before moving), so I’ll pray specifically that you meet a few of the right people soon. Hang in there – and definitely know that you’re not alone – change is just difficult for most of us I think!

      • Stephen Harless says:

        Hi Laurie!

        I also moved here to the Columbus area a few years back and have been blessed with finding my wife and now waiting on our second child to come in the following weeks. I found out about Passionate Penny Pincher through a friend at work and am very thankful for it. I just ordered “Can we talk” based on your recommendation and cannot wait to give it to my wife on Friday. My wife has been spiritual for a long time and I have just started coming into my own relationship with God. Do you have any recommended books for a young father who is seeking a closer relationship with Jesus?

  12. Laurie,

    Thank you so much for that honest post! I hope and pray God will continue to bring those blessings and open doors for you and your family soon. Thank you for what you do and for the reminders for all of us to receive the grace that God freely gives us when things aren’t “perfect”

  13. It is sometimes the littlest things that make the biggest difference in our perspective. Great tips for living for today while dreaming for tomorrow! Enjoy your summer with your kids : )

  14. Rachel Holland says:

    Thank you for sharing this. I certainly needed to hear it right now. Blessings on your new house and new period in your life. And God bless your wise husband! Dream big and let God handle the rest (and I'll try to follow my own advice too). Thanks again for sharing!

    • Thanks Rachel so much for your kind words – I’ve been reminding myself of my own advice all weekend (sometimes it’s hard to learn things even when we know they’re the right things to do!) Hoping you dream big too right now. 😉

  15. Melissa A.H. says:

    I just got to read this as it popped up in my Facebook newsfeed. It was definitely God. The Holy Spirit was working on that one because every word worked my heart. 2014 was a super hard year (dealing with disease, betrayal of a now ex-friend, depression, anxiety, family vacation, trying to run the gambit of.disability and my ‘adoptive’ daughter having a baby). I couldn’t wait for the year to be over. This post just resonates with me. Helps remind me I am not alone, I am not forgotten, take it slower and not everything has to be done now. Why is that a hard.lesson some.days? We.are just to stubborn and think we know better than The Father. Praise Him for His mercy and laughter. Glad I can live in the shadow of His smile and.still recline in His lap. Thank you again for.the reminder. I really needed it.

  16. DREAM BIG! When Mike and I first married his dream was to one day have some property in the mountains with a stream where we can live off of the land. Who knew it would be in Central America, but Mike’s dream has come true. We pretty much live off of our land in the mountains with year round springlike temps. My added dream to this was I would have a town close by. It is only 10 minutes away. So yes, Dream Big. Your life’s journey is what makes the dream so rewarding. Love you guys!

  17. Lydia Montoya says:

    Hi Laurie, I’m not sure if you remember me, but I worked for the Real Estate agency that sold your house in Madison and I measured your house one day. I’ve enjoyed following you! When we moved to Madison I cried for 6 months! But by our one year anniversary of the move, I would not move back home to TN. I had to go through that difficult time to receive all that the Lord had in store for me. Now I can see that this is where we were supposed to be. You are where you are supposed to be too. It won’t always feel like it does now. Be encouraged! What I believed to be the “worst” thing has turned out to be the best! You have found the secret. Be thankful in all things!

    • I do remember you Lydia – it means so much to me that you keep up with PPP! Things are definitely getting so much easier – just still have tough days every once in awhile. But I know we are so blessed, and I just have to remain thankful in all situations (some days that’s hard – which is just silly when we have so much!) You were such an encouragement to me when we met that day, and gave me hope that we’d survive this move. Thank you so much for saying something (and being the mouth of Jesus when I needed it last Spring!) Blessings 🙂

  18. Leslie Y. says:

    We haven’t moved, but both my husband and I are in the same realm of business for our jobs. My job since July of last year has consisted of 6 to 7 days a week, 12 hours a day. My husbands has been 6 days a week 8 to 10 hours a day (or night I should say since he works midnights). I rotate shifts, 2 weeks days, 2 weeks nights. We have a 2 year old daughter. It has been hard to just get to the grocery store much less SAVE money. Every spare moment I want to spend with my daughter because she is at that age where everything is new and fun. Finding time to clean and cook fall into the few and far between category. Thanks for mentioning Grace. God certainly has lavished his Grace on me. I need to find the place where I can grant myself that grace too. Thankfully I’m down to 5 to 6 days a week, still 12 hour days but there is some reprieve. I’m from Alabama, lived here all my life. I can’t imagine leaving. Grace for me, grace for you.

    • Praying for you Leslie as your family as it sounds like you have a very full schedule – I know you’ve got to feel overwhelmed! Hang in there – God’s grace is all around us but so often (at least for me) it’s hard to give grace to myself and the ones closest to me. Praying you feel peace this week and rest in Him!

  19. Michele Harris says:

    Hi, I just wanted to say to you Thank You. Your words about finding something beautiful around you when you hurt so bad, really spoke to me. My daughter died the day before yesterday and I feel so heartbroken right now.

    • Oh Michele – my heart just aches for you and I can’t even begin to imagine. I’m so very sorry and you’re in my prayers right now. Give yourself an abundance of grace right now- praying that you feel God’s arms hold you tight today.

  20. This post hit home with me. I have been working on these same things recently. You wrote it beautifully and made me smile. Thank you for sharing!

  21. Laurie,
    I have been following your blog for about a year. This post caught my attention this past summer, and I soaked up every bit of advice in it, as we heard rumors of a possible cross-country move for our family. Well, here we are in Michigan, 1,000 miles from our previous home, in JANUARY! We are trusting that God has a plan for our family in this new place, and I know He has a plan for you, too! 🙂 Thank you for sharing with all of us… You are a blessing!

    • Bless your heart Erica – I know that’s such a huge move and can’t imagine! Praying for you all as you’re there too – thank you so much for your kind words (they mean so much to me!)

  22. Kim Yates says:

    Thank you so much for this post. I am like you I find that if I pray things do turn around.

  23. I don’t know if you remember me. My son kyle was on Coach Hines team one year…..the year we came in 2nd and he let every boy pitch in the tournament. Loved this post as we are in the middle of a move. They are moving us to Mississippi in June and I am packing up everything and preparing to put our home on the markey. My mother in law just sold her home and expects/needs us to go to Mobile to pack and move her the end of the month, in the middle of all I need to do. My son plays travel lacrosse and games start Saturday. Then my daughter is pregnant and lives in Pensacola. She is due the end of June so all this is happening together and pulling me in four directions. I hope you are settling in Ohio, your office is gorgeous. May God continue to show you the beauty in each day and you take the time to see all the little special things that are there.

    • Hi Holly – I do remember you (we miss those baseball days!) 🙂 Bless your heart ~ honestly moving here was one of the hardest things we’ve ever done and such a huge thing to accomplish – it’s crazy what it takes to move a family just physically, but emotionally it’s such a huge drain too.

      I am starting to feel a little more grounded here each day, but I’ve heard 3 years is the magic number (we’ve got over a year to get there!) Praying peace for you right now – just that you’ll have extra energy and that your heart will stay open (honestly, I have struggled with that so much.) Thank you so much for your kind words – hang in there and know that even on the hard days you can do this!

  24. brittney johnson says:

    Thank you for this post. I know this was done in 2014 and it is now 2016 but this is the first time I have read this and I definitely needed to read this. A little over a week ago I gave birth to my second daughter. The day we were discharged from the hospital we moved into a 2 bedroom apartment. All of our things were 5 hours away down south in our home we are selling. This past weekend my hubby went down to our home to get our things and I was at home alone with my almost 2 year old and a newborn. I was beyond nervous. My oldest daughter wanted to constantly be picked up and held which the doctor told me not to do for a couple of weeks after giving birth. It broke my heart not to be able to pick her up. Then about 2 days ago my oldest daughter started getting a rash on her. Today it was worse and now hubby and her are at immediate care to try and find out what the rash is. This season in my life right now is super hard for me. Having to juggle alot, and my house astray with all of our belongings. I needed to read this. Thank you.

    • You are so welcome Brittney – goodness that is such a difficult season (wonderful, but so hard!) Praying just crazy peace for you today and in the upcoming weeks as you adjust. Hang in there ~ you can do this and you are not alone!

  25. Thank you so much for this post it really hit home with me! My daughter just got diagnosed with Lupus and Elhers Danlos Syndrome. One day she can look and feel like nothing is wrong and very sick the next day. I’ve been in such a funk lately, I just can’t get motivated to do things around the house. And seeing our friends posting all of the fun things they are doing doesn’t help. I’m going to try to be more appreciative of the good days and stop checking Facebook!!

    • Oh Maria ~ sending hugs your way! I can’t imagine how difficult that must me, and know you’ve just got to be worn out and I’m sure anxious too. Hang in there and know that you’re doing an amazing job as her mom. (And YES, don’t keep checking FB – it can make you feel so much worse and it’s just too easy to compare yourself there!) Praying for you and your sweet girl – God has a perfect plan for both of you!

  26. Shiniest sink I’ve ever seen :).

  27. Char Stankich says:

    Hi Laurie, I so feel you. We are also in a new place. Making new friends, attending a new church, meeting new neighbors. It is hard. The move alone is enough. Your so great, you’ll be settling in in no time and loving your new place. We are living in Florida now, but we from North East Ohio. My daughter still lives there. Fall is beautiful in Ohio. God Bless you, your in my prayers.

    • Thank you so much for your kind words Char! We’ve actually been here a few years now (this was an older post but I still go back to it when I need it!), and it definitely does get easier each day. Moving is just so hard, but I feel so fortunate to have a great community of people online who have cheered me on all the way!

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