Goal Setting Tips For Busy Moms

Take the next step!

As I look forward to setting goals for the new year, I’m reminded of how hard it can be to tackle a single goal as a busy mom. I hope that these couple of tips can help you with your own goal setting as you pursue your dreams and goals for next year.

Tips for goal setting for busy moms as we begin 2016:

  1. Break your goal down into tiny parts. As I thought about going back to public school teaching after being out many years raising a family and working in other capacities, I focused on my next step. Honestly, I couldn’t look further down the road than that. For me, I had to call the human resources department of a school district I wanted to apply for. This was my first step. Meeting this step gave me increased confidence to do the steps that followed. I continued to take it in small bits only allowing myself to focus on one part at a time. I’ve had this dream on and off for years but it seemed like such a big dream for me I never got started in pursuing it. Once I started embarking on this dream with these small steps I saw how manageable it was. I wish I had pursued it years ago!
  2. Enlist a cheerleader to encourage you along the way. Hopefully this person or people will come naturally for you. My husband was one and continues to be one of my biggest fans in this new adventure! He prays for me, listens to my substitute teacher stories, and lifts me up on a bad day. He reminds me that I’m a great teacher. My best friends have also been there for me with this new journey. I’m so thankful for their support.

What is your next step towards a big goal you want to pursue?

Finding Purpose in Christmas Traditions

My husband’s parents bought him and his brothers an ornament each year for Christmas. Each ornament always had a special meaning attached to it. Some years it was an instrument played by Jon or one of his brothers. Other years it was symbolic of a memory shared together like the wooden soldier ornament purchased on a family outing to Marshall Fields in Chicago.

As we started dating each other, the ornaments included me in the selection.  Jon received ceramic girl and boy figurines the year we started dating.  The next year, he received a postage stamp ornament to symbolize all the mail we exchanged during our long distance courtship.  And he received two hearts with our names on them the year we married.  As we started our family, the ornaments included our children with a gingerbread family or a new baby.

These ornaments meant so much to my husband that we began our own tradition with our children when they were born.  Now, our kids each have their set of ornaments with a special meaning for each year.  This ornament tradition along with putting up our nativity together are two of the traditions that bring meaning to Christmas for me.  I love spending time together, remembering His blessings through the years, and celebrating our ultimate gift of Christmas – Jesus.

Merry Christmas!

What traditions bring you meaning as you celebrate Christmas?

Right Where You Are

December 15, 2015 — Leave a comment

tammyhelfrich_right-where-you-areWelcome to my site!

A special welcome if you’re here from Tammy Helfrich’s podcast, Right Where You Are.  Thank you for taking the time to visit here.  My goal is to help moms discover and embrace their purpose.

I would love to hear from you and answer any questions you may have.  I firmly believe that God has a purpose for each of us, and I’d love to help you discover it.

One of my favorite verses is Jeremiah 29:11, “ For I know the plans I have for you. Plans to give you a hope and a purpose.”

Sign up for my PDF – 5 Signs You Found Your Purpose.

Purposefully yours,



(I had the honor and privilege of being interviewed on Tammy’s podcast last week.  Click here to listen to the episode.  Leave a comment for Tammy and thank her for sharing me with her audience.)

Transition Tips for Moms Heading Back to Work

This week marked a huge milestone in my life.

I started substitute teaching.

This is something I knew God was leading me to for a number of years.  I made every excuse in the book not to do it.

Honestly, it scared me to death.  I haven’t been in a public school classroom since before my daughter was born over 18 years ago.  So many things have changed in education.

Well this week, I did it!

I subbed in three different schools – three different classrooms.

It was a God thing.  I knew He was cheering me on and provided the right people to help at the right time.  It was an adjustment though as I lost my two days off at home.  I hope that the following tips will help other moms as they head back to full-time employment.

Transition Tips for Moms Heading Back to Work

  1. Discuss household responsibilities as a family.

If you have older kids, they are able to take on additional chores to help out.  I started to teach Hannah and Isaac how to cook when they were younger.  I was working full-time, and everyone had a night to cook.  It lasted a few years before I started teaching part-time and everyone became busier, so I took over the cooking.  Now that I have returned to full-time hours, we started up our rotational cooking plan again. The first week worked great!

2. Adjust your schedule.

Figure out what things you need to move to different times and what things you need to let go.  This will probably be a process, so don’t feel you must have it perfect the first week.  I had hoped to go to yoga on Thursday night, but I was so wiped out from the week I decided to stay home.  And, I crawled under my covers and feel asleep at 8:00!  We had 3 nights out in a row my first week back to full-time hours.  I had an invite to go out to dinner with some other moms, but declined to have some self-care time.  Remember to put yourself as a priority in your life, so you can be the best wife, mom, worker, and friend you want to be.

3. Aim for imperfection.

I knew I wasn’t going to get everything right as a new substitute teacher.  There are so many unknowns and things out of your control when you enter someone else’s classroom.  I had new buildings to learn, new procedures to figure out, and every sub job was different.  There’s a big learning curve.  I’m doing my best to be okay with less than perfect and enjoy the journey.

4. Treat yourself well.

Keep exercise, a healthy diet, and sleep priorities in your life.  Allow for a little pampering.  I didn’t make it out to walk every day, but I did walk most days this week.  I let some laundry and other things go so that I could get out and get some exercise.  I continued to follow the plan my nutritionist set out for me.  I took time to pack a healthy lunch and snacks, and I tried to listen to my tired body and get to bed on the early side each night.

5. Celebrate your accomplishments.

I wrapped up my errands Friday afternoon and headed home to walk.  I watched a Rachel Ray show and enjoyed our daughter cooking dinner while I summed up my thoughts in this post.

As mothers make transitions like this, it’s important to be intentional in order to make the most of the experience.  You don’t want to just survive the transition; you want to thrive through the transition.  By following these tips, you will thrive when you are faced with transition in your life.

What tips do you have for mothers going through transition?  Share your thoughts in the comments.

Helping Your Child Develop Their Passion

Music is my son’s passion.

Isaac began taking piano lessons when he was five years old.  I attribute much of this decision to my dad.  He was an instrumental music teacher, and he continues to foster a love of music in his retired years.

It was clear from the beginning that Isaac had a natural ability when it came to music.  He had a great ear for music.  It seemed to come easy for him.  He started playing the trumpet in elementary school, and he really enjoys performing with the trumpet in the high school marching band and especially the jazz band.

As parents, we have the privilege and responsibility to foster an environment conducive to finding and growing the passion of our children.  For some it’s music, some it’s athletics, and some it’s academics.  Which ever direction your child leans, I challenge you to encourage your child.  When your child pursues a passion, you need to be prepared, because it’s not always easy.

My husband and I learned a couple of valuable actions to navigate the hurdles you and your child may face along the journey towards developing their passion.  Here are two keys to encouraging your child to develop a love of music (and they can be applied to your child’s area of passion):

  1. Find a great teacher.  We couldn’t ask for a better teacher fit for Isaac than with “Miss Pat.”  She has the patience of a saint.  She’s been so flexible especially during Isaac’s busy marching band season.  She knows when to push and when to back off. Her years of playing and teaching bring a maturity and expertise to Isaac’s playing.  She encouraged him to try out for a performance festival on the regional and state level.  We are so thankful for her influence in Isaac’s life.
  2. Don’t quit.  There were so many times on this journey as the principle practice partner that I wanted to throw in the towel.  Isaac didn’t want to practice.  We tried every reinforcement under the sun. Eventually, Isaac grew older, and he recognized his own passion for music.  I still remind him to practice, but most of the time he does so willingly.  He wants to improve as a musician.  He doesn’t want to disappoint Miss Pat.  Once he starts playing he enjoys making music.

I wonder what would become of Isaac’s musical passion if my husband and I didn’t encourage him early on or allow him to give up when he didn’t want to practice.  He’s planning on studying music in college.  I’m so thankful we didn’t give up.

“For I know the plans I have for you.  Plans to prosper you and not to harm you.  Plans to give you hope and a purpose.”  Jeremiah 29:11

For what are your children passionate?  What area(s) do they have a natural ability in which you can encourage them?

Take Time For You

November 24, 2015 — Leave a comment

Take Time for You
If you were to make a pyramid of your priorities, what would you discover?

Did you even make the priority list?

In working with moms, I’ve found that most of the time moms don’t think to put themselves on the pyramid at all.

When I talk to moms, I remind them about the pre-flight instructions everyone receive when they go on an airplane:  “In the event of an emergency or loss in cabin pressure, oxygen masks will release from above.  If you are traveling with children, put your own mask on before you help others with their masks.”  I talk about the importance of “putting on their oxygen mask” first before they can help others, especially their family.  I share how I had to learn this lesson the hard way.  Shortly after my son, Isaac, was born, I wasn’t putting my needs first, and I wound up unable to help myself.  I gradually began to learn that if I put God first and myself second then I could take care of those I love the most.  It was a hard lesson to learn but one that I will never forget.

Society tells us that this concept of putting yourself high on the priority list is selfish.

This is a lie!

If we don’t put ourselves before other people and things, we are unable to take care of our families and friends or do the job God has called us to do.  It is selfish not to put yourself second on your priority pyramid.

I’m starting this substitute teaching adventure on my days off.  Last Tuesday was the first day I could sub, and I was ready.  I cleared my calendar.  Jon made dinner and put it in the crock pot for later that night.  After a restless night’s sleep, I woke up at 5 to learn there were no substitute teaching jobs available.  I was disappointed, and I had to figure out a new direction.  I decided to make it a self-care day!  I went back to sleep, cashed in on some birthday presents including a massage, and went on a shopping trip.  I also took a walk with a friend.  All these things will be harder to do once I start subbing.  I felt refreshed and ready to tackle what’s next.

You may not have an entire day to a self-care but you may have a half day, a couple of hours, or even an hour.  Making yourself a priority in life will give you the energy to joyfully serve the people who matter most to you.

When can you schedule your next time of self-care? Is it a massage, shopping trip, exercise, lunch with a friend, or time to read?

Get creative and plan a day for you TODAY!

If you need help working through your priority pyramid, I’d love to help you.  Feel free to reach out to me, so I can help you get on the right track.

What Scares You?

November 17, 2015 — 1 Comment

What Scares You_

Do one thing every day that scares you.

Eleanor Roosevelt

There’s been something that I’ve been afraid to do for a very long time.

I came close to doing it a few years ago, but my fear kept me from taking action.

Could God possibly be calling me to do something I’m afraid of? 

I think He’s been asking me to do it for a long time, and I’ve avoided it like the plague.

It wasn’t until one of my friends encouraged me to consider it that I really thought about it again.  She encouraged me two Sundays in a row:

“What would a life purpose coach say?  Go for it!”

I finally yielded to God and called a local school district about becoming a substitute teacher on my days off.  I had such a relief after making the first call.  I was still scared but felt God’s direction and His peace to move forward.  It was a personal thing – a following God and trusting God thing in the midst of real hurdles.

I have to learn the new curriculum.  I have to find my way around the school.  I have to learn the students’ names really fast.  I have to depend on God.  I have to remember that most of the things I’m worried about won’t even happen.  I may love being back in a school again.  I may enjoy teaching and learning new curriculum.  I could really like it!

As a life purpose coach, I often encounter women who are afraid to take action on their calling.  These fears are real.  In an effort to overcome these fears, we must remember to keep God in the equation.  Jeremiah 29:13 is a verse that gives me hope when I’m confronted with fears related to finding and following my purpose:

“For I know the plans I have for you. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future.”

If you are struggling to find and follow your purpose, I’d love to help!

Did you ever do something scary that you felt was part of God’s purpose for your life?

It Just Sucks!

November 11, 2015 — Leave a comment


In September, I wrote a post after going to Hannah’s cross country picnic called Celebrating The Year of Firsts.  I wanted to enter into Hannah’s senior year with a positive mindset as we approached so many milestones.  I was able to keep this mindset for a couple of months.  Then it hit.

I’ve been reading a book called Give Them Wings: Preparing for the Time Your Teens Leave Home, and Hannah’s upcoming departure and family transition hit home hard last week.  I know the transition is not until summer.  I still want to make the most of every moment with her, but I had a tough week.  Emotionally, I was a mess.  I felt like I had already lost her, because I hadn’t seen her long enough to have more than a very quick conversation.  I wondered how I’d ever get through graduation and our last goodbye if I was this much of a wreck now.  The timing of my hormones, this book, and some clouds in some other areas in my life made for a perfect storm.

I was so thankful to talk to a friend in the grocery store whose son graduated last year and is away at school.  She could totally relate, and she assured me that I was normal to be going through it the year before Hannah heads to college.  She thought that most dads don’t experience the separation issues until they say goodbye and come home to an empty bedroom.  She shared that dinnertime is not the same and that being away for birthdays is hard.  “Love hard, grieve hard” was her motto.  And she said that part of it just sucks.  There isn’t any other way to say it.  She also reassured me that I’ll get through it, and she encouraged me to give her a call if I ever wanted to talk to someone who has been through it.

I know I’m a normal mom who loves her daughter.  I know I’ll have ups and downs in this transition.  I know I want to embrace this new season. I also know I need to have the following steps in place to help me along this journey.

1. Find a mentor.

I intentionally sought out a mentor knowing Hannah’s departure would be tough on me.  I reconnected with a woman from the church Jon and I attended when we were first married.  She lives in Florida now, and she prays for me and is there for me whenever I need to talk.  She was the one who suggested that I read the book Give Them Wings.  She remembers having a tough time when her daughter first left for college 8 hours away from home.

2. Recognize there will be waves.

I had a really emotional week.  The next week, I felt much more stable.  I knew I’d still miss Hannah, but I also knew it would be okay.  I want to embrace this new season of our lives.  Jon and I are getting closer to our second honeymoon phase as our kids get ready to leave us.  We had kids soon after we were married, and we are looking forward to time on the other side of parenthood to spend time together.

3. Spend intentional time with your teen.

I really miss having Hannah around.  She’s a busy girl between cross-country, her job, and all her schoolwork.  We finally had some much-needed family time, and it helped me feel so much better.  I heard one person say “It’s all about the relationship.  It doesn’t matter where your daughter goes, you’ll always be her mom.  It’s the relationship that remains.”

4. Get together with a good friend.

I met one of my best friends at Starbucks.  She knows me so well, and she listened to my thoughts and feelings.  She understands how it feels to be a mom.  She cried with me and prayed for me.

I’m doing better this week.  But sometimes it just sucks!  I’m learning to love hard as I head into this time of transition.

How about you?  What steps have you taken to help with this transition to adulthood?


October 27, 2015 — Leave a comment


Today I took a nap!

I was supposed to be working on life purpose coaching but fatigue set in from a busy weekend and day at school on Monday.  This year, Tuesday and Thursday have turned into work days for my business as well as the opportunity to meet with my accountability partner, grocery
shop, exercise, do laundry, and meet up with friends.  They are marathon days and leave me tired!

It’s funny how when I was a kid, I fought naps.  It really bothered me when someone told me I seemed tired.  Now, the opportunity to take a nap mid day is a luxury I’m going to try more often!

I remember when our kids were young.  We would watch Mr. Rodgers after lunch.  Then my favorite time of the day would come – naptime!  It didn’t always work perfectly.  Sometimes one of them would get up before naptime was over.  I really looked forward to that time of the day. Sometimes I needed to get things done during naptime while the kids were sleeping, but other times I would take a nap.  It was a great time to recharge from the events of the day and to enjoy the quietness of naptime!

As moms, we often forget to take time to slow down and rest.  A short nap in the middle of the day can be just the ingredient we need to help us survive and thrive while we parent our children.

When was the last time you took a nap?


The woman who does not require validation from anyone is the most feared individual on the planet.

Mohadesa Najumi


I used to read books all the time to Hannah and Isaac when they were little.  There is a series of children’s books written by Max Lucado that starts with the book, You Are Special.  The message of this book always spoke to me as much if not more than it spoke to my kids.

In You Are Special, Wimmicks, the wooden characters of the village, put stars and dots on one another.  Some Wimmicks get stars when they do something good or have a special talent.  They get grey dots when they can only do little or when their paint is chipped away, like Punchinello.  Sad and confused Punchinello goes to see Eli, the wood-carver.  Punchinello asks Eli about the girl whose stars and dots don’t stick to her. Eli explains that “the stickers only stick if they matter to you.  The more you trust my love, the less you care about their stickers.”

I’ve been thinking a lot about validation lately.  I have felt a strong need to be validated in many parts of my life including as a mom, wife, and teacher.  The other day one of the little girls in my class looked up at me while we were eating lunch and declared, “Mrs. Stolpe, I want to be a teacher just like you when you grow up.”

As a teacher with a huge passion for teaching, my heart was warmed by her statement.  I guess in a sense it validated me and my role with this group of students but should it?  As I was wrestling with this topic, I decided to look to the Bible to see what it said about validation.  Paul has this to say to the Galatians in Galatians 1:10:

“Am I trying to win the approval of men, or of God?  Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.”

I think my floundering of late that has me looking for validation can stop in the hands of my Maker.  My guess is that I’m not alone.

Do you struggle to find validation in your life?

If so, here are four ways to stop your search.

4 Ways to Stop the Search for Validation

1.  Spend time with your Maker.

Start and end your day with God. I encourage moms to start small – 5 minutes a day could make a huge difference in ending your quest for validation.

2.  Be part of a church community.

Get plugged into a local church.  I am so thankful for Christ’s Church of the Valley, our home church for 14 years.

3.  Connect with others in a small group.

My family has a service group that I lead called H.O.P.E (Helping Other People Everywhere).  I look forward to getting together with this group of people and serving as well as sharing life together.

4.  Serve intentionally in your area of gifting.

I love serving with kids at our church.  Our motto is that it’s the best hour of their week.  As a small group volunteer leader in one of the classrooms, it’s often the best hour of my week, too!

How have you overcome your search for validation?  Share your responses in the comments.