I am thrilled to be introducing a new series to you called Project Sweet Life. The mission of A Cookie Before Dinner is to encourage, equip, and inspire you to chase a sweet life well lived. My hope and prayer is that this series will inspire you! Each week, I’ll bring you the words of a new guest to answer this set of questions. The first guest isn’t a guest at all, it is me!

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Project Sweet Life

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I’m NJ and the gal behind A Cookie Before Dinner. I live in Western MA where I wear many hats. I’m the wife of Michael and the mama of Lola and Malone. In addition to writing here, I also work as a virtual assistant and am in the process of launching a full service media company for bloggers called Arrow And Sparrow. I am a member of The Influence Network and serve on the Street Team of #fireworkpeople. My days are full and I like it that way!

The ordinary is full of glory. How do you make the mundane parts of your day happen?

My primary role is Mama and at this season of life, I am up to my ears in mundane. I’ve learned the best thing to do is to embrace this ordinary and glorious season. I don’t have time for bitterness or wishing I was somewhere else doing something else. I have two small children, a husband, and am an entrepreneur. My to do list needs to move forward to a to done list!

I’ve also found that keeping on top of the dishes, the clutter, and the laundry really helps. If I don’t make those things happen, they’ll grow tomorrow and still be waiting for me.

But, one of my favorite ways to make the mundane happen is to invite my kids to come along side me as I work. Malone loves to help wash windows and match socks with me. At 17 months, Lola will grab the play broom and sweep when I do. She also loves to stir and taste. We have a learning tower. I pull it over to the counter for her to stand in while I cook.

 What is the most sacred part of your day? How do you make sure you don’t miss it?

The most sacred part of my day is the morning. I love my coffee hot and my house quiet. My alarm starts going off at 4:30 am and most days I am out of bed by 5:00 am (5:30 at the latest). I really need an hour and a half to two hours to be alone with my thoughts and plan my day. I call these hours my power hours because when I am purposeful with the time I use before my family wakes up, I am a more powerful mother.

Project Sweet Life takes you into the world of some of your favorite intentional women. This week - NJ from A Cookie Before Dinner

My power hours always include coffee, planning, writing, reading my Bible, and prayer.

Malone usually finds me reading my Bible in the morning, which makes a powerful statement of faith to him.

I am not a very pleasant person to be around if I miss this time. I make sure to get to bed on time so I can get up on time.

What is one tradition from your childhood that you still carry with you? What does that tradition look like now that you’re an adult?

As a child, going to church on Christmas Eve and singing carols by candlelight was a big deal.  This year was the first year Malone was big enough to hold the candle and it was just magical. I didn’t get to experience it with him because I was busy chasing Lola around the balcony of the church (he was in the pews down below with Michael). But, there will be many more candle lit services with my babies and many more chances to stand side by side and sing with them. I’m looking forward to it.

What are you passionate about? How do those passions translate into your day to day?

I am passionate about pursuing a life full of authentic relationships, a life done by design, and a life that is saturated in God’s word.

Project Sweet Life NJ

I spoke about this in my January goals post, but I’m casting my nets deep instead of wide this year. I spent a good part of 2014 feeling sad and left out when I didn’t get invited to girls nights out with people I thought I was friends with. I’m done with those feelings and know those friendships that were strong a few years ago just aren’t anymore. I’ve also realized that some friendships I thought were strong were actually very one sided. I am giving myself grace to let those friendships go and am going to invest wisely in close relationships.

[Tweet “I’m giving myself grace to let one sided friendships go and casting nets deep instead of wide.”]

I am intentional with just about everything and always working to improve on my areas of weakness. I love using my planner and crossing items off of my to do list. I also keep a running to don’t list that is full of things I’m saying NO to and not going to do. In some ways, that list is even more important than my to do list!

I am really passionate about God’s word even though talking about it in this space is new for me. But one of my goals for 2015 is to know God and to be known by God. For me, walking with Jesus means everything and I’m resolved to spend time reading the Bible, praying, and listening to worship music. It sets my heart on fire and moves my soul like nothing else can.

What books are in your current to be read pile? What made you put them there?

The Nesting Place by Myquillyn Smith is at the top of my list. We’ve lived our house for almost six years but I still haven’t done much by way of decorating. I have really fond memories of the decor of my childhood home and I need to decorate so I can facilitate those memories for my kids too.

The Best Yes by Lysa Terkeurst is next on my list. I’ve started it, but haven’t had a chance to read very much of it. In it, she talks about why it is important to say no to somethings in order to say yes to the best things. I am all about living a life full of the best yes and I’m eager to hear her perspective on it.

When you dig deep into your core, what is one quote or inspirational phrase that will always be there?

You know all of those things you’ve always wanted to do? You should go do them. –Lara Casey

One thing I love is hearing what works for someone. So tell us one thing that works for you (household tip, fashion, etc).

One thing that works really well for me is declaring that my family gets the best of me instead of another hobby, an organization, or a company. I will not sacrifice the life we’re cultivating together.

I  loved answering these questions and can’t wait to share this space with my friends! If you’re interested in being a part of Project Sweet Life, email me at acookiebeforedinner@gmail.com!