In 52 Healthy Changes

on’t think…just write.

I’ve shared before how this phrase, this idea, this discipline, this creative risk has served me well. Being willing to sit down and just write has led to almost every beautiful thing in my life. With the evidence of the past, I am trusting in this hope again…will you join me?

A full year…in a poetic twist, 366 days of a Leap Year. It has been a year Full of Days.

Three years ago Kelsey and I began a discussion about finding an avenue to help refine our daily lives. We were looking for a tool to motivate us to set goals, a tool to hold us accountable to those goals. We were looking for a way to bring the catalyst of creative risk to our lives.  

We wanted to replace conversations, conversations that we could set a calendar by. Conversations repeated year in and year out, with conclusions just as consistent, always some version of, “Yeah, we need to do something about that”. “That“…Things that we knew we needed to do; lifestyle changes we needed to make; to-do list items we needed to check off; disciplines we needed to accept and instill. There were ideas we had and wanted to explore, not knowing what we may learn along the way, just that we knew we would learn along the way. We wanted to replace empty spoken words with ones written from the fullness of experience, learning and memories.

We wanted to replace empty spoken words with ones written from the fullness of experience, learning and memories.

For us, it was time to choose a life Full of Days and move from “settling” to “embracing”. It was time to start writing.

And understand, life was good. There were no negatives motivating this discussion, no issue pushing us to take stock, no tragedy to address. Instead, in an approach to life that guides us, the motivation was found not in anything dark, but in light. We drew motivation from wisdom, to intentionally pursue what is “pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere”.

For us, a defined structure was needed to help us grow.

So in mid-November of last year, Kelsey and I decided to stop thinking (over thinking, really) and start writing, launching Full of Days Thanksgiving week, 2016.

Before launching, we sat down with an intimidating piece of paper, a cold, heartless, unreasoning piece of paper…A CALENDAR. For the year we settled on a goal of writing three posts per week for Full of Days, 156 in total. In that first meeting we managed to calendar just under 10 months of posts: title, subject, author. We understood the need to build in room for spur-of-the-moment posts, seasonal and date-relevant posts, and leave space for what we couldn’t see a year in advance. Taken in total, we had a full year. Suddenly, that scary piece of paper brought direction, excitement, hope. It allowed us to stop thinking and just write.     

Well, here we are, 366 days later.

And guess what? We are now perfect! And for just $19.95 you can buy our book and be perfect too! Order now and get an additional…

Yes, I jest. Even with that whole extra day there is still plenty to do, enough to fill the rest of our days.

…Many ending with licking the plate. A few ending with the dog licking the plate.

If you have followed Full of Days then you may be starting to notice that we acknowledge what we don’t know, but we focus (and live) on what we do know. So 366 days later, here is what we have learned, what we now know:

DIY: How to make our own facial face cleanser/moisturizer, bar soap, shampoo/conditioner, toothpaste and teeth whitener, deodorant, foaming hand soap, hand scrub, hand sanitizer, vapor chest rub, sunscreen and skin soothing lotion, bug repellent and mosquito itch relief. All of which we use and love!

Recipes: Just a few of the recipes we’ve shared are kombucha, water and milk kefir, yogurt, mozzarella and ricotta cheese, sour cream and cream cheese, coconut milk, ranch dressing, cereal, vanilla pudding, homemade bisquick mix (and waffles and short bread), dilly beans, fruit leathers, bone broth, teriyaki sauce and a “What’s for dinner?” series!

52 Healthy Changes: We’ve covered 44 of our 52 healthy changes for the year. Ridding our homes of unwanted toxins, learning to DIY healthier product options, adding healthy fats to our diets (enjoying butter!), reducing inflammation and choosing to implement healthy lifestyle changes for an improved life.

Sourdough: By now it’s no secret Kelsey’s love of sourdough. She’s shared many recipes for baking bread, muffins, cake, bagels, flat bread, tortillas, pancakes and our guest contributor Kourtney has shared how to make gluten free sourdough starter, pancakes and bread! 

We’ve also had guest contributors who have shared their deeper knowledge of essential oils, gluten-free and dairy-free cooking, and homesteading. 

In all, the 156 planned posts grew into 240. That is 240 things we didn’t have penned a year ago. It is 240 experiences, things learned, memories made. Less empty words, fewer repeated conversations, more of the life we are made to live.  

(and 240 things Kelsey can look up…because even though she wrote many of them, she’s already forgotten them and now regularly Googles: Full of Days + Recipes…apparently it is a “girl thing”)

240 is a number.

But tucked into this number are amazing meals…and the fun in making them with the family. Hidden in this number are cathartic moments…a 1st Generation Dad coming to grips with history, and changing the future through the present. Sprinkled throughout that 240 are habits, disciplines, and a hundred more stories. Recipes that went from ink on a 3 x 5 card to the table (many ending with licking the plate…a few ending with the dog licking the plate). Look close and you may see our family leaving the house for an outing, with everything we need to take with us, in good spirits, and all children wearing not one, but TWO SHOES! Look close and you may see 366 small victories…starting each of those days by making my bed. Among the 240 there is even a Favorite Day.   

There are also friends…friends who were also ready to write. Heather, Kourtney, Mia and Tammy, thank you for writing this year with us.     

So enough about us…let’s talk about you. Today is here and tomorrow is coming fast. Are there conversations, repetitive conversations, that you want to stop having? A year from now, are there 240 things you want to replace with experience, learning and memories?  

Yes, life may be good, or it may be tough. This is not about circumstances, those come and go. This is about an intentional choice to try and live each day full, a choice to live a life Full of Days.

What do you say? How about we do this together…

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    Well done! Rejoicing with you on your first year of exceptional writing and sweet sharing of knowledge!

    • Kelsey Steffen
      Kelsey Steffen

      Thanks Betsy! I think we’ve learned WAY more than we’ve shared! But that’s the beauty of it, right?

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