Author Archives: gracewithouttears

Warped Freedom

“It’s my toilet paper, it’s my toilet paper!” Hands we’re scrambling to grab the last of the ore in our game of Catan. Four adults stuck at home, finding anything to do to pass the time, and we found ourselves in a riveting game of Catan.

Memes about toilet paper, homeschooling woes, and being quarantined flood the internet daily. They are funny, hilarious even, but Coronavirus is serious, and something nobody wants to catch. Societies around the world are weathering this pandemic inside their homes. People suddenly have TIME.

I have time. For the first time in four years since I’ve had a full time job, I got caught up with my laundry. Like, every single item washed, dried, folded, AND put away!! Crazy, and embarrassing to admit, but I still haven’t quite figured out how to efficiently manage the upkeep of my home while being gone for the best hours of my day.

I have time to cook and bake. I have time to play with puppies. I’m going to have time to plant my garden. I have time to blog!

We laughed so hard playing that game of Catan and in that moment I realized there was something very special about our “shelter at home” order. None of us had any expectation on our lives, nothing pulling us all in different directions so we could fulfill our obligations to our schedules or to others. The only expectation we each had and still have is to stay at home. I felt this sense of warped freedom. It isn’t really being free, but it was being free from being busy.

I don’t know about you, but I’m going to absorb this “unbusy” time and soak it up. I’m going to give myself permission to just be. I’m not making lists of how to be overly productive during this down time, what area of my home I can turn into a big project, or set myself a rigid schedule to keep while I’m here at home.

I’m going to enjoy this warped freedom, accept this second chance with my now adult kids being home again, and we are going to keep laughing, playing games, and enjoying each other’s company.

Coronavirus needs to go away, but until it does, I’m going to enjoy this life with no expectations on my time.

Wellness Journal

Last night I shared these photos in the Facebook group Forks Over Knives Official Plant Based Group.

This morning my Facebook blew up!!

I’ve been struggling with my food choices and wanted to give myself a fresh start again. I wrote out a plan using this red, yellow, and green system in my Wellness Journal so it would be easy to refer to. I’m wanting to transition completely to a plant based diet and loved this graphic that was shared while I attended a health lecture in Costa Rica this spring.

This made so much sense to me and it was so easy to follow, even my grade school kids would be able to understand it! I wrote it in my food journal so I could refer to it easily.

I didn’t realize there were over 250K people in the FOK FB group when I shared my photos, nor did I anticipate all the questions everyone would have about my planner.

I thought it would be easiest to answer the questions about my planner here in my blog.

First, it’s an Erin Condren planner. The one that I am using is the colorful vertical life planner. It has both a monthly layout and a daily/weekly layout. I love using the monthly layout as a gratitude journal.

(The Washi tape and stickers here are from the Erin Condren website. More info on how to order and get $10 off later in this post.)

I’ve been using a planner like this to track my food for about 3 years. I also use the same planner for my personal life (pictures on my IG @gracewithouttears). It’s a little hit and miss as some weeks are totally empty, but I’m really wanting to be intentional and mindful about my food choices so I’m making it a priority. I believe food is medicine and carving out time to plan my food choices is worth the effort.

(Today’s lunch!)

To order the planner, use this link to sign up and you will receive a $10 off coupon code via your email.

My planner, as I mentioned, is the colorful vertical version (there are three different layouts, vertical, horizontal, and hourly, in both colorful and neutral options). Right now you can purchase them to begin in July 2019 and end in December 2020. That’s 18 months!!

This is the neutral version of the same planner. I’m planning to get this one in December for the year 2020 (my current one goes till December). One change this year in the colorful is that the colored headings are not as thick as they have been. (I don’t have the new colorful version here at my house but you can see it on the Erin Condren website). I’m going with neutral next year so I can make my own headings.

Some people have asked about the stickers I’ve used in the layout. The Fitbit steps and the daily habits stickers, as well as the water drops are from Planner Chick Designs. This link should give you a 15% discount if you order from her.

She actually has a great selection of health and fitness stickers as well as some other types of water tracking stickers.

The “Day Off” sticker and the “Good Morning Sunshine” sticker are both from Krissyanne Designs. She has a massive selection and you can use this link to order from her website.

You can also just keep things really simple and use a black pen and/or colored pens. Part of the fun and what keeps me motivated is the creative outlet that this provides to wind me down at the end of the day.

I’m done with Day 2 and I’ve got a skeleton of a plan for my food tomorrow. All I have left to do today is drink my last 4 cups of water and get to bed at a decent hour!

Please let me know if you have any more questions about my food planner, or Wellness Journal. It has been a great tool and helps keep me on track and focused on choosing a better lifestyle with my food!

Kristy 😍

California Trip

We are driving to CA at the end of this week. We are looking to transport any puppies that are ready and needing to go in that direction.

The litters that are old enough for this service are Justyne, Sophia, Paige, and Pearlie. There will be a fee for transportation.

We have already lined up one pup and there are other available pups that could also make the trip to families not currently on our waiting list.

Here’s the thing though…we have to leave super early Thursday morning, which means pups need to see the vet by Wednesday at the latest. That’s just three days to work out all the details.

I am ready by my phone today to match pups and answer questions. Tomorrow my spring break ends and I go back to work. I have school board Monday night and will need to squeeze a visit in to the vet Wednesday after school.

Here is an update on what is still available.

Justyne’s litter has two solid sable boys and a black boy still available. I’m waiting to hear from Amy U., otherwise all 3 pups are available and could come on the CA trip.

I will see Cathy L. Tuesday and get her decision on Sophia’s black girl. I have an email out to Nicole B. so we can talk as well. If both ladies choose other pups, this girl will be available. The blen boy is matched and will be delivered to So. CA next week.

Both Paige pups are matched and I’m coordinating travel for them now.

Pearlie’s Litter has the most activity. We’ve matched the blenheim girl and I am reaching out to Amy U. and Nicole B. and will see Cathy L. Tuesday. I hope to have this all ironed out in the next 48 hours. Amy B., you’re after Amy U. If she decides to go with the Justyne boy, then you’ll have a chance at the tri girl.

As you can see, this process is tedious and everything falls into place one step at a time. We are under a time crunch with our decision to drive to CA which puts a bit of pressure on everyone.

Let me know if you have questions. If you’re new and want to talk about anything that’s available, please just call. Those on the list already, you can call as well! At this point that will be the most efficient way for us to communicate. I anticipate being on the phone a lot so be sure to leave a message if I don’t pick up. I’ll call you back.

Looking forward to matching lo the puppies!


Kristy 🐶


This is my word of the year. There are a lot of things I want to finish:

Taxes (on time)

Installing garbage disposal

Cleaning out office/craft/dog room

Cleaning out barn storage

Paying down a mortgage

Reading one book per month (at least)

Those are the big things. I want to also finish little things…like dishes daily, laundry to the bitter end of folding AND putting away, picking up and keeping things tidy, any small projects I start.

This is a word our whole family can benefit from doing. We ALL need to follow through and finish things. I am hopeful that this will become the new normal.

Now, off to finish doing (late) taxes.

Words For Thought

I swiped this from FB today. It’s a beautiful idea, a lofty aspiration, and a commendable goal. When the rubber meets the road though, and you have to do the forgiving, or see the good and actually forgive the worst, those are the toughest times in life.

As humans, I don’t think we have what it takes to do these things unless the grace of God is working through us.

May we be able to truly live these words on the paper.

Hello 2019

I’m back. Every year I want to blog. Every year something holds me back. Part of me worries about putting my life out there. Another part of me wants to share my life so others living with ASD in their families can see that it’s possible to live a full and happy life. I want to share without venting. I want to encourage without feeling defeated myself.

I worry that my blog won’t be focused on any certain thing so it will be too broad. But I’d really like to consolidate all my blogs into this one and just post in one place (except for the dogs).

I want to talk about gardening, planning, working full time, and running a business (or two or three). I want to talk about being healthy, eating right, exercise, and friendships. I want to share my travels. I want to share what brings joy into my life and what annoys the heck out of me.

I might talk about politics, money, and religion.

I just want a place to share and I need to not be afraid to share from the heart. I’m going to try to blog more this year. I’m going to dump everything into this blog. It will be a mixture of everything.