Tending to the Little Things with Ashley Canipe

Tending to the Little Things with Ashley Canipe

Friends, today's profile is long overdue. Our guest, Ashley Canipe, sent over her interview answers late last year, and while we meant to have her feature up much earlier than now, I think our timing actually worked out perfectly. Ashley speaks so beautifully about the importance of tending to the little things with great love and attention in her PowerSheets® goal planner. The little things are often the big things, as they say, and especially in this season when so many of us are staying at home and seeking out slices of joy, I think you'll really love what she has to say.

Take it away, Ashley!

Tell us a little bit about yourself. Who are you and what do you do?

Hi, friends! My name is Ashley. I am a wife to my incredible husband, Philip (we celebrated 10 years this past August, hooray!) and mama to our two girls Bridgett and Libby. 

I am a home educator and occasional blogger over at The Littles and Me where I share ideas and encouragement to help families celebrate life and connect through play. When I’m not learning and exploring with my girls you’ll find me writing or designing at my favorite local coffee shop, sipping tea (Earl Grey with a teaspoon of honey and a splash of almond milk!), or reading a book on our front porch. 

Why do PowerSheets continue to be a helpful tool for you? What have PowerSheets helped you accomplish over the last few years?
PowerSheets help me rein in all of my big ideas, create an action plan each month with intentional focus, and remind me to carve out space for who and what really matters. Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve struggled with having way too many big ideas, yet so little time. As I’ve grown up, I am learning that in reality it’s not that I don’t have enough time, but that I’m trying to do too much. It’s been life-changing to realize that I don’t need to take action on every single idea that I have. While I most certainly can’t do everything, I can do the unique things that God has called me to really well. I’d rather do less really well. PowerSheets help me uncover what those things are.

With PowerSheets, I’ve started meaningful family traditions, created intentional Bible studies that families and churches are using all over the world (wow, God!), carved out time for a weekly at-home date night with my husband, put down my phone and played with my girls, established a rhythm of afternoon tea time, cultivated delight and wonder in our homeschool, consistently called my parents just to say “hi!”, and so much more. While my accomplishments might not seem big or flashy in the eyes of the world, these ordinary things are important things that add up, little by little by little.

What's one of your favorite pages in the Prep Work?
The “I am saying YES to and I am saying NO to” page is hands down my favorite part of the Prep Work. It gives me chills to think about how having a clear focus can literally change generations. I have found that it is powerful to physically write down what I am saying yes to and what I am saying no to. In our very noisy world that says do this, no, do that, it’s very easy to get distracted and lose focus. I come back to this page often to be reminded of where I want to be heading and what I need to say no to in order to get there.

Tell us about one or two of your goals this year. How have you or do you plan to break them down on the way to completion?
This year one of my big goals is to have more fun in motherhood. So often I take things way too seriously and have a hard time letting my plans go to be present and have fun with my kids. I want to have more delight days where my primary focus is developing relationships with my girls and love on their little hearts. Here’s how I’m planning to create an atmosphere of fun in our home:

— Infuse fun into chores and ordinary tasks (ex: turn on some music and dance in the kitchen while cleaning dishes, speak in an English accent while folding laundry together, etc.)
— Create reminders to have fun. I’ve set up a daily reminder in my phone that simply says, “Don’t forget to play.” My goal is to spend at least 1 hour of undistracted time playing.
— Go on monthly one-on-one dates with each of my girls. These dates aren’t fancy or elaborate, but the alone time with each child is something my husband and I truly cherish. In order to make this happen I’ll be using the new calendar pages to plan in advance the dates each month.
— Learn something new together. This watercolor for kids class is first on our list.
— Slow down with afternoon tea + read aloud time. One of the best rhythms we established last year was afternoon tea and read aloud time. It has become such an anchor in our day and it’s something we’ll definitely be continuing in the year ahead.
— Be spontaneous and choose something from our FUN list each week! I’m slowly creating a running list in my PowerSheets of really simple, yet fun things that I can surprise and delight the girls with. Some ideas include giving out high fives all day at the top of the hour, baking cookies and delivering them to a neighbor, building a blanket fort, having a picnic lunch on our living room floor, breakfast for dinner, etc.— Carve out time to explore God’s creation together through playing in our backyard, walks and nature hikes, beach days, and time in the mountains.

Do you use your PowerSheets for personal goals or business goals, or both? 
All of the above! I write my personal, business, and homeschool goals in different colors on my tending list so I can easily see what category they fit in, but they all fit in my greater vision of where I want to be when I am 80. This year I have also been using The (free!) Cultivated Homeschool Planner alongside my PowerSheets to create intentional homeschool goals and document our year together. I highly recommend it!

Where do you want to be when you're 80?
When I am 80, I’d like to be known for being intentional and fully present with those around me. I want to be passionate for Jesus, happily married, and have a zest for life. I envision myself full of joy, gratitude, and stories of God’s incredible faithfulness. I will still choose wonder, adventure, and inspire others to love big. I want to have a wonderful relationship with my kids and grandkids with really special traditions that they want to carry on. I hope that my kids (and grandkids) have such rich memories of licking chocolate pie filling from the pan, dancing in the kitchen, afternoon tea parties, and witnessing their imperfect mama sitting at the feet of Jesus each day.

When I think about where I want to be when I’m 80, it sure changes what’s really important in the right here, right now. And for that dose of perspective, I am extremely grateful.

As a busy, on-the-go mama, how do you incorporate your Tending List into your life?
I’ve learned that if I don’t have my Tending List out and visible then it’s easy for me to forget about the little-by-little progress I want to make that month. With that said, I keep my PowerSheets out on our kitchen island during the day to remind me of my goals and the intentional steps that I need to take throughout the day, week, and month. 

Before the start of each week I also take a look at my Tending List and then add the action steps I want to take that week to my planner. 

Do you have any "PowerSheets hacks" you'd like to share with our community?
I like to use the blank pages to create lists that relate to my goals. For example, I have one page that’s full of simple ways to have more fun with my kids, another page with books I want to read, and another with a master decluttering list. This makes it really easy to pull action steps throughout the year when I am putting together my Tending Lists. I also like that I have a space to write down additional ideas when I think of them. 

This next tip is probably a no brainer, but setting aside one day a month to prepare for the upcoming month is a game changer. I put a happy little PowerSheets Prep Day sticker in my planner on the day that I have set aside. 

What are your 3-5 daily essentials - the things that, if done, would make even a busy day a success? What tips do you have to make sure they happen?
It’s easy for me to get to the end of the day and think of all the things that I didn’t do or didn’t do well, which is why I love the daily action items/habits section. It reminds me time and time again of things that I did actually accomplish that really do matter. Five rhythms that make up my daily happy list are:

1. Spending time with the Lord
2. Moving my body (my favorite workout is Pure Barre or going for a walk)
3. Playing outside as much as possible
4. Choosing to be present with my husband and kids
5. Reading books aloud during afternoon tea time

In order to make these things happen, preparation is key. For example, I set out my Bible and Write the Word Journal at night so that I’m reminded to dig into the Word, make time to schedule the times I will go to Pure Barre, intentionally put my phone in a drawer during set times of the day, and try to think of simple ways take the learning activities we do each day outside.

We can't do it all and do it all well. What are some things you say "no" to in pursuit of your goals?
Amen! I wish that this truth would have sunk down deep in my heart much sooner. I say no to social media on the weekends, reaching for distraction instead of taking small steps of imperfect progress, and projects that don’t align with my greater vision. 

The more I get laser focused on my goals, the more I say no to. These days I say no to a lot of things (often seemingly really good things) so that I can have the white space and margin for the most important stuff. It hasn’t always been easy for me to do this out of a fear of letting other people down, but I’m slowly learning that by saying no I can say a big resounding YES to who and what really matters.

Friends, reading Ashley's thoughts really fired me up to make the most of this unexpected time I have at home with my kids, and I hope it inspires you to delight your closest connections, too! For more from Ashley, be sure to check out her blog and follow her on Instagram (though she's taking the year off in 2020!).

Thank you to Melissa Griffin for these lovely photos!

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Emily Thomas

Emily Thomas

Emily Thomas

Emily Thomas is Cultivate What Matters' Content Strategist and Writer. With over a decade at Cultivate, Emily loves helping women uncover what matters, set good goals, and live them out with joy. Her free time is spent with her high-school-sweetheart husband and three young kiddos.

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