Friends, we’re so excited for you to get to read this interview full of wisdom and encouragement. Our guest, Stefanie Boyles, is a wife, momma, and longtime Cultivator. Today Stefanie shares how her PowerSheets® help her focus on attaining small and big goals during seasons of change and transition, and how she intentionally begins and ends each of her days.
We think you’ll love what she has to say. Take it away, Stefanie!
Tell us a little bit about yourself. Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Stefanie, and I am so humbled to be here with you all! I am a happy wife to my husband, Robert, who is a Chaplain in the U.S. Army. We have three young children (ages 6, 4, and 1). I have a couple of fancy degrees in Public Health Studies and Nursing, but I actually haven’t worked in the health field in years. Instead, I work from home as a Staff Writer at The Daily Grace Company, and I am one of the co-hosts for the Daily Grace podcast. This opportunity has been a tremendous blessing for a thousand reasons, but namely, I have the freedom to stay at home with my kids and home educate them. I never thought I’d be a homeschooling mom, but it has been an absolute delight!
Why do PowerSheets continue to be a helpful tool for you? What have PowerSheets helped you accomplish over the last few years?
I first started using PowerSheets five years ago when my husband was picked up for Active Duty. I left my full-time job as a cardiac nurse and happily became a stay-at-home mom and Army wife. We moved to our first duty station, and my husband was deployed or away at training for nearly two of the three years we were there.
PowerSheets helped me steward that time apart well. They helped me transition into being a stay-at-home mom by helping me uncover my purpose in that season. It was a season where I could have felt like I was destined to be stuck in survival mode, but instead, my PowerSheets helped me identify desires and goals that were attainable for me right then.
It was during that season that I really got plugged into a women’s ministry at our local chapel and discovered a love for teaching women the Bible. I truly do believe that those years were preparing me for my current season of working at The Daily Grace Company. Since then, PowerSheets have continued to help me purposefully grow in the different seasons of my life by helping me identify and create attainable goals.
What's one of your favorite pages in the Prep Work?
I personally love the entire section, but one of my favorite pages is the “Cultivated Life Evaluation." Instead of turning a critical eye to the different areas of life, I see it as an invitation to honestly evaluate the many areas that make up one life. In the busyness of simply living, we can forget that there are a lot of different dimensions to a person!
For example, as a woman that stays home with her kids every single day, I can easily be consumed with that one (blessed) reality and neglect my spouse, my personal growth, and my need for recreation. The scale (1-10) allows me to quickly see the areas in my life that I may have unintentionally overlooked.
In response, I can be proactive and come up with a plan to invest extra attention and care to those areas moving forward. I also love that the life evaluation page comes up every few months in PowerSheets—it’s a great reminder to pause and periodically assess if I’m investing my time and energy wisely. It also gives me permission to adjust my goals/plans accordingly throughout the year, as needed!
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? (Mini goals!)
Last year (2019) was a year marked by a lot of change: homeschooling and working from home. While they were good changes, they still required adjustments. Looking back, I can see that I was stretched pretty thin because I didn’t let go of things as I added to my plate! So looking forward, knowing our main commitments will remain, my goal is to create margin by simplifying our lives in different ways.
- No work on Sundays (rest is a gift!). I did this last year and plan to continue this.
- Early bed times – get in bed by 9:00pm (with my husband, if possible).
- Say “no” to weekly commitments that are in the evenings (which is possible while the kids are young!).
- Come up with a cleaning routine or see if we need to outsource.
Another area that quickly fell to the wayside was physically taking care of myself. So this year, I’m choosing to slow down and do some things that feel “extra,” and are just for me.
- Drink 100oz of water daily.
- Take vitamins daily.
- Have a bedtime routine that involves something that feels “extra” – for example, a face mask or hair mask.
- Invest in a good skin care product and stick to a regimen.
- Move at least 30 minutes a day.
- Schedule preventative dentist and doctor’s appointments in advance.
Do you use your PowerSheets for personal goals or business goals, or both?
I use my PowerSheets primarily for personal goals. However, I do have goals that help me grow as a contributor to The Daily Grace Co. team. For example, I always have the monthly goal to read two books, cover to cover. I believe that reading is important as a writer, and as a content creator, I want to be well-versed in whatever topic is at hand. But for the most part, I view PowerSheets as a tool to help me be a good steward of all that is entrusted to me.
Where do you want to be when you're 80?
When I’m 80 years old, I hope my husband and I have a little space to call our own in New York City. Because he plans to make a career of the Army, we don’t have intentions of really putting down roots for another 15-20 years. So when I’m 80, I pray we are deeply rooted in a community! As for location, we are military brats ourselves so neither one of us has a place that truly feels like home. However, I have always been drawn to the city. My husband and I also highly value culture, diversity, the arts, and intellectual conversations, so I think it’ll be a stimulating environment. I hope my mind is sharp at 80!
Also, I truly hope all of our children live in or near the city as well so I can host weekly dinners. Even if nothing else fits in our home, I will have a large table for friends and family to gather and feel welcomed, known, and loved.
As a busy, on-the-go mama, how do you incorporate your Tending List into your life?
The Tending List, in my opinion, is the heart of PowerSheets because it is the tool that invites you to cultivate what matters by doing what’s needed little by little. But if you’re anything like me, if things are out of sight, they’re out of mind! For years, I would faithfully write my Tending List and quickly forgot what I wrote! So now, I tear my monthly sheet out and attach it to my weekly calendar, which I look at every single weekday morning.
I was inspired by my favorite theologian from the 18th century – Jonathan Edwards. He had a list of 70 resolutions to guide his life, and one thing he noted at the very beginning of his list was to “remember to read over these Resolutions at least once a week”. Reading my Tending List often keeps the things that matter at the forefront of my mind and day.
You're a military spouse. How have your PowerSheets helped you navigate this unique, wonderful, and sometimes challenging life path?
One reality of being a military spouse is that you’re often apart from your significant other. This is difficult in and of itself, but it’s also compounded by the reality that you’re probably living somewhere that’s foreign to you with no extended family nearby. This is why getting plugged into a community is absolutely essential for all military spouses!
But when I was a new Army wife, I was confronted with the truth that I’m an introvert, home body, and prefer to be private. Needless to say, I found it hard to forge deep friendships! PowerSheets was actually what helped me get to know a fellow military spouse on a deeper level – we committed to meeting once a month to go over our PowerSheets, and the prompts stimulated meaty conversations. To this day, she’s still one of my closest friends!
PowerSheets also helped me step out of my comfort zone as I made monthly goals to invite someone into my home or plan a play date with new people. This was especially helpful during deployments when the temptation was to hibernate! I would also set monthly goals to take the kids on adventures on my own while my husband was away, which helped establish some sort of normalcy. And on the flip side, PowerSheets also help me stay connected to family that live far away. I usually have some sort of goal to reach out to extended family on my Tending List!
Do you have any "PowerSheets hacks" you'd like to share with our community?
Whenever I recommend PowerSheets, I also always recommend that the person invite a friend to do it with him/her! My first year, I tried to use PowerSheets on my own, and quite frankly, I barely tapped into all that the resource offers. The next year, a friend and I did it together, and we met every month for coffee to go over our PowerSheets. It was a wonderful time of getting to know each other, and we helped each other write attainable goals to cultivate what really mattered to us. It was also an opportunity to pray for each other and keep each other accountable. We are going into our third year of meeting together monthly!
So my tip is this: invite someone to do PowerSheets® with you. Like most things in life, it’s better together.
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?
- Time in God’s Word and time in prayer.
- Connection with my kids and spouse – this can look like eye contact, long hugs, and sharing our thoughts.
- Reading aloud with my kids.
- Going to bed with a tidy kitchen.
One thing that I have learned this year is the value of waking up early. I put in the bulk of my work hours before the kids get up. This has been a game changer in freeing up my mind and heart to focus on connection with my kids and spouse. It also gives me the margin to do the things I need/want outside of my work. Waking up early has also helped me be more disciplined in my spiritual life. However, the key to waking up early is going to bed early!
As for going to bed with a clean kitchen, I have found that I have to do the dishes and wipe down the table and counters right after dinner. If I delay it, it won’t get done. My husband has taught me the art of cleaning up as I cook, so it usually doesn’t take long to tidy up after dinner! He also plays with the kids after dinner or gives the baby a bath so I can clean up in peace and unwind!
We can't do it all and do it all well. What are some things you say "no" to in pursuit of your goals?
Yes! This is something that I tell myself often: no one can do it all and do it all well! I think that’s a belief that our culture wants to perpetuate, and it’s something that I have to intentionally fight against regularly. Something I learned is that the implication of this truth is that we have to say “no” to even good things! In my current season of life, this means that I have had to say “no” to:
- Working full time at a job I love.
- Any sort of side hustles.
- A gym membership.
- Creating daily Instagram content.
- A personal blog.
There are so many good things out there – that doesn’t mean we have to do it all!
Thank you so much, Stefanie! Friends, reading Stefanie’s thoughts encouraged me to make sure I’m being intentional with how I start and end my day. I hope it encouraged you too!
For more on Stefanie, be sure to check out her writing at The Daily Grace Company and follow her on Instagram!