The Daily Resolutions by Brohgan Dieker


Historically, I am pretty good at following through on my New Year's resolutions. It's mostly just a part of my personality. I am goal driven, and I choose things that are attainable. In 2015, I resolved to learn to shoot a gun. I had lived in a hunting friendly area near an Army base for the better part of two decades, I had only once touched a handgun (unloaded with safety on). My encounter was terrifying and brief. That year I experienced shooting a musket, a handgun, a semi-automatic rifle, and a fully automatic rifle in another all in one day, and I have never touched another gun since.

In 2016, seven months pregnant and in the middle of moving to a new house, I resolved to make no resolution. This was probably my hardest to keep. At times I was desperate for a goal of my own to work toward, but I forced myself to stay in the moment in that first baby year.

In 2017, I resolved to buy nothing new if I could find it used instead. Clothes, furniture, electronics, toys -- I was the queen of thrifting, hitting up seasonal consignment sales, checking Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace, going to garage sales. As a result, we paid off two smaller student loans.

But for 2018, I have nothing but huge, gigantic goals, and not a single one feels more important than the others. Instead of one big resolution for the year, I am developing an entire list of things I would love to accomplish on a daily basis. I'm calling them my daily resolutions.

Do you have a few lofty goals for 2018? Did you make a New Year's resolution?

If so, I have news for you: you can be successful in achieving your goal. Your New Year's resolution does not have to fail. I have a strategy that might help.

Have you ever heard of the psychological term "chunking'? Basically, it's a lot easier to remember larger things if you can break them down into smaller, more manageable chunks. For instance, the number "20124890" is a lot easier to memorize if you break it down into smaller chunks: "2012" "24" and "90."

I have some big goals that I would love to work toward in 2018: write a book, be a more present parent who is not distracted by technology, live an active lifestyle, stick to a personal budget. These goals are absolutely monstrous. Impossible, even. And, I can't seem to pick which one is the most important for this year.

By breaking my larger goals--like being more active, eating healthier, and being a more present parent--down into a daily list of goals, it makes them more attainable.

For instance, did you know that people who make their bed in the morning are happier and get more done? (If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.)  And, you are also happier if you spend more time outside?

Like me, I imagine that you probably have some lofty high hopes for this next year. There is probably a way that you could chunk that goal down to a daily, weekly, or monthly basis so that it's more attainable.

Here are my 2018 daily resolutions:

  • Wake up early
  • Make bed
  • Get dressed (including shoes, hair, face)
  • Swipe the bathroom
  • Run the dishwasher
  • Go outside for at least an hour
  • Drink water
  • Complete one load of laundry
  • Read my Bible
  • Read out of another book
  • Get on the floor and play with my son
  • Know tomorrow's meal plan before bed
  • Write for a little while
  • Spend less than 60 minutes total on my phone all day (I use the Space App to time track)

Today is January 5, and I am pleased with my progress on my daily resolutions so far. I have been adding and subtracting a few things depending on my day (no, I did not spend an hour outside in the -10 degree weather), but these daily tasks have been fairly attainable for me. Overall, I think these will contribute toward succeeding in my other goals by having me focus on doing a little bit every day.

For instance, by spending more time outside I am more likely to be more active, it's a great parenting decision for my preschool aged son, and a natural daily dose of vitamin d really improves my mood. I like to split this into a two chunks, 30 minutes each, in the morning and the afternoon, but sometimes I will split it up into even more chunks throughout the day.

By keeping up with home maintenance in little ways, I won't feel as overwhelmed as daily cleaning piles up. When the house gets messy, it bothers me first, and I am the one who benefits most by keeping up with small daily chores.

Getting on the floor and playing with my son is not only a way for us to bond, it allows me to be more creative. Play is important for adults too.

Know what the best part about daily resolutions are? You start fresh each morning.

If you get behind on laundry, for instance, my entire year is not ruined. Yes, maybe yesterday I failed in a few areas, but today is always new, and I always have a fresh start to make good decisions toward what I hope to achieve. If you are consistently struggling in a daily resolution, you can always adjust it too. Take it off the list, or make it easier on yourself by breaking it down further. (When I had a younger baby, put clothes in washer, put clothes in dryer, and fold clothes were all separate items on my to do list, and all three were very rarely completed on the same day.)

It's been 5 days. Have you given up on your New Year's resolution?? Is there a way that you could chunk down your goal? Could daily resolutions help you achieve your goals in 2018?

It's been 5 days. Have you given up on your New Year's Resolution?? Is there a way that you could chunk down your goal?

Maintaining a Loving Home by Brohgan Dieker

As a woman, I wear many hats. Maybe you feel this way as well? I am a wife. I am a mother. I am a daughter. I am a sister. I am a friend. I am a Christian.

I am a member of my community and my church. I am a volunteer.

I am an entrepreneur and the only employee in my business (yes, blogging is a business).

Also, I am myself, the sole person in charge of expressing and caring for my own needs.

Each hat comes with its own set of responsibilities. For instance, I eat fruits and vegetables. I pray. I read. I jog. I have deep, meaningful conversations. I prioritize sleep. I do laundry. I clean. I cook. I write.

But, it's like my friend always says, you can really only do one thing well at a time. I always choose your top priority for the moment, even when I'm not consciously doing it.

Just like I can't text someone and drive a car at the same time, I can't maintain a perfectly clean home and take time to get down and play with my son on the floor at the same time. It just isn't possible.

In the same way, I can't work long hours and have a regular date night with my spouse.

Choosing my top priority for the moment bleeds into every decision, even when I'm not aware that it's happening. If I'm eating well, I'm simultaneously struggling with exercising. If I'm sticking to the budget and monitoring every penny, I'm stress binging on Netflix at every given opportunity. If I'm exposing my son to lots of playdates and educational experiences, I'm simultaneously neglecting to clean out the fridge.

Life as a mom is a difficult balance, and perfection is not an option. Believe me, I've tried. There's a cost to every action. Sometimes the cost is small, but other times it is absolutely gigantic.

When it all boils down, I don't want to be wasting my life on maintaining house and home, or even cooking (which is a favorite creative outlet of mine).  I want to be pouring my life into my people to the best of my ability.

I want to be the best woman I can be.

I want my husband and son to know exactly how much I love him, not a guess, but to actually know because I took the time to remind them every day.

I want to be the type of person to drop everything and just show up when someone needs me to.

I want my home to be a safe and welcome place. I want neighbors to feel comfortable knocking on my door.

I want to draw nearer to God, because I know He listens and draws nearer to me.

I want to savor the stuff in life that really matters and to just maintain the responsibilities that don't matter as much. I want lasting impact, not temporary impact.

I want to be present while my son plays in a patch of sunshine on the floor without guilt about what needs to be done.

Easier said than done, ha.

And I absolutely don't want to be spending my life doing the housework, cooking and cleaning... unless the heart and soul of doing it is to show how much I love and respect the people who live here too.

And, that last point is exactly where it gets a little fuzzy for me sometimes. I crave clarity on how to maintain a loving home, both relationally and physically.

I want to love my family in the best way possible. Sometimes that means doing chores. Sometimes, that means ignoring chores.

At any given moment, I have to choose my top priority.

And, for me, that also means that I have to have a system in place to maintain my lower priorities while I'm focusing on what's most important that moment.

Here are a few things that are rarely top priority for the day but still desperately need to be taken care of daily.


Here is my system for cleaning the house, which prioritizes resting on Sunday.

I've found that when I don't take a day off from these chores, I get behind on housework. Or even worse, I get too wrapped up in doing them perfectly.

By setting aside a day to rest and NOT DO CHORES (wooohooo!), I am more motivated to get them done throughout the week.

It doesn't always go perfectly smoothly, but that's ok. If the last week (or month) has been rough, I just try again the next week.


I have written extensively about my meal planning strategy and my pre-made grocery list.

Meal planning is an established routine for me now, but that certainly wasn't always true.

There was a time early in my marriage when I would buy all the wrong things at the grocery store in an attempt to try new recipes and please my husband just to have those ingredients slowly go bad while I ran back to the store almost daily for quicker dinner options.

By the time my son was born seven years later, I was desperate to be able to maintain a healthy, frugal lifestyle without spending a lot of time shopping or cooking.

I've learned some of these kitchen and cooking tips the hard way, and I am still learning.

Maintaining the finances

A few years ago, my husband and I took a financial planning course together, and it was very eye opening for us.

We have found that it's best to make all of our financial decisions together. It takes time to write out a budget and to use a cash system, but it is well worth it.

We have time scheduled on the calendar and reminders on our phones set up ahead of time. It's good to have a system in place to keep this habit  from falling to the wayside.

Feeding My Heart

Someone told me this over the cries of my screaming newborn: "everything about motherhood is spiritual." When you spend your days (and nights!) caring for littles, your own heart is filled and emptied and refilled moment by moment.

But, there are chapters in mom life that writing long entries into prayer journals and keeping up with a Bible reading plan is just not possible. And, that's ok. God put you in this exact place.

When doing more is just not possible, finding little cracks of time to reading a single verse is enough. Praying in your head while you put your child to bed is enough. Listening to worship music and letting the praise bleed into your actions is enough.

It helped me to have certain triggers to remind me to spend time with God. For instance, during the quiet of nursing during the night, I prayed and read. While in the car, I sang worship songs. A friend teaches Bible stories to her pre-schooler during bath time.

Life is always busy, but I've found that by pairing my time with God with a daily activity, it reminds me to be present and aware of His benevolence.


And, the Grace

After becoming a mom, I've learned that I have to allow myself to accept the same grace God extends to me.

Sometimes, I fail. Actually, it happens daily.

I choose wrong. I get wrapped up in a project and get resentful when nap time is suddenly over. I get impatient when people interrupt me while I'm trying to get things done, even if they're low priority. I forget God.

And in the midst of wrestling with pangs of guilt, I have to clean the slate and start that day anew. It's the only way to move forward.

Grace is key.

I absolutely don't want to be spending my life doing the housework, cooking and cleaning... unless the heart and soul of doing it is to show how much I love and respect the people who live here too. And, that last point is exactly where it gets a little fuzzy for me sometimes. I crave clarity on how to maintain a loving home, both relationally and physically. I want to love my family in the best way possible. Sometimes that means doing chores. Sometimes, that means ignoring chores. At any given moment, I have to choose my top priority. Cleaning, cooking, finances, caring for my own heart, need a routine that maintains the status quo while caring for my family.

Are you struggling with clarity on how to maintain a loving home too?

Join me on this journey. We can navigate this together in tandem.

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Reflections over Tea by Brohgan Dieker

This is the last post in a week long series titled The Tea Party.  This series was a collaboration between Non-Chef and Non-Baker. is a food blog by my lovely sister, Anna Grace.  Please, visit her site! Her yellow cake is honestly one of my favorite deserts now after this tea party. And she's one of my favorite people and favorite writers. You won't be disappointed. The tea party is over.  The leaf has been taken out of the table, and the standard lace over green tablecloth has been returned to its rightful place. The decorations have been taken down.  The girls are playing the Headbands game on somebody's phone in the living room.  Anna and I are washing grandma's delicate tea things in the kitchen.



White tea plates and clear glass tea cups are carefully stacked in the dishwasher.


The platters, each with it's own unique story, are gently washed and put back into their cupboards.


The one that carried the egg salad sandwiches and the one that bore the custards were my favorite.


The tea set needs to be completely dry before it is stored.  Who knows the next time it will be used.  When was the last time it was used?  Maybe long before I was born. Not many people are making time for tea parties these days.


I hold a degree in English literature, and I did not shy away from any of the English major stereotypes. Most of my college studying was essentially me reading a novel very closely over a cup of tea or coffee.  Or gathering with other people who liked to talk about novels and writing over cups of tea or coffee.  Lots of tea and coffee and words.

But, I have never been to a tea party before. Actual tea cups, an actual tea set.  We brewed the tea in the teapot.  We spooned in sugar as desired. An array of delicate sandwiches and lovely desserts. Flowers were everywhere.


The tea party wasn't perfect, but it was significant.

There are a few things that I have fond myself reflecting on as I wrote about this event this week.  Firstly, the portion sizes.



Small cups and small plates meant we collectively indulged on less, but it certainly didn't feel that way!

We only used one pot of tea.



I went to the party with two small containers of lemonaid believing we would run out.  It was 100+ degrees outside.  We filled the pitcher twice, but I still went home with one and a half containers of lemonaid.



For 10 people, we only ate a half a loaf of bread.  That's not even a full sandwich each.


I know we had plenty of leftover dessert, because we enjoyed it again at the next family gathering. At least a half of all the desserts were left.

Yes, we indulged. We partied. But it wasn't overdone.


The other thing I realized as I chose pictures: we truly made memories at this tea party.  You can just see it in the girls' faces. Actually, you can see it in all our faces!  The tea party was surprisingly significant.


I was busy bustling around, because when I wasn't preparing some food or taking pictures, I was taking care of the baby.  But when he finally dozed off, and I sat down and just enjoyed myself sans camera, I realized how precious that moment of coming together really was.  I'm glad I sat and just enjoyed for a bit, because that was the best part.

I can't wait to do it again sometime.

When grandma started talking about moving, one of the first things she started fussing over was the collection of copper kettles.  She finally decided that each of the eleven copper kettles would be matched with the eleven branches that make up our family tree, meaning every family gets a copper kettle.

I don't think the copper kettles mean nearly as much to any of us as they do to grandma.  Some of my relatives are probably rolling their eyes right now at the thought of the copper kettle that is about to be  shipped to them. I brought mine home with me the other day and wondered what on Earth I would do with it.  I finally plopped it on top of a bookshelf because there was a space there, not really knowing what else to do with it.

But I've started looking at that copper teapot a little differently this week as it stands guard over my Norton Anthologies, my Bible, and my other favorite books.

Has anyone ever used it? Should I try and use it?

I caught myself imagining if someday I would take the kettle off the shelf and pull out those tiny white teacups and saucers that grandma gave me as a wedding gift, all mismatched whites like I specifically asked for, and replicate a special tea party with some other important women I love. I have a long list of people I would invite.

It's not at all about the things or even the place or the table.  It doesn't have to be perfect looking or tasting.

This tea party is significant because it brought together women, and women-in-training, who have dedicated decades to investing time and love in each other, in me.

There is power in matching words of gratitude with the good in your life.

That's why I want to speak a bit about these exceptional women and their adorable girls. They just happen to be related to me, and it's very special. Thank you all for attending a party with me! I am so thankful to be surrounded by the kind of women who make time on a whim for a tea party just because.

Maybe we'll even let the boys come next time, if they promise to use their manners. ;)