Monday, January 30, 2017

Newkirk Overhaul, 2017.

Have you ever felt like you just needed a complete overhaul?

Like physically?

In your home...your job...your LIFE?
As a a a believer?

Yeah, me too.

Let's be completely honest for a second.

Our world is messed up.  Like really, really messed up.

There are so many unknowns right now, in this nation, on this planet.

So many things happening in our country right now goes against the core of who I am as a believer in Christ and I'm just trying really hard to pray through it.  To trust that God is still in control and that somehow He is going to be glorified through the things happening in our world right now.

But really...I'm heartbroken over much of what I'm reading, seeing on my television, and picking up on social media.

And so.  
I need an overhaul.  

I need to be able to feel that I'm truly tuning in to what God has planned for me.  
That I'm battling in prayer in a way that will make a difference in our broken world.
That I'm working on my marriage and my parenting and building a peaceful home for my husband and children in times of great chaos.

So that's what I'm going to be focusing on.

Newkirk Overhaul, 2017.

I'm going to focus on specific areas of my life and overhaul them in the way that I believe God would have me to make changes.

Starting with this blog.

You'll see some changes here in the next few weeks as I begin to build my new blog.

So stay-tuned for a blog, body, faith, home, and financial overhaul...along with so many areas of the Newkirk life that need a makeover.

Hope you'll follow along and commit to controlling what we can alongside me.  

Much love and many blessings,

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Let's Be Real.

Let's be real.

I'm struggling.

The debt snowball is working, but thanks to some new medical debt and some car repairs we weren't planning is rolling SLOWLY.  We are still staying on the debt-free path, but we're also looking into some other options for making a few more dollars.

Of course, I'm still running my photography business in my free time.  However, in the last few years, I've been trying to really step back from the second full time career and spend more time with my husband and the girls.  We're making enough supplemental income to keep the debt snowball barely rolling downhill, but that's it.

I sold some clothes online last spring and plan to do the same thing this year to bring in a little money.  I also type monthly reports for my parents' home-based business every month and am thankful for that income that's helping us survive.

However, we just feel like we need to be more gazelle intense about adding extra money to our snowball.  We've cut down to a bare bones budget, but it doesn't seem to be enough for the big results we're looking for.

(Warning: Now Entering Dreamland)

And so, we've been thinking...

Should we try and flip a house?

Surely there's a property here in town that we could buy pretty cheap and remodel?  We have lots of skills between the two of us...carpentry, plumbing, drywall, decorating.  I feel like we could work hard on it and have it done in a month and ready to go back on the market.  This is definitely a possibility we're praying about.

It's hard to be any more gazelle intense than we are already being when Matthew and I are working three extra jobs between the two of us.

Just thinking out loud here.

Thoughts?  Advice?  Any house-flippers out there?

Dreaming about a debt-free life,

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Bullet Journaling, Part 2: Thoughts & Ideas

I'm back for the second part of my Bullet Journal reveal.

This is the part that REALLY helped me over the last school year.

How many of you are "jotters"?  

I am terrible about jotting down notes here, there, and everywhere and not being able to find them when I actually need them or forgetting about them until they show up in the most random locations at the most random times.

I use post-it notes, notebook paper, the back of junk mail envelopes, and anything else I can get my hands on when an idea pops into my head.

Well...I did.  Until the Bullet Journal came into my life.

Let me tell you about it.

In the back of my journal, I have added a section for thoughts & ideas.  If you look closely, you can see a sweet little piece of washi tape along the edge of one of the pages near the back.  That's where my "Thoughts & Ideas" section starts.  

Sidenote: Make sure you save enough room up front for all of the dates you want to include BEFORE starting your idea section!  :)

(Do you notice that tiny little blot of orange marker on the edge of the back cover?  Thanks, Mattie!  A little reminder of why we don't leave markers out within reach of the almost 2-year-old...)

Here's the washi tape edging close up.  I have a slight's a problem.

I made a little "mini-cover" on the first page of the "Thoughts & Ideas" section.  I use Micron pens for my lettering & doodling.  

I really LOVE Bic Cristal colored pens for my other writing in my journal.  Cheap & SO smooth!

After making the cover, I skipped one two-page spread to serve as my "Table of Contents", then I numbered the pages...

I started jotting notes about the women's retreat this fall that I'm speaking at on page one.  

After adding the title, I simply hop back over to my Table of Contents and add it on there.

It really starts to fill up quickly once you realize that you don't need anywhere else to "jot" your thoughts, so the Table of Contents becomes very helpful for cataloging your ideas.

Hope this is helpful!

Is anyone out there starting a Bullet Journal with me?  ;)

Talk soon!

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Bullet Journaling, Nerdkirk Style.

As promised, I'd love to share with you my summer bullet journal.  

Over the last school year, I experimented with a few different types of notebooks.  I jumped headfirst to start and began with a Moleskin journal.  I had read several blogs of people who recommended them, so I went to Target and got one.  

And to be honest...I didn't love it.  Sure, the quality is great.  The paper was very smooth to write on, which I like.  But I didn't like the way it tried to fold closed when I was writing in it.  It had dots instead of lines and I don't think I really liked that either.

Next, I tried a Greenroom spiral notebook from Target.  I definitely liked it better than the Moleskin.  But I didn't like the "spiral" part.  Sometimes a page would get a little bit torn out and then those little "spirally" papers were all over the place.  I'm not even sure I liked the lines on there.

As I'm typing this, I'm realizing that maybe I'm a little too picky when it comes to office supplies.

They don't call me Nerdkirk for nothing!

So ANYway, I stuck it out with the spiral notebook for the rest of the school year, but was looking for a change.  And that's when I stumbled upon this beauty...for $3.97 at WalMart.  That's right...just under $4.00.

It's a Casemate 240-page Lay Flat Journal.

Of course, I had to do a little decorating of the cover.  Might add some pictures of the girls or something on there soon...we'll see!  

Here is what the pages look like on the inside.  It's just thick brown craft paper and I LOVE IT.

So I started by counting three two-page spreads per week for this summer.  

The first two pages are my ongoing "to do" list for the week.

The second two pages are just divided into eight boxes.  The first seven boxes are the days of the week and the last box is for our menu.

I added the dates and "appointments" first. 

Sidenote: I COULD NOT LIVE without my Google Calendar.  This is where I make photography appointments, add the girls' ballgames and practices, add dinners with friends and planned activities.  My Bullet Journal absolutely doesn't replace my electronic calendar, but I really like to have things written down on a paper copy.  I'm a paper person.

I fill in the menu like this...

The third set of two pages is where I'm planning to do my Bible Journaling this summer.  I'll still journal in my Bible, but I love the idea of studying one concept all week and going with it as I do some crafting. 

Sidenote: This week, I'm reading through Ruth, as a follow-up to our minister's sermon last Sunday.  Good stuff.

Here is my to-do list all filled in.  I take the tasks from my ongoing list and put them onto the specific dates for the week.  If I don't get them done, I just move them to the next day or the next week.  

I tried to fade this out a little bit so you guys don't notice just how ridiculous I am with the color-coding and all of the tiny tasks I add to each day.

No, but really...I have checkboxes with all of my tasks assigned to a day.  I have a different color for different tasks...
Black - Home/Personal
Purple - School/College
Orange - Church
Green - Photography
Duke Blue - Harlee
Pink - Claire
Lime Green - Mattie
Red - Budget/Bills

Seriously.  NERDkirk.

On Friday or Saturday sometime, I sit down and fill in my week for the next week.  It's relaxing and actually pretty therapeutic.

I'll share the "ideas" section of my journal tomorrow.

Feel free to share pictures of your Bullet Journal if you decide to join me this summer on this adventure!  <3

Happy Journaling!

Sunday, May 29, 2016

The Simple Life.

As promised, I'm trying to be a better blogger.

You would think about so many years of being a terrible blogger, I would just resign to the fact that it's who I am. However, being the optimistic girl that I am, I always have high hopes that somehow my personality will magically change and I will all of the sudden be the best. blogger. EVER. 

I know...whatevs, right?

ANYway...through my nine years of motherhood...

Errrr, my twelve years of married life...

Well actually, through my fourteen years out of high school...

Okay, let's be real here... 

Through my ENTIRE LIFE, I have been trying to find a system that works for me. Every year, I spend countless dollars and countless hours trying to have the best planner, the best method, the best system to help the Newkirk house and Mrs. Newkirk's classroom run as smoothly as possible.

Over the last year, as Matthew & I have really been working our debt snowball to pay down debt, I really think I stumbled upon the best system I have ever used. I didn't want to spend an arm and a leg on a planner and buy a new one in three months because the original "just wasn't working for me..."

Enter the Bullet Journal.

It's so, so simple.
So cheap.
So customizable.
And it works.

The beauty of the Bullet Journal is that you can make it what you need it to be. If something gets a little messed up, you can just tear that page out and move on with life. It's simply wonderful.

Over the next week, I would love to share my Bullet Journal with you and help you set your own up, if you'd like. 

All you'll need is a simple notebook (get whatever brings you joy!). I started with a cheap full-sized notebook for the school year and have moved into a smaller (adorable) notebook that will fit into my purse/backpack for the summer. I've only been using this one for a week, so I'm not sure which size I like better yet. 

A few extra items that you COULD use, but that definitely are not necessary would be:
- colored pens for color-coding (nerd alert)
- washi tape
- sticky-notes for an ongoing shopping list
- sticky-notes for daily tasks (I use this "To Do" notebook from WalMart for $0.99)

Alright, get all your supplies together and join me this week to set up your own Bullet Journal if you're looking for a simple system to help keep it together this summer! ❤️

Talk soon!

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Summer Break.'s finally here.

Like I say every single May, the school year flew by.

It was a great year with my group of third graders, but I would be lying if I said I wasn't ready for summer this year.

I'm not sure if it's just because I'm getting older, or because I know Mattie is our last baby (unless we decide to adopt that sweet baby BOY in the future), but for some reason, I'm just really having a hard time with the girls growing up.

That's why I'm planning to make this our best summer yet.

Can't wait to share our adventure with you!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016



Here we are over halfway through February.

Whaaaaaaat!?!  How is this possible???

Time flies by so quickly these days.

Anyway, I thought it might be time for an update for my 2016 New Year's Goals.

So here we go...

1. Reading my Bible every day

Still reading the Bible every day using the YouVersion Bible app! 

Still studying "The Five Love Languages" by Dr. Gary Chapman for Sunday school each week. 

And still reviewing Brother Matt's sermons each week for my Bible journal.

Feeling good about being in His Word! 

2. Putting family first

Still not having my phone at the table and still spending time with the kids, but I must admit...since we've started back on our Dave Ramsey Total Money Makeover, I am having a good time sitting at the kitchen table in the evenings looking at the budget.  Guess I should take a step back from that sometimes too!

3. Getting financially fit

We're still plugging away. Getting ready to sell two of our three vehicles and go with some way cheaper models!!! 

4. Getting healthy

I hit my 10 pound mark at the beginning of this month. I stuck to the Whole30 for a whole 28 days...I need to start another one soon. I feel so good when I eat right and run.

5. Pursue what sets my soul on fire.

Yes. This.

I'm pursuing what sets my soul on fire and loving it!

Right now, I'm focusing on some new projects at school that are really helping me to use my creativity to meet student needs. There's nothing better than seeing that lightbulb come on for those kids that are struggling! 

6. Inspire others.

I've slacked on blogging, but I am making plans to update the whole blog's look and purpose in April. Until then, I'll blog when I can!

I'm remodeling our kitchen on a budget and can't wait to share that whole process with everyone!

7. Teach & Shoot for Jesus

Still praying that I can be a light for Jesus in the classroom and in my photography business. It sure isn't easy, is it?

One thing I have learned is that when I start feeling like I could give up, if I press on for just a little while longer, I'm rewarded greatly in the end.

So let's do that.

Let's press on together.

Stay committed to whatever your goals are and let's stick with it!