Karen Stott » | Sharing my mess, my hope & my journey cultivating an Intentional Home

Our hearts are a funny thing.  This weekend as Isaac and I were out of town for work, things looked dim.  Like horrifically dim. The kind that leave you grasping for breath because the tears are so heavy you feel you

Our hearts are a funny thing. This weekend as Isaac and I were out of town for work, things looked dim. Like horrifically dim. The kind that leave you grasping for breath because the tears are so heavy you feel you’re suffocating.It felt hopeless. And dark. And it was scary to feel that way knowing what we know in Jesus. But there was literally no human way out, and the bills were piling higher and higher. In that weak state, my eyes wanted to focus on the bad. The things that had gone wrong. I spiraled downward with all of the failures, bad decisions, and insufficiencies as a business women flooding my mind.It was a place I hadn’t allowed myself to go for a while. And when I got there I remembered why.Isaac held me, and let me cry it all the way out, but all the while, gently reminded me that I was looking for the wrong thing. That if I turned to look another way, I would see all of the good God has done. All of the answered prayers, right decisions, and blessings that had unfolded.And sure enough… he was right. And I had allowed my circumstances to change my perspective. When shouldn’t it go the other way?It’s amazing how different life looks when I lift up my head. When I put on new lenses and choose the hope that lives inside of me, through Him, every day. When I count gifts and not mistakes. And soak in the complex simplicity of having a Savior in the first place.Today I sit thankful for the sun on my back knowing it is a rich gift. For Laughter. For A family that stays. More blessings than I can possibly count, or could ever be pulled down by earthly failures. My heart is overflowing, and I’m so thankful for thankfulness. And the gift of perspective it brings.I guess it is true what they say… We do find what we have eyes to see.But either way. There is ALWAYS HOPE. We just have to choose to grab hold.

  • Gabrielle Halle - I pulled up your blog looking for an old post I had read awhile ago and, in perfect timing, I came across this instead ūüôā I have needed to hear this a lot lately and I’m so happy you are willing to share your heart like you do!

best business decisions of 2015

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As a former professional photographer, I spent thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours in classes, at workshops, and at conferences perfecting my craft.  When I stepped out of photography to pursue other entrepreneurial dreams, I knew that educating myself well was one of the best things I could do to set myself up for success, avoid some pitfalls by learning from others, and be the best steward of my money as possible.

I cannot even tell you how much money I have wasted on bad classes, poor designers, and ill-equipped leaders who over promised and under delivered. ¬†Dale is the real deal, and holds nothing back by sharing all of his tips and tricks and lessons learned. ¬†It has taken me a decade of owning a business, and learning the hard way, to discover¬†some of the things he lays out in this program, and those things barely scratch the surface on what this program offers. ¬†I have had so many aha moments going through this curriculum finally figuring out the missing links to why certain things have succeeded and certain things haven’t.

In 2015 alone, I invested thousands of dollars into about 5 programs similar to this. ¬†Some were for business owners, some bloggers, some platform builders, some social media/passive income funneling, and some writers. ¬†After going through all of them, I can hands down say that Startup Camp is the best Entrepreneurial program out there. ¬†It has the most solid information that is actually presented in easy to digest, practical steps that you can immediately implement. ¬†I can’t recommend it enough. ¬† For someone starting out in business, this is a GOLD MINE of information that will save you SO much money and frustration in the long haul. ¬†If you are seasoned in business, like I am, this course was just what I needed to identify missing links in my companies and push our businesses into the six-figures.

I promise, you will NOT be disappointed.   Find out more HERE!

 

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As a creative, anything administrative, or financial, makes my head cramp. ¬†As crazy as this sounds, this stuff actually doesn’t even process correctly in my head. ¬†It’s not that I just hate doing it, it’s that I honestly feel like I wasn’t designed to even know how to handle it. ¬†Whenever I look at, or even think about a spreadsheet, my mind gets fuzzy. ¬†I feel my heart race, and anxiety increases, and it’s just a bad situation. ¬†Anyone feel me?

With that said, we can all agree, that having a proper handle on our finances, taxes and bookkeeping is of HUGE importance when running a small business. ¬†We literally can’t operate a business without having systems for these things. ¬†If you’re like me, you’ve tried doing this on your own for years. ¬†You have a shoe box, or drawer, or bottom of your purse that collects receipts and you throw a tantrum on your bedroom floor for two weeks in January as you try to make sense of it all for taxes. ¬†Oh.. that’s just me? ¬†Okay. ¬†Ignore that last part then.

We have always hired a professional CPA to do our taxes, but our bookkeeping was something that I dreaded.  And I usually rewarded myself with a cheeseburger and chocolate cake when it was all done for the year.  Even though I got it done, the pressure of keeping up with it throughout the year was taking a toll on my health, my marriage, my sanity, and the other business projects that I could be doing with that time.

You see, I wasn’t designed to be good at this task, so I didn’t do it very well, and it usually took ten times as long for me to finish it than it would for someone who was created to process these things. ¬†I knew we needed help. ¬†I knew I wanted someone trustworthy, someone that could access all of my stuff digitally so I wouldn’t have to print out and highlight a bunch of papers, someone affordable.

Enter Bench.co¬†… my 2015 Miracle. ¬† No joke, all of my stresses and frustrations about the financial part of owning a business were quieted within a 48 hour period after discovering Bench. ¬†We had tried several other planners and bookkeepers over the years only to be met with frustration and lengthy sessions of paperwork. ¬† After a fairly painless phone call, and some e-chats back and forth, our team at Bench had completely set up our entire financial chain, and created systems for an easy, pain free way of organizing and reconciling our 3 bank accounts, 2 paypal accounts and 1 credit card account. ¬†We were floored. ¬†It was all so simple. ¬†And the fact that it was only costing us a few hundred dollars a month was blowing my mind. ¬†With the amount of time I saved NOT having to manage the finances each month, I could easily make back that cost and more by using my time to grow our business. Godsend.

If this sounds like a breath of fresh air to you, you can Get a FREE Month of Bookkeeping HERE! ¬†Absolutely no risk or contract.. so there’s nothing to lose!

 

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The internet is amazing.. even though I can remember a time without it, I can’t really imagine what life would be like without it anymore. ¬†All of that to say, it’s kinda because a bittersweet connection. ¬†Our generation relies on the internet nearly every minute of every day. ¬†America is increasingly becoming more engaged online and less present in person. ¬†It’s a devastating epidemic.

Aside from the growing reliance on virtual connections, children can now access weapons, porn, drugs, and other harmful sites without even meaning to in a matter of a few simple clicks.  Monitoring our families internet usage, and creating safe-nets to protect our young ones has never been more crucial than it is today.

So you can imagine my enthusiasm when a friend told me about the new Circle unit by Disney.   A home wifi monitering system that connects with your wifi and basically enables all sorts of amazing parental controls.

For example.. if Naomi¬†spends too much time on Facebook, we can limit her access to one hour a day and Circle will monitor that time across all Naomi‚Äôs devices. Circle offers preset filters to refuse access to certain parts of the web based on a child‚Äôs age. It can also block ads for specific family members, which is a great bonus for all of those targeted ads. ¬†You can even set bed times which will automatically turn off your child’s device at a certain time. ¬†YAY! No more nagging mommy.. the Circle does it for me!

The control panel for all this filtering happens via an iOS app called Circle Home where you can set individual profile settings, and filter apps by name, category, or device platform. There’s also the incredible ability of manually cutting off Internet access for a certain device, person, or the entire household, which is AMAZING for meal times, homework hour, or getting ready for school.  I just wish it worked on the data plans too!

If your family has been like mine, struggling with internet overuse, and the screen syndrome that sometimes takes over the living room, the Circle could be a huge blessing to your family.  It has been so successful at setting boundaries and helping focus more on each other, and being present, than getting lost in our devises for hours.

Sounds amazing right!?!? ¬†I know! Check out Circle¬†and change your family’s legacy¬†HERE!

 

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OH.  MY.  WORD.  I could gush all day about this amazing company.  ABSOLUTE GOD SEND.

Last year I ran into a really difficult situation where I trusted, and then hired, a personal friend to take on the role of my assistant. ¬†Sadly, this ended up being one of the worst business decisions that I have made to date. ¬†I beg of you. ¬†Unless you are actually a super hero with no feelings, do not, I repeat, do not, hire someone virtually who was your friend first. ¬†Friends first works great for in-person help, but I thoroughly believe that the friend first virtual setup, is a recipe for disaster and broken hearts. ¬†There is too little accountability, and to much room for assumption and taking advantage. ¬† In my case, this person¬†ended up taking severe advantage of our relationship, demanding that I didn’t have the right to check in on her progress, going on to harm¬†my relationships with fellow business owners, and community members¬†from short, snarky responses, and lack of follow through. ¬†Our time management software continually captured ¬†Netflix on the computer while they reported to be emailing people or working on projects. ¬†It was terrible. ¬†When we finally parted ways, thank God, my company had been put through the ringer from her constant bad choices. ¬†I had disappointed clients, and our friendship was non-existent. ¬†It was a sad, sad, story.

 

The saddest part of this story, is I have a feeling that I am not alone. ¬†I can almost bet that there are others, maybe hundreds, or thousands, of other people who have been taken advantage of, and used, by an assistant or sub-contractor. ¬†Isn’t that tragic? No wonder people have a hard time delegating! ¬†It’s nearly impossible in today’s perfectly edited society to find someone that is honest, true, hard working, loyal, and dedicated. ¬†Someone who won’t just use you up for your contacts, steal information, or watch Downton Abbey when checking your email. ¬†Right? ¬†Finding people to hire is hard. ¬†And honestly, it just sucks. ¬†What makes it worse is the thought of possibly having to do it again when this new person inevitably uses you, or leaves.
This was the sad, lonely, and overwhelming cycle I was in for months after parting ways with my last assistant. ¬†I knew I needed to hire someone, but I couldn’t bare the thought of putting so much work into someone, just to have them leave again, or be forced to leave after finding out their true colors. ¬†I began to take on too much again, and everything started to crumble. ¬†I wasn’t made to be the admin gal, I was created to create, and I needed someone to help balance me out, and support me with their skills that I lacked. ¬†I HAD to find a new assistant.

 

Then one of my friends told me about EA Help. ¬†I was intrigued, yet a little gun-shy. ¬†How do I know I can trust these people? ¬†What if they leave too? ¬†Who are they anyway? ¬†Like I said, hiring an assistant, someone who is going to know your whole world inside out is a terrifying process. ¬†But as soon as I reached out to them with my first email, all of those questions vanished. ¬†I have seriously never been treated so kindly, professionally, and attentively in my life. ¬†The team at EA Help is exactly that, a team. ¬†They spend time interviewing you, getting to know your loves, and passions, and lifestyle. ¬†They figure out your personality types, communication styles, and what makes you tick. ¬†Then, after all of that, they start to ask you about your dream assistant, and the tasks you are hoping they can help you with. ¬†When all of that is done, THEY start to hire your assistant. ¬†They match your answers to a pool of several hundred of their qualified and trained assistants. ¬† THEY find several that would be a good match, and then THEY interview them on your behalf!!! Can you hear the angels singing? ¬†I DID! ¬†Within about 2 weeks, they set you up with a intro skype and introduce you to your new assistant. ¬†It’s basically like watching a business miracle unfold before your eyes. ¬†Seriously. ¬†And the best part, if anything ever happens to your assistant. ¬†They want to move on, or they get sick, or have a baby, you aren’t up a creek again. ¬†THEY take on finding you a new assistant, and then your old assistant helps train your new one and get them up to speed. ¬†So you likely never have to go through this training process again! ¬†Can you tell I’m in love?

I wish I could express to you all the good things about EA Help, but I think you’ll just have to witness it for yourself. ¬†I have been over the moon pleased with Sara, my new assistant, and she is kind, attentive, serving, and an excellent communicator. ¬†She even sent me a Christmas card from her and her hubby. ¬†Sweetest right? ¬†So here’s my advice to you. ¬†If you feel like you’ve been drowning in so many mundane, daily tasks that you can’t advance your business, you NEED an assistant. ¬†Because once you aren’t weighed down with all of the tiny yet necessary tasks, you can concentrate on bigger and better things to make your business stronger. ¬†I can almost guarantee you that if you use that time saved wisely, you’ll make more than enough to cover your assistant costs and then some!

Find out about getting your own Assistant HERE! | Find out about hiring a Social Media Manager HERE

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Get Access to all 24 speakers with a Digital Pass to our Fall Conference! ¬†That’s almost 20 hours of amazing education for a special price of just $59 ( limited availability) then it goes to $159!

Looking Ahead!

Now that we’ve chatted a bunch about what worked really well in 2015, I wanted to share with you what didn’t.

Last year I was too busy. ¬†Too rushed. ¬†I had too many to do’s (until I got Bench & EAHelp) and I was drowning in my obligations. ¬†With 3 kids, a hubby, a ministry, several businesses, writing a book, and a small farm, I just couldn’t do it all, and I started to slip silently into depression under all of the weight. ¬†I’ve determined that I am going to slow it down in 2016. ¬†That I’m going to take more time for what matters, and finally get that book written that’s been on my heart. ¬†Next year is THE year.

If you’ve been feeling the tug to slow down, or have a book on your heart to write, I would SO love for you to join me. ¬†I’ve decided to create some exclusive little clubs to help encourage others in Intentionality and Writing. ¬†Would love to have you! ¬†You can sign up below¬†if you are interested.

 

JOIN OUR EXCLUSIVE ENCOURAGEMENT CLUBS!

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So 2015 was crazy busy. It had high highs, and low lows. Although it was an incredible year, I didn’t accomplish a lot of what I thought I would. And I felt like the busy-ness, to do lists, and pressures suffocated my real heart and my dreams. After talking with several people I’ve realized that I’m definitely not alone. It’s been on my heart for years to do something a bit more small, intentional, and focused for those of you who really wanted to make some strides towards creating the life you want.

 
So, for the first time ever,¬†I’ve decided to start two private clubs for my two greatest passions. ¬†Intentional living, and writing. ¬†My heart for these groups is to provide a small, safe place for women to connect, encourage, inspire, and challenge each other as we press on towards the things God is pressing on our hearts. ¬†For me, those two things are slowing down, and stewarding what God has put in my life right now, and writing my story. ¬†I don’t have any magic formula, and I’m no expert in either of these fields, but, I am hugely passionate, and available. ¬†I long for these things to be cultivated in others lives even stronger than I long for them to grow in my own. ¬†And that is pretty strong.

I’ve created a game plan to help all of us stay focused, and press on in our races, but what I’m truly excited about is meeting the hearts of the women who join in the fun this year. ¬†I simply cannot wait to see who they are! ¬†There is limited space, so please hurry if you want to secure your spot. ¬†We will cut it off when we reach our limit to ensure the atmosphere of the group.

So if this sounds like something you’d like to be a part of, please use the links to sign up for the email list below. ¬†I will use that email list to send out a bunch of details in the next few days. ¬†Really looking forward to having the best 2016 yet alongside you all!

 
INTENTIONAL 2016: The first one is for Intentional Living & Work, it will revolve a lot around creating the life you’ve dreamed of, and helping you find more work life balance so you aren’t a slave to your business. We will do monthly slow down challenges, read some books together, share recipes and ideas, set goals and have accountability, have monthly interviews with women who are actually managing well and loving their life, and talk about how to create this life you’ve been seeking. It’s going to be so fun.

 
WRITERS CIRCLE: The second is for those of you who love writing. As an aspiring author myself, I know that God has birthed a book in my heart, but it’s a lonely confusing road. I currently am signed with a literary agent and will be in negotiations with publishers shortly. I have gone about it with all the rough and tumble and hard work and I want to help you see your dream of getting published realized too. Each month we will do a book club, writing exercises, goal setting and accountability, video interviews with some of my favorite author friends, agents, editors, and PR people, and hopefully meet up for some writing days throughout the year in different cities.
I am seriously BEYOND stoked about these and cannot wait to get started! If you are interested in joining us, please click on the links below and sign up to receive all of the info. We will be sending all the details in the next few days.

JOIN BY CLICKING THE LINKS BELOW!
Becoming Intentional & creating the life you want: http://eepurl.com/bLeEcX
Writers Circle & the road to becoming an Author : http://eepurl.com/bLkCcn

  • Emily Krook - Hi! I signed up for the Intentional 2016 group. It said that I had to wait for the email link to confirm but I still haven’t gotten an email? I just want to make sure my name shows up in the group. Thank you so much!

  • Nicole Boneck - Hello,

    I just wanted to message you about the May/June/July books for the book club on Facebook. We have all been waiting so patiently and haven’t to my knowledge heard of the names yet:) could we get those? Can email me to at Nicolemskinner1@gmail.com

 

Are you on Instagram??? ¬†We’d LOVE to connect with you!

Please tag @intentionalhome and #intentionalhomeproject in your posts!  We will choose random winners from the hashtag to receive our favorite gift cards!

Sign up for our IHP Newsletter here and we will keep you posted on when we add the bundles, and fun freebies to the club!

*Please remember that your membership is for your personal use only, and please do not share the content or conversations in our group with anyone outside.  Thank you for your thoughtfulness.  

 

 

 

 

I am just beside myself…. after months of dreaming, planning, researching and designing, our first ever Kids School Journal is here!

Introducing… My Adventure Journal with Archer & Friends!

We invite you and your little ones on an adventure of faith with our furry little fox friend named Archer! The name Archer came from someone who is setting their eyes and aiming at a target. We believe that fulfilling God’s purposes for our lives is our target, and God’s Word is our guidebook of truth. Archer goes on a series of Adventures throughout our Summer Journal and we hope he will fill the little hearts in your home with an excitement to start journalling their own stories, ponder what is going on in their lives, and get in God’s Word to find direction & comfort.

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meet archer page
I am
i am - about me page

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bible reference page

All about me archer school

 

To hear more of the heart behind the journal, and get a full video tour, watch the video below!

 

 

This is our very first Adventure School Journal and it is specifically designed to make the best of this school year whether in a classroom, homeschool environment, or evening devotions as a family.

Our School Journal includes

-A Hard Bound, rounded spine book with matte finish cover for easy cleaning

-500+ pages with 33 different full page custom illustrated coloring pages with Archer & his friends. Each season also has 20 different hand illustrated drawings around the daily journaling section.  

-13 weeks of each season (fall, winter, spring) Adventure writing with 5 daily journal pages each week, and 1 weekly memory journal page

– 1 All About Me Page ( this is one of my favorite things the kids do in school each year, but storing a 2’x3′ poster isn’t always the easiest, so I wanted to incorporate something similar in this journal)

– 1 Handprint page to trace, paint, or draw the outline of your child’s hand

– 2 Letter pages – We believe that words are powerful. Much of the Bible is compiled of letters written to the church. Since our goal for these journals is that they will be the keepers of your children’s stories, we wanted to add something extra special, and give you space to write to them in the back of their journals.

– 1 Things You Said Page – We all know that our kids say the best things. We wanted to give you a page to jot down their funny sayings, and cute mumbles that also accounted for the time and season they said them in. Recording their words and knowing it was Summer of 2015 when you read them years later will become a priceless memory.

– 1 Look What God Did Page-

Р1 Encouraging words page РThis page is to be filled out by family and friends. Think of it like the back of your yearbook when everyone signs it. They could take it to school, or sports events, or dance recitals, or their birthday party.  Anywhere that they are surrounded by people they enjoy that could write something encouraging and uplifting in their books.

– I AM reference page. At the beginning of the journal there is a page dedicated to a bunch of verses that reference who we are in Christ and how He made us. This becomes an amazing tool of affirmation and confirming their identity in Christ.

– 10 Pages of Feelings with Bible References – During the daily pages there are boxes to for your child to write out how they feel that day, right next to that is a box that says “What does God say about how I feel?”. The purpose of adding this in is to help children understand and form patterns that God cares about how they feel, and has something in the Bible that applies to them. Our hope and prayer is that this activity will help show kids that God’s word is more than just good stories, it is alive and active, and does actually apply to their lives today!

Are you excited about the Adventure Journal???

Sign up for our Newsletter to make sure you stay up to date on when they are for sale and when we add new things to the series

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It is our dream that these journals will become the building blocks of their legacies and that you, and they,

will treasure them for years to come and enjoy reading back about what they wrote through these pages.

GRAB YOURS HERE!!!

It is our hope that the Adventures with Archer series will become a loved staple in many homeschool communities and Christian Schools. If you are interested in having these journals for your classroom or homeschool group, please email me at hello@intentionalhomeshop.com and we will get you set up!

If you would like to sell this series in your boutique, please email hello@intentionalhomeshop.com with ‘wholesale’ in the subject line.

Archer the Fox and the Adventures with Archer series is copyrighted and trademarked under US Trademark and Patenting Laws.

Any duplication or copying of these materials is prohibited under penalty of law.

It

It’s been 13 months since I put this print on our front door, and I’ve never needed to be reminded of this truth as much as I have in the last year.To be honest, my hearts been through the ringer this past year. It’s been causing me to shut down a little bit lately, and I know that’s not right either.It sucks when things don’t turn out the way you think they will. It hurts when you have to adapt to plan b, or c, or z. But the truth is, God Himself, He’s the hope. Not the dreams, or the wishes, or the way you thought your life would turn out.It’s Him.Him alone.Things may not be panning out the way I thought they would, but amidst the tears, and the grief of what I thought my life would be like, there’s so much peace, and the joy is stirring greater and greater.It may not be the way I thought it would be, but when I stop to look around, it’s so, SO much sweeter than the daydreams I scribbled in school of what I thought would happen.This family. This great little life, it’s so beautiful.And I’m so thankful.It wasn’t until a few days ago when I walked through the front door and saw this sign that my heart realigned. I realized I had been hoping in the wrong things. I had been hoping in my circumstances to change, when really, the Hope I needed all along, has lived inside me the whole time.And that, right there, is where this unexplainable peace is coming from. And now that I remember that, I’m calling on the Source to bring back the joy too.And I know He will… Because I’m finally trusting in Him…. The God of Hope.#karenwrites #intentionalhome