Tuesday Victories | 8.29

Tuesdays are hard. They’re the sophomores of the week- you’re fully invested but not close to the end yet. Instead of feeling drained and irritated (ask any of my students- Tuesdays are the worst for me..whoops!), here are a few small victories- words, things, and moments- getting me through the week:

Psalms

1. Psalm 103– My reading plan takes me through the Psalms on Wednesdays and I haven’t been able to get this one out of my head since I read it last week. The entire chapter is filled to the brim with specific attributes about the Lord: that he is a forgiver, a healer, a redeemer, a satisfier. He is righteous and merciful and gracious and always loving. I need to be reminded of who the Lord is, everyday, and Psalm 103 is helping me this week.

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2. Fat Dan’s Deli in Indy— Matt and I first stumbled upon this place last winter and have been raving about it ever since. It’s an unassuming place in So-Bro but shoot dang, their food. It’s definitely a place to indulge, and their fries and wings are the best we’ve had in Indy. It’s a Chicago-style place, so tons of Cubs gear on the walls and Italian beef on menu and everything is amazingly delicious. My parents came into town on Saturday to watch me coach and my girls play and then treated Matt and me to lunch afterwards. I remember thinking how much my parents would love the place after we visited the first time, so it was a blast watching them love their experience. And the food!

3. GHS Soul Sisters– At school, we have this hour in the middle of the day where students get to choose where they want to eat and hang out. It’s also a time where clubs can meet during the school day. With the help of my two of my best work-friends and the enthusiasm of some students we all have relationships with, we launched a Christian-community group for girls on Friday during this hour and it has been AMAZING. The girls are pumped and inviting everyone they know and this past week we had 30 girls reading Scripture, talking about who God is and why that matters. Friends, this is incredible. To be able to disciple in a public school with students we see every day has been such amazing thing to be a part of. So thankful for the space and freedom to watch the Lord do his thing. Go follow us on Instagram @ghssoulsisters

4. You all!– Friends, your responses to my last blog post about body image was incredible. I received so many texts and messages and comments that were so encouraging, especially since I was crazy terrified of posting something so honest and raw. Thank you for sharing your struggle with me– I so value your vulnerability. I want to continue having conversations about body image and the balance between working out and eating well from a place of gratitude and worship rather than a place of obsession and self-gratification. Hopefully this will be a place where that can happen.

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5. Dance, Stand, Run by Jess Connolly— I know this has been one of my victories a few weeks ago, but the more I read, the more it’s changing, challenging, and encouraging me to step into a place of holiness and grace and mission. I cannot recommend it enough. Go ahead and pre-order your copy here! You will not regret it, promise.

I’m in the full swing of a busy fall, but life is so, so good right now. But, I’m still needing to remember the victories that make my weeks particularly sweet. Let me know what some of your favorites are in the comments or on social media @kelseylietzen

Tuesday Victories | 8.8

Tuesdays are hard. They’re the sophomores of the week- you’re fully invested but not close to the end yet. Instead of feeling drained and irritated (ask any of my students- Tuesdays are the worst for me..whoops!), here are a few small victories- words, things, and moments- getting me through the week:

school

1. Sharpie Pens– School started last week, which means I got to break out all my school supplies! And people, I just love new pens and pencils and paper. Such a geek- I know- but at least I’m in a profession where it’s fitting. Sharpie pens are my new favorites this year and I’m excited to have a few colored ones to grade with! (The things teachers get excited about hah!)

2. Routine- I know this one is more abstract, but during the last few weeks of summer, I was craving routine and being an extrovert, I was missing being around people for a majority of my day, so I definitely welcomed the start of school. Except the 5:30AM wake-up. I didn’t miss that.

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3. The song “Saved My Soul” by City Alight– Friends, I LOVE finding new worship music. And thankfully Spotify aids me in my searches through their Discover pages and this song came on during my drive home today. I played it on repeat the whole way home. I cannot wait to listen to the rest of their album this week! Here’s a good one if you’re searching.

4. Matt’s wasp killing skills- So Matt is the best husband for a billion reasons, but our apartment has had some wasp nests around it (NOT MY FAVORITE) and I came home to him yesterday attacking the nest on our balcony with Raid. And gosh darnit, those wasps are all gone and I’m not mad about it. Whatta champ.

Holy Ground

5. Jess Connolly’s new book– I’m on the launch team for Jess’ new book that comes out in October and it’s just incredible. It’s called Dance, Stand, Run: The God-Inspired Moves of a Woman on Holy Ground and she gets crazy honest about her past few years learning about how grace and holiness intersect and it’s beautifully Gospel-centered, challenging, and authentic. You can pre-order it here and if you participate in the pre-order, you can claim some goodies here

6. The Lumineers Spotify radio station- Matt is currently working towards a graduate degree and I’m back to teaching, which means some of the free time we have together at home is spent working– reading and writing and grading. Since Netflix would just be super distracting, we’ve found a few Spotify stations that we love and The Lumineers station is one of the best ones to be playing in the background while we work.

I hope you’re enjoying your Tuesday today! And maybe some of these victories made yours a little better, too. Share what’s getting you through the week in the comments! 

Tuesday Victories | 7.25

Tuesdays are hard. They’re the sophomores of the week- you’re fully invested but not close to the end yet. Instead of feeling drained and irritated (ask any of my students- Tuesdays are the worst for me..whoops!), here are a few small victories- words, things, and moments- getting me through the week:

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1. Eat with Joy: Redeeming God’s Gift of Food– my Whole30 journey started and then ended after four days. I didn’t quit because I necessarily wanted to give up, but rather because it wasn’t the healthiest decision for my body and mind. Because I’ve been thinking a lot about food lately, I’ve been reading about eating and I stumbled upon this book and downloaded it immediately. I’m about halfway through and it’s challenging me to think about the way and reasons why I eat, which is an incredibly challenging process. I’ll let ya know how it goes and what I’m learning in a blog post sometime.

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2. This sermon by Scott Sauls- Matt introduced me to Scott Sauls (not personally- just his writings/preachings) several months ago because Sauls is a preacher Matt greatly respects. I’ve been on a podcast kick this summer, mostly when I’m driving or working out, and downloaded this one yesterday from the Christ Presbyterian’s podcast channel. This sermon is such a treat. It is challenging and beautiful and packed with truth and Jesus and I didn’t want it to end. I’m excited to listen to it again and take notes!

3. Chat Pack– this is a product I got at a conference as a catalyst to start discussion among students, but Matt and I used it a bit when we first started dating. It’s just a box filled with cards that have interesting questions on them, but they’ve sparked so many great conversations for us! We hadn’t used them in the past year, but Matt found them last week and we went through a bunch and it was such a blast to learn things about each other or see how our answers have changed. And it’s always my favorite to connect over intentional conversation, so I’m thankful for that time with him!

4. This carnitas recipe– Although Whole30 turned into Whole4, we still had all Whole30 food in the fridge for the week. We made these last night and they. are. amazing. Easy to prep, pretty inexpensive (I used a pork shoulder rather than a tenderloin) and super healthy. Matt and I both agreed that this will be one of our go-to repeat recipes.

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5. This Philippians study– I mentioned Sharon Hodde Miller’s Twitter feed a few weeks ago and she just released this study on Philippians. We’re only two days in, but so far I’ve loved the what I’ve learned contextually about this church and this time period and where Paul was at while he was writing this letter. Philippians has always been my favorite book of the Bible and I’m so excited to dive deeper!

A shorter list for today because I’ve been running around getting ready for school to start next week. Ah! If you found some victories this week, and I certainly hope you did, let me know what they are in the comments!

Tuesday Victories | 7.18

Tuesdays are hard. They’re the sophomores of the week- you’re fully invested but not close to the end yet. Instead of feeling drained and irritated (ask any of my students- Tuesdays are the worst for me..whoops!), here are a few small victories- words, things, and moments- getting me through the week:

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1. Brunch- I trekked (not really, I flew) to Denver solo last week to visit some of my very best friends from college and we stayed up too late talking and woke up even later and brunch was a natural consequence from these things. And people, Denver is real good at the brunch game. We lingered for a long time talking more, invited other friends along, and indulged in really good food- duck fat fried potatoes? Apple chicken sausage scramble? Done. It was the best week; I came home with a full stomach and filled soul.

2. Sweet potatoes- and because I’ve been filled to the brim this summer with really good, but mostly unhealthy food, I just started my very first Whole30 yesterday. I’ve known about Whole30 for years and dabbled in it a bit, but I’ve never actually committed to one. So now’s the time. And this week, sweet potatoes are keeping me fueled well. I just started eating them at breakfast and my beginning meal has so far carried me well through my mornings at soccer practice. I also just love sweet potatoes and this Whole30 is challenging me to eat them in more creative ways.

3. That Sounds Fun Podcast- Annie F. Downs is a writer and a speaker who loves Jesus and loves to have fun. She has intentional conversations with her friends, which are a lot of pretty well-known people in the Christian circle, and lets us listen along. I usually listen to her podcasts while working out and I’ve started either laughing or tearing up in the middle of a workout because she’s mastered both humor and well-spoken deep truths. You can find more information about her podcasts and her talks here.

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4. This Rifle Paper Co. planner – two weeks from today I will be answering the billions of questions from my honors freshman who want to know all the details about all the things and trying to motivate my sophomores to power through a year a standardized testing. I’m still a little bitter that we’re starting on a Monday instead of a Thursday, but I’m getting past it, I promise. I’ve been spending tons of time getting prepped for the school year and for the beginning of soccer season and in the process I decided to invest in a Rifle Paper Co. planner when it was on sale because it’s both parts pretty and functional. I’ve used many planners in my time as a student and as a teacher and this is my all-time favorite. It’s simple and has checklists for everyday and it keeps me organized- all good things. I just can’t get on board with keeping my schedule on my phone and if you can’t either, check out Rifle’s line of planners. 

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5. My Spotify Discover Weekly playlist- Matt and I have traveled a decent amount this summer and Spotify has kept us in good company. Spotify Premium is one of the best investments I make every month and I just love their Discover Weekly playlists, which they put together each week based on my music preferences. While they’re a hit or miss every week, they’ve been a hit this summer and have made for some solid DJ-ing from the passenger seat. Last week’s jam with my friends was “Nancy Mulligan” by Ed Sheeran (I’ll apologize now- it’s been stuck in my head for a week). We listened to it repeatedly as they drove me around the Denver area and now that song will forever remind me of that trip and my friend attempting to Irish Jig in the Goodwill parking lot.

6. Puppies- it’s no secret that I love puppies and am in a season a pretty intense puppy-fever. At soccer practice today, one of our graduated seniors from last year came to visit and brought her 9-week old goldendoodle and it was just the best. He chased after the ball, was adorably sad when people were leaving, and let me spend a few minutes hugging him. Since Tuesdays can be a little rough- especially when they’re humid and filled with long to-do lists, being able to cuddle an adorable puppy certainly made today a bit brighter.

I hope you’re soaking up these summer weeks! What are some of your victories this Tuesday?

Tuesday Victories | 7.4

These Tuesday Victories are coming to ya a bit early because of the holiday tomorrow. Enjoy, friends!

Tuesdays are hard. They’re the sophomores of the week- you’re fully invested but not close to the end yet. Instead of feeling drained and irritated (ask any of my students- Tuesdays are the worst for me..whoops!), here are a few small victories- words, things, and moments- getting me through the week:

fireworks

1. Fireworks- friends, it’s [almost] the Fourth of July! I hope you enjoy your day wherever you may go-whether on a beach, in someone’s home, or on a city street watching a parade. And I hope you find somewhere perfect to watch fireworks! Matt and I live in a cute neighborhood where people take their fireworks seriously. We’ve been able to see them from our balcony the past few nights and it’s been such a treat!

2. Sharon Hodde Miller’s Twitter feed– I first read Miller’s writing in a Christianity Today article when Matt and I were coming back from his parents’ house after Christmastime. I was hooked! She loves Jesus, is incredibly well-educated and crafts beautiful and truthful pieces of writing. Her Twitter feed is legit and either always challenges me or refers me to some fantastic resources. Her first book comes out this fall and I cannot wait to read more from her!

3. Chipotle Burrito Bowls- because Chipotle is actually the best. It’s been a crazy few weeks for Matt and I, including a week in Maine with 18 of my family members and then a week in Ohio leading 35 middle school students on a church trip. Needless to say, we haven’t eaten too many crazy-healthy meals but at least Chipotle isn’t the worst! And it’s delicious. And guac. So it was a solid option the past few weeks!

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4. The US Postal Service’s generosity- My Army-brother was just deployed overseas and needless to say it’s been a bit difficult. But, the USPS offers the “Military Care Kit” where they will send loved ones free supplies to send care packages overseas. I just ordered ours and if you’re interested in this, check out more information here. Having my brother deployed is difficult enough, but I’m grateful USPS has lessened the steps to support and encourage him while he is gone!

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5. The list at the end of this blog post– I don’t quite remember how I stumbled upon this blog, but at some point I subscribed to it and goodness I’m thankful I read this post this morning. Placing our identity in the Lord can be so, so difficult at times. Aliza Latta, a guest writer, wrote out a list of reminders that she recites/prays every morning to help her focus back on Jesus and her identity in him. I love this practice and wrote the list in my journal this morning and I plan to use it at a catalyst for prayer/journaling times this summer.

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6. Fresh flowers- I just love fresh flowers. Love them! Trader Joe’s had peonies in stock and we had some friends over for dinner Saturday night, thus the perfect excuse to buy them. They make our apartment pretty and fresh-looking and they make me happy everytime I look at them. It’s been so fun figuring out ways to make our apartment look more home-y looking and fresh flowers are just the best addition!

I hope you’re having a great holiday! We’re spending the day with some friends and using up the rest of the sparklers from our wedding. What are some of your favorites today?

Also- if you know my brother and want to get in on the care-package sending action, let me know and I can get you all the information you need!

Tuesday Victories | 6.20


1. Edgar Allan Poe statue- and out comes my English major side. I wrote my senior paper in college over Poe’s Fall of the House of Usher and while I was student teaching, I taught a nonfiction unit and used an article about this statue when it was first put in Boston and I’ve been wanting to see it ever since. That got to happen last weekend and I geeked out so hard. It was the best. 


2. Lobster rolls- People. These things are just incredible. New England rolls lightly toasted, overstuffed with pieces of lobster, and doused in butter. They’re a Maine classic and we’ve made it our goal to eat a many as possible this week from as many places as possible in order to find the best. Ya just can’t get these in Indiana. Wicked good. 

3. Third floor balconies- the house we’re staying in has this balcony-deck area that overlooks the ocean with the fishing boats and Five Islands Lobster Company in full view. In the mornings, Matt and I sit up there and read while listening to the fisherman chattering away and the waves crashing on the shore. It’s a good setup.

4. Old family stories- we’re story-tellers and the best family stories get repeated and embellished often. They are always accompanied with roaring laughter, interruptions, and finishing each other’s sentences. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

5. The rocky coastline- one aspect that makes the Maine coastline particularly beautiful is the rocky shore. There’s something mesmerizing about watching the waves crash on the rocks over and over again- I can’t get enough. And the sound when the window is open at night going to sleep? Done. 

6. Moxie Soda- man, this stuff is awful, but so far I’ve seen my dad drink it at least one meal a day. I grew up with this classic soda- once used for medicinal purposes- and the after taste is what really makes it something. But it’s been the catalyst for many a family joke and initiation for the new-comers to the family (Matt endured it the first time he visited my parents house- he obviously survived and passed the test), so it’s always present on every trip to Maine where you can actually find it most places. 

So far we’re loving the vacation life and all the time with our family! We’re thankful for the little things that make it the best. What are you celebrating this Tuesday?

Tuesday Victories | 6.13

Tuesdays are hard. They’re the sophomores of the week- you’re fully invested but not close to the end yet. Instead of feeling drained and irritated (ask any of my students- Tuesdays are the worst for me..whoops!), here are a few small victories- words, things, and moments- getting me through the week:

books

1. God Has a Name by John Mark Comer– THIS BOOK. Shoot. Comer combines theology and approachability to create a piece that takes his reader through an explanation of God’s actual name, Yahweh, by going in-depth into Exodus 34:4-7. I was challenged every time I picked up this book as Comer presented ideas and concepts and explanations that I had never considered before and he did it really well. Here’s to the many hours of processing and prayer to come.

2. Our Le Crueset Grill Pan– because summer means grilling out but apartment living says, “nope, can’t quite do that here!” so we compromise with a grill pan. Although it’s a pain to clean, Matt manages to magically get it spotless every time- whatta good man- so we use it all the time because it at least gives us the facade that we grilled out and that just makes us happy. And it cooks meat perfectly and deliciously, so that helps too. Go almost grilling.

roadtrip

3. Google Maps– because we’re road tripping to Maine at the end of this week (SO. READY. FOR. LOBSTER. And family. Always family.) and Google Maps has been our constant companion while we’ve been searching places we could realistically and potentially stop at on the way there. Also, it will be accompanying us the entire way there and it reroutes automatically, so all the praises for that.

4. Sunscreen- because coaching soccer means summer conditioning started yesterday and it decided to be super hot this week and sunscreen makes my skin not completely hate me. Or look red, because that would be inevitable without sunscreen. Thanks western European heritage.

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5. Dairy Queen Oreo blizzards- because ice cream in the summer. Done.

6. Pictures of Bernedoodles– because I just discovered that this breed exists and I’m absolutely obsessed and looking at pictures of them makes me smile. Currently making oh-so-subtle hints to my husband for one. I’ll keep ya updated.

I hope you’re staying cool on this super humid Tuesday! What are some of the things making you smile this week?

Tuesday Victories | 6.6

Tuesdays are hard. They’re the sophomores of the week- you’re fully invested but not close to the end yet. Instead of feeling drained and irritated (ask any of my students- Tuesdays are the worst for me..whoops!), here are a few small victories– words, things, and moments– getting me through the week:

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1. The new She Reads Truth Romans study– I love everything She Reads Truth produces. Each plan is simply scripture with a short devotion and this summer we’re walking through Romans- one of my favorite books of the Bible, especially after having to do an intensive study over it for a Bible class in college. I’m so, so excited to be digging into this book once again! We just started yesterday, so it’s not too late to join! Check it out here

2. Fresh squeezed orange juice- we have a local market here in Indy that sells fresh squeezed orange juice (with just oranges! No sugar! Praises.) and it’s my current summer favorite. Yes please!

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3. This pun book– because it’s adorable and it’s sitting on my coffee table which is in front of the sofa I’m always sitting on now because summer as a teacher. Right on Thyme? Find Your Porpoise? Honey Bee Yourself? And those illustrations?! Goodness I love puns. The best. Thanks to my friend Katy for this gem!

4. Amazon family accounts- because this means I have access to my husband’s massive Kindle library and this was the best discovery. Nerdy kid in a candy store right here.

5. Struck by Russ Ramsey– A quick, but impactful read of a man’s reflections on life as he closely encountered death through a random virus in his heart. I sat at the pool late last week tearing up behind my sunglasses as I inhaled Ramsey’s words. Beautiful and brutally honest reflections about Jesus, marriage, relationships, and death. And as a newlywed, the tears kept coming until the last page with this one.

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6. These running shoes- I just started routinely running again because I realized I need the therapeutic qualities pounding my feet on pavement over and over quickly provides me. And without good shoes, this would be an even more painful endeavor than running (and working through all the things in my head) already is. And also, this is probably the fifth pair of these shoes that I’ve owned. They’ve been my loyal road companions for the last six years and it’s been nice to be reacquainted with them recently.

7. McAlisters– I meet with women from my church- women who have become some of my dearest friends in Indy- here every Tuesday to talk about Jesus and life and all the random things in-between. I order a grilled chicken salad and grilled chicken spud every time and now we get to sit outside because it’s warm and I just love it.

Happy Tuesday, friends! Enjoy the sunshine and the fact that it’s summer YAY!