I am sorry for…

During this past year, I was part of the audience for an online event. Amazing speakers sharing from the depths of their hurts due to oppression, racial injustice, racism, sexism, etc. It was very eye opening to listen to accounts from all over the world, outside of our own microcosm of space.

At one point, a woman from the viewing audience commented about something she experienced.

It was just heartbreaking, and I replied “I am so sorry.”

She responded back:

“You don’t need to apologize, you didn’t do anything.”

There are two types of apologies…

I am sorry for what I did to you…

I am sorry for what happened to you…

In the instance of this woman’s response she was attempting to relieve or release me from my feelings because I wasn’t the person who harmed her. Which I do appreciate it, but she was misunderstanding what I was sorry for. I wasn’t attempting to take culpability, or apologize on behalf of the person(s) who harmed her. I was simply expressing my sorrow that she had to experience that pain.

Just like when we say sorry because someone has died, loses their job, is going through a difficult time, etc.

Empathy and sympathy lead us to compassion.

So, I will continue to say sorry… even for the things that I am not responsible.

I do so, because someone once told me that they were sorry.

Sorry for something they were not responsible for.


It meant the world to me that someone validated the experience as wrong. That they were truly sorry that moment occurred, how it impacted me.


Sometimes, the person who is responsible will never apologize. A sorry we will never be given a chance to receive. The absence of which affects us in ways we don’t even realize.


We are gifted the sorry that we didn’t even know we needed.

A sorry that frees us.

Gena’s Favorite Things: My Favorite Podcasts

I’m going to be ending my #GenasFavoriteThings series with my favorite podcasts!

Some, have been around for a minute and I’m still trying to catch up. Some are newer, and I’ve been listening since the beginning. And…. there are even a few I have actually been a guest. I’ve got a few more that I’ll share in December and January too. But, I’m giving them a little more listening time before sharing.

Gena’s Favorite Things: Where to Buy Event Decor!

A lot of Women’s Ministry teams will head to their local Party Supply store and spend tons of money on decor for their events. Those who are on budgets will head to the local Dollar Store, Dollar Tree, or Dollar General to save money on event decor. Purchasing plastic table cloths, utensils, etc. that are lesser quality but fit within in the budget. What if I told you there are ways to get Party Supply store quality (or better) for closer to Dollar Store prices? And, often times these items are reusable so that you don’t need to replace them for future events?

Here are my 3 favorite online retailers to shop for Women’s Ministry Events:

CV Linens: This is probably one of my favorite places to shop for tablewares, from cloths to forks. If you are on a tight budget, shop from their clearance items and build a color theme from there. Otherwise, their world is your oyster. You can buy the complete look too! Coordinating sets make shopping super easy, but I also love that you have options from traditional, classic decor to more modern looks. Many of the items on this site I have seen in local Party Supply stores for three times these prices or higher. When shopping their sale/clearance items, I’ve even paid less than dollar store prices with shipping included. The quality is also so good that our volunteers have washed the plates, bowls, and silverware for use at later events vs. disposing of it. Purchasing table linens here, versus plastic table cloths from the dollar store, is a small investment that you can use over and over again.

EfavormartSpeaking of table cloths and linens, efavormart is another great find! While they do sell other things, this is one of my go to stores for table linens specifically. I’ll shop the clearance for the organza table squares even if we are not having an event, so that I can build up a supply for the future. We set up for 24 tables, and I will usually buy colors in quantities of 12 so that I can mix and match. This helps stretch my budget further, and give me more options for color combinations. You can find efavormart on ebay as well, and sometimes there are better prices there. Not sure why, maybe ebay is where they go to sell off overstock? Anyway, I find great deals and so many choices that cover limited budgets as well as generous ones. For almost all events I start with a white linen cloth and use either organza squares or table runners to bring in the accent colors.

Nashville Wraps: All things gift wrap! Whether you are looking for gift bags, canvas totes, food packaging, tissue paper, gift boxes, bows, or more… this is the place! I have been using their products for well over 15 years, probably even longer than that. If you have the budget, you can even have custom imprinting done directly by Nashville Wraps custom to your event. There are some times sale items too, as a particular design is discontinued or overstocked. I have put together amazing gift bags and favor bags using their products for very affordable pricing. Most products come in an option of a small pack quantity or a larger quantity. The more you buy, the price per item goes down. They will have special items for certain seasons, but great options throughout the year.

Things I will buy at the Dollar Tree: plastic metallic chargers, they are the best price here at $1 each. You can spray paint them to match any theme. I don’t keep spray painting the same ones over and over again. Paper napkins or paper coffee cups are usually the best price here. I’ve purchased some decor items as well, and favors but usually things that come in a set that I can break up. Don’t buy mason jars there, you can get them cheaper by the case at Walmart. If we need to distribute pens or markers, I usually get them here. Folders, binders, or any sort of notebook, most often I’ll purchase in a location like this. Crafts are hit and miss on the quality of supplies.

Ebay, etsy, and other retailers can come through for better prices when looking for specific items or if you are just shopping for the future. You can find some awesome items in the clearance sections you can build themes around. And, if it’s not the right color paint it or dye it. I’ve purchased succulents and bamboo clippings, dried flowers, and handmade paper flowers from etsy before. Ebay has come to the rescue on certain favors in the past, as well as items for crafting projects. When I was in MOPS leadership, I would shop the clearance aisle at Michaels, JoAnn Fabrics, or Hobby Lobby and create our craft based off of what was available at the time.

Oriental Trading – I didn’t include it in my favorites because I find it to be hit or miss. I’ve gotten amazing items at a steal of a price, and other times the items were junk. I do still buy there, but always careful about what I’m getting. Their glass votive holders have yet to let me down, but I find a lot of their table decor to be overpriced for what you are getting. For decor like streamers, those tissue paper accordion style balls/fans/bells, etc. their prices are pretty much the best.

Gena’s Favorite Things: Where to Buy Favors!

After twenty some odd years of ministry leadership, I’ve definitely found some of my favorite sites to shop when it comes to event favors and decor. I’m going to share my top 3 places to shop for favors in this post, and then next post will be about decor items.

AUTOM – Autom has both an online store and print catalog you can order from. When looking through the contents you will see that Autom is Catholic based, but there are a lot of great products in their that are not exclusive to Catholicism and would work for any denomination. They do have a great selection of products that are designed for women, themed by either color/decor/Scripture, and very affordable. The only draw back to Autom is that very little is sold by the individual piece. So you may end up ordering a few more than you need, but the price point makes it well worth it. Any left over items, I save and use again as Speaker Gifts, welcome gifts to new women visiting the church, or giveaways during the year.

WHOLESALE ACCESSORY MARKET: This site has some GREAT items and deals, particularly in their clearance section. You don’t have to be a wholesaler to purchase, but the site does require a minimum purchase of $50. If you are a smaller church or this is for a smaller event, you may need to think ahead of what else is coming up on your event calendar so that you can order enough to meet the minimum. For events of 50-100, meeting the order minimum isn’t really difficult. There are also some items that are not Christian but would also make great take home items, prizes, decor. While I have primarily ordered items that I can use as take home favors from this site, I’ve ordered other items for decor too.

You can find products ranging from 0.99 to $12+ depending on what you are looking for. This is where the clearance section pays off best. Do keep in mind that quantities available change quickly and don’t always replenish once sold out. If you come across something you like, don’t wait to buy or you might miss out.

Jewelry, Key Chains, Journals, Pens, Tote Bags, etc.:

CTA INC. – CTA has been one of my go to sites for years. You can get items that make excellent favors, all themed to a particular topic. Which I love for new Women’s Ministry teams that are looking for inspiration for their events and not sure where to begin. You can also purchase complete retreat themes, with downloadable content for teaching. So whether you are supplementing your self taught event with favors, or looking for something more complete, CTA comes to the rescue.

Their clearance section can also be a gold mine, particularly for smaller sized ministries that are not dependent on putting in a larger order. Certain products are also eligible for bulk pricing, you’ll see that as part of the listing. Some items are sold in sets, but you can also buy the items individually.

Next, I’ll be sharing my favorite places to buy for decor!

Gena’s Favorite Things: For the Pets

We are a pet family. We are firm believers in adopting vs. shopping for pets, when ever possible. And, in addition to getting goodies for our little furry family members we will send some of our favorite items to our local rescues who are housing cats and dogs awaiting their furever homes. Here are my personal favorites, I couldn’t list just 3 items since some we use in combination with each other. Plus we have both cat & dog to love on.

For the Cats:

Water Fountain/Bubbler: This does plug into the wall, so you will need a place that has an outlet. We purchased this because one of our new rescue cats kept trying to drink from our cups. It was clear she wanted fresh water. This has a built in filter, and holds several cups of water at a time. All our pets (dog included) drink from it. You can remove the flower part, which converts it from a fountain to a bubbler, if the pets prefer. It’s very quiet. I replace the filter once a month.

Cat Nip, Cat Nip Sticks, and Muslin Bags: Instead of cat treats, we assemble these little bags of cat nip for the cats to play with. In each bag is about 1 tablespoon of catnip, 1/2 a catnip stick. I tie the bags closed with a double knot to prevent spillage. It keeps the catnip from ending up all of the house, they cats like that they can carry it about the house as they want to, and once they look worn I can throw them away. I also give the cats several of the full sized sticks to chew on as that is supposed to help with dental health.

CatGenie Automatic Cat Box: Now, I’ll be the first to admit this is expensive. We first heard about it when we only had an elderly cat, and we didn’t think it was a wise investment considering her age. When we rescued the 2 young cats, we decided to make the plunge. It was worth every cent. I don’t change the box at all, it connects to your plumbing so that it washes, rinses, sanitizes, and dries the reusable litter. This keeps the room where the box is odor free, no cleaning on my part, and the sanitizing cartridge is less money than I was spending on litter each month.

For Your Dogs:

Crackle Bone: Our little dog needed a good chew toy, but often we found ourselves struggling to find something that wasn’t a rope (he doesn’t like those) and didn’t have a squeaker. If a toy has a squeaker our dog will shred it within minutes, so we needed to find him something that he could chew on that didn’t squeak, and wasn’t easily destroyed. My daughter came home with one of these and it’s been PERFECT. When the dog chews on it, it makes a crackling sound. Almost like the sound of ice crunching or hard plastic packaging being crunched up in the trash. But, the exterior is incredibly strong since it’s made by the Kong brand… which is well known for it’s quality.

Raised Dog Bed: For our elderly dog, this was the most amazing solution for her old bones. She didn’t have to lay down as far to the ground, kept her off the cold tiles, and was easier for her to get out of. During the hotter summer months, you can leave it as is to let cool air flow through. During the winter, toss a small fleece or flannel blanket on top. Most of the time, I’d just hose it down and scrub it by hand, but it is easy to disassemble and machine wash. Because of the material, it is great for bringing/leaving outside. It also turns out that cats love it too. When we rescued our most recent cat, the rescue actually used these beds in their sanctuary. They do come in different sizes, so make sure to purchase the correct one. We went with a larger size that accommodated our larger dog & yet it still worked perfectly for our short legged dachshund.

Whole Earth Farms Weight Management Dog Food: In the past, we have not really had to deal with any of our dogs putting on unhealthy weight. When our dachshund started packing on the pounds, the vet told us we needed to make some changes. We started with some obvious things, like more portion control, no extra snacks or table scraps, and giving him healthy alternatives to food (his vet suggested green beans, for example). But, that wasn’t doing enough. We believed part of the problem was less activity since our elder dog had passed away. We then tried switching him to a small breed dog food, and again no real change. We moved him to Whole Earth Farms Weight Management and we are seeing success. The vet was very happy with his weightloss and we are halfway to our goal! She said that if we continue what we are doing now, there is no reason that he won’t be at an ideal weight by next year’s annual visit.

Well, that’s it for my favorite things for our pets. Next, I’ll share my favorite resources for getting favors and decor for Women’s Ministry Events!

  • Some of the products that will be shared in the “Favorite Things” series are products in which I am an official affiliate of the product, brand, or retailer; & receive a small commission should you choose to purchase. Other’s are not. All products have been purchased with my own money, not gifted to me nor are these posts sponsored by any particular brand or company. My reviews/recommendations are shared because I truly love these products and using them in my every day life.

Gena’s Favorite Things – Migraine Relief

I have struggled with migraines since childhood. I have a lot of different triggers that can set me off, and so over the years I have learned how to best treat them. Besides obvious things, like medication and super strong doses of caffeine, here are some of my favorite things to help relieve my symptoms:

  1. Cryoball Massagers: Ice therapy has been incredibly significant to helping reduce the pain of migraines. While I have been known to throw ice packs under my neck… I’m in love with this cryoball massagers. I keep them in the freezer all of the time, so they are ready when I need them. The smaller one, I will use to massage along my hairline, temple, and around my ears. If there is sinus pressure, also along my t-zone. The larger one, is great for massaging the back of the neck and into the shoulder areas. The black handles keep your hands from getting cold, which is also a plus for when you are asking someone else to do it for you. I can ask hubby to use the larger one on my neck and shoulder areas, while I am simultaneously using the smaller one on my head and face. I don’t find that you can feel the massage itself through your hair… but the cold does transmit. I would be cautious though of long hairs getting wrapped around the ball and drug into the unit. That might hurt.

2. Head Ease Essential Oil & Inhaler: First of all, I want to caveat this with the fact that my doctor recommended this for me. Before using any essential oils, I would discuss it with your doctor. It is important to ensure there are no drug interactions or other reasons you may not want to use a particular oil or blend. I was also instructed by my doctor (an Integrative Doctor) to use it in this specific way.

This is a 2 in 1 post, because it’s technically 2 products but I use them together. Using the pipette you add the essential oil blend to the inhaler. I purchased this multi-color set of inhalers because there are some other blends that I use this way. Color coding helps me remember which is which at a quick grab. You set the inhaler on your nostril, pinch the other side closed, and take a deep inhale or two. If you have ever used a Vicks Vaporub Inhaler… it’s the same principal.

My typical protocol with a migraine is to take my meds with some high caffeine beverage, hop into a hot shower with the massage feature turned on & blasting my neck area. Then right after the shower, I use the inhaler, followed by the cryoball massagers, then off to sleep it off.

3. Weighted sleep mask: I am definitely one of those who find light impacts my migraines. So, before I doze off, I put on a weighted sleep mask. It lays super flat to my face, adds a little counter pressure to my face, and just keeps it as dark as possible. This particular one also has warm/cold compress features and is recommended by doctors for migraine & sinus pressure relief.

If you are a migraine sufferer, I hope that you may find some relief through these suggestions. They are non negotiables for my own protocol.

Next, I’m going to share my top 3 favorite things I’ve purchased for my pets!

  • Some of the products that will be shared in the “Favorite Things” series are ones where I am an official affiliate of the product, brand, or retailer; & receive a small commission should you choose to purchase. Other’s are not. All products have been purchased with my own money, not gifted to me nor are these posts sponsored by any particular brand or company. My reviews/recommendations are shared because I truly love these products and using them in my every day life.

Christian Independents & 3rd Party Voters, Post Election ~ Insight

I’m taking a very quick break from my #GenasFavoriteThings posts to put out some thoughts, post election, from the perspective of an independent voter.

When I turned 18 and it was time to register as a voter, I selected Independent. I have never felt the need to draw a line in the sand with a particularly party line. I would rather look at the character of the nominees and decide which one best has the interests of the United States in mind. Note that I didn’t say “my best interests”. What is in my best interest may not necessarily be what is in the best interest of the United States.

However, rather quickly, did find myself more in alignment with the Libertarian Party and officially put myself in that camp. In part, because I wanted to see the Party experience healthy growth and to be seen more influentially. In part, because I wanted an opportunity to voice my opinions in their primaries (we don’t have primary elections, yet). That said, just because I am a Libertarian does not mean that I vote down the line. There are very liberal Libertarians, and very conservative Libertarians. I have voted Democrats and Republicans into office over a Libertarian because I felt they were the better option. (By offices I mean any elected office, not just POTUS).

Now, about POTUS elections, and those of us who are voting outside the R/D lines. As a 3rd party voter, I have come to understand the frustration of believing in your candidate so much that you put all your muster behind getting people to see why this is a great option for our country. I also understand that utter disappointment of not seeing your nominee for POTUS voted into office. Now, before anyone comes at me with the “there will never be a 3rd party president” argument… check your history. We already had one. I’ll let you dig that info up.

It can happen. I will happen again.

Historically, post election there was some grumbling but most of us would go on about life as normal. It wasn’t really until Social Media platforms became a thing & everyone was given a voice that we witnessed the response to an election like we do no. Not only do we see the onslaught of posts raising up one nominee and dragging down the other before the election, it continues long past. For 8 years I watched my Republican friends post horrible things about President Obama, and also use slanderous terms to anyone who supported him. By the same token, for the last 4 years I have watched my Democrat friends do the same exact thing about President Trump and to anyone who supported him.

Shameful behavior, really. I’m not talking about constructive criticism. I’m talking about just down right rude behavior, name calling, putting people down, false accusations, etc. Extending the vitriol beyond the President himself, but extending to his family (and young children), and toward our own friends who voted differently. Constructive criticism is not just welcomed, but should happen with facts and respectfully argued. What has (and is) happening is nothing short of kids on a play ground calling each other names and throwing dirt in each others’ hair.

Many times, I have expressed to my family that I felt like the American people in general have lost their critical thinking skills and fallen prey to salaciousness. We don’t fact check. We share “things” (I hardly call them facts or reliable new sources) that support our agenda or how we believe without any care or concern to accuracy.

If you have not had the opportunity to watch the documentary The Social Dilemma (which I recommend), one of the points that the movie makes is that Social Media recognizes our leanings and provides content based on those leanings. In other words, if you are a conservative republican, during the election seasons your Facebook feed will contain recommended or sponsored posts that align with your views. Same if you are a Democrat. You are being fed content that already aligns with your beliefs and you are not being shown anything that challenges your preconceptions. (Not to mention, that the recommended or sponsored posts themselves are even accurate in the first place.)

So, what does it look like to an Independent or a 3rd party voter? Often the reason we find ourselves in this situation in the first place is that we don’t fit neatly into either the Republicans or Democrats. We tend to find ourselves more conservative in some areas, and more liberal in others. Which means that our friends tend to not only include other independents but also Republicans and Democrats. And, based on the explanation of how the algorithms work for Social Media platforms…. we tend to see it all.

My Facebook feed is full of accurate, positive, posts regarding both candidates… as well as the negative ones. Which means I often find myself doing some quick searches to verify the accuracy of the information presented. Are these arguments or accusations justified? Did this really happen like that? Can I find the full footage vs. the 15 second clip? I witness how you behave when you assume all of your Facebook friends think like you do. The words you feel safe to say. I see how you respond when you find out that is not the truth, the names you call and the condensation in your tone.

I see it all. It is the ugly that election season brings out. And, the sad fact, is that it is absolutely the choice of the people to behave this way. I’ve made decisions in the past to severe relationships with people during election season. NOT because of how they voted, but rather because of how they behaved towards other people.

We can do better.

And, about those candidates, what does that look like post election for independents and third party voters? We see the good and the bad.

Due to the fact that we are not bombarded with one sided information/editorial, we see both sides of the coin. We get to see that the President who was elected did some amazing things while in office, and we get to see the not so stellar stuff too. Our past Presidents have done some amazing things while in office, every single one of them. Were they perfect? No. Did they fail us in other areas? Yes. To be an independent is not to have our heads in the sand and unaware of what is happening around us. Quite the opposite. We have our heads high, getting the full panoramic view. We see it all, the good and the bad… the pretty and the ugly…. the encouraging and the discouraging.

We can look back at the past presidencies and see how unfounded the fears were that so-and-so would ruin the country. We are resilient. There’s nothing that has happened yet that we have not bounced back from. We can look back and see the advances that were made, the good decisions, and positive actions. We celebrate those moments regardless of who put the pen to paper to sign into being. Just the same, we can reflect back on the things that make no sense and we disagreed with and ask what can we learn from this? How can we use this to help us in the future? How would future leaders handle these scenarios.

So, we do not fear. We look at the history and know that we will be just fine.

What the post election news, social media platforms, etc. do for us … it tells us less about the candidates and those elected. Instead it speaks volumes about the people who are in our sphere of influence. We learn about your character & integrity. We don’t care about who you voted for, we care about how you are treating others…

Gena’s Favorite Things: Leadership Books of 2020

I love books. Like, deep in my soul love. 99% of the books I buy are still printed vs. ebooks. I love the feel and the smell of them. Since I primarily read non-fiction, I love taking notes in them and highlighting standout information or profound thoughts. Three books that I highly recommend to any church/ministry leader are:

Church Refugees: Truth be told, this book is not just a favorite for 2020. I’ve had it for a while now, and make a point to re-read it at least once a year. But, I believe this is going to be a really important book to reflect on at the end of 2020 and into 2021. Why? I believe some churches and ministries will see that some of their members have not returned post covid19 shut down, and this book will explain the why for many of the long term, dedicated, members who chose not to come back. I believe it’s been an issue for many years, but the break covid19 created between the people and the church will provide a convenient way for those who were teetering to simply slip away unnoticed & without any drama.

I actually think this should be required & revisited reading for anyone in leadership. Whether included in seminary courses, staff hiring/training, etc. It’s truly insightful.

The Third Option: There are a lot of great books out there that address the racial divide in America, in the church. I liked The Third Option because I find it to be a gentle and applicable starting point for conversation among leaders. I believe it doesn’t pander around the subject, but comes very straight forward but in a way that that causes reflection and response vs. reaction. Not only would this be a great read for self, but even one that your staff/team could go through together as a study.

The Way of the Dragon or the Way of the Lamb: (Caveat: The book was written in 2017, I just came across it in 2020)

Have you ever had a book that was so good, so insightful, that by the time you finished highlighting all of the goods stuff… you might as well have just dumped out a bucket of highlighter fluid over the whole thing. This is that kind of book. There is not 1 single page that doesn’t don a splash of color from my highlighter. In fact, I had to even to get a 2nd color because I ran out. I also feel like in the wake of the last several years of watching leaders stumble and fall, that this book is a humbling reminder of what “power” should look like in the life of a leader.

Next, I will be sharing my favorite products for mirgraine relief!

  • Some of the products that will be shared in the “Favorite Things” series are ones where I am an official affiliate of the product, brand, or retailer; & receive a small commission should you choose to purchase. Other’s are not. All products have been purchased with my own money, not gifted to me nor are these posts sponsored by any particular brand or company. My reviews/recommendations are shared because I truly love these products and using them in my every day life.

Gena’s Favorite Things: Home Organization

Moving into a new home meant reflecting on my current organization items and deciding what was coming with and what might need to be replaced or added to work for the new floorplan.

Large Rustic Wall Mounted Jewelry Organizer: 28″x16″ Shabby Chic – I purchased this about 4 months ago, and it’s been a game changer for me. Probably the best, all in one place, jewelry organizer I’ve ever had. Generally speaking, I don’t wear very heavy jewelry & the wood on this is SUPER light. So light, in fact, I used 4 command strips to mount this to the wall (instead of screw/nails). It’s holding strong. The cork board on the right holds my post style earrings. What really sold me on this one, over the others I shopped, was the shelf just above the necklace pegs. I have a few jewelry pieces I keep in their original boxes and this worked perfectly to hold those items as well. It comes in black and white, and if you don’t like their choice of the colored center portion, you can easily replace that with something better suited to your decor.

5 Piece Magnetic Calendar Set: This is a system that has worked for keeping my home organized for the last several years. The monthly calendar is primarily used for conveying important dates between the family. I do not put every item from my personal calendar her, but rather just what would matter to the rest of the family & the family does the same. Examples of my own use: when I will be out of town, if I have a meeting during a time the rest of the family would be home, family plans, etc. My kids will write down things like sleepovers, after school meetings, etc. This way we don’t run into overlapping plans. The smaller weekly calendar is where I will put out the meal plan for the week. During the school year it is mostly just for dinner, but for summer and long breaks it will include lunch plans too. The daily calendar is where I will list specific chores for that day. This is kept on the fridge, and is basically our Family Communication Command Center.

Lidded Storage Trays – I love, love, love these bins. They come in a primary color assortment OR you can choose complete sets in a few color options. I went with the teal. These have a MILLION and one uses in my opinion. I have 2 sets in my closet that are holding mementos from events, paperwork that I want accessible but no longer need in the filing cabinet, and other assorted goodies. They are also great for storing the kids school paper/artwork from year to year, craft supplies, and other things that don’t really require a lot of space (like the pet brushes and nail files, extra power cords/chargers, etc.). The lids fit nice and snuggly & they stack perfectly. If you happen to live near an ikea, they have some that are a better per piece price. If not near an Ikea, ordering these may cost you less than making the drive to Ikea. Also Ikea’s are just in white. The Container store sells something similar, but if I recall these from Amazon are the better price in comparison.

Next post, I’m going to share my 3 favorite Leadership Books from 2020.

  • Some of the products that will be shared in the “Favorite Things” series are ones where I am an official affiliate of the product, brand, or retailer; & receive a small commission should you choose to purchase. Other’s are not. All products have been purchased with my own money, not gifted to me nor are these posts sponsored by any particular brand or company. My reviews/recommendations are shared because I truly love these products and using them in my every day life.

Gena’s Favorite Things: Personal Organization

A Paper Planner Calendar – I know a lot of people have moved to using their phones and apps, but I still find that a good old fashioned paper planner works best for me especially for planning events that take months of prep work. I like being able to flip through the pages, making notes, and seeing all details at once. Also, I use a LOT of post it notes in my organization systems. Which paper planners work great with. I’ve tried out a few different planners over the years, and I’m pretty settled into this one. If you are a fan of Passion Planner, you may find that you like this one equally or better. The Jesus Centered Planner is more than just a calendar, but has space for planning out your dreams and focusing on your purpose.

NuBoard Dry Erase Spiral Notebook – I can not tell you how many planning meetings or at home work sessions that my NuBoard has been a part of. It works with regular dry erase markers, so no need to buy special markers. It also has multiple pages so that you can work on several ideas simultaneously. There is a clear plastic sheet between the pages that protects your work from being accidentally erased during transport. I had read that people used the clear pages between as extra dry erase sheets. I tried that and don’t recommend it. I’ve had my NuBoard for about 5 years now, and I’m just ready to replace it with a new one. They also come in different sizes.

FocusNotes Cornell Note Taking System – My kids talk about how much they hate “Cornell Notes” but I live and breath by them when it comes to organizing my plans and to do lists. I do prefer the one that is regular 8/5×11 size with the spiral binding on top, however they have ones that have spirals on the side, non-spiral side bound, and legal pad styles and different sizes. If you are not familiar with Cornell Note taking, I can summarize it like this… 2/3 of the paper (to the right) is dedicated lined paper like you are accustomed to using. This is where you take your notes, make your lists, etc. The left 1/3 is a blank column where you can put a quick note about that section of notes for quick reference. For to-do lists you can use this column to indicate deadlines, status, or other stats related to the notes/list. If having a planning meeting, you can put a list of items that need to be executed ahead of time & in the column you can write down the names of the people who volunteer to do the job.

I’m planning a future post about using this notebook, and I’ll include pictures of some of the different ways I have used it.

Next post, I’ll share 3 of my favorite home organization tools for the home!

  • Some of the products that will be shared in the “Favorite Things” series are ones where I am an official affiliate of the product, brand, or retailer; & receive a small commission should you choose to purchase. Other’s are not. All products have been purchased with my own money, not gifted to me nor are these posts sponsored by any particular brand or company. My reviews/recommendations are shared because I truly love these products and using them in my every day life.