6 Things Saving My Life


woman leaning on kitchen counter looking at smart phone. Saving my lifeAfter a busy holiday season we enter the quieter winter months. I appreciate the mental solitude gifted each new year! Taking the chance to take a mental breath then recollaborate is like stretching for my spirit.

As I’ve reflected over the last year I can clearly see the tools, people, places, and things that have helped me. I thought I’d share of list of what’s been “saving my life” as the great Barbara Brown Taylor puts it. 

What’s Saving My Life Now


I don’t know how you operate, but I’ve been an all or nothing type of person. Black and white thinking effects my health. Either I’m running a half marathon or not running at all. I’m either cutting all sugar from my diet or inhaling too much of it.

Over the last year I’ve worked especially hard to refocus my mindset. Training myself to exist somewhere in the middle of where the pendulum swings has helped my mental and physical health.

Recently a friend introduced me to the Fiton app. Fiton includes a library of free exercise programs. Instead of thinking I need an hour long fitness session each time I work out, Fiton offers sufficient classes from anywhere between eight minutes to sixty plus. I’ve found my sweet spot for getting my heart rate up is anywhere between eleven and thirty minutes a day. 

This makes working out feel less like a chore and instead more manageable. I actually look forward to getting my heart rate up each day without fearing how much time it will take. Analysis paralysis is real! 

I love that each session is different from the next. I choose to work different body groups each day. If you enjoy routine work outs, the option is there for that as well. 

Imperfect Inspiration Planner

The best paper planner I’ve come across can be found at Imperfect Inspiration. I’ve been a planner person since middle school. Thirty nine years of life and I’ve found the perfect planner for my neurodivergent brain.

Local Iowan Brit Brown created customizable planners and sells them in her store, Copy + Paste. Brit stocks her store with limitless organizational resources for the brain. She’s created planner pages for budgets, daily reflections, monthly goal trackers, menu planning, business planning, social media pages, daily schedules, time blocking sheets, and so much more. 

I’ve customized my planner to reflect my life as a homeschooling mom and active member of my family and friend groups, writer, and creative coordinator for CIRCLE Des Moines. This planner has been invaluable for me. I highly recommend utilizing one!

CIRCLE Des Moines

CIRCLE Des Moines is a labor of love for me and a few other local moms. Meant for Des Moines and surrounding areas, CIRCLE Des Moines offers experiences and classes for kids. Soon we will be adding events for adults! 

I started homeschooling my kids during the pandemic. At first I thought we’d homeschool until the kids went from virtual learning to in person classes. Instead we decided to make homeschooling part of our lifestyle.

The challenge for my children has been connecting with other kids who share similar interests. It’s not that they weren’t out there, but it was finding experiences my kids could share with other’s that reflected those same interests.

Enter CIRCLE Des Moines! It is a secular group offering a wide variety of experiences for humans age zero to one hundred.

“CIRCLE (Children Involved in a Respectful Co-operative Learning Environment) is an all-inclusive, secular homeschool community and does not discriminate against anyone regarding religion, politics, race, gender, sexuality, age, educational methods, or other differentiating factors. The group is open to families seeking a respectful co-operative learning environment and community. All ages are welcome, from infants through adults.”

If you are looking for personalized, unique experiences for your child, check out CIRCLE Des Moines! While CIRCLE is designed for homeschool families, classes are sometimes offered during after school hours. Want to participate? The goal is to plan or host one event per quarter. The sky is the limit! What are you or your children’s interests? Start there! Or what talents do you have to give away? Use them!

CIRCLE has been a key element for my life and my family’s well being. We’ve only just begun!

For more information on the history of CIRCLE as well a boundaries and regulations, you can find that here. You can find us on instagram @circle_desmoines

Menstrual Time Blocking

Over the last few years I’ve been paying close attention to my menstrual cycle. I’ve got my physical and emotional patterns down to a science. This has helped me schedule life so my body aligns with the actions I need to take.

For instance, I won’t plan for strenuous activities on days 27-2 of my cycle. During these days I’m exhausted and moody. Days 9-13 are great to socializing! Days 22-25 I have a lot of physical energy so I clean or work on laborious projects. 

I use the Clue app to identify when I’m likely to crave certain foods or when I have a higher libido. Identifying patterns throughout the month has allowed me to meal plan in ways that make more sense, like planning for take out instead of making a meal because I know my body will want to sit tight at dinner time. 

I’m continuing to dive deeper into the menstrual phases. Information on helpful nutrients  or varying forms of exercise during the four menstrual phases exists and can be found easily on the internet. New goals for body intuition await!


Corina Mullen owns Brovi. She’s a fabulous human with a major talent – eye brows! Corina transforms a face with her beautiful brow work. Not only that, Corina offers the prettiest ambience including warm drinks and vintage wares. Her kind and thoughtful presence leaves me feeling cared for. She offers the full package – external beauty maintenance with an internal beauty check.


And lastly, goals. Setting goals for each season is saving my life. Personal goals like running the upcoming DAM TO DSM (on my fortieth birthday), group goals for CIRCLE Des Moines, family goals like a vacation or a monthly game night, friendship goals like hosting a gathering four times a year. 

I love to look forward while also practicing mindfulness. Striving for a goal that makes my insides sing is the only goal I want to set. The goals are not only for me, but also an example I want to set for my children. What’s required of me is the action – the most fulfilling part of accomplishing a goal.

I hope these life saving tips and tools are helpful to you! What’s saving your life lately? 

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Abbey Kennedy
Hello! My name is Abbey Kennedy. I am a sober enneagram four, unschooling femme raising three kids and a dog. I’m also a wife to a software engineer by day, musician by night. I love spending time with my family, my friends, and myself. Walks in nature, works of art, eclectic environments give me life! I also love a good oat milk latte, podcasts for days, writing, self-reflection, dancing, and laughing. Humor steals the show! You can find me on Instagram as @velvet_gazelle.


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