Let’s Make a Tending List – January 2021

Welcome to my first tending list of 2021!

To kick off the first tending list of the year, I am going to do something a little bit different, I am going to walk you through how to make a tending list! Not only will you see my usual tending list post, like you have seen in the past (check out December’s,) you will also see how I go through the prep work to make a tending list.

Tending lists are the monthly tool that allows all the magic you wrote down in your powersheets prep work to come to life in manageable action steps. (Don’t know what Powersheets are? Start Here!)

I had such a great time sharing the blog and video walkthrough of my 2021 Powersheets Prep Work, now I am ready to jump into January!

Here I am going to walk you through my monthly tending list prep in the page order I prefer to go through it.

So let’s go!

The first thing you need to do is grab your supplies!

You can use whatever you would like and nothing you do is wrong – don’t be afraid to make these powersheets your own! I am a seasoned powersheets user (I’m on my 4th set!) and have done everything from pencil, glitter gel pens, black and white – basically everything and I LOVE stickers! I have done lots of experimenting and want to share my go to’s with you!

My go to supplies are:

  • Papermate clear point 0.7 Mechanical Pencil
  • Eraser
  • Black Paper Mate Flair Pen
  • Black Frixion Erasable Pen
  • CWM’s Faith Sticker Book
  • CWM’s Goal Setting Sticker Book
  • Crayola Super Tips Markers
  • Frixion Erasable Markers
  • ….and most importantly confetti
  • (cowbell optional)
  • (Sticky Notes optional)

The second thing you do is fill out your Prepare Well Page (pg. 53)

Your Prepare Well Page is made up of 4 sections: Important To Do’s, I’m Excited For, On My Mind, and I’m Hopeful That. I have used these boxes in many different ways as I have gone through different seasons of my life. There have even been seasons where I have just written one giant prayer over the whole page because the month ahead was so uncertain, and that’s completely okay because that’s what I needed.

Remember you can use these boxes however you want to – nothing you do is going to be wrong –

the only wrong way to use your powersheets is to not use them at all.

I like to use the Important To Do box for important dates like birthdays and holiday traditions, list out cards or thank you’s I need to do, important appointments, and the most important goals I need to take action on this month.

For the I’m excited for this box I like to put in things like: date nights, plans to finish a goal, time with bandit, etc. My husband and I have been in quarantine since March, with the exception of a handful of people that follow an intense protocol to be able to come see us and help care for me, so there hasn’t been a lot exciting things. I’ve had to get creative with this box; sometimes I just make it into a gratitude box!

The On My Mind box is a space I have always used as a prayer space. Having a progressive chronic illness means that every month there is a lot on my mind and much uncertainty ahead. It’s a space to prayer not over my goals per say, but for grace if those goals can’t be met.

I have used the I’m Hopeful That box in various ways, but I am working on using it to write 2-4 declarations of hope over my month. This has been hard for me to do, but I am working very hard to be intentional about where I place my hope; if my hope isn’t in Jesus I will surely be disappointed. I use statements that are rooted in His goodness and not my abilities while using the prompt. For example, I am hopeful that : we will joyfully sabbath, we will see Your Faithfulness God, there will still be victories seen in each day, that you will delight my heart in Your Word, etc.

Next let’s skip ahead to the Brainstorm Your Month Page (pg. 58)

For my first tending list (and every other tending list that comes after a 90 day refresh) I use sticky notes that I designate as a monthly, weekly, and daily action items ideas. As I work through my goal action plans in the prep work, I put down ideas about what I think I want to put on the upcoming tending list. It becomes a monster list that I weed down as I write items into the designated boxes on this page. I like to circle which goal will be my top priority so I know what I want to put in that spot on the TL.

Once you have your tending list drafted there’s only one more thing to do before you fill out your first Tending List of 2021- and that is taking off one action item.

You can also see some of my color inspiration in the corner!

Yes, you heard me right – take one action item off. Have you ever heard the quote from Coco Chanel that says, “before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take one things off,” well that is what I apply to my tending lists. Because if you finish your tending list early and want to add something, great; in my experience though, embracing blank lines and leaving room for good things to grow off of these pages does more good than that one extra task ever could. Thats just my two cents.

Now let’s make a mess and write out our tending list! (pg. 59)

This part is the best! Make this page reflect YOU, maybe you crave simplicity, glitter, or color and maybe even all 3 – embrace that, embrace YOU!!

My personal routine has changed a lot over the years, but currently I like to pick out a color scheme to be inspired by, then draft the page in pencil, go over it in a black papermate flair pen, then go crazy with colors and stickers!

This month has a lot of daily action items but they are for habit tracking. I am giving myself a pre-dose of grace knowing that creating habits take time so I’m celebrating progress not perfection here!

(After I go through my goals per normal, I will walk you through my wildcards and calendar spread!)

Encouraging Words: “Sabbath isn’t simply a pause that refreshes- it’s a pause that transforms” -W. B.

Monthly Goals

  • Reorganize Our Clothes: Jared and I have set a couple goals together to help us be good stewards of all God has blessed us with and one of our mini goals is to go through our clothes. We want to reorganize our clothes, donate clothes that are in good condition that we never wear, and throw out/replace worn out clothes.
  • Date Night: Jared and I also made a goal to “Love One Another Well” and one of the action steps from our mini goal is to get back into a regular date night routine so we are going to focus on that!
  • Financial Check in: This is our final joint monthly goal as a couple; as we work to be good stewards over all God has given us, the most important part of that is how we manage our money (especially as a new calendar year on our insurance plan and our deductible is reset.) So we are making time for us to check in with one another every other week on all of our purchases and bills. When we respect one another in all things, we can love one another even better.
  • Record 5 Episodes: Your girl here got herself a new amazing podcast mic and has an amazing season prepared for y’all! (check out Chronically Cultivating on Apple Podcasts and Spotify!)
  • Post 3 blog posts: I have so many good things to share with you ,and I am so blessed to be able to encourage you!
  • Thank You Cards: I love to send mail but always find that I procrastinate on thank you cards; so Maura and I are going to have a thank-you-note-writing-movie-night so neither of us will be tempted to procrastinate! (We have 5 pre-approved friends/care-takers who have to follow a strict protocol my clinic created so that as we stay quarantined we can still have community- Praise God for clever clinicians and n-95s!) Anyhow I want to love my people well and thank them for loving us so well
  • Finalizing Garden Plans: This is the BIG one! My mom and I have a garden plan review zoom call at the end of the mont to officially set our planting plan set up. So we will both bring the final draft of our detailed garden plan (we make grow plans for each type of bloom whether that be seeds, corms, or bulbs.) My mom is an amazing gardener and I am honored to learn from her!
  • PSP Night: As always us PSP Gals get together once a month to close out the current month and make our tending lists for the upcoming month! Easily the best part of my month!

Weekly Goals

  • Love Jared Well: spend time intentionally with one another without our phones
  • Sabbath: This is my top priority this month! This is a crossover goal for me, one of the BEST ways we can worship the Lord is by resting. A sabbath day isn’t about rules, it’s about trusting the Lord and leaving the hustle. We can rest because we know that taking a day off to worship Him and give our minds and bodies a break isn’t going to ruin us; the Lord calls us to rest for our benefit and for His witness. If rest is important for God, it’s important for us, and we hope to see good fruit come from this.
  • Mentorship calls: Mentoring is really important to me and I have two women who are not only dear friends but mentors and I want to make sure that I stay in touch as they help me process and pray though life and ministry.
  • Water the Windowsill Garden: Gotta keep those plants happy and healthy!
  • Weekly Worship Devotional: Worship is my word of the year, to help me embrace that I am using a special edition of the classic Write the Word Journal: Cultivate Worship from P31 ministries (which has a little under a years worth of once a week devotions on worship.) I will be using this WTW Journal weekly to reflect on how I am worshiping Him well.

Daily Goals

  • No Spend: I want to be more responsible and not make rash purchases so this will help hold me accountable to our financial goals
  • Stay Connected: I have many intentional social media boundaries in place, but want to also be intentional about spending time connecting with you!
  • Mood: This is so fun – we, The PSP Gals, are doing a fun experiment to track how similar our moods are! We are doing this by coloring in a box with 6 predetermined colors for different moods and then we will compare them at the end of the month!
  • Downtime @ 11: I’ve gotten lazy about utilizing the “downtime” option on my phone so I am going back to limiting my ability to get onto all forms of social media or other unproductive, time-sucking apps after 11 pm. To keep me accountable, I put the parental controls on it and had Jared put in the screen time passcode so if I want to extend my time I need to ask. This worked well for me in the past, and hope to see good things come from it moving forward. (I should note that Jared will also extend it whenever I ask, I am in full control, but he is also good about asking me if I “really want him to do that” and more often than not I say no and let the temptation go.)
  • Water Pilea: My Pilea plant is very dramatic and needy, and my specific plant need to watered everyday
  • Little by Little: Rather than using a monthly wildcard page to highlight how God is moving in my life, I am using the Little by Little Journal (currently sold out) to do that
  • In the Word: I aim to be in the Word in some form everyday and am tracking it here!

Next: Wildcards!

I LOVE a good wildcard! For January, I am just going to be using my ride or die quarterly wildcard page, “Celebrate Every Tiny Victory.” I would normally use at least 2 monthly wildcards along with that, but for this month I am keeping it simple and getting used to using my Little by Little Journal daily and adjusting to more medical decline. I have a TON of free custom wildcards that I have made over the past couple years, and you can access them all below!

Finally the Calendar!

I have used this calendar in so many ways! (I have an entire blog post on the different ways you can use it here!) This month I am using it to track the ways that I am spending time in the Word, a more detailed note on my mood that day when it was a bad medical day (because just because I had a bad medical day doesn’t necessarily mean it was a bad “mood” day.) I will also be logging the projects Jared and I work on as we aim to steward our home well.

Last but not least…. Throw some confetti and ring your cowbell! You did it! 🎉🎉🎉

So that’s my tending list friends! I had such a good time walking through this with you! Was this your first Tending List ever or your first of 2021? I’d love to know!

In case you didn’t know, here on Living the Chronic Illness Life you now have access to the Grace + Goals Resource Library which helps you tailor your goal setting and powersheets to all seasons especially those of uncertainty. You can find all the info here!

Don’t have a set of Powersheets yet? Don’t worry you can get yours now; if you have some specific items you want get, I encourage you to order soon because most of the items (including the powersheets) in the shop, once sold out, will not be restocked. The Clear Skies, Sea Glass, and Pink Sunrise cover choices are already gone so get the Citrus Garden Cover before they sell out!

(and if by the time you are seeing this they are sold out of the 2021 full year powersheets, you can still get the 6 month undated sets until those sell out!)


Cassie Nolin is a married spoonie who lives the chronic illness life with EDS + Co. (Ehlers Danlos Syndrome and it’s comorbid conditions.) She challenges others to choose grace over guilt while goal setting, and is in ministry part time serving the online community through Grace + Goals and The Spoonie Study. She loves planting, hand lettering, and sharing the hope she has found in Jesus. Her blog, Living the Chronic Illness Life, is in the top 100 chronic illness blogs and in 2019 she launched her podcast, Chronically Cultivating, where Cassie encourages women to live authentic and intentional lives through their diagnosis’ not in spite of them. You can learn more about her at www.livingthechronicillnesslife.com

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