May 2017 Goals

Making Things Happen 2017, Creative Goals + ListsKatie @ A Place to DwellComment

Hi, friends!

Checking in with a quick goal update...I'm keeping this post fairly simple and just getting this month's goals posted, but I've been making some changes to my yearly goals (more on that in an upcoming post!), and I've got some exciting things in the works. In the midst of a season that's hard in many ways, I am confident and expectant for what God will do.

So without further ado, on to the goals...

May Goals

  • Put together an outline for an exciting creative project I have in the works
  • Organize my home office
  • Get back into a fitness routine (specifically yoga and weights — and maybe ballet barre)
  • Record a weekly Sunday Encouragement Facebook live video (I did my very first live video on Sunday on my A Place to Dwell Facebook page; I was so nervous, but it’s been something I’ve wanted to try for a while!)
  • Meditate on scripture and continue to #cultivatehope in my current season (using my Write the Word journal and Lindsay Letters coloring book)
  • Continue my one-year Bible reading plan (finishing up Genesis and beginning Exodus); I’m also interested in doing a Bible study on Exodus through RightNow Media
  • Pray impossible prayers and be open to new possibilities (thanks for the inspiration for this one, Lara Casey!)
  • Finish at least ONE of the books I’m reading ;) (Maybe Love Lives Here?)

So there you have it! What are some of your goals this month?

March 2017 Goals

Creative Goals + Lists, Making Things Happen 2017Katie @ A Place to Dwell1 Comment
March Goals.png

MONTHLY GOALS

  • Finish New Testament Reading plan: Revelation
  • Choose a one-year Bible reading plan
  • Begin More Jesus Amen Paper Company Lent study
  • Do my taxes
  • Organize the desk in my office; start taking little by little steps to create an inspiring, creative, and organized work space
  • Post at least one blog (and brainstorm a list of blog topics and ideas I'd like to explore in the coming months)
  • Finish reading Awe (I've been terrible about finishing books lately. I start a bunch, only to put them down and never finish reading them...)
  • Learn more about inductive Bible study (utilize resources from Kay Arthur and Soul Scripts) and create a color code that works well for my personal study in the Word
  • Participate in The Balanced Life's 21-Day Pilates Challenge to begin cultivating a fitness routine that works for me

WEEKLY GOALS

  • Prioritize meaningful and quality time with my boyfriend (weekly date nights, daily prayer, studying scripture together)
  • Lift weights 2x a week
  • One day of more in-depth and creative Bible study/journaling/color-coding/highlighting
  • Groceries and healthy meal prep (hoping to get one to two meals prepped on Sundays, as well as healthy snacks and lunches ready to go for the week ahead)

DAILY GOALS

  • Choose Jesus time over Netflix time (giving up Netflix/Hulu on weeknights during Lent, with the exception of social gatherings)
  • Prayer (utilize my Val Marie Paper prayer journals and the Prayers for the City guide my church is doing this Lenten season)
  • Read the Word
  • Drink more water
  • Take a walk - intentionally step away from my desk to move and stretch
  • Prep for the next day (lunch, snacks, work outfit ready to go)
  • 15 minutes of de-cluttering and cleaning at the end of each day

Making Things Happen 2017 - Yearly Vision & Goals

Creative Goals + Lists, Making Things Happen 2017Katie @ A Place to DwellComment

Image credits

It's taken me quite a while to get my goals written this year...or at least finalized enough to post about them. I've already been digging into them, though, making little steps of progress. And I love that Lara always says things don't have to happen exactly on January 1. Little by little steps of progress can be made at any time. Fresh starts can happen each and every day.

I made the vision board above as part of the Powersheets prepwork, and I love it. The lightness and airiness really capture the way I want to live this year, fully surrendered to Him and His purposes for my life. Free, secure, and confident in Christ.

And even though I've already posted my 2017 vision, I'm posting it again here with my goals, because each goal really stems from this overall intention I have for the year ahead.

My 2017 vision…

I want to live fully for Jesus in 2017 — seeking Him fully, knowing Him more fully, and being used by Him fully. I will prioritize time spent with Him, choosing Him above all things and keeping Him at the center of everything. I will make space in my life for what truly matters, saying no to meaningless distractions and investing in my faith, family, friends, and using my creative gifts fully for God. I will fill my life with meaningful moments and memories shared with loved ones, inspiration, truth, encouragement, art, praise, and worship. I will seek to be a good steward of all the blessings, gifts, and resources God so graciously gives, using the margin in my life to the fullest for Him. 2017 will be a year of daily encountering Jesus, intentionally building relationships, and sharing His love and light with others. It will be a year where I invite Him to have His way in all things, trusting that the story He’s writing will always be so much greater than the one I could write on my own.

And now on to the goals... :)

Much like last year, I only set a few goals, but they encompass a lot of different things. In the past few years, I've found that setting more overarching goals helps keep things more streamlined for me.

Goal #1:  Encounter Jesus daily and read the entire Bible this year.

"I need awe of Him to recapture, refocus, and redirect my heart again and again." Paul David Trip

I want to know Him better and more fully by the end of 2017, and I know that the most important thing is Jesus at the center of it all. This one goal affects all the others. It's really the heart of everything I will dream and do and plan this year.

Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path. Psalm 119:105

A few of my starting steps:

  • I am currently finishing up reading through the entire New Testament, but once I finish that plan, I will select a one year plan and dig in. (Again, it's great that not everything we do has to start January 1!) If you have any recommendations for great one-year reading plans, I'd love to hear them! :)
  • I purchased a journaling Bible to use this year, as I work through reading the entire Bible. I'm excited to see the notes I make and all the ways He teaches and speaks to me. I'm also really interested in Bible journaling, and I've been so inspired by @soulscripts and the colorful way she interacts with scripture. I'm looking forward to brightening up the pages of my journaling Bible this year with thoughts, praises, and prayers.  Do you use any kind of color coding system in your Bible journaling/study? If so, I'd love to hear about it. I'm looking for something simple. :)
  • My sweet boyfriend also bought me a Jesus-centered Bible for Valentine's Day, and I am looking forward to using that in my studies this year, as well.

Goal #2: Continue building a Godly, Christ-centered relationship with my boyfriend, trusting God to lead us in our relationship.

"Love must be seeded in the eternal purposes of God." Matt Chandler

This is somewhat of a scary goal to share over the Internet, because our story is obviously still being written, but it's such a big part of my life right now, it didn't feel right to leave it out. We are inviting Him into our relationship and asking Him to have His way in all things. I'm hopeful and excited to see the story He continues to write through our relationship, and I pray it brings Him all of the glory.
 

A few of my starting steps:

  • My boyfriend and I are going through the Cultivate What Matters Couples Guide currently, so I'll have more steps to share later, but we are taking our time and enjoying the process.
  • Lots of PRAYER! :)
  • Pray about and seek out opportunities to serve together.
  • Continue to have fun dating! We've got a little bucket list of date ideas, and I'm excited to continue making meaningful memories together.
LiveitUP.jpg

 

Goal #3: Be a good steward of all the blessings, gifts, and margin in my life."

This goal encompasses a lot — from finances, to creative ministry, to how I'm spending my time. It all points back to living fully for Him, making the most of each day.

"Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God's grace in its various forms." 1 Peter 4:10

A few of my starting steps:

  • Explore new outlets of creative ministry.
  • Plan a monthly coffee shop date to be in the Word and work on creative pursuits.
  • Less Netflix time more time with Jesus.
  • Help plan and host local If:Gathering (DONE)

Goal #4: Complete the Whole 30 Program and focus on cultivating healthy habits. Find an exercise and strength-building routine that works for me.

A few of my starting steps:

  • Complete the Whole 30 program (DONE! Completed on February 8).
  • Lift weights two times a week.
  • Get back into a regular yoga practice.
  • Explore the Revelation Wellness videos.
  • Look into local fitness classes and programs; variety seems to be the key for me.
  • Eat 80-90% Paleo each week; limit sugar; go gluten free for the most part (since completing the Whole 30 I've been pretty all over the place — mostly with my sugar intake — so I really want to get back into a healthy routine that still allows for treats here and there.

So, there you have it! My 2017 goals. :)

I just completed my March tending list today, too, so I'll be back soon to share what's on that.

Did you set goals for 2017? If so, what are some of your main goals/intentions for the year ahead and how has the year been going for you so far?

 

My Word for 2017: FULLY

Making Things Happen 2017, Creative Goals + ListsKatie @ A Place to DwellComment

Lettering by Lindsay Letters

Lettering by Lindsay Letters

Hi, friends!

I wasn’t planning to do an entire post dedicated to my word of the year, but after reading Val’s recent post, I realized I had so much to share about the word I am choosing to focus on in 2017.

As I mentioned in this earlier post, I have chosen FULLY as my word for 2017. Fully surrendering all to Him. Fully seeking Him. Fully sharing His love, hope, goodness, and grace with others. Fully living each day for Him. And, I hope, knowing Him even more fully by the end of 2017.

FULLY: completely or entirely; to the furthest extent

synonyms: completely, entirely, wholly, totally, altogether, thoroughly, in all respects, in every respect, without reservation, without exception

I love that the dictionary describes fully as completely, entirely, to the furthest extent. It’s giving something your ALL, holding nothing back. That’s the kind of faith-filled life I want to live. One that trusts and seeks and follows Him without reservation, without exception.

In Val’s post about her choice of the word abundant, she shared the following verse from John 10:10B, and both translations spoke so well to my desire to embrace and live the word FULLY this year.

“I have come that they may have life,
and have it to the full.” – John 10:10B

And the AMP version says “I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance [to the full, till it overflows].”

That’s exactly the kind of life I want to live and embrace this year. A life of fullness and joy, not based on circumstances, blessings, or possessions, but on HIM.

Because I’ve been noticing recently that my focus of Him, my awe of Him, gets stolen and shifted more often than I’d like to admit. The things of this world — whether blessings, or worries, or even just the mundane stuff of the everyday — have me placing my hope, my peace, my contentment, my joy, and my security in things that were never meant to provide those things.

I love what Val had to say about this in her post: I am convicted by the life I try to live that I think will satisfy me. The God of the universe offers me abundance. Not just adequate or sufficient…but abundant. And here I am grabbing at scraps that the world tells me will satisfy and ignoring what actually is fulfilling.”

You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. – Psalm 16:11

So that is my hope and prayer for this year. To be fully satisfied and rooted in Him. And then to live fully for Him and His glory as a result.

I’ve also chosen a song for the year (Set My Heart by Vertical Church Band), because it really captures how I want to live in 2017. It’s such a powerful song of praise and hope and being fully fixed on Him.

I have set my heart

Set my, set my heart on you

You have every part of me

I set my heart on you

So, as I continue to prayerfully plan my goals for the year ahead, I am setting my heart on Him, adventurously expectant for all He’ll do in this new year.

 “This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike “What’s next, Papa?” – Roman 8:15 MSG

Cultivate What Matters 2017: Getting Inspired

Making Things Happen 2017, Creative Goals + ListsKatie @ A Place to Dwell1 Comment

As I've continued going through Lara's goal-setting steps, I've been gathering inspiration and looking for common threads. In this post, I'm going to share what fires me up and inspires me, what I'm saying yes and no to in 2017, and the vision statement I crafted for the year ahead.

I looked at last year's lists to get me started and found that much of what inspires me remained the same (which makes sense, of course), but I also was able to build on the lists a little bit, which I think is awesome, because that means God is continuing to grow, refine, and develop the passions He's given me!

WHAT FIRES ME UP

Possibilities
Reading good books
Encouraging and inspiring others
Laughing with friends and family
Bright, happy colors
Living with lots of artwork
Coffee and creativity
Discovering beautiful art/inspiration and sharing those discoveries with others
Living & telling inspired stories
Exploring my city and supporting local shops/artists
Journals and journaling
Community and collaboration
Inspiring music and worship
Sharing good food and conversation
Encouraging single women to wait on God purposefully, rather than passively
Remembering that God's plan is always better than ours and that He can do
immeasurably more than we could ever ask or imagine

WHAT I'M SAYING NO TO IN 2017

Comparison
Worry
Feeling rushed and frazzled
Striving
Meaningless distractions
Trying to control the story God is writing in my life
Clutter (mental and physical)
Negativity
Choosing anything over God
Overwhelm
Guilt
Anxiety
"Shoulds"
Having all the answers

WHAT I'M SAYING YES TO IN 2017

JESUS!
Being a light
Using my margin to the fullest for God
Living each day FULLY
Trust/surrender/being open to God's plan for me
Building strong/meaningful relationships
New traditions
Community
Focusing on health/wellness | whole/healthy foods
Reading good books that inspire and challenge me
Praising God's goodness
Creativity and creative writing
Listening
Sharing my story for God’s glory
Inspiration
Starting and ending my day with God
Reading/studying God’s Word
Choosing God above all other things
Prioritizing prayer
Grace

I also had the opportunity to get away to one of my favorite coffee shops with my favorite guy last week to pause and press in together. I loved that time we spent together, sharing our quiet times and also beginning to pray about goals and plans for 2017. I'm excited to be going through the Couples Powersheets guide with him this year, too. I'm so thankful for his intentional heart and desire to live fully for Jesus and also that he's such a supporter and encourager of me when it comes to my creative goals and using my creativity fully for God's glory.

I also wrote out my vision statement for the year, focusing on my word of the year (FULLY) and building upon last year's focus. This vision statement will help me craft meaningful goals focused on what matters most.

My 2017 vision…

I want to live fully for Jesus in 2017 — seeking Him fully, knowing Him more fully, and being used by Him fully. I will prioritize time spent with Him, choosing Him above all things and keeping Him at the center of everything. I will make space in my life for what truly matters, saying no to meaningless distractions and investing in my faith, family, friends, and using my creative gifts fully for God. I will fill my life with meaning moments and memories shared with loved ones, inspiration, truth, encouragement, art, praise, and worship. I will seek to be a good steward of all the blessings, gifts, and resources God so graciously gives, using the margin in my life to the fullest for Him. 2017 will be a year of daily encountering Jesus, intentionally building relationships, and sharing His love and light with others. It will be a year where I invite Him to have His way in all things, trusting that the story He’s writing will always be so much greater than the one I could write on my own.

So, there you have it! I'm continuing to work on refining my goals for the year, and I'll be back soon to share those.

Are you setting goals or intentions for your year? If so, how's it going? I'd love to hear from you! :)

Cultivate What Matters 2017 - Goal Setting with Lara Casey

Creative Goals + Lists, Creativity, Making Things Happen 2016, Making Things Happen 2017Katie @ A Place to DwellComment
My “BestNine2016” from Instagram

My “BestNine2016” from Instagram

Hello, friends!

I've been slowly working my way through Lara Casey's 2017 Goal-Setting series, taking my time and doing quite a bit of reflecting on 2016 as I look ahead to 2017. 2016 was really one of those years that grew my faith in some pretty big ways. It's amazing to me to read my goal-setting posts from last year and then look back on the year and see all God has done. When I began setting goals for 2016, I wrote this: "This new year is much more of a blank slate than usual for me. I am starting 2016 from a posture of standing before God, open to where He might lead me and what dreams He might write into my heart."

And in that openness and trust and surrender, God definitely worked in some pretty incredible ways...

HERE'S WHAT I AM CELEBRATING ABOUT 2016:

  • Moving to a new home (and filling it with art and truth and inspiration — and painting one wall blush pink!)
  • Reading great books that challenged and grew my faith (like I Don’t Wait Anymore by Grace Thornton)
  • My church family/community moving into a permanent building (after years of praying for a space)
  • Meeting Tim and falling in love (so much gratitude for this one…)
  • All of the incredible memories made with Tim these last seven months and all the ways we are growing together and building a Christ-centered relationship
  • Building a stronger, closer relationship with my sister and sharing lots of fun memories together this year… like our adventure of driving to West Virginia for the Fiestaware tent sale and celebrating the Gilmore Girls revival with two fabulous parties
  •  All things Gilmore Girls (Luke’s Coffee Day with friends, Gilmore Girls revival parties…)
  • My B&B weekend away with my mom (such an inspiring and renewing time!)
  • Taking a summer staycation and the renewal and rest that brought
  • Moving into my company’s brand-new headquarters (such a colorful and inspiring place to work!)

AND HERE ARE A FEW LESSONS I'VE LEARNED IN 2016:

  • His ways are ALWAYS greater than my own
  • When we truly surrender and invite Him to have His way, He does more than we could ask or imagine; His plan is truly perfect
  • Try less; trust more
  • I need and want to prioritize time with Jesus each day
  • Worry is fruitless (this one shows up year after year)
  • God’s word and truth CHANGES things; I want to know and seek Him more fully
  • The really good stuff is most often accomplished little by little, with slow, steady steps
  • Investing in relationships is such meaningful and worthwhile work
  • I want to become a good steward of all God’s gifts, blessings, and resources that He so graciously gives…I want to use my margin to the fullest for Him

And now I want to share a little excerpt from my goal-setting posts last year, because I am so encouraged to see all the ways He moved in 2016...all the ways He showed up when I truly surrendered and stopped chasing other things. I could never have imagined what 2016 would hold from where I stood last year, at the end of 2015…BUT GOD...

Written on the morning of December 28, 2015:

I started getting messy with my Powersheets yesterday, reflecting on the previous year and all the ways I've grown and changed. I've been using this as a time to re-calibrate and renew my heart as I move toward 2016.

Then, this morning, coffee cup in hand and powersheets spread out messily next to me, I checked in on part one of Lara Casey's 2016 Goal Setting series. I LOVE her encouragement to be in the mess of this process, to be FULLY where you are.

One of the questions she asked this year is what have you been chasing...

And I think the thing I have been chasing most is a relationship. That’s hard to write and admit sometimes, but it’s true. I have prayed and prayed for a Godly relationship that would lead to a Godly marriage. But for His own reasons and purposes, God has chosen for me to remain in singleness.

As I sat in the doubt and questioning of that this year, one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is that there is power in TRYING LESS and TRUSTING MORE.

I cannot change my singleness (at least not if I want God’s best for me), and when I try to control things in my life — especially that — I find that I feel both discouraged and discontent. I want to chase after HIM instead, choosing Him above all other things and accepting His gifts to me with gratitude and great joy — even this season of singleness.

As I continue to get quiet and reflect on 2015, I find that my life needs a bit of pruning and weeding as I prep for the new year — getting rid of distractions, clutter, doubt, etc. to make space and room for fresh inspiration, direction, adventure, and HOPE! :)

* * *

When I stopped chasing and striving, and let Him have His way, things happened that I could not have ever imagined…or ever made happen on my own…like meeting Tim and falling in love and being in the midst of building this amazing Christ-centered relationship together.

BUT GOD. His plan is truly always greater than mine. And that makes me so excited for 2017.

I'll be back tomorrow with the next step of the goal-setting series. :)

 

 

Making Things Happen: 2016 Goals Recap

Creative Goals + Lists, Making Things Happen 2016, One Little WordKatie @ A Place to Dwell1 Comment

Hello friends!

I'm sitting here drinking a peppermint hot cocoa, marveling at the fact that 2016 is so quickly coming to a close. In many ways, it seems like it just began, but in other ways, so very much has happened.

But before I jump too far into my goal-setting and praying and planning for 2017, I want to take the time to reflect on where I've been this year and all God has done.

2016 was my year of being open...

At the beginning of the year, I crafted this vision statement, as part of Lara Casey's (Cultivate What Matters) Powersheets process:

In 2016, I will be joyfully open to God’s plan for my life, living fully and creatively right where I am. It will be a year of less trying and more trusting. I will be open to new adventures and new possibilities. I will make space in my life for what truly matters, investing in my faith, family, friends, and using my creative gifts fully for God. I will spend less time mindlessly consuming (TV, social media, shopping, etc.), and more time cultivating contentment, community, and creativity. I will seek to experience abundance through simplicity (shopping less, “scrolling” less, fearing less, fretting less!). I will prioritize prayer and seek to live out Hebrews 3:13 in all I do, encouraging others daily to live their own inspired lives of possibility. Above all, I will live each day fully for Him, with purpose, passion, and positivity.

That statement helped lead me to the following overarching goals for my year:

MY 2016 GOALS

  1. Be open to God's plan for my life and live fully right where I am.
  2. Prioritize prayer and choose God above all other things. Seek first the Kingdom.
  3. Experience abundance through simplicity.
  4. Cultivate contentment, creativity, and community.
  5. Use my creative gifts fully for God.

Looking back on my year, I can absolutely see openness threaded throughout. 2016 was definitely a year that found me letting go of some of my own expectations in favor for whatever God had for me. And while it wasn't always easy at times, it was so good, and so very worth it.

Without being too repetitious of my last few posts, I wanted to take a few minutes to reflect on each of my five goals for 2016.

  1. Be open to God's plan for my life and live fully right where I am. This goal was truly the overarching goal for my year. It's a goal I am still living out, and one that I know will continue into 2017 and beyond. I never want to stop living life in a way that says "have your way, Jesus." It's a daily (and often hourly) heart posture for me, because surrender and complete reliance on Jesus continues to be an area of growth and focus for me and my life.
  2. Prioritize prayer and choose God above all other things. Seek first the Kingdom. This is another goal that I anticipate carrying over into 2017, because choosing God above all other things is another daily choice that I want to make. I continue to love using my Val Marie prayer journals to help me prioritize prayer, and also to look back to see and praise God for His work and faithfulness. In addition, now that I am blessed to be in a Godly relationship with an amazing guy, we have been intentional to pray with one another daily, and that has been so life-giving and encouraging to me as we continue to grow in our relationship, keeping Jesus at the center of it all. I look forward to more of that in 2017, as well.
  3. Experience abundance through simplicity. This is still a work in progress for me. Moving definitely helped me to simplify a lot and donate much of what I don't use or need, but I still have a lot of room to grow in this area. My pastor was speaking about margin a few weeks ago, and the amount of hours we each have in our week that aren't devoted to working and sleeping really shocked me. I think we fill so much of our time with distractions and rest that isn't actually real rest, and so I would love to continue to be a better steward of the margin in my life.
  4. Cultivate contentment, creativity, and community. This is a tough goal to recap in just a few sentences, because it covers so much ground, but I do think I focused a lot on contentment and community this year. My approach to living this year with heart and hands open to God really affected my views on contentment and the truth that God is truly the only thing that can bring us the contentment, joy, and fulfillment we all long for and seek. I would say creativity was a bit neglected, and that's something else I would like to carry over into my 2017 goals.
  5. Use my creative gifts fully for God. As I mentioned in the previous bullet, my creativity was a bit neglected this year, so this goal didn't quite get the focus I originally thought it might. That's 100% okay, because this year just wasn't really a year of creating for me, as some years past have been. The exciting thing is, though, God has been putting some new creative ideas on my heart, and I'll be excited to see where He leads me with those ideas and how He might use and develop them for His glory.

As I look back on 2016 and get ready to jump into Lara's 2017 goal-setting series, I'm truly grateful and in awe of everything that happened: From personally moving to a new home,  to my church moving into a permanent building, to meeting and dating the most amazing guy...So many things happened this year that only God could do and accomplish, and I'm reminded again of the importance of being open and surrendered to His good and best plan for us. There's also so much that happened this year just in my own heart, things He revealed to me and pruned in me that weren't always easy, but that I'm so grateful for. Those moments of growth and the reorientation of my heart toward Him are so priceless and important.

So, as 2016 comes to a close this week, I want to thank Him again and praise Him for every bit of this past year. And as I begin to intentionally and prayerfully look ahead to 2017, I'm asking Him to have His way in everything. Thank you, Jesus. It's all yours, for your glory. Amen.

 

 

::images above from my Pinterest::

This is a story about unexpected new beginnings (and dating!)

Seasons, Inspired FaithKatie @ A Place to Dwell14 Comments

Hello, friends!

Editor's note: I'll be honest, I wrote about five different titles to this post before settling on this one, because as it turns out, it's not always easy to find the right words when it comes to writing your very first ever dating blog post! :)

I'm so excited to share more of this new beginning and story that's currently unfolding in my life.

About five months ago, God completely surprised me by crossing my path with an amazing guy named Tim (see photo below of the super cute guy in the suit). :) And not only was our meeting each other completely unexpected, so was every detail about how we met. (But why do we ever expect less when it comes to God? He specializes in the unexpected!)

IMG_1245.JPG

So on to this totally unexpected story of ours...

Amazingly, Tim went to the same high school I did and grew up in the same small town, but because he graduated a few years ahead of me, our paths never crossed back then.

Our moms actually also went to high school together, and thanks to the strange, but wonderful phenomenon that is Facebook, his mom connected with me on Facebook through mine.

And long story short, she thought I should meet this son of hers. :)

And so began an exchange of e-mail addresses and the start of getting to know this guy who has grown to be such a sweet and special part of my life over the past five months.

Our first meeting was drinking smoothies at a local ice cream parlor, and three hours later, I knew I was sitting across from a pretty special guy. He was thoughtful, interesting, and easy to talk to, and as we shared about life and God and all kinds of things, there wasn't any shortage of laughter.

I left our first meeting feeling hopeful and excited to continue getting to know him.

In the months that have followed, we've shared so many fun adventures and moments, from dinners with friends, to celebrating my birthday, to going to concerts, to doing the JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes. And while there are so many things I appreciate about him, I am most encouraged and thankful for the way he is so intentional to keep God the focus and center of everything — including our relationship.

 

It's obviously still really early in our story, and I may not know what's ahead for us yet, but I do know that God is right in the midst of it all, leading the way, and that's more than enough for me. I'm excited to see where God leads us from here. :)

 

 

5 Things God's Been Doing in My Life & Heart

30 Things for my 30s, Adventuring, An Inspired Life: Living Fully & Creatively in Every Season, Creative Goals + Lists, Explore, Family, Friends, Health & Wellness, Inspired Faith, List Making, Making Things Happen 2016, On My HeartKatie @ A Place to Dwell2 Comments

I recently read Jess Connolly’s birthday post Five Things God Did and Five Things I'm Asking For and was inspired to create one of my own.

 

I ushered in year number thirty-three a few weekends ago, and it was a weekend packed full of people and things I love.

It also inspired me to reflect on my thirty-second year and take a bit of an inventory of how God was moving in my life and heart.

I think in a lot of ways I lived out my word for 2016: OPEN. Thirty-two seemed in many ways to be a season that pushed me to be more open to where God had me and where He was calling me, a year that asked me to let go of my own expectations and plans, in favor of His.

So on to the list (because I really love lists...)

5 Things God Did in My Life & Heart This Year

  1. I moved— A LOT (both home and work and church will be next). And in all the shifting and the moving and the pieces slowly beginning to settle again, I realized how much my life needed that freshness, that uprooting. And while I think I'm still in the replanting part of the process, it's been hard and good and inspiring. It's shown me God's plan is often so much bigger than we can realize and comprehend. And that sometimes, we get a little too settled in our circumstances, but in His grace, He calls us to keep growing and going new places with Him.
  2. God continued to show me the importance of cultivating community. I could not be more grateful for the amazing people in my life who walk alongside me, laugh with me, cry with me, encourage me, strengthen me, and seek the Lord with me. This past year that community has only grown and deepened, and I am so humbly thankful for the gift of those relationships in my life. My sister and I have also grown so much closer in the past year, because we made it a point to understand one another better and really work on some of the areas that were stumbling blocks in our relationship. I am so thankful for the hard work we've been doing and all the sweet fruits we have seen as a result. I learn more and more that relationships don't just happen. They are faithfully built, tended, and grown with love over time.
  3. I fell more in love with my city and state. I did quite a bit of exploring and adventuring this past year and loved every moment of it. From farmers markets to local boutiques to art events to celebrating the Cavs' championship win, I found myself uncovering more and more things to love about calling Ohio home.
  4. I started dating an amazing guy (!). This was such an unexpected blessing of the past year that it still surprises me at times. If you've hung around here for any length of time, you've likely read one of my posts on singleness. It's been quite a journey of surrender and trust for me. But this new season of dating is so special and sweet, and while it's still new and uncertain, I know God is right in the midst of it, leading the way. (And P.S. I promise to post more about this story soon. It's a fun one!) :)
  5. I shared (and surrendered) more of my story. One of the highlights of my year was teaching an Influence Network class called Trusting God With Your Story. That was such a stretching experience for me, but true to form, God didn't leave it there. Many months later, I read a book that loosened my grip on my story even more, shaking up some of the dreams and expectations I had been carrying around and waking me up to the freedom of true surrender.

Thirty-two was good. It was stretching, and it was refreshing. It surprised me, too, and I'm thankful for those surprises, because they've pointed me back to the truth that God writes really really good stories that are never predictable. And that's kind of exciting, isn't it?

And Here are 5 Things I'm Praying For in The Coming Year

  1. I'm asking God to show me how to be a better steward of the good gifts He's given me — including my love and desire to create. This little blog of mine has become more and more neglected, and while I love regular Instagram posts, they just aren't the same as really sitting down and intentionally creating and crafting something. So, I'm asking for clarity and guidance and space to create more for Him, in whatever way would glorify Him most.
  2. I'm praying to date intentionally, trusting God with this new relationship I've been blessed with. Being a good steward applies here, too, and honestly, I think that phrase/prayer is going to be a larger focus overall for me when it comes to this next year. But when it comes to dating, I want to really enjoy this season without too much worry or wonder for what's ahead. I want God to lead everything and have His way, because I know that whatever His way and His will may be, it is the very best possible outcome.
  3. I'm praying to continue to cultivate community. I've seen so many blessings in this area in the previous year that I want to keep going deeper. I want to tend to relationships well and be intentional when it comes to investing in those God has placed in my life.
  4. I want to really KNOW God more by spending more time with Him in His Word and more time with Him in prayer. I recently shared on Instagram that I want to focus on pausing and pressing in, seeking margin and space just for Him. I love talking to Him throughout the day, but I also want to have those spaces of quiet set aside just for Him. Time just for reading, for praying, for listening. 
  5. I'm going to end with repeating that I'm praying to be a better steward of God's good gifts in all areas, because as I mentioned, that really sums up where my heart is as I look ahead to this next year. That prayer includes focusing on my health and wellness, surrendering more and more each day, and really continuing to live fully for Him in all areas.

And if I may quote Jess one more time...

"Thanks God for all you did and all you're doing...have your way in year 33."

When Freedom Writes Our Stories

Singleness, Seasons, Scripture, On My Heart, Reading, Inspired Faith, Making Things Happen 2016, Book ReviewsKatie @ A Place to DwellComment

I recently did exactly what Lauren Daigle sings so beautifully about in her song Trust in You.

I let go of every dream and laid them at His feet.

And I discovered a freedom and a hope I'd truly never experienced before.


A few months ago, I discovered the book I Don't Wait Anymore by Grace Thornton. The question on the back was about the only incentive I needed to pick it up.

Have you been waiting for life to turn out the way you expected?

If I was honest, I had.

In all my years of wrestling with God over my singleness, I hadn't realized just how tightly I was still holding on to my own dreams, ideas, and expectations for my life.

I almost don't even have the words for how good this book is. I've already recommended it to so many of my friends (and not just those who are single). I Don't Wait Anymore is a hope-filled invitation to freedom, an invitation to see just how big and good and wise our God is and just how great a plan He has for us.

In I Don't Wait Anymore, Grace inspires you to seek God more earnestly and to seek Him for Him — not just for the blessings or answers He can bring.

Her words are raw and honest, but also full of poetry and possibility.

 

The section that may have impacted me most was when she asks her readers to consider what unmet desires are hidden in their hearts.

She goes on to encourage them to ask this question: "If [God] never fulfilled that desire, would I be able to be content? If I walk a road where those things never happen, would I be filled with joy knowing I would get Him at the end?"

As I got quiet and good and honest with myself, I realized that while I had been living that yes on the outside, the answer was still a no inside my heart.

But there was hope.

Her next invitation?

To ask myself why God was smaller in my heart than the life I wanted.

And to ask Him to show me who He really was.

This beautiful book is a journey through that process, and I honestly can't recommend it enough. Grace brought me back to who God really is. She shook up the dreams and expectations I've been carrying around and woke me up to the freedom of true surrender.

And it was truly different than anything I'd ever felt before.

Because when God gets in our hearts and replaces our dreams with Himself,  "our hearts become blank canvases where He can paint pictures of His love, fill us up with His Spirit, and change our desires and hurts from the inside out. It feels different. We begin to see Him write a new story. One with a whole lot of freedom."

The Unmaking of Plans & Gracious Uncertainty

Seasons, Inspired Faith, BooksKatie @ A Place to Dwell1 Comment

"Our natural inclination is to be so precise — trying always to forecast accurately what will happen next — that we look upon uncertainty as a bad thing...Certainty is the mark of the commonsense life — gracious uncertainty is the mark of the spiritual life...

To be certain of God means that we are uncertain in all our ways, not knowing what tomorrow may bring...

We are uncertain of the next step, but we are certain of God. As soon as we abandon ourselves to God and do the task He has placed closest to us, He begins to fill our lives with surprises...We are not uncertain of God, just uncertain of what He is going to do next...

Leave everything to Him and it will be gloriously and graciously uncertain how He will come in — but you can be certain that He will come. Remain faithful to Him."

-Excerpts from My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers

The Gracious Uncertainty devotional reading quoted above was for April 29, a day I happened to begin a new season in my life. I didn't read it on that day, however. I only stumbled on it a few months later, marveling at how God has been working out gracious uncertainty in my own life and heart.

I have begun to live out the truths in this devotional more and more, stepping out in faith, uncertain of what could be next, and watching God fill my life with surprises (both large and small) that grow my faith and trust in Him.

I've been giving up control more and more, little by little, saying YES to His way and His plan over my own. Sometimes it's hard and scary. And sometimes I can be downright stubborn.

But with His grace, I am finding more and more joy and hope in the knowledge that I have no idea what's next in the plan.

And I'm becoming more certain that He always knows best.

 

What I've Been Reading Lately: 40 Days of Decrease, Breaking Busy, and The Bronte Plot

Books, ReadingKatie @ A Place to Dwell1 Comment

Hello, friends! I'm excited to share a few thoughts on some of my recent readings!

Spiritual disciplines do not transform, they only become relational opportunities to open the heart to the Spirit who transforms." - John H. Coe

40 Days of Decrease was such a thoughtful devotional for the Lenten season. Having read Alicia Britt Chole's other book Anonymous, I knew her writing would go deeper and would challenge my faith in good and meaningful ways. 40 Days of Decrease does just that. It's a book that pushes you to really throw off the hindrances and distractions of the world and focus on Jesus and the incredible sacrifices He made in love for us. I loved the reminder that the season of Lent isn't just about giving something up, but that it's about drawing near to God. "We thin our lives to thicken our communion with God." During my reading of the book, that meant thinning distractions (specifically shopping), but also thinning anything God called me to step away from. I loved the book's format of daily devotional reading, scripture passage for reflection, historical background, and room for notes. I definitely recommend this devotional for the season of Lent, but it's also a wonderful devotional for any time of the year that you want to refocus on Jesus.

5 stars

Breaking Busy is an easy, fun read, but ironically, when life got busy, I had trouble finishing it. The author has an approachable writing voice that's bright with warmth and humor, however, I think I may personally be in a season where reading "how-to" books just isn't the best fit. The last few I've picked up haven't held my attention the way they used to. This is no reflection on the book's quality or content, of course (there was a season of my life where I couldn't get enough of books like this), but recently, I find myself craving more in-depth storytelling, rather than quick, light reads. I will say that even though I would classify this as a quick read, there is some great content within its pages, especially for women who find themselves over-scheduled and overwhelmed. The reminder that we all need to edit our lives is a good one, and even moreso that we need to allow God to be the one guiding that editing work.

3.5 stars

I loved, loved, loved this book!

If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I shared that this photo is what my evenings have looked like lately — burning my @peripetihome Silver Linings candle (which is an inspiring and hope-filled blend of lemon, lavender, patchouli and other essential oils)... And getting lost in The Bronte Plot.

I think this book found me at the perfect time (so amazing when they do that, yes?!) and I love that the main character is about my age and still figuring out so much about her life (plus, she's single!). There's such hope and possibility between these pages, and for the main character Lucy, and I know I have the same hope and possibility in my own life, especially being in a bit of a season of transition right now myself.

One of my favorite passages was about the questioning times we often find ourselves in.

"That questioning time...All the books have it...that time when you don't know where you'll be, but you can't stay as you are..." - The Bronte Plot

I lingered over those words for quite some time, pondering my own questioning times (and the one I find myself in right now!). God continues to move me forward, and because I've given Him the control over my life's adventures, I suppose I often find myself in questioning times, wondering what's next. I've been learning how to turn those questions into curiosity and wonder, knowing that each time He moves me forward or takes me somewhere new, I am living out the very best possible version of my story.

I love the way we can find pieces of ourselves and our own stories in books and how the stories we read become a part of us as well. I definitely recommend The Bronte Plot! (I've already since read Reay's Dear Mr. Knightley and am currently more than halfway through her third book Lizzy & Jane. I'm going to be so sad when it's finished, and there aren't any more of her books to get lost in! :)

So there you have it!

Do you have any recommendations for me? :)

Friendship, Faith, and Coffee Spoons (Plus a Giveaway {CLOSED}!)

Friends, Inspired Home, Local Loves, Seasons, VintageKatie @ A Place to Dwell76 Comments

I recently spent a morning having coffee and breakfast goodies with a friend. She brewed some delicious coffee in her french press, put on some worship music, and we shared stories of God's love and faithfulness in our lives.

It was such an inspiring morning and filled my heart with thankfulness.

It reminded me how important community is and the blessings that come from investing our hearts and time into building it. As I continue to learn to appreciate life where God has me, I am encouraged to see the community He surrounds me with — the friendships that bring so much to my life and also my faith.

I was excited to bring my new vintage hand-stamped spoons and jam and butter spreader from JessicaNDesigns, too.

When I chose the phrases for my spoons, I was reminded of my grandma, who passed away at this time last year. She lived each day with such faith and joy, and no matter what trials or sorrows one day held, she would look ahead to the next day with the assurance that God's mercies are new every morning.

My "anything is possible" spoon reminds me to keep living my inspired life of possibility for Jesus. It reminds me that nothing is impossible with God and that He is the ultimate hope and anchor that I cling to.

Surrounding myself with art and inspiration brings beauty and purpose to my days, and I know these coffee spoons will make me smile each day as I have my morning coffee.

Would you like to win a few of your own JessicaNDesigns goodies? Leave a comment on this post and let me know what phrase you'd like on a coffee spoon of your own. I'll be choosing one person as the winner of a $50 gift card to Jessica's shop!

You can also shop now and get 15% off your order by using this code: JNDplacetodwell15

I'll choose the winner of the giveaway at random Saturday, April 16. Good luck!! :)

Congratulations to Susan Lloyd! You're the winner of the JessicaNDesigns giveaway! :)

   

 

 

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What I've Been Reading: Life is ___. Forty-Day Experience

Reading, Scripture, I read- A lot-, I like books-Katie @ A Place to DwellComment

Morning quiet times have been a welcome re-addition to my daily schedule. I love brewing a cup of coffee, adding my favorite soy vanilla creamer, and cozying up with a few devotionals and journals.

One of the devotions I've been reading lately is Life Is _____ Forty-Day Experience: A Devotional Journey Through God's Illogical Love by Judah Smith. Smith's focus is to share with readers that "the meaning of life is found in loving and being loved, in enjoying God to the fullest, in trusting Him in every moment, and remaining at peace with God, others, and ourselves."

The book is organized into four sections based on those topics:

  • Life is to Be Loved and to Love
  • Life is to Trust God in Every Moment
  • Life is to Be at Peace With God and Yourself
  • Life is to Enjoy God

While I love the concept of this book, it just didn't grab me the way some of my favorite devotionals have. The content fell a bit flat for me, possibly because the writing style isn't one I normally prefer. I had a hard time engaging and connecting with Smith's reflections. I did like the book's format of scripture, devotional reading, and questions to consider each day, though.

Even though the writing style didn't particularly appeal to me, I would recommend this book to anyone who would like to spend some time meditating on God's immense love for us and how it impacts every aspect of our lives.

My review: 3 stars

*Book for review provided by BookLook

Goals & Green Smoothies: My In-Progress Balanced Approach to Health & Wellness

Cooking, Making Things Happen 2016Katie @ A Place to DwellComment
 Image via Sarah Adler

 Image via Sarah Adler

Health and wellness have been on mind quite a bit recently. I am learning more and more about intentionality when it comes to self-care, wellness, and nutrition. As I work through my Powersheets in the coming months, I hope to include more specific health and wellness goals and share them here (and possibly Instagram) for accountability and encouragement. I am also looking to incorporate a simplified approach to my health and wellness (going along with my goal this year to live abundantly through simplicity).

That said, I will always be a balance girl...I have no interest in having a black-and-white approach to food and fitness, or feeling like I can't indulge from time to time. Life is just too short. But I also recognize the joy and freedom that comes from having the confidence and courage to say YES to prioritizing health and wellness.

So how will this look for me?

I think Romans 12:1 (especially The Message Translation) really gets to the heart of this goal for me.

Place Your Life Before God

So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.

As far as the actual day-to-day details of living that out, I've come up with an inspirational list to guide me in my monthly/weekly/daily goal-setting:

  • Limit grains, and when I do choose grains eat whole, sprouted grains whenever possible (I'll be honest, I'm actually thinking very hard about actually cutting gluten from my diet for many health-related reasons, but I'm still doing my research on that one)
  • Continue to cut sugar and use natural sweeteners wherever possible (honey, maple syrup, bananas, dates, etc.)
  • Drink more water (this seems like it should be an easy one, but for some reason, it never is for me! Hehe) :)
  • Look into Thrive Market and see if that would be a good option for me (Thrive Market is the first socially conscious online marketplace offering the world’s best-selling natural and organic products at wholesale prices)
  • Continue oil-pulling with organic coconut oil (I will also be adding the OraWellness HealTHY mouth blend to my daily routine); I've been learning so much lately about how the health of our mouth affects the health of the rest of our body!
  • Continue taking vitamin D and probiotics (I love Garden of Life blends)
  • Take part in the next Revelation Wellness Clean Hearting Challenge (I love that the focus of this challenge is on God and allowing Him to speak to your heart and continue to transform you and grow you)
  • Get back into a regular rhythm of yoga, cardio, and strength training (use my Holy Yoga DVDs at least once a week)
  • Try to incorporate veggies into each meal
  • Green smoothies! I may not drink one every day, but the goal is to drink a few a week (either with breakfast, or as an afternoon snack)
  • Try Sarah Adler's cookbook and meal plans (I really love her site and totally recommend spending some time there if you're interested in making positive health and wellness changes in a joyful way!)
  • Try a bullet-proof coffee recipe (but let's be honest, I'm really not sure I'm ready to give up my organic soy creamer...that just might need to be one of the "balance" things I'm okay with)
Death_to_stock_Marzocco_Coffee_8SM.jpg

I'm really excited to continue to take smalls steps toward a healthier, more energized self! If you have certain routines or recipes that have been working great for you, I'd love to hear about them in the comments. Let's joyfully journey together! :)