Posts in One Little Word
Reflecting on My 2017 Word of the Year: FULLY
Fully Trusting.jpg

I started this year at a much different place than where I'm ending it.

Last year ended with a flourish, and as 2017 began, I found myself in a full and hopeful season of building, investing, and planting. 2017 looked to be the year that would bring a long-awaited-for and long-prayed-for harvest.

But sometimes, things don't go according to plan...

At the beginning of the year when I selected FULLY as my word for 2017, I wrote: 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.

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 also wrote that I wanted to live a life of fullness and joy, not based on circumstances, blessings, or possessions, but on HIM.

And that's exactly the kind of life I was challenged to live this year...

When my deeply hoped for and prayed for plans unraveled, I felt Him very clearly whisper: "Will you still follow me FULLY, trust me FULLY, and live your life FULLY for me, even though your current circumstances and season don't look the way you expected, hoped, or even prayed they would?"

He knows how to cut right to the chase, doesn't He? :)

Sometimes my response was an enthusiastic YES! to that question. Other times, it was barely a whisper of agreement, but in all of those moments, whether I found myself feeling weak or strong, I continued to seek out His heart and follow where He was leading.

I failed often. I grumbled. I complained. I doubted. And I definitely can't say I always followed without reservation.

But in His grace, He kept picking me back up, drawing me near, strengthening my faith, and encouraging me to recommit myself to the on-going process of FULL trust and surrender.

So while 2017 may have broken my heart, it also built my faith.

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I'm ending the year knowing Him much more FULLY, and I have an even greater understanding of what it means and looks like to FULLY trust, follow, and serve Him — in any and every circumstance.

As 2017 draws to a close, I will continue to put my trust in Him — completely, entirely, in every respect, without reservation, and without exception.

Because He is good. Always, always good. He's good when we are on the mountain top, and He's good when we are in the valley. This year taught me that I want to live so FULLY surrendered to Him that I trust and praise Him even when the story looks like it has gone terribly wrong.

This year taught me that I want the story that gives Him the most glory.

And as He continues to work that story out in my life, I will continue to FULLY trust, praise, and follow Him wherever He leads.

 

 

Making Things Happen: 2016 Goals Recap

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::

Making Things Happen 2016 - Goal Setting with Lara Casey

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.

2016OLW.jpg

Which is one reason why I've chosen OPEN as my one little word for 2016.

I want to live this next year with eyes and heart and hands open to His goodness, His purposes, and His plans. I want to embrace where He has me and use the gifts He's given me to the fullest.
I feel much less driven this year to dream and set goals, so I truly have no idea what will end up on my Powersheet pages, but I know that I want to be open to following God with all of my heart.

 

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! :)

And even though there were many tough moments of 2015, I want to take the time to celebrate the good and the colorful moments that are evidence of God's love and faithfulness in my life. And I want to recognize that sometimes those moments aren't loud and shouting examples, but more soft and subtle reminders that He is present.

HERE'S WHAT I AM CELEBRATING ABOUT 2015:

  • Community: God continues to bless me with wonderful community — both online and off — and I’m continually amazed and inspired by that.
  • Time with family: I’ve had some very sweet time with my family this year, in the midst of losing my grandma, and I am so thankful for the support we’ve offered one another and the memories we’ve made.
  • I taught my first Influence Network class (Trusting God With Your Story). I was SO NERVOUS and uncertain, but I saw God work in spite of that, and I am so thankful. I got to connect with some truly wonderful women as a result, too. God is GOOD!
  • Spontaneous adventures! I took a random vacation day in November to spend with my mom and take advantage of our gorgeous fall weather, and that was SUCH a good day. I want to do more of those spontaneous adventures in the new year.
  • I collaborated with Bailey of Brave Love Blog on the An Inspired Season series. As a part of that, I created the Single Girl's Bucket List and have been ticking things off the list ever since! :)
  • I jumped into the world of copywriting this year, collaborating with my friend Kelsey of Pinegate Road on the That’s Darlin’ website. I loved getting to help Malissa tell the story of her business and showcase her heart and passion behind it.

 

AND HERE ARE A FEW LESSONS I'VE LEARNED IN 2015:

  • As I mentioned above, I want to TRY LESS and TRUST MORE. When I try to control everything, I wind up feeling discouraged and discontent.
  • While we are waiting on God, we are waiting WITH God. That was a takeaway from the Advent devotional I just finished. So good. And something I keep reminding myself of and that I am so thankful for. (I'll be doing a post about the Advent devotionals I used this season...)
  • Worry is fruitless (I'm borrowing this phrase from Lara, but it has definitely been a lesson I've learned over and over again this year).
  • It's OK — and good — to rest. I've learned I can't do it all, and that rest is much needed. Sometimes you have to say no to things — even good things — to choose rest instead.
  • The unexpected chapters we find ourselves in are often where the good stuff, the growing stuff, is found.
  • God is the only thing that will really fill me. I want to choose Him above all other things.

AND FINALLY, GOOD THINGS AHEAD...

One of the things I am most excited about in 2016 is making space for a designated art/writing room. I'm hoping to start some new writing and art projects, so that will be a huge help and inspiration!

 

What about you? Are you working through Powersheets of your own and/or Lara's Goal-Setting series? If so, I'd love to hear how it's going for you. What are you celebrating about 2015? What is the biggest lesson you've learned? What are you most excited about in 2016?

 

Reflecting on 2014 & Looking Ahead: Goal-Setting in 2015

laranote Hello, friends! It's been quite a while, hasn't it? I've been a bit unplugged from the blogging world, (although I've been hanging out a bit on Instagram), and I'm finding it slightly challenging to dive back into blog writing. So many posts in my head, but where to even start?! ;) My head is a jumble of thoughts and ideas.

But I'm taking the leap today, no matter how rusty I feel! Haha (So please forgive all the rambling that is bound to happen!)

Today, I'm going to jump into posting about the start of my 2015 goal-setting process (I've been following Lara Casey's blog series and using her Powersheets again this year). I'm also currently reading Lara's book Make It Happen (so good!).

First, let me say that setting goals has been a MUCH slower (and harder) process for me this year than it has been in years past. Last year, I finished all of my Powersheet steps and set my goals by January 1. I was raring to go and couldn't wait to get things down on paper and make things happen! This year, my mind felt blank when it came to what goals I wanted to set and what the year ahead might look like. I didn't feel my normal energy or passion or inspiration. I felt quieter, more reflective, and to be honest, more than a little unsure.

But, like Lara wrote in that adorable image above, there's really nothing magical about January 1. I'm taking my time this year, knowing that my goals will mean more if they aren't rushed.

One of the first things I did to start my goal-setting process this year was create a Pinterest board for the year. I began pinning inspiring images that captured the way I was feeling about the year ahead, as well as all the stuff that fires me up (one of Lara's goal-setting steps). I created the vision board below as a reminder to print and paste in my Powersheet binder. I'll probably hang it above my desk, too. It's a great little sampling of all the loveliness I've been adding to my board, and seeing everything all grouped together like that just makes me smile and feel inspired.

moodboard

* all image sources here *

Then yesterday, I took a vacation day and had what I call an inspiration day. I took myself out to brunch at one of my favorite local coffee shops, and surrounded by the chatter of other people and the whir of espresso machines, I sipped on my brown sugar cinnamon latte and began working through my Powersheets. The main focus of yesterday was reflecting on 2014 — both the good and the challenging.

I'm going to share a few highlights here:

  • Community was a huge focus of my year (and one of my 2014 goals), and God definitely worked in that area. He blessed me with quality time with my church friends and family, new creative friendships, and a desire to start ministering to college students. I’ll likely be leading a women’s discipleship group for college women this spring at my church. I also hosted an online book club for my eBook An Inspired Life and connected with so many wonderful women! Thinking about hosting another one in the new year (with some new expanded content)!
  • We celebrated my grandmother’s 90th birthday and had many meaningful family gatherings this year. I often struggle with my singleness, but it has actually been a gift at times this year, because it has afforded me the opportunity to really pour into my family relationships and soak up extra special time with loved ones.
  • I’ve continued to date with a hopeful, open heart. I do believe God has marriage in mind for me, and while I don’t know why I’m 31 and still waiting, He reminds me often that His plan is always better than mine. God has me in this season for a reason, and I want to embrace it for all that it is, while still having hope for the seasons and adventures still come for me!
  • What I fill my mind with is CRUCIAL. I can choose to fill it with fear, negativity, bitterness, etc., or I can fill it with all that's lovely, good, and true — the BEST, not the WORST.
  • Investing in my health and wellness is essential (when I said yes to fresh, good food, being active, living in community, and doing what fires me up, I was blessed).
  • Summer was a sweet time of recharging and just enjoying life…I wasn’t worried about creative deadlines or my next big project. I just focused on LIVING. I need more breaks like that and a good balance between living the stories and telling them.
  • Fall brought the chance to attend the Influence Conference again, and I loved being in the midst of that amazing community for the second time! This year's conference was a much different experience for me than last year's, but my heart was just in a different, quieter place this year. I think that's sort of been the theme of my 2014! Quiet and reflective in many ways. And that leads me to my next bullet...
  • I have been less active online these last few months, but I think the break has helped me look ahead to the new year and really ask myself how I will be a part of the Internet in the coming year. I don’t know all the answers yet (although I do have some exciting plans with some fellow blogging friends), but I know that as I press into God, He will reveal each next step.

Just in doing those reflections, I started to feel some goals and hopes begin to take shape in my mind. I'm looking forward to continuing the Powersheets process this afternoon, getting more down on paper and seeing how God uses this process to point me to the path I'll take in this new year.

findandfollow

One of the other parts of the goal-setting process, and something I do each year, is choose a focus word for the year. The word I chose for the year was FIND, because I want to find God in everything. I also picked a scripture verse for my year: Jeremiah 29:13. "You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart." 

And that's exactly how I want to approach 2015.

I want to seek and find God in everything. And I want to do so wholeheartedly.

In the last few days, I also can't stop thinking about the word FOLLOW. And I think for whatever reason, God has placed more than just one word on my heart this year. I want to seek and FIND God WHOLEHEARTEDLY, and I want to FOLLOW where He leads, going and doing and creating in line with His heart. So, that is my word (or words?) for 2015, and I look forward to keeping them in mind as I adventure through this brand new year of unknowns.

This was kind of a long post, so thanks for sticking with me! In my next post, I'll be sharing more about what fires me up (and maybe another vision board), as well as what I'll be saying YES and NO to in 2015. Just typing all of this out has given me an extra dose of joy, hope, and excitement for what 2015 could hold! :)

Are you setting goals for 2015? I'd love to hear about them! Share them here, or if you've blogged about your goals, or started a Pinterest board, leave me a link, so I can check them out.

And if you're looking for some guidance in your goal-setting, I definitely recommend checking out Lara's series. Powersheets are sold out until the spring, I believe, but remember, there's nothing magical about January 1! If they sound like something that would fire up your heart and help you make things happen, definitely check them out! :)

2014 Making Things Happen: Spring Update

2014 Goals Whew.

I have not been doing very well with the whole keeping up with blogging thing. I have a notebook full of ideas, but just haven't been able to devote the time or energy to develop and share them. I suppose there are seasons like that, and we have to be okay with the ebb and flow of creativity in our lives. I've never been someone who posts just to post. If I don't feel I have anything to share, I don't share.

I'm also at a bit of an in-between season when it comes to blogging and creating. As I do every so often, I'm re-evaluating the heart behind the blog and where I want to take it next. That's definitely a process, but it's a good thing, and I'm excited to see where God leads me next!

Anyway, I'm writing tonight (accompanied by a bowl of cheddar/caramel popcorn!) to share an update on the goals I set at the beginning of the year as part of Lara Casey's Making Things Happen series. (It's hard to believe it's almost May, right!?!)

Here's a brief recap of this year's goals (as well as my updates so far):

  1. Make space for God to move. The biggest way I've been seeking to do this is beginning each day in the Word. I want to hear from God and know what He's calling me to. Now that the weather is getting nicer, I'm looking forward to taking prayer walks again, as well. They really clear my head, allow me to worship, and just take time out to really share my heart with God. They refresh me in a way that just reading my Bible or praying inside cannot.
  2. Invest my time and heart into building an encouraging creative community that blesses others and brings God glory both online and offline. It's been pretty amazing to see God moving in this area. Even though we are only a few months into 2014, I've already been blessed to build community in quite a few different ways. I had an incredible experience hosting the An Inspired Life book club, and I'm excited to host more of them in the future. I'm also looking at possibly offering eCourses that would create a similar community and experience. I met miss Kelsey of Pinegate Road, and we've been collaborating on some branding stuff that I'm excited to develop, as well as resources/events for local creative folks in Cleveland. I know I keep using the word excited, but seriously. I'm really excited!! ;)
  3. Live a full and inspired life in 2014 — and encourage others to do the same. So many things could be listed here, but basically, I'm trying to live intentionally, with purpose and with passion. I'm identifying what's important to me and determining how I can make those things a priority in my life. I even did what Shauna Niequest wrote about in her book Bittersweet and made a list of What I Do and What I Don't Do. As Shauna wrote, it's easy to decide what we want our lives to be about, but it isn't easy to figure out what we are willing to give up, in order to make those things happen. Maybe that's a future post, but that exercise really helped me find focus and direction (and do less comparing). Some of the things that have been priorities so far this year that are helping me live an inspired life: reading lots and lots of good books, taking ballet barre classes, starting to run again, and creative collaborations with others.
  4. Date intentionally — with courage and with hope. I'm praying this simple prayer and trusting God to take care of the details. I'm taking chances and being open to God's plan. And I'm learning A LOT. It's a good season, and I'm hopeful for what's to come.
  5. Explore new possibilities. Lots of new possibilities on the horizon: the branding of this blog (working with Kelsey and taking Braid Creative's personal branding eCourse, etc.), further developing my idea of helping others live and tell inspired stories, and learning hand lettering. We'll see what else gets added to this list as the year continues! I'm really trying to live in such a way that I look for even the little possibilities in each and every day, too. That might be a future blog post, as well... :)

Since this update is starting to get pretty long, I think I'll wrap it up, but I feel good about the progress I've made and everything God is doing and teaching. I really believe in Lara's advice to focus on the small, but steady steps we take. Dreams aren't chased and caught in a day. The important things in our lives take time and faithfulness. I want to be okay with the pace God sets for me and enjoy the journey.

What about you? Did you set goals for 2014? How have they been going? I'd love to hear from you.

 

My 2014 Goals

2014 Goals If you've been following along this week, you know I've been working through my Powersheets and Lara Casey's 2014 Goal-Setting Series.

Today, I'm excited to finally share the five goals I've set for the year ahead!

I love that Lara's process is slow and reflective and intentional. It took TIME to get to the goals below, and they're goals that support my vision and what matters most to me.

  1. Make space for God to move. I want to seek first the Kingdom daily, with a heart that longs to hear Him and go where He leads. I’m going to be going through a praise and wisdom reading plan in my One Year Bible that will take me through Proverbs once during the year and the Psalms twice. I want to have my eyes and heart open to the possibilities He has for me each and every day.
  2. Invest my time and heart into building an encouraging creative community that blesses others and brings God glory both online and offline. I’ve already started this goal online by launching a book club to discuss the eBook I wrote last year called An Inspired Life. I also have it on my heart to really invest in my local art community this year. I’m not sure of the particulars of this one just yet, but I can’t wait to see how God moves in this area. I also want to have many productive, inspiring creative collaborations in 2014. Working with other creatives is a huge passion of mine, and I look forward to doing this as much as I can in 2014.
  3. Live a full and inspired life in 2014 — and encourage others to do the same. This one encompasses so much — eating fresh, healthy foods, practicing holy yoga, joining a gym, spending quality time with my friends and family, etc. This goal is also about living the kind of life I imagine for myself, the kind of life that makes me feel like ME. I want to live surrounded by art, inspiration, and color. I want to make art regularly and read good books. I want to explore my city and celebrate life and my own unique story, a story that is a gift from God. And I want to find new ways to encourage others to do this, too — whether it’s through my blog and online outlets, discipleship at my church, or just a simple handwritten card or note that blesses and encourages someone God puts on my heart.
  4. Date intentionally — with courage and with hope. I will keep praying this simple prayer and trusting God to take care of the details.
  5. Explore new possibilities. One of the new possibilities I’m excited to explore in the new year is hand lettering/typography. I want to take classes, go through the Spencerian script workbooks, etc. I’m also planning on hand lettering a phrase a week and posting it to Instagram, Twitter, etc. Who knows what other possibilities I’ll explore in the year ahead, but I can’t wait to prayerfully wait before the Lord to see what He puts on my heart to pursue.

inspire others

Have you set your 2014 goals yet? I'd love to hear about them and the process you used to set them.

P.S. Have you signed up for my An Inspired Life book club yet? It's a great companion to goal-setting and dreaming for the new year.

My 2014 Vision

Image Happy 2014, my friends!

Dreaming and planning are two of my very favorite things, so I've been delighting in dreaming up and writing down my hopes and prayerful plans for 2014.

If you've been following along the past few days, you know I've been working through Lara Casey's PowerSheets and Goal-Setting Series on her blog. Yesterday, while listening to worship music and drinking a hot mug of coffee, I reflected on all of the goal-setting steps I'd completed so far and came up with my vision statement for 2014. Having a vision for 2013 was extremely motivating and encouraging for me, so I was excited to write a new one for 2014.

My vision statement represents what matters most to me, and my goals for the year ahead will be written with this statement in mind.

MY VISION FOR 2014: I will live with hope, joy, and creativity, embracing — and giving thanks for — the possibilities He blesses me with every day. I will make space for Him to move, seeking first the Kingdom with a heart that longs to hear Him and go where He leads. I will fill my days with art and inspiration and creativity, being brave in new adventures with Him and the people I am blessed to share life with. I will cultivate life-giving, encouraging relationships and community that celebrates creativity and each of our unique God-given dreams and stories. With honesty and vulnerability, I will write and make art that blesses, inspires, and points to Jesus. I will believe anything is possible, and I will keep asking, seeking, and knocking about some of my most precious hopes and dreams. My vision for 2014 is to be a woman who lives an inspired life for the Lord — and a woman who encourages others to live this way, too.

If you've written a vision statement for the year ahead, I'd love to read it.

Have a very blessed first day of the new year!

::image::

2014 Goal Setting with Lara Casey

moodboard Coffee in hand, PowerSheets binder open on the desk, and heart bursting with possibilities...

I just finished sharing my goal-setting progress on Lara's blog and thought I'd share the progress here, too. Today, Lara has asked us to reflect on what did and didn't work in 2013 and what lessons we learned as a result of those experiences.

A few of the lessons I’ve learned this year from what DID and DIDN’T work:

  • I can accomplish BIG dreams (I published my first eBook: aninspiredlifebook.wordpress.com)! Yay! Happy, happy dance!! It took me a little more than a year to write and create, but I feel so, so thankful to have accomplished that major goal.
  • Community is essential, and I love collaborating to create. In making my eBook, I worked with many talented friends, and I realized just how much creative collaboration fires me up. I’m looking to do so much more of that in 2014, and I’m praying and dreaming what that might look like both online and offline (creating inspiring life-giving community in my city).
  • Adventures that stretch us are good for the soul. Did some things a little out of my comfort zone this year and was truly rewarded by seeing the way God blesses our bravery. :)
  • Faith will get me everywhere (kept dreaming, kept hoping, kept believing).
  • Being late causes stress (and so does disorganization). Two things I really want to work on in 2014.
  • Disconnectedness from God hurts my focus and creativity. Seek first the Kingdom is something I want to live out even more in my day to day.
  • Sometimes, we have to make hard choices that lead to healing and growth.
  • Fear is sometimes still too present in my life.

Overall, 2013 was an incredible year of being brave, taking risks, and chasing dreams! So many beautiful memories were made with my sweet friends and family, too! I turned 30 and had an amazing celebration with the people who mean most to me. I went on a California adventure with  my sister, and I attended the Influence Conference. I continued to pray about my future marriage and even recently decided to simplify that prayer to this: that I would meet and marry my best friend.

I'm so thankful for all the ways God was working in my life and heart in 2013, and I'm excited to see where He leads me in 2014. I'm ready to do the hard work of making space for Him to move and partnering with Him to follow the purpose and plan He has for my life. Let's #MakeThingsHappen in 2014, friends! Are you fired up yet?! :)

And speaking of 2014, I've chosen my One Little Word...

POSSIBLE

I've already created my One Little Word Pinterest board (it also happens to be my Making Things Happen board for 2014). Decided to simplify things a little this year and have just the one board that encompassed both. I'd love for you to come follow my board and leave me a link to yours, if you've created one for your 2014 goals and dreams! Let's encourage one another in our big dreams and hopes! :)

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What about you? I'd love to hear where you're at in your dream and goal setting process. If you've blogged your progress, leave me a link, or feel free to just write yours in the comment section.

I really want this blog to be a place of community and collaboration in 2014. I want A Place to Dwell to be a place where we can share honestly and encourage one another to seek Him and live fully and creatively!

I believe He has possibilities for each of us in 2014, and I'm praying we'd delight in discovering every one.

A Year of Going Further (2013 OLW Recap)

farther At the end of a year, it's really easy to look at where you're NOT, what you DIDN'T accomplish, and what you WISH had happened, rather than all the goodness of where you ARE, how far you've come, and everything you DID accomplish.

As I get ready to begin the new year, and I reflect on all I experienced this past year, I'm choosing to look with joy and gratitude on all of the experiences that led me to where I am today.

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I am truly thankful for all I did and learned in 2013. What a year of being brave, taking risks, and chasing dreams!

Part of reflecting on this past year for me is remembering where I was last January, when I chose to live 2013 with the word FURTHER in mind. Here's what I had to say about choosing that word:

I want to take everything I learned in 2012 about keeping an open heart and moving FORWARD with hope, and I want to go FURTHER.

*I want to go FURTHER in my faith. I want to know Him more, trust Him more, hope in Him more.

*I want to go FURTHER in my art. I want to write more. Create more. Set up an Etsy shop. Use the gifts He’s given me to bless others and inspire joy in Him.

*And I want to grow FURTHER…keeping my heart open to His plan each and every day, going where He’s leading, and trusting Him every step of the way.

When I look back at everything that happened in 2013, both the blessings and the moments that challenged and pruned me, I can truly see that the Lord took me FURTHER in so many ways.

At the beginning of last year, I also participated in Lara Casey's Making Things Happen Goal Setting process. I wrote this vision for my year, along with six goals that supported it. (You can read a fall update on all of those goals, here.)

MY VISION FOR 2013: Inspired, encouraging, balanced, intentional, going further with an open heart. I will embrace my story and my season, living fearlessly, fully, and creatively. I will abide in Him and dream with Him, using my God-given gifts and passions to pursue what He’s laid on my heart. I will pray boldly, trusting His guidance. I desire to see a fruitful harvest in my life that glorifies Him and blesses others. My vision for 2013 is to be more of the woman He created me to be —inspiring, encouraging, and spurring on the people He puts in my life. My vision for 2013 is to bear His fruit in my writing, in my artwork, and in my relationships with others.

I just love rereading that vision, because I know it's something the Lord placed on my heart, and I can see so clearly that it's a vision He helped me live out each day of this past year.

Today, I am delighting in every sweet memory made in 2013, and I'm giving thanks for all the ways He helped me embrace my story and my season — and all the ways He equipped me to live fearlessly, fully, and creatively for Him.

What 2013 moments are you most thankful for?

Let's rejoice together, as we get ready to start a brand new year of dreaming big and living fully for Him!

Influence Conference Meet-and-Greet Link-Up

Hi, all! I'm excited to be participating in this Influence Conference link-up. If you haven't visited my blog before, let me introduce myself.

I'm Katie. I write, create, and wear a lot of polka dots. I also wrote a few thoughts about the upcoming conference, here.

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Now onto the link-up questions...

Two things I will be sure to have packed in my bag:

1. Some colorful pens and my new notebook! (Technically more than one item, eh?)

2. My camera to capture memories and moments.

notebook

Two things I'm looking forward to about the conference:

1. GROWTH: Stepping out of my comfort zone and going FURTHER in my faith, writing, and art.

2. INSPIRATION: I can't wait to meet all of the lovely and inspiring ladies I've been getting to know over this past year! I look forward to many hugs, honest conversations, prayers, and encouragement.

See you all soon!

xo,

Katie

Making My Online Life Mean Something

AnneSymonsTyping It's hard to believe that The Influence Conference is less than a month away! I've been part of the network since it launched in January, and I've been blessed to connect with women who are passionate about who God made them to be and passionate to develop and use the influence He's given them to further His Kingdom.

But I'll be honest.

I'm definitely nervous for the conference weekend, and I'm fairly intimidated by the fact that I'll probably be one of the oldest attendees (who also happens to be unmarried). Yikes! It also doesn't help matters that I can chat up a storm when I'm in a small group, but my introvert self comes out in full force when I'm in a large crowd of people.

It's safe to say I will be stepping out of my comfort zone by attending the conference — probably more accurate to say I will be LEAPING out of my comfort zone... ;)

But, didn't I agree to going FURTHER with Him this year — to opening myself up to His plan, going bravely wherever He's leading?

I might be nervous and a bit intimidated, but I know how life-giving this conference is going to be for me, my faith, and my online life. I know I want to continue to develop and use the influence He's given me, and I know I want to become even more of the woman He created me to be.

I'm thankful for this opportunity to grow as a writer, artist, and blogger, and I'm thankful for the opportunity to meet so many of the women who have been friends, encouragers, and inspirers for me this year.

Will I see you there?

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