Posts tagged Lara Casey
Mid-Year Goal Refresh: #SummerToThrive

Hi, friends!

As I’ve been preparing my heart for Jess Connolly's #summertothrive and working on my #Powersheets mid-year goal refresh, I’ve been thinking a lot about the words flourish and thrive. I feel these are the words God has given me for the summer, and as I ponder them with hope and wonder, I’m setting my heart on Him and remaining open to how He might want to use me in the months ahead.
I read a post on Jess Connolly's Instagram recently, and something she said really struck a chord with me... she said she’s decided she will no longer live by the words “I can’t” and instead is choosing to live by the words “I can if God wants me to...” That’s exactly how I want to approach this #summertothrive, my mid-year goal updates, and honestly, my life in general. I’m telling all the lies that like to play on repeat in my mind to get outta town, because anything is possible with God, and I CAN if He wants me to.
Like Jess said in her post, I want to worship Him with my willingness, and I don’t want to speak limits where He has not.
(So no more "I can'ts" or "I won'ts" from this girl...because if He wants me to, I surely CAN.)
I’m ready to say yes to what He asks of me, kicking those familiar lies to the curb and living a flourishing and fruitful faith all for His glory and purposes.

That said, I decided to simplify my yearly goals a bit now that we've made it halfway through 2018 (Can you believe that?!).

My Updated Goals:

1. Know and trust God more.

This goal hasn't changed at all. It's my foundational goal, the heart of everything I do. As I wrote at the beginning of the year, I want my pursuit of knowing God to be the center of everything I do. And as I grow in knowledge of Him, my trust and confidence in Him will also grow. I'm also still learning to trust Him with some of my deepest desires and hopes (like marriage), and I want to continue to surrender those things and entrust them to His care.

2. Be humble, faithful, and willing right where I am.#ComeMatterHere

This goal is also basically unchanged, although, I added the hashtag after reading Hannah Brencher's book. As I wrote at the beginning of the year:  I want to be faithful right where I am, making the most of every day and every opportunity all for Him and His glory. I don't want to miss out on the season I'm in because my eyes and heart are too focused on what's ahead. "Where you are right now is God's place for you. Live and obey and love and believe right there."  1 Cor 7:17 MSG There are so many adventures to be had, ways to serve, and opportunities to fall more in love with Jesus right where I am. This goal has come to mean even more to me as the year has progressed... God is teaching me how to embrace today, while still being expectant and hopeful for tomorrow. It can be a delicate balance, but I'm grateful for all He's teaching me through it. I love these words from Hannah's book about being fully where our feet are: "Presence is all we get at any given moment. We either lean into the here and now, or we miss it. I think something bigger is always happening, but it is never how we narrate it in our own head... We will meet people we never imagined in places we never planned to go. But it starts with a choice and then follows with a step." I think that quote is a beautiful illustration of what it means to be faithful where you are, to say daily yes's to God's work in your life and heart, and to daily step out and go where He calls. And that leads me to the next goal...

3. Occupy new space.

This is a new goal (another phrase I borrowed from Hannah's book Come Matter Here). It may seem like it's a contradiction to goal #2, but it's's a beautiful extension of that idea. In her chapter by the same name, Hannah writes: We plan for growth. We plan (and hope) for acceptance. We plan for abundance... But we don't sit down and plan to rebuild." After the brokenness 2017 left behind, 2018 has turned into a year of rebuilding for me, a year of believing and trusting that 2017 was a turning point and an invitation to occupy new space in 2018. Adding this to my list of goals means that I will continue to engage with and embrace my story — even the scars and broken parts. It means I will continue to step out in faith and go where He calls, trusting that this rebuilding process is something beautiful and complex and entirely worthwhile. Occupying new space also means continuing to let go of my own expectations (and the lies I've believed) in favor for His truth, His ways, His plan.

4. Continue to equip myself with strength [spiritual, mental, and physical fitness for my God-given tasks]. (Proverbs 31:17)

The heart of this goal is the same, but I've just reworded it a bit, using the amplified translation of Proverbs 31:17. I'm continuing to focus on loving and serving God with all my strength, and this has been one of the most tangible ways I've seen God working and moving this year. I'm excited to continue to prioritize health and wellness as a part of this goal.

And so that's where I've landed! :)

I think this might be the first time I've rewritten and updated my Powersheets goals, but it felt good to take a look at everything and make adjustments. I truly feel like these goals are invitations God has been extending to me, and I'm hopeful to see how the rest of the year unfolds, as I continue to lean in and trust Him fully.

Also, rather than doing monthly goals this summer, I'll be back soon to share a simple list of summer #powersheets goals that I've put together based on these updates, as well as Jess' #SummertoThrive guide.

Until then, you can find more fun over at Instagram. :)


February Goals Recap & March 2018 Goals

Hi, friends! Is anyone else a bit surprised that it's already March? February flew by, but it was packed with so much goodness and lots of little steps forward. As I wrote out my progress on each of the goals below, I just felt so grateful for all the ways God has been moving in my life. He continues to show me more of who He is and just how faithful and true He is. Praising Him tonight for how far He's brought me.

P.S. I just bought this new worship album, and I cannot get enough! Lots of little praise parties happening over here this week. :)

Okay, on to my February goals recap...

Monthly Goals

  • Fast social media for Lent (Both nervous and excited for this one!)

Still going strong on this! I’ll share a post on my thoughts and experience after Lent.

  • Finish reading Idols of the Heart and Faith Forward Future. I’ve been exceptionally bad about starting lots of books and not finishing them lately, so I’d like to commit to finishing these two books in February

I made some progress on this goal, but it ended up looking differently than I thought. I’m almost finished with Idols of the Heart, but I have a lot to go back and really sit with, and I also am almost finished with Daring to Hope by Katie Davis Majors, which was an unplanned read but exactly what I needed right now. Faith Forward Future is on the back burner for now.

  • Read and study the book of Exodus (I just finished Genesis)

I just finished reading Exodus and am going through the corresponding study on RightNow Media, but I want to go back and re-read some of the chapters, take detailed notes, etc. to make sure I’m really focused on comprehension. And then next up: Leviticus!

  • Fast sugar (and maybe coffee — eek) for 10 days (I think I’ll do this to correspond with the beginning of Lent, but not entirely sure yet…)

This goal never happened, so I’m moving it to March. I guess there were just too many tempting Valentine’s Day goodies to enjoy! ;)

  • Pick one area at home to clean out and organize (a closet, a cupboard, etc.)

This goal also never happened, but I’m coming up with a plan to tackle one area per month.

  • Attend IF Gathering with an open heart that's eager to hear and respond to God

This was so good and much-needed! Maybe I’ll do a recap post with some of my favorite takeaways. :)

Weekly Goals

  • Commit to at least one TV-free day (Thanking my friend Emily E for this idea!)

I didn’t do this consistently, but when I did it was rewarding.

  • Continue strength training twice a week (going on six months of doing this consistently!)

YES! I stayed consistent with this, with the exception of a few sessions I had to miss due to circumstances outside of my control. I continue to be surprised by how much I enjoy strength training! I'm thinking about ordering this adorable workout tank to celebrate six months of training!

  • Add one other workout into each week (barre, yoga, pilates, etc.)

This happened, too! Yay! I did a few Revelation Wellness videos, and I also gave this kettle bell workout a try. I think kettle bell is going to be a regular addition to my workouts each week. I love that it combines both weights and cardio in one session.

  • Spend one evening each week working on my Expectant Faith devotional

Sadly, this didn’t happen, and it’s going to have to be on hold for most of March, most likely, due to some other writing commitments.

  • Sunday meal prep (prep at least one vegetable and one protein), so I have some healthy options as I begin each new week

This happened occasionally, but it’s an area I want to continue to improve in (ideas to try: rice/quinoa, chicken, protein-packed egg muffins, tray of roasted veggies, spiralized veggies)

Daily Goals

  • Word Before World (read Exodus and the Psalms; spend time in prayer; continue my daily focus on God’s promises/attributes through the current YouVersion studies I'm going through)

  • Listen to a sermon or worship music each morning as I get ready for my day

  • Drink 50 oz of water

  • Three servings of veggies and two servings of fruit (consider getting portion control containers to help with serving sizes and weekly meal prep/planning)

I was fairly consistent with all of my daily goals, but I need to get serious about my fruit/veggie intake. :) I also have LOVED starting my day with worship music or a sermon. After my coffee and quiet time, I’ve been choosing a sermon to listen to while getting ready, and it’s been such a positive start to each day.

And on to my March goals! It's going to be another busy month filled with lots of building and investing in the things God has been calling me to, and I can't wait!

March Monthly Goals

  • Continue to fast social media for Lent

  • Write upcoming guest blog post (I’ll share more about who I’m writing for soon!)

  • Prayerfully plan and write the teaching for the session I’ll be co-leading at my church’s upcoming women’s retreat (so excited about this! I’ll share a few highlights after the event in April)

  • Fill out March prayer journal and have a prayer session right then and there

  • Fast sugar for 10 days

  • Choose one book to read (I’m leaving it open this month, rather than goaling to read a specific book)

  • Make a monthly plan room by room for the organizational projects I want to tackle this year

March Weekly Goals

  • Two weight-training sessions with personal trainer

  • At least one additional cardio or strength/cardio workout (kettle bell, yoga, barre, yogalates, pilates, Revelation Wellness video etc.); switch it up each week to keep things interesting :)

  • Meal plan/prep for the week ahead (figure out a routine for this that I can actually stick with)

Daily Goals

  • Word Before World (read Exodus a second time for note-taking and comprehension and then start Leviticus)

  • Listen to a sermon or worship music each morning as I get ready for my day

  • Drink 50 oz of water

  • Three servings of veggies and two servings of fruit (start making smoothies to start my day to increase my servings, since I am struggling with this)

And that's that! What about you? Have you set any goals for the month ahead? :)


Cultivating What Matters 2018 - Getting Inspired

I started my morning with coffee (of course!) and working through my Cultivate What Matters 2018 Powersheets. I've been going through last year's pages, as well as everything I've written so far, gathering inspiration and looking for common threads. I've also been building a Pinterest board and collecting images that inspire me and remind me of what's important.


In this post, I'm going to share what fires me up and inspires me, what I'm saying yes and no to in 2018, the word I've selected for the year ahead, and my 2018 vision statement :)

It was fun to see how much my inspiration list changed and evolved from last year. 2017 was a huge year of pruning and refinement for me, and I can absolutely see that reflected when comparing last year's powersheets to this year's.


  • Reading good books and learning new things
  • Worship music that fuels my faith (especially Elevation Worship!)
  • Meaningful conversations
  • Making memories and creating traditions with friends and family
  • Encouraging others
  • Studying and teaching God's Word
  • Lattes and cute coffee shops (coffee + creativity)
  • Writing + blogging
  • Journals and journaling
  • Strength training (I never would have thought this would make the list! But I am loving the process of getting stronger little by little)
  • 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
  • Dreaming and praying BIG


  • Building my Kingdom over God’s Kingdom
  • Fear
  • Comparison
  • Control
  • Clutter (mental and physical)
  • Negativity
  • Doubting God and His goodness
  • Wasting time and money
  • Clinging to the past; looking backward, rather than forward
  • Not trusting + hoping in God’s promises
  • Choosing worldly comforts/fulfillment over Jesus
  • Too much scrolling/screen time
  • Overwhelm
  • Anxiety


  • God’s plan in God’s time
  • Trusting God with my desire for marriage (and waiting well); it is an honor to wait and pray for my future husband, and as I continue to wait and pray, I want to remember this
  • Knowing God more and trusting Him more
  • Loving and serving God with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength (a life and heart devoted to Him in all things)
  • Being humble + willing and pouring out all I have to know, love, and serve Him in every season and circumstance
  • Word before World
  • Prioritizing people + relationships (family, friends, co-workers, dating intentionally); building strong/meaningful relationships
  • Growing stronger (continuing to work with my personal trainer)
  • Eating clean-ish ;) (and doing the Whole30 again at the beginning of the year)
  • Building God’s Kingdom
  • Studying and teaching the Word
  • Worshiping BIG
  • NEW things and possibilities (new experiences, new adventures, learning new things)
  • Praise + adoration (especially in prayer)
  • Bold prayers + expectant faith
  • HOPE
  • Sharing my story for God’s glory




You may have seen the post on Instagram, but I've selected the word DEVOTED for 2018. I am choosing to live this year with a heart devoted to Him.  A heart devoted to the study and teaching of His word. To knowing Him more and building His Kingdom over my own. To trusting, seeking, and putting Him first, regardless of if He brings new circumstances or opportunities my way. This life I’m living is His, and I want to be devoted to Him in all things. It also means I’m devoted to keep pursuing the dreams and callings He places on my heart and my life (like marriage, family, and teaching and writing for Him). And it means saying YES to wherever He leads.
My heart is to deepen my trust in Him this next year and live with a confident and Expectant Faith.

And finally (thanks for sticking with me!), here's my vision statement for the year ahead. I've been writing yearly vision statements for the past few years, and they really help me write goals that focus on and cultivate what matters most. It's a way for me to take all of the steps I've done so far and summarize them.


In 2018, I will focus on knowing, loving, and serving God with all of my heart, soul, mind, and strength (Matthew 22:37). I will seek to know and trust Him more (completely, entirely, without reservation or exception), and I will be open to His will and His way in all things. I will wait and pray for His plan, in His time, trusting Him with all of my most precious dreams and desires (especially marriage). 2018 will be a year where I prioritize Jesus (Word before World, His way and His Kingdom over mine). I will study and teach His Word, using my creativity and curiosity to build the Kingdom, and I will continue to be brave in sharing my story all for His glory. I will prioritize people and relationships, from family and friends to dating intentionally. I will pray BIG and with expectant faith, and I will never give up hope, knowing that He is a God who can flip the script and change the story at any time.

I'll be back soon to share the 2018 goals I write.

Are you doing goals for the year ahead? If so, I'd love to hear about your process and progress. I want to cheer you on! :)


    Cultivating What Matters: 2018 Powersheets Prep

    Powersheets time is one of my favorite times of the year, and I'm excited to be making some space these last few weeks of 2017 to dig into my 2018 Powersheets and get equipped for the new year ahead. The snow is falling outside, my tree is twinkling, and I'm drinking a hot mug of coffee from my favorite Birds Don't Worry mug.

    I'm ready. :)

    2017 was one of the hardest years I’ve had in a long time. It was a season of broken and redirected dreams, but through it all, I have seen His faithfulness to me, and I know He has been growing me and strengthening me.

    I know the best is yet to come, and my story isn’t over yet.

    As I began writing my celebration list for the year, I realized how much GOOD truly did come out of a year I'm tempted to label BAD. It was a hard year, but it wasn't a bad year. God is good on the mountaintop and in the valley. And He doesn't waste a thing. I'm praising Him for ALL the goodness He brought, even in the midst of challenges.


    • New adventures (my trip to Nashville and getting to reconnect with a sweet friend)
    • Learning and growing (I read and was encouraged by so many good books)
    • Praising through the pain (I got to worship with my sister and with some of my favorite worship artists this year: Rend Collective and Elevation Worship)
    • Bold prayers (even in the face of disappointment, I found God prompting me to keep praying boldly, and I’m excited to see the ways He answers each of those prayers)
    • I went deeper in my Bible study and am so excited to continue this more in-depth study in 2018
    • I redesigned my website!
    • I began writing my women's devotional Expectant Faith (coming in 2018! Stay tuned!) :)
    • I grew STRONGER - emotionally, spiritually, and physically
    • I started working with a personal trainer in September and have been strength training twice a week for the past four months —  I'm so encouraged by this progress!
    • I completed the Whole30 program
    • I shared my story in Laura Dudek's Written Bible study (releasing in January 2018)
    • I have another piece of writing being published, too (I'll share where in January!)
    • I took another God get-away in June, and it was such a sweet and refreshing time


    • I want to practice praise more often. Doubt, discouragement, and comparison stole my focus and my joy much too often this year. I want to live so fully surrendered to God that I trust and praise Him even when the story looks like it has gone terribly wrong.
    • I want the story that gives Him the most glory — even if it looks different than what I (or culture) expects.
    • Doubt often leads to discouragement and despair. It's so important to remain anchored and immersed in His truth. I want to focus on studying and praising His attributes this coming year.
    • I can trust God with my dreams and desires — even when it feels or seems like I can't.
    • I can do hard things. But not because of my strength. Because of HIS.
    • Waiting is a disciplined refusal to act before God acts (Eugene Peterson). God ALWAYS knows best. So often I trust myself, rather than trusting Him. But I want to wait for the story He knows is best. I want to trust Him even when things don't seem to make any sense.
    • Chasing dreams — even God-given dreams — should never replace chasing God.
    • Prayer changes things — and it changes ME.
    • I am a Teacher, or Light Giver, in the Kingdom (Five-Fold Ministry Assessment); I want to study and teach His Word, using my creativity and curiosity to build His Kingdom.

    I'm going to end with a great question Lara asked in her 2018 Cultivate What Matters goal-setting series:

    What’s the one thing you most want to cultivate in 2018?

    The thing I most want to cultivate in 2018 is an expectant faith. I want to trust God completely with my most precious dreams and desires (like marriage and family and teaching and writing for Him). And I want to live with the kind of hope in Him that NEVER gives up, the kind of hope that knows He’s a God who can flip the script at any time.

    How are you doing today, friends? I would love to hear from you in the comments. Tell me about your year, what you've learned, how God's worked...I'm cheering you all on as you reflect on the year behind and look forward with HOPE and FAITH to the year ahead. :)

    November Goals

    Hi, friends!

    I know I've been super inconsistent with posting about my monthly goals this year, but I decided to get my November goals up and finish the year strong. :)

    I've been doing a lot of reflecting this fall on my vision for the year and my #cultivatewhatmatters yearly goals (recap blog post currently in the works). And I've been so encouraged to realize that despite the ups and downs of this year, God has been moving and leading and growing me in lots of ways. I've been living out my word of the year, FULLY, in ways I couldn't have imagined at the beginning of the year. (Side note: When am I going to learn that when I pick a word it will never unfold how I imagine it will?) ;)
    But truly, it's been a year of more growth and refinement than I could have anticipated. And my heart is hopeful to see how He uses all of it in the year to come.


    On to the goals...

    Monthly Goals

    • Explore new creative/ministry outlets. This has been such a season of learning and discovery and refining for me, and I’m excited to take new steps toward some things God has been calling me to explore and pursue. I recently got more involved with the women's ministry team at my church, for example, and am excited to see that continue to unfold. I've got a few other avenues I'm excited to explore, too. More on those adventures as they start to unfold. :)
    • Continue writing my women’s devotional. My progress on this has slowed in the last few months, and I want to get back to writing regularly. I am making it a goal to choose one afternoon this month to devote to writing. I'm putting it on my calendar and making it happen! Coffee shop, here I come! :)
    • Make meaningful memories with family and friends, savoring and celebrating the last few months of the year.
    • #GetAfterGrateful I love Lara Casey's plan to spend November *remembering* the faithfulness of the Lord by writing 30 Ebenezers — specific remembrances of God’s faithfulness in her family. I knew I wanted (and needed) to do something gratitude-focused, as well, so I'm jumping in to participate in Rach Kinkaid's #GetAfterGrateful project, too, with a similar plan as Lara's. I'm going to use my Fresh Courage journal from Val Marie Paper to do some remembering of my own. My goal is to remember, write, and praise God for 10 Ebenezer moments of my own. Maybe I'll do a blog post, too.

    Weekly Goals

    • Strength train twice a week with my personal trainer. I started training in September, and this week will be the first week I have to miss one of my training days, just due to a scheduling conflict. I’ve been so encouraged by the progress I’m making (I’ve never stuck with a fitness routine before), and I’m excited to keep pursuing this and growing stronger, not just physically, but also mentally and spiritually.

    Daily Goals

    • Seek first the Kingdom (and fast from things that I know are stealing the focus of my heart). I’m using the last few months of the year as a time to refocus my heart. I want to be in the Word daily, drinking deeply from the well of truth, so I experience the renewing of my mind on a consistent basis. Strength is a big focus for me the last few months of the year, and I want all of the goals I set to help me love and serve the Lord with all of my heart, all of my soul, all of my mind, and all of my STRENGTH.
    • Pray earnestly and humbly. Ask God more questions in prayer and wait for His answers. Pray for Him to increase my hope and faith. Be expectant.
    • Drink at least 50oz of water daily and eat clean (ish) for training purposes.

    And that's the gist of my goals for November. I know the rest of this year is going to fly by, and I don't want to miss a precious moment of it.

    What about you, friends? What goals do you have for this month/the remainder of this year?


    Photo: Cultivate What Matters

    Cultivate What Matters 2017: Getting Inspired

    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!


    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


    Feeling rushed and frazzled
    Meaningless distractions
    Trying to control the story God is writing in my life
    Clutter (mental and physical)
    Choosing anything over God
    Having all the answers


    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
    Focusing on health/wellness | whole/healthy foods
    Reading good books that inspire and challenge me
    Praising God's goodness
    Creativity and creative writing
    Sharing my story for God’s glory
    Starting and ending my day with God
    Reading/studying God’s Word
    Choosing God above all other things
    Prioritizing prayer

    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

    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...


    • 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)
    • 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!)


    • 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

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



    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 - Yearly Vision & Goals

    Hello, friends!

    I've been slowly but surely working my way through my Lara Casey Powersheets — really digging into the heart behind each step.

    One of my favorite steps each year is to create a vision board for the year ahead. Surprisingly, I had a really tough time creating mine this year, though. I actually made about three different versions before this one just clicked. Even though the process was a bit more difficult for me this year, I love everything about this final board — from the white space, to the bright pops of color, to the inspiring phrases and daily reminders to seize the day and say yes to living fully and creatively with a heart open to God's goodness and plan.

    I'll be printing out this little collage and adding it to my Powersheets workbook (along with some glittery washi tape and other happy little embellishments). Because if you can add a little extra sparkle, why wouldn't you, yes? ;)

    Before I get into my actual goals, I'd like to share a little snippet of an article from Relevant Magazine that I rediscovered earlier this week. It's called Life Won't Begin at Your Next Milestone, and it's really a great read when goal-setting.

    Here's one of my favorite sections:

    "Elisabeth Elliot wrote,

    'The secret is Christ in me, not me in a different set of circumstances.'

    The bigger story of our life begins the moment we understand this truth. Life does not begin when you get married, land your dream job, or board a plane to travel the world. It is found in the beautiful, powerful love of Christ, which changes us in the midst of all circumstances, especially the ones we find most difficult. We need only be willing."

    I want this next year to be a year marked by a willingness to choose God, a willingness to embrace His plan for me and seek and follow Him in everything.

    There are many things I hope for and dream for in this next year, and I am definitely excited for the year ahead, but no matter what unfolds or does not unfold, God is with me, and He is for me. His powerful love is bigger than any completed goal or hope fulfilled. He is hope Himself!

    I don't want to forget those truths this year.

    And because there's no good transition from those powerful words to sharing my goals, I'll just jump right in! But I do hope you'll take a few minutes to read that article when you have a chance.

    MY VISION FOR 2016

    Each year, before I go about actually setting my goals, I take the time to write a vision statement for the year ahead. It represents much of what's in my vision board (and my Making Things Happen Pinterest board), and it's something I find very inspiring and grounding, because it really sets the tone for all of my goals. It's a great place to return to again and again as the year goes on, too.

    My vision for 2016 is this...

    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.

    Honestly, all of my goals and everything in my vision statement can be summed up in that first line:

    I will be joyfully open to God’s plan for my life, living fully and creatively right where I am.

    As I share my goals next, you'll notice there's quite a bit of overlap with each one, and I definitely discovered that as I began to write my actions ideas for each goal (I repeated action steps under multiple goals). I'm absolutely okay with that, though. This is the year of embracing messy, imperfect progress, and honestly, life can't really be divided up into perfectly neat little goals anyway. So much of life and what we do and pursue is interconnected.

    There are also goals from last year that found a home in my goals for this year, but there are plenty of pursuits in making what matters happen that stretch beyond a year. I don't want to lose sight of those on-going goals. I also tried to keep my goals a bit more broad this year in an effort to simplify. We'll see how that goes the first part of the year, and if they need to be rewritten later, I will do that.

    And now the goals!

    MY 2016 GOALS

    1. Be open to God's plan for my life and live fully right where I am. I'm listing this one first, because as I mentioned above, it's really the heart behind all of my goals this year. This one goal obviously encompasses a lot, but some of the action items I've listed include going through Holly Holt's In The Wait study, studying and applying what God has to say about surrender, and investing in the moment and what matters — my faith, my family, my friends, and my creative gifts and art. I want to be open to new adventures and possibilities and praise God for all He is doing!
    2. Prioritize prayer and choose God above all other things. Seek first the Kingdom. Goal #2 really goes hand-in-hand with goal #1. But it was important enough to be called out and listed separately. This year, I am going to really be working on contentment (more to come on that in the goals ahead, but this goal is going to be the heart behind all of that). I'll be spending lots of time with my Val Marie Paper Prayer Journal and focusing on choosing God first in all things...starting the day with Him, staying with Him throughout the day, and ending the day with Him, too (stealing that phrase from my friend Bailey).
    3. Experience abundance through simplicity. Hello again, contentment! With this goal, I really want to focus on making more space in my life for what matters. That will mean doing things like saying yes to cell-phone free time and saying no to mindless shopping and "scrolling" through social media. I will be reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and cutting through as much clutter and distraction as I can (both mentally and physically).
    4. Cultivate contentment, creativity, and community. You're really seeing the contentment theme now, yes? :) Contentment, creativity, and community are three areas that I really want to focus on in 2016. And even though I know contentment is threaded throughout each goal, and it might not make total sense to list it again here separately, I just couldn't get the phrase "cultivate contentment, creativity, and community" out of my head. So on my Powersheets it goes, and I'm excited to see how focusing on those three areas impact the year ahead.
    5. Use my creative gifts fully for God. Honestly not sure how this one will look just yet... I'm trying to think through how I'll use this blog, as well as my Instagram creatively in the next year. (So if there's something you'd love to see more of, please let me know!) :) I'm also contemplating some new collaboration and writing endeavors, so I'll be praying about those things and seeing where He leads!

    So there you have it! My five main goals so far. I didn't fill out all 10 goal spots in my Powersheets workbook, because new goals may crop up as the year goes on, and also because I really feel like these five cover the most important stuff. I will say that health/wellness/self care is an on-going goal for me, too, and I almost listed it separately, but I think it can be nested under my first goal to live fully right where I am. Part of living fully is taking care of yourself, and I tend to list at least a few health/fitness items on my Powersheets each month.

    Whew! That might be the longest post I've written in a long, long while!

    But before I sign off, I'd like to leave you with this great quote!

    “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.”


    So, here's to abandoning ourselves to God and to all the surprises 2016 holds!

    ::images above from my Pinterest::

    Making Things Happen 2016 - Getting Inspired

    As I've continued to work through my Powersheets for 2016 and Lara's 2016 Goal-Setting series, I've reached the "what fires me up"/inspiration-gathering step...searching for images and phrases that capture some of my hopes and dreams and vision for the new year ahead.

    As I was looking back through some of my Pinterest boards from previous years to reflect/get inspired, I found myself wanting to reuse some of the images. The colors, words, and heart of those pins still very much represent my vision and approach to the year ahead.

    At first I resisted, thinking that wouldn't be doing it the "right" way. But then I had to laugh. Because, of course, there is no RIGHT way! Who was to say I couldn't just move some of those pins that still inspire me to my new board?

    And so I did!

    And I'm glad, because if something is still working, why change it?

    I've also been reflecting on these questions that Lara posed in part 2 of her 2016 goal-setting series:

    Where do you need to let go in life and trust? What does your Messy 2016 look like?

    My messy 2016 is about surrender, being open, and giving up control. It’s about putting more effort into trusting God, rather than putting effort into trying to make things happen in my own way and time. Even when my efforts are for good things, they are exhausting and wearisome when they are not lining up with His timing and plan. And when I’m so focused on what I hope will happen TOMORROW, I miss TODAY.
    So, 2016 finds me looking to make the very most of TODAY, letting God handle the details of my future. It doesn’t mean I will stop praying or hoping for those things I deeply desire (like a Godly marriage and family of my own), but it does mean I will stop focusing so much on trying to make those things happen in my own way and time.

    My messy 2016 is about looking at my perfectly imperfect current season and calling it GOOD.
    Because it is.


    Part of living out my messy 2016 means doing more of what fires me up, saying YES to good things that fill me up and help me live fully in the moment, and saying NO to anything that distracts me from living a purposeful, meaningful year.


    • 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
    • Playing with paint and pattern
    • Living & telling inspired stories
    • Exploring my city and supporting local shops/artists
    • Journals and journaling
    • Community and collaboration
    • 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


    • Comparison
    • Too much "screen time" (mindless scrolling)
    • Doubt in the goodness of God's plan for me
    • Striving
    • Trying to control the story God is writing in my life
    • Clutter (mental and physical)
    • Negativity
    • Choosing anything over God
    • Overwhelm
    • Guilt
    • Anxiety
    • "Shoulds"
    • Distraction + disorganization


    • Living in the moment
    • Surrender/being open to God's plan for me
    • Building strong/meaningful relationships
    • New traditions (like family dinners on Sundays)
    • Focusing on health/wellness
    • New adventures
    • Reading good books that inspire and challenge me
    • Praising God's goodness
    • Making art "just because"
    • Creativity
    • Sharing my story
    • Inspiration
    • Whole/healthy foods
    • Starting and ending my day with God
    • Choosing God above all other things
    • Simplifying
    • Being still
    • Kitty snuggles
    • Prioritizing prayer
    • Grace

    Next up, I'll be sharing what my vision statement is for 2016, but I need some more time to think, reflect, and pray.

    How are you Powersheets/goals/end-of-the-year reflections going? Do you have a Pinterest board for the new year?


    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.


    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.


    • 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.



    • 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.


    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?


    Goal-Setting with Lara Casey: My 2015 Goals

    Header_My2015Goals1 I'm excited to finally share my 2015 goals (they've been about a month in the making), and I feel really settled and good about them. I think they are doable, but also stretching. I'm also looking forward to searching for scripture that speaks to each goal. I got the idea from Valerie of Val Marie Paper. (Here's a great post on doing that, if you'd like to seek scripture for your goals, as well.)

    Moving on to the actual goals... :)


    1. Seek and find God in everything. I want to find and follow Him wholeheartedly, filling my  mind with His truth and thinking about the best, not the worst. I want to memorize scripture and recite His promises DAILY.
    2. Wait on the Lord — especially in my singleness.  I want to lean not on my understanding, but instead, I want to trust Him and look to Him in all things — including dating and singleness (especially dating and singleness?!). I want to remember that those who wait on the Lord will not be put to shame and that waiting on God is always worth it. I want to believe that He is good and that He has a good plan for me. I want to live fully today, with hope for tomorrow.
    3. Make time for creative adventures. Paint, draw, read, write! Create "just because." I want to take myself on inspiration and creativity dates often, filling my life and heart with what fires me up and points me to Jesus. I want to take classes, explore new art forms, and learn new things. I want to live fully and creatively, thankful that God gave me a creative, inspiration-loving heart.
    4. Spend, save, and give with intention. I want to be wise financially, so I can use  my resources for good and for God.
    5. Find a fitness routine I love and make it a regular part of my week. I want to take care of myself — health, heart, and spirit. I want to practice self-care regularly, so I have energy to go, do, and create everything that God has in mind for me this year. I want to be healthy and whole, so I can love well and bless those in my life.
    6. Continue to simplify my life. Give away what I don't need and keep only what is useful, meaningful, or inspiring to me.
    7. Be an encourager and a celebrator. I want to mentor and encourage others — online and off. I want to lead a Bible study for college/early career at my church, and I want to write blogs that speak to women who are in that season of life. I want to support my church, my friends, my family, and my city. I want to be a resource and an inspiration for those God connects me with this year.
    8. Use social media and my blog with intention, and continue to evolve and find the focus/niche God has for me. I've been blogging for almost eight years, and my blog and experience online have changed pretty dramatically during that time. I want to continue to evaluate the heart  behind what I'm doing and ask the Lord for guidance. I want to focus on community over followers, and God's heart for what I do over what's deemed "popular."
    9. Find the balance between living the stories and telling them.  I want to journal every day, capturing thoughts, dreams, ideas, prayers. I want to get back into the practice of art journaling, too — telling stories with paint and paper. I want to have cell-phone-free time every day, and I want to be intentional about making meaningful memories with friends and family. I want to live in the moment — being fully present — but also make time to capture the good stuff and tell the story God is writing in my life. And that leads me to my final goal...
    10. Be brave in writing and creating. I want to take risks for Him. I want to write and create honestly and vulnerably, and I want to go after big dreams. I want to collaborate with people who inspire me and pitch my ideas to publications I dream to work with. And I want to start taking steps toward my dream of writing books. I've got an idea that's been slowly taking shape, and I want to dig into that this year and see where God might take it — and me.

    So, there you have it! My goals for 2015. I'm sure they will evolve as the year goes  on, but I'm looking forward to seeing how God works and moves and orchestrates in each of these areas. I also hope you'll help hold me accountable to the things I've listed here. I'd love to hear about your goals, as well!

    Let's cheer one another on and get excited about all God is going to do!

    P.S. I wanted to announce a little something exciting before signing off!


    I'm hosting an online study through the book of Ephesians with a group of amazing ladies this month, and I'd love for you to be a part of it! Go check out Bailey's blog post today for more details and to get in on the action. (To be honest, my heart has felt a bit disconnected from God the last few months, and I'm so looking forward to diving back into His word and seeking Him wholeheartedly!)


    What I Hope 2015 Looks Like

    I am *THIS CLOSE* to finishing my goals for 2015, but in the meantime, I've been rereading my Powersheets and making lists and brainstorming. I've never taken this long to set goals in the past, and I'm almost excited about this slower pace, because I'm hoping it means that each goal will have been set with intention, prayer, and hopeful, open-hearted purpose.

    I've also continued building my Make It Happen Board on Pinterest, and this morning, I saw this list on Pinterest from Thyme is Honey and was inspired to make one of my own. The list I created was inspired by many of my Powersheet answers, and each of the items  will be a part of my goals for this year.

    2015 List

    I look forward to pinning this up where I can see it, and being purposeful and intentional about each of these things this year. While there is so much more to each of the items on this list, they are a great starting point for my goals and have brought me some clarity as I finish hashing everything out.

    Feel free to print, pin, blog, and share this — or use it as inspiration to create one of your own! :)

    P.S. Have you been participating in Lara's goal-setting process, or reading her Make It Happen book? If so, where are you at in the process?

    Goal-Setting with Lara Casey: My 2015 Vision

    Graphic_LiveOnPurpose1 On Saturday, I posted about the first steps in my 2015 goal-setting process. Tonight, I'm going to share the results of the next few steps: the vision I've written for my year, as well as what I'm saying YES and NO to in 2015 to support that vision. I've loved writing vision statements the last two years, and I'm excited to take this year's statement to heart and bring it to life.

    My Vision for 2015:

    Above all else, I will seek and FIND GOD WHOLEHEARTEDLY this year. I will FOLLOW where He leads, going and doing and creating in line with His heart.  I will live fully in each day without worry, fear, or fretting for what may or may not be ahead. I will have hope for all God has planned, but I will also wholeheartedly embrace right where I am TODAY, because I don't want to miss one moment of what God is doing right here, right now.  I will keep an open heart to His way, delighting in any unexpected adventures and possibilities He might bring my way. I will make meaningful memories with friends and family, and I will live in a balance of experiencing the stories and telling them — celebrating all God is doing in my life and in the lives of others. I will make the most of this season, filling my life and heart with all that fires me up and points me to Jesus. I will continue to be a woman who lives an inspired life for God, and I will continue to invite and encourage others to do the same.

    To support this vision, here is my list of YES and NO for 2015:

    I'm saying NO to...

    *Comparison *Fear, worry, fretting (I want to live fully in each day without fear of what tomorrow may or may not hold) *Doubt that God has a good plan for my life (HE DOES! He is good, and He works all things for good) *Being late/disorganized *Extremes (in health, work, life) *"Shoulds" *Anything that's weighing me down (I saw something on Pinterest that said: “If you don’t need it, get rid of it!” I love that! Such a great reminder!)

    I'm saying YES to...

    *Creating for God *Memorizing scripture *A fitness routine I LOVE and will stick to *Prayer *Cell-phone-free time *Fresh, whole foods *Possibilities *Hope *Celebrating all the ways my story is UNIQUE *Living in the moment *Mindfulness *Everyday adventures (like taking myself out to breakfast, coffee, the library, or to an inspiring museum) *Making art “just because” *Collaborating and creating with others to make meaningful things (keeping my community focus from last year!) *Regular journaling *Thinking about the BEST, not the WORST (Phil. 4 8-9) *Intentional use of money *A generous, humble heart *Mentoring and encouraging others

    I really want to live "on purpose" this year, making the most of where God has me and all He's doing in my life, and I think this vision and these lists will help me do that. I also think they will help me notice and give thanks for the unique ways God has written my story. There have been far too many times I've allowed the unexpected parts of my story to cause insecurity and doubt, rather than allowing them to serve as an opportunity to meet and connect with God.

    I'll be back in another couple of days to share my goals for the year. I'm not rushing the process, so I'll let my vision and lists sink in a bit before moving on to actually writing down the goals that are beginning to take shape.

    And now I'm off to make a little cup of cocoa and join in on tonight's #FireworkPeople chat. If you don't know about that amazing community, definitely check it out. It's like hot chocolate for your spirit. Seriously! So wonderful  and encouraging! :)

    Are you following along on Lara's goal-setting process? If so, how's the process going for you? Have you hit any roadblocks or discovered anything surprising about yourself or God's plan for you in working through her steps?

     * Image via Lara Casey *
    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.


    * 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.


    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! :)