Posts tagged goal setting
Mid-Year Goal Refresh: #SummerToThrive
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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 not...it'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. :)

~K

February Goals Recap & March 2018 Goals
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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? :)

 

February 2018 Goals

Hello, friends! I'm excited to be posting my very first monthly goals post of 2018, working from my yearly goals that I blogged a few weeks ago. February is going to be a pretty busy month, so I tried to keep most of my goals fairly simple. You'll notice that most are focused on my quiet time with the Lord and my health/fitness goals.

Monthly Goals

  • Fast social media for Lent. (Both nervous and excited for this one!)
  • 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
  • Read and study the book of Exodus (I just finished Genesis)
  • 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…)
  • Pick one area at home to clean out and organize (a closet, a cupboard, etc.)
  • Attend IF Gathering with an open heart that's eager to hear and respond to God

Weekly Goals

  • Commit to at least one TV-free day (Thanking my friend Emily E for this idea!)
  • Continue strength training twice a week (going on six months of doing this consistently!)
  • Add one other workout into each week (barre, yoga, pilates, etc.)
  • Spend one evening each week working on my Expectant Faith devotional
  • Sunday meal prep (prep at least one vegetable and one protein), so I have some healthy options as I begin each new week

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)

Have you set any goals for February? If so, I'd love to hear about them in the comments and cheer you on! :)

How to Write a Yearly Vision Statement
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For the past few years, as part of my PowerSheets goal-setting process, I've written a yearly vision statement to help me write and cultivate meaningful goals.

I've had a few people ask about this process, so I thought I'd do a short post to help you craft one of your own, if you're so inspired. :)

This is the vision statement I've written for 2018:

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.

And this is my process for writing yearly vision statements:

  1. I utilize the prompts in my Cultivate What Matters PowerSheets* and my Horacio Printing The Best is Yet to Come Dream Planner* to uncover areas I want to focus on/grow in for the next year. As part of this process, I brainstorm a bucket list of potential goals and dreams, and I reflect on the different areas of my life and how I might want to grow in each area (spiritual, physical, professional, personal, financial, and relational). For more help on these steps, check out Lara Casey's yearly goal-setting series, and these goal-setting resources from Horacio Printing. (I also highly recommend the PowerSheets and the Dream Planner, if you want extra goal-setting guidance and a beautiful and intentional way to track and make progress on your dreams and goals.)
  2. I reflect on the previous year and evaluate what went well, what was challenging, and what I learned through it all. This step helps me reflect on where I've been, where I currently am, and where I hope to go. (Lara guides you through this process in more detail in the PowerSheets).
  3. I prayerfully select a focal word and verse for the year. (This year was my first year selecting a verse, and I think I will continue to do that in the future, because it's already been amazing to see the ways God is weaving that verse into each goal I set). My focal word for this year is DEVOTED, and my focal verse is Mark 12:30: “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul (life), and with all your mind (thought, understanding), and with all your strength.”
  4. I ask myself what my most fulfilling year would look like (again, more detail on this reflection process in the PowerSheets). As I journal about what my most fulfilling year might look like, I use everything I've written about in steps 1-3 to inspire me. Lara often encourages women to think about what they hope to have accomplished when they are 80...What will be important to you then? Use that to guide you in thinking about what to pursue and prioritize now. It's all about the little steps and decisions we make today that add up to the bigger overall picture.
  5. And finally, I put it all together! Step 4 is basically a rough draft of my statement, so I take what I've written there and refine it into my vision statement. I try to use active verbs that will be motivating when I come back to reread the statement as I set my goals and throughout the year when I need a little encouragement. I also keep my yearly verse and word in mind and try to incorporate aspects of each in the final vision statement.

And there you have it! I've loved the process of writing a vision statement the past few years, and if you give it a try, I hope it's encouraging and helpful for you, too.

And just in case it's helpful or inspiring, here are some examples of previous years' statements:

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. (2017)

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. (2016)

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. (2015)

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. (2014)

Happy Writing! :)

 

Cultivating What Matters: My 2018 Goals
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My focal verse for this year is Mark 12:30 (AMP), and I am writing all of my goals with this verse in mind.

“And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul (life), and with all your mind (thought, understanding), and with all your strength.”

I want to live 2018 completely devoted to Christ, loving, knowing, and serving Him with my entire being.

With that in mind, I've created the vision board below and settled on the following goals for the year ahead...

1. Know God more and trust Him more.

Why: 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've also realized I have been struggling to trust Him with some of my deepest desires (like marriage), and I want to completely surrender that desire into His Hands this year and TRUST that He has a good plan for my life AND for those desires specifically.

Starting Steps (how):

  • Join the Well Watered Women community and commit to Word Before World this year
  • Study the Bible with my heart and my mind (Jen Wilkin); I hope to focus much of my study time this year in the Old Testament, since I completed a study on the New Testament last year
  • Study the attributes of God (and choose one attribute each month to study and meditate on)
  • Pray the promises of God
  • Cultivate an expectant faith (and write and publish my devotional on that topic)
  • Memorize scripture (see "practice praise" goal for more on this)
  • Learn more about fasting and consider a fast at the beginning of the year to draw near to God and hear His voice (“There are walls of intercession that will never be scaled by dispassionate religious service. But when you take steps to break out of the ordinary and worship Him as He deserves, you will begin to see facets of His being you never knew existed. He will begin to share secrets with you about Himself, His plans, His desires for you. When you worship God as He deserves, He is magnified.” Jentezen Franklin)

2. Grow STRONGER (mentally, physically, and spiritually).

Why: I LOVE what my sweet friend Bailey had to say about building strength: " I want the Lord’s best for my life, and I want to be able to wholeheartedly run after the dreams HE has for my life as best as I can for as long as He calls me to it.” YES and AMEN. And I love how the Amplified translation speaks about this very idea in Proverbs 31:17: "She equips herself with strength [spiritual, mental, and physical fitness for her God-given task] And makes her arms strong." I want to do all I can to be equipped for everything God calls me to.

Starting Steps (how):

  • Continue working with my personal trainer twice a week
  • Incorporate at least one day of cardio each week
  • Yoga
  • Choose foods that nourish and fuel my body; consider doing Whole30 and/or Daniel diet fasting plan at the beginning of the year

3. Practice praise.

Why: Praise is powerful, and I want to make it a more regular part of my life (especially in prayer). “Praise is really the most vital preparatory ministry to the working of miracles. Miracles are wrought by spiritual power. Spiritual power is always proportioned to our faith.” Dr. Jowett, Streams in the Desert

Starting Steps (how):

  • Choose an attribute of God each month to include in the Adoration section of my prayer journal; spend the month learning more about this attribute of God and praising Him in prayer for it
  • Memorize scripture that correlates with the attribute I am studying each month
  • Practice praising Him in prayer before I've seen the answers; praise Him with confidence that He WILL answer and that the way in which He answers will be GOOD because HE is good
  • Fill out my praise reports each month in my The Best is Yet to Come Planner from Horacio Printing
  • Fill out the answered prayer section of my Val Marie Paper prayer journal each month, and take the time to pray a prayer of thanksgiving for all God did and provided

4. Be humble, willing, and faithful right where God has me.

Why: I have been so encouraged reading about Ruth and Mary these past few months. They were both women who were humble and willing to be faithful right where they were, trusting God and being obedient, even in the face of hardship, unknowns, and lots of uncertainty. I want to live with this kind of heart posture this year...I want to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit and brave to take action when prompted. I want to be faithful right where I am, making the most of every day and every opportunity all for Him and His glory. And 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.

Starting Steps (how):

  • Be a good steward of all the blessings, gifts, and margin in my life (this will sound familiar as it was one of my main 2017 goals!); I feel it’s vitally important that I continue to intentionally steward my life and resources for Him
  • Simplify at home (clothing, office, books, etc.)
  • Create a new monthly budget (and be more intentional with saving, spending, and giving)
  • Continue to explore the calling and dreams I have to study and teach His word as a Light Giver in the Kingdom through creating devotionals, blogs, journals, online studies, and being a part of the women's ministry team at my church
  • Prioritize people + relationships (focus on building strong, meaningful relationships and connections with others); continue to disciple women at my church

5. Wait well (purposefully, not passively).

Why: "Love is patient..." I have been reminded recently that it truly is an honor to wait and pray for my future husband. I don't want to lose sight of that when the waiting gets hard and frustrating. And while it's true that I don't know when or if my waiting in singleness will end, I do know it is changing me in the process and teaching me to rely on the Lord more completely. And I know that if I am blessed with marriage, this season of waiting will have shaped me into the wife I will be.

Starting Steps (how):

  • Continue to pray through the book 31 Prayers For My Future Husband (January marks my ninth month of praying this daily!)
  • Live fully for God right where I am (a purposeful life NOW, not a passive one)! Use Natalie's Wholeheartedly Devoted collection for encouragement in this! (See goal #4 for more on this)
  • Surrender my future daily into His Hands, trusting that He will always know better than I know
  • Pray and wait for the story that gives Him the most glory — even if it looks different than what I or culture — expect (be open to new possibilities)
  • Date intentionally (always keeping Christ at the center)

 

So there you have it! My five main goals for 2018. :) I'm so excited to get these written and to be looking at the year ahead with faith and hope. My heart and hands are open to his leading, and I'm excited to see all He has in store.

Did you set goals for the year? If so, I'd love to hear about them!

 

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.

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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.

WHAT INSPIRES ME + FIRES ME UP

  • 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

WHAT I’M SAYING NO TO IN 2018:

  • 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

WHAT I’M SAYING YES TO IN 2018:

  • 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

MY WORD FOR 2018

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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.

MY VISION STATEMENT FOR 2018

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! :)

     

    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.

    dreams.jpg

    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

    My Word for 2017: FULLY

    Lettering by Lindsay Letters

    Lettering by Lindsay Letters

    Hi, friends!

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

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

    FULLY: completely or entirely; to the furthest extent

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    I have set my heart

    Set my, set my heart on you

    You have every part of me

    I set my heart on you

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

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

    Cultivate What Matters 2017: Getting Inspired

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

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

    WHAT FIRES ME UP

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

    WHAT I'M SAYING NO TO IN 2017

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

    WHAT I'M SAYING YES TO IN 2017

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

    I also 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...

    HERE'S WHAT I AM CELEBRATING ABOUT 2016:

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

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

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

    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::

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

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

     

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

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

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

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

    5 Things God Did in My Life & Heart This Year

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

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

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

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

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

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

    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.”

    O.Chambers

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

    ::images above from my Pinterest::

    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?

    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.