Posts tagged goals
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. :)


How to Write a Yearly Vision Statement
The Devoted life.jpg

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! :)


Goals & Green Smoothies: My In-Progress Balanced Approach to Health & Wellness
 Image via  Sarah Adler

 Image via Sarah Adler

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

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

So how will this look for me?

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

Place Your Life Before God

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

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

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

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

30 Things for My 30s

30Things For the past few years, I've been creating yearly lists for my birthday. As 31 approaches, however, I've decided to create a list that encompasses more than just one year. I usually transfer items from year to year anyway, so this just seems to make good sense. ;)

That said, I've written 30 things for my 30s...a list of *30 things I hope to do and accomplish during my 30s (how many times can I use 30 in one sentence? Hah!).

*NOTE: You'll notice that I don't have exactly 30 things on this list yet. I wanted to leave a few spots open for new possibilities that might come my way. It's a list in-progress, and God's been teaching me to embrace the unknown parts of my story with hope, trust, and excitement. Can't wait to see what He leads me to add in the seasons ahead. :)

  1. Continue to grow my faith and deepen my relationship with God. Pray continually; listen; make space for God to move.
  2. Read through the entire Bible.
  3. Travel: Nashville, Austin, Seattle, Portland — Europe!! 
  4. Print an Instagram photo album each year that captures and celebrates both the large and small moments of life. (I just printed one that covers the last few years, and I'll share a post about it soon.)
  5. Print a hard copy of my eBook.
  6. Dream up a new idea for a book or women's devotional.
  7. Find a book agent, and publish a book thanks to help of said agent.
  8. Redesign my website and start an e-newsletter.
  9. Buy a house.
  10. Marry my best friend.
  11. Start a family.
  12. Set up my own art/writing studio space.
  13. Redefine what art making means to me and the role it plays in my life. (I haven't made a collage in years, and I miss painting and art journaling. I'd love to explore new textures, colors, and patterns — like neons, metallics, hand lettering, and doodles.)
  14. Explore new freelance writing possibilities, and pitch to a few dream publications.
  15. Get a vintage-inspired bright pink or blue bicycle with a basket, and live in a bike-friendly neighborhood.
  16. Learn how to create videos for my blog/website.
  17. Find a fitness routine that truly works for me and stick to it.
  18. Continue to cut processed foods and sugar from my diet; eat foods that make me feel good and energized. Join a CSA.
  19. Host a holiday dinner for my family.
  20. Take art and/or writing classes. Never stop learning and growing.
  21. Host a coffee with creatives event in Cleveland. Be a supporter of the local arts!
  22. Dip my toes into the waters of DIY-ing and spray paint my living room side tables.
  23. Continue to explore the Akron/Cleveland art and food scene.
  24. Practice my hand lettering. (Try brush script! Play with color!)
  25. Add to my Fiestaware collection.
  26. Find new ways to mentor/encourage others to live and tell inspired stories (I'd love to mentor college students!).
  27. TBD
  28. TBD
  29. TBD
  30. TBD

And that concludes my list so far. I'll continue to add to and update it as needed. It will be exciting to see how God shapes this list in the seasons ahead, and the adventures that arise as a result.

Do you have a list of your own? I'd love to know what's on it!

Hello, Spring (A Let's Catch Up a Bit Post)

spaceforquiet Things have been a bit quiet around here lately (no posts in two weeks!). Whoops.

But my heart hasn't been quiet — I've been working and praying through some new dreams and ideas.


I've been feeling super excited about a new venture/idea/dream God has placed on my heart. I want to take the whole idea of #AnInspiredLife to the next level. I want to help you live * AND TELL * inspired stories! I'm in the brainstorming, dreaming, praying phase of what this could look like...but thinking about possibly working with people on an individual basis to help them discover the heart of their story and then how to tell and share it creatively. Thinking this could translate to working with you to write your mission statement, web site copy, etc.

Over the last few years, I've realized how much I love celebrating others' stories and how inspired I am by what God is doing through each of our stories. I'm also a big geek when it comes to branding and creatively telling our stories, so I've realized doing more with the writing side of branding might be a perfect fit for me.

So, YAY!

Spring is such a good time to explore new hopes and dreams, yes??

More on all of this very soon.

In the meantime...

A few random, hopeful, springy things: I bought some blueberry coffee (undecided on whether or not I like it); I've been filling the house with fresh flowers (makes my heart SO HAPPY); I've been reminding myself to be brave (we could all use a reminder sometimes, eh?); and I've been searching for the perfect neon yellow polish.

It's the little things sometimes, huh? Okay, many times. :)

What's new with you?

After The Goals Have Been Set...

2014 A few days ago, I posted my 2014 vision statement and goals. I just love the goal and vision-setting process, but after the goals are done, where to begin, right?

I highly, highly recommend purchasing a set of Lara Casey's PowerSheets. Last night, I started working through her action-planning sheets for each of my five goals. I will soon be filling out weekly and monthly tending sheets, as well. (The perfectionist in me wants to rush through this process, because, goodness, we are already a week into January, and I need to get planning for this month!) But one thing I've learned from Lara is that great things happen little by little.

Small steps. Small changes. Faith as small as a mustard seed.

Last night, as I was working, I started to feel I was rushing, quickly writing things down, in order to make it to the tending sheets, but then I closed my binder and just decided I was going to take the rest of this week and weekend to prayerfully make my way through the rest of my action-planning and brainstorming. I don't want a meaningless to-list full of meaningless action items. I want a list that brings God glory and truly makes a difference in my life and others' lives.

So, I guess the answer to this post's question of where to begin after you've set your goals is actually pretty simple:

Prayerful planning that leads to small steps and small changes...And faith as small as a mustard seed that God will move in BIG WAYS.

P.S. I'm getting excited to prep for the book club I'm kicking off next month.

If you need a little extra inspiration to live fully and pursue the vision you've set for your year, I encourage you to sign up to be a part of it.

Goal Setting With Lara Casey (Continued)

lara-casey-goal-setting-2014-is-the-year-i It's hard to believe that today is the LAST DAY of 2013! In so many ways, it feels like this year flew by. Anyone else feel that way?!

Before the end-of-the-year celebrations begin, I'm taking a few quiet minutes this morning to check in on Lara's Goal Setting series and post a progress update of my own.

I'm still working on prayerfully writing my 2014 vision, but I have written out what I'll be saying YES and NO to in 2014 (as well as my list of what fires me up). (I know, I've gone a little bit out of order with my steps, but for some reason, I still haven't arrived at the vision statement I know is right for my year. I'll share that as soon as it's ready.)

Here's my list of what fires me up:

Coffee; creative collaborations; dreaming big dreams and encouraging others to dream big; art; new ideas; hearing Him speak through His Word; creating beautiful things; reading; photography; typography and hand lettering; capturing moments and memories; big laughter; dark chocolate; fresh flowers; farmers markets; creative couples who are making a difference for Jesus; sparkle; feeling inspired and inspiring others; prayer walks; grace; beautiful love stories; collage art; art journals; coffee shops; bookstores; libraries; dusty antique shops that hold treasures just waiting to be discovered; polka dots; charm; whimsy; hope; being brave; bright colors; living life fully and creatively

And here's what I'll be saying YES to in 2014:

Holy yoga; reading good books; eating and cooking with healthy, fresh foods; focused prayer/quiet time; seeing the possibilities in each day; exercising regularly; lots of creative collaborations; new adventures (and writing about/photographing them); learning more about hand lettering and typography; engaging in my city’s art community; dating intentionally; art journals/making more art on a regular basis; coffee dates; celebrating my life and story (and helping others do the same!)

What about you? What fires you up? And how will you make more space for those things in your life next year? What will you say YES to in 2014 in order to live the life you were made to live?

::image via Lara Casey::