May 2016 Goals

April was one for the books, y'all. We had our first all-day workshop for The Orchard Birmingham: A Creative Community for Women, Woody and I hosted friends in town for two weekends in a row, we had a big conference at work, and we finished the month with a few days away for a relaxing staff retreat in Florence, Alabama!

Not to mention, in the midst of it all, Woody and I pulled off getting our guest room set up with the help of our neighbor and my dad (and answered prayers for a mattress!), and I must say, it looks pretty good!

We want our guests to feel so loved when they stay in our home. One of the ways we accomplish this in our guest room is by putting fresh flowers from our garden and positive words to encourage them! (Print by Naptime Diaries)

We want our guests to feel so loved when they stay in our home. One of the ways we accomplish this in our guest room is by putting fresh flowers from our garden and positive words to encourage them! (Print by Naptime Diaries)

While April was full, there was something about it that felt light and refreshing. After walking through the grief of our miscarriage in March, in April I was walking in hope and healing and it was good.

I'm excited for May, but found myself putting off my goal setting for the month. Being intentional takes energy. Yes, it's some of the most worthwhile energy you'll ever spend, but it's energy nonetheless. Sometimes that energy is harder to give than others, and that's exactly what I was feeling as May got closer and closer.

I willed myself to push through and sat down on my bed last night to work through my PowerSheets because I know how much it matters. I have purposed in my heart to complete my PowerSheets at the beginning of each month because they do so much good in directing my month and my heart toward what matters. And sure enough, I'm so glad I did it.

So if you're feeling challenged to keep up a good habit or a practice you know makes your life better, stick with it, friends! Even when you don't feel like it, commit to the process and do the good work and you will reap great rewards that have lasting impact!

What are you committing to make happen this month?

April Goals Progress

  • Three date nights with Woody
  • Calendar planning with Woody
  • Speak at The Orchard Workshop
  • Research Southern Makers Event
  • Apply to be a PowerSheets Community Contributor (Exciting news! I'll be sharing more of my goals and PowerSheets journey over at the Make It Happen blog soon!)
  • Prepare guest room (SO happy to have this done and ready for guests!!!)
  • Work on writing projects
  • Host DeShaws in Birmingham
  • Write blog posts: monthly goals + two others
  • Spring Cleaning- organize office and clean off porch (Woody and I are still planning to make this happen!)
  • Supper Club
  • Staff retreat with Woody
  • Revisit 2016 travel

May 2016 Goals

Three Dates with Woody
Charleston trip with Woody to attend a friend's wedding
Tennessee trip to visit family
Mattye Woodcock Writing Co. Photo Shoot (more to come on this exciting project!)
Supper Club
Two morning coffee dates with a friend
Write PowerSheets Community Blog Post
Bake cookies
Three blog posts: monthly goals + two
Get help for my back (been having back pain and need some relief! Looking at massage and physical therapy. Any recommendations welcome!)
Intentionally give from our blessing fund

Do you have any questions about goal setting or why I set certain goals? I would love to answer and help you in your own goal-setting journey!

The Story of Old

I love old things for the stories they tell and the way they tie people together--those who have never met, but somehow love each other.

We have a family quilt that I just love. As Woody and I talked about putting together the guest room in our new home, we shared ideas and vision for what it would look like, and through conversation, this family quilt became a centerpiece for me.

Guest Room-Family Quilt_The LovingKind

My mom told me she would like for me to have it, but I wasn't going to be able to get it from her in time for our first guests. But, like the sweet mama that she is, she surprised me and mailed it to me, and it arrived the day before our guests did! It was just the finishing touch the room needed and it makes me happy every time I see it. 

I asked my mom who made this family quilt, and she answered with the most simple and beautiful story of its place in our family story:

Family Heirloom Quilt_The LovingKind

"I believe my grandmother Ada pieced it and probably a woman named Mrs. Raby helped hand quilt it. Because I recognize some of the fabric from dresses I've seen pictures of my grandmother in. I just remember it always on my grandparents bed when I was growing up." 

I absolutely love knowing that this quilt kept my great grandparents warm and made their room pretty.

I love thinking about what my great grandmother, Ada, did when wearing the dresses some of these tiny squares were cut from.

I love the resourcefulness of that generation--making a quilt from items already owned--and I like to think I'm keeping a bit of that spirit by using the same quilt in my home instead buying one new. 

In our world of instant-gratification, quick-fixes, and easy access to most anything, it feels good to pause and let the past teach us.

Teach us to appreciate what we have and to savor the gift of something made by loving hands.

Hands that rocked my grandmother, who rocked my mother, who rocked me.

Hands that helped build my family.

Hands that I wish I could hold, caress, or high five.

But for today, I will proudly lay this quilt in my home, and welcome the heart of family, love, and resourcefulness it brings.

And finally I'll say, "If this was good enough for you, Great Grandmother, it's good enough for me." 

April 2016 Goals

March was one of the hardest and best months of my life. After just eight days of knowing I was pregnant, I miscarried March 3. I experienced grief like never before, and yet through the pain, God did some of the most beautiful work in my heart.

I love the beauty and hope of spring blooms!

I love the beauty and hope of spring blooms!

My brain has processed a lot in the short road of finding out I was pregnant and then no longer being pregnant so soon after. In the days I was pregnant, I found myself worrying about what the future would hold with my pregnancy and wondering if everything was ok. I realized through my miscarriage that I had been trying so hard to trust God for the future when what He was really asking me to do was to trust Him for the moment.

"Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." -Matthew 6:34

So as each new day comes, I'm constantly trying to adjust my gaze to trusting God in the moment. I hope to get pregnant again, and I hope it's a healthy, full-term pregnancy, and that I get to hold our baby in my arms. I am believing God for that. 

But in the meantime, I am trusting Him for right now. Taking each moment and every step to receive what He has for me now, believing these days are just as much a part of His plan for me as the ones where I'll have a baby in my arms. 

So here's to an intentional, purpose-filled April, friends, where His grace is sufficient for every moment.

March Goals Progress

  • Three date nights with Woody
  • Family calendar planning night with Woody
  • Family budget party
  • Host Woody's family for a weekend in Birmingham
  • See all of our parents in person
  • Supper Club
  • Work on writing projects
  • Two blog posts in addition to monthly goals
  • Research bedding options (mattress, bed, etc.) for guest room (suggestions welcomed!)

April Goals

Three date nights with Woody
Calendar planning with Woody
Speak at The Orchard Workshop
Research Southern Makers Event
Apply to be a PowerSheets Community Contributor
Prepare guest room
Work on writing projects
Host DeShaws in Birmingham
Write blog posts: monthly goals + two others
Spring Cleaning- organize office and clean off porch
Supper Club
Staff retreat with Woody
Revisit 2016 travel

What are you setting out to do in April? Share in the comments below or leave a link to your own goals post!

My five goal-setting tips

Through the process of working toward my 2016 goals and sharing them with you, I kept wondering, "is someone going to read these and think, 'this is nice for her, but I don't even know where to start with my own goal setting?!'"

There was a time when I would've looked at someone's goals and thought exactly that.

Photo by Rachel Coffey

Photo by Rachel Coffey

So what is the secret ingredient that got me from being unsure and intimidated by goal setting to using it as a valuable tool to live a purposeful life?

Well, it's not a secret.

And it's not unattainable.

It's really pretty simple.

I just tried.

That's it. 

Certainly, there are some great methods and incredible tools and strategies that contribute to successful goal setting (which I'll share in this post), but most of all, you just have to be willing to try.

The best thing I can relate it to is learning to ride a bike.


As a child, you've never ridden a bike yourself, but you've seen other people ride one, and it looks pretty fun. But, to a young child, a bike is different than a wagon or a stroller or a car--you know, the usual things kids are used to riding. Seeing other people do it, you know you can probably do it too, but you have to try in order to figure it out and to ultimately experience the fun of it.

That's kind of like meaningful goal setting.

It's different than the things you're used to doing, but you've seen other people do it successfully, and it makes you interested.

And, just as with learning to ride a bike, no matter how many people you've watched do it, you can't imagine the feel of your foot pushing the pedal forward or the movement of the handlebars within your grasp until you've experienced it yourself.

So it is with goal setting--you can watch and learn from others, but the only way to truly understand the value is to try it yourself. 


The first time I started working toward purposeful goals, I felt a little out of my element with thoughts like, "am I doing this right?" and "this feels more introspective than I'm used to being with myself."

To be honest, there are still times I feel that way. But, if there is any "secret" at all, it's to push through. Those feelings are worth feeling and then getting over in order to take steps toward living your best life. 

In just over two years of goal setting, I've learned a few things that I hope will help you in your own journey. I've been amazed at how much this process has positively impacted every part of my life, and I am passionate about seeing others experience the power of life lived with intention. 

Before we go any further, I just want to make sure we are all in agreement with a very important truth: a life of purpose and fulfillment is not just available to a select few-- it's available to everyone, and that includes you.

Setting meaningful goals is all about taking action to claim the life you were created to live.

Five Tips


1. Know your WHY.

It's important to know WHY you want to live a purposeful life. 

Is it to be be a great wife or mother or daughter or sister or friend?
Is it to advance in your job, your health, or your spiritual life?
Is it to pursue a creative passion, take on a long-dreamed-about adventure, or help people in need? 

Whatever it is, we each have things that are important to us, and setting those things as the big-picture for why you are goal setting will help keep you going when it feels hard to take another lap around the goal-setting track. 


2. Commit to the process.

As with anything that creates a positive impact, it's sticking with it that's half the journey.

Taking intentional, purposeful steps toward living the life you want and were created to live can be tough. There will be things that stand in your way and even fight against you.

That's why deciding in advance that you're committed is key, no matter what ups and downs the journey may take. That way, when you want to give up, you don't even have to give it a second thought because you've already decided you're not going to!


3. Find a system that works for you.

This was a game-changer for me. In fact, this is what gave legs to my goal setting journey more than anything else.

I had things I wanted to accomplish and dreams I was working toward, and when I found Lara Casey's Make It Happen initiative and her goal-setting tool, PowerSheets, something clicked.

I completely connected with Lara's heart and philosophy for "making what matters happen," and I highly recommend PowerSheets and her Make It Happen book.

Having a tool and a system that has proven to work is such a gift and will help carry you in the goal-setting process when you're unsure what to do next.

It was this post by Lara that captured my attention and my heart. Below is the comment I left on her post that day.

blog comment_the LovingKind

I have recently become an affiliate with the Lara Casey Shop because I adore their products so much! All the opinions shared on this blog are and always will be my own. I have been promoting this product long before there was any affiliate program available, and look forward to continuing to share my heart for great products with you!

I have recently become an affiliate with the Lara Casey Shop because I adore their products so much! All the opinions shared on this blog are and always will be my own. I have been promoting this product long before there was any affiliate program available, and look forward to continuing to share my heart for great products with you!


4. Include others

I will declare it from the mountaintops, "We are made for community!" The God who created us designed us to be better together.

There is such amazing power in including others in your goal-setting journey. This can look like so many different things--sharing your goals with your spouse or a friend, sharing goals with a small group of friends, or connecting with people online to share in the journey.

A great place to start is right here. I would love to hear from you and cheer you on in your goals!


5. Practice grace.

I could write this a thousand times. There have been so many times in my goal-setting journey where I have missed a deadline (ahem, remember my recent post), not completed a goal, or faced my own unmet expectations.

How did that leave me feeling?
Guilty. Shameful. Sad. Embarrassed. Not good enough.

When I faced those feelings, I was left with two options: either give up or practice grace.
I chose grace, and it has changed me.

Grace helps rewrite my failures into my future.
Grace gives me a soft place to land when I've been tossed around by the demands of expectations.
Grace pats me on the back and says "It's ok. Just keep going."

Have grace for yourselves, friends.
 

Your goals won't be perfect, your process won't be perfect, and you won't accomplish everything perfectly, but with grace, you will uncover the beauty and treasure hidden within the imperfections.
You will discover that it doesn't have to be perfect to be purposeful. 

I LOVE this video by Lara Casey proclaiming PURPOSE over perfect.
 

I have had to lean on all five of these areas time and time again, and I hope they will help give you the nudge, prompt, or heave you need to live your most beautiful, purposeful life.

How can I help you or encourage you? Leave a comment below!
 

 

 

March 2016 Goals

I love March. It brings the first hints of spring and longer daylight hours as well as my husband's birthday and the anniversary of our engagement! This time of year often feels like a season of new birth as we emerge from winter, and it is sweet.

We learned so much and had a great time with other married couples at our church's marriage conference this year!

We learned so much and had a great time with other married couples at our church's marriage conference this year!

February had several full weekends including traveling to Tennessee for Valentine's Day with two other couples, hosting friends for our church's marriage conference, and spending a long weekend in NC visiting sweet friends and family. In between all of that, our family calendar kept us in a great flow of communicating with each other and spending our days intentionally.

Most of all, I'm so grateful for the people and precious relationships that made February special, and I look forward to how we can continue cultivating that this month.

I cannot describe how valuable spending time with other couples who share similar values has been for us. Investing in these friendships has brought so much richness to our lives. For the second year in a row, we went on a Valentine's weekend trip with friends, and we hope it will be an ongoing tradition!

I cannot describe how valuable spending time with other couples who share similar values has been for us. Investing in these friendships has brought so much richness to our lives. For the second year in a row, we went on a Valentine's weekend trip with friends, and we hope it will be an ongoing tradition!

Franklin TN_The LovingKind

February Goals Progress

  • Have three meaningful date nights with Woody
  • February family calendar planning
  • Plan and enjoy Valentine's weekend with Woody and friends
  • Invite Mom for a weekend in Birmingham
  • Kick off Young Marrieds Small Group with the Bradshaws
  • Post friendship list where I can regularly see it
  • Have two friend times-coffee, lunch, dinner, etc.
  • Write for the TLK blog (two posts plus goals)
  • Host The Orchard, meeting two
  • Try YNAB (We are loving YNAB so far!)
  • Write thank you notes (I got a few done, but still a few to go!)
  • NC trip with Woody to visit family and friends
  • Choose blessing fund purpose

March Goals

Three date nights with Woody
Family calendar planning night with Woody
Family budget party
Host Woody's family for a weekend in Birmingham
See all of our parents in person
Supper Club
Work on writing projects
Two blog posts in addition to monthly goals
Research bedding options (mattress, bed, etc.) for guest room (suggestions welcomed!)

I'd love to connect with you about your goals for March. Share in the comments below or leave a link to where you've shared them online. 

Also, if you're looking for a great tool to get started with meaningful goal setting, my absolute go to are PowerSheets from the Lara Casey Shop!
 

The LovingKind Turns Two!

I am so grateful for The LovingKind. As a writer and illustrator, it has been a dream to get to create and share here. But the thing I have loved the most is the community. Every time I get to connect with you about what matters in your heart or what inspires you, I am lit up with so much joy.

The LovingKInd Second Anniversary

As a thank you to every person who has read, liked, visited, shopped or commented here over the past two years, I'd like to give you 20% off your order in the TLK Shop through the weekend. Simply enter the discount code JUSTFORYOU at checkout. I hope you find something that makes you smile and helps you cultivate love. 

Happy Valentine's weekend, y'all!

xoxo.

Mattye

February 2016 Goals

I love February, y'all. Valentine's Day is my favorite holiday. I know, it's not the most common choice for a favorite holiday. And no, I wouldn't give up Christmas for Valentine's Day. Yet, there is something so sweet about this day of love and I just adore it.

I love the colors, the hearts and the feelings I get around Valentine's Day. I love that it celebrates love and encourages us to think about the people we hold dear. While marketed toward romantic love, I think it's a great season for all of us to enjoy sweet treats, kind notes and intentional time with the people that bring love into our lives. 

Need a little help spreading the love? Pick up a sweet card in the TLK Shop to celebrate those you love!

Need a little help spreading the love? Pick up a sweet card in the TLK Shop to celebrate those you love!

However you feel about Valentine's Day, I hope your February is full of joy, purpose and of course, love. I'm fired up about what God has put on my heart for this year, and I am so grateful to get to share the monthly journey with you here.

January goals Progress

My January goals didn't happen in my typical fashion because I was still working through the process of goal setting for the year. But, I did take time at the end of the month to look back at the steps I took toward my goals in January, even as I was still creating them! Also, the numbers listed beside each item indicate which of my yearly goals the monthly goal is helping me take a step toward. 

February Goals

I'd love to see your February goals if you've posted them somewhere or want to share them in the comments below!

2016 Goals

I started working on my goals for 2016 on December 4, 2015, and I had been dreaming of them weeks before that. The beginning of December, I thought, gave me more than enough time to work through my PowerSheets and have my goals posted by January 1. Perfect timing, right?

Right.

And wrong.

After a year of sharing my 2015 goal journey here on my blog, it was a pretty easy decision to continue this practice in 2016. The accountability it produced, community it cultivated and fruit it yielded were all convincing factors for keeping it up. 

We spent New Years Day with our friends and neighbors, Rachel and Lucas Coffey. They had a great spread and lots of friends over and Rachel let me do the chalk art for the gathering!

We spent New Years Day with our friends and neighbors, Rachel and Lucas Coffey. They had a great spread and lots of friends over and Rachel let me do the chalk art for the gathering!

As with anything I set out to do for a second time, there are things I planned to do differently and better this year. "I've had a year of experience," I thought, "I can improve on what I started," and to me, this began with posting goals on the first of the month.

Then January 1 came and went, and February creeped closer and closer. The thing was, my goals weren't ready. I hadn't finished my PowerSheets prep work (not for a lack of working on it steadily) and honestly, my heart was still processing it all. I could've forced it, but even in my momentary disappointment of not completing it on my "perfect" timeline, I felt a peace and confidence about giving this the time it was asking of me. So, I worked steadily and consistently, creating a plan for 2016 little by little, thought by thought, dream by dream and prayer by prayer.

This is where what I thought was the "wrong timing" (a.k.a. posting 2016 goals anytime after January 1, much less in February) morphed into the right timing. My rigid, perfection-inspired timeline almost robbed me of the purpose and faith infused into my 2016 goals, but thankfully, grace won, and I yielded to the attention and time it was calling me to give. The result is not perfect, but it is so right. I feel confident and called to these goals and I am so excited for the direction God gave me for this year.

If you joined me for my 2015 goal journey, you may be surprised to see how different my 2016 goals look. Certainly there are recurring themes and values, but they are formatted very differently. I didn't set out to do this, but as I worked through them, that is where I landed, and I love it. It has been empowering and enlightening to embrace the evolution of the goal-setting process. I am so grateful for the steps I took last year toward what matters most, and with my new goals, I am excited to continue stepping in a purposeful, joyful direction.

Last year, I had quite a long list of goals and many of them were very specific. This year, I have just ten goals, and each one represents a larger idea or value I want to focus on, and the practical steps will happen month by month, week by week, and day by day. Also, my word for the year is "GROW", and it ended up working perfectly into the 10 areas God put on my heart to focus on this year. 

You can get your own set of PowerSheets from the Lara Casey Shop. This tool has been so impactful in my goal setting journey and I cannot recommend it enough!

You can get your own set of PowerSheets from the Lara Casey Shop. This tool has been so impactful in my goal setting journey and I cannot recommend it enough!

Now that my goals are ready, I feel empowered and excited to take the little steps toward achieving them. I've never run a marathon, but the way I feel about completing my prep work and 2016 goal setting is how I think I'd feel after crossing a 26.2 mile finish line. I am so excited to share my goals with you, and as I do, I would love to hear from you, too! What has been developing in your heart for 2016? Whether you have talked about it, written it down or only dared to dream about it, this is a great place to share. I want to cheer you on!

2016 Goals

1. Grow in God.

 WHY: This is the thing that lasts, and when I'm rooted in God, close to Him, and strong spiritually, it has a positive impact on EVERYTHING ELSE.
Practical Steps: read the One Year Bible daily, pray and use prayer journals, be in a small group, read books that will help me spiritually, be involved at our church, share spiritual growth with Woody

2. Grow in marriage.

WHY: Because I am called to be Woody's wife, and I am the sole person who will have the greatest impact on his life. Because I am called to love Him well, and we can do more together than we can apart. We are better together! Also, we want to build a strong foundation for our family and children.
Practical Steps: Date nights, family calendar, co-lead marriage small group, read books on marriage, be around other strong married couples, cultivate intimacy

3. Grow family.

WHY: Because God has given us a unique place to influence and love our family. We want them to be healthy, well, and to know God's purpose for their lives. Also, we like them and enjoy them! :)
Practical Steps: plan times to visit family and invite them to visit us, pray for our families, stay in regular communication through phone calls, texts and mail, show up for special and important moments, tell them we love them

4. Grow friendship.

WHY: Because friends make life so much better! God created us for community and He uses our friends to sharpen us (Proverbs 27:17), draw us closer to Him, and help us. Friendship is one of life's best gifts, and it is valuable and worth investing in.
Practical Steps: supper club, traveling with friends, create time on the calendar for coffee and lunch dates, pray for friends, make the effort to call, write, text, call and visit

5. Grow inspiration.

WHY: Inspiration is like fuel for my dreams, my gifts and my calling. Inspiration is so important—it fuels and enlightens. It not only opens my eyes and my heart, but it makes my work better and makes life more enjoyable. Soak inspiration in like the sun!
Practical Steps: read books, go to brunch with Woody, travel, spend time with brands and people that light up my heart, surround myself with art, candles and baking, stretch to find inspiration in new places, pay attention to what excites me

6. Grow creativity and productivity.

WHY: Because this is my heart. God gave me creative gifts and desires, and I literally yearn to create. Writing and illustrating and sharing with people brings a sense of fulfillment and wholenesslike I'm doing what I was made to do. It's easy just to think about creating, but I want to do it! Create! Produce!
Practical Steps: write (more blogging!), stretch to write outside of TLK, illustrate, bake and cook, make things, build and grow creative community, friendships and mentors
 

7. Grow home.

WHY: Our home is a gift from God, and we want to steward it well. This means taking care of it as a peaceful, restful place for our family. Also, opening it up to welcome others and love them well by showing hospitality and generosity.
Practical Steps: simplify, clean and maintain home, save for new furniture, create spaces that are inspiring, welcoming and speak to the value of love, family, marriage and God, host events in our home, have people over for dinner, set up guest room

8. Grow intentionality.

WHY: The world moves fast with lots of options and distractions. It takes a purposed heart, focused mind and intentional plan to invest in, grow, and water the things that are most important. I have been given so many resources time, money, talents, abilities, friendships, ideasand I want to use them wisely and with intention.
Practical Steps: family calendar, continue goal setting and using PowerSheets, focus on good financial management and stewardship, write thank you notes, use Simplified Planner to manage time, appointments and steps to making things happen (tasks and to dos)

9. Grow self care.

WHY: Because my selfmy body, spirit and soulis given to me by God and I am responsible, equipped and called to steward it well. God gives me a part to play. I want to serve my body and my being well so that it can serve me well so I can serve God and others well (husband, family, kids, friends, people around me and people I don't know.)
Practical Steps: physical exercise (walks and strength training), eat healthylimit meats, sweets and bread during the week, set up weekly grocery shopping routine, be intentional with schedule, go to bed in the 10pm hour and get up in the 6am hour

10. Grow impact.

WHY: Because God put us here to reach people for Him. The only way to do anything that lasts is to reach people with the only hope we all have: Jesus. This can be done little by little, pointing people to good choices, loving them, giving to them, serving them and welcoming them. Use what we have to create lasting impact.
Practical Steps: financial responsibility, pray over our finances and ask for God's provision and for more than we need, pray for guidance and wisdom in spending and giving and to make an eternal impact, co-lead marriage small group, try Periscope, learn by reading


As I write this post, what I really want to do is look each reader in the eye and say, "You can do this." I share my goals with the hope that it helps you know you're not alone, that you can accomplish important things, and to give you fresh perspective on your own journey through sharing in mine. I get so fired up when I think about people, women especially, living full, purposeful, joyful lives. I am excited about sharing another year of goal setting with you and I'd love to hear from you. What, my friend, are you dreaming or hoping for in 2016?

The fruit of January

The last time I met you here was December 31, 2015. Today is January 31, 2016, and words cannot express how grateful I am for the past solid month (which would explain why I have typed, deleted and retyped this first sentence about five times already.) 

2016 calendar The LovingKind

It's pretty safe to say January did not go how I expected. Frankly, there were several things about January that did not meet my expectations. But where my gratitude erupts is in the place where change and growth happened in me. Faced with the disappointment of unmet expectations (like the expectation for my 2016 goals to be completed and posted by January 1...or at least in single-digit January days), I had a choice to make: accept what felt like failure OR embrace grace, trust the process, and let new expectations come to life. 

What happened in January was spiritual and physical and at times emotional. And as I sit here on this 31st day, I am thankful for the new path that was made and the fruit of what came out of pushing through. I got to really spend time digging deep through prayer and lots of writing, reviewing and preparing for a truly purposeful, impactful and fulfilling year ahead. Seeing the fruit of this month, I realize my initial timeline and expectations were off and the time it actually took to get where I am now was so needed and so worth it.


Things don't have to go how you expected or how you planned to go well.


I share all of this in hopes it helps your load feel lighter and hope feel a little brighter. Things don't have to go how you expected or how you planned to go well. Sometimes we don't know what we need and the process that happens in the midst of missing our expectations is what was best for us all along. So pick up where you are, set your gaze fiercely on the vision before you, and have grace for the ebb and flow of the path that gets you to where you're going.

I'm excited to be back later this week to share the fruit of January with you.

xoxo. 
mattye


2015 goals in review

As I begin this post, I have a smile on my face and fulfillment in my heart. After looking back and doing the final review of my yearly goals, I'm standing a little taller because I DID IT. I set out this year to make my days count and live with purpose, and that desire was backed up by a practical system of goal setting, and IT WORKED! As I've reviewed my list of goals, there are plenty that didn't turn out how I planned, but contrary to what I might expect, I feel encouraged rather than discouraged, grateful rather than discontent, and proud rather than ashamed. 

Our new home during the holidays was the perfect example of goal #2. After a year of praying and searching, we treasured getting to settle in and enjoy the peace in our home this Christmas.

Our new home during the holidays was the perfect example of goal #2. After a year of praying and searching, we treasured getting to settle in and enjoy the peace in our home this Christmas.

There are areas I mastered, some that still need work, some that aren't as important to me as they once were, and all of that is ok with me. I have embraced the ebb and flow of a life focused on progress not perfection, and I sit on the cusp of a new year feeling both accomplished for what is done and challenged for what is to come. 

I share this with you because I can't be the only one that feels this way. Most of us probably look back at 2015 and see moments we're proud of and some we're not. What I want to say to you and to me is that life is too precious and too short to not give yourself grace. You have too much good to make happen in the world and too many people to love to be distracted by regrets or shame from the past. You are exactly who you are and where you are for a purpose bigger than you can imagine, and if you can embrace that even just a little bit, I believe you will be astounded at what is possible. 

Rachel helped us capture some amazing memories of our third anniversary and trip to NYC! This one made the front of our Christmas card this year.

Rachel helped us capture some amazing memories of our third anniversary and trip to NYC! This one made the front of our Christmas card this year.

If all this resonates with you, yet you don't quite know what to do from here, start by reading this goal review. Sometimes giving yourself grace happens easier once you see someone else do it for themselves. I know that's how it worked for me (thanks for setting great examples, Lara and Emily!). My 2015 goal journey started in January, and I posted monthly goals every month along the way. Below is a review of my yearly goals. It's a long list so feel free to read as much or as little as you'd like. I hope most of all that you will see the picture of a real, imperfect life where progress is valued over perfection, and that inspires you to do the same. I've also included a few fun photo highlights at the bottom! 

  1. Thoughtfully and purposefully go through the home-buying process with Woody and purchase our first home! We LOVE our new home! The process and the wait wasn't easy, but the reward was so worth it! We hope you can come visit someday!
  2. Cultivate our new home to be a place that is peaceful and special for our family and also welcoming and a blessing to others. This is an ongoing process, but the prayers and the heart we have put into our home have already filled it with such love and peace.
  3. Build a strong marriage founded on Christ, sacrificial love, companionship and commitment. I love Woody more today than I ever have. Every day we grow and learn. There are moments that are hard, but staying committed to each other and choosing to love when it feels hard, pays off big time.
  4. Write Woody one love note every month. My love-note writing was sparse, but I loved him in many other ways!
  5. Expand and strengthen The LovingKind as a brand, blog, and products that point people to love and to God. This year I did less blogging in order to develop products (some coming in 2016) and make room to tend to our home renovation. While content was less this year, I feel really good about the intentional choices I made and believe the heart and foundation of TLK was definitely made stronger!
  6. Make new friends and connections through The LovingKind. This has to be the thing I love the most about TLK. Connecting with people and encouraging each other is just the best!
  7. Launch Develop three new products for the TLK Shop.* I launched new love + Valentine’s cards and developed marriage and Christmas products coming in 2016.*
  8. Post 2015 and monthly goals on the TLK blog and share progress. YES!!! Y’all, this was such a big step for me. If you look back at my 2015 goals post, you can see the things that were scary about embarking [on a year of sharing my goals. I am SO glad I pushed past that fear nd did it anyway. It was imperfect, but I am so grateful for the process and to all of you who followed along! You can bet you’ll be seeing more goals in 2016!
  9. Intentionally plan a 3rd anniversary trip with Woody (hopefully to Paris!). After not feeling peace about going to Paris, we changed our location to NYC, and I am so glad. We went on a “Friendsgiving” trip with our best friends and neighbors, Rachel and Lucas. It was a dream trip and I’m so glad we did it!
  10. Sharpen, strengthen, and improve my creative skills, specifically writing and illustrating, by practicing more. Progress over perfection! These are things I’ve loved since childhood, and somewhere in the entry into adulthood, many of them fell by the wayside. I really enjoyed spending time on creative things that give me energy and life this year. This stays a consistent goal to keep practicing, learning and exercising my creative heart!
  11. Learn Learning to watercolor! Learning a new skill takes time, and I loved the time I spent watercoloring this year.
  12. Celebrate turning 30 in a meaningful way with dear friends. This was one of the highlights of my year. It was so special and better than I could’ve hoped. I am excited to share it on the TLK blog soon!
  13. Celebrate Woody's birthday with family on St. Simons Island, Georgia. You can’t beat celebrating your favorite person in one of your favorite places. I love that we make birthdays big in our family. Woody had a great time on his birthday and so did I!
  14. Be a good steward of our finances by keeping our monthly budget and having our monthly budget parties before the end of the month. There may not be any better example of “progress not perfection” than this. We made good strides and I’m proud of us for staying committed to healthy finances and good stewardship, and we saw the fruit of it. We are still working on timing and process, and I am excited for the financial peace 2016 will bring as we continue to grow and work in this area.
  15. Get healthy! Take care of my body by putting better food in it and developing an exercise routine so I have the energy and strength to give, participate, love and create in this life! This was a challenge. There were high moments, but overall, I just didn’t find a way to consistently invest in my physical health. And, I’m feeling the consequences—my body hurts more and just isn’t giving me the energy and strength I need to live the purposeful life I want to live. As I prepare for 2016, I’m thinking about how I can make changes to make my body stronger and healthier, and consistently make it a priority in my schedule. Any advice you have is much welcome!
  16. Get more spiritually healthy by setting aside intentional time to pray, read Scripture and worship God daily. Progress! My daily routine is something I’m still working on, but I definitely grew in this area this year and it has been amazing and rewarding.
  17. Create more time in the mornings by getting up earlier so I can have a peaceful start to my day through time with God, breakfast, and getting to work by 8:30am. *“If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” There were pockets of this, but it was not as consistent as I wanted. I still feel the need for this in my life, so I imagine it will show up again in 2016 goals. *
  18. Go to a conference, event, or workshop that gets me out of my box, inspires me creatively and challenges me personally. I went to The Influence Conference with my friend, Rachel, and it was great. I’m so glad we planned and committed to this. We grew creatively, personally and in our friendship.
  19. Have 3rd anniversary photo shoot with Woody in October or November. * Rachel offered to take our photos in NYC and I am beyond grateful! I highly recommend planning a photo shoot on your next vacation. It helped capture beautiful memories of a really special trip.*
  20. Plan a specific December budget to account for holiday giving, traveling, entertaining and Christmas cards. The house renovation, moving and NYC trip turned this one on it’s head. We didn’t get a head start and do this how we wanted. Nonetheless, we were conscientious spenders in all these areas so I feel good about that.
  21. Order Christmas cards by December 1. I didn’t meet this deadline, but I got my cards out earlier than ever before so setting the goal still worked!
  22. Mail Christmas cards by December 15. See above
  23. Complete Christmas shopping by December 15. Christmas shopping was really different this year. We moved into our home October 31, and the process of settling put us in a different flow than we could’ve expected. Good thing is, there is plenty of grace here and we still got to show our love to our family and friends with gifts and quality time.
  24. Host second annual Christmas cookie swap in December. This was so fun! It was our first party in our home and it was very special. This is a tradition I hope will last for years and years.
  25. Love my family well. Be intentional about time spent with them and choose to invest in my relationship with them through visits, phone calls, texts, emails, cards, etc. I am so grateful for all the times with family this year. Focusing on loving them well has made me love them even more.
  26. Have better dental health. Keep flossing as a daily habit and keep regular dentist appointments. This is one of the goals I'm most proud of! After moving a couple times after college, it proved to be a challenge to keep regular dentist visits. I went longer than I care to admit without one, but 2015 changed all that! I now floss regularly and know my dentist well. He even told me, "I probably shouldn't say this, but your teeth are in pretty good shape for not having visited the dentist in this long!"
  27. Let go of the fear of success. This is an ongoing journey. The fear of success is strange, yet real, and letting it go is easier said than done. Recognizing the fear is there is a big step and I’m still praying and working through pushing past it in order to live a full and purposeful life.
  28. Let go of my need for control. Progress! This year I have recognized areas I was trying to control that I didn’t even realize. This is a hard one to tie up in a neat little bow, but I am grateful for the growth I’ve seen and support I’ve found from friends in this area.
  29. Pray for our future children and for God's perfect timing and plan for our family. *God has worked in my heart so sweetly in this area. I never expected all the emotions and thoughts I would have in preparing to start a family. I will continue to pray and lean on God for His plan and timing. *
  30. Stop using social media by 9:30pm. This goal was a little specific and I think would have been better worded as “manage social media usage with self control.” Anyone with an Instagram account knows this isn’t easy, but I really feel like I have grown (and continue to) toward having a healthier balance in how, why and when I use social media.
  31. Cultivate meaningful friendships and say "yes" to friendship. Answer the phone, send the text, mail the birthday card. YES! Friendship has been one of my favorite parts of this year. God has been so good to me to give me such sweet friendships and I have enjoyed them immensely this year. To hear more about my friendship journey, check out the podcast I did with Mavenly + Co.
  32. Continue cultivating friendships with mentors and creative inspirations both local and through the online community.This is so important and so valuable. I felt more connected to other creative this year than ever before and it has been so good for my heart and my work.
  33. Celebrate well. Moments, accomplishments, milestones within my family and people around me. (birthdays, weddings, new babies, new homes, new jobs, holidays and the every day.) This was one of my favorite goals. Celebrating is such a gift and creates so many moments in time that are only lived once. I loved the times I got to savor with special people celebrating some of life’s greatest gifts!
  34. Be intentional at work about fostering a healthy working style and environment. Set a plan, say "no" to stress, use time wisely, stop "spinning," set goals for work, and love my team well. I saw great progress in this area. This year had its challenges, but it was also probably one of the best years of my professional life. I learned a lot and can see a positive change in myself. Also, our team had some really impactful accomplishments this year and had fun along the way!
  35. Create girls' creative group with Rachel and meet once a month for six months.God is so good. That is the only way to explain The Orchard. He birthed the idea in us and He made it a success. We are starting Season Two in January, and I am greatly anticipating what He has in store.
  36. Find people to collaborate with creatively (photography, videography, calligraphy, illustration, writing, flowers, design, shops, etc.) The Orchard played a great role in this. Specifically, I got to collaborate with a stationery designer, photographer and letterpress artist, and it was so fun.
  37. Use my Simplified Planner and PowerSheets as tools to help me have a purposeful and expansive 2015! This makes me so happy! I am so grateful for these tools. They made a huge impact on my year, and are most definitely making a return appearance in 2016.
  38. Make birthday card list and send birthday cards to friends (minimum of 25).I did a great job the first part of the year with birthday cards, and it was one of the highlights of every month. As I saw happen in a few areas, my focus was heavily shifted to buying and renovating our home in the second part of the year, but I still am grateful for all the people I got to love through birthday cheer this year!
  39. Keep improving and practicing my baking, learn three new recipes, and keep sharing!I didn’t spend quite as much time baking as I expected, but I did get a new pancake recipe that has become a family favorite and have baked my mom’s famous chocolate chip cookie recipe that I hope to bake for many years to come.
  40. Take time to sit on porches.I now have my very own porch and porch swing! As I think back through the year, I am so grateful for all the time I spent sitting (on porches or otherwise) having meaningful conversations and savoring the moment.
  41. Honor and preserve our family memories in a beautiful and meaningful way. Create family photo wall in our home and order Artifact Uprising books of our honeymoon, first and second anniversary trips, and 2012, 2013, 2014. I didn’t make this happen this year, but I’m not letting go of this goal. I have spent a lot of time lately thinking about the ways we will preserve and share our family memories. From gallery walls to photo books, I am looking forward to making this happen and having a place to share it in our new home!
  42. Attend two, new local Birmingham events. I went to The Great Hurrah and Community Pieces. Both events made me proud and grateful to live in Birmingham.
  43. Buy a piece of art for our new home. Smiles all over the place for this goal! We love art and we were so fortunate to get several new pieces this year. Finding the perfect places to hang them in our new home has been so much fun so far!
  44. Plan a trip to North Carolina. This didn’t work out for 2015, but it’s looking like it will in early 2016 and I am very excited!
  45. Spend time every week reading a book other than the Bible. This goal turned out to be a little too specific, but the overall heart of it was to read more. I spent some good time reading this year and even found a new author, Melanie Shankle.
  46. Maintain a clean, orderly, simplified home. This is kind of a funny goal to cross off considering we moved this year, which means our home spent a good bit of time being packed and unpacked which is not orderly or clean! However, aside from that season, we were able to do some tidying at our loft and are in a good flow so far of keeping our new home in an orderly state.
I was SO excited to launch new love + Valentine's cards in February!

I was SO excited to launch new love + Valentine's cards in February!

We are big fans of Jayne Morgan, and when I saw her painting this little jar of flowers at an art show this spring, I fell in love with the colors and had to have it! It now hangs in our home and is one of my favorite pieces of art we own!

We are big fans of Jayne Morgan, and when I saw her painting this little jar of flowers at an art show this spring, I fell in love with the colors and had to have it! It now hangs in our home and is one of my favorite pieces of art we own!

My 30th birthday was such a special celebration. I loved having Mary Margaret there to capture the evening!

My 30th birthday was such a special celebration. I loved having Mary Margaret there to capture the evening!

One of my favorite things I did this year was a podcast on friendship with Mavenly + Co. Cultivating friendship has been a big part of my year, and it was an honor to get to share part of my journey.

One of my favorite things I did this year was a podcast on friendship with Mavenly + Co. Cultivating friendship has been a big part of my year, and it was an honor to get to share part of my journey.

The Orchard, a creative community for women, has been such an unexpected and amazing adventure. I am so looking forward to Season Two beginning in January!

The Orchard, a creative community for women, has been such an unexpected and amazing adventure. I am so looking forward to Season Two beginning in January!

Creative community is so important! I loved partnering with Rachel and Emily to cultivate that in Birmingham this year.

Creative community is so important! I loved partnering with Rachel and Emily to cultivate that in Birmingham this year.

I got to celebrate with my precious friend Christy as a bridesmaid in her wedding in June. It was such a sweet day! Photo by Daisy Moffatt Photography.

I got to celebrate with my precious friend Christy as a bridesmaid in her wedding in June. It was such a sweet day! Photo by Daisy Moffatt Photography.

Then, I got to be part of another great wedding weekend with my beautiful friend Mary in October!

Then, I got to be part of another great wedding weekend with my beautiful friend Mary in October!

Cheering on the Crimson Tide during the Iron Bowl while in NYC!

Cheering on the Crimson Tide during the Iron Bowl while in NYC!

I am so grateful for these tools that have helped me live with purpose and intention. If you're looking for tools to help you do the same, I highly recommend PowerSheets and the Simplified Planner. And just like anything, they work when you do!

I am so grateful for these tools that have helped me live with purpose and intention. If you're looking for tools to help you do the same, I highly recommend PowerSheets and the Simplified Planner. And just like anything, they work when you do!

Thank you for joining me in pursuing a purposeful life this year. Check back soon for 2016 goals and the beginning of a new year full of days and moments that really count. Happy New Year!

PowerSheets Giveaway

Earlier this month I mentioned a giveaway I was super excited about, and it's here! I decided to post it on Instagram and there is still time to enter to win!

It's no secret that I'm passionate about living intentionally and setting goals in a way that works. I've found no better tool than PowerSheets from the Lara Casey Shop to help me make what matters happen. Being intentional about the year to come takes effort and discipline, but it's SO WORTH IT, and when you commit to the process of the PowerSheets, you will be amazed at what happens.

This year Lara launched a brand new PowerSheets workbook, and I was SO excited about it that I got one extra to give away! I'm already praying they will make it into the right hands and help someone live their best year yet. Head on over to Instagram and enter to win!

xoxo. Mattye