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!
 

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?

December 2015 goals

I can’t believe I’m writing my final monthly goals post of 2015! What a year it has been. More than ever, I am grateful for the gift of setting goals and writing them down to help me live a life of purpose and meaning.

Later this month I will be sharing a recap of my yearly goals as well as a super fun giveaway you won’t want to miss! Eek! I’m really pumped about it!

For now, let’s wrap up November and look to December and closing out the year with intention.

 Anniversary photos in NYC! Photo by  Rachel Coffey Photography

Anniversary photos in NYC!
Photo by Rachel Coffey Photography

November was a great, sweet month. We woke up in our new home for the first time November 1. We celebrated our third anniversary November 3. We watched the Alabama Crimson Tide continue to victory! We spent the most amazing Thanksgiving with friends in New York City, and got our anniversary photos made in Times Square and Central Park. November was a month for new adventures and savoring good memories.

As December is upon us, I am eagerly and excitedly thinking about the Christmas season and preparing for the New Year. I love the process of sitting down to evaluate the past year, dream for the new year and make a road map for living a year of purpose while also savoring the goodness of the holidays. If you have never tried setting goals based on what matters in your life, this is your year! It will be messy and challenging, but so beautiful and more rewarding than you could imagine—not only for you, but for the people around you, too. If you’re looking for a great resource, I highly recommend PowerSheets by Lara Casey—they have made a life-changing difference for me! If you want to know more about how I use my PowerSheets, comment with questions below.

November Goals Progress

  • Love Woody wholeheartedly Yes!
  • Celebrate our anniversary together on November 3!
  • Enjoy our new home! We are LOVING our new house in all the perfect imperfection of settling in!
  • Planning night for The Orchard
  • NYC vacation for anniversary + Thanksgiving I have a newfound love for NYC!
  • Friendship podcast with Kate of Mavenly + Co available here
  • Post TLK video on wearetlk.com
  • Goals blog post
  • Budget party with Woody

December goals

Marriage vision retreat with Woody
Work through 2016 PowerSheets to have goals ready by January 1
Decorate our home for Christmas (buy our first Christmas tree!)
Sell Christmas cards on Instagram
Design, order and send our family Christmas card
Host second annual cookie swap
TLK Giveaway
Birthday blog post
Work on unpacking office and guest room

Standing Monthly Goals
Budget party with Woody
Monthly goals blog post

What are you hoping to do in December? Share your goals or the link to your own post below!

 

 

November 2015 goals

Well, friends, if I'm being completely vulnerable, I've been trying all month to think of insightful reasons to share of why my November goals are being posted hallway through the month. But, the raw truth is that if it weren't for my commitment to share my goals with you every month in 2015, my November goals probably wouldn't have been set this year. 

 The Poconos was an incredible setting for my dear friend Mary's gorgeous October wedding!

The Poconos was an incredible setting for my dear friend Mary's gorgeous October wedding!

The transition from October to November was unusual to say the least, yet very special. We spent the last night in our loft October 30, went to sleep in our new house for the first time October 31, and woke up in our new home in November! We are loving being our new house so very much! While goal setting was not far from my mind, the transition made it challenging to make it happen.

The things that have been going through my head are "why even bother setting goals at this point?" and "how can you encourage others in setting goals if you can't even manage to get yours done before two weeks into the month?" But, thanks to the accountability formed through the promise I made to share my goals every month, here I am, late and pushing past my own negative talk to set goals anyway. Life is too important to live on accident and even in these busy times, I am grateful for the extra push to find time to focus on making my days count. Thanks for sharing in my goals journey this year, and I hope that any amount of grace you feel for me in this season and in this belated goals post, you will extend tenfold to yourself in whatever area you feel not good enough right now. 

 Moving day!

Moving day!

Overall, I'm so grateful to be in one of my favorite months of the year, and I am hopeful for all that November is bringing. I would love to know what November holds for you! Comment below or share your own monthly goals post.

October goals progress

  • Love Woody well and prioritize our marriage (I am beyond grateful for the sweet moments we had in October, even in the midst of all we had on our plates.)
  • Practice positivity and a good attitude at work (still focusing on this, and learning how to love well even in the busy times)
  • Complete home renovation (pretty close...just a few finishing touches still happening!)
  • Pack and close the chapter of living at the loft
  • Move into our new house!!! (Hooray!!! We love it!)
  • Celebrate Mary and Kurt's wedding
  • Share birthday party story and photos on the blog (coming soon!)
  • Photograph new product with Rachel (It was hard, but in the midst of the move, I chose to embrace grace and postpone the shoot)
  • NYC Planning *(this happened November 1! Almost made it for October!) *
  • Standing monthly goals
  • Goals blog post
  • Budget party with Woody

 

november goals

  • Love Woody wholeheartedly
  • Celebrate our anniversary together on November 3!
  • Enjoy our new home! (there is still plenty of settling and unpacking to do, but I'm working on being content in the moment and enjoying finally being moved in.)
  • Planning night for The Orchard
  • NYC vacation for anniversary + Thanksgiving
  • Friendship podcast with Kate of Mavenly + Co
  • Post TLK video on wearetlk.com

Standing monthly goals
Goals blog post
Budget party with Woody

Happy November!
xo. Mattye

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October 2015 Goals

September was one of those months that was challenging in a good way. I'm not saying I enjoyed every challenge or would even want to relive them, but the "good" in it is that here I sit in the beginning of October, having experienced the marathon that was September, and I'm ok. In fact, I'm better.

I'm better because of the support I had around me: a God who constantly sustains me, a husband who unconditionally loves me, and friends who accept me as I am. September wasn't exceptionally challenging, just challenging in the way life can often be. Some months we feel stronger than others, and in those weaker moments, we need the boost from people who love us to pull us through.

 September fun:  The Influence Conference  with  Rachel !

September fun: The Influence Conference with Rachel!

And you know what I'm learning? Those people aren't easy to come by. Sure, it's fairly easy to have a handful of acquaintances and friends, and that type of community is valuable and important, but the relationships that will hold you up when you're feeling weakthose you have to work for. They take time, energy and vulnerability. By this I simply mean that if you want to be loved well, you not only have to learn to love others well, but you have to open your heart up to be loved.

All these things I'm still learning and pondering and practicing in my own life. I wonder how many of us sit around looking at other people's lives thinking our own lives would be better "if I only had a friend like that." If you feel like genuine friendships don't come as easily to you as they do to other people, you can rest assured that the most fruitful relationships just don't come easily. Period. But, they do come. They come to those who pursue them, cherish their value, and give their heart to friendships and love, even when the return is not guaranteed.

 In this season of growing in friendship, I've been encouraged, enlightened and challenged by some incredible women and I'll share their work with you in just a moment. Before I do, I want to encourage all of us that we are capable of true friendship, and if we will risk our security and pride in order to receive it, it will make our lives richer than we could ever imagine.

IMG_9525.JPG

Check these out for more thoughts on the topics of friendship and vulnerability:
-"Nobody's Cuter Than You" by Melanie Shankle (thank to my friend Michelle for giving me this book!)
-Vulnerability and Shame Ted Talks by Brene Brown

And now, for goals!

September Goals progress

  • Write and send 30th birthday thank you notes (I got most of them done, but still have a few left to go!)
  • Love Woody well by keeping our marriage as a top priority we started attending a marriage small group, and it has been great so far!
  • Continue home renovation with focus and plan to finish well
  • Complete product development and printing for The Orchard Pop Up Shop
  • Attend The Influence Conference
  • Launch 2016 Birthday Card giveaway
  • Purchase 2016 Simplified Planner
  • NYC planning night
  • Continue tidying with Woody The weekend we planned to do a bulk of tidying, Woody ended up in the emergency room with pneumonia. He is better now so we've got to get back on tidying track!
  • Goals blog post
  • Budget party with Woody

October Goals

The numbers beside each monthly goal represent the corresponding yearly goal

Love Woody well and prioritize our marriage (3)
Practice positivity and a good attitude at work (34)
Complete home renovation (2)
Pack and close the chapter of living at the loft (46)
Move into our new house!!! (2)
Celebrate Mary and Kurt's wedding (33)
Share birthday party story and photos on the blog (5, 33)
Photograph new product with Rachel (5, 7)
NYC Planning (9)

Standing monthly goals
Goals blog post
Budget party with Woody

What does October hold for you?

September 2015 Goals

August was a truly special monthI'd say it's one I'll always remember. We bought a house and I turned 30! All 31 days were full of activity, but they were also full of reflecting and savoring the sweet gifts of those days. 

 All these wonderful people helped make my 30th birthday so special. Meaningful relationships don't just happen   
  
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    —  you have to value and cultivate them. I want to do even more of this in my thirties!  Photo by   Mary Margaret Smith Photography

All these wonderful people helped make my 30th birthday so special. Meaningful relationships don't just happen you have to value and cultivate them. I want to do even more of this in my thirties!
Photo by Mary Margaret Smith Photography

I actually found myself a bit surprised (and so grateful) when I realized I accomplished ALL my goals for August! Now, don't be fooled, this is not because I have wonder-woman-like goal-accomplishing skills, rather I believe it is a testament to the hard work I've been doing to simplify my goals for the past several months. After feeling a little overwhelmed with all the expectations I was putting on myself each month, back in April, I started taking a simpler approach to my monthly goals. It's taken some effort and practice, but I'm starting to get in a good swing!

 Y'all, I'm 30!!!  Photo by  Mary Margaret Smith Photography

Y'all, I'm 30!!! 
Photo by Mary Margaret Smith Photography

The thing is, I'm realizing more and more that goals in and of themselves are not the end game (although, for a lover of list-checking like me, it can feel this way sometimes). Rather, it is the big, important purpose each of us are put on this earth to fulfill that matters. Digging down deep to understand your own heart, where you've been and where you're going is key to setting focused, intentional goals that lead you to living a life that matters and makes a difference. 

If you're new to goal setting, don't be intimidated. Start by looking back at where you've been, looking present at where you are, and then looking forward to where you want to go. Once you do this, you will slowly but surely be able to set meaningful goals that aren't just about checking things off a list, but instead are small steps in the journey to living your purpose fully and joyfully.

 Happy little homeowners.

Happy little homeowners.

You may wonder if a life of purpose and joy is on reserve for only certain people, but I assure you it's not. It's for everyoneyou included. It's not about being perfect, it's about making progress for a purpose. If you would like something to give you a jump start to living with purpose, I have just the thing! Lara Casey's PowerSheets have truly changed my life as they have taught me to set goals and make what matters happen! If you want to jump head first into goal setting, order PowerSheets today! Seriously, stop reading this and go order them!  (They are even having a perfectly imperfect sale right now!)

August Goals Progress

  • Celebrate my 30th birthday in a meaningful way
  • Close on our home! Hooray!!!
  • Develop new products for September Pop-up Shop
  • Complete groom card for custom order
  • Celebrate Dad's birthday
  • Focus on home renovation projects with intention and heart
  • Continue tidying process with Woody
  • Speak on goal setting at The Orchard

Standing monthly goals

  • Goals blog post
  • Budget party with Woody

September Goals

The numbers beside each monthly goal represent the corresponding yearly goal

Write and send 30th birthday thank you notes (33)
Love Woody well by keeping our marriage as a top priority (3)
Continue home renovation with focus and plan to finish well (2)
Complete product development and printing for The Orchard Pop Up Shop (5, 7, 10)
Attend The Influence Conference (!!!) (18)
Launch 2016 Birthday Card giveaway (6, 38)
Purchase 2016 Simplified Planner (I'm still trying to decide between daily and weekly edition any recommendations?!) (37)
NYC planning night (9)
Continue tidying with Woody (46)

Standing monthly goals
Goals blog post
Budget party with Woody

What hopes and plans do you have for September? I'd love to hear what you're up to!

August 2015 Goals

I am officially writing my first blog post as a new homeowner! Y'all, this journey to home ownership is such a beautiful story in patience, faith, trust, and God's faithfulness and provision. I am bubbling over and can't wait to share the full story with you soon.

 In my eyes, you just can't beat fireworks on the lake for the Fourth. I'm so grateful for my small Tennessee hometown that puts on one of the best fireworks shows I've seen.

In my eyes, you just can't beat fireworks on the lake for the Fourth. I'm so grateful for my small Tennessee hometown that puts on one of the best fireworks shows I've seen.

We closed on our house August 5, and that is the primary reason I'm coming to you with the second edition of mid-month goals! With all the activity revolving around buying the house, I just wasn't able to get my goal setting or posting done by the first of the month, and I chose to have grace for myself. I've realized sometimes it's best to embrace the moment, accept the season I'm in, and make it happen the best I can. 

 July days on the lake in East Tennessee.

July days on the lake in East Tennessee.

Speaking of grace and seasons, you may notice The LovingKind looks a little different than before. I created a new homepage and updated the site navigation. The homepage used to be the blog, but I've decided to slow down my writing in this season. With the help of a friend, I realized I was putting too much pressure on myself to do it all, and decided to give myself the space to really invest where my heart has been leading me.

We are renovating our new home and that is an important investment of our hearts and our time (2015 goal #2) right now. In addition, I have been craving to spend more time illustrating and developing meaningful products to share with you through The LovingKind. I absolutely love writing here and will continue to do so, just at a different pace for a while. I will still post goals every month as well as other things in between, but I'm saying "no" to pressure and trying to force too many things at once.

 My hope is that leaning into this season will bring joy and meaning. To put it more directly, I hope to cultivate a home environment where love for family and friends will abound, and to create inspiring new products that make people's lives better. Thanks, as always, for sharing in the journey. Also, I hope you'll join me on Instagram where I'm sharing house progress among other things!

 You may remember  Sarah  as our wedding photographer, and since then, she has become such a dear, dear friend! We loved having her and her husband Brent in Birmingham for a visit last month!

You may remember Sarah as our wedding photographer, and since then, she has become such a dear, dear friend! We loved having her and her husband Brent in Birmingham for a visit last month!

July Goals Progress

  • Write four blog posts (I wrote two not four, but also changed my site to better reflect and support my current season)
  • Close on our home! (If you've ever bought a home, you know you can't always control the timing of accomplishing this, and our closing got bumped from July to August. I'm so excited for next month's post where this goal will be checked off!)
  • Host Sarah and Brent in Birmingham
  • Send 30th birthday party invitations (they weren't printed in time for July, but you may see this goal come up in August!)
  • Watercolor
  • Celebrate July 4th with family

Standing monthly goals

  • Send July birthday cards
  • Write Woody a love note
  • Goals blog post
  • Budget party with Woody

August Goals

The numbers beside each monthly goal indicate the corresponding yearly goal.

Celebrate my 30th birthday in a meaningful way (12,33)
Close on our home! Hooray!!! (1)
Develop new products for September Pop-up Shop (5,6,7,10)
Complete groom card for custom order (7,10)
Celebrate Dad's birthday (25,33)
Focus on home renovation projects with intention and heart (2)
Continue tidying process with Woody (46)
Speak on goal setting at The Orchard (32,35)

Standing monthly goals
Goals blog post
Budget party with Woody

What is one of your goals this August?
 

July 2015 Goals

Well, hello there, July 13! Woody and I embarked on an impromptu beach vacation at the end of June through the weekend of the Fourth, and that put a kink in my goal setting flow. I'm realizing more and more these days that I simply can't do it all. In this case, a week away with my love won out, so here we are with the first mid-month goals post! 

 Sweet moments on the pier in St. Simons captured by our friend and photographer,  Sarah DeShaw .

Sweet moments on the pier in St. Simons captured by our friend and photographer, Sarah DeShaw.

In every year of our marriage so far, Woody and I have saved the majority of our vacation time for our anniversary celebrations in November. Last year, as I watched friends and coworkers head to the beach in June and July, I realized waiting for vacation until November just wasn't cutting it! There is something about a midyear break that is good for the soul, and I wanted in on it.

We began the year intending to take a summer beach trip, but when we got a contract on a house in the spring, June and July turned into home renovation months. Then, that contract fell through (full story to come), and we found ourselves in late May with no house and no beach plans. When June arrived, we decided it wasn't too late to make it happen and planned our summer vacation in about two weeks. As we quickly made plans, I realized it would be our first full week away since our honeymoon two and a half years ago! I couldn't believe it.

 These bikes are the best! We rented them and rode around  Sea Island  even as the rain sprinkled down on us. They were adding more bikes for the weekend of the Fourth, which explains the lovely truck and cardboard boxes behind us! 

These bikes are the best! We rented them and rode around Sea Island even as the rain sprinkled down on us. They were adding more bikes for the weekend of the Fourth, which explains the lovely truck and cardboard boxes behind us! 

Our vacation week was so good for us, and it's safe to say we won't let another year pass without taking off for a full week (or two!). It was refreshing to step away from the flow of daily life and breathe in some different air. We have a lot of great things happening in Birmingham right now, so it was actually a little hard to leave, but it was so important that we did. In addition to giving ourselves time to retreat from life's everyday responsibilities, it was a helpful reminder that things can go on for a week without us (shocker, I know). For our getaway, we chose to return to St. Simons Island, one of our favorite spots in the world. I hope to share more with you about why we love this place soon.

How is your summer going, friends? Have you made time to retreat? Whether it's a day, a week, a month, or some length of time in between, I hope you'll create the opportunity for your soul to rest this summer. In fact, it would make a great summer goal for all of us!

 S'mores in the summer! While on vacation, we got to see our dear friends,  Sarah  and Brent, who live in the St. Simons area. This particular evening, we went to hear the bagpiper play on the golf greens at The Lodge at Sea Island as the ocean waves rolled by. And yes, it was as dreamy as it sounds.

S'mores in the summer! While on vacation, we got to see our dear friends, Sarah and Brent, who live in the St. Simons area. This particular evening, we went to hear the bagpiper play on the golf greens at The Lodge at Sea Island as the ocean waves rolled by. And yes, it was as dreamy as it sounds.

June Goals Progress

  • Make vacation plan with Woody Not only did we make our vacation plan for the year, but we also took an impromptu beach trip! Double hooray for accomplishing this goal!
  • Clean out my closet in prep for capsule wardrobe This hasn't happened yet, but I did start reading "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up" which is setting me up for success!
  • Write and post three blog posts
  • Celebrate Christy's wedding
  • Continue triune wellness plan with Woody I'm learning I need a really solid plan to make this happen effectively
  • 30th birthday planning
  • Celebrate Father's Day with my dad We had a special weekend at the lake, and I prepared all the meals, which is a big step for this cook-in-training!
  • Sigma Kappa work group research
  • Make prayer list

Standing monthly goals

  • Send June birthday cards
  • Write Woody a love note
  • Goals blog post
  • Budget party with Woody
 Happy Independence Day! Love this festive flag at the  Sea Island  Beach Club.

Happy Independence Day! Love this festive flag at the Sea Island Beach Club.

July Goals

The numbers beside each monthly goal indicate the corresponding yearly goal.
Also, I am continuing to work on staying simple, yet very purposeful with my goals.

Write four blog posts (5)
Close on our home! (1) I can't wait to share the full update on our house journey!
Host Sarah and Brent in Birmingham (31)
Send 30th birthday party invitations (12, 33)
Watercolor (10, 11)
Celebrate July 4th with family (25, 33)

Standing monthly goals

Send July birthday cards
Write Woody a love note
Goals blog post
Budget party with Woody

What are you excited to do in July? Even though we're now mid-month, there is absolutely still time to make it count for what matters in your heart. I'd love to hear from you in the comments below or leave a link to your own goals blog post!

June 2015 goals

I had a great May, and thanks to my word of the month, "margin," I feel accomplished and refreshed. So often, those two things seem to be mutually exclusive, but setting core-focused, simplified goals makes such a difference!

 Nashville, Tennessee

Nashville, Tennessee

That being said, May certainly went very differently than we expected. As you can see in my goal recap below, Woody and I were supposed to close on our first house in May, and that didn't happen. I'm going to share the whole story sooner or later, but in the meantime, we're still trying to wrap our heads around it all. I keep saying, "we're trying to buy a house in Birmingham, but houses in Birmingham aren't trying to be bought by us!" Regardless of the frustrations and disappointments, we know God has a plan and we believe He has the perfect home for us. 


"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the Lord. "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." -Isaiah 55:8-9


Woody and I are now trying to refigure our summer a bit since we're not moving on the timeline we expected. As much as I've been thrown for a bit of a loop, I think sometimes it's good to get thrown off course. It reminds me that God is in control, His ways are higher than my ways, and that circumstances aren't what should dictate investing in what matters most. It's not easy to be patient and learn these lessons, but I know the only way through is through, and we're going to continue moving forward. And for now, I'm happy it's June and I welcome the summer sunshine.

May goals progress

  • Close on our first home! (still believing!)
  • Spirit + Soul + Body wellness plan with Woody
  • Celebrate! Christy's girls weekend, Brooke's wedding, and Lucy's birthday!
  • Register for The Influence Conference
  • See my mom for Mother's Day
  • NYC planning night
  • Send my 30th Birthday party Save the Date
  • Date night with Woody on the front porch of our new home!
  • Set dates for North Carolina trip
  • Order our new couch! (waiting on this until we find our home)

June goals

*reminder: the numbers in parentheses by each goal are identifying which of my 2015 goals the monthly goal connects to.

Make vacation plan with Woody (3)
Clean out my closet in prep for capsule wardrobe (new goal-simplifying my stuff)
Write and post three blog posts (5, 10)
Celebrate Christy's wedding (33)
Continue triune wellness plan with Woody (15, 16, 17)
30th birthday planning (12)
Celebrate Father's Day with my dad (25)
Sigma Kappa work group research (still trying to figure out where this fits--I'm thinking somewhere between 31 and 36)
Make prayer list (16)

Standing monthly goals
Send June birthday cards (31)
Write Woody a love note (4)
Goals blog post (8)
Budget party with Woody (14)

What is one of your goals for June?

 

May 2015 Goals

Well, friends, April was a success! It wasn't perfect, but it was purposeful and fulfilling. I didn't get everything done, and some things I did get done didn't happen how I planned, but the success of the month sits right here: I am ok with that. 

Simplifying and focusing on the heart of what matters, not just a list, was refreshing and powerful for me. I'm thankful for what I accomplished, but more than just being pleased with a checked-off list, I feel more peaceful and alive. 

 In April, Woody and I attended one of our favorite Birmingham events of the year,  Magic City Art Connection . Our friend  Jayne  was one of the artists there, and she was working on this painting throughout the event and by the end, I just had to take it home! The colors are so dreamy and I love surrounding myself with local art!

In April, Woody and I attended one of our favorite Birmingham events of the year, Magic City Art Connection. Our friend Jayne was one of the artists there, and she was working on this painting throughout the event and by the end, I just had to take it home! The colors are so dreamy and I love surrounding myself with local art!

I'm going to continue with my simplified flow for May, challenging myself to not "overbook" my to do list and instead really focus in on what matters right now. Along with this, I'm incorporating two new elements into my monthly goals posts! 

  1. Standing monthly goals. These are things I want to do every month like sending birthday cards to friends. Because these recur monthly, it's simpler to list them once and keep them for as long as I want them to apply!
  2. Connecting each monthly goal to one of my big picture 2015 goals. I created a list of 46 goals to make 2015 the best investment possible. Staying connected to these goals is important for determining what to focus on each month and for staying in tune with the heart-work I put in earlier this year to create a vision for a purposeful 2015. I want my monthly goals to support my yearly goals, so to keep on track, I will simply add the list number(s) of the yearly goal(s) that connects to the monthly goal.

Do you see any patterns in the things you want to accomplish each month? What is be your list of monthly standing goals? (see mine below.)

April goals progress

  • Write three blog posts (I didn't hit three, but I wrote two that I'm very happy with!)
  • Travel to Indianapolis for Sigma Kappa event
  • Go to Florence, Al, with Woody for Highlands Staff & Spouses Retreat
  • Read and work through three topics (one-ish a week) from 31 Days of Prayer for the Dreamer and the Doer
  • Take next steps in the home-buying process
  • Look for frames for gold foil Lara Casey Shop prints (I researched what I wanted and was able to purchase them this weekend when they went on sale!)
  • Establish a consistent weekly date night with Woody (we had dates, but don't have a consistent date night yet. We're working toward it though!)
  • Follow up on the Influence conference
  • Send April birthday cards
  • Have a planning night for NYC trip (Paris is out, NYC is in for 2015!)

May Goals

*reminder: the numbers in parentheses by each goal are identifying which of my 2015 goals the monthly goal connects to.
Close on our first home! (eek!!!!) (1)
Spirit + Soul + Body wellness plan with Woody (15, 16, 17)
Celebrate! Christy's girls weekend, Brooke's wedding, and Lucy's birthday! (33)
Register for The Influence Conference (18)
See my mom for Mother's Day (25)
NYC planning night (9)
Send my 30th Birthday party Save the Date (12)
Date night with Woody on the front porch of our new home! (3, 40)
Set dates for North Carolina trip (44)
Order our new couch! (2)

Standing monthly goals:
Send May birthday cards
Write Woody a love note
Monthly goals blog post (check!)
Budget party with Woody

My hope for you this month is to have your heart full. In the midst of the to dos, the schedules, and the spilled milk, there is so much great joy to receive if only we will open our arms and let it in. Happy May!

Congrats to Vania for winning the Make It Happen book from the April goals giveaway!