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!
 

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!

Adventure Together

I recently heard someone recount the advice they gave their son, "you'll never get a girl to fall in love with you until you go on an adventure together." As a romantic, I love this advice, and I also think it imparts a valuable truth that matters for marriage. Adventuring together is so important to enjoying each other and continuing to fall deeper in love and companionship throughout your life together. 

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When I hear "adventure," my mind automatically thinks "spontaneous." But, I've learned that as romantic as spontaneous adventures can be, if you sit around waiting for them to happen in your marriage, they probably won't. You have to purpose to adventure together by dreaming, talking, planning, and committing. Woody and I have made it a point to dream about travel and adventures, mark our calendars and make it happen! For us, once it's on the calendar, we have an accountability to plan, book rooms, research restaurants, and show up. What steps do you take that help you commit to making adventures happen?

This Valentine's Day, before even talking to each other about our plans, we both separately had the idea to go out of town together and celebrate with another couple. After considering a few options, we decided we didn't want to travel too far since it was just a weekend trip, and we were going by car. Living in Birmingham, we thought the Nashville area would be nice, but weren't too excited about the hotel options and prices we were finding.

After checking our usual travel resources, we hopped on the popular VRBO to see what we could find. We stumbled upon the most adorable cottage called Brigadoon by Shelter & Roost in Leiper's Fork, Tennessee. The location was perfect, the price was perfect, and we were in love with this romantic getaway spot. Woody contacted the owner, got the details sorted out, and our adventure was booked within 24 hours.

Wanting friends to join us for a Valentine getaway, we invited fellow adventure lovers, Rachel and Lucas. It didn't take them long to say yes after our persuasive pitch of how much fun it would be! We all got together a few times to make plans for our trip, but for the most part, adventuring in Leiper's Fork was easy and laid back and didn't require too much work beforehand. With most things being within walking distance of our cottage, we knew we could do as much or as little as we wanted with ease. We decided to eat out Friday night to enjoy some local flavor and then to cook in Saturday to avoid the Valentine's crowds, and it was perfect.

 Delicious Southern lunch and live music at the original  Puckett's Grocery  in Leiper's Fork.

Delicious Southern lunch and live music at the original Puckett's Grocery in Leiper's Fork.

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 I surprised Woody by making his favorite cookies, and it's safe to say the look on his face at first bite was priceless!

I surprised Woody by making his favorite cookies, and it's safe to say the look on his face at first bite was priceless!

One of the things I loved most about this trip was the relaxed flow. We planned enough activities that we got to experience the location, but left enough flexibility in our schedule to relax and be spontaneous. It helped that the vibe of Leiper's Fork naturally contributed to the laid back flow we wanted for our weekend away. In fact, one of my favorite memories is simply walking hand-in-hand with Woody exploring new shops and places. 

Looking back, as adventures should be, this trip is like a bookmark in our relationship. It's something we can turn to as an experience we embarked on and enjoyed together. The memories we made and the time we spent together truly served to fuel us and our marriage.


Adventure helps to build companionship in a marriage. Whether it is camping in the Tetons or traveling to New York to see a Broadway show, the excitement and mystery of adventure can be strong coffee for a marriage. The new sights and sounds, the need to pull together to erect a tent or hail a cab—and yes, all the tensions also—they awaken us from the dulling effect of the daily grind and make us more alive to our world, to each other, and to God.
— Love & War by John and Stasi Eldredge

 When you adventure together, something new happens as you find yourselves in unfamiliar places absent of usual routines. This allows you to see your partner in a new way and experience something fresh together. As husband and wife, we are designed to make it through life together, so it only makes sense to keep your skills sharp by making adventuring a regular part of your marriage!

In addition to making your marriage better, shared adventures are a great place to build friendships. It's important to pick the right people to welcome along on your adventure, too. One of the things we love about being with Rachel and Lucas is that we feel inspired in our marriage after spending time with them. They are the kind of people that make you want to be a better spouse because of how they love each other. It's no mystery that who you spend your time with will impact how you live your life, so find other couples that you respect and enjoy and invite them along your journey!

Rachel is a fabulous photographer, and she captured all these beautiful and sweet moments of our adventure. I hope you've enjoyed a little peek into our Valentine weekend, and that it inspires you to take an adventure with your spouse. Whether it be long or short, near or far, just get out and go and get ready for your marriage to grow! 

What are your favorite adventures you've shared together?