Some goals for January + 2015.


“And so the meaning of our lives is not dependent upon what we make of it but of what he is making of us.” -- Emily P. Freeman, A Million Little Ways: Uncover the Art You Were Made to Live

There are a lot of opinions and methodologies surrounding goals. Some focus on feelings, some focus on words, some swear by certain planners or spreadsheets. Honestly, I'm not a big New Years resolution person. In fact, I was reading an article the other day about how the Meyers Briggs types choose to make their goals every January. As an INFJ, I prefer to keep my goals to myself. If I share them, people will know when I come up short. And accountability always made me squeamish, so there's that.

But I've been thinking about ways to branch out here and there and be more well-rounded in this space -- so in that spirit, I thought I would share some goals for the month of January:

1. Host a group of women in my home for a night of fellowship. This is something I have been feeling called to do since back in October, when I was writing all about identity. When I take a small inventory of my resources, I have the space, the money, the time, and the desire to live openly and create a place for people to feel at home in my home. This goal is part of my larger goal for 2015, which is to bloom where I am planted.

2. Take more walks. I haven't tried the gym out yet. I thought it would be incredibly cliché of me to show up requesting a membership on New Years Day, so instead, I went on a three mile walk around town with our dog, and it was great! Unfortunately, I haven't been able to walk again because of extensive travelling over the past week, but I plan on getting back into it soon.

3. Read three books. Technically, finish one book and read the other two currently hanging out on my dresser. They are all about art and daring and desire and saying yes, which is what I want my 2015 to look like.

4. Abide by the cleaning schedule. I did it -- I made a cleaning schedule, with two to three chores per day. Our house was spic and span before the in-laws came up the week of Christmas, and we haven't quite recovered since they left. And besides just being nice, a clean house helps me to feel spacious.

5. Host a link up here. I'd like to start doing this monthly. I have some ideas floating around, so we will see where this goes. Ideally, the link up will be posted the last week of each month.

6. Plan a capsule wardrobe for the month of February. I love the idea of getting creative in the closet, and I think it will be a fun series to do here (side note: one of my yearly goals for this space, in particular, is to do more series).

7. Take more pictures. C got a wonderful deal on a fancy shmancy camera for us for a birthday/early Christmas gift. Because I've been horrendously busy with work and it has been so doggone cold outside, I haven't taken it out much, but I am so excited to play with it!

8. Sit down with C and set up the bank draft for tithing. More about this later.

9. Organize my kitchen. At this point, our entire home is a tribute to hand-me-downs, and since we've been married, a few things have been duplicated or simply given up the ghost (like our old toaster oven).

And perhaps some goals for all of 2015: 

1. Give myself and others the gift of connection, instead of vying in competition. I learned last year from Shauna Niequist that you can connect or compare, but you cannot do both. I will carry those words into 2015 in my family, in my office, in my church, and online.

2. Tithe. This is something I've been wanting to do for awhile, but in 2014, my thoughts on tithing shifted. I think a lot of people focus on tithing as something they have to do out of obligation, rather than something that they get to do in order to expand the Kingdom. And our church has an automated draft system for giving, so we don't have to worry about writing a check every week.

3. Write weekly. Do four series on the blog. This space has turned into such a beautiful online home for me and my words, and I want to steward it well by continuing to hone my craft.

4. Mentor a college student. We drive about half an hour to a church in Toccoa, and it is filled to the brim with students from TFC (where C and I both graduated from). I'm currently in a season of life where, despite how exhausted I have been, I feel like I have a lot to offer. Of course, this is something that I will continue to pray (and ask you to pray) for wisdom and direction.

5. Host more dinner parties. I love cooking and having people over, so this one is a no brainer.

6. Exercise three times a week. Lose 30 lbs. Yikes, this one is hard to talk about. I've always been one to say that the number on the tag doesn't matter, but inwardly, I cringe at the thought of picking up pants sized in the double digits. As I scrolled through the pictures taken over Christmas, I was taken aback by how heavy I look. I don't necessarily feel as heavy as I appeared, but my dad has faced some health issues recently due to his struggle with weight, and in November, I had my own little scare with high blood pressure. Honestly, the number 30 is kind of arbitrary, but you have to start somewhere, right?

7. Investigate masters programs and other avenues of certification for life coaching. Originally, I thought I would apply for a masters degree in marriage and family therapy, but last year, I really started to feel drawn to pursue life coaching. Nothing lights a fire in me like helping people identify and pursue their dreams, so it makes perfect sense for me to go that route.

8. Simplify. All of my spaces feel a bit crowded right now, and I'm finding more and more things that I (we) don't actually need. So in the spirit of spaciousness, I'm planning to clean house and live a bit more minimally.


Do you have resolutions and/or goals for January and beyond? I'd love to encourage and pray for you as you pursue them.

{Linking up with Hayley from The Tiny Twig today.}


Grace and peace to me.

1930082_122479595820_881470_n My dad is one of the wisest people I know, and one of the most important things he has taught me is that you have to show up. Throughout my life, I've seen him show up to gut houses for pastors, take extra shifts at work for a sick colleague, serve on the church board, and taxi my brother and I to and from rehearsals and workouts. I've inherited this legacy of showing up from him, as if it were infused and passed down from within his genes like my dimpled chin.

Of course, as we grow, these basic moral imperatives evolve with us, becoming peppered with other philosophies and pieces we pick up from the various places we've been. Sometimes, they can become heavy with our baggage, with all of our fears and imperfections and fight to compare and come out on top. Sometimes, when our hearts break, they can go missing altogether, like a love lost; we spend our days and months retracing our steps and frantically asking strangers have you seen this piece of me, only to be met with blank stares and shaken heads.

For awhile now, I've been waiting for her to return. I had all but resigned to call off the search, deciding to take five on the sidelines. 2014 was declared a year of rest, but it turned out to be anything but. I'd much prefer for you to think that as the curtains close on this year, I'm writing out of a place of rejuvenation and a renewed sense of where all my pieces fit -- but really, I'm bowing out feeling restless and fragmented, as if that one lonely, lost piece of myself that I can't survive without has managed to board a train and is now thousands of aching miles away.

Truthfully, much of my year was spent wallowing in those feelings -- but the fewer days remain on the calendar, the more fiery haste scalds my feet. My restlessness has begun to far outweigh my fear of walking through the blaze, and I can't wait another minute. My bones are hurting for alignment and starving for true things.

I've begun to take an inventory of the raw materials I have to work with. Admittedly, at times, it doesn't seem like much at all. But I believe with all my heart in a God who makes it His business to create beauty out of nothing. And what I've come to know in the hustle of this crazy year, deep down in my soul, is His nearness. In the midst of my striving, His comfort and affection have been unabashedly close. If that turns out to be all I take away from 2014, I'd consider it more than enough.

And as 2015 glows brighter on the horizon, one truth rings loud and sure above all the rest: I must leave the sidelines behind and dive headfirst into the arena, and shout from every rooftop that there is pure art to be discovered within the messy, the raw, the unrefined. And then, I must take the first step, picking up tender pieces and trusting that God is intimately aware of how they are to come together.

My desire for 2015 is this: to live a better, more aligned story. I want my whole being to infiltrate my whole doing. I want to bask in the pleasure of a tidy home. I want to buy cookbooks, shop local,  try a yoga class, leave the stress of work at work. I want to learn about flowers and when the best time is to plant them. I want to get back into fiction and read a lot of books. I want to get my hair done on a regular basis. I want to wear bright lipstick. I want to go to Allume. I want to have dinner parties. I want to mentor college girls. I want my authenticity to count for more than my efficiency.

I want to figure out exactly what it is that makes me come alive. It might be a messy process. I might scrape my knees and get dirt on my face. I might get my heart broken. I’ll grieve the pieces of myself that fall off along the way, like the trees that watch their leaves wither and fall away every autumn. But I’m reminded, all the time, of Donald Miller’s words: the trees are not worried. They bend low before Creator God, trusting that life will soon be restored. The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof. My life is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof.

Grace and peace to you. And also to me.

May it be so.