Cultivate What Matters - Spring 2016 Goals Review

Cultivate What Matters - Spring 2016 Goals Review

I love new seasons, especially spring. This morning, I pushed Declan in his stroller around the neighborhood, admiring the emerald grass, the sprays of white and purple flowers on lawns, the velvety tulips standing upright to catch the sun. It's an experience that breathes fresh air and inspiration straight into my soul.

The changing of seasons also provides the opportunity to reflect on the past few months. In the past years, I've blogged monthly about my progress towards meeting goals. This year, I've found it more helpful to take the long view. We had some changes in our schedules and commitments, and it took me a while to find a rhythm to our weeks. But now we've found our sweet spot, and I'm finally seeing growth in areas I carefully tended during the long winter. 

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One Goal for 2016 - Cultivate What Matters

One Goal for 2016 - Cultivate What Matters

Anyone else thankful the holidays are over? As much as I enjoy Christmas and family get-togethers and gift exchanges, I've realized that I do not do well without my normal routines. Last week on New Year's Eve, I woke up with a raging strep throat infection and spent the following four days in bed, completely fatigued. I blame it on the holidays (of course), wearing down my immune system. Today is the first day I haven't crawled back into bed directly after breakfast.

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4 Exciting Challenges to Kick Off 2015

4 Exciting Challenges to Kick Off 2015

January is all about starting fresh, building new habits, kicking out the old ones, and generally becoming a better version of yourself.

Yeah, right.

Ok I'm being a bit sarcastic, because we all know that 90% of the time, those resolutions don't stick. And that's ok. We know that our value isn't wrapped up in how well we attain our goals or how much we improve ourselves.

BUT - there is always room for growth.

As you already know if you've been around here a while, I love goals. I love challenging myself and trying new things and linking arms with others who are doing the same thing. And that's why I get excited about community challenges.

I think of a "community challenge" as a commitment (whether a month long, year long, or more) that a group of people make to do something together. I know that sounds a little vague, but you'll see below exactly what I'm talking about.

In just the past few days, I've found four challenges that I think will really spur me on towards spending more time in God's Word, reading books outside my regular genres, eating healthier, and jump-starting my blog for the new year.

These are all challenges that I'm doing with others, which is exciting - because it means I'm not in this alone.

I'm sharing these because I hope you will join me in on one (or all?) of them too, or find a new community that can inspire you to act on all those good intentions that have been floating around in your mind!

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November Goals

It was actually pretty freeing to skip out on the goals and planning and schedules in October. I don't think I would have been able to do any of that if I'd wanted to. And this type-A individual needed space to breathe. 

But as we are trying to find our footing during our time in limbo (still living with family, not working yet, hopefully moving into our house soon...), I feel like I need to have some sort of focus for my days. I'm so thankful we've had the space to be with family and take morning naps and long baths, and watch HGTV and Food Network reruns, and enjoy aimless Target wandering. But I'm ready to feel a bit more anchored. I need something to help direct my energies and time.

Here's a quick snapshot of what life looks like for us right now.

We own a house that we bought as newlyweds five years ago. It's been rented out the past three years, which has been great for the mortgage and not-so-great for its upkeep. Andrew decided to rip out the old carpet and refinish the hardwood floors. Major kudos to him for shouldering the entire project himself. I was more than ready to throw money at someone else to do it.

But that project has taken quite a bit longer than we'd anticipated. As soon as the floors are done, we can start moving in. We're currently living with his grandmother, whose house is a thirty-minute drive out in the sub-suburbs (my word for the suburbs so far away you have to drive twenty minutes to the nearest Target). She has been an enormous help, watching the baby, feeding us, and giving us a very cushy pad to crash in.

This weekend, my mom and sisters are driving up to help me paint the kitchen cabinets. And hopefully next week Andrew will finish staining and varnishing the floors. Then we leave for a week-long road trip to North Carolina for a three-day debrief retreat with Samaritan's Purse to help us process our transition and reverse culture shock. Then Thanksgiving happens (cue the additional five-pound weight gain).

In the middle of that, I've had an unofficial job offer (just waiting on the background check!). It's a position that makes me feel giddy and thankful and a bit anxious about explaining it to my more conservative friends. But until it's official with a start date (praying it's not til December 1!), I'll keep the details under my hat. But it's part time, near my house, and with a hospital I love.

Declan has been swinging back and forth between a happy, well-scheduled baby, and one who screams loudly, wakes up a couple times in the night and gets me up at six a.m. But at least he has no problem hanging out with strangers (who are quickly becoming family members he adores).

So my goals for November are (sorta?) straightforward:

  1. Get back into a morning routine - maybe I just need to get up at 6 a.m. and start my day instead of fighting it. Get my Bible and coffee going on.
  2. Go on two dates with Andrew - we have spent shockingly little time alone together since coming home, partially because the hardwood project has consumed him, and family has consumed the rest of our time. Which is great - but - we need to get out together and stay connected.
  3. Get a job - this is more like, settle all the details for the job I think I'm getting. It is seriously an amazing answer to prayer - everything I wrote out I wanted, God delivered (I think?). But there's a lot of logistics, like childcare, starting dates, and transportation (we don't own a car yet!) that we need to work out first.
  4. Move back home - I adore staying with Grandma, but I also miss having my own space. Hoping to sleep in our old bedroom by December 1.
  5. Go to coffee with two friends - I feel like I haven't had any time to see people - partially because everyone is a 30+ minute drive away, which makes it difficult to just pop over. But I have one coffee date scheduled next week - why don't you drop me a note if you're in KC and get together with me? Help me meet my goals :)

So that's what (I hope) November will be like for me. It leaves me a bit tongue-tied, trying to describe the ways God has answered our prayers and given us a transition that has been so much easier than I'd expected. Still a little bumpy - but the bumps are just reminding me how much I need Jesus. 

What's November look like for you?

P.S. If you need some resources to help you know God more, this ebook bundle is a great place to start - on sale til November 10. (Affiliate link used - full disclosure here.)