fullsizerender-5Last Spring in the midst of the hustle and bustle of daily life, I forgot how to dream. I had gotten so caught up in the mundane every day I couldn’t look beyond what needed to get done.  Finding inspiration for work and my personal life was difficult.  Honestly, I was struggling to do it all and do it all well.   The idea of living a flourishing life seemed utterly overwhelming and I didn’t know where to even begin.

By God’s grace, I met my amazing friend and life-coach Diana, took a leap of faith and signed up for her Life Refresh program.  Just the name itself encouraged me. I didn’t want a new or completely different life, I needed a life that was refreshed. Over the next season, Diana breathed life and encouragement to my dreams and goals.  Her coaching provided a solid foundation for my dreams to grow.

One of the solid habits I developed over the course of my Life Refresh was to make time to get away, dream and plan.  Twice a month I pack my bags with a journal, my powersheets, turn my phone to do not disturb, and head to my favorite coffee shop for a few hours.  In the busy Summer and Fall months, it’s been a challenge to keep these dream dates, but the refreshment and refocus I’ve gotten are so incredibly worth it.

This week during my dream date I took a good look at my 2017 goals.  As many of you know, I use Powersheets for goal setting.  This process has been so incredibly fruit for me for the past four years.  The goals I had set a few weeks ago were good, but I felt like there was something deeper waiting to be uncovered.  I did a brief goal refresh using Lara’s Goal Setting Series (Check it out here!) and simplified my goals for 2017.

Earlier in December, I chose Light as my word of the year.  But as I moved through the process again this quote kept coming to mind:

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to BLOOM!”

I looked up Bloom in the dictionary and here is what I found:

-to be in full health and flourish.

-to open fully up, to blossom

-to be radiant and glowing.
And I knew, 2017 was meant to be a year to bloom. And so friends, I give you my five simple goals for 2017.


 

  • Cultivate meaningful, life-giving relationships in my circles of influence (home, neighborhood, church, & work).
  • Celebrate the Sabbath!
  • Nourish my mind, body and soul through 30 minutes of exercise 6 days a week.
  • Date with courage and intention.
  • Dig deeply into the book of proverbs and seek Godly wisdom.

gracefull-homeWell, my friends, I’ve been pretty quiet lately because I have some big news. In December, I closed on my very first home. From the very beginning, God’s grace and goodness have been evident and I knew I wanted to share the full story with you all.

 

Since I was little my deepest desire has been to build a home of my own. I love having friends and family over for a delicious meal, crafternoon, over night stay or a simple cup of tea or glass of wine. I know some people break out into a sweat with the thought of people coming over unannounced, but over the years I’ve learned to not stress about having a perfectly clean or decorated home. Instead, I light a candle, ignore the dust bunnies and just enjoy spending time with those I love.

 

A little over a year ago I began to prayerfully make steps towards owning my own home. As a single woman who works in ministry, I knew this was a big dream and goal. But if I’ve learned anything it’s that God specializes in the seemingly impossible.

 

Fast forward to a sunny November afternoon when I hosted my dear friend and mentor over to my cozy cottage to catch up. She asked about the house hunt and I was decisive and quick with my reply: “I’m choosing to be content. If I need to stay here until next Spring, I know it will be worth the wait.” That day my friend gave me some advice and encouragement. She reminded me to continue to stay in step with the Holy Spirit, to not rush ahead of him or be dragged behind, but to stay with his leading.

That very afternoon a listing came through my inbox. The home was in my price range, had charm and character I was looking and was in walking distance to downtown. It seemed too good to be true, but I scheduled a tour with a realtor and left it in God’s hand. I knew from prior experience that there was a good chance the house already had an accepted offer. My friend’s wise words to stay in step with the Spirit echoed as I took one step forward.

 

Relaxing on the front porch during my first walk through.

Relaxing on the front porch during my first walk through.

 

The next morning my parents joined me on the first showing of a darling bungalow home. Within the first few minutes, I felt a tiny nudge that I was home. The beautiful porch, hardwood floors, darling details and solid structure caught my eye but what I fell in love with was the possibility of making the home my own.

 

 

 

As we walked around I could see my friends and family gathered around the kitchen table laughing and chatting, I could see Josie-girl cozied up on a couch, I could see and office that brought focus and inspiration to my work and I could see countless bonfires, morning coffees and BBQs on the back deck. I could see HOME.

 

I’ll spare you the details but God’s grace allowed me to close on that darling home on December 16th, less than 5 weeks after my first showing. It was a whirlwind but I sensed His provision and peace during every step.

 

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Cozy corner in the upstairs bedroom

 

Within a few days of moving in, I found out that God has blessed me with several neighbors who I already knew.  My prayers for the last year for the right home, in the right community were not only heard, but answered abundantly.   The verse from Psalm 68 came to mind immediately “God sets the lonely in families…” One of the hardest things about moving was leaving my friends and their sweet family. Renting their cozy cottage has been one of the biggest blessings. It’s been a joy to do life alongside their family and watch their boys grow. Although I wasn’t moving that far away (less than ½ mile), I knew that I would miss seeing them on a daily basis. But God, in his goodness and grace provided for my need without even my knowledge, that is how good He is!

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This sign made by my cousin Allie is a precious reminder that God will fulfill His promises! It hangs in my entry way, right outside the kitchen.

 

Friends, there is so much more I want to share, but for now, I’ll leave you with the reminder that He has good plans in store for you. Whatever you are waiting or longing for, stay in step with the spirit and trust that His grace will provide abundantly more than you could ever ask or imagine.

 

 

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Fall has arrived in Wisconsin. The leaves are changing from bright green to brilliant orange and deep reds. Summer’s warm days spent in the garden and evening cruises on the pontoon are hard to let go of. Yet, Fall holds a different kind of beauty and joy – everything pumpkin spice, football, sweater weather, a slower rhythm, and countless excuses to curl up with a good book and mug of tea.

This season shift has me reflecting on what it looks like to discover joy in every current season.

Can I be really honest?   80% of the time I’m joyfully content in this current season. I love the freedom and flexibility of being single, I’m grateful for my cozy cottage and am blessed beyond measure with a job that is less career and more calling.

 

But then there are the other days. You know, those days when Social Media declares everyone’s highlight reel or another online dating experience leaves me frustrated more than hopeful. It’s on those days that I struggle to find the beauty in my current season.

 

To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven: a time to plant and a time to uproot….and HE has made everything beautiful in its time

Ecc. 3:2

 

And then I read this verse from Ecclesiasties and it’s a gut check. God’s way and timing are perfect, He wants you to not just survive but thrive where you are.

 

In my journey to discovering joy, there have been a few tough lessons that I’ve learned. I share them with you, not as a formula to make life perfect, but as a reminder that discovering joy in your season IS possible.

 

QUIT THE COMPARISON TRAP

 

Comparing your current season to someone else’s will only lead to frustration and discontentment. YOU beloved were born with a unique set of gifts, talents, and skills. Where you are today is not an accident. You were made to shine God’s light into the world around you.

 

When my heart is feeling particularly tender, I tend to stay off of Facebook and limit my Instagram scrolling.

If that desire to compare still creeps up, I’ve learned to …

STOP.

PRAY.

GIVE THANKS.

 

The simple act of listing 3-5 things I’m grateful for right now is enough to bring me back to a perspective of abundance and allowing me to praise God through it all.

 

Like the familiar hymn reminds us…

 

This is my story

This is my song

Praising my Savior, all the day long.

 

For you, quitting the comparison trap might mean staying off Pinterest and reading a book or turning of HGTV and going for a run. The important thing is to uncover the trigger of your discontentment and replace it with something that is life-giving.

 

FIND YOUR PEOPLE

Who do you call when life gets tough? Who do you celebrate your good news with? Friends, we were not meant to do life alone. God formed and created us with each other in mind.

I think we sometimes have this vision of what perfect community looks like. You know, a perfectly suited, like-minded group of friends who hang out 24/7, are well-dressed, agree on everything and laugh A LOT.

In real life community is messy and imperfect, but oh so worth it. Community means loving each other in the mess of daily life. Community means committing to each other even when it’s inconvenient.

Just last week I was having a particularly rough day. Out of the blue, I got a phone call from one of my dear friends just to talk and say hi. She immediately asked how she could pray for me and I could just feel the weight of the day lifting off my weary shoulders.

I want to encourage you to go out and find some people (or even one person) that share your season of life.  Don’t loose heart friend, keep stepping out in faith and investing in relationships. They are what make life worth living.

 

Some of my favorite communities: SheReadsTruthElmbrook Church, Influence Network, & Powersheets Community.

 

 

BE HONEST

Be honest with yourself, your people and your God.

This is NOT easy for this recovering people pleaser and perfectionist.  I’ve learned that embracing your season starts by being honest about those other feelings. When we take the time to figure out what is at the heart of our struggle, we can then begin replacing it with truth!

When the emotions are running high, I know I need time to process and just let it all out. I set a timer for 10 minutes, get out my journal and just write. When the timer goes off, I look back over what I wrote and see if what I’m feeling or thinking lines up with scripture. If not, I find a bible verse that contradicts the lie or negative thought pattern I’ve been having and write it on an index card and stick it someplace where I can see & read daily.

Sometimes you might need a trusted friend, mentor or counselor to process things with.  Do that and be honest in your conversations. Don’t feel less than or ashamed, remember friend, we are not meant to do life alone.

This season as a 30-something single woman is full, abundant and so different than I could ever imagine. I’ve learned that just because everyone else seems to be on the same path, that doesn’t make yours any less valid. I want to encourage you that wherever you are today, there is beauty waiting to be discovered.

flourishThis summer into fall transition has me reflecting on how our lives ebb and flow during different seasons.  Fall is a season of gratitude, thanksgiving and harvest. A time when we rejoice and celebrate the work that has been done. Winter is a time of planning, preparation and stillness. Spring brings growth, cultivation and making a firm foundation for the coming months.

 

And then there is summer-summer with its overgrown gardens, long days and abundant fruit. Summer is a season of fullness and MUCH.

 

I used to dread the busy summer seasons and dream of the days when I could just quit it all and snuggle up with a blanket and good cup of coffee.

 

This Summer I decided to let go of expectations and truly embrace the season. And what I found is that, even in the busiest of season we are called and created not just to survive but THRIVE!
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The righteous flourish like the palm tree
and grow like a cedar in Lebanon.
 They are planted in the house of the Lord;
they flourish in the courts of our God.
They still bear fruit in old age;
they are ever full of sap and green,
Psalm 92:12-14

 

 

So, as the cooler weather and refreshed rhythms of fall roll in, I’m taking a few minutes to pause on what it looks like to flourish during full seasons.

 

  1. Embrace an attitude of abundance and gratitude, instead of lack and complaint.
Garden Abundance

Garden Abundance

This is a big one. Last Summer I noticed that every single time someone would ask, “How are you?” I would answer “Stressed, busy, overwhelmed”. What I started to notice is that even if the day was 80% good, when I focused on the 20% of struggle it took over my heart and conversation. Suddenly I was discontent and dreading each day.

 

There is a verse in 1 Thessalonians that says “pray with out stopping & give thanks for everything” This Summer I took that verse to heart.   When I focused on the abundant gifts in my daily life (even thanking God for refining my heart in tough situations), deeper joy was cultivated.

 

In 2016 I’ve been keeping track of daily grace & gratitude on a calendar. It’s been a simple practice that has transformed my perspective. Every day I’m on the hunt for the gifts He has bestowed upon me.

A flourishing life begins and ends with gratitude friends. Get after it.

 

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2. Simplify

Your goals. Your schedule. Your Stuff. Your life.

 

In May I declared the Summer of LESS. I wanted less stuff in my house, less obligations on my schedule and less expectations in my life. In reality, it was STILL a full season. But the major difference was that I intentionally filled my life, home and schedule with what truly mattered. I cleared my slate to start fresh and slowly added things that brought joy & purpose to my life.

Simplicity is a lost art in our culture of more & busy. But, in simplicity there is freedom. When we say NO today, it makes room for a wise yes tomorrow.

 

This Summer I simplified in a few ways…

 

I said NO a lot. I didn’t watch TV in the evenings. I paused on-line dating. I prayerfully considered ministry opportunities instead of saying YES right away. Believe me friends; this was a BIG one for this YES girl.

 

I embraced the overwhelm and used it for the greater good. Thanks to the wise advice of my friend Diana. On the days I felt overwhelmed I took out the to-do list and looked at it with a fresh eye, then promptly cut 10 items. I tackled that messy dresser drawer and simplified my wardrobe.

 

I let go of stuff. I made a giant list of every area in my cozy cottage that needed sprucing up and made a limit that it could only take 15 minutes or less. I tackled a small project. My list of 52 areas was tackled one 15 minute increments. Now, it’s September and I have a refreshed heart and simplified home.

 

I simplified my goals. This Summer I had three major goals. I wrote them on my planner, placed them on my fridge and read them every morning before I tackled the day. There was amazing freedom in simplifying my goals and having less in this season. When opportunities arose, I measured them up to those simplified goals and if they didn’t align, I said no. It was difficult, but there was great freedom and joy in doing a few things well.

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  1. Focus on a few things and do them well.

This has been an ongoing lesson in my life, but over the summer it became a daily motto. Because of a full schedule in my work and personal life, I knew that I needed to be diligent with the time I was given. My goal for the summer wasn’t to accomplish 500 things perfectly, but to do a few things and do them well.

 

Often we wait for perfect timing to take that trip, start that project or make progress on that goal. When I took a long, hard look at the past few Summers I felt like I had put my life on hold. I didn’t want to risk doing that again, life is to short to wait for perfect timing. I took an adventure to NYC, learned to make artisan bread, continued the Tuesday Taco Truck tradition, took long walks in the wood, launched a new project at ZA, and had that farm-to-table fundraiser I dreamed of.

 

I didn’t want to wait for perfect to thrive and the key was focusing on the land that God has given me.   It can be easy to keep saying yes and suddenly that simplified schedule goes right out the window. We all have different capacities and are in various seasons. Right now, as a single woman I have been blessed with margin and time I won’t always have. My prayer has always been that God uses these years for His glory, and I’m seeing the fruit of that prayer through small steps of obedience. Tiny yeses that align with my gifts and talents  shine His light into this world.

 

And friend, God has given you a dream and specific set of talents and it’s up to YOU to share them with this amazing world. Plant a small seed today, care for it and trust that soon it will flourish into the life you were created for.

 

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4. Prioritize Self-Care.

 

Self-care is NOT selfish.  Say it with my friends….SELF-CARE is NOT SELFISH!  Got it, okay good!  Believe it or not, we were not created to work 24/7.  Yes, God has called us and given us talents to use in this world, but he also created us to rest.  When we rest, stop, and reflect we are filled back up.

This year I unabashedly embraced self-care in every way shape and form.  Sunday evening baths complete with tea and a good book.  Hitting up the local trails and going for a long hike.  Making time to journal and pray, especially after long days. Stillness & quiet.  Yoga before bed.

And my life was better for it.  Making time for what sets my heart on fire fueled not only my work but my heart.  I learned quickly that I couldn’t just magically create extra time in my day for self-care, I needed to prioritize it.  So, I added it to my weekly schedule.  I developed small, simple rythmns that prioritized self care.  Even on the busiest of days I tried to do something small that sparked joy in my heart.

I know some of you might be reading this and saying “Good for you Emily, but you don’t understand I don’t even have 5 minutes to myself”.  Well friend, if you are reading this I beg to differ (tough love here friends…because I SO want what is best for you!!).

So, stop reading and go make a list of 10 things that spark joy &  take 15 minutes or less. Okay, did you go do that?  Good…

Now, I want you to pull out your phone or planner or iCal and schedule one thing for tomorrow. You can do it friend. You need to do it friend.  Your boss, your family, your friends will be better for it.  When we allow our spirits to be filled up, we are able to love others well.  And isn’t love what a flourishing life is all about?

 

 

Hey friends!

 The Summer is full of family commitments, adventures (near and far), work obligations and many more things.  It’s easy to look at the Summer and want to accomplish everything and do ALL the fun things.  And honestly I have been a bit overwhelmed by it all.

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Then I heard this quote from Mother Theresa ” Do Small things with great love”.  I was reminded that it’s the love that matters, not just accomplishing something off the to-do list or checking a box on my Powersheets.  If I want to end the summer refreshed, refocused and reenergized I need to simplify.   I want to do a few things and do them well.

 

Summer Goals-Simplified

 

 

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Shepherd Zachariah’s Acres team towards a fruitful Summer

  • Pray, plan and delegate
  • Joyful attitude towards fundraising events.
  • Rejoice in the harvest!

 

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Invest in relationships

  • Schedule weekly friend date
  • Prayerfully participate in Elmbrook-Lake Country launch
  • Family Dinners
  • Have adventures with friends & family (NYC, Pictured Rocks,…)

 

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Practice Regular Self-Care

  • 30 Minutes daily “Write the Word”
  • Hike, jog or kayak 3X per week
  • Eat nourishing food (fresh from the garden!)
  • Write for 3 hours per week.
  • Media Free evenings 3X a week.

 

That is it.  I’m saying YES to these few things and no to all the rest.  I’m choosing to savor the simple this Summer and I can’t wait to see how God works.

 

Grace Notes:

*A few resources to carve out a simplified Summer

 

Summer to Thrive Worksheets by Jess Connolly

 

Powersheets

 

Crafting a Rule of Life by Steven Macchia

 

 

 

 

FullSizeRender (19)Spring is a time for preparation; in the garden we spend hours tilling up the earth, carefully removing rocks & debris and adding quality nutrients all in preparation to plant good seeds that we’ll harvest in the future. Its the same in our lives. Before new, good seeds can be planted we need to remove what could inhibit growth.

Last month I spend time focusing on removing old habits. Journaling before bed with a cup of tea has replaced Netflix.  I still enjoy a good binge now & then (hello…Fixer Upper Season 3!) but getting my thoughts & worries out on paper have helped me sleep better and wake up rested and ready to take on the day.

Grabbing a latte & cruising the isles of Target used to be one of my favorite ways to unwind after a busy week.  However, I could never leave without spending $100 on things I frankly didn’t need. The Contentment Challenge has encouraged me to pursue other interests than just shopping. Now, after a stressful day I hit the local Y to swim a few laps in the pool or take a walk outside with a friend. These habits are tiny steps towards a purposeful and intentional life.

This month I’m keeping my goals simple, clear and focused. I want to continue to build upon the momentum from last month and start powerful habits that are rooted in what matters most.

 

April_Share_Graphics-04April Goals

Read 168 Hours with Nancy Ray Book Club

Contentment Challenge Month #2 (no new clothes, home decor or books)

Plant my flower & veggie beds at home & Zachariah’s Acres.

Sketch out a rough outline for Flourish Devotional.

Follow monthly cash flow. (use envelope system for food, entertainment and pocket money)

 

Weekly Goals

Visit the YMCA (3X a week)

Social media free Sunday

Tuesday evening writing time at Mission Cafe or Stone Creek. (spend at least 1 hour on Flourish)

Schedule one office day per week.  (budget review, weekly task list, e-mail clear out…)

 

 

Daily Goals

P.R.E.S.E.N.T. Morning Routine

No screens after 9:30 p.m. (Sunday-Thursday)

Use cash for “fun” spending

Daily download at 4:30 p.m.

Write down 3 “grace & gratitude” in prayer journal.

 

How about you friends, what are some of the goals or dreams you have for this new month?

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Earlier this month, at the suggestion of my amazing life coach Diana I began a time diary.  Using the method from the book 168 Hours I diligently tracked my life in 15-minute increments. It was a lot of work, but the “aha” moments I had towards the end of the week were completely worth it.

One of the major themes I saw was a lack of structure in the morning. Every morning began drastically different and I saw a rhythm that how I spent my mornings influenced the rest of the day.

Over the past few years I’ve developed a strong habit of getting up every morning to spend time in God’s word. I’m so grateful for these quiet mornings of coffee & Jesus for fueling my day. But, there are other things I wanted to incorporate or get rid of to make my mornings intentional and focused.

 

After my time tracking study, I decided to commit to waking up an hour earlier Monday-Friday and refining my morning routine.  I needed was a routine that could be flexible, something that could be savored, simplified, incorporated throughout the day depending on my schedule.  I read a few articles, tried several methods and finally landed on this simple and flexible routine from “The Better Life” by Claire Diaz-Ortiz.

 

P.R.E.S.E.N.T. Mornings

 

Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:12

 

Pray or Pause

 

This is the most important step, to begin the day with what matters most. I recently switched my alarm off my phone to a traditional alarm clock so I had one less temptation to scroll through Instagram or check e-mail first thing. Sometimes I just sit in the stillness, go through my Val Marie Prayer Journal, list daily gratitude or I take a prayer walk around the lake. The important thing is to start the day with truth!

 

 

Read

I brew a cup of coffee and pull out my Write the Word Journal, favorite devotional or a non-fiction book and spend sometime reading. Most mornings I read a few passages of scripture and a devotional.  Lately I’m loving Pricilla Shrirers “Armor of God” and Savor devotional.

 

Express

Journal my prayers, bible study thoughts or write out concerns & to-dos for the day. Journaling and getting my thoughts out on paper has been one of the most life transformative habits I’ve incorporated into my day. I often wait until the end of the day for this step and get the fears, worries, challenges out of my head before I hit the hay.  I especially love Emily Ley’s Grace not Perfection Journal for this step.

 

Schedule

Spending a few minutes on my schedule and preparing for the day allows me to refocus on the important and prioritize the urgent. I spend a few minutes reviewing my vision board and Powersheets tending list and my 3-most important things list that I wrote out the night before.

 

 

Exercise

If I don’t have time to take a walk or go to the YMCA first thing in the morning, I make it a priority to schedule it in. I keep a stocked gym bag in my car and that way if I find I have some unexpected time I’ll go swim on my lunch break or visit my favorite hiking trail at the end of the day. Incorporating fun & intentional exercise into my morning routine has provided so much more energy for me to accomplish what the day brings.

 

Nourish

When we take time to invest in our self-care, we are able to pour into others. I made a list of things that bring me joy and tapped it to my refrigerator and each day I try and incorporate one of those things into my schedule. Simple joys like heading out to the garden for fresh flowers, sending happy mail, making a green smoothie, painting my toenails or reading a fiction book on the porch restores me.

 

Track

Don’t forget to track your progress!!! I use my Powersheets tending list to track my goals and recommend them for anyone who is looking for some added purpose and intention in their life.

 

The best thing about this routine is it’s more of a rhythm than a highly structured to-do list. The steps don’t have to be done in order or even in the morning, the important things is to figure out what bring joy into your day and make time for that. I share my routine not to give you “one more thing to do” but to encourage you to stop and consider how incorporating one or two of these items into your mornings may bring some extra grace & purpose into your daily life.

 


 

 

 

 

IMG_7268I can’t believe another month has flown by!  To be honest this month was a bit of a blur.  Life was full of family obligations, work, meetings and just general life.  Honestly, I did not get as much time to spend on my goals as I wanted.

But, here is the thing–there was still such sweet fruit in the month of March and so so much to be grateful for.  I attended InspireU with some amazing friends, spent time with extended family, planned my home garden and the garden for Zachariah’s Acres, attended Art in Bloom and ended the month with a long weekend at the cabin.

 

This month I’m starting fresh with a goal refresh and simplifying my monthly goals to focus on a few, intentional areas of growth.

 

Goal Refresh

  1. Cultivate a spirit of contentment through not spending money on books, home decor and clothes the months of April/May/June and completing the Joy Dare every day.
  2. Save X towards my home downpayment.
  3. Find a budget tool that works for me and apply it to my REAL life and goals.
  4. Refine my job description so it reflects my gifts/skills and delegate other things to qualified team-mates.  Let go of control!!
  5. Clear the clutter, get rid of excess and simplify my stuff so I can focus on living not just cleaning.
  6. Live an active, flourishing life in every season.  Take daily prayer walks around the lake, visit the YMCA with a friend and enjoy “me time” with purpose.
  7. Write for 30 minutes, 5 days a week about what God is teaching me.  (Journal, blog, devotional or social media)
  8. Schedule weekly “friend dates” to explore and invest in relationships
  9. Eat more fresh, seasonal produce. Take time to plan and prepare nourishing meals and snacks to give me energy to live out my calling.

 

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Image: Elmbrook Church

April 2016 Goals

Teach us to number our days, so that we may gain a heart of wisdom.  – Psalm 90:12

“Sometimes you need to quit the mediocre things to experience the amazing!” – Anon

 

Monthly Goals:

  1. Read Boundaries with Nancy Ray Book Club.
  2. Develop a budget system that works for me.
  3. Save X towards home downpayment.
  4. Make a list of easy, healthy meals for those busy days.
  5. Track my time for one week using Laura Vanderkam’s method.
  6. Schedule a spring cleaning sale for Mary Kay products.

Weekly Goals:

  1. Visit the YMCA 2X a week with a friend.
  2. Sign off social media 2 days each week.
  3. Clear the clutter in one area.

Daily Goals:

Joy Dare

Prayer Walk

Write for 30 minutes

Continue morning/evening routine

 

Cheers to a fruitful fresh start!!

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Return, O my soul, to your rest; for the LORD has dealt bountifully with you. Psalm 116: 7

The days are getting longer, the sun is shining, & birds are chirping happily. Springtime will soon be here. I’ve been reflecting this past week on the importance of rest and a season of stillness. In the past few years I have come to appreciate the beautiful stillness that accompanies the long Wisconsin Winter.

Now, don’t get me wrong my heart longs for days filled with sunshine, digging in the dirt, picnics, farm markets and fresh cut flowers.  But there is a deep contentment and purpose in a season of rest.

Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. “Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath of the LORD your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you. “For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day and made it holy.  Exodus 20:8-11

We were simply not created to go, move and make it happen twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, fifty-two weeks a year.  Yes, we were created to work hard, but we were called to rest well.

“The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.” Mark 2:27

A regular rhythm of rest is a reflection of a flourishing life.  True rest allows us to serve wholeheartedly and use our gifts to bring God glory.

But, real rest is more than knitting on a quiet afternoon with a cup of tea at hand, it’s a sabbath of the soul.

So, the big question is, How can we rest well? In this crazy, beautiful life we have been given?  How can we let go of busy and embrace beautiful rest?

I wish I had an easy answer, perhaps “5 simple steps to embracing rest”.  But friends, true, soul giving rest can only beg with surrender.  It begins with the confession that you are not in control.  When we put aside our to-do list and replace it with rest, we take a step of faith.   Rest reminds us that we are not in control and draws us closer to the one who is.

 

Be still, and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10

 

Be still sweet friend, let go of control and embrace the true rest that can only come from our amazing God.

 

Grace Notes:

*Incorporating rest into the rhythm of your daily life.

  • True rest begins with a quiet, surrendered heart. Take a moment to pause and be still. Confess any fears, worries and struggles you are facing.
  • What brings you rest?  Make a list and incorporate a few of these items into your schedule next week.  Sign up for the cooking class, go for that hike, or read that novel you have been looking forward to.
  • Are you in a particularly full season?  Embrace it friend, lean on His grace and know that it won’t last forever.  Consider scheduling a long weekend trip (or staycation), make a priority to have extended time of rest in your schedule.

IMG_5207I can’t believe another month of 2016 has passed.  February was a beautiful month of restoration, peace, stillness, daily grace and hope in the faithfulness of God.  There was much to be thankful for last month: heart to heart chats with friends, our amazing volunteer team at ZA, weekend adventure at the Opera with my mamma, garden planning and resting in the truth that God is ALWAYS at work for His glory and my good.  It has been a sweet month but Springtime is right around the corner and I’m itching for what is to come.

 

 

February Goal Update: 

 

  1. Read “Ordering Your Private World” by Gordon MacDonald and “Culture Making” by Andy Crouch.

I am taking a class at Elmbrook Church and this month we were discussing faith and culture this month, as part of out discussion we read Andy Crouch’s “Culture Making”.  I didn’t agree with 100% of what Andy said, but the overall theme of creating culture instead of just consuming stretched my point of view.  We aren’t just supposed to passively participate in this life, but create grow and flourish.

Ordering Your Private World by Gordon McDonald has been a game changer you all!  At the end of the year I felt frazzled, overwhelmed, empty and completely disorganized.  I though that the slower season of “Winter” would be the solution to all my struggles. But peace doesn’t just happen overnight, we have to choose it, act on it and live it out during every season.   If you are looking for a practical book full of wisdom and advice I would heartily recommend “Ordering Your Private World”.

2. Consistent, weekly writing time at Mission Cafe.

Well, this month I had several work meetings in the evening and struggled to find time to write. In March I hope to get back into a rhythm of writing each Tuesday evening before bible study, but until then I’ll take the stolen moments on a quiet Saturday afternoon to share a bit of my story and reflect on what God’s been teaching me.  I’ve learned through this that God’s ways and timing are far better than our own.  He’s refining me through this process and helping me depend on Him more.

 

3. Contentment Challenge Month #2.

I had a few unexpected purchases this month (replacing my camera) and also chose to purchase a few items that supported some amazing shops and makers.  It’s all about grace friends.  However, I do plan to jump back on in March and keep focusing on saving for some bigger goals.

 

4. Turn off my phone on evenings off and read, rest, bible journal, pray.  Find TRUE rest in Him.

Intentional rest fuels purposeful work.  I love a good Netflix binge (Unbreakable Kimmy Smidt and Fixer Upper are a few of my current faves) but rest begins by quieting out heart and soaking up the presence of our Savior.  This month has been full of work, family and volunteer commitments but when I find myself with an evening off (or Saturday afternoon with no plans) I’ve been having fun creating, coloring and painting in my bible journal.  I’ve also begun the evening rhythm of reading a passage of scripture and writing in my Write the World Journal before bed and ending my day with thoughts of peace & truth instead of anxiety and my to-do list.

5. Prayerfully consider how to increase my saving and giving.  GIVE. SAVE. LIVE.

Yes!  Some amazing organizations that I’ve been so blessed to support.

“Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” Matthew 25:40

Hands and Feet Project

Hope for Justice

World Vision

Zachariah’s Acres

 

6. Delegate tasks to qualified volunteers who are passionate about using their unique gifts to serve.

WOW-God has answered this prayer abundantly more than I could ever ask or imagine.  It’s a humbling process learning to lead and encourage a team, but He is at work.

7. Visit the YMCA on Tuesday/Thursdays with my workout buddy.

I’ve fallen back in love with lap swimming. It’s been the perfect end of the day to clear my head.  Plus our YMCA has a hot tub and sauna, so it’s like a mini vacation 😉

8. Encourage a friend over coffee or a meal weekly. Speak truth in love.

I wasn’t perfect on this one, but I’ve made more intentional steps towards deepening relationships.  I work the majority of the time from home, and with a friend over lunch, coffee or just a phone call can be a much needed day brightener. Springtime is drawing near and already people are coming out of hibernation. I’m looking forward to walks around the lake, last minute trips to the taco trip and lingering bonfires.

 

March Goals

 

img_0028-1Theme Verse: See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. Isaiah 43:19

  1. Read Practicing the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence & Steadfast Love by Lauren Chandler
  2. Contentment Challenge.
  3. Be quick to listen, slow to speak.
  4. Swim for 30 minutes X2 a week at the YMCA.
  5. Create task lists for major 2016 fundraisers.
  6. Weekly writing time at the mission cafe or local coffee shop.
  7. Schedule summer vacations, weekends at the cabin, and other fun!
  8. Turn of the radio in the car and PRAY.