2017 Goals / Powersheets Review

We’re 19 days into 2017 and I have to say, so far, I have liked this year, minus the news that someone close to me is sick.

I usually do some posts about goal setting around the New Year, but this year, I took it offline and went through Lara Casey’s Powersheets goal-setting system.  Powersheets are not for everybody—my mom said “this is a NIGHTMARE” when I showed her the book, and David kept karate-chopping the air and saying “POWERSHEETS” dramatically whenever I would talk about it—but I’m really enjoying the way the system encourages you to break down bigger goals into small action steps.

I’ll keep my 55 pages of “whys” and “what I want to cultivate” to myself in case you’re on Team My Mom and all of this make you want to barf, but I still wanted to share a few of my goals, in case they encourage anyone else!

My big goals for the year are: 

  1. Establish a pattern of intentional action, celebration, & rest.

  2. Infuse my life and work with more creativity.

  3. Develop a deeper awareness of God’s presence and voice. Live with awareness of spiritual reality.

  4. Keep cultivating a fun & flourishing marriage.

  5. Embrace and enjoy this season. Engage in the little moments and enjoy them as gifts. Use what I have now instead of looking ahead/behind.

  6. Be proud of how I use my energy.

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Through the Powersheets process, I created small action steps that let me see that I am making progress on these goals. It’s really energizing and encouraging.  Here are a few of my daily goals for January that fit into the big goals:

Read the Bible/have quiet time every day.  I’ve been waking up whenever my first child wakes up (usually between 5-5:30) and giving them a little bowl of dry Cheerios to eat in their bed with some books.  Then I go out to the kitchen and journal and read with my tea until 6 am when the kids are allowed out of bed. I’m using the One Year Bible and so far, I’m keeping up!!! At one point, I got three days behind and almost gave up because every day is a lot of content, but I spent two nights catching up and I’m back on track! Whoohoo! Since I have committed to this goal, I am also going to bed earlier, so I feel better rested in general.

Complete one cleaning task per day. I made a list of all the “once a month” cleaning tasks, and am doing one per day. (For example, today, I washed our windows, mirrors, and appliances.)  This way, I don’t have to strain to remember what should be cleaned—I just consult the list and see what seems like fun not awful to do that day.  I don’t know why I didn’t do this earlier.

Have “present lunch.” I’m trying to sit down and engage in conversations with or read to my girls during lunch time, instead of shuffling through the mail, cleaning up the dishes, scanning my e-mail, texting a friend to coordinate afternoon plans, etc.  Mealtimes are hard for Zoe and she often doesn’t eat lunch on Riley’s schedule, so the bonus of living out this goal is that I often end up getting 1×1 time with each girl.

Sit down for 1×1 reading time with each girl each day.  We usually do a bedtime story, but I want to do more reading with each girl.  So far, this has been the hardest goal because my children do not sit still for long!

img_9330My weekly (non-work) goals this month are:

Take a Sabbath each week–celebrate and rest! I started this over the fall, and felt the desire to continue to grow in this area.  I am reading an amazing book that is deepening my practice of and commitment to Sabbath.  One great idea from the book: make dinner easy on your Sabbath day.  The last two weekends, I have picked up a prepared meal from our grocery store on Sabbath, and it really lets me sink deeper into relaxation when I know that dinner is already taken care of and there aren’t any dishes!

Work out four times. I have been in a steady routine of 3x/week for the last year, but I was ready to challenge myself! Having this goal “forces” me to exercise one evening or weekend day each week, which builds on my weekly “Sabbath” goal since I find exercise really fun and recharging!

Listen to a podcast each week. This encourages my creativity and can also encourage me spiritually and/or in my marriage, depending on which podcast I’m listening to!  My favorite podcast is The God Centered Mom, but I also really enjoy Creative Empire, Coffee & CrumbsInspired to Action, and just about anything Lara Casey puts out.

Complete weekly life planning. Figure out what our obligations are, what we’re eating, who’s buying the groceries and when, what the girls and I will do during our time together, when David and I will work out, what my work projects are and when I’ll do them, and what needs to be done around the house.

Speak my people’s love languages. Looking at this goal each week helps remind me to speak love to my family members in the way they receive it, not just the way that is easy/natural to me.  For Riley, my cuddler, I seriously just have to remember to sit down throughout the day and make my lap available to her.  It’s a simple way to love her, but I’m not the “sit down” OR “cuddle” type, so I have to remind myself to do it. Within ten seconds, she’s usually on my lap, so I know it’s filling her little love tank.

img_5274(Fun fact: Zoe took this photo!)

With the Powersheets system, you check in every day and every week and indicate with progress bars and check boxes how you’re progressing towards your goals.  I have found that it is really easy to remember to do this, and it’s so motivating to see that I am actually making progress on goals that otherwise feel abstract.  I love looking at my week with the goals in mind and deciding when I’m going to take small steps that add up to meaningful goals, instead of just hoping that I have time to take the steps.  I also really enjoy the Powersheets philosophy of setting meaningful goals, pursuing progress over perfection, and taking small steps that add up to your big goals.

Basically, if you’ve been on the fence about Powersheets, I either just convinced you to purchase them, or run far, far away, depending on your personality type.

This weekend, I’ll be checking out a potential future kindergarten for Zoe, organizing our storage room with David while my in-laws watch the girls (we’re turning it into a home gym space!!), meeting a friend for coffee, and skipping church and taking the girls to the beach to celebrate a friend’s 40th birthday.  I’ll also be starting my friend Brittnie’s new book.  I can’t wait!

What are you up to? 

My Goals for 2016

December was full of fun, laughter, and joy.  I wish I had time to recap all of it for you, but I wanted to share my annual goals with you, and I don’t have time to do both. 🙂

This year, I have 6 goals.

1 – To passionately pursue my marriage–pursuing intimacy and a relationship that is separate from our parenting relationship.  

WHY: My marriage deserves this attention.  I want to experience the joy of a thriving marriage and to share this joy with my husband and our children as well.  This goal involves a lot of “laying down of self” and intentionally choosing to pursue someone else’s needs over my own, which sometimes feels costly in the moment, but I want an amazing marriage–not just a good one.

2 –  To transition well from youth ministry to new ways of serving in summer 2016, keeping in mind that I won’t be “done” with existing mentoring relationships.  

WHY: The girls that I have been loving and serving since they were in 6th grade are graduating and moving onto college.  I have learned (much to my surprise) that youth ministry does not end when the students graduate; instead, you begin doing college ministry.  Right now, I mentor a few girls who have moved on to college and a group of girls who are seniors in high school.

When I started youth ministry, I had a dog and a youth pastor husband.  Now, I have two children with perpetual needs and an associate pastor husband.  It’s become a lot more difficult to do what I really want to do as a mentor.

For this reason, I have spent the last two years focusing on getting “my” girls through their seasons and not on building any new relationships.  This summer, all of “my” girls will be heading off to college, in college, or freshly out of college.

It’s a chance for me to switch gears.

This spring, I want to prayerfully consider what ministry will look like for me moving forward, keeping in mind that I’ll still be doing some long-distance and college-break mentoring.

I want to serve my church and world. I also want to be mindful of the constraints of my existing responsibilities, at the same time that I remember that I serve a God who turns a simple offering of loaves and fishes into food for thousands.

I’ve been thinking about how I could assist a ministry at our church by donating some grant writing services.  I am also open to other new ideas that God may share with me.

3 – Attend Jazzercise 3x week + do other frequent physical activity.  

WHY: The investment of my time into physical activity pays huge dividends for my ability to perform all of my other roles.  I am a better mom and wife and a happier Sarah when I take this time for myself.  I don’t exercise for vanity; I exercise for sanity!

Although in my dream world I would exercise most days of the week, 3x a week is the perfect amount of time for my kiddos to be in the childcare program and still look forward to going, and it will keep me in reasonable shape.

4 – Continue morning devotion time and begin doing devotions with Zoe. 

WHY: I love this time with the Lord and want to continue to grow in His image and gain His wisdom and strength as I seek Him. “What you say flows from what is in your heart” (Luke 6:45) and I want to put good things in my heart. I want to see the cumulative effect of patient study of God’s word.  I want to build Zoe’s awareness of God and His love for her and her ability to have a relationship with Him.  (Mini update: I’ve already started the devotion book with Zoe and she loves it!)

5 – Make $X amount this year, maintain a minimum of 3 income streams, and prayerfully and sacrificially give from my earnings to our friends’ YoungLives ministry.  

WHY: “Change a teen mom and change a baby.”  In 2015, I wound up exceeding my income goal by 11%.  In 2016, I want to continue incrementally growing my business, but I don’t want growth to simply benefit my family.  God is the source of any business that I get and I want to offer what I make back to Him.  Our friends in Washington are looking for support for their YoungLives ministry (Young Life’s ministry for teen moms) and I feel called to take a painful and scary leap of faith to commit to giving up some of the comfort and cushiness of my money habits to help teen moms get the mentoring and support that I benefit from as an adult mom plugged into a great family and church.

I still haven’t decided whether I will give a percentage monthly or quarterly or a one-time gift at the end of the year, but giving an amount that mildly scares me is a goal of mine.  Hold me to it.  🙂

6 – Spend one-on-one time with Zoe each week.  

WHY: Some of my silence on this blog this spring and fall can be attributed to the fact that knowing how to parent one of my children is a perpetual challenge for me (and that actually parenting her is exhausting).    I don’t think it is fair to share much online about my children’s struggles, which is why I have been pretty quiet, but behind the scenes I have been learning how to best support the needs of a child with a temperament that is very different than my own and a set of needs that is more intense than many of my friends’ same-age children seem to have.  We have had some professional evaluation as part of this process and apparently, I am doing everything “right”—it is just exhausting.

I notice that I feel a lot less frustration with her when I spend special time with her—time dedicated solely to studying and appreciating her unique personality and to having fun together.  I want to love and know my child the way she deserves to be loved and known, and I want to enjoy and appreciate her personality—not just patiently endure it.  I feel convinced that one-on-one time together is a critical part of this.  This week, we start an 8-week parent/child gymnastics class that we will attend together—just the two of us.  My goal is to keep some special time each week (whether it’s a class, park date, cookie date, or simply running errands) to invest in our relationship this way.

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Well, I hear some naptime-ending-noises, so I’m going to pop this up without proofreading and hope for the best.  I’d love to hear your goals if you feel like sharing any of them with me!

Fall Report (Hint: It’s Good!)

At the end of the summer, I decided that my fall goals were to reconnect with myself, with rest, and with margin.  Here’s a little progress report on how that has gone.

Margin: 

When I set my fall goals, I knew very little about the structure of our fall. We were in the beginning of the home-buying process, and we weren’t sure about a timeline (beyond being out of our rental by January 1).  We still didn’t know if we’d find a good home or end up moving to another rental.

Since our fall was covered in question marks, I didn’t look for any additional work outside of teaching and the work I do through the grant writing business.  I also put a hold on my membership in a continuing ed/networking group I’m a part of.  Although I can’t point to many amazing professional experiences I’ve had this fall, I moved and unpacked my family and didn’t let anyone down.  Win.

Another win: this fall, I’ve been writing things like grocery shopping, exercising, and trips to Target in my calendar to make sure that I don’t wind up scrambling to “squeeze in” things that are priorities to me or that impact how well (and how happily) I can do my job as a household manager.

My fall course ended this week, so my last work projects of 2015 are writing one grant and finishing up some CEUs by the end of the year for my CPH credential.  Yesterday, I got an offer for some last-minute work.  Although we would have appreciated the money, I said no.  I only have a few more weeks before I go home for Christmas; I want to enjoy the holiday season with my family and not have to cram in CEUs every night.

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Myself: 

A few weeks ago, I took my 75th Jazzercise class.  The instructor makes an announcement when a student hits a “milestone” classes, and I have to admit that I was looking forward to my applause since I took over half of those classes in a state of chronic sleep deprivation.  Unfortunately, someone named Laura happened to share my milestone class, so people clapped for BOTH of us.  Ugh!  Thunder stolen.  Thankfully, I have been participating in a holiday challenge and should hit 100 classes before the end of the year, so hopefully this time I will get my own applause.  Ha.

All joking aside, Jazzercise has continued to be a great mental and physical outlet for me and gives me three additional hours a week of childcare that my kids love.  I am so grateful that I found this studio.

Other self care projects I can report on: I’ve been reading three books a month (this month’s books: some ridiculous Sophie Kinsella book, Women of the Word, and The Nesting Place), and have been meeting a friend once a week without my kids for an early morning walk.  I have also been doing my quiet times faithfully and going to bed earlier (last night, I am delighted to report that I hit the sack at 8:15).

I’ve also been straightening my hair on occasion and recently bought some new makeup which I am trying to wear a few times a week.  (Zoe’s recent comment while playing doctor: “mom, you have these lines under your eyes.  I’ll give you a shot and make them better.”  We have officially lived in plastic-surgery-hungry Florida too long).

I also went to a CONCERT recently! My neighbor gave me two free tickets to what turned out to be one of the coolest concerts I’ve ever been to.  I took my friend Susan (also a mom) and we had the best time.  I love music and used to go to concerts fairly regularly, but haven’t tapped into this part of myself very often since becoming a mom.  It served as a gentle reminder that I have lots of interests that are worth exploring from time to time.

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Rest: 

Rest is hard for me.

This fall has NOT been full of restful events (moving, house guests, etc.), but I have tried my best to allow myself to recuperate as needed.  This has meant spending a few of the kids’  nap times on the couch with Scandal and many evenings on the couch with a glass of wine.  There have ben a few Sunday afternoons where I’ve asked David to take the kids and go do something because I can’t be nice anymore.

The most concentrated moments of resting this fall came just a week ago when David and I took all of Thanksgiving week off and went to the beach with our kids.  Neither of us did anything productive all week long.  It was fantastic and re-charging and energizing.

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Kids eating ice cream on the way home from the beach? 
Doesn’t get better than that. 

But my favorite moment of “rest” from this whole fall happened yesterday.  I had hosted Zoe’s birthday party in the morning (she’s 3!! Sob!) As I wearily washed cupcake trays, I got an e-mail asking me if I could be available for a conference call later that afternoon.  Our sitter was going to be here, ostensibly so I could work, so theoretically I could have made this call work.

However.  It was Zoe’s 3rd birthday. I was exhausted from her party and her three hour wake up the night before.  And honestly, I just didn’t want to work.  I wanted to hang out with my daughter on her birthday.

I’m so sorry, but I am busy, I wrote back.

And then I spent the afternoon being busy.  I left Riley with the sitter and took Zoe to Starbucks in her new Elsa dress, where we sat together and played with a Playdoh activity bin for 1.5 hour. We went to Walgreens and watched every dancing musical toy. We bought quick-drying nail polish and came home and painted her nails.

“I love you, mommy!” my generally-non-affectionate child told me several times.

I am realizing that there is no shortage of things to be busy with—but not all of them are actually important.  If I can’t show up for the people and things that matter most to me—what’s the point? I want to be “busy” with the important things.  

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I AM BUSY.

Overall: This fall has felt like one giant win.  There have been some tough days (I still have two toddlers, people!!), but overall, I feel more joyful, energized, and present because I have focused on connecting with myself, rest, and margin.

Around this time of year, people begin thinking about ambitious goals for their new year—goals that usually don’t include things like rest and margin.  My humble suggestion? Instead of going big this year, do what author Emily Freeman suggests and “celebrate your smallness.”  This doesn’t necessarily mean settling for small goals; rather, it means realizing that you are one person who needs things like rest and margin, and that God will have to fill in the rest of “big” for you.

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My Hopes For The New Year

I’ve always been a big goal setter.  New morning, new week, new year–it doesn’t matter.  I love the new.  Opportunity and possibility are intoxicating to me, and so the end of December (my birthday AND the beginning to a new year) is basically excitement central for me.

This December, though, instead of thinking and praying and journaling and talking enthusiastically about my goals—I mostly find myself quiet.

This year didn’t really pan out exactly as I pictured it.  I actually have accomplished a lot of the goals that I set last December.  That part isn’t surprising;  I set good goals.  But the context in which I’ve met these goals is so different than what I thought it would be.

Last December, I shared with my family that I would become a mother of two in 2014.

That is true.  It happened about five months later than planned, and with a different baby and set of circumstances.

Last December, I set some business goals.

I met those goals, but with a different line of work than I had planned on.

Last December, I set goals—picturing how I’d live them out in my daily routine, house, neighborhood, schedule, life.

My day-to-day life looks completely different now.  We moved, had an extra child, and both changed jobs.  I wash my dishes in a new sink, walk my dog in a new neighborhood (and less often…sorry, pup), mother one child with less attention than I could give her in the past, somehow meet the needs of another too, work for a new organization, and feel a different weight and responsibility from my husband’s job than before.  I went from feeling like a confident mom for whom mothering was easy, to a mom who has to ask Jesus daily for wisdom and patience and ability and energy because being the primary caregiver for these two little lives is the hardest job I’ve ever had.  I’ve implemented the spirit of those goals into my new life and situation, but I certainly didn’t picture all of this last December.

Honestly? After a few great years in a row, this year held many struggles for me.  Most surprised me.  What got me through was the knowledge that “I the Lord do not change…” (Malachi 3:6) and “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).  Nothing was a surprise to Him.  Nothing changed His goodness.  And I trusted Him.

2014 wasn’t my favorite year in history, and it certainly isn’t what I pictured—but on the eve of 2015, I find myself at peace with the struggles, journey, and joys the year held for me.

And maybe it’s because of that peace—a peace not dependent on my circumstances being easy or happy or predictable, a peace drawn only from the Lord—that I feel no need or desire to set goals this year.

I don’t need to improve dramatically at anything; I just want to continue growing in general in the roles I have been placed in.  I don’t want to get passionate about new things; I want to choose joy in the current things.  I don’t need to start anything new; I need to keep going with what has been started for me.  I have less and less need for MYSELF to make changes and more and more desire for the Lord to increase in me instead.

My mom took a few photos in August that sum up my desires (and challenges) for the year ahead.

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IMG_5636My hope for 2015? That I can savor and embrace what I already have—the challenges, the joys, and the unexpected moments.  They are all gifts from God. And I want eyes that see and a heart that says thank you.

Quarter One Report

Well, the first quarter of the year has passed, and although my life these days is more “get that play dough out of your mouth” and less “get me that report by Friday,” I still like the idea of a quarterly report and thought I’d do a Q1 check-in to see how I’m progressing on my 2014 goals.

  • Goal Area One: Gracefully serve my family and be a hands on, present, thoughtful, intentional mom.
    • Intentionally structure our weeks so that Zoe and I spend time each week in music, learning about/experiencing nature, physical activity, reading, and social activities.  Take weekly field trips to the children’s museum, zoo, parks, etc.
      This is going really well.  I kept track of all of Zoe’s activities and experiences in March.  The list of experiences filled up a front and back sheet of paper (and I didn’t write any experience down twice, even if we repeated it) so I think I am doing a really good job of this.  We’re also doing a lot of sensory play activities and art projects.
      photo 4-3
    • Swim lessons in the late spring or early summer
      I am still trying to convince David that this is a good idea.  Chime in with your most horrific drowning stories, people! I also discovered that a nearby dance studio offers baby ballerina classes for Zoe’s age group and has a summer session.  BABY BALLERINA CLASSES.  Now I’m torn about which to tell you to lobby for…make your own decision, I guess.  (Or stay out of our marriage.  You know, the healthy option I should have been advocating to begin with. )

    • Create a good eating plan for Zoe as we phase bottles out.
      It would help if Zoe would eat something besides the same 20 foods over and over again, but we ARE phasing bottles out and she is down to two a day now.  She is more adventurous at snack time than meal time, so I am trying to make sure that I provide healthy and mostly homemade or very low processed options for her snacks…unless we are on a beach trip.  Then she gets ice cream 🙂photo 1-3

      In response to my health consciousness, Zoe learned the word “Cheez-It” last month.  I didn’t grow up eating Cheez-Its, don’t buy them, and didn’t even know that you spelled “Cheez-It” with a “z” instead of an “s” until I Googled it three weeks ago.   I gave them to her ONCE at playgroup because another kid had them and she was begging for them.   Apparently it was an experience to remember, because she can identify them in or out of the packaging and say “Cheez-It” with perfect diction.

    • Build on Zoe’s “rules” as needed to keep her safe.
      Added to the list: 1) we brush our teeth in the bathroom—not while running through the house and 2) no playing in the trash can.  Added to my life: a pouty face.

    • Begin to introduce spiritual concepts to her at an age-appropriate level (“pray,” etc.) along with concepts of basic manners (“please,” “thank you,” giving hugs and caring for friends, etc.)
      She loves to pray! She insists that we do it before dinner and gets mad if we forget.  She claps when we are done.

    • Continue to give her lots of time with her extended family and help her learn their names through FaceTime and photos.
      I want to make her a photo wall to help with this goal, but I don’t want to just tape photos to the wall (nor do I want to put a ton of frames on the wall.)  Does anyone have any cool Pinterest-y photo projects to share?

    • As the one who spends the most time in a caregiving role, do my best to create a family culture that is loving, peaceful, gentle, & fun, where Zoe feels safe, secure, loved, & valued.  Zoe won’t benefit from a ton of formal instruction on faith and values this year—but I want these things to be so obvious by the way that we live that she has a foundation for the future.  I’m with her the most, so I have to live it the most.
      I feel like our home has been very peaceful and loving lately, and we just took a family vacation to the beach which helped make some fun family memories.  The biggest threats to me achieving this goal are fatigue and being distracted by less important things that feel urgent.  I pray that I can focus on what matters.
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  • Goal Area Two: Be a thoughtful, loving, present wife who prioritizes David’s needs.
    • Pay attention to what he says.
    • Purposefully save energy for him.
    • Make dates a financial priority.
    • Continue doing devotions together each week and pray together more often.
    • Speak his love language.
      The last few months have been a sweet time for our marriage as we have grown closer and more tender towards one another in our shared grief.  I think we are doing a great job at loving each other.  That being said, our last date night involved going to a worship service (#pastorswifeprobs) so we need a romantic evening out stat.  I also want to pray more together before bed and make sure we do our couple devotion most Sundays.
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  • Goal Area Three: Physical Health – I want to care for myself spiritually, emotionally, and physically.  Physical health isn’t the most important thing in my life, but the way that I treat my body affects the other parts of my life, my emotions, and my ability to have the energy I want to have for my family.  I want my physical state to enable me to confidently tackle everything else in my life…not to distract me or slow me down.
    • I want to be intentionally active most days of the week.  Ideally, I would attend my stroller fitness class 2x/week and work out 1-2 other times per week at our gym or walking 2-3 times per week.  I feel the best physically and mentally when I do this.
      I have been doing a good job attending stroller fitness classes twice a week, but I need to utilize David’s babysitting services more so that I can go to the gym on the weekends.

    • Eat healthfully because it gives me the most energy…but still eat dessert regularly.  I unintentionally lost weight when Zoe was born and spent a good part of the year struggling not to lose more weight and to put weight back on.  I am back at a healthy weight for me and need to continue to eat more than what I am actually hungry for so that I can be as healthy as possible for my family.
      Success.  However, I am ready to begin eating a bit more mindfully again.  
  • Goal Area Four: Spiritual health and personal passions:
    • Continue daily morning quiet times.
      I have had to adapt this goal to “doing a daily quiet time.”  Some mornings, I am able to get Zoe to sit quietly for a few minutes while I do it at my preferred time.  Other days, I do it during nap time or read scripture while spooning yogurt in her mouth or cooking dinner.  Flexibility isn’t my strongest skill, but I’m working on it 🙂

    • Continue listening to sermon podcasts when I get the chance during the day.
      I have done this all of twice in 2014.  Note to self: do it more!

    • Use my new prayer journal a few times a week to be more organized with my prayer life.
      This fell by the wayside because I got mad at God and seeing my old prayers was making me more angry.  I’m back to praying, but not in my prayer journal.  I did make a prayer bulletin board that helps me visualize the people that I am praying for, which has been neat.

    • Try to carve out two times a week for writing.  Improve my writing and clarify my sense of purpose for my writing.  Read writers who inspire me and encourage me to be better. 
      I attended a writing class in February and have been doing plenty of reading.  I’ve been trying to write twice a week, even if I don’t publish it, and most weeks I meet this goal.  In the upcoming quarter, I want to clarify my writing goals further. 

This quarter, I also made the hard decision to stop working for the nonprofit I’ve been working for for the last 4 years.  I am still doing some consulting work here and there, but I want to be more strategic about what I do now that Zoe is down to one nap and my work time is limited.  I want the projects I take on to build new skills, build new connections, and allow me to use the skills I am most passionate about, and I want to do project-based work instead of weekly work so that I have more time to spend on writing and enriching activities with Zoe.  Although it was a big adjustment at first, it was a decision I made from my core and I am glad I made it.

IMG_2013Moving forward, I want to continue my success with the goals that have been going well and pick up the pace in a few areas.  I welcome conversation about how these goals (or your own goals!) are going in 2014!

 

2014: Bring It, Part III

I’m sure you have all been waiting with bated breath for the conclusion to this short series, right? 🙂

But really…I continue to have interesting conversations as a result of sharing my goals and goal-setting process, and I LOVE knowing what my friends are working on and where I can pray for, encourage, and support them.  In that spirit, here are my 2014 foundations and goals—the things I’m hoping to build the year on and around.

  • Gracefully serve my family and be a hands on, present, thoughtful, intentional mom.
    • Intentionally structure our weeks so that Zoe and I spend time each week in music, learning about/experiencing nature, physical activity, reading, and social activities.
      • Take weekly field trips to the Children’s Museum, zoo, parks, etc.
      • Swim lessons in the late spring or early summer
    • Create a good eating plan for Zoe as we phase bottles out.
    • Build on Zoe’s “rules” as needed to keep her safe.
    • Begin to introduce spiritual concepts to her at an age-appropriate level (“pray,” etc.) along with concepts of basic manners (“please,” “thank you,” giving hugs and caring for friends, etc.)
    • Continue to give her lots of time with her extended family and help her learn their names through FaceTime and photos.
    • As the one who spends the most time in a caregiving role, do my best to create a family culture that is loving, peaceful, gentle, & fun, where Zoe feels safe, secure, loved, & valued.  Zoe won’t benefit from a ton of formal instruction on faith and values this year—but I want these things to be so obvious by the way that we live that she has a foundation for the future.  I’m with her the most, so I have to live it the most.
  • Be a thoughtful, loving, present wife who prioritizes David’s needs.
    • Pay attention to what he says.
    • Purposefully save energy for him.
    • Make dates a financial priority.
    • Continue doing devotions together each week and pray together more often.
    • Speak his love language.
  • Physical health: I want to care for myself spiritually, emotionally, and physically.  Physical health isn’t the most important thing in my life, but the way that I treat my body affects the other parts of my life, my emotions, and my ability to have the energy I want to have for my family.  I want my physical state to enable me to confidently tackle everything else in my life…not to distract me or slow me down.
    • I want to be intentionally active most days of the week.  Ideally, I would attend my stroller fitness class 2x/week and work out 1-2 other times per week at our gym or walking 2-3 times per week.  I feel the best physically and mentally when I do this.
    • Eat healthfully because it gives me the most energy…but still eat dessert regularly.  I unintentionally lost weight when Zoe was born and spent a good part of the year struggling not to lose more weight and to put weight back on.  I am back at a healthy weight for me and need to continue to eat more than what I am actually hungry for so that I can be as healthy as possible for my family.
  • Spiritual health and personal passions:
    • Continue daily morning quiet times.
    • Continue listening to sermon podcasts when I get the chance during the day.
    • Use my new prayer journal a few times a week to be more organized with my prayer life.
    • Try to carve out two times a week for writing.  Improve my writing and clarify my sense of purpose for my writing.  Read writers who inspire me and encourage me to be better.

There are a few categories and goals that I am keeping private for now, but those are some that I felt comfortable sharing online.  I am already really enjoying 2014 and am so excited for the rest of the year to unfold.

Photo on 1-4-14 at 6.31 PM #2

 

 

2014: Bring It

In mid-November, I wrote about how I wanted to develop a broader vision outside of myself and my family for 2014.  I wasn’t sure if anyone would care about my goals and vision, but I have had so many interesting conversations offline as a result of that post.  To further these conversations, and for posterity’s sake, I wanted to provide an update on how that process is going.

Before that, I just have to say that talking about goal setting and vision casting gets me giddy. Two days ago, David and I sat at Barnes & Noble drinking coffee and talking goals for over an hour and it was truly one of my favorite hours of 2013.  I love the sense of possibility and newness and excitement that a new morning brings—so having a whole YEAR to consider?!! Thrilling.

At the same time, my giddiness is tempered by a sober realization that life is not a given.  We don’t know how long we get to be alive and we don’t know what awaits us even one hour in the future.  I don’t mean this to be morbid…it’s just a realization I’ve had this year.  We can plan as much as we want, but God determines what happens and I pray that I always remain aware of that, grateful for the gift and for the Giver, and responsible with (and responsive to) the time and gifts I’m given.

Anyway, here were the goals I set for the rest of 2013 and an update on how I’ve done:

-to create a prayer calendar, chalkboard, or other creative way to display & remember my prayer requests.  To help me with this goal, I bought a book called “Organizing Your Prayer Closet” by Gina Duke.  It’s half a book on prayer and half a year-long prayer journal for people like me who like categories and organization.  The book part was a little mediocre (although I still took some things away from it) but the journal looks AWESOME and I am beyond psyched to start.

-continue to take 1 day per weekend OFF from work.  I’ve followed this guideline for “work” work.  Some house projects have crept up, but David and I have been good about doing them together, making them fun, and making sure our weekends have a balance between work and play.  Vacations helped.

Beach vacation

-launch our new club.  It’s launched! I plan to finish up our winter newsletter in the next week or so and then I should be done with club-related tasks for a while.

-only clean 1x/day intend of freaking and doing it more.  I’ll put it this way—most days, I only picked up Zoe’s toys once (which was my goal) and I reduced the number of freak outs.  This is an ongoing goal 🙂

-invest time into planning professional goals for 2014.  I did this two days before Thanksgiving break.  More to come.

-meditate on and create a mission statement of sorts to guide how I spend my social time and volunteer time.  After I wrote this, I decided it felt stuffy.  Here are my thoughts: I want to blend my time with getting to know new people and pouring into existing relationships.  This year, it was about 50-50 since I was in a new life stage (and I feel very passionate about reaching out to other moms.)  Next year I anticipate my “social time” being spent more like 60% old friends and 40% new friends, because I have developed great relationships and want to continue them.  Also, I am NOT taking on any new volunteer commitments.  In between the club, my small group, and random things I do for church, I cannot and should not take on anything else.

Coming up in my next post: what word best described 2013 (here was last year’s word) and what are my goals/foundations and hopes for 2014?

A Vision for the Rest of Me

Recently, I was feeling a little down and stuck in a rut when I realized: I hadn’t set any meaningful goals for a while.  

I’ve always been a really goal-driven person.  I like linear thought and progress.  I have a lot of energy to use up and I feel aimless without goals and an overarching vision.

So since college, I’ve practiced yearly & weekly vision casting and goal setting.

Yearly, I pray about, talk through, & write up a vision for my year and set some foundational goals for the year.

Each Sunday, I look at my calendar, vision, and responsibilities and set goals for the week, making sure that those goals are in line with the vision and that I’m also progressing towards my foundational goals.

I started this practice in 2006.  From then until December 2012, my vision was pretty much the same: achieve a successful career, advance in that career, have healthy relationships, be spiritually healthy, and contribute to my community and world in a meaningful way.  My goals varied from year to year depending on what phase of my vision I was in, but that was the overarching narrative of what I was working for.

But on December 3, 2012, I got off track…for the best possible reason:

IMG_0035

I did take some time to in January to craft a vision of myself as a mom.  But that was where I stopped.  I had no clue what issues I would run into during my first year of motherhood and it seemed too audacious to create a vision or large goals past that.  My foundational goals were, “find a way to blend career with my sense of calling to be at home,” “work hard to make our house a clean, well-run, and warm place to be,” “find a mom community,” “make & stick to a new budget,” “stay emotionally and physically healthy,” “don’t wear yoga pants every day” and “stay connected with David.”  These are not microscopic goals but they also do not reflect the broadest of visions 🙂

And so the weekly goals on my paper have looked more like to-dos than progress towards exciting big goals: “complete 3 loads of laundry,” “clean the bathrooms” “send in insurance paperwork,” and “finish X work project.”  These things keep my house running, my family cared for, and our retirement account filling up, and faithfulness in the small things is absolutely important…BUT.

I am more than a mom.  I am a wife.  I am a professional.  I am a lover of people and a mentor and a leader and an ideas person and a writer and a global citizen and for the last year, I’ve pretty much just focused on my house, my family, and my daughter and back-seated all of those other aspects of my identity.  

And while that may have been the most helpful thing I could do for year one of parenthood, year two is coming up and I don’t want the only vision for year two to be “be a good mom & maintain the household.”  I’d love to set some goals outside of that.  

So I’ve started that process, and I want to share it with you in case sharing my process can be helpful for any other moms out there.  Also, there’s a lot of accountability to be found in sharing goals.  Why NOT put it out there?

I started by I asking myself, “what am I passionate about these days (BESIDES being a mom?”) Some of my answers:
-vulnerability, openness, & honesty in living, storytelling, and writing
-empowering & connecting moms
-being a wife and providing encouragement and help (as he wants it) to my husband in his role at the church
-building the kingdom of God here on earth.  I have a huge heart for kids from economically disadvantaged backgrounds, for orphans and kids without supportive families, for teen girls, and for international medical missions.
-sharing my passion for adoption and making sure women facing unplanned pregnancies have access to (fair and balanced) resources that they need

This gives me some insight into the kinds of opportunities I may want to keep myself open to and/or seek out in the upcoming year, as well as how I should budget my time and material resources.  I want to spend myself on things I’m passionate about, and that starts with having an understanding of what those things are.

Next, I asked “what is working for me these days?” Some of my answers:
-morning quiet times
-date nights
-time with a few specific friends (their names are in my journal!)
-regular phone conversations with Jess and my mom
-staying active (especially my stroller workout class!)
-doing weekly devotions with David
-the income from my job
-taking one day of the weekend OFF from work and big house projects (I started that two weeks ago and man, I love it.  Who’d have thought that boundaries were beneficial? Oh wait…)
-taking Zoe to parks – fun for both of us!
-making a plan for each nap time before she goes down so that I can jump to work right away when she’s down
-being a formal mentor again (I am supervising a graduate student at work and I forgot how much I love teaching and supporting interns!!)
-not over-planning our week – the ability for spontaneity is good!
-cleaning the house and getting ready for bed as soon as Zoe is in bed.  This is way nicer than putting her down, starting to relax, falling asleep on the couch and then being like “crap, I still have to wash bottles and dishes and take my contacts out…” (cue 15-20 minutes of work that now have to be done in a bleary-eyed state) 

I also asked “what isn’t working:”
-obsessively cleaning
-allowing myself to have a negative attitude about some of my obligations
-worrying about the future
-when David is gone at night and I work instead of reading/relaxing

Then I prompted myself with the following sentence –  “I need more:”
-off days on weekends (keep it up)
-reading & time on the couch watching TV
-direction/goals for my professional life
-concentration on David when I have the opportunity to spend time with him
-focus to my social time—what are my goals for friendships & serving others? I have limited time—where do I desire to make an impact? Making new friends, keeping old ones, deepening any specific friendships, deepening my relationships with the girls I mentor, etc?  How do I do this?
-dedicated time in prayer.  I would love to have some organization or structure to my prayer life.
-concentration on David when I have the opportunity to spend time with him.  More wine and conversation on the couch together nights and fewer “can you childproof this while I clean this” nights.

To build on existing strengths and momentum, I completed this prompt: “I am doing a great job at:” 
-being present with my daughter and providing her with fun and educational opportunities every day
-providing for my family in a creative way that works for us and making sacrifices to do that
-sticking to a budget
-staying organized and using nap times to bless our family
-being opening and welcoming to other moms, inviting them into my life and being okay with messiness and the fact that I don’t have it all together
-handling a chaotic situation with the club I am president of (the short version: our club has left the international nonprofit we were a chapter of and now me and 4 Board members are launching our own club.)

Finally, I decided to set some goals for the rest of 2013.  Those are:
-to create a prayer calendar, chalkboard, or other creative way to display & remember my prayer requests
-continue to take 1 day per weekend OFF from work
-launch our new club (no big deal…)
-only clean 1x/day intend of freaking and doing it more
-invest time into planning professional goals for 2014
-meditate on and create a mission statement of sorts to guide how I spend my social time and volunteer time

After doing this, I feel energized, more peace, and more focused, and definitely out of my rut.  (The Type A beast inside of me has been fed! Haha.)  I’m going to spend time over the holidays this year thinking about a vision for 2014, but this gets me through then and starts the process!

If this is interesting to any of you, I’ll check back in from time to time and share updates!