The Year of Connect

Relying on God has to begin all oveR again every day as if nothing had yet been donE CS Lewis by Jacqueline and Kevin Reape on 500px.com

Happy 2018, Happy Monday, and Happy New Goal Setting Season!

This time of year is so inspiring and a teeny tiny bit overwhelming. I’m always excited for the week after Christmas when I get to celebrate victories of the previous year and uncover new goals for the next. Over the last week, I’ve been mulling over it slowly and praying the Lord’s guidance over the next year of my life. Just like last year, I coupled this reflection and prayer with Lara Casey’s Powersheets and I couldn’t have been more pleased with how things are looking for 2018.

I’m taking action on what matters.

I evaluated my life in terms of a couple different categories – Health/Wellness, Personal Growth, Spirituality, Self-care, Romance/Significant Other, Friends/Family, Finances and Career – rating them on a satisfaction scale from 1-10. It can be difficult when using this strategy because a lot of the areas over lap, but doing this exercise helped me to narrow down places of strength and places of weakness. Of these sections, I choose the three with the lowest scores to focus on next year. As I was reflecting on the numbers, I made a huge discovery: my goals last year resulted in those areas being the highest rated! I felt so validated about making progress even though my efforts and the outcomes weren’t perfect.

On the other hand, last year I struggled with in my goal setting last year is that I added a lot of “fluff” to my monthly, weekly, and daily goals – things like reading a certain number of books, completing Project Life, or taking a photo every single day. These things are all valuable, but setting specific numbers and timeframes for things like these won’t have a positive impact on my life right now even though I like doing them! I found that by adding these things and being able to check them off, I was less likely to spend time focusing on things that were more challenging or new to my routine.

As the goals began to unfold, I considered how these goals would impact me and the people around me and what measures I would use to determine if the goals had been met or not. This really helps me when it comes to motivation.

As I considered these categories and wrapped up my journey with the word thrive, I considered a myriad of new words to choose from. For the longest time, I thought it was going to be whole or brave, but I think those are going to end up being companion words to the one I eventually settled on – connect.

Connect | verb

to bring together, associate or relate

to form a relationships or feel an affinity

synonyms: unite, attach, join, secure, combine

So here we are, my goals for 2018:

  1. This year I’m prioritizing my connection with God. I want to do a deep study in prayer and intercession as well as read the Bible in a year.
  2. This year I’m connecting with my body by focusing on the foods I eat and investing in time moving. I also want to explore more natural household and beauty products.
  3. This year I’m connecting more intentionally online, in friendships and in my marriage. I want to be silly and spontaneous and flexible to trying new things
  4. This year I want to do a better job of connecting with myself. I want to consider my need for simplifying and perfection. I want to create space for vulnerability and being open. I want to explore new ways of saving money and reducing the temptation of the shopping high.

For each of these goals, I’ve created smaller action items that I’m going to be working on throughout the year in hopes of overcoming burnout and the typical slow down that I start feeling halfway through the year.

I don’t plan on participating in the official One Little Word project like I have in the past, but I am going to keep a journal and follow some of the prompts Ali Edwards has provided through the class in the past. I know that showing up to my word is really going to be the pinnacle on whether or not connect makes a difference in my life.

Untitled by Jacqueline and Kevin Reape on 500px.com

As a first practice, made this vision board for my planner so that each day I can remind myself what I want to come out of this year and why. There are feelings of cozy, pups, simplicity and body love – all good things for 2018!

Are you choosing a word or making goals this year?

 

The Garden + My Journal

In all of the posts that I’ve shared about our house, I have never shared the best part: we live next to our best friends. In all honesty, it’s just as epic as it sounds and I’m dreading the day that we don’t live 15 steps from front door to front door.

Earlier this year when we were talking about all things outdoor landscaping and gardening, their empty raised beds came up. I jokingly mentioned using them if they weren’t, and next thing I knew, we were huddled over their kitchen table with a ruler and a plan.

We went to a garden store within a couple days and got lots of veggies and flowers – tomatoes, bell peppers, jalapeños, zucchini, basil, mint, and lots of marigolds. We did a lot of research on companion plants ahead of time and we read that Marigolds are really helpful to have around vegetables to prevent bugs and other pests.

We got lucky that the beds were already filled with some pretty amazing soil and each spent time tilling one of the beds. We didn’t get to plant right away because we had a torrential down-pouring for a week straight. All of the plants we purchased, aside from the zucchini and half the marigolds, were “starters” or baby plants, so we keep those under an awning to prevent them from getting washed away in the rain. In the meantime, I did a little black-hole style pinterest browsing about garden journals and of course had to make one of my own.

When it was finally time to plant, we quickly learned that we either 1) needed more marigolds or 2) needed to invest some time in shooing the animals away. Within the first week or so, we lost a couple tomato plants and felt very weary about the zucchini seeds, which landed us back at the store. We decided then to expand our garden to another area of their backyard. This allowed us some extra room, which was a good call in retrospect.

I’ve only ever grown vegetables in pots, and even then, they didn’t ever turn out very good. During my last attempt, the landlord at my old duplex sprayed something inside of the pots around the plants. I wasn’t sure what it was and when I asked, he had already thrown the the packaging away, so I was afraid to eat or offer the veggies to anyone. During that summer, the plants never got very tall or wide and stopped producing veggies early in the season.

Because of that failed attempt, I think I was even more excited when we started to see new growth and flowers, because I knew vegetables would eventually follow. From the beginning, we agreed that I was going to water on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings and then she was going to check on them and water as needed on the other days.

Probably my favorite part of the whole experience was when she was telling her sister how much joy she was finding in garden, only to learn that she loved playing in the garden when she was a little girl. I don’t remember gardening growing up, but I’m the same way, I can’t deny how much I love being out there (as long as I have bug spray on) so much that even pulling weeds doesn’t phase me. I’d much prefer that to getting ready for work every other morning.

I’ve shared by heart on producing fruit here once before, but I couldn’t help but include something similar in my journal. The whole process from tiny little seeds to food that I get to use to nourish my body is such a good reminder of our growth as Christians and the importance of being pruned and watered regularly to continue to bear fruit. 

It’s been about four months since we started our garden and yesterday was our biggest harvest yet. Based on the number of green tomatoes and almost ripe peppers, I have a feeling it won’t be our biggest by the time the season is over. I can already tell that growing veggies is something I really want to continue to do. There is so much to learn and perfect that I don’t think this will stop being challenging and exciting. I got to have a lot of fun conversations with co-workers (some who convinced us to try pollinating our zucchinis by hand) and giving veggies away just tends to make people happy.

I’m off to start planning next years garden – what are your favorite things to grow?

 

Thrive | August Goals

August, august. I’m so thankful for the changing of the month and the cooler weather that August seems to be bringing us so far. I’ve always been a lover of the summer, but I have to say that I’m seriously looking forward to the fall this year. As we gear up for fall, I’m looking forward to so many things – college football and tailgates, mums on our front porch, taking my pup for more walks when the sun’s still up, and lots of layered clothing. But before I wish away August, let’s talk about goals for this month.

On the blog in July:

July Goals Recap:

Monthly

  • [Faith] Ask someone to be my mentor – Womp womp. I’m really bummed that I didn’t put more thought and prayer into this in July.
  • [Faith] Keep working on my faith binder – I made some serious progress on my binder this month
  • [Health/Faith] Complete Camp Reset – This project overwhelmed me quickly due to the amount of time it required, but I kept up where I could.

Weekly

  • [Creative] Do something creative for myself – I loved being more intentional about this in July!

Daily

  • [Health] Food journal – I feel like I did great on this, continuing the progress into August.
  • [Health] Work out – I randomly joined a boot camp in July which really kicked my butt into gear and got me excited to work out again. Even though boot camp is over, I’m looking forward to continuing this through this month and beyond.
  • [Creative] Instagram – I posted 8 times in July, which is a bit more frequent than I have in past months.
  • [Faith] Quiet time – I really just need consistency here.
  • [Health] Oils – Last month, I used DoTERRA oils every single day. I don’t know if I’ve ever completed a whole month of a daily goal – so I’m super pumped about this one.

August Goals:

Monthly

  • Celebrate turning 26 – I had the HARDEST time with turning 25 last year. You’re probably rolling your eyes, but I honestly felt like there were so many (ridiculous) expectations I had placed on myself that I hadn’t met yet. I have a feeling that turning 26 will go more smoothly.
  • Schedule a hair cut with a new stylist – I’ve been going to the same stylist for a while and finally got the name of someone new who specializes in curls. I’m ready to keep the most open mind possible.
  • Read Artist’s Way and complete challenges – I read this book two years ago but didn’t have time to complete all of the challenges. I picked it up again at the end of last month and have really been focusing on the challenges.
  • Send two cards using the INK app – The INK app is an app that makes a post card out of your photos – all you have to do is upload the photo and add your message to the back. I’ve used this app once before and was so happy with the quality, so I really want to send a few more this month.

Daily

  • 8 Hours of sleep each night – this will be next to impossible, but it would even be worth it if I could do it a couple nights a week.
  • Low FODMAP foods – I mentioned last month that my doctor suggested the low FOD MAP diet for me, so I want to do better at eating foods that fit into these categories as opposed to taking antacids to make me feel better.
  • Journal – I’m doing morning pages each morning, which goes hand-in-hand with the Artist’s Way.
  • Workouts – Just trying to be consistent with working out this month – probably more of an every other day thing as opposed to daily.
  • Oils – Keeping my DoTERRA streak going from last month!

You’re turn! How are you going to kick butt this month?

Thrive | July 2017 Goals

There’s really nothing like skipping an entire month of goals. I wish I could say that I took a month off but in reality, I just didn’t take the time to post them. I’ve been thinking a lot about priorities and while I sometimes go back and do “make up” posts, I just don’t think that aligns with what makes sense in my life. If I’m not jazzed at the beginning of the month (like I normally am), why force myself to post them later? It didn’t help that it took me longer than normal to complete my Powersheets this month since it included a goal refresh. This means that I went back over the goals I set in January and revamped them for the remainder of the year. I could have completely ditched the old goals, but the ones I have yet to complete still made sense for this year and my life, so I only made a few changes.  As I wrote them out, I made to sure include my “why” for each reason so that when I create new goals each month, I can use that to put baby steps for each goal into practice. Here’s a look at what I’m making a priority for the rest of the year:

  • Health – I’m a typical Type A kind of gal and recently I’ve let my to-do list and stress level get the best of me. In the coming months, I would like to focus on my health by tracking my food intake, using oils, and spending time at the gym. My doctor recently suggested a new diet called “low FODMAP” to help with the heartburn symptoms that I’ve been struggling with and that has really changed my intake and the amount of time it takes to plan out and prepare each meal. I’ve been feeling a lot better, but I hope to continue this process so that I can determine which foods will need to be eliminated from my diet permanently and what can be phased back in.
  • Faith – This is one of the areas in my life where I just consistently have to work hard to include quiet time on a consistent basis. It’s sad, because quiet time is so treasured to me, but I find that if I allow it, it will typically be the first thing that goes when I have too much on my plate. I don’t have specific goals here other than finding my community and places where I fit in so that I can make the biggest impact.
  • Social Media – Honestly, I kind of hate social media but for some reason I can’t help but scroll. I have tried a lot of tips and techniques, but when it comes right down to it, I just need to plain quit. I think connecting online has caused me to see in person community differently and I really want to make sure that I’m prioritizing the right thing. I haven’t figured out yet what this looks like, but if you have any suggestions, I’m all ears!
  • Blogging – I’ve considered giving up on my blog more than once, but I always come back to it because I just love this space so much. To be honest, I think I would keep doing it even if I knew that not a single soul could or would see it. My goal at the beginning of June was really to update my blog design (which is already done at this point…THANK YOU SARAH) and start creating time in my calendar to sit down and write. I want to include more personal posts but those tend to take a bit longer to write and I just haven’t been allowing myself that time.
  • Work – One of the biggest goals I have for my job this year is to take my real estate exam. I’m excited and nervous because test taking scares the crap out of me (thank goodness college is over, amirite?) but I know it will have a positive impact on my job when this one is checked off. Also, I have a feeling there will be a lot of studying on my part, so making time for that will be really important.

New Goals for July:

  • Monthly Goals:
    • Project Life and One Little Word (as usual)
    • [Faith] Ask someone to be my mentor – I’ve been wanting to do this for so long but I’ve been turned down more than once. When you do this, you’re really asking someone to spend their time investing in you and that can be hard regardless of their answer. Hopefully making this public will make me more likely to complete it? We’ll see.
    • [Faith] Keep working on my faith binder (I mean look at this, need I say more?)
    • [Health/Faith] Complete Camp Reset – Cori over at The Reset Girl has created an online “camp” for July where a whole community of awesome people are spending the month considering how self care fits into their lives. Cori has created a ton of amazing resources and I’m so excited to follow along. If you’re interested you should check out the information here. (PS: It’s totally free)
  • Weekly Goals:
    • Do something creative for myself – This is one of those that I can’t commit to every single day, but I really want to make a priority on a weekly basis. I don’t want to limit myself to specific tasks or projects, but I do want a good couple hours of time where I’m just able to dig in.
  • Daily Goals:
    • [Heath] Food journal – As I mentioned above, I’m keeping track of my diet so that I can determine what foods are my triggers, so while I’m at it, I might as well keep a calorie count and see how that plays out. I’ve gained a few pounds in the past year, so I’m definitely interested in making some lifestyles changes along with this one.
    • [Health] Work Out – Part of Cori’s camp includes exercising for 20 minutes a day. Of course this isn’t mandatory, but I’d love to get outside or find workout videos that I can easily fit in to my schedule.
    • [Blogging] Instagram Post – It’s a lofty goal, but I’d like to share my blog posts more often on social media. Since I haven’t decided what I want to do about Faecbook, I’m planning on sharing these more on Instagram. If you don’t follow me, you should.
    • [Faith] Quiet time – I really just need consistency here.
    • [Health] – Oils – Two months ago, I purchased a starter kit from Doterra and I am absolutely loving them! There are a few that I use on a regular basis but I really want to get in the habit of trying more of them out and finding different blends of oils that I can use in our diffuser. If anyone has any suggestions, please share!!

Thanks so much for following along!

Thrive | May 2017 Goals

Happy May! Although we had a relatively mild winter, I am so looking forward to warmer and brighter days ahead. We ended April on a VERY rainy note this year, so I feel pretty confident that we’ll get to enjoy those May flowers. I can tell you my rose bushes have already started opening and it is making me so excited.

Reviewing Goals for April:

  • Complete Project Life and One Little Word for April – Killed it and started being a little more intentional about how I complete project life, so this was a major win.
  • Finish Lent Strong with No Social Media This was tough, but I’m so glad I did it. It definitely helped put in perspective how much time I was spending on my phone.
  • Edit Wedding Photos – I’m about halfway done, so I’m going to continue this goal into May.
  • Workout Twelve workouts on the dot, how bout dah?
  • Continue Covering Others in Prayer I’m glad I kept this practice up, I’m really enjoying it.
  • Gardening You guys. By far the best news about my goals is that Sarah and I decided to start a garden. I’m so pumped.

New Goals for May:

  • Complete Project Life and One Little Word for May – As always, I love sitting down to print photos and work on my creative projects. I’ve noticed that my supplies are adding up (without being used) so I’m not buying anything else until I make some headway here.
  • Plan a Day Ahead – I’ve been spending a lot of time figuring out how to make my life more efficient so I’m going to try planning my days out the night before. By looking at my calendar and my to do list (things I WANT to be spending my time on) I’ll be able to make sure that I have enough time for them. A lot of my problem lately is that I can’t decide what to do next, so I spend a lot of time trying to make a decision. I’ll let you know how it goes.
  • Edit Wedding Photos – My goal was to have these done in April, but I only got about halfway! Hoping to schedule in a little time here and there and have them done by the Omaha trip.
  • Workout – I’ve loved how I’ve felt since getting back to the gym, I’m going to try again for 12 workouts in a month.
  • Continue Covering Others in Prayer – I’ve chosen someone new to intentionally cover in prayer for this month,.
  • Trip Minibook – We’re going on a trip this month and I’m going to make a minibook with my pictures and the fun things that we do!
  • Give Myself so much Grace – I’m anticipating a busy month here, so I am just taking it easy when possible.

Thanks so much for following along here. I’d love for you to share your goals too!

About

Hi, I'm Jacqueline - believer, learner, and all around hobby enthusiast. I'm married to my highschool sweetheart, Kevin, and we live in the midwest with our sweet pup.

On this blog I share all kinds of things about my life - from my faith journey to the garden in my neighbors backyard. I've been blogging for almost eight years and use this space as a way to document my daily life.

Thanks for stopping by my little corner of the internet.