2018 Word of the Year

To be completely honest, I’ve been putting off writing this post. I’m super excited about the new year and the word I’ve chosen to focus on in 2018 — why am I procrastinating!?

I really don’t know.

Maybe it’s the lack of motivation after being sick for weeks (yuck – finally feeling almost all the way normal). Maybe it’s the fear of really putting this word out there. Maybe it’s all the other blog post ideas I have bouncing around in my head and I’m not sure where to start. Maybe it’s that I don’t have the perfect words to share with you.

Any or all of those excuses may be “true”. But here we go anyways!

Friend, let that be an encouragement to you. If you’re lacking motivation. If you’re feeling some fear or hesitation. If you’re just not sure where or how to get started. You’re not alone. Begin right now. With what you have. Remember, you have plenty.

What is a Word of the Year (WOY)?

It’s exactly what it sounds like: a word of the year! Simply, this is a word (or even multiple words or a phrase) that you want to hold on to for the year.

It might be an overarching idea of what you want to develop (strength, patience, community, contentment, etc). It might be a description of what you want for your year (adventure, fun, abundance, joy, etc). The beauty (and also the challenge) is there are no rules. Choose a word (or multiple words) that speak to you.

How do you choose your WOY?

This is going to be different for every person.

Some people know it immediately. Some people have to talk about it, pray about it, wait and listen on it. Again, there’s no right or wrong way here.

Imagine what you want for this year and start brainstorming. Jot down any word that sparks something. The dictionary and thesaurus may also be helpful here! Take a look at your list — is there any one word that stands out amongst the others? If not, don’t stress it. There’s no deadline either. This is your word, so it’s whatever you want it to be! It even has flexibility to change if the chosen word falls out of alignment. No pressure!

In 2017, my WOY was Become. At the time I was struggling with choosing a word. I had some good ideas, but there wasn’t one that was sticking out to me. During my quiet time I was reading my Bible passage for the day and journaling when the word Become stuck out like it was written in lights. You can read more about my 2017 WOY here.

My 2018 WOY didn’t require any brainstorming. There was a word that kept showing up and it sums up perfectly what I want for myself and my year. Any guesses about what that word could be!?

My 2018 Word of the Year is…

flour·ish

  1. : to grow luxuriantly : thrive 
  2. a : to achieve success : prosper
    b : to be in a state of activity or production
    c : to reach a height of development or influence 
  3. : to make bold and sweeping gestures

Webster’s definition is spot on for what I want this year. I want to thrive and prosper. I want to be active and productive. I want to be of influence. I want to be bold in my gestures and my life.

And his master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord made all that he did to flourish and succeed in his hand. -Genesis 39:3

I want our marriage to flourish.

I want my faith to flourish.

I want my health to flourish.

I want my community to flourish.

I want our finances to flourish.

I want my career to flourish.

I want this blog to flourish.

Every area of my life has the opportunity to flourish this year if I stay focused and intentional. That’s powerful! I will be obedient to the Lord and trust how He’s guiding me. My goals could completely shift and transform and that’s okay. Sometimes that’s what it takes to flourish. I don’t know how the path will be laid out, but all I have to do is take the next right step. I’m expectant of the goodness!

There’s nothing magical about January 1st, yall. If you haven’t set your intentions for the year (aka your goals, I don’t care much for resolutions) or your Word of the Year, go for it now!

If you don’t know where you’re going, how will you know when you get there? Success is not an accident. Unfortunately, you won’t stumble into the life you want. It must be created through your intentions and actions.

What’s your WOY?! Leave it in the comments below and lets inspire each other ❤

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The best hot chocolate | Recipe

Are you team egg nog or team hot chocolate?

Both have a time and place during the holiday season, but as a chocoholic, I can never say no to chocolate! Especially one this good.

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Recently there was picture of a Crockpot Hot Chocolate recipe floating around Facebook, so when it was time for us to get together with my in-laws for a pre-Christmas celebration, I thought that would be the perfect addition! I found a good recipe on Pinterest and adapted it to make it work for us.

Yall. This hot chocolate is ahhh-mazing! I’m forever spoiled. That instant stuff + hot water will not longer cut it (I mean, it never really did, but definitely not gonna happen now). I was nervous about this recipe because a) I’ve never made anything like it and b) I was trying it out for the first time with a group of people. Sounds like a recipe for disaster, but I’m so happy to say it was easy peasy AND tasted delicious!

The Best Crockpot Hot Chocolate

Serves 8-12 people (depending on how big the mugs are) 😉

  • 16 fl oz heavy whipping cream
  • 5.5 cups 1% milk
  • 14 oz sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 cups chocolate chips (I used a mix of milk chocolate and semi sweet)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Any desired extras (I put out marshmallows and candy canes!)

Add all ingredients to your Crockpot. Cover and cook on high for 2 hours, stirring frequently). Once chips are melted and mixed in, you can reduce to low. Serve and add in any extras — enjoy! If serving later or people are helping themselves at different times, put the crockpot on the “warm” setting so it’s not piping hot.

Know what’s wonderful about this recipe?? It’s amazing when it’s made, but it’s also just as good reheated later! Yes, I enjoyed delicious hot chocolate even days after I originally made it! I overestimated the amount to hot chocolate we would need, so we actually had a lot left over. We put the remaining into glass cups (or any microwave safe container) that we reheated in the microwave later. Reheat for 1 minute, stir, and reheat longer as needed. How perfect!?

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This is now a must have for the holidays and I can’t wait for the many memories we’ll make in the years to come with this delicious hot chocolate in hand. Family Christmas movie nights, driving around to view lights, opening presents. I can just see it now ❤

What’s your favorite Christmas memory?

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2018 Intentions + January Goals

I cannot believe it’s time to write this post!!! And lucky you, you’re getting 2 posts in 1 week 😉 I’m so excited about the goals I’ve been working on setting and grateful to share them here with you!

This is my second year using my beloved PowerSheets and it’s even better this time around. The prep doesn’t get any easier, but uncovering and cultivating goals that truly matter are worth it.

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Cultivating good goals means you’re cultivating what matters most.

This is my version of New Year’s Resolutions. But it’s more like New Year’s Revelations. Resolutions fall apart by week 2 and I aint about that. I commit to the intentions I’ve revealed through my prep work. Here are my 2018 goals for my year of FLOURISHING!

Goal 1: Know God better and more deeply

Why? I want to be in a closer relationship with Him to grow my faith and help encourage the growth of others. I want to be in alignment with His plans and purpose.

The positive effect taking action on this goal may have on my life and others: It will make me stronger, more loving, generous, and forgiving to others.

Starting steps: Download the Bible app and find a good year long reading plan. Pray without ceasing. Plan small group launch with Kelly.

Encouraging words: “Your Word is a lamp to my feet, a light on my path…” (Psalm 119:105).

Goal 2: Strong marriage

Why? I want Eric and I to continue strengthening our marriage so we can work on having forever together. We have made a commitment to one another.

The positive effect taking action on this goal may have on my life and others: It will make me a better wife and be an example to others.

Starting steps: Birthday date. Sit down meetings to go over budget and our schedules. Weekly check in.

Encouraging words: Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” (Mark 10:9)

Goal 3: Mind and Body Wellness

Why? I want to be a good steward of what I’ve been graciously given!

The positive effect taking action on this goal may have on my life and others: I can show up as my best and healthiest self! ❤

Starting steps: Gather information for Whole30. Make a list of books to read. Use oils consistently.

Encouraging words: You can’t pour from an empty cup. Take care of yourself first!

Goal 4: Financial Peace

Why? I don’t want to stress about money or live paycheck to paycheck.

The positive effect taking action on this goal may have on my life and others: This will help create a legacy of abundance and allow us to be extremely generous!

Starting steps: Monthly budget with Eric. Contentment Challenge. Save $10,000 ($4,000 to go!)

Encouraging words: Whoever trusts in his riches will fall, but the righteous will flourish like a green leaf.” (Proverbs 11:28)

Goal 5: Blog Growth

Why? I enjoy writing and want to use that gift to encourage and inspire others.

The positive effect taking action on this goal may have on my life and others: It helps me become a better communicator and cultivate a community.

Starting steps: Plan upcoming content. Write upcoming posts. Purchase WordPress plan/get domain name.

Encouraging words: We rise by lifting others! You can do hard things.

Goal 6: Simplify

Why? I want to create space in my world for the things that matter most.

The positive effect taking action on this goal may have on my life and others: I will be less stressed and more focused on the good stuff.

Starting steps: Read A Simplified Life by Emily Ley. Declutter room by room. Leave white space in my planner.

Encouraging words: When we pare down life to its simpliest parts, we’re left with room to enjoy each other, to rest, and to truly savor life…” (Emily Ley, A Simplified Life)

Goal 7: Use my time well

Why? I want to use my precious time in ways that grow me — not waste it.

The positive effect taking action on this goal may have on my life and others: I’ll be more present and less frazzled because I’m not rushing or forgetting anything.

Starting steps: Download Moment app. Utilize planner. Keep phone out of bedroom.

Encouraging words: Time is non-refundable. Use it with intention.

Now of course, that isn’t the end. It’s important to write down goals (trust me, you’re MUCH more likely to stick with them and achieve them when they’re actually written down somewhere you will see often), but it’s also crucial to break them into actionable pieces to tend daily/weekly/monthly. My January Tending List was created to support progress towards my 7 Big Goals.

January Goals

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Monthly Goals

  • Celebrate 26th birthday
  • Plan & prepare for small group
  • Small Group launch!
  • Planning meeting with Eric (budget/schedule)
  • Gather Whole30 information
  • List of 10 books to read in 2018
  • Add $4,000 to our savings
  • Plan upcoming blog content
  • Read A Simplified Life by Emily Ley

Weekly Goals

  • Love check in with Eric
  • Unplugged date with Eric
  • Learn about & use essential oils
  • Blog post
  • Increase IG followers
  • Plan week ahead in Simplified Planner

Daily Goals

  • Read/pray through the Bible
  • Active body
  • Meditate
  • No phone in bedroom
  • Get fully ready

If you’ve been following along with my Intentional Living, a lot of these goals may look familiar. I’m still working on cultivating habits I wanted to create in 2017, but for whatever reason there’s still growth to experience. At first I felt weird about that. Like I didn’t actually do much last year. But that’s not true and it’s totally okay! I want to go deeper with those “old goals” and truly create the lifestyle I love.

It’s been so amazing to have this refresh of intentions! I was able to shuffle, delete, and add wonderful things to my PowerSheets and further hone in on what’s important to me. Just like you, I don’t exactly know what I’m doing — just taking it a day at a time, doing my best, and praying many prayers along the way!

What intentions do you have for this year!? I’d love to cheer you on! 

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December Progress & 2017 Review

Happy New Year, friends!!! I hope you were able to reflect on 2017 and celebrate the start of a fresh year! What an exciting time.

I have big, new goals that I’m eager to share with you, but first we need to wrap up 2017. I’m not usually the one that does a lot of reflecting when it comes to the end of a year, but my PowerSheets did encourage me to look back on 2017’s highlights, identify what did and didn’t work, and dream about what I’m excited for ahead.

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I wasn’t exactly looking forward to those pages and prompts (mostly because I was sick and feeling bleh), but I’m so glad I took the time to look back before I too far looked ahead. This certainly wasn’t everything (I just realized I left out our wonderful Dominican Republic trip whoops) but so many celebrations, weddings, accomplishments, milestones.

It was so sweet to reflect on the year and all the goodness that happened. It may already be January, but I encourage you to do this Highlights exercise if you haven’t already ❤

Despite the fun, crazy, wonderful holiday season, I did make great progress on my goals!

December Progress

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Monthly Goals

  • Enjoy & celebrate Christmas season — The Christmas season is my favorite and I think it just gets sweeter every year!! Eric and I spent great time with both of our families, exchanged gifts, served at our church for the Christmas Eve service, and just enjoyed the time. Thanks to Netflix, I watched a ton of Christmas movies, drank hot chocolate, and cuddled up many nights with Stella while Eric was working hard. Christmas is a beautiful gift of a much needed Savior. I’m grateful I was able to celebrate the season with people I love.
  • Small group prep — We’re not completely done here, but that’s okay! The launch of our small group is quickly approaching (yay!!), but there’s still some planning work Kelly and I have to do, so that’s on task for this Friday. Still so excited about this new community and can’t wait to see what comes from it.
  • Research products to replace with healthier options — I got a list started, but there’s still more research I want to do of which specific non-toxic/healthy products I want to try. I’m going to replace items as we need them, so that will be a process, but I want to be prepared for when that time comes. This is a major focus for my 2018 goals, so it will not be forgotten.
  • Dentist appointment – good report — Check! I greatly dislike the dentist, but I did find a new one in our town that I like, so that’s an accomplishment! No cavities, but of course I need to floss more/better (do they ever not say that!?)
  • Increase savings by $3,000 — We made progress, but didn’t hit our goal. We added $2,000 to our savings account, which is still really awesome. Progress is progress! Eric was gone for a week to Mexico at the beginning of December and that threw us off a bit, plus some extra Christmas spending. We’re on it again for January!
  • Finish reading Total Money Makeover — Done! We read this together out loud at night in bed whenever we could. It was fun to go through together and be able to learn the concepts at the same time. We’re working through our baby step 3!
  • Complete post licensing class — This is finished and it feels SOOOO good!!! Those 90 hours of classes are behind me and I’m a full real estate broker. Amen! God is good!

Weekly Goals

  • Love & serve Eric well — This looked different in December than it did say 6 months ago. I was super busy with class 3 nights a week plus Eric was gone for the first week in December. Sometimes love and serving each other just means taking care of the dog to let the other sleep or going upstairs so the other can nap on the couch in peace (notice how sleep is our love language?? ;)) We will always be growing in this area, but it’s important to communicate and learn what the other person needs.
  • Connect intentionally — Friend dates, random texts, and phone calls. It doesn’t take a lot to connect intentionally, it just takes some thought and action. We have our phones in our hands all the time. Take a moment to reach out to a friend you’ve been thinking about, reach out to make plans with someone you haven’t seen in a while, call your momma. A little thought and love goes a long way!
  • Rest + relax — I’m getting much better about this! It’s honestly taking some time to rework my thinking about resting. I can feel guilty when I rest and relax because it feels like I should be doing something else. But that’s not true. Rest and relaxation are crucial. I cozied up and watched Christmas movies with Stella. Me and my sister got our nails done. I was forced to rest (or at least as best as I could) at the end of December due to a bad sinus infection sickness. The rest was worth it because I’m almost back to normal!
  • Blog post — I have a goal to post weekly and that was accomplished! I love writing and I love using this platform to connect and inspire, so it’s a treat. I’m excited to continue growing the blog and providing content for you! What would you like more of??
  • Increase Instagram followers by 80/week — Most weeks I didn’t hit 80, but I did have an increase each week, so I’m still happy there. I know there’s sneaky ways to grow IG like bots and paying for followers, but I don’t want that. I want to increase my followers to increase influence and be able to connect with more people, so slow and steady wins the race.

Daily Goals

  • Prayer + devotional — Achieved 31/31 days
  • Active body — Achieved 26/31 days
  • Meditate —  Achieved 18/31 days
  • Learn at work — Achieved 18/18 days

Looks like good progress to me! I had a good amount of PTO and time off in December which was a huge blessing. Being active and meditating fell off since I got sick. I was focused on resting my body and trying to heal it. It was really nice to just have 4 (or 3 on a non-work day) daily focuses with such a busy month! Note to self, you can’t do it all and do it all well. It was so much better for me to keep these to a minimum so I didn’t get overwhelmed and burnt out. Wellness is important, mental just as much as physical.

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We did it!! We tackled another year. It had ups and downs, but no matter what happened you got through 100% of your hard days. Way to go!! Celebrate those last 365 days and then lets get to work. 2018 has amazing things in store! More goals, encouragement, and other goodies will be coming your way here ❤

What was a favorite moment from 2017?

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17 lessons 2017 taught me

2017.

It was challenging. It was eventful. It was confusing. It was hectic and crazy. It was wonderful. It was a blessing. It was quite a year! I’m grateful to have experienced it and for the wisdom shared along the way. In no particular order, here is just a handful of lessons that 2017 taught me.

  1. Change what needs to be changed. You are not a tree, if you don’t like something then move! Instead of continuing to complain about things I didn’t like, I decided to change them. One big one was my job aka a full on career switch. Real estate school, a great connection through a friend, and an interview made all the difference.
  2. I think about me way more than other people think about me. Go ahead and be bold. Speak your mind without fear of what people will think. Because if we’re honest, we’re thinking about ourselves too much to overthink others. Right?? That may sound a bit harsh, but it’s also freeing. When we’re not so worried about what everyone is thinking of us, we can move forward and stay true to who we are.
  3. If I want a community, I may need to build it myself. This was a big area for me this year. I craved community right where we are, both location and life stage. People to do life with on the day to day. We got plugged into an incredible community through our church towards the end of 2016 that continued to grow in 2017. That growth has encouraged us to develop more community through a small group for young married couples (just like us!) at the start of the new year. I never imagined that would be possible, but I’m so thrilled about the community we’re building.
  4. Family is such a gift. This is nothing new, but I appreciate it more and more as I get older. Everything around us may change, but family will always remain. Through losses and more time spent together, I’m realizing more and more what a gift family truly is. If we’re lucky, it’s a built in community of people that will support you, tell you the truth, and love you through it. I’m beyond lucky with my own family and a bonus family through marriage.
  5. I’m not missing anything. FOMO (fear of missing out) can certainly be real, but it doesn’t have to be. I’m where I’m supposed to be for whatever reason and I feel secure in that. This is especially hard with social media — we can see the moment by moment of what we’re “missing out” on. It may still sting to find out an invite wasn’t sent or I declined a spectacular opportunity, but everything happens for a reason.
  6. Short term sacrifice is worth it! This ties into #5. Maybe an invitation was declined due to financial reasons, to save money towards a larger goal. It sucks to have to say no to things we really want to do, but it feels so good once those larger goals are accomplished. People miss their big goals because they aren’t willing to give up the smaller things right now. Immediate gratification versus lasting fulfillment. Which would you rather have?
  7. Sometimes a day full of pajamas and Netflix are just what I need. It’s okay to not make progress sometimes. Working hard without rest leads to burnout. Sometimes a brain break is needed. If that’s the case, don’t feel guilty about it. You’ll be able to come back stronger and make even more progress after taking a brief break.
  8. Confidence is key. Act confident and no one will question you. That pretty much sums it up. Going into a new career means I was inexperienced and that made me feel inadequate at times. But I was eager to learn and not afraid to admit I was new or ask for help. People trust as confidence grows.
  9. Traditions are important and it’s fun to be creating our own. I love traditions! There’s something special about something year after year. It builds bonds and provides things to look forward to. Being married with our own home, it’s been fun to create our own traditions as well. It’s taking time for us to figure everything out, but traditions are being born and strengthened.
  10. Time spent appreciating and praising others is well worth it. I know that I could never hear “thank you” or genuine compliments too much. Words of affirmation are my love language. Even if that isn’t one of yours, I still think people love being appreciated! We’re busy and many times we may not notice, but it’s important to slow down and take the time to acknowledge the greatness in others, big or small. It really matters.
  11. Make appointments before I leave and don’t forget to write them down. It’s not a good idea to leave an appointment without making a future one. This goes for all ongoing appointments: dentist, eye doc, eyebrow wax, hair, etc. It’s so much easier to reschedule if an appointment doesn’t work instead of having to make a new one. I always underestimate the amount of time that’s gone by and then I end up scrambling to fit one in or having to book even more weeks out because they’re full. Book the future appointment before I leave, hold onto the appointment reminder card, put the time in my planner, and reschedule if something doesn’t work.
  12. Busyness is not a badge of honor. Being busy used to make me feel important. Like I was needed. I can still feel that way, but deep down I know that being “busy” probably just means I’ve overcommitted myself. I shouldn’t be too busy for the things that matter most. If I am, then I need to do some readjusting in my world.
  13. No is a complete sentence. Not everything deserves an explanation. Sometimes the answer is just “no” and that’s all. No need to feel guilty or feel responsible for getting into all the details.
  14. Contentment is crucial. As a recovering shopaholic, contentment wasn’t always in my vocabulary. I used to crave more and more things, I guess to fill a void. Or maybe it was the thrill of the purchase. Contentment (in hand with minimalism) has helped me shake that idea of needing more and allows me to be happy with the things I already have. We’re insanely blessed. Anything else is just extra. I’m focusing more on only having things that bring me joy and make our lives easier. Contentment is so good for our finances, our clutter (or lack thereof), and our lives.
  15. Time with God is everything. I made my relationship with God a focus this year and I experienced the positive change. This time — whether it’s a church service, sermon on a podcast, prayer, devotional — centers me and helps me to set my eyes on the most important thing. I’m left full of gratitude and joy. Jesus is at the middle of our marriage and as we draw closer to Him, we actually draw closer to each other as well. We are stronger, kinder, better humans because we know that we’re sinners, but we’ve been given the ultimate grace, strength and love from our Heavenly Father. God is good!
  16. Some of the best memories happen far away or right at home. We absolutely love traveling! We’ve caught the travel bug years ago and try to get away as much as we can. Experiencing new places, meeting new people, trying new foods. It’s the best! We traveled a lot for the first half of the year (Vegas, Punta Cana, Charlottesville, Charleston just to name a few!). So many stories — some of my favorite moments ever happened so far away! The travels slowed down the second half of 2017 due to classes and job changes, but we made wonderful memories here at home as well. Memories of decorating the house for Christmas, entertaining friends on our deck, many nights unwinding with Netflix on the iPad. Don’t discount the moments that seem ordinary.
  17. The best is (still) yet to come! I sincerely believe the best is yet to come. Sometimes it may seem like our “best” has already happened. The dream job, the wedding day, the birth of a child. But our greatest days are always ahead. Always.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

What lessons did 2017 teach you? I’d love to read them in the comments below.

We can learn and lift each other up! I’m excited for the lessons that 2018 has in store! It’s going to be an amazing year. Thank you being with me ❤

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Monthly Favorites | December

The days are sneaking away from me quickly with the fun of the holiday season, so I wanted to go ahead and share my favorites for December before the new year begins! There will be lots of blog content coming in January all about goals and progress and I’m so excited! For now lets have some fun with favorites! 🙂

JustFab

I may be in the minority on this, but I’m not a shoe girl. I enjoy purchasing clothes and handbags, but shoes are more of a necessary item. My collection is pretty much all black or neutral nude, but that gets me through pretty much every event!

My first experience with JustFab was a $17 pair of nude heeled sandals that are perfect for work or play. I placed my second order with JustFab a few days ago because they were running a BOGO free sale — how can you resist!? I’ve had over the knee boots on my wish list for a while now, so it seemed like the perfect time! I also snagged some basic black booties because I’ve pretty much worn out my favorite brown ones. Gotta have a backup, ya know??

I can’t wait to share them once they arrive (should be Saturday!) I’m 5’2 so praying the over the knee boots aren’t actually thigh highs 😉 They’re actually running a 50% off sale right now, so treat yourself girl!

Pretzel Treats

These were super easy to make and SO delicious! I was trying to figure out a good treat to give to neighbors and coworkers as a little holiday gift and these were it! I wanted something that would be affordable, yummy, and not spark any common allergies (I would have loved to do something peanut or peanut butter related, but didn’t want anyone to have issues).

The chocolate covered pretzels fit the bill perfectly! With just 3 ingredients needed, they were easy to make and affordable to purchase. I’ll share more in depth on these treats soon (don’t want to completely give it away for any recipients reading!), but you’ll love em!

Crockpot Recipes

I know that the Instant Pot is all the rage right now, and I would still love to give it a go, but my Crockpot will always be my MVP! There’s just something about throwing a bunch of ingredients in the pot and letting them cook all day. No fuss. All deliciousness.

Two recipes I’ll be sharing with you soon: Crockpot chili and Crockpot hot chocolate. One is an old faithful and one is a new-to-me recipe. How about I put together a Winter Must Haves Recipe post!?

Glass Water Bottle

We have WAY too many water bottles in our house, but a glass water bottle is an absolute must have! I found one at Target and its become my go to. Of course mine is pink, but there are a ton of colors! Drinks just taste better out of a glass bottle, do you agree?

They’re also necessary if you’re adding essential oils or citrus to your water. Essential oils and citrus fruits like lemon can actually erode the material, so don’t use a plastic bottle! Glass or stainless steel are the way to go. Many oils are not safe for internal use, and others should be used with caution

Christmas Season

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! I’ve always loved Christmas: the lights, the treats, the gifts, the time with family and friends, the joy, the fun! But it gets sweeter ever year as my relationship with Jesus deepens and grows.

Christmas is the the beginning of the most powerful love story in history — the love of God for His people. Prior to Jesus coming to Earth, we were in a broken relationship with God. Sin had entered the world with Adam and Eve and ever since then, God had been pursuing and planning a true reconciliation with His most prized. With us.

A Savior was born and the world would never be the same. It’s so amazing (and still mind boggling) to be reminded of this beautiful story every December. We are loved and adored all year by an incredible King, but there’s something special about the Christmas Season. Maybe it’s because it’s on display for believers and nonbelievers the hope of Jesus. If you don’t know Him or maybe you’ve grown distant from Him lately or maybe even you’ve completely turned away from Him, I’m praying for you. And I’m always available to talk and pray with you, no judgement or questions asked. You are a gift! Merry Christmas!

What have you been loving lately!? Leave your favorites in the comments below ❤

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Truth about Self Discipline

There can be such a fine line between being disciplined and burning out.

I feel like I’ve been walking that line quite a bit lately.

Self discipline is required for us to reach any goal we set. If you have a goal of a healthier body, you must be disciplined in your exercise and nutrition. If you want to significantly grow your savings account or pay off all your debt, you must be disciplined in your budget and spending habits.

Behaviors have to change to accomplish new things. That means WE have to change. That shift is done through determination and discipline.

For some people, discipline has a negative conotation. It’s not exactly a friendly word.  Still, it’s a beneficial trait to have in order to grow and improve.

I’ve become much more disciplined in two areas of my life in particular: finances and fitness. The interesting thing is that self discipline works like a muscle — it becomes stronger the more you use it. And like a muscle, if you work it too hard without proper rest, it can also become fatigued or strained. That’s what burnout looks like.

The last few weeks I’ve had to exert a lot of self discipline in my exercise. I committed to a 14 day challenge led by Lori Harder and it was amazing! The workouts were only 20 minutes long and at the end of each workout she walked you through a guided meditation. Wonderful! But it was tough to stick with it, especially since I’ve been off a real routine for a while… I had to dig deep and not allow any excuses to take over.

I’m proud to say that I did complete the 14 days on Sunday. Monday and Tuesday are “rest days” so I can give my body and mind a break. I want to continue to be self disciplined, so that means a proper rest instead of continuing to push through and burnout.

If you’ve been reading along with our financial journey, you know Eric and I are working towards financial goals. I am a spender at heart. As much as I wish that wasn’t true, I am good at justifying purchases and convincing myself I need more things. The spirit of contentment and how I’m working on overcoming that natural tendency is a whole post on its own, but just know for me it takes a ton of self discipline to make financial progress. But we’re doing it, so that means it isn’t impossible!

We have been mindfully trimming our budget and cutting out any unnecessary spending. Extra funds are going towards our savings account instead of fun purchases {although it is fun to see that savings grow!} Talk about discipline for a spender! If we were just cutting expenses without any vision or goal, it would get old and discipline would fade fast. BUT a clear vision aka an end goal in sight keeps the financial burnout at bay. We won’t be living like this forever. But in the wise words of Dave Ramsey, we will live like no one else now so later we can live and give like no one else!

Vision matters.

Rest matters.

Goals matter.

Purpose matters.

The self discipline is worth it. Be careful not to let the goals and drive take over so much that your wellness slips. I saw a quote recently that struck me…

Doing things that have no importance on your day are your brain’s way of saying you’re stressed out.

If you’re trying to be disciplined, but instead find yourself scrolling your social media feeds, vegging out on Netflix, or way oversleeping, maybe there’s something more to it than just a lack of motivation. Maybe you need to give yourself a rest so you can get back at it stronger and more focused.

Even awesome habits and activites can become too much! You have to know yourself and listen to what “too much” looks like. How much is already on your plate? What does your life look like coming up? When can you schedule a rest? Why do you want to become more disciplined in this area? I find it’s a lot easier to be disciplined without burnout if we can do a bit of consideration and planning. 

Get after your goals, darling! Be disciplined enough to make your vision a reality, but be gentle with yourself while getting there. Listen to what you need. Sometimes we need to take one step back in order to move two steps forward. That’s okay.

Where in your life are you striving to be more disciplined? 

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