This is not a “Year in Review” or a “New Year, New Me” post.

It is, however, a post where I’m excited to share a lot of what I’m prayerfully pursuing as we begin 2019-and maybe a bit of what I’m excited to leave behind.

2018 just flew by, y’all. It really seems like it was just yesterday I was reading Cultivate, digging into my first set of PowerSheets, and dipping my toes into the idea of gardening. It seems like moments ago we were at the beach, though it’s been almost five months, and even though many areas of my life seem to have not made a ton of measurable progress, I know that behind the scenes and below the surface, so much has been healed and is growing and that what remains dirty and messy in me is fertilizing and feeding the growth yet to come (thank you, Lara Casey, for that imagery and analogy, and really, for Cultivate in general.)

I’m really excited and hopeful for what’s to come in 2019. I’m not gonna lie-I’m also very nervous, because I can’t see the future, but mostly I’m choosing hope and anticipation!

I just finished my 2019 PowerSheets (25% off today!) prep work and goal setting, and I want to share with you some of that process and its outcome, because these goals are a framework for how I’m going to use my time and resources this year. It amazes me how just identifying what matters to my heart and what I’m hungry for can help me uncover my goals, which then give me focus for intentionally using what I’ve been given.

Let’s start here: with what I’m realizing I need to leave behind, and what I need to pick up and embrace as my companions through 2019. 

There’s gonna be a heckuva lot less Social Media in 2019. The muscle memory of checking all the apps (or even typing in the web address when I’ve deleted the apps!) is ridiculous and it’s a time suck that steals my ability to accomplish all the things I both need and want to do. Time is my most valuable resource, day to day, and though ive gotten a lot better this year at identifying how best to use it, I have got to be intentional and purposeful. Reducing social media usage and consumption will also reduce my unneccesary anxiety triggers, comparison, fear of judgement, and more. 

That word “Should” has been a huge weight around my neck my entire life, and it’s time to let it go. No more internal judgement, no more comparison to where others are in various aspects of life, no more living to please anyone but God. I’m letting go of rigidity in the way I expect many aspects of my life to go and learning to enjoy the flow- with intention.  

All the things on my “yes” list are pretty much “duh…” but for me they haven’t been. for complex psychological and very simple psychological reasons, I have been unable to prioritize such simple self care as taking a freaking shower more than once a week regularly, exercise and food went from being part of my life to something I was using to try to control my life- “I can at least do this right!!!” – unsuccessfully.  I am also committing to learn how to express my needs to others, especially those closest to me. i need to trust them enough to give them a chance to love me. Hand in hand with that is the commitment to being braver about expressing love to others, not fearing that I’ll be rejected. I’m pursuing the truth of God’s love for me so that I am enabled to freely give love regardless of the outcome. 

This page was great for me- identifying the things that bring me life and joy and energy!

Next, I answered a question that brings so much into focus: when you’re entering your twilight years, what will matter about how you’ve lived?  (It sure won’t be how many likes a facebook post got, Y’all!)

And now, My word for 2019!!! This word has been easing its way into my consciousness for awhile (it’s half of my leaderboard name on Peloton), but when i finally looked up the definition,  it was for SURE my word for 2019. 

I have NEVER made a Vision Board before, but I’ve got this one posted in my kitchen already and I’ll probably post a few more copies around the house, to remind me of what is true and what matters.  

After another 35 pages of digging deep, drumroll… Here are my focused goals for 2019! 

1: Use my time intentionally

There are so many wonderful things to fill our days with, and I am feeling so much hunger to make the most of each day. I don’t want to miss this beautiful season in our family’s life either because I was trying to do too much and got stuck on what I “should” be doing, or because i was staring at my phone and the kids were staring at screens instead of experiencing good things, like reading, creating, gardening, laughing, and even spending a bit of time regularly keeping the house a place that is welcoming and peaceful. This year i am pursuing intentional balance in how I use my time, with both routine and the margin (plenty of margin!) that comes with that routine . 

2: Cultivate physical wellness and balance.

If you’ve followed this blog over the past year or two especially, you know I’ve really wrestled with my body. Understatement. Well, 2018 was a year of little by little awakening in this area. On a global level, I’ve learned that i need to prioritize caring for my body, and on more specific levels I’ve had to redefine what that means. It’s been humbling to realize what a stumbling block Diet Mentality has been in my life, and how defeated I’ve been by it. A big part of what I learned this year was that the weight of that is holding me back from actually having the body I can enjoy living in. SO much more to come on this, especially as I learn what that balance looks like for me. The other side of this, that has nothing to do with diet and exercise, is the aspect of taking care of my body with hygiene and rest and treating myself like I matter. If I were allowing myself to feel ashamed, I would be so ashamed by how badly I have been treating myself. 

3: Actively love people and pursue intimacy in relationships.

This is a big scary one, for a couple of reasons. One, because I don’t know exactly what it’s gonna look like,  I’m just trying to open my eyes and my heart and kinda live more freely. So often I want to let people know how much I love them, but I am held back by  the other reason this is big and scary- how will they respond? And if it’s not how I hope, can I handle that? Well, that’s a big motivation behind Goal #6!

4: Treat my writing like it matters.

AAH! Another Big and Scary way to live authentically.  I am going to commit to this. I have so many words, and thoughts, and struggles that I know I am meant to share, because God can use all of them to show his love and His power. I have not made it a priority like i have wanted to, for a number of reasons, many of which were lies in my head that i am now choosing to call out and cast out. I’m not gonna let them get in the way of what God can do. 

One of these lies was that i’m not a Real Writer. What does that even mean? Look, I’ve had a submission rejected – actually a few! So, I’m totally legit.  Except I have not really believed that, and I assumed nobody else did either. Then my dear beautiful, brilliant, wonderful, Life-giving friend Kristine asked me in November- while crushing the pace on her NaNoWriMo project, because she’s for SURE a Real Writer-  

“Hey, how’s writing going? ”

Cue allll the sobbing. Kristine thinks I am a Real Writer! I AM a Real Writer! How DARE I sell myself short? and if I am a Real Writer, then I need to take it seriously and make time for it, every day, or at least most days because no rigidity right? Right. This right here, today, on New Year’s Eve 2018, is the start of that. I have some ideas for what I’d like to accomplish with my writing this year, but for now, the goal and the plan is to just write. 

5: Recreation: do the things that fill my cup. 

On that page of Things That Fire Me Up,  I got some perspective on what gives me life, and what I need to make more room for in my life. I need to not allow the time sucks and and “should’s” to let me run dry, because when I am depleted I am not able to love others well in any way, and I tend to lose my *bleep* in really ugly ways. So. More reading (although I got really close to 100 books in 2018, I need to keep it up!), more crafting, more family adventures, more writing, more gardening, more sunshine, beach days, more breathing deep and free. 

6: Cultivate soul wellness for myself and the kids.

I have so much hunger for truth and encouragement and so many books and bible studies and podcasts and songs to fill my head and heart with this year and I’m excited! 

I need to fill myself with this truth if I want to be able to love freely without fear of rejection-secure in my value and identity in Christ.

I’m also excited to keep planting seeds with the kids and sharing the truth of God’s love for them and accessibility to them with them. Lexi and i are beginning to have the best conversations about spiritual things, and I love how it’s teaching *me*!

7: Enjoy working in and growing good things in my garden!

This one’s pretty self explanatory, but starting my gardening journey in 2018 was one of the best things I’ve ever done, and I am chomping at the bit to get started again! I’m frustrated with myself for not sharing more from year one, but maybe I can make a few posts in the next couple  months, and share more this year along the way. 

This year I’m choosing one goal each month to break down into even smaller action steps and focus on. This month it’s consistent self care- because ya girl can’t seem to get her face washed and teeth brushed regularly. Here’s how i broke it down- I get a sticker for each week I complete the habit consistently (not necessarily perfectly!). Boom. (page two is there, though not visible.)

Finally, here is my January 2019 Tending List. These are the actions I am going to intentionally take this month in pursuit of what matters most to me this year. I noticed that a lot of my monthly items this month are about getting systems in place and starting habits. That’s intentional, because I tend to overload myself out of the gate, and this year is not about setting myself up for self condemnation. 

I am *so* excited and hopeful about this new year, and I hope you are too! Please let me know how I can pray for or encourage you as we all have a fresh start and all these new opportunities! 

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