Goals

December Goals

It is my favorite month of the year! I love December, and Christmas and all that comes along with the Holiday season!


Last month I shared my heart about my November goals and starting fresh. November was a great month...it was tiring, as Ben and I are still navigating our busy schedules. But, my Etsy shop has been booming, and we have really gotten a schedule worked out for the way that we spend our time in the evenings together. November was the month where I felt we could finally breathe, and breathe deep. 


It feels as if we have moved out of survival mode and are slowly making out way into a place of thriving. It feels amazing to be making strides towards this goal. If I am learning one thing through all of this though it is that I cannot force myself into a place of joy, peace, and thriving. I must rely on the Holy Spirit in order to navigate this journey. 

I was really excited when looking back at November's goals...so much was accomplished! 

NOVEMBER GOALS

1. Set a schedule with my new work schedule to make time for blog design, house chores, blog work, and Etsy shop orders. 

2. Create a new financial spreadsheet (or have Ben do it and help me learn to use it) for design, blog, and Etsy money flowing in and out. 

3. Take pictures of mugs and tote bags once I receive them. 

4. Have 2 social media free weekends. 

5. Go home to Georgia and create a weekend bucketlist of Fall things to do while there. 

6. Make 1 recipe from my foodie bucketlist. 

7. Finish reading The Best Yes. 

8. Begin Christmas shopping and planning for handmade gifts. 

9. Get Christmas card pictures taken. 

10. Have people over for dinner once or twice every week! 



DECEMBER GOALS

1. Complete all Etsy orders and close down shop for Christmas. 

2. Create "prototypes" of our new products that will be coming to Oh Simple Joys with Ben. 

3. Order newest products for Oh Simple Joys. 

4. Go see Christmas lights with Ben. 

5. Read one book! Just one! 

6. Have a baking day, and take goodies to church families. 

7. Social media free weekend, and 2-3 week days during the month. 

8. Have a date night with Ben!

9. Take 30 minutes just for myself everyday. 

10. Make a recipe from my foodie bucketlist! 

I am really excited to travel and see both families for Christmas and have a few days of free time away from work, blogging, and the Etsy shop! December is going to be an amazing month full of memories! 

What goals are you setting this month? 

November Goals + Fresh Starts

photo credit:

Jenni

Happy Monday friends! Mondays are my "rest days", and I have grown to love them and look forward to them with great anticipation. I have mentioned this off and on lately here on the blog but our life has been crazy to a level neither Ben nor myself have experienced thus far in life. We are busy, worn down, stretched thin, and overwhelmed almost daily. These have been such hard emotions for me to navigate, and to be honest they have created so much guilt in my life. Whether that is blogger guilt for not being able to post and keep up with things like I once could when I had 30 more free hours a week, or guilt due to not being able to keep up with things at home like cleaning or maintaining our home. 

However, I read something on Instagram yesterday that has affirmed a work the Lord has been doing in mine and Ben's heart this past week. It was a

post

by a sweet blog friend, Valerie of

Vallarina Creative

. These were her words, "

I'm tired of the word overwhelmed. I am tired of using it as an excuse and a crutch. I'm tired  of having poor time management, giving into distractions, saying yes when I should say no, being frivolous with my money and then throwing out, "I'm sorry, I'm just so overwhelmed." instead of facing the consequences..."

Valerie continued to speak about how she is committing to diligence and discipline to see this cycle ended. 

Friends, this resonated so deeply within me. I teared up, and verbally said AMEN to this post! This has been my life. I have gotten new schedule, after new schedule (which is so exciting!) with my new job, and have used that as a crutch for too long. I deeply desire to find myself in a place of thriving yet again, and in a place that I can love and serve others well. So I am starting fresh this November. I am committing to working hard, and spending time with people even when I am tired and overwhelmed. I am committing to being diligent with this blog, and blog friends, as well as my Etsy shop. I am committing to rest in the Spirit, and not my flesh or negative attitude. 

So here are some goals I am setting this month, for accountability's sake! 

NOVEMBER GOALS

1. Set a schedule with my new work schedule to make time for blog design, house chores, blog work, and Etsy shop orders. 

2. Create a new financial spreadsheet (or have Ben do it and help me learn to use it) for design, blog, and Etsy money flowing in and out. 

3. Take pictures of mugs and tote bags once I receive them. 

4. Have 2 social media free weekends. 

5. Go home to Georgia and create a weekend bucketlist of Fall things to do while there. 

6. Make 1 recipe from my foodie bucketlist. 

7. Finish reading

The Best Yes. 

8. Begin Christmas shopping and planning for handmade gifts. 

9. Get Christmas card pictures taken. 

10. Have people over for dinner once or twice every week! 

photo credit:

Jenni

photo credit:

Jenni

What goals are you setting for this new month? How can I be praying for you this month? 

Also!!! Big huge congrats to our Influence Conference winners Lindsey C and Chelsey J!!! We have sent you both emails and are so excited to meet you and hug you come next September!! 

September Goals

It is my birthday month! Whoo!! YAY! So here is to a month full of exciting memories, visits with family, and mine and Ben's first concert together!


August goals went really well, there were a few incomplete so they will carry over to this month! August was just one of those months y'all. I felt really overwhelmed the majority of the month, and now that it is a new month and we are wrapping up one season and heading into another I am motivated and ready to start fresh. Here we go!

August Goals
-Begin my new part time job (I start tomorrow!!!)
-Finish to do list for my secret project - not done, mainly because I have had to do more research, planning and designing...but it is coming!
-Announce my secret project :) sneak peeks coming soon!- again, coming soon you guys, and it is going to really be so great, I am pouring myself into this and cannot wait to share with you all!
-Read one book - almost finished with Notes from a Blue Bike by Tsh Oxenreider
-Celebrate Ben's Birthday! (big 25)
-Crochet 20 headwarmers for Fall sale - does it count to do half? Haha...crochet has been a struggle due to my lack of free time, but I am working on it! 
-Write 2 handwritten letters - this just didn't happen
-2 Date Nights with Ben
-2 Social Media Free weekends! - it was glorious! I think these have become a staple part of my life now, it seriously is so freeing to unplug. 

SEPTEMBER GOALS
-Finish to do list for my secret project!
-Announce the project!!
-Celebrate my birthday in Birmingham!
-Go to concert (needtobreathe) with Ben
-Read one book
-Write 2 handwritten letters
-Make 1 recipe from my foodie bucketlist
-2 Social Media free weekends!!
-Reschedule Crochet Instagram Sale
-Prepare and plan for Renew Retreat!

What goals are you setting for this month? Let's hold each other accountable!

August Goals

Hello Monday, you came too quickly old friend.

Ben and I went on a whirlwind trip Saturday to Little Rock, AR for a family wedding. We drove 5 hours for the wedding, and left after the reception and drove 2 and a half hours to Ben's parents home in MS...and then woke up yesterday morning and drove two more hours back home...whew, it was crazy. We had a blast though exploring downtown Little Rock, and hope to make a trip back sometime when we have more time to explore.

So here we are with another week, and a brand new month! So it is time for some goal setting. Oh goal setting, what a tricky little guy you are. Just being real here, somehow July goals were never set...oops. So here is a recap on the goals I set for June, and my August Goals!



July Goals-
-Finish a book...just one, and no restrictions on which one! Finished 1000 Gifts by Ann Voskamp!! Finally!
-Have a family from church over for dinner We had a couple friend over in June and July!
-Finish all current design orders before Cox Family Beach Trip!
-Crate train Piper She is doing awesome! :)
-Cook 4 more recipes from Bread & Wine...eh this did not happen!
-Take an Influence Network Class
-Blog about my purpose for blogging...coming this week!
-Google Hangout with some blog friends! Madison and I have hungout via Google several times now!
-Have a date night, or two with Ben
-Set new fitness goals with Ben, and meet June's goals...HA! that is all there is to say really.
-Begin gratitude journal (also, a post coming soon about this)

August Goals
-Begin my new part time job (I start tomorrow!!!)
-Finish to do list for my secret project
-Announce my secret project :) sneak peeks coming soon! 
-Read one book
-Celebrate Ben's Birthday! (big 25)
-Crochet 20 headwarmers for Fall sale
-Write 2 handwritten letters
-2 Date Nights with Ben
-2 Social Media Free weekends!

I really do love sharing these updates with you all...mainly because it keeps me so accountable to do what I have said I am going to do! So yay for accountability! 

Great Reads:
10 go to Blog Post Ideas - love these ideas!
My First Fashion Post - love the honesty about self talk, and how it is okay to be a "normal girl" as do a fashion post every now and then!
Foodie PenPal - seriously obsessed with this...so much so that I immediately signed up for this month, the foodie in me just couldn't resist!
Daily Communication - Thoughts on communication in marriage!

What you may have missed:
Oh Simple Thought's 2nd Birthday! - Dont forget to enter my giveaway for your chance to win a year subscription to Elle & Co Printable Library, a retro headband, and motivational coffee mug!
Bicycle, Books, and a Beautiful Dress
How to write a Mission Statement for your blog!

Also, bear with me this week as I start my new job. I will be only posting 3 days this week as I try to navigate and create a new schedule. I promise I am not leaving you guys but just trying to adjust to some new exciting changes. Come back Wednesday for the 2nd Bread & Wine Project recipe link up. The question this month to discuss is "How do you make your table a safe place for those that come into your home?" Hope you can join me on Wednesday! 

June Goals

Summer is here, and I have had the hardest time developing a schedule and consistency in managing my time well. I blame it on the summer. Don't get me wrong, I am so thankful for this season, and for some time to myself, and to pour myself into this blog, and design work, but I have found myself neglecting a lot of other things and just struggling to find a good balance every day. 

So a little recap on my May Goals, I surprised myself this month, and got a lot more accomplished than I realized, so cheers to that!
  • Finish Seven and start The Pleasures of God -(Wah, wah....reading has been slipping through the cracks these days.)
  • Host a Noonday Trunk Show as a fundraiser for the Ragan Family Adoption (This was such a joy! And it is not too late to purchase an item from the Ragan Trunk Show, read how to purchase here!)
  • Grab coffee with Lauren of Sincerely, Lo, when we go to Memphis for the weekend! (So much fun getting to meet Lauren and talking over coffee!!) 
  • Have a family from church over for dinner
  • Cook 4 recipes from Bread & Wine  (I have made the esquites, dark chocolate toffee, risotto, basic vinaigrette, bacon wrapped dates, goat cheese biscuits, and greenwell salad! So I exceeded this goal!)
  • CELEBRATE ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY! (It was fantastic!)
  • Go to the beach for anniversary (We are at the beach now! :))
  • Get everything we need for Piper, and have house ready before anniversary beach trip (We will pick her up next week!)
  • Attend the Farmer's Market, and take pictures. 
  • Finish blog design for Martha Kate's personal blog and business blog!  Check out all my recent designs here!

Now for June Goals: 
  • Finish a book...just one, and no restrictions on which one!
  • Have a family from church over for dinner
  • Finish all current design orders before Cox Family Beach Trip!
  • Crate train Piper
  • Cook 4 more recipes from Bread & Wine
  • Take an Influence Network Class
  • Blog about my purpose for blogging
  • Google Hangout with some blog friends!
  • Have a date night, or two with Ben
  • Set new fitness goals with Ben, and meet June's goals (will be sharing more soon)
  • Begin gratitude journal (also, a post coming soon about this)
So here is to a new month, and new opportunities! Do you set goals? How do you feel you do at following through with your goals? 


Also, don't forget to fill out this survey to help Madison and I moving forward with our link up! We will be giving away a $20 Starbucks card to one lucky person who fills out the survey, so please fill it out even if it is just for a chance to get some free coffee! ;) We would love to get your feedback!


Meet my sweet sponsor this month, Madison of The Wetherills Say I Do!

MAY GOALS


I cannot believe that it is May. I have never seen a year go by so quickly for us. This is the month that was declared "wedding month" in 2013...so you guessed it, Ben and I will be celebrating our ONE YEAR anniversary on the 25th of this month. This has been one of the best years of my life. I am so thankful to be married to my best friend. 
Also, I am in love with this gorgeous weather. The farmer's market starts back this Saturday. We went to a baseball game with our small group last night, and it is not supposed to rain anymore this week! Hallelujah! Can I just say that sunshine motivates me? I am serious, a sunny day makes me want to conquer the world. So with a full heart of motivation, let's talk about some goals!

Recap on April

Finish A Praying Life by Paul Miller
Start running
Complete 10 (or more) squares of my crochet blanket
Write 5 letters
Send someone happy mail
Buy plants/flowers for the front porch
Have a family from church over for dinner
Wake up at 5:30 every morning for one week
Have my whole family over for Easter (so excited)

okay so I have a little work to do. I am going to set the goals down for a month that I have struggled to pick up, and see if they are more naturally implemented when they are not hanging on my to do list! :)


May Goals

Finish Seven and start The Pleasures of God
Host a Noonday Trunk Show as a fundraiser for the Ragan Family Adoption
Grab coffee with Lauren of Sincerely, Lo, when we go to Memphis for the weekend!
Have a family from church over for dinner
Cook 4 recipes from Bread & Wine
CELEBRATE ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY!
Go to the beach for anniversary
Get everything we need for Piper, and have house ready before anniversary beach trip (We will pick her up on our way back from our beach trip)
Attend the Farmer's Market, and take pictures. 
Finish blog design for Martha Kate's personal blog and business blog! 

In other news, I am so so excited to tell you all that I will be attending Hope Spoken in 2015! I have been dying to get a ticket since I heard about this amazing conference last year. I am beyond excited about it, and I would love to know if you are attending! Are you going to Hope Spoken?

Have you entered our awesome giveaway? It is not too late!

#5 Plants on the Porch + 101 in 1001 Update

#5. Plants on the porch. We did it. Last weekend Ben and I went to Lowe's and bought some herbs, and a few vegetables. We live in an apartment so small is really our only option. We were so excited though and cannot wait to see the fruits of our labor this summer. We have planted cilantro, rosemary, parsley, and basil. We also have a small tomato plant, crook necked squash, and sweet peas. We also bought two boxwood shrubs to put on either side of our front door. Ben built me some really rustic planters for the herbs...and I love them. I am so thankful for a handy husband who also knows how to operate a welder. He is my hero in the DIY world. 









We had so much fun planting all this stuff. We still have to transport the veggies to their permanent home in the flower bed but we have yet to have a few free hours to do so. I also made those cute little herb markers out of old wine corks and wooden skewers and love how adorable they look. 

I also wanted to give a little update on my 101 in 1001 list. I have loved having this list to somewhat guide my goal setting. It has been so good for me, and I have accomplished quite a good bit in a short few months. Here is what all has been checked off so far!

#4. Clean out dresser and nightstand table (March 2014)
#5. Put plants on on front porch (April 2014)
#8. Have 100 people follow my blog (April 1, 2014 on Bloglovin')
#14. Get a puppy (Piper Cox comes to our home June 2, 2014)
#18 Blog my story (March 2014, you can read this post here)
#25. Inspire someone else to do 101 in 1001 (Amy March 2014, Ruth Anne March 2014)
#26. Write a guest post (House to Home at- Lovely Does It, Stay at Home Date Nights at- The Ashcraft Bunch, Creating a Peaceful Home at- Our Yellow Door
#27. Have a guest blogger (Khala of The Birdie Bowl on The perfect happy mail package
#28. Do a giveaway (or 2) (Lavender and Linen Giveaway March 2014)
#29. Blog every day for a month (mid Feb.- mid March 2014)
#45. Start a blog linkup (Hosting a monthly "Coffee Date" starting March 2014)
#48. Buy someone a cup of coffee (Ginny tweet a coffee...bet you didn't know you could tweet coffee huh)
# 52. Learn to make cheesecake (Easter 2014)
# 62. Try different types of tea (Herbal Tea Sampler from UR Priceless Etsy shop, April 2014)
#63. Try to meet 6 Instagram or blog friends in real life (3/6 meeting the Holden girls @lydialovesmarcus @honeyholden @mrs_laurenmcmullen March 2014)
# 65. Bring plants and fresh flowers into our home (Flowers from my grandmothers and wild daffodils, March 2014)
# 72. Go to an Air Show (Columbus Air Show, March 2014)
# 83. Get a new computer (April 2014)
# 91. Support someone else in ministry financially (March/April 2014)


So far so good! I am eager to continue this quest in goal setting so that I can constantly check my heart. I want to be living a life focused on what matters. 

Facts + Favorites

Facts + Favorites are always a lot of fun for me to write. I enjoy sharing my quirks or little random things about myself that you just don't get to know about me through my blog unless I tell you. So here it goes...

Fact # 1. I am notorious for not hanging up my clothes. I am a stickler about being tidy and neat everywhere else in the house... it is just who I am, but on any given day you will find three or four pairs of shoes, and a couple outfits laying in a pile beside my dresser. I hate hanging up clothes...maybe because my closet is in the living room, but always...there is a pile.

Fact # 2. I cry about 4 times a week. Not because I am depressed or anything...I just am an emotional person, to the highest level. I cry watching a sweet commercial, listening to a meaningful song, or reading a well-written article or book. I cry when I talk about how much I love my husband, or when I work really hard to make something in the kitchen and it turns out to be a total failure. I am a crier...in a big way. 

Fact # 3. I do not know how to style my hair other than curling it, and pinning back my bangs. Call it crazy, but at 23 years old I still know nothing more about fixing my hair than I did when I was 8. I am trying slowly to learn...it is a slow process. 

Fact # 4. Apparently I smack my mouth in my sleep. And I hog the bed. Ben always tells me he knows when I am totally out for the night when he hears my little smacking noise and somehow I am attempting to take over the entire bed and knock him out forcefully. Oops...can't help what I do in a state of sleep right?

Fact # 5. I love reading cookbooks. I find they relax me, inspire me, and get my wheels turning. Sometimes, I will even bring a couple cookbooks to bed and snuggle up in the covers while Ben is watching TV or doing something on his computer and lose myself in a cookbook. I love seeing the different combinations of ingredients listed to make different entrees or desserts. I have found recently that food, and cooking truly awaken a passion inside me that I did not know even existed in me. (more on this below)

So now on to my favorites right now...Well they almost all have to do with food, the kitchen, cooking, our home...sensing a theme? I just finished reading "Bread & Wine" By Shauna Niequist last week, and wow, it blew my socks off. As I read through this passionate book full of love for food, family, and Jesus I walked away after every chapter more and more inspired. Outside the Bible (cliche I know) I am not sure any other book has affected me in the same way. I was moved to tears in most chapters by the raw nature that Shauna uses to write. She is so real, raw, and honest. I desire to be that way. Shauna has a passion for food. Not just a passion to be a great chef, or impress people with her culinary abilities. Rather she is passionate about the table...feeding those she loves, and being fed by rich community and safe fellowship. I have a super awesome project I am working on pertaining to this book that I cannot wait to share with you guys soon!

I have begun to cook my way through her book, and would love for some of you to join me, I will be sharing next week about a fun way you can do this (hence the project I am working on)! I am going to begin to seize the time we have here in Starkville to open our doors more, to create a safe place for people to be themselves around our small four person table. I want to create a home that radiates love, honesty, and abundant living that we are free to have in Jesus Christ. 

So needless to say, one of my favorites right now is this book, "Bread & Wine" and teaser alert, this book may or may not be included in one awesome giveaway coming your way soon! Also, after reading Shauna's book I have added these two other cookbooks to my "wishlist" on Amazon, and Pinterest. I am crossing my fingers that someone in my family sees these and that I can add these to my collection soon. 
Purchase any of the books here: Bread & WineThe Smitten Kitchen, Bountiful


As a result of my new found passion for the table, the kitchen and all things like that, I find myself in love with creating things myself. From beginning to end, not cheating along the way...does this mean I will never again use a canned ingredient? Absolutely not...that would be silly. But I am finding that it is a joy to invest love into a dish and spend time elevating flavors and creating depth to a dish and then to present that dish to someone I love. Again, this is not to make me into a star entertainer or anything, but I am seeing this is a passion or gift I have that can be used to love others in a way deeper than words sometimes. 

I cannot wait to try out this fig and ricotta crostini...with some fresh basil from our front porch...oh it is going to make such a delicious appetizer on a hot summery evening. Crusty bread in any form makes my heart race.


In a similar fashion to the kitchen being an inspiration for my soul, I often find myself inspired and refreshed from reading a good book. All these three have been added to my wishlist as well as my 2014 reading list. I have heard great things about them all, even though The Nesting Place has not even been released quite yet for the public. I find that reading is a sweet outlet for me, when I am overwhelmed or in need of space. I can retreat to a book, and renew my mind.

What inspires you the most? What gets you feeling passionate and teary eyed?

PSA: Did you know that tickets for Hope Spoken go on sale May 1st for the 2015 conference? I have never been but it is on my 101 in 1001 list to attend this conference. I am super excited about going...are you going to Hope Spoken?

BLOGLOVIN' // INSTAGRAM // TWITTER // PINTEREST // FACEBOOK 



Wedding Bliss + Instagram Recap

Happy Monday sweet friends!! :) I hope your weekend was full of rest and sweet springtime memories made. Ours certainly was. I feel as though this week was such a whirlwind, but the weekend was so sweet, and just a ton of fun. I love being transparent with you guys and letting you into my world. So I thought I would do a little Instagram recap and share about some of our weekend happenings today!


1. Chocolate Chip Muffins + food photography practice. I cannot wait to share this yummy recipe with you all TOMORROW. Stay tuned. 

2. I was so surprised to receive this calligraphy set in the mail from Ben's grandmother. She reads my blog regularly and I know she saw my 101 in 1001 list which has #75- Teach myself calligraphy. I am so excited to use this kit and teach myself to write in calligraphy. Thanks Nana, I will be calling you soon. You are so sweet to think of me! Love You!!

3. Read my post about all that I learned from my sweet Grammy here that you may have missed last week. She was a joy to know and love. Miss her everyday! 

4. I have started following along with She Reads Truth, and I am LOVING it. So sweet to tap into such a large community of Christ seeking women. 

5. Have you guys met my sweet friend Valerie? Go check out this sweet lady and her amazing talent in the design department. She is so gifted, and a joy to follow! This print it FREE to print over on her blog! And can be used as your desktop background. I hung this on our fridge...so gorgeous!

6. Crusty Bread- find the recipe here. This is a fool proof recipe and so yummy. You do not have to kneed it or anything. Just let it rise over night and bake in a cast iron dutch oven. Yummy, and so pretty.

7. Best part of my weekend was watching this friend and mentor of mine walk down the aisle and become a wife. She has taught me how to truly pursue Jesus Christ with everything that I am. 

8. Isn't she the most beautiful bride? Oh what a glorious day Saturday was. She worked so hard to make sure every guest was pointed to Jesus and not her, her dress, or her decorations. It was amazing. We all left loving Jesus more and feeling overjoyed to be called his child. 

9. Documentation that my good looking husband was in attendance at the wedding. Weddings always remind me of our special day almost one year ago (ah almost a year? WHAT?!!). It is always so much fun to reflect on that special time.

So now to share a little more of my sweet friend's wedding. The wedding and reception took place at her grandparents home, which is stunning. They worked so hard to build this house and it shows, from the handmade (by her grandfather himself) cedar planks inside to the lovely garden and courtyard in the back, it is nothing but a breathtaking home. Saturday was sunny, with a nice breeze, and perfect for a wedding.



Such a gorgeous wedding! Ben and I spent all day Sunday working on planting some plants on our porch!! YAY for completing #5 on my 101 in 1001 list. Tune in to Instagram for some more picture of our lovely little plant babies! 

Also, it is time to announce the winner of the Atlas Print by The Rustic Orange Etsy Shop! And the winner is Laura Kathleen! Hope you enjoy this print in your bedroom, or in your parents room for you at their house! I will be emailing you soon for shipping information! Thank you to everyone who participated in the giveaway! I will be hosting a BIG group giveaway with some INCREDIBLE goodies in a few weeks so be on the lookout!


How was your weekend?

Much Love, 

Rachel

APRIL GOALS + Giveaway!

Happy Monday!! Can I please just tell you about my weekend real quick? It was so great! I went to the Delta in Mississippi with some sweet friends to celebrate an upcoming wedding of a dear friend. We were in the middle of no where at her family's hunting lodge. It was AMAZING. I was so in awe of the Lord's creation. It was so sweet to have my Canon Rebel T3I handy with me to snap some gorgeous picture of all the scenery. Take a look...our God makes such beautiful things for us to enjoy. 







I am so amazed by the glory of the Lord when I look at these pictures. I am so thankful for such a sweet weekend full of such godly fellowship. It was a joy to be around such special friends that I don't get to see much anymore. So now for goals...April Goals
Can you believe tomorrow begins April? Wow, where has time gone. The days seem to go by so much faster... Anyways. I am trying to be very diligent in setting goals, not so that I can just make lots of lists, but more importantly so I can make most of the time that I have and use it wisely. (Ephesians 5:16-17)

So a little recap on my March Goals

Make my book list for 101 in 1001 (#6)
Clean out my dresser and night table (#4)
Write 5 letters (#79)
Complete 10 squares of my crochet blanket (#23)
Start running again (#40)
Go on three date nights 
Finish A Praying Life by Paul Miller
Have a guest blogger (So excited about this coming next week) (#27)
Try one new recipe (#7)

So I do not have a perfect score I guess for the month of March... but I am learning that is okay. These are goals, and I should strive to meet them, but not beat myself up if I fail... because let's face it, I am bound to fail at some point. I am planing to share my book list soon, and hope to get more work done on my blanket this month. Running will be starting this week (Lord willing)!!

So now on to my goals for April.

Finish A Praying Life by Paul Miller
Start running
Complete 10 (or more) squares of my crochet blanket
Write 5 letters
Send someone happy mail
Buy plants/flowers for the front porch
Have a family from church over for dinner
Wake up at 5:30 every morning for one week
Have my whole family over for Easter (so excited)

I am really hoping to complete these and maybe even add some more to the list along the way.


What goals are you setting for the spring?

I am participating in an AWESOME giveaway in honor of sweet Ginny's (of Modern Commonplace Book) Blog Birthday!! Check it out below!! 
bloggqitems
One lucky winner will receive a $50 Amazon gift card and three hand-picked (and hand-made!) boutique gifts! These gifts will spoil you! I am super excited to include the Victoria Secret Lemon Escape Body Lotion. This stuff is luxurious and like silk.
The Custom Jimmy Choo print is from the awesome Sandra Manton Shop from the Sam and Duke Blog. Sandra is absolutely skilled - and this piece is simply stunning. We all need this hung in our bedroom! See other gorgeous prints here!
The winner will also receive 4 vintage shabby hand-made headbands from the Emily Gold shop. You can pick the size (infant or adult), and there are tons of designs to choose from! See her beautiful Etsy shop and all her headbands here.
A Modern Commonplace Book is turning one years old! This is so amazing to me! My first post What is a Commonplace Book? was published on March 14 - and the rest is history.  Because of my birthday month, I have asked some very favorite bloggers of mine to help throw a fabulous birthday giveaway! This one's for you, my readers! Enjoy! BLOGBIRTHDAYGW2

Giveaway will run from 12:00 am EST on March 31st until 11:59 pm EST on April 7th. All entries will be verified, so be honest! Winner will be notified via email and will have 48 hours to claim their prize before a new winner will be chosen. Enter using the Rafflecopter below.


Much Love,

Rachel






5 "big picture" questions to regain BLOG FOCUS

Blog Questions for focus

 Many of you may have read my post from kinda late last night, it is so timely for me to follow up that post with this, because now more than ever am I certain that answering these questions led me to write the post I did yesterday about my story. It is because of that focus that I am certain that was a post more in line with my vision and aspirations for this blog than anything else I have written so far. Thank you so everyone who commented back to me in some form or fashion, you all brought me to tears on my knees before the Lord. He is so mighty. Praise Him!

On a slightly different note...am I the only one that gets totally overwhelmed with the blog world sometimes? Surely not. I am often so weighed down by the never-ending need for new content, and networking that I totally lose sight of why I am even a blogger to start with. 

So today I have stepped back, evaluated my little blog in light of these questions, and feel a million times lighter. I think every blogger should stop to ask themselves these 5 questions on a very regular basis, even if you have been blogging for years. This is so refreshing, and helps narrow your focus, which in turns boosts your motivation. 

QUESTION # 1: WHAT IS YOUR BLOG ABOUT? 

My blog is about my marriage/faith, DIY projects and crafts, recipes, and handmade items. Narrow down what you are writing about, do not take the approach that your blog is about "a little bit of everything". You can still have a lifestyle blog and have focus on a few specific things. Narrowing your focus helps you as a writer to pour your energy into creating quality content for what you are most passionate about. Writing about everything under the sun will eventually wear you out. So pick somethings that make you giddy, what fires you up...write about those things. 

QUESTION # 2: WHAT IS YOUR BLOG NOT ABOUT?

This question is just as important as the first question. Define what topics you will not write about and do not deviate from that list, even in the times you are desperate for content. Do not write simply to have a blog post that day, write because you have something you want to share, contribute, or inspire someone with. 

QUESTION # 3: WHY DO YOU BLOG? 

I think this should be asked monthly, or at least yearly. Remind yourself why you started this journey. For me blogging started as a way to document my engagement and wedding planning for friends and family. However the reason I blog now has changed into something entirely different. (And that is okay). I now blog to be breath of fresh air to my readers. I want to challenge young women in all stages of life to be Godly women chasing after the Lord, making beautiful homes, and blessing others with their creative gifts. I blog so that I can inspire and motivate my readers as well as myself to be the woman the Lord has called me to be in Proverbs 31, a woman who works to provide for her family, uses her creativity to bless others and make money, manages her home well, and loves her husband like Christ loves. So dig deep...why are you doing this? If you cannot formulate this answer, step away until you can. Everything you write comes out of this answer so it is important that you can always take yourself back to why you are doing what you are doing. 

QUESTION # 4: WHAT DREAMS OR GOALS DO YOU HAVE FOR YOUR BLOG?

You will never achieve what you are not striving for. Set goals, and work towards those goals. Make hard goals and easy goals. Some of my goals are to reach 200 followers, find a Godly community of other bloggers, write a guest post for a blog much larger than mine, begin to have blog sponsors, and to attend a blog conference sometime in the future. Some of these may take awhile, and that is okay, blogging is learning to be patient and persevering. Dream big and set goals so that you have a direction.

QUESTION # 5: HOW WILL YOU ORGANIZE YOUR BLOG?

This includes so much from how will your actual design look, to how often you choose to post. Set defined boundaries for yourself. Create a space in which you can go to blog, set times that you will be on your computer, and times you will be away. Schedule time for writing posts, and plan ahead on giveaways, guest posts, and replying to comments. If you do not organize yourself and set boundaries you will find yourself wanting to pull your hair out, call it quits on blogging, or the opposite, you will be totally consumed by this virtual world. So get it together and create a plan. 

I hope these questions help you to renew your mind the way they did for me. It was so so great for me to spend time thinking through my answers. I feel so focused on what I am setting out to do with my blog and pray that this will get you to that same place of focus and motivation. 

How do you organize yourself for blogging? What works for you?


Keep Calm and Blog On

As usual I am linking up this morning (with a cup of coffee shh don't tell) with KhalaSamanthaJenni, and Renee as well as Keep Calm and Blog On Join us with your beverage of choice!

Also, stay tuned for a super fun guest post tomorrow!! Cannot wait to share!

xoxo,

Rachel 

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MARCH GOALS


My 101 in 1001 list is made. Check it out on my side bar --> 
But 101 is a rather large number. So to help me stay focused on the long term and to avoid getting lost in all the things I am setting out to do I am going to start posting monthly goals. 

MARCH GOALS 
(better late than never right?)

Make my book list for 101 in 1001 (#6)
I am setting out to read 20 new books. What books have you read and loved? I am wanting to have a healthy mix of classics, fun/practical, and inspirational/encouraging books. Send suggestions my way! 
Clean out my dresser and night table (#4)
Write 5 letters (#79) 
Want some snail mail? Let me send you a little handwritten note of encouragement! Add your address to my online address book (totally private) Add Snail Mail Address! 
Complete 10 squares of my crochet blanket (#23)
Start running again (#40)
Go on three date nights 
We have a little jar of really cheap date ideas that we draw from every so often. Check out my list of date ideas here.
Finish A Praying Life by Paul Miller
Have a guest blogger (So excited about this coming next week) (#27)
Try one new recipe (#7)

Goal setting can be fun, and it can also be an idol. I am reminded as I make this list of these words,
"Teach us to number our days, that we may get a heart of wisdom." Psalm 90:12

"Come now, you who say, 'Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such town and spend a year there and trade and make profit'- yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring.  What is your life, for you are but a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, 'If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that." James 4:13-15 

So may I not hold tightly to this list, but remember it is the Lord who wills me to live and breathe...but as long as I am breathing, I will "work heartily as unto the Lord..." (Col. 3:23)...that I may bring honor and glory to his name through my diligence and hard work. 

What goals are you hoping to accomplish this month?

XOXO,

Rachel



101 in 1001

Good Morning to you all! So we had quite the surprise when we woke up this morning...ice and freezing rain. Yesterday I was in shorts and a t-shirt all day and we spent most of the day outside and today the wind chill is 23 degrees...like what is happening??? Anyways...I am longing for Spring more than ever now so I am sharing a little flower love with you in hopes of brightening your Monday morning. 


Don't flowers just make you smile? They surely make me grin from ear to ear. 

So what is 101 in 1001 you may ask? Well...I am so excited to share this awesome idea with you! I stumbled upon this over at Happily Ever Strader while Victoria was working on my rocking new blog design. Reading Victoria's list was so inspiring to me, and I knew I wanted to participate in such an awesome idea. The original blogger who conjured up this idea was Mackenzie over at Design Darling . I perused through several lists that were included on Mackenzie's blog and began creating my own list. The whole concept behind 101 in 1001 is that you choose 101 tasks, goals, or dreams and set out to do them all in 1,001 days. How neat? It gives you a longer time span than just a year so it allows the freedom for big goals and small ones. I have included fun and practical goals as well as large and kinda scary goals. So let's look at my list shall we?

My start date for this journey is TODAY! EEK! March 3, 2014. The end date is November 28, 2016.

  1. Complete the 5 pallet wood side tables
  2. Complete the kitchen hutch
  3. Organize our pantry
  4. Clean out dresser and nightstand table
  5. Put plants on on front porch
  6. Read 20 new books
  7. Try and blog 20 new recipes
  8. Have 100 people follow my blog
  9. Go camping with friends
  10. Celebrate our 1 year anniversary!!
  11. 2 year!!!
  12. 3 year!!!
  13. Celebrate turning 24!
  14. Get a puppy
  15. Post a tour of all rooms in our house
  16. Blog a crochet tutorial
  17. Go to the Gospel Coalition Women's Conference
  18. Blog my story
  19. Surprise a friend with happy mail
  20. Send someone flowers
  21. Host a cookout for Ben's co-workers
  22. Have someone we don't really know over for dinner
  23. Finish my crochet blanket
  24. Send a letter to a family member
  25. Inspire someone else to do 101 in 1001
  26. Write a guest post
  27. Have a guest blogger
  28. Do a giveaway (or 2)
  29. Blog every day for a month
  30. Go completely without my phone or computer for a day
  31. Organize our office space
  32. Organize my craft supplies
  33. Finish calendar project in the master bedroom
  34. Go to visit friends in another state
  35. Go on vacation to the beach
  36. Go hiking in Birmingham
  37. Go to see a Broadway musical
  38. Go to a concert (or 2)
  39. Start a skin care routine
  40. Begin to run regularly again
  41. Complete the 52 date nights with Ben
  42. Learn to shoot a pistol
  43. Finish reading the Chronicles of Narnia together
  44. Finish the office desk
  45. Learn how to coupon
  46. Make book monograms for bedroom
  47. Go on an unplanned spontaneous trip
  48. Ben graduate with his PhD
  49. Have our pictures taken professionally
  50. Have our small group over to our house
  51. Have a couples game night
  52. Learn to make cheesecake
  53. Learn to decorate a cake
  54. Have a Noonday trunk show in our home
  55. Pay for a stranger's meal
  56. Volunteer in our community
  57. Learn to sew well
  58. Learn to knit
  59. Learn how to use my camera (take a photo workshop?)
  60. Get all the pioneer woman's cookbooks
  61. Get a stove top espresso maker
  62. Try different types of tea
  63. Try to meet 6 Instagram or blog friends in real life
  64. Master the pie crust
  65. Bring plants and fresh flowers into our home
  66. Start collecting something
  67. Wake up at 5:30 every morning for a week.
  68. Have my family over for dinner
  69. Have Ben's family over for dinner
  70. Mail care packages to my siblings
  71. Give 5 "just because" presents to my family
  72. Visit a museum
  73. Visit an art show
  74. Participate in a crafts festival
  75. Teach myself calligraphy
  76. Move to a new city
  77. Have a picnic
  78. Go to the mountains
  79. Send 50 handwritten notes
  80. Go to New Orleans for the weekend
  81. Order from a food truck
  82. Run in a color run
  83. Get a new computer
  84. Have someone of a different religion or culture into our home
  85. Try 10 new restaurants
  86. Try 5 new hairstyles
  87. Go without wearing sweatpants all day for a month
  88. Create a new tradition
  89. Read through the Bible chronologically
  90. Create my own recipe
  91. Support someone else in ministry financially
  92. Memorize The New City catechisms
  93. Display some type of Mississippi art in our home
  94. Invest in camping supplies (dutch oven, socks, boots, enamel mugs)
  95. Send Christmas cards
  96. Support a local artist
  97. Tackle a major sewing project
  98. Spend the day with my sister in laws
  99. Watch a documentary
  100. Learn how to make my Grammy's homemade pickles
  101. Learn how to make a caramel cake from scratch
So this is my list. Like I said, there are some fun ideas like create my own recipe, and there are some more serious ideas like move to a new city (if the Lord allows). What do you think? I would love for some of my readers to jump into this journey alongside me and create your very own 101 list. 

I have created a button under my categories section for you to follow along with my progress. I am really excited to post on here for the added accountability and extra encouragement to stick with this. So I will mark off tasks as they are completed, blog some updates, and included info in the 101 in 1001 section about how/when I complete the tasks. 

If any of you have fun or creative ideas on how to help me complete some of these goals please let me know! Let's be doers and seek to motivate others by setting goals both big and small!

Happy Monday!

XOXO,

Rachel