I held back tears as I walked around the gym in the last few minutes of the workout. I was frustrated.
My head was all there, but my body could not simply lift my feet more than an inch between the two wooden boxes. Even then, I could barely hold them afloat for more than a few seconds. My arms would shake from the weight and I glanced at all the others around me enviously.
How could this be?! I was all in. I showed up again today, even when my aching arms and legs could barely walk down the stairs to shuttle the kids to school. I came anyway for another grueling day, and here I was ending it feeling disappointed. “Why won’t my body just cooperate?” I screamed in my head.
The trainer reassured me, “this was a hard work-out. You will get stronger. We all started here.” I left a little broken but with more resolve to show up again tomorrow.
You see, I had core strength before, I could do this in the past…but I had let ALL of it go on an unspecified length of a vacation. Not just my health, but a lot of areas of my life.
Wednesday’s workout reminded me that I can’t snap my fingers and be wherever or whatever I want to be. I have to work at it.
(image above by jenwoodhouse.com and the current lock screen and desktop on my phone)
So begins 2016 and a new set of goals and a humbling start line! I share all of this from a good, happy place. A place where I’m all the more wiser and hopeful of a new chapter in many areas of my life. My one little word for 2016 is LIGHT and I’m feeling it very much so day by day.
It was fitting that I started my Lara Casey Power Sheets in November, with an intention to start the tending lists in December. I went through all the exercises of what worked and what didn’t work in 2015, lessons learned, and what I was saying yes and no to. I got all the way up to the big grand goal setting piece and LIFE then happened those next few weeks and I didn’t pick them up again until late last week.
In the end, it was the best plan of all: and His plan I believe, to reset a few things in my heart to prepare for this year.
Yesterday, I said a bittersweet goodbye to my Studio Calico family. It was an honor to help lead the marketing at this amazing company and I will miss these lovely ladies and many others so much! I will share more about the next chapter in the coming weeks, but for now, I’m just so grateful I had the opportunity to work among such incredibly talented friends, artists, and brands this past year and a half, including not just Studio Calico, but also Ali Edwards, TomKat Studio, A Beautiful Mess, Brene Brown, Baby Boy Bakery and Big Picture Classes.
A few lessons I learned from what DID work in 2015:
1. Faith – This grew greatly in 2015. God put so many faithful women in my life this last year and I’m grateful for their examples. Reading devotionals and the First 5 App. Regularly attending church on Sundays. Listening to worship music in the car. All of it carried me through a very tough year of growing.
2. Creativity – making this a priority in my life worked well. I was grateful that my work at Studio Calico inspired me to start scrapbooking again. I enjoyed this year finding small bits and ways to incorporate creativity and “making” every day – from my planner to my journaling bible. My days are so much better when I have created something. It’s definitely a fuel for me.
3. Relationships – putting more effort in my marriage and my little family has done wonders. “High and Low” daily shares at the dinner table, more date nights, more conversation all has been wonderful. Making regular phone calls with friends like Carli, Nicolle and Rhiannon on my many drives to Kentucky were a life raft at times in this past season.
Other things that did work: Ending the chapter for now on Amber Housley Weddings, volunteering as Room Mom at school, Inspired Retreat, being okay with knowing I can’t do it all, Jesus Calling devotional, Making Things Happen conference, organizing the first Inspired Coterie Mastermind group, family beach vacation, new dahlia blooms and zinnias in the garden, our family scrapbook album, journaling bible, morning coffee dates with my husband, healing and forgiveness in a friendship, GRACE.
Lessons I learned from what DIDN’T work:
1. Dwelling on my circumstances and not taking action to change or affect them. Leaning in often to worry, anxiety, and way too much guilt.
2. Not making my business a priority. I spent a lot of 2015 going with the current but not actively paddling anywhere. It felt wasteful and I felt pretty unworthy at times. All of us have been given these gifts and when we lay them to the side without giving the proper care and attention, we are doing a disservice. To realize I am capable of serving and impacting so many and not being intentional or taking action felt pretty crummy. I held onto that feeling for a long time until I realized at the end of 2015 I didn’t want to sit in that shadow anymore.
3. Self-care. Imagine that with three underlines underneath it. I left the Making Things Happen conference in November and had at least a dozen people over the next few weeks text me to ask if I had taken my massage appointment yet. You see, I was gifted a certificate TWO YEARS AGO and another one for my past birthday, and I had done nothing with them. Always justifying I had no time, and there were other things needed me more. Everyone and everything needed me more than myself. This was more than a massage, this was me procrastinating on life (my health, my family, everything) and putting myself last.
I could share my “no’s”, but let’s get on over to the light part shall we and talk about what I’m saying “YES!” to in 2016:
self-care, prayer & faith, my husband, my family, my goals, my business, reading, writing, creating, worship music, phone calls, mail, relationships, grace, encouraging others, getting outside, my health, gardening, Bloom Garden Journal, beach vacations, budgeting, Southern Styled, BELIEVING I AM CAPABLE.
A few of my high-level goals for 2016:
1. Live lighter. Cultivate a life and home with less physical and mental clutter. Revisit family budget. Monthly purges.
2. Refine & rebuild my business. Realign my mission and be intentional with my business activities so they align to my core values. Finish past business learning investments. Simplify. Refine and refresh Inspired Retreat so it serves well and even more so than past gatherings.
3. Live a healthy lifestyle. One the promotes activity and nourishment so I am stronger, lighter, and have more energy for my family.
4. Continue to grow in my faith, learn more, and seek Him more. Dig deeper into our small group study. Memorize verses monthly. Incorporate serving into our family activities.
5. Shine in my role as a wife and mother. Intentionally plan date nights and activities. Find ways to bring more joy to our home and less stress. Simplifying and saying yes when it counts.
6. Make self-care appointments weekly. Massage, pedicure, lunch dates with friends, movie watching, book reading, gratitude journaling.
7. Make “creating” a habit. Weekly scrapbooking and illustrated faith journaling times. Gardening. Cooking. Find a new creative workshop or class to take.
8. Launch Southern Styled. My new online home for sharing business learning and creative making will debut this Spring 2016.
9. Launch the Bloom Garden Planner. My passion project: part garden journal, planner, and memory keeper. I’ve wanted this for two years now and it is finally being developed in time for the new growing season.
There’s a lot more to share in the coming weeks, including a ‘bucket list’ of action items that relate to the above goals. I’ll give you a hint to one of them: climbing the rope at the gym I mentioned above.
I look forward to updating you here on the blog monthly as we navigate 2016 together! Do you have your goals for 2016? I’d love to see them! Do know there are no rules to goal setting – you could have 1 goal or 10 — but the main point is to set goals that are rooted in what matters. Share a link or post in the comments below.
The Inspired Retreat October 2015 attendees received a set of the Power Sheets as a wonderful sponsor gift from the Lara Casey Shop. I’m excited to see everyone put them into action these next few weeks!