Powered by Blogger.

Six Game Changers from 2018

It's hard to believe we're already approaching the start of another new year! If you're like me, you've had 2019 on the brain since about October 26th, and it's tempting to skip right to it. But one of my favorite things about this stretch of time between Christmas and New Year's Eve is the chance to reflect and prep for what's ahead.

The Cultivate What Matters PowerSheets have that built in, with lists of what worked and what didn't, and this year I was even more inspired by Lara Casey's list to look back and find the 5 biggest game changers from 2018. From daily habits to monthly appointments, here's what made the list.

1. Weekly Counseling Sessions
I first started thinking about counseling in 2014. I was in the thick of grad school, experiencing yet another major life transition in yet another new city, and my anxiety was wrecking havoc on my heart and my daily life. Time and money were my biggest excuses, so I shelved it. And I didn't think I'd gone through anything "bad enough" to need counseling.  Insert the same excuses and thought process going into my first job and next new city in 2016, only this time I looked up a counselor and bookmarked her name. Still, I did nothing. Then this summer I started experiencing weekly panic attacks and daily emotional breakdowns, feeling more stuck and lost than ever before. It was only then that I clicked the bookmark and sent this woman an e-mail.

It's been six months of meeting weekly and it has been worth every penny. Having a place to process through what I've experienced, what I'm feeling, and the thoughts that can rule and wreck my days has been so helpful. I've cried, I've sat quietly, I've worried about "getting it right", but I've kept going and I don't plan to stop any time soon. In the spring I'm switching to going every other week, but I hope to continue throughout 2019.

2. Bi-Weekly Budget Check-in
Getting my finances in order was one of my biggest goals (and challenges) in 2018. It was an area of a lot of stress and I typically operated under the "If I don't check my bank account and I don't get any alerts I'm sure I'm fine" mentality, and I swiped my credit card way too often. In August, after my summer of travels, I sat down with my mom for accountability and got a good look at everything. I now sit down and go over the budget and my account twice a month (once at each paycheck) to make sure everything is in order and taken care of.

When I ordered my 2019 GoldenCoil planner, I made sure to include monthly budget sheets to keep it all in one place. The goal is to be out of credit card debt by the end of 2019, and in order to make it happen these check-ins, too, will continue.

3. Monthly Massages
Self-care is an area of my life I all to often toss out the window to schedule in something else. Since my first year of teaching I'd talked about getting a massage after "my next show" but I never got around to scheduling it. But this summer, in the midst of a crazy season of travel and carrying the physical pain and tension of anxiety between my shoulders for too long, I scheduled one at my local Massage Envy. At the end, they talk you through their promotions and membership, and that's when I thought, "You know, I'm going to let you talk me into this" and I did.

It has been amazing! I worked it into my monthly budget and I get at least one per month, scheduling it often after a counseling session, and I try to take the night completely to myself (either at a bookstore or coffee shop afterwards). I go to the same two ladies and it's been so sweet to get to know them, sometimes we talk through it and sometimes we don't, and they are both so encouraging and AMAZING at what they do. They can tell when it's been a tougher month stress-wise and going consistently has helped the pain immensely. This is definitely a keeper!

4. Worship Music on 24/7
I listen to music ALL the time. I used to make monthly playlists on iTunes, and a single song can take me back to times in college and high school, hard heart places, too. I love country music and indie music and Broadway shows, but I came to a place early in the year where those things were no longer encouraging to my soul. I needed strength and was grasping for it wherever I could, so I made a playlist called "Rest Secure" that would fill my car, my classroom, my morning, or my breakdown with truth, even though I couldn't always sing it myself. It's still the playlist I go to again and again, and I've included it below for you, too.

5. Daily Adoration
I have been a long-time fan of Sara Hagerty, and her books Every Bitter Thing is Sweet and Unseen make the top 10 list of my favorite books with ease. She shares monthly downloads of Adoration, characteristics of God and a coordinating scripture. I use the printable in my prayer journal and sometimes when I sleep through my alarm or don't quite get my "full" quiet time, this is what I'll turn to. I've been using them for several years but most consistently in 2018.  I highly recommend them!

6. Qapital Saving App
Along with going through my budget at least twice a month, automating savings has also been super helpful! I've used the Qapital app for over a year now, and it's been great and even fun to set goals and rules for how savings increase. My favorites are the "set and forget" rule where I can tell the app to set aside $5, $10, or however much each week and the "guilty pleasure" rule where any time I go to Sonic or Chick-fil-a it moves $10 or $20 over into the designated account. So far I'm saving for a trip back to New York City, school supplies for next fall, and our family vacation this summer.  You can check it out HERE and if you set your first goal after using that link we'll both get $5 for it. :)

.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .

A few other favorites from the year:

  • Podcasts. Lots of podcasts! Specifically That Sounds Fun, Proverbs 31, & Cultivate Your Life
  • The Enneagram! I'm a 9w1 and it's been so helpful to know! More to come on this.
  • Meal prepping my lunches. It's a small task on Sundays but saves time and money later. 
  • Using Cladwell to get dressed in the morning! It picks my clothes for me out of what I already own! More on this soon, too.

Looking ahead, each of these things will be on repeat for 2019. Some of them were small steps toward healing, and others were what felt like big risks that are leading to breakthrough. I cannot encourage you enough to make your list. Look back find what works. Look ahead and choose a few small changes to make 2019 your best year yet.

Now it's your turn. 
What was a game-changer for you this year?

Cultivating December Goals

Gone again, here again. Sounds about right, right? I'm all over the place this year with the blog and being online, but I think that's okay. I'm still trying to find the balance, and the trying is worth it. But for December, we're back in action, and it's time for some monthly goals, don't you think?

It's the end of the school semester and the start of the holiday season, and both of those things make my heart so happy! It's also time to prep for 2019, but that will come later.

We festivized the mantle for Christmas! 5 stocking for the 5 roommates!

This month has more events than to-do's, but I think that's the way it should be around the holiday season. Lots of celebrating and gathering with community and less trying to do-do-do, go-go-go. On that note, here we go!

December 2018 Goals

Monthly Goals:

  • Close It's a Wonderful Life well Ta-da and ta-DONE! This week we closed our Christmas play so I can check it off already! We performed a live radio play at the historic movie theatre in our little downtown, and it was delightful! 
  • Finish the fall semester with gusto. Only three weeks left until Christmas break, y'all! The goal is to finish strong and not check out too early. Lucky for me we're in the midst of our musical theatre unit and doing How the Grinch Stole Christmas in class. What fun!
  • Enjoy Christmas at Pemberley with friends! Remember when I talked about filling my creative tank? I'm headed to see a play called Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley with friends this weekend and I cannot wait!
  • Clear the Extra Christmas Decor. I finished a daily decluttering challenge in November, and I want to keep the momentum going by getting rid of the excess Christmas decor that I didn't use this year. 
  • Complete 2019 PowerSheets Prep! It's PowerSheets prep week with Cultivate What Matters! I've started my new set and plan to go slow this month.
  • Finish 2018 strong + with joy. This one pretty much speaks for itself. Only one month left to finish the year well and look for joy (my word of the year) before the new year begins. 
  • Read 5+ books. I've only got a few weeks and a couple of books left to reach my 52 books goal for the year! I want to read/finish these books this month (plus a couple more):
    • The Bear and the Nightingale *in progress*
    • A Portrait of Emily Price
    • Becoming Mrs. Lewis
    • Creativity, Inc.

Weekly Goals:

  • Sabbath on Sundays. Make time to rest, dig in the Word, and prepare my heart for the week. 
  • Get active 2x's. Planet Fitness a couple of times a week. 
  • Timesheet turned in. I'm working some extra events at school and can't miss this. 
  • Blog 2 times. Just trying to get back in the rhythm here!
  • Finish a book or 2! I need to finish 6 this month to complete the challenge.

Daily Goals:
  • Study the Word.
  • Daily prayer topic.
  • Get active.
  • Drink water.
  • Read for fun.
With Christmas break on the horizon, I know full well some of these will shift, but it doesn't hurt to plan well! Writing it out, keeping the list where I can see it on my desk at school and on the chalkboard in my room, I think 2018 will come to a solid close. Wish me luck!

What about y'all? What are you going to cultivate in December? 

Cultivating September Goals

Sweet, sweet September. There's something about the shift into this ninth month of the year that has me reaching for my chunky sweaters and fall candles, despite the fact that Texas is still in the upper 90's (and will be through October...).

For three years I hosted The Blog-tember Challenge here on the blog (201420152016,), writing every day for 30 days, connecting with women and writers from across the world, but last fall I took a hiatus from the internet and put the thing on pause.

I have to admit I was tempted, in typical Bailey-fashion, to relaunch it this month, eager to dig back in at 60mph when I've blogged once in a blue moon (at best) over the past eight months. I'm an all or nothing kinda girl, so it sounded enticing... for a minute. But honestly it's pretty impractical, and that's okay.

At the start of this September, I am two weeks into my third year of teaching high school and two weeks into teaching at my new school. And at this moment I am two weeks away from opening night of my first production at this school, Peter and the Starcatcher. So... Blog-tember Challenge? Definitely not going to happen.

But a few blog posts? Definitely a possibility.

A rainbow of items fresh off the laminator? Makes my teacher heart flutter!

With that in mind, what better way to start than with my goals for the month? These, too, have been directly impacted by my teaching status and upcoming show, simplified and narrowed to suit the season. I have a habit of being too ambitious in moments like these, so this year I'm attempting to stay off that path.

September 2018 Goals

Monthly Goals:

  • Direct Peter and the Starcatcher well.  Surprise! This is number one on the list! I want to plan well, lead well, help my students have fun and make meaningful theatre, all the way through the end. September 13th will be here before we know it! 
  • Prep for and host a garage sale. The house I moved into has had a bunch of girls in and out over the years, so our garage is FULL (of my things included...) so we are having a garage sale to clear the clutter! It's time to be ruthless about what I have, what I need, and what I don't need to hang onto.
  • Implement a new fitness routine! My friend Samantha and I have started going to the gym, and my hope is to go 3x's per week! I gave myself grace when traveling this summer and transitioning into school, but I'm hoping to find a consistent schedule. And it's so much better with accountability!
  • Celebrate, savor, and protect Sabbath. During show season, my Saturdays usually hold workdays and rehearsal, so my plan is to truly treat Sunday as a day of rest. From 6pm on Saturdays to 6pm on Sundays, I will do no school related work. Instead I will rest, attend church, spend time with friends, and relax. 
  • Read 5+ books. I've only got a few months left to reach my 52 books goal for the year! I want to read/finish these books this month:
    • The Bear and the Nightingale *in progress*
    • Imperfect Courage *in progress*
    • Small Great Things
    • King's Cage
    • To All the Boys I've Loved Before

Weekly Goals:

  • Prep on Sunday evenings. Meal plan, pick out clothes, fill out my planner, etc. 
  • Get active 3x's. Planet Fitness with Sam at least 2x's after school, maybe one morning. 
  • Lesson plans in on time. They're due sunday nights, but hopefully will be in on Fridays. 
  • One night of downtime and counseling. Tuesday nights are reserved for relaxing post-counseling at my favorite coffee shop.
  • Finish a book! One book per week gets at least 4/5 books for the month!

Daily Goals:
  • Drink water.
  • Daily adoration by Sara Hagerty
  • Gratitude list before bed.
  • No spending money (besides gas or groceries).
  • Read for fun.
With something as big as our fall play on the monthly list, I'm hoping to spend more time focusing on the daily goals to keep a sustainable and healthy routine. We'll see how it goes! Also, it feels so good to be back writing in this space. I didn't put it down as a weekly goal, but I hope to pop in around 2x's each week with some kind of post, just to get back in the rhythm. Wish me luck!

What about y'all? What are you going to cultivate in September? 

Wishing on Twenty-Seven

Is it just me or does twenty-seven sound soooooooo much older than twenty-six? Anyone else? I'm a weekend away from hitting the big 2-7, and I'm really pumped to spend the remaining days in hill country with some gal pals. Relaxing, touring some wineries, and simply catching up on life is at the top of our agenda for sure!

In the meantime I thought I'd share a few things that have stumbled onto my birthday wishlist! And I may or may not have picked up two of these things for myself since making the graphic... oops ;)

One.  This is actually two-in-one because at the top of my wishlist is an Apple Watch and a fun interchangeable band from Casetify. A few teacher friends -as well as my mom and sister- have the watches and they seem really interesting! 

Two.  I heard a beautiful rendition of the Doxology when I was researching a play last year, and I found this sheet music wall sign on Etsy that would look beautiful in my new house (moving in with new roommates in two weeks)!

Three. Who doesn't love a pair of funny, comfy socks? Especially if they're bookish! 

Four. I love wearing rings on my middle, right hand finger but I've only had cheapy ones from Old Navy. I love the idea of these stackable coordinate rings, especially with how often I've moved! I think I want to get Waco, Seattle, and College Station since those have been some of the biggest seasons (and favorite places) in recent years!

Five. A friend of mine recently posted about How to Walk Away, and I've picked it up several times at Barnes & Noble. It could be a fund end of the summer read!

Six. I could say yes to just about anything Lindsay Letters, but this large creatives calendar in The Classic (24x30) would look great in my classroom or even my new bedroom! I love a paper planner but seeing things big and bold on the wall is always helpful, too. 

Seven. These actually came in the mail yesterday! I've had my eye on these Rifle Paper Co Keds, and when they had a sale-on-sale I scooped them up!

Eight.  I'm not typically a bracelet person but having a few words and phrases in front of me has been very helpful this season, and I'd love a custom bracelet that says "rest secure" or "courage, dear heart" to wear this year.

Nine. Last but not least (which I also already purchased!) was a ticket to Silobration at Magnolia Market! I have gone the past two years with one of my best friends to shop the market and see Johnnyswim in Waco, and I'm excited to go back again this year! 

Aren't those fun?! Hopefully by blowing a few candles off my cake a few more of those will appear in my closet ;) Now off to adventure with some friends to await the big day.

Any of these fit your fancy? 
Anything else I should add to my list?

Cultivate July Goals

One of these days I'll be blogging from my own home or my own state. Maybe. ;) Once again I am on the go, but I'm making time to do a little goal planning and checking in on the progress along the way. I actually sat down and filled out my PowerSheets on July 2nd (progress!) though promptly hopped on another plane to adventure in Washington, D.C. for a while.

It's another month full of travel with D.C., Detroit, Cincinnati, Austin, and Seattle on the list before August rolls around, so I tried to keep all of this in mind when planning July. It's also my birthday month which just makes everything more fun! So what's on the agenda? Let's see!

We found so many fun murals in Maryland that an impromptu photoshoot was a must! 

July 2018 GOALS

Monthly Goals:

  • Visit Washington, D.C., Detroit, and Cincinnati. In progress! I spent the last three days in Washington with a friend from my lifegroup, I landed in Detroit yesterday, and at the time this goes live I'll be on my way to Cincy! It's a whirlwind week of seeing sweet friends, for sure!
  • Have a girls' weekend in Hill Country. This is on the horizon for next weekend. Can't wait to get away with some sweet friends and celebrate a few birthdays (mine included)!
  • Celebrate turning 27! This one is one week away, and I'm SO EXCITED! Birthdays are the best!
  • Visit Seattle for a wedding. I'm so looking forward to visiting one of my favorite places to celebrate some of my favorite people!
  • Pack the house & move across town. Packing is in progress, and later this week (between trips) I'll start moving things over. I've got until the 31st to make it all happen.
  • Prep the fall semester calendar for Viking Theatre. I actually checked this one off the list with my co-teacher last week! It's going to be quite the year.
  • Join a new gym. Still to be done this month. I cancelled my old membership and have a new gym in mind.
  • Try a new budget plan for my debt snowball. Traveling has made this tough, but I hope to sit down and plan ahead for August.
  • Read 5+ books. Making progress here for sure! Two down, three to go.
    • Midnight Blue
    • Words in Deep Blue
    • The Bronte Plot *in progress*
    • Glass Sword *in progress*

Weekly Goals:

  • Call home. 
  • Invest in my gal pals! 
  • Finish a book. 
  • Financial check-in on Sundays.
  • Summer lifegroup!

Daily Goals:
  • In the Word.
  • Time in Prayer. 
  • Drink Water.
  • Read for Fun.
Keeping the daily and weekly goals the same in June and July has been SO helpful so far, even when on the go! Simple and straight forward with lots of travel on the agenda. Just the way I like my summers (and my birthday month)!

What about y'all? What did you make happen in July? 
Any fun travels coming up?