Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Celebrating Valentine's Day with DaySpring


Y'all know I love me some DaySpring, and when it came time to hunt for Valentine's Day gifts they did not disappoint! DaySpring has long been a resource for me when it comes to all things Illustrated Faith, but they have so much more to offer! Books, jewelry, home goods, and more, y'all! Goodness galore!

I was so excited to put together a gift guide for the upcoming holiday (it'll be here oh so soon!), and today I'm sharing a few of my favorite finds.



First up, the You & Me Jumbo Mug! I'm a bit of a mug collector myself, and this pretty red beauty stands out in the pile of wide ceramic coffee cups I've accumulated over the years. I loved it so much that I actually have it out on my counter holding my favorite teas! This is a great gift from him to her or back again, and I think it could be made into a fun coffee-date-in-a-cup surprise with a few of your favorite treats and a Starbucks gift card or two.


Second, we have the LOVE Letterpress Block Set. You can buy individual blocks to build your own name or phrase, or pick up a pre-made set that reminds you of the love chapter, 1 Corinthians 13, or even HOPE and JOY. I have a few phrases up my sleeve and hope to build my collection so I can change the words at will! This would be a great gift for anyone on your list, and something to be kept for years to come!


Number 3 is the first two items in the 5 Love Languages collection, a Journal for 2 and a matching Ready-to-Go Gift Bag! If you haven't read The 5 Love Languages to figure out your own (and those of your family/friends/significant other) you should! You don't have to be dating or married to do so, either. I love the idea of this journal as a way for couples to keep up with one another's thoughts and needs, making it easier to serve in specific ways when one's tank is running low. Plus, isn't it gorgeous?!


The gift set continues with a few more options for that special someone:  Love Notes, Sticky Prayers, and a Coupon Book. The designs match the journal and gift bag, and they are perfect to gift as a set or individually. A great reminder that the little things matter and can make a big difference!


Last but certainly not least is my favorite item on the gift guide, this gorgeous His Word in My Heart Pendant Necklace. A simple heart with a cross along one side says it all: Christ at the center for all to see. It's sleek but meaningful, beautiful but lightweight. I cannot wait to gift a few of these to friends and family oh so soon!

Just for you today, use the code 25FORYOU for 25% off your order AND free shipping! You may want to bump up the shipping to get it in time for Valentine's Day, but with the discount it's totally doable!

What was your favorite item?
Who are you gifting to this year?

*Please note, this post contains some affiliate links. They won't cost you a penny more, but they might help this first year teacher to an extra Sonic run after rehearsal ;)

Monday, February 6, 2017

Simplify: February 2017 Goals

I'm actually getting these goals out before the end of the month! Be proud y'all ;) February is off to a running start, and I'm excited to see what the rest of this month holds. The weekend disappeared far too quickly, and while most of you were watching some big football game, I curled up with my computer and a couple of favorites: Finding Dory and Shakespeare in Love. Neither disappointed.

It's back to my PowerSheets to map out the month ahead, and this time the goals found themselves color coded and piling up quick. Let's take a peek, shall we?


Monthly Goals:
1. Launch the #psalmsdaybyday challenge. Recently I have been struggling to be in the Word consistently, and I have not made time in my schedule to do as much Bible journaling as I'd like to. At the end of January I got the idea to read a Psalm per day, and it was delightful to find that by starting on the first day of February it would wrap up on the last day of June! I shared the first month's list HERE and have been participating with a daily page in the hashtag HERE.

2. Attend the LIT event by Beth Moore with Annie. This is coming up next weekend, and I'm so excited! Beth Moore announced this one day event back in November, created specifically for women in their 20s and 30s who feel called to write and speak, and it was my Black Friday purchase of choice! Annie flies in Friday, and I can't wait to spend the weekend with her!

3. Direct One Act Play well. It's getting into crunch time for our competition show! With only 3 days of rehearsal per week, I need to be diligent and dedicated to our time and my responsibilities during the week. I want to set my kids up for success and model both fun and professionalism along the way.

4. Create a budget/savings plan. This was put on my list of goals at the top of the month, then yesterday my pastor started a series on money and possessions. Talk about great timing! I want to map out some upcoming expenses for the next few months then really take a hard look at where my money is going this month. If you fail to plan you plan to fail, right?

5. Complete the Entrusted study & dig into Seamless. My other plans for getting into the Word are to follow a couple of Bible studies with friends. Annie and I have been going through Entrusted, and I want to tackle the last of it before the conference this weekend. Jenna and I have recently begun Seamless and I'm loving it, too!

6. Read 5+ books. This one made it back onto the list! Honestly, it will probably make it here every month. For February I plan to read the following books: Glass Sword, Cruel Crown, King's Cage, You Are Free, No More Faking Fine, and Nothing to Prove. Stay tuned for the reviews.

7. Simplify health: Ketogenic research/eating. This month's simplification topic is health, and part of that is simplifying my meal prep to eat ketogenic during the week (and to spend less money on food while doing it). I feel so much better when following this map, and it takes less time once it's all prepared. Hopefully it will go better this month than in January!

8. Make a Goodwill pile/run. Health may be the month's theme, but I still want to make an effort to simplify my things as I go. I have started a pile for Goodwill and want to keep building it and make a big donation at the end of the month.

Weekly Goals:
1. Lesson plans turned in on time.
2. Sabbath/unplugged on Sunday.
3. Church/Lifegroup/Discipleship/Bible study.
4. Active 2/3 times weekly.
5. Blog 2/3 times.
6. Complete weekly One Act Play task.

Daily Goals:
Quiet time in the AM + Psalm daily + No $ spent eating out 
Bed at 10:00pm + Up at 5:30am + Prayer/gratitude + Read for fun

Here we go! Let's take week 2 by storm and hit the ground running!

What have you made happen so far in February?
What goal are you working on this week?

*Please note, this post contains some affiliate links. They won't cost you a penny more, but they might help this first year teacher to an extra Sonic run after rehearsal ;)
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Monday, January 30, 2017

January in Review

I'm trying something new this year, making a monthly review to log what all happened in each of these twelve months! I used to be a diligent journaler, but the days of jotting it all down are few and far between lately. 

January was FULL and fun, packed with friends and getting my fill of good books and television.  I traveled a bit, managed some down time, started our competition show, and started to find a routine or semester #2. Find the highlights below.


I've started a playlist for 2017 HERE if you want to check it out!

Now to take a look at January's monthly goals:

1. Co-host the Deep in the Heart RetreatDone, done, and done! To be honest, I'm SO sad it's over. I wrote all about it HERE, and I'd be lying if I said we aren't already dreaming up next year's getaway.

2. Prepare well for the start of schoolJust how well I prepared, I'm not too sure, but I got things ready and jumped into this second semester right off the bat. I still have a lot to learn (and procrastination has gotta go), but I'm working on it.

3. Register for my teaching certification test. This did not quite happen... and by not quite I mean it didn't. I'm going to have to wait until my next paycheck to get this one checked off the list.

4. Begin directing Proof for UIL One Act PlayYes! The show is blocked, their lines are learned, and the set is coming together. I've also signed us up for a couple of clinics and workshops, and I've started putting together my show binder. It's the real deal (and we have 9 weeks of rehearsal instead of 3.5 this time! Hallelujah)!

5. Go to Theatrefest in Galveston, TexasI spent last Wednesday through Saturday at this event, and it was really so helpful! I was thrilled for a getaway, but not super eager to attend the classes initially, and I'm happy to say some of them surprised me! It left me feeling a bit worn out and over-stimulated --who knew theatre teachers could be so crazy and enthusiastic ;)-- but it was certainly worth the trip. Being by the beach was pretty nice, too!

6. Read 5+ booksBoom! This month I managed to tackle Chasing Slow by Erin Loechner,  Winter and Stars Above by Marissa Meyer, Simplify by Bill Hybels and 168 Hours by Laura Vanderkam for the first time, and I re-read Red Queen (that's fun to say!) a second time through. The third book in the series releases in February, so I wanted to make sure that was on this month's list!

7. Complete my Illustrated Faith projects. This one remains to be halfway done. I blogged for Illustrated Faith HERE and HERE, and the next exciting project that launches in February is halfway finished!

8. Meet my January savings goal. Nope. This didn't happen. But I'm learning from my habits this month (thanks to the Mint app) and planning ahead for next month (with Qapital). I also made some bigger purchases, one earlier than expected, namely round trip flights to Seattle and a one-way to Michigan for the summer, plus paying for a hotel for a conference in February, which are one-time expenditures. I'm going to bump up February's savings goal since this month was a bit of a fail.



I finally got back into the blogging swing of things, and it has felt oh so good. Check them out below!


Last but not least this month brought some memorable moments in a number of ways, so I narrowed it down to the top four:

The Goals with Grace devotional kit I wrote for Illustrated Faith launched!

The women's march was incredibly inspiring, and I just loved this girl's gumption.

I stopped in Independence, Texas to visit Old Baylor for the first time in 8 years.

I also discovered Snapchat filters and had a hilarious time trying them all!

January was certainly one for the books, but February, I've got some high hopes for you, too. Off we go!



*Please note, this post contains some affiliate links. They won't cost you a penny more, but they might help this first year teacher to an extra Sonic run after rehearsal ;)

Friday, January 27, 2017

Simplify: January 2017 Goals

Posting goals with only a few days left in the month? Why not? ;) January has been a month brimming with blessings, but it also meant the start of a new semester at school so finding my rhythm has taken a while. It was one of the wisest decisions I could have made to count the first week as a "grace week" to get my bearings and finalize my goals. Like Lara Casey says, "There's nothing magical about January 1st," and this set up gave me space to find what would work and lay the foundation for a good, new year.

I have used the PowerSheets for 3.5 years now, and I was so excited to create my tending list for January. The formatting looks a little different this year, but I think the changes are for the best! The Cultivate What Matters teams continues to refine the pages and processes, and I can't wait to see how they pan out.



I previously shared my 2017 goals and my word of the year, so with those in mind here are my goals for the first month of 2017:

Monthly Goals:
1. Co-host the Deep in the Heart Retreat. This one makes the list because I'm a firm believer in putting events on the calendar/things I'm looking forward to into my goals as a reminder of what I'll make happen each month. I can actually already cross this off the list, and you can read about it HERE.

2. Prepare well for the start of school. January brought the second semester of my first year of teaching, and I had a lot of things that I needed to get ready to go. I want this year to be about planning well ahead of time to put procrastination out of the picture finally and fully.

3. Register for my teaching certification test. I am halfway through my teaching certification, and all that is left is the pedagogy test. I'm actually hoping to register this week!

4. Begin directing Proof for UIL One Act Play. As part of my job as a high school theatre teacher, I have the joy/challenge of directing a show in the spring for our competition. We chose Proof last fall and I started rehearsals the right before school started. We are well on our way!

5. Go to Theatrefest in Galveston, Texas. I'm here as I write this actually! It's a weekend of workshops and professional development by the sea that I've been looking forward to all year long, and here we are!

6. Read 5+ books. My goal is to read 75 books in 2017, so I need to read at least 6-7 books per month to make it. I expect to do a lot of reading this summer, so I'm taking the first few months slower with a goal of 5 books. I've already finished three and I'm halfway though two more. Only a few days left to tackle them!

7. Complete my Illustrated Faith projects. I have a few exciting things in the works with Illustrated Faith that I cannot wait to share more about in the future, but for now I'll keep it pretty vague. I will say I've completed the first major chunk of a project, and I'm waiting for the final details to come back so I can finish the job. Stay tuned!

8. Meet my January savings goal. A major goal for the year is to be more financially responsible, and I have monthly savings goals to help accomplish this task. January's looking to be a little tricky since I've started to purchase plane tickets for my summer travels, but I hope to put the last of it in with my paycheck next week.


I'm also planning to share my weekly and daily goals with you this year to keep myself even more accountable. Some of these directly relate to the above goals or to my yearly goals, and others are smaller tasks I simply want to accomplish as we go.

Weekly Goals:
1. Lesson plans turned in on time.
2. Meal prep for the week on Sunday.
3. Church/Lifegroup/Discipleship/Bible study.
4. Finish a book/play (or 2).
5. Blog 2/3 times.
6. No spending during weekdays.

Daily Goals:
WORD + WATER + ACTIVE + 
READ + WRITE + PREP + GRATITUDE

It has already been really encouraging to see the progress that I've made so far this month, and they feel like the most purposeful/practical that my monthly/weekly/daily goals have ever been! I'm also changing the way I check in on these goals with a monthly review, so stay tuned for that on Monday! You'll find my goal progress, some high lights from what all went down in January, as well as a few of my favorite things. I can't wait!

What have you made happen this January?
What goal are you working on this week?

*Please note, this post contains some affiliate links. They won't cost you a penny more, but they might help this first year teacher to an extra Sonic run after rehearsal ;)

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Illustrated Faith Craving Connections Kit

Community is a game-changer. If I've said it once, I've said it a hundred times, and I will continue to repeat it and marvel at it because it's SO true! When I found out the February Illustrated Faith kit was going to be about desiring and creating connections, I was over the moon! I had so much fun sharing the kit I wrote last month, so I thought I'd give you a peek into the latest one, Craving Connections, here too!

This time I'm trying something new, revealing the kit in a fun video below. Enjoy!


Another fun fact about the Craving Connection kit is that it parters SO well with the Craving Connection book recently released by (in)courage! With 30 different challenges by 30 different writers. According to DaySpring:
Craving Connection is a journey with (in)courage writers sharing real-life stories, practical Scripture application, and connection challenges that will encourage you to: 
(1) embrace the desire God has given each of us for connection,  
(2) invest in meaningful relationships, right where God has you, and  
(3) become the friend you wish you had.


The Craving Connection kit comes in the newly re-designed style including all of our favorites: a 14-day devotional, two pages of stickers, a matching stamp set, magnetic bookmark, stamp backer with fun cut-outs, and three tip-ins.

I can't wait to play with it when I get home from my latest trip, and to see how everyone starts making connections!

What's your favorite part of the kit?
Have you spotted the succulents? 
I'm in love!

*Please note, this post contains some affiliate links. They won't cost you a penny more, but they might help this first year teacher to an extra Sonic run after rehearsal ;) Thanks, loves! 

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