Monday, March 2, 2015

Making March Happen

The shortest month of the year has come and gone, and March is now upon us! The first page for March in my Val Marie Paper Prayer Journal calls it "A Month of Rebirth." February may have had only twenty-eight days, but each was full to the brim in my book. From completing These Shining Lives to every thinkable school assignment being due in one week, last month will not soon be forgotten.

Perhaps the most memorable treat happened over the weekend. I thought I would zip down to visit my parents for a few days and got on the road at noon on Friday. We had seen snow flurries in the forecast but thought little of it. It wasn't until my usual drive time of four and a half hours did not even get me to the Oklahoma-Texas border that I realized how poor of a decision I had made. I have never experienced a snow storm like this. Yes, I know to you Northerners this was nothing, but this southern gal and every other car on the road with her did not know how to handle it!

I saw a dozen cars off the sides of the road, one upside down with an ambulance at its side and I watched as another struggled to maintain control before veering off to my left. It was terrifying. My parents, bless their hearts, kept in touch along the way until I reached my breaking point. I found the first exit with food and lodging and pulled off to wait. Mom and Dad then insisted I cease the trip and wait out the weather there. One quick phone call later and I had a room at a hotel just off the interstate. 

At first I was frustrated nearly to tears. I berated myself for ignoring the weather and insisting on the drive, then for causing my parents to worry so and put me up at a hotel at the halfway point. This was NOT how I had envisioned my weekend. But then, I remembered something. 

Just that morning I had wished for a weekend away, thinking to myself "Wouldn't it be nice to spend a few days alone? No homework, no rehearsal, just reading, writing, and reflecting away from it all?" Well, thanks to the snowstorm I was getting that weekend retreat. God works in mysterious ways, does he not? Talk about a silver lining! And lucky for me I always overpack, so my bag was full of reading materials and journals to keep me company.

With the weekend to myself in a small Oklahoma town covered in ice and snow, there was plenty of time to read, rest, and reflect. I snuggled into clean sheets, ordered myself a pizza, finished a book in a matter of hours, and watched The Theory of Everything while steering clear of social media for two days. The latter was much harder than I thought it would be, but it made the weekend so much more peaceful.

I used Saturday evening to reflect on last month, filling out my PowerSheets and reviewing the goals I had set. Some of them were checked off with ease! Others... not so much.

February Goals:

1. Introduce + co-host #heartoftheWord study on Ephesians. This was certainly a learning process! We launched it, this is true, and when I dove into the book and reflected with these dear friends, it was so encouraging. But February was a busy month for all of us, so Heart of the Word is being reassessed to find better success in the future.
2. Perform These Shining Lives with my whole heart. Yes! Y'all, I cannot believe These Shining Lives is a thing of the past. February brought tech week with long rehearsals adding the lights and sound, then three performances. My parents, sister, and theatre big came into town for it, and their support meant the world to me. Yours, too! Read more about the process HERE
3. Finalize spring break plans. Done, done, and done. In two short weeks I will do one of my favorite things: travel all by my lonesome across the country and back. I am spending the first half of my break with one of The Three Musketeers (the nickname for me and my two best friends from college), Hannah, in Las Vegas. On my way back I will spend a few glorious days in Denver with another best friend, Micah, who I have not seen since graduation. I cannot wait! 
4. Get rid of the excess/donate a few boxes. The process was started but not complete. I have several boxes of donations that need to be dropped off at Goodwill. I simply did not make the time. I will also be participating in an Instagram sale/auction for some of my nicer clothes later this month. I'll keep you posted for where to find the Anthro goods ;)
5. Start the contentment challenge. Errrrr... I tried. Sort of. Starting afresh this month.
6. Read 3 booksI am happy to say this one was nearly completed! I had been listening to the audiobook version of Make It Happen and completed that last week (9 hours of Lara Casey speaking vision over my heart? Yes please!), and I read The Fringe Hours during my surprise retreat this weekend. SO GOOD! I did not finish a third, but I started Longbourn, Every Bitter Thing is Sweet, and the physical copy of Make It Happen, so hopefully I can cross those off in March.
7. Prep weekday meals at home. Yes and no here. I did not eat out as much as I did previously and made a conscious effort to prep more at home, and I plan to do the same this next month.
8. Complete January's project life pages. I started, that counts right? February kept me busier than expected, even after my show closed, so I'm looking forward to catching up on PL soon.

Reflecting on goals unfinished is hard, especially seeing all the unchecked spaces on my monthly tending list. But it's about progress not perfection right? Every unchecked box is a space for grace, an opportunity to show compassion for myself and make improvements in the future. Now onto the beautiful month of March.

March Goals:

1. Attend Hope Spoken. Ah! This conference has been highly anticipated for almost a year! I remember reading about it when I was in Seattle, jumping for joy when my mom gifted me a ticket last spring (I had been awake all night oh-so-sick and it nursed my tired heart quiet well), and started counting down the days. I'm rooming with a friend from Baylor (and we're looking for one or two gals to add to our room if you need a spot). I cannot wait for this!
2. Visit Hannah + Micah for spring break. My spring breaks in college were spent on mission trips in a town near the Texas-Mexico border, and while I am sad not to be attending Awaken this year, I am thrilled to see these ladies near and dear to my heart! Distance has separated us since graduation but that will soon be remedied. Plus, traveling by myself brings me so much joy! Long layovers at the airport? Perfect for people watching and reading if you ask me. Bring it on!
3. Read 3 books. I actually have this ridiculous goal of reading 100 books this year + not buying any new ones, so I should probably expand this list. I want to finish Every Bitter Thing is Sweet, Longbourn, and Make it Happen, but I will probably toss Seven, The Circle Maker, and Z in my carry on for all my trips (so that makes it....6 this month?).
4. Follow the She Reads Truth Lent study. I began this study last week and am already a few days behind, but opening this app instead of Instagram early in the morning has already been refreshing. I'm hoping to get caught up this week. Join me?
5. Get caught up on Project Life. I started the 2015 album last month and I want to knock January and February out before the end of March. I'm a bit of a perfectionist, so the idea of taking time to get good at scrapbooking again is a little daunting, but I'm willing to make it happen.
6. Visit a community group. I miss living in community. So much. My hope is to visit at least one Bible study/community group this month, looking for Christ-followers my age. Wish me luck.
7. Purge my closet/insta sale. I started clearing out the excess last month, but I admit that the pile of clean clothes and shoes in front of my closet has kept me from doing much more. A few blogger friends and I are hosting an Instagram auction/sale of some of our clothes later this month, so I want to get those prepped asap.
8. Finish the wall collage behind my TV. That wall has been driving me crazy lately. I picked up a pad of prints from Me & My Big Ideas at Hobby Lobby last week using a 40% off coupon, and I plan to washi tape the collage on the wall until I can get my hands on frames. It may be a one-at-a-time attempt so I can use these coupons over and over again.
9. The Contentment Challenge. I really stink at this. My self-control when it comes to shopping is SO BAD. This may end up on my goals list every month this year, and that's okay because it helps a little more each time. It will be difficult with a vacation and conference in the middle of the month, but if I'm careful with my spending elsewhere then I'll have more leeway on those days. 

What are you planning to make happen this month? Do we share any of the same goals? 
If so, let's encourage each other along the way! Life is better together, right?

PS. I changed my Instagram handle last week. I am now @baileyjrobert! I hated letting go of my middle name, but I wanted consistency between my Instagram and Twitter accounts (and @baileyjeanrobert was ONE LETTER too long for Twitter... BAH!). Anywho, find me at @baileyjrobert HERE and HERE to follow along for glimpses of my goal progress and daily adventures. 

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