10 Goals I’m Working Toward in 2017

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I’m a terrible goal setter. I will just say that right off the bat. But, I don’t feel like that excludes me from TRYING AGAIN. PRESSING ON. Each of us is a work in progress, yes? So if I believe that, I must wake up and try again!

I’ve been using Power Sheets by Lara Casey to help me be more intentional and GRACE FILLED when it comes to setting goals for myself. Her blog posts and resources on this topic are so full of GRACE and also so good for us moms who have a million things on our plates! (See her current goal setting series, her book Make Things Happen and her resource Power Sheets for creating goals.) 

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10 Goals I’m Setting in the New Year

  1. More consistent Scripture memory (I’m starting with Colossians 3, read this post for more info)
  2. Cooking more meals, eating dinner more as a family (this will help with my goal of eating healthier AND eating out less!)
  3. Think & pray before committing to ANYTHING new
  4. Regular exercise (I’m already signed up for Crystal Paine’s 15 Days to a Healthier You online course that costs $15 and has daily facebook live videos! Join me!)
  5. Smoothie or salad daily!
  6. 1-on-1 time with each child each month
  7. Implement weekly newsletter for my email subscribers
  8. Pray more. Worry less.
  9. Learn to behold God in all things. (See my word of the year for more on BEHOLDING my God!)
  10. Phone-free homeschool mornings (goal is from 9am-Noon)
  11. Bonus goal! (LOL) Share about essential oils and how beneficial they are by having more classes or get togethers with those who want to live healthier lives in 2017.

A few days ago I had a few hours to myself and was able to sneak away to a coffee shop and just pray and dream. I used to do this more often and I miss it so much! (That should be another goal for the new year!)

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Accountability

So what are your favorite ways to remain accountable when you set goals? Follow through is the hardest part! I would love to hear your ideas! I’m wondering/hoping if I could blog monthly about these goals if that would help ME to keep at it!

What goals are you setting in the new year? Let’s call them GRACE GOALS. And let’s be courageous enough to show ourselves GRACE as we work toward forming new habits to help us grow more healthy both physically and spiritually!

Word of the Year 2017: Behold

 

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“We become what we behold…”

When I read this quote above from the book Women of the Word by Jen Wilkin, I couldn’t get it off my mind. I knew it’s what I wanted to focus on in 2017. I want to train my mind, heart and soul to BEHOLD my God and not my circumstances.

What are you beholding today? What did you behold most of all in 2016? Would you like to join me in learning to behold more of HIM and less of me in 2017?

One huge way we can learn to behold God is to learn more of Him. How do we learn more about the God of the universe? By studying His Word. We study God’s Word to know Him more. To behold our God.

Join me in starting 2017 by reading through the book Women of the Word together in our closed facebook group and learning to treasure the Word of God which helps us to KNOW our God more. Click here to get all the details on our book study!  We are reading the book together along with a new write the Word plan and a passage to memorize! 

Let’s behold our God in 2017.

{If you want a tool to help you throughout the year as you work through your word of the year, I highly recommend the book My One Word! I wrote more about that book here.}

 

Behold: Word of Year 2017

My Prayer for 2017

Join me in praying Psalm 119:18, whether your word this year is behold or not! <3

Lord, open my eyes that I may behold wondrous things out of Your law. May I know You more this year than last. May I become more like You in the coming days and months. May I be transformed into Your likeness one day at a time.

Print your own copy of this verse & prayer. 

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Phone Wallpaper

If you’re like me and want something visual for your phone as a reminder of your goals and purposes, you can save this image and use it as wallpaper for your phone! (It’s easier if you’re on your phone, just tap on the image and save it to your phone! Then tap on the image again and choose the option “use as wallpaper.)

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Do you choose a word of the year?

I’ve chosen a word of the year for quite a few years now! Here are some previous years!

If you’ve chosen a word or theme, I would love to hear what God has placed on your heart in the comments!

A Greenhouse of Prayer

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“We can be loyal advocates, stubborn intercessors. We can take our parenting fears to Christ. In fact, if we don’t, we’ll take our fears out on our kids. Fear turns some parents into paranoid prison guards who monitor every minute, check the background of every friend. They stifle growth and communicate distrust. A family with not breathing room suffocates a child. 

Bring your children to me. Raise them in a greenhouse of prayer.

Parents, we can’t protect children from every threat in life, but we can take them to the Source of life. We can entrust our kids to Christ. Even then, however, our shorelines appeals may be followed by a difficult choice.” 

from the book Fearless by Max Lucado

I really, really needed this reminder. God is the author and perfecter of my faith, and that of my children. I am not sovereign over my kids, their faith, their growth, their choices.

If I live out a life of fear, especially fear regarding my children, I will suffocate them.

I have to admit that I have struggled with fear over the last year or so. I fear that I have failed them, I fear their failure, I fear that my bad choices will lead to their bad choices. It’s a vicious cycle, really. And it does absolutely not one bit of good.

A wise friend once told me that the salvation of my kids was not dependent upon me.

Ahem. 

Do I trust God to be God for my children? Or do I not?

Another friend recently reminded me of this verse that I needed to read and preach to myself!

“No weapon formed against me will prevail, and I will refute every tongue that accuses me. This is my heritage as a servant of the Lord.” Isaiah 54:17

NO WEAPON, friends. None at all. Not one weapon formed against me will ever prevail. I can REFUTE the lies of the enemy with the TRUTH of God’s Word. I can and I must.

I must choose faith over fear. 

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More from Fearless

What if Faith Was Your Default?

An Unhurried Christ

Fearless by Max Lucado

An Unstirred Christ

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“Jesus got into a boat, and his followers went with him. A great storm arose on the lake…” Matthew 8:23-24

“Wouldn’t you hope for a more chipper second sentence, a happier consequence of obedience? ‘Jesus got into a boat. His followers went with him, and suddenly a great rainbow arched in the sky, a flock of doves hovered in happy formation, a sea of glass mirrored their mast.’ Don’t Christ-followers enjoy a calendar full of Caribbean cruises? No. This story sends the not-so-subtle and not-too-popular reminder: getting on board with Christ can mean getting soaked with Christ. Disciples can expect rough seas and stout winds. 

“In the world you will [not might, may or could] have tribulation.” John 16:33

Christ followers contract malaria, bury children, and battle addictions, and as a result, face fears. It’s not the absence of storms that sets us apart. It’s whom we discover in the storm: an unstirred Christ.” 

from the book Fearless by Mac Lucado

I don’t know about you, but I need an unstirred Christ in my life. I need His constant love and grace. I need the Rock of my salvation. I need His steady.

My inconsistency is desperate for the consistency of Christ.

My roller coaster of emotions longs for the steady faith of Jesus.

I think there is a good reason that the Bible mentions the ROCK of our salvation. As frail, sin-natured humans, what we really need most of all is our God, our Rock.

In the midst of our trials, God is faithful.

In the middle of relationships falling apart, God’s love is constant.

In the face of terrible sickness, The Great Physician knows best.

In the storm, He is sleeping. He is unafraid. He sees the big picture. He knows what is best for us. He has NO NEED to fear. None. No doubt, no questioning His Loving Father, no wondering what tomorrow might bring.

No fear. 

Sometimes I need the reminder that in this world we WILL face tribulation. We were never promised care-free lives with no troubles. In fact, I believe God uses the suffering to make us more like Jesus. We need the hard times to show us how desperate we are for Jesus.

May I learn from Jesus and live my life in bold faith with no fear for the future.

Fearless by Max Lucado

More From Fearless

What if Faith Was Your Default? 

A Greenhouse of Prayer

What If Faith Was Your Default?

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“Fear never wrote a symphony or poem, negotiated a peace treaty, or cured a disease. Fear never pulled a family out of poverty or a country out of bigotry. Fear never saved a marriage or a business. Courage did that. Faith did that. People who refused to consult or cower to their timidities did that. Fear herds us into a prison and slams the doors. 

What if faith, not fear, was your default reaction to threats?” 

from the book Fearless by Max Lucado

Fearless is my mantra for 2016. I want to seek the approval of God more than the approval of man. I want to seek to please God and not facebook. I want to raise my children with the wisdom that God has given me as a mother and not what the world deems necessary. I want to seek the Truth more than what feels good. I want to live by God’s Word and not my feelings.

I want to choose faith over fear.

Fearless by Max Lucado

More From The Book Fearless

An Unstirred Christ

A Greenhouse of Prayer

Some Encouragement for the New Year

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I’ve chosen a word for this year that kind of scares me a little bit. What about you? Do you choose a word of the year? This book, My One Word,  will really help you throughout the coming year if you do choose a word!

My word for 2016: FEARLESS.

{You can scroll through ALL my “word of the year” posts from years past by clicking here! Past words: confidence, purposeful, abide, contentment, faith, rest, compassion. Wow! Can this really be the 8th year I’ve chosen a word or focus for the year?}

Whatever your word may be, I want to share a little bit of encouragement with you. Sometimes choosing goals or resolutions or even just one little word can feel a little bit crazy. Maybe even hopeless.

Who am I to think God will do something new in me?

If you’re anything like me, the same struggles plague you, year in and year out. Sometimes I wonder if my weaknesses and fleshly tendencies are actually getting worse and not better. I look inside my own heart and see selfishness and pride.

But, you know what? Sometimes when I look too much on the inside of my own heart and not enough at the Holy Spirit who is ALSO LIVING INSIDE OF ME, I see the muddled weight of humanity that seeks to crush me.

But, God.

I must lift my eyes and fix them on JESUS, the author and perfecter of my faith. HE ALONE is my HOPE. HE ALONE is my strength. He alone is my peace. My joy. My all. The perfect, blameless righteousness of Christ is now mine. Because of the blood of Jesus, God looks at me as flawless. Sometimes I need to remind myself of what is mine in Christ.

Every morning His mercies are new. Every morning is a fresh start. Every morning, the weight of our own sin seeks to crush us. But every morning, the Lord is waiting to carry our load. Sometimes we must turn it over. And do it again the next day. Even the next moment.

Friends, in Christ we are a NEW CREATION. Let us WALK in the freedom of the Spirit.

Fearless in 2016

In Jesus’ Name I will stop fearing what others think and live out what God is calling me to…

In Jesus’ Name I will not fear disappointing others and put my faith and reverential FEAR in the One True LIVING God who loves me unconditionally.

In Jesus’ Name I will love my family and my children unconditionally and not fear that I am failing them or their futures. My children are in God’s Hands…and are much safer there than in my own.

Who is with me?

{This encouragement from Ann Voskamp was just what my heart needed.}

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No Longer Slaves

Have you ever listened to a song and wondered if they wrote it just for you? That’s what happened when I heard this song. I want the words of this song to be my testimony so badly!

I am NO LONGER a slave to fear…I am a child of God!

5 Amazing Podcasts for Bloggers

5 Amazing Podcasts for Bloggers

I have listened to podcasts off and on over the years, but it was only recently when I tried to start being more intentional about listening to podcasts for the purpose of encouragement, challenging me in my faith and on my online life, being more intentional with my time and even business and strategic tips. I have found several that I subscribe to that I keep going back to. These are my very favorites! {And choosing to be more intentional with my time goes hand in hand with my word of the year: confidence, in Christ.} 

In the comments section tell me what YOUR favorite podcasts for blogging are, I’m sure there are others out there that I haven’t come across yet!

5 Podcasts for Bloggers

Blogging Your Passion – this is a great podcast for those of us wanting to take our blogs to the “next level” so to speak. They discuss things like monetizing, SEO, Ebooks, blogging challenges, ways to make your blog stand out, etc.

How They Blog – this might be my favorite right now. 🙂 Kat Lee, whose blog I’ve read for years, interviews some of our favorite bloggers who may be a little farther down the road than we are. She discusses things like finding balance online, taking action, shop owning, blogging breaks, blogging tools, and lots of “how-to” type podcasts FROM popular bloggers!

Influence Network  – this is a new favorite of mine. I love the ladies at the Influence Network. I just recently found their stuff and began following along. The Influence Network is a community of women dedicated to helping women make their online time mean something. Well, that’s me! They talk about using your blog for God’s glory, online ministry, and they interview ladies who are out in the world with amazing ministries and online shops.

Smart Passive Income – this is a podcast by Pat Flynn, an online entrepreneur and business strategist. So, this podcast is full of online business tips, blogging strategies, income sources, marketing tips, etc.

Smart Time Online – this podcast is dedicated to helping us make SMARTER decisions online and in our online businesses. Each episode has actionable strategies for many of the blogging and business related topics. Also thing like habits of successful business folks, and productivity practices.

I like to think of podcasts as “continuing my education.” I’m always working to make this blog better, to communicate more effectively and to ENCOURAGE you more effectively. That is my heart! I love learning new things and am SO excited to have you along for the ride!

So, tell me, what are your favorite podcasts??

 

 

Revel: To Treasure, To Delight

To Revel In God's Word

The word “revel” means to take great pleasure or delight in. I have a blogging friend, Dawn, who chose “revel” for her word of the year. As soon as I saw her word, I immediately loved it. What a great word!

What do you revel in?

Where do you find delight?

What does your heart treasure above all else?

For me, it hasn’t always been the same things. Seasons come and go in our lives and our likes and dislikes change as well. That is normal, I think.

But, over the course of the last 7-8 years, God has been doing a work in my heart and slowly He is changing my desires. He is creating in me a new heart. He is helping me learn to treasure Him and His Word  above all else.

Please read the rest over at my friend, Dawn’s, blog

Confidence in 2015 {Booklist}

Confidence in 2015 Booklist  MercyIsNew.com

2015 is my year to become confident in the Lord, to be secure in who He made me to be, to be content with the giftings and passions the Lord created me with, to be confident in hearing His voice and to act on that confidence!

I shared a little more about choosing this word in this post.

If you’ve been around here for long, you know that I will need some encouragement by the way of GOOD BOOKS to grow in this area. {Praying the Scriptures is a huge part of God’s work in my heart, just kind of goes without saying I guess!} 

These books aren’t all about goals and contentment and using our passions for the Lord. Some of these books will just help me to get rid of the distractions and focus on what is important. Some of these books will help me to get more practical and applicable with my word and theme for the year.

Booklist for 2015 to Encourage Confidence in the Lord

1. Own Your Life: Living with Deep Intention, Bold Faith, and Generous Love by Sally Clarkson. This book JUST came out by one of my favorite authors! I cannot wait to dive into this one. My plan is to pick this one up as soon as I finish Make it Happen. Sally Clarkson has such a heart and gift for encouraging moms, so I know this book is going to be good.

2. Make it Happen: Surrender Your Fear. Take the Leap. Live On Purpose. by Lara Casey. This author (and her blog and shop) are new to me, but a few months ago I began following her on instagram and instantly knew that her Power Sheets were what I needed to get going in the New Year with goals and priorities. She is also doing a series on goal setting on her own blog and it has been really good too!

3. Restless: Because You Were Made for More by Jennie Allen. I’ve read this book once and it’s actually on my list to read again this year. I need this message over and over again, it seems. “A practical plan to identify the threads of your life and how to intentionally weave them together for God’s glory and purposes.” Jennie Allen also has a 2015 “Dream Guide” available if you sign up for her newsletters! I have this ready to go as well.

4. The Fringe Hours: Making Time for You by Jessica Turner. I was blessed to be on the launch team for this book, it comes out February 17th and it is SO good. I think this will be “the book” I give as baby gifts in the coming year. Every mom (and woman) needs to read it. Jessica shares about using the giftings and things that fulfill us to serve others but also to fill us up, using “fringe hours” to squeeze in time for ourselves when maybe we feel we don’t have any extra time. You can MAKE time, we need this, moms! {Full post on this book coming the week it releases! You can pre-order now!} 

5. Say Goodbye to Survival Mode: 9 Simple Strategies to Stress Less, Sleep More, and Restore Your Passion for Life by Crystal Paine. I read this book at the beginning of 2014 and it was so good. I readily admit that I wasn’t expecting to get a lot out of it because I’m not a super disciplined person. But this book had so many practical ideas. I ended up writing a looong post on this book if you’d like to read more!

6. Hands Free Mama: A Guide to Putting Down the Phone, Burning the To-Do List, and Letting Go of Perfection to Grasp What Really Matters! by Rachel Macy Stafford. This book was so good for me. Encouragement to put down your phone and look into your kids eyes, to spend moments enjoying your family instead of being tied to technology. I probably should re-read this book yearly!

7. My One Word: Change Your Life With Just One Word by Mike Ashcraft & Rachel Olsen. Another great book as you seek to work on your word of the year or a theme or a goal you want to see happen in the new year. I wrote a longer post on this book as well!

So, who wants to share what goals you’re working on in 2015? What is your ONE WORD? What do you want to be more intentional about this year?

And what steps are you taking to make those goals happen? Reading these books is a great place to start!! Who is with me?

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Confidence in the Lord {and Christmas break 2014}

Confidence in the Lord

This will be the post in which I name my Word of the Year 2015.

{If you choose a word of the year, or even if you don’t, you should read the book My One Word, I wrote more about it here! GREAT for practical ways to get the most out of your word for the year!} 

However, I have to go back a little ways to catch you up. December was crazy, as I’m sure it was for you. I was soooo looking forward to Christmas break and just a time to slow down and celebrate Jesus. {Side note: my kids being off school has mostly reminded me of why I put them in school to begin with. It definitely hasn’t all been roses around here.}

We enjoyed a wonderful Christmas, though it continued stay pretty busy for us. We spent time with both sides of the family on Christmas Eve with David’s family and my family on Christmas Day. My kids had a Christmas of legos…and they were building for hours and hours into days.

But, on Monday night, December 29th, our lives forever changed. David’s dad, our kids beloved grandpa, went home to be with His Savior for all of eternity. We spent the week of New Year’s planning a memorial service, writing an obituary and going through old pictures for a slideshow. So many bittersweet moments and memories wrapped up in that week for us. Every loved one that has left this earth {including now 3 grandparents and David’s dad being closest to me} leaves me longing for heaven a little more…as well as feeling grateful for the family God has blessed me with. I’m learning a little more about grief and finding joy in it all.

Needless to say, this blog was the last thing on my mind. Realizing that God knew all along that starting the Bible in 100 Days on January 1st (with over 500 folks joining us on Facebook!!!) would coincide with all of the grieving was a comfort to me in my state of overwhelmed and grieving. Yet, I will still pretty overwhelmed. Getting a few HUNDRED friend requests with hundreds of private messages for this Bible in 100 Days, requests to be added to the group, etc. It was so crazy for me…I was constantly BLESSED and HUMBLED that so many wanted to join us. Yet, we were planning a funeral. {And yes, the sheer number of folks joining the group just goes to show that I really had NO CLUE there would be this kind of response! If I had known there was this kind of interest I would have gone about the Facebook group differently.}

I realized a few days ago that I hadn’t gotten in my few days of quiet planning for the blog and our budget. I hadn’t gotten to blog about my word of the year yet. For that matter, I still wasn’t settled on my word of the year.

And then it hit me. God ordains the days of our lives, He knew all along that I would need this added commitment to HIS WORD at THIS TIME in my life. He knew that the growing Facebook group would give me confidence that I HAD heard from the Lord. Sometimes I doubt Him, you know. Sometimes I wonder if I am hearing His voice. Sometimes I question my decisions to the point of not doing anything.

One thing I have been lacking over the years is a strong confidence in the Lord. When my confidence in myself failed, I would shy back and away from things instead of moving forward in the knowledge that the Lord was my guide. I have questioned the Lord time and time again. Insecurites wreaked havoc on all aspects of my life.

{my theme song for 2015}

But, in recent months I have felt the Lord nudging me out on a bit of a ledge…I have sensed the Lord and seen His work in my life in ways that maybe I just never noticed before. This resulted in creating my first ebook, ordering that book in print…and working towards finishing my second journal to pray the Scriptures!! It’s like God nudged me to do more than He has asked of me before. But it took faith. I wondered why anyone would want a prayer journal from me?

So, as you can see, I’m still praying for the Lord to fill me with confidence in Him. I’m still asking Him to work in me so that I can do brave things for Him. I’m still asking Him to allow me to grow confidently in who He made me to be and not wish I was someone else.

So, as I seek His will for my life in 2015, I am asking Him to make me confident in Him and through Him and because of Him. It’s nothing I’ve done, but all through Him and for Him. I’m asking Him to help me share, with confidence, the things He places on my heart. Can I do that? Can I step out in faith and share with the world the story God has given me? Can I continue to create resources that bring others closer to God and help them dig into God’s Word? Can I bravely put myself out there for the sake of His Name?

Confidence in the Lord. May it be so, Lord. 

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