2021 GOALS AND STEWARDSHIP

Y’all. We are less than two months from a new year. Let that sink in. Two months… I think one thing we can all agree on is that this year has been difficult. 2020 has brought pain, grief, loss and has thrown us headfirst into charting the unknown in dealing with a global pandemic. Life has been hard.

On the flip side, however, 2020 also has brought much joy and has also taught me more about myself. This year has taught me to more aware of others needs before my own. It has taught me to reflect more on what’s going on in the world and around me, to be more accountable for my own actions and to not be afraid of praying boldly before the Lord.

It has also brought me a move to Asheville, our one year wedding anniversary, adopting a kitten and new friendships.

As we enter into the last month of 2020, I have pondered and prayed upon what the next year will look like for me personally and for my marriage. I want this to be a year a year of exponential growth personally, spiritually and socially.

In order to take tangible steps in the right direction, I have often found myself writing out lists or drawing pictures. In order to incorporate both, I decided to try something new in bullet journaling my goals for the new year. I’ve also posted previously on creating a vision board, which is another great way to visualize your dreams.

Personal

Blogging

Blogging has quickly become a passion of mine and has been a safe place for me to process what is going on in the world around me, while providing me a place thousands of thoughts running through my own head. Above the likes and follows, I want my blog to be a place of inspiration for others and as a way to keep my many ramblings together in one place. With that being said, I do want to set goals for my blog for the new year.

GOAL: First of all, I want to be more cognisant of supporting fellow bloggers as there are thousands of bloggers who share incredible content and spend hours of time and effort in doing so. They deserve every follow, like and view they receive and then some. As more of a tangible goal for myself, however, I would like to grow my own following to >100 by the end of 2021 without sacrificing the integrity of my own content or the enjoyment of why I started blogging in the first place.

Reading

From the moment I learned how to pick up a book, reading has always been something I enjoyed. As life has progressed and “adulting” happened, reading hasn’t been a priority like it was in the past.

GOAL: Read 20 books. I want to also challenge myself in reading different genres than the normal fiction I tend to pick up at the book store.

*If you have any book recommendations, drop them in the comments below! I would love to hear some of your favorites!

Promote a Healthy Lifestyle

This will more of a “challenge” for me than the others in that I have never been really conscious of what I eat, which has caught up with me in my late twenties and also having a slow metabolism. It’s not that I don’t enjoy eating healthy, but more about being conscious about not eating “mindlessly.” I also work full time at Chick-fil-A, which does not help AT ALL with having a balanced diet. We all know those nugs and waffle fries with Polynesian sauce hit a little differently. However, today is a new day to create new habits!

GOAL: Plan out meals for the week and be better about cooking ahead of time. A majority of weight gain for me comes from eating out of boredom and not having healthy snacks readily available, so this will definitely be a challenge for me. On the flip side, meal prepping will also help in saving me money by not eating out as much!

Travel

My husband and I have been fortunate enough to travel quite a bit in our dating life and well into our marriage. With the global pandemic putting most of our travel plans on hold, this year hasn’t been the greatest for checking places off of our list. With that being said, it has allowed us to dream for the future and has kept our bucket list growing.

GOAL: Travel to five new places in new year. I also want to travel internationally with Chandler at least once before we have kids.

**Bonus: We already have a weekend getaway trip to Dahlonega, GA booked for January, so that is a plus.
We are also hoping to get tickets to the Kentucky Derby in May. Fingers crossed!


Spiritual

Get plugged in to a local church.

Growing up in the church, I have understood from an early age the importance of being surrounded by a solid body of believers. A christian community is so important, especially in this day and age. Pre-Covid days, my husband and I visited a local church and really enjoyed the setup of its service. Once the virus hit and churches were quickly shut down, we weren’t able to really find that our niche. I am very thankful for technology in that we were still able watch sermons from the comfort of our home and still be connected to weekly scripture teaching. Now that churches are opening up again, we have made it a goal to get plugged in.

GOAL: Find a church that aims to teach scripture in its truest form and keeps the Lord at the forefront, always. We honestly haven’t done the best in making church together a priority in the past, so I want 2021 to be a spiritual awakening for my husband and I, allowing us to grow together in the Word as a married couple and also individually. I want to join a small group that keeps us accountable in our sin and to do life with weekly.


Social

Join a service group.

Now that I have been in Asheville for almost a full year, I feel like its the right time to invest more of myself into a group who aims to meet the needs of those who are less fortunate. Since my mom joined the Junior League of Spartanburg two years ago, I have watched her enjoy all aspects of the JL in grant writing, organizing food drives and so much more.

GOAL: Be invested into a group that invests its time and resources back into the local community. As someone who has has grown up with food on the table, a roof over my head and given countless ways to succeed, I want to help do the same for those who might not have the same opportunities readily available.

Above all else, 2020 has taught me to not take the small moments or the ones you love for granted. Difficult times affect everyone. Life doesn’t discriminate against social class, race or gender. Life is tough and can be relentless. Covet those who you love and make it a priority to let them know how much you care, as the smallest acts of kindness often mean the most. People appreciate being “seen” and knowing that they matter. Be intentional in all things and love your neighbor. This year has also taught me that in each day you wake up, you were placed on this Earth for a reason. Make every minute count and aim to make an impact for good. Do not waste the precious time the Lord has given you. More so than anything else, I aim to be more vulnerable. I aim to be a safe space for those who are hurting or need to talk. I aim to not put off for tomorrow what I can do today. We are not guaranteed the next moment, so why wait? Life is too short to simply go through the motions.


Stewardship

At the beginning of each new year, I typically find a word to claim as my mantra. Stewardship was what came to mind randomly during a busy day at work. By definition, stewardship means “the conducting, supervising, or managing of something; especially the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one’s care.”

My previous operator at Chick-fil-A was really the first one I heard use this word regularly. I honestly cringed every time he mentioned it. I subconsciously knew I was not doing a good job with what I was being freely given.

In the last few months, however, I have caught myself pondering what it truly means to be a good steward. For me, being a good steward means a lot of different things. Personally, I want to be a better steward of my money by better investing in various aspects of my future and saving. I want to be a better steward of my tongue by speaking uplifting truth and not speaking in haste. I want to be a better steward in my walk with Christ and allowing him to //. The Lord has entrusted me with much and there is no reason I should take that lightly.

QOTD: Have you thought of any goals for the new year? If so, what are they? I’d love to hear what you’ve set for yourself and how you plan to keep yourself accountable.

III: EDUCATION

Education has always played an important part in my life. From pre-K into my high school years, my parents instilled that knowledge is something that nobody can ever take away from you.

“When you educate one person you can change a life, when you educate many you can change the world.”

Shai Reshef

Partly because of work ethic and her drive to do everything to the highest degree, I always admired my mom’s pursuit of higher education. She has a B.S. in Psychology, two masters degrees, a PhD and was once National Boards certified. She also obtained her PhD while holding a full time job as an administrator of an elementary school, having a family and driving to classes 1.5 hours away. Wow!

I always knew my plan was to go to college after high school. I, too, loved school and that’s what I felt was the right path for me.

I applied to three in state schools because we all know college is expensive enough without adding out-of-state tuition. Anderson, University of South Carolina and Wofford made my top three for all varying reasons.

Anderson was the small Christian school not far from home. USC was the big SEC school in the state capital and has the big school feel. Wofford was the private liberal arts college planted in my hometown. They were all diverse and all had great options.

Believe me when I say that college isn’t for everyone. We need people in trade schools. School is not a be-all-end-all, for my youngest brother included. I wouldn’t have traded my experience for the world, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with not going to college. There is such a need for those trades, like welding, mechanics and even for full-time service men (and women). Often times, those people get twice as much an hour than most other jobs. Pave your own way and don’t allow anyone to dictate what is right for you.

College was a place for me to grow and to figure out what life was all about. A lot happened to that innocent seventeen year old freshman. Mentally, I grew. Emotionally, I grew. I learned how to be independent. I was able to make decisions for myself and figure out what direction I wanted to take in life at the time. By the time that twenty-one year old walked across that stage, she had experienced a lot of life.

If you are a high school junior or senior (or are looking to go back to school), consider UofSC! We’ve claimed the #1 International Business School and Honors School in the nation for the last decade.

The world is a grand place. Learning and education aren’t necessarily restricted to a classroom or in textbooks. Get outside and experience the world for yourself. Some of my fondest “teachable” moments have been sight-seeing in the Mediterranean Sea and in the streets of Paris. Take a road trip. Experience what life has to offer for yourself grab it by the horns.

✌🏼

30 Days of Thanksgiving

It’s officially turkey month, folks!

As a month that is about thanks, hence the name, I felt led to write about a different thing, person, place, etc. that I am thankful for for each day of the month. Some blogs might be shorter or longer, in nature, but we are rolling with it.

For the first day of Thanksgiving blog series , I am thankful for change. Why am I thankful for such a thing, you might ask?

Anyone who has known me for any amount of time could tell you that I am one that despises change. As a Type A, slight OCD person, routine is very comforting. Having things color-coded, alphabetized and in order makes my soul sing to new heights.

If 2020 has taught me anything, however, it is how much change is inevitable. Change is good, although sometimes very uncomfortable. Things are always evolving, so we have to learn that you are either stuck in a complacency or learn to embrace the unknown.

Don’t get me wrong in the fact that some things are not meant to change, like laws and biblical truth. There are certain things that must remain constant for some kind of order among the crazy in the world. These allow us to know what is expected of us and for us to live with order.

In the first ten months of 2020 alone, I have seen:
• A move to Asheville, NC
• New jobs for my husband and I
• A new 2020 Honda CR-V
• Our 1 Year Anniversary of being married (Aug. 3)
• Adopting our kitten, Belmont
• Surviving life during a pandemic
• The biggest Presidential election known to date

Although life is hard and living through a pandemic was not what we had envisioned for this year, it has brought so much growth. With that being said, I have come to understand that so much of life is out of my control. What I can control are my reactions and my emotions. My attitude will take me farther than anything that happens to me.

I pray that in every evolving season and in with every unknown, we remain confident in His truth and know that He is good. He will sustain us when we are weak. Rest in the fact that he knows our future.

There is beauty in the unknown. We can know that God is our constant through it all.

QOTD: What are you thankful for you today?

MY VISION BOARD + WHY YOU NEED ONE

Manifestation has always been a big part of my life. I have always been a visual person and personally do much better with achieving goals if I see them written out or have them hanging in a highly visible area.

We all know that 2020 has been a whirlwind and full of uncertainty. With that being said, I have often caught myself dreaming about the future and what it holds for my life. Although we are well over halfway through the year, I feel like it is never too late to start working on a new project or envisioning what our next steps are in life.

Why use a vision board?
If you are anything like me, you have goals and dreams that you are wanting to accomplish but aren’t always the best at having a plan in place to do so. Creating a vision board is a great tool because it allows you to conceptualise and visualise what’s rolling around in your head. Personally, creating a vision board was particularly useful because my brain is constantly running in a million differentiate directions and needs reminded of my thoughts.

They make you consider what you really want.
You might think you know what you want until you start creating your board. What you put on your board will make your goals come to life and seem that much more real (It did for me at least). It’s also okay to dream BIG. Allow yourself to create both small and lofty goals. For me, dreaming big has always been scary, but that’s okay. This was a space for me to do so and allow myself to think outside the box.

It helps to expand your creativity.
Creating a vision board can be a creative outlet and allow a space to do so. I have always loved crafting (spending hours in Hobby Lobby or Michaels is a skill of mine), so this was right up my alley. I chose to do a cork board so that I can interchange quotes, pictures and drawings pretty easily. There are so many methods you can choose from, so pick something that suits your style! You can create digitally online or draw something by hand. Your method is totally up to you and how you see fit.

Your board can provide you with daily reminders.
Consistency is key for achieving goals. Have a friend or family member help to hold you accountable by checking in every week. It also helps to know your own strengths and weaknesses in taking the appropriate steps in making your dreams a reality. Push yourself to do more than you ever imagined. Do something to make yourself proud. As you accomplish your goals or “visions,” highlight them and write down the date beside it. Allow yourself to see the hard work you’ve put in and have this also serve as a reminder of when they came to fruition.

For my board, I broke mine down into three categories: personal, spiritual and physical. For each category, I set three to four goals for myself. For example, reading five books (no certain genre) is one bullet on my personal agenda to finish before the end of 2020. Another is to get more involved in the community and to volunteer during my free time. How you categorise your goals are completely up to you.

DISPLAYING YOUR VISION BOARD
Display your vision board in a conspicuous place that will grab your attention throughout the day. The point of having a vision board isn’t to have it somewhere for you to forget about. Take a picture to keep on your phone. Put sticky notes on your bathroom mirror. Set it as your lock screen or put a list in your bible. Allow it to resonate your daily thinking and be thinking of ways to help accomplish those goals.

Above all else, remember that goals take time. Be patient with yourself and remember why you created this board in the first place. More likely than not, things won’t happen overnight. The beauty is in the journey and seeing how far you’ve grown along the way. It’s okay to reflect and see how far you’ve come, but remember to keep your sights set on what’s to come.

XO, ALEX

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