Dec 30, 2013


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Welcome back, friends!  In Part 1, I asked you to dig deep and get real about how you are, define what worked in 2013, what didn’t work and make your 2014 Pinterest Board. By the way I apparently have no idea how to use Pinterest!  My #2014GoalSetting hashtag for boards doesn’t work, so re-title your boards “Making Things Happen in 2014”  so we can find each other! : )  If you are just joining us, it’s never too late to start.  Even if you read this in February or October.  Now is the very best time to begin.


Here’s the ironic thing about the titles of these posts: I don’t believe in traditional “goal setting.” It doesn’t work for me. I look back at old “goal lists” and most of those things didn’t happen. I honestly forgot about those goals because I microwaved a goal list that sounded good, but wasn’t really connected to what matters. That’s why we aren’t setting goals until the very last step of this series. Powerful goals take some slow cooking and carefully chosen ingredients and a lot of fire!

I also look back at things I worried about and 99% of those things never happened, either! Coincidence? No. It’s a giant reminder that I am not in control. God’s plans are always better and much bigger than mine, including — and many times, especially — the challenges. We can make all the plans we want, but we never know what will happen tomorrow. Like I said in my last post, you never know how much time you have.  Don’t wait.  You can choose to see that fact as terrifying or downright exciting. I choose the latter. Let’s continue…

First, here are my answers from Part 1.  Remember to leave yours here in the comments, too, so we can cheer each other on.  I’m giving away a $20 gift code to my shop and lots of other goodies on every post if you need more motivation to dive in.  All winners will be announced January 31!  Trust me, you don’t want to miss these surprise prizes : )  I will keep you in suspense for a little while longer…


And before you read my list, make yours. Don’t fall into the trap of comparing lists with others. Let’s celebrate each other’s good things instead. If I read my list here as the me of five years ago, I think I might feel a little lost and fall into comparison. When I talk about good things that happened in business in 2013, know I walked in the shoes of someone who didn’t have a business at one point — and the shoes of someone who failed at a whole lot of things (and still fails constantly!) — not that many years ago. You can read my whole journey by clicking, “nice to meet you” above : ) OK, a few of the great things that happened in 2013:

– I read a lot of the Bible.  My goal has been to finish the entire thing, from start to finish, by December 31.  I’m currently in John.  The year isn’t over yet, though! (I will report back January 1.)  I have a ways to go, but this has definitely been the biggest blessing and source of goodness in my life this year.
– I started the Contentment Challenge in October and am still going. Aside from a couple boxes of Christmas lights, a new vegetable planter, eye liner (I’ve had the same one for likely a few too many years past its expiration), a can opener (because ours broke), and new non-nursing bras after mine literally disintegrated because I’ve had them for so long, I haven’t purchased anything outside of the Contentment Challenge for myself in four months. However, I have definitely purchased too much for Grace. Mostly clothing and books. And stickers.
– The Southern Weddings ladies WORKED. They worked hard for what matters – to help couples plan meaningful beginnings to married life, to make our company sow good seeds in the hearts on many daily, and they all fought for love and what matters most in their own lives too. They truly walk the walk. I am so grateful to learn and grow with them daily!
– Ari interviewed for his job at UNC in November 2012.  We waited to hear a yes or no for months and things started to look pretty discouraging.  This was perhaps the thing I prayed about the most this year, besides my dad’s health and for God to guide my steps every day.  I begged God to let us stay in Chapel Hill.  The alternative was to move somewhere really far away from our families, away from my staff, away from our church, and possibly out of the South completely.  I eventually resigned to the fact that maybe that was His plan and maybe we would have to do that.  This entire experience taught me to trust Him.  Not to trust I will always get my way, but to trust that His plans are good no matter what. Miraculously, just when we thought for sure they had given the job to someone else, Ari was told he had it! THANK YOU LORD for this answered prayer.  Ari accepted a position at UNC as Associate Professor of Interventional Radiology in April! : )
–  I launched this new site and brand on February 13th, and I still love it more than all the Luna Bars and chickens in the world!
– We also launched two shops, the Lara Casey Shop and Southern Weddings Shop, and I debuted my first line of PowerSheets.  The PowerSheets have gone through three redesigns and I finally feel like we have them right.  I am so excited to use my own 2014 set soon. Using the PowerSheets this last year has been a significant source of focus for me.
– I met a lot of lovely silver-haired friends this year on our morning walks through the retirement community across the street. This gave Grace and me so much joy. We looked forward to seeing “Mr. Bill” and “Mrs. Rhetta” every morning. The weather has been cold, so we have sadly had to stop our morning path, but Gracie made ornaments for them and Mr. Bill even came over to our house to say hello last week and bring us a thank you note! It was so great. As Gracie says, “Mr. Bill is sooooooo sweet.”
Emily and I led a lot of webinars with the goal of making MBH more accessible to a wider audience, specifically people who are just starting businesses and not in the place to do full branding.  This has been on my heart: give all of the knowledge God gives you away to as many people as possible.
– Emily and I also worked with 22 wonderful branding clients. After lots of prayer, we have decided to hold off on taking 2014 projects during this season of growth for our businesses and toddlers!
– I did 103 consulting sessions.  These were some of my favorite conversations of my life.  I love being one-on-one with people and helping them see life and business in new ways and I have made some lovely new friendships from these conversations.
– One of my 2013 goals was to stop breastfeeding.  This was a really hard decision and a total lifestyle change for me that was coupled with a lot of fear.  But, after 16 months, I stopped and Grace is still a happy healthy camper… and I have THREE HOURS back in my life every day.
– Ari and I celebrated our 7 year anniversary in style – at the Whole Foods buffet with Grace : )
– I wrote a 46-page book proposal and it was accepted.   Totally crazy.  You can read the whole story here.  I signed my book contract with Thomas Nelson in October.  I’m currently deep in the thick of writing, with my final manuscript due in about 30 days.  Pray for me!!!  And forgive me if I don’t answer your emails for the next month!
– I read two books that completely changed my life: Seven and Interrupted.  As a result, well… a lot of things happened as a result.  I stopped shopping in October with the Contentment Challenge. We stopped using paper towels.  I stopped buying bottled water. I bought 50lbs of oatmeal in bulk.  I started to understand how taking care of our world is directly connected to loving God.  I started to understand God’s heart more.  I started to see just how much I need Him.  We started praying about adoption.  Needless to say, God used these books to change me. I have SO far to go still, but I am grateful for the heart change so far.
– In June, after finally knowing we were staying in Chapel Hill, we bought our house — praise the Lord!  Well, the bank technically bought it, but we are paying the mortgage : )
– As a result, we planted a vegetable garden!  This was one of my greatest joys this year.
– We hosted the Making Things Happen Conferences in March and October.  They were both so heart-changing for me personally and I met many new friends. The 2014 MTH is a handful of seats away from sold out already.
– We said farewell to Susan and welcomed Meredith into our family. Meredith has been a dream come true and moved all the way from Norman, Oklahoma to be with us! Read her inspiring blog.
– We interviewed and hired Lisa, who has been a huge blessing in all of our lives.
– Nicole celebrated 3+ years with us and renewed her contract (with some bribing – see here), Emily celebrated 4 years, Marissa celebrated 3+ years and Kristin celebrated her first wonderful year with us.
– Ari and I took a week of “stay-cation.”  Our stay-cation included a trip to the Piggly Wiggly — definitely a highlight ; )
– I took 2 weeks completely off of social media. I learned so much. I didn’t miss it.
– Ari and I started teaching Sunday School. This was a huge highlight this year and something I have always wanted to do!
– We also shared the story of our marriage – the good and the challenging – live on camera.
– We celebrated the one year anniversary of my dad’s baptism.  God is amazing!
– We launched the Southern Weddings and Lara Casey monthly newsletters. These helped me connect with many new friends.
– We celebrated five years of Southern Weddings with lots of favorites from the last wonderful years:  favorite editorials, real weddings, SW ladiesbehind-the-scenes goodness, amazing photographs and our growth.  God is good!
– My Grandma Bunny was diagnosed with mouth cancer and, at the age of 96, started radiation treatments.  She is not cured, but has responded well to them.  Her cancer has shrunk significantly, which is more than we could have asked for!  Amen, hallelujah, thank you Lord!
– I cooked a lot this year and really enjoyed it. Having a vegetable garden made this even more fun this year. Over Christmas, I made my mom’s famed Tunisian Couscous and a Christmas Quiche that were wonderful!
– I spoke at 8 conferences including Engage!13, Americasmart, Pursuit 31, the Influence Conference, Atlanta VOWS, Making Things Happen, and the MAGS Gala. I loved every single one of them.  I would do this year all over again with speaking.  It was so gratifying.
– We finally, after years of trying to get it, got!  Oh my stars, this feels so good.  Read the whole story here.
– We took a family vacation to Beaches.  More on that trip soon.  It was so good and so needed.  Grace met Elmo.  Highlight of her little life ; )
– We completed our 6th print edition (“V6″) of Southern Weddings!
– I got to spend lots of face-to-face time with my friends, Emily Ley and Gina Zeidler as we travelled to speak at the Pursuit 31 Conference together and did the Making Things Happen Conference here together.  I am so blessed by them.
– Our friendships grew and Gina is pregnant!  That is such a highlight of the year!!!
– Completely out of the blue, I got an email from Southern Living and, after many meetings and much prayer, we’ve now joined in a really wonderful partnership with them.  Read the whole story here.
– We launched a brand new Southern Weddings site and brand in November.
I became a minivan mom!  YES!
– We created a personal budget and I feel great about our Life List progress!  Download a free Life List printable here.
– Perhaps the thing I am most grateful for this year, though, is my dad’s health and happiness being restored twice over. Dad, you just told me on the phone that you have been reading my blog, so this is for you: I love you so much and am so grateful for what God has done in your life this year! It is truly a testament of His goodness and care for us and how He can make the “impossible” possible : )
– I will keep adding to this list as I think of things, and I encourage you to do the same with your list!  In fact, I encourage you to print your list out and have it in front of you as an encouragement for the start of a new year.  Frame this goodness!


Now, onto my list of things that were challenging or didn’t work well this year:

– As much as I have strong boundaries with social media (read more about how I set boundaries at, social media still continues to invade my heart at times in negative ways. It distracts me from life right in front of me too often.
– I travelled a lot for speaking in the fall. I purposely put them all back-to-back, but this was still challenging. By the time I got to Pursuit 31 in October, I was spent. I was physically and emotionally exhausted.
– Editing the magazine and doing layout for several late nights and long days didn’t work. I’ve already talked to the SW ladies about finding someone to do layout in my place this fall so I can focus on the big picture.
– Having a booming business in my house didn’t work at times. We verged on far too big for this space. My garage will likely never have a car in it. I’m not sure what to do about this yet, if anything.
– We were constantly having website server issues, which are thankfully now fixed with our new private server. This was costly and frustrating.
– There were lots of days I didn’t have time to call my mom, answer texts from friends or stop to smell the roses. There were certainly many more days than last year that I DID do those things, but I still need more of that.
– I fell off the exercise wagon many times. I still “exercised” almost daily this year, but many times it was a slow poke workout or a brief walk, especially when it got really hot and when it got really cold outside. I feel the effects of this. I have so much more energy when I am healthy and strong. I want more of that. I want the fire to do it.
– Although I have been doing the Contentment Challenge, we still have far too much stuff. I feel like I am CONSTANTLY getting rid of things. All I need is less. More on that later.
– Grace has been sleeping in our bed the last couple months, which is not great for Ari and me.
– On that note, parenting a toddler is hard. Really hard. We are blessed that she is healthy and I think of that blessing multiple times a day, but her constant resistance and tantrums can wear on a mama.
– On that note again, I really don’t like angry me. My controlling nature in parenting has gotten the best of me several times lately as Grace’s “no’s” have increased. I don’t like it. I am praying for wisdom and God’s peace.
– I had far too much to do in this last quarter of the year in general. I was supposed to be writing my book the whole time, but there were endless tasks that needed tending to. My goal for the coming year is to completely flip that on it’s head.
– Having a full plate and a toddler has left little time for friends outside of church activities and occasional dinners. I need a close friend locally who I can really connect with and grow spiritually with.
– Ari works a lot. He loves his job and we are so grateful he has it, but sometimes his call schedule makes me sad. I miss him a lot and so does Grace. We are grateful he helps so many people daily, though.
– I worried too much and I wasn’t always the best mom, wife, boss, friend or daughter. I tried, but my failures always had a good ending — they always pointed me right back to Jesus. God’s grace makes all things new.
– There were more but I have those on my own private list. It’s always good to remember that, while many people (including me) blog very personal things, there are still many things that aren’t shared for good reasons. I always try to remember that when reading other’s blogs. You never know what kind of battles people are facing. Overall though, I have nothing but praise for this year. God answered many prayers.


STEP FOUR: OK, next up! What are the three biggest lessons you learned from what DID work? Write them out here in the comments or somewhere. I will share my list tomorrow.


STEP FIVE: What are the three biggest things you learned from what DIDN’T work? Again, write them out. I’ll share tomorrow here, too.


STEP SIX: What fires you up? What are the things that light your soul on fire? Pretty simple, yet very profound: name them (you can download a printable list here if you want!) and then DO them. Do more of what fires you up. If dance parties, hugging your kids, laughing with your husband and doing good things for others fires you up, DO those things today (and always, but start with just today).


Download a free printable of the list above here.

Physically do some of the things you want to see more of in your life and take action on them. Not all of them, just some of them. Do what you can. We all have at least five minutes every day, even if we don’t think we do, to make what matters happen. How much time have you already spent on social media today?  How much time will you spend on it the rest of the day?  Trade that time for doing something that fires you up.  I don’t think many of us can say that lurking on Facebook fires us up, can we?

See what happens when you physically start living the life you know you were called to.  Little by little, get connected to what matters most to you. Love on people. Write out your list and then DO something on that list.  If you love the ocean, but don’t live near it, click here.  Does the sound of rain make you feel alive?  Here you go!  If you love dance parties, pump up the jam!  If you love hugs, give one.  If you are fired up by great art, start here with my friend Otto who is moving to Nepal and leaving wedding photography.  If you are fired up by words, read these amazing quotes that were penned by my friend Kelly, who lettered something every single day of 2013!  Go, Kelly, go!   If you are fired up by creating, make something right now.  Just for the love of making it.  If you are fired up by the outdoors, close your computer or put down this iPhone and step outside.  Just do it.  Right now.

See how making the things on your list happen starts to shape your life — and most importantly — the lives of everyone around you.  God gave us talents and gifts that are meant to be used to shine His glory brightly to the world — and He gave us sunsets and the roaring ocean likely to leave us in awe of His goodness. Note to self and everyone: It’s hard to do and see those things hiding behind a computer screen : )

The Bible doesn’t tell us to “follow our passions” so we can be happy, but it definitely tell us to use our unique gifts to serve others. And there is a deeper happiness found in that. A peace that passes all understanding. You were created for great things, my friend. You were created to shine brightly for Him. That is definitely something to have a dance party for! Share your list here. I will share mine soon too. Making life happen in 2014, here we come!

More tomorrow. Get to writing and DOing, friends!


PRIZES FOR THIS POST: Read Part 1 for all the ways you can win! Randomly chosen commenters on this post will get either a $20 gift card to my shop or a Simplified Life Binder set!


Winners will ba announced January 31 so you have lots of time to spread the word about this series and make these posts happen!

keep reading


  1. Kyla F on December 30, 2013 at 3:31 pm

    Good morning! I just realized I posted this on the ‘My Life To-Do List’ post by mistake. I get so excited reading these posts that I open a few too many tabs 🙂

    The three biggest lessons I learned from what DID work:
    -Finding what I am passionate about (God, design, creating for myself and others, country-inspired decor, writing, eating more whole foods, exercising my heart and mind, country music, and my dream of having a ‘shed’ office in my backyard) worked. Finding what makes my heart sing is something that truly fires me up because I am developing the confidence and maturity to invest time into those things and choose to surround myself with them because they make ME happy.
    -Digging deeper in faith worked. It has been a much more gradual process than I had expected it to be, but I have asked more questions, opened more pages, and gotten down on my knees to pray more than any other year before. It is in a truly deeply heart-changing way. I welcome God’s love to flood my heart and soul and bathe it in truths and finally see the value in His grace! 🙂
    -Taking care of my body by eating clean, taking deep breaths, hydrating, and sweating it out worked. In all honesty, my ‘health kick’ occurred from mid-April to late summer, but I learned so much during that time. I had my stumbling block of my herniated disc after that, as well as self-pity followed by a few too many brownies in the later months of the year, but overall those months were a huge accomplishment – and they required WORK.

    The three biggest lessons I learned from what DIDN’T work:
    -Dwelling on the negatives and asking way too many ‘Why?’ or ‘What if?’ questions about the life storm I am in. I unknowingly let my back injury consume me and I am finally seeing how deep that issue runs and how I have to intentionally work at and pray about pulling those roots out and making room for trusting God there instead.
    -Not putting God first for most of the year and not making him my core did not work. His plan is ultimately better than anything I could ever cook up myself, and I wasted a lot of time this year trying to go my own way. I learned that He has got it all figured out and He does not make mistakes. I need to ask for wisdom, discernment, and understanding so that I can walk confidently in the way that he has set before me.
    -Not being consistent with my health didn’t work. When I was eating clean and making my health a priority, I could think more clearly and complete my daily tasks with more abounding energy. I have learned that if you make your body a priority, it will have much more ability to keep up with you as you chase your goals and passions.

    I am going to make a visual board of what fires me up and I will share the link when I have it. Have a great day everyone! I am surely loving this goal setting 🙂

    • LAURA on January 31, 2014 at 3:35 pm

      Started last night. Thankful for a time to reflect allow God to work through the process. Will let these questions process for a few hours and start the writing process. I’m always amazed at what God can reveal when I start to write. Thanks for the encouragement. Goal setting tends to intimidate me, because its sets up a chance for (yikes) failure. Ready to clarify what God has ordained in my life so that I can measure against that.

  2. Gina on December 30, 2013 at 3:48 pm

    3 Biggest Lessons From What DID Work
    1. You should always reach out to others – what’s the worst that could happen?
    2. I have much to learn about GOD but I know that he is in control!
    3. Writing of my own challenges can help others feeling lost.

    3 Biggest Lessons From What DIDN’T Work
    1. Choose wisely where you spend money.
    2. Don’t hang on to people you know are there – TRUST that they are!
    3. Don’t give up because 1 thing or 3 things or 5 things didn’t work the way you wanted – or at all!!

  3. Tessy on December 30, 2013 at 4:44 pm

    Things that worked in 2013/Highlights

    *Working with Mwangaza Int. & Rudi Int. and raising $$ for my DR Congo Children
    *Growing the Divine Moments community to 200 “likes” on FB (adoption blog)
    *Being more intentional in making decisions that worked for our family (even if they were hard)
    *Reading the Bible through Chronologically and GMG’s studies
    *Watching my husband emerge as a spiritual leader in our home b/c his time and energy were not being spent elsewhere
    *Celebrating our 12th wedding anniversary and riding the Katy Trail (something we had on our list for quite some time)
    *Our family vacation to WI – the first time we took off an entire week to spend together. It was amazing and exactly what we needed.
    *Concerts and accountability time with Christie – Finally seeing Audio Adrenaline in concert
    *Kristi’s wedding and a reunion of sorts with my friends from Bible college
    *My nephew Gus being born and getting in lots of baby time
    *Zalen’s readoption and him finally becoming a Fuller officially
    *Avery giving her life to Jesus and watching her grow in her faith
    *Attending my Grandparent’s 60th wedding anniversary and seeing lots of family I had not seen in years
    *Making new friends through our new church and attending Women of Faith
    *Football nights with Lee and Tab and getting in lots of Baby Gus time
    *Meeting Jen Hatmaker – That was pretty cool
    *Freedom felt as I let go of others expectations and focus more on following God
    *Being intentionally thankful and adding onto my list regularly

    Things that didn’t work in 2013
    *I had a goal to read 100 books. I really fell short on this goal and only read 23 books. My goal is to keep reading… and read more then I did last year. If I get to a 100, it will be epic. I have to make sure that I intentionally make time for things I enjoy and reading is one of those. I did read more non-fiction this year. Most inspiring books: Reimagining Church: Pursuing the Dream of Organic Christianity & Interrupted: An Adventure in Relearning the Essentials of Faith & The Autobiography of George Muller – Best fiction: Calling Me Home
    *I also had a goal to pray more. I feel I did better but I still feel I need improvement in this area. It is a spiritual discipline that I struggle with.
    *I have to do something about my physical. I am not feeling healthy. I hate setting exercise goals but seriously something needs to change so I am feeling better and not so tired all the time.
    *Need to figure out what I am going to do with my life and go over budget goals again with my husband. We are kinda of starting over after our adoption and I feel we are not being intentional. We have lost the church income and we need to figure out some things financially instead of ignoring this change.
    *Too much TV/media time- I want to be more intentional with our time and how we spend it.

  4. Katie @ A Place to Dwell on December 30, 2013 at 4:45 pm

    Thanks for sharing your lessons, Lara. You always inspire me. And it was so amazing to meet you at the Influence Conference! What a blessing to me! 🙂

    A few of the lessons I’ve learned this year from what DID and DIDN’T work:

    *I can accomplish BIG dreams (I published my first eBook:! Yay! Happy, happy dance!! It took me a little more than a year to write and create, but I feel so, so thankful to have accomplished that major goal.
    *Community is essential, and I love collaborating to create. In making my eBook, I worked with many talented friends, and I realized just how much creative collaboration fires me up. I’m looking to do so much more of that in 2014, and I’m praying and dreaming what that might look like both online and offline (creating inspiring life-giving community in my city).
    *Adventures that stretch us are good for the soul. Did some things a little out of my comfort zone this year and was truly rewarded by seeing the way God blesses our bravery. 🙂
    *Faith will get me everywhere (kept dreaming, kept hoping, kept believing).

    *Being late causes stress (and so does disorganization). Two things I really want to work on in 2014.
    *Disconnectedness from God hurts my focus and creativity. Seek first the Kingdom is something I want to live out even more in my day to day.
    *Sometimes, we have to make hard choices that lead to healing and growth.
    *Fear is sometimes still too present in my life.

    Overall, 2013 was an incredible year of being brave, taking risks, and chasing dreams! So many beautiful memories were made with my sweet friends and family, too! I turned 30 and had an amazing celebration with the people who mean most to me. I continued to pray about my future marriage and even recently decided to simplify that prayer to this: that I would meet and marry my best friend. That’s a prayer I really hope to see answered in 2014.

    Looking forward to continuing this goal-setting process and connecting with other big dreamers right here on your blog, Lara! 🙂 Saying a prayer this morning that we would all make great things happen this year for Jesus!

  5. Megan on December 30, 2013 at 5:01 pm

    I really enjoy reading other people’s highlights! Thanks for sharing! Thank you, too, Lara for always being and encourager of good. I’m so grateful to have found you and your work!

    Here are a few of my lessons learned.
    Biggest lessons I learned from what did work:
    1. Staying focused and as close to our budget as possible has been life changing. Dave Ramsey has fired us up and has caused us to think differently about how we view the world and our future. He has helped us to plan for the future and take control of our money. Make it behave. Not only our money, but we have been thinking differently about all the other areas of our lives too. We think about meal planning, saving for vacation, planning for the unexpected, teaching our children to save, love, share and give. It has also taught us to live within our means. We cut up our credit cards in the spring and that was a HUGE win for us. If we don’t have the money, we don’t get it. It has helped us grow grateful for what we have and learn responsibility. We are very “weird” in the eyes of others because we don’t get things we don’t absolutely need. That’s hard to understand and hard to do, but we are getting so much better at it. It feels so good to be getting out of debt and not to be a slave to our money/things. We have had to budget this year, because I wanted to stay home with my kids and do this photography thing I love. We actually spent more money when we started budgeting! We got life insurance and started tithing more regularly. It amazes us that it is working out. We are going to keep going and keep cutting down that debt. Budgeting has also helped us to make our priorities very clear. We have sacrificed where we can, with the bigger goal in mind- debt free!!! We are scheduled to be out of debt by the end of 2014! Continually praying about that.
    2. Little by little has worked for me this year. I am very much an impulsive person. When I set my mind on something, I want it now. I learned about my website and the changes that could be made to better it- I wanted it done right then, perfectly. That impulse applies to all areas of my life. I have learned to chip away at it little by little and then go back and track my progress. I have found that that significantly helps me focus on what’s important and to grow throughout the process. Progress. I’ve seen lots of progress this year. This has also helped me pray more often and prayerfully make decisions.
    3. Taking a vacation was a huge WIN this year. It helped me refocus, relax, calm down and come back ready to make things happen. The ocean and the time away fired me up and I came back with more patience and energy to be a better mom, wife and business owner. A vacation was perfect for my husband and I to reconnect and spend some time for us. We got a lot closer this year and a vacation helped us solidify that connection. We are a team and sometimes too hard on each other when the stress becomes too much. It was so wonderful to get away and be with him for a whole week and not worry about anything at home. We have vowed to take some sort of a vacation every year. Even if it is a day trip. It had been too long.
    4. Bible study- For several months I met with a group of lovely women and studied the Book of Daniel with Beth Moore. It was so fabulous. It was deep and thought provoking and wonderful. I learned so much about the history of the Bible and the story behind it. I learned so much about the heart of the Lord and about our God. It was so great and I met some incredible women along the way. I was able to pray for them and with them. I changed so much, too!
    5. Figuring out the direction of where my business is going was a success this year! I still remember the day and moment (there were a couple times) I figured out what made my heart skip a beat and what fired me up this year. Then I did a lot of thinking about it. I’m so ready to stop thinking about it, because that’s where fear creeps in, and to go DO! It’s time to do!

    What I learned from what didn’t work:

    1. Planning for my business budget didn’t work- I did a lot of spending in my business on education and equipment and just learning, that I didn’t pay myself. Looking at my books at the end of the year and coming to the realization that I didn’t pay myself—That. Did. Not. Work. So it’s time to apply my Dave Ramsey principles to my business. Set goals and a budget for how much I can spend and where and then be sure to pay myself for my hard work. I have to make this work.
    2. Social media- I was seriously addicted to social media and to my phone this year. It makes me sick to think about how much time I wasted and still sometimes waste in that black hole. It’s time to set rules and boundaries. It’s time to take control of this addiction and do something about it. If I want to be a better mom and go out and do things with my kids or for my husband.. I am going to go do them. It’s amazing how much time I will gain from putting my phone down. It also doesn’t make me feel very good about myself. There is a lot of negativity there and I tend to let it drag me down and makes me not a very nice person- especially to the people I love the most. That makes me very sad and upset! Time to give that up.
    3. Time management and organization within my business. I like to spend my time being creative and doing the fun things in my business. But, really, 85% of my business is doing the not fun stuff- paperwork, filing, organizing, building systems and I need to embrace that- so when it is time to do the 15% of the fun stuff, I can be fully confident and focused in my creativeness- and do the really great stuff. Scheduling time to do the not so fun will really benefit my business and my life because I won’t be so stressed about that business side.

    A few things that fire me up:
    1. Saturday mornings
    2. Birthday parties
    3. Candles
    4. Baking
    5. Creating
    6. My kids laughing and learning and growing
    7. My husband’s wit and quirkiness
    8. Work dates with good friends
    9. Cupcakes
    11. Dresses and skirts
    12. Prayer
    13. Dancing in the kitchen
    14. Random thought emails to friends
    15. The ocean
    16. Cozy beds and fireplaces
    17. Hugs and kisses
    18. Library time
    19. Reading books
    20. Handwritten notes and snail mail

    Here is my Making Things Happen in 2014 Pinterest board:

  6. Sarah Becker Lillard on December 30, 2013 at 5:50 pm

    Love this! Did a run-down of what worked/what didn’t in 2013 on my blog a couple weeks ago:

    Really looking forward to delving into them more this afternoon to see what lessons and patterns are present there – and so looking forward to the MTH conference with you in just a couple months Lara!

    Thanks everyone for sharing – it is inspiring to see!


  7. Ashley on December 30, 2013 at 5:50 pm

    Oh Lara, thank you again and again for this.

    A few things that did work :
    *physical reminders of a schedule and taking time to actually plan my week on sunday bc I am so distracted
    *encouraging others because it encourages me

    and those that didn’t
    *buying/eating/doing FB or IG just because life stinks sometimes
    *not getting 8 hours of sleep just does. not. work. for me, i get crabby and ill and just plain ugly
    *my perfectionist nature has got to stop. Hearing you say ‘done is better than perfect’ is like water to my thirsty soul (spoken through you, straight from God, He’s been trying to get that through to me for a while now)
    *I need to use only cash…I’m visual and swiping a card is way to easy…

    What fires me up?
    *Thinking about God’s plan for me and our family
    *Photographing everyday life, the good the bad and the messy!
    *learning something new & using it
    *Laughing at incredibly dumb things, especially when my husband cracks jokes
    *singing aloud with my daughter, or alone, or in church
    *kissing my husband, like, really kissing him 🙂
    *writing notes of encouragement and thanks to folks 🙂

  8. danielle honea on December 30, 2013 at 6:03 pm

    Now here I am, listening to rain ha! My hubby and I fall asleep every night to rain! And I never thought to listen as I work-so thanks 🙂 I am about to get some editing done today, but I wanted to jump on here and encourage you! I know what you mean about the “angry me”. that’s my nemesis and has happened more then I like. Not often, but so disappointing- I truly understand. So you are not alone, and I’ll be praying for you for sure! Self-control. SO the positive, I stumbled upon your videos and CRIED like a baby, I encourage you to re-watch (even if its 1 million plus 1 times) the baby announcement video again!! Remind you of that sweet time. <3 So sweet. Well loving your posts, and I'm so excited to implement things, simple things. I started reading the bible from the beginning again, and its been awesome, again thank YOU for being my encourager to seek His Word, and be a doer and not just a hearer. So happy for you, reading all these amazing things God has blessed you with, and seeing Him changed your little heart before our very eyes. Yay! Sending big hugs, be encouraged and of good cheer, be still and continue to be thankful!!! xo

    • Lara on December 31, 2013 at 3:18 am

      I love you. So much. You always know exactly what I need right when I need it. I need that tenderness. And it’s always there in Him. Thank you so much, Danielle. You are a treasure in my life!

  9. Lauren on December 30, 2013 at 6:05 pm

    Hi Lara,

    I’ve been following your blog for about a month now and this is my first time sharing it with others on Facebook. You’ve inspired me to really take a look at my life and reexamine where I am and where I want to go. It couldn’t be more perfect timing with where I am right now. Thanks so much for this post and many of your other encouraging posts. I hope that the people that I shared this with feel inspired too.


  10. Megan on December 30, 2013 at 6:39 pm

    I wish I could say that sharing these little lists was easy because you women above me are amazing and seem like it ain’t no thang! but it is! it’s terrifying actually. but I feel the Lord nudging me to get things out, share my dreams and fears with the world.

    so! things that worked for me in 2013:
    -trusting God. I still have some work to do in this area, but I quit my job to pursue photography full time and I’m amazed at what He’s done in 6 short months. I trusted that this is what He wanted for my life and golly, has He been faithful.
    -heading off on my own to the Influence Conference. I don’t think I’ve ever been so courageous on my own. surrounding myself with a bunch of strangers for the weekend has never been my mo. but God showed me some incredible women. particularly you Lara!
    -getting a dog! our first child. and I love all 101 pounds of him. he basically runs our life, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
    -truly realizing what a role my husband plays in my life. spiritually, mentally, and emotionally. he’s been my ROCK this year. through my crazy spouts and through the times I couldn’t stop jumping for joy. I have no idea what I’d do without him.
    -working through family issues. admitting that I was wrong was hard. but it meant finally getting over a giant hurdle with one of my sisters. God is good and works all things out for His good.

    and the tough part.
    what didn’t work for me:
    -not thanking God every morning. He deserves it
    -going from 0-100 emotionally at any given moment. I need to take a breath sometimes before I react.
    -feeling like I’m not good enough to be a photographer. because I AM.
    -not taking more time to learn. knowledge is power.
    -fighting with my family. it’s exhausting. and I’ve realized that some times it’s ok to have disagreements.
    -not thanking my husband on a daily basis for the role he plays in my life.
    -SOCIAL MEDIA. too much of it. wasting time, getting upset at a dumb post or tweet. I think we’re about to break up! and I’m excited for it.

    I haven’t made my fired up list yet. but off to do so now!

  11. April Stegeman on December 30, 2013 at 7:41 pm

    Pinned this one too! #hooray!

  12. kristen on December 30, 2013 at 8:21 pm

    As I have said before, I just love your honesty. It makes this real and relate-able . Which leads me into what worked in 2013…

    1. Honesty. Being the “real” me is so much easier! Not being afraid to chase my dreams and do the work I feel I was born to do. Not being afraid to be ME! Chipped nail polish, braided hair, and no eye shadow. Focusing more on loving others instead of how I look to others.
    2. Saving Money. I saved enough money this year to launch my business on January 1, 2014! I focused on only purchasing items that were necessary. All of a sudden, I didn’t want or need as much.
    3. Lara Casey Blog. For real… this blog, and you, and your honest stories and virtual encouragement really “fired me up!” My best friend and I started reading it together mid-summer and it has brought me closer to her, to God, and to chasing my dreams as a business owner. (thank you)

    What didn’t work…
    1. Saying “YES” to EVERYONE. We all know how that ends up. By the end of summer, I was a burnt out, in need of a week-long nap, grumpy kind of girl! So the last few months I have taken you and Emily Ley’s much needed advice of “focusing on what matters most”. and golly, what a relief and difference. 🙂
    2. Worrying. It always leads to negativity. And is a waste of time because as you said above – the plans are His. So, I decided to ask friends for prayer requests. Now each night I not only pray for my worries, but there worries too. Putting it all in God’s hands… and spreading the power of prayer – which is a much better thing to do with my time than worrying.
    3.Saving random items for “later”. Like paint, or fabric, or decorations that I “could use for next time”… it has added to clutter. Time to re-think that!

    And what fires me up!
    country music, hugs, being outside, mason jars, southern food, thunderstorms,dirt roads, waterfalls, campfires, burlap, dancing, starry nights, cowboy boots, prayer, naps, road trips, magnolia trees, the ocean, southerndoe, family talks around the dinner table, and most of all my hubby. 🙂

  13. Amber H. on December 30, 2013 at 9:07 pm

    Wow! This was an awesome exercise and truly revealed somethings that I’m hoping will help inspire my goals.

    Here’s a link to my blog post:

    Wishing all of you a wonderful, positive, and happening New Year! – Amber

  14. Kelly Dellinger on December 30, 2013 at 10:05 pm

    Lessons learned from what worked…

    1. God provides. Let go and let God — trust is so necessary.
    2. Have a direction to move towards.
    3. Working, sustainable organizational systems are imperative.

    Lessons learned from what didn’t…

    1. I have to work to be consistent, but it’s so worth it.
    2. Seriously set my priorities. Are they in the right place? The right order?
    3. Don’t undervalue my work.
    4 ( Bonus!). Be on Drew’s team, always. We’re not at odds, nor should we act as such.

    Things that fire me up? Throwing parties. Spending quality time. Travel. The beach, ocean, palm trees, sand, swimming, sun. Snuggling my cats. Baby giggles. Cuddling. Dancing. Yoga.

    Happy New Year, Lara!

  15. Em on December 30, 2013 at 10:17 pm

    Wow…what encouragement you all are. God is doing a NEW and MIGHTY thing with this series…amazing!
    Here are my big lessons from what did and didn’t work in 2013

    What did work:
    1)being stretched into a God-sized dream and life. Choosing to practice faith and grace moment by moment.
    2) being authentic online and off line. Leading a bible study face to face, launching my blog, sharing my heart with people(even the messy bits)
    3) Seeking Godly mentors online and I real life. I am beyond thankful for the friendships and godly women in my life who hold me accountable AND this amazing Make Things Happen Community. Yahoo!!!!

    What didn’t work…and my top lessons:
    1) Distractions!!!!! Like so many social media and especially Instagram has caused to much comparison.
    Simplify and create a routine I. The AM to get me fired up!
    2) Overwhelmed!! I have been TOO busy and overwhelmed. It’s time to cut back and re-evaluate what I am called to do. Say NO more and to put aside my pride and ask for help when I need it.
    3) Excess! I did the contentment challenge this past summer but not very well. To mch stuff and clutter are taking the place of Gods best. I want to simplify and live on less I. 2014.

    What fires me up: Kiddos digging in the dirt at Zachariah’s Acres, rainy days,conversations with kindered spirits, trying something new, yoga, farmers markets, giggles and tickle fights, teaching what God is doing, good photos, GRACE, meals shared around the table, JOY..

  16. Liz on December 30, 2013 at 10:27 pm

    Hi Lara – I might come back and post some answers to these questions, but I did want to share something with you. One of the things you said didn’t work for you this year was worrying about whether or not you were being a good/the best mother. My dad spent the first 10-12 years of my parent’s marriage working overseas on cargo ships for 3 – 6 months at a time. During that time he and my mum could only correspond with letters (and the occasional telegram!). They both kept all their letters and when my dad became very sick towards the end of the this year, they started sitting down and reading their letters back to each other, with the correct corresponding dates. My mum told me that she has always thought she was never a great mother and made a lot mistakes (my brother and I totally disagree!!) but looking back through the letters and she could see that it was all in her mind and in her own perception of how she thought she should be.

    SO – try not to worry about that part, OK? It’s easy for me to say because I am not a mother (yet!), but I can tell you that while it might be frustrating for you, Grace won’t remember any of the times you thought you weren’t good enough or make a mistake. She’ll remember all the love and guidance you gave her, the dance parties, the walks, the games, songs – whatever! And hopefully you’ll see it each day rather than 30 years from now – that you are doing your best to be Grace’s mama and it will all work out! As one of my silver haired friends says, ‘Be Encourage!’. 🙂

    • Lara on December 31, 2013 at 3:15 am

      This means the world to me. I love you friend! Thank you for this beautiful encouragement!

  17. Jessi Kolouri on December 31, 2013 at 2:38 am

    Thank you again for doing all of this, for sharing what God has given you to share! It means more than you know, more than I can articulate here. I’d love to sit down with you in person and dish over some sweet tea 🙂

    Lessons I leaned from what DID work in 2013:
    * Inspiring and encouraging others through teaching and performing is my jam.
    * I need people and community that get me–I need *my* people.
    * Travel is more than good for my soul. That I need it.
    * That I like being married! A happy marriage filled with Love makes a happy Jessi 🙂

    What I learned from what DIDN’T work:
    * Negativity and gossip are toxic to my soul. I need to fight harder for love and light, even if I am the only one advocating for it in my spheres of influence (namely, at work).
    * I need to work harder to establish and protect my boundaries, and learn to say no with grace.
    * People are important, no matter how far away–send birthday cards.
    * Keeping up with the Joneses is a no-win situation. Let it go.
    * Hiding from debt does not make it magically disappear.
    * I need the Bible, my journal, and Jesus every. single. day. I have much heart yuck yet to work through so that I can love others as He’s called me to.

    Can’t wait to see y’all tomorrow! xoxo

  18. Dana at Happy Little Lovelies on December 31, 2013 at 3:13 am

    Whew! I just came across you on instagram (thanks to naptime diaries) and bought your power sheets. Had no idea all this existed until today and can I just tell you? This is like unwrapping a gift. Thank you for the time and heart you are obviously pouring into this series…and into us! I’m grateful. (ps…I read both Seven and Interrupted this year too. what upheaval they have caused in my heart!) 🙂

    Lessons from what did work:
    1. (business related) Instagram is turning into a great marketplace.
    2. I need regular breaks: from social media, from home, from the norm. Getting away with Josh has been amazing for our marriage, either for a date night or a weekend.
    3. Putting down work to engage with my kids is pretty much always the better choice.
    4. (bonus) My physical wellness effects everything in my life and I need to honor that.

    Lessons from what didn’t work:
    1. I need cut off times for work and screens.
    2. I am happier (we all are) when I’m doing more living with my family — getting out and having adventures or staying in and being engaged.
    3. (big one) If there’s not a strong plan to meet our goals – financial, getting house projects done, moving toward adoption, knowing what’s for dinner, enjoying more peaceful Sunday mornings, etc — none of it will happen.

    What fires me up?
    –connecting deeply with other women through real, authentic conversations
    –creating and growing my business
    –travel and new places
    –beautiful scenery – in person
    –feeling victorious in my health goals
    –seeing my kids start to put their faith in the Gospel for themselves (it’s starting!)
    –championing the cause of the orphan and using my shop to do that
    –using my hands and words to do something meaningful for the Kingdom
    — artful food, coffee and wine
    –simplifying so more living can happen

    Looking forward to the next steps..I’m learning so much!

  19. JoAnne Henein on December 31, 2013 at 4:08 am

    Yay, between my husband and I, we are fired up by art AND words. He is a photographer; I am a writer. Thank you for always firing me up with your blogs! My takeaway here is to keep going despite imperfections and failures. Through our refinement, God is glorified.

  20. Taylor Rae on December 31, 2013 at 4:19 am

    This has been a real blessing! It’s been really good for me to get really honest about somethings I never gotten honest about before. Like what I have learned from being negative about myself and what I have learned from living in fear. Those are two things that have become so apart of my life and I never sit back and really think about them. This is the year I want to change how I se myself and how I see my life. I want to see myself as a child of God and not be afraid to do what He has called me to do, even if I don’t know what that is. Thank you for helping me to take those steps!!

  21. Breeze bettis on December 31, 2013 at 4:25 am

    The beginning of our church children girls group has grown not just numbers but their excitement and heart was something that worked last year!

  22. Mollie on December 31, 2013 at 4:42 am

    Lessons From What Did Work:
    1. CONNECTING is what brought me the most joy and growth. I moved this year and when I arrived in my new town, I didn’t know a soul. I made it my mission to be intentional in keeping up with my old friends while making new ones, saying “yes” more often than “no,” and to find a church home where I could really dive in. All of those things produced such fruit in my life this year!
    2. I thrive on a good schedule and to do list in both my professional and personal life. If I don’t focus myself with a list or if I don’t have many meetings, I tend to let my mind wander and realize at the end of the day that nothing was accomplished. Personally I find joy in keeping little things on my calendar too — getting coffee at X time every morning, or going to a yoga class at a local studio every Saturday.
    3. Being intentional MATTERS. Sometimes it seems like “intentional” is just a buzzword these days, especially for Christians, but it’s so important! I want to continue being intentional so I can have more of the goodness that I mentioned in #1.

    Lessons From What Didn’t Work:
    1. Excess is a problem in my life. Food, spending too much money, wasting too much time on social media… definitely something to work on in 2014.
    2. Stress/worry never produces results.
    3. Selfless does not equal doormat. Standing up for myself is crucial, and I need to learn not to “lie down and take it” under the guise of selflessness.

    A few things that fire me up:
    party planning, a productive Farmer’s Market trip, cooking (especially for others!), higher education, singing a particularly good worship song, learning new languages, feeling fit and comfortable in my clothes, sending snail mail to friends, praying, celebrating small things…

  23. Megan on December 31, 2013 at 9:50 am

    Honestly? I look back on 2013, and I don’t know what worked. I don’t know at all. But I find that in the days of social media, I’m more abt to present this cookie cuter picture of my life…even when my heart hurts. Even when my insides are hurting.

    I work in theater and publishing, and unfortunately, sometimes, that’s part of the job. You smile though your heart is breaking.

    So, I’m trying to gear up for 2014, and for the rest of my life with an unapologetic raw honesty.

    I look back on 2013, and I start to cry. My insides hurt. And I just feel bone sad,

    And then I feel guilty for being sad. Cause I know there are others who have far worse woes than I. But honestly, that’s hard to hold onto when I feel like I’m drowning.

    My heart hurts from a love that ‘s lost. My business and website isn’t where I want it to be. I have a nice little stack of rejection emails for scripts and screenplays that I’m shopping. I work all the time, and yet I clearly need to rebudget cause if you looked at my bank account you’d never know it.

    What worked?
    I had the guts to buy a URL for my website. It’s my own .com. And for me, that took guts.
    I’m learning, very. very, very slowly, to tune out the haters. My brain runs a million miles a minute. I’m always getting a new vision – a concert to produce, a series to write, a project to direct. Many people, they laugh. They roll their eyes at me. Oh, ok Meg. Sure you will….(do whatever). And for the longest time I listened. I didn’t act, because I thought – who am I to do these great things? Maybe I AM dreaming too big. And I’m starting not to listen.
    I took s chance and sent my headshots into a tv show for a part. It was something I always wanted to do, and I did it.

    What Fires Me Up –
    Creating new shows – I’ve found a love for producing that I never knew I had.
    Reaching others with my words. Whether its my articles, or my scripts, or just….talking,
    My website. I want it to be an online arts hub magazine. I don’t want it to be a blog.

    This was a novella. My apologies, but thank you for listening.

    • Lara on December 31, 2013 at 11:53 am

      No apologies needed! I love your honesty and your passion and I am praying for you as you move into a fresh new year. Glad to have you here!

    • Bobbie on December 31, 2013 at 10:32 pm

      Megan: I am so sorry to hear this and I said a prayer for you. I am in the middle of a separation I do not want and it looks like 2014 will bring an unwanted divorce. I can hear your pain and I can fully understand it. I just wanted you to know someone else knows what your going through and God is so good he appointed strangers to pray for you!!

    • Megan on January 1, 2014 at 1:37 am

      Thank you, Lara + Bobbie. You beauties are very kind. Here’s to peace, strength, and a life of light. XO

  24. Bev C on December 31, 2013 at 2:55 pm

    I love planning…. Not so great on the follow through. That’s changing in 2014! Learning, trusting God, being active, creating and taking adventures fire me up! Faith was my foundation throughout 2013. This is my year to commit and grow .

  25. Natasha on December 31, 2013 at 3:57 pm

    Lessons I learned from what didn’t work:
    1. 24 hours is not enough time to do everything, but it is enough time to do the *important* stuff.

    2. I put limits on myself and can go farther if I let them go.

    3. Distractions don’t bring me closer to who I want to be or what I want to do.

    Lessons I learned from what did work:
    1. Keep God first.

    2. I am here to be a blessing to others, glorifying God.

    3. God’s plan is always bigger, cooler, and more amazing than what I imagine for myself.

    What FIRES me up!!!
    Spending time with God
    Connecting with family and friends
    Praying for, encouraging, sharing kind words with others
    A cup of hot tea
    Exploring new places
    Eating tasty, healthy food
    Being outside
    Bubble baths
    Great conversation
    Playing the piano
    Watching a childhood movie
    Real mail (sending and receiving)
    Wearing my hair curly
    Scented candles
    Inviting people
    Feeling the sunshine on my skin
    My feet in an ocean
    Smelling good
    Hammock time
    Knowing I made an impact/difference
    Feeling comfortable in my skin
    the sound of rain
    Splashing in puddles in my rain boots
    Being present
    A conversation with “looks” (no words)
    A new chapter release of “Skip Beat”
    Dance parties in my kitchen
    Sky lanterns
    Open windows/fresh air

  26. Victoria B on December 31, 2013 at 4:21 pm

    12/31/13 Step Four: What did you learn from what WORKED?
    – 1: Taking time away from technology is true rest. Choosing books, relationships, and adventure is the way to my heart.
    – 2: I love giving to people. It makes me feel complete. It is worth my time to find a way to reach out to others. Cards are an easy one, but even a text message to see how they are doing today is good. Buying surprise presents was my favorite one though.
    – 3: Getting married and working with Jesse to build our dream life means EVERYTHING to me. Just this morning Jesse was saying how can 2014 top 2013? I told him this is the first year we will be married the whole time. And he said but we got married in 2013, nothing is better than that. I said the only thing better than our wedding is our marriage. It’s true!

    Step Five: What did you learn from what DIDN’T WORK?
    – 1: I need to focus on strengthening the friends I have instead of wishing I already had close friends. It only makes me feel sorry for myself, even though I DO have girlfriends I just need to touch base and see them more often.
    – 2: I need to say no to the TV. It will give me so much more time to chat with friends, do photography, cook, be healthy, and read. Everything I want to do and say I don’t have time for. I do have time I just choose bad behavior instead of good behavior.
    – 3: I need to open myself up to people more. I am fun and silly and talkative. I may not be a good storyteller, but I’m a great listener and I want to give to people. I think gifts might be my love language. I will find out in the new year when I read the book with Jesse.

    Step Six: What FIRES YOU UP?
    Dancing, laughing, doing good things for others, hugging, nature (flowers, sunsets, trees, shadows), travel, adventures, wine and cheese, talking to Jesse, holding his hand, his face when he sees me in the morning (I love the way he looks at me), slow dancing with him in the kitchen, waking up early AND rested, reading, great movies, going for walks and bike rides, cooking with Jesse, having dinner with him almost every night

  27. Erika on December 31, 2013 at 4:53 pm

    Absolutely awesome. I have enjoyed this whole exercise today–and it is super thought provoking and I am realizing how I needed someone to make me stop and think! So thank you.

    What fires me up?
    Taking Photos (especially of nature!)
    Being with my husband and dogs!
    Marking off items on my list! 🙂
    Organizing and editing!
    Visually working with pretty things.
    Feeling like my job is an extension of me (not there yet–but praying and hoping!)

  28. Erika on December 31, 2013 at 4:54 pm

    Oh yeah–working with people and loud music and running!

  29. Christina Moodie on December 31, 2013 at 5:24 pm

    The overall theme for the lessons on what did and didn’t work for 2013 is finding balance between work/school and enjoying family life. This year was OVERLOADED on the work/school side and the family time and enjoyment majorly suffered as a result. Not worth it.

  30. Sarah Mudd on December 31, 2013 at 10:31 pm

    From what worked in 2013 I learned that when Jesus is my primary focus EVERYTHING goes more smoothly. I am not sure why it took me 29 years to learn that! I also learned that good, deep relationships are essential to a happy life and that big risks often pay off.

    From what didn’t work I learned that in all things I need accountability- including finances, working out, spending time with the Lord. When I do not have structure I flounder and I haven’t been a good long distance friend.

    What fires me up is: one on on coffee/dinner dates, writing, crafting, organization, reading, learning new things (specifically from pinterest!), time with the Lord and my sweet dog Tuck.

  31. Bobbie on December 31, 2013 at 10:34 pm

    Its been difficult to really set clear goals for 2014 as my future looks so uncertain (unwanted divorce in my future) but doing these challenges have made it a little easier and I feel proactive. Thank you. AND I blogged about this today on my blog and I linked you!!!

  32. Kia Perry on December 31, 2013 at 10:39 pm

    Step Four- The three biggest lessons I learned from what did work in 2013:

    1. I really can do anything I set my mind to! – Ever since I can remember, I’ve had a pattern of hold myself back out of fear of failure, but this year I really stepped out of my comfort zone and put myself out there more. Once I did that, I realized what my true talent and passion, and not only that. I realized that I can actually do it!

    2. Just step out on faith and DO IT! – 2013 was a year of major risk-taking for me, but it all worked out! Playing it safe doesn’t always work, and that trusting God and taking leaps of faith do. If you look at my list of things that did work in 2013, you’ll see a lot of it came from just doing it!

    3. God truly answers prayers. – Of course when big things happen in our lives we give God all the glory- at least I do, but what about the little things. i have to be honest, it wasn’t until I looked back over the year that I really saw ALL the things God has and is doing, and all I can do is stand in awe. A lot of the things i’ve asked for He’s answered them. He may not have given me exactly what I wanted or they may not have come to full fruition yet, but He answered them.

    Step Five- The 3 biggest lessons I learned from the things that didn’t work in 2013:

    1. If I don’t do it today, I’ll regret it tomorrow – Due to fear and procrastination, I’ve held myself back from so much, but I know better now. I’m going full-force in 2014.

    2. If I waste time worrying, I’ll miss out on enjoying life.

    3. I’ll feel a lot a better when I start letting things out- with thought and moderation of course. – when I feel like something’s wrong, or that someone has done me wrong, I should speak up for myself and what I feel is right.

    Finally, Step Six- what FIRES ME UP!: (not necessarily in this order)

    Designing, Designing, Designing- hands down!
    Visual Merchandising- I love a good window display!
    Reading a good devotional on #SheReadsTruth
    A good song
    Being creative, and meeting people just like me
    Reading a good blog post
    Discovering a cool, creative workspace
    My blog, Girly + Inspired!
    A cute outfit
    Spending time with family
    Going to church
    Making others happy
    Love- I’m such a hopeless romantic

  33. Mel on January 1, 2014 at 5:56 am

    Hi Lara,
    Totally loving the 2014 Goal Setting!!

    What worked well in 2014:
    * taking on extra work,
    * Allowing extra help with my daughter
    * taking on women’s ministry at church
    – 3 things I learned
    1. God’s plans for me can be so different to what I thought they were going to be
    2. God answers prayers & desire even if it may be years down the track
    3. Unconditional love is a powerful thing

    What didn’t work in 2014
    * study for my course
    * healthy eating & living
    * watching our spending
    * quiet times
    – 3 things I learned
    1. I stress far too much
    2. I need to take control of my life and not worry or care what others may think
    3. I need to take the time to organise my week.

  34. Anne on January 1, 2014 at 6:23 am

    I blogged steps 4-6. I was feeling a bit anxious when I started step 4, but by the end of steps 6 I was so overjoyed with optimism! While writing I also had realized that (technically) yesterday, my mother and I were suddenly back on speaking terms after 7 months of saying nothing to each other. And it just…flowed. I hadn’t even realized that had happened until I started typing up my blog post! THANK YOU! I wouldn’t have blogged (& realized that) today if I wasn’t so set on following your goal setting. <3

  35. Megan A on January 1, 2014 at 2:34 pm

    Sat down at my computer this morning to do this Part Two. I am keeping my lists private but I do appreciate you doing this step-by-step so, so much!

  36. Madeleine on January 1, 2014 at 5:20 pm

    What fires me up? Singing & dancing, Disney movies, baking, spending time with those closest to me, a great outfit, laughing, and taking pictures of this beautiful world!

    These comments are all so inspirational! Thanks Lara!

  37. Dana Laymon on January 1, 2014 at 6:23 pm

    It is so much more helpful to write this all down, thank you for the encouragement to do the work! I’m making progress already!

  38. Elizabeth on January 1, 2014 at 7:44 pm

    What I learned from what worked:
    1. Knowing who He says that I am. When I stick to my core and act on ideas rather than just dream about them, things happen.
    2. My days take an entirely different direction (for the better) when I begin them with time in the Word and in prayer .
    3. God always provides. Even when met with challenges, He has always provided. He is faithful and good and full of grace and love.

    What I learned from what didn’t work:
    1. I can’t do it all, but when I stick to my core and do what matters most in my heart, good things come from that.
    2. I need more Jesus and less filler. If I’m not spending time with Him, I am feeling it and seeing it. I need to keep my eyes on Him. I need to learn to rest and wait on Him.
    3. Slow and steady wins the race. Great things take time. Hasty decisions lead to messy situations that add stress. Patience and self-discipline are required.

    What FIRES me up? Writing a clear vision and setting goals and being honest with myself. Creating pretty things. Hand-lettering. Making a house a home. Disney. “Aha” moments with Jesus. Genuine connections with others. Time with my sister. My family. Conversations with my dad. Love. Real life love stories. People who love big and do awesome things for God. TRUTH. Revelation of scripture and seeing others grab a hold of truth. Getting organized. Getting dressed and styling my outfit for the day. Music. Bright lipstick. New places and adventures. Charming cities and landscapes. Girl time. The movie “It’s A Wonderful Life”. Giving. Christmas. Fall. Cold, wintry days. Creating and growing my brand and business. Spending time with good friends. Intimate gatherings around a fire pit. Deep, stomach-felt laughter! The perfect moment. People with passion and genuine love for others who always see something beautiful in the world around them… Gosh, I get fired up just writing all of this!

  39. Amanda T. on January 1, 2014 at 9:00 pm

    I absolutely love this series. It makes me even more excited to get my powersheets!!!!

    I posted on Facebook about this part:)

  40. Lacy on January 1, 2014 at 9:06 pm

    What’s the best planning “binder” for wedding planning? Got engaged Sunday!

    • Lara on January 1, 2014 at 11:22 pm

      Congrats Lacy! How exciting! I think my friend Emily still sells wedding binders. Check them out on : )

  41. Jen T on January 1, 2014 at 9:23 pm

    3 lessons from what worked:
    1. God is so big and so good. He will do amazing things, I just need to open my heart and surrender to Him!
    2. Friendships are amazing and are so worth investing in. Praying with a friend is a deeply rewarding experience.
    3. When you seek first the Kingdom of God, all of these things WILL be added unto you. He keeps his promises.

    3 lessons from what didn’t work:
    1. It’s ok to be selective about what to commit to. I will love others better if I don’t stretch myself out too thin.
    2. It’s okay to not know! Don’t feel the need to continue doing something that doesn’t have purpose..
    3. Don’t waste time on social media. There are way more enriching things to do with valuable time.

    What fires me up?
    Heart to heart talks with my girlfriends. Intentional spiritual friendships. Serving others – cooking for them, making them feel at home. Praying. Praying with others. Laughing and smiling, especially with R. A really good workout. Discussing creative projects with likeminded people. Really great images, outfits, spaces – anything aesthetically pleasing. The way a really good song makes me feel. Children: spending time with them, laughing with them, loving on them. A really good book (taken in with coffee or tea). A good hug from someone I love.

  42. Kim B. on January 1, 2014 at 11:19 pm

    Lessons on what worked
    1. things don’t have to go 100% right to be an overall success
    2. starting is important, even if it is a small start
    3. accountability is a key to a successful outcome

    Lessons from what did not work:
    1. a specific goal helps motivate
    2. I need to be more intentional
    3. to be successful, I need help

    Things that fire me up:
    being with other people working on a project
    helping others
    working out hard
    saving money/find a deal
    planning things to do
    trying new things

  43. Lauren on January 1, 2014 at 11:24 pm

    This series has changed my perspective. As I was writing out what fires me up and Lara asked us to pause and just do something. I picked up my Christmas present which was a DSLR and just took some pictures. I’m not great at it (yet) but I had such joy just looking through the lens. Twenty-Fourteen is going to be an amazing year!

    What did I learn from what worked?
    1. I can do something if I put my mind to it! I saved $, did the #whole30 and traveled with 11 people across the world for missions for two months.
    2. I have life long friends. This sounds silly, but I’ve prayed for real friends who love Jesus, and God answered those prayers this year!
    3. I can do this adult thing. Making budgets, paying bills, buying cars – I think I can handle what’s coming next.

  44. Lara M on January 2, 2014 at 1:28 am

    Our what didn’t work lists are nearly identical. I’m so thankful to be reading these and working on power sheets at the same time. I’ve been feeling horribly guilty that we haven’t done as much homeschool as I’d like. (I’m the overachiever, Teddy is doing great!) but between his strong will and doing so much therapy, speech and OT, and doing all the practice at home the time and my energy have been worn. Then I go back looking for some more blessings to list and I see all the posts of these tiny victories, new sounds, strangers understanding a portion of what he said and I know that all that work that we’ve been doing is indeed paying off and it is worth every new gray hair ! And while I haven’t done as much with Frederick as I did with Teddy, he is always with us and having fun and “participating” in our learning. God is most definitely using these boys to rehabilitate my hanging-on-to-Type-A self 🙂
    What worked:
    I learned that I love being a step back from SM, so I’m learning to use a few different scheduling tools to help me spend less time “there” and to help prevent it from sucking so much time.

    John and I are both much happier when we get time together, and we are trying, despite his crazy demanding schedule, to work in more date/puzzle/snuggle nights.

    I learned I have so much more fun when I just let go and have fun in the messes with the boys. That’s been really hard, but sometimes it’s OK to let the egg yolk/paint/marker dry on the table/linoleum/wall because the train tracks broke and it’s an emergency and mom needs to come save the cows 🙂 Beans and water beads get spilled, but even the clean up can be fun if mom doesn’t blow her top.

    I learned that when I make more time to study God’s word and connect to Him that everyone in our home is much happier and better off. Sometimes it gets hectic and I struggle to “make” time, and that’s something that is changing this year.

    What fires me up:
    Encouraging moms to homeschool. Encouraging preschool moms. Encouraging and being real about being a special needs parent of a child with Apraxia and then some. Being real and honest and open and present.

  45. Jenn P on January 2, 2014 at 1:39 am

    You and your love-exuding heart fire me up Lara! And all of these comments – WOW! The community that you bring together is amazing! He is sooooooo good!!


  46. Elizabeth G on January 2, 2014 at 1:53 am

    Loving this year’s goal setting series and feeling excited for 2014 and coming through a bit of a funk this time last year!

    Lessons from what DID work:
    1. Spending good, quality time with friends really fed my soul and brought me JOY (my 2013 word).
    2. Helping/teaching others is a necessary part of my life – it fires me up to see others fired up.
    3. Trying new things (whether personal or in business) made life much more interesting and made for lots of fun – DO THIS MORE.

    Lessons from what DIDN’T work:
    1. Distractions are just that – they keep me from doing the important work that fills my tank and are only a temporary fix resulting in guilt. It’s time to be intentional with the use of my time.
    2. Worrying is useless. Prayer is the better option. I worried about money, clients, life decisions, etc., but God always provided. This is a lesson I seem to keep learning each year.
    3. Exercise and quiet time need to become consistent parts of my routine. They refresh me and make me feel like I start each day fresh.

  47. Rhiannon on January 2, 2014 at 1:57 am

    You know, I was away for a few days with a big NYE event and have been so antsy and truthfully a bit dissapointed (in a bittersweet way of course because I love my bride and groom from yesterday) to be missing out on all of these goal posts. Like I’ve been actually feeling panicked because I knew I wouldn’t be able to follow along until tomorrow and as a result NOT BE IN CONTROL of a picture perfect fresh start on January 1st. Silly huh? The good news is, I have so much to pour out about 2013 and about what I want to strive for in 2014. Tomorrow, I’ll take the day off (since I didn’t over the holidays) and follow along on every single post here so I can make sense of the last 365 days as I move forward to the next. Excited is an understatement. And I love the part you wrote about having boundaries but still feeling like you’re spread too thin to really enjoy personal time, walks outside, EXERCISE (one of my weaknesses), time with your children (or in your case with Gracie) and the list goes on of things that often takes a backseat to work. You feel like sometimes you just have too many to dos that need to get done before anything else. But the thing is, we’re not perfect! We never will be and that’s OK because that’s how HE created us. The Lord wants us to fall so we can learn to carry ourselves withgrace when we are ready to get back up. And this is getting long and I love you too much to take up your entire comment feed, so know you’re a perfect, living, Southern, red haired example of just what I described. Keep doing what you do so beautifully, Your heart is made of gold. Can’t wait to see you in a few months. xoxo

    • Lara on January 2, 2014 at 2:26 am

      I love you so very much and pray your time off is so good!

  48. Megan Horner on January 2, 2014 at 3:17 am

    I pinned this on Pinterest!

  49. Rhiannon on January 2, 2014 at 4:38 am

    Shared on Facebook and pinterest! Love the series so far but hesitant to post my personal success/failures.

  50. Caroline on January 2, 2014 at 7:29 am

    In love with this series already. xoxo

  51. Heather on January 2, 2014 at 3:52 pm

    On January 1, my baby was up from 3am-5:30am. It was the perfect time to finish working on my lists of what worked and what didn’t work. I was shocked to see how the lists could be boiled into major lessons I learned. It was an incredibly helpful step for me. One of my biggest lessons from the year is that I can find peace and joy even when life is messy and chaotic (rather than feeling like I just have to survive). This step was so clarifying. I posted abut it more in depth on my blog.

    Thanks again for your series. It is doing great things for me!

  52. Machelle on January 2, 2014 at 4:31 pm

    What I learned from what worked:
    -God has provided us with some great groups of people for fellowship and to invest our time with. So excited to continue this in 2014!
    -I get a lot of joy from learning new skills and designing things. I think it is time to take this more seriously!
    -I am so grateful for time with siblings and friends, but I learned that we need to be more intentional and purposeful with that time.

    What I learned from what didn’t work:
    -My job causes a lot of stress, and I often feel like my heart does not have a lot of joy. Something needs to change here, SO I learned that I need to seek God on this way more than I have been.
    – Date Night with my husband needs to get priority. We often forget about this, and so I want to be intentional and purposeful about this.
    – I NEED to seek God FIRST for decisions I am worried or scared about. So often I cause myself unnecessary stress or worry by not going to the Lord first.

    What fires me up:
    – Reading the Bible
    – Journaling
    – Having fun with my husband
    – Designing
    – Creating
    – Learning
    – Taking Walks
    – Investing in my group of middle school girls

    I am getting so fired up about 2014! THANK YOU for being an inspiration and encouragement to women everywhere. I love reading through all the comments and seeing so many women touched by what the Lord has put on your heart.

  53. Rosangela on January 2, 2014 at 4:50 pm

    Hi Lara and Happy New Year!

    Here’s my lists 🙂

    Biggest Lessons From What DID Work
    1. It is always important to keep learning. Our knowledge about new things and subjects matters a lot, not only in professional life, but in personal accomplishment.
    2. I value communication, express myself, my ideas and thoughts.
    3. Simplify is also to fight the negative off. I have detached myself from negative people and projects that could not take me to anyplace.

    Biggest Lessons From What DIDN’T Work
    1. Take care of my money and do not spend with things I do not really need.
    2. Think better about my personal choices and relationship.
    3. Disconnect! Choose better the time I need to stay online and the activities I do.

    I am in love with the Goal Setting 🙂

  54. Brooke on January 2, 2014 at 5:40 pm

    What DID work:
    1. Putting Christ at the center changes my heart, which changes my focus, which changes my reaction. This always works, but takes conscious effort. It’s a heart condition.
    2. Communication. Always works. Clear, intentional communication presented with humility.
    3. Organization always wins! When I have clear intentions and focused goals, I accomplish more with a grateful attitude. Not perfection, but flexible organization.

    What DIDN’T work:
    1.Depending on my own self or my own will. My need for the Lord and his intervention in DAILY life is vital.
    2. Selfishness always has a consequence. Either my own disappointment or hurting others. When the focus is on me, my goals always fail.
    3. Failing to complete a goal usually means I didn’t take action. Either failing to goal plan intentionally, or just being lazy. I have a desire to follow through and I can set myself up for that.

    Loving Goal Setting for 2014! Thank you, Lara!

  55. Sontera on January 2, 2014 at 5:57 pm

    Great post and thank you for being so honest! I have the 2014 Power Sheets and am almost through all of the prep material. Wow – I am so excited for 2014!

    What I have learned from what DID work:
    1. Do it, just do it! Ideas and dreams are worth nothing unless you put them into action.
    2. Charging more. I raised my prices and have only seen benefits. It didn’t scare away anyone! (well, anyone that I would want as a client)
    3. Saying NO. It’s ok to say no, and it will benefit everyone involved if I don’t over extend myself.

    What I learned from what did NOT work:
    1. Procrastination. It is good for nothing, and I need to STOP.
    2. Saying YES to everything. I get tired and don’t work as well. It’s ok to say no.
    3. Not investing money wisely.

    -I am looking forward to a bright and hopeful 2014!

  56. Casey on January 2, 2014 at 6:23 pm

    I have simply learned that if I don’t say no, I lose. I lose time for rest, time for my family and time for things that fire me up. This year is going to be so very different. My goals for this year are things that I have never had the opportunity to plan in the past, so I am definitely looking forward to an exciting new start and view of life.

  57. Ashley on January 3, 2014 at 12:35 am

    Lessons I’ve learned from what didn’t work:
    1. My path in life isn’t to take the “safe” route and settle on things. I’m not on the same path as many others, but rather have my own path to follow. I need to open my heart to following this path.
    2. I need to listen to myself and my instincts. I’ve completed the research and have the tools to pursue my dreams. I need to stop doubting myself and take action.
    3. I need to be honest with myself. I need stop trying to force things to happen, but rather trust in God’s timing.
    4. I need to keep my word. I need to stop letting fear control my decisions and pursue things even when I’m scared. “If God is for us, who can ever be against us.” Romans 8: 31

    Lessons I learned from did work:
    1. Pray more and worry less. Let God’s words direct my steps.
    2. Taking care of myself physically, mentally, and spiritually is all a part of healthy living. I feel better and can help others more when I take better care of myself.
    3. Enjoy the moments that are placed in my life. No need to rush through things to get to the end. It will be here in it’s own time.
    4. Having supportive areas in my life makes a difference. There will be tough days ahead, and having a strong support system is key to making it through.

    What fires me up:
    1. Living life to it’s full potential. Making the most of my time here.
    2. Photography and capturing moments for others
    3. Sister trips & vacations
    4. Embracing change and conquering fears
    5. Following my passion and discovering it fully
    6. Prayer
    7. Inspiring and helping others

    Yay for goal setting!

  58. Brittany on January 3, 2014 at 3:08 am

    Thank you for sharing your heart and guiding us through this goal setting and planning to make 2014 the best yet!

  59. Kate on January 3, 2014 at 3:12 am

    What I learned from what worked:
    // I am nothing apart from Christ
    // No person, place, or thing can or will ever fulfill me other than Jesus Christ
    // I love being healthy & taking care of myself
    // I love my job

    What I learned from what didn’t work:
    // I need a schedule, routine, & discipline
    // To prioritize
    // Don’t make excuses
    // It’s okay to say “no” to some things in order to say “yes” to others
    // A year from now I WILL wish I had started today
    // Daily prayer & quiet time is essential
    // Not to start my day with social media

    //pinned this post:

  60. mal on January 3, 2014 at 4:28 am

    Serving the less fortunate
    Exploring new places
    Learning from strong women
    Playing the ukulele
    Having deep philosophical talks
    Cloudy, cool days

  61. Stefania on January 3, 2014 at 10:39 am

    Hello Lara, I started your goal setting yesterday, after discovering it from a friend, and I’m loving it so far. Thanks for sharing all this good stuff, I hope I’ll keep following this. (Although I think you wouldn’t approve me skipping all the “God talk” , but I must admit that most of the content reasonates to someone who doesn’t have faith, too)
    These are the things I learnt from yesterday lists.
    -from what WORKED:
    1. when I force myself to actually DO something, at the end I feel more satisfied and happy
    2. what I value most and makes me feel accomplished is EXPERIENCES, not stuff, success or else
    3. doing something just because “everybody” does it does not make sense: I can let go things that I don’t feel mine (knitting, for instance) without feeling left out

    – from what DID NOT WORK:
    1. my greatest obstacles are lazyness and distraction
    2. I find hard to understand what I really want and to feel content with what I have
    3. most of my unhappines comes from myself and not from external causes

    Now I’ll go print the Fires Me Up List!
    ( sorry for the poor english, but I’m writing from Italy!)

  62. JoAnne Henein on January 3, 2014 at 5:19 pm

    What are the three biggest lessons you learned from what DID work?

    1. I create my world.
    2. Margin is necessary. Target one main event morning, afternoon, and evening.
    3. When I follow my favor, not someone else’s (or what someone else is telling me to do), I am fulfilled.

    What are the three biggest things you learned from what DIDN’T work?

    1. I create my world.
    2. Others cannot “make” me mad. I make myself mad, and till I own it, I WILL be mad.
    3. Focusing on thing at a time is the most efficient way to get things done. Then if something didn’t get done, my family is still more important to tend to than getting that thing done.

    P.S. – Got an audio Bible series and read alongside! Fact: Audio-visual increases long-term retention rate by over 60%. Sameh & I started that today, and it was brilliant!

    What fires you up? What are the things that light your soul on fire?

    Morning cuppa fresh-ground coffee with a daily devotional. // Friends who love well. // A heart-to-heart chat. // Meeting a need. // Surf & sand. // Grids (my signature task charts). // Booking air tickets and redeeming airline miles. // Beautiful fonts. Polished Design. // Curating collections of photography, home accents and accessories. // Budgeting well. // Waiting and finding THAT ITEM I’ve been looking for, at discount prices! // Spice-scented candles & jazz music. // Hikes and stunning landscapes. // Encouragement (the genuine kind). // Melktart from South Africa; Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand; Ahi Poke from Hawai‘i. // Giving leis -

  63. Raye Cage on January 3, 2014 at 7:07 pm

    What fires me up?
    1. Eating dark chocolate treats on a silver tray.
    2. Walks on beautiful beaches, feeling the sand between my toes.
    3. Listening to classical music while I work or some type of inspirational music/speaker.
    4. Hearing the binding crack when I open a new book to read.
    5. The color purple
    6. Lilacs
    7. Dancing
    8. Writing & other creative art forms (painting, photography, aromatherapy)

  64. Hannah on January 3, 2014 at 7:36 pm

    What I learned from what worked:
    •Even when life feels bad and messy, God is still good. As James 4:6 says, “He gives more grace.” It’s a matter of perspective. Choosing to focus on His graces and all the way He loves me every day, greatly helped me in the dark days.
    •It’s okay to let go, to rest, to receive grace. I learned that I don’t always have to be strong and that it’s okay to ask for help. It’s also not the end of the world if I can’t get a workout in. Resting makes way for healing – physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.
    •Faith. Family. Friends. These are the things that matter and that I need to put more of my energy into on a regular basis.

    What I learned from what didn’t work:
    •The body needs time to rest, recover, and heal after long, hard, and intense periods of training and racing.
    •Stress is most often a result of how we choose to view our current circumstances. Perspective matters. Dwelling on the negative and getting lost in the chaos can make us lose ourselves and other important things in the process.
    •A job is a job. If you look to a job as your one and only source of fulfillment, it will surely disappoint. It’s a means to fulfillment and satisfaction, but not the end all, be all. Only God can do that. He provides what we need to be fulfilled in Him.
    •I can’t control everything. Yes, I am a control-freak and I have to let go. Let go. Let go. And breathe. Deep.

    What fires me up?
    I made a special Pinterest board for this:

  65. Leah H on January 3, 2014 at 8:07 pm

    What I learned from what DID work:
    – God is always there, never falters, with grace and open arms
    – When I walk daily in HIM, life is just better
    – I am stronger than I think
    – My husband is amazing and my family rocks
    – I am a good mom
    – I strive on God’s word and affirmation
    – Running and cooking create positive feelings for me

    What I learned from what DIDN’T work:
    – Doubt & worry are such a waste of precious time
    – Putting big items off just creates more stress
    – I feel better when I routinely exercise and eat well: healthy body = healthy mind

    What FIRES ME UP:
    Hugging Max, laughing, holding hands with my husband, cooking, canning, chats with my mom, Proverbs 31 Ministries, doing a random act of kindness & not telling anyone, running, yoga, SheReadsTruth, making other people smile, prayer, KLOVE, trips with my family, trying new things

  66. Megan on January 3, 2014 at 10:01 pm

    So thankful to read (and learn from) each of your experiences!

    Lessons from what has worked for me:
    -A healthy lifestyle goes a long way to eliminate stress and make me feel better. Taking time to prepare meals brings me joy. Working out in different ways each week keeps my mind active and helps me find joy.
    -I am not the most important thing in my life- a little goes a long way in family time and friendships. Intentional time is the best, and is come by easily a minute at a time.
    -Community is Important!
    -Making it to church will make my week!

    Lessons from what did not work for me :
    -It’s OK. Scratch that-good. to say no sometimes (and I need to continue growing and finding the right ways to say it.)
    -I don’t need to ask permission to be better. I will work daily to do what I know is best and I will not seek credit.
    I also learned not to wait for others to tell me next steps professionally, I want to be driven to research and learn individually. I won’t continue to hesitate!
    -Blaming others for problems is a symptom of a control problem. Each day I will focus on the good instead of trying to spin wheels fixing the bad.

  67. Amy on January 4, 2014 at 5:56 am

    I am SO glad this series is back for 2014. Last year the goal setting series helped make some life changing, phenomenal and forever lasting changes that even I didn’t quite expect in those early months of January. How remarkable it is that taking time to really evaluate you, your life, what you’re passionate about can literally change the way you view life, and help you alter the way you spend your time so that it makes things more meaningful.

    So far this go-round some of my answers are the same – but many many of them are different. I found myself in tears the other night as I was reviewing the things that worked in 2013. I am hopeful and optimistic that that can-do attitude and careful planning and evaluation will be a spring board to further success and happiness in 2014.

  68. Michelle on January 4, 2014 at 5:38 pm

    SO fired up after this exercise today!!

    Things that fire me up! Travelling, blogging, journaling, tight hugs, eye contact, helping others–volunteering at the USO, talking to my mama, reading novels, having a clean apartment, living simply–purging from my closets!, being spontaneous–new adventures!, cooking & baking from scratch, making healthy choices, yoga classes, reading inspirational blogs, encouraging others, compliments, words & quotes, listening to live country music, sun dresses & cowgirl boots, starry nights, sunrises & sunsets, the mountains & the oceans, a good night’s sleep, helping others with resumes and career goals, writing, overcoming challenges, advocating for our troops & finally, making things happen!!!! ooxx

    Pinned this post to my MTH in 2014 pin board:

  69. Kimberly Wright on January 4, 2014 at 8:43 pm

    Love this series, blog and you! You give me SO have life. I love to read your heart warming thoughts late at night when all is still. I plan to attend Making Things Happen in March and get regrounded again. You see I rose above adversity with resilience. If only you knew my whole true story you would understand the essence of who I am. I am a spiritual Lioness who has borne the burdens of cancer twice, strokes twice, and “love” abuse a few times over and came out fighting to win. ‘..And still I rise’ rings as a reminder from Dr. Maya Angelou to keep living for my destiny. Even when I am thrown to the wretched wolves of diminished health, abuse, attacks on my character or life, I ignite the flame of truth, healing, and prosperity forcing those evils to perish; then finally arise from the beautiful ashes of rebirth. My life is similar to a butterfly; woven in the pain of my past and strength of my lineage to change and emerge into the lady I am to be. I live each day Encouraged, Inspired & Destined for success in all aspects of life. The foundation of my strength comes from embracing daily affirmations to stay focused, on point and centered. I refuse to allow anything or anyone to define me as a victim of circumstances and I continue to be of service to others because “Service is the rent we pay for living…” Again, love that FAITH is speaking to me through you and whispering what I should do in 2014. 🙂

  70. Stephanie on January 5, 2014 at 3:08 am

    I pinned a link to this site because I would love for every person to know the power of God through you! I’m so excited to get organized with you all.

  71. Stephanie on January 5, 2014 at 3:10 am

    Sorry, I forgot to include the link to my pinterest:

  72. Tamara Nicole on January 5, 2014 at 3:58 am

    Again SO inspiring!!! I just started my MTH 2014 board as well and feel SO light and inspired:

    What I learned from what worked:
    *I love styling photo shoots and am pretty darn good at it. Makes my soul happy to create along with other people. Do more of this.
    *Raising my prices was a GREAT idea, I need to value my time and energy more. It also attracted better/more meaningful and fun people and weddins
    *Family time: SO important. MORE of this
    *Vacation is good for the soul.
    *etc (so much)

    What I learned from what didn’t work:
    *Work less/smarter. Working 80-90 hours a week is not good for me, my family, my clients, my body, not for one thing.
    *I need to make more time for family and friendships
    *Less complicating life and more simplifying
    *Less work= more take care of myself time. Work out eat healthy, hike, walk, sleep
    *Less coffee! (WAY too much last year) need to stop wasting money and getting addicted to this!
    *SO much more

    What fires me up:
    Friends, family, WEDDINGS!, my amazing couples, creating, my 4 pups, traveling, cooking, eating clean, less meat in my diet, girl time, reading the bible, prayer time, being around inspiring people, etc!

    THANKS for this!!!

  73. Melody on January 5, 2014 at 8:43 pm

    What worked well in 2013?
    –YNAB = less worry, more generosity
    –realizing that we have a great living situation and church to serve
    –having my sister with us for a quarter
    1. I feel happy when I serve in areas I love — hospitality, kids.
    2. My every day words are powerful.
    3. I am gifted for what I do and I am blessed to get paid for it.

    What didn’t work in 2013?
    –no set work hours
    –a lot of fear
    –isolating myself
    1. Every choice and action has a consequence.
    2. Pursuing good health is worth the effort and expense.
    3. I need to WORK at change.

  74. Megan on January 5, 2014 at 11:16 pm

    When I was writing these steps out on my Powersheets (yay!) I realized that everything that I learned from what worked and what didn’t work corresponds to a bible verse, so here it is!

    What I learned from what WORKED:

    “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” -Matthew 6:21

    “Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life” -1 Thessalonians 4:11

    “Act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God” -Micah 6:8

    “Your Father knows what you need before you ask Him” -Matthew 6:8

    “Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all.” -Mark 10:43-44

    What I learned from what DIDN’T work:

    “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, and in everything give thanks” -1 Thessalonians 5:16

    -Mathew 25:14-30

    “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” -Isaiah 41:10

    “A good man brings things out of the good stored up in his heart…for the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” -Luke 6:45

    “Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” -Galatians 1:10

    “But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed” -Luke 5:16

    “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” -Hebrews 12:11

    “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you saying, “This is the way; walk in it” -Isaiah 30:21

    I also made my Pinterest board:

    And pinned this series and will hopeful be blogging it on my new little baby blog : )

  75. Megan on January 5, 2014 at 11:36 pm

    Oh, I also forgot this verse!

    “Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.” -1 Timothy 6:17-18

    The second part is my favorite, probably my verse for 2014

  76. Monika on January 6, 2014 at 12:07 am

    Three lessons from what worked in 2013:
    • Asking for help – I learned I have a tremendous amount of support (and talent!) in those close to me, and I have asked several to be on “my team”
    • I need challenges, variety and collaboration. In equal measures.
    • Learning to knock on doors can lead to good things – and they wouldn’t have happened had I been afraid to do it.

    Three lessons from what didn’t work:
    • I need more structure. I have tendencies to let time slip past me if I don’t have a good plan in place.
    • A split focus drains my energy for everything. Three different jobs at the same time is too many, and I didn’t adjust my expectations and timelines for how one job would affect all the others.
    • I need to stick to a shopping budget – and break the habit of wanting “more”

    What fires me up!
    Helping others
    Being genuine – honest – REAL
    Investing in what matters
    Experiencing “the finish” – getting to the end of something, accomplishing a task
    Using gouache and playing and experimenting
    Real wood – gorgeous wood grains
    Writing handwritten notes
    Inviting others into our home
    The smell of cozy burning candles on a quiet morning
    Having a day with my husband, not needing to DO anything
    Seeing others become better
    Watching birds… or anything in nature
    The sound of the wind through the trees when I’m all alone in the woods
    Examining individual snowflakes and marveling at God’s creation
    Laughing till I cry
    Being silly
    The sky
    Seeing “defining moments” in my photos
    Family farms
    Quiet mornings by myself

  77. Gabrielle on January 6, 2014 at 6:45 am

    What are the three things I learned from what worked?

    1.) I learned that I am really more capable (with God’s help) than I give myself credit for most of the time…I unfortunately so often let fear of failure hold me back from doing things that I really can do.
    2.) I learned that I love my husband very much, I am still very humbled that God entrusted me to be his wife..Stephen really feels like such a gift. I also learned that there is always something new to learn about Stephen’s personality and that I am the same way, people are like onions..they have layers and you can’t just judge them from the first layer, you have to peel it back and keep peeling over and over again.
    3.) I learned that sometimes stuff happens that we don’t understand and that feels painful and tough, but no matter what God is still good.

    What are the three things I learned from what didn’t work?

    1.) I learned that I need to value my time more and my photography skillset more.
    2.) I need to be more intentional about being organized in my business and in my home and keeping track of where things are, especially in regards to financial things.
    3.) I need to be keeping a more careful eye on the amount of time I spend on social media. I don’t need to let it take over my life.

  78. Bobbie on January 6, 2014 at 3:36 pm

    What fires me up? Proactive, progress, fresh flowers, and a clean kitchen!

  79. Paula on January 6, 2014 at 7:14 pm

    I just ordered my first set of Power Sheets, and can’t wait to use them While I was meditating on my word for 2014, words or action kept coming up – work, rekindle – BUILD. Build is my 2014 word – to build my business (which is in it’s infancy stages); kingdom building – teaching Sunday School and volunteering at Alpha. Witnessing whenever and wherever I have the opportunity; body building – i need a firm foundation for health, and I am currently not at it. being healthy and building my body up will benefit me in more ways that I can articulate; build my soul up – by reading the Word, intentional prayer time, exposing myself to positive influences and avoiding the negatives; build others up – I want to leave each person I come into contact with a bit better than they were. I want to thank you Lara, for inspiring me, and being so humble in your goal setting – it gives me hope and encouragement that I can do this! xo

  80. Sarah on January 6, 2014 at 10:23 pm

    What I learned from what worked?
    1. I was reminded that the Lord is at work around me, in huge ways! I want to spend more time documenting and dwelling on His great faithfulness this year!

    2. It is a great JOY to walk through life with others. What a sweet challenge the Lord gives us in Hebrews 3:13 to encourage other believers daily to pursue the Lord with a believing heart. And what a sweet opportunity we have to share the love of Christ with those who don’t know Him as we walk with them through life’s ups and downs.

    3. I know I can trust the Lord but this year I was reminded that I am where He wants me. I have the ministry He has planned for me in this season as I stay home with our little guys. I am so excited this year to pursue excellence here. Not chasing after another dream that doesn’t coincide with His plans. Some days my heart is torn with discontentment, wishing I were doing something else but He has shown me that there is huge potential to offer Him my very best here, to bless my family, to bless others, and it will be my JOY to rejoice in His plan over my desires.

  81. M DeJean on January 6, 2014 at 11:49 pm

    pinterest check….facebook check #2014goalsetting.

  82. M DeJean on January 6, 2014 at 11:51 pm

    the biggest thing for me last year was quite simply that truly trusting God is….well it totally takes the stress out of it! It has been the most challenging thing to date….but sooooo worth it….my prayer is that it continues and grows

  83. M DeJean on January 7, 2014 at 1:08 am

    pinterest check….facebook check #2014goalsetting.

    STEP 6: What Fires Me UP?
    1. Feeling like God is pleased.
    2. Do/making things for my girls and husband
    3. Making sure they are taken care of
    4. Trying new things (usually arts a crafts related)
    5. Being a homemaker
    6. Seeing the results of the workouts I put people through
    7. Seeing the results of my talents…
    8. Being of service
    9. Inspiring people to keep pushing

  84. leah on January 7, 2014 at 8:35 pm

    my biggest lesson for what worked in 2013 is diving into God’s Word. sadly i didn’t do it until later in the year when the storms were raging, but man am i glad i did. it made a world of difference! who would’ve thought right? lol.

    my list in 2013 of what didn’t work is a whole lot longer than what did. i admit 2013 was not one of my faves, but we’ll learn from lessons.
    what didn’t work was procrastination. all around. in fulfilling my dreams, in getting things done, reading God’s word. waiting until the last minute stresses me out and steals away my joy.
    also i had social media overload. to a point where i would mindlessly scroll through IG or twitter for the thousandth time in the day. when i wasn’t heing intentional about it, it often left me feeling empty. no more of that.

    and in thinking of what i will be doing more of and what fires me up is:

    art. i love painting, designing, admiring great works of art.
    date nights. i love time with my husband.
    family outings. to the park, dinner, movies, just around town. being out together is enjoyable.
    taking photos. love capturing the beautiful in the ordinary.
    worshipping. love leaving everything at the altar.
    pretty handwriting.

  85. Abby on January 7, 2014 at 9:15 pm

    A little behind but sitting in a coffee shop which is one of the things from my fired up list! Also tweeted this 🙂

  86. Melissa on January 8, 2014 at 5:57 am

    Step 4. I learned that I feel better when I workout and eat clean. When managing a project it is vital to keep detailed notes and stay organized, it helps solve potential problems. Being vulnerable is good in order to grow within relationships, it allows you to be more authentic and build trust.

    Step 5. I learned to not take important advice from those that are not in positions that I aspire to. I learned to choose love over fear, every time, and I’m still working on this. I learned that micromanaging doesn’t produce better results; you have to let go and trust. I also was given a huge serving of humble pie so that I can be less judgmental and more compassionate. I’m still working on this too.

    Step 6. What fires me up? Seeing others do well, having ‘aha’ moments, having conversations about ideas and thoughts that encourage growth and critical thinking, traveling and exploring new cultures, great music, motivational quotes, exposing myself to new ideas, pretty & colorful creations (art, photos, paper goods, fashion), doing something unexpected for someone else and seeing their happiness as a result, the accomplished feeling after a workout, and love. Those are the intangibles that fire me up.

    The tangibles include black/white, any shade of blue, confetti, glitter, sprinkles, fireworks, champagne, balloons, bows, water, books, quotes, football, the national anthem at football games when the flag covers the entire field, red raspberries, lilacs, lily of the valley, peonies, and tulips.

  87. Ebony on January 10, 2014 at 6:42 am

    I just have to say that I’m loving this process. I have never thought about goal setting in this way. I have done lessons learned before but I haven’t approached with the detail and really deep thought that this process has taken me through.


  88. Stephanie on January 10, 2014 at 6:14 pm

    Thanks for the giveaway! I’ve made a Pinterest board and tweeted about ‘Making Things Happen 2014’. Its really motivating and inspiring! I got married last July and graduated the same month, so all these goodies would be perfect to help me organise my goals and life with my husband!!

  89. Jessie on January 11, 2014 at 5:49 am

    What worked for me in 2013:
    Listening to positive and uplifting words (Oasis)
    Starting the year with a fast
    Setting goals
    going to God
    running/ exercising
    quiet times
    desire to learn
    What didn’t work in 2013:
    yelling/ criticizing
    trying to achieve perfection
    being prideful
    rushing to places
    not planning ahead
    complaining by texting to others

    3 things I learned from what worked:
    Quiet time with God is a must
    Love trumps all/prayer works/ God will restore
    Smiling can be the best way to get through the day

    3 things I learned from what didn’t work:
    Skipping quiet time is not a good idea
    Setbacks are opportunities for comebacks
    Don’t dwell.. Forgive myself and do better.

    What fires me up!!
    This!! preparation to do better:) To achieve goals:)
    Playing and spending quality time with my girls.
    Hugs and love from my girls.
    Time alone with Jesus.
    Running. Zumba. Workouts.
    Laughing with my hubs.
    Dance parties:)
    Taking time for myself.
    Sending happy mail.
    Making healthy choices.
    Making things- creating.
    Time with my sisters, mom, and grandma.

    ‘I’m excited for 2014!

  90. Jessica on January 11, 2014 at 3:57 pm

    The biggest lesson I learned from what DID work in 2013 was: I absolutely cannot manipulate or craft the times when my heart is the most full. No matter how hard I try. The moments that I described as my favorite, or the things that simply WORKED were straight from the Lord Himself. I just love the fact that He always reminds me, Jess, I know your heart so much better and deeper and wider than you ever will.

  91. Karen on January 12, 2014 at 4:10 am

    The funny thing is, I am learning so much about what I DON’T know about myself at this point in life. I am being challenged to dig deep! What fires me up? That is a good question. The two things that come to mind and heart right now are communicating with God and serving my husband as God called me to do in our marriage.

  92. Rachel on January 12, 2014 at 5:12 am

    I am loving this process!

    The greatest lesson I learned this year from what did work (The “what did work” was I successfully survived my first year of teaching! In a school that was closing!):
    -Worry accomplishes absolutely nothing, except to cause yourself to be more anxious and to worry more! I worked in a stressful work situation where people were either retiring and sad about the school closing, or were stressed about finding a new job. I was surrounded by worriers, and it was so contagious! When I finally took the advice of my Mom and separated from the worriers and instead prayed a lot more and looked on the situation with optimism, I felt like a great burden was lifted. I love that quote (I’ve seen it on Pinterest a lot): “Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.” -Corrie ten Boom

    The greatest lesson I learned from what didn’t work is similar (the “what didn’t work” was that I compared my own life and life seasons with those around me too often): By focusing on what I lack in life compared with my peers, I robbed today of its treasure and joy. I hope to learn this year to enjoy every season and every moment. Every breath is a gift! I want to treat life with that importance, instead of wishing it away by comparing myself to others.

  93. Elise @ Sunday Charm on January 12, 2014 at 9:13 pm

    What fires me up? Seeing progress! My husband and I are working on becoming debt free. About half way we got overloaded, distracted, exhausted, and it was so helpful to look at where we started (33K) to where we are now (10K). It gave me the burst of energy I needed! And that applies to everything in life…I just need to take the time to go back over my blogging and small biz goals to see how far I’ve come and to refresh my energy!

  94. Lissa on January 12, 2014 at 11:38 pm

    I’m so psyched to do this again this year. I’m really praying for major change in my life and a more focused attitude. This is MY year!
    My greatest lesson from 2013 really is to simplify. My life, my home, my schedule. I have noticed that as i have taken things from my life, i have been able to enjoy my family, and days more. Simplifying is one of my goals this year. I want to learn to live simply, not just from stuff but also in attitude. I tend to get caught up on VERY LONG lists of things that get done. I plan on focusing on the things that truly matter – the rest is just fluff!
    Thanks for your work and your inspiration!

  95. Lissa on January 12, 2014 at 11:39 pm
  96. Terrilynn on January 13, 2014 at 6:28 am

    This exercise always puts me in the right frame of mine at the beginning of the year. I may be sidetracked by mid-year, but all I have to do is pull my lists and get back on track. I have several points under each topic, but only shared a few here.

    Lessons from what worked:
    1. Trust God…PERIOD! He is the author of the book and therefore knows how it ends. Trust His leading. I did that and He showed me that favor is better than finances!
    2. Baby Steps are still steps! Keep moving forward. When you stop you take steps backwards. Progress, not Perfection.
    3. A healthy lifestyle is not as difficult as it is sometimes portrayed. Eating clean and watching what I put in my system actually shows on my skin. Regular exercise and good eating habits gives me more energy to do those things I want to do in my life.

    Lessons from what didn’t work:
    1. No boundaries or plan for social media landed me in the black hole. Although I learned the keys to success as it relates to controlling this, the tips were lost in the black hole just like my time.
    2. Delay and you will Deny! Deny myself the opportunity fulfill dreams and accomplish goals. If I don’t…someone else will.
    3. Success is intentional! It takes action! A well organized and planned goal will reap rewards.

    What fires me up:
    1. Time with my son who has grown to be an awesome young man. Our heart-to-hearts make my day!
    2. Tea (hot or iced)
    3. An early morning walk
    4. Serving
    5. Trying new things
    6. Checklists, Organizing, Timelines (Crazy, I know)
    7. Traveling
    8. Shoes!!!
    9. Hammock on the beach
    10. Cozy socks, snuggie and a movie

    My Pinterest Board:

  97. Kristin Cook on January 13, 2014 at 5:38 pm

    What went Well a few things…
    1.) Established more of myself in my brand.
    2.) Worked a ton in NC and connected with area photographers.
    3.) Photographed Lara & her sweet family and began learning what it was like to feel full after spending real time with clients.
    4.) Taught my first photography class with Casey Chappell in TX
    5.) Moved back to NC
    6.) Got featured on a wedding blog for some of my wedding work
    7.) Found the Archibald Project began following them and applied for their first medial mission project to Uganda. Got accepted and I am going to advocate and educate for the care of the Orphan in 2014 through media
    8.) Met and became friends with Justin Hime. Who inspires me, pushes me and makes me a better artist at my church and then after a conversation with him and his wife at Trader Jos around the mundane; he requested a meeting and we have been working together ever since.
    9.) I am contracted with American Homesmith; a building firm, helping them to move their company in the direction of the narrative.
    10.) I started working at Sola Coffee Cafe, met many new friends there. It was Gods timing when they hired me
    11.) I had a team of people for the first time surrounded around me other than my bestie Casey Chappell. My sisters and Justin Hime…they believed in what I did and who I was.
    12. I didn’t have a physical home for a bit but I had a multiple of couches to sleep on and learned that less was more. I didn’t need as much stuff as I thought. Everything that I had fit in my car.
    13. I chatted with Casey weekly after moving back. I needed it.
    14.Photographed my first Great Expectation Project (Church planting)
    15.)Photographed my first DC wedding
    16.) Attracted and photographed my kind of clients who have taught me so much and become a part of my life.
    17.)Began praying to not have to work at Sola to supplement my income and God did it. I got a contract with AHS
    18.) My car died, but God provided the capital for me to purchase a new/used car and provided cars in the interim while I was waiting.
    19.)I met with many women, listened and encouraged them in their marriages, their struggles and prayed for them.
    20.)Set up a real foundation called ECHO for Orphans
    21.)Discovered my Dads childhood home & learned about the Cook history
    22.) Changed my hair color and I love it
    23.) Moved into a house in downtown Raleigh and I have my own bed
    24.) I went on 2 blind dates (good convo but …. they would go on the what didn’t go well category as well 🙂
    25.) Carved my first pumpkin at halloween
    26.) Began putting a photograph with the conversations that I have (inspired by Humans of NY)
    27.) Set auto responder, set office hours
    28.) Second shot for Rachel Linder of Blue barn Photography here in NC. Lovely gal and lovely time
    29.) Able to inspire a few gals to begin living for what matters and to do more things that fire them up.
    30.) Began writing and reading more about marriage; inspired my Good Marriage Post.
    31.)Reconnected with Ben Tugwell; my childhood friend who is a church planting pastor in Greenville NC.
    32.) Worked with Millie Holloman.
    33.) Photographed lara again and was reminded how beautiful simplicity is…and I love Grace. They have grown so much in a year!
    34.) Spent more time with my sisters
    35.) Got back into small group
    36.) Was more authentic with friendships; which afforded others the opportunity to be broken
    37.) Baked cinnamon pull apart bread to share with friends on christmas eve (and it was a success)
    38.) Let go of bearing the weight of responsibility for other peoples choices
    39.) Began cooking more
    40.) hosted my first Thanksgiving Day pop over bfast
    42.) Re-branded my site
    43.) Whole -30d it and loved it

    What didn’t go well:
    1.) Partly some chapters of moving back to NC
    2.) I let my past dictate my future when I first landed back in NC. I let fear squelch the fire that had been lit from january and I sunk into a hole.
    3.) Gave too much and what I didn’t have, putting me into debt.
    4.) Didn’t have church for a few months
    5.)Moved back to NC didn’t have internet, didn’t post and got behind on everything. Albums, editing, posting.
    6.) Boys (blind dates). There was this one guy I was trying to fix, hoping he would pick me and well that was a waste and I think I finally have learned. That I can’t fix or change people or myself. It points to my need for God.
    7.)Tried to take matters into my own hands to fix myself and my circumstances and it didn’t work.
    8.) Compared others success to myself and felt like a failure and considered quitting photography and getting a desk job.
    9.) I worried and looked for solace in crowds searching for community…someone to chat with. I worried about money and time and work. I wasted so much time on worry.

    There are so many things that I have learned already from this process. The biggest lessons that I learned from 2013 from what didn’t go well are 1. Worrying gets you no where! There were dark chapters indeed but God always sees in Light. I need to trust him and pray more when worry seeps into my head & heart. 2. I can’t change anyone. I spent time, hours and tears believing that I was the answer to change for a few people. I am not. God is. 3. This affected work flow. Saying yes to certain people kept me from being my best and working in a timely manner. 4.) Giving is good but giving so you go into debt is not good. Monitor giving by having and sticking to a personal budget, saving & benevolence.
    5.) I need to say No to those people that take from me continually and make room for the people and the families that fill me up.

    What I learned from What did work? A few.
    2.) I shouldn’t worry at all
    4.) Take nothing for granted
    5.) Less is more
    6.) I need community, my church and to be surrounded by Godly people who are on mission
    7.) Putting your yes on the table and moving in a direction feels risky but God is the one who is ordaining my steps. He will provide.
    8.) Less thinking, more acting!
    9.) I have a strong desire for marriage and family
    10.) I am most full when I am encouraging, counseling, mentoring, sharing with others
    11.) I am storyteller, not just weddings but in all of life.
    12.) I DO HAVE A VOICE
    13.) GOD USES ME
    14.) I inspire people
    15.) I am giving

    What fires me up? A few.
    2.) Beauty, seeing it, photographing it and helping others see the beauty in their life
    3.) Helping others see their potential as an artist to reflect God in whatever way that is.
    4.) Hugs
    5.) Small gatherings
    6.) Spending time with the Himes
    8.) Orphans coming home
    9.) Generosity
    10.)Everything having it’s own space
    12.) Love, and redemption
    13.) Good design
    14.) Simplicity
    15.)gourmet light dinners
    16.) Being organized-
    17.) Having a clear mind, and writing everything out
    18.) Rally others together around a project and competing it together
    19.)Strong marriages
    20.) Spending time with dear friends.
    21. Beautiful spaces
    22. Cooking and sharing it with others
    23.) Listening to Justin Hime talk about life, God, family, work and art.
    24.) Loving and surprising others in little ways
    25.)Seeing kids happy and thriving in homes.

    Love this and the clarity that this process brings! Love you

  98. Robin H. on January 14, 2014 at 4:15 am

    Lots of good stuff to think about. It felt really good to think about what fires me up. In 2013 I was a little to bogged down in just getting through the days and not enjoying.

    Goal Setting – Part 2: Get Fired Up
    Step Four: What did I learn from what worked last year?
    The small, positive decisions about my health I made on a daily basis really made a difference over the span of a year.
    I could actually stick to a healthier eating and exercise program.
    Letting go of the reins when parenting my children is OK. They both know they’re loved no matter what and are good people. They need to learn from their life experiences instead of me trying to control everything.
    Not having a goal at work to get promoted/ahead/ be the star is OK. My health, family and sanity are more important than trying to please everyone.
    The time with my kids is fleeting. I really love that I get to be the mom of two great kids and enjoy spending what time I can with them.
    The older I get, it’s become more important to make the effort to connect with the family and friends I care about.
    Reading is still more fulfilling than any other form of entertainment.

    STEP FIVE: What are the three biggest things you learned from what DIDN’T work?
    If I don’t take actions to change my life, it won’t change. I have to work for what I want to change.
    My job and other people do not define who I am. I can take the energy I used trying to please others to better my life and the lives of my family.
    Backsliding doesn’t mean I’ve been defeated. It’s an opportunity to challenge myself and an opportunity to grow.
    Holding onto bitterness only makes me unhappy.

    STEP SIX: What fires you up? What are the things that light your soul on fire?
    Talking to my sisters.
    Playing with my nephews and now a niece, too!
    Lunching with my mom.
    Findlay Market with husband.
    Watching youngest play percussion.
    Socializing with old friends and new.
    Having people over to our clean house.
    Checking things off the to-do list for the house.
    Paying off credit card bills.
    Trying new restaurants with husband.
    Creating something – with yarn, paper, words, etc…
    Spending time with my dogs.
    Doing something new.
    Saying yes when it’s more comfortable to say no and stay in my comfort zone.
    Going to the movie theater.
    Hanging out with oldest son.

  99. Jenny on January 14, 2014 at 5:34 am

    3 Biggest Lessons from What Did Work in 2013…

    1. “God’s got this” became my motto. There were so many times I wanted to look up and say “REALLY?!” but instead I just trusted Him and repeated, “You’ve got this.”

    2. The whole “closed door–open window” analogy is really true. I never thought I would have to close a door on the things I did in 2013, but before I even had the chance to turn around, I felt the breeze from the open window.

    3. It’s ok to trust new friends after old friends have completely let you down. New friends can love on me and my family and I don;t have to be afraid of them.

    3 Biggest Lessons from What Didn’t Work in 2013…

    1. If I get distracted at the computer, the whole house–the whole day–goes down the drain.

    2. If I don’t spend time with God in the morning, it is crazy difficult to fit Him in somewhere later in the day.

    3. In parenting teens and toddlers, not everything has to be a battle. I can let some things slide…it’s called GRACE and if God didn’t show it to me…I’d be a goner. The least I can do is pay it forward to my own children like my Father does to me.

    What Fires me Up…
    ::doing what I decide I;m going to do and sticking to it
    ::taking good care of my body
    ::fresh air
    ::belly laughs
    ::early mornings with my babies
    ::late nights with my teens
    ::the way my husband looks at me
    ::God’s Word!
    ::getting the right words out
    ::capturing words and shadows and turning them into a blog post
    ::controlling my thoughts
    ::encouraging women!
    ::encouraging women!!
    ::encouraging women !!!
    ::a good song

  100. Sarah on January 15, 2014 at 5:50 am

    What I learned from what DID work:
    – God’s grace is sufficient. Always.
    – I need close fellowship with other women. I have been overwhelmingly blessed by the bunch of ladies I’ve met through our small group at church.
    – My husband is an honorable man, smart and determined. I am so proud of how he is providing for our family and look forward to a lifetime of being by his side.
    What I learned from what DIDN’T work:
    – Comparison is a thief of joy. I will intentionally choose to be present and focus on the blessings right in front of me.
    – It is utterly important that I learn more about what my body needs to be healthy and to feel good. If only I hadn’t been so stubborn about visiting the doctor sooner. The diagnosis of celiac has led to quite the lifestyle change. I used to dread going to the grocery store because there is so much I CAN’T eat, but I am growing and learning and enjoying it a bit more as I make healthy decisions – and still get to eat some pretty amazing things.
    – I need to seek rest in the Lord. Instead of sitting in front of the tv or on the computer I want to come to him to be restored and refreshed to do His work.
    What FIRES me up:
    – travelling
    – having people over for dinner
    – singing in harmony
    – snowflakes
    – watching planes takeoff and land
    – God’s love for His people!
    – giving thoughtful gifts
    – hearing my husband’s heart
    – capturing special moments in a photograph
    – Alaskan sunrises
    – Arizona sunsets
    – Almost anything with strawberries

  101. Sarah on January 15, 2014 at 5:53 am

    Who am I kidding, that should say: ANYTHING with strawberries. 🙂

  102. Virginia on January 15, 2014 at 4:11 pm

    Some things that did work …
    * my parents came to visit us from Argentine after 5 years . missed them so much !
    *relied more in God increase my faith and desire of Him in my life.
    *learned to discovered my husband , our love. And real meaning of love from God point of view.

    Some things didn’t work…
    *my Pastor’s wife died on november. is really sad not seeing her at church next to Pastor and their kids.
    *my church leader left church, and been missing her and needing her. but i’m happy because she’s answering God’s call.
    *my bussines, i’m a baker . love to cook, bake and create.. Didn’t have much work, and i start asking myself if is this what God hve for me …I Know i’m missing something and He is the only one who have the answer…
    *not being organize o losing time in social media , was something not good in my marriage and my child, so im willing to change that.

    And have so many more things to write down !!!
    Thanks Lara !!! God bless everyone !!! 🙂

  103. Charlotte on January 15, 2014 at 9:21 pm


  104. Katelyn on January 15, 2014 at 9:27 pm

    What Fires Me Up:
    -good nutrition
    -feeing strong
    -beautiful things
    -quality time
    -snail mail
    -encouragement (the act of giving and receiving!)
    -being prepared

    Thank you, Lara, for creating this goal setting process! It is empowering to start 2014 off with a plan and to know there are others alongside this journey with me!

  105. Chris on January 15, 2014 at 11:10 pm

    What worked:
    Working as a team with my husband to accomplish things we want to get done. Planning ahead.

    What didn’t work:
    Making excuses. Allowing myself to get distracted by fun things with immediate payoff instead of having the discipline and patience to put in the effort necessary to achieve the goals I really want to achieve.

  106. Salinda on January 16, 2014 at 3:27 am

    What I learned in 2013 (or at least learned as I looked back)?

    Spontaneity + my kids = treasured memories!
    Being consistent really does bring results.
    God’s Word stays with me. If I read it first thing, even before coffee, it comes back later in the day when I need it most.
    Not on my timeline, but God’s.

    What fires me up?
    a new project
    discussing God’s Word with other women
    laughing with Adam
    a family meal
    my garden in bloom (and harvesting veggies)
    discovering/trying something new with my kids
    my kids’ wit

  107. Heather @ Beyond the Aisle on January 16, 2014 at 4:26 am
  108. Chrissie on January 17, 2014 at 1:37 am

    Amazing!! Love you mucho!

  109. Carmel on January 17, 2014 at 6:56 pm

    3 biggest things that worked
    1. Prayer when lost
    2. Working out makes me a better mom and friend .
    3. Creating incentive programs for my team.

    3 biggest things that didn’t work
    1. Enabling my stylist
    2. Goal setting with no proper steps and smaller goals to help me move forward.
    3. Scheduling business when I’m suppose to be with my kids.

    What fires me up – dancing, laughing with the ones I love, and being silly with my kids.

  110. Sally Mesibov on January 18, 2014 at 10:49 pm

    Filling out my power sheets right now! Can’t wait to see what 2014 will bring now that I am focusing in!

  111. Lauren on January 19, 2014 at 3:46 am

    What worked–letting go and letting God, choosing joy, and trusting God’s plan for me is greater than anything I could come up with or imagine.

    What didn’t–comparison, worry, and reliance on the approval of others

    What fires me up–making my baby girl smile, being with my husband, and spending time working on my heart

  112. Lauren on January 19, 2014 at 3:46 am

    Pinned the first quote from this post

  113. Melinda on January 20, 2014 at 2:55 pm

    Commenting for a chance to win the binder!

  114. Shandy Myers on January 20, 2014 at 3:10 pm
  115. Lydia on January 20, 2014 at 8:51 pm


  116. Amanda on January 20, 2014 at 9:37 pm

    My three lessons from what DID work in 2013 –

    * It pays off to spend some time purposefully planning my week out, and it also pays off to cut myself some slack when I’m a little over zealous about what I can accomplish in a week’s time.
    * Choosing carefully what I do and who I do it with reaps a richer experience, and results in closer, more meaningful friendships.
    * Being open enables me to have compassion and grace for those in my life that need it. When I close myself off, it breeds contempt and bitterness.

    My three lessons from what DIDN’T work in 2013 –
    * Social media is a huge time suck in my life
    * Constantly pushing myself aside to say ‘yes’ to others, and surrounding myself with takers, leaves me feeling drained and incapable of serving with a cheerful heart.
    * Dreaming with no action, writing with no follow through is the same as throwing ideas away.

    Nothing super life alteringly amazing but, nonetheless, all good lessons 🙂

  117. Lydia on January 20, 2014 at 11:09 pm

    It’s funny how clear things seem when you write them down! What fires me up is light, laughter, children, reading, music, sermons, good design, history, mentoring, giving gifts, coffee dates, and so much more!

  118. Lydia on January 21, 2014 at 10:31 pm


  119. Tiffany G. on January 24, 2014 at 8:47 pm

    One thing I learned from what worked was that God is my world – I have grown so much just by coming back to him and letting him guide my world (Tough when you are a control freak)

    One thing I learned from what didn’t work was that it IS NOT OK to sit here next year with the same dreams and aspirations and not having acted on them! (Fear is paralyzing)

    There are a long list of things that fire me up and you are one of them Lara. You’re ability to be open and vulnerable are admirable. I have always been the friend that “listens”. I want to also be the friend that can go to someone else who will listen. I want to be able to open up and be vulnerable with out fear or worry of imperfection.

  120. Shannon Thompson on January 25, 2014 at 4:15 am

    First of all, I can SO relate to how HARD parenting a toddler is and how much I don’t like angry me! There were many things you said that struck a chord in me, but those two things have shown themselves to be forerunners in my life right now. It was comforting to know we share similar battles and understand the importance of loving on our little ones over giving in to our own sinfulness. Hoping that makes sense as it is way passed my bed time!

    Some things that worked in 2013:
    1. Pursuing friendships
    2. Teaching my daughter sign language
    3. Purging a great deal of clothes and things we don’t need.
    4. Studying God’s Word

    Some things that didn’t work:
    1. Not setting boundaries on social media and time spent online
    2. Comparison and self-doubt
    3. Eating an unhealthy diet
    4. Lack of having a structured day – new territory for me now that I’m not teaching and am staying home with my daughter

  121. Shannon Thompson on January 25, 2014 at 4:27 am

    Ah! So my last post was supposed to go on the first part of the series! So many opened tabs!! 😉

    Some Lessons learned from what worked:
    1.Life takes initiative and pursuit. It’s hard work if it’s going to be done right and done well.
    2. I cannot allow fear to rule my life; The Lord has blessed me for trusting Him in areas of my life that fear has played a major part for the last several years of my life.
    3. He will ALWAYS meet me in His Word. ALWAYS.

    Some lessons learned from what didn’t work:
    1. Comparison really is the thief of joy and of everything good. I’m crazy blessed. Stop looking around at everyone else and THANK The Lord for MY life and then go LIVE it.
    2. Boundaries are GOOD. Set them.
    3.taking time to be still – not lazy – but stillness with intention for recharging my soul is crucial to my well-being.

  122. Shannon Thompson on January 25, 2014 at 4:27 am

    I pinned this post!

  123. Rachel Nordgren on January 28, 2014 at 3:12 pm

    It’s awesome to see how everyone is so different and gets fired up by so many different things!

    I’m fired up by helping/taking care of other people, organizing and nesting in my home, studying the Word, Coffee/Tea/Wine, spending quality time with my husband, horses, yoga, and crossing stuff off my to-do list!

    Challenging my Instagram followers to share what fires THEM up! @rachelnordgren

  124. Meredith Teasley on January 30, 2014 at 3:00 am

    My responses are delayed, but here we go…
    Lessons from what didn’t work:
    1. I NEED accountability with my daily quiet time, healthy eating, and exercise.
    2. We have way too much stuff in our home! It is time to simplify.
    3. I can’t expect progress if I don’t take the simple, small steps.
    Lessons from what worked:
    1. Be willing to take a risk and put yourself out there. It WILL pay off!
    2. When I set goals, write them out, and work each week/month toward them, they get accomplished. Earth shattering, right?!?! 🙂
    3. Get up early! Successful people don’t sleep in everyday.
    4. I don’t have to have it all or know it all… my job is to do the best I can with what I have. Great things still happen and I learn to be content!

  125. Heather @ Beyond the Aisle on January 30, 2014 at 10:15 pm

    I added a bunch of things that fire me up to my Making Things Happen Pinterest board!

  126. Heather @ Beyond the Aisle on January 30, 2014 at 10:18 pm

    Here’s my post about what DIDN’T work for me in 2013:

  127. Mary Coules on January 31, 2014 at 3:47 am

    What did I learn from what worked?
    I need space and less busy time to have balance in my life.
    I am worth it, to do and make choices that take care of my health and ME.
    My marriage matters.
    Slowing down with my son allows me to connect with him.
    Prayer is powerful.
    I LOVE family time.
    Close friendships enrich my soul.

    What did I learn from what didn’t worked?
    I cannot do it ALL and do it well.
    I need to prioritize time for myself, down time and family time.
    To be loving to myself.
    To Pray whenever I feel restless.
    To focus on my Faith.
    To nurture myself and in turn nurture my family.
    My creativity matters.
    Prioritizing my work matters
    Being vulnerable is powerful and freeing.
    Honesty is amazing.

    What fires me up?
    Loving others
    Inspiring photo shoots
    The ocean
    My son’s laughter
    My husband’s great big hugs
    Design possibilities
    Helping others
    Fresh flowers
    Pretty painted toes
    Loving on my family
    Plans with my sister

    Pinning your inspirational images to encourage others

  128. Alex on January 31, 2014 at 8:42 pm

    What I learned from what worked:

    worship always resets me to where I’m supposed to be and who I am really about

    spending time prepping for my week/day makes for a much more prodcutive and less stressful day

    mentors are a girls best friend!

    What didn’t work:

    negative self talk makes everything much more difficult and just a downer!

    letting my to-do list determine my mood/worth

    putting social media before people

    What FIRES me up?

    HEART TO HEART CONVOS (especially about faith and grace(

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