Dec 31, 2012


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First of all, thank you to everyone who commented on Part 1, especially the “lurkers”. I’m so glad to have you as friends now! Lurk no more, y’all! Welcome back for Part 2. I’ve been in bed with the flu the last four days and it has been awful but really amazing time for me to think a lot.

Ready for what’s next? Here’s the ironic thing about the title of this series. 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 and better things ended up happening instead. Things I never expected. 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. I can make all the plans I want, but we never know what will happen tomorrow. You can choose to see that fact as terrifying or downright exciting. I choose the latter. Especially now, because there’s a lot of uncertainly in our lives at the moment. Some of you know that we’re still waiting to hear about Ari’s job here in Chapel Hill. He interviewed for a permanent post-fellowship position at UNC and we really really really want to stay here. We love our church and I love the way things are going with my work and we love where we live. But, we don’t know if staying here is what God wants yet. This has forced both of us to let go and trust a whole lot. “There are far better things ahead than any we will leave behind.” In doing Steps 1-3 of this process, I found so much peace about it all. I saw so clearly how God has provided exactly what we need at just the right time. The best is yet to come. This year was a perfect example of that for me (more on that in a sec).

If you’ve just joined us in this process (Part 1 is HERE), one word of caution. Do not write down 2013 “goals” yet, OK? (If you already did, trash them for now.) Stay with each step, one at a time, and I promise the “goals” will appear on their own, like lightning bolts! The purpose of this process is for you to find clarity, a plan and a blazing passion for the year ahead! I’m already so inspired by everyone’s progress so far. If you haven’t started yet, it’s never too late. There is nothing magical about January 1st. But, there is something magical about the day you choose to change for the better. There is magic in the day you make that decision that changes everything.

OK, so let’s evaluate Steps 1-3. I feel a little naked sharing all of this and I’ve never shared my own entire process, but this year taught me that part of my purpose is to share truth and help others through my entire journey of mistakes and successes. Fair warning, I am not proof-reading this. Here goes!

Step 1: Evaluate what DID work in 2012.

(I love this 2013 print above that my friend Amber made. Thank you, friend!)

1. The biggest thing that changed my life for the better is something I still pinch myself about and it has been about 10 months since it happened. You probably saw me talk about the “impossible” happening early this year and it did. Sorry to be vague. I’ve shared it with a lot of the Making Things Happen alum, but the timing isn’t exactly right for me to share it with everyone yet. Someday, I can’t wait to tell you the whole story of how God changed every single thing in our lives. Everything.

2. On the heels of that miraculous thing, our marriage completely changed. I shared a little about this in my engage12 presentation because it filtered into everything we did this year in business, too. Y’all, I don’t even know how to type about this and I’ve never blogged about it before because it’s too big for words. In short, we got honest with each other. And sorry for the religious wording, but it’s exactly what happened – we confessed our sins to each other and our hearts were healed. Ari came to me one afternoon, in tears, and told me that in order to be closer to God, he knew he had to make things right with everyone in his life and he had to tell me things he had done in the past that were hurtful to me. Oh, my heart……. and I’ve been sitting here for 10 minutes not knowing what to type next because it’s indescribable. We both told each other every single painful thing we’d been holding from each other, even those things we always thought “would be better if we just didn’t say them ever”. I don’t believe in holding anything from a spouse anymore. Nothing. Marriage is about becoming ONE. Humbling yourself and being so vulnerable with each other that you let the yucky parts of yourself come out is hard. But, trust me, it’s more difficult to face them yourself than for your spouse to hear them. [And as an aside, I’m not advocating you rush to your spouse and confess your deepest secrets right away. Seek wise counsel. We did. Pray hard. We did that also. Read God’s word. We did that too. Then, do what God puts on your heart.] This process for us was really hard. We had both done some hurtful things and, for a long time before I was pregnant, felt like room mates. Ships passing in the night. There were a lot of tears over several weeks in this process. But, we both knew that to be closer to God and each other and to have the best marriage possible, we had to start with truth. We wanted the kind of marriage that God designed – thriving, whole, joyful and passionate. And, as a result, we slowly started to learn what true love was. Real lasting imperfect but thriving love. We have a marriage now and a friendship and a shared purpose. And it changed everything. That is why I made the Love Never Fails prints because I have seen those words in action. Love never ever fails. Yes, there is a lot more to say here but I think you will see the fruit of it in the rest of this…

3. Ari started calling his dad every week and now talks to his parents often. Gracie loves to Skype with them. This has been one of the most miraculous blessings this year. His dad is a composer and has written some truly beautiful pieces for Grace that I know she will cherish when she is older too.

4. Grace. That’s all. Just her. She worked : )

5. I put the months that followed Grace’s birth on both my ‘did’ and ‘didn’t work’ lists because going through postpartum depression, changed me for the better in more ways than I can count. I survived and thrived because of my experience.

6. I wrote a lot of notes to self to help pull myself out of depression. One of them struck a chord with a lot of people, apparently, and has been shared over 1,000,000 times on various social platforms. Blew my mind a little. I wrote this because I wanted more for my life. More of the good stuff. More of what matters.

7. Seeing Grace grow was one of my greatest joys. I saw God in her every day in every smile and giggle and hilarious encounter. And there were many. Like the time I had to wrap her bum in a hotel towel because she had a diaper explosion and I had no diapers or wipes on hand. It was pretty funny. There were at least a hundred moments like that this year that made me grateful to be her mom.

8. We found our solid core in business and everything changed because of it. You can read our Southern Weddings 2012 Year in Review here. Finding our core is what I did my engage12 presentation on. Small is the new big. We got very specific about who we are and who we are not. It made business easier and it made us more profitable. We started the Sweet Tea Society, the Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory and a whole host of new features and many in the works. We changed from being a blog about southern weddings to being a southern lifestyle blog for brides. We started focusing on what really makes a wedding southern – the culture! This year, we decided to get out of the office and get our hands dirty. We spent our summers doing what we called “Southern Doins” – exploring the local farms, swimin the swimmin’ hole, picking tomatoes together. Kristin even milked a cow! Unless your calling is computer programming, it is unlikely that you will find your passion and realize your fullest potential sitting behind your computer. We wanted to soak up every bit of why love in the South is so magical so we could then turn around and translate that on paper. Right outside our office walls, the magic ingredients came to life through hot boiled peanuts and long front porch chats with neighbors. To our surprise, the #southerndoin hashtag caught on like wildfire, too. Our readers jumped on the opportunity to explore the South, and to get out and enjoy life with their loved ones, just like we did… which was exactly our core point.

9. In all of this, there was a period of about 4 weeks this spring that I couldn’t sleep. And, for once, not because of Grace. It’s hard to give you a formula as to how this happened, but God put it strongly on my heart that it is my responsibility and calling to show His Kingdom in the pages of our magazine and to inspire brides on the blog with the same. Diversity was pressed firmly on my heart. But, not diversity just for diversity’s sake. You see, at my church, there are no minorities. There isn’t one group of people – white, black, hispanic, asian – that greatly outnumbers the other. And there is a whole lot of love between those people. LOVE in action. I realized that inherent in real love lives diversity and family and JOY and that changed how I see our purpose. For years we sought out diverse content, but were always left frustrated because of the lack of submissions. So, after reading this post and truly praying on this a lot and having at least a dozen staff meetings brainstorming about it, we set out to make a magazine about marriage and family and what matters most. In that lives diversity. One of the highlights of my life was having 30 friends from my church as a part of our Family Heirloom shoot. It was a day I’ll never forget!

10. So, the other thing that came from all of this was a new friendship. I somehow stumbled on Casey Chapell’s instagram feed, wrote her to say hi and the next thing I know, I’m hugging her, her husband, my other new friend Kristin and Casey’s four amazing adorable adopted little one’s at the heirloom shoot. All of this happened because God has also put adoption strongly on my heart for the last couple years. When I saw Casey’s Sunday Stairs photos, my heart leapt out of my chest! Ari and I have talked about adoption and are waiting till we figure out where we will be living next year (more on that shortly) to take action and start the process, if that’s what God wants.

11. I am going out of order here, but at the very start of 2012, with a newborn in my arms, I was pretty freaked out. Suddenly, I felt like I had to evaluate everything I was doing to make sure I was being as responsible as possible in planning for Grace’s future and our family. So, that’s what I spent my maternity leave doing. I went through every inch of our finances – business and personal – and crunched numbers. I had to figure out how I was going to work less to be with Grace and make more money to support our growing family, plan for the future and pay for the nanny I needed to have in order to be able to work. Phew! In short (get ready y’all), I made a budget for both business and personal in Mint (read Em’s post on budgeting too), hired an accountant who came to my house to teach my Quickbooks and has done my payroll since, set a weekly date on my calendar to reconcile expenses and categorize things in Mint, sat down with Ari and went through everything weekly, read The Total Money Makeover with Ari, worked hard every week to cut our food budget (at the time we were spending over $1200 a month on groceries!), started recycling, gutted the house, had 2 huge yard sales, sold a lot of things on Craigslist, threw a ton of stuff away, made bags and bags of donations (my motto when getting rid of things: YOU CAN’T TAKE IT TO HEAVEN WITH YOU), got rid of cable and Xbox live, and thanks to Dave Ramsey, I decided to buy my car at the end of my lease. And then a tree fell on it. No really, it did. Maternity leave was busy, y’all : )

12. I made a new schedule and only did client work on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Monday and Friday I worked on larger projects or things life tasks in the morning and then spend the afternoons with Grace. There were several Mondays and Fridays that I used to prep client work, but I didn’t take calls and I didn’t answer emails.

13. I didn’t read the entire New Testament in order, like I had hoped, but I did read a lot of the Bible this year. I memorized a lot of scripture. Maybe I’m cheating in saying this now, but reading the Bible will always be on my goal list.

14. No social media on the weekends has always been revolutionary for me. When marriage and life started to really cave in, I pulled in the reigns and took a good long hard look at what was holding me back from my best life. If you do only one thing in this post, stop using social media during the time you could be with your family or doing other things that fire you up. And if you don’t think it would make a difference, then definitely try it. I loved my friend Val’s post about her experience.

15. I had a giant tax bill last year. I guess you could look at it as a great thing that 2011 was very profitable, but paying the amount of taxes I paid felt like I was dying a little. So, this year, I sought lots and lots of advice and got smarter with taxes and investments. That feels good now.

16. We streamlined our company. In the beginning of 2012, after evaluating how much money we needed to earn versus expenses and payroll and the much smaller time I was able to work with a baby, I cut back on hours for some of our part time employees and made some hard changes. It was not fun. I didn’t like downsizing at first, but I had to be strategic in order to grow. Fast forward to a few months later and we ended up making those part time employees full time, everyone got a raise and we even hired a new lovely lady that I adore. It was a great year in business and for our team.

17. On that note, I feel very appreciated as a boss. I love our team and worked hard to strengthen my leadership and individual relationship with each person this year.

18. Having a great lawyer came in handy on many occasions. Having trusted people to support your business is essential to business health.

19. Ari and I laughed a lot. After changing over 2500 diapers (yes, we counted it up), being pooped on, peed on, thrown up on and watching countless hours of Nick Jr, you learn to laugh. A lot.

20. I breastfed for a year. I am actually still breastfeeding. It has been a life change. I have pumped on airplanes, in public with my Hooter Hider on, in the car, in my office, in restaurant bathrooms… everywhere. I spent an average of 3 hours a day for the last 14 months, sitting with my Medela Symphony. There were huge blessings in this besides a happy, healthy Gracie. It taught me to be still multiple times a day. It kept me home a lot. It made me grateful to be able to make milk. It made me realize more that my life is no longer mine and that is a good thing. Yes, I can’t wait to return the pump soonish and I will have a party on that day, but for now I am grateful.

21. Susan. Oh, Miss Susan. I could write a book on how she has changed all of our lives for the better. She has helped me raise Grace, keep our family together, keep my life organized, feed my spirit and has truly been a part of our family. She deserves and entire post, but I will simply say that she is genuinely our angel, much more than our nanny.

22. I could not have done this year without my closest friends. Gina, Emily and Natalie have prayed me through so so so much this year. They were involved in ALL of this I’m writing and I love them so.

23. I gave all but two pairs of my heels away and stopped caring about times I wasn’t wearing makeup. This may seem insignificant, but it’s more reflective of my heart change. I gave away the old in great favor of the new.

24. Church. Stay with me here, those of you that cringe when you think of church. I’m not talking about a building. I’m talking about a place where you go to meet with people who share your heart and teach you through their ACTIONS, not just words. A place where what matters most is focused on constantly. A place where it’s OK to be imperfect and vulnerable. A place where Ari and I found true friends who shaped our lives and Grace’s. Too many to name! I would not be who I am, nor would any of this change have happened, without the example and prayer and giving hearts of the people in my church. I could not do any of this on my own and the times I tried in the past were not even half as productive. We became active in our church and also joined a family group (a small group of young married couples) that meets weekly and checks in on each other and serves each other and that definitely worked. Trust me, there were many times I didn’t want to participate. I had every excuse not to – no sleep, a baby, no sleep, too much work – but, committing to going always paid off. My heart changed because of our church family.

25. I finally got my teeth cleaned. : )

26. I connected more with my sister, Kathy. And she connected more with my Dad. And my Dad’s heart was happier in all of this.

27. Ari and I wrote love notes to each other. For 10 months, Grace would fall asleep around 9pm in our room, which was about the time Ari fell asleep and I had to stay up till 10 to pump. So, I would write him a little love note at night and he would write me one in the morning. Since we didn’t see each other much between baby and work this year, those love notes meant the world. In doing this exercise, I realized that we stopped doing them. They worked, so I started again last night. : )

28. I cooked Thanksgiving dinner all by myself. This wasn’t planned. My family was set to come in town and, at the last minute, had a family emergency and had to cancel. Thanksgiving Day was also Grace’s first birthday and Ari ended up being on call, so I was pretty sad. But, then I decided to make the best of it. I made a really really good meal from scratch – turkey, sweet potatoes, mashed turnips, green beans and stuffing. Ari got home just in time for dinner : )

29. On that same day, Nancy and Will went completely out of their way to bring me pink lemonade, flowers and a sweet card for Grace’s birthday. Their friendship was one of the biggest gifts this year, hands down.

30. I made a lot of new wonderful friends and mended a lot of relationships. I said “I’m sorry” a lot and tried my best to be a good friend. I know I failed a lot at this too, but I consciously made changes to be more giving and to see my faults. I pray this continues.

31. I cooked more and have recently wanted to learn how to make some of my favorite dishes that my mom makes. My mom writes an amazing food column, teaches French cooking classes and inspires me to have more fun in the kitchen! Here is her latest article on black-eyed peas for New Year’s!

32. The other thing that worked this year was having more great conversations with my mom. I call her every morning. I love you, mom!

33. I started painting again. My dad always wanted me to be an artist. My paintings will be in my new shop that launches soonish.

34. I worked on my new brand all year. Literally all year. It’s a beast of a site and it’s still not done yet, but it will be soon.

35. We made a truly remarkable magazine that lights my heart on fire.

36. Making crazy ideas come to life worked this year. I love that about what we do and I love that about our team!

37. Our circulation increased by 50%. Remarkable.

38. Living by the motto that done is better than perfect. That definitely worked this year.

39. Listening. That always works.

40. Admitting when I was wrong. That always works too.

41. I started using Instagram. I was late to the Instagram train, but now it’s my favorite. I have loved using it as my photo journal and I have met a lot of new friends there too!

42. I bought a really good vacuum. With a little one, this was huge for us. A wise investment. I ended up buying one for my mom too, I love it so much.

43. Making Brands Happen was fabulous in 2012. Hard work, but we did what we set out to do – take less clients, enrich the experience and knowledge base of our clients, help to change their lives from the inside out and give them the tools to have strong businesses. There is a lot still to refine and lots I want to add in 2013, but I’m really proud of what Emily and I did this year and I am more so proud of what our clients did this year.

44. We started doing Branding Webinars. Oh my, I have loved these! I love teaching and I love the progress that has been made out of these. We start our 2013 series January 16th.

45. The Making Things Happen Tour was really incredible. Over 700 people have joined us over the last four years. I am so grateful for that journey and all the friends I’ve made because of it!

46. With Grace and lots of other factors, I stopped going to the gym. As a former personal trainer, this felt awful to me. So, we bit the bullet and cancelled our gym membership and bought a used elliptical on Craigslist. Best decision ever.

47. Times of solitude worked.

48. Dance parties worked.

49. Spending more time outside worked. Grace loves the slide!

50. Ari and I pray at every meal together and Grace loves saying Amen. It’s really cute. But, much more than that, we’ve seen God working in our prayers. I made a two lists in our kitchen, one for Prayers and another for Answered Prayers. I’ve designed some for my new shop in gold foil that will be available soon. I love them. It has helped us see so much to be grateful for!

OK, that’s a lot and there is so much more, but I really wanted to see these things in black and white and remember them as I pray on my 2013 vision. I encourage you to list yours here in the comments for accountability and even list new ones if you already commented on the previous post. Reading everyone’s comments really helped spark my thoughts.

OK, next up!

Step 2: Evaluate what DIDN’T work in 2012.

1. A lot, but it all follows the same theme. What didn’t work in 2012 was any time I worried. I worried about what people would think of me and my faith and whether or not they would see how much I have truly changed or if they would even like the change. I worried about business and money and marriage and sleep and about being a bad friend and I worried about being a bad mom.

Everything that didn’t work ended up being a blessing in disguise of course. God changed me in these challenges.

2. My hormones (PPD and lots of mood swings when I first started breastfeeding).

3. I got no sleep. Really. And that most definitely did not work well for any aspect of life. I went from a blissful 8-9 hours in pregnancy to about 3-6 hours most nights for an ENTIRE YEAR. I think there were 5 nights I got 8 hours of sleep and that was because we went in the Making Things Happen Tour. The day Grace finally consistently slept through the night (in her own room!) right around her first birthday, was miraculous for us. She now sleeps from about 10pm to 7am. PRAISE THE LORD!

4. I spent far too much money on things I don’t need (mostly at Target). Now, some of you may laugh at that because you know what I mean. But, deeper than the surface spending is a void I try to fill. I don’t buy a lot of frivolous things, but I most definitely buy things I do not need. This year, Acts 2 has been pressed on my heart. The Fellowship of the Believers became ver clear to me and I found myself reading it often. Sell your possessions and give to the poor. I sold a lot of stuff and gave a lot away. There’s a whole lot more to give though. I have too many things.

5. Grace doesn’t have any play friends. She goes to Kindermusik every week and we’ve had a handful of playdates with friends, but nothing consistent. And Grace LOVES people. She loves when we have family group, loves church and loves when we have friends over, but no one is her size. She needs friends.

6. I wasn’t able to purchase I tried multiple times. I will keep trying : )

7. Our Southern Weddings site has been in need of an shiny new update. It’s in the works. This is important to me because I want to reach more people in profound ways. I want to inspire brides to focus on what matters and technology holds me back a lot.

8. I haven’t done anything with Bliss Event Group, my event planning company. We did our last wedding last year and I haven’t taken any steps to sell the company. I have no time for it or to train someone to run it and I don’t have much of an interest in that as a revenue stream anymore. I think it might be more effort than it’s worth, so I may just take down the site and celebrate 10 awesome years.

9. We haven’t been good about blogging for Making Brands Happen. We also are in major need of a website update. When business is busy, these things take a back seat. Updates, new brand transformations and blog posts are coming.

10. Travel with Grace didn’t work. Flights were fine. Car trips and overnight stays were too complicated.

11. Not having family nearby was really hard this year.

12. Any time I didn’t stop to pray, be still and know that God has a really great plan didn’t work.

13. Any time I was really controlling didn’t work.

14. Any time I was too busy didn’t work.

15. Any time I let my ego lead instead of my humble heart didn’t work.

16. Any time I judged someone else, gossiped, or didn’t forgive didn’t work.

17. Any time I looked at my phone instead of Grace didn’t work.

18. Any time I was jealous of what other people have or compared myself to other’s didn’t work.

19. A lot of people gave far more to me than I gave to them.

20. Lastly, and most importantly, times I didn’t trust God and serve others didn’t work.

STEP 3: What fires you up? + Pinterest Vision Board

Here is part of my computer desktop background below. These are the things that fire me up.

My Pinterest board. OK, this is a tricky step because Pinterest can really be the black hole. There are a lot of materialistic things on Pinterest and stuff I don’t love. I found it really challenging to come up with a board that truly focused on my heart. So, my board is a work in progress. We’re going to come back to them and I’ll ask you to refine them once we finish our 2013 visions and goals. I’ll also be doing a roundup of everyone’s Pinterest boards once we’re done, so be sure to post yours here!

And now, your next steps!

STEP FOUR: What are the three biggest lessons you learned from what DID work? Write them out here in the comments or anywhere you can see them in black and white… unless you love to write in hot pink! : )

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

STEP SIX: What is your 2013 VISION? What kind of life do you want to live this year? Where do you want to be when you’re 80? WHY do you do what you do? What is your mission? What is your CORE? Friends, you are going to have to think long and hard about this one and I have a fun task for you to do while you’re at it. 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.

Physically do some of the things you want to see more of in your life and do them TODAY. Not all of them, just some of them. Do what you can. See what happens when you physically start living the life your heart really wants and then write down what your 2013 vision is. Get connected to what matters most to you. Love on people. Take your time with this so you can see clearly what matters most. I will also be praying about it. For my step six, I’m going to go do some of the things that fire me up today and then I’ll report back to you tomorrow with my progress and your next steps. Encourage others to join us in this too (surrounding myself with friends who are in the same boat as me has been so vital!) and use the hashtag #MTH2013. Making Things Happen in 2013, here we come!

To quote my friend, Mitch:

You need to have a vision for where you are as a person.
Everyone ends up somewhere, but few end up somewhere on purpose.
You have to have a focus. Focus helps you know what NOT to focus on.
If you have a vision, when times are tough (and they will be), it gives you peace and hope and passion to move forward.

Where there is no vision, the people perish. Proverbs 29:18

Traditional goals get forgotten. They can be overwhelming if they aren’t connected to what matters. They can make life busier. I don’t want a new to-do list for 2013, I want a PATH. Goals with a solid well-thought-out vision behind them HAPPEN. They simplify life. And, as I found out this year, the clearer my vision gets, the more good I see in life and the more happens for other people, too.

Happy NEW year, friends! Steps 7 and 8 tomorrow. You are going to love them : ) Go celebrate what went well in 2012 and all the good to come!

P.S. Remember to comment to WIN! To further encourage you to get things rolling for the new year, I’m giving away a seat to our Powerful Branding Webinar Series that starts on January 16th AND one of these gold foil Make It Happen letterpress desk prints above that will be available in my new shop coming soon. I will pick a random winner once we are done with all 10 Steps, so make it happen!


  1. Carolyn L on December 31, 2012 at 1:52 pm

    I am so happy to have found this website and Making Things Happen! I have been in desperate need of a good swift kick to get me started and get inspired for my life! Because I only have one and I need to make the absolute best of it!

  2. @weddingrep on December 31, 2012 at 2:16 pm

    GOAL SETTING + MAKING THINGS HAPPEN IN 2013, PART 2: First of all, thank you to everyone who commented on Part 1…

  3. Jessica on December 31, 2012 at 2:29 pm

    Most of the things that didn’t work for me are related to how I spend my time—and it’s SO hard, but I really need to find a way to put down my phone. Put down Facebook. Put down Instagram. Definitely a lesson learned. Out of the things that didn’t work, I learned that I need to be around people (this could be through online groups or in person). I’m lonely working on my own and need people to talk with, run ideas past, brainstorm with and work with. I need to partner with others. Not sure how yet, but I need that.

    From what worked, lessons learned:
    1. Trying is the first step. For monetizing my blog, I tried a ton of different things and I am VERY clear now on the things that work. But, the first steps is trying-that’s great encouragement for other parts of my business.
    2. Exercise feeds my soul-it gives me the energy I need to be my best self. Lesson learned: Make time for exercise.
    3. Putting yourself out there and being open to opportunities is huge. Just letting people know my intentions this past year helped bring in friendships, partnerships and business.

    I could write a book on what worked and what hasn’t.
    For vision: I have 40 words written down that will all somehow fit into my vision, but it needs a lot of time and focus.

    Thank you thank you! This has been so good. It clears my mind. Happy new year Lara!

    • Liz on December 31, 2012 at 4:43 pm

      I love the 40 words idea!!!

  4. Kate on December 31, 2012 at 2:33 pm

    Lara, thank you for such a raw and powerful post! Here are my steps 4 and 5 as I’m still working on the vision for step 6. I learned that honesty always works. Growth can be a painful process but if it stems from an honest desire to learn and improve it is worth it. Faith also works. Trusting others to lead and advise is essential. Finally preparation works. While it is not possible to prepare for everything and anything the process of preparation allows me to feel more poised and competent so that I am better able to handle what comes at me. I learned that attempting to micromanage and control everything does not work. It is not possible and breeds frustration rather than promoting positive flow. Repression does not work. Keeping my authentic voice and beliefs stifled so that I may “fit” in better actually makes me so physically uncomfortable that I’m not capable of “fitting” in, nor do I really want to. Finally, deferring does not work. If I’m feeling uncertain or insecure I craft delays or avoid them all together. This does not work and only makes the fear grow. These are a few of the lessons that I’ve learned in 2012 and I’m excited to see what 2013 will teach me.

  5. Em on December 31, 2012 at 2:34 pm

    Hello, my dear! Happy to be the first to comment. I just sat down and did steps 1, 2, 4, 5, and 6 (haven’t quite gotten to no. 3 yet), and they are definitely helping me solidify my goals for the new year! Here are my three lessons from things that worked in 2012 (they are a little vague, but I’ve offered some additional insight for those who might be wondering):

    1. I find joy + satisfaction in giving to others. (Giving of my time, my attention, my money, my expertise, my love, my support, etc., etc., etc.)
    2. The good stuff is what matters and lasts. (“Good stuff” including but not limited to time with friends and family, time worshiping, time in the beautiful outdoors, adventures, kitties, favorite places, good food, etc. Hours spent online is unsurprisingly not on that list.)
    3. Discipline pays off and is energizing.

    And my three lessons from what did not work:

    1. The same old-same old won’t get me anywhere.
    2. It is worth it to dig in instead of skim the surface.
    3. Love and joy always win. (Pitted against anything else, they always come out on top, and I need to remember that when making decisions.)

    Loved reading through your lists and looking forward to tomorrow!

  6. Brandie on December 31, 2012 at 2:37 pm

    You have no idea how much I needed what you wrote today. The part about marriage was like a fist to my heart. I am going to get down to the nitty gritty with myself and listen to what God is speaking more.

  7. Rachel Nickel on December 31, 2012 at 2:46 pm

    Ok. Here me and my shaky hands and beating much too hard heart go…

    3 Lessons Learned from what DID work in 2012:

    1. First and foremost I am a wife and a mother. When I thrive in my MOST important roles, I thrive in the other areas of my life NATURALLY.

    2. Focusing on who God made me, my uniqueness, that there is NO ONE else who can be me. FORGETTING others accomplishments and refusing to compare myself. Focusing on these things has helped me be creative, for myself and by myself, and stopped me from looking at others gift and being jealous or thinking “if I was that person I wouldn’t be struggling the way I am.” I actually came to a point where I felt God was telling me “How dare you feel that you aren’t good enough. I created you. Nothing I create isn’t good enough.” Coming to terms with this was SO good. Accepting who I was was SOOO good.

    3. There is so much joy I find in where I’m at right now. I can honestly say that I have a great marriage, and after 6 years it’s getting easier to love my husband. I find so much joy in loving and teaching our children, and challenging them to become women who I am proud of. I have SO many ENORMOUS dreams (that have nothing to do with weddings or taking photographs)and I know God has given us a vision for being foster parents and SOMEHOW using my love for horses in our life to bring glory to him. Just knowing these things have given me perspective in 2012. WHERE I AM AT IS A STEP TO WHERE I’M GOING.

    WHAT 3 Lessons learned to what DIDN’T work:

    1. I am so everywhere with my focus. I am HORRIBLE at time management. This makes EVERY area of life suffer.

    2. I am not taking care of myself or my home properly. I need to make working out and eating healthy a priority, as well as making systems for organization and cleaning into my routine.

    3. I am WAY too concerned with other peoples approval. I am scared to death of failing. The world around me affects (or is it effects?) me far too much.

    Lara, Thank you so much for doing this. I have always admired you and have LOVED watching you change. I went from admiring your success to now admiring your faith and your boldness. Cheers!

    • Brittany on January 1, 2013 at 2:15 am

      Really encouraging to read your post. I felt a lot like you for the greater part of 2012. Hearing it from someone else helps. Thanks for sharing.

  8. Kelly on December 31, 2012 at 2:51 pm

    Love it girl! So excited to see what you put out in the universe is coming back to you. Love your bravery in sharing some of life’s more difficult times…you never know who needs to know they aren’t alone.

  9. Lauren on December 31, 2012 at 3:18 pm

    Love your definition of church! Thank you so much for sharing so openly. I’m loving this exercise. Here’s my inspiration board. After part 1, I kept coming back to the post for more comments and more boards. 🙂 Thank you!

    P.S. What is this great vacuum?!

    • Lara on December 31, 2012 at 3:31 pm

      Thank you! Yay! I just updated the post to include the link to the vacuum. It’s the Shark Navigator : )

  10. Leika on December 31, 2012 at 3:43 pm

    I love how you ask the hard questions! To be honest, the first thing I thought when I read Part 1, Step 1 was, “I can’t. I just…can’t.” But as I read your Part 2 post, I realized that really, I was just afraid of being authentic, of letting myself feel and cry. So, here goes…
    What Worked/Made Me Grateful in 2012:
    1. God. His awesome strength got us through the past 16 months. Absolutely COULD NOT have walked any of this journey without Him.
    2. Terrell. What an amazing husband God blessed me with.
    3. Growing in our marriage. I used to think that marriages grew in spite of the “for worse,” but now I think it’s just the opposite.
    4. A wonderful family. Feeling surrounded by love is a good way to live.
    5. Our church family. Ditto for sure.
    6. Developing a new relationship with my MIL.
    7. Getting to be with her through her final journey and hold her hand as she went Home.
    8. Embracing the funny moments that happen every single day.
    9. Making new friends who are also angel mamas, and learning to be more open about living with loss.
    10. Learning, also, not to let loss define every day.
    11. Finally conquering my stage fright enough to grant my MIL her last wish and sing (in front of real, live people!).
    12. Allowing Terrell’s surgery and brush with death to bring us SO much closer.
    13. Opening our home to friends and sharing happy evenings and great memories.
    14. Finally beginning to embrace the power of saying “no” sometimes.
    15. Getting photos taken that make me feel amazing and powerful.
    16. Making myself change #15 from the self-denigrating 1st version that didn’t speak truth!
    17. Beginning to see prioritizing as making a choice about what to succeed at, rather that as a failure at doing everything.
    18. Giving myself permission to be imperfect.
    19. Giving myself permission to be a rockstar, too (without feeling like a fraud or a showoff)!
    20. Music and worship. There really are no words for how much I love to sing praise to God, and how much worship is balm for my soul.
    21. Finding a better balance in our household division of labour.
    22. Terrell’s job!! SO grateful that he has finally found one that will excite and fulfill him!
    23. My job. God has really blessed us with a job for me that allowed Terrell to quit his soul-sucking job and return to school to pursue his passion.
    24. Our nieces and nephews, who give me a positive outlet for baby energy!
    25. My brothers and sisters — the two God gave me as a child, and the six more He gave me through marriage!
    26. The soul-searching and growing I have done through our fertility journey.
    27. Each new day that I am given to make new paths.
    28. The amazing group of MTH cheerleaders and inspirations!
    29. Lara, Natalie, Gina, and Emily, for asking the hard questions and showing me how it’s done!!
    30. Realizing that touching people’s lives and inspiring them is my biggest passion!!

    What Didn’t Work:
    – When I let myself get overwhelmed by the hard times.
    – When I let myself nitpick and magnify each of my flaws and mistakes.
    – Not meeting my business goals during 2012.
    – Not saying “thank you” nearly enough.
    – When I didn’t celebrate my successes.
    – When I spent too much time comparing myself to others.
    – When I forgot that I could say no, and didn’t leave enough energy for the important things.
    – When I was too proud to ask for help.
    – Not getting enough sleep or doing enough things that fired me up.
    – Letting being busy with “God things” sidetrack me from just taking time to soak in His glory.
    – Not believing in myself enough.
    – Being ashamed to own my dreams and my successes.
    – Spending too much time analyzing and not enough doing.

    What I learned from what worked: It’s ok to say no in order to say yes to things that feed my soul. The simple things – God, family, and friends filling our home – make my heart sing, and give me more to give to others. Authenticity makes everything better.

    What I learned from what didn’t work: I need to do a better job of saying no in order to make what matters happen. I work better on instinct (although a broad brush outline helps the process!!). Boredom and busyness are my enemies; the best path lies in the middle, where I have full days and time to feel God and a grateful heart.

    Still working on Steps 3 & 6, but I will share when I get there!

  11. Leika on December 31, 2012 at 3:45 pm

    I love how you ask the hard questions! To be honest, the first thing I thought when I read Part 1, Step 1 was, “I can’t. I just…can’t.” But as I read your Part 2 post, I realized that really, I was just afraid of being authentic, of letting myself feel and cry. So, here goes…
    What Worked/Made Me Grateful in 2012:
    1. God. His awesome strength got us through the past 16 months. Absolutely COULD NOT have walked any of this journey without Him.
    2. Terrell. What an amazing husband God blessed me with.
    3. Growing in our marriage. I used to think that marriages grew in spite of the “for worse,” but now I think it’s just the opposite.
    4. A wonderful family. Feeling surrounded by love is a good way to live.
    5. Our church family. Ditto for sure.
    6. Developing a new relationship with my MIL.
    7. Getting to be with her through her final journey and hold her hand as she went Home.
    8. Embracing the funny moments that happen every single day.
    9. Making new friends who are also angel mamas, and learning to be more open about living with loss.
    10. Learning, also, not to let loss define every day.
    11. Finally conquering my stage fright enough to grant my MIL her last wish and sing (in front of real, live people!).
    12. Allowing Terrell’s surgery and brush with death to bring us SO much closer.
    13. Opening our home to friends and sharing happy evenings and great memories.
    14. Finally beginning to embrace the power of saying “no” sometimes.
    15. Getting photos taken that make me feel amazing and powerful.
    16. Making myself change #15 from the self-denigrating 1st version that didn’t speak truth!
    17. Beginning to see prioritizing as making a choice about what to succeed at, rather that as a failure at doing everything.
    18. Giving myself permission to be imperfect.
    19. Giving myself permission to be a rockstar, too (without feeling like a fraud or a showoff)!
    20. Music and worship. There really are no words for how much I love to sing praise to God, and how much worship is balm for my soul.
    21. Finding a better balance in our household division of labour.
    22. Terrell’s job!! SO grateful that he has finally found one that will excite and fulfill him!
    23. My job. God has really blessed us with a job for me that allowed Terrell to quit his soul-sucking job and return to school to pursue his passion.
    24. Our nieces and nephews, who give me a positive outlet for baby energy!
    25. My brothers and sisters — the two God gave me as a child, and the six more He gave me through marriage!
    26. The soul-searching and growing I have done through our fertility journey.
    27. Each new day that I am given to make new paths.
    28. The amazing group of MTH cheerleaders and inspirations!
    29. Lara, Natalie, Gina, and Emily, for asking the hard questions and showing me how it’s done!!
    30. Realizing that touching people’s lives and inspiring them is my biggest passion!!

    What Didn’t Work:
    – When I let myself get overwhelmed by the hard times.
    – When I let myself nitpick and magnify each of my flaws and mistakes.
    – Not meeting my business goals during 2012.
    – Not saying “thank you” nearly enough.
    – When I didn’t celebrate my successes.
    – When I spent too much time comparing myself to others.
    – When I forgot that I could say no, and didn’t leave enough energy for the important things.
    – When I was too proud to ask for help.
    – Not getting enough sleep or doing enough things that fired me up.
    – Letting being busy with “God things” sidetrack me from just taking time to soak in His glory.
    – Not believing in myself enough.
    – Being ashamed to own my dreams and my successes.
    – Spending too much time analyzing and not enough doing.

    What I learned from what worked: It’s ok to say no in order to say yes to things that feed my soul. The simple things: God, family, and friends filling our home make my heart sing, and give me more to give to others. Authenticity makes everything better.

    What I learned from what didn’t work: I need to do a better job of saying no in order to make what matters happen. I work better on instinct (although a broad brush outline helps the process!!). Boredom and busyness are my enemies; the best path lies in the middle, where I have full days and time to feel God and a grateful heart.

    Still working on Steps 3 & 6, but I will share when I get there!

  12. stephanie rita on December 31, 2012 at 4:00 pm

    What did I learn from what WORKED in 2012?
    – God perfectly times things in all of our lives. If I keep trusting Him and working hard, He will give me the desires of my heart.
    – Loving my husband is amazing. Being a new wife is an interesting ride, and I’m lucky to have a great husband to take it with.
    – Making real connections, networking, emailing, commenting, being nice to people & smiling as I walk down the street are just as influential in a business as spending thousands of dollars on seminars and new equipment.

    — What did I learn from what DIDN’T work in 2012?
    – My time-management and organizational skills are pretty nonexistent.
    – Getting away from the Internet is the best medicine.
    – Being thankful overcomes being sorry for myself.

    My vision for 2013 is to be determined! Still dreaming and scheming! Also, thanks for your honesty! -Stephanie

  13. Leika on December 31, 2012 at 4:12 pm

    I love how you ask the hard questions! To be honest, the first thing I thought when I read Part 1, Step 1 was, “I can’t. I just…can’t.” But as I read your Part 2 post, I realized that really, I was just afraid of being authentic, of letting myself feel and cry. So, I went back and started over with Part 1.

    Step 4: What I learned from what worked: It’s ok to say no in order to say yes to things that feed my soul. The simple things: God, family, and friends filling our home make my heart sing, and give me more to give to others. Authenticity makes everything better.

    Step 5: What I learned from what didn’t work: I need to do a better job of saying no in order to make what matters happen. I work better on instinct (although a broad brush outline helps the process!!). Boredom and busyness are my enemies; the best path lies in the middle, where I have full days and time to feel God and a grateful heart.

    Still working on Step 6, but I will share when I get there!

  14. Breanna Elizabeth on December 31, 2012 at 4:29 pm

    Such a beautiful message! What worked: 1. Run after your dreams and trust that God will always show up. 2. Focus on the now, one thing at a time. You will find that God’s creation is beautiful. 3. Photography is absolutely magical. Never give it up. Ever.
    What didn’t work: 1. You will never be in control. Trust God. Jeremiah 29:11. 2. Your husband is always worth more than the extra minutes you think you need to spend working. 3. Comparing yourself to others is a waste of time.
    This year, I want to love on people. Whether it is at school, in my home, through my business, or at church, I feel like God is calling me to simply pour out his grace.

  15. Valerie on December 31, 2012 at 4:31 pm

    Such an inspiring post Lara! I so wish I could sit and chat with you over tea but I have to say, your heart jumps through every sentence so I kind of feel like we talk every time you post! Happy New Year! Wishing you lots of sleep and even more love. : )

  16. Liz on December 31, 2012 at 4:41 pm

    So, if I am really honest what didn’t work for me this year was:
    Worry (yes, Lara . . I hear you!), fear, and anxiety, all of which put me in various yucky moods, making me difficult to be around and more importantly next to impossible to be myself. Which means I’m not finding out more about who I am.
    Not praying, even when I see the answers happening.
    Making excuses as to why I can’t do a million things
    Lack of organisation in day to day things (meaning I have no time to reassess and take steps towards the big things.
    Being present – the number of times both in person and via Skype that I have had to ask a person what they just said.

    My husband and I are facing some big decisions (though he’s one of these just do it, not worried about it, we’ll figure it out guys) this year about family and jobs and I like what Lara said about either being afraid of being excited. I would love to be excited, because deep down I truly sense that it will be all right and there will be so many things to be excited and joyful about. Just clearing away the gunk is the problem 🙂 Thanks for encouraging so many of us Lara!

    • Lynzy on January 2, 2013 at 4:05 pm

      Oh my goodness do I agree whole heartedly with your worry comment. I am constantly worrying about things that havent even happened yet. I need to start letting life take its course and know that God will lead me where I am supposed to go! 🙂

  17. Genevieve on December 31, 2012 at 4:56 pm

    Lara I couldn’t wait for your post today yet as a mother i understood how life happens and for good reason. I spent a good 2 hours on the task at hand today because i believe and connect with the depth of what you are sharing. I was so eager that i did lay down some traditional goals yesterday yet after reading your post will be throwing them out as i understand now the steps you are taking me and others through now. I am trusting in my faith that the connection i feel for you and this path that I’m being lead and taught on a higher level. I really appropriated the share about no social networking on the weekend as a single mom its often unclear to figure the boundaries out on this one yet i did want to share this IS a statement that i will be embracing today and in 2013. For the record “done is better perfect” has been fun for me…. I heard or read this several times before. Being a perfectionist I must confess I had a hard time with this one yet I’m aware enough to know if it raises an uneasy feeling with in there something there to look at. I’m happy to say I’m looking at it, which for me means there IS a shift happening as we speak #winning So Ready, So Alive, So Inspired Off to do some things that FIRE Me Up #MTH2013

  18. Megan Ayers on December 31, 2012 at 7:00 pm

    I’d love to win this to really get fired up!

  19. Beka on December 31, 2012 at 7:11 pm

    Dear Lara, I love you. And I’m so glad you decided to kick us all into high gear for 2013 with this list 🙂 Just sat down and looked through my 2012 aspirations and figured out what worked and what flopped. For me, extrinsic motivation & concrete deadlines worked, trying to do multiple goals at once didn’t. I stayed on track when I had accountability in place, stayed stuck when I didn’t know what to do next and didn’t know who to ask for help. Major achievements of 2012: launched my own website, went to MTH (!!!), took a major leap of faith and fell flat on my face (but hey, I leapt!). Major failures of 2012: worried way too much about a future I was never in control of to begin with, did not accomplish the physical goals I set out to conquer, did not submit articles I wanted to get published. Theme of 2013: The year of fear-busting 🙂 I want to readdress what was left undone in 2012 and put priority on giving, serving, and creating. Thanks for getting all of us off to a great start!

  20. Bianca Andrea on December 31, 2012 at 7:24 pm

    In 2013 I need to focus on me, 2012 I worried a lot about making others happy, putting my dreams on the back burner, when in reality I wasn’t happy which did not make others happy.

    I didn’t go to the church I love because someone else liked another one better and we didn’t go.

    This year I will go to my church because it truly makes me happy, I will find my true Happiness Project.

    I am beautiful, I am smart and I can’t make others happy unless I am happy.

  21. Rebecca on December 31, 2012 at 7:56 pm

    This exercise was SO GOOD for my soul and I loved it. What works:
    being disciplined and intentional
    having a heart of gratitude
    time with the Lord

    what doesnt work:
    too much time on social media

    I am getting SO FIRED UP about 2013!!

  22. Faith on December 31, 2012 at 8:59 pm

    Lara, I love you. You inspire me so much, friend! Thank you for being so vulnerable & sharing your beautiful heart. I am excited to dive in these questions myself… thank you! 🙂

  23. Erika Delgado on December 31, 2012 at 11:51 pm

    Lara, I recently discovered you were the brains behind southern weddings (I’m oblivious sometimes) and once I started reading your blog and following you on Instagram (yea…I’m one of those lurkers now lol) I realized that God is truly working wonders through you. It’s so crazy to feel like you know someone over the internet! I sure would love to meet you someday; you seem so warm and kind. I became really inspired by your encouraging words and the bible verses that you share. You’re on fire and it’s just so exciting to see God working through people like you. We all need some leadership and encouragement like this and I’m so grateful for your advice. This takes a whole lot of time to write up and I know you’re a momma and a busy lady. So thank you! Thank you so very much for your help. You have no idea how amped I am after doing steps 1-6. I was writing down my list of goals for the new year as I came across your instagram post on 2013 goal setting. I realized I wasn’t getting to the bottom of my true vision. Your process makes so much more sense and for the past 3 hours I’ve been journaling and reflecting on what worked this year and what didn’t. So here goes!
    1. Step ONE: WHAT WORKED FOR ME IN 2012? Moments when I was selfless, loving and kind. Going to yoga classes or practicing yoga first thing in the morning along with prayer and meditation, journaling my ideas, goals and thoughts worked because it set’s the tone for the day. Journaling in the same notebook with my fiancé worked! We can read and share our thoughts with each other leading to wonderful conversation and bonding moments. Taking my camera with me to family gatherings. Going to church. Engaging in deep conversation with people over topics like religion and politics taught me a lot and brought us closer. Listening to people. Networking with other wedding industry professionals worked and helped my business. Blogging helped me grow personally as well as helped my business. Listening to music, especially classical music as I work. Burning candles while I work. Being organized and clean helped me focus and be consistent in my workflow. Changing up the energy in my workspace by re-arranging furniture and re-decorating worked! Working with other photographers, having lunch with other photographers and sharing ideas and experiences worked. Collaborating with event planners, florist’s, and other wedding professionals to create our art and inspiration worked. Being in nature, going for a walk when I am frustrated, and taking power naps worked. Living simply with no clutter has worked. Talking with my mom and dad. Spending time with my family. Enjoying the small things and the precious moments. Sitting by the sea. Breathing deep. Giving to Goodwill, Food for the Poor and our little girl that we sponsor in Haiti. Writing music with Flynn and singing it. Dancing with friends and jumping up and down. Laughing uncontrollably. Helping others. Some things I am so grateful for from this past year: Getting engaged to the Love of my life. I am thankful to be loved by him so strongly, he makes me better in every single way. I am thankful for a successful second year in business doing what I love and am so passionate about. That my fiancé has been successful with his music career and able to do what he loves as well. Thankful for my mom’s health and for every moment I get to spend with her. Thankful that I get to plan my dream wedding! Thankful for my mind and the growth I’ve had as a young woman. Thankful for my sweet little animals that bring my joy everyday. Thankful for all the people who love my photographs, read my blog and support my work. Thankful for all of my amazing couples that I’ve had the opportunity to meet and create friendships with.
    2. STEP TWO: WHAT DIDN’T WORK IN 2012? When I wasted time surfing the internet, on instagram and on facebook. I need to stop getting distracted and stay focused. Shopping for unnecessary items didn’t work; I didn’t save money that I wanted to save and accumulated more unnecessary junk or clothes that I hardly wear. Waking up late and sleeping in sure didn’t work for me since I wasted precious time for myself in the mornings. Being selfish, quick to get angry, annoyed or frustrated. Being impatient with my loved ones. Not preparing ahead of time. Not taking the time to cook healthy meals. Not making it to the gym, that’s the hardest part… getting there! Not being consistent with my blog post’s. Not being consistent with my post workflow. Thinking I’m better than someone else. Not spending more quality time with my brother, mom, dad, grandma and Flynn. They are my rock… time spent with them = happiness. Certain marketing strategies didn’t work, come up with new ones. Surrounding myself with the wrong people. Being unconscious and unaware in each moment. Not trusting God. Worrying too much. Talking too much and speaking before I think. Spending too much time on my i-phone when I’m with loved ones, those moments are more precious than what’s going on in my phone.
    3. STEP THREE: WHAT FIRES ME UP? Good books, singing worship songs to God, Taking photos of lovers, nature, and sweet moments in life. Being alone and spending time doing things for myself. Recycling and working to better our world and our children’s future. Running outside, practicing hot yoga, dancing, singing. Writing my experiences and feelings in my journal and on my blog. Kissing, hugging and cuddling with Flynn. Sharing with others. Sunshine. Mountains. Living truthfully and honestly. Good conversation. Cooking a good meal for my man! Setting goals and making them happen. A good honest cry. Mending and fixing problems. Making To-Do lists and crossing everything off the list once the tasks are complete. Giving to others and sharing God’s love with them. Smiles and laughter. Traveling with friends and family and seeing new places. Being kind to someone. Early mornings. Asking forgiveness.
    4. STEPFOUR: WHAT ARE THE 3 BIGGEST LESSONS YOU LEARNED FROM WHAT DID WORK? 1. If I remain aware and conscious of my actions, my feelings, and stay calm and collective I can be better for others and for myself 2. If talk to my heavenly Father every morning, cast my fears on Him and trust him whole heartedly with every area of my life, He will continue to pour His blessing upon me and my family. His promises are what keep me strong 3. Stay inspired by surrounding myself with all the right things: good work environment, continued education, experiences, good friends, love.
    5. STEP FIVE: WHAT ARE THE 3 BIGGEST THINGS YOU LEARNED FROM WHAT DIDN’T WORK? 1. If I sleep in, I waste precious time in the mornings that will set the tone for my day 2. If I don’t keep my spiritual life a #1 priority, the rest of my life quickly falls apart. I need to stay conscience, healthy, positive and surrounded by people that will lift me up. 3. If I allow myself to go shopping online or in a store to fill a void, I only waste money for the future or for things that really matter. I add to a pile of things I really don’t need. Less is more. What you give is what you get. Giving to others is far greater than buying myself something. Let go of what doesn’t matter and hold on to what does: experiences, memories, people, etc.
    6. STEP SIX: My vision for 2013 is described with a few words: Growth, laugher, joy, strong foundation, grace, experience, memories, romance, success, new beginnings, taking chances, health, spirit, bonding, marriage, excitement, peace, humble, friendships, family, rest. I’ve never felt so good about a new year… more than anything I am excited to see what God has in store for me. I pray that He uses me and works through me. His plan for my life is the most thrilling thing to look forward to.

  24. Saadia on January 1, 2013 at 12:20 am

    Hey Lara. I am doing this. I feel stuck. It is now 1:18am and I haven’t been able to stop reading this. I wish I wrote as eloquently but I definitely have started the steps.

  25. Brittany Brown on January 1, 2013 at 2:08 am

    3 Lessons Learned from What Worked:
    1.God’s presence brings total peace in the most challenging, painful and chaotic circumstances. It is possible and necessary to surrender heavy burdens
    2. I am loved: my husband loves me more deeply than I have the capacity to comprehend and I am deeply loved and cherished by crazy-awesome people
    3. Extremely hurtful circumstances can lead to unbelievable clarity and joy. Go through

    3 Lessons Learned from What Did Not Work:
    1.God knows me intimately and is pleased: my life should not be shaped by anyone’s expectations, desires or needs. Listening to my inner voice is vital and my value is in Christ. My personality and interests are from God and for His glory.
    2. Idolatry is real. A busy, non-stop lifestyle produces selfishness and crowds out God. I must protect my relationship with God and reevaluate anything that compromises how much time and attention I give to God and His word.
    3. God’s word is the ultimate final authority: fear is a HUGE waste of time. Absolutely anything can be set in order by God’s word.

  26. Natalie Sink on January 1, 2013 at 2:26 am

    It was so difficult for me to come up with just 3 things I learned for each of these!

    Three things I learned from what worked:
    1. I’m best when I’m confident of my worth, beauty and secure in my eternal value.
    2. I’m an idealist/perfectionist – an INFP – which means I need to give myself more credit and allow myself to work towards the bigger pictures in my life rather than struggle and beat myself up over the itty bitty daily details that cannot be achieved right then and there. Enjoy the ride and the road. No one who has ever walked this earth is perfect but my Jesus.
    3. Exercise + eating well makes me feel good, and I have the most fun with it when I approach it as my lifestyle rather than achieving some goal or look

    Three things I learned from what didn’t work:
    1. Skimping on time some days with God and in His Word is just simply not working
    2. Comparison suffocates my dreams and vision and self-esteem! It puts up walls and takes the focus off of what matters. It puts my hands and heart in cuffs and creates idols
    3. Fear of conquering a fear, anxiety or obstacle is the source of many of my anxieties. A vicious circle.

    My 2013 Vision:
    Oh my goodness. My vision…it has ebbed and flowed and changed so much over the past 6 months that I even hesitate to say, but at a girls trip to Charleston in October I posed the question, “If you could do anything with your life – no limits, no rules, no financial barriers, no standards – what would you do?” And found myself answering that I’d move out of NC (I’ve lived in Raleigh forever) to Boston or NYC and start a career in digital strategy/digital consulting for brands and industries I have a personal interest in, spend part of my time as a nutrition consultant for young women, and eventually (with a family) move all those operations to my home so that I could have time to also counsel post-abortive women, which is the deepest, core God-given desire of my heart in the long term. So, I don’t know what my 2013 vision is…but I am praying towards that dream for my life I talked about this year in Charleston.

  27. Valerie on January 1, 2013 at 10:33 am

    Lara you are absolutely serving Hod and your purpose by putting everything out there! To not judge and not worry anout be judged is the ultimate goal of getting you closer to God!! That also helps inspire others to do the say and that also is serving Him!!!! What did work for me was the times I allowed myself to be ME! Living my husband and realizing ppl ate the way they are and you can’t change them only pray for them! Also what worked was being able to have my business and my first born ( Lara my little guy was born 11/13, close to grace)!

    What did work was what everyone that selfactualuzes experiences that when I worry/over think it is very good! The outcome and the experiences and my relationships all suffer! This is the root to everything that did not work!

  28. Vana on January 1, 2013 at 11:13 am

    Oh Lara! My heart is so full right now. Reading this has made me want to really do the things that make me happy and mean the world to me. GPS has always come through for my family and I and somehow I always ‘forget’ to put Him first. Your words are like a sweet song to my soul! Thank you, friend! I am just so sad I don’t live near you – God knows how I need people like you in my life.
    God bless you real good this year! You are such a blessing to many by being a living example of HIM!
    (This is my first ever comment here and probably amongst the few I ever left on a log time in any blogs:) Happy New Year! Wishing you JOY, Laughter, Peace, and Love!!
    xoxo Vana C

  29. Vana on January 1, 2013 at 11:18 am

    Oh and that GPS was meant to be GOD!!

  30. Rhiannon on January 1, 2013 at 11:42 am

    Andrew and I just sat down for an hour and went through all of these steps together. At first he was shocked, “wait, we have to write things down? There are STEPS?!” but just a few minutes in and he was saying words like ‘consistency’ and ‘healthy living’ and ‘better communication’ and we really got a chance to hear how we both feel about this past year, this upcoming year and how we can make sense of it all better. We both have our pieces of paper, covered front to back, with impressive lists of what Fires Us Up (who knew tea fired up my husband! and after hearing my list he simply said, “well you’re in the right field that’s for sure!”) and what we did well and did not do well in 2012. We’re looking forward to steps 7 and 8. I love you, Lara! Wish I could sit down with you and go over my list with you too 🙂 xoxo

  31. @18RobertoSierra on January 1, 2013 at 12:00 pm

    RT @laracasey: Goal Setting for 2013 + My Year In Review Happy New Year, y’all!

  32. ChristinH on January 1, 2013 at 12:14 pm

    Thank you so much for this encouragement to truly focus and live life to the fullest this year. The 3 Biggest Lessons I learned from WHAT WORKED in 2012: (1) Get in the Word and stay there. All day. Every day. – Coming back to daily quiet time in the Word has changed everything for me in the latter part of 2012. The way I live my life is reflected in what I dwell on. Such a different perspective when dwelling on God’s Word instead of worry and anxiety. (2) Cultivate deep meaningful relationships, rather than focusing on myself. – The love and support of my husband, family and close friends made all the difference this year. I want this to continue as a two-way street in 2013. (3) Breathe. Stop and smell the roses. – Taking time out of each day to relax and refocus was so important for my mental health and relationships.

    The 3 Biggest Lessons I learned from WHAT DIDN’T WORKED in 2012: (1) Focus on others more and my self less – For a good part of this year I suffered from depression and anxiety and had to spend a lot of time doing ‘self-care’ to get back to a healthy mental and spiritual place. Now that I feel confident in this area, I want to spend more time caring for others and cultivating my relationships. They are what make life so sweet. (2) Schedule more efficiently – Much of the year was making it through, instead of thriving. So I focused on taking things easy rather than working hard and efficiently. More scheduled work, means more quality time with my husband. (3) Attitude is everything. Good or bad. – My attitude was not the best a good part of 2012. But God changed that when He changed my heart. Focusing on a positive attitude and the fact that God is in control…and He is GOOD…will change how I live life each day.

    VISION for 2013: Live a life of passionate LOVE! – Love for God, for my husband, for everyone around me. Shine the light of the love of Christ to all I come in contact with. Here is the link to my inspiration board:

  33. @Marisol_Bridal on January 1, 2013 at 1:18 pm

    RT @laracasey: Goal Setting for 2013 + My Year In Review Happy New Year, y’all!

  34. Christina on January 1, 2013 at 1:28 pm

    Wow! I am just reading posts 1 and 2 today, but already have so many things scratched on my fabulous Emily Ley desk pad! Basic “goal lists” don’t work well for me either so I am excited to dig deep into this more! I can’t wait to make all of my lists, review what has and hasn’t worked and create a plan I know the Lord will have every part in! Thank you for sharing your heart to help, Lara! My Pinterest Board is up and ready to have things in it!
    Sharing this with my husband ASAP!
    xo Christina

  35. Charity on January 1, 2013 at 3:12 pm

    THis is all good stuff. Briefly:

    I love the shark vacuum. I have central vac, but I saw the shark at Costco in Raleigh and decided I wanted that if I lose central vac one day.

    What worked:
    Building relationships. It’s messy, it’s hard, but it benefited everything from my business to my walk with the Lord.

    Setting hard boundaries with work. Business hours are from 12-3 and 9-11 pm M-F. That’s it. I learned to tell clients who call that I would call them back at a specific time.

    My friend gave me this kick butt cleaning schedule that works. My house was cleaner than ever in 2012 and 2013 is going to be great as I stick to it.

    2012 was the year I accepted my body for what god created it be and 2013 is the year I learn to take better care of it.

    Vision for 2013:
    Using my business to further the gospel. I’m working on a project to teach basic photography to Urban raleigh kids, show them how certain aspects of photography show us Jesus, and then unleash them on their community with cameras to photograph their lives and what they love and put on an exhibit of their work. I’ve never done anything like this, but I’m surprised at how unafraid I am of this plan. Stocked is a good word for this.

    And as an adoptive parent, I’ve been photographing more and more for couples adopting. I don’t know where that’s going to take me, but it’ll be somewhere good.

    2013 is going to be a good, but somewhat nerve wracking year for me, as I watch God take me different places with my photography.

  36. Jennifer on January 1, 2013 at 3:45 pm

    Lara, I am so excited about this post! I’m “living” today with my two guys (hubby and baby boy) and enjoying them so much. When the day is done I look forward to sitting down while A sweetly sleeps and evaluating all that I wrote yesterday. I was so fire up about this process when I got home last night that my hubby and I decided to do this process for our marriage and family for 2013. We talked for 4 hours about everything in part one!! It was a wonderful exercise and we’ll be doing part 2 tonight over dinner. Thank you so much for being such a bright light not only in business but in our hearts and homes! 🙂 smooches to Gracie! {and we’re local so she can be friends with Aslan anytime! He celebrates 1 year next month!}

  37. (@laracasey) (@laracasey) on January 1, 2013 at 4:08 pm

    Too busy with family and cleaning the house for 2013 to blog today, so Part 3 is coming tomorrow! Work on 1 + 2:

  38. katyrenee on January 1, 2013 at 7:01 pm

    Learning from what did work:
    1. Reframing focus and bring success.-ie doing the same things but for a different reason.
    2. Just Do It. (don’t procrastinate)
    3. Taking care of self/needs pays BIG dividends.
    Learning from what didn’t work:
    1. Don’t expect loads of uninterrupted time–prioritize.
    2. Make use of small snippets of time instead of wasting them online.
    3. preparation begets success and much less frustration.
    Some Highlights of My Vision-
    Seek out a mentor and one day I hope to pay it forward!
    Slow down
    Relationships are one of the most important things to me
    Embrace who I am and the scariness involved in that instead of killing myself so I can fit in a mold and “play it safe.”

    Still working on Step 6–part 2…

  39. Tiffany Medrano on January 1, 2013 at 8:05 pm

    Today I followed through with two actions from my list of things that fire me up! One, We are moving into our first home and I bought some art for the wall! and Two, I’m a photographer and I’m wanting to use my abilities to connect with and show appreciation for other artist in other fields, celebrate their work and their process of making art. I reached out to another artist (a stranger!) and now we are getting together later this week! THANKS LARA! xoxo

  40. Kristy R. on January 1, 2013 at 9:52 pm

    I painted what worked on Firday afternoon. I ignored the phone, my inbox, my mounting list of artwork to create – I ignored it all and made time to count my 2012 blessings – thank you for the nudge Lara.

    So now onto what didn’t work. Sharing here, in a public forum is a bit scary but that is the exact reason I’m choosing to forge ahead…Sharing in a community is cathartic. Here goes nothing… 1. Worrying never works. We trick ourselves into thinking that worrying about the worst possibilities will somehow prevent them from happening. Nonsense. 2. Lack of focus never works for me…I often feel like I’m at a 20 way intersection with no map in the middle of rush hour with someone impatiently honking behind me – sound familiar? 3. Too much travel at the end of the year. Holidays at home are so important and I will never travel during them again. 4. Not talking enough with my team…I need to work in more one on one time, more feedback, less hustle. 5. Not speaking up doesn’t work well but I all too often don’t. 6. Ignoring my reading list for nearly a year so didn’t work for me. 7. Spending too little non-biz related time with my Mom certainly didn’t work well. 8. Not acting on those personal things in my life – like having a family did not work for myself or my husband. 9. Ignoring my instincts, nope didn’t work. 10. Haven’t been to the dentist in almost a year. 11. Ignoring my body and not exercising enough. 12. Eating too much processed foods on the go. 13. Not consulting with Sean Low in 2012 didn’t work! 14. Dragging my feet on launching 15. Being scared never works. 16. Going to bed past 2 am rarely works out well. SO there you have, a start, an honest look…shared it, did it!

  41. Natalie Clamp on January 1, 2013 at 10:04 pm

    Lara-I’m breaking the rules as I haven’t gone through the Challenge yet and I’m commenting, but I just went through your “what did work” and “what didn’t work” and had tears in my eyes. I’ve been avoiding going through this exercise for obvious reasons (VERY SCARY) but if you can put yourself out there in such a scary, did-I-just-hit-publish-way, then what is stopping me? So this is me, your cake pop girl, saying THANKS and that I’m so proud of YOU. xxox

    • Lara on January 1, 2013 at 10:16 pm

      I love you and I am so so so proud of you!!!! You are so much more than my cake pop gal. Although, your cake pops are pretty miraculous and life changing : ) Xoxoxoxoox

  42. Rachel Moger on January 2, 2013 at 8:42 am

    Going to spend a lot of time thinking about this today. Since MTH I’ve been writing a continuous list of what fires me up. I’m realizing that what worked for me is when I actually listened to myself. When I gave more, when I was more thoughtful. When I listened to what God was trying to tell me.

    Thanks for sharing your wisdom- You’re amazing, Lara!

  43. Kelly H on January 2, 2013 at 9:37 am

    Thank you so much for this Lara! I started following you and Southern Weddings Magazine in 2008 when planning my wedding. You have been such an encouragement to me in regards to life in general. Your heart and honesty and passion makes me excited for what God has in store this year for me. You are so so right about wanting a “path” instead of goals this year, I have been holding things in my heart that I have been too timid to even pray about let alone act on them. But no more – I am getting my new journal out and working on this challenge when I get home today. It is time to allow God to transform this year and make His will happen! Thank you so much for the encouragement! I am starting by doing something so I have already signed up for the part one webinar on the 16th 🙂 I wanted to attend all 3 but couldnt afford it. I figured one was better then none though. Looking forward to it!

  44. Ziza on January 2, 2013 at 12:05 pm

    It is pretty much summed up for me in 2 Co 3:17, one of my life verses: “…where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” That is what I want more of in 2013. The Holy Spirit fires me up to love live and love living life. Hearing from the Lord is primo priority- all good things flow from that place. My path for the year is only worth following if it is the one He has laid for me, otherwise I’ll just be foraging my own way, zapping strength and squandering the life I was really meant to live. (Not to mention being riddled with doubts and fears!) Humbling how simple the answer is when we allow ourselves the time to soak in it. Thank you for another “soaking” moment, Lara!

  45. jaqueline faria on January 2, 2013 at 12:18 pm

    Lara doing this work, and facing these hard truths is making me so excited about 2013. This is really helping me see the areas of my life that need focusing on, and the lessons that I learned and need to continue to embed in my life. Me realizing that focusing on just feeling good about myself helps the self dimishing thoughts disapear. That the only people I should seek approval from to do what I want and be what I want is God and my husband (There the only people that matter). Me accepting that I cant’ be super women, I can’t do it all, and that allowing and asking my husbands help is the best thing for us and for our marriage. Not taking risks, making firm decisions and keeping God at arms length is me wollowing in fear. These were hard lessons to learn, but now that I’m aware of them I’m starting to see clearly my vision for 2013 what I want to continue to see and where I want to grow.

  46. Catie Ronquillo Wood on January 2, 2013 at 12:24 pm

    Thank you for this, friend! Truly have seen an amazing transformation in you!!! xoxo
    From what worked:
    1. Trust God. Always.
    2. Do what you love.
    3.Focus on what matters most.
    From what didn’t:
    1. Don’t worry. Pray.
    2. Comparison is the thief of joy.
    3. Push through the difficult things to get to the good things.

  47. @makeup4yourday on January 2, 2013 at 1:45 pm

    Diving in again! @LaraCasey’s All Business: @jenbuenUNC

  48. Victoria C on January 2, 2013 at 1:48 pm

    Love this series Lara! I can’t wait to do Parts 7 and 8!

  49. Jennifer on January 2, 2013 at 3:09 pm

    I went back through and analyzed/evaluated what worked well and what didn’t. I wrote out in detail my thoughts but then went back and simplified (one of my 2013 personal life goals!) both categories into three words that I can post in my office to remember throughout the year. They are:
    What worked well {Specializing, Networking, and Re-designing}
    What Did Not work well {Communication, Prioritizing, Budgeting}

  50. Mandy V on January 2, 2013 at 3:17 pm

    THANK YOU for being so open and pushing me through this series!!! I have lurked too long….here are my lesson’s Learned from what did work (1)I love creating and I love focusing on God’s word as this always yields growth for what matters most: Life, Marriage, Relationships, Family, Giving. (2)After a death in my family this year I learned a HUGE lesson on legacy and what that means for my life. Legacy was kind of the word for the past 6 months. (3)Systems of organization work. Budget, home organized, Google drive for joined lists, etc. WORKED. Focusing on Organizing is key.

    What didn’t work: (1)Storing up vacation days for the “what if”. I learned I need to actually USE the days stored up and take the time, even if it means just laying at home in PJS with the husband or getting out to experience something new. (2)Management skills did not work. While it boils down to I am too hard on myself, I want to be better in this area. I want to be nurturing, supportive, and a great manager. (3)Relationships in all aspects were a big improvement over previous years. While it didn’t work to table some of the relationships, it DID work to invest in others. This is something to work towards in 2013.

  51. Tabitha Kidman on January 2, 2013 at 3:21 pm

    Wow! I’ve been a “lurker” on your blog and instagram, but girl you have written an incredible post here! I’m so in love with this series your doing! What great timing with the New Year and all. Sharing your ups and downs has made a huge impact on me and I’m grateful to you for that! I am following along writing out my 2012 “what worked and what didn’t”. I believe this will help me focus on what I can do to make 2013 the best year yet! Thank you for being so transparent and so faith-filled at the same time! You may have heard this quote but it seems fitting to your story about growing a stronger marriage: “This is one of the miracles of love: It gives a power of seeing through its own enchantments and yet not being disenchanted.”–C.S. Lewis.

  52. Laura on January 2, 2013 at 3:30 pm

    Every year I make a list of goals. They generally are things like…. be less annoyed…. be less cranky…stay calm….be more creative…and never address what actually is the reason I need goals like that:) I am a “lurker”, but this year I am going to be a “doer”. And instead of circling around what I actually need to do by making random and vague goals, I am going to address the real problems.

  53. Tiffany on January 2, 2013 at 4:21 pm

    The Biggest lessons I learned from what DID work in 2012, was that it’s ok to ask for help. To hire a professional. To outsource. To let others into your dreams, even if it’s costly and even if it makes me vulnerable. And also that things are always the most difficult right before breakthrough. The Biggest lessons I learned from what DIDNT work in 2012, was that when God is not put first in absolutely every nook and cranny of my life, things fail. Hard. I learned that selfishness never gets you ahead, and that my life has no meaning without my valued relationships. In 2013 I want to be a lover of God in ALL things, an encouragement and FIRE to those around me, to be dedicated and hard pressed in the harvest until I see fruit. To name every fear in the face and watch them become destroyed. And to find the artist within, who longs to look deeper with every click of the shutter.

  54. Kristine Aletha on January 2, 2013 at 4:40 pm

    I took time today to work through all the steps as I wasn’t able to do one through three before. I liked being able to first stop and think about everything that went right and that I accomplished this year before taking time to think about what didn’t. It’s also so interesting to think about what I learned through what worked versus what didn’t work. They ARE different! I agree with you about Pinterest, too, and how it was hard trying to cultivate a board that accurately represented what fires me up. I’m glad this task is a work in progress. 🙂 Here’s mine:

  55. Mary on January 2, 2013 at 6:50 pm

    Lessons learned from what WORKED in 2012:

    -Learning and trying new things is the best way to get me to where I want to be
    -I benefit from simplicity and focus
    -Love is what it’s all about–whether with Mike, my family, or “my” BARK dogs

    Lessons learned from what DIDN’T work:
    -Without focus, I can get distracted by details and waste one of my most precious assets–time
    -Eating right and exercising feels awesome, is good for me long term, and helps me accomplish other goals
    -Fear can hold me back, especially with photography

    What is my vision for 2013?

    Simplicity … Focus … Love … Doggy belly rubs and goofy smiles that warm my heart … Music, dancing, and joy … “I CAN” mind set … Happiness

  56. Wendi Solari on January 2, 2013 at 7:43 pm

    Here is my list for Steps 1-6 so far. Such a hard and helpful process!!

    Step 1
    WHAT WORKED IN 2012?
    1. Getting enough sleep {8 hours +}
    2. Staying free and creative putting no pressure on myself
    3. Discovering painting
    4. Discovering hand-lettering
    5. Running a half marathon
    6. Running daily | staying active
    7. Eating well | adding beans
    8. Making money for my family
    9. Improving our house
    10. Actively working on our marriage
    11. Meal planning | cooking
    12. Being business-minded
    13. Shooting for fun
    14. Travel | outdoors
    15. Family good times
    16. MTH
    17. New MTH friends + community
    18. Meeting up with friends for coffee
    19. Photography meetings with Lis
    20. Finding time to pray and lean on God
    21. Church + Mo. Judy’s sermons
    22. Working HARD on my relationship with Piper (one day at a time)
    23. Grateful for ability to work from home
    24. Grateful to be able to volunteer at SJCA
    25. Grateful for health insurance
    26. Grateful for Joe + girls
    27. Grateful for Joe’s job
    28. Grateful for health
    29. Love talks with Joe
    30. Love collaborating with Joe
    31. Understanding how much I love Piper (when she hurt her head)
    32. Clutter free office + house
    33. Putting effort into my appearance
    34. Writing

    Step 2
    1. Working for free
    2. Event photography
    3. Being plugged in too often at home
    4. My photography pricing
    5. Photography marketing
    6. ws designs | no marketing
    7. Not having a specific photography focus
    8. Not being in school
    9. Stressed
    10. Fighting | irritable | tired
    11. Being alone too much
    12. Depression
    13. Not praying enough
    14. Not leaning on God enough
    15. No devotional
    16. Judging others
    17. Gossip
    18. Caring too much about peers or competition
    19. Aligning myself with the wrong clients
    20. Not running/exercising enough
    21. Not lifting weights
    22. Need more like-minded friends
    23. Not calling my parents enough
    24. Need a devotional and to read the bible more
    25. Yelling + losing my temper
    26. Didn’t try birth photography + doc-style newborn – WANT TO
    27. Staying in sweat pants/yoga pants all day
    28. Photo-a-day projects
    29. My blog, trying to figure out Word Press on my own

    Step 3
    1. travel
    2. being fit + strong
    3. the sexy feeling after I run + lift
    4. good music
    5. the mountains
    6. the beach
    7. being outdoors
    8. collaborating with Joe
    9. good family days
    10. a clean house
    11. organization
    12. trusting in god
    13. being a genuine friend
    14. encouraging others
    15. being kind
    16. good food
    17. a good solid kiss
    18. hand-lettering | illustrating
    19. trying new creative paths
    20. the smell of vanilla, apples, or cinnamon
    21. photographing newborns or couples not afraid to show their love
    22. the ocean
    23. our bed
    24. good, solid sleep
    25. waking up rested and ready to tackle the day
    26. giving handmade gifts
    27. baking for others
    28. hot bath
    29. hot shower
    30. cozy sweater + good jeans
    31. beautiful photographs
    32. black and white photography
    33. beautiful design
    34. romance {fonts, colors, feel}
    35. lovely + inspiring quotes
    36. being 100% me + not giving a rat’s ass what others think | total confidence in myself
    37. volunteering | being charitable
    38. making real connections
    39. writing

    Step 4
    1. Enough sleep is a necessity and works for me
    2. I thrive in a clutter-free environment
    3. Being gracious puts my heart in the right place

    Step 5
    1. I am not passionate about event photography + shouldn’t do it
    2. I truly need to lean on God more, be present in my faith, + not try to do it all on my own.
    3. I feel horrible when I don’t take full care of myself and everyone pays the price

    Step 6
    {Friends, you are going to have to think long and hard about this one and I have a fun task for you to do while you’re at it. 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.}

    I want to love a life full of intention and purpose. I want to be truly me and live authentically. I want to love my work and do more of it. I want to be a happy person and I want to make my family happy.

    I want to be active, healthy, and happy. I want to still have a camera in hand. I want to be successful doing what I love. I want to have lived a creative life and have children who are good people and love their mom and have great childhood memories. I want to be helping people who need it and contributing to the world in a positive way. I want to be living in a house and home that I love. I want to have abandoned everyone else’s idea of perfection and traded it in for my own.

    I am a photographer because I love capturing moments in people’s lives for all eternity. I love documenting life. My camera remembers what I may not. My camera is an extension of my soul.
    I am a designer because I love creating beautiful things that make me happy and hopefully mean something to others. I love creating from scratch and using my hands. I love the challenge of creating something that I imagine in my mind.

    My mission is to create images and pieces that will enrich peoples lives and impact their hearts.

    My CORE is laughter, passion, + peace.

    Be a wonderful example of a woman, mother, Christian, athlete, business owner, and kind-hearted person to my children, husband, and others, Be slow to judge and rule with compassion. Be quick to listen and slow to speak. To physically build muscle and get lean. Embrace the changes in life (even those I don’t initiate) with a positive attitude. Volunteer and donate my time and talents.

  57. Shelby Laine Thomas on January 2, 2013 at 8:22 pm

    Here are my 3 things that I learned from what DID work (These make my heart happy!)
    1. When I stopped everything and totally, completely focused on God and sought His peace. He answered, every time, with a pace that surpasses all understanding!
    2. When I breathed and worshipped with a full, focused, forgiven heart. When I breathed and just let go of what I couldn’t control.
    3.Counting gifts and giving thanks continually throughout the day gave me a full, worshipful, thankful heart and the right attitude for the day. It brought joy and closeness with God.
    Now, the 3 things I learned from things that DIDN’T work (this make me happy to pinpoint them out and work on this year!)
    1. Worrying/stressing/being anxious got me NOWHERE!
    2. Circumstances don’t determine joy. Jesus is joy. Salvation is joy. God is SO good even when ‘life isn’t good’.
    3. Hard work is rewarded. Do something!! No laziness. How can I further the Kingdom of God if I’m not doing anything for it!?
    Now my vision…a work in progress but this is a draft:
    I will stop, pray, seek the Lord. I will breathe. I will relax knowing my life is already planned by the Creator of the universe. I will do. I will do what fires my up, the passions God has given me. I will bake cupcakes, write, walk and hike outdoors, cheer on the Aggies, drink coffee, read and talk about the orphan crisis, talk and listen with friends, and read and study my Bible. I will do things that fire me up! I will let go. I will let go of control in all things about my future, school, relationships. Anything I find myself grasping for control, I will let go. I will find joy everyday. I will be happy and joyful in the circumstances ahead of me because God is good and He is the one in totally control.

  58. Shay Cochrane on January 2, 2013 at 9:02 pm

    Lara, Thank you for sharing your beautiful heart. Thank you for your transparency. No one is doing this. No one is sharing in the vulnerable capacity that you are and it is INSPIRING and challenging and it is going to change lives. Thank you for loving God and going through the sanctifying process so openly. Thank you for sharing HIM so openly. Talk about Making Things Happen – connecting people to God is the single biggest thing that could ever be made to happen in the lives of your readers! It is undeniably hard to be so open when you have such a large following and so many people watching but you are challenging yourself to boldly be who God has called you to be. You are such a great example of what happens when we trust that God has given us unique passions and talents and resources to USE THEM to their fullest for his glory and WATCH WHAT HAPPENS!! I’m praying that God uses you for his kingdom this year in ways that you cannot even image. I hope we get to spend more time together again soon!

  59. Ashley on January 2, 2013 at 9:31 pm

    Lara, thank you for this! I am loving this process for goal-setting so far. Here are the three things I learned from what went well in 2012:
    1. Never stop learning. Be honest and authentic in what you do.
    2. Continue striving for musical excellence. Share this with others.
    3. Work to live. Set boundaries, know your priorities, and focus on what matters.
    Here are the things I learned from what didn’t work well in 2012:
    1. Invest yourself in your priorities. Give with intention.
    2. Do more of what fires you up. Be inspired. Take time to rest and be filled.
    3. Give thanks and be grateful every day.

  60. Wendi Solari on January 2, 2013 at 10:22 pm

    Just started my 2013 Pinterest board:

  61. Annie @ little & ever on January 2, 2013 at 11:46 pm

    Lara, I’m doing it! (Albeit slowly, my notebook and pen is still working on step 1… I’m now cheating reading ahead!).

    I find your work and words ridiculously inspiring. And this post has convinced me to give the whole process a proper go, all due to your opening paragraph… “I don’t believe in traditional goal setting. It doesn’t work for me”. I am a (traditional) list writer at heart, and have made many (traditional) goal sheets in the past. And you’re right, they don’t work. Subsequently, I struggle with “so should I not make plans / direction at all?!” thoughts.

    This Making Things Happen in 2013 challenge has me feeling very excited, and also reassured in many ways. I like to think of myself now as a recovering list maker / perfectionist, and feel your work and words fit very nicely with this.

    Yes, 99% of the time I am a “lurker”, so I’d like to say thank you for all the other times I have read, yet not commented. Because regardless, the feelings were always there.

    Sincere thanks x

  62. Jessica Chavez on January 3, 2013 at 12:37 am

    STEP 4
    What are the 3 biggest lessons I learned from what worked?
    1. If I set my heart and mind to something I can make it happen. A good example of this is getting to the MTH tour in LA, I couldn’t drive because I had an injured knee and even though I was supposed to drive by that time the doctor didn’t allow me to. Things started to get complicated and after much prayer and help from my awesome brother he drove me to LA, drove back just after he dropped me off and I took 2 buses back home that same night!
    2. There’s nothing wrong with asking, the Bible says ask you shall receive. So when I didn’t have the money to be part of 2 awesome photo shoots in Vegas while I was in WPPI, I emailed the photographer and asked to be an assistant even if she didn’t let me shoot. Sweetly enough she let me assist her and let me shoot too!
    3. Praying before any decision, big or small, is the BEST thing ever. There were times when I didn’t think the outcome of whatever I was going through at the moment was going to be a good one. However everytime I prayed and left it in God’s hands I rested in His sovereignty and knew whatever the outcome is was for the best. Trusting and letting go. God knows best!

    STEP 5
    What are the 3 biggest things I learned from what didn’t work?
    1. Comparison is the biggest way of losing my identity, as a photographer, as a businessperson, as a child of God.
    2. Aiming for perfection leads to frustration. At least for me. For so many years I stopped doing things because in my eyes they were not perfect and at the end I felt sad and like a failure because I didn’t progress in anything. Progress NOT perfection.
    3. Gratitude. Gratitude. Gratitude. I need to be thankful for all the blessings I’m given every single day.

    STEP 6
    What is my 2013 VISION??
    I want to live a life that exudes God’s love. I want to be fully surrendered and in love with Him. I want to focus on what matters ONLY, my relationship with God and developing the talent He gave me to use for His kingdom.
    When I’m 80 I want to tell my grandchildren the amazing adventures and lessons God showed me through life. I want to preach His love to my family.
    The reason I do what I do (be a photographer) is because I learned that God gave me a set of eyes and a different sensitivity for life. He’s taught me to look at life at a different angle, not take things for granted, stop and breath in His creation. I want to show through my pictures the greatness of my God. (I know this might be a little ambitious because God is bigger than anything I can capture with my camera.)
    My mission is to remind people to stop and observe the beauty that’s around us. There’s extraordinary beauty in ordinary places.

  63. Heather on January 3, 2013 at 2:17 pm

    Part 4: What are the three biggest lessons you learned from what DID work

    1. GOD is in control. With our marriage, our daughter, our family, our house, our lives. Whenever we felt that we couldn’t go any further, we did. Caroline had colic for 3 months. Troy and I honestly weren’t sure we would survive those three months. Caroline is now almost 13 months and we can’t go anywhere without getting compliments on what a happy, beautiful baby she is. God has blessed us tremendously.

    2. My business is starting to grow. I have owned it for three years, and made it a goal last year to “go big or go home”, I opened an Etsy shop, rebranded, launched a brand new website, blog more, and overall am trying to get a better following. I also opened up my very own office to meeting clients in. That’s a huge one.

    3. Love never fails. Even when you think you’re at your whits end. I will be having a rough day at work and then I remember that I get to go pick Caroline up and my mood completely changes. I will feel completely run down and Troy will randomly make dinner or come in my office and chat about how business is going. It’s the small things that matter.

    Part 5: What are the three biggest things you learned from what DIDN’T work.

    1. That you can’t do it all. It will all happen in due time. Don’t stress out or try to be perfect. People love you for who you are.

    2. Not budgeting as well as we should have or sticking to it. Money is one of the most difficult things for anyone; life, business, marriage. We have to be smarter with our money. That’s all there is to it. Getting ready to re-budget for 2013 now.

    3. Not caring more for my body. Not losing very much after I had Caroline. I always feel so much better about life and myself when I take care of myself, but yet I have made very bad/un-healthy choices over the last year. Time to take my life back.

    Part 6: What is your 2013 VISION? What kind of life do you want to live this year? Where do you want to be when you’re 80? WHY do you do what you do? What is your mission? What is your CORE?

    My 2013 Vision: I want to live a better life. As a wife, as a mama, as a business owner. I want to learn balance in my life. Learn to disconnect and concentrate on what matters most, but at the same time, grow my business. Not sure how this possible, it seems like a double-edges sward, but I know it is has to be possible. I just have to have patience and faith. When I’m 80, I want to be surrounded by the ones I loved and the ones I’ve impacted. I want to inspire like those that have inspired me.

    Why do I do what I do? I do what I do because I love the look on someone’s face when I give them their stationery I’ve created. I love helping people make their event perfect. I’m a people pleaser to a fault. I love design, I love pretty things. My mission is to help make someone’s process easier, stress-free.

  64. Christina Moodie on January 3, 2013 at 2:30 pm

    I loved these steps. Really made me think about why I loved the good things about last year and why I really did not like the bad.

    Step 4:
    1.Daily time in God’s word is life changing. He will meet you there, He will speak into your life and you will find the best direction there when you are consistently seeking him. That set aside time is the greatest fuel for my life.
    2. Letting go of my business was the best thing I could do. I did not enjoy it, it weighed me down. Focusing instead on ministry and life transformation through God’s word and relationships… that, THAT is what truly fires me up!
    3. Spending time away from the phone and computer with Barry and good friends is key. Cultivating friendship and having fun together that is where those life giving moment come from.

    Step 5:
    1.Being unforgiving and lacking grace towards people I feel hurt me, hurts me more than anything or anyone else. Do not grow bitter. Pray and find evidences of grace instead.
    2.Finding my identity in anything other than Christ keeps you wanting and miserable. He is the only one who can fulfill.
    3.Pointing out Barry’s flaws with mean words does nothing but harm. Not trying to understand where he is coming from and always claiming I am right does the same thing. Just harm. I lave to learn to understand Barry before I can truly respect him, and i have to truly respect him before I can truly love him.

    Still working on my vision! much love!

  65. Elizabeth Glessner on January 3, 2013 at 5:08 pm

    Step 4:
    1. Taking time away from work and computers NEVER turned out to be a bad thing. No one died, no clients were lost, no one got angry. Do this more.
    2. Time spent with good people is good for the soul.
    3. You’re always blessed for following your instincts and focusing on what REALLY matters.

    Step 5:
    1. Real life (time alone, with good people, or even reading a book) will always always always be more fulfilling than the Internet, my phone, etc.
    2. Me/God time is ESSENTIAL to being the best version of myself.
    3. Worry less about being judged or making someone upset for showing my true heart. You will always feel better in the end for being true to yourself and to others.
    (I had an extra) 4. Glorifying money only results in worry and remorse. Dwell less on dollar signs and more on what TRULY makes you happy.

    My 2013 Vision (this is just the beginning… a few words to start the wheels spinning):
    happy and healthy
    helping other follow their passions and live life to the fullest – be a motivator
    grow in faith
    photograph things just for me (not for work)
    have more fun
    love bigger
    build stronger more meaningful relationships
    worry less about the future – LIVE NOW

  66. Kristin Schmucker on January 3, 2013 at 5:35 pm

    This got me thinking so much. Amazing how these steps have cleared my focus!

  67. Amy on January 3, 2013 at 8:47 pm

    Lessons learned from what DID work:
    1. I think the biggest lesson was that God took care of it. Of everything. Many things happened in 2012 that I didn’t expect and that I maybe doubted would even happen. And guess what? God came through even more than I could have asked or hoped. I need to keep this as a constant reminder of how God is always working in my life.
    2. By doing more things that fire me up and get me organized I lived more of a life I love!
    3. Continued to do new things and go to new places and challenged myself. I am bettering myself for all these new things!
    Lessons learned from what DIDN’T work:
    1. At times I allowed myself to be too busy and I didn’t realize it until after I went through that busy season. I need to look back and see why I was too busy and to make sure I don’t repeat that again. I need to know my limits.
    2. I didn’t do enough for me like crafting. I never went in my craft room ONCE! I need to get out of my office or off the couch and create for myself. I should always have a project going!
    3. I didn’t correctly set priorities and follow through. Time with God should always be first, then myself (my physical, emotional, and spiritual health), so I can be best for my family!

    My vision is so long already and I feel like it is still in the works! I feel like I will have it more complete after all the steps are done!

  68. Kristy on January 3, 2013 at 11:17 pm

    Ok Lara – you asked for it. I started out handwriting in my journal, but it was really half hearted. So I spent the evening working and thinking about it some more and trying really hard not to refer back to my list of goals I had already set out. There’s some really personal stuff in here, but that’s OK. It’s all about honesty right? I want real change. I feel amazed and blessed, but feel like I’m not living up to my full potential at all. So here you go…

    15 – New Bed Set. It seems silly and maybe a little thing, but I’ve wanted a real bedroom set for YEARS. And we found the perfect used one that we were able to pay cash for! And I like that my room looks like a real grown up room.

    16 – Improved daycare set up. I’m sure there are more changes to come, but I’m really happy with the improvements we’ve made in the set up downstairs this year.

    17 – Seeking out and earning grant money to make improvements. I missed a few opportunities, but the ones I was able to get have really helped us do some fun things in the daycare.

    18 – TJ – He has been such a blessing. What a sweet easy going baby he’s been and just a joy to have around. I love that he came on his own terms and is the “one thing that’s not like the others” in some ways. But he still fits right in and I’m blessed to be his mommy.

    19 – Along with that I’m really grateful that I’ve been able to nurse him all year and be home with him. I’m glad he’s a momma’s boy ☺

    20 – Maren – Oh what a little mess maker, but I’m so grateful for the sunshine she brings into our lives. She’s so full of life and is as smart as any kid I know.

    21 – Tyler – I’m grateful for the way he has changed me as a mother. I understand more about “hard kids” and what parents of kids with different challenges struggle with. Outside of that though I really cherish the sweet moments we have together. I love his smile and his crazy grin and his funny habits.

    22 – Kelley – I love that I’ve turned her into a reader. I’m so grateful for what she’s taught me about kindness and treating people well. I’m thankful that she’s my oldest and that she’s getting old enough that we can watch old movies and cook and do our nails together. Love this girl.

    23 – I’m grateful for the temple and the many chances we’ve had to go and that our kids have seen us go. I’m grateful that Kelsha and others have made it possible by helping us with our kids.

    24 – I’m grateful for the challenges Joey and I have had because they have taught me a lot and given me a different perspective.

    25 – I’m grateful for the busy months in the daycare and that I was able to see what a little more “time off” is like and how I need to change things to manage this situation better.

    26 – I’m so grateful for my connections with other Early Childhood providers.

    27 – I’m grateful that I was able to loose SOME weight, even if it wasn’t what I hoped. And I’m really glad I have a cheap gym membership.

    28 – I have loved when we’ve had “breaks” from video games. Oh what a blessing those have been for our whole family.

    29 – I have loved cultivating my kids interest in music lessons.

    30 – So so grateful for Tyler’s teacher and the resources we have at the school.

    31 – I have loved recording just a few memories through a few photo books for our family. They aren’t perfect, but they are so fun and we have a record now.

    32 – I’m very grateful that I’ve kept track of our finances this year so that taxes will be easier and I can see where we’ve come and how we can improve.

    33 – I’m grateful that we’ve been working on a nest egg. We keep using it, but it’s been a lifesaver more than once.

    34 – I’m grateful that I’ve been disciplined enough to set aside money for quarterly taxes and that I was finally able to figure them out and keep up with them!

    35 – Being punctual has become more important to me and I’ve really been able to improve in this area.

    36 – Kids college funds started.

    37 – Family Parties at the daycare – this and other things have helped improve connections and relationships with families.

    38 – I feel like my desires and priorities have come in sharper focus this year, even though I’ve felt completely overwhelmed and inadequate at times. I feel a little like the little engine that could – I think I can, I think I can….I really do feel like eventually I’ll get where I want to go. Even though I feel like I have so far to go at times, I’m grateful for the perspective that not being perfect has given me.

    39 – I have loved the few glimpses I have had of clutter free time with my kids and family.

    40 – It has been an amazing blessing to me that I’ve been able to help a few families in need at the daycare. I’m happy that I’ve been able to be an instrument in the Lords hand and pay it forward to a few families who I know really really need it.

    41 – Spending time outside worked.

    42 – Exercising worked. I think this has to be a bigger more consistent part of my life. Yoga too. That worked really well the very few times I practiced.

    43 – Baby sign works amazingly well!

    44 – Not procrastinating worked really well when I did it. Picking up after myself.

    45 – Routines worked.

    46 – Learning Tree Daycare and Preschool Facebook page

    47 – Mormon Channel worked! Loved listening to general conference and the other resources on there.

    48 – Books on tape

    49 – Mail in rebates
    What didn’t work

    1 – Managing my workers. I try so hard to be a “good” boss, but I end up not getting what I want and need from them. We could be so much more effective as a team, but no one is going to make the changes I want unless I’m leading effectively.

    2 – I wasted a lot of time: on Facebook, phone games, the news, catching up on gossip. I think I was trying to fill a need: time to myself, a distraction from the stress, “filling my cup”….but I went about it the wrong way. I spent a lot of time doing things that didn’t point me towards my goals at all.

    3 – Clutter. Too too much stuff. I spend SO much of my time organizing, worrying about it, trying to decide what to do with it, stressing about giving it away or throwing it away. I know I want to simplify, but it stresses me out.

    4 – Overspending. We didn’t manage our finances very well this year…as usual. But we had times of really great blessing and could have really made a dent in our debt this year. And we didn’t.

    5 – Matching my time and energy to my priorities and focus. I think I was so overwhelmed and stressed this year that I shut down at times (see above). I have let that and the clutter crowd out my time and take it over instead of focusing on the really important things.

    6 – It has been a rough year on my marriage. We’ve been married for 11 years and you would think we have it all figured out. It becomes more and more obvious that we don’t. We have really great times and I believe we can heal the rifts in our relationship. But I’m not 100% sure how to right now.

    7 – Anxiety. Has not served me well at all. I worry about what people think. I worry I’m doing it all wrong. I worry I can’t make others happy. I worry about myself. I am really anxious about our finances. I’m anxious about world problems and things out of my control.

    8 – Yelling, loosing patience with Tyler over and over. Not knowing how to help him or what to do or what I did wrong or how I can fix my mistakes.

    9 – Headaches and chronic pain. My shoulders, my neck, my low back, my knee.

    10 – Emotional eating.

    11 – Procrastination. Walking into my storage room over and over again and having no idea where to even start. Then sitting there for 10, 20, 30 minutes and walking out not having hardly made a dent. Waiting for the perfect time to do a project, call someone, fill out that rebate form, clean out that box in the office, filling out my food program daily.

    12 – Blogging, journaling. I love both and don’t hardly do either. I want a record of my life and the lessons I learned.

    13 – My housekeeping system. Constantly overwhelmed, constantly procrastinating. Cause of many an argument between Joey and I.

    14 – Daycare website. Virtually useless.

    15 – Office piles, paper everywhere.

    16 – Rules for no reason, controlling

    17 – Having no curriculum or plan STILL at the daycare. Lots of good stuff happens, but so many more amazing things could happen if I could get it together.

    18 – iPhones in the daycare. Definitely don’t work. Not sure how to balance because texting is really great for communicating with parents. But I and my workers spend far too much time texting (unnecessarily), Facebooking, surfing the web….when we could be hanging out with the kids. Getting ahead of the game with cleaning or projects or professional development reading.

    19 – Focusing on myself didn’t work.

    20 – Putting off exercise, reading my scriptures, things I need in my life daily.

    21 – Being afraid of what others would think of me.

    22 – Not turning my life fully over to my Heavenly Father.


    1 – Early childhood education – learning more, seeing that I could be a voice and make a difference, seeing how I’ve learned and grown.
    2 – Seeing how I’ve changed, how Christ has changed me. Knowing that he can do more.
    3 – Being a mom.
    4 – Striving for simplicity.
    5 – Progress, hope of change, improvement.
    6 – Making a difference in someone’s life.
    7 – Learning new things and putting them into progress.
    8 – Seeing that I can do hard things
    9 – A job well done
    10 – Making peace with someone, something, between people.
    11 – Being healthy and having the energy to do the important things.

    The other steps will have to come another day 🙂

  69. Priscila Benson on January 4, 2013 at 2:01 am

    The biggest thing I learned from what DID work is to speak up. Without speaking up, my daughter would be receiving mediocre therapy and my son would not have started talking. Spina bifida families would have gone without advice and I would not have made strides towards realizing dreams.
    The biggest lesson I learned form what DIDN’T work is that not doing even the littlest things for myself directly affected the type of person I was for my children, husband, family, and friends. For example, taking a good shower (sans children!) in the morning made me feel refreshed and ready to tackle the day; therefore, my kids experienced a better mommy.
    My vision for myself is simple: I envision myself living a life full of giving, pleasingly minimal, confident in who I am, strong in relationships with others, and being purposeful in all I do, especially with my children.

  70. Alyse French on January 4, 2013 at 1:03 pm

    Step Four:
    1. Simplicity ALWAYS works. When it comes to my schedule, how far I’ll travel for work, systematization, and the space I work in… Simple is best.
    2. Putting effort into making myself and my work surroundings comfy and clean boosts my motivation, mood and confidence.
    3. Ninety-nine percent of the time, it only takes one small step to get me on my way to accomplishing big things. So much of what I accomplished this past year was possible because of starting small on things I’d been dreaming of for years! Baby steps.

    Step Five:
    1. Fear wastes time. Time I could be using to open up and help others through vulnerability on my blog. Time I could use to grow in my trust in God. Time I could use to do things that MATTER.
    2. There are few things that really matter in this life. And you have to fight for them! Being attentive to my husband’s love language, and setting office hours that allow me to spend quality time with him, God, and myself are more important than I often let myself believe.
    3. Productivity is great. But it’s also an addiction. An idol. I need to be okay with small bits of progress. There will ALWAYS be work. But right now? I need to focus on what matters first and foremost.

    Step Six:

    After spending two days enjoying the daylight streaming through our blinds, finishing my work in the early hours of the day, dancing in the car to my jams, shopping with my husband, making our bedroom living space pretty, dressing in real clothes, getting dolled up for a movie date, and just being still, I’ve been inspired to draft the following vision for 2013…

    The year 2013 will be a different one. It will be a testament of simplicity. In work. In life. In 2013, I will build confidence in who I am. My relationships. My purpose. I will learn to conquer fear. I will learn what it is to be truly joyful. In the every-day. In Jesus and His love for me. I will love in return. In 2013, I will live with a purpose. Prioritizing the things that matter most.

  71. Jasmine on January 4, 2013 at 5:09 pm
  72. Jaclyn on January 4, 2013 at 11:25 pm

    Lessons from what WORKED: 1. I’m very driven by my emotions when it comes to friends/relationships 2. A lot of what I accomplished, I needed a bit of a push/template to get started – this is maybe something I want to work on? I was happy with the end result but seemed to have problems getting started 3. I’m at my best when I’m busy…but not overwhelmed. And that’s a subtle line for me!

    Lessons from what DIDN’T WORK: 1. When I’m either too overwhelmed or too bored at work, I tend to shut down and start slacking off, even when I shouldn’t be and I KNOW I shouldn’t be. I need balance, or to at least find ways to stay motivated when those extremes happen. 2. I get too caught up in mindless things (aka the internet…) which leads to “not having time” for things that matter more, like staying connected to far-away friends (twitter alone doesn’t count!) or doing more creative things. 3. My emotions can be a negative quality as well – I get hung up on things too easily, which leads to more stress. I overthink and overreact far too often.

    My vision ended up being kind of long, but the gist is that I want to be more present in 2013, and be more focused and purposeful in my choices. I envision being less stuck on TIME and DOING more. Being in my own head less, and cultivating the relationships that may not be the best right now. Making next steps in my career and BELIEVING (my word!) in my dreams and in others.

  73. Kristy on January 5, 2013 at 1:36 pm

    Lara – Thank you so much for this. I started half hearted and the past few days decided to just jump in and give it my all. And it has been an amazing and exciting experience for me. So here’s my assignments from this post. PS – Found you via Natalie Norton. 🙂

    3 lessons from what worked:

    1 – I will never regret taking time for my kids and my husband. When I make them the most important thing not just in words but in actions we reap huge rewards.
    2 – Jesus Christ is my partner. Heavenly Father is always here for me. There are lots of lessons he has for me and he has given me a lot of talents and blessings. I can change. He can change me. I can become a new better person. But I have to put in my part. Moving forward and upward requires constant focus and redirection and listening to the spirit and doing what he wants.
    3 – I can do amazing things when I set my mind to it. When I clear the clutter and put my feet to the ground and focus on what I can control and do I can move mountains. One rock at a time.

    3 lessons from what didn’t work:

    1 – Take nothing for granted. Anything that’s worth it requires attention and care and work. Ignoring problems, avoiding conflict, and assuming stuff doesn’t mean it’s OK or that the core issues have gone away.
    2 – I can’t be everything to everyone. I can’t do everything I want, every good thing. I’m doing a lot good things, a lot of completely useless things and a lot of the best things are getting put off.
    3 – No one else can make the changes I want. They won’t magically happen and they won’t even happen if I think I clearly explain something. If I want real true change I need to be the catalyst. No one else cares as much as I do about the things that are most important for me and I need to do a better job of taking care of those things.

    Vision for 2013 (and beyond):

    When I’m 80: I want to be ready to meet the Lord. I want to look back on my life and know that I did the very best that I could, that I became the daughter of God that he wanted me to be. I want to have my children and grandchildren and great grandchildren close to me, knowing that I love and cherish them and enjoy nothing more than having them with me. I want to have done some good in the world.

    Why do I do what I do: Because I believe that I can make a difference. I feel so intensely blessed and amazed at the blessing that I have been granted. I want to share that and lift others up. I want to help little humans see their worth and see that they can do great and amazing things. I want to lift my husband and be a support and anchor for him. I believe that we are each sent here for a reason and I believe that Heavenly Father uses each of us to help his other children. That’s what it’s all about.

    What kind of life I want to live, this year and a bit beyond: LESS BUSY – MORE CONNECTED, ENGAGED and ABOUT MY FATHER’S BUSINESS. I want to live with intention, reason and purpose this year. I want to nurture real relationships. My marriage needs healing and attention. I want to be real with my kids. I want to play with them and show them how to live and enjoy and discover. I want to distance myself from my phone. This is the year I want to tackle the clutter in my life. For REALS! It is killing me and my family and I want to be free. I want my kids to learn music. I want to play the piano sometimes too. I want to document our lives, especially the small moments – the ones that won’t come again. I want to do and follow through. I want to make space in my life for more of the things that matter. I want to get my masters and be a voice for Early Childhood Education. I want to teach others and uplift and inspire. I want to learn to take better pictures. I want to make my home a haven. Someplace that my family wants to be. I want them to know that I love them. I want to find ways to serve others. I want a closer relationship with Christ. I want to learn how to more clearly see God’s plan for my life, hear the personal revelation he has for me and feel his influence and hand in my life daily, more powerfully and more peacefully. I want to live more of what I believe.

    My Vision for 2013: This year I want to live life more simply. I want to be less busy, but more connected with people, engaged in purpose and about my Father in Heaven’s business. This year I was to clear the clutter and make space for things that matter. I want to nurture real relationships with my children, husband, good friends, my sweet daycare kiddos and my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. This year I will live with intention and live my beliefs.

  74. Danya on January 5, 2013 at 7:03 pm

    So I’m working on my pinterest board & still praying over my vision, but here are the things I’ve learned from what did and did not work…
    1 – Setting a clear goal {ie, blog redesign, weight loss, devotional life, etc} and reaching it feels absolutely amazing! But it takes small steps EVERYDAY to accomplish those goals.
    2 – God is my ultimate healer and provider – Nothing is too big or too small for Him.
    3 – Surround yourself with friends who will invest back into the relationship – it’s not worth it if it’s one sided.
    1 – I need to do more “DOING” & a little less dreaming and planning.
    2 – Worry and anxiety will get my nowhere.
    3 – We need a financial plan/budget/goal asap.

  75. Elizabeth on January 6, 2013 at 12:35 am

    Step 4 – What DID work
    Routines and being prepared work. By having a consistent routine, such as make lunches before I sit down at night = a less chaotic morning.
    Doing things outside my comfort zone (like a Mud Run) can actually be fun!
    Focusing on what matters really is the best way to live. A great example is our wedding in 2012. I kept wanting everything “perfect” – pink peonies, to be in better shape, etc. My husband finally said, “None of that stuff matters. It’s just “stuff” When it comes down to it, all that matters is us. We’re going to be married regardless.” This was very humbling, yet so true! He hasn’t even heard all about my MTH and focusing on what matters, but yet he gets it. So, we had our wedding, and no, I didn’t get my pink peonies (out of season), I didn’t lose the weight I wanted to, etc. BUT it turned out perfect. I wouldn’t change anything about the day!

    What DIDN’T work
    Worrying about things that don’t matter.
    Not following a budget – can cause last minute transfers from hard earned savings.

    Step 6: vision
    I’m still working on this, but I want to live with intention. In fact, that is my word for 2013. I want to be intentional with my time and how I spend it – social media, time with others, time management. I want my daughter to grow up in a fun environment, so I will keep doing things out of my comfort zone that will make her laugh, I want to be a supportive wife that makes my husband proud, I want us to take a trip as a family this year (we’ve never been on one just the three of us). I want to become closer to God. Yes, I go to church but this year I’m planning on reading more of His word and making Him a priority. I do what I do b/c I love birthdays – family and friends are involved, and you celebrate the special day of someone you care about. I love to plan and create pretty details. I want to celebrate every day like it’s a birthday! I’m still working on my CORE question…….

    Thanks so much for this series! I bought a pretty journal to record all of my answers

  76. Shay Cochrane on January 6, 2013 at 10:50 am

    Ok, I apologize in advance that this is going to be LONG! And it is just my step 1. I am the type of person who gets excited and doesn’t like to give things their due process. After reading (and actually printing out) Lara’s long and thought out Step 1 what DID work it challenged me to go back to my quick bullet point list and really flush the thoughts out giving them time and chewing on each one. I also challenged myself to come up with 50 instead of the 20 or so that I had. So…here goes!


    Step 1: Evaluate what DID work in 2012 (50 things)

    1. Consistent morning quiet times. About half way through the year Graham and I had a conversation where we were both honest about lacking consistency in our time in the word. Having Vera in February of this past year obviously changed our little “routine” as a family of three and we agreed to work together as a team to make sure that we were both getting the quiet, uninterrupted time in the word that we so desperately need. Graham agreed to take care of the girls in the morning and start work a little later so that I could have a solid hour in the word from 7-8am while he gets to spend some quality morning time with them over breakfast. Chloe knows that it is mommy’s time reading her Bible and praying, it allowed me to start my day with peace (rare for a mom!) and it has allowed my relationship with God to grow in more ways than I can even express.

    2. Vera. This little girl has been the most amazing blessing to me as a mom this year…and I don’t just mean that in the way that all moms will call their kids a blessing. Vera – her temperament and personality specifically, have ministered to my heart this year as a mom. Vera was born about half way into Chloe’s version of the “terrible two’s.” I have to be honest and say that Chloe’s second year was really hard and I found myself constantly feeling frustrated and guilty and overwhelmed with constantly contending with Chloe’s stubborn and dramatic personality. For most of Chloe’s second year of life I just felt like I was failing as her mom (if I used our daily interactions as a litmus – which is NOT accurate). Anyway, in the midst of this, Vera brought a lot of joy back into mothering. God blessed and ministered to my heart as a mom with her constant smiles and cuddly happy nature. It also bolstered my confidence as a mom because it was SO MUCH EASIER the second time around with a newborn. We started coming into a better place with Chloe around about the time that she hit 3 ½ and it blesses my heart to see these “forever-friends” interact.

    3. Moving. This year by God’s grace and undeserved blessing we were able to move into another home that was more suited to Graham’s job working from home as an audio engineer and blogger (it still sounds really funny to us to say that. haha). When we purchased our first home in FL we had NO idea that three years later he would be working sucessfully full time from home and his little office off of our living room (that originally was just going to be my office) just wasn’t going to work out for a husband in the audio industry recording tutorial products, mixing bands, and doing live podcasts 5 feet away from two crying children. God was enormously gracious to us this year in this area and we are just humbled and maybe even still a little in shock at the way he has heaped blessings in the realm of Graham’s business and allowing him to use his passions and talents to God’s glory.

    4. Related to that, God has really been putting something on our hearts this year that we have gotten to experience play out in our lives this year specifically as it relates to Graham’s business. I don’t know about you but I think we spend a lot of our lives suppressing what it is we really love and are passionate about or talented at and instead just press on doing the things that we think we “ought” to do for one reason or another. This can apply to work, ministry, talents and gifts etc. But here is a crazy thought that we have entertained and pressed into this year…what if God created you and I with specific quirky or random passions/talents/gifts because he wants us to actually pursue them and that in the pursuing of those things (sometimes instead of the things that make more sense on paper) is what will actually bring him the most glory and fame while bringing us the most satisfaction and joy! I am not saying that as servants of God he will never ask us to do something that we don’t really want to do at the time, but this year we have really been challenging ourselves with the question, what if God actually wants us to pursue those specific passions and talents that he has given us because that is how He is going to get the most glory! This may not even make any sense to anyone else reading this but hear me out, the most specific example that we have experienced this year is with Graham’s job. Somehow, by God’s grace, Graham is able to work from home doing what he loves the most and in doing that, God has opened up unbelievable doors to share the gospel and point and connect people to God. I think that Graham has shared the gospel and been able to point more people from all over the world and all different religious backgrounds more in the past year as a home studio recording blogger then in his whole life. That is amazing. What if God were big enough for us all to do that!? To do what we actually love instead of just what we think we “ought” to do – what makes the most sense on paper – and in the doing of those crazy things God gets the most glory. What a freeing thought! I mean, isn’t that part of what Romans 12 is talking about!?

    5. Date night. This year we bit the bullet financially and made date night a weekly priority again the way it used to be in the days before we had kids and actually really needed time away alone. haha. We stopped trying to pull together sporadic last minutes babysitters and instead we arranged with someone to be a weekly Tuesday night babysitter. This not only allowed us to have consistent alone time to pour into each other but it took the pressure off of those sporadic date nights to be the “best ever.” Some times date night was hard. There were many Tuesday nights that were spent having difficult conversations as exhausted parents and strained lovers but the consistent Tuesday night gave us time and space to have those conversations that needed to be had and to also have a lot of fun reminding ourselves why we committed to each other 7 yrs ago. It is easy to say that you don’t have the time or money for date night but if you are married and have children I cannot feel more strongly that this is a must. The marriage comes first before the kids. It is easy to hide a bad marriage behind being a good “team” as a couple. This year we made enormous strides to grow our marriage in this area.

    6. Family Fun Friday. Because we are a part of a still-new church plant, Saturdays and Sundays are spent working, for at least part of the day. Saturday Graham has band practice the first half of the day and about 6-7 hours of Sunday are spent making church happen. For this reason, and because God has graciously given Graham a flexible job, we set aside Friday as our Sabbath and what is now lovingly referred to as “Family Fun Friday.” It starts with chocolate chip pancakes in the morning and the only rule after that is that we can’t do any work and that whatever we do, we do it together as a family:) It is one of my favorite days of the week.

    7. Family relationships. Far from being perfect, this year I have really tried to pour into my brother’s lives more and Graham and I together have intentionally tried to be a blessing in their lives. This has meant me making an effort at more phone communication (since they live 1000 miles away) but it has also meant really being intentional about having meaningful, rich conversation in the limited time that we have had together. Some of my favorite memories from this past year involve long dinner conversations by candlelight out on our lanai talking about God, marriage, work and life.

    8. Giving. Two things I am grateful for in my husband…he is very generous and has always lead our family well in elevating giving back to God what is already his even when things didn’t add up on paper and we literally had no idea where the money would come from. The second thing that I am grateful for is that he is always behind me 150% when I come to him with a crazy giving idea or need that God has brought to my attention. I am convinced that I could come to him and say that I think God wants us to give our house away and he would look at me and say “ok!” haha. I consider it an enormous GIFT to be able to give the way God has enabled us to this year and we want to give even more in the coming year because we are gluttons to see God’s gracious provision in this area.

    9. Travel. We have gotten a few opportunities to travel to new places this year and it always refreshes us and reminds us how much we love to travel and how we want to make it a priority as a family.

    10. Friends. I have been enormously blessed to be able to say that I have genuine meaningful relationships with a few very special women in my life. Not everyone has friends that they can truly be transparent with, have meaningful conversation with, and do life with in a real and encouraging and challenging way and I have those friendships! In fact…we all live in the same neighborhood now! That is a blessing to my heart and I have said so many times this year that I don’t know where I would be without these sweet friends that help me to be a better wife,mother and believer. I want to try even harder to be a blessing in the lives of these women and to do more giving than I do taking in these relationships.

    11. Instagram. haha Ok, this might seem silly but I have always had a love hate relationship with my camera. I never wanted to pull out my “big” camera to capture life because it always felt too much like work and I easily got sucked into getting “the perfect shot” and missed actually being in the moment. The result was that I didn’t have a lot of pictures that documented those special every day moments as a family. Thanks to Instagram I have hundreds and hundreds of images documenting the big and small moments of this past year. These images are now hanging up in my house and will be printed and put into albums and they fill my heart with so much joy. So much of live is an exhausting haze right now as a mom to young kids but Instagram has allowed me to both be in and capture these beautiful days that are passing by so quickly.

    12. Not doing weddings. It was VERY hard for me to bring myself to the point of saying that I was not going to take any weddings this year. (Ironically enough, I am writing this from a hotel in Ponce, PR where I am shooting a destination wedding tomorrow – but hey, I made an exception for a wedding in paradise and a mini vacay with my love). Actually, I haven’t even officially blogged about this. Honestly, it has taken me an entire year to say what I have known in my heart for some time now…that weddings are not what I want to do. All year I fought this. I can’t even really explain why. I used Vera’s birth as an excuse…it allowed me to say that I wasn’t going to take any weddings this year while keeping a toe in the water. Meanwhile my website still had nothing but wedding work on it, I was still advertising myself as a wedding photographer and still fielding wedding photography requests. It is only in the last month of 2012 that I was finally honest with myself and with the world (or the 30 people who check my website) and finally said “no” to weddings so that I can say “yes” to more work that is reflective of my true passions. In one crazy night I pulled all but 2 or 3 wedding related images of my website, completely purged my site of anything that sold me as a wedding photographer, definitively said no to a few weddings requests that I had been entertaining and literally redefined myself as a photographer, over night. Will I never shoot another wedding ever again? I hope not. But I will no longer be a “wedding photographer” trying to keep a hand in that industry and I will only take wedding work that really appeals to me. I would not be sad if I were asked to shoot one destination wedding a year. Not sad at all 🙂 But finally letting go and saying no to weddings has been a huge step for me and a huge and exciting leap forward.

    13. Defining what success looks like for ME. This year has been all about loosening my grip on my business and allowing it to breath and grow in a new direction organically. It has meant letting go to focus on my priorities as a wife and mother. Making sure that my business is a blessing to my family and not an added burden. Defining more clearly what my version of “success” is has played a huge part in that. you can read more about that here.

    14. Saying no. Graham and I have said “no” to a few major things recently. Saying no has been messy and hard, but not because it wasn’t the right thing to do…and not because it was done rashly or without prayer…these are things we have labored in prayer over for months…even years (unknowingly)…but it has been messy and hard because it has revealed in my heart how much I really care too much about what other people think about me, about Graham, and about our family. We have said “no” not to become inactive or selfish but because we feel strongly that God is doing new and big things in our lives and hearts and that saying “no” is just a small part of seeing God work in big ways this year and in getting to the heart of the very specific mission that God has for our family. We know God’s big picture mission for us as believers but we are prayerfully asking God what that will look like specifically and uniquely for us as a family with the gifts and resources that he has given us.

    15. Being outside more. Living in Florida is such a blessing in that we are able to be outside for more of the year. Moving into a new neighborhood has also allowed us to spend more time taking walks and bike rides as a family and this is something that Graham and I both thrive off of. Fresh air. Sunshine. Being active. Long walks and meaningful conversation.

    16. Playdates. One of my best friends started opening up her home once a week to allow sometimes as many as 50 kids and their moms into her home (ok maybe it just feels like 50 kids sometimes). Some weeks it is just two or three of us with our little ones…sometimes it is a dozen women and their crazy kids all wreaking havoc on her home. I am grateful to her and grateful for these playdates because it has created a culture in our church community where we can come together as moms…tired, with no makeup, overwhelmed, sometimes in a pile of tears, and we can do life together and be real and transparent and in doing so we can help each other through this very challenging stage of life with little ones. My girls are surrounded with friends that they get to play with and grow up with and I am surrounded with women to both minister to and be ministered to by. And it is not just women who go to our church. It is a place where we can invite other moms we meet and get them connected to meaningful community and even share God with them. This blesses my heart on so many levels. It is SO far the opposite of your typical play date where a bunch of moms get together and try to prove to each other that they have it all together. This is doing real life with other women and being able to laugh and cry together through these exhausting years. It is unique and it is a gift to have this group of women.

    17. My office. With the move to the new house I was given my own office that doesn’t double as anything else (for now at least!). This has been a blessing, a gift that I don’t deserve.

    18. Photography Workshops. This year was my second year teaching my own photography workshops and my first year offering one on one mentor sessions with photographers getting stated in the industry and even just hobbyists who are scared to death of all of the buttons and settings on their cameras! I LOVE teaching. It fires me up. Where as I might leave a shoot feeling exhausted and sometimes frustrated, I leave a workshop bouncing off the walls with excitement and energy. I usually talk graham’s ear off about how great it was to see these women and men get so excited about photography and go from being timid and insecure to being confident with their cameras! It blesses my heart to be able to help someone “get it” and see a technical concept click for them! Hosting these workshops has allowed me to marry two passions, photography and teaching/helping. For that, I am grateful!

    19. The Essentials Workshop. This was a brand new idea this year born out of years of Ashlee Proffitt and I saying that we want to put on a workshop together. At the end of this year we finally sat down and put those ideas down on paper, gave it a brand and identity and launched one of the most exciting ideas that I have ever been a part of. Even though we have not seen this reach its full potential yet, we have laid the groundwork and I literally burst at the seams with excitement over how helpful and amazing this workshop is going to be to so many people. I have met SO many photographers over the past three years who have either e-mailed me or come to one of my workshop and they are just stuck and frustrated and questioning whether they should even continue with their little photography business. These business usually are suffering from an identity crisis and can’t seem to get off the ground. I wish I could have attended this workshop myself in my early years! This is both something that I am super proud of for making happen in 2012 and so so SO excited to see grow and help other photographers in 2013.

    20. Coffee. Lets just say I made coffee happen in 2012. I like to think I did my part to support the coffee bean industry and in return, it helped me to be a better wife and mother. haha.

    21. A set work day. This goes on both my “worked” list and “didn’t work list. It worked in that I was finally honest with myself about needing to suck it up and hire someone for a consistent day of the week to have a full day to get my photography related work done. It just needs to happen. My rule is that If I’m not making enough money to hire a one day a week nanny then my business must not be being that helpful and fruitful to my family in the first place. It didn’t work because I have had a very hard time finding someone with that kind of consistent availability. As a result I have had probably 2 dozen different people who have sporadically taken care of the girls so that I can get work done. I am SO grateful to those ladies and am even more resolved to find a consistent nanny for this next year.

    22. Babysitters in general. We have had probably 50 babysitters this year between date nights and work days. I am blessed to have so many people who love my girls and minister to our family in this way and our marriage and my business have been able to grow as a result. My girls have been able to develop so many sweet relationships with these adults and it has been a very healthy and beneficial part of their childhood to be able to interact with and feel safe with and loved by so many different people who have loved on our family in this way.

    23. Being like-minded with Graham. Our marriage has its share of struggles but it is such a blessing to me to have a husband who is like-minded in goals and desires. If nothing else it has made our marriage a safe place where we can openly acknowledge when something isn’t working – even if it is outside of our realm of control. We can acknowledge and pray through the bad while appreciating together the good.

    24. Being real. Being transparent. Being honest. This works. So much of what I have already written alludes to it. The alternative is exhausting. Being transparent leads to growth and depth and I have benefited this year from being a part of a friendship culture and church culture that cultivates this quality.

    25. Budgeting. We love Dave Ramsey and I am blessed with a husband who devours finance and budgeting books like women devour romance novels. haha. We have budgeted out every year since our first year of marriage 7 years ago and every year we reap the rewards of that both financially and in our marriage in that finances is something that we have never really argued about thanks to disciplined budgeting under my husband’s leadership.

    26. Babywise. I won’t get all crazy babywise-fanatic on you but Babywise was literally the best and most life changing parenting decision we have ever made. It worked 3 and a half years ago with Chloe and it was a life and sanity saver again going from a mom of one to a mom of two this past year.

    27. The Daily Audio Bible. Another life changing resource I am thankful for in 2012 and will continue to use more in 2013. The number one thing that I need going into this next year is more of God and less of me. The Daily Audio Bible app for my phone has allowed this tired busy mom of two to continue to seek to saturate my life with scripture in what few “free” moments I have. Listening to it during those long hours of breastfeeding Vera early on nourished my heart in so many ways.

    28. Working with inspiring creatives. I met a few very talented ladies at MTH two years ago and those relationships have continued to be vital to my growth as a woman, an artist (which I have trouble even calling myself) and a businesswoman. In 2012, my work with some of these ladies has helped me to identify my ideal client and given me some clarity about the types of people and the types of projects that I want to take in the future.

    29. Prayer. Prayer also goes on both my “worked” and “didn’t work” list. I saw God answer some major prayers this year in my own life and in the lives of my family and friends and yet it “didn’t work” because my prayer life is one of the biggest areas where I am not where I want to be. I am so busy and distracted and type A that I really struggle with quieting my heart and mind and talking to God for longer intentional amounts of time. And yet again, in God’s grace and despite my lack of diligence in this area, God worked in BIG ways this year.

    30. Coffee and Colossians Facebook Bible study. What started as a way to disciple two ladies through the book of Colossians turned into an online do-at-your-own-pace bible study with over 130 women from all over the US. The fact that all of these women were seeking to know God and be in the word more just blew me away and totally fired me up!

    31. Super Silly Saturday. Being silly with my girls. Rolling around on the living room floor. Dancing in the kitchen. I love our silly little family.

    32. Listening to sermon podcasts with Graham. One of the best ways to start family fun friday while Chloe watched cartoons and Vera played was cuddling up in bed in our pjs with coffee and watching a sermon podcast together. It always encourages and fires us up and starts great conversation. This was also great to do on long car trips. Any time we replace our own grumbling/complaining with God’s word worked.

    33. Bike rides.

    34. Taking the time to seek our inspiration and living an inspired life. I don’t reallly get on Pinterest much. My time is stretched thin and when the girls are napping I need to use every minute of that time to get my work done. The same goes for reading blogs. There is so much inspiring stuff out there and i just dont have time these days to follow it…and soem of it can be a black hole (Pinterest) BUT I am a creative and I have realized that I need to allow time for inspiration. When I did allow for time to be on Pinterest or read a few blogs that I like I found myself energized, encouraged and inspired, coming alive and DOING the things that I love.

    35. Learning from older women who are believers. At our young church we are still among the “oldest” in the congregation. I learn SO much from my amazing peers but there have been a few times this year where I have had the opportunity to sit and listen to some godly women who are in a totally different season of life and those conversations were life changing for my relationship with God.

    36. Connecting and Transforming. Theses are my two words for 2013. Connect and Transform. Any time that I was able to have a genuine, deep, transparent, honest connection with someone and be able to give something that would transform (teach/inspire/encourage) them I was SO fired up. These two things make me feel the most alive and purposeful whether it is a connection with Chloe, Graham, family, friends or even strangers and whether it was over life or God or work…times of connection and transformation worked and made my heart come alive with god’s purpose for me.

    37. Helping and Giving. Always worked. Especially when it is anonymous or can’t be repaid. It always felt more right. If you can never repay me for what I have done then I feel like I am finally doing my job as a friend.

    38. Honesty and transparency with Graham in our marriage always works.

    39. Realizing what God has given me the grace to do and what he has NOT given me the grace to do and letting go of the guilt worked this year, as it related to parenting and pretty much all areas of life. It was good for my soul and I grew in my relationship and understanding of God.

    40. Teaching. Teaching always lights my heart on fire.

    41. One on one time with each of my girls – speaking their individual love language worked.

    42. Time away with Graham to love, connect and have meaningful conversation worked.

    43. Changing my focus and humbling myself from always trying to teach the people around me to trying to learn something from everyone worked.

    44. Being attentive, aware and actively engaged in Graham’s job.

    45. Acknowledging the weak spots and trials in our marriage worked. Even when we could not immediately fix the problem.

    46. Skype calls with family to stay connected and do life together even from 1000 miles away.

    47. Reading side by side with graham instead of watching t.v.

    48. Family walks.

    49. Opening up our home and having people over for dinner and being able to pour into them with good food and meaningful conversation and encouragement.

    50. Praying and waiting instead of trying to control a situation. That generally works:)

  77. Shay Cochrane on January 6, 2013 at 11:29 am

    And if you want to read that in a format that doesn’t give you a headache I challenged myself to share it on my own blog as well:

    Here’s to a transparent and intentional 2013!

  78. Chandra Verbic on January 6, 2013 at 5:25 pm

    What I’ve learned by looking at my lists is that when I love fully, treat others kindly, and trust God then life works. When I do things that go against this like spending too much time on social media and not enough time with my family or gossip, judge, and constantly compare myself to others, then life doesn’t work and I feel yucky. It took writing this out on paper though to realize it. 2013 is going to be all about filling my life with more of what matters.
    Oh and here’s my Pinterest Board:

  79. Shay Cochrane on January 6, 2013 at 8:26 pm

    Steps 2 and 3:
    Step 2: Evaluate what DIDN’T work in 2012

    1. Any time I was doing more reacting than taking intentional action. This goes from how I spend my day to conversations to business to spiritual growth.

    2. Not having a set nanny one day a week for a work day.

    3. Trying to accomplish too much each day. I need my days to be more compartmentalized (Monday cleaning, Tuesday work, Wed play day etc etc) otherwise I try to do everything every day and that rarely works.

    4. Complaining. Doing it myself and being around people who complain a lot. Both felt icky and were not helpful to anyone.

    5. Saying “yes” to photography work that I don’t really love.

    6. My website and blog. Both are in desperate need of an upgrade for clarity and cohesiveness.

    7. My branding and its many disconnected parts.

    8. Having something going on too many nights of the week and lacking time to refresh and reconnect with each other and with God in the evenings.

    9. Teaching too many things all at once. I was always preparing to teach others and rarely asking God to show me what it is I need to be learning and working on.

    10. Saying “mommy can’t play right now” more times than I said yes to playing.

    11. Not sitting down as a family to read the bible to Chloe and Vera enough. By the end of the night we are so exhausted and mentally tapped out that it rarely happened.

    12. Any time we were on social media after 5:00pm when we should have been present in our own lives instead of looking into other people’s lives.

    13. My prayer life. I just am not disciplined at quieting my mind enough for substantial time in prayer in the morning. I move on too quickly to other things that feel more “productive.”

    14. Not journaling enough or taking the time to really think through and take note of what God is doing/answered prayers etc.

    15. Not being present minded when I am with my family.

    16. Not incorporating regular personal time to seek inspiration via pinterest, helpful blogs, etc.

    17. Not regularly being around older women who are outside of my season of life to regularly learn from and to give me perspective.

    18. Not giving Chloe enough experiences at serving others intentionally and broadening her perspective.

    19. Not having much time for long phone conversations.

    20. Going to bed too late each night.

    21. Any time I allowed myself to wallow in bitterness or self pity.

    22. Focusing on insecurities about my body.

    23. Measuring my days by quantitative productivity.

    24. Lacking clear business direction.

    25. Not having a solid and uncluttered web portfolio.

    26. Allowing days to pass without being in the word.

    27. My iphone. I love it and hate it. I love it when it connects me to someone or something in a meaningful way. I hate it when it distracts me away mentally from time with my husband and girls.

    28. Being too “busy” to do some of the things we love like reading and taking evening walks.

    29. Allowing myself to resent this stage of life as a mom to young ones.

    30. Not allowing enough quiet time during the day to be still, listen to God, pray, reflect.

    Step 3: What fires me up?

    Being outside. Fresh air. A bright sun-lit house. Having the windows open. Light/White visually peaceful rooms. bold patterns. fresh flowers. snuggling with my family. date night. Meaningful conversation. Connecting and transforming. Helping someone to “get it” in photography or business management. genuine friendships. a grateful heart. smiles. My daughters smiles. taking walks. family. late night dinners outside. Getting things done. rocking chairs. gardening. beautiful and meaningful pictures. delicious meals. succulents. teaching about God, photography and business. travel. new experiences. family adventures. the color coral. organization. the smell of fresh citrus. candles lit throughout the house. Living inspired. Hearing clearly from God about something. Giving. Extended time in the Word. Making a plan. Being intentional. Having nothing on my schedule for the day. Laughing with Graham. Connecting and transforming.

    My Pinterest Inspiration Board (also a work in progress). Putting this board together has already inspired me to make some immediate changes!

  80. Kinsey S. on January 7, 2013 at 4:49 pm

    Even though I am almost 21 years old, I feel like making these visions for myself and for my future will save me heart ache! And yet, I know that God will ultimately lead me by the hand and should just sit back, pray (A LOT), enjoy Him, and feast upon His word.
    Step 4: What worked…
    1. Realizing how BIG God is. I’ve discovered that my ultimate testimony in life will be my marriage. And God has worked, rolled, pushed, pulled, and PROTECTED me to get to the person I am today and to lay a foundation on my heart for my marriage. God is Great.
    2. Being with children Constantly. Everyday. I am reminded constantly about my purpose…To work with children, and to be a leader to them. Being a preschool teacher works. And I get to see my future mother in-law so much!! (I thank God that I have awesome in-laws.)
    3. Being honest. It took all year, but Finally I had to be honest with myself and with my parents about the person I was being when I was in their home. I was a terrible roommate and I let too much build up between all of us before saying that I was ANGRY. So I wrote a letter, and I prayed like crazy, and it helped! Honesty really is the best policy.
    Okay now for the things that DID NOT work for me in 2012.
    1. Not being healthy. I stayed at my fiance’s house until late every night, just wanting to be with him as much as possible, but it was SO hard on me! And on him! It made me grumpy, tired, and I was constantly getting sick all the time. And it took a toll on my parents that I was never home. Not sleeping did NOT work.
    2. Because I was exhausted, I was lazy. I never wanted to be productive outside of work because I just wanted to lay on the couch, eat, and be merry. Except I wasn’t. I gained weight, I took far too many naps, and I had no energy. My school work suffered and that was difficult to swallow. It made me realize them importance of being healthy. God wants us to be productive, be servants to each other, and LIVE for HIM. and I was doing none of those things.
    3. Even though I found so much comfort in the Lord and the lessons I learned from Him through my in-laws, and through the women I work with, I still put silly, materialistic wants before him. Thankfully He’s given me a man who knows his bible, and KNOWS the LOVE of Christ, who prayed for me long before we ever met, and who teaches me so much about Christ. But, I want to be an equal spiritual leader of our family, so NOT studying the word, or spending time in solitude, did NOT work for me. And DOES not work for 2013.

    Okay step 6. Visions. To be a more well rounded person. To experience more of life with my Husband (!!!!). To let God LEAD, GUIDE, and DIRECT my heart, mind, body, soul, life, marriage, and all my relationships. To work harder at school, and get MORE out of it. To serve. To CREATE. To love with all my heart. To create a budget. To not stress or worry but to give it to God. To have a better relationship with my Dad. To make wholesome friendships with women who are consumed with the Lord. To plan an AMAZING, GOD REFLECTING, INSPIRING wedding… of my dreams! To always write thank you cards. To be a better Southern Belle. (HEY YALL!) To remember that it’s okay to fail, but not to give up. To not judge. TO PRAY LIKE CRAZY.

  81. Alicia Swedenborg on January 7, 2013 at 9:05 pm

    so here i am again, “the late bloomer” – hope that’s ok…

    did work:
    -i really started to live life now and enjoy the small moments in between (this has been a goal of mine since as long as i can remember but this year i started doing it. not voluntarily though. we lost our younger brother in a drowning accident and his body went missing for weeks before they finally found it. i’ve never experienced the feeling of work, clothes, social media, tv, money and random stuff being so un-important and the urge to just hold the person i love most tight in my arms and never let go so strong. that day changed our lives in the most horrible way but it also made me appreciate being woken up by snoring, missing the train and get a hugh, because it means that i have someone to wake me up, i have a place to go to and and i can hugh everybody – because i’m alive)
    -we moved to a different continent and left almost everything behind. (from europe to the us, and only brought two suitcases each. i’ve never felt more relieved and “de-cluttered” in my life. i packed my favorite book, my childhood teddy bear, only my favorite clothes and tons of polaroid pictures of our friends. my love brought some grass from the field from his favorite soccer team, his most comfortable clothes and cute purple bow-tie and his “gladiator”-soundtrack. in a studio apartment, always a bit lost in translation, experiencing new things every day with the person i love.)
    -if i’m not happy, my relationship can’t be happy. (i finally figured out that if i’m not content and at peace, my relationship can’t be. i also was forced onto this by the lost of our loved one. if i hadn’t taken those walks by myself or quietly watched in sunset i would never have had the strength to be there for others when they needed me)

    didn’t work:
    -i have to stop worrying (i say it out loud to myself every time this feeling comes sneaking up on my “nothing good will come from worrying! nothing!”. and i know it’s true. to 98%. i just have to convince my heart to that last 2 %)
    -i need to be more business. (i hate it. but to be able to do what i love most – traveling around the world, experience new things and taking film photos i need some dough on my bank account. asap. and i’m more than willing to work h.a.r.d. for it, ’cause i love that too)
    -my voice is important. (my opinion, my concerns, my believes, my thoughts, my dreams. they might be just mine but to me they are of essence and should get some more pink sparkles on them asap)

  82. Karen Stott on January 8, 2013 at 10:56 am

    This is so very needed… LOVING all of it. I was actually really nervous to get started because last year I too learned that traditional goals weren’t what I wanted. When I saw the post title saying 2013 goals I was really apprehensive and almost didn’t even click. But I know your heart and believe in you so much that I clicked anyway… I read your words…

    “I don’t want a To Do list for 2013… I want a path.” and I was hooked. It lined up perfectly with the blog post I wrote last week.

    I breathed a deep sigh and here I go.

    Step 4.

    1. Time spent “present” with my family, making memories and doing things for fun will never leave me with regret. It will only further deepen my joy of being a Mom and a Wife.

    2. People Matter. Possessions and Popularity don’t.

    3. When you face your fear head on and push past it, you will look back in hindsight and wonder what in the world you were so afraid of.

    Step 5.

    1. Nothing. Absolutely nothing is worth losing your family… or yourself. Even if it’s doing good to help others. You have to be healthy yourself and have a healthy home to do any good to anyone else.

    2. You can’t do life alone. Aside from your marriage and family unit, having a healthy core group of friends who encourage and support you is crucial. And ultimately, they have to be headed where you’re headed. If they don’t want similar things out of life then most likely you will end up being pulled slowly away from your destiny… and off your path. I need to surround myself by only people who will lift me higher. ( so thankful to have you in my life by the way )

    3. I only have so much time on earth… how I spend it is completely up to me. Don’t waste another minute on what I am not passionate about. Don’t take another step in a direction unless I know clearly that it is a step that God has put there for me to take.

    Step 6. ( I took these from my most recent blog post )
    So for 2013 I’m doing something a little different. Rather than running towards goals, I’m running towards a dream. But not just any dream, HIS dream for me. My Fathers dream. The one He knit in my heart and created me to embrace. I’ve realized that’s the only thing that matters.

    So here’s to a quieter… less rushed… more fulfilling… simpler 2013

    I will be chasing after these this year.

    1. Love God completely, wholeheartedly and

    2. Follow Him in wreckless abandon

    3. Minimize duties, stress, work and pressure…

    4. Move to a farm, with chickens, a garden, my mastiff baby and a tire swing for the kids.

    5. Live simply and laugh more than I cry.

    6. To breath deep clean country air and have a clear enough mind to find my love of writing again.

    7. Hold tight my little ones and slow down enough to enjoy them as they grow.

    8. Remember what’s important and let go of the rest.

    Thanks Lara… love you.

  83. Kristy Rice on January 8, 2013 at 11:37 am

    “I painted what worked on Friday afternoon. I ignored the phone, my inbox, my mounting list of artwork to create – I ignored it all and made time to count my 2012 blessings – thank you for the nudge Lara.

    So now onto what didn’t work. Sharing here, in a public forum is a bit scary but that is the exact reason I’m choosing to forge ahead…Sharing in a community is cathartic. Here goes nothing… 1. Worrying never works. We trick ourselves into thinking that worrying about the worst possibilities will somehow prevent them from happening. Nonsense. 2. Lack of focus never works for me…I often feel like I’m at a 20 way intersection with no map in the middle of rush hour with someone impatiently honking behind me – sound familiar? 3. Too much travel at the end of the year. Holidays at home are so important and I will never travel during them again. 4. Not talking enough with my team…I need to work in more one on one time, more feedback, less hustle. 5. Not speaking up doesn’t work well but I all too often don’t. 6. Ignoring my reading list for nearly a year so didn’t work for me. 7. Spending too little non-biz related time with my Mom certainly didn’t work well. 8. Not acting on those personal things in my life – like having a family did not work for myself or my husband. 9. Ignoring my instincts, nope didn’t work. 10. Haven’t been to the dentist in almost a year. 11. Ignoring my body and not exercising enough. 12. Eating too much processed foods on the go. 13. Not consulting with Sean Low in 2012 didn’t work! 14. Dragging my feet on launching 15. Being scared never works. 16. Going to bed past 2 am rarely works out well. SO there you have, a start, an honest look…shared it, did it!”

  84. Carrie Moe on January 8, 2013 at 2:37 pm

    What didn’t DID work in 2012:
    1) Obedience to God always works. 🙂 Seriously, we were so blessed by obeying His will
    2) Blogging more
    3) My infertility medication…hence our little miracle baby
    4) Moving from CA to VA didn’t turn out to be the dead end road I thought it was going to be
    5) Working with some film photographers locally
    6) Making up meal plans every week and following them
    7) Going to a cash only budget saved us so much money
    8) Being on a budget faithfully helped us pay off our credit card
    All of these things WORKED last year!
    What didn’t:
    1) Getting weddings locally…they are coming from the internet
    2) DIdn’t get my new website or blog designed
    3) Have not gotten any big weddings for 2013 on the books because I have not advertised in CA
    4) Flying back to VA for the weddings has not really worked with a new baby, breastfeeding etc…trying to figure it out
    5) Working for my husband didn’t work…even though I was trying to help him in his first year in business I found out I wasn’t cut out for insurance.
    6) DIdn’t pass the Insurance series 6 even though I studied hard to take heart was not in it
    7) Didn’t finish my new business plan…need to figure out what my business needs for a new CA market.
    Here is to another day! I am going to spend time doing what fires me up today! Thanks Laura!!! I am so encouraged getting these written out!

  85. Kelly H on January 8, 2013 at 8:08 pm

    Finally getting to sit down and do this instead of just reading along! This is lofe changing stuff Lara – thank you!!

    -growing my business
    -quality time with the husband
    -being focused and intentional
    -being prayerful
    -grace, not perfection
    -creating new meaningful friendships
    -improving existing relationships
    -more chats & visits with far away family
    -financial wisdom
    -to trusting God and seeking His face in ALL things
    -personal quiet time
    -getting healthy again (eating better and working out daily)
    -exploring new places and things
    -less TV/phones/computer
    -opening myself to the unknown and the unfamiliar
    -enjoying those around me and being in the moment
    -speaking kindly and showing love
    -being creative
    -being passionate
    -loving God and loving people
    -better communication

    My word for 2013 is MEANINGFUL! I want to live a meaningful life for Christ I want to create meaningful relationships and focus on what matters this year!

  86. Brittany on January 8, 2013 at 8:48 pm

    I literally stumbled onto your blog yesterday, and the #MTH2013 could not have happened at a better time! I’m just starting Step 6 today (& I want to spend tomorrow really reflecting on that), so I’m a little behind; but, this has been so inspiring to me!

    In short, most of my highlights from 2012 involve spending quality time with the people I love, seeking release in creative outlets, and making plans for the future. A few things that didn’t work involve not following through on plans, missing out on amazing opportunities because of fear, and saving money to help fund the life of my dreams.

    I’m so excited to spend the rest of today and tomorrow reflecting on Step 6! Thank you so much for inspiring me to live a better and more gratifying life!

  87. Jasmine on January 10, 2013 at 1:51 pm

    My three lessons from what did work: 1) Focused intensity over time x God = AMAZING THINGS!
    2) I absolutely NEED my “reconnection” time- yoga, prayer, time with family and friends to recharge. I’m not me without it. 3) The power is in the people- connections and relationships are what really matter.
    Three things I learned from what didn’t work: 1) No matter how hard I try, I cannot do this all by myself- I need support, actually and spiritually, and that has taught me to surrender.
    2) Being busy is not equal to being successful, even if it looks that way from the outside.
    3) Balance and presence need to come to the forefront for me this year, along with consistency and real preparation for real, actual success!

  88. Lindsay Ann on January 10, 2013 at 9:54 pm

    I know I’m a little behind, but I still wanted to leave a comment on this first post. I just have to tell you, Lara, that God is really using you in my life. That seems kind of funny to me since I’ve never met you, but its true. You are ministering to the Body of Christ and I just want to encourage you.

    In October, my best friend lost her three week old son and I just kind of lost my fire with anything outside my family and my friend. My thoughts were just consumed with her and how I could support her. And I think that was a good thing. However, life went on. I was in the midst of dealing with more clients than I ever had. This normally would be awesome, but I just felt like I could not give them what I wanted to give them. (God, however, was so gracious, and I’ve received nothing but compliments from those clients. I love them so much!) Two of them were brides and I was their wedding photographer (I was on my way to one of the weddings when I got the news about my friend’s son – it was the hardest day of my life).

    So, I had signed up for your October Webinar with Emily Ley a few weeks after the death. Honestly, I was on autopilot in my business – my heart was just not there. I only did the webinar because I had already invested the money. It was a breaking point. It opened my eyes to things I needed to deal with and affirmed that I needed to take a break while I dealt with them. For one thing, I could not get fired up about anything. And that was a HUGE problem in a creative field. I spent weeks trying to figure out what fired me up and I was coming up blank. I started doing the homework, but I just got nowhere. So I started praying and then…

    About the 4th of January, I saw all these pins on Pinterest and I went to your blog. I read through the first day and again I was stumped on step 3. I prayed again, and over the past few days, the Lord had just been rekindling my heart. I am moved to tears just thinking about his love for me that he would do this in my life. I sat down just now and I came up with 54 things that fire me up, and I could probably come up with more. The thing is, a lot of those things are the same as before the baby’s death, but I had expected they would be different. The only change is that somethings that used to fire me up, just don’t matter anymore. This made me realize that I am still the same person, but my passions run deeper now. I am being refined.

    So thanks, for following your calling, sis. Your prompting has moved me to call on the Lord in this specific way. I hope this will lead to God using me to prompt others to call on him in specific ways. All this leads to the refining of the Body of Christ. Keep up the good work!

    • Lara on January 10, 2013 at 10:04 pm

      This encourages me SO much! Praise God for your amazing journey, Lindsay! Amazing!

  89. Diana on January 11, 2013 at 12:21 am

    hello Lara!!!! I read this post and the one before it, you opned my eyes, wow! the wors part is that I actually don´t know what to do with my life… =( I´m a believer as you are so I´ll be praying a lot =)
    I´m a lawyer, I´m guatemalan, I´m a mum, and I couldn´t find a half time job last year so I started to write a personal style blog but Guatemala doesn´t have blog culture, so it has been very hard to get a position, now I´m actually thinking about star a french restaurant so I can make my own money with out sacrifice my family… I´m very confused because I always pictured myself as a very importatn lawyer but I´m not, and I don´t know if I want to be that, so I´m like desapointed and confused and a little depressed… =( I´m glad GOd works in your marriage, marriage is hard with out him, I hope GOd show me his wild… kisses for you, and I´ll keep reading =)

    • Lara on January 11, 2013 at 8:23 am

      Prayers and giant hugs to you! My mom is a french chef, so your comment really filled my heart. You can do it!

  90. Emma on January 12, 2013 at 10:24 pm

    I’m still working on Step 6, so I’ll post my answers soon, but here is my pinterest board so far…it, too, is a work in progress!! SO incredibly happy to have found your blog Lara. You are an incredible source of inspiration…LURKING NO MORE!! 🙂

  91. Faith on January 15, 2013 at 9:33 am

    Got a bit behind, but I’m catching up now! Here’s my pinterest board…I’m trying to find something about radical generosity to post, because I feel like that is on my heart so much: generosity with our time, our finances, our resources, our knowledge, our homes. Kingdom economy says the more we give away, the more we have, and that’s how I want to live my life!

  92. Allyson L. on January 16, 2013 at 10:22 pm

    While going through step six tonight I realized that starting my business, and everything that I do everyday to try to make it successful, has everything to do with how I want to live for my future children. It was always a thought in the back of my head, but I now know that this is meant to be, so that when my husband and I have children I can be the mom that stays at home with them and still runs her business. I want to be able to be fully present in their lives and be a role model for them. I know this won’t be easy, but I know I will love it instead of being in an office from 8-5. This is really firing me up to continue to grow my business.

  93. Kelly on January 17, 2013 at 12:29 am

    Three biggest lessons learned from what DID work:
    1. Act from a place of open, selfless love.
    2. Take risks, letting God drive my actions. (Let go, Let God.)
    3. Work hard, earnestly with honesty and integrity.

    Three biggest lessons from what DID NOT work:
    1. Laziness, sloppiness, complacency gets me nowhere.
    2. Selfishness and greed, shadiness and overindulgence do me no favors.
    3. Ignoring God ruins me.

    What kind of life do I want to live this year? A great one rather than just good (something that’s been on my husband’s heart tonight — so easy is it to be good, but so hard it is to be GREAT). A meaningful, happy, content-exactly-as-we-are, grateful life. Acting from love, trusting in God, being positive and kind to others, being present in my encounters, acting morally with integrity and honesty, dependability and hard work/discipline.

    Where do I want to be when I’m 80? Charleston!!!! In a beach house big enough to fit all my friends and huge family. Happy, fulfilled, madly in love with my husband of 58 years. Fabulous. Wonderful. A light in others’ lives.

    What is my mission? To be a light in the world. To bring light. To love fiercely, risk everything for all the right reasons, to live boldly for the Lord, delighting in and sharing His blessings.

    What is my CORE? To delight, to feel, to empathize, to motivate, to bring life and light to the world. His light, to shine.

  94. Terrilynn on February 11, 2013 at 12:23 am

    Most of what didn’t work for me was due to how I spent my time and the fear associated with it. My time was spent with a lot of things that were safe. Things that may not necessarily be my passion or God’s will, but definitely kept me in the safe zone of mediocrity. What did work was when I stepped out on faith regarding something and it was successful. This year is about living with bold faith and without fear! My core is service! Service to God! Serving people! Serving within His kingdom. My life is not my own and my experience are for His service. I’ve learned (still learning) to embrace my journey and be more intentional about what it means for my future!

  95. Katie @ A Place to Dwell on March 2, 2013 at 12:16 am

    I am so, so excited to have discovered your website! I’m jumping in tonight to start mapping out my 2013 vision. I’m armed with a favorite journal, a brightly colored pen, and some dark chocolate, and I’m excited to see where your brainstorm-starters take me. Here’s to making things happen in 2013. You’re a blessing!

    Oh, and here’s a link to my Making Things Happen Pinterest board! It’s a wonderful compliment to my One Little Word board (the word I selected for 2013 is FURTHER, because I want to go further in my faith, art, writing, etc.

  96. Katie @ A Place to Dwell on March 2, 2013 at 12:17 am

    *Ooops, I meant complement. 🙂

  97. Hope Easter on April 18, 2013 at 6:53 pm

    What did work?
    –Praying without ceasing in everything, and never yield to the negative thoughts the enemy places in my mind. Those negative thoughts along with believing them can lead to long lasting impacts that are not good.

    –Stick with Dave Ramsey. The way I’ve done money has never worked. I need to stick with Dave, and save save save instead of spend spend spend!!!

    –Work hard, and smart. Not break-neck speed! Working smarter in the long run will only enhance my financial peace.

    What didn’t work?
    –Stop listening to the negative voice of the enemy, cause all he wants to do is bring us to the point where we give up on life. The same goes with fear. I need to remember fear is only False Evidence Appearing Real.

    –Stop Procrastinating!! My clients, and my time are precious to me. Social Media falls in this category too, and poor time management. It will not enhance my overall quality of life, and push me further from the life I want to live.

    –Don’t jump ahead with my money. If I want something, save up for it. In the long run it will be so worth it.

    As for my vision……..I still might have to think about that one for a w hile longer. I think about it everyday, so you would think I should have it, but I want to do this right.

    Thank you for all you do Lara!!!

    Hope Easter

  98. Shalene on April 20, 2013 at 6:55 am

    Reading this post is kind if like drinking from a fire hose! There is so much to ingest! Thanks for the info, and the inspiration. And I just have to add that Casey Chappel is a local gal, and her mom goes to church with me. I sat and talked with her one afternoon at Bible study. Love what Casey does!

  99. Ashley Flores on April 25, 2013 at 4:22 am

    I wrote Step 4 out in the notes in my Power Sheets, but I decided to share what didn’t work here:

    -Effectively communicating with my husband definitely did not work. We yelled. We argued. We hurt each other. We were selfish quite often. We weren’t gracious to one another. However, we leaned on God for everything and we are still here! <3
    -I was WAY too busy. I led one bi-weekly Bible study, my husband led two (one of which I attended), I was writing a book, I was writing my blog, I was running my non-profit, I was working full time for the latter part of the year, I was mentoring, I was…BUSY!
    -I struggled greatly with my self-esteem.
    -I struggled with spending time with my friends while balancing the responsibilities of being a newlywed.
    -I really wanted to find a female mentor in my area to connect with. An older, wiser, wife/mother who could pour into me. But everyone I know appears to be as busy as I am. But I am still praying God will send someone my way.
    -Looking for a new church did not work out at all.
    -Budgeting my funds didn't not work. However, I will say that I have spent much much much less since getting married. I just need to keep track of it all better.

  100. Ashley Flores on April 25, 2013 at 4:25 am

    Oops…I forgot to leave a link to my Pinterest Board:

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