This year has been one of peaks and valleys. In uncharted land (all of 2020, right?!), neither peaks nor valleys are entirely relaxing, though. Peaks take energy to climb and there is usually thick vegetation in valleys and water to cross. But, as hard as traversing mountainous land can be, climbing through peaks and valleys does do something good: it builds your endurance. Your strength. Your navigating skills. Your perspective of the land. Your confidence. Your humility. Your reliance on God for strength and your awe of Him for providing it.
We went hiking all last week. The mountain air and hard work of hiking let our minds and bodies unravel a little from the last 6 months. We hiked over 20 miles with the kids through Tennessee and North Carolina over 5 days. We crossed creeks and played in rivers. We climbed tall peaks and ate a lot of snacks. 🙂 Ari and I had long conversations at night as we watched cows graze in the pasture. I wasn’t feeling too well for most of the trip, but I got to lead our children to delight and wonder in His creation. It was needed.
As we hit this mid-point of 2020, I’m looking back at God’s faithfulness and at how incredibly challenging this year has been. The peaks and valleys have grown my faith more than ever, and they’ve also tried to crush me a few times. I imagine you feel similarly: 2020 has been a bit of a zig-zag.
We continue to endure a global pandemic.
And I’ve learned to love birdwatching.
We haven’t been able to see our parents.
We have been able to see Sabbath become the center of our lives.
My time between the hours of 10 pm and 6 am has been restless.
My time in the Word each day has been sustaining and richer than ever.
I’ve gained some extra heartbeats (more on that in my July goals).
I’ve also gained perspective on legacy.
Our kids experienced sadness in missing their friends at school.
Our kids have become best friends with each other and have had many adventures in the garden.
There’s so much more, but most importantly, I’ve (we’ve all!) grown so much this year. God has given me confidence (in Him, not me), humility, reliance on Him for strength, and awe as He’s provided it. I know more about what matters. I hope we all do.
There is new perspective to be found at the end of many-a-rocky-hike.
I’m seeing this half-way point of the year as a turning point—not just in this peaks-and-valleys year, but in my life! While unknowns will always lie before us in any year, there’s one constant known that does not change: Him.
Interestingly in this tumultuous year, I’ve made more progress on my goals than any other year. Has it been perfect? No! But, my progress—and yours—doesn’t have to be to add up. I credit the progress made to one simple thing: I chose big picture goals and small mini-goals underneath them. When you know what matters to you in the big picture, you can be flexible about how you live that out from season to season. You aren’t so focused on rigid plans and abandoning them when the first sign of trouble appears. Instead, you know WHY you are pursuing a goal and, if it matters to you in the big picture, you’ll do something about it—no matter how many times you mess up along the way. This year I’ve felt clearer on the fact that my days are numbered, and I want to live them well. Every moment gets a little more important after something like this. So, I’ve been more okay with plans not going as planned. I just take the next best step (or take a break!). Over time, the small steps we take add up.
Here’s a quick recap of my June PowerSheets progress and what I’m focusing on in July:
June Monthly Goals:
Do the Mid-Year Refresh. / Do this! It took me 10 minutes and helped me so much! 🎉
— Start new work hours. / Yes, and this has gone well. I’ve used that extra time with the kids each day to nourish them with the Word over dinner, tend the garden with them, and take a few breaths.
Prepare for our week in the mountains.
Reveal the book! / Gracie’s Garden releases in just a few days—July 14. Pre-order yours today.
Prep for 2021 shoot.
Create a new homeschool rhythm. I just got my Cultivated Homeschool Planners in the mail and can’t wait to dig in. Like many of you are experiencing, we’re not entirely sure what’s happening with school in the fall yet.
Lead our children to DELIGHT. More in this episode. / Yes, lots of this.
June Weekly Goals:
Shabbat / Lighting the candles and singing together on Friday night + Saturdays in our front yard—a small little spot we never really spent time in before all of this—have been quiet and good.
Continue writing in our Legacy Journal for the kids
Renew my mind
Enjoy the garden / This is my favorite update. The garden is growing and flourishing and so colorful this year! Our giant pumpkin is, indeed, giant thus far. We made it a shade tent to protect it from the sun. I am veering into giant-pumpkin-lady status, friends, and totally okay with it! Ha!
June Daily Goals:
Write the Word / I use the new Blank Bible Journal every evening and love it. I’m getting to know my Bible better with this journal.
Read the footnotes
— Take care of my body and mind / I did this as best I could. It was a challenging month health-wise. More to come on figuring this out in July.
In case you missed these!
— Gracie’s Garden releases July 14. Pre-order today for you and all the littles you know!
— It’s time for your Mid-Year Refresh. (My friends Ebony and LaShawn encouraged me so much in these videos!)
— Shop the new Write the Word journals.
— Learn the 3 simple steps to refresh your life right now.
— Learn how to cultivate legacy with your PowerSheets, in the garden, with a Legacy Journal, or by keeping a quarantine scrapbook.
— Prepare for the upcoming school year with joy.
— Let me guide you page-by-page to do your Summer Refresh and July PowerSheets (complete with music and a trip out into the garden!) in the July PowerSheets PrepCast.
— We’re hiring!
On to July! I have 2 goals for 2020 (each with 4 mini goals under them) that are focused on growing something that matters to me in the big picture. Above are my refreshed PowerSheets goals for the rest of 2020 after doing the refresh! Here’s what’s on my Tending List for the month ahead.
July Monthly Goals:
— Wait for the Lord (encouragement for us all)
— Seek answers about my heart and body. Long story, but I’ve had irregular beats in each of my pregnancies and at random times. I had some acute episodes in the last few months though that led me to need a doc. I took my heart monitor off yesterday and am spending the month of July seeking answers. The kids thought my ZioPatch was cool and I’m considering extra heartbeats like getting extra fries – a bonus! 🙂
— Commit my refreshed goals to memory. They matter to me. They are clear. They are focused on the big picture. I want to live them out and that means knowing them by memory!
— Pray and decide on fall school plan
— Release Gracie’s Garden
July Weekly Goals:
— Shabbat joy
— Enjoy the garden + birds
— Write in our Legacy Journal
July Daily Goals:
— Bible reading
— Write the Word
— 10k steps every day
— Digital fast – I put this as a daily goal so I can count the total number of days through the month. There will be some days I won’t check this off, but the goal is to have more days away from media and digital things than not. I’m not going to be able to be off social media every day with launching a book, but I want to take a break and get back to what I started this year in numbering my days. It was so fruitful! In March though, I felt God clearly tell me to use whatever I could when the pandemic began to offer hope, and I’m grateful He gave me such strength to lead our team through the early stages of that and the economic downturn. Truly, I don’t know what I would have done without Him. Every single day, I felt Him with me, giving me direction. I will always remember this season for His faithful leading. And now, it’s time to listen in again and use my time differently in some ways. Read more about that here and why a digital fast is important to me.
Also in July: I’m recording my last episode of the podcast for a while. I love creating each episode, and I also need that time right now to breathe a little. We can’t do it all and do it well (even good things!), but we can choose to cultivate what matters in each season. 💛
Prepare for July with me! Listen to the July PowerSheets PrepCast below. Be guided step-by-step to prepare for the month ahead—with great music and time out in the garden:
Your turn! How are you doing? What goals are you focusing on in the second half of this year? I’d love to hear!
Praying for you in these health challenges, Lara! Thank you for sharing these goals and the encouraging reminder of what’s important.
Thank you so much, Jenny – that is generous of you!
Praying for you Lara. Thank you for all that you share and give back to all of this community. You are truly a gift from God to provide women (and men!) the vision of redemption and progress and LOVING each other well. I have used powersheets for years and they are truly life changing. Thank you for helping me dig deep into myself each year and learn a little more about where God is directing me on my path.
Your words are so kind, Gina! I am grateful for you and cheering you on!
Funny you mentioned irregularities with your heart beats … I was experiencing this for a few years and turns out it was some nutrient deficiencies I had (iron and vitamin d). It’s crazy how our bodies can respond when they aren’t getting enough of something. Totally skirting in to unsolicited-advice-territory here but for the sake of potentially helping, you may want to look in to some thorough bloodwork to check hormones, nutrient deficiencies, autoimmune issues, etc. I’m really sorry you haven’t felt your best and hope that you can get answers soon.
You’re so thoughtful, April! I’m grateful for you!