Happy 2016 & My Word for the Year

Friends---hello!  And happy 2016!  We're officially a week in and I hope the new year has proven to be one of big and little joys for you already.

This time of year gets me humming with excitement---I love the goal setting, the vision casting, the reflecting on the good stuff, the releasing of the not so great stuff, the dreamy big dreams, the fresh new pens and the crisp new planners. Sign me up for all of that, please. The reminders of His new mercies each morning and the promise of what can be done with the smallest mustard seeds of faith are front and center in my heart, and I'm overwhelmed with the realization, again, that anything is possible with God. After a season of go! hustle! pack! ship! travel!, it's a welcoming and warming wave of reassurance, and I'm thankful for it. 

This year I took the advice of one of my favorites and started prepping for 2016 about 2.5 weeks before it actually started with my Powersheets Workbook from Lara Casey. Now friends, if you're unfamiliar with Powersheets, the short story is they are amazing. The slightly longer story is that they can help you figure out where you want to go and what steps you can take to get there. I am using the workbook for both personal and business goals, because I consider my work /relationships/ministry/personal development all one thing. So all my crazy ideas go down in the Powersheets!

After taking my sweet time letting 2015 percolate and praying about 2016,  the Powersheets encouraged me to choose a word to focus on for the new year.  A word that I can call to mind when I'm trying to make decisions to make sure I'm saying YES to the things that matter most. And that word is:

Lettered Life Word for 2016 Goodness

My favorite definition for goodness?  The one that gets me fired up?  

GOODNESSthe best part of anything; essence; strength.

Yes, I'll take all of that. I want to keep drilling down to the best parts of life. To tap into the good conversations, the meaningful business models, the heart of why I'm here and what I'm doing with my time.

Choosing GOODNESS for me looks like:

  • Remembering the GOODNESS of God every day and giving thanks for it. 
  • Bringing GOODNESS in to the lives of others as a creative business lady, family member and friend
  • Sharing the GOOD news as often as I can
  • Celebrating the GOODNESS in those around me.
  • Choosing the things in life that bring GOODNESS to my relationships. Listening, sharing, giving, investing in others.
  • Doing GOOD work in my business---work that glorifies God and allows for a healthy balance of time 
  • Letting GOODNESS guide my health and well being. Choosing GOOD food, exercise, prayer habits.

Goodness came to me through prayer and after a couple of weeks of reflection, and I'm excited to do life with it as a guiding point this year. Along with my word, the following verse has been sticking to me lately, so I'm going to post it around my home as a reminder of His promise of goodness from my favorite Psalm.

Lettered Life Verse for 2016 Psalm 23:6

So, let's do this. 2016, I'm sure you'll have your share of surprises and bumps, but I'm also confident that there will be blessings beyond belief as well.

I'm excited to continue sharing my thoughts on 2016 by also posting my new goals, so stay tuned for more in this series. Are you a word-of-the year person? If you have one, I'd love to hear it!

2016 Goal Setting Series:
My Word for the Year
The 2016 Big List
Goals | January
Vision Board 2016

influence re-cap

Dear Friends,

It's hard to believe it's been almost 2 weeks since Influence Conference and I'm just now sitting down to re-cap it. I think it has taken me this long to process the experience because it felt like one big whirlwind of goodness. My brain is still digesting some of things we learned and talked about, but I'm here and excited to share my favorite parts.

First of all, the ladies. The ladies at Influence were oh so wonderful. I felt nerves creeping in as I got ready for Influence...and while I knew that was semi-normal, it didn't stop me from worrying about things like, "What if I don't make one friend the entire weekend?!" or  even worse, "What if my clothes aren't up to standard cuteness?!" You know, all the irrational things we tend to think before we do something a little out of our everyday comfort zone. BUT, as soon as I got there, there were smiling faces to chat with who 1.) Were more than happy to make new friends and 2.) Cared more about why I was there than my outfit. Praise the Lord!

This year I was so excited to participate in the Sashes Market, which was fun on about 100 different levels. It gave me a community of ladies from the very start who are in similar boats of life as me because they were all running handmade businesses. It was GREAT to be able to talk with so many smart, creative, loving business ladies and to admire all their beautiful work.

And then there were the speakers. The truth-spilling, Gospel-bringing, joy-bearing speakers who inspired us to dig deeper in life. We talked about not fearing our gifts and trusting God's plan to use them with Hayley Morgan. We talked about using our hearts and fullest potential to make things happen with Lara Casey. We talked being made for community and why writing/creating  is important with Shauna Niequist. We talked about how and why God created women and what for with Jessi Connolly. We talked about how to pursue dreams given to us by God and what we can do to make more time for them with Jeff Goins. We talked about finding writing voices, sharing our stories and using social media with Kate Bryan. Each session was unique and poignant, and I'm sure many of the words spoken will stick with me for a long, long time.

Other favorite moments of the weekend include: getting to know some pretty big sweethearts over meals, soaking up business tips from the incredibly talented Rebecca Stewart of Better Life Bags during a Handmade Business Workshop, meeting with some of the fantastic organizers and writers of She Reads Truth and singing along all the other attendees as Reeve Coombs and Christopher Kincaid led us in an awesome worship session.

If I had to summarize the conference in one word, it would be "full." Full of Jesus. Full of encouraging women. Full of inspiration and challenges to take home and spur us on.

The influence we have on each other is real and beautiful. Let's use it to love and encourage each other.

xo, Caitlin


why I run

Dear Friends,

Not sure how yesterday hit you, but for me, it was rough.  Watching the sadness that happened at the Boston Marathon broke my heart.  I hurt for so many people: the victims, the families of the victims, the Bostonians and especially the runners.

I'm obviously not a professional runner, but I do love to run.  I began running when I was 13 and just haven't stopped.  Running has been a very important part of my life, and I'm certain that it's played a huge role in shaping me because of the peace it brings each time I head out the door.  Some days are smoother and faster than others, but every mile logged has given me time to think outdoors that I wouldn't trade for the world.  As my body settles into a pace, my thoughts tend to do so as well---it's a rhythm I love and trust deeply.

People run for a hundred reasons.  They run to keep their body strong and healthy, to relieve stress or to prepare for a race.  They train in groups for a sense of community or alone for a feeling of closeness to God.  People run in honor of other people, for people that can't and for charities.  My reasons are a mix of those, combined with the fact that a lot of times, running just feels like the best prayer I can say.  I feel like I can show God how thankful I am for giving me a body that moves.  It gives me time to talk to Him about whatever is filling my brain.  I get to admire His creation and appreciate the flowers and the trees and every sweet downhill he plants along my route.  I give thanks for the amazing runners who have influence my life, like my grandpa, who loved telling people about how he won gold medals in his age brackets because he was only guy racing in his eighties.

I've run two marathons and several halves thus far.  I remember what it's like to see the 26 mile marker and the finish line a few feet in front of you.  Everything that hurts fades away and any not-so-positive thoughts transform into, "This is happening!  I am here!  This is the best day of my life!" Or it least, it went that way for me.  So when I watch the race unfold yesterday, I ached for all those runners because I didn't want them to miss their big moment, or for those who had already finished, to have that day scarred by such a terrible act.

But, the one thing that reassures me that it will be ok, is also the reason why I run.  Because I know that God is bigger.  And the same God who made it possible for us to run will help us to keep running.  The running community that I know will keep on keepin' on along the sidewalks, mountain trails, and country roads because it's what they do.  The things that call them out of their homes and onto the streets wearing running shoes and Nike shorts will continue to do so with hope and faith, myself included.

"But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." Isaiah 40:31

Lots of love, Caitlin