If We Were On a *Coffee Date…

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If we were on a coffee date, I’d probably be ordering an iced soy or almond latte, because I can’t seem to get enough of them this summer. If I was feeling particularly indulgent, I might add a shot or two of syrup (the one pictured is maple…YUM!). I MAY even try to convince the both of us to get a cookie or a pastry (how about a chocolate croissant?!) :)

If we were on a coffee date, I’d want to talk about books. I’d ask you what you’re reading lately, and I’d tell you all about the book I just finished — Delicious! — and how I couldn’t put it down. I’d also tell you about loving the fact that the story was partially set in Akron and Cleveland (the two cities closest to my heart). And I might even admit that I have a huge stack of books right now (and that I always do), a combination of purchases and library books, little stacks of colorful possibility all around my home.

If we were on a coffee date, I’d tell you about something I read in Hannah Brencher’s book If You Find This Letter that made me nod my head like crazy and shout yes from the heart — something I feel should be a new anthem of sorts in my life…And it is this: I want to learn to live inside a life that says, “Girl, this whole dang thing is your love story.”  Life is a love story, whether you are coupled up or not. Life is a love story filled with daily little love letters that come in things like cups of coffee, smiles shared, sunrises and sunsets. Even if I live out all my days in singleness, I’m still living out a love story. It’s a love story written by God, and it’s a love story I can choose daily.

If we were on a coffee date, I’d tell you about how I want to start writing on the inside covers of my books again. About six or seven years ago, I read about a little practice of writing inscriptions in your books…little details like when you read it, where you read it, and how you felt while reading it. I loved the idea, and upon stumbling upon some of those inscriptions this afternoon, I was reminded how much I enjoyed the practice. I’d also tell you I read it on one of the very first blogs I loved (My Messy Thrilling Life).

If we were on a coffee date,  I’d ask you about your morning routine, because I’ve been working on mine. I’d tell you about the P.R.E.S.E.N.T principle, part of another book I’m currently reading called The Better Life. I’d tell you that I’m an aspiring morning person and that right now, my morning routine consists of coffee, scripture, and my Five-Minute Journal. I’d also tell you that I just recently received Lara Casey’s Write the Word journal in the mail, and I’m excited to start using that on a regular basis.

If we were on a coffee date, I’d say I can’t believe it’s August already, and I’d confess that in all the years I’ve professed fall to be my favorite season, summer has been creeping up closer on my favorite season list. I’d ask how you plan to savor the rest of the summer, and I’d tell you that I hope to chase the sunshine as much as possible, dip my toes into water pool blue, and make sure I pay attention to every twinkly, under-the-sky moment.

If we were on a coffee date, I’d tell you about my recent adventure visiting my college campus. I’d ask you about your college days and how you’ve changed since then. I’d admit that I miss those days sometimes, miss the sheer possibility and openheartedness they contained.

If we were on a coffee date, I’d ask what God’s been telling and teaching you lately.  I would share that I am smack dab in the middle of a season of letting go, a season of learning how to give up my plans, in exchange for better ones — His. I would tell you that I’m learning to give up control and say yes to all He is and all He has for me. And I would also tell you it isn’t always easy. :)

If we were on a coffee date, I would tell you this: right where you are today is right where you’re meant to be. I would be saying it to you, and saying it to me, too.

If we were on a coffee date, I’d probably ramble too much, smile big, and laugh often. I would try to find out the area you most need encouragement and then offer that to you with joy and with prayer. I would let you know how grateful I am for you and how inspiring I find a good chat over coffee. I’d thank you for being you, and I’d already be looking forward to next time.

*I discovered this fantastic format over at Mr. Thomas and Me, and I couldn’t wait to join in. Expect monthly-ish coffee dates around here from today forward. I hope you’ll share some responses in the comments, so we can kind of pretend we really are out to coffee. (Even better if you enjoy your favorite caffeinated beverage while reading…) :)

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What I Hope 2015 Looks Like

I am *THIS CLOSE* to finishing my goals for 2015, but in the meantime, I’ve been rereading my Powersheets and making lists and brainstorming.

I’ve never taken this long to set goals in the past, and I’m almost excited about this slower pace, because I’m hoping it means that each goal will have been set with intention, prayer, and hopeful, open-hearted purpose.

I’ve also continued building my Make It Happen Board on Pinterest, and this morning, I saw this list on Pinterest from Thyme is Honey and was inspired to make one of my own. The list I created was inspired by many of my Powersheet answers, and each of the items  will be a part of my goals for this year.

2015 List

I look forward to pinning this up where I can see it, and being purposeful and intentional about each of these things this year. While there is so much more to each of the items on this list, they are a great starting point for my goals and have brought me some clarity as I finish hashing everything out.

Feel free to print, pin, blog, and share this — or use it as inspiration to create one of your own! :)

P.S. Have you been participating in Lara’s goal-setting process, or reading her Make It Happen book? If so, where are you at in the process?

30 Things for My 30s

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For the past few years, I’ve been creating yearly lists for my birthday. As 31 approaches, however, I’ve decided to create a list that encompasses more than just one year. I usually transfer items from year to year anyway, so this just seems to make good sense. ;)

That said, I’ve written 30 things for my 30s…a list of *30 things I hope to do and accomplish during my 30s (how many times can I use 30 in one sentence? Hah!).

*NOTE: You’ll notice that I don’t have exactly 30 things on this list yet. I wanted to leave a few spots open for new possibilities that might come my way. It’s a list in-progress, and God’s been teaching me to embrace the unknown parts of my story with hope, trust, and excitement. Can’t wait to see what He leads me to add in the seasons ahead. :)

  1. Continue to grow my faith and deepen my relationship with God. Pray continually; listen; make space for God to move.
  2. Read through the entire Bible.
  3. Travel: Nashville, Austin, Seattle, Portland — Europe!! 
  4. Print an Instagram photo album each year that captures and celebrates both the large and small moments of life. (I just printed one that covers the last few years, and I’ll share a post about it soon.)
  5. Print a hard copy of my eBook.
  6. Dream up a new idea for a book or women’s devotional.
  7. Find a book agent, and publish a book thanks to help of said agent.
  8. Redesign my website and start an e-newsletter.
  9. Buy a house.
  10. Marry my best friend.
  11. Start a family.
  12. Set up my own art/writing studio space.
  13. Redefine what art making means to me and the role it plays in my life. (I haven’t made a collage in years, and I miss painting and art journaling. I’d love to explore new textures, colors, and patterns — like neons, metallics, hand lettering, and doodles.)
  14. Explore new freelance writing possibilities, and pitch to a few dream publications.
  15. Get a vintage-inspired bright pink or blue bicycle with a basket, and live in a bike-friendly neighborhood.
  16. Learn how to create videos for my blog/website.
  17. Find a fitness routine that truly works for me and stick to it.
  18. Continue to cut processed foods and sugar from my diet; eat foods that make me feel good and energized. Join a CSA.
  19. Host a holiday dinner for my family.
  20. Take art and/or writing classes. Never stop learning and growing.
  21. Host a coffee with creatives event in Cleveland. Be a supporter of the local arts!
  22. Dip my toes into the waters of DIY-ing and spray paint my living room side tables.
  23. Continue to explore the Akron/Cleveland art and food scene.
  24. Practice my hand lettering. (Try brush script! Play with color!)
  25. Add to my Fiestaware collection.
  26. Find new ways to mentor/encourage others to live and tell inspired stories (I’d love to mentor college students!).
  27. TBD
  28. TBD
  29. TBD
  30. TBD

And that concludes my list so far. I’ll continue to add to and update it as needed. It will be exciting to see how God shapes this list in the seasons ahead, and the adventures that arise as a result.

Do you have a list of your own? I’d love to know what’s on it!

10 of My Most Popular Posts

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I’ve been blogging for almost six years, and from time to time, I enjoy looking back to see what some of the most-read posts are. Today, I thought I’d share a few with you.

  1. A Poem for Bravery
  2. Life is beautiful.
  3. 30 Things
  4. 31 Days of Big Belief
  5. Sketchbook Project
  6. My heart feels like a Saturday morning …
  7. Women Praying Boldly: 40 Days of Prayer
  8. When God puts something on your heart, don’t hesitate, just GO.
  9. Why My Prayer in Singleness Has Changed
  10. Vintage Lettering Love

P.S. It’s also National Handwriting Day, so I’ll have to put my pen to paper later and do a little doodling.

“The lost art of handwriting is one of the few ways we can uniquely express ourselves. There’s something poetic about grasping a writing instrument and feeling it hit the paper as your thoughts flow through your fingers and pour into words. So, the Writing Instrument Manufacturers Association (WIMA) suggests you take advantage of National Handwriting Day on January 23 and use a pen or a pencil to rekindle that creative feeling through a handwritten note, poem, letter or journal entry. Handwriting allows us to be artists and individuals during a time when we often use computers, faxes and e-mail to communicate.” Via WIMA

Happy Writing!

Goal Setting With Lara Casey (Continued)

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It’s hard to believe that today is the LAST DAY of 2013! In so many ways, it feels like this year flew by. Anyone else feel that way?!

Before the end-of-the-year celebrations begin, I’m taking a few quiet minutes this morning to check in on Lara’s Goal Setting series and post a progress update of my own.

I’m still working on prayerfully writing my 2014 vision, but I have written out what I’ll be saying YES and NO to in 2014 (as well as my list of what fires me up). (I know, I’ve gone a little bit out of order with my steps, but for some reason, I still haven’t arrived at the vision statement I know is right for my year. I’ll share that as soon as it’s ready.)

Here’s my list of what fires me up:

Coffee; creative collaborations; dreaming big dreams and encouraging others to dream big; art; new ideas; hearing Him speak through His Word; creating beautiful things; reading; photography; typography and hand lettering; capturing moments and memories; big laughter; dark chocolate; fresh flowers; farmers markets; creative couples who are making a difference for Jesus; sparkle; feeling inspired and inspiring others; prayer walks; grace; beautiful love stories; collage art; art journals; coffee shops; bookstores; libraries; dusty antique shops that hold treasures just waiting to be discovered; polka dots; charm; whimsy; hope; being brave; bright colors; living life fully and creatively

And here’s what I’ll be saying YES to in 2014:

Holy yoga; reading good books; eating and cooking with healthy, fresh foods; focused prayer/quiet time; seeing the possibilities in each day; exercising regularly; lots of creative collaborations; new adventures (and writing about/photographing them); learning more about hand lettering and typography; engaging in my city’s art community; dating intentionally; art journals/making more art on a regular basis; coffee dates; celebrating my life and story (and helping others do the same!)

What about you? What fires you up? And how will you make more space for those things in your life next year? What will you say YES to in 2014 in order to live the life you were made to live?

::image via Lara Casey::

2014 Goal Setting with Lara Casey

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Coffee in hand, PowerSheets binder open on the desk, and heart bursting with possibilities…

I just finished sharing my goal-setting progress on Lara’s blog and thought I’d share the progress here, too. Today, Lara has asked us to reflect on what did and didn’t work in 2013 and what lessons we learned as a result of those experiences.

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

  • I can accomplish BIG dreams (I published my first eBook: aninspiredlifebook.wordpress.com)! Yay! Happy, happy dance!! It took me a little more than a year to write and create, but I feel so, so thankful to have accomplished that major goal.
  • Community is essential, and I love collaborating to create. In making my eBook, I worked with many talented friends, and I realized just how much creative collaboration fires me up. I’m looking to do so much more of that in 2014, and I’m praying and dreaming what that might look like both online and offline (creating inspiring life-giving community in my city).
  • Adventures that stretch us are good for the soul. Did some things a little out of my comfort zone this year and was truly rewarded by seeing the way God blesses our bravery. :)
  • Faith will get me everywhere (kept dreaming, kept hoping, kept believing).
  • Being late causes stress (and so does disorganization). Two things I really want to work on in 2014.
  • Disconnectedness from God hurts my focus and creativity. Seek first the Kingdom is something I want to live out even more in my day to day.
  • Sometimes, we have to make hard choices that lead to healing and growth.
  • Fear is sometimes still too present in my life.

Overall, 2013 was an incredible year of being brave, taking risks, and chasing dreams! So many beautiful memories were made with my sweet friends and family, too! I turned 30 and had an amazing celebration with the people who mean most to me. I went on a California adventure with  my sister, and I attended the Influence Conference. I continued to pray about my future marriage and even recently decided to simplify that prayer to this: that I would meet and marry my best friend.

I’m so thankful for all the ways God was working in my life and heart in 2013, and I’m excited to see where He leads me in 2014. I’m ready to do the hard work of making space for Him to move and partnering with Him to follow the purpose and plan He has for my life. Let’s #MakeThingsHappen in 2014, friends! Are you fired up yet?! :)

And speaking of 2014, I’ve chosen my One Little Word…

POSSIBLE

I’ve already created my One Little Word Pinterest board (it also happens to be my Making Things Happen board for 2014). Decided to simplify things a little this year and have just the one board that encompassed both. I’d love for you to come follow my board and leave me a link to yours, if you’ve created one for your 2014 goals and dreams! Let’s encourage one another in our big dreams and hopes! :)

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What about you? I’d love to hear where you’re at in your dream and goal setting process. If you’ve blogged your progress, leave me a link, or feel free to just write yours in the comment section.

I really want this blog to be a place of community and collaboration in 2014. I want A Place to Dwell to be a place where we can share honestly and encourage one another to seek Him and live fully and creatively!

I believe He has possibilities for each of us in 2014, and I’m praying we’d delight in discovering every one.

Winter Delights

At the end of the summer, I mentioned I was going to bring back my “delighting in” lists. I posted my summer list, here, but forgot to write one up during my very busy fall.

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As things slow down these cold winter months, I’m jumping back in to the practice of collecting and celebrating little joys. Today, I bring you my winter list.

Winter 2013

I’m currently delighting in…

Holiday shimmer and shine; red lipstick; gold accents; chocolate + mint; cozy plaids; prayerful plans; and making space in my life and heart for God to move in mighty ways

P.S. What about you? I’d love for your to add yours in the comments. :)

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Delighting In…

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I used to keep seasonal Delighting In lists. If you’ve been around here for a while, you might remember them. Well, I’ve decided I’d like to bring them back to the blog! So, before summer fades into fall (my favorite of all four seasons), I thought I’d better share what’s been delighting this heart of mine this summer.

Succulents; script-y, flourish-y, whimsical hand lettering; coral, mint, and gold; vintage blue mason jars; and declarations of hope.

What about you? Let’s share our lists and celebrate the last little bits of summer goodness!

Let’s make a little list, shall we?

Just a few small things inspiring this writing, creating heart of mine:

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I’m smitten for these charming pencil sets by Amanda Catherine Designs. How could you not feel creatively inspired when writing with one of these lovelies?

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And who can say no to sequins?

I’ve been happily discovering some new tunes lately, too. Can’t stop listening to Holley Maher. Odd Place to Be is especially inspiring and pretty perfect for this season of life I find myself in.

Jenny & Tyler’s worship music is encouraging my heart, as well. And I just discovered Emily Hearn and Mariah McManus. I love discovering new sounds for each season. What’s on your current playlist?

And speaking of lists, remember these? I used to love making seasonal delighting in lists, so I’m planning to bring them back as a regular feature soon.

P.S. BIG NEWS: My eBook video will debut tomorrow on the blog! Seriously so excited to share it with you.

See you tomorrow!

K

Catching Up

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Whew! After a hectic couple of weeks, I wanted to stop by to say hello and catch up a bit.

So, how’s everyone been? Are you getting a taste of spring in your neck of the woods?

I’ve been…

  • Filling my home with bright, fresh flowers
  • Fighting a cold
  • Getting lost in a new book (The Aviator’s Wife) If you’re a historical fiction lover like I am, then definitely pick this one up!
  • Working through the new She Reads Truth plan on prayer
  • Getting excited to kick off my guest post series on dreams
  • Gearing up to finish the rest of my eBook

Oh, yeah, and I got bangs… :)

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Well, I’m going to sign off now and snuggle up with the book I just can’t seem to put down.

Happy weekend, friends!

P.S. You may have noticed that I’ve been experimenting with new templates lately…Spring always makes me feel restless. I crave freshness and newness. So, you might continue to notice me tinkering around with things a bit over here until I settle on a look that feels right for this season.