I love the new year. Whether you are a fan of resolutions or goal setting, choosing a "word of the year" or a verse, there is something about the new year that causes most of us to re-evaluate. One of my favorite tools for yearly reflection and large scale goal setting is my Day Designer by Whitney English. The first few pages are made up of various worksheets that walk you through discovering your core values, your passions, your strengths, and help you to narrow those things down to the foundational goals you have for your life. I must have written over 50 values I'd like to be displayed in my life. I then crossed them out, one by one, until I landed on 5 Core Values for 2015. What I was left with was unexpected. These are the hopes I had nestled deep inside. They aren't strategic business values, but strategic life values. And at at their source is a desire to know Christ more intimately.  
Something is stirring and I feel like those of us in the online documenting world can all sense it. For me, I've felt less pressure to write daily in this space, which I must admit is a relief.  In the past, bloggers needed to write 5 days a week in order to have a readership and I was right there in the thick of it. As time went on and my personal life changed (read: we brought two teen/pre-teen non-english speaking boys into our home) my list of what could occupy my time had to make some adjustments as well. Enter: Instagram. I love instagram because I can still share my life, tell a story, at a moments notice. As far as my online life is concerned, I'd like to approach this storytelling avenue with a little more intention. I'm so inspired by Death to Stock (if you're not getting their free monthly stock photos, you should be!) and one of my plans this year is to work on my storytelling through a single photo. 

Overall, I can narrow down my goals to three. They aren't ones I will likely be checking off (If I ever get to the point where I think I've reached a high enough level of Biblical wisdom, slap me.) These Big 3 are ideas I want to position my life after. 
I'm nothing without the Word, yet being really in it is a constant struggle. I want to be a woman full of wisdom, equipped with the Word, ready to give sound advice and encouragement. 

I also have a desire to experience and offer genuine community. Being the inviter doesn't come naturally to me but it's something I know God is asking of me. 

And finally, I want to continue this life with my hands spread open - in more ways that one.

At the influence conference, Laura Casey held a late night session during which she asked us to stand, arms at our sides, palms facing out. She then asked us to publicly share our fears, struggles and insecurities. As women shared, there was a tendency for us to fold our arms or fidget or use them to guard us in some way. Laura would ask us to share again, this time with our palms facing out like she said. Something changes when you open yourself up like that. Words become genuine, fragile. It takes bravery.

I want to live my life with hands open in other ways too. Like with my family and where I live and the things I have. I want to always have my hands open to God, not holding tight to my treasures but offering them up to God to be used as He sees fit. I want to open my hands up to Him in praise, surrender, and humility. I want to open them in prayer, in hospitality, and a million other ways.

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