Currently: December

No time like the very last day of the month to squeeze in this fun series, right? Happy Friday and happy last day of 2015, friends! I hope the new year brings less worry, less striving, and more grace, and more love for each of you. XO

Reading… For the Love by Jen Hatmaker. Only 6 chapters in and I think this book is the long lost best friend I never knew I needed. Holy smokes, ladies everywhere, please read this.

Playing… A lot of Noah Gundersen like this little diddy during the workday.
Watching… Fixer Upper & Flip or Flop. All of those cliches about marriage pretty much just being one long HGTV binge in your sweatpants are true, my friends. Nothing says romance like talking about how much fun it would be to take a demo hammer to drywall.

Trying… To write more and worry less. (Still rings true for December)
Cooking… Not much of anything lately because my husband is the bomb diggity. Also, endless holiday parties.
Eating… My last meat & dairy today! I’m excited (and a little nervous) to go back to maintaining a vegan diet in the New Year. Pray for me.
Drinking… Dunkin’ Donuts french vanilla coffee & skim, at this very moment. Heart eyes.
Texting… ugly selfies with my best pals group text, which we call Cheetah Girls for absolutely no reason in particular. We make up one big family, but we don’t look the same.
Pinning… Some new hikes for our next trip out West.

Tweeting… no longer! Said goodbye to Facebook and Twitter this month, and I’ve gotta tell ya – it’s been hard but wonderful.
Going… to PA to see brother & sister-in-law and friends. Yay!
Loving… The Lonely Planet travel book my sweet friend Keesy surprised me with last night. Dreaming for days.

Thinking… about our plans and big dreams for 2016. (Again, still true this month!)
Feeling… all the feels looking back on how we were blessed and stretched and challenged and loved this past year. Don’t cry, Char, don’t cry.
Listening (to)… Kelsea Ballerini. I love this little lady!
Ordering… New, healthier food for our puppa.
Thanking… the Lord for good friends and encouraging chats this week.

Hoping…(and praying) for healing for my aunt who has been diagnosed with an aggressive cancer. Please be praying, friends.
Considering… which marathon is next? And where? 🙂
Starting… to get super excited about the Heart-to-Heart Hump Days series lineup for the next few months! Some amazing, amazing women.
Finishing… end of year thank you letters and giving statements. Ah, the joys of non-profit life.



For our hands to be held.

Ah, the first married Christmas. I had big, lofty, and admittedly: a bit materialistic dreams for this first Christmas as Mr. & Mrs. The perfect tree in our home, the perfect gifts for each other, and homemade cinnamon buns on Christmas morning. You know – doing all of the wife things, loving my husband perfectly, not a decoration or a light bulb or a perfectly curled hair out of place.

But earlier this month, we opted not to buy a tree – because we’re in the process of selling our home and pine needles are messy and there are strangers in our house everyday so we’re always having to leave it meticulously spotless. And then, after realizing that we had already been blessed beyond measure through our recent wedding and that we’d rather save for #BigDreams2016, we decided not to splurge on unnecessary Christmas gifts for each other. I looked up the recipe for homemade cinnamon buns and was so overwhelmed because it seemed more exhausting than marathon training. (I love you Ree Drummond, but goodness lady, do you ever sleep?) My dreams of being the perfect holiday housewife were starting to dwindle. To top it all off, I started to come down with a wicked sore throat and fever a few days before Christmas. Joy to the world, am I right?

And what comes next is the real, honest, hard-for-me-to-write truth: I didn’t love my husband very well this Christmas. I picked a fight with him on Christmas Eve, as we were getting ready for church, believe it or not. I picked a fight with him over something ridiculous that I can’t even recall now, just four days later, and I cried a little bit (ok, I cried a lot) and used harsh words and I felt like a complete and utter failure as we pulled into our church parking lot. Ashamed and embarrassed, I didn’t want to go inside. I dreaded all of the well-intended sentiments from our family and friends that night and over the next few days: “Oh my gosh, how’s your first married Christmas, guys? So amazing?” Little did they know that I had all but ruined it. No tree, no cinnamon buns, no gifts, and no Christmas love from me to my husband. All I was able to see in that moment, as I wiped the tears and tried to muster up the energy to get out of the car and into church, was what I was lacking and how I was failing. No tree, no baking, no gifts, no perfect love. All of my weaknesses and ugliness exposed.

About twenty minutes later, during worship, my sweet husband, not having said much since I had been tearing him apart with my words, just quietly reached over and held my hand. Have you ever held the hand of someone who just yelled at you for no good reason because you knew they desperately needed your love in that moment? I haven’t. That kind of bold and undeserving love is hard to give.

My soul felt relief, and we held hands, and our church sang and reminded us:

“For the unclean, the unholy
For the broken, the unworthy
You came, Jesus you came

For the wounded, for the hurting
For the lost, and for the lonely
You came, Jesus you came

For the outcast, the defeated
For the weary, for the weakest
You came, Jesus you came.”

(I’d like to think that if there happened to be a fourth verse, it would read: “For the treeless, the giftless, // for the grumpy,  the wife who’s got a short temper and won’t be making cinnamon buns tomorrow morning, // You came, Jesus you came.”)

In that moment, with Chad’s kind forgiveness and with the band’s song, I was brought back to Christmas. The real, true, Christmas. Jesus came so that I wouldn’t have to keep striving for perfection, so that I wouldn’t have to find my value in crossing off boxes from my How to Be A Holiday Housewife checklist.  He was born so that we could experience the freedom that comes from being loved and forgiven again and again and again, when we don’t deserve any of it. When it’s not owed to us. He was born for short-tempered me, He was born for messy you, whatever it is that you might have wrestled with on Christmas Eve or maybe even this morning – He was born for all of us. For our hands to be held when we desperately need His love.

Suddenly, with that realization and reminder, my Christmas started to get a lot brighter. We didn’t get the tree, and we didn’t get the gifts. I’m still fighting that lingering cold, and Lord knows I didn’t even think about making those cinnamon buns – but we received the greatest love, and we got to celebrate that with each other. How had I been so selfish to forget that before?  I wouldn’t trade that humbling reminder for even the cutest of the Target holiday decorations.

In the celebrations and family dinners that followed, people were sweet to ask that once dreaded question: “How’s your first married Christmas?” And with all of the authenticity in the world, I was finally able to answer: “It’s the best one yet.”



Heart-to-Heart Hump Day: Victoria Selman

Happy Hump Day!

Today, I’m celebrating my mid-week, TGIAC (Thank God It’s Almost Christmas) joy by sharing the heart of one of my favorite people with you. My life got a little bit brighter this past winter when Chad and I hired Victoria, of Victoria Selman Photography, to capture our wedding day. We were initially referred to Victoria by a friend and swooned over her stunning wedding work  – but had no idea that we’d one day be lucky enough to not only call her our photographer, but true friend, too. Victoria is one-of-a-kind: a truly captivating, sincere soul who loves others well and can crack a joke before you even know that you need a good knee-slapping laugh. She is one of the most talented, creative, and encouraging people that I’ve ever met.

We chatted about owning a business, marriage, contentment, and pursuing passion over paycheck. I hope Victoria’s story will encourage you to chase whatever dream you’re working on with fearlessness and faith.

Curl up with a cup of coffee, and enjoy!


C: Hey, friend! I’m already lucky enough to know and love you – but please share with my readers a bit about who you are and what you do.

V: Hello all! I am Victoria, I’m a wedding photographer based in Annapolis, MD. I am a sucker for outdoor weddings with beautiful florals, earthy décor, and excited guests ready to celebrate with the bride & groom. My photography, both my art and my business, is full of who I am – a storyteller, world explorer, Jesus disciple, lover of the little things, and believer in laughter. Together with my husband Hunter (we shoot together on wedding days), we bond closely with our brides & grooms. I am very fortunate to work with clients that are down-to-earth, creative, and enthusiastic about life. Weddings are about people, and I find those people to be the most amazing part of being a wedding photographer.

You started out on the physical therapy track in college, correct? I’m dying to know what led you to pursue full-time photography.        

You are correct! In college I was pre-physical therapy, headed full speed for grad school. I love science, math, physiology and learning – and still do. As time went on, however, I found myself plodding through the motions of a career in PT without a fire inside. I decided to stop wasting time on the stuff that didn’t light me up. I realized that God’s will for my life wasn’t one magical path and that he had given me the ability to make choices in life. So I said Self, what gets you most stoked? Do more of it. The answer was wedding photography and I am endlessly grateful I took that leap.

Have you always been in love with being behind the camera? How did you learn your craft?

Ever since I borrowed Hunter’s Olympus camera in 2008 at his family’s cabin in the woods. We laugh about that camera now, it didn’t even record video! Hunter & I weren’t skilled or too interested in photography when we first started dating (I was 15 and he was 17). As years went on we borrowed each other’s cameras, taught one another what we recently learned, shared photos back and forth, and went on photo adventures. I love remembering those days. I wonder how hard I would have laughed if someone told me I would do that as an actual career one day.


What was the hardest part of straying from the “normal” route – taking the risk to start your own business after college? 

Oh man! Being content. With a world that defines success as money and being busy as a way of breathing, it can be challenging to not feel dissatisfied. Like, really challenging. It’s natural – and flawed – to look to other creatives in your industry and be envious of their business growth, their busy schedules, their following, you name it. You get sucked into this whirlwind of a stereotyped success. And it’s not even what you actually want! I want a limited number of weddings to focus on my couples (not 35), I want to make memories with my friends and family on weekends (not work 17 weekends in a row), I want to spend time with my husband during the evenings and make meals together (not overflow with work every night), and I want to be intentional with my time (not be on social media in the bathroom, la la la). Your worth and success will never be found in these earthly things – money, productivity, a perfect Instagram life – and will only be found in Jesus. He offers a life of worth, meaning, freedom, confidence, perfect love, and hope that exist independently in him and will exist for eternity. Realizing that your definition of success is rooted in the whole picture of Jesus is one of the biggest lessons you have to learn in starting your own business.


One of the many reasons why Chad and I chose you as our wedding photographer was because your husband, Hunter, is your second shooter. You make a great team! What’s one of the challenges that comes with working with your husband? 

Knowing when to separate business life with personal life. For sure. When Hunter comes home from work, I’ll have a project whose next task needs his attention. Sometimes we’ll end up working until the late hours of the night and haven’t even asked about each other’s days or laughed at the things that happened that day.


What’s the best part about working with your husband?

Everything. Hunter is the reason I love and continue my career. He is an amazing photographer, a daily encourager, and a friend every step of the way. I love that we share the experience of this business together, spending weekends creating together and making memories along the way. Hunter is the reason I am excited for our couples as they get married, I know what great, wonderful adventures lie ahead for them.

What’s your favorite moment during a client’s wedding day? 

My favorite moment happens during bridal portraits before the bride has seen her groom. During these five or six minutes, I’m just focusing on taking one photo of the bride nearby some window or other light. It’s the first time she isn’t being bombarded with questions or having someone pinch and poke her dress/hair/makeup. When all becomes quiet, there is this beautiful moment where she takes a deep breath and her eyes fill with reflection as she realizes she’s about to marry her love. It’s quite beautiful.


I’ve seen your wedding, engagement, and maternity work – so beautiful! Are there any other photography services that you offer?

As a wedding photographer, I focus my attention and time on weddings and engagements. I want to hone my skill and craft in the realm of weddings and spend time really getting to know my clients. I infrequently take on other sessions like families/maternity but there are occasions where I really dig the vision & people and will creatively wander into portrait sessions. With the right people it can be really refreshing.


What’s your advice to someone that wants to take the huge, heart-pounding leap to start their own creative business, but might not know where to begin?

Connect with people that are already doing what you want to do. Meet with them over coffee, discover their stories, and ask them the real questions you have. Use this time to find out if the life they live is really what you want. After 400 hours of physical therapy shadowing, I realized that I didn’t enjoy 1 of those hours. It took me another 399 hours to get there but, hey, maybe it won’t be as laborious for the next guy. Anyway, if/once you choose to dive into your business, you’ll now have a network of people that are likely going to be referring clients to you, giving you advice when you’re stuck, and cheering you on in your business.


Just for fun: What are three things you’re loving in life right now?

Our neighborhood kitty, the book Manage Your Day-to-Day, and hand-making soaps. I’m in la la land head-over-heels in love with this kitty that belongs to someone in our neighborhood (we don’t know who). He visits me several days a week and comes inside to play, have his belly rubbed, and snuggle on the electric blanket. I jokingly titled him Hunter the Kitty one day and it seems to have stuck since we don’t actually know his real name. Hunter the Husband isn’t very amused. But he loves Hunter the Kitty too so he moves on.

My second fascination is with the book Manage Your Day-to-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, & Sharpen Your Creative Mind. It’s all about restructuring the way you work and creating a routine that allows creativity to flourish. I’ve found my days to be much more productive, relieved of stress, and meaningful. Yep, it’s worth the 7 dollars.

I’m also loving hand-making soap – it’s artistry, chemistry, and natural all-around goodness. Currently I’ve been making a tea tree & lavender blend with naturally exfoliating barley oats. It’s anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, oil controlling, and soothing wrapped in a crisp, clean, floral scent. My other favorite is a blend of cedar & fir that’s just right this time of year, earthy and sweet. I love blending the realms of inspiration and artifacts – photography and soap making are some of my favorite ways to see it all come together.


Thank you, Victoria! I’m so grateful for your story and words of encouragement.
For a complete portfolio, blog, and more information on Victoria’s photography  services, please visit Victoria Selman Photography.

Check back every Wednesday for #HearttoHeartHumpDays, featuring interviews with women whom I admire chasing their own big and brave adventures.

And just like that, one year has passed.


One year ago today, I was sitting in section 221 with my husband and his best friend. We were freezing, teeth-chattering, watching the Eagles get absolutely crushed by the Seattle Seahawks. My mind was at Riddle Hospital, and my heart might never shake the guilt of being at the stadium when the moment came.

We had the tickets for a while, and Pop-Pop told me to go, they all told me to go. I had spent the night with him in the hospital the night before. It was a sleepless night for me, a restful and peaceful night for him. He looked beautiful when he slept. I watched the machine help him breathe,  and I prayed for him and watched my Uncle Steve sleeping on and off from the chair on the other side of the bed. He was not alone on his last night.

The last. I prayed for a miracle, but I knew it was the last. I had a hard time not dwelling on all of those vacation nights in at the beach motels when he was more alive than ever, snoring like a giant throughout the night, sleeping soundly after a long day of riding the wooden roller coaster, getting soaked on the log flume, and spoiling my brother and I rotten. In one of my more dramatic pre-teen moments, I stubbornly slept on the motel bathroom floor because “Seriously, Pop, YOU’RE SNORING SO LOUD I CAN’T EVEN BE IN THE SAME ROOM WITH YOU.” 

And as the 6th became the 7th over the dark of night, I was the luckiest girl in the world to be in the same room with him for one last sleepover. I kissed him good morning when the sun rose and I looked out the window and I told him, it’s a beautiful day. He squeezed my hand, eyes still closed, body still sleeping.


And just like that, one year has passed. And it’s just been a  really, really tough year. My family, the family that he created, has had mountaintop moments this year, together. But we have seen some dark and desperate valleys just the same. Grief looks different for everyone, and if we’re not careful, it can push people away. There is no right or wrong. No prescribed formula, no perfect prescription of depression medications to make it feel alright. But we must be careful, must be intentional, must stick together and remind each other every day of the beautiful truth of Heaven. It is still a beautiful day.

There are times still when I miss him so much for no reason at all that I surprise myself and weep. I have cried over a Wendy’s Frosty and I have cried over the sticky note-to-self on which he wrote “Exercise” when he knew he was getting weaker.

But, more than the bad, I have times full of so much joy – not happiness, but joy – knowing he is safe and loved and perfectly complete in Heaven.

These days, there are just times when I hope I got my time with him right. I just hope he knew how much I loved him. I hope he knew how much I missed him on my wedding day and I hope he knew that his heart was so good and his soul so strong that there’s a Steve-shaped hole in everything that my family does. I hope he saw right through that eye-roll in the motel room between his snores. I hope, and I pray, but above all – I have amazing peace knowing where he is, and knowing that just in case he forgot – one day I’ll get to tell him he was loved, even when I didn’t get it right.

I’ll get to tell him it’s a beautiful day.

Remembering Stephen Strazdus, December 12th, 2014
Thank you all so much for coming to remember the life of my sweet PopPop today. It’s great to see so many of you, and to meet new friends of Pop Pop‘s, too…each of you are a reminder that PopPop lived a big and extraordinary life that reached a lot of people… And seeing you today is a reminder that he was incredibly loved and treasured. I’m so glad to be with you today and although I can’t promise that I won’t get through this without any tears or a quivering voice, I’m honored to get to speak about the man who was my best friend and greatest teacher.
PopPop did so much in his life, so many things that will always make me proud to be his granddaughter.
Of all his hard work and achievements, no one will argue that the best, and most beautiful accomplishment, was loving and serving his wife and family. I am so grateful to have grown up with my PopPop and to have witnessed his unconditional love and amazing sacrifice to my Nana on a daily basis. He loved her so much, he still does, he always will. Some of my favorite memories from childhood are when I would spend the day with PopPop, and somewhere in between the great adventures and day trips that he had planned for us, he would always find a way to make a pit stop to bring lunch to Nana at her work, whether at Verizon, Curves, or here at St. John’s … just to kiss her, feed her, and wish her a good day. It was simple, it was generous, and it was PopPop. That’s exactly the kind of man that he was. And speaking of how much he loved Nana, if you’ve never heard the pizza proposal story, please find me at the luncheon and I’ll give you a good laugh. 🙂
Nana & PopPop raised two amazing children together, my mom, Kathy, and my godfather and favorite Uncle Steve. I have heard so many stories of how he loved them and did anything for them. He was so proud of them, and I know he will be for the rest of their lives. His love for them continued to grow when the grandchildren came; first me, then my brother and his workshop buddy Tyler, and Karen and Steve’s twins, Kelsey and Kyle, who he loved to spoil and cheer for from the bleachers of ice skating rinks and wrestling matches.
PopPop was many different things to many different people. He was a husband, a father, a brother to David, Tony, Helen, and Margaret, an Uncle, a grandfather, a driving instructor (to a lot of us), and a camping trip captain, but in all ways, in all roles…he was a humble servant and a loving leader. To me though, he was so much that I will never be able to adequately put in to words. I have had the amazing privilege of being closer with my PopPop than anyone else I have known, a quiet but strong bond that would often find us sitting next to each other in a corner at a loud family party, on a farm taking care of the horses, watching the Eagles in the basement, practicing driving out in the very lot that your cars are parked right now, or sharing stories over Frostys at Wendy’s. I’m so grateful that he had such a strong role in raising me…my life is forever better because of his. As I said earlier, PopPop was and always will be my best friend and greatest teacher. And because he taught so many valuable life lessons to each of us here today, I’d love to share with you just some of the things that he taught me.
Lesson 1. Serve God; Serve Family
Pop Pop put his faith and his family before anything else in life. He truly lived this out every day, and through tagging along with him almost every time, I got to witness some everyday miracles right here, all over Chichester, in his acts of love for The Lord and for his family. If he wasn’t found taking care of and visiting his brother, Tony, in the little house behind Andrews Plaza, he’d be just up the road, right here in this church, changing any lightbulb that started to flicker, climbing a ladder to repair something, or staying late after mass to count that week’s offering. In some recent years, he even through on the red and white suit and the long beard to play Santa Claus and spread joy to not only his own grandchildren, but to the children of this church. And without a doubt, every year, he made it a priority to do whatever he had to get to the family reunion in upstate PA. (And he was always phenomenal at the egg toss). The thing about all of these little visits and odd jobs is that he never had to be asked; he just did it, he just showed up, quietly and without hesitation. That’s the way that he lived- present, reliable, loving, and generous…to any family member or any repair job that needed a little extra TLC. You could always count on PopPop, for absolutely anything.
Lesson 2. Don’t Use the Calculator
– Now this one might seem a bit silly, but bear with me. I have many not-so-fond memories of sitting at Nana and Pop Pop‘s dining room table after school, trying to finish my math homework (which I hated) and failing horribly. PopPop, the math wiz that he was, would always help me with it and explain everything to me, but then he would leave the room, saying, “I know you can do this on your own. I’ll be back to check your work in a few minutes.” In my slick elementary school ways, I would sneak the calculator out from his junk drawer in the kitchen when he wasn’t looking, and use that to get all the right answers – it didn’t matter if I didn’t know how to do it myself…as long as it was finished so I could go play outside, right?! Wrong. PopPop would come back, see that I cheated with the little machine, and explain to me the importance of not only learning how to do long division in my head, but why the shortcuts in life are never worth it. And there I would sit, for what felt like hours longer, the calculator surrendered to Pop Pop and figuring it out, the long way, the right way, on my own. PopPoptaught me that the hard work is always worth it. The short cuts are never sustainable, and that life is all about doing the right thing, even when it’s the hard thing. He taught me this not only with my math homework, but just in the way that he lived out his life. He always did the right thing.
3. Make Others Laugh Every Day
– Something that makes me crack up, still to this day, is the song “Hot Hot Hot” by Buster Poindexter. See, this song, although ridiculous, is very very special to Tyler and I. For the past 13 years, every time we were in the car with Pop Pop, he would play that tape. He would play Hot Hot Hot every. single. time. We know all of the words by heart, and I can still picture PopPop driving, singing along, and throwing his hands up in the air like he was shaking maracas and tambourines throughout the whole song. When he would drop us off at school in the morning, he would roll down the windows and turn the volume allllllllll the way up, just enough to almost embarrass us but enough for our classmates to say, “oh my gosh, I wish my grandfather was that cool.” He was so goofy, so silly, so full of joy. He could always find the joy in the simplest of things, and he spread that to everyone around him.
– A few weeks ago, it was just PopPop and I in the hospital one night, and we were talking about life, love, family, everything…I asked him what his secret to marriage was…and he said, “Well, it’s simple, every morning when I woke up, I just made it my duty to make your nana laugh and smile that day. That’s been my most important job, every day, for 47 years, to make her laugh.”
4. Show Up.
PopPop was always there for everyone, in both little and big ways. He always showed up exactly when you needed him, sometimes even before you knew that he was exactly who you needed. He was there to pick us up from school on September 11th, he was there to explain to us the heaviness of what was happening, he was there at every Irish dancing competition, every karate sparring match, at every horse show, at every ice skating competition, at every game for every kid. Even when he couldn’t show up, he was always there, sending letters to me in California, or calling on the phone to see how the first day of every single school year, even through college went. He’d send me Dunkin Donuts coupons and encouraging notes during every finals week to help me through. But I’m not the only one who he showed up for. His love was far too big for only one person. I have had such joy and peace in my heart learning and hearing how much he has meant to all of you, how much he did for everyone long before his kids and grand kids were even alive. To give you just a tiny glimpse of all that my pop popselflessly and generously did for others…I learned that he bought Tina’s wedding dress and that he co-signed for Tommy to buy his first car. He drove people in our community who were too sick to drive to their doctors appointments; he did that for them, even though he did not have to. These are just three things that I learned that he did over the past week, and I had never heard the stories before, but I can’t say I was surprised to hear them. That’s just the kind of man that my pop pop was.
Lastly, the fifth lesson, and perhaps the most important, Carry Each Other.
– If you take a look around at the beautiful photo collages, you’ll see Pop Pop carrying Nana over the threshold on their wedding day, holding Tyler up on his shoulders  (probably so that he’s able to see the parade at Disney world), and you’ll see him giving a tandem piggy back ride to Kelsey and Kyle. In fact, you’ll probably see dozens of pictures like these. Pop Pop was always carrying other people, whether that be physically, or lifting them up in a time of need. What’s not pictured in those collages, however, is both Pop Pop and I’s favorite memory.
When I lived with Pop Pop as a kid, after I lived with him, and even up until this past August, when he was feeling strong enough, we would walk down to the crick at the bottom of Colonial Drive together. We would climb down the rocks to the water, pick willow tails, and have stick races. Sometimes, I would ride my Big Wheel down the long hill to the crick, always promising Pop Pop that I could ride it back up on the way back to the house. Well, the honest truth is that my little legs couldn’t make it. After our adventures by the water, he would carry me back up the long, big hill, and he would tie a piece of string to my Big Wheel so that he could pull it up behind us, true to his always innovative ways.
He carried me. Every time. He carried all of us. And now, I believe that because we were blessed enough to love and be loved by PopPop, it’s our responsibility to carry his memory and these lessons with us for the rest of our lives. I challenge each of you today to live like him in every way that you can…serve God, serve your family, don’t use the calculator, make others laugh, show up for the people who need you, and carry each other through the hills and valleys of this life, knowing that there is a promise of a beautiful Heaven, where I’m so glad to know that my Pop Pop is today. I love you Pop Pop, thank you for being the best friend that I could ever ask for.


December Goals

Last month, I was having soup with my mom (which is pretty much my new favorite pastime – I could eat nothing but Butternut Squash for the rest of my life and be totally content), talking about the hills and valleys of life, work, and marriage. I was sharing about the things that I currently want to change in life, the dreams that I have, and the heart-shaped hole for creativity that my life is lacking and honestly, just craving in this season. She said something to me that I’d heard at least 100 times before…

“Write down your goals.”

Ah, yes, the magic formula: write down my goals. If only it were that simple, you’re telling me, then and only then I’d be able to start accomplishing the things I merely dream about? I love you, but, I don’t really have time for that, Mom.

My cynicism met her advice with a bit of hesitation initially, but then I realized – she’s right. She’s absolutely right. I can dream and hope about the vision for my life all day – but a dream without a plan will get me nowhere and is surely wasted.

Today I’m taking the first step to write down my short-term goals for this month (and making them public – y i k e s). These goals are reflective of the character I’m aiming to shape and the dreams I’m ready to start taking baby steps (okay- baby crawls) towards.

This is just a very simple first step. There are plans to craft and timelines to build, and answers to find to questions I don’t even know how to ask yet. I hope to check in on these goals weekly to evaluate my progress and to hold myself accountable. Because, friends, as much as we don’t care to admit it – aren’t moms always right about everything?

December 2015 Goals


  • Bake Christmas treats for our neighbors on both sides. #townhouselife
  • Call 3 family members for a surprise chat.
  • Participate in some form of Christmas-focused service with Chad.


  • Create a new Christmas tradition with my husband. Our third together, but our first year married – there’s no better time to start something new for our little family!
  • Submit 3 freelance pieces. And not be fearful of rejection. 🙂
  • Finish Room by Emma Donoghue and read Savor by Shauna Niequist daily.

Health & Wellness

  • Amp up Crossfit to one more day, for 5x per week – and stay consistent.


  • Post at least two times per week. And stick to it!
  • Launch Humpday Heart to Hearts – new project that I’m SUPER excited to share with you.


What are some of your goals during this Christmas season? Share in the comments section.


Christmas lights in South Philadelphia – my favorite!

Sending  all my love and prayers for a happy December that won’t be filled with hearing All I Want for Christmas Is You 100 times in a day,