Goal Setting for 2014


I love the beginning of a new year!  Yes, I totally realize that each and every day is a new start, but for some reason I love setting goals at the start of a new year.  I try not to make the goals too broad.  I like specific, measurable goals.  This year I picked four specific categories for goal setting:  Marriage, Mothering, Family, and Personal. All of my goals plug into one of these 4 categories.  I am a paper and pen girl.  I know that it drives my computer-loving hubby crazy, but I love to write lists down in a notebook.  Add in some fun-colored markers and I am one happy girl.

I started a new book for my lists.  I’ve been carrying my old book for almost 2 years and it finally just fell apart.  It is a simple graph ruled composition book that I picked up at Staples for a few bucks.  I definitely prefer graph ruled to the traditional composition book.  This is a book that I carry everywhere.  When I think of something that I need to do or think of questions I need to ask a doctor or therapist I write it in this book.  It’s nothing fancy, but it is exactly what I need. Having my list of goals in the front of this book is going to be awesome for me this year!  Here are my goals:


1)  weekly date night (we already get 3 hours of respite care on Monday nights that we absolutely cherish)

2)  read 4 marriage books/devotional books


1)  monthly dates with each of the girls

2)  write monthly letters to the girls & include them in my Project Life pages

3)  pray with the girls each day


1) memorize one Bible verse each week

2)  read at least one chapter of a book out loud together each day

3)  explore Arizona (Sedona, Grand Canyon, Tombstone, Bisbee, etc)


1) exercise 60 min/day 6 days a week (I’m pretty much already doing this)

2)  do a Whole 30 (I’m currently reading this book to prepare)

3)  read the Bible through chronologically (I’m using this Bible)

4)  read 52 books (I’ve already started a list in my trusty red notebook)

5)  continue documenting our everyday life with Project Life

6)  run a 5K race 

7)  declutter & simplify 

I’m excited about the things that I will accomplish in 2014.  It’s going to be a big year for us as we continue our journey of better health & prepare to move this summer (hence the decluttering).  

What are your goals for 2014?

Make them great!


Looking Forward To Learning!


Happy New Year friends!  I’m excited for all the possibilities that 2013 holds!  I must admit that I’m happy to close the door on 2012, and move forward into 2013.

As I sat trying to think up goals for 2013 and a word to focus on, the word GRATEFUL kept coming to mind.  I wanted to focus on being grateful and giving thanks in each and every situation of my life (good & bad).  So last week I settled on the word grateful!  Just when I thought I was all set the word LEARN kept popping up in my everyday life and in my mind constantly.  Learn is such a powerful word! It truly encompasses everything I want to accomplish, not only in 2013, but for the rest of my life.

When I first thought about what I wanted to learn this year, many things jumped out at me. I do want to learn a lot of different skills and crafs, but I also want to learn things that can’t necessarily me measured, photographed, or physically touched.

So this year I want to LEARN:

-how to knit

-how to play the cello

-how to be more grateful for my everyday life

-how to give grace, even when I don’t want to give it

-more about my community

-how to be more patient with my girls

-how to find balance in my life

And most importantly….

-I want to learn how to fully trust God with EVERY aspect of my life!  I want to learn to let go of my insecurities and doubts and trust that God is in control and remember that He has NEVER let me down!

Here is to a great year of LEARNING!!

Make it great!


“.. I am a student of life, and don’t want to miss any experience. There’s poetry in this sort of thing, you know–or perhaps you don’t know, but it’s all the same.”

― H.P. LovecraftThe Complete Short Stories of H.G. Wells

My Life List

I have always kept a list of things that I want to do in this life and I am happy when I get to check one of those items off.  My sister, Jenny, made a huge life list and has really focused on living life since she survived breast cancer years ago. You can read her story here and you can see her life list here!  We talk about our lists often and many of our list items are similar as there are certain things that we would like to do together.  I wasn’t all that surprised when Jenny called me last week and said that she was creating a community on her blog where people could link up their lists.  So today I’m going to share my list with you.  I encourage you to write your own list and link up on Jenny’s blog here.

My list has changed over the years.  Some of the things I once had on my list are no longer there.  A lot of my dreams and desires shifted when Skylar was diagnosed with autism.  Not all of them, but many of them.  Some of those things just didn’t seem important anymore.  So without further ado, I give you my list.


Run a 5K

Run a 10K

Run a 1/2 marathon

Run a full marathon

Run in the Marine Corps Marathon and the Disney Marathon

Complete a sprint triathlon

Complete the Tour de Tucson (bike race)

Hike to the top of Squaw Peak

Hike the Grand Canyon

Ski a Black Diamond slope

Learn to snowboard

Learn to surf

Get an adaptive bike for Skylar so we can go on bike rides together (in progress)


Visit the Holy Land

Visit Mt. Rushmore (completed 7/2009)

Visit the Oklahoma City Bombing Memorial (completed 7/2009)

Watch a baseball game in every Major League park (in progress)

Travel the country in an RV visiting amusement parks so Skylar can ride the roller coasters

Kiss Chris at the top of the Eiffel Tower

Visit London and say “Look kids!  Big Ben, Parliament!”

Go on the Pride and Prejudice tour.

Visit Greece with my parents to see where they met and fell in love

Photograph wild kangaroos in Australia

Climb to the top of Machu Picchu

Go to Rio and see the Christ the Redeemer statue

Take Chris to Cafe du Monde in New Orleans for beignets

Take an Alaskan cruise with Chris

Visit Rome

Heck, I want to travel all over Europe!

Ride in a gondola in Venice

Walk along the Great Wall of China

Take a picture in front of the Kremlin

See the tulips in Holland

Spend the night in Cinderella’s castle at Disney World

Watch University of Arizona win the NCAA Basketball championship

See where Sound of Music was filmed

See New York City at Christmas


Read the Bible (in progress)

Read all the Harry Potter novels

Have a Harry Potter movie marathon with Skylar

Be an extra in an Alex Kendrick movie (Facing the Giants, Courageous, Fireproof, etc.)


Learn Spanish


Learn to play the cello

Learn to play the guitar

Learn to make movies in iMovie

Learn more about Photoshop elements

Take mixed media art classes

Take a pottery class

Re-finish and paint my old piano

Document our everyday life with Project Life (in progress)

Learn everything I can about horses


Start a non-profit foundation

Open a ranch for individuals with special needs

Add to our family through adoption

Be debt-free (in progress)

See Skylar sing on-stage with Josh Groban

See both of my girls baptized! (Hailey was baptized in 2010)

This is what I have so far!  I will be making a separate page for this list, just like my About me page.  I can’t encourage you enough to write your dreams down, no matter how big or small they might be.  I think there is tremendous power in speaking or writing your dreams and goals down.  Don’t forget to link up on Jenny’s blog!

Have a fantastic week!

Make it great!


Looking Forward to 2012

I don’t know about you, but I love the time between Christmas and New Year’s. This one week tends to be the time when we don’t have many activities and we just hang out and recover from the craziness of the past few weeks.  I love that this is the week that I tend to look ahead and solidify my goals for a new year.  I am a person that likes to set goals at the start of a new year.  I am totally flexible and realize that those goals can be changed, added to, and removed if necessary.  Often times my focus shifts part way through the year therefore so do my goals, and that is totally fine with me.  My goals are written to encourage me and keep me on track.

This year I decided to involve Chris and the girls in the goal making process.  While waiting to see Skylar’s doctor earlier this week I asked her “What are some of the things you would like to do in 2012?”  I was surprised at how quickly she responded. I also asked Chris and Hailey when we got home.  Here are their goals for 2012.


-Sit in the front seat of the car. (She is totally obsessed with this!)

-Learn a new job, like being a waitress.

-Adopt a brother or a sister. (She prays about this constantly!)

-See some PG-13 movies. (She is super excited about being a teenager!)

-Swing on the swings at Navy Pier by myself.

-Go to Disneyworld AND Disneyland!


-Learn to ride my new bike.

-Attend youth group every Wednesday night.

-Go to the zoo.


-Be more consistent with my physical fitness.

-Run a mile and a half in 11 minutes or less.

-Have a 35 inch waist or below.

-Maintain the ability to max out the pushups & sit-ups on the fitness test.

-Complete ACSC (professional military education) via correspondence.

-Be bold in sharing Christ with others.

I loved hearing their goals!  Skylar was so specific in her goals and said them so fast I barely had time to write them down.  I thought it was really interesting that she knew EXACTLY what she wanted.  She didn’t even think a minute before she started rattling off her list.

I have 5 things that I want to focus on this year.

1)  Continue to share our story!           

I have really loved blogging the past few months.  I have been overwhelmed by the love and support from family, friends, and strangers (that have become friends). When I started blogging I did so with the hope that our story would help and encourage others like us that have children with autism or other special needs.

I want to continue telling more of our story.  I want to educate as many people as possible what it is like to have a child with autism/special needs.  I hope that sharing our story helps others be more understanding and accepting of individuals on the autism spectrum.

2)  Document the everyday!

I love to take pictures!  I think it is so important to document our stories.  Not just birthdays, holidays, and other big events, but the everyday stories that make up our lives.  Some of my favorite memories are the little things that happen each day.  My family loves to look at pictures, flip through my scrapbooks, and watch the photo montage on our Apple TV.  Seeing pictures from years past really encourages me because it makes me realize how far we have come.

This year I will be documenting our everyday with a wonderful product called Project Life.  I am using the Clementine Core Kit. A lot of people take a picture every day, but I don’t want the stress of that, so I will be doing a collection of pictures to document each week.  I used money I got for Christmas and purchased a new printer so that I can print all my pictures here at home.   I am planning on sharing a project life update here on my blog once a month.

3)  Move More, Eat Well!

I need to be more healthy.  As a parent to a child with autism, I need to be healthy not only for myself, but I need to be around for my girls for a LONG time.  I have struggled with my weight for most of my adult life.  I don’t have all the answers, but this is what I do know:

-I need a group of people to keep me accountable.

-I need to cut out refined sugars and processed foods from my diet.

-I need to drink more water.

-I need to do some form of exercise every day.

So I’m starting with these things and I’d love to have you join me.  Having someone to walk this road with is key and I’d be happy to have company along the way.  I will be documenting my journey not only here on the blog but also through a class called Move More, Eat Well through Big Picture Classes.  It is pretty simple and involves taking a picture each month to document the physical changes.  It is also a community that I will be able to share successes and struggles with.  You can read more about the class here.

4) Make a List!

I have always had a list of things that I want to accomplish in my life, but this year I want to really focus on the things that encourage a healthy lifestyle and quality time with my family.  A few of these items include:

-Run a 5K this spring.

-Run a 10K this fall.

-Run a half-marathon in Vegas next December with Chris in honor of our 15th wedding anniversary.

-Take the girls to the beach.

-Visit New York for the first time.

There are more things, but this gives you an idea.

5) Focus!

I’m actually working on a separate post regarding this word as there is a lot that goes along with it.  There are so many things I need to focus on.

I hope that our list of goals for this year will encourage you to set some goals.  I’d love to hear what you hope to accomplish!  Here’s to a happy, healthy, and productive year!

Make sure you check back here on Monday as I’m doing a really cool sponsored giveaway.  I’m sure you will love it!