SLIDER

January 2020 Goals

Jan 17, 2020

It's finally time for me to share my goals for January! When I wrote about my vision for 2020 last week, I mentioned that I'll be sharing monthly goals here on the blog. Since the six yearly goals I set are somewhat vague, I plan to break them down into smaller action items. These monthly check-ins will typically post early in the month and will both recap my progress on the previous month's goals and outline new goals for the month ahead. This post is going up a little later than I'd intended, but oh well! As a refresher, here are my big-picture goals:

1. Revitalize my faith through daily time with God.
2. Nurture my relationship with Nick and our sons.
3. Grow in my knowledge and stewardship of our finances.
4. Invest time in the hobbies that bring me joy.
5. Create purposeful monthly, weekly, and daily routines.
6. Record and preserve our family memories.


On My Calendar:
– So many doctor's appointments as I enter my last month of pregnancy
– A Celine Dion concert with my mom and sister (this past weekend – so fun!)
– Last weekend getaway as a family of three

Currently Obsessing Over:
– This sausage potato soup was delicious and so filling. And it was even better as leftovers the next day!
– The recently announced Audible Challenge: finish any three titles by March 3 and get a $20 Amazon credit. I'm already planning how I'll spend the credit and celebrating finally listening to three audios I've owned for years.
– I received AirPods + this case for Christmas, and I can't stop raving about them. I feel so basic just saying that...
– Getting everything done before the baby arrives. With the holidays finally over, it hit me that February is right around the corner. This pregnancy has flown by, and I've definitely got some things left on my to do list.

Yearly Goals:
(These should stay the same all year, so I'll just do month-to-month progress reports!)
– Read through the Bible in one year.
– Read a devotional every morning.
– Track my spending in the Goodbudget app.
– Blog 2x per week.

January Goals:
– Make our family's "20 in 2020" list.
– Plan (and go on!) our last trip as a family of three.
– Finish my pre-baby checklist!
– Brainstorm possible routines that I'd like to implement.
– Schedule a monthly planning session.
– Cull, download, organize, and backup 2019 photos.
– Complete the Third Trimester section in the baby's Promptly Journal.
– Complete Toddler Years 1-3 in my firstborn's Promptly Journal.
– Finalize my 2020 reading challenges.
– The Contentment Challenge, which is three months of no shopping.

Do you have any routines that make your life easier?
I'd love to hear about them!

The Picky Pledge 2020

Jan 15, 2020


Today, Alexa from Alexa Loves Books and I are talking all things Picky Pledge! We're taking a minute to look back at some stats from 2019, reflecting on what we accomplished the past year, and sharing our plan for 2020. The Picky Pledge was born out of lots of chats about our reading choices and book buying habits. We wanted to be more intentional and decided to hold each other accountable. Here's how it got started.


When we originally started The Picky Pledge, Alexa and I would share a long post with charts and graphics and stats. We'd use them to identify what we needed to change in the year to come, which was so helpful. But over time, it started to make more sense to simplify! Today, we're focusing on the same stats we shared last year.

Alexa and I always laugh at how some things change over time, but we still basically have to same "problem areas" as the day we created this project. I buy too many books, and Alexa could always pare down on review books. However, we have seen positive changes through the years. We're both more aware now, so we're more intentional. The only stat we are sharing ties in to entire focus of Picky Pledge: the source of what we read in 2019.

In 2019, I read 210 books. Here's where they came from:

BOUGHT/GIFTED (2019) • 46 Books • 22%

BORROWED • 34 Books • 16%

OWNED (PRE-2019) • 38 Books • 18%

REREAD • 64 Books • 31%

REVIEW • 28 Books • 13%

This was a really interesting reading year in comparison to 2018! I read more review books (up from 8%), borrowed less (down from 23%), and read a little more from my TBR (up from 15%). Looking back to 2017, it's been interesting to see how reading what books bought/gifted in that respective year has trended down over time (47% in 2017, 34% in 2018, and 22% in 2019). I'm pretty sure this is lower because I'm not buying as much. That's a HUGE win! 

The most interesting change this year is how much I re-read (up from 20%). It wasn't shocking since I did a few challenges this year focused on re-reading, which I'll talk about more on Friday. I'm always in the mood to re-read, but it's nice to make it a priority every few years. There are so many books coming out in 2020 that I'm excited to read, so I'm expecting to re-read a little less. It's nice to see this fluctuate based on what season of life I'm in.


The way Alexa and I set Picky Pledge goals has changed since we first started this project. Since 2018, we've set out to complete The Picky Pledge Reading Challenge. We have 12 categories, enough for one book per month, to help us read more from our TBR. The categories are all tied to reasons that we bought the books on our TBR, which makes is easy to find something that fits for each one. It's simplified but still accomplishes our purpose.

Ten of these books were on my TBR prior to 2019. Two were re-reads, but they still counted for our project because they'd been on my Audible TBR for a while. Here are the categories and what I read for each one:


FOR THE COVER: Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills

BASED ON A RECOMMENDATION: We Were the Lucky Ones by Georgia Hunter

FOR THE HOOK: Love á la Mode by Stephanie Kate Strohm


ON SALE: Pachinko by Min Jin Lee

NEXT IN SERIES: China Rich Girlfriend by Kevin Kwavn

IN A DIFFERENT FORMAT: Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery (Audio)



BECAUSE OF THE AUTHOR: Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak

GIFTED: The Clockmaker's Daughter by Kate Morton

PRE-ORDERED, HAVEN'T READ YET: Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen (Audio)



BOUGHT 3+ YEARS AGO: Jane of Lantern Hill by L.M. Montgomery

BECAUSE OF THE HYPE: The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

BECAUSE OF THE TOPIC: House of Dreams by Liz Rosenberg


Now, let's talk about 2020. We're continuing The Picky Pledge Reading Challenge! We kept all the categories the same this year, so it's the same graphic, too. Is that simplifying or simply laziness? Haha! We'll share a recap just like this one next January, but I'll track my progress throughout the year. If you're interested, feel free to join in and complete the challenge, too! We don't do any official check-ins or link-ups, so there's no big commitment. 


Here's to being intentional in 2020!
What are your reading goals for the year?

What I Re-Read in 2019

Jan 14, 2020

One of the things that I discovered writing my Picky Pledge recap (that posts tomorrow) was that re-reading made up the largest segment of what I read in 2019. Of the 210 books I read, 64 were re-reads. That's approximately 30% of what I read, which is no small number! I remember reading the same beloved books over and over again in childhood, so my love of re-reading has been there from the very beginning. I always make time for it, though some years it's more of a priority than others. 2019 was one of those years, and I loved every minute of it!

I participated in two re-reading challenges in 2019 – one "official" challenge that I co-hosted with Kelly on Instagram, and one "unofficial" one that we both made as a goal. Since I was spending this week on the blog recapping the other reading challenges I participated in, I wanted to take a second to chat about re-reading, too.

#FebruaREREAD
Co-hosted with @xoxokellynina

Near the end of 2018, I told Kelly, “I wish I could ignore my TBR for a month and just re-read old favorites.” 

“Why can't you?” she immediately replied.

And so: we decided to spend all of February re-reading our favorite books! We called it our #FebruaREREAD. What better time to do it? The month we were both born in AND the month meant for celebrating love! It was so much fun to dedicate an entire month to old favorites. I was so proud of myself for re-reading 24 books:


You can find reviews of everything that I re-read in a few various blog posts: January Quick Lit (Part Two)February Quick Lit (Part One)February Quick Lit (Part Two), and my Series Speed Date feature. And I still haven't reviewed My Oxford Year by Julia Whelan, but here's what I said about it on Instagram.

Re-Read Twelve Series
A personal challenge for me and Kelly

Around the same time that we started planning #FebruaREREAD, Kelly and I discussed the idea of trying to re-read twelve series in 2019. It sounded like a stretch, but still within our reach since it amounted to one series per month. We both love audiobooks and use the format primarily for re-reading, so we figured that increased the likelihood of our success. We never posted about it anywhere, but we'd chat about our choices each month – and sometimes convince one another to pick up the same books, too. I got off to a strong start early in the year, which kept me from stressing when I hit a reading rut near the end. I'd already finished! Here are the series I re-read:
  1. Act Like It, Pretty Face, and Making Up by Lucy Parker
  2. Finnikin of the Rock, Froi of the Exiles, and Quintana of Charyn by Melina Marchetta
  3. The Winner's Curse, The Winner's Crime, and The Winner's Kiss by Marie Rutkoski
  4. Grave Mercy, Dark Triumph, and Mortal Heart by Robin LaFevers
  5. Me Before You and After You by Jojo Moyes 
  6. Saving Francesca and The Piper's Son by Melina Marchetta
  7. Shadow and Bone, Siege and Storm, and Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo
  8. Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo
  9. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Harry Potter and Order of the Phoenix, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
  10. Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
  11. Unspoken, Untold, and Unmade by Sarah Rees Brennan
  12. A Court of Thorns and Roses, A Court of Mist and Fury, A Court of Wings and Ruin, and A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas
Miscellaneous Re-Reads
Because I might as well mention them, too!

Finally, I re-read 10 other books throughout the year. Unsurprisingly, all were on audio! Without that format, I wouldn't be able to read nearly as many books as I do. It's how I find the time to read, even when I'm busy. Here are those 10 books (a few links go to first read reviews because I didn't write re-read thoughts):
  1. Princess of Thorns by Stacey Jay
  2. Dreams of gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor
  3. Persuasion by Jane Austen
  4. Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
  5. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman 
  6. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
  7. Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas
  8. Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid
  9. A Rogue by Any Other Name by Sarah MacLean
  10. Lovely War by Julie Berry
Did you re-read anything in 2019?
Joining any re-reading challenges in 2020?

#My10toReadin19 + My 2020 List

Jan 13, 2020


If you read my 2020 goals post, I mentioned posted my January goals today. But I forgot I had a few 2019 challenge recaps scheduled for the next few days, so you can expect to see my January goals later in the week!

At the beginning of every new year, I always resolve to tackle my unread books. And inevitably, I do... okay. I read books I own but still keep buying more, so the number seems to stay about the same. But there are definitely a handful of books that have been on my shelves for years and just keep lingering there unread. I've noticed that the longer a book stays on my TBR, the less interest I have in reading it. Isn't that a struggle?

So, I loved @idlewildreads’ plan to commit to finishing 10 specific books from her TBR in 2019. She created #my10toreadin19, and I decided to join in. This is the photo I posted on Instagram in January 2019. Most of these books had been on my shelves awhile, though a few were books that I just needed an extra push to pick up. It was one of the few challenges I participated in last year, so I figured I'd share a quick post about how I did.

Of the 10 books on my list, I finished ALL 10! The challenge was a success, even though I didn't love everything. But I was still so proud of myself for getting these books off my TBR! I'm planning on continuing the challenge in 2020 with a new list. But first, here's a recap of what I read (clicking the title will take you to my review): 

1. PACHINKO BY MIN JIN LEE – A surprise favorite! I honestly expected to read a few pages and call it quits, but then I couldn't put it down. I So Loved It, and it even made my best of 2019 list

2. MISTRESS OF ROME BY KATE QUINN – Kelly kept pushing this one on me, and I should have listened to her sooner! I So Loved It, and the third and fourth in the series were excellent, too. They made my favorites list, too! 

3. JANE OF LANTERN HILL BY L.M. MONTGOMERY – This was a charming book from one of my all-time favorite authors! I So Enjoyed It, and it motivated me to continue to read more from Montgomery's backlist.

4. FREDERICA BY GEORGETTE HEYER – Considered the queen of Regency romance, I couldn't wait to start this one. But the story dragged on forever! I was So Okay With It but lost my desire to read more from Heyer.

5. WHAT MATTERS IN JANE AUSTEN BY JOHN MULLAN – I can never resist Austen-related books! I So Liked It overall and felt the introduction and last two chapters alone were worth the price of the book for me.

6. HOUSE OF DREAMS BY LIZ ROSENBERG – I had high hopes for this L.M. Montgomery biography, but it didn't wow me. I was So Okay With It but kept thinking about how much I preferred Rubio's biography.

7. A BREATH OF SNOW AND ASHES BY DIANA GABALDON – Finishing this book made me realize that it might be time for me to break up with this series. I was So Okay With It but am getting tired of Gabaldon's stories.

8. WORLD WITHOUT END BY KEN FOLLETT – Despite the fact that I flew through this book, I didn't like it very much. I was So Okay With It but couldn't help noticing Follett's formulaic writing style. I won't continue the series.

9. HEART'S BLOOD BY JULIET MARILLIER – I loved all the nods to Beauty and the Beast while still feeling like I was reading something entirely new. Marillier's writing and subtle romance won me over – I So Loved It!

10. EVERYONE BRAVE IS FORGIVEN BY CHRIS CLEAVE – Yiiiiiikes, this book was awful. One of the worst things I read all year! I So Disliked It, wish I had quit it, and could write an epic rant about all the reasons it was so horrible.


So, what's my plan for 2020? Here are the 10 books I'm challenging myself to read this year:


Most have these been on my TBR for years and a few were recent additions. Here's the breakdown:

1. THE JOY LUCK CLUB BY AMY TAN – This is one of those books that I feel like I should have read before now, and I don't know why it wasn't on my radar until last year. I'm looking forward to finally starting it!

2. MAGIC FOR MARIGOLD BY L.M. MONTGOMERY – A children's classic from one of my favorites, which I've owned since 2013. I'm hoping it's a win like Jane of Lantern Hill so I'll continue to explore Mongtomery's backlist.

3. ALL THE PRETTY THINGS BY EDIE WADSWORTH – My mom gave me a copy of this memoir in 2016, and I have no idea why I haven't read it yet. So I'm committing to it in 2020 – plus it's one of the shorter books on my list!

4. SHADOW OF NIGHT BY DEBORAH HARKNESS – I read A Discovery of Witches in 2018 and liked it overall. It wasn't a favorite, but I'd like to give the series another chance to win me over and need it on my list for motivation.

5. A PERFECT HERITAGE BY PENNY VINCENZI – I had two giant historical fiction sagas on last year's list, but I'm not continuing either of those series. I just added this book to my TBR in 2019, but I'm excited that it's a standalone.

6. THE SECRET KEEPER BY KATE MORTON – I'd written off Morton until Kelly convinced me to give her another try, and I bought this one used in 2018. After loving The Clockmaker's Daughter, I'm excited to dive in to this one.

7. SAINTS FOR ALL OCCASIONS BY J. COURTNEY SULLIVAN – Sullivan's The Engagements spent years on my TBR before I read it, and I don't want the same to happen to this one. I bought it in 2018 while visiting Kelly!

8. THE REAL JANE AUSTEN BY PAULA BYRNE  This non-fiction book was one of the earliest books I requested on NetGalley... and I was declined. Ha! I bought a copy while traveling in 2013 and have meant to read it ever since.

9. JANE AUSTEN FOR DUMMIES BY JOAN RAY – I loathe this title, but the content inside does look really good! This non-fiction book has been on my TBR the longest. I bought it in 2011 when Borders was going out of business.

10. THE ANNOTATED LITTLE WOMEN BY LOUISA MAY ALCOTT – I've read Little Women, but I wanted to revisit it after loving the recent movie adaptation. I've owned this annotated edition since 2015 but never read it.

What should I start first? Point me in the right direction!

2020 Goals

Jan 10, 2020


Last October, I decided to treat myself to the 2020 PowerSheets Intentional Goal Planner. I've been a fan of Lara Casey's company, Cultivate What Matters, for a while but had yet to take the plunge on their signature product. It looked a little overwhelming to me – and it's not cheap either! Would I really use an entire planner dedicated solely to goal planning? It felt unnecessary, even if the paper lover in me longed to try one.

After reading a number of blog posts and watching some YouTube reviews, I decided to make the investment. With a baby due in February, I know it probably sounds like the worst time to decide to add another planner to my plate – or even to be thinking about goals. But I want to spend my days doing the things that matter. I want to be present and intentional, in every season of my life. While I don't need a planner to accomplish those things, I love the idea of having a physical reminder that keeps me accountable.  

Here's a look inside PowerSheets, if you're curious. Each planner opens with prep work – some guided goal-coaching worksheets you fill out to help evaluate different areas of your life, identify what worked and what didn't from the past year, and envision what you want your legacy to be and how you can get there. It encourages you to think big picture while celebrating the small steps of progress. As they say: little by little a little adds up to a lot.

I spent the week between Christmas and New Years going through these 34 pages. Once you've done the prep, it's time to choose a word of the year and set your goals. In 2018, I chose a word of the year for the first time. I loved going back to it throughout the year, so I don't know why I didn't choose one in 2019. I was excited to do it again for 2020! Before doing any of the work, I was considering words like: balance, present, thrive, and refresh. As I looked up those definitions, explored synonyms, and read what I'd written about this year, I found it:


Nurture comes from the Latin verb nutrire, meaning "to nourish." As a noun, it can mean "training, upbringing" or "something that nourishes." As a verb, it means to "care for and encourage the growth or development of." Very literally, I will be doing both this year. I'll give birth to a baby that I will nourish and will be caring for the growth and development of both of my sons. In that sense, it perfectly described this upcoming season of my life. 

But I loved it for other reasons, too. There are a lot of changes I'd love to make in 2020. Many are small because realistically, this isn't a year where I can "get it all done" and tackle big projects. I'll be adjusting to life as a mom of two, trying to find our new normal, and looking for every opportunity to rest. Nurture spoke to me in this sense, too. Even at home, I can care for and encourage the growth of my faith, my marriage, my passions, and my habits.

So, let's talk about my goals for 2020 – and how I'm going to nurture them.


Image sources: Photos, Ice Cream, Brothers, Planner, Quote, Plants, Clocks, Door, Bible

Here's my vision board for the year. This was something I've never done before, but it was part of the PowerSheets process. I won't lie – I thought the idea sounded a little dumb at first. But as I tried to synthesize my goals into images, I started having fun. As nerdy as it may be, I loved finding photos that spoke to me and visually represented what I want from 2020. With this in front of me as inspiration, I wrote my big-picture goals:

1. Revitalize my faith through daily time with God. 
It has been a long time, honestly, since I've prioritized my faith. It's been an area of my life that I've treated casually – reading my Bible at random, one-off prayers in times of need, and sporadically attending church. I've long said that I want to deepen my walk with God, but my actions don't reflect that desire. And so, they're words that sound good but mean nothing. This is my main goal for 2020, and it's the one that I hope to see the most progress in.

Mini goals to make it happen: read the entire Bible in one year, use a guided prayer journal, join a small group, memorize Scripture, read Christian non-fiction, and create family faith routines.

2. Nurture my relationship with Nick and our sons.
My relationship with Nick and our two boys is the next most important thing that I want to focus on. Since much of this year will be spent at home, it's a great opportunity to nurture those relationships. However, I know how easy it can be to "get through" each day by going through the motions. I want to be present and intentional. Whether it's reading together or going on adventures, there are so many ways I can invest in my boys.

Mini goals to make it happen: defined technology-free time, create a family bucket list, one-on-one dates with our firstborn, read marriage and/or parenting books, and go on local adventures (hikes, museums, story times, etc.).

3. Grow in my knowledge and stewardship of our finances.
In our marriage, Nick is more of a saver and I'm more of a spender. Thankfully, we're balanced versions of both and thus don't disagree a ton on finances. But I realized recently that I feel very uninformed and, truthfully, lazy about money. While I'm happy with the way Nick and I have divided our household responsibilities, I want to be more attuned to our budget, our savings goals, and how we're planning for the future.

Mini goals to make it happen: use a budgeting app, read a finance book, complete the Contentment Challenge, unsubscribe from all marketing/sales emails, identify savings goals, and  have a quarterly budget review with Nick.

4. Invest time in the hobbies that bring me joy. 
Books and blogging had to be on my list, of course! Reading is my favorite form of self care, and I want to continue to make time for it when the new baby arrives. I've set some low-key reading goals for myself this year, and I'm excited to work towards completing them. And this blog is such a fun space for me to be creative! It isn't the right year for me to challenge myself to grow my audience, but I do want to commit to continuing to post.

Mini goals to make it happen: read 100 books in 2020, blog 2x per week, complete the Picky Pledge Challenge, make a #10toReadin2020 list, and buy one book from an independent bookstore per month.

5. Create purposeful monthly, weekly, and daily routines. 
One of the things that came up over and over again in my prep work was how much I want to establish new routines for myself and my family. From meal planning to seasonal traditions, these types of rhythms can make me more productive. I use too much brain space and time when I'm winging it! That being said, I'll be going slow with this goal since early newborn days don't always lend themselves to solid schedules.

Mini goals to make it happen: add recipes to Plan to Eat for streamlined meal planning, create a house cleaning plan, schedule monthly review + planning sessions, and identify my ideal morning and evening routine.

6. Record and preserve our family memories. 
I've always lamented my lack of a system when it comes to digital photos. I recently culled and organized my photos from 2007-2015 but stopped in 2016 (when my son was born and my photos exponentially increased). My goal for 2020 is to catch up on this project and develop habits so it doesn't get out of control again. I'm also working towards catching up on my firstborn's childhood journal, as well as consistently filling one out for the new baby.

Mini goals to make it happen: cull photos from 2017-2019, organize photos from 2017-2019, backup all photos to two places, create yearly photo albums, and schedule monthly childhood journaling sessions.


Obviously, these six goals are somewhat vague. Most are on-going things that don't have a specific end point or a clear way to measure whether they were completed or not. However, I do have ways I plan to break these down into smaller action items that are more measurable. Completing those things will help me see whether or not I'm making progress! One way I'll do that (which ties into the routines goal) is to share monthly goals here on the blog. I'll have at least one mini monthly goal per yearly goal and will record my progress here for accountability. If you check back next week, I'll be sharing my January 2020 Goals.

Will I look back at the end of the year and feel like I should have been more specific? Possibly! But I know that this will be a year with a lot of change, regardless of the goals I set, so I want to have grace for myself. Do I think PowerSheets are worth the investment? Time will tell. I will definitely track my progress with them throughout the year and will fully answer this question in December. Right now, I'm excited to get started and see what happens!

Have you made any goals for 2020?
Or chosen a word of the year?
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