Thursday, January 2, 2014

A New Year: January Goals 2014

Walking back into my office after two weeks off is the weirdest feeling. It's somewhere between awesome and refreshing & scary and overwhelming. It's time to get to work, finish up a few things from 2013,  re-evaluate, re-organize, re-fresh, andddd make smarter choices. I have to say it's contagious reading everyone's goals, seeing Facebook status's that say, "THIS IS GOING TO BE THE BEST YEAR YET!" or "THIS IS MY YEAR!" And you know what!? I truly wish that it really IS the best year for everyone in my life. I admire the positivity that surrounds this time of year and all the "fresh starts" people claim they are making. Some people may roll their eyes and go "Yeahhhh this won't last" and maybe they are right. Statistics may play in their favor, but I was born to be a believer, a lover, and an optimist. SUE ME! :) A really big part of me hopes and wishes that people will stick to their resolutions and make those changes they want to make. I truly do. Some won't but they hopefully will find out something else about their-selves this year that leaves an impression that makes their lives richer. One can only hope. Last night as I was in bed reading a few of my favorite blogs, reminiscing over the year 2013 was for me, and seeing people post about their year made me wonder. What if this positivity we all radiate on January 1st was a year long thing? Or heck, even a lifelong thing? Can you imagine how much happier life could be…for everyone? You know it and I know it…but eventually it is inevitable that 2014 will hand you a bad day or ten and you will question how awesome your life is, sink in your chair with a deep stupor of negativity that naturally engulfs that brain of yours and then this year as we know it will be THE WORST. However, we all know that it's life. It's a beautiful, crazy, unpredictable, incredible adventure that we are blessed with. It's up to us to really make the best of it while we are here. It's up to us to not let negativity win. Atleast that's one of my goals for 2014. I'm ridding off the negativity. It's ugly and it drains way too much happiness out of lives. I refuse to conform. I've learned that attitude is everything. If you think negative, negative things will happen. If you think positive, you're gaining a better perspective regardless of the situation, dark times will come to light and the best part? A happier heart. SIGN ME UP!

Man is my heart in a different place than it was last year. I think this is the case for everyone is it not? There have been so many experiences I've encountered to get to this place, this day, this beginning to a new year. All the good times and all the bad that taught me so many vital lessons and have left me feeling nothing but grateful for them no matter what I felt at the time. I am not going to lie, I feel positive and happy. There is a lot of unknown ahead, but I'm taking that positivity and I'm going to pray that God will feed off of it and reward me with those desires in my heart. He knows what's best for me and this life of mine. Knowing that he's driving makes me smile and feel at peace.

Drew and I sat down for our annual NY pancake breakfast yesterday in our kitchen to write out our individual goals, as well as our goals together as a couple. It's a tradition of ours that we decided to keep after doing this last year and it's really fun way for us to be on the same page. When we sat down to write them out we both kind of just sat there with the paint brush (we wrote them in watercolor this year) and dangled it over the paper. Our thoughts and goals were jumbled but we both were having a hard time prioritizing them in our minds so the paper set there blank. I finally laughed and said, "Well, 2014 is looking like it's going to be full of NOTHING!" I then asked Drew, "So what are the things we DID do this year that we loved and want to make sure we do again this year?" He thought for a minute and said, "Hmm, well, I guess you can say we both found jobs we really love. We found our career paths. " He then joked, "Oh and office hours. Office hours saved our marriage!" And he was right. They not only saved our marriage but they saved my sanity. Then I asked, "So what are the things we did that we DON'T want to repeat this year…" And we both laughed pretty stinking hard at the list of things we blurted out. Man was that list long. We both agreed that 2013 was good but "EXHAUSTING!" Amen to that. Our biggest complaint on both of our ends was that we kept so busy with work, plans, expectations, housework, you name it, that we didn't allow much time for fun. Downtime didn't exist. Adventure didn't exist. Busy ruled our lives. We neglected our mental health and never allowed time for REST. What's life if you can't have fun?

Then it happened. Drew reached over and dabbed my face with paint. Again. And Again. So naturally, I had to break his face ATTACK BACK and then the next thing I know, my rolls of steel on my stomach were hurting from all the laughter and our faces looked like this:

That's what I want this year. More spontaneity. More fun. Less worrying about what's next and just living more in the present.

Two years ago or so I went rummaging through my Great Aunt's home (she passed many years ago) looking for some antiques and decor to add to my home. I found a shelf of old books and this little blue turquoise book caught my eye. I grabbed it with the thought, "This would be a cute pop of color on a shelf" but little did I know how much that book of poetry would mean to me. I've had the book for quite sometime and I've flipped through the pages, but never have I really sat down to read it thoroughly. Last month, Drew and I completed a gallery wall in our living room. I was wanting to add something to our wall besides photos, so I thought, "Why don't I look in that poetry book? Maybe there is something in there I can use." I grabbed the book, and y'all…the very first page I opened…THE VERY FIRST page I saw was this one. I couldn't believe my eyes. Tears slowly formed as I read the titles.


When faith abides within the house… Then truly there is love…As constant and eternal as…The silver stars above…And when affection fills the house…Then surely there is peace… And happy are the gentle hearts…In joys that never cease…For faith and love and peace are one…And as they blend together…They form the perfect rainbow bright…Beyond the darkest weather…And always God is present there…To comfort and to bless…The ones who join in prayer to Him…For health and happiness…And so as faith and love and peace…And God surround each deed… There is no endless shadow and … There is no desperate need. 


A job is something we must have… To buy our daily bread…To get some clothes to wear and find…A place to rest our head…But more than that it is the change…To take our place in life…And to support as best we can…Our children and the wife… To have respectability…And hold our head up high…And prove we have the courage and…The willingness to try…It may be quite a prominent…Or just a humble task…But doing it and doing well…Are all the world can ask…It may not pay a fortune and…It may not be a song…But when we have and hold a job…It shows that we belong. 


The road to happiness begins…In front of every door…If we are certain that we know…What are we looking for…If we are just prepared to face…The problems that arise…And do not fear the gloomy clouds… That gather in the skies…For we must have the strength and will…To see our efforts through…And we must do our part in life…To make our dreams come true…No victory is easy and …No goal is quickly gained…And prizes are not given to…The one who has complained … Our road may be a winding path…And it may twist and bend…But everlasting happiness…Is waiting at the end. 


My entire year of 2013 right there y'all….in the biggest nutshell. I carefully ripped this page out and stuck it in a frame. It's proudly displayed in my living room and makes me smile every time I see it.

We may have spent the beginning of 2013 with  by taking the scary leap into letting me be a full time photographer, moving out of our home, getting our home fixed, living with my brother and sister-in-law in their guest bedroom for 4 months, moving back into our home, getting our home back in order, house projects upon house projects, and working more hours than I can even count a lot of uncertainty and a lack of stability but 2013 rocked. It proved to be crazy awesome in the biggest ways.  Sure, it was hard, but to me hard just means AWESOME. Taking the easy road to me is just not rewarding or worth it. Ya feel me? :) I have finally learned to embrace those lemons in my life that haven't been the ripest, or the sweetest because it's just making my journey towards living my absolute best life even more meaningful. It's giving me PURPOSE. It's writing my story. If I had the perfect life, nothing ever went wrong, and the sun always shined…that's all it would be…perfect. I don't want perfect. I want a life full of those ups and downs, good and bad, happy and sad. It builds character ya know. It also keeps things interesting. What good is a perfect life when you could have a beautiful life of lessons that allow you to appreciate this life? I sit here today with more clarity than I had last year and that is all I could ever ask for.

Last year, our goals were the following: 

1. Fix our house and move.
2. Pay off my car and credit card by June.
3. Brand our Photography Business.

Well, we fixed our house and have plans to move out next year. For now we are enjoying our first home together and are going to save save save this year. What a project this has been. ;)

We DID pay off my car in July (hollaaaa!) BUT then it broke down in August. I'm now driving a different car and I don't hate it. See, life doesn't go juuuust as planned. But the bright side? I did pay it off. I have a new set of wheels and I feel safe.

Photography business has been branded. We just have our website left and it's in the works! Boom jackalackaaaa! :)

Not bad. Not bad.

How did I do with my December 2013 goals?

Introduce Hattie (Seriously!)
Front Foyer Before & After (Have to wait on this but it's done! Waiting on the green light!)
Continue to work on Love, The Nelsons Website
FInish Reading "Boundaries" (Only two chapters left!)
Complete ALL weddings and sessions of 2013 by December 20th (Wasn't realistic once again but I'm getting there quickly)
Only photograph LIFE around me/ No sessions or weddings to re-charge-re-focus-REST & oh yeah, get caught up! 
Get office organized (again) - It's a mess
Send in equipment to get cleaned

Clean out closet and drawers in house (NIGHTMARE)
Get Receipts, Papers, Contracts, E-mails, Hard-drives ORGANIZED 
Focus on the behind-the-scenes of my business that I haven't had time for

Watch my favorite holiday movies with DDHP
Christmas date with DDHP
Be more in the present (Joining Lara in #presentdecember) YOU SHOULD JOIN!! 

Order Christmas cards and send them out to friends and family (We might have gone too far this year y'all…Oh man.)
Host the small group (Coffee & Word) at my house for brunch
Host Christmas Party for Brunch Bunch (Group of sweet muffin photographer friends here in ATX)

Spend more time at home with Drew (Sadly, this is something we HAVE to plan for haha)
Go look at Christmas lights with Drew
Triple  date with friends
Pay it Forward in a big way

Complete all Christmas shopping by December 15th (HA! Try two days before Christmas! :))
Gift myself with two weeks of vacation at the end of this month to breathe, relax, and reward myself for a crazy-tiring-busy year and ENJOY time with my family and friends. My boss has been HARD on me this year y'all. ;) 
Pray. Every. Day.
Pray MORE for others. How can I pray for you?? (Leave a comment below and I'll add you to my prayer list!)
Get myself a MASSAGE. OHHHH yeahhhh. Cannot. Wait. 
Cuddle my heart out with DDHP. Smack his bum. 

Our 2014 Goals 

1. Stress less = less busy. Simplify our lives, commitments and schedules.
2. Mentally prepare and get comfortable with the idea of Baby Nelson's in 2015 or 2016.
3. Vacation - Just the two of us.
4. More fun. More spontaneity. More adventure. More dates.
5. Meet Steph and Neal.
6. Figure out our housing situation. To build or buy? Save. Save. Save.
7. Count Our Blessings, Daily.

Personal Goals for 2014

Learn Film
Host The Glow Workshop again
Cook and Prepare more meals for Drew ( Betty Crocker hates me )
Gain more confidence/Stop apologizing for who I am
Guest speak at a conference/Inspire/Teach/Help the growth of others
Limit the amount of weddings I photograph/More selective
Travel to a place I've never been
Take more photos of MY life
Own a bike with a basket
Try something new
See my work published in a magazine (DREAM BIG! WHY NOT!?)
Less complaining & Less Wanting - I am blessed! I have all I need.
Trust my gut instinct. It hasn't failed me yet but I've failed to listen to it, way too many times
Stop holding back in fear of what other's will think/ BE FREE
Finally make the Vegas trip happen with my blog girls we've been talking about for two years

January Goals

Second shoot with my muffin Jessica 
Celebrate Drew's Mom's (my MIL's) birthday
Celebrate Andrew and his twin sister, Ashley's birthday
Celebrate my birthday ( I'm ANCIENT!)
Attend my cousins wedding as a GUEST :)
Three photo sessions
Continue to simplify and organize my house
Get my house ready to photograph for a HOUSE TOUR (Can't wait!)
Work on Love, The Nelsons website
Plan launch party/announce launch date
Paint doors in house
Yoga class once a week (twice if I'm feelin' funky fresh!)
Drink more water for the sake of my poor little kidneys
Start reducing the amount of sugar intake (My skin is TERRIBLE!)
Floss every single day
Finish all my edits and be caught up FULLY so I can have a dance party with myself

I'm keeping it pretty simple this month in honor of simplifying my thoughts, my life, and my schedule. I really want this year to focus more on my well-being and mental health. You know, not over-doing it, saying no to things that will just add stress to my schedule, and being realistic. I'm really bad at that. Haha! :)

HAPPY NEW YEARS Y'ALL! I raise my hand full of sour patch kids to you! Hopefully they will be more sweet than sour for you! :) 2014…Be good to all of us will you? :) OKAY y'all… SO tell me! What are your goals??? :) Feel free to share them with me! I love reading what y'all are accomplishing! And last but not least…SHAKE what ya mama gave ya!


Photo Credit: Amanda Marie Portraits


  1. You go, girl! 2013 was such a great year for you and I'm so, so proud. :)

    It's my goal to work on video as well this year! Would love to practice with you!

    Cheers to an exciting 2014 for the Nelson fam!

  2. Can't wait to see the house tour! Love all your goals and here's to many blessings in the new year!

  3. You should bring the Glow Workshop to Kentucky so I can attend :-) I can't wait to see your Love, The Nelsons website. I'm been dying to see it since you announced your rebrand.

    I did my January goals today too :-)

  4. So excited for all that 2014 has in store for you! I can't wait to see your home tour and all the hard work you guys did this year. Good luck on your January goals and your personal 2014 goals! Get it, girl!!!!

  5. I always love your monthly goals posts, it always makes me want to do one of my own... So I'm thinking that will be one of my goals for this year!

  6. I love you and your lovely heart. I seriously laugh out loud reading your posts. This year I am loving more. Loving on clients, close friends, my savior, my hubby, and myself. And more dance parties!

  7. Shay, these reflections are so wise.

    I feel optimistic about this year, too. I feel compelled to steward my time and money wisely, but I feel likewise encouraged to keep a little extra of each saved for when spontaneity presents an unforeseen but priceless opportunity.

    it's the moments we don't plan for, i think, that make us, and it's the ones we plan for from that moment that mature us in that making. i'm excited to see how the combination grows us all this year.

  8. I actually can't deal with how you are the cutest human being I know. I love you lady, all the blessings for 2014! xoxo

  9. I'm glad 2013 is over for everyone involved, most don't seem to think it was a stellar year. How blessed are you to have DDHP and him you? You guys always seem so perfect together and I'm glad even after a rough year you can relax and have fun together.

    Good luck on the 2014 goals! I hope you can find new adventures and get some more R&R in.

  10. This is a strange question, but who's the author of the poetry book, and title? I think it's safe to say you've had quite the year! You remind me of the Very busy spider by Eric Carle. It's a children's book I read to my kindergartners. The farm animals all want to play with the spider but the tag line is, "The spider didn't answer, she was SO BUSY spinning her web!" Web being for you, your house that you went through so much! Cheers to 2014!

  11. Happy New Year! I love reading your blog and your inspiring words! So looking forward to everything you'll accomplish this year and in the future!

  12. I cannot wait to see your house tour, you have such great style and the parts of your home you've shared so far are gorgeous, so I can only imagine what everything else looks like.
    I loved reading all of your goals, they are really great. Not too big that they are unmanageable but also they are things that will bring so much joy in the upcoming year. I like that - focusing on happiness and wellbeing.