Fall Refresh

For You have tried us, O God; You have refined us as silver is refined. You brought us into the net; You laid an oppressive burden upon our loins. You made men ride over our heads; We went through fire and through water, Yet You brought us out into a place of abundance.

Psalm 66:10-12

In these verses we are able to see someone who has been tried and delivered. Not only did God deliver them, He allowed them to experience and understand true gratitude, faithfulness, patience, fruitfulness, and lots of grace.

Last season for the Summer Refresh in my #powersheets I focused on pruning. I recognized that though it is painful, pruning makes way for greater things to grow out of what you already have. In effort to prune, I focused in on what mattered to me: cutting out screen time, focusing on only close family and friends, setting strong healthy boundaries in all areas, watering my soul well rather than only pouring into others, seeking truth + joy intentionally, letting go of beautiful milestones (and ultimately my hearts desires), and deepening my relationships with those closest to me.

My sister in love snapped me working on a blog post one day and it showcases my windowsill!

You know that nothing connects closer to my heart than a good garden metaphor. For me this year has been all about garden metaphors- to be honest I am literally quoting my beautiful mother in saying that “I have felt closest to God in the Garden.” Now my garden is on my windowsill, but it doesn’t matter if you are outside in the dirt growing an immaculate garden or you have a windowsill garden like me- God shows up wherever you invite Him.

As I thought about this season and what my this upcoming three months would hold, I couldn’t think of the perfect word (let alone one the referenced the garden!) I knew I wanted a word that would embody the refining I have embraced while also recognizing that I still need to define and grow into the boundaries I had set. I sat on this thought for about a week while praying God would help me determine what He wanted me to focus on for the next three months. To aid in the process I decided to read through a botanical glossary (yes I know I am such a nerd,) but I was curious. That’s when I came across the perfect word- edging.

I became obsessed with learning more about edging which is “trimming the areas missed and defining boundaries.” What I loved about edging is that there is no one way to go about it, which means I can experiment and find out what works best for me… and I think that’s one of the things I love about life most! Edging focuses on creating clear crisp lines to define boundaries all while enhancing the overall beauty of what is growing inside.

My goal in edging is to:

  • define boundaries clearly– for me this is more specifically about how last month I set boundaries that I felt would be good for me and now I am trying to define and grow into them in “clear crisp lines”
  • refine goals– these are the last three months of 2019 and I want to make them matter. I want to look back at all I accomplished last season, and determine what goals I had met and what goals can I continue diligently working towards
  • protect my limits + unwanted energy– I want to only focus on life-giving friend + family relationships, the good in the chronic illness community, and only on what is good. “Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Philippians 4:8”
  • increase intentional living and decrease time pruning- edging has a very specific benefit where it increases the ability to focus on your garden and decreases your time pruning because weeds/overgrowth are harder to infiltrate the boundary created. It also enables you to see weeds quickly and address them
  • maintain habits + placement– I want to continue the good habits and schedule I have found working for me
  • enhances my ability to flourish– my goals are the flowers in my garden and the boundaries are the planters. When I focus on what I am growing and I stop focusing on other peoples growth, that is when I will bloom.

Those are all the reasons I chose and reasons why I connected with the term “edging.”

Let’s jump into the first page of the reset! The first page is about savoring, and the purpose of using this season to intentionally savor the harvest a year’s worth of purposeful goal setting holds. I not only want to savor experiences that the next three months bring, but also celebrate all the memories that will be made with the people I love most. Every person that I am working to intentionally connect with and grow a relationship with can be found in this list.

Next I evaluated all the areas of my life (exactly like I did during the 2019 prep work and the previous refreshes), and I chose to keep these all private but wanted to share the Yes and No decisions I made for the next three months:

  • Health:
    • I’m saying YES to: listening to my body
    • What I’m saying NO to: overdoing it
  • Friends:
    • I’m saying YES to: checking in with close friends
    • What I’m saying NO to: being afraid to prune
  • Spouse:
    • I’m saying YES to: quiet time with Jared
    • What I’m saying NO to: tv past 10:30
  • Family:
    • I’m saying YES to: checking in more
    • What I’m saying NO to: overthinking conversations
  • Finances:
    • I’m saying YES to: honoring God and Jared with what I spend
    • What I’m saying NO to: unplanned self spending
  • Spiritual Growth:
    • I’m saying YES to: intentionally choosing joy
    • What I’m saying NO to: secular music before devotionals
  • Work (ministry):
    • I’m saying YES to: doing more when I feel I can
    • What I’m saying NO to: procrastination
  • Self care + hobbies:
    • I’m saying YES to: hobbies over Netflix
    • What I’m saying NO to: forgetting how important mental health is

Now as always my favorite part… THE GOALS!

Fun Fact: I have NEVER filled all my goal boxes but I feel I have finally found balance in setting achievable goals even with the unpredictability a chronic illness brings.

Goal 1: Celebrate All of It- this is similar to last season’s goal of “celebrate every tiny victory.” I have had SO much fun with this and grew SO much by writing a tiny victory from each and everyday over the past three months (which I will be doing again this season.) Something I learned from this is that there is SO much to celebrate, from the tiny victories no one sees to the exciting things that I want to share with those closest to me (and sometimes on instagram too!)

Goal 2: Intentionally Choose Joy- for the past month I have been focusing on not just embracing each day, but recording one way I chose joy each day… friends this is not as easy as I thought! Some days I chose joy by responding kindly to someone who wasn’t as pleasant to choosing time in the sunshine over watching tv. Joy is anywhere you look for it!

Goal 3: Harvest “______” Friendships- I couldn’t choose just one word so I want to harvest “life-giving, intentional, fruitful, positive, genuine, priceless, flourishing, mutual, purposeful, real, everblooming” friendships in this season.

Goal 4: Declare Truth Over my Days + Speak Life All my Days- This past year I have really dove headfirst into uncovering the truth about who God is and who He says I am. I want to start declaring that truth over my every day. I also want to speak life to everyone I talk to from the mundane everyday conversations with Jared to each to each podcast that I shared with you!

Goal 5: Maintain My Body One Day at a Time- Maintaining my body is not only a requirement and obligation, but something that I do as an act of worship. God calls us to take care of the bodies He has given us, and how I treat my body, I feel, is a reflection of how I honor God. Lately, more than normal, I have had to embrace living day by day. So I want to maintain my body one day at a time, in attempt to focus on what each day holds without expectation.

Goal 6: Delight in the Lord’s Presence: alone, together, & in fellowship- I enjoy my time with the Lord, and I want to expand that enjoyment into delight. I don’t just want to do this alone either- I want to do this together with Jared and in Christian book studies with Maura, but also in fellowship with our church.

Goal 7: Family Focus on Cherishing Every Moment, Loving Them Well, and Giving Cheerfully- This year I have come to a place where I have close and special relationships with everyone in my family and my in loves. I want to cherish every opportunity to be present with them because life moves so fast, I want to love them all well, and to give to them cheerfully. Giving isn’t just the excitement you feel at Christmastime but also in how you give your heart space to each other.

Goal 8: Read + Create More- This past season has got me back into reading! I am LOVING it and forgot how much I missed it. I aim to read more- like I am creating a kindle wish list kind of excitement- and want to keep reading more. I also want to create more. That was the one goal from the summer that I felt got lost at least as far as on paper creation is concerned. I am learning how to hand letter with brush pens, and hope to master that in the next three months.

Goal 9: Be a JoyFILLED wife- joy has been something I didn’t expect to learn this year, but where God moves I will follow! I was talking to my mentor about this and seeking her wisdom in being a “joyful” wife, and she explained to me that I don’t need to be a joyful wife but a joy filled wife; I don’t need to be full to experience joy I just need to choose to be filled with His joy. *insert all the praise hands for this amazing truth*

Goal 10: Be someone who throws KINDNESS around like CONFETTI!- This quote and life goal comes from hand lettering queen Maghon Taylor from All She Wrote Notes. Also if you don’t already follow her.. you need to immediately! As I was working on my goals, I just felt like I want to intentionally work on showing kindness. Now this does not mean you need to be a doormat or be besties with everyone, it just means that you try to be kind in all circumstances.

Well that’s the last refresh of 2019… I can’t believe it! If you want to learn more about powersheets the official launch for 2020 is on October 16th at 10 am EST! Want to see how I use powersheets? Click here!

Cassie Nolin is a married spoonie who lives the chronic illness life with EDS + Co. (Ehlers Danlos Syndrome and it’s comorbid conditions.) She challenges others to choose grace over guilt in goal setting, and is in ministry part time serving the online community through The Spoonie Study. She loves planting, hand lettering, and sharing the hope she has found in Jesus. Her blog, Living the Chronic Illness Life, is in the top 100 chronic illness blogs and her podcast, Chronically Cultivating, is produced by Speaking to the Heart Network. Cassie encourages women to live authentic and intentional lives through their diagnosis’ not in spite of them. You can learn more about her at www.livingthechronicillnesslife.com

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