In high school I used to love Gavin Degraw's Chariot - Stripped album. It was slower and, for lack of a better word, stripped down to the acoustic versions of the songs.
I'm calling this month January - Stripped. We slowed down a loooot. We are in the midst of making a few big decisions, which, in 2016, felt like they were far in the distance. As we hit 2017, we both realized - whoah - those things aren't so far off anymore. They're out there, gathering on the horizon, just beyond reach, but visible to our eyes.
And! Now that it is February, we're only two weeks away from our Kenya trip. When we return, it will be mid-March! So, January was January - Stripped because we wanted to savor the slowness of the post-holiday season, letting it last as long as possible.
We started it off by ringing in the New Year with my brother and his girlfriend, as well as our friends, Jim and Libby. We did an Escape Room, had Farm Burger and played games. It was the perfect way to wrap up 2016.
On the way back, we stumbled upon Helen, Georgia, which was where we went to Oktoberfest a few years ago and Chris told me he liked me :) It was so fun to have an unexpected walk down memory lane.
We also did a call with the team we'll be with in Kenya, which was SO exciting.
We went on a date to Wrecking Bar, aka our second date spot. It's the perfect place to eat in the winter - cozy, with comfort food options, yet everything still tastes fresh.
Apparently we just relived the beginning of our relationship this month!
We went to a birthday party at Urban Tree Cidery. Got coffee at our favorite spot: Brash! We hosted a game night, had friends over for casual dinners, walked the BeltLine and spent a lot of time reading.
It was a month with a lot of good, but also some challenges. It was my hardest month with The Letter Project, as I try to figure out what works, while also promoting growth. Have you ever heard the expression "trying to fly the plane while building it"? It sort of felt like that, which is invigorating, but has it's challenges.
With that, I'm checking in on my January goals!
1. Obtain 501c3 status for The Letter Project // This was probably the biggest disappointment of the month. I was told TLP might not qualify for 501c3 status. It isn't the final word yet, but it definitely left me feeling discouraged. But, it also helped me rethink why I wanted nonprofit status and figure out if there are other ways to allow growth without it. So, regrouping on this!
2. Make a plan for the first six months of the year, which will include goals for The Letter Project, writing, blogging and coaching. Update my website to align with the new goals. // Done :) My goals are set and I loaded them into my Big Monthly Planner (I love this planner!). It feels good to have a vision for the year - even if it will likely change.
I also just finished Crush It! (good ideas, but not great to read) and am working on An Abundance of Katherines. Eventually, I will get back to Boundaries and The Art of Memoir :) January reminded me that I just looove reading. Thanks for all the book recs, too! I cannot wait to read Fangirl, thanks to all you Rainbow Rowell fans!
4. Plan a trip with Chris for February. // Done!
5. Do a lot of yoga. Chris' mom got me a package to Core Power and I want to make time to slow down this month and really enjoy it. // Yep! It felt awesome and I can't wait to do a little more this month.
And now, for February goals!
1. Finishing preparing for Kenya! Vaccines, packing, Visas, etc. Stay tuned for a post about the weird things we're buying for the trip. Looking at you, fake wedding bands.
2. File our taxes (the thrill! :))
3. Finish a freelance project I just picked up
5. Begin to launch the first official collegiate chapter of The Letter Project (so pumped about this!)
6. Get all of the January letter bundles out before we leave for Kenya
7. Pre-write posts for the three weeks we're in Kenya
8. Figure out what the heck to do about Stu the Bamboo. He's not in a good place, guys.
So that's what the month will look like. I hope you had an awesome January!