Retreating & December goals in 2016

I'm out of the office this week! If you know me at all, you know what a journey this has been! I didn't take time off work after Daniel was born because (1) I love my job and (2) I didn't think it was possible. I'm so grateful it's possible. Friends, I feel like I'm embracing more and more freedom in every part of my life.

For those of you who are eager to take time off but don't know how to get away from work and still serve your clients, I have some posts I'm writing just for you. While I'm away this week, Jenna is in the office editing our last wedding of the year and Julie, my virtual assistant, is handling my inbox, blog, and a lot of other tasks. Last year, when I finally took maternity leave in December and January, I just didn't respond to emails. I can't tell you how many inquiries I received (and didn't book) because I was away. First things first, it's totally fine to lose work while you're living your life and taking time off! Second, hiring a virtual assistant is already changing my business. Two posts coming your way really, really soon: my first & second hires!

 St Louis Fine Art Photographer - Jordan Brittley

If you want to follow along with the resting adventures, you can join me over on Instagram! I imagine that I'm finding every excuse to wear the softest clothes imaginable and drinking all the coffee at this point. Who knows?! I'm actually writing this post in advance so that I can really focus on being in the moment with my sweet friends.

I planned this time away, hoping that it would encourage and bless the people around me. I had no idea how much I would be craving rest at this point in the year and don't think the retreat could be at a better time! Wherever you are in your journey, I want you to hear that you are loved endlessly. It's not a love that can be lost. It's not a love based on how you perform or what you can do! Isn't that kind of love so freeing? I want to love people with that kind of love - the kind that brings freedom.

 St Louis Fine Art Photographer - Jordan Brittley

Our hearts are still healing from our miscarriage. And even after our hearts are healed, I imagine we will always long to see our sweet Victory Anastasia. There will always be part of us longing for heaven and the reward that Jesus will bring with Him one day - the reward of death being defeated forever. I have been so moved by the people who have been vulnerable and shared their story with me. I'll never be able to forget our babies, friend. Never.

I don't know that I can fully put into words what has happened and changed in our lives since losing Victory. I know that we have a new focus and a new heart to love our family well. Grief is lonely. Miscarriage is isolating. My emotions are all over the place some days, but Jesus' love never fails me. When I go to Him in those moments and weep, He comforts me. It's not all better and it's not fixed, but He comforts me through the Bible, friends, His voice, and His unfailing love.

 St Louis Fine Art Photographer - Jordan Brittley

He doesn't stop loving me when I don't understand His ways. He doesn't give up on His promises when I want to crawl under the covers and stay there forever. He has become the steadfast hope of my life. I would give years of my life to see my child. I would lay down my own life so she could live. His ways are not my ways. This isn't how I would have drawn it up. But even though we have felt this deep loss, we have not lost. Jesus is victorious and even though I have no power to lay my life down to give her a life, He does. And He has. It looks like death won, but we have read about the end. One day, my King will raise her from the dead, death will be defeated forever, and I'll know her for the first time.

Christmas has a deeper meaning than ever before. Yes, the holidays bring up the grief in a way that I didn't anticipate, but I didn't anticipate the hope that I would have either. Jesus came as a baby to save my baby. He could have come any way God wanted, but He came as a baby. And that picture is beautiful to me. Thank you, Jesus.

 St Louis Fine Art Photographer - Jordan Brittley

I used our And Sandwhich method to create these goals! Now I know that sounds super fancy (kidding), but you basically add an "and" to any goal. We have been doing this for a couple months and have created some really fun memories! Here are my December goals, friends! 

Encouraging words to remember: You are the salt of the earth...

December Monthly Goals

  1. Bake cinnamon rolls and take a video of Daniel eating one
  2. Read a book and drink earl grey tea
  3. Look at Christmas lights and hold hands with Isaac
  4. Decorate for the winter and play Christmas music
  5. Host someone for dinner and tell 1 story
  6. Retreat and rest
  7. Take a week off work
  8. Choose a sign for our breakfast nook
  9. Make ornaments and color with Daniel

December Weekly Goals

  1. Take a sabbath
  2. Tell Daniel a story about how Jesus helped me
  3. Cuddle with Isaac and color with Daniel
  4. Get on video (youtube & instagram story)

December Daily Goals

  1. Read a story to Daniel before bed
  2. Put my phone in a different room and leave it there
  3. Worship & pray
  4. Read & write scripture
  5. Work out by myself
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