I recently shared my identity struggle and finding myself in the midst of motherhood. In the spirit of dreaming, here are my goals for the upcoming years. I don’t have a set timeline but most of them can be accomplished or started by my 31st birthday (I turn 30 in August) with the exception of our trip to Europe.
1. Kid-free vacation: I’d love to run away to an all-inclusive resort with Nate. We regularly sneak away for a night alone in a nearby city because we just need a minute to ourselves and it is so helpful for our marriage and sanity. In fact, I’m writing this from a hotel bed not watching Daniel Tiger or refilling milk cups. It’s the next best thing to heaven. Even in one night away we have time to reconnect, plan and refocus. A week away together would be glorious.
2. Attend a conference: I want to hear Jen Hatmaker, Austin Channing Brown, Lisa Sharon Harper or another forward-thinking Christian female speaker. I used to be a high school youth leader and we’d regularly attend conferences with the teens and they were always so powerful. I’d like to take the time to invest in my faith in this way and listen to women I really respect preach.
3. Help welcome a refugee: Nate and I care deeply about the oppressed and are painfully aware that we’re living in a refugee crisis. I’d like to partner with an organization that teaches you how to welcome a refugee into your community and set them up for a successful start in America. I’ll share more about the process as we learn more and get started.
4. Build a house: We originally moved to York thinking we’d be moving into our home by now. We’ve hit a ton of setbacks and are now hoping to break ground by the end of the summer if everything goes well. Our goal in building our house is to create a family-focused space where we can practice hospitality and be a haven for anyone in need. We hope for a space that’d be welcoming for foster children and have loftier dreams we still haven’t put on paper.
5. Become educated on racial reconciliation: I am not educated enough to understand the plight of people of color in our country and the history of what has gotten us to where we are today. While I worked for 5 years in an African American community, I’ve become more aware of how little I know about the work that still needs to be done and my role in the majority group to support and uplift the work that is in progress. I have a list of books, podcasts, and movies I am challenging myself to learn from and I’ll share those in a post soon. I’m thinking of starting an online book club of sorts to encourage others to work through this list so stay tuned!
6. DNA test: After listening to Sharon Lisa Harper on Jen Hatmaker’s podcast, I was challenged to learn more about my ancestry for the purpose of identifying by my ethnicity and not by the construct of race. Identifying as “white” creates a false majority and is solely for the purpose of keeping myself in a group of power. I’d like to take a test with ancestry.com or 23 and me and find out about my background and start checking those boxes on forms and the census. Still acknowledging my white privilege without choosing to identify with a concept created to oppress.
7. Continue blogging: I’m not committing to a specific schedule, but I want to continue writing about our lives and how God is challenging us. It’s great for accountability and when I struggle to stick to my plan, rereading my own words is the perfect tool for refocusing my intentions.
8. Cultivate a diverse group of friends: There is plenty of diversity in York but I’ve already surrounded myself with people who are very similar to myself. Christian, white, middle-class. I’ve unintentionally created an echo chamber of people who look and act like me. I need to consciously seek out those friendships because there is so much beauty in diversity. I miss the diverse friendships and personal growth that grew through my time working in Philadelphia and have been craving that community since the day I left it. There are two specific groups I’d like to join that I believe would attract women with similar viewpoints and interests that I would connect with but none of them are currently meeting in York. I’d like to join a Be the Bridge group and Moms Demand Action. I know there is talk of a Moms Demand Action group starting in York and I expressed interest in joining.
9. Serve communion at church: I love serving others, I love what communion represents and I’m forever grateful for Christ’s sacrifice on the cross for my sins.
10. Help grow a ministry: God’s timing with our move to York perfectly coincided with a new ministry starting. Our church is focusing on the physical gospel and reaching out to the vulnerable right in our community. There’s no hidden agenda. It’s what Jesus did while on earth and we’re following His example. Our new direction of being #forYork has allowed Nate and I to step into a leadership role. We are helping to lead the community service team for our campus. We’ve already completed two small projects and are on our last week of the first big project called “Backpacks for York.” Church members sponsor a student from our local elementary school and provide them with a weekend’s worth of food. Students were identified by teachers and the school social worker to help us serve families who need a little extra help. Once we finish the five-week test run I’m going to write a post about how we set up the program and share our successes and failures. I know God is going to use this ministry to change lives in York County and I can’t wait to be a part of that. I have so many ideas and I’m thankful to use the gifts God has given me in this way.
11. Grow my faith: I am always striving to walk closer to Jesus but I recently I have been inspired by husbands commitment to God’s word. His daily Bible reading and prayer has changed him. There is a noticeable difference in his spirit and I want the same changes for myself. I’ve always known my husband is smart, but the Bible has been making him wise. Others have commented on the changes in his heart and I am so thankful he is leading our family in this way.
12. Europe Trip 2.0: For our 5th anniversary, we took a 2-week trip through 4 countries in Europe with our best friends. Even though we live farther away from our friends now, there’s no replacing the friendship we have and we want to continue traveling the world with them. Our group chat isn’t called World Travelers for no reason. We’re already scheming about our return to Europe and I want to make sure it happens again. It’s not often you find a couple you can share hotel rooms with, travel by train, plane, and car with for two weeks and not get sick of each other. We’re hoping we can make round 2 happen by our 10th anniversary in 2 years.
13. Learn hand lettering: Whether an in-person course, workbook or online class, I’d like to try my hand at the art of hand lettering. I love being creative; especially when it comes to home decor, but we’ve recently changed the way we approach decorating our home. I figured hand lettering would check off my need for being creative and making a beautiful space while also being wallet-friendly and meaningful.
14. Travel on a Freedom Road pilgrimage: Lisa Sharon Harper created an organization called Freedom Road where they take groups on journeys through historical locations of slavery, Jim Crow, and present-day landmarks of discrimination. This journey would be an incredible culmination of the learning I’ve committed to do on race. With Nates new job, he’ll rack up air miles and we’re hoping to use that to book a trip down south in the next year. I’d love to visit the Equal Justice Initiative Museum and Memorial. Visiting the museum and stopping at other famous locations central to the civil rights movement would be a transformative and eye-opening experience. The icing on the cake would be meeting EJI founder, lawyer, activist and author Bryan Stevenson. A girl can dream, right?
What are your goals? It helps to say them, write them down and give yourself permission to go after them. Just writing this list made me feel empowered. It also reminded me that I have interests and passions outside of mothering and it’s more than ok to pursue them. Also, do you have any interest in joining an online book club? I’d love to hear from you!