17 February 2014

A January Spending Freeze


Tell me  I'm not alone:

After Christmas (which is my VERY favorite holiday), I'm just about over it.  

I'm not sure if it's the extra decorations or the extra cookies, but once January hits, I am in need of a pretty serious cleanse.  I crave clean surfaces, meals at home, and a little bit of quiet - in all senses.

This January, as a response to my post-holiday stuff-bulge, I decided to challenge myself with a spending freeze.  You've seen other online friends do the same thing... Nancy, Lara.

If you do a spending freeze (or a cleanse or personal challenge of any kind), I think you should do it for your own reasons, not someone else's.  So before I began, I jotted a mental list of what I wanted the freeze to be all about.  Here's what I came up with:
  • It's for January
  • It's for simplicity
  • It's to save money
  • It's to delay gratification
  • It's so I can use what I have
  • It's because I'm tired of random stuff
  • It's for discipline
  • It's because I don't actually need many of the things that I buy
  • It's for thankfulness
I successfully finished my freeze (with a couple pre-planned exceptions like a gown for the Junior League's 25th Anniversary Gala - I rented my red Badgley Mischka stunner from Rent the Runway and a spray tan for the same), and have hardly felt better.  It feels good so complete something that's kind of hard but good, doesn't it? As the month progressed, I paid special attention to the times it was hardest. Here's what I learned:
  • Target is a money spending dollar grabbing black hole.  I do almost all my grocery shopping (which was not part of the freeze for me) at our local Super Target, and that home decor area is like an evil little super-powered magnet. I found the best thing for me was to stay away from that part of the store. No problem. If I can't see it, I can't buy it. 
  • Holiday clearance is tempting. But I don't NEED (or have room to store) any more holiday decor. So I walked on by. AND IT HURT SO GOOD.
  • There is an element to shopping that is therapeutic. And that's not really so good.  By focusing on thankfulness and simplicity, I loosed that therapeutic power, and mid-way through February (a non-spending freeze month), I'm happy as a clam without the extra junk.
I'd love to hear from you if you've completed a freeze or fast like this.  Here's to more thankfulness and simplicity and less mental clutter!

07 January 2014

A Radical Legacy (2014 Part 4)

This is Part 4 in my 2014 Goal Setting series (all graphics via Lara Casey). Here are the previous posts:



How I can plant good seeds in 2014: 

  • My Monday night girls - by doing whatever I can to help them grow in their faith and in relationship with one another.
  • In Junior League - through the ways we're impacting the community and also in relationship with my fellow leaguers.
  • In my work - by being part of helping people make good choices about the legacy THEY will leave, and by empowering them to do so. Also, I can be a good leader and help our team realize more of what they can do to plant good seeds in themselves and those we work with.
  • On this blog - by being a place of encouragement and where you can come to be uplifted. I hope your life is made better when you stop by.


My radical in 2014 is to set good boundaries in all things.  Boundaries mean discipline and intentionality and impactfulness.


My song for 2014 is BRAVE by Sara Bareilles. Is this song totally over played? I don't care. I love it.  I want to be brave. Brave about speaking Truth. About setting good boundaries. About sharing good news. I want to be brave to overcome a fear of failure or rejection or change.

06 January 2014

A Vision for 2014 (Part 3)

Today is January 6, but because it's the first Monday of the new year, it feels like 2014 is just starting.

I've been thinking a bunch about what this year can look like for me, and how committed I am to intentionality in life. Letting days coast into nights - one into the next - without thought about vision or what the ACTUAL impact is that I'm making on the world is NOT the life I want. Life is short. My opportunity to bring good news to other people is short. Let's do this.

I'm following along with Lara Casey's goal setting process, and I've borrowed all the graphics from her.  



Where there is no vision, the people perish. (Proverbs 29:18)
My vision for 2014 has two arms:
People + good news - How can I make people's lives better? How can I help people learn more about the impact they can make on the world? I want to give them good news - about themselves, their impact, about Jesus, and about what's in the crockpot for dinner. How can I be a better leader - at work and in the community? 
Healthy Cammie - I would like to be the best possible version of me. This means setting healthy boundaries in work and relationships and with social media. This means saying no so that I can say yes to something different. This means cooking food that fuels my body and being active so I feel energetic and optimistic. This means taking time to do nothing and taking time to just have fun. This means saying no to comparison. I was made to be my best ME - not my best version of someone else.  
  • Procrastination - procrastination makes me weak
  • Comparison - it's the thief of joy
  • Mindless social media - what a waste
  • Being run by other people's priorities
  • Perfectionism - done is better than perfect.


  • Intentionality and tracking - nothing measured, nothing managed.
  • Sabbath - a day of rest
  • Cultivating gratefulness in my heart
  • More plain old fun
  • Priorities over urgencies


My word for 2014: Intention

02 January 2014

Let's Do 2014 - Part 2

Happily continuing my 2014 goal setting process, I'd like to explore a bit what I learned from what worked and what didn't work. If you're just joining in - welcome. It's not too late to get started!

Here is Part 1.


What I learned from what worked and didn't work:

  1. I am a people-loving introvert.  People are why I'm on earth. People are central to Cammie. I love their smiles and the sound of their laughter. I love to watch them learn and have lightbulb moments that are central to their lives.  I like creating spaces that make people feel at home. I like it when they head to my fridge to grab something, and when they know right where I keep the half-and-half and the K-Cups.  Too many people for too long, however, and I'll dry up like a desert. Time alone for me is essential, and an opportunity to recharge and just be, so I can get all geared up for the next social gathering.
  2. I need to engage in my world. I am not a stand-by-er.  I like to get my hands dirty (in the least literal way possible - I don't actually like getting dirty).
  3. It's important for me to be intentional in having my needs met, like in getting up early to have some quiet in my day. If I'm not careful, I'll too soon have every moment scheduled, without a thought about how my own mental health will fare.
  4. I need places in my life where someone else is in charge. This is one reason our Tuesday life group has been so great for me specifically. I get to just show up. 
  5. I am not in control. God is. He orders my days, and my one job is to serve and follow Him and to love others. I am not in control. 
  6. I like to be involved in lots of different things, but I need to be creative about finding ways those things can relate to one another. For instance, you'll probably see more here on my blog that's related to my daily work, simply because my brain is already there.
  7. I'm a connector. Do you need a plumber, painter, mechanic or bikini wax? Here. Let me text you their number.

What fires me up:

Oooo there are so many things.  Here are a few:
  • Freedom in relationship and an ability to express thoughts, feelings, questions, laughter without fear of rejection
  • Babies. Give them all to me. 
  • Laughing hard. Like stomach-hurts hard
  • The lake and being up north in general - listening to the quiet and engaging in a decidedly slower pace
  • Giving a gift that's just the right thing
  • A great workout
  • Seeing confidence in people I love
  • A healthy meal that fuels our bodies
  • Inviting friends into my home
  • Thunderstorms
  • Impacting people's lives in ways that make life better for them
  • Life-giving conferences
  • Riding with the windows down and the music up
  • Setting boundaries in order to say YES to better things. Oooo it hurts so good.
  • Being productive and fruitful in meaningful things
  • Clementines. I could eat 50. Also fresh raspberries. And honey greek yogurt.
  • The joy and blessing of family and being part of a legacy I'm proud of
  • Getting organized. Over the weekend I organized a bunch of drawers and cupboards in my kitchen and nearly did a dance I was so excited about it. It was major, complete with exact measurements of my surfaces so I knew JUST what size baskets to get at Target. And the baskets all match. For the win! My spaces are working for me instead of me working for them!
  • Choice. Being able to choose good things over bad things, meaningful things over brain-drain, nutritious relationships over gossip and comparison.
  • Learning and growing. I hope I never lose energy for learning from people who know so much more than me. Stagnancy is like cancer. It grows. 

You guys. Are you doing this? It's so good. It kind of feels like work but it's oh so good. Are you with me? It's never too late to get started!

More tomorrow. Yay!

01 January 2014

Fresh 2014 - Let's Do This.

Happy New Year, friends.  I so love a fresh start, and the New Year is the fresh start that keeps on giving. I'm grateful for that today, and wanted to share a bit of my goal-setting and reviewing process with you.  I'm following Lara Casey's Goal Setting steps, and will also be using her #PowerSheets (which I purchased in 2013 and didn't actually ever get around to using - the shame). 

  1. My college gals' life group.  If you've been hanging out around here for awhile, you know this is a true highlight for me. My Monday night girls, whose laughter I can hear long before they get to my front door. They don't knock anymore, and they know where to find the coffee, the water, the nuts. I'm losing a few to graduations and big-girl jobs in other states this semester, and couldn't be happier for them, but we'll miss them like the dickens.
  2. I went back to a paper planner. I am so old school now, after having used an electronic calendar for YEARS, but I am SO much more confident about my scheduling and in control of my days, weeks, and months. I went with the Erin Condren Life Planner, and am really happy with it in general. Other ones I might try in future years are Whitney English's Day Designer and Emily Ley's Simplified Planner.
  3. Getting up early. I started getting up early in 2012, and it's so awesome. My mornings no longer get the best of me, and instead, I have time for QUIET, and a more subdued getting ready process. It's actually really changed my life.
  4. My 31 Days Series. You may have read along with my series Savvy Business Secrets for Creative Entrepreneurs this October. I have never felt so at home in a topic, and look forward to incorporating more of THAT kind of feeling into my writing here.  
  5. Life-Giving Conferences.  My sister-in-law and I joke that we are conference junkies. If there's a conference, certainly we should be there.  This year, I attended several conferences that I found to be life-giving in a completely different ways.  The Influence Conference was all about the people - my roommates, specifically. There was also Making Things Happen in October, which was an altogether different experience than I expected, but oh-so engaging.  I'm still unpacking much of what I learned.
  6. Chris and I joined a life group together. What a great group of friends we have in our Tuesday night crew. Our church does multi-generational life groups for adults, so we have new friends in various stages of life. What fun! And so much to learn from one another!
  7. Observing the Sabbath. About three-quarters of the way through the year, I thought hard about my need for time and space that was unscheduled and un-worked.  I decided to begin observing a Sabbath (which I take to mean time to reflect, pray, prepare) on Sunday, whereby I finish everything that feels like 'work' (i.e. laundry, cleaning, grocery shopping, meeting prep, etc) on Saturday so that Sunday can actually be a day for REST.
  8. Using "Things" to manage to-dos. On Lara's recommendation, I purchased the app "Things" for my computer and iPad (need to get it for my phone too, but not in January - more on that later!). It is changing my world, and helping me keep track of what in the world I should be working on. I'm loving it, despite the significant investment it was.
  9. Junior League. I believe super wholeheartedly in giving back out of gratefulness for the gifts I've been given. Junior League has been a joy to become more involved in, and in two years, I'll serve as the President of the Junior League of Madison. In March 2013, you may remember how we helped area young ladies get  All Dressed Up, which was a huge highlight.
  10. Etiquette for the Everyday Girl. I have always been a lover of etiquette, and love sharing about it, too. I started a new series here on the blog to share my love of all things etiquette!

  1. My schedule.  This year I was a chronic over-committer. And it made my schedule pretty difficult to deal with. I found myself either AT something or hosting something nearly every evening of every week, and as we got close to Christmas, I almost lost my marbles, I was so tired.  You may have noticed an absence around here, and it's just because I was so stinking exhausted, and without the mental energy to create anything more. I didn't like that feeling, and I know it doesn't help me be my best self. Since many of my commitments in 2014 will stay the same, I need to be creative about how I can be more efficient in either preparation or processes surrounding the commitments I've already made. There may also be times I need to say no (the horror!). Most of the things that didn't work for me in 2013 were a result of my too-hectic schedule.
  2. Cooking. I love to cook, and consuming fresh and nutritious food is essential to me. Because my schedule was so busy, there was not enough cooking.  Many evening meals were either carry-out or dinner meetings of some sort (which actually does kill two birds with one stone so I'm semi-ok with it), but eating healthy when you're out can be hard to do, even if you really try.
  3. Being Active. You might remember that I had shoulder surgery in April, which really surprised me in how out-of-commission I was for a long time. Recovery was a  super frustrating process, much more so than I expected. I'm still not quite 100%, but I'm definitely getting there, and look forward to re-establishing a healthy activity-routine for myself. My schedule also made it hard for me to get to the gym regularly.  Many evenings were spent at the office, right up until it was time to head to a meeting, and there wasn't time to get to the gym. In 2014, this will change, even if it means saying no to something else. I feel worlds better when I'm active, and it's an important part of my "essentials" list (more on that later). 
  4. Too many late nights at work. I was made to work, but I wasn't made to work 12-hour days.There were too many of those due to some unforeseen challenges this year, and I'm saying no to those this year, so that I can say yes to other things.
  5. There are more on my private list, and everyone should have one of those. Certainly the internet is not the place to share all the things.
My next step is to think through what I learned from what did and did not work.  Stay tuned.

And what about you, friends? Are you setting goals, thinking through and re-working? Do it! Be part of the process! Stand firm in the mark you were made to make.