CMC Reader Survey 2017

January 30, 2017


Image by Nancy Ray Photography Picture Box

Dear readers, thank you so much for following along on this journey! When I say that I am so grateful to have each of you here, I truly mean it. I started this blog 2 years ago in hopes to share more of my life, inspire others and to improve my writing skills, and I can’t believe how far it has come since then. My hope from the beginning hasn’t changed: to share content with you that is inspiring, honest and genuine. Moving forward, I want to make sure that what I am giving you is just that! Below, you can click on a link to fill out a quick, 6 question survey. I would be SO thankful if you would take the time to fill it out and let me know how I can best serve YOU!


2017 + January Goals

January 1, 2017


God has made one thing very clear to me in the past couple of weeks: Your goals for 2017 are going to look different than ever before. 

Over the past couple of years, I have been very disciplined in setting and working towards my personal goals. I have accomplished a lot and am happy to have a system in place that moves me forward and holds me accountable. But this system has always just been about me and my goals.

This year, I bought Jamie and I the Powersheets Companion Goal Setting Guide for Couples in hopes that this would be a good starting point in setting goals as a couple. I didn’t have a lot of expectations, as Jamie tends to do things a bit different than me and I didn’t want to force anything. But after a 5 hour goal setting meeting filled with lots of laughter, tears, honest conversations and hopes for the future, I realized what God had been speaking to me. This year isn’t going to be about me. It’s going to be about US. We decided on three goals that are going to be our primary focus this year. Yes, I still have some personal and work goals, but we are going to be making our goals the most important.

We are going to work through them together, and I hope at the end of this year we can say that we fought hard, that we have grown closer to each other and The Lord, and that we have begun to build our legacy. We have big hopes, and to be honest, the goals that we set are really personal. They have numbers and realistic measures. They include both of choosing to make daily changes. They are challenging and I’m not entirely sure how to talk about them in detail right now but am hopeful that we’ll be able to share more in the future.

2017, you are our FRESH START!


As a Couple:

1. Fight for intimacy in our marriage
2. Give, Invest and Save
3. Implement Sunday meetings


4. Deepen my relationship with The Lord
5. Say YES to my circle people
6. Take care of my body
7. Learn to play
8. Read 12 books


9. Grow into my new “seats”
10. Give one session away per quarter

Goals don’t happen without a clear picture of your why and your how. Below, I have listed the why and some of the action steps for each of my 10 goals.

Goal 1: Fight for intimacy in our marriage
Why: To strengthen our marriage and create a solid foundation for our family.
Action Steps: 1 date night a week away from our home, travel, less tv and more one-on-one time

Goal 2: Give, Invest and Save
Why: To build our legacy and honor The Lord with what he has blessed us with.
Action Steps: Pray, communicate regularly about our finances (during our Sunday meetings), seek counsel

Goal 3: Implement Sunday meetings
Why: To care for and love each other well, to make sure that we are communicating clearly and that we are on the same page.
Action Steps: Create a schedule and stick to it, say yes even when it becomes a burden or hassle

Goal 4: Deepen my relationship with The Lord
To grow my faith, rely more on The Lord and less on the world.
Action Steps: 
Less noise and more silence, get on my knees and pray, continue journaling and writing in my thankful journal, social media fasts, continue to stay connected in our church small group, begin serving at our church

Goal 5: Say YES to my circle people (inspired by a chapter in Present over Perfect)
Why: The people that I love deserve my yes and full attention when needed.
Action Steps: Create circle diagram specific to my life, learn to be more comfortable with letting down the people who lie at the edges of the circle, ask Jamie to hold me accountable


Goal 6: Take care of my body
Why: My body will fail faster in the future if I don’t do this and it will help me keep going now.
Action Steps: Join the YMCA, plan realistic times throughout the week that I am able to exercise, run a 10K in Charleston, add personal care reminders in my planner

Goal 7: Learn to play (inspired by a chapter in Present over Perfect)
Why: Life shouldn’t always be so serious and life is too short not to have dance parties or do cartwheels in the backyard.
Action Steps: For 5 minutes each day have no purpose on purpose, create margin, celebrate small milestones in life, dance when I feel tense

Goal 8: Read 12 books
To learn, grow and do something that is restful.
Action Steps: 
Make a running list of books to read in 2017, read 1 book a month, read a book(s) with Jamie

Goal 9: Grow into my new “seats”
Why: To serve and grow the Nancy Ray Photography team and our clients.
Action Steps: Pray, help hire and train a part time studio assistant and three interns, learn to freely delegate tasks

Goal 10: Give one session away per quarter
Why: The Lord gave me the gift of photography to bless others.
Action Steps: Pray, ask more meaningful questions, give freely


January 2017 Goals

Read The Magnolia Story
Finish and order our 2016 Artifact Uprising Family Yearbook (click here to see 2014 & 2015)
Activate my YMCA membership
Create a Downtown Raleigh restaurant bucket list with Jamie (recommendations welcome!)
Implement a bedtime routine (specifically washing my face and reading for 15 minutes)
Help hire NRP studio assistant and three interns
Purchase a new camera
Clean out and organize laptop files

Lastly, I want to thank YOU, my reader. Thank you for being loyal to me even when I have hard seasons, for following along on this crazy adventure we call life, for holding me accountable with my goals, for commenting and making me feel like you’re an actual friend and not just a computer. Your support means more to me than you’ll ever know! Please comment below,  introduce yourself if you haven’t already, and share a link to your 2017 goals. I would love to be your friend, cheer you on and give you hope that you’re not in this alone!

Happy 2017 friends! Let’s make this a year that matters!

Our Christmas Decorations

December 22, 2016


When it came time to decorate our home for Christmas, I knew exactly how I wanted to do it. There is already a lot of green in our home with our indoor plants, so I wanted to add to those with more natural elements, like fresh garland with twinkle lights, fresh cotton and red berries. I made some red and green plaid pillow covers for our couch and purchased a couple new accent decor pieces like these affordable glass candlesticks, peppermints to add to our glass hurricanes and a red striped table runner from Target’s dollar spot to add some pops of red! I love our decor so much, I just might never take it down!












Inspiration Board No. 7: Christmas Home Decor

December 21, 2016

This is the first married year that Jamie and I have spent Christmas in Raleigh at our home. Traveling over the holidays the past couple of years has been fun, but to be honest I am SO excited to be at home. We’ve never had a real Christmas tree or really decorated our house, as we haven’t seen much of a point since we would be gone, but this year is a different story. I’ll be sharing a mini home tour of our Christmas decor, but first I wanted to share with you some of my inspiration for our decor! 2016christmasdecor Style Me Pretty | The Every Girl | West Elm | Lulu & Georgia | Unknown 
Chelsea Petaja | Terrain | Unknown | Unknown | Unknown 

2016 Christmas Cards

December 20, 2016


Merry Christmas from our little family to yours! If I had it my way, I would send each of you one of these lovely Christmas cards, as this is one of my favorite Christmas traditions (our 2014 cards and 2015 cards). As always, I am so happy with the way that these lovely cards from Minted turned out. This gold foil “Fir Frame” by Alethea and Ruth was the perfect pair for our outdoor picture taken by Olivia Suriano with Nancy Ray Photography!

Each year, I love putting together our year in review. It’s so much fun to look back on the past year and I love that over time we’ll be able to reminisce on the things that we accomplished as well as some funny things that happened!