It was the summer of 2016. At the time, we had 2 toddlers and for the first time in a long time I was getting together with 5 of my dearest friends…sans our combined 14 babies. Our times together are basically a data dump of life with the theme question of “How are you doing…(spiritually, relationally, physically, emotionally)?”.
As my ‘turn’ came closer, I found myself getting nervous. Not nervous about my answers–these were the women that knew me the best– but nervous about my lack of answers. My mind internally swirled….
“Where am I spiritually?”
“How is my marriage?”
“How is motherhood, how are the babies, HOW AM I?”
The truth was, it was all a blur. Since becoming a mom my intentionality in these areas seemed to fall by the wayside. The day-to-day felt a whole lot like maintaining and surviving. In the morning I was sucked into this invisible vacuum of joyful monotony, and by 10pm it spit me out into our very accepting bed.
It’s not that I didn’t have mature thoughts during the day…quite the opposite. By day, my mind swirled with goals, desires, dreams, emotions, and ideas that all became fleeting, unspoken thoughts by night.
Several days like this sewn together into the tapestry of motherhood left me feeling unknown and unconnected. It became more clear how spouses and families can easily come out on the other end of raising babies as complete strangers.
If you’re a mama, you’ve heard “enjoy this time, it goes by so fast” about a MILLION times. I knew that this season of raising babies was fleeting, and I desired for it to be deeply purposeful and intentional while feeling deeply known and connected.
Coincidentally, around this same time I was learning about tools for strategic business planning. In entered the concept of a VISION BOARD….a board that paints a ‘big picture’ of things you’d like to do/have/be, etc. someday.
Many of the vision boards I have seen boast large mansions, Range Rovers, or sandy white beaches…but I wanted ours to be different.
I saw ours as a way to serve as a constant reminder of what we were about as a family, and our likeminded mission, goals, and intentions. We used it as an opportunity to discuss and write down goals and strategies in various categories (spiritual, relational, physical, etc.) and pictures that represent that.
What if we approached our family mission with the same level of focus, purpose, and intentionality that we approach and pursue business with? It was powerful to envision how this could literally transform the entire direction and culture of our family.
- help create an environment of being heard, known, and understood.
- allow us be united on a mission– creating opportunities for togetherness.
- create a deep sense of unity in marriage, and with our children.
- show us which specific areas we can encourage eachother in
- open doors to ask deeper questions and have more meaningful conversations about our days.
- encourage us to practice prayerful pursuit of God’s will in our lives, and how we can work to nurture that together.
- allow us to ask questions of where and how we could serve others
- allow us to define our ‘yes’ so we don’t get caught up in the things that are meant to be ‘no’s’.
- help rescue us (me) from perfection.
- transform our desires into doing
I desired to nourish my children spiritually, but didn’t know what to choose so ended up choosing nothing.
I desired to have a thriving marriage, but wasn’t being intentional about the ingredients of this.
I desired to feed my family healthy foods, but didn’t always have things planned and in place to make this a reality.
The Lord made us to be wildly purposeful for His glory. Prayerfully and intentionally pursing this vision both individually and as a family is powerful.
Materials for vision board:
- Large board of any kind (cork-board, poster-board, chalkboard, etc.)
- Something to post things with (thumb tacks, tape, magnets, etc.)
- Pictures (from books, magazines, internet) or small objects
- Printed words, quotes, scripture.
- Sheets (see below)
- Yearly Goal sheet
- Yearly Strategy sheet
- Monthly intentions sheet
Yearly Goals & Strategies
We choose several weeks (usually in December or January, but anytime is fine) to intentionally discuss and write down and compile what our goals are for the year and the things that we’ll need to put in place to achieve these. The categories are:
(Download these sheets for free at the bottom of this page!)
This is a new thing we added this year. As we wrote out our goals and strategies, we decided we needed to break these down into tangible monthly goals.
Instead of making one giant to-list (boring), we made a template for each month with the following categories. We chose these based on common themes we saw from our ‘big-picture’ board.
- Verse–family memory verse for the month
- Serve–who we can serve and tangible ways we can serve others
- Read— includes books and quiet time materials for us + the kids
- Celebrations— anything we want to be intentional about celebrating well
- Pray–things and people we want to remind ourselves to pray for.
- Fun Activities— play dates, date nights, friends dinners, etc.
- Projects— this is mostly our space for house projects, punch list items
- Buy— anything outside of household essentials goes here
(Download these sheets for free at the bottom of this page!)
On the last Sunday night of the month– we’ll do a special dinner (cookies involved), with calendar and sheets in hand to share and discuss the upcoming new month.
I love this time because it allows us to remind, realign and recalibrate. It breaks down the entire years strategies into smaller bites which makes things seem much more doable. This time is a sweet little reminder of what we’re about, and allows us to course correct accordingly.
(All goals aside, it also doubles as a good family meeting time to discuss monthly budget, schedules, etc.)
Whether you’re doing this for yourself, as a couple, or as a family set a specific date on the calendar to put your board together. Thought, prayer, and discussion are the themes leading up to this time. I like to prompt thinking with questions like:
What is a memory I want my children to have this year?
What are things that I want to be intentional about celebrating this year (birthdays anniversaries, holidays, etc.)
How can I nurture specific relationships?
Who and how can I serve?
Involving Children in the Family Vision Board
As we begin to prompt thinking our littles, we may be surprised what we hear. Sometimes I hear silence, but sometimes I learn things about them that I never knew was inside their little minds. Several weeks leading up our time together, I like to ask things like:
“Tell me about something you would like to do this year”
“What is your favorite thing right now?”
“Do you have any ideas about someone we could help? How can we help them?”
We begin collecting things that will land on our board, and pray that God would open our eyes to His will and desires for our lives.
Our vision board is complete, now what?
Now, hang it in a place this is visible on a daily basis! We hung ours in a stairwell so we see it multiple times/day. We keep our Monthly Intentions sheets on our refrigerator for daily viewing, or you can add them to your board too!
Keep it simple. The board itself and family time doesn’t have to be fancy–the simpler the better, and the more likely you’ll be to continue this tradition.
Progress not perfection. Part of the beauty in doing this is that it frees us from the feeling that we have to do it all right now, and all perfectly. Press through with humility, patience, and prayer.
It’s on paper, not stone. These goals and strategies can change at any time. Last year we thought we wanted to raise chickens, so we put that on the vision board and bought a chicken coop. Little did we know we were pregnant with baby #3, and quickly realized that tiny humans were our priority. Needless to say, the chicken coop quickly vanished form the vision board and our back yard.
May this be the first of many steps towards intentional families on a mission! I would love to hear about the ways your family has used a vision board.
Side note: As I was writing this post, the song ‘I’m a Lover of Your Presence’ by Bryan + Katie Torwalt kept ‘randomly’ playing on my playlist and it just seemed so appropriate for the theme. “Let this be a sacrifice, let me dedicate my life to worship you.”
FREE Vision Board Printables
Download your Vision Board sheets + Monthly Intentions pages