Using PowerSheets in a Season of Transition with Nancy Ray

Using PowerSheets in a Season of Transition with Nancy Ray

by: Emily Thomas

It's a big year for our friend Nancy Ray - big for the very reason that she's stepping away from some very big things. Nancy is transitioning from a 12-year career as a wedding photographer to a new season with her family, and when we found out PowerSheets® helped her make the decision, we thought you might like to hear more. Read on for her tips for your seasons of transition and a FUN giveaway from her shop and ours!

P.S. PowerSheets are coming October 16th! Get on the list to be the first to see the new collection!

Tell us a little bit about yourself. Who are you and what do you do?
I’m Nancy Ray! I’m wife to Will, mama to three kiddos (two girls and a boy), and we have a Great Dane named Winston. I’ve been a wedding photographer for 12 years, leading a team of film photographers out of my home studio in Raleigh, NC. I’m also the host of the Work and Play Podcast and I create online education tools for mamas and business owners. This is the last year of Nancy Ray Photography, as I’ll be closing my business in order to open a new chapter of my life: more time with my three kids and pouring my limited working hours into teaching others via the podcast.

Why do you use PowerSheets?
More than anything, it’s a healthy exercise for me - a very task oriented and business-driven person - to write down the things that actually matter every single month. In the back of my head, I know that finishing baby books and trips to pick strawberries and having a girls night are all important, but I get so caught up in my work. If it weren’t for PowerSheets, much of that wouldn’t happen.

Which color cover did you choose this year and why?
I LOVE THIS QUESTION, because my color choice has immense significance to me this year. There was a man at our church named Charles Curle - he was an elder, and everyone loved him deeply. He suddenly passed away of a heart attack last year, while he was on a church men’s retreat.

Every week in church he would see me and say, “Hi Sunshine!” He had nicknames for everyone. He left the most amazing legacy - a beautiful marriage, three beautiful kids, nine gorgeous grandkids (several of whom were in our youth group when Will was a youth pastor). Sunshine = Yellow, my choice for 2019 PowerSheets. Every time I pick up my planner, I remember the legacy he left and am encouraged to dig into my own today.

Tell us about one of your goals this year. How have you broken it down on the way to completion?
One was to start the podcast! I broke it down into a lot of mini goals - small things I could easily wrap my brain around and therefore easily complete - and that not only helped me to make progress, but to really understand how large of a project it would be (which helped me better budget my time and set my expectations). Mini goals I added to my Tending List included creating a list of 20 episodes, drafting the artwork, ordering a microphone, setting up a recording studio (in my guest room closet!), and deciding on music. It launched in April!

Where do you want to be when you're 80?
Alive - ha! But seriously: I want to be healthy and still able to walk and move easily, playing with grandkids and maybe great grandkids. In a simple home that is full of photographs, comfortable furniture, and not a lot of clutter. Happily married. Financially secure.

A quick story. Will and I just spent a few nights at Fearrington and were having breakfast next to a sweet old couple. “Are you celebrating anything?” they asked us. “11 years of marriage!” we proudly said. We asked them, “Are you celebrating anything?” “63 years of marriage!” they said!  We of course asked them to tell us all there was to know, and he simply responded, “Well, we can’t hear very well, so you’ll have to figure it out.” Ha! But truly, chatting with them was a highlight of our trip. They had three children and six grandchildren and six great grandchildren. How amazing is that!? They are both 86 years old and in good health. THAT. That’s what I want when I’m 80. Actually, when I’m 86. 

What have PowerSheets helped you accomplish in the first half of this year?
As I mentioned, this is my last year in business as Nancy Ray Photography. I have been grieving it all year - I’ve loved this work. But God has made it clear it’s a new season for me. PowerSheets helped me see that the balance of what I was putting on my Tending List - and therefore spending my time on - was work-related. They were good things, mind you, but I realized month after month that the things I had said were MOST important in the big picture kept getting pushed off the pages.

I’m ready to see that reversed. I want more time to tend to my home, be with my kids, and take care of myself. After 12 years of amazing hard work, I’m ready for a bit of a rest. My PowerSheets helped clarify that decision.

You're in a season of transition right now. What has helped anchor you the last few months as a lot has changed around you?
Yes, it’s been an emotional year for sure! Several things have anchored me these last months. Getting quality sleep (as much as I can with 3 littles - sleep makes all the difference!), making time to wake up early to pray and journal and read scripture, going to see a counselor on a regular basis, and starting more of a regular exercise routine again. These simple practices made me feel a little more like myself, and a lot more grounded, even with so much change going on.

How do you incorporate your Tending List into your life?
I typically check in once a week with my tending list. I usually don’t do the daily stuff at the very bottom (maybe I should!) - I love the big picture. I keep them open to the current month's Tending List alongside my Bible and journal, and at a glance I can see where I'm on and off track. I also write my goals and action steps into my planner - scheduling them so I actually do them!

Do you have any "PowerSheets hacks" (tips and tricks) you'd like to share with our community?
I’ve been blogging my monthly goals since 2008! Once I do my Tending List, I blog it on the first of the month. This adds an extra layer of accountability that I like!

What are your 3-5 daily essentials - the things that, if done, would make even a busy day a success?
1. Time in God’s presence.
2. Getting outside and breathing deeply.
3. Praying over each kiddo while they sleep.
4. Connecting with my husband.
5. A quick evening tidy-up so I can start the next day fresh.

How do you deal with feelings of comparison (or FOMO!) when confronted with things you've chosen to say no to?
I’ve recently been living by JOMO: the Joy of Missing Out. I LOVE that phrase - it’s given me permission to find the joy in exactly what I’m doing, even if no one else is doing it!

Thank you so much, Nancy! We can't wait to see where 2020 takes you (and which cover you choose for your new set of PowerSheets!). 

GIVEAWAY CLOSED. A final treat for you, friends: enter below to win Nancy's Photo Organization Guide and her Contentment Challenge Devotional Guide as well as a $500 (YES!!) gift card to the Cultivate shop! 

Love this post? You'll love reading about Sarah McCombie, whose PowerSheets helped her make the leap to life as a full-time musician, and our best tips for seasons of transition.

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Emily Thomas

Emily Thomas

Emily Thomas

Emily Thomas is Cultivate What Matters' Content Strategist and Writer. With over a decade at Cultivate, Emily loves helping women uncover what matters, set good goals, and live them out with joy. Her free time is spent with her high-school-sweetheart husband and three young kiddos.

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