Spring Fever!!

Welcome again to Sundays at the Lake!

Here, I share what is bringing me joy or making life easier.

In the house: I have been hearing and seeing advertisements for Grove Collaborative everywhere. I finally clicked on a link from my yoga instructor and I’m not sorry I did. I have found some great products and just placed my second order. My favorite items so far are the paper products made from bamboo and sugar cane, the Grove Collaborative European dish cloths, Mrs. Meyer’s lemon verbena mulipurpose cleaner, and the Grove Collaborative pomegranate & red currant candle. These products smell so good they have actually made cleaning somewhat enjoyable, yep, even the toilet!! Click here to get a free 5 piece set!

Health: In one week we have gone from winter coats and freezing tempertures to shorts and 70s. There is also a layer of yellow pollen coating everything which has my allergies going wild.

I have managed to be flu and strep free even though I am surrounded by hundreds of children carrying these nasty little germs. My son got by with only a 48 hour fever. Others weren’t so lucky and at one point his class of 19 was down to 6! I heard another campus sent home 80 children!! The only fever I’ve been suffering from is Spring Fever!! I have one glorious week to sleep in and catch up with family and friends. Now that brings me joy!!

Movie: I stumbled across the movie “Made for More” on Amazon. This was a documentary type film that followed Rachel Hollis as she prepared for and presented her 2 day RISE event. It was uplifting, encouraging, and powerful. I would love to attend next year. Here are some of my favorite quotes:

“Motivation is about making yourself do the thing you don’t want to do.”

“If you want something and it doesn’t exist, make it yourself.”

“Maybe you have been given your mountain to show other people that it can be moved.”

Music: My taste in music is varied as you will see. I recently discovered Tasha Layton on my Instagram account and have become a big fan of her music. Sound of Heaven is her newest release and I’ve added Love Lifting Me to my “Joy” playlist. If you are feeling down, this song will definitely lift you up. I just don’t think you can listen to it and stay sad. It might just make you get up and dance too! I also discovered Carly Bannister, and her song Whiskey. Carly is the sister of Ellie Holcomb who sings one of my favorite songs, Red Sea Road.

I have also been listening to a lot of Tesla, a band I first saw at a concert on the beach in my hometown in the in the late 80s or early 90s. I happened to hear one of their songs on the radio the other day and asked Siri to “play Tesla.” I had forgotten how much I enjoyed thier music. I think they might be somewhere between Southern rock and hair band!

Blog: I’ve been working to post on my blog more frequently. This is good because I have lots of words in my head that I need to get out. Thank you to everyone who is reading it. I hope you are finding it enjoyable.

Books: There are so many wonderful books out there and I’m finding most of them on Instagram. I recently came across the book When I Pray for You by Matthew Paul Turner and purchased it on Amazon. It was so popular, they ran out and had to print more copies! It is a precious book that you can enjoy reading to your children now and for years to come.

In a previous post, I mentioned that I am on the launch team for Emily P. Freeman’s, The Next Right Thing and even better than a sneak peek, we have now been given access to the entire book before its release on April 2! Anyone that preorders, gets some pretty great bonuses including a free audiobook read by Emily and access to her online course “Discern and Decide.” If you are having trouble making a big decison or have descion fatigue in general, let Emily guide you and support you with a plan to find your way. Here are some of my favorite quotes:

“As you take your next right step today, trust that God won’t let you miss your own future.”

“When we don’t take time to reflect and reevaluate, then we may fall into the habit of doing things simply because they’re what we’ve always done.”

“That’s one thing about an intentional no: it can open the door for a life-giving yes. When you focus on what’s missing, its hard to see what’s there.”

I mentioned the book Soulful Simplicy in my last post and wanted to let you know he Kindle edition of it is now only 1.99!!! How can you pass that up?

Well I’m off to begin my Spring Break. I’m hoping it will be the start to a season of silence and restoration. I hope that you too are able to find ways to take moments of silence and open your hearts and souls to joy.

Until next time……be well.

Lori

Silence is Golden

Disclosure: Be Well Heart and Soul participates in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. When you click on a link and make a purchase it allows us to earn a small commission without any cost to the reader.

Sometimes when I am in need of something in my life I get signs, lots of them. Right now that message is about silence and stillness. I am feeling bombarded with input. Some of it has been helpful and insightful, but some of it has just been visual and auditory noise. Unfortunately, I’m feeling like I might be somewhat addicted to it, I might actually have a problem!! I’m old enough to have lived many years without immediate access to media but think I have conditioned my brain to “need the noise.”

Case in point. The other day my yoga class was unexpectedly canceled and I had an hour to spare before picking up my son at school. I drove down the street to a park with a walking trail. It was a beautiful day and I had time to get in a couple of miles. I soon realized I did not have my earbuds with me, and I kid you not, a wave of anxiety came over me! I was going to have to walk for one hour in SILENCE! No podcast, no audiobook, no music, no phone. I almost thought about just sitting in my car and listening to a podcast. It was an awakening to a sad state of affairs.

“This is ridiculous!” I thought. I got out of my car and began walking, only not in silence as I had expected. I had forgotten the sweet noise of nature. I could hear the crunching of leaves and rocks under my feet, I could hear my breath, the sound of the mowers getting the park ready for Spring. I heard the birds, I noticed the different kinds of plants and trees blooming. I actually looked into the eyes of another human and exchanged greetings rather than being lost in my own world. I felt the warmth of the sun on one side of the path and the wind on the other, unzip jacket, zip jacket, unzip again. As I looked ahead and surveyed the winding circular path, I thought, “I bet I could run this loop.” I set out listening and being mindful as my pace picked up. I could hear my breathing and began to focus on it, making sure to keep a rhythm as I ran. As breathing became a little more challenging, I focused on keeping it steady. I focused on my posture and my arms swinging back and forth as I picked a spot and ran to it and then the next and the next until I had completed the half mile. If a smile could make a noise, I would have heard that too! It was only half a mile, but I hadn’t even run across the street in a long time! I didn’t push myself to do more, like I thought I should, I just let myself enjoy the accomplishment and walked another mile.

Why have I been avoiding moments of silence? Only months ago, I felt so focused and enjoyed long stretches of clarity and now I’m feeling lost in the chaos in my head!! It might just be that I’m moving too fast and taking in too much, trying to store it, and not ever processing it. I think my brain might look like an episode of Hoarders. Can you relate?

For the sake of my heart and soul, it is time to declutter, refresh and restore.

Emily P. Freeman says in her book, The Next Right Thing, “The silence serves as a colander, helping me discern what I need to hold on to and allowing what I don’t need to fall gently away, making space to access courage and creativity, quieting to hear the voice of God.” She advises to “find small cracks of time to be silent and still.”

Similarly, Tsh Oxenrider, host of the podcast “Simple,” shared 3 reasons she thinks silence is important: to think, to hear the world around you, and to hear from God. On episode 183, “Writing + Silence,” she also describes her visit to “The Quiet House” in central Texas. This cabin is so remote you can only get there in a vehicle equipped with special tires able to go over rocks and through a river. There is no cell reception and the only connection to others is over a walkie talkie. Interestingly, The Quiet House reservations are needed a year in advance due to popularity! I guess I’m not the only one in need of silence! This is a place I would definitely like to experience in the future.

For now, I’m going to begin a few simple acts of silence in order to bring peace and clarity back into my life.

  • Hide the phone!!  After walking in the door I can put my phone in a drawer to reduce the temptation to check it.
  • Use a real alarm clock. I recently purchased this one and have really liked it. This allows you to enjoy the silence of the morning and not be tempted to check social media before your eyes even adjust to the light.
  • Schedule silent time.  I’ll start with 5 minutes and just breathe and stretch. Then I can add time each day or each week. In her book Soulful Simplicity, Courtney Carver refers to this as “habit stacking” and explains that a “slow build helps you ease in and makes your new routine sustainable.”
  • Take a walk without electronics, even if just for 15 minutes. I can increase my awareness of the sounds around me, my thoughts, and the way my body feels as I take each step.
  • Write in a journal.
  • Throw birdseed out in your yard, sit silently, and see what happens.
  • Write down 5 things that I am grateful for.
  • Read an actual book that I can hold in your hands and enjoy the sound of each page turning. As I mentioned, I tend to hoard information and not process it, so maybe a fiction book might be a nice change. I can read for enjoyment rather than to gain information to give my brain a break.
  • Schedule activities that don’t involve a phone. I could get a massage, have lunch with a friend, visit a museum, buy a canvas and some paint and go to town with no purpose, just for the enjoyment.

If you too are drowning in the chaos of noise and information, I hope that these simple acts of silence will end up being acts of kindness to your heart and soul and soon you will find yourself feeling refreshed and restored.

Until next time……be well.

Lori

Spring is Coming!

Welcome again to Sundays at the Lake. This is my current version of a newsletter. I’m hoping to make it an official email newsletter soon so it can come right to your inbox. If you’re curious about the title you can check out this post to find out how it came to be.

Spring is coming!!! I’m so excited to see the trees blossoming and the grass turning green. I know many of you are still covered in blankets of snow but here in Texas the weather is starting to change. This makes me very happy because anytime the temperature drops below 60 degrees, you will find me in layers with the heater on. I’m ready to shed some layers and open the windows.

Since I last wrote, the workload at my day job has me more than a little anxious. While summer break may feel ages away, I’m on the downhill slide of the school year and have so much to complete before May! Luckily, here at home, I have been able to carve out time to write about what brings me joy – and the actual writing part….that also brings me joy.

Here is what is I have been enjoying lately:

Home: Wal-Mart Grocery Pick-Up. This hasn’t necessarily brought me “joy” but it keeps me from having to endure the pain and suffering of roaming through aisles trying to decide between numerous brands, impulse purchases as I pass through the home goods section, and then the rush of anger when I have to hike back across the store from the grocery section when I realize I forgot toothpaste. I create my order the night before and it’s ready for to pick up after I drop off my son at school. I pull up to the designated spot and they load the groceries in my car. Now I have more time for activities that bring me joy instead of draining my joy! If you decide to try it use the code FAMECARS for $10 off your first order.

Movie: I finally rented Bohemian Rhapsody on Amazon and I’m half-way through and am really enjoying it. It was nominated for an Oscar for Best Picture. Hollywood, take a note…..you can produce an Oscar worthy movie without a constant onslaught of F-bombs and graphic violence and sex! I applaud the movie makers for choosing to leave it out.

Books:  Oh, there are so many good books to read!!! My Amazon cart is overflowing.

The Bible: Each morning when I sit down with my coffee I like to read from the bible. I’m currently reading thru the Gospel of Luke. I have a study bible to refer to when needed but I love the simple design of the She Reads Truth Bible

The Next Right Thing by Emily P. Freeman: Release date: April 2, 2019

I’ve already preordered my copy and I’m so excited to be part of the Facebook Launch Team and get a sneak peek before its released. If you are struggling with decision fatigue or have a big decision to make. Emily will gently take your hand and guide you!

Here is the one question Emily asks herself with every hard decision……
“When it comes to hard decisions, I no longer wait two weeks to ask this question. I ask it at the first sign of hesitation Am I being led by love or pushed by fear? The answer to that question isn’t always clear, but I continue to carry it with me into every difficult decision.”

If you want to hear more from Emily check out the Next Right Thing podcast. If you like the podcast, you will love the book.

You can pre-order it HERE! #MyNextRightThing #NRTLaunchTeam

Low and behold, as I am reading through chapters of The Next Right Thing, Emily mentions Courtney Carver, who wrote the next book I want to share with you, Soulful Simplicity. I recently finished listening to the audiobook version and it was so good and that I had to order the book. I want to see the words and highlight her action steps to further simplify, not just my home, but my life and fill my soul with joy. This book deserves its own blog post. I’ll be getting back after I go through the book with my highlighter!!

You can order Soulful Simplicity here.  

Podcasts:  Simple with Tsh Oxenrider. Episode: 183 Writing+Silence  

In this episode, Tsh sits down with co-host, Andrea Debbink and talks about writing, writing what you love, writing rituals and writing as a craft and not a lifestyle. They also discuss the restorative aspects of silence. One thing mentioned that resonated with me is the “tipping point to collecting information.” I’m at that point now and I bet many of you have experienced what they explain as reaching that point where you can’t take in anymore and need to stop and process it. That is where the silence comes in. This is something I need to look at more closely. I definitely need more SILENCE in my life. More on that in my next post.

Health: This is an area that I am not tending well to at the moment. It’s making me sad. I did run ½ a mile the other day which was a huge accomplishment. I’ll talk more about that too in my next post!

I’m ready to take some of the tools mentioned in this post and RESTORE! Each day I have opportunities to choose things that restore my energy and my health. I need to make a conscious decision to make the right choice.

I have Emily to help me make those hard decisions and Courtney to guide my soul to simplicity. These, combined with prayer and leaning into God’s word will help me to release some of that inner chaos and anxiety so I can let joy into my heart and soul.

Wishing you joy.

Until next time…..be well.

Lori

Disclosure: Be Well Heart and Soul participates in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. When you click on a link and make a purchase it allows us to earn a commission without any cost to the reader.

Where do you live?

Where do you live? More specifically, do you like it and how does it affect you? These are the questions Laura Tremaine asks on the most recent episode of her podcast, 10 Things to Tell You. #10thingstotellyou.

I’m a Texan, born and raised. I have lived in almost every region of this great state. I grew up on the coast in South Texas, loving the sun, sand and surf and the smell of salt in the air. I lived in San Antonio, home to the Alamo and the Riverwalk. I went to college in West Texas where I encountered dust storms, tumbleweeds the size of my car (I’m not exaggerating!) and the need for a real winter coat. I am not a fan of the cold but I thought it was pretty cool walking to class through the snow. After a couple more years back in San Antonio, I moved to Houston. There I lived both in burbs and in the big city, less than 10 minutes from downtown and just over a mile from Ikea (lots of shopping happened there!). I spent several years in Houston with it’s 2.3 million people and somehow ended up in a rural East Texas town with a population around 300. I’m pretty sure there are more cows than people here!

Do I like it? I do. I prefer living in small town Texas with the big city only an hour away instead of living in the city with the big country only an hour away.

Here are 10 reasons I treasure this little town and how it affects me.

1. Its s..l..o..w and therefore, makes me move slower and appreciate the passing of time more.

2. Lots of nature and very little traffic. On my 20 minute commute to work, I drive along a tree-lined highway and to the school parking lot without a single traffic light. Nope, not even one.

3. There are not a lot of places to shop (unless you are a huge fan of Wal-Mart or Lowes) and therefore, not a lot of impulse purchases. Um…I take that back, we have bought a couple of horses and cows that were not on the “list.”

4. Wide open spaces. My son has tons of space to run and play, which he prefers to screen time. We have even had a dump truck (our neighbor has one) drop a load of sand behind the house for a huge play area.

5. People look out for one another and that makes me feel safe. That and husband and my dogs.

6. People don’t seem to be concerned about trying to impress one another. I can be myself.

7. Surprisingly, there are a lot of talented artisans and craftsman in one small area. After Hurricane Harvey, our neighbor started from scratch and built a brand new house. Down the road is a bee farm with fresh honey. One of the music teachers makes quilts and jam and I am able to purchase pottery or jewelry from the actual hands that made it and when I do, there is always time to chat.

8. Community. I have found that for a small town there seems to be a lot to do. There is always an event or activity going on somewhere and at the annual Chrismas parade, there is always a front row seat! Speaking of community, as I write there are 3 kids running around in the yard, 2 high school kids getting paid to paint our fence and a neighbor talking to my husband on the front porch. People actually stop and talk to each other.

9. People are always willing to help. Whether it’s a natural disaster or someone adopting a child, people come together to meet the needs of the community.

10. Its home. The affection I have for my little town didn’t happen overnight. Initially, there was the culture shock and I did not think I would make it. Everything was so far away and I didn’t know anyone. In fact, when I got pregnant, I kinda freaked out about having a baby out in the sticks so we moved back to the burbs. However, before my son was 2 we were yearing for those wide open spaces and moved back. I don’t regret it one bit.

I would love to know where you live, if you like it and how it affects you. Please share!

Until next time…….be well.

Lori

Loving Less…….stuff

What is it that you just “LOVE?”

Of course, we love our spouses, children, families, and friends but what about that Netflix series, or that new sweater, Hobby Lobby, Starbucks, or your new phone? Do we love that too? The world wants us to love it all, be consumed with it all, and yes, spend money on it all.

With Valentine’s Day coming up fast, there is pressure to prove your love with stuff that can be loved.

I’m sure there are people scurrying here and there with anxiety increasing each day closer to February 14th to find that perfect card, box of chocolates, bouquet of flowers, dinner reservations or piece of jewelry that will express love. The idea is the more stuff, the bigger the price tag, the more love.

But really, does an expensive dinner at a gourmet restaurant mean more love than frozen pizza in your pajamas? Does a bouquet of roses professionally arranged and delivered mean more love than wildflowers from a field or a carnation from a gas station (gasp!)? I say let’s give the gift givers and gift receivers a break from all that nonsense. You don’t have to give the very best or most expensive gift, or for goodness sake, go into debt to express love.

What if we started loving less stuff and loving more connection, time, and experiences? What if we made the small stuff mean more? What if we made a hug worth more than a box of chocolates, a phone call worth more than a bouquet of flowers, or dancing in the kitchen worth more than a piece of jewelry?

What if we measured love in moments rather than dollars? What if love was accepting gestures and not expecting things? What if we accepted gestures of love instead of expecting purchases of love?

May you receive love on every day.

Until next time…..be well.

Lori

Welcome to..

Many years ago before we moved out to the country permanently, we noticed on weekend visits, Sundays were always awesome! In our relaxed and refreshed state, we would look at each other, smile and say, “Ahhhhh…..Sundays at the lake!” We would bask in the beauty of the day and resist packing up to go home to the city as long as possible. Now that we live here, it seems we still find ourselves wondering how it is that Sundays at the lake are still splendid.

As I work on making my blog more of a priority and considering writing more seriously, I thought each Sunday, or at least every other Sunday, would be a great time to share with you some things that have brought me joy, or encouragement, saved me time or money or just made me smile. I’m hoping Sundays at the Lake will do the same for you.

Here are a few things that have brought me joy……

Writing: I completed a class at Creative Live called Build a Successful, Creative Blog by April Bowles-Olin. April was a great presenter and I gained a wealth of information and a printable resource guide. I will definitely be going back to take more classes. If you are interested, keep you eyes open for sales. They often have classes at at signficantly reduced rates.

I also joined hope*writers, “a community of working writers dedicated to the success and creativity of each member.” I started in December and have already gained so much knowledge about writing from successful authors and encouragement from their Facebook community. If you are a writer, no matter what stage you are in, I encourage you to check them out!!

TV: I binge-watched Tidying up with Marie Kondo on Netflix. I read her book several years ago and it launched me into the world of simplifying and decluttering, plus an awesome way to fold almost anything! It was fascinating to see her in action. Her enthusiasm is contageous! I appreciated the way she was very respectful to each family and their home even when they struggled with letting go. Her methods might not suit everyone but they certainly “sparked joy” for me.

My son introduced me to a series, called Just Add Magic, he had seen at school. He quickly lost interest, but I was hooked! It’s a sweet show about 3 girls who discover a magic cookbook and begin cooking up recipes to solve mysteries. Just when I thought I had finished, another season is out!

I actually sat down and watched an entire movie. Dumplin stars Jennifer Aniston, is set in Texas, and has lots of music by and references to Dolly Parton. How could I not check it out. Y’all, it was just about the cutest movie ever. I laughed and cried and loved its message of strength and acceptance.

Health: I finally took the wrapper off the yoga mat I purchased last Spring and went to a class. It was tough! I was very sore after the first session but it was easier the second time. I have taken yoga in the past and I’m telling you, it’s amazing. I always feel better when I’m done. It’s an opportunity to breathe out all those negative thoughts and release the tension in your mind and your muscles. I leave standing a little taller and smiling a little wider! Yea Yoga!

Books: I swore this year I would just read one book at a time. I lasted one month. I read 2 books in January and now am reading not 1, not 2, but 3 books at the same time. I started The Minimalist Home by Joshua Becker and Soulful Simplicity by Courtney Carver on Audible. The 3rd book is one I’m reading for a “Book & Movie” club (initiated by my yoga instructor!). We are reading “Where’d You Go, Bernadette?” After we read it, the plan is to gather together and go see the movie. This is right up my alley!

Closet: I am forever working on Project 333. There are a few shirts in my closet that I have not worn in years but have not been able to let go of because they reminded me of fun times in my life. I finally donated them because letting go of the shirts does not extinguish the memories of those fun times.

Music: I made 2 new playlists. Dolly Parton (inspired by the movie Dumplin and Queen inspired by the release of the movie Bohemian Rhapsody. Queen has been one of my favorite bands since I was in elementary school. I remember making a cassette recording of the album “The Game,” taking my little tape player to 5th grade and sharing it with my friends at recess. I have not yet seen Bohemian Rhapsody but have watched every Queen documentary I can find. I love learning about their process of making the music come alive.

Podcasts: I love a good podcast. My current top 5 are: The Next Right Thing with Emily P. Freeman, The Lazy Genius by Kendra Adachi, For the Love with Jen Hatmaker, The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey, and 10 Things to Tell You by Laura Termaine.

A great family podcast is Truth Seekers: Bible Stories for Kids by Shirlyn R. Grant who I discovered on Instagram. My son and I listen to this podcast in the mornings on the way to school. Sherilyn is able to share and explain a bible story in a way that keeps both kids and adults engaged and ends each podcast with a thoughtful prayer. Its a great way for us to start the day.

Social Media: I am finding support from my Facebook groups, Introverted Mom’s Club, The Meal Plan – The Lazy Genius Cooperative, and hope*writers. I also have really enjoyed my new Instagram account. I’m still learning a lot about Instagram. (Thanks, Hilary Rushford for your free webinar.) I have made so many wonderful connections and found so many cool things. Drop by and say hello here!

I’d love to know what is bringing you joy.

Until next time, be well.

Lori

Waiting for the Sun

As I open my eyes, I run my tongue over cracks in my lips, and although I thirst for water, I sink back under the blankets.

As I peek out of my toasty cocoon, frost on the window hides the bleak scene of naked trees, their crumbling leaves scattering in the frigid wind.

I cringe as my bare feet meet the floor and shuffle to the coffee pot.

I continue my morning routine on auto-pilot.

Knowing it will be another bad hair day, I pull on a ball cap.

Stepping out into the cold with visible breath, my fingers quickly numbing even in gloves, I pull my coat tight around me. 

Sloshing through partially frozen mud, I make my way….waiting for the sun.

———————–

Written Winter 2011 – originally posted on  my first blog Permission to Dream Heart and Soul