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

Looking Back and Moving Forward

I’ve been spending some time thinking about the last 12 months and what has led me to where I am in this new year. Of course, my family, friends, and the many blessings I have received have been key, but as I look back I have noticed the many “breadcrumbs” that led me on a journey and helped me achieve many goals and hold on to joy even when circumstances tried to steal it from me.

I started 2018 wanting to continue on my journey to minimize spending and accumulating possessions, but I wanted to be happier and more content. So 10% Happier and The Year of Less were a great start. I then started reading simply for enjoyment, no need to take notes or have a highlighter handy. The women whose stories are told in Breaking Night and The Hiding Place demonstrated even the biggest obstacles can be overcome when you keep your faith and let God lead the way.

During the summer, after a co-worker posted a great review, I pulled Girl, Wash Your Face off my wishlist, into my cart and waited anxiously for it to arrive. I quickly read through each chapter. Mind blown! It gave me new perspective, made me step out and “do something” even if it wasn’t perfect or pretty. I set up a new blog and submitted an article to No Sidebar. I didn’t really expect anything to happen and then while reviewing my emails one day, I was notified they accepted my article! I kid you not, my heart leap and I nearly fell out of my chair. Soon, there is was, in digital print, my name and the article I wrote on one of my favorite websites! I promise that article would still be hiding in a journal without the kick in the pants from Rachel Hollis. Thank you Rachel!! Thank you No Sidebar!!

No Sidebar has become like a home base for me and has left breadcrumbs connecting me to many great resources and other writers with common interests. I connected personally with Erica Layne and her Life on Purpose Movement and Introverted Mom’s Club on Facebook and Cheryl Smith and her many inspirational articles.

The Simple Show podcast is a favorite and I listen to it often. It was been a huge factor in my growth during 2018. This is my go to “breadcrumb factory.” Tsh Oxenrider’s interviews have led me to numerous influential people and places. Two favorites being The Lazy Genius Cooperative and Emily P. Freeman and her podcast The Next Right Thing. Thanks Tsh!

By October, I was coasting…I was connecting with people through my blog, writing and meeting many of my goals. All was good…I had a routine and everything seemed to be falling into place. Then that Bermuda Triangle of holidays happened. I was traveling, trying to tie up loose ends at work before the break, cramming candy and costumes, a turkey, presents, and a Christmas tree into a few months. I fell off every wagon I had climbed onto. I know now I gave myself too much to focus on at once. I had too many expectations and not a lot of flexibility. I was spending too much on stuff I didn’t need, eating too much, my routine was out the window, I was cramming in lots of commitments because they were “for a good cause” and stress and anxiety snuck back into my life.

All I had worked for seemed so far away and I didn’t know how I would get back. As I sit here writing, I’m still not back there. My tree is still up there are piles of laundry on the floor and dishes in the sink. The beef stroganoff I made was a complete fail and I’m still nursing my back I pulled out on Christmas Eve. But you know what? Those wagons that I was coasting on? They are still there, just waiting for me to hop back on and steer them and I can’t wait to clear a path and do it!

Although, I got off track and things are still a bit chaotic I’m feeling really good about moving forward in 2019. I don’t have a “word” or list of resolutions for this year. I’m working on more of a mission statement inspired by a quote from the book Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less,which reads, “By investing in fewer things we have the satisfying experience of making significant progress in the things that matter most.”

If you are still pondering words and resolutions I say toss them out. It’s been reported 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail by February anyway! Instead, figure out what it is you really want to do and….

  • Make a mission statement.
  • Write a few obtainable goals, take an inventory in a few months and dont be afraid to change them.
  • Look for breadcrumbs and follow them!
  • Get a pack of gold star stickers and display your achievements – even the small ones.
  • Don’t beat yourself up if something doesn’t work out. Something bigger and better might be just around the corner.
  • If you fall off your wagon, dust yourself off, and just get back on. Don’t wait until the 1st of the month, or a Monday, just start over even if its 3:17 on Tuesday.
  • Don’t be afraid to change midway through the journey. Life is not static, it’s always changing and we are always growing and learning.
  • Don’t put yourself into a box trying to be something other than yourself.

Each one of us has a special gift. Please don’t think what you do is insignificant. There is someone out there waiting to read your story, wear your jewelry, hear your song, display your art, eat your cupcakes, or maybe something as simple as sit on your lap and listen to you read a story.

We all have a light, let 2019 be the year to let yours shine.

Be well,

Lori

Published at No Sidebar on 1/1/0/19.

Christmas Favorites

Ahhhh, the glorious Christmas season is upon us and it seems like in only a blink it will be gone. It’s easy to miss out on the joy the season can bring and to get overwhelmed with all that accompanies the short period of time between Thanksgiving and Christmas Day…the decorating, mailing Christmas cards, purchasing gifts, traveling, events, parties, etc. etc. I’m really trying to be purposeful this year and enjoy each day and each thing that I do. 

Here are a few things, I really enjoy doing during the holidays that don’t involve a lot of time, a lot of planning, or a lot money. 

A quiet room, a warm blanket, a burning candle and good book. I’m currently reading Essentialism and Cozy Minimalist Home and anxiously awaiting to settle in with, the soon to be released, A Minimalist Home. 

Cuddling up with my kiddo reading our holiday favorite, Stick Man. There is also an animated version of this book on Netflix.

Friends and family, hot chocolate or chai latte, Gingerbread cookies from Subway, and a fun game or good conversation or both! Can’t wait to try out the game Convers(ate)!

A late night drive (late for me is anything after 8:00pm!) to look at Christmas lights and listen to Christmas music. I’m loving JJ Heller’s Christmas music this year.

Christmas movies and Jiffy Pop popcorn.  A Christmas Story is a must and this year we got a kick out of The Christmas Chronicles

I’m not much for parties, but I love our Hometown Christmas Parade. Small town parades are the best. You always get a spot in the front.

Being awakened Christmas morning (hopefully later than 3 am!) to the excitement and the joy in the barely open eyes of a little boy in awe of what Santa left under the tree.

Of course, I love taking time to remember that long ago and mother and father welcomed their precious baby boy to the world he came to save. This is our second year to hang ornaments on our Jesse tree and read Bible stories that lead up to Christmas Day. 

However you spend your holiday season (comment below and tell me!), I wish you peace, love, and joy.

Until next time…… Be Well,

Lori

P. S. I just got an Instagram account! Stop by and visit.