DNF: Did Not Finish

Have you ever jumped into a “classic” or “trending” book everyone is raving about only to find you just can’t get excited about it? You continue plodding through page by page even though it’s a little like torture. You find yourself thinking about all the other books you would like to be reading but you HAVE to finish! You make yourself keep reading. 

This has happened to me on several occasions, most recently with A Wrinkle in Time. I pushed and pushed and finally, about 100 pages in, I decided to call it quits. What is wrong with me?!! What is with the book guilt? Why am I feeling like a failure because I could barely make it through 100 pages of an award winning book?

I asked a Facebook group and received many responses that felt like the permission I needed to put down the book and move on to the next one. In a nutshell, they agreed, life is too short and there are too many good books out there to trudge through one that is not exciting on inspiring to you. 

I have a habit of reading more than one book at a time, so when I am forcing myself to read a book where I’m not tearing through the pages, I feel like I’m kinda robbing myself of time I could be reading a book I enjoy, one that I can’t wait to see what the last page holds but am sad when it actually ends. For me, two books where this was the case are My Sister’s Keeper and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

So if you are currently reading a book that is dull or uninspiring, here is your permission to put it down and move on to greener pastures! 

I’d love to know….What books have you not finished? What book could you not put down?

Until next time…..be well!

Sundays at the Lake Newsletter – September 2019

Hello! I hope this newsletter finds your heart and soul well.

In an attempt to share information in a simplistic style, I am going to “steal” the format of Austin Kleon’s newsletter. Mr. Kleon is the author of Steal Like an Artist, Show Your Work and Keep Going. If you are a creative, I encourage you to check out his books. I don’t think you will be disappointed.

Here are 10 things that are currently bringing me enjoyment or value in no particular order.

1. In my last post I mentioned Mel Robbins‘ Audible Original, Get Control of Your Life. This audiobook and printable workbook have given me direction and motivation to get moving on my goals. Additionally, I have found myself being far more productive. Next, I plan on reading her book, The 5 Second Rule

2. Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries on Netflix. I have thoroughly enjoyed watching Phryne Fisher, Australia’s leading lady detective, solve mysteries. Netflix describes her as a glamorous and thoroughly modern woman of the 1920s. I love a good murder mystery, a history lesson, and fabulous costumes. Here is a Pinterest page just about the costumes. 

3. hope*writers Tuesday Teaching – these mini-workshops with editors, agents, authors, and professionals in marketing, have been invaluable. To get information directly from professionals who are currently writing or in the writing business, has encouraged me and given me more direction than I think I could get anywhere else. I was so excited to finally to be able to tune in live last week with Jo Saxton. Looking forward to watching the ones I missed and tuning in to future teachings.

4. Water, fruits, and vegetables – When I make the good stuff easily accessible (cut up in a bowl on the counter) I will eat it! When I load up on the good stuff, there seems to be less room and less desire for the bad stuff.

5. Exercise – I am wanting to lose some pounds and firm up my muscles so I can be healthy and feel comfortable in my clothes. I started out walking, swimming, and doing water aerobics. I have also taken a liking to Jenny Fisher’s 15 minute workouts. You can find her on Facebook and Instagram. I’m trying a Pilates class next week. I’m not really sure what you do in Pilates, but as long as there are no choreographed dance steps I should be ok. I’m very uncoordinated. Long ago when I did Jazzercise, I was always about 4 steps behind everyone else and going the wrong way.

6. Playing Lego City Undercover with my son – This has been so much fun for both of us.  Two can play at once as you go undercover to hunt down an escaped criminal. If you are looking for a fun action game that doesn’t have cursing, sex, and gore, check this one out. 

7. My cast iron skillet. I love this thing and even though I have to wash it by hand and coat it with vegetable oil, I use it nearly every day. Cook, clean, repeat. It’s great for everything from chicken to cornbread.

8. Pilot Precise V5 RT pens – I’m a little obsessed with pens. Well, with office supplies in general. I first found one of these pens in my husband’s truck and although, I typically don’t like a fine tip pen, I love the way this one flows on the paper!

9. By His Grace Podcast – The multi-talented Misty Phillip interviews women who share how they were able to overcome seasons of adversity with God’s grace. I look forward to each new episode and have never been disappointed. If you are struggling, here you will find that you are not stuggling alone. Episodes are typically 30 minutes or less.

10. Jeff Goins‘ book, You are a Writer (So Start Acting Like One). This book is a quick read, yet chock full of information you will benefit from on your journey as a writer. It is a great resource for beginning writers. One of my favorite quotes from the book is, “Believe you are already what you want to be. And then starting acting like it.” Get your highlighter ready. I guarantee you will be taking lots of notes!

I hope there is something from this list you will find enjoyable or valuable. If you do please let me know. I’d love to hear from you.

Until next time, be well.

Lori

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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.

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

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.

Giving Thanks After the Turkey is Gone

Ahhh….its November. The air is crisp and cool. It’s time for sweaters, boots, and pumpkin spice exploding from coffee, to candles, to Frosted Flakes and Cheerios!

Thanksgiving is quickly approaching. A day set aside long ago to give thanks to God for all of our blessings. In 1863, Abraham Lincoln proclaimed Thanksgiving to be the last Thursday in November, describing its purpose as “a day of Thanksgiving and Praise for our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.”

When I think of Thanksgiving day, I think of all my senses being roused…red, yellow, orange and brown leaves scattered in the yard, a warm fire and hugs from family members who I haven’t seen in a while, delicious smells drifting from the kitchen, gathering around the table for prayer and then the much anticipated tastes of turkey, dressing, and sweet potato pie, and then resting with a good nap and the sounds of football games in the background. This day alone is something to be grateful for.

Sadly, right on the heels of all that gratitude, Black Friday emerges, like a wicked witch left over from Halloween using tricks and spells (e.g., advertising) to lure people into darkness (e.g., debt). A day when retailers entice you with a free TV or Instant Pot knowing good and well frenzied shoppers will end up spending money they don’t have on stuff they don’t need. A day when people who have camped out in in front of stores will then trample old ladies and small children to get the trending gadgets or toys. Just Google “Black Friday chaos” or watch the first few minutes of Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things, it seems holiday shopping has turned into the Hunger Games! It’s so out of control, someone has dedicated a website documenting deaths and injuries on Black Friday. I don’t know about you, but I’ll pass on the ticket for that crazy train.

What I love doing on the day after Thanksgiving is lighting a candle, making some hot chocolate, and cuddling up on the couch with a warm blanket and a good book. I’m currently reading The Cozy Minimalist and Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less just came in the mail so I am set for days of reading! If you are looking for ideas other than risking your life on Black Friday try one of these:

  1. Attempt a new recipe with your leftovers.
  2. Clean out a closet – see if there are any coats or socks that you might be able to donate. 
  3. Make hot chocolate and play an old school board game with your family.
  4. Visit people who might be lonely in nursing homes or hospitals.
  5. Create a Turquoise Table and invite your neighbors over.
  6. Put on your favorite holiday music and start decorating for Christmas.
  7. Make popcorn, do that bluetooth thing on your TV and watch the videos on your phone.
  8. Choose a charity to support. I love what Two Blind Brothers are doing this year.
  9. Get outside and take a walk in nature. Florence Williams, explains how it makes us happier, healthier, and more creative in her book, The Nature Fix.
  10. Rest and have another day of thanks.

And speaking of having another day of thanks….I always wonder why we save only one day a year for this celebration. What if we tried to celebrate “thanksgiving” even after the turkey is gone? In her book, One Thousand Gifts, Ann Voskamp states, “As long as thanks is possible, then joy is always possible.”  

When I take time thank God for all the blessings in my life and actually write a few down, I really do feel joy. However, it also makes me think about how I might try being a blessing to others…..by giving.  

It doesn’t have to cost money, it could be the gift of time, words of encouragement, a hug or simply a smile. It doesn’t have to be a big production, you could just be “secretly incredible” like Bob Goff.  

In the book of Acts, the Apostle Paul recalls the words of Jesus, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” The importance of giving is emphasized several times in the Bible, it can be found in quotes by Gandhi, Winston Churchill, Anne Frank, Mother Teresa, Eleanor Roosevelt and St. Francis of Assisi to name a few. Additionally, several scientific studies have found that the act of giving has numerous benefits including joy. 

It seems that the sum of gratitude and selfless giving is joy.  Thanks + giving = joy.

Wouldn’t it be great if we pushed this concept up higher on our priority list, it had a snowball effect, and our joy started spilling over to everyone we encountered?

I hope whatever you decide to do this Thanksgiving, it brings you joy.

Until next time…….Be Well.

 

This post can also be seen at No Sidebar.