Welcome to..

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

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.

 

 

Where to begin….

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So how am I going to accomplish this healthy heart and joyful soul? Which road should I travel first?

I’m going to start with creating a joyful soul because I have only recently admitted to my addiction of sodas and Hot Tamales and the healthy heart journey is going to be a lot harder!

On my path to a more joyful soul…..I started thinking about happiness vs. joy. I did a little research and there is some debate as to whether they are the same thing or not. Merriam-Webster considers them to be the same. It defines happiness as, “a a state of well-being and contentment joy” and defines joy as, “a state of happiness or felicity bliss.” Others describe happiness as superficial and temporary, a feeling that results from our reaction to another person or thing and joy as something bigger and longer lasting, something you create in yourself despite outside influences. I think it would be good to find happiness and joy but I’m going with Merriam-Webster and will use them to mean the same thing for ease and simplicity.

Speaking of simplicity, Sandra L. Brown M.A., in her article Joy vs. Happiness, refers to “voluntary simplicity.” A lifestyle adopted by her mother which eventually led from a life riddled with loss and pain to a place of joy. Voluntary simplicity sounds a lot like minimalism, and I know after years of attempting to simplify my life, minimalism is for me.

Rachel Jones defines minimalism as “intentionally getting rid of the excess in your life, so you can devote time and energy to the things that are truly important to you.” Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus, known as The Minimalists, have a lengthier and more comical definition here

I can tell you for me, having less has brought me much more joy than having excess and always being on the hunt for more. However, like many worthwhile things, it takes lots of effort to achieve and lots of self-control to maintain. Because of this, I’ve been working for years to rid my life of the excess of possessions. By the way, did you know the average American home has 300,000 things

While I don’t know if I had that many things, I know at one time I had enough stuff, even after giving a small mountain away, to fill a storage space I could have parked a car in. Even worse, I paid thousands of dollars to keep that stuff comfortable in a climate controlled unit. After eliminating thousands, maybe tens of thousands of items, from my home and office, the only thing I wish I had back was the the time and money I spent on the stuff. I even wrote about it, 8, yes, 8 years ago and I’m still working on it. Sometimes when you let your guard down, stuff tends to sneak back into your home.

I say enough with the stuff!!!

James Altucher writes about the joy minimalism brought him here. (His version of minimalism is too extreme for me!) And then there is Lydia Slater who tried minimalism and concluded, “Minimalism, I realised, wasn’t morally superior to the alternative, it was just another aesthetic choice. Nevertheless, I had learnt one really valuable lesson: I was under no obligation to hang on to things I didn’t like, just because I had spent money on them.”

It is what you make it.

I got started minimizing after reading The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing; however, the catalyst that really got me moving was Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things.  This film really lit a fire under me.

This journey has led me, not only to continue my quest to declutter, but to become more intentional about my purchases. I have started to challenge myself periodically with “no spend months” (essentials like food and gas are allowed!) inspired by Cait Flanders and her book, The Year of Less. I’m currently on my third attempt and it’s getting easier each time. What has been helpful is living in a very small house in the country…..not a lot of places for shopping and not a lot of space for storing or displaying. 

I have also developed a capsule wardrobe. Thank you, Courtney Carver! It’s basically having a few items that can easily be mixed and matched to create a variety of outfits. I guess as a girl I’m a little different……I don’t like to shop (except for books and cowboy boots) but seriously, shopping gives me anxiety…..heart racing type of anxiety. The decision fatigue nearly does me in whether its groceries or clothing, so having very few choices works well for me. This is not for the person who looks forward to going to her full and colorful closet and putting together an outfit with coordinating accessories. If this is you, please don’t stop! I want to enjoy the visual art of your ensemble, but I’m just a jeans and T-shirt kinda gal who owns 4 pairs of earrings and a modest collection of cowboy boots!

Minimalism has also help me open space and time for things that I truly enjoy. Simple things….writing, reading, and having awesome experiences with actual people. Like mountain biking with my son, eating delectable food with my sister, an impromptu hike in the woods with my family, talking with my friend for hours at her kitchen counter, hanging out at the youth rodeo chatting with neighbors, and dancing in the kitchen with my husband. For me these are awesome things!

This is my journey to do more of those things. I want to do more of what I really enjoy instead of just dreaming about it. I’ve been dreaming for a long time and now I’m ready to make some significant changes in what I do and how I think. Too many times I have found myself idle, letting the days pass by. I want to do more things that make me happy but I also want to create a joyful soul that can endure and rise out of the inevitable pain and disappointments that come with this human life.

So for now, I will continue to declutter (I’m in the middle of the 30 day mimimalism game), have at least one awesome experience a week and contact a nutritionist……

Until next time…..

Be well,

Lori

P.S. If you are interested in learning more about minimalism Joshua Becker’s website is a good place to start.

 

A New Journey Begins…….

A New Journey Begins…….

It’s been far too long since I last spent time blogging….. but I’ve been navigating my 40s, the parenting world, small town living, and farm life for the last 7 years. Additionally, with the explosion of the blogging world and all the changes in technology, I have been a little intimidated about jumping back in. I have worked toward hitting the publish button little by little but thanks to the talented Kylie McClendon for creating my beautiful logo and Rachel Hollis’ book, “Girl, Wash Your Face,” I’m doing it. Guess I needed a beautiful sign and a kick in the pants to get going. So here I go….jumping back in ready or not.

This blog is the next chapter in my journey. Permission to Dream Heart and Soul, my first blog, was the beginning. My head and heart were full of dreams and fortunately, it was a time when I had very few responsibilities. I was free to dream and explore and set out on adventures…..and it was all great fun. While life, now, is not quite as free, with the right tools and a good attitude, I’m hoping I can continue to make it great fun.

So here begins the journey….a journey to find simple tools to build a healthy heart and joyful soul, a quest to minimize my stuff and maximize my life, become more grounded, more responsible, and still find joy in day to day life.

Be well,

Lori