Sundays at the Lake – October 2019

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

Ahhhh, October….makes you think of crisp leaves, cool breezes, pulling out your cozy sweaters and jackets, and pumpkin spice EVERYTHING! 

Except if you live in Texas…..where we are still having summer. We are still sweating profusely, just walking to the mailbox. A friend and I recently had lunch and did a little window shopping. We admired the beautiful sweaters and jackets in warm fall colors on display, while still in shorts and sandals. Most of us still have not put away our swimsuits.

I just know the cool air is coming and I’ll be able to pull out my cowboy boots, the ones that don’t have dirt all over them, my sweaters, jackets, and puffer vests and sip hot chocolate as the leaves fall off the trees. I can’t wait. Fall is wonderful.

Here are 10 other things I think are wonderful and are currently bringing me enjoyment or value in no particular order.

1. The 5 Second Rule –  You guys…..this is a game changer. In this book Mel Robbins, explains WHY the 5 second rule works and how to incorporate it into your day to day activities. She gives a ton of examples of how it has worked for her and others. 

I’ve been using it to do the things I don’t feel like doing or am afraid to do and its working (most of the time)! I have started getting out of bed at 4:40 am. Yes, before 5 am! It’s not easy and many days I FEEL like sleeping in but I just count….5, 4, 3, 2, 1….. and pull off the covers and put my feet only floor. Doing this, I have almost 2 HOURS to myself each morning. My husband is usually just leaving for work as my alarm is going off. I use this time to enjoy hot coffee, write down at least 3 things I am grateful for, write in my prayer journal and read my bible. I start a load of laundry, get dressed, and put breakfast on the table. The result: Mornings this year are going much better than last year. I used to roll out of bed and scramble to get everything done and be ready to go on time. There was shouting and tears and we were usually late. I have found that when I start my morning early and in a relaxing way, I have plenty of time to get myself dressed before I wake up my son and we get out the door with smiles on our faces and time to spare! 

2. Using a timer to get things done – Sometimes the piles of laundry waiting to be folded or dishes that need to be loaded and unloaded seems just too much and I walk away thinking, “I’ll just do it later.”  However,  if I set a timer for 15 minutes, I am always amazed how much I get done. Most of the time, I beat the timer. A good playlist helps too.

3. The Roosevelts: An Intimate History on Netflix – This is not something I would typically watch. My husband, a big history buff, was watching it and I joined him. I soon became very interested and have gone on to watch more episodes. History was a dreaded class in jr. high, high school and college. Ken Burns has a way of presenting it where it is actually enjoyable.  

4. Inside Bill’s Brain: Decoding Bill Gates on Netflix – I’m a bit on the nerdy side and love documentaries. This one has only 3 episodes so you don’t have to worry about loosing a week of your life if you binge watch. I was fascinated learning about Bill Gates’s childhood, early years at Microsoft, and current projects of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. I was inspired to get involved in some cause to make a change. I might not be eradicating Polio in Africa or solving sewage problems in developing countries, but I know something small can mean something big to someone somewhere.  

5. Audible Original, The Mystwick School of Musicraft by Jessica Khoury – My son and I have really enjoyed this musical audiobook. It’s geared toward young readers, but I loved it. We listened in the car  on the way to and from school, but I couldn’t help myself and listened to the ending before my son heard it. I had to find out how the story ended! I’m definitely going to check out more books by Jessica Khoury. 

6. Carbon B&W Studio, Snapseed, and Enlight Pixaloop photography apps – After a very informative workshop on iPhone photography, I finally dusted off my DSLR and sold it. For now, I’m just going to use my phone. I feel new life has been breathed into my desire to get back into photography! I’m anticipating trading in my current phone for the new iPhone 11 Pro and lenses for it. I’m looking at these 2 brands: Moment Gear and Sandmarc. If anyone has other suggestions please let me know.

7. Sunday, our new baby foal. Last month, our mare, Ruby, had a baby. She was born on a Sunday, hence the name, Sunday. Although, she was not planned (sometimes your neighbor has a crazy stud horse that will jump fences looking for a lady friend) we are happy she is healthy. She is precious and soft, frisky, and curious. Like a human baby, she is mouthing everything and curiously checking out new things while staying close to mama. It’s quite entertaining to watch her explore. 

8. Rudy Ruettiger: The Walk On on Prime Video. Yes, another documentary! Like the Bill Gates documentary, this was entertaining and inspirational. I don’t know if you have seen the movie Rudy, but it’s one we have watched over and over and every time I get choked up and cry. What I love about Rudy is his determination. I’m getting curious and want to look more into what makes one person so determined and another person give up. My favorite quote in this documentary is this: “Your key to dreaming is confidence. People don’t care how smart you are. They wanna know how much you care.” 

9. Rodan + Fields – I have been avoiding buying this for years. Everyone I know who has tried it has given great reviews. So, when I met Cathy, a lifestyle blogger and R+F consultant in my writing group, I asked her for some samples and ended up purchasing the Redefine Regimen and Redefine AMP MD system. So far, I have been very pleased. I have been using it for one month and although, I have not seen any dramatic changes, my face feels smoother. Growing up on Texas beaches, I spend a lot of time in the sun, using baby oil to get a super dark tan, so my skin has taken a beating over the years. I’m not expecting to have my wrinkles vanish and look like I’m 20, just wanting to reduce lines and wrinkles and have healthier skin. I’m also enjoying the morning and nighttime ritual of self care. 

10. Scrivener – This has been a game changer for me as a writer. I have been toting around notebooks and scraps of paper filled with quotes, random notes, and ideas for blog posts, presentations and books. This software has helped me eliminate all the paper and organize everything in one place.

I’d love to know what you are finding enjoyable and valuable. Please share!  

Until next time……be well.

Lori

Hello, Fall!

I know Fall is coming when I start hearing acorns drop from the trees and tumble down our tin roof. It is a very comforting sound that brings with it visions of flannel shirts, jackets, boots, hot chocolate and curling up on the couch with a good book and the sound of  football in the background…all the cozy comforts of being at home on a cool, crisp day. It’s always a welcomed change after what seems like an eternity of 90 plus degrees with humidity you can cut with a knife.

I can’t believe September has come and gone so quickly. I gave myself quite a number of goals to work on and all in all, I think I did pretty well. It wasn’t perfect, but its progress. I also discovered some things about myself along the way.

September goal wrap up: What worked, what didn’t. (For details about goals, you can check out this post and this post.)

  • Controlling my Anger: The thought of hammering a nail in my fence worked. No mommy temper tantrums. Now that is not to say I was Mary Poppins, all smiles and songs. I did raise my voice a couple of times and toss a utensil in the sink with a little extra force, but no melt-downs!  
  • 52 Weeks of Thanks: I mailed out 2 cards this month and have a third one ready to go out tomorrow. 
  • Water: I’m up to 20 oz a day working on 30. I know this is not great but its a start.
  • Taking a Lunch to Work: I got off to a bad start. I forgot my lunch at home several times but ordered a cute new bag for less than $10 that sits next to my purse reminding me to get my lunch out of the fridge. Since then I’ve done well. I’ve also completed my 3rd consultation with a nutritionist helping me establish some healthy eating habits. This is the cookbook she recommended for me. I have done pretty well, but still have days I fall off the wagon and eat a bunch of junk, like a child running loose in Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. I also ordered The Meal Plan from the Lazy Genius to help simplify the bottomless pit of meal planning. It was only offered for a limited time but if you listen to her podcasts or read her blog she tells you how its done, and I think its….well….genius! I’m working on a post about nutrition to share with you what I have learned. That should be up later in October after my last consultation.
  • Blog Posts: My goal was 2 posts a month and this will be my 3rd because I AM LOVING WRITING!!! I am so thankful for No Sidebar and The Houston Flood Project for my very first publications and thankful for all of you who have visited my site, read my posts, liked or commented and have started following. I hope to find out more about you as I continue this journey.
  • Road Trip: No road trip this month. We had a short one planned but the rain kept us home. I have a couple ideas for next month. My goal is to put them in my calendar and do them!!
  • Read the Bible: I missed the first 4 days in Sept but caught up quickly. I’m using the Read the Bible in a Year reading plan that is in my Bible. Sometimes I miss on the weekends but I make them up on Monday. 
  • Time: I have done pretty well not wasting time. The Moment app has helped but some days I am just dog tired and don’t want to do anything but waste time. The newest update on my iPhone included an app called Screen Time. I’m liking that as well.
  • Money: I have not tracked my spending at all this month so I don’t have a good measure. I can say; however, that my when I have made purchases other than necessities, its been for experiences or something needed to achieve a goal and not for useless stuff or impulse purchases. I’ll make October my baseline.
  • Trash: I haven’t counted how many bags of trash I have produced each day, but I did forget to take the container out to the curb one week on trash day (We have pick up once a week.) and was able to fit 2 weeks of trash in the container that used to fit only one. I also bought a water filter and while it takes a little effort to refill, I haven’t minded because I know it’s worth it.
  • List of 10 Things I Want To Do: I have my list written – I have not completed anything on the list but have started to make progress toward some of those things. I’ll be sharing that later as well and really want to know what is on your list.

What I have planned for October….

In addition to continuing my current goal list, I’m wanting to try some new templates and jazz up my site a bit. It’s starting to feel a little like home and I want to decorate! I’m also itching to add my own photos to blog posts like the one on this post. I was a very active and successful amateur photographer for about 20 years and then after I got pregnant and had my son, I simply lost interest and sold all my outdated camera equipment. I’m going to purchase some basic equipment and I’m hoping to get that feeling of flow I used to get when shooting, the same one I now get when I’m writing. I’m also looking to re-open my Etsy shop.

I’d love to know about your goals and if you are making progress toward achieving them.

Until next time, Be Well!

Lori

Goals: A Blueprint for Change

After reading a post at Lein’s Frugal Life in which she listed out her goals, I decided it would be good to actually put some goals in writing. Seeing what I am working towards on paper will probably help me to be more accountable. So here it goes.

Instead of lofty goals, I have written smaller goals I feel like I can achieve and get some momentum going for the more lofty ones. I don’t want to be overwhelmed  and quit so I’m only starting with a few.

1) Reeling in my temper.

In a previous postI wrote about my adult temper tantrums! I often feel that my anger is justified and often, without thinking, spew and rant and then later, feel really guilty for being a jerk. There is a story floating around the internet about a boy with a bad temper and his father’s solution. The father has the boy hammer a nail in the fence every time he loses his temper and then pull one out when he is able to hold his temper. Eventually he is able to control his temper and pull out all of the nails. However, he is made aware of the holes remaining in the fence.

Words in anger do leave emotional scars. I have read that eventually those wounds can  be healed and the scars can fade, but I’d really like to stop inflicting them. So, for the month of September I will open my tool box and start hammering….or not! I’m hoping that the thought of having to hammer a nail in my fence and leave a hole will make me take a breath and calm my emotions before spewing. I should also get back to my book Triggers: Exchanging Parents’ Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses.

2) Complete my 52 Weeks of Thanks project:

I started this project in 2015 and made almost no progress……talk about procrastination!! I been blessed to have so many wonderful people in my life who have been loving or kind, who have inspired me or encouraged me, who have welcomed me and accepted me, and who have been there during good times and bad. I really want to express my gratitude to them and do so in writing. I started this project a long time ago and sent only one letter and have only just recently completed my 2nd letter. So starting in September, my goal is to send 1 written expression of gratitude a week for my remaining 50 weeks. I bet I can even use an app on my phone to help remind me.

3) Nutritional related goals

I love good food, but don’t especially like to cook. Living out in the sticks, doesn’t provide a lot of options when eating out or grocery shopping, so I wanted to learn to make healthy choices and cook simple meals that would benefit my family, my health, and my waistline. One goal was to meet with a nutritionist to get started. I have had my first of 4 consultations at Advice for Eating. My homework is to write down everything I eat for 3 days. I tell you, it’s a pretty sad list. Especially since I am making the transition from stay at home mom to working mom as the school year gets started. Let just say, the cupboard was almost bare. Fish sticks anyone??? I have also noticed that I need to drink more water. Some days the only liquid I consume is coffee, soda and the water I guzzle before bed because my body is screaming for it. I am very aware that if I don’t bring a lunch to work, I will pick up Taco Bell or Burger King – cheap and fast and not healthy at all. So for the month of September, I will increase my water intake and bring a lunch to work. More nutrition goals to come after my second consultation.

4) Write at least 2 blog posts a month.

I have about a dozen unfinished blog posts hanging out on my computer and making time to complete them is all I need. Sometimes I need time to do more research or just time to type it all out. I have time, I do. Unfortunately, its often wasted doing unproductive activities. (I’m working on that post for next time.) I would also like to start adding one of my own photos to each post, especially since photography was my outlet for so long. Beginning in September, I will carve out a chunk of time several times a week to finish these posts and maybe a chunk of time to set out with my camera.

5) Take even a short road trip once a month.

Oh, how I love a good road trip! I love the open road with “off the beaten path” stops along the way. Texas is vast and diverse in history and culture and climate so unlike my eating options in my small town, my big state is a cornucopia of opportunities for adventures on the road. My son’s current requests are The Bluebell Ice Cream Factory in Brenham and  The Dr. Pepper Museum in Waco. I’m ready to hit the road! As I write this I can almost hear crinkles of a roadmap – does anyone remember those days?

Please share your favorite road trip destinations!

6) Read the Bible again.

I love, love, love to read. I joined a family member and began a New Year’s resolution to read at least one book a month. I started out pacing myself pretty well and I have read 13 books since January. (Three of those are chapter books my son and I have read together. It’s been such fun re-reading books from my childhood.) Then things got crazy and I am now in the middle of 3 books and my Amazon wish list keeps growing. I am at a point of being overwhelmed trying to read them all. So what I would like to do is get back to just reading one book and make it “The Good Book.” Someone once told me they thought the Bible was boring. Having already read it once, I can tell you its got more drama than a whole season of The Real Housewives! This living book has provided me with guidance and understanding to so many of my big questions. YouVersion has a great app that will guide my reading journey. I also love the “P.O.W.E.R. tool” you can download over at Biblical Minimalism. I will be using this to track several of my goals.

I have been delighted to see how far this blog has reached all over the world and so curious to see what goals y’all (I’m a Texan!) are working to achieve.  Please share your goals and your progress.

Until next time, Be Well!

Coming soon: Waste Not Want Not: Time, Money, and Trash