Spring is Coming!

Spring is Coming!

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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

Christmas Favorites

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.

 

 

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