Where do you live?

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

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