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

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 me to earn a little commission without any cost to you.

Being Brave

In my last post, I talked about being brave and writing more authentically, despite my fears of feeling exposed and vulnerable. Sometimes writing the words seems hard and I want to quit because it requires stepping out into the public eye. My introverted self doesn’t like to be in the spotlight. I’m the person who thinks the background singer or the drummer has the best job….the one in the background!! 

I keep second guessing myself, but then remember that when God calls you to do something, it’s not necessarily going to be easy. Of course, then I second guess the calling!! 

Putting words on paper (or a computer screen) doesn’t seem exceptionally hard, but every single word is like a little piece of yourself, something you created being sent out there for people to read and judge. 

Luckily, I have come across a woman whose bravery is so big it makes me feel silly about my fears. Her bravery inspires me to move forward and keep writing. Her name is Lizzie Velasquez. Lizzie is a worldwide motivational speaker and author. She has a TEDtalk with over 9 million views and an amazing documentary. I don’t know Lizzie personally, but from what I have seen, despite her tiny body (due to a syndrome that keeps her from gaining weight), she has a huge personality. She is smart and funny and I’d let her come style my closet any day! Plus, she is a Texan girl like me.

When Lizzie was in high school, she came across a YouTube video entitled, “The World’s Ugliest Woman.” She clicked on the link and was shocked to see images of herself! She was crushed after reading hundreds of hateful comments calling her a monster, saying that her parents should have aborted her, or that she should kill herself! After many, many tears, her sadness eventually turned into anger and she fought back in a most brave way. She began her own YouTube channel! Talk about being in the spotlight. She should be called the BRAVEST woman in the world!

Lizzie decided not to let her outward appearance or negative comments define her. She said she would use those comments to fuel a fire and move forward to become a better person. She wanted to fight back with her accomplishments and use negativity as a ladder to achieve her goals. You know what? It worked!! 

I encourage you to watch her TEDtalk, her documentary and visit her YouTube channel. I have no doubt, you will be moved and inspired by her honesty and yes, her bravery. 

In the words of Lizzie Velasquez, “Brave starts here!”

Thanks Lizzie!  

Until next time…..be well and be brave!

Lori

Just wanted to let you know that 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 me to earn a little commission without any cost to the reader.

Into the Deep End

My son is learning to swim. He is now able to cross over the ropes into the deep end (closely supervised!) without a life jacket. He boldly jumps in and bubbles back up to the surface wearing expressions of excitement, uncertainty, and a little bit of fear. He takes a breath, puts his face in the water, swims to the edge, climbs the ladder and goes in again. His strokes are still clumsy but he is making great progress.

As a writer, I’ve been avoiding crossing over to the deep end. It’s safe over here in the shallow end where my feet can touch the bottom, writing about topics like laundry, cooking, great deals I found on Amazon, and what I’m reading. Every now and then, with great trepidation, I move a little closer to the deep end and publish something that requires a bit of vulnerability, but not quite over the ropes, where I’m more susceptible…..to drown. 

I have poured out my heart writing pages and pages about anxiety and panic attacks, feeling isolated without a circle of friends, introversion, dealing with life’s unexpected curve balls, not living up to expectations, and abandoning crazy dreams for something safe…..all the topics that require me to drift into open water allowing all my imperfections and struggles to be exposed but I have not published them.

Brene’ Brown, vulnerability expert, says, “Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it.” 

So I am just going to have to jump in and experience the uncertainty and fear along with the excitement because I feel called to share. Maybe what I write will resonate with at least one person and let them know they are not alone.

And if I feel like I’m going under, if the vulnerability feels too heavy, I’ll just take a breath, put my face in the water and swim….even if my strokes are clumsy.

Deciding to Live in Color

Making a career change had been floating around in the back of my mind for several years; but, I had a good job with a secure paycheck, it was my security blanket. It seemed reckless to think about giving that up. Unfortunately, my security blanket was starting to suffocate me. In the middle of my 20th year as a speech-language pathologist in the public schools, the stirring in my soul for something different became uncomfortable. My job was lacking in providing me any creative outlets and as a supervisor, I was working less with the students and more at my computer churning out reports and preparing paperwork for meetings. Much like the man in the short film “Alike,” I felt like I was turning gray.

My career had been a good one. I enjoyed the people I worked with and the students I served, but I couldn’t ignore my desire to write and connect with people about issues other than speech and language disorders. I needed a place to dump all the words and ideas from my head and send them out into the universe. Like Rachel Hollis says in Girl, Wash Your Face, “So I have two choices, I can write down words and send them out into the world and hope they find a home. Or I can hide my light under a bushel because I’m too afraid someone won’t like the glare.” I wondered, “What if God has given me a light to share with others?”

It was a big decision and a big move, so I prayed for guidance. I was excited thinking about writing. It would allow me to be creative, interact more with my writing groups, have a flexible schedule, work from home, and take better care of myself and my family. I prayed for God to send me signs to know if I was making the right decision and folks, its started raining signs.

First I got this in my Facebook feed and then I came across the same quote on an actual sign in a store!

and I started reading this…

and then I came across this…

Maybe the Heavens thought I wasn’t getting the message kinesthetically or visually and I needed a sign in audio! In this podcast, Emily P. Freeman discusses ending her career as a sign language interpreter to write and she references Greg McKeown’s book!

I pondered……”What is essential? What is the next right thing?” I was feeling pretty certain that it was time for me to make a change, but I was scared. For several months, I let fear push me around like a playground bully and all the “what ifs” took over. What if I make the wrong decision? What if I quit and end up regretting it? What if I fail and let everyone down and look like a fool? What if….what if……what if? It was making me crazy until I changed my perspective with the help of Emily P. Freeman.

The Next Right Thing was being published as a book and I was accepted to the launch team. This gave me the ability to read the book before it was released. The information I gained was invaluable in helping me make my decision.

After a lot of pondering and thoughtful prayer, I finally made up my mind and got my husband’s blessing since writing isn’t always a lucrative career and I wouldn’t be bringing home a steady paycheck. Even then, I sat in fear, scared to turn in my resignation and seal the deal. What got me moving was something I read in The Next Right Thing. Emily writes, “If God has something to tell you, and you continue to place yourself before him, he won’t let you miss it. As you take your next right step today, trust that God won’t let you miss your own future. Follow the arrows.”

I trusted God, followed those “arrows” and I did it! I will not be returning to my position next year. It still doesn’t seem real. I’ve never not worked at a job where you clock in and out and have a steady paycheck since I graduated from high school almost 30 years ago. (Um….except for the 6 months when I opened an art gallery which was a total blast creatively, but a complete failure financially.) You can read about that here. I lost money but I gained so much more and have no regrets about that adventure.

Its been only weeks since my last day of work; yet, I can already feel color washing over me, filling me up. I’m coming alive again! I want this color to overflow to my son, my husband, and others around me. My husband, who is a mostly serious man, likes to say I live in a world of bubblegum and bobby socks. I guess I kinda do; but, I LIKE it here! I think we should all try to LIVE IN COLOR!!! I’m not saying throw caution to the wind and your responsibilities out the window. I’m just saying, don’t let years pass by before you stop the color from draining. Find a way to do whatever it is that fills you with color.

By the way, I’d love to know what that is and if you’re not doing it, what is holding you back?

Until next time……be well!

Lori

Just wanted to let you know that 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 me to earn a little commission without any cost to the reader.

Ballet Slippers and Combat Boots

Before hope*writers, I had written a short children’s book and it sat in a box year after year for more than a decade. I read it many times over those years, envisioning how the words and illustrations would look on each page. Being a speech-language pathologist and working with small children for 20 years, I thought about how a simple little story might help preschoolers and children with special needs learn about shapes and colors and even sequencing and rhyming. Having it published and come to life was simply a dream.

Not long ago, I Googled “how to publish a children’s book.” It was daunting and did not look promising. I wanted to write and I was writing, but I wasn’t writing a children’s book. I became discouraged, and during a day of purging paper and clearing space, I wadded up the story, and tossed it. I can still hear the words I was thinking as the story flew into the trash, “You will never publish a children’s book.”

Then one day I heard about Emily P. Freeman’s podcast, The Next Right Thing which is now a best selling book on Amazon! (Click here to check it out.). I scrolled through the episodes and stopped at one called “Quit Something” and hit play. Emily shared a story about her career as a sign language interpreter and how she was dreading telling her boss that she was quitting. Then I heard her speak these words, “There’s something strong I can’t shake, something I think the Lord is drawing me to. ‘It’s time to write,’ I hear on the level of my soul. I’m excited and also terrified. Yellow is dancing around in my head, writing is yellow, the things that make us come alive always are.” I thought, “Is this lady a mind reader?”

As I drove down the road listening, I could not believe it. I was a speech-language pathologist, my job was helping others communicate, much like a sign language interpreter. I also was considering leaving my current profession and also felt a calling to write. Additionally, she referred to the book, Essentialism by Greg McKeown which I was currently reading. I thought maybe God is really trying to tell me something. It was defintely a turning point.

From there, I followed a garden path and ended up finding hope*writers, co-founded by none other than Emily P. Freeman! This amazing group has been a foundation for my growth as a writer. It has led me to a family of writers who are not just willing, but excited to guide me. Since becoming a member I have gained a tremendous amount of knowledge about writing and also the much needed confidence to continue writing. Thanks from my heart, hope*writers!

Then enter, Rachel Hollis 2.0! Rachel’s first book, Girl, Wash Your Face, really got me thinking about where I was and where I wanted to go. Her second book, Girl, Stop Apologizing, gave me a plan. Where Emily is the like pink cotton candy, holding your hand and encouraging you with her warm, soft voice, Rachel is like firey red hots, all up in your face, kicking you in the pants, encouraging you to leave your pity party, get up and go after what you want. These ladies have totally different styles and I need them both. I feel like they are little angels sent from Heaven to guide me. Emily in pink ballet slippers and Rachel in combat boots!

So Emily and Rachel…..I’m following your words of wisdom. I made a decision to make some big changes in my life. Emily, I’m not going to let fear push me around, I’m going to “do the next right thing in love.” Rachel, I’m saying out loud that I’m going to publish a children’s book. (Eeek, that was so scary!) Thank you ladies, for giving me the tools to make a hard decision and encouraging me to dig deep and not apologize for my dreams. Thank you for helping me realize what those dreams are. Thank you for sharing examples from your own lives to help me better mine.

And as for that little story that I threw away, I have read it so many times I have most of it memorized and I can start to fill in the missing pieces. Who knows? The second version might even be better!

If you have found yourself at fork in the road, or even what you think is a dead end, I sincerely recommend checking out the books by these two amazing and brave ladies. I could list a thousand inspirational quotes from the books, but I think it’s better if you read them on your own and let the words speak to you wherever you are on your journey. I will share this quote from Emily, because it was the one quote that really let me put my fears behind me and step forward. “If God has something to tell you, and you continue to place yourself before him, he won’t let you miss it.”

Until next time…..be well.

Lori

Just wanted to let you know that 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 me to earn a little commission without any cost to the reader.

Journaling

The word “journaling” brings to mind a collection of colored pencils creating dreamy words in calligraphy with flowery doodles in the margins. It also makes me think of stacks of journals piled up in a corner waiting to be read and read again. This gives me a little anxiety since I’m a minimalist in training!

I used write in a journal quite a bit, but found I only wrote when I was mad or hurt and I sure didn’t hold back my feelings when I wrote. There were some pretty strong words on those pages! Occassionally, going back and re-reading those words helped me to resolve issues but mostly, it only brought back the hurt. I certainly did not want to leave a legacy of a sad or angry person if I died and someone read them!! Additionally, I didn’t want all that negative energy sitting in my home. So one day I gathered up all my journals, had a little ceremony in my backyard, set them on fire, and watched as all that negative energy was set free.

“Ways to Journal” was the topic of the most recent episode of one of my favorite podcasts called 10 Things to Tell You by Laura Tremaine. Even though I haven’t kept a journal since my fire ceremony years ago, I listened to the podcast and was surprised that I do journal just not in the traditional sense.

Mirriam Webster defines a journal as “a record of experiences, ideas, or reflections kept regularly for private use.” Turns out, there are a multitude of ways to record those experiences, ideas and reflections. Laura shares 10 of them.

Here is how I journal:

I make lists to document things I am grateful for.

I keep a book of letters. When I found out I was pregnant, I bought a simple composition book and started writing letters to my baby who at that point, was the size of a blueberry. While I don’t write in it everyday like I used to, I have 3 notebooks full and I have kept writing these letters for over 7 years. Sometimes its words of wisdom, sometimes a list of his physical traits and his favorites, sometimes it’s words about the joys and the struggles of being a mother, the disappointments and mommy guilt and learning how to give grace to not only others but ourselves as well. Mostly, its about how much joy he brings to my life and how much I love him.

I use what author Julia Cameron refers to as “morning pages.” I don’t always do them in the morning and its not always the 3 pages as specified, but I do sometimes just spill words onto a page without rules like spelling, grammar and punctuation. Its nice just to dump all the thoughts from my brain, even if they are jumbled. When I complete my writing I review it, jot down anything that might be useful and then toss it in the trash. Yep. I just throw it away.

I blog. This blog is very much like a journal except that it is not only for my private use. Its a document of my journey I want to share. I’m hoping others will share their journey with me and I might learn a little about myself along the way.

Currently, I’m very interested in what Laura refers to as affirmation journaling. This is writing down statements that you want to happen in the future as if they have already happened. There is a section for this in The 5 Minute Journal, and Rachel Hollis talks about this in her lastest book, Girl, Stop Apologizing. By the way, if you have not read this book yet, girl, go get it!!! Nobody gets me fired up like Rachel Hollis. I just finished the Audible version, but it was so good I might have to just see it in print. I do, however, recommend the audible version becuase Rachel doesn’t just read the book, she puts all her energy into each word. Im ready to get focused!

Do you journal? I’d love to know why or why not.

Just wanted to let you know that 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 me to earn a little commission without any cost to the reader.

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.