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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

Finding Inspiration

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For several months I have been on a roll, with everything.  I felt like I was making good progress and achieving “flow” and then BAM!!! the bottom dropped out. My very comfortable routine came unraveled and I slipped into a funk. For the last 2 weeks I have been eating lots of junk, running out of patience, yelling at my kid (I even had to put a nail in the fence after a mommy meltdown) and snapping at my husband (luckily, they are very forgiving and love me even when I’m grumpy). I have been hitting snooze way too many times, the workload at my paying job has been stressing me out (y’all I’m 47 and 2 days ago developed a giant pimple on my chin!) and I have been sulking and pouting and not wanting to think about anything, especially all the progress I had made towards my goals going down the tubes.

Then there was Friday. I was going to make a change and get out of the pit I felt I was in. I had a plan.. run errands, eat more intentionally, take a long walk, and write. Run errands – check, eat a healthy lunch – check, walk 3 miles – check, then I sat down to write and….nothing….I had nothing to write. So I decided to change my environment and visit one of my favorite local shops, HomeGrown. They have been taunting me on Facebook with a Pumpkin Dulce candle so I thought I’d go get one. What I ended up with was a candle, 2 decorative items and a huge dose of INSPIRATION!!! Chatting with one of the owners and seeing all the seasonal decor and original creations breathed something in me that made me want to create. Plus I had sold 2 of my photo greeting cards I have on consignment there.

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So I got home, made dinner and then my husband and son stayed the night at our cabin (walking distance from our house), treating me to a quiet night alone giving me a chance to rest, recharge, and get back on track. For me, this is better than diamonds. I kid you not!!

So in addition to working on this post. I put on some comfy PJs and made my favorite chai latte in my favorite cup (made made by a local artisan in another favorite shop, Raindance Designs) and read my new book, The Cozy Minimalist Home by Myquillyn Smith.

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I had read her book, The Nesting Place several years ago and started trying to make this tiny little farm house feel like home. But like fashion, home decor does not come easy for me, I get started but quickly run out of steam.

I’m going to take one baby step at a time and make a few changes to decorate for fall. Maybe this one small step will start me going in the right direction. Maybe being creative in one area will have a snowball effect, spill over into other areas and I can get back to my happy place and once again be well, heart and soul.

I’m finishing up this post at another local spot I love, a coffee shop called the Bull Shack.

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This cozy place has a great story and I’m excited to have them on my list to interview for a series about people who have stepped out, taken a risk and made something amazing happen. I have been wanting to do for a long time but have not been brave enough to take a risk, venture out of my comfort zone, and actually ask people if I can interview them. Well today I did it and I’m so excited to get started. I’d love to hear about a risk you took and how it turned out.

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