April 23, 2015

7 things to do instead of blogging.

Don't get me wrong: obviously I enjoy this blogging thing, or I wouldn't bother coming back to it, right? But we all have to be honest with ourselves and admit that it can sometimes seem like a giant waste of time. Like, did I seriously spend two hours shopping the perfect pair of floral rain boots and matching rain coat for a post about our stinkin' lousy weather?

(Rain boots that I may never actually buy for myself, might I add. Truthfully, I'd spring for a pair of basic black galoshes if I were shopping just for me.)

instead-of-blogging


There have been plenty of free hours over the last couple of months that I could have used to write a blog post here or there, but I consciously chose another activity instead. I thought today I might let you in on a few of the ways I've spent my time lately. Here are some things that are good to do instead of blogging:

1. Read a good (long) book.


I haven't been reading nearly as much in quantity as I did in 2014, but the books I have been reading are much better in quality. For example, I finally read The Goldfinch, a Pulitzer Prize-winning whopper (at nearly 800 pages) that took about eight weeks to read start-to-finish (putting aside everything else). It took dedication, but it was worth the time.

I think I've probably plowed through too many books in recent years. I'm guilty of not taking time to savor the truly great books, and probably finished too many mediocre titles just for the sake of marking them "complete". I've vowed to be more selective about my reading in the future!

instead-no-1


2. Lead a Bible study (...book club, play group, frisbee golf team, etc.)


I was given the opportunity to join with three other ladies in leading a group of women through the LIFE curriculum (that I wrote about previously here), and it has been the most incredible experience. So many people need to receive this message and be freed from the bondages this life can heap on us! Not only that, but I've found how much I really need to spread my roots deeper in our church community. The time I give up to love these women is totally worth more that anything this world has to offer.

We all need community. We need people we can see face-to-face, and hug, and break bread with, and pray with, play with, laugh, cry, experience life with. Find your people. Give them yourself- your time- your effort. The payoff is incredible!

3. Take a walk.


Oh, goodness. I'm ashamed of how many days I've sat my tush at the kitchen table with my computer and given my time to blogging: only moving to get a new cup of coffee or some leftovers from the fridge (three feet away). Oh, the idle time! It's a miracle said tush is not the size of a house now as a result.

My sister recently gifted me a Jawbone UP24 activity tracker, and it's made me so much more aware of how much movement I'm incorporating into my days. I thought I was doing pretty good- but apparently not! My daily average number of steps is only about half what I'd hope it to be, and that's something I'm working to change.

Giving too much attention to social media can feed feelings of discontentment. On the other hand, physical activity tends to do the opposite- lifting our mood, self esteem, and outlook on life! I've programed my activity tracker bracelet to buzz when I've been on my heiny too long- and I've noticed that the days I disregard the reminder, I often feel angry, sad, and overwhelmed. Taking a little walk- even ten minutes- does a ton to lift my spirits!

4. Try a new recipe.


I love to cook, but it's easy to get in a rut. I often default to the tried-and-true meals, especially during busy seasons when it's easier to just tear open a bag and pop open a can and call dinner done. Ack, that hurts to admit!

Taking the time to cook something from scratch (without the pressure to perfectly photograph every step) is perhaps my single most favorite thing in the world! Oh, besides eating the fruit of my labor... but that goes without saying, right?

instead-no-4

5. Invite a friend out for coffee.


I'm going to refer back to my statements on activity #2 here. Here, though, I'd like to emphasize the importance of one-on-one intimacy. It's easy to fill up our calendar with small groups and social events, but taking time to grow an individual friendship is more difficult... and much more rewarding. I'm not a pro at stepping into that awkward area of turning an acquaintance into something much deeper, but I have been working on being more intentional at growing relationships.

6. Clean out your closet.


...or junk drawer, file cabinet, pantry, etc... Find that overlooked clutter magnet and clean it out, once and for all! I'm thrilled about how good it feels to purge things that I don't need. I've minimized so much recently, I'm puzzled how we might ever have thought we could live among so much useless stuff! I'm still painfully aware of several areas in our home that desperately need to be cleaned out, but we've come a long way, baby.

The worst of it now is getting the rest of the family on board. I finally convinced Eric to go through his closet with me- but he still has twice as much stuff as I do, and has lamented the loss of several of the shirts we donated! Trust me, I may never hear the end of it. Haha! He was a willing participant in the purge, however, and my conscience is free.

7. Complete a task you've been putting off for later.


I'm kicking the procrastination habit, ya'll. I might have been the pioneer of avoidance techniques in the past, but the new me is rising. You know what needs to be done, right? So- just do it, already. I filed our taxes as soon as all the documents arrived in the mail. I took the kids shopping for warm-weather clothes as soon as the first spring blooms arrived. I finally hired someone to trim our wayward trees. It feels awesome!

That's just a few things I've been doing lately. It's not much, but I feel good about keeping my to-do list small so I can focus on what's important. I put my blog in the backseat, and it freed me to steer my life any way I please! What have you been up to lately?

April 20, 2015

"rain, rain..."

"...let's go play!"

I found some sunny hues to chase away the rainy day blues. Now, maybe we can all sing a new tune!

rainy-day-essentials
(umbrella | jacket | boots | cream)

In all seriousness, we're coming off one of the wettest weeks in recent memory. I don't know that it's been the rainiest April in history, but maybe a close runner-up. Or perhaps it just seems like it because Seth asked to play soccer this spring, and in two months he's only been able to play in two games.

Our second game was this weekend, and I have to tell you- it was quite the damp, muddy affair. It rained non-stop for nearly 36 hours prior to the game Saturday morning, and the field was a mess! It was the kind of mud that grabs hold of your shoes and sucks them deeper- total ick.

I hope May will bring dryer weather for our first season as a soccer family. Meanwhile, I think some flashy rain boots are in order (and what's not to love about a cheeky bumbershoot?). The classic yellow rain jacket and anti-frizz cream just go without saying.

We have two make-up games scheduled this week. I'm not thrilled- getting home after 8:30 pm and having to administer bath time to tired, cranky children on a school night is not my cup of tea. However, come to think of it, a cup of tea does sound like a nice remedy to the rainy day blues, too...





April 15, 2015

sweet spot.

Hello, world. Remember me? I'm perhaps the world's most inconsistent blogger. But I'm still around!

It's been a couple of quiet months since last time I appeared in your feed, but you haven't been missing much (I promise). Life has had a peaceful sameness about it recently, and I've been enjoying every bit. I wake up before dawn each morning and enjoy a few moments of quiet before getting the boys up and trekking Seth to his school. I play with Hawk and read or watch TV during his naps, then I pick Seth up from school and we spend our afternoons on chores and playing outside until dinner. Then we wind down for bed and prepare to do it all over again.

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I've spent much of my life yearning for this kind of happy, simple life- I'm filled with gratitude for having received it. Too often, when things get complicated, it's my own fault. For that reason, I've been so conscious and protective of the peacefulness. This "sweet spot" that I've found is precious. How ironic that my desire to share this simple life with you is the one thing that tends to complicate life so unnecessarily! That's why I have to step back from time to time.

I'm noticing a rhythm to the creative funk that interrupts my writing- it always seems to come in the same season. Right after the new year, and in the middle of winter- when the shadows inside our house are deeper and the cold air creeps through the drafty windowpanes, I retreat. I'm beginning to believe the creative hibernation is not only natural, but necessary.

I suspected spring would revive my desire to write and photograph and create, and it has! Maybe I'll collect some new things to blog about in the coming weeks. Keep an eye out for me on Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest in the weeks to come. XOXO!
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