(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.)
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!
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?
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?