Monday, August 3, 2015

{thrive goals} July Review // August Goals

Oh July.  I struggled a bit this month, but am slowly digging myself out.  Feelings of overwhelm, uncertainty and restlessness (I won't go into details here, but let's just say that Rosie is living my dream!)  A few days ago, I read this quote from Elisabeth Elliot: "Restlessness and impatience change nothing except our peace and joy.  Peace does not dwell in outward things, but in the heart prepared to wait trustfully and quietly on Him who has all things safely in His hands."  

And then there was this one too: "Does it make sense to pray for guidance about the future if we are not obeying in the thing that lies before us today?  How many momentous events in Scripture depended on one person's seemingly small act of obedience!  Rest assured: Do what God tells you to do now, and, depend upon it, you will be shown what to do next."  Boom.  Sucker punch right to the core of my problem.  I'm entering August with a new perspective.  

A few of my favorite blog posts in July:

+ 20 Things I Love: A Gratitude Journal vol.2
+ Superhero Cross-Stitch Pillows
+ What Self Care Looks Like for Me Right Now
+ What Would a Calm, Thriving Life Look Like?

My June goals, reviewed:

1. Big White Farmhouse: put in the work!  Done.  I'm getting into the routine of putting in an hour or two of work between quiet time and after the kids are in bed.  I try to keep a running to-do list of tasks, so that when I do get time, I'm really accomplishing something instead of just messing around on Facebook. 
2. Finish Sophia's princess cross-stitch. Gosh, I tried with this one, but still have four princesses to go.  With limited free time, I tend to have to choose between stitching or reading and this month, reading won.  
3. Write the first 9 weeks of lesson plans for the new homeschool year. Done!  So happy to have this finished.
4. Cross one thing off my Life List.  Done.  A little bit of a stretch, but I added five more documentaries toward my goal of 100.  
5. Look out. Done and I'm just getting started.  Last month, I defined this as "Mail that letter.  Send that surprise package.  Tell that person what they mean to me.  My life at home is full, but it shouldn't consume all of me.  Instead of always looking in, I want to look out and see all those people who love and support me too."  I sent two little packages (with a thank you note and a small gift) and can't wait to do more.

And a few new goals for August:

1. Go on a date. // It's been too long since we've gone out just the two of us.  
2. Complete a Week in the Life project with Ali Edwards. // I'm in dire need of something to inspire me creatively and I'm hoping this will help.  I'm planning to share my photos on the blog (no scrapbooking) and they'll eventually go into a book along with my "Around Here" posts.  
3. Buy a bird feeder.
4. Revamp my blog's sidebar tabs. // This has been on my to-do list forever.  After four years of blogging, I want to make things a bit more user-friendly around here.
5. Continue work on my office. // I want to focus on a functional table/work space this month.

Friday, July 31, 2015

{around here} Week 30/52: Week of 7.27.15

A collection of our ordinary days, recorded every week.  At the end of the year, I'll publish them into a keepsake to treasure.

Around here, I have been:

watching TJ get into all.the.things.  He is everywhere and making all the messes!    

ordering Focus T25 (through my blog friend, Katie - she's a Beachbody coach) and hoping it will help me out of my exercise rut.  A combination of things have made it hard to do my usual: too hot outside, impatient baby, husband working unpredictable hours.  I'm so ready to finally get this sad, postpartum body back in gear.  I've got 10ish pounds still to lose!

reading Everything I Never Told You (I can't put it down!) and Better Than Before.

starting on a holiday prep plan for Big White Farmhouse: what to buy, what supplies to stock up on, etc.  It's overwhelming and exciting all bundled together.

thinking about returning to regular school days in two weeks, maybe?  We've been out since mid-May and I think it's time.  The kids have been actually asking to do math and history!

planning to finally paint my office this weekend, the first project on my to-do list.

watching American Pickers as I multi-task and work on the computer at night.  That show both fascinates me and puts me to sleep.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

{book club} The Inspired Readers Book Club: Book Two

The Inspired Readers Book Club, which I started with my blog friends Tabitha and Shelly, has just wrapped up discussion for our first book, Make it Happen.  For the past two months, we have "met" in our Facebook group to talk about dreams, fear and intentional living.  The community of women is diverse and everyone has had something to bring to the table.  Even though I led the discussion, I really have learned so much.

For the month of August, Tabitha is taking the reins and we're reading a novel this time!  She chose Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng, which is a family-centered mystery that is getting great reviews.  I just started the book yesterday and it's a page turner already!

Our reading schedule will be as follows:
Week 1 (August 3):  Chapters 1-3
Week 2 (August 10): Chapters 4-6
Week 3 (August 17): Chapters 7-9
Week 4 (August 24): Chapter 10-12

Like before, we'll have discussion questions posted on Monday, so feel free to jump into the conversation whenever you have time.  We are always open to new members and would love to see you in the Facebook group!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

{learning} From the Book Basket: Week 02

Week Two.  While I still read stories throughout the day (at the kids' request), we are now getting into the routine of reading a story together before heading up to bed.  We all squeeze in together on the couch and I use my very best voices.  

**links are affiliate - thank you for supporting the Big White Farmhouse!**

Monday, July 27, 2015

{around here} What Would a Calm, Thriving Life Look Like?

I'd been struggling for weeks.  I would start the day strong, but without fail, the cloud would envelope me by day's end.  I felt frustrated, unsettled and generally overwhelmed with life.   As someone who chose "thrive" as her word for 2015, I couldn't get past the thought that I was living a life so far from that goal.  The failure felt debilitating.

Sunday rolled around and we enjoyed a relatively painless Mass with the kids.  Mark, who can sometimes read me better than I read myself, suggested a two-fold surprise: I would drop him and the four oldest at the movies (which is usually a twice a year event in our house because...$$$) and I could take TJ for two hours of leisurely browsing at Target.  

Mark saw what I desperately needed and pushed me in that direction.  And let me tell you: those two hours alone were a game changer for me.  As I strolled aisle to aisle, picking up unexciting items like paper towels and crayons, I found myself calming down.  With my baby asleep in the stroller, my mind turned over and over the question: "What would a calm, thriving life look like?"

Feeling inspired, I bought myself an inexpensive pink spiral notebook from the school supply section. TJ and I went drove over to the movie theater and while he enjoyed a snack of puffs, I started writing.  It was like the floodgates had opened.  The answers came even faster than I could write.  By the time Mark and the kids returned to the van, I felt more like myself and ready to tackle my life in order to get closer to that goal.  Who knew two hours in Target would give me so much clarity?  

I've added my bullet list below. 

What does a calm, thriving life look like?

  • A strong marriage - Mark and I on the same page
  • Kids who generally get along and really play and use their energy
  • Significantly less screen time for everyone
  • Less clutter and more respect for what we already have
  • Spending money wisely and living within (or below) our means
  • Work that is meaningful and fires us up vs. drags us down
  • Prioritizing family and time together
  • Being outdoors, exercising, being active
  • Prioritizing learning, discovering, curiosity
  • Time for me to recharge with alone time
  • Using our individual gifts (What is my gift?)
  • Prioritizing experiences, not "stuff"
  • Creating a welcoming home to open to others
  • Having a firm commitment to growing in holiness  

I still don't have all of the answers, but this is a step in the right direction.  What would a calm, thriving life look like to you?
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