What I Learned This Summer

 

I love the monthly rhythm of looking back on what I have been learning. I often think that “nothing is happening” in my life, but when I take time to look back at my journal, my calendar, and my photos, they speak of the things that were brought to light for me. Emily does a great job each month of reminding us to look and listen.

 

Teens Driving

 

1. Working with my daughter to get her driver’s license while also getting her tested and applying for a local community college alongside helping my son with his Eagle Scout Project plus homeschooling my young ones means that there is no margin for other things.  

Sometimes you just put the pause on other outside commitments and quiet your relationships so that you can have the emotional energy to help your children accomplish big hurdles. I am reminded again and again that I have very real limits that are a severe mercy to ground me in the here and now.

 

2. The Journal 5 App is one of my new favorite tools.

I randomly found it in my Starbucks app, offered for free.  It allows me to post a daily photo, three things I’m grateful for, ways I’ll make my day great, and three amazing things that happened that day. The app is pretty and calming, and I love having a visual journal of my month and the reminders of the ways God met me. Finding time to journal is challenging, and this makes it simple and doable.

 

3. Grief is difficult to experience in the midst of raising children.

We said goodbye to friends in June (who also happen to be our pastor and his family) as they are moving to a new place and season of life. I tend to keep my sad emotions inside of me and struggle to find an opportunity for a good cry. I’ll let a few tears fall, but will rarely ugly cry. One evening I felt the pain and grief so strong in my chest that I ended up going for a long drive to release all the tears. A hot shower seems to be a good place too. And sometimes the Target parking lot.

 

Brain Dump

 

4. Scattered mind with to-dos + chest tightness = Brain Dump + Eat the Frog

Why do I think that I can function well by trying to hold all the things up in my head? I try to sleep with details rolling around in my head or I mumble under my breath the next thing to do so I won’t forget. A mother of six can’t keep up with the needs of her family or home unless she writes it down.

“Eating the Frog” is taking the most difficult thing or the task I am avoiding and choosing to do it first. Get the challenge out of the way. I have found that I gain momentum and peace in my mornings when I eat the frog first.

 

Poetry Tea Time

 

5. Poetry Tea Time is the best thing in our homeschool.

If you haven’t tried it yet, I can promise you that it’s worth it. I have very energized boys who love running shirtless with Nerf guns for half the day and yet they love it. Buy a bakery treat from the grocery store, use some fruity Celestial Seasonings tea, light a few candles, and read some funny Jack Prelutsky.

 

 

 

6. Silence and Solitude are where I hear God the clearest and most intimately.

This quote from Shauna Niequist’s book Present Over Perfect says it so well:

“There are, though, certain passages you have to walk alone. When you arrive on the other side, the people you love most will be there to meet you, certainly, to wrap their arms around you and walk closely with you once again. But it’s only when we’re truly alone that we can listen to our lives and God’s voice speaking out from the silence.

These last months have required more silence than any other season of my life. I’ve both craved it and avoided it, in equal turns, and finally realized that the craving is something to listen to, something to obey.

These days I am pursuing regular intervals of silence and solitude. It’s almost like training wheels, or like a cast. I’m so unfamiliar with listening deeply to my own life and desires that I can only do it in the context and confines of silence–I lose track of my own voice in a crowd very easily.

In seasons of deep transformation, silence will be your greatest guide. Even if it’s scary, especially if it’s scary, let silence by your anchor, your sacred space, your dwelling place. It’s where you will become used to your own voice, your agency, your authority.”

 

7. The Olympics viewing schedule absolutely wrecks my sleep. And recovery is slow.

 

michael-phelps-olympics-meme

 

8. Back to School Schedule absolutely wrecks my sleep. And recovery is slow.

 

momsleep3

 

9. The personal struggles, disappointments, and darkness are an invitation from the Lord, not a confrontation.

 

I sat across the table from a friend at a Chick Fil A a few weeks ago and described my current journey. At the end, she reminded me that this season is an invitation. That word made me cry.   I was believing that I am in a confrontation with the Lord over the lie that He wants me to do more, be more, and work more for the kingdom. I was back to viewing Him as a demanding taskmaster instead of intimate, gentle friend.

 

10. I’ve been Bullet Journaling for years but never called it that.

 

I listened to another FB Live video from Edie on Bullet Journaling. My big aha is that I have been filling spiral notebooks for years with notes from conferences, quotes from books, camping lists, meal plans, homeschooling ideas, beach packing lists, Christmas gift lists, blog ideas but had never thought to make a TABLE OF CONTENTS in the beginning! I took one of those old notebooks today, numbered the pages, and made a table of contents in the front. Now I can actually *find* all those great ideas with ease.

 

 

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