Hello middle of August, how did you get here so fast? I know it was July just yesterday, wasn’t it?
We have been busy vacationing for what feels like weeks now, although that’s not entirely accurate. Our family loves, loves, loves summer and warm and lakes and swimming, so July/August is the perfect time for us to do nothing but hang out on the water somewhere and soak up the amazingness of sunshine.
However, our vacation times are over, the kids go back to school next week, and I’m currently drowning in work. Boo on reality. Even though it is late, I thought it would still be helpful, at least for me, to share how things went in my life for the month of July.
What I’m Learning
I have fallen in love with my practice of jotting down different quotes and thoughts and ideas that strike a chord with me throughout the month. I get these from the books I read, the podcasts I listen to, and anywhere else I might find inspiration. It is so fun to go back through these notes from time to time to remember and keep these ideas fresh.
The following are all quotes and paraphrases from Priscilla Shirer in Discerning the Voice of God.
If we do not expect God to speak, we will discount the occasions when He does.
The prerequisite for experiencing God is obeying Him.
“I am committed to obeying His leading, no matter how illogical His instructions may seem.”
Nowhere in Scripture does God tell anyone to rush into a decision.
If you don’t know yet, you don’t need to move forward yet.
Other random things I’ve learned:
If you are feeling overwhelmed it is because of your thoughts about your situation. Clean up your thoughts. Recognize that many options are a good thing. Pick one and get moving.
If you can’t eat it, wear it, or read it, you don’t need it.
“I never seek to defeat the man I am fighting,” he explained. “I seek to defeat his confidence. A mind troubled by doubt cannot focus on the course to victory. Two men are equals – true equals – only when they both have equal confidence.” (This is a quote from Memoirs of a Geisha).
There are a few areas that I feel like God is leading me to grow and focus on in this season of my life. I jotted them down in the things I’m learning section of my bullet journal to help me keep these at the forefront of my mind when making decisions. I thought I’d share them here in case you were curious.
- Be faithful and focused on the work I’m currently called to do (both in my day job and my writing here on this blog. I consider the blog my part-time job and certainly something I feel that God is calling me to work on consistently, but definitely not at the detriment of my day job or my family, so faithfully balancing all of these areas takes effort).
- Eat cleaner, healthier foods – my eating has been quite terrible lately. And I’m tired of feeling stuffed, blah, tired, and meh. There are lots of (baby stepped) changes coming to our entire family’s eating habits and I’ll be sharing the journey here on the blog.
- Be a more peaceful and attentive mom. (stop lashing out and yelling at the small people, stop staring at my phone all the live long day, that kind of stuff).
- Investigate God’s love and goodness. I’ve never questioned God existence, but I often question His love and goodness (like every time I read the majority of the Old Testament). So I’ve decided to admit this and train myself to notice the times and the places where I see evidence of God’s love and goodness.
- Hospitality and relationships. For months now I have been yearning for better, truer, real life friendships. I’ve read books like Never Unfriended and seen how other women describe their community and friendships as so special and important to them. Sadly, I do not have these kinds of relationships. I have friends, we sometimes send each other text messages, we wave and hug and laugh at events we go to alongside each other, but in the trenches of my daily life, friendship is not a very big part of that. So I’m taking some big and brave and frightening steps toward opening up our home and our life more to friendships, relationships, and community. My husband and I are both extreme introverts, and we’re not great housekeepers, but we crave a life that includes other people, so we are opening our doors and seeing how God leads us in this.
Things I Accomplished this Month
You can see my yearly goals (many of which I’ve adjusted at this point) in this post and my June wrap up post shares some of the things I hoped to accomplish during the month of July if you need to catch up on where I’ve been and am planning to go.
In the month of July, I ran a total of 50 miles. This is fairly low for me, but I’ve run a lot of races in the first half of this year and I was feeling a little burnt out. I’ve been giving myself permission to just take it easy and rest. I’ve kept up my daily running streak with a mile minimum a day plus a number of longer runs.
I’m excited that I can now do 30 pushups in a row! I started the year only being able to do about 2-3 pushups, so I’m so proud of my progress. I don’t doubt that I will reach my goal of being able to do 50 pushups in a row by the end of the year.
Since we’ve been vacationing and relaxing a lot, I’ve had lots of time to read! I read 8 books during the month of July. It’s been a while since I’ve read that many books and the majority of the books were Fiction which is very unusual for me.
Memoirs of a Geisha – this has been on my to read list for a long time. Several of the books I wanted to read were not available from the library, so I settled on this one.
Yellow House Mystery – this was an audio book listened to with the kids, it’s the 3rd book in the Boxcar Children Series.
More than Just Making It – I received an advanced reader copy of this book as part of the launch team. I’ll be sharing more about the book later this month. There are some great pre-order bonuses available if you buy the book before it’s release date on September 5th. You can find out more here – morethanjustmakingit.com
Discerning the Voice of God – I read small bits of this book as part of my quiet time the last few months.
Surprise Island – another Boxcar Children audiobook with the kids.
At the King’s Command – these last three are a historical romance fiction series by Susan Wiggs that I was addicted too for several days.
Last month I set a goal to go on our anniversary vacation without using credit cards. I had budgeted well for the trip, so this wasn’t a problem. I was just thinking that our budget was looking fantastic lately and I was feeling very proud, but then I realized I haven’t been budgeting well for the birthdays and Christmas holiday coming up, so I need to start tightening our belts. And then, we found out we have termites eating a wall in our house. Do you know how expensive it is to get rid of termites? All of my budgeting pride has gone completely out the window. I’ve got a lot of work to do in the coming months to keep our bank account happy.
This is not an accomplishment, but I think it’s good to share my failures as well as my accomplishments. Last month I set it a goal to go to bed with a spotless kitchen at least 15 nights during the month. For some, this is a ridiculously easy goal, but for me, this is impossible! By spotless I truly mean we can’t even have one dish out that didn’t fit in the dishwasher, the counters and dining room table need to be wiped, etc.
There always seems to be something. The top rack is full so some things don’t fit, or we’re running late and I’ve got to get to bed, or a million other reasons. Sadly, we only had 7 nights in the entire month where our kitchen was spotless when I went to bed. That feels so ridiculous!
I am determined to do better in this area. And in housekeeping in general. We are opening our home up to a small group every single week starting next month and I do not have the time to spend hours each week cleaning up our home before the meeting to make it presentable for our guests. I’m so nervous about this. Our house gets thoroughly picked up and cleaned every two weeks because I have a cleaning lady (one of my favorite friends), but she does not come weekly, and our small group will. We are just not used to having a company ready house every single week. Please pray for my sanity and my family’s survival as we make this transition. 🙂
I scrapped my plans to run another half marathon later this month. I procrastinated on registering for the race and the price got up to $90! The race is on Sunday and I have a commitment at our church for that day, so it just made more sense to cancel my plans and maybe do it next year. I haven’t trained as well as I normally would for this race, so I was just going to do it for the joy of it, not to beat any records. I’ve already met my yearly goal of running at least four long distance races.
I recently decided to start seeing a Functional Medicine Nurse Practitioner to try to improve my health and wellness. I don’t have any major health concerns, but I have a lot of small things that I don’t want to turn into big things. We did a lot of testing (around 26 vials of blood, two bottles of urine, and three days of stool samples!) and I got the results back last week.
I found out I have several nutritional deficiencies and I’ve been diagnosed with SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth – likely the cause of many of the deficiencies). I’ve already begun taking several supplements and will pick up the treatment plan for the SIBO later today. I will definitely be sharing more about this in a future post and I’m hoping to chronicle my journey into making small steps toward changing our eating habits. But there will definitely be some big, but good changes coming.
The first step I’m taking is just to track my food intake. I do not and will not count calories and worry about scales and perfect measures. While I think that may be helpful for some people, for a season, it is not, at least in my personal life, a sustainable practice. My entire goal with changing our eating habits is simply to make lifestyle changes. I don’t believe in diets that you go onto and then off of when you reach your goals. I simply believe in changing the way you eat as a whole. If you can’t live with a change the rest of your life, it is not sustainable and any results you receive from it are not likely to stick around.
Therefore I simply keep track of the things that I eat on a daily basis and very importantly, how I feel each day. This practice allows me to notice how my foods affect me, it teaches me to listen to my body, and provides me with the chance to reflect on the choices I’m making and see where there is opportunity to grow (oh, I’ve gone 4 days without eating a single vegetable, maybe I should go find a salad today).
I’m hoping to read 4 books this month and to write on at least 15 days. I thought the reading would be a piece of cake since we were on vacation last week, but I didn’t get much reading done at all, so I’ve got some reading to do.
I have a billion ideas for things to write right now. I could publish a blog post a day and still have more to say, but finding the time to write all the things I want to say is my current challenge.
Lord help me, I will have a clean kitchen on a regular basis this month. And we will begin practicing a “company ready” cleanup routine each week to help us get into the habit before our group starts in September.
I’ve got to make some adjustments to our budget this month to increase our savings categories for the upcoming gift season as well as all the home repairs that we’ll need (we don’t just have to get rid of the termites, but we need to redo our entire dining room too, thanks, icky bugs).
I’m also feeling called to increase our giving. This is a bit frightening since we have so many things that I’m trying to save for right now, but I’m hoping to begin incrementally increasing in this area so that we can gradually get where I want to be.
(I’m a huge fan of budgeting, not only in times of financial struggle but all the time. It gives so much freedom and opportunity to decide ahead of time how to spend your money and then guilt-free spend it how you’ve planned. If the above talk about adjusting our categories is confusing or intriguing to you, I’d highly recommend you check out YNAB-You Need a Budget. It is the budgeting software I’ve used for years that helps me categorize, plan, and track all of our finances. And working toward following their 4 rules has helped me make tremendous progress on our financial health.)
What about you?
How was July for you? Have you made any great progress on your goals lately? Please feel free to share in the comments.