It seems that my monthly wrap ups will forever and always occur in the middle of the next month. I apparently can’t get my act together in time to share life any earlier in the month.
If you’re new here, this post is where I share all the things I learned and accomplished last month as well as where my focus is for the current month. I loosely base the posts around my annual goals. However, I adjust my annual goals throughout the year as I learn and grow and change my focus, which is why I visit my goals and accomplishments each month. As a side note, I’m thinking I want to start moving toward the 12 week year concept for my goals, but I need to read the book first, so maybe that will be the plan next year. I guess I should add the book to my “to read” list.
What I’m Learning
Do you write down the things that you learn on a regular basis? The quotes and thoughts that stand out to you throughout your daily life can be so valuable to keep track of and ponder over. If you don’t already have a place to jot down these kinds of things, I highly encourage you to start doing so today. It has been such a valuable practice for me. Here are the quotes, thoughts, and ideas I’ve been learning and pondering since August.
“Men eat when they’re hungry, sleep when they’re tired, run when they’re antsy, leave when they’re ready to leave. But even the most driven, articulate, strong women I know struggle to really meet their own needs.” (from Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist).
Live out of your possibility, not your past.
What people think about you means nothing in comparison to what you believe about yourself.
Prayer includes both oil and vinegar. The vinegar pours out first. It may be harsh and sour, but you have to get it out or you’ll never get to the oil. (explained in further detail in Present Over Perfect)
We do for God instead of being with Him. We become soldiers instead of brothers and sisters and daughters and sons. (also from Present Over Perfect, I think).
Live and be committed where you are until God changes your path. Be all in where he has placed you until he moves you. (Kevin Queen)
Prayer is the most powerful force on earth. (Kevin Queen)
Faithfulness leads to fruitfulness. (Kevin Queen) Since I shared several quotes, you can find the full discussion here on the That Sounds Fun Podcast.
Live today as the person you intend to be tomorrow.
“God rewards your belief in abundance. When you feel that you are abundantly blessed, that you have more than you could ever possibly need, the blessings continue to rain down.” – Chalene Johnson
Using fear, frustration, and anxiety to fuel you will only lead to exhaustion and burn out. You have to be fueled from a positive place, a place of abundance. The fuel should be love. The love story that is changing your life should be the fuel that propels you forward.
“He appears, and the soul feels it’s worth.” “Some of us try to earn our worth. Some of us try to escape the pain of unworthiness. It is only when you understand God’s truly unconditional love that you begin to understand the worth of your own soul. Every soul is worthy because we have been created by and in the image of the God of love.” (from Present Over Perfect)
Things I Accomplished this Month
I was a tad bit lazy in the exercise world in August. We were vacationing for a week, it was my birthday month, and back to school, and my focus was on so many other things. I did continue my run streak and ran a total of 47 miles. That might be my lowest monthly mileage yet, or at least one of the lowest. I did work my way up to being able to do 35 pushups in a row, so I don’t feel like a total bum.
I started tracking my food for a little while in August. I don’t believe in counting calories or macros or even tracking your food intake as a lifelong practice. However, it can be helpful for a season to guide your decisions and understanding. My goal was to track the things that I ate and how I felt afterward.
I was recently diagnosed with SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth) and started a natural antibiotic protocol in August. My Nurse Practitioner’s recommendation was to just eat real, whole food. It was nice to hear that I didn’t need to drastically change my entire diet, but I do need to be more careful about the types of food I consume.
Also, in my research of SIBO, I have learned that overeating is one of the worst things you can do if you have SIBO. And I tend to overeat regularly. Some people like to eat 5-6 small meals a day, but I’ve been known to just eat two big meals a day. Big meals take longer to digest, so the food sits in your gut longer and nourishes all the bacteria there (good and bad) so that your actual body ends up with less nourishment and you have lots of extra bacteria flourishing in your gut. Oops! Tracking my food for a few weeks is helping me to make better choices.
With all the vacationing and spending time on the lake, I thought I would have tons of time to read this past month. But it just didn’t happen. And I’m totally ok with that because it allowed me the chance to be fully present and enjoy the experiences. We sat on the beach all day every day without phones or a book. Did you know that was even possible?
I did finish Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist and made progress on several other books. Present Over Perfect is actually the perfect book to read during a month when I chose to be present and enjoy my experience over trying to accomplish a long to do list.
This month I made the decision to stop my yearly Bible reading plan. For the past several years it has been my goal to read the entire Bible throughout the course of the year. I’ve read it cover to cover, chronologically, New Testament before Old Testament, all mixed up, and this year’s reading plan had a different type of book each day (Gospels, prophecy, etc). It was a really great reading plan and I was enjoying it, most of the time.
However, I began to notice that my quiet time with God was becoming just an item to mark off my to do list. I’d read the assigned passages for the day say a quick prayer and be off to the next item on my list. It just wasn’t fueling my life and relationship with God the way that a quiet time is supposed to.
For now, I’m moving much slower and pouring over smaller passages of the Bible each day. I allow myself the opportunity to study just one verse if I need to. I might look up words and context information to help me better understand the passage. And I write out not only the verse but the thoughts and questions that come up as I study it. I pray over my life as it relates to the passage I’m reading. And really dig into trying to figure out how the day’s passage can be applied to my life.
This method has proven to be much more beneficial to my spiritual growth. I’m not sure why I’m always so drawn to reading through the entire Bible each year, and I still struggle with the guilt that I’ve “given up that goal” this year, but my experiences in the morning are so much richer and allow me the chance to truly wrestle with and understand the scriptures, not just read them to say I did.
My goal this month was to revisit our giving and savings categories to make some adjustments. On the savings side of things, I needed to shift more focus on some upcoming expenses (like birthdays and Christmas). I wasn’t able to shift quite as much as I would have liked over toward those savings categories, but I’m hopeful that I can keep making small changes to our budget in the coming months to help get our savings where we want it to be.
I am working hard to increase our income with side projects (like this blog) and I can finally see the fruit of all that labor. I love the idea of diversifying our income, so we’re not just depending on our employers to pay our bills. It is not easy to manage a full-time job and a side job, but the benefits can be totally worth it.
I registered for my next half marathon the other day, so ready or not, I’ll be jumping back into racing. I’m registered to run the Hero Half in Chesterton, Indiana on October 1st. The course runs along Lake Michigan, through the Indiana State Dunes park, and other gorgeous areas. I’m really excited for this race. It is one I’ve had my eye on for a couple years. I’m fully anticipating that I will be pretty slow for this race, I’m not in shape for a PR, but I’m learning to just enjoy my runs right now, and that is enough for me.
I’m working my way up to 40 pushups in a row this month and it is getting hard, hard, hard. I had started doing the push-ups every other day to give myself more rest, but I feel like I miss too many days and I’m not building the strength fast enough. I’m pretty sure it’s all in my head and 40 for whatever reason just mentally feels harder. I need to stop thinking and just do it.
Hopefully, I can pick up my reading habit again this month and read at least four books. I’m currently bouncing around so many books that I might never finish one. But it is nice to be able to have options for what to read based on my mood at the time. I have created the habit to at least read a few pages of a book after my morning quiet time each day, so that helps me make daily progress.
I have so many post ideas and plans in the works for my writing. I had planned to write a book this year and for a long while, I felt I needed to let my idea percolate and develop a bit more. I’m now feeling like I’m almost ready to get writing. But I also have a whole lot of other writing projects that I want to get done first. It is thrilling to have so many ideas spinning through my mind, now I just need to find the time to do all this writing. I’m thinking I might have to take an extended social media break to grant myself a little extra time here soon.
This week we will start hosting a new small group at our home. I am anxiously excited for this to begin, but also very terrified. Our “small group” will have 25-30 members, all coming to our home. And over half the members are children! We are hosting a family small group. I’ve never hosted or attended a group like this before, so we are making it up as we go along. But I feel like God has led me to do this, so I am trusting that He will use this time to develop lasting relationships and community among us.
What about you?
What are your plans and goals for this month? Are you trying anything new and exciting to help you reach your goals? Let me know in the comments.