July Recap: A peek into my life.

July 2015 Recap

Today I’m linking up with Emily from Chatting at the Sky and Leigh Kramer for their July posts: What I’ve Learned and What I’m Into.

What I’ve learned:

1. Change is possible. I really, really like bite size goals. It’s deeply changing my life in ways I never thought possible. Like tackling our new house and all the craziness of unpacking boxes – it used to take me months (give or take a year) to fully settle into a space. Simply because I would have no idea how to break down the tasks into smaller, manageable chunks.

Because I didn’t know how to break down tasks like this, I considered myself lazy, weak, or just plain useless. I know I’m good at some things, and that’s always good to remember and to balance with what I’m not good at – but there is something about a cluttered space that screams you aren’t good enough. When functioning feels impossible just because there isn’t a flow anywhere, how do I rise to the challenge from a position of defeat?

Enter practicing bite size goals. It isn’t about how to write a good plan or dream big for the space – it’s about relearning how to think. It’s about learning to see – to bring into focus the dream and the reality.

I’ve needed many teachers in this area, lots of practice, and a healthy dose of gentleness with myself for trying and failing.

I never thought this was possible. I would counter my failure feelings by adjusting and adapting to a space that wasn’t quite functioning well and tell myself that I’ll just have to get used to it this way. Sounds a little Eeyore-ish I know. Believe me, I’ve lived many months in that state.

So the first thing I’ve learned for July 2015 is that I can learn something hard, different, not natural for my personality and gifts, and I can be gentle with myself as I change slowly and imperfectly.

July 2015 Recap 2

2. I am a passionate about learning the Bullet Journal. I’ve already written about it (to be published soon in the #Back2School series – complete with “before” pictures), so I won’t share the details just yet – but it’s going to be great. I’m in the process of developing systems for the Bullet Journal that will help in home schooling.

3. I’m stronger than I thought. As I mentioned in #1, I’ve lived a lot of my life labelled by my weaknesses. And while I think it’s very important to know physical boundaries and prioritize rest and full-stops, I need to learn a new mental message. I shared this struggle in this status about needing to replace lies with truth. I was hung up on day 10 in the course (there will be a 1-Day-Only sale in August) I was taking because I didn’t want to try to sound all “superwomanish.” I tend to swing from one extreme to the other, and because I know this about myself – I’m learning to take change slowly. So the truth that replaces the lie that I’m weak and will never be able to do difficult things is I believe I can try. And you know what? I have tried, and kept on trying. I’ve had discouragements, but the truth says again I can try. Lie: stay down you’re defeated already. Truth: get up, you’re only defeated if you want to be.


4. Create physical space for library materials. I have a pretty good memory. I can recall what we’ve checked out and where it is when it is time to return things. And I’ve tried to always have a specific library bag – after learning the hard way that it is impossible to go to the library without a bag. But what about when the bag comes in the house? I couldn’t stand shuffling the materials around the house with no “home” for them. Enter the library spot for our new house. This little bookcase has no other purpose than to house library materials below and bags above.

What I’m into:

Good Eats (and in the kitchen)

  • I’m into theme night dinner planning! It’s been fun; it will only last a couple of months before I get bored and need a new system – but for now, I’m enjoying the pre-planned, organized meals. IMG_3230
    • Monday: Breakfast
    • Tuesday: Tacos (anything with salsa)
    • Wednesday: Crockpot
    • Thursday: Beef Day
    • Friday: Fun Food Friday! (one member of the family gets to choose their favorite meal, this is on a rotation)
    • Saturday: From the freezer day
    • Sunday: Family and what’s-in-the-fridge-day
  • I’ve been surprised at how much I love press-and-seal wrap. Really. We bought it while we were painting to seal brushes and rollers, but the leftover roll has been my go to for food storage. I love it.
  • Dawn + Bounty = A beautiful thing. I’m a germaphobe and I dislike wet dish towels in the sink. I know it could be considered wasteful to use a paper towel for a job that a regular towel can do, but I’m feeling so clean that I’m not letting it bother me. IMG_1072
  • Soy Decaf Tazo Chai. As a former barista, I know that making the perfect drink can completely brighten someone’s day. I also know that frilly drinks and extra modifiers can get over the top – so I know it’s silly when I list my current favorite beverage. But making it at home saves me so much money and the sweetness in my day brings me so much joy – it’s worth mentioning.

Good Reads (both on the web and on my shelf)

  • I can’t ever get enough of Kara’s posts on Quill and Camera. Her humor and humanity help me feel a little less crazy and a lot more alive.
  • Simple Homeschool is doing a series on an important topic right now called “The Hardest Part of My Homeschool Year.” IMG_1031
  • 31 Days of Praise by Ruth and Warren Myers. I shared this recommendation on Instagram and even though it isn’t new to me in July 2015, I’m reading it again and it’s so good.
  • The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway. This is my first Hemingway read, and I have to say I’m still waiting to be hooked. (Oh my. You have permission to roll your eyes. Sorry about that one.) It’s such a sort novel; I’m about half way through it. The significant thing for me as I read it is the reminder that I am so far behind where I wish I was in terms of my education. See – I’m a learner – that’s how I view myself. Not a has is all together woman who home educates and is able to teach anyone, but a woman with a passion to learn and tell about it. So if I’m “behind” for my age or class or whatever, I know that I’m moving forward in the direction that’s important to me. Learning on purpose.

Good Tunes (and other things to listen to)

  • Audiobooks! For the love, we have been burning up the CD player with these amazing stories: 11745480_492011830965682_3782969095363555709_n
    • Wrinkle in Time, this one was mostly for me although my kids heard the first few chapters of it and the last few chapters. I listened to the middle chapters after they went to bed and I’m glad I did. Thinking about “the man with red eyes” and “it” still make my stomach churn. I’m super sensitive to anything “thrilling,” but I’m so glad I finished the story. The last few chapters were so tender.
    • Clementine’s Letter
    • The Talented Clementine
    • Adventure’s in Odyssey At Home and Abroad (listened to the entire volume in one day) I wrote the list of great topics for conversation starters with my kids in this post.
  • Music: a must at our house for all my music smart kids.
    • Shane & Shane I have so many memories from listening to these songs. I love that their songs help point me to Jesus.
    • Slugs and Bugs: my kids were doing a “Morning Jam” for days where they would turn on these CDs and dance and sing – for hours – happily. Hours.

Good Deals:

  • Chatbooks! I almost forgot about them. Emily Freeman wrote about these last month and included a code for getting the first one free.
  • Cloth diapers. Since settling into our home, I’ve broken out the cloth again. I love saving $10/week. It feels good, and they are very cute too.

I think that about sums up July. I hope you’ve enjoyed your month too!

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14 thoughts on “July Recap: A peek into my life.

  1. 31 Days of Praise if one of my all-time favorites! I think I picked it up for 1.99 at Mardel years ago, and was surprised to find what a gem it was! There is also a 31 Days of Prayer and 31 Days to a Satisfied Heart. Such great books!


    • I know, Ruth Myers has written some great books! The first time I read it, I had a borrowed copy – then I found the one pictured on PaperBackSwap. There’s also 31 Days to Power (http://amzn.to/1IOXGF9) – These little books have been so potent in growing my prayer life.


    • I did the bin thing before too, but I’m thinking it is all in the display. My kids are grabbing the books multiple times a day – after the 1st week (of 3 for books) the kids have read them multiple times! I actually feel like there is a real point to why we check out books now. 🙂 Before we just “had” them but couldn’t see or read them.

      I’m just thankful for the “extra” bookcase. Moving has shuffled a lot of our things around. 🙂


  2. Bite size goals–what a great thing to keep in mind! Sometimes I get so focused on where i want to be it’s hard to see the little steps I’ve taken to move forward.

    Also, your blog design in SO cute! Love it!


    • I’m learning the whole goal-setting thing from Crystal Paine. I’m not a natural by any stretch, but it has been so good to try something new and see slow change and progress! Like replacing bad habits with new, good ones – it takes time and effort – but it’s so worth it. Plus my mental state thanks me for it too which is motivating to keep going.

      Celebrate your steps forward & keep going!

      And thanks for the design love – pretty blogs are so much more fun to read. 🙂


  3. We made a physical space for our library haul at home too and it is a game-changer! Sure things don’t always end up where they are supposed to, but I’ve spent a lot less time searching for books that are due when the time comes because they mostly get put back where they are supposed to be.


    • I love it when something clicks and makes such a difference – I bet you all enjoy the library haul more now! And the search for the missing book game isn’t one I like to do either. 😉


  4. Hi! I’m visiting from Emily’s link up and really love your theme dinner ideas (just when I needed a “refresh” on meal planning). Also, I appreciate your good reads suggestions – I love book recommendations. Thanks for blessing me!


    • Ah dinnertime. It’s so simple, yet it can be rough at times to keep making food every single day! I’m glad to be of help and encouragement!

      Thanks for clicking over 🙂


    • Great! Speaking of theme-nights, it’s that time of the week for me where I need to meal plan again. Doing 2 weeks at a time feels great once it’s done, but when it comes back around again it feels daunting. Every little tip helps.


  5. I think the library cart is a great idea. I don’t have a designated place in my house for library stuff, but I think I definitely need one. Thanks for the great idea!


    • I’m glad we did it – it’s been working great. Whenever I tried to give our library stuff a bin or bag – I felt like the kids didn’t use it or the resources enough because they couldn’t see it.
      Also the accountability piece is good for me too – when to return things, and also when it’s empty I’m motivated to take the kids to the library to fill the shelves. 🙂


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