August: How I Roped Myself In #31Days

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

What I’ve learned:

1. I am capable of so much more when fear is removed.

I roped myself into the idea of doing a #Back2School in #31Days series during the whole month of August by saying to myself:

You’ll only have to write 400+ words, you can count a day by just posting to Facebook, and you don’t have to have a picture in every post. Just mark every day in some way. Make a difference in small steps – and don’t despise the smallness.

Oh how the series outgrew this standard. It has taught me to count my days, and make my time count.

B2S Day 31 August Recap 1

I can’t believe how much I’ve grown as a writer because of this series, not to mention the fact that I have faced down the startling challenge of setting up a room that started like this (these were the before pictures included in Day 3).

I had the special challenge of continuing to settle into our new home – we moved in July – so setting up a space for all the home education supplies to live isn’t something I have to do every year (actually, I almost have had to do this every year, 3 moves in 5 years – but I think I’m done now).

2. I was encouraged to discover my unfair advantage. Anne from the Modern Mrs. Darcy shared hers and then gave clues as to how to find your own.

Mine is memory.

I remember things. I don’t try to remember everything, and I admit when I don’t remember something (that used to be an area of stubbornness – being really good at something tends to bristle me when I’m found lacking in it).

I’m trying to be more reflective about what I remember too. Not just rushing past and getting on to the next thing, but savoring. Slowing. Steading. I am who I am right now, and my memories are my treasures – some have eternal meaning. These mean more to me than whether I have a leaky shower to fix or a load of laundry to wash.

I don’t know what my unfair advantage is supposed to be useful for in its entirety just yet, but for now I’m studying it – I’m thankful for it.

In balancing writer and mother - mother comes first (crazy hair optional).

In balancing writer and mother – mother comes first (crazy hair optional).

3. Celebrating Tuesdays. I’m reading Simply Tuesday, and it feels like the perfect mental summary to the lessons simplifying externally have taught me. Sure the external stuff needs to be decluttered, organized, removed, addressed, etc. But what about the thoughts, people, places, and memories all jumbled up in my soul? Where do these pieces fit? Am I allowed to sit and simplify my heart?

Yes.

I loved listening to the Intro and 1st Chapter of the book so much that I went out the same day a bought it. Which leads me to #4.

4. I am an audible learner. Every session I’ve listened to by Dr. Kathy Koch, every sermon by Pastor Mark, every podcast, and every audiobook I’ve engaged with feels more permanent in my memory. I’m not sure if it’s also because I like to listen to these over and over, or if it is because I sincerely love hearing voice, tone, and inflection to gain a greater understanding of the author’s intent – either way, listening enriches and teaches me. This is also the reason why online courses that include audio files or videos feel so valuable to me.

Here’s what I’ve been listening to:

(For a list of audiobooks we listened to last month click here.)

If you’ve never tried audiobooks, or you don’t think listening to podcasts is a habit you want to start – I’m not trying to change your mind!

But if you’re feeling stuck, if your thoughts are more discouraging than encouraging, or you just don’t have the leisure to read as much as you’d like – then let me encourage you to start by picking one thing to listen to. Pick a household chore that you find yourself doing the most (for me, it’s dishes and meal prep) and couple that chore with listening to something you’ll benefit from. Prop your phone or tablet on a surface that is safe or crank the volume on your computer and enjoy. Or during quiet time for your kids, pop in your ear buds and fill your mind with helpful and encouraging thoughts to strengthen your heart and mind.

What I’m into:

I think it’s safe to say, I’m still into audiobooks.

So moving on.

Blogs

I’ve been really into my blog this month, and I know that sounds weird. I’m not saying I’m idolizing it or praising it – I’ve just spent a lot of time with it and in it. The time taken to write and share here has grown me – and for that I’m thankful.

The most popular posts from this past month were:

I’m still into my Bullet Journal. I thought I was going to cave and buy a The Ultimate Homeschool Planner, but I realized that I just wanted the thoughtfulness of the yearly planning portion and I didn’t think I would truly use the daily planning (making it another wasted planner on the shelf). So, I studied the sample pages (thank you Amazon for the “Look Inside” feature – helps me every time).

I did, however, cave and bought this planner. I knew it was time to separate the blogging part of my life and begin taking more practical steps to build this blog even more. It’s exciting.

Other blogs I’ve visited most this month:

Books

I bought Teaching from Rest (still waiting on this to arrive!) and A Million Little Ways (Kindle special! $1.99 I’d rather have paperback, but I’m just happy to have it. I’ve borrowed it from the library 3 times – never to finish it – and hold requests sometimes take forever to fulfill).

These two books represent two wonderful sources of inspiration for me. I’m often and most deeply mentored through books written by women just a little ways ahead of me in the story of their lives. I love pouring over their words, thoughts, and lessons.

B2S Day 31 August Recap 4

I also asked on Facebook for a fiction recommendation – see the post here – and the response was amazing! I’m still looking through all the titles and making the list (requested by some of the commenters). This simple question created a community! To my surprise and delight, friends started chiming in that we should start a book club – both online and in person. And given my love for connection, books, and organization I said yes – with a catch: I can’t meet every month. New and exciting things can quickly trump boring but important things – knowing this, I quickly limited myself and the amount of time and effort I’ll allow to this gift-group.

Being: there & here

This might be a “What I’m Learning” and “What I’m Into” overlap – but I’m gradually seeing myself fill the role of encourager in practical ways for some close people in my life. And while I take accountability seriously (I’m still learning to see it in a positive light and not as punishment), I am learning that I love to be the person that supports and strengthens others in their pursuits. Cheerleading was never something I sought out – and my personality is much to sober to embrace shouting and jumping – but in the softer more personal way, I’m gifted in this.

I’m learning to offer it to others freely – without criticism or expectation.

What’s interesting to me is that as I see people come to me from outside my family for help in little things, I’m seeing myself understand my role of encourager and supporter within my family.

B2S Day 31 August Recap 3

I’m learning to balance being there for them and being here for us.

It’s much less glamorous to be an accountability partner to the members of your own family – and it involves a lot more commitment, love, grace, and forgiveness. It also demands honesty and exposure of my own shortness, smallness, and weakness. This is where the real work is done – but where the richest rewards are won.

I’m so into my home and my people. I’m looking so much more forward to September than I ever have before because of August – counting each day and making it count, growing in baby steps and imperfect progress, and accepting the less, the lack, and the small for how they ground me.

This is the LAST POST – Day 31 – in the #Back2School in #31Days series, to see the list of topics covered click here for the index.

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7 thoughts on “August: How I Roped Myself In #31Days

  1. Hi, Cara! It’s nice to meet you through Leigh’s linkup (I’m a first timer). 🙂

    I loooved the Giver. Was disappointed in the film adaptation, though (and by disappointed I mean I wanted to throw my box of Sno-Caps at the screen!).

    Oh, and Read-Aloud Revival! Sarah is delightful, isn’t she? My friend (and boss) Julie Bogart has been on the Revival podcast (plus did a recent Poetry Teatime). We just love Sarah and so appreciate what she’s doing.

    Also, good luck with your book club!

    Jeannette AKA musingwoman

    Like

    • Thanks for the tip about the adaptation of the Giver – I won’t even try it!

      And thanks for visiting through Leigh’s linkup – I hope your first time has been a delightful experience!

      I have listened to half the episode on RAR with Julie – Brave Writer, right? I thought her perspective was so refreshing and helpful.

      I appreciate what Sarah’s doing too – now I wish I would’ve gone to one of her sessions at the last GHC. I remember seeing “Amongst Lovely Things” and thinking, “hmm…that sounds interesting.” 🙂

      Thanks again for visiting Jeannette!

      Like

  2. Hi Cara …

    Just dropping in from Emily’s … I loved what you penned about reflective listening, savoring. How many eternal treasures have we simply glossed over because we were too rushed or frazzled.

    Good stuff here!

    Like

    • Thank you Linda. I so enjoy Emily’s inspiration and it feels right and good when it actually is taken to heart producing real fruit.

      What’s the title of your August post? I’d love to return the visit. 🙂

      Like

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