Saturday, October 22, 2016

Life Lately

Brown County, Indiana

I used to make these lists a lot about what was going on in life lately, and in my procrastination from schoolwork, I'm feeling another one of these this week.  How's your weekend so far? Mine has been unexpectedly relaxing-- I was supposed to work all weekend but got switched from Saturday to Thursday this week, so this little Saturday off was such a nice treat.  Hope you have a restful Sunday-- I'm back to work tomorrow but am feeling ready after a good day of resting my body, mind, and soul.

Lately, I'm...

Listening to Georgica Pond, the new Johnnyswim album.  It's divine and heavenly, and I've mentioned it several times in several spaces on the Internet, but if you haven't already checked it out, do yourself a favor and do so immediately.  I won't even be offended if you close out of my blog right now to go check it Georgica Pond.  Here is a link to one of the songs if you need quick access.

Reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin, which has been pretty good so far.  I'm way more into these nonfiction, self-help kind of books than I would ever openly admit in a large crowd. Part of why I really like this one is because I listen to the Happier podcast with Gretchen and her sister Elizabeth.  My friend Chancey introduced me to their podcast and I have loved it ever since.  Also just because I don't know where else to include this on my list, here's some books that are sitting on my nightstand for me to read after finals are over:

  • The Nest by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney
  • The Mothers by Jennifer Gilmore
  • The Paris Wife by Paula McLain
  • Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist (yes, I plan to read this one again)
  • Small Victories by Anne Lamott
  • Modern Lovers by Emma Straub
  • Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty
  • Daring Greatly by Brene Brown
  • Imperfect Birds by Anne Lamott
  • Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
  • Traveling Mercies by Anne Lamott (yes, I know there is a lot of Anne Lamott on my list :))
  • Mudbound by Hilary Jordan
  • A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller
  • Dinner: A Love Story by Jenny Rosenstrach 
  • Commonwealth by Anne Patchett
Needless to say, I have high aspirations for my free time and realize that very little of this list will be accomplished!

Wearing fall nails colors, Spooky socks, and big blankets anytime I'm home.  Fall is here and it feels magical outside.  I'm not ready for winter, so Fall please stay awhile.

Eating a lot of fruits and vegetables.  Whole30 is in full swing and we are 10 days away from finishing.  It's been a really good practice in food discipline and in helping me change my relationship with food, and I am hoping that I can continue similar discipline when I am not on such a strict regimen after Whole30.  I'm worried because I'm a very all or nothing kind of person, so I fear that I may go back to my normal eating habits which is something I truly do not wish to do. 

Thinking about Christmas already and trying to be disciplined with our Christmas budget.  I start decorating for Christmas on November 1st (sorry to those who save this for December-- I do not believe in such nonsense) and therefore only have a few more days to contemplate the Christmas season before it is upon us.

Dreaming up millions of ideas for this little house of our's.  It was somewhat of a big deal for me to paint the kitchen and the cabinets this summer, and since that rehab, I have yet to lift a finger for anything else.  I want to finish another wall of the kitchen that is tough to get to, and I also want to paint my office and our bedroom/bathroom, but have yet to take this on.  Perhaps when I go part time in January, or when I'm locked inside during the cold winter trying to keep warm with Doc and a space heater.  

Looking for God's glory in the smallest of things-- pumpkins, changing trees (I LOVE seeing trees that are right in the middle of their fall transition--when half of it is green and the other half is burnt orange or blazing red), sunsets.  

Loving fall candles galore and cozy blankets while sitting on the rocking chairs on our front porch.  THIS IS MY SEASON.  Ok I'm done talking about fall. 

Drinking a lot of coffee with almond milk or, believe it or not, BLACK COFFEE (all the praise hands).  I have a memory of watching LeHigh beat Duke in the NCAA tournament while I was in college and watching it at the Borough while drinking black coffee.  I felt so sophisticated, yet secretly hated drinking my coffee black.  Now I'm a pro and feel like I enjoy the coffee taste so much more than I ever did.  

Wishing we could hop on a plane over to Italy, Ireland, Greece, Spain, England, etc.  I am antsy to travel again but we haven't been able to because of school schedules.  We want to travel when Scott graduates this year and I am praying that my school schedule will cooperate so we can enjoy that time of celebration.  We're not 100% about where we'd go but I am really hoping Greece makes it on the list.

Missing friends, family, home.  I want to drink coffee with my dearest friends, lay on my mom's couch to talk about what's been hard lately, drink coffee with my dad at the beach, snuggle Easton while sitting on Ashley's couch, catch up with my mother-in-law and father-in-law, and just be present in the lives of the people I love in ways I'm not always able to do.  I hope they all know how desperately I love and miss them, even from these many miles away. 

Struggling through my school semester as I juggle full-time work, part-time school, and working as a TA for a nursing theory class.  Scott has been very understanding of my frazzled, overwhelmed reactions to things lately, which I am thankful for.  Coffee and snuggles from Doc have gotten me through, as has grace from Scott and his immense support.  

Playing chess with Scott as often as we are able.  We had a super fun coffee date at PCJ while we were home where we played chess for a few hours, and ever since we have been playing at home when we have down time (AKA never).  It's been kind of fun, except once I got mad because I thought I was going to lose and I knocked all the pieces off.  Woops.  I'm a sore loser!

That's basically what's been happening around here lately.  I'm procrastinating from doing some school assignments, so it was nice to catch up with you all instead.  Hope you have a beautiful rest of your weekend and that you have a great week ahead!


Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Fall Joys

Pumpkin patch at Huber Orchard

We're doing a little something different around here today as we celebrate Fall Joys in lieu of the usual Small Joys post.  If you're keeping up with the volumes of Small Joys, we are technically on volume 26! I can hardly believe it.  It's been such a fun journey sharing these things with you all.  Let's look at the small and fall joys of this week.

No. 1: Small Joys book. I keep mentioning that there's a Small Joys book coming, and that's still very much the case.  It's just moving at slower than usual pace for a book.  The manuscript for Small Joys is sitting just shy of 100 pages at this point.  My time lately is less focused on writing and more focused on school, but I have occasional days where I take time to step away and write.  I read about some of the authors I love going on these retreats to finish their books and just dream of where I would go for mine.  I think I would go here to write in this little tree house in South Carolina on Bolt Farms, where Seth Bolt of Needtobreathe's family lives.  Check out the second photo-- I have dreams of writing with all of that natural light pouring in as I sip coffee with Doc at my feet keeping them warm.

No. 2: Whole30.  Oh man.  If you follow me on any form of social media, you'll know that Scott and I are on day 16 of Whole30 and are really enjoying this experiment in being good to our bodies with food.  I've always had somewhat of an emotional relationship with food and have, since getting married, gained 30 pounds due to "stress eating" and not caring for my body well.  So far on Whole30, we have stuck with the plan and have only cheated in minor ways by snacking (on healthy snacks-- which isn't super encouraged by the program) and weighing ourselves.  I have lost 12.5 pounds so far and can feel it in my clothes and scrubs, which is exciting.  Yesterday someone at work asked if I had lost weight and it helped me feel encouraged by this process of treating my body well.  Life after Whole30 may still involve incorporating Whole30 meals and principles, like limiting dairy, legumes, and added sugar.  We've talked about having "cheat days" while still trying to mostly maintain a Whole30 diet.  Favorite meals so far include lettuce wrap tacos, lettuce wrap burgers, salmon cakes, and Philly steak bowls.  Next month, post-Whole30, I plan to incorporate exercise into my healthy goals.  

No. 3: Small Joys on TrĂ©s Belle. One of my college friends has her own blog that featured a Small Joys post this week.  Check out Laura's beautiful blog and read about the things that she finds joy in.  She also features posts about faith, social justice, environmental sustainability, lifestyle, equality, and what it means to redefine the traditional Southern belle.  I love this blog and hope you will enjoy it, too!  I was overjoyed when she asked if she could do her own Small Joys posts on her blog and am happy to share this venture of recognizing small moments of joy in the midst of the ordinary.  

No. 4: Apple picking.  You all know by now that I love all things fall-- and apple picking goes at the very top of my fall bucket list! I have already been apple picking twice this season and hope to go again in a week or so for the end-of-season half price apples that we always scoop up from Anderson Orchard.  We love going when everyone else has picked the trees bone dry to try to find the apples that were left behind.  We make pies and all sorts of delicious things with our apples.  For Whole30, I've been making unsweetened applesauce which is SO good, and Scott has made baked apples a few times for a pseudo dessert.  I met my friend Lindsay of Bluegrass Bites down in southern Indiana to go apple picking at her favorite Orchard and can totally see why it's her favorite!

Huber's Orchard

No. 5: Georgica Pond.  This year at the Belong tour, I had the opportunity and privilege to experience a Johnnyswim concert and just fell in love with this duo.  I came home and listened to their songs on repeat, waiting anxiously for their Georgica Pond album to be released.  It's now out and I have been SUPER productive with cleaning and homework since it came out.  It's so good.  I was warned that it was intense, and I will agree with that statement.  When I listen to the song that the album is named for, I tear up and have to change to another song.  It's beautiful though, and if you aren't familiar with Johnnyswim, check them out.  My favorite song off of their album is called Villains

No. 6: Part time!  I didn't know that this day would be coming so soon, but I am officially switching to part time at work as of January 2nd.  This semester has chewed me up and spit me back out several times, and I am so thankful and nervous to switch to part time in January.  I have natural fears about money living on one part-time salary while we both finish school, but I am trying to trust God more with this and also trying to be more mindful of our spending in the mean time.  I am excited for fewer shifts at work and am hopeful for more time to focus on school, health, and our home life.  

No. 7: Apple festival.  Scott and I take an annual trip to the quaint town of Kendalville, Indiana for the Apple Festival each year, and this year was no different.  We went for a couple of days to spend time with some of our good friends and their family, and we adored Apple Festival as much as we ever have.  We stayed at our friend's lake cottage and got to take the pontoon out for a blustery day on the lake after going to Apple Festival, and as we piled into the boat and snuggled with blankets, I thought to myself, Now this is my season.  It was the quintessential "fall" experience.  

No. 8: Snuggles from Doc.  I think that when we first got Doc and I included him in a Small Joys post, I mentioned that he would pretty much always be on the list.  He's been super snuggly and sweet lately, and I think his GSP energy has been a little high due to us not being able to exercise him as much over the past few weeks.  He came with us to Kendalville a few weeks ago and got lost in the woods, which was a super stressful experience.  But now that we're home he's been adorable and funny and very interested in being all over us.  

No. 9: Pumpkin Woods.  This is a scent I just discovered this year from Bath and Body Works, and the candle is just divine.  I actually have been somewhat saving it for later in the season because it's a nice blend of fall and Christmas, and I think it will make a nice transition candle in the month of November.  It has both a fall scent to it while also having hints of pine.  I LOVE this candle and highly recommend it!

No. 10: You've Got Mail.  This obviously had to make the list!  It's the quintessential fall movie (along with When Harry Met Sally which I may also indulge in today after doing some homework!) and is just my go-to, feel-good movie.  "Don't you just love New York in the Fall? It makes me want to buy school supplies.  I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address." Nora Ephron was a genius and is truly a legend.  

Hope you all have a great rest of your week and that you're able to find small moments of joy in the midst of your ordinary weeks.  Look for those small moments that take your breath away and remind you that there is a loving God who wants to spoil you with goodness.