Happy first week of Fall. To start this post, I feel like I have to make a confession. A couple months back I wrote this post on how I survive summer. I might have said something about summer being my favorite. My friend Jess called me out last week, and I realized she’s right.
No, it’s not. It’s not my favorite.
I hate mosquitos. Our air conditioner sucks, and our electric bill is like woah. The kids don’t want to be outside in the heat or when they do, I don’t. And lastly…summer clothes suck when you get to your mid 30’s, they don’t cover near enough of your body. Or at least, my body.
Bonus confession on the age range.
The truth is…I’m a fall girl now. Please don’t #givemeallthepumpkin (insert eye roll emoji), but brisk nights by the fire, with a book and a glass of wine? Yes, please. Cardigan, jeans, and ankle booties? Yes, please. Soups and cozy comfort foods? Yes, please. Especially my chicken and dumplings.
Or dumps as we call them, I’m so sorry.
It’s time to quit pretending I love the heat of summer just because my Texas roots make me think I’m supposed to be all tough about 100-degree weather. Besides, there isn’t a lake close by that has my heart. What’s summer without the lake??
All of this is to preface today’s post. When reflecting on my word of the year last week, I started thinking to this last portion of the year coming up. For most, it is one of the busiest due to the holidays being squeezed in. So many things and options for doing way too much and killing ourselves.
It got me thinking. What if instead of just reacting I think about preparing? Maybe put some plans in place to protect myself? I thought about a few categories that I could be more proactive in…or at least more mindful in, and that’s what I want to share today.
Also, putting things on the internet is great accountability.
One disclaimer though, I’m trying to not do that thing where I think I can tackle everything with goals and good intentions and then end up being disappointed. Time will tell.
Here are the categories:
Like how I did that?
Right. Let’s get started.
- Soda. I’m sure you haven’t noticed that I have quit drinking Dr. Pepper. Good gosh, I can’t seem to write a post without mentioning it. Only a little sorry. But it wouldn’t be true if this wasn’t on the list. No DP through the end of the year.
- Next. Continue to figure out my exercise rhythm. So I’m learning that each season actually does have to be readjusted when it comes to this schedule. I haven’t worked it out exactly yet, but the plan is 3 days a week. Pilates and strength training with cardio. Even if that means walking on the treadmill.
- Eat breakfast. Before 1:00 pm. Not even kidding a little.
- Go to freaking bed before midnight. Lack of sleep and being tired is one of the biggest culprits for so many struggles I have. I need 8-9 hours of sleep. I need to quit being in denial.
- De-Cluttering. We hit the ground running with our house purge in August, but this time of year, stuff and clutter seem to multiply like rabbits. I have several more spaces that need that sort of purging done. Because I have been able to feel the benefits so tangibly, I really think this is one I can continue to follow through with.
- Master bedroom re-do. I’ve mentioned this before, but our bedroom has never felt quite right. I’m determined to tackle this problem. Due to funds, it will be a progression, but painting it is numero uno on the list.
This one actually has to be broken up a little in categories…
- Soul work. We recently went on a retreat led by a spiritual director. It was so powerful and intriguing. As I have gone back to work, finding a rhythm for my personal devotional time has been difficult. And I can feel the weight from it. So this fall, I’m committed to finding the rhythm for me for THIS season, but also very interested in engaging in some professional spiritual direction. Has anyone done this before? What was your experience? I’m a little nervous, but also really excited.
- Marriage. Being married is a great gift. And it is also a great responsibility. A very great responsibility. As Bret and I have both continued to explore and learn about ourselves personally, I want to use this season to invest in each other better. Because of how full our summers are with ministry and all that comes with the start of a new school year, it is so easy for us to get into bad habits where we don’t take time to connect or even interact as much as we want to. The great side of this is that we get excited to keep getting better at this. We take this responsibility seriously.
- Motherhood. In full disclosure, being a mom is the absolute hardest role I have ever had. It is full of so much more than just hard, but I’m not playing around. It is soul-wrenching work. For this season, I want to work on playing with the boys better. Just that one thing. Playing. I have a feeling it will come to be so much more than that.
I honestly cringe at writing this, but the holidays are not as defining for me as they are for some. I love them. I love to give and receive gifts. I love to host. All those things. But much of what we do is on auto-pilot, and I am ok with that. However, there are some tweaks I want to do, and also just remind myself of what our values are that we have decided on as a family.
Please hear this. They are different for EVERYONE. But I want to encourage you to think about yours BEFORE the chaos ensues.
Here are the things I want to work on or remind myself of.
- Thanksgiving is our holiday for rest as a family. We started this after our 1st year of marriage and have never regretted it. We stay put, in our own house, and rest. Sometimes my parents come in town, sometimes not. Now wait for it…
- We BUY our Thanksgiving meal. Not even kidding. If you know me, I love to cook and host very large groups. But we pay other people to cook our meal and then we heat it and enjoy it. In our pjs. Then we lay around and watch football and flip through the Black Friday newspaper ads while we doze. We watch a lot of movies and tv and just rest. It’s glorious. It might actually be why the Holidays don’t feel frenetic to me. Or only a little frenetic.
- Christmas. Stick to the plan. I mentioned I love to give gifts. That would be a massive understatement. I love to give everyone, all the gifts. Luckily for our bank account, we have always been hardcore budgeters and set aside cash every month for Christmas. Then when Christmas arrives, the money is there. The truth is that I’m not perfect on never going over. But having this in place is monumental in cutting down on the stress of Christmas.
- Buy less for the kids. This obviously fits with the above line item, but it is different. With the boys, we do the whole “something you want, something you need, something to wear, something to read,” thing. It’s great. Except stockings. I totally cheat the system because stocking stuffers are a spiritual gift of mine. This year. I want to be more thoughtful and intentional. We are trying to tackle some gratitude and expectation issues in our house and this is just another chance to do so.
I wrote this post and then sat on it for a day. Looking back I was so tempted to add add add! But if there is anything I’m learning these days, it’s that a better life happens in “the less.” Not in that overwhelming, I have to restructure my life way. That way you keep reading about as the only way to truly be happy or find joy. That way that makes you cringe every time you hear the word, “simplify”.
Not that way.
So I’m going to leave it like this. Real. Do-able. Only a teeny bit ambitious (working out three times a week in the winter, anyone??). I’m open to any suggestions and would love to hear what you are going to do to prepare for what’s coming.