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This post has been in my head for weeks, but I kept working on other things instead – to be honest, I’ve been suffering from writer’s block. Call it a summer recap slash life update?
Lindsay at Pinch of Yum, one of my favorite (non-THM) food blogs, has been writing monthly “coffee date” posts for a year or so, and they’re some of my favorite posts to read because I like reading about people, and their stories, and what’s inspiring them. In case you’re like me, I’m going to start doing the same. I’m kind of scared to start a monthly series considering how (in)consistent my blogging has been lately, but maybe this will help me turn over a new leaf?
Since I don’t really like coffee, I’ll be drinking hot tea while we chat instead. Current favorite: vanilla chai with a rounded doonk of THM stevia. What are you drinking? I want these “tea chats” to be interactive so drop a comment below and tell me what drink you’re into right now. *Do not say, “Pumpkin spice latte.”
It’s still quite hot here in Louisiana, so this iced coffee might be more your speed. Seriously, we have a Real Feel of 114* in the afternoons more often than not and I’m getting a little perturbed at all the people posting about pumpkin spice lattes and all that nonsense AND IT’S NOT EVEN SEPTEMBER YET. I’m just jealous of those of you who can feel fall in the air already…. HOWEVER, yesterday morning was unseasonably cool and rainy for the first time, so maybe summer’s grip is loosening? We can only hope.
When life plants you in a tropical climate, plant a palm tree.
Our summer has been busy. (Yeah, me and everyone else, I know.) I took a trip to South Carolina for a wedding mid July and spent almost a week there with my family, then my sister flew back to Louisiana with me and spent almost a week here with us (fun!). The next two weeks brought two more sets of company, which was awesome because we’ve barely gotten any overnight company since getting married.
Aside from the traveling and hosting company and keeping up with social events, we have been consumed with the whole fellowship application process basically since the beginning of June. My husband Ryan is in his 3rd and last year of Internal Medicine residency and would like to do an additional 3-year fellowship of more specialized training. This training will become his career path, so it’s kind of a big deal and has been taking up a lot of my mental energy for the last few months even though I’m not the one sending out applications and interviewing. 😛 I think that’s part of the cause of my writer’s block. There are a lot of unknowns right now. Will we be moving somewhere next summer? If so, where? Will there be a good church there? We could be staying right where we are now. There will be pros and cons to any scenario, so we’ll take whatever comes and work with it, but the not knowing can be wearing. Amid the questions, we rest in God and His leading. He’s been faithful until now, and He does not change!
I don’t want to go into a lot of detail about the fellowship process to protect my husband’s professional privacy, but if you have questions about how the fellowship match works, this video explains it well.
So Ryan has a lot of traveling coming up for interviews and medical conferences (and I’m taking a trip in September as well). That combined with his “normal” schedule that changes every two weeks makes for a pretty interesting life, a calendar with stuff marked on nearly every single day, and a crash course in flexibility. Briana has become more spontaneous than she ever thought she’d be and she still has a long way to go. Funny how God gives us exactly what we need…. 🙂
WORK LIFE BALANCE
Earlier this summer I was really getting burned out. I used to LOVE blogging, but I can’t put as much time into it as I used to, and that shows. My pride and identity were smarting because I couldn’t post regularly and my traffic was going down…and I was just getting tired of keeping up with it all. I didn’t know what to do with that because I’ve always really enjoyed what I do. But now, now I enjoy being a wife and a homemaker and a friend as much as or more than being a blogger, and I’m not sure how to juggle all the hats! And when we have children I know the equation will change even more drastically! Being an all or nothing person, I thought about throwing in the towel completely. “If I can’t do it like I used to do it, I don’t want to do it at all.” I spent so much time going through my social media notifications that I didn’t have time to do what really fires me up: creating. I love creating recipes and photographing them and writing, but all the busywork and the knowledge of the big projects I wanted to tackle but didn’t have time for were weighing me down.
So when I went to South Carolina and then came home and hosted a bunch of company all in a row, I took a break. I didn’t really intend to stay off of Facebook for five weeks, but it felt so good. Seriously, if you’re toying with the idea of a social media break, DO IT. Or delete your accounts entirely. So worth it. I would totally do that if I didn’t have this blog, and maybe someday I will anyway…. *muahahaha* More and more I’m gravitating toward a quieter, more old-fashioned life. Less screen time. More reading. More people interaction. My phone is always on vibrate with no social media notification alerts, and my favorite thing to do with it is put it in another room for a few hours. 😛 (Although I’m not so good at remembering to do so and I still need to work on that.) I’m still figuring out how I feel about my role on social media. That’s where a lot of my blog traffic comes from, but do I really want to be tempting people to spend more time there? Maybe someday I’ll switch entirely to email newsletters and ditch the social media. (You can sign up to get my posts via email HERE.) It feels more authentic.
The library is a great place to work uninterrupted without taking breaks to put laundry in the washer.
After a long break, and then a week of slogging through the pile in my email inbox and a month of Facebook notifications and blog comments, I’m ready to roll again. With modifications:
- Social media notifications twice a week. Not every day.
- Don’t write so many things down on to-do lists. My sister was reading a book (can’t remember the name of it) that advocated only giving yourself 5 main tasks to do in a day. That was a mind-blowing concept for me.
- Don’t schedule so many social media posts, if any. (Share more in real time as I want to instead.) And let things go completely quiet on social media when I’m on trips!
- Just do the next right thing. Whatever doesn’t get done at the end of the day can wait. Remember that you can only do your best – nothing more.
- Work really hard in solid blocks of uninterrupted time, then close the computer and be done for the day. (Those of you who work from home can probably identify with the constant temptation to blur the lines between work and personal life. I.e. computer always open on the kitchen table.)
- Little to no computer work after supper. Maybe a little bit of social media sharing, but no more than 15 minutes’ worth. That’s the goal. I feel much calmer and sleep much better if I’m not staring at a screen right before I go to bed. My doctor husband keeps harping at me about this and I’m finally starting to take his advice. 😛
I want to hear from y’all! Do you work from home? If so, what’s your strategy to make it work without getting burned out and letting it detract from being present with your family and enjoying home life?
Visiting the most beautiful beach I’ve ever seen for a glorious 20 minutes on a quick weekend trip to Pensacola, Florida, for a wedding…
First time ever kayaking. I went with some friends and loved it. I also took way too much stuff and ended up having to shove it down the front of my life jacket to keep it dry. #rookie
WHAT I’M MAKING
Been working on an amazing banana bread recipe. It’s a THM Crossover because the texture is just perfect that way and it’s SO GOOD.
I’m also enjoying messing around with sourdough recipes! I’m into cinnamon raisin bread right now (not too many raisins, Trim Healthy Mamas, just a few for the “experience”), and my most recent concoction was a chocolate cardamom loaf. I’m not sure how I feel about that one; maybe I’ll try a chocolate chili version next. I’ve also had good luck with waffles, and I’ve dabbled in cinnamon rolls but haven’t perfected those yet. Maybe sometime next year after I have more experience under my belt I’ll do a sourdough series of some sort. I LOVE being able to get my hands into some real bread dough that actually smells and feels and tastes like bread but still fits into the Trim Healthy Mama plan, and it’s much less finicky than I thought it would be!
CURRENTLY LISTENING TO…
- the dramatized King James Version on the Bible Gateway app (great way to get more Scripture into your day!),
- Majesty Music’s CD “Stay the Course” (click here to see music videos of some of the songs on YouTube),
- and “The Oak and the Ash” by the newest generation of The King’s Singers.
The Psalms. They were on my list to read and God sent them at a time when they could not be more applicable. With all we have going on with fellowship applications and unknowns, I needed the unceasing reminders to rest in God!
“The person of faith was one who was so committed to God that, like Abraham, he ventured into the unknown with the full expectation that God would meet him there. Thus, in the biblical sense, to have faith was to move out in life and know God would be there waiting. It was ‘the call to step boldly into tomorrow, to embrace the new – with confidence that every new day would prove to be a meeting place with the holy and eternal God. The opposite of faith was to cling desperately to yesterday, fearing that if one ever left it, one would leave God.'” Our Father Abraham (Wilson), pg. 184
I highly recommend this book! I haven’t finished it yet but I’ve learned so much from it already. The writing is a bit ponderous in places but it’s well-researched and deep and rich. The book explores the way Christianity began as an evolution of Judaism, what caused the branch to separate from its root, and what we’ve lost by forgetting where we came from in the first place. The book also gives insights into elements of eastern thought found in Scripture that we Westerners often misinterpret or just miss altogether.
Writing a few blessings a day in a “gratitude notebook.” (Inspired by Voskamp’s book One Thousand Gifts, which is another great read.) This has become my new journal of sorts. It’s a great exercise in seeing the day’s happenings from a perspective of gratefulness and good instead of negativity.
Experiencing boiled crawfish for the first time…
(photo creds to my friend Rose!)
OK, I’M DONE.
As I said above, I want these posts to be interactive, so leave a comment and tell me what’s in your cup these days – and leave your new favorite quotes, books, music, Scripture verses, stories, life experiences, etc. as well! I love hearing what is impacting other people!