What I learned this summer, including notes on some good-but-hard things – and why there’s a coming shift on the blog…
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Ten Lessons Learned
- I gave up caffeine for a month. Y’all. It absolutely, totally, undoubtedly was not worth it. I’ve read all the articles about why we should be giving up caffeine. I’ve also read articles about how coffee is good for us in moderation. Here’s what it boiled down to for me: I just plain love coffee. I love the smell of it wafting up the stairs, welcoming me to a new day. I love the comfort of holding a hot cuppa in my hands as I sit on the back porch, inhaling the familiar smells of my childhood. So, yes, I gave it up for a month. But I’ve been back to my morning coffee routine for a couple of months again and have zero plans of giving it up again. As a matter of fact, I think I need a cup now…you know, for brain fuel as I write. 😉
- I took part in the Same Page Summer Bible reading challenge. Lizziejank on Instagram hosted a #samepagesummer Bible reading challenge and I figured I’d jump in. Its basis was that we as Christians have forgotten how to simply READ the Bible. We’ve turned it into such an ordeal – journaling, checking commentaries, studying Greek, listening to 23 different sermons on the passage – that we’ve forgotten to JUST READ. The Bible is powerful enough on its own. Just dig in. And so I did. And you know what? It was pretty amazing. It averaged about 6 chapters a day, but the birdseye view it gave me was priceless. I highly recommend the method and if she runs it again next summer I’ll for sure be hopping on board again.
- Making family time a priority is one of the best investments we can make. I elaborate on this in the next few points.
- Getting children outside every day does wonders for their mental, physical, and spiritual state. Granted, this is every so much easier to do in summer, but my goal is to get them outside as much as possible every day, rain or shine, even if just for a few minutes.
- Exploring state parks is time so well spent. Here in MN, you can get a state park vehicle pass for a small annual fee. Your entire family can get into every single state park, FREE – as many times as you want, wherever you want, whenever you want. We explored bluffs, valleys, waterfalls, prairies, lakes, and rivers. I anticipate that these simple days will be some of our fondest family memories. We’d throw together a quick picnic lunch, load everyone up, and we’d be off. It made us love MN even more…until winter once again holds us in its relentless grasp. *cringe
- I was affirmed in my belief that words are oh so powerful. With so much time spent together, you know there are bound to be those days when everyone is on each other’s last nerve. However, as we dealt with big feelings, personality differences, and frustrations I was reminded of WHY I feel so strongly about the power of our words. Are there going to be disagreements and arguments? Of course there are. BUT the words we as a family are allowed to use are limited. As a family rule, we are not allowed to belittle or tear each other down. Ever. There have been a few times we’ve been out and about and heard a heated discussion or argument happening where the people were verbally shredding each other. I remember one time when my boys literally turned and looked at me with shock on their faces for the words that were being thrown back and forth in a conversation happening within earshot of us. It turned into a great teaching moment about *why* I’m such a stickler for the words we choose to use in our home. Needless to say, we don’t do this perfectly. We’re all a work in progress. But it’s been a good realization and reminder.
- Marriage is hard. When you start “coasting” in marriage, apathy is not far behind. We know. Part of why I stepped back from the blog this summer is because Mr. 1915 and I realized if we didn’t start putting in some serious work into our marriage, we were going to end up as housemates instead of the devoted, passionate couple we long to be. And so lots of work began…
- We did the hard work of taking back our marriage. Through a small group we joined, the principles and crazy hard conversations we had, and the transparency that took place there, Mr. 1915 and I are happy to say that our marriage has done a complete 180* turn. After 2o years (TWENTY YEARS) we’ve started talking about hard things. Had stressful conversations. Finally started being open and vulnerable with each other. Which leads me to number nine…
- I really suck at vulnerability and “feeling” my feelings. Lol…I know the standing joke is that women have all the many feelings – AND they want to talk (and talk and talk…) about their feelings. I’m not “normal” I guess. I DON’T like to talk about my feelings. I don’t like to have difficult conversations. I don’t like to share what I’m really feeling deep down inside when it comes to tough topics. UGH. Well, in order for us to do some healing and really start growing as a couple I’ve had to learn how to do all those things. And it’s been so. hard. But oh, so worth it. My only regret? That we waited this long to work so hard on us. Our marriage relationships are our MOST important earthly relationships…and yet when life gets hard and busier than ever, most of the time our marriages are the first to take the hit. Sweet friends, don’t wait 20 years (or however far along you are in your relationship) to do the hard work of building a lasting foundation. Make space on the calendar and in your days for time together. Mr. 1915 and I have a real passion for helping marriages now so you’ll be seeing more marriage strengthening type posts around here in the future. Yep. A real change from the DIY projects you’ve always found here.
- Sleeping grounded has dramatically impacted my sleep quality. What the heck is grounding? Yeah, I thought it sounded weird when I first heard of it, too. I’ll give you some great articles in a minute. All I can say is since I’ve started sleeping grounded, (I just have the grounding mat at the foot of my bed so my feet/calves are resting on it) I no longer need to take all the supplements I’d been taking to help me sleep. I still take a couple (magnesium, etc), but I’m sleeping so much deeper, so much more restful – and I’m waking up feeling well-rested and ready to take on the day. Wish I’d know about this years ago. There are so many great articles here about grounding. No, seriously – check them out. And then (affiliate link) head over here to grab your own grounding products. There are so many to choose from!
So there you have it. Ten things I learned over the summer and a heads up for some new topic-content coming soon on the blog. If you’re not at all interested in marriage stuff? No worries – I’ll still be posting recipes and simple DIYs, too.
Here’s to a life of continued learning and growing and improving our lives together, friends. All for the glory of God.