finding beauty in a simple summer

Contentment. What an elusive word.

Rest and relaxation do not come naturally to me. In my mind I have at least 50 things to do each day, some creative (like developing content for this site) and some basics: keep our children alive (ha!) laundry (!), pay bills, walk the dog, and feed the fish. Did I mention we purchased a fish? At the moment its name is Mary.

making time to play in   our new playroom

making time to play in our new playroom

“A quiet secluded life in the country, with the possibility of being useful to people to whom it is easy to do good, and who are not accustomed to have it done to them; then work which one hopes may be of some use; then rest, nature, books, music, love for one's neighbor — such is my idea of happiness.”  Leo Tolstoy, Family Happiness

a day trip earlier this summer to Lake Lure

a day trip earlier this summer to Lake Lure

"True contentment is a real, even an active virtue - not only affirmative but creative. It is the power of getting out of any situation all there is in it." G.K. Chesterton

from   our Charleston getaway  . he napped and I read books. perfection! 

from our Charleston getaway. he napped and I read books. perfection! 

And then, if I am completely honest, there is summertime jealousy. I see beautiful trips to Hawaii and Europe on Facebook and Instagram. I forget that just last month my husband and I snuck away for a few nights in Charleston and dwell on the fact that I want another vacation. Vacations are not at all a bad thing! But dwelling on something to the point of bitterness: that will not go anywhere good.

So today I am choose contentment. Joy in present circumstances. A thankful heart for all God has given us. I am thankful we are not dealing with the craziness of moving (like last summer!), that our kids have made friends, and we feel settled in our new state. I am thankful for this site to write, create ideas, and develop new content. That we have an adorable (mischievous) puppy after months of saving.

That for the first time we grew vegetables in our back yard. And every day we can pull up a little basil and mint to spice up recipes.

That when our kids are bored enough: they magically start getting along and find water balloons to fill, papers that need painting, and scooters that need riding.

What are you thankful for today?

++linking up with Emily Freeman to share a few things I learned in July.

succulents & milk glass

milkglass and succulents

Do you go through reflective moods? I certainly do. For me they are usually triggered by a season change, birthday, or vacation. I used to be frustrated by my introspective nature, but lately I am doing a better job of embracing who I am and who God created me to be.

With blogging it is tricky to find the balance of producing popular content (being completely honest here!) and sharing my heart. I have lost a little of that the last few months. So today I am letting go and sharing what is on my heart about busyness and thriving in it. 

the depot concord, nc

I just read through the first chapter of the Fringe Hours. And Overwhelmed is on my list too. As women we generally seek peace in the midst of a really crazy world. Our lives are busy. Everyday after school my kids pile their backpacks, new books, papers, things to sign right by the front door. The spot that I just cleaned up. I find out about more events to add to the schedule, more birthday parties, a new article deadline...The noise of life can be overwhelming, especially for those of us with sensitive personalities

reflections on family and a life well lived

So my encouragement to you, whatever stage you are in. Is to take a few quiet moments to reflect. If your home is too busy, head to a coffee shop or a walk around the local lake. We are getting away for a few days and I am so looking forward to a break from normal life. Changing scenery does so much for my soul. 

cotton in a blue mason jar

Another thing that helps me is knowing when to work and when to relax. Personally I have the most drive and motivation in the morning. By 3pm I am done and want to sit. So I do. I ignore the piles of papers for a few hours and enjoy time with my kids. Everyone wins.

jump!

Read a good magazine or book. Magazines are great because they are quick to read and skim. Especially if you expect interruptions! And I always have a mix of nonfiction and fiction on my Kindle so I can choose based on my mood. Lately I've been downloading samples first for free. It helps me decide if the book is going to be a good fit. 

how to enjoy quiet

And make time for your hobbies. For me, I really enjoy thrift shopping. It has been a challenge starting over in a new city and finding the good thrift stores. But I have found a few and I love the hunt. Yes, those are blankets in an ice chest. Isn't it awesome?

thrift store blankets in a freezer chest
whatever is lovely

Embrace change. This was a big year for me. Our kids went to school for the first time all day. And I admittedly was in a maxed out overwhelmed spot at the time, but I went from full time momma-part time blogger. To room-mom, full time blogger. I recently received more gray hair, thank you 32. And have come to realize just how good it is to take time for myself. 

I don't mean that selfishly. And I hope it doesn't come across that way. I have extrovert friends that THRIVE on being busy. I admire that, I do. But for me I find great joy in margins. In scheduling my day and allowing for rest. I just finished a book study with my Bible study group called So Long Insecurity. I was skeptical the first few chapters, but really what I got out of it is that I need to be rooted in Christ. Trusting him with my daily fears. It was a refreshing read. 

 

How do you recharge? Do you go through reflective moments? 

You may also enjoy 5 ways to encourage creative ideas, when plans change, and work/life balance.

hello 2015! goals and dreams

2015goals.jpg

It is simply amazing how each year feels fresh and full of opportunity. I am not a resolution person, but I do believe goals create a pathway from dreams to reality.

In the past I questioned myself in regard to blogging. I struggled as a stay at home mom and wondered why I had ambition. Why I had so many ideas. Most of the women I knew considered blogging and social media a waste of time. 

The past few years I have slowly grown more confident. Ideas and passion are good gifts. My husband is a support and and finding other like-minded women around the globe has been hugely encouraging. 

So without further ado....here are my goals for the upcoming year!

Business Goals for 2015

Take a local or online writing course 

Study photography

Keep a consistent schedule

Take more risks with my brand

Work hard-rest hard

Update/small reno to our half-bath, dining room, and kitchen

Personalize our home with artwork and photography

Seek out freelance work

tagandtibbygoals.jpg

 

Personal Goals for 2015

Get out and about, learn more about North Carolina

Plug into the community

Consistent Bible study (just joined a study through our church for the next semester)

Find exercise I enjoy and stay motivated

Encourage our children's strengths

Be a support to my husband

Continue to read books (I'm partial to fiction, but try to read non fiction too..)

Add a puppy to the family! We need a purebred non-shedding and it needs to be good with kids (any suggestions? would love a mini golden doodle, but they are expensive!)

 

Today I am linking up with the Tiny TwigDo you have any business or personal goals for 2015? I would love to hear about them!

DIY stamped wooden chalkboard

stamped wood slice chalkboard with step by step instructions

New to the area, a few weeks ago I went looking for the local craft store. We have all the basics near our new house but the closest craft store is 20 minutes away. Crazy right? (Clearly I am a city girl.)

I spotted these wood slices and clear Martha Stewart chalkboard paint and had to give them a try. My handwriting is not calligraphy worthy so I opted for text using stamps. I have been hunting for pieces to make our new home feel our own and these will be perfect in our half bath.

how to make stamped wood slices with clear chalkboard paint

Supplies

Round wood slices 

A paintbrush

6 nails (I used a 7/8" roofing nail)

Cotton clothesline

Alphabet Stamps (I used vintage stamps)

Black Chalk Marker 

 

Brush the surface clean. Paint three coats of clear chalkboard paint spacing 1 hour between each coat. Let dry for 24 hours. Nail a piece of clothesline to wood slice . Use chalk marker to coat alphabet letter and stamp onto wood. To change your design clean the board with soap and water or a little acetone. 

stamped wood slice chalkboards DIY

Love, joy, peace rooted in grace. These are things I hope we can encourage in our kids. And looking at this while getting ready for school will be a sweet reminder.