Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Seven Gifts in Summer (Visions & Values)

Hello friends!

Happy summer to you!

Last month, I wrote about seven gifts in my life and how I need to be using and caring for them. Today I'd like to share a few tidbits about what I'm doing and reading for each area during the summertime, when my schedule is a little less structured. 

Roots and Sky: Following the Sacred Contours of Everyday Life  -     By: Christie Purifoy

One thing I do for my spiritual life is read books that feed my soul. I just finished Roots & Sky: A Journey Home in Four Seasons by Christie Purifoy, a reflective and inspirational memoir of her family's first year in a vintage Pennsylvania farmhouse. I loved it and I'll have to write a separate post on it soon. Meanwhile, you can read her blog here to get a taste of her writing: A Spacious Place

Bandersnatch: An Invitation to Explore Your Unconventional Soul  -     By: Erika Morrison
I'm about to start reading Bandersnatch: An Invitation to Explore Your Unconventional Soul by Erika Morrison. I also try to keep a pulse on my unconventional soul, especially when I find myself unsettled. I like to stay on an even keel, but that's a challenge. Reading is good for me.

This next month is a special spiritual anniversary for me. July marks 40 years that I have been a Christian. You can read about it here: My Story of Liberty in 1976.

Family and Friends: 

It is so easy to get overwhelmed as a mom with five kids still at home. I am trying to get better at setting and maintaining personal boundaries, as well as clearly and calmly communicating expectations. 

Next month, I am taking my four youngest on a road trip to Maryland and New Jersey to see my dad and his wife, my sister and brother and their families. I've got a whole lot of planning and preparation to do! 

I also love to spend time with my five adult daughters and six grandchildren whenever I can. I often host family events at our house, and help with babysitting when needed.

Hulk still loves his pacifier!
~~ my grandson Lucas ~~ 

I want to start getting together with friends "in real life" more since I hardly do this at all in my crazy life. Tomorrow I'm meeting up with a sweet friend I met a long time ago but don't know very well. We were chatting in the grocery store last week and realized we had more in common than we had realized. So I'm going over to her house tomorrow! What a treat! And this Saturday I'm having breakfast with some of the ladies from Bible study, even though we're off for the summer.

Looking for ideas of fun things to do with kids? Read here: 34 Activities To Do With Family That Do Not Include the TV.


One of my daughters, a hospital nurse, sat down with me and reviewed all of my prescriptions and supplements for several chronic health issues. We put a detailed list of my medical conditions and treatments into both Evernote and my phone's emergency page. I also set up a weekly pill box with four sections per day. It's on my bedside table, and it's really helped me be more faithful at taking them when I should.

For exercise, had to find something that would work for me. I don't have the time or money to go to a gym, and there are some things I can't do because of joint problems. I am mainly using weights that strap onto my wrists and ankles for daily workouts at home. I can lie on my bed to do leg exercises. It helps me to spend a longer time at it if I read on my phone at the same time. I was also looking for an elliptical machine at thrift stores, but then found one on my next door neighbor's curb in good working condition. Free! Yay! I can still only manage about 10 minutes at a time right now, but I'm working up. I also still walk in my neighborhood, usually when I'm talking on the phone.


Wrist weights in the morning


I'm about to put my summer Americana decorations back in the front hallway again, after a springtime floral theme. I just worked a lot in my own space again, as you can see here: Spring Cleaning and Creating in My Blue Haven

I am reading The Life-Giving Home: Creating a Place of Belonging and Becoming by Sally Clarkson.

Life-Giving Home: Creating a Place of Belonging and Becoming  -     By: Sally Clarkson, Sarah Clarkson

In less cheerful news, I had to hire an exterminator to treat the whole house for bed bugs. We had to throw a bunch of stuff into laundry baskets and move them into the dining room temporarily. (He's coming back to spray there and two other rooms this week.) We're also having to wash a ton of clothes and throw stuffed animals and pillows in the dryer to sanitize them. I'm using this occasion to get brutal about dejunking the house. If we don't need it and don't really want it, why are we keeping it? The trash man cometh.

I gave up on trying to get the kids to load the dishwasher on assigned days of the week. What works now is having them take turns unloading it, and then I load it the way I like it. We still get sink pileups, but this is better than it was.


This is a really general category that includes intellect, imagination, and creativity. Or, in terms of activities, reading, researching, writing, remembering, organizing information, and art work. You can see some of my recent art projects here: My New Blue Art.

I set up a file system in two of my deeper desk drawers so I can access information faster. 

A little later in the summer, I will plan out the first month of home schooling for my upcoming fifth grader and decide if I need to buy any more curriculum. I already have an overview mapped out in Evernote.

I have some books on adult ADD that I need to read soon. This is definitely an issue for me at times, though I already compensate for it in so many ways.

I am trying to force my brain to be aware of my surroundings, memorize information, and recall sequences. I jumped one of my kids' cars three times this week and now I've got the process down pat. Learning something new and learning it well is a sweet deal.


I use the Goodbudget app on my phone to track my expenses in the discretionary spending categories. This version is free, but if I needed more categories or wanted to sync it with another device, I would have to pay a monthly fee. 

I had been using Mint, which synced with my computer and also automatically pulled in transactions from my bank. Unfortunately, it was not as user friendly on my phone and there was a delay getting new transactions downloaded. 

Goodbudget is friendlier and I can easily enter transactions even without a download. If I have a few extra minutes waiting in my car, I pull the current receipts out of my wallet and enter them in. I also check the transactions in my bank account using my bank's app to make sure I haven't missed anything. (I can also use the bank app to transfer money into my checking account.) My Goodbudget categories are Groceries, Eating Out, Kids, Home, Gas, Personal, and Other. 

In addition, I keep a Kids Owe Me list in Evernote on my phone for when my kids borrow or pay back money.


My summer schedule has been pretty loose since the kids got out of school at the end of May. I did have to do a lot of driving since two teens were taking Driver Education in summer school for a few weeks and my youngest had Vacation Bible School. I'm glad all of that is over, even though they were good things! It would be easy to just let everything slide, but I've got to make progress in a lot of areas this summer while I have the chance. It is so much harder during the school year when I am home schooling my youngest.

I still use the gTask app for my To Do List, which syncs with the Calendar app. 

I am also working on goal setting and life planning. I just read Living Forward: A Proven Plan to Stop Drifting and Get the Life You Want by Michael Hyatt and Daniel Harkavy. They recommend setting aside one full day each year to formulate specific goals for each area of life. I did something like this in 2015 but didn't follow through very well. I may give it another try.

Living Forward: A Proven Plan to Stop Drifting and Get the Life You Want  -     By: Michael Hyatt, Daniel Harkavy

Well, that's it for now, friends! What are you all doing this summer?


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