I blinked and it was February- month 2 of the Contentment Challenge. I dare say Month 1 was easy- just because we were so busy?! I’m sure I will regret saying that one but it was full of the good stuff. I’m not going to lie there were days and times that it has been difficult to say no to the things I would mindlessly buy without thinking but it has also been freeing in a way to just say NO to All. The. Stuff.
The general recap of the month was to purged- and purged we did. I started pulling and tossing and piling everything one night and then threw a whole bunch of pictures up on Facebook and told everyone to just take it. It was intense and I didn’t stop till every drawer, closet and bin had been upturned. In fact, I got a text message from a friend after seeing all my stuff posted on Facebook, checking in on me because it looked like I was moving or having a crisis of stuff. I insured her it was the latter! 🙂 It was a lot of hard work and of course I ended up having to clean and organize as I went which made it an all weekend process, but I swear to you once I was done it was like I (and the house!) exhaled deeply.
A fun project and one of my “wins” for the month was my vision board. Every year I make a vision board on Pinterest- being that I like to be able to SEE the things/goals I want to achieve I really enjoy this practice. I always mean to print it off and hang it up somewhere in my office and every year- I promptly forget to do it. This year though, I made my board and decided this was the year it was coming out of the pages of the inter webs. I uploaded all the pictures to a printer in a gallery like style and picked out the frame- then had to checkout. Obviously this little purchase wasn’t in the budget and I forced myself to close the window.
If anything this challenge has taught me already to be creative- get yourself off the autopilot- and I figured “you know I think I can diy this.” So I grab some poster board, fabric, and ribbon that I already had and went to town creating my vision board for the year. I was so happy with the outcome of this little project and it was fun to just play creatively for myself.
This year my goal was to read more (see my 20 Books in 2017 list here) and I have been ticking these off my list like never before. To say I am devouring books would be an understatement for me. This past month I completed three books that were on my list. Most people when they hear this go- “How do you have time?” and I going to let you in on my secret….Amazon’s Audible. I listen to most of my books while I’m driving in the car. The app is on my phone, I pay the monthly fee and use my credits to purchase the books, then flip on the app every time I get in the car just like I use to do the radio. In my thirty minute drive sessions, I can easily knock out a book in a few days. If you don’t have it- get the app. It’s worth every penny of it (and no they aren’t paying me to say that- I just really love the service!) I even have Dillon hooked on listening to them! On to my book reviews for the month…
1. Uninvited by Lysa Terkuerst: I will warn you the first few chapters (till about chapter 5 for me) are hard to get through. It’s one of those that once you get going in it- it will get better. My favorite line: “There is something sacred when a girl chooses to believe she has not be set aside but set apart.” Uninvited really cause me to evaluate a lot of things in my own life and my own relationships. It was the reminded that God loved us and is faithful to love us even when we don’t feel like it. Then in turn we are to mirror that love in our relationships and dealing with others.
I would give it a 4 out of 5.
2. Grace Not Perfection by Emily Ley: I will preface all of this by saying I have been a long time Emily Ley fan. In fact my first Emily Ley purchase was back in 2013 with the “vintage pink simplified binder” days. I know Emily’s story and have read her blog for years now and her manta “I will hold myself to a standard of grace not perfection” is not new to me. The book itself, based on this manta is beautiful. Emily and her team nailed it in terms of “gift book” but…..it was not exactly the battle cry I wanted. I believe it would be better suited for young mamas. My complaint with this book is that I have a hard time holding on to “Grace, Not Perfection” in a book that is beautiful, with pinterest worthy images and trying to connect with the author’s bright, white, light life- while we are all sitting here like the hot mess express. Now- I get that my messy house and filtered photos wouldn’t sell books- I get it… I just couldn’t make the connection between tossing perfection to the side for grace… which in this case happens to be clouded in list making and routines. Grace does not meet you in the middle of your mess and say hey-here’s a notebook to help you make a list to counteract this happening. No Grace meets you in your big old mess, sits down right in the middle of the chaos and says its ok- I love you in spite of it.
I wanted to love this one really but it gets 2 out of 5.
3. The Antelope in the Living Room by Melanie Shankle: This is real talk. Real marriage as told by a funny southern Texas girl. And yall- I laughed out loud though this whole book. It is one of those that would be a great beach read/feel good read. With the perspective of being a young new bride relishing in the great and not so good discoveries of marriage- this book was like comfort food for my soul. Like an longtime girlfriend hanging out with you as you reminisce and relish in all the things that come along with being married. It was laughter through tears as we all relate to those struggles and just feel like you have someone in the trenches with you. Go pick up this one- she also has two other books I read this month, Sparkley Green Earrings (a book on motherhood) and Nobody’s Cuter Than You (a book on friendship) I loved all three of them but her most recent one (Nobody’s Cuter than You) might be the best one of them all. I want to buy copies to give to each of my girlfriends because the stories she shares reminded me of my girls and the different stages and sentiments we have are the same. I think everyone can relate to this one!
5 out of 5 for sure.
As a side note: One of the fun things that came out of these readings is I started an impromptu book club in our community (It’s on Facebook for any of you locals that want to join!) We just got started and are reading Wild and Free together. It’s been fun to see everyone else excited about this book and encouraging one another as we read and learn together!
This coming month is sure to be more difficult as we have travel planned and events but holding to our verses will hopefully provide good reminders – “godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into this world and it is certain we shall carry nothing out!”
Are you doing the Contentment Challenge? It’s not too late to join- read about my dive into journey here or over on Instagram!