Looking Back on July

imageLooking back before moving ahead at the end of each month has become a comforting and favorite practice of mine. It keeps me paying attention throughout the days and weeks to lessons learned and loveliness encountered. Today I am sharing  5 things I learned in July and 5 joys I found in July.

The list ranges from the thoughtful to the random and silly.

5 things I learned in July

1. Lucy Maud Montgomery

Lucy Maud Montgomery wrote Anne of Green Gables and a favorite mine the Emily Starr trilogy. This month I read The Alpine Path: The Story of My Career, a book she wrote about her journey as a writer. Loved learning more about her life and her thoughts on writing.

2. Iris Inspiration

Iris means "rainbow", this makes me think of signs and wonders, promises and miracles.

In our last home there was a small room with one wall covered in vintage wallpaper; white with pastel iris flowers on it. I setup my easel, brushes, and paints in that room, as well as my treadmill. I loved my little creative painting-running room with the iris wallpaper.

This month I learned about an inspiring women named Iris from a beautiful  blog post written by Emily P Freeman. Here's the link to read the blog post about Iris: Before Helpless Turns to Hopeless by Emily P Freeman

3. #hometowntourist

#hometowntourist is a hashtag that has resonated with me lately, giving me a nudge of inspiration to explore more. It's my tendency to be a homebody, and therefore miss out on all the loveliness Tulsa has to offer. So thank goodness for friends who invite me to new restaurants on the other side of town.

A highlight of July was eating at the Tulsa restaurant Tall Grass Prairie Table for the first time with 3 of my close girlfriends. The atmosphere, food, and fellowship were a such treat.

I love learning about new places and things to enjoy in my hometown.

*Thanks to Emily P Freeman for the hashtag inspiration!

4. Give It Time

All month I kept coming across the advice to be patient with creative ideas before acting on them immediately. So I am working on writing my ideas down and then letting them simmer.

"The theology of progress forces us to act before we are ready. We speak before we know what to say. We respond before we feel the truth of what we know. In the process, we inadvertently create suffering, heaping imprecision upon inaccuracy, until we are all buried under a mountain of misperception. But Sabbath says, Be still. Stop. There is no rush to get to the end, because we are never finished. Take time to rest, and eat, and drink, and be refreshed. And in the gentle rhythm of that refreshment, listen to the sound the heart makes as it speaks the quiet truth of what is needed."

-Wayne Muller, quote found in my Sacred Ordinary Day Planner (July 3, 2016)

5. The Obvious

For Oliver's 3rd birthday he got a yellow battery-charged truck. It only seats one, but there is a small trunk in the back. I quickly learned that no kids should sit in the trunk. Oliver and his cousin Coco tried to ride on it together. I took a few cute photos right before Oliver fell backwards into the grass. He was fine, but there were some tears.

5 Joys I found in July

1. snapshot of goofy-cuteness

My son Oliver just turned three years old. His best buddy right now is Owen. Watching the two of them laugh and play makes me smile.

Recently, when the two were playing  Owen went to his room and got hats for him and Oliver to put on, you know, just because. I thought they looked so cute I wanted to take a picture. As I took the photo Owen put his slinky around them like a scarf. A slinky scarf is the perfect quirky fashion statement for Owen and Oliver.  Then the two of them go crawling in and out of the doggy door to play in the backyard. It's just a short snapshot memory of their goofy-cuteness, but it brought me joy.

2. "Aunt Missa"

Coco Mae is my niece. She is 7 months older than Oliver and he likes to refer to her as "my favorite cousin that takes care of me", probably because she likes helping him and bringing him food. She's already very into playing hostess.

This month we headed over to the pool to swim with Oliver's cousins. As we walked into the backyard I see Coco Mae popping up out of the water with her dimple grin, wavy wet hair, wearing her goggles  saying "aunt 'missa' watch, I can go underwater.". It sounds so simple, but sometimes the simplest things are the sweetest. I never tire of hearing her say "aunt missa". Cheers to nieces!

3. Marvelous Mom Mug

My grandma gave me a bright yellow coffee mug that says "Marvelous Mom" on it  when I visited her in Indiana last month. So this July I have been using it often. It makes me smile. Don't we all need encouragement and affirmation as moms! If I could I would give all my mom friends out there a  "marvelous mom mug"  as a reminder. Just embrace it, you're a marvelous mom!

4. Looking for Lovely

I read Looking for Lovely by Annie Downs this month. The chapter names alone brought me joy; Sunrise, Monet's house, Gardens, The Sound of Music, Sushi.  It's been my favorite read of the summer. Here's just one quote from the book I loved:

"I was learning to persevere, as I was learning to look for lovely. The longer I looked for lovely, the more I kept going, the less I quit."

-Annie Downs, Looking for Lovely

5. Summer Storms

Oliver sat in the backseat, with a fresh haircut enjoying the his little sucker he got from the treasure chest at the haircut place. I thought why not pick up some lunch at Chick-fil-a on the way home.

The long line of cars wrapped its way around the store and out into the street. I didn't think much of the wait, we weren't in a hurry.

After waiting in line a few minutes we turned the corner. I see a crowd of customers and employees outside holding cell phones up in the air snapping pictures of the sky. Then I hear the tornado siren. We had just ordered, when the siren went off.

Because we lived so close, I still waited to get my food. Then drove home pretty panicked.

 Jeff was also out getting lunch on his lunch break. He surprised us by coming home. I was relieved to have him home as the winds picked up speed.

What ended up bringing me joy? Well, the storms caused the power to go out in several parts of town. Jeff ended up not having to go into work the next day!

Watching the storm blow through was a bit thrilling, and having Jeff home during the week was just what I needed. Oh, and it brought us cooler weather, if only for a day! Also, our power never went off; that would have made for quite a different memory of no air condition for a whole weekend in July.

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