Flourish Friday – July 31st

Happy Friday!

This week has blown by in a whirl-wind of Summer adventures and hard work. Now is the time of year when the abundance of the garden & preparation for Fall threaten to overwhelm me. When the days are short but the weeks feel long, I can focus on the negative or what could improve instead of looking for the delight in each day. Needless to say, I’ve needed lots of iced tea and pep-talks this week to point me back to the truth that we can do what is placed before us little by little (and with a heaping of His grace). So in that spirit, here are the good things of this week.

Currently Adventuring:

Our Carlson crew adventured to the lavender farm this past weekend was so much fun. It was one of those hot Summer days, so my only regret is that we didn’t stay longer. New Life Lavender is such a peaceful and welcoming place, and I just love the family that owns it. We enjoyed a hay wagon tour, lavender lattes, lavender cherry pie, and a stroll through the blooming lavender & wildflower fields. I came back inspired and in need of a jump in the lake 😉 Adventures always inspire me and New Life is one of my favorite spots to have adventures.

Currently Enjoying:

Sipping homemade iced tea using the loose leaf tea that I got from New Life Lavender Farm. My two favorites are the Lemon Lavender Mint and Strawberry Lavender Red Rooibos tea. Growing up my mom would always have a big jar of tea brewing on the back porch. I’ve continued this Summer tradition by making a few batches of strong sun tea in mason jars to enjoy through the week.

Simple Summer Iced Tea Recipe:

1 quart canning jar

4 tea bags (mint, black, green tea with lemon, etc.)


Optional: fresh mint, lavender, herbs or fruit to add a twist.

Combine all ingredients in canning jar and place in a sunny spot for 2-3 hours. Remove tea bags and store in the fridge for 3-4 days….if you can keep it around that long!

Currently Reading:

A friend from book club recommended “American Dirt” to me a few weeks ago. The hold list was well over 200 so I was overjoyed to snag a copy from my lucky day stack at the local library. A powerful story of a mother and sons escape from Mexico and their journey as migrants. This book worm has been staying up way too late simultaneously enthralled, captivated, and heartbroken over this story. Good writing doesn’t just entertain us. Good writing teaches us to see the world through a new lens.

Currently Growing:

My garden is abundant with zinnias, snapdragons, bells of Ireland, and big dahlia blooms. This year I wanted to focus on cut flowers and herbs in my home garden. It’s been less work and more joy, exactly what gardening should be. Well…a little dirt never hurt. I gathered up some of the blooms this week and have been delivering to friends and neighbors. A sweet way to brighten someone’s day and a good excuse to check in with my people.

Create, Flourish

Flourish Fridays

Several years ago I was on a plane heading to Boston I devoured Emily Ley’s book “Grace Not Perfection” . It was one part journal, one part stories, and featured beautiful lettering and images of what a grace-filled life looked like. It was the perfect book for me in that season.

In the first part of the book she spoke about boundaries, time, and creating an ideal week. Followed by a prompt asking what your ideal week would look like. Without a second thought, I began writing “Fridays are days to catch up on the week. No outside meetings. A day to work from home, wrap up projects, prepare for the week ahead, and flourish.”

It seemed like such a simple idea, but I knew that a big shift would have to happen to free up my Fridays.

And so, my Flourish Friday rhythm was born.  Being able to work from home and have a flexible schedule meant that I could implement this as soon as I got back from my trip.  The more challenging part was getting over my routines and 9-5 “box” and image in my head.  I remember the first time I said “no” to a meeting on Friday. I received an important e-mail with a few dates to schedule a meeting. The only date given that worked was a Friday.  I started typing a reply “Friday sounds great….”  And then I stopped. 

Hadn’t I just promised myself that Fridays would be a time to catch up on the week, not begin something new?  I deleted my first response and typed a simple “This week doesn’t work, how about early next week?”  It was incredibly freeing to prioritize my needs and to follow through with a little dream. 

For this recovering people-pleaser, it was a huge victory.  Now, over four years later, I still hold my Fridays as sacred. I’ve had to fight for this margin, working smarter the other days of the week, saying no, and letting go of pleasing people. It’s always worth it. 

Fridays have become one of my favorite days of the week.  A day that usually includes wrapping up my inbox & projects for work, swimming at my local YMCA, buying fresh flowers for my home (or picking a bouquet from my garden), meet up with family or friends for dinner, and cleaning up my office & tidying my home so I can truly rest and have adventures over the weekend. 

There are seasons (like the day before a big fundraising event, special work project, or conference that I have been waiting to attend) when I do have meetings or am onsite at ZA on a Friday.  Life is all about being flexible right?  But Fridays..Fridays are for flourishing.

And so friends, I want to share a bit of my Flourish Friday joy with you all. I’ll pop over here most Fridays with a few things to share that are pointing me towards a flourishing life. The list might include a link to an article that caused me to pause & think, an inspiring photo, current watercolor doodles, favorite worship songs or podcast episodes, a project or recipe I’m working on, books I’m reading, adventures I’m planning, or soul-care ideas for the weekend.

Think of it as your Friday reminder to cultivate a life you love & embrace the season you are in.

Flourish Friday – July 24th, 2020

1. Currently Loving

Summer in Wisconsin. Big straw hats, a cold beverage, jumping in the lake as much as possible, and sunshine days. Need I say more?

2. Currently Listening

Annie F. Downs “EnneaSummer” Podcast. I love learning not only more about how I was wired, but about the differences between each number and how we work together to make this world more beautiful!

This song by Elevation Worship has been on repeat this week…well really the past three months. Call it my Corona-anthym!

3. Currently Creating

All the skillet baked goods from Half Baked Harvest. This week we made her skillet peanut butter cookie and it was beyond amazing! Serve it warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream…trust me, your tastebuds will be in heaven.

4. Currently Anticipating

My Carlson Crew trip to the New Life Lavender & Cherry Farm. It’s one of my favorite places; the kindest family who have a eye for beauty and have shifted their life to prioritize family and their faith. Here is a photo from earlier this Summer when I visited for the plant sale. I’ll be sure to share some photos of it in all it’s glorious BLOOM!

5. Currently Reading

A Holy Pursuit: How the Gospel Frees us to Follow and Lay Down our Dreams

A refreshing book about what happens when we lay down our dreams and embrace God’s call on our lives, even when it’s unexpected. This book is FULL of deep truth and theology. I’m pretty sure half the book has been underlined with “AMEN” in the margin.

Gracie’s Garden

Adorable illustrations, garden puns, and a reminder that good things take time. This is such a fun book to snag for the littles in your life. Just make sure you read it to them out in the garden.


Cultivating Good Soil

When I first moved into my home, I dreamed of turning my yard into a cutting garden. I spent the cold Midwestern Winter months dreaming of bouquets of dahlia’s, zinnias, peonies and lush beautiful flowers.  Come spring I planned and mapped out the perfect place to put my flowers.  I had thought of everything: a southern facing plot of land, close access to a hose, companion planting, and invested in high quality seeds.  Soon I would be on my way to a beautiful and lush garden, or so I thought.

The seeds began to sprout, but would quickly wither and die. A few hearty annuals grew to be 1-2 inches tall, but they turned yellow quickly.

In my rush to plant my dream garden, I forgot to do a simple soil test. And if you know anything about gardening or plants, soil is either a gardners best friend or worst nightmare. 

A soil test would have told me that I was in desperate need of nitrogen and that my soil tended to be more clay based (holds water which isn’t super awesome for tender seedlings). Vital information that would have allowed me to amend my soil and create an environment for those seed to flourish.

Just like my garden, a life that flourishes begins with taking note of where we are and then cultivating good soil for our hopes and dreams to bloom. Even the most grace-filled plans won’t flourish if they don’t have the nourishment to do so.

Cultivating good soil can look like starting a journaling practice. Spending time in God’s Creation to think and dream. Booking a hotel for a night and having a retreat. Or seeing a counselor or spiritual director.

When I first started to see a counselor I was hesitant to share with others. On the outside, my life looked like it was full & flourishing. But my outside didn’t match my soul. I was weary, tired, too busy, on the edge of burn out, and trying to please people constantly. My life felt overwhelming and not enough all at the same time.

One of the first sessions, we did a life evaluation. It’s something that I have done before. A chance to go through each area of your life (health, finances, relationship, significant other, etc.) rate it and then also share why you rated that way.

Sitting in her office thinking about my life I was confronted with two options. Do I put a “I’m Awesome” mask on and give everything high numbers or do I choose to be honest and trust that the deeper work is ahead.

I don’t know if it was her kind words, the tissue box close at hand, or just being tired from another long week of “keeping it all together”, but I was brutally honest that day and began the deep work of mending my heart and soul. I learned something deeper that day. A full and abundant life begins with honesty and trust. Grace will meet you where you are.

So friend, as you begin this journey to a life that is flourishing. Give yourself grace and trust that the best is yet to come.

Nourishment for your Soul:

How are you really doing emotionally, physically and spiritually?

What would it look like to nourish your heart in this season?