This time of year is one of abundance. The “slow” days of Summer suddenly shift to new rhythms and routines of the Fall. Whether you have kiddos, work at a school, work with a school, know kids, or are simply human I bet you are feeling the pressure of this new Season.
When I try to do it all perfectly, I fall short/get frustrated and it all comes tumbling down. Quite simply Fall is a time to refresh rhythms, take a hard look at routines, and be ruthless about chasing what matters (to you!)
In this season, I know that I am unable to do it all perfectly, but I can do the next right thing. Many years ago I heard this poem read by Elisabeth Elliot, as a reminder to do the next thing and trust that God has the future in his hands.
Many a questioning, many a fear, Many a doubt, hath its quieting here. Moment by moment, let down from Heaven, Time, opportunity, and guidance are given. Fear not tomorrows, child of the King, Trust them with Jesus, do the next thing
Do it immediately, do it with prayer; Do it reliantly, casting all care; Do it with reverence, tracing His hand Who placed it before thee with earnest command. Stayed on Omnipotence, safe ‘neath His wing, Leave all results, do the next thing.
Looking for Jesus, ever serener, Working or suffering, be thy demeanor; In His dear presence, the rest of His calm, The light of His countenance be thy psalm, Strong in His faithfulness, praise and sing. Then, as He beckons thee, do the next thing.
Before I share my simple September goals, here were my highlights from August!
Monthly Action Items
Celebrate with Family (A+Q, Olivia, Evelyn)
Refreshed Fall rhythms & routines (ZA and Home)
Late Summer Photo Shoot
Read: Chasing Perfect and The Lazy Genius Way
Weekly Action Items
Sabbath (Saturday evening – Sunday evening)
Connect with local community (family and friends)
Do not do more today than you can completely recover from by tomorrow.
Inspired by “Effortless” by Greg McKeown, my daily “habit” this month is just one. To simplify, slow down, and not over do it. There will be days that are full and abundant, but that means the next day my priorities might look very different.
My September goals and rhythms are simple and life-giving. I’ve found in seasons of transitions, the best is to get back to basics. May you focus on what matters and find joy in the new season!
I’ve been pretty quiet around here. Part of it has been intentional, the other part just life. Summer is always a full season, but this year it’s seem more abundant than I could have ever imagined. There has been days full of challenges, countless growing opportunities, afternoons of delight and joy, and numerous opportunities to steward this life I’ve been given well.
Earlier this Summer (Memorial Day weekend road trip to Koselig Cottage) I re-read/listened to Shauna Niequest’s book Present over Perfect. I haven’t read it since 2016 when it first came out, and had forgotten what solid, beautiful truths are tucked away in this quick and easy read.
Let’s live lightly, freely, courageously, surrounded by what brings joy simplicity, and beauty.
This quote, is really more of a manifesto to life, it had me saying amen and wanting to do a happy dance in my car. YES, this is the way I want to live. Not just this Summer but all year round.
Instead of doing all the things, saying yes to every gathering I’m invited to, and getting one more to-do accomplished I’ve wanted to Savor Summer. I will admit that I’ve been farm from perfect in this. There have been weeks and days that have tested my limit. Times I’ve felt far more heavy, weighted, small, and plain burnt out.
But, then there have been the cool mornings on the back porch, Friday afternoons by the lake, floral photo shoots, and delicious dinners with friends. And maybe, just maybe, that is okay. A big piece of living freely and lightly is letting go of expectation, to embrace what is.
So before I share my August goals, I want to celebrate my favorite Savor Summer meories.
August 2021 Goals
Monthly Action Items:
Prepare for Posy (deep clean floors, puppy check-list, set up her home,…)
Last evening, I spent some extra time in my home gardens planning and dreaming. It was a welcome respite after a day of office work and catching up. In the early Spring, I typically spend so much time planting gardens at ZA that my home gets the leftovers.
Last year I literally planted whatever seeds or plants were left at the end of May…it was a a hodge podge of flowers, veggies, and a few herbs. It was beautiful, messy, chaotic, and kinda random (in a good way!).
This year, I am tending to my home garden first. It’s going to be simple with just zinnias, sunflowers, cosmos, dahlias, and herbs. Those are my favorites and the ones that bring me the most joy. I’m letting go of the ideas of anything else and just embracing the simplicity.
I can’t help but reflect on how much I do this in my life too. One thing gets all the focus and energy (work, family, health..) that little is left for the rest of life. When I spend all my time and energy only focusing on one area of my life, I end up neglecting the whole person I’ve been created and called to be.
There are seasons when work or family absolutely needs to take a heavier focus. But, when we get so side tracked on that one thing the other areas of life are neglected, something needs to change.
So friend, this is me encouraging you to look at all the areas of your life (spiritual, physical, relational, vocational, emotional…) and see what might need a little bit of extra tending right now.
I’m choosing to focus on my health in this season with intentional movement, nourishing foods, and limiting sugar. I want to have energy and capacity for what is in store and this area has been neglected over the past year. 💕☕️🌱
May 2021 Goals
Monthly Action Items:
Plant and mulch home gardens (roses, flowers, herbs,…)
It’s sunny here in the midwest and I’m feeling all the Spring vibes- a fresh start and new season. This year one of my goals is to capture and enjoy the every day, glorious in the mundane. I typically will only record the monumental, big events and if 2020 taught me anything it is that there is beauty in the everyday.
I’ve been doing this by recording in my The Next Right Thing guided journal each Saturday morning. One of my favorite rhythms has been capturing my “These are the days of” list… It’s a chance to reflect on the previous week/month/season and prepare to start fresh. A big part of living well is making time to reflect on where you have been.
Questions to reflect on…
What brought you joy?
What was beautiful?
What was ordinary?
What was an regular rhythm?
What made you grow?
What did you learn?
What do you want to remember?
So, before I jump into my April goals I wanted to capture a list of the beauty and joy I lived during the month of March.
Dust if you must, but wouldn’t it be better To paint a picture, or write a letter, Bake a cake, or plant a seed; Ponder the difference between want and need?
Dust if you must, but there’s not much time, With rivers to swim, and mountains to climb; Music to hear, and books to read; Friends to cherish, and life to lead.
Dust if you must, but the world’s out there With the sun in your eyes, and the wind in your hair; A flutter of snow, a shower of rain, This day will not come around again.
Dust if you must, but bear in mind, Old age will come and it’s not kind. And when you go (and go you must) You, yourself, will make more dust.
Last weekend I discovered this simple and poignant poem. It’s reminder that as much as I enjoy a beautiful home, I would rather spend my time creating a beautiful life.
And yet, it’s often the little acts of preparation and work that help us prepare well and enjoy a season. Small actions done with intention and consistency free us up to live a life we love.
My goals for this upcoming month center around preparing well for Spring. Spring is a busy time for me with travel plans (finally!), planting all the seeds in the garden, hosting friends for IF: Gathering and so many other fun things.
In order to flourish and truly enjoy this Spring, there are some house-keeping things that help make my life run smoothly. Even as a single woman, I find when I make time on Sundays to prepare healthy meals, tidy up my home, reflect on the week prior, and invest in my physical and emotional health. I’m so much more present with the people in my life.
February 2021 Recap
March 2021 Goals
Monthly Action Items:
Plan home gardens
Complete Floret Workshop!
Host If: Gathering at Koselig Cottage
Contentment Challenge Reset
Clean up (2) areas of basement (canning and seasonal home decor)
Soak up MAGNOLIA vacay
Weekly Action Items:
No TV Monday-Saturday!
Share a meal with local community.
Meal prep on Sunday.
Weekly reflection (examen & Next Right Thing Journal).
We had an unexpected snow day this past week. A day where the storm rolled in over night dropping inches of fluffy snow. It was magical to wake up to a Winter wonderland and take a few minutes to pause and savor the scene.
But then, the realities of the snowstorm upended my idealic morning. Messy roads, snow removal, slippery driveways, canceled plans, and delayed celebrations. Yes, my day now held extra margin, but it also meant holding plans loosely and letting go of expectations. A theme I’ve been learning on repeat these days.
Winter reminds us that everyone and everything needs some quiet time.
Winter is a time to rest, be still, and quiet our hearts. For me, that conjures up koselig scenes of snuggling up by the fire with a hot cup of tea, cozy blanket, and an inspiring book or magazine.
And while that is LOVELY and a rhythm I savor extra in the Winter, true rest comes not from a single moment but walking daily in rhythm with our Creator.
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
This last month held heartache & hopes deferred. However, the goodness of an easy yoke overflowed in countless mundane moments. When I choose to acknowledge the good gifts alongside the challenging ones, I’m reminded that our Father is at work through every moment of my life.
That is my prayer for you in this season. The you would find rest for your weary soul and recognize the good gifts from your heavenly father.
January 2021 Recap:
February 2021 Goals:
Monthly Action Items:
Winter Home Declutter (clothes, books, basement, office)
And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.
My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
2 Corinthians 12:9
2021 Yearly Goals:
Embrace the rhythms of the church calendar and spiritual disciplines (daily office, weekly examen, sabbath, rule of life)
I have always been a “planner girl”. Excited to try the newest organization tool and am giddy at the fresh start of a new month, year, or page.
Yet the last few years, I’ve moved to a primarily on-line planner for the ease of having my schedule “on hand at all times.
But this last year with all the uncertainty and change had me craving trying something new. I wanted a planner that was different than I could find at Office Max and cultivated my heart and soul as much as my calendar.
The goal of incorporating the liturgical calendar into my year, lead me to Sacred Ordinary Days. After downloading and LOVING their monthly sample, I took a leap and ordered a hard copy of their yearly planner.
It’s simple, clean, flexible, and centered on what matters most: my relationship with God. I’ve been using it over a month now, and I particularly love the weekly & seasonal examen and Sabbath day page. A consistent reminder each week to check-in with my soul and look back on where I’ve abided in Him or tried to accomplish things on my own.
Nourish my body with whole foods, movement, and soul-care.
I don’t know if you have been feeling it too, but so many of my conversations lately have been centered around feeling the weariness and weight of this world. With everything going on in our country, nation, and community it’s so important to care for our bodies, mind, and soul.
My rhythms have been thrown off track over the last few months and I’m committing to re-establishing healthy habits in 2021.
For me that looks like:
simple, nourishing meals packed with plenty of protein
enjoying whole, seasonal foods
weekly yoga and daily stretching
swimming laps at least 2X a week
getting outside as much as possible
committing to a screen-free evening once a week to journal, read, and rest
Courageously speak and write truth.
When I think of a year of grit and grace, I see a year that is full of brave words. That might look like sharing a cup of tea with a friend, taking a walk and asking the hard questions, or sharing what God is teaching me here on this little corner of the web.
This recovering people-pleaser has struggled to find her voice and not just say what others want to hear. However, I’ve learned that with a whole lot of prayer prayer and plenty of God’s grace, it is possible to share words that are brave, true, and full of grace.
A women of gentle grace earns respect.
Love my family & local community well.
Looking back on my most treasured memories of 2020, they all involved my family and local community. In the year of Safer@Home, I found the joy of local friendships and having my family close.
Time with family at the cottage, gatherings on the deck/porches with friends, Emily’s Safer@Home bake shop, and life group game nights brought a deep joy to my weeks. I tangibly saw a long awaited prayer answered last year and I want to steward this gift well.
Some of the ways I will love my people in 2021 is:
continue porch drop off of Emily’s Bakeshop
celebrate birthdays and milestones of family and dear friends
host outdoor celebrations in each season
savor time with family at the cottage
send snail mail to friends and family far away
Celebrate and rejoice in each Season.
Working in an agriculture based ministry, I can’t help but see how God wired us for seasons. Winter is a time of Rest, Spring a time of planting, Summer is tending, and Autumn is the harvest.
I’m always learn, process, and grow when I spend time reflecting on God’s creation. This year I want to take it even further to embrace the celebrations/seasons of the church (Advent, Christmastide, Lent, Easter, etc.) AND also the seasons of nature.
One way that I’m walking through the year is joining Lady Farmer’s Almanac. It’s a group of farmer, nature, slow-living, like-hearted ladies with monthly classes, articles, and a book club each season.
This Winter we are focusing on REST and how it looks in our home, closets, use of technology, etc. The class this month shared about creating a “cozy cocoon” space that is full of things you love and a place to just rest and enjoy. To be honest, sometimes my whole house feels this way, but then I see the unwashed dishes or remember that I never sent an e-mail, so my brain clicks into overdrive again. I spent 15 minutes this week to take down my “upstairs Christmas decor” (a small tree and one sign) and refresh for Winter. I cleared off my bedside table and left the fairy lights up for a cozy, restful space.
Challenge my mind, body, and spirit with new adventures.
“Enockson girls have adventures” is a motto that I share with my sister (and now sweet niece) on a consistent basis. For Christmas I created them each a photo book and short story about how Enockson girl’s have adventures on a daily basis. It’s my biggest hope and prayer for them, to remind them that they are brave, courageous, and kind.
I want to model the adventure-filled life and push myself outside my comfort zone to try hard things. This year it might be cross-country skiing instead of the familiar snowshoe, cooking new recipes, seasonal “bucket list” adventures, reading books outside my usual genre, trying projects, and saying YES even when I’m afraid.
A full life isn’t meant to be lived in our comfort zones. A full and vibrant life is full of mistakes, hard things, joy and LOTS of adventure.
Grow beautiful blooms at ZA and home.
If you know me even a little bit, you know my love, okay obsession, for flowers. My wardrobe in the Spring consists of 80% floral pieces and a handful of neutrals, my kitchen table always has a bouquet of blooms or potted bulb, and my favorite time of the week at ZA is when we stock the farm cart with blooms for the community.
So, NOBODY was surprised last fall when I decided to participate in Floret Farm Cut-Flower workshop. Erin has been a role model for farmer-florists everywhere and I love how she continues to cultivate beauty and purpose through her IG feed, family and farm.
2021 holds so much possibility for my home gardens and ZA. I can’t wait to see how this goal literally grows over the next 12 months.
Cultivate a heart of contentment and give generously.
A heart of generosity and contentment continues to be one of the hardest and humbling goals. I want to be quick to give and be generous with what I’m given, and yet so often I think about my needs before others.
This year I’m joining Nancy Ray for the contentment challenge. Three months of purposely NOT shopping or spending on frivolous things. After the excess of Christmas, it feels refreshing but also reveals how quickly I click “add to cart” or “purchase now” before actually thinking if I need or truly want something. This year I’m joining her again and choosing not to purchase clothing, books, or home decor from January – March.
She recommends having a hobby or habit you want to cultivate and replace the time you would have spent at target or on-line shopping. For me that is watercolor and hiking outside. I want to cut out the habit of pursing the isle of target after a long week and instead go outside and soak up God’s amazing creation.
This week between Christmas and New Year is one of my favorite times. While we can easily fall into the black hole of not knowing “what day or time it is” and post-christmas sugar high, there is a beauty to a slower pace, with a little of the Christmas sparkle left in it.
I stumbled upon this quote yesterday and it’s the exact sentiment I want to step into the New Year:
“I don’t know exactly what’s next but I’m stepping forward with grit, anchored in grace.”
When the calendar flips on December 31st at midnight, all the pain and hardship won’t just go away. 2020 has been a year of numerous challenges, growth, and letting go.
Friends, with a little bit of grit, a whole lot of prayer, and big leaps of faith we can step into the fresh start of a new year anchored in His grace.
To me, a life of grace & grit begins by celebrating & marking the challenges, good things, and growth of the previous year.
This year I’m choosing to simplify my expectations for the holidays, so I can truly be present for the delights of the season. I want this month to be peaceful and cozy, not hurried and harried.
And for me, that begins with choosing less.
Present over perfect. Quality over quantity. Relationship over rushing. People over pressure. Meaning over mania.
It’s the exact sentiment I want to cultivate for Christmas 2020.
It’s with this heart I share my November Goal Update & December Goals with you.
November 2020 Update:
Set My Christmas List and Budget
Decorate for a cozy Christmas
Spiritual Self-Care Series Posts (2)
Well friends, life got the better of me this month and my posts were few and far between. However, I did share my heart on Sabbath here and it was the most beautiful reminder going into the season of REST this Winter. More goodness to come.
It’s the last Friday of the month, and I spent the morning reflecting on the past month and working on November goals. It’s been a month full of uncharted territory, change, surrender, and unexpected gifts.
I stumbled upon this quote from William Virgil Davis this past week and it captured my exact sentiments for this month.
As we watch leaves fluttering to the ground in fall, we are reminded of nature’s cycle are mirrored in our lives. Autumn is a time for letting go and releasing things that have been a burden.”
Change has never been my favorite, but one of my core values is growth.
Here is the thing friend, we can’t grow without change. Growth and change go hand in hand, and it all begins with letting go. When we surrender our expectations, fears, and desires we make room for God to work.
Surrender can look like trusting God to care for your loved ones when you are not with them, journaling out your fears and concerns before bed so you can sleep well, or saying no to a wonderful opportunity when your plate is already full. Letting go looks different for everyone, but the foundation is trust. Trust that our God is a good Father who will guide and direct our steps.
When we trust that the Lord has good instore for us, we can step into the unknown with confidence and courage.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
I’m heading into this new month with a surrendered heart and trusting that my Father will continue to direct my steps towards Him and His plans for my life.
October Goals Update
Make elderberry syrup.
Simple Elderberry Syrup Recipe:
2 c. dried elderberries
3 c. filtered water
2 cinnamon sticks
1 tsp. cloves
1/2 c. raw honey
Simmer for 45 minutes (or until reduced by half), strain with a fine mesh sieve, let cool and and add 1/2 c. raw honey. You can also add a few drops of Young Living Thieves Essential oil for an added boost. Store in fridge for 3 months or freezer for 1 year.
Create a “Koselig Cupboard”.
We are entering into the cozy season and I have been dreaming up some fun ways to enjoy this time instead of just live in fear of the dreary gray days. I turned my corner cabinet into a “Koselig Cupboard” complete with favorite magazines, books, tea, cozy socks, note cards to write to friends, knitting projects, and other fun things to keep the winter blues away and embrace all things cozy this year. I can’t wait for the first chilly night to cozy up.
Personal Prayer Retreat (October 23rd, 2020).
I typically plan a 1/2 day retreat each quarter. I block out the morning and head to a coffee shop, local park, or my favorite prayer cottage to journal, read, reflect, and listen to where God is leading me. In years past I’ve been pretty consistent at scheduling time to get away just to pray, but 2020 has been a weird year for so many reasons. This was my first retreat for the year and it came at the perfect time. I’m currently reading “The Deeply Formed Life” by Rich Villodas and it has provided a challenging and truthful perspective to reflect on our current world and political climate. A read I would heartily recommend.
Clean up my home gardens, yard, and porch.
Preparing my home for Winter is one of my Fall goals and that includes cleaning up the garden, planting tulips, mulching leaves and winterizing my home. Sunny October days lent themselves to lots of yard work, and I even snuck away to Little Women Flower Farm for a pop up tulip planting workshop. I can’t wait to see these beauties bloom in Spring.
Prepare for Christmas Season
Order SRT Advent Study.
Pack Operation Christmas Child Box.
Prepare my Christmas list and budget.
Make garden inspired gifts.
Practice and and share about Grace-Filled Self Care.