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A Look Back at October

I knew going in that October was going to be crazy, and it didn’t disappoint.

I had a very quick deadline for the largest freelance writing job I’ve ever taken (13 kindergarten-level Sunday School lessons for Word Aflame Press,) an online interpreting conference to help me finish off my continuing-ed for the year, and I accepted some freelance interpreting work.  All this was in addition to my regular schedule of cooking and cleaning and parenting and church and being Dave’s wife and the other 10,000 things we all have on our plates as grownup people in the world.

Now, as November begins, I find myself taking a deep breath and looking back, thinking over all the great things sprinkled in amidst the chaos.

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My Favorite Things In October

Will Reagan’s Tell All My Friends album – This is not a new release, it came out in January 2017.  I found it about this time last year, and it is just a great fall soundtrack.  The music is soulful and soothing, and while the lyrics could be called repetitive, I prefer to describe them as meditative. I’m so happy I decided to put this back into my listening rotation this month.

EveryDollar – I started off the year with “Figure out a Budget System” on my list of 18 for 2018.  This issue has loomed over us for almost two years, and this month I can finally check it off my list!  We have researched, discussed, created our own spreadsheets (Dave), argued, fumed, cried (me)…and now, finally, we feel like we have an answer that works.  This program and app is so easy to set up and use, we are going into our third month and it’s almost streamlined already.  Swiping our transactions into their categories is ridiculously satisfying, it allows us to save money for future spending by creating a Fund, and we can split transactions between categories (‘cause you know we never get out of Wal-Mart with only groceries.) We opted for the free trial of the premium version, and it is worth every penny.  Dave Ramsey knows what he’s doing.  I just wish we’d tried it two years ago.

Cozy Minimalist Home by Myquillyn Smith – Another thing on my 18 for 2018 list was “Determine Our Home Style.” I feel like our house is a mishmash of stuff that doesn’t really go together and is continually multiplying, but I have had no idea how to fix it.  I have a hard time even knowing what I like, and I thought finding the right online quiz might help me give a name to my style, so I had some parameters to work within.  I’ve been on a mission to ruthlessly declutter and last week Dave told me, “I think you’re secretly a minimalist.”  It was the first time I’d ever felt okay with the term, because this book has given me permission to embrace my need for open space, without giving up my love for a cozy, homey feel. I’m only a couple chapters in, and I haven’t implemented any of her advice yet, but I think I can safely check this item off the list too: I’m on my way to being a Cozy Minimalist!

Hyphen Tuesday Dinners – Over the summer, our pastor asked us to create and co-lead a Hyphen group for the young adults in our church.  Even as we were discussing the possibility, God dropped the idea in my heart to open our home once a week for the group to have dinner together.  I well remember my twenties, being on my own and often at loose ends in the evenings.  And it’s a given that community is created best around shared meals.  Even though the month was hectic, I knew that waiting for the “right time” to start would mean that it never happened.  So we went for it, and it’s been so fun!  The past three Tuesday nights our house has been full of yummy food, conversation and laughter.  We are excited to have this as a permanent block on our calendar for the foreseeable future.

Time With My Mom – My mom used her Fall Break to fly to North Carolina and hang out with us.  She came to help me make progress on my writing assignment (and she’s the only reason I completed it in time.) While she was here we had long rambling chats, went to Trunk or Treat at Dave’s work (where the Golden Knights jumped out of helicopters,) and Dave and I went on a date while she took Abby to the pumpkin patch.  I just love my mama.  It was so fantastic to have her here.

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Reading the Gospels – I’ve been utilizing a Chronological Bible reading plan this year, and it has been an amazing tool for opening my eyes to the Big Picture of Scripture.  In October the plan finally made it to the New Testament, and it coincided nicely with my writing assignment, which was all about the life of Jesus.  Through my daily reading, and all the reviewing and consolidating of multiple gospel accounts into language a five-year-old could understand, I’ve just been soaking in the words of Jesus and falling more in love with my Savior.  This is my second year in a row to read the Bible through, and I can say that while every day is not earth shattering, the cumulative effect is truly impactful.

One thing this month has shown me: even when things are busy, there’s always room for joy and fun and finding things to be thankful for.

As we head into November I’m looking forward to:

  • Getting back on track with my daily routines. With the recent dark mornings and busy days, I let myself slip back into old habits, and it doesn’t take long for me to notice. Moving through life in Reaction Mode works for short stint, but I quickly burn out. So it’s back to my early alarms, and doing the dishes every night.
  • The MOPS group I lead is hosting a Dad Panel for our November meeting. I’m looking forward to hearing from some experienced fathers about parenting from a male perspective.
  • The leaves around here are finally changing! I have loved my drives these past few days, each one a treasure hunt to see which trees have burst into color since I last saw them.
  • Dave and I have tickets to see our hockey team, the Toronto Maple Leafs, when they come to play the Hurricanes! We adopted the Leafs as our team with absolutely no information, other than their logo, but we’ve gone all in with our fandom. It’s a fun thing we share and going to see them in person will be a super cool date.
  • At the end of the month Abby and I will fly to Oklahoma to see my family! I haven’t been there since Christmas, so I’m super excited about seeing everyone!  And I’m also looking forward to sharing the holidays with Abby this year, she’s getting excited for Christmas already and her enthusiasm is contagious.

What was the best thing that happened in your October?  What are you looking forward to in November?

As we head into one of the busiest seasons of the year, let’s be intentional with looking for the simple joys around us and giving thanks for the things we find!

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