July Habits

July officially marks the second half of the year! Time is moving so quickly. Where I live, we are enjoying warm days and sun.

Here are the mini celebrations from July:

Two baby showers, completed our first-ever online achievement tests, watching fireworks at my sister’s house, Independence Day cookout at my parents’ house, a beautiful family wedding on my husband’s side, a family reunion on my side, a church picnic, library programs and reading awards, an impromptu water balloon fight in the back yard, lunch with my sister-in-love while the kids played, church camp and catching up with a cousin we hadn’t seen for 8 years. 

Now, for my habits progress:

HEALTH

Due to travels and more evening downtime, I read a lot this month. Specific to health, I finished the book I started last month, Devoured by Sophie Egan and Compared to Who by Heather Creekmore. The first spoke more to the trends in American lifestyle as they relate to eating. We are a culture where “You are what you eat” has never been taken so seriously. The second was unexpectedly refreshing in the positive body image space. I read it along with my devotions and found it backed with Scriptural principles instead of a lot of popular mantras. I took walks with my daughter and focused on a peaceful relationship with food rather than obsessing over it or idolizing it.

ARTICLES

One of the books I scanned this month was The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp. I discovered that my creativity is not as much in music or writing as it would seem at first glance (competency aside, of course). My true vocation and calling has always been to teach. That sounds so much less glamorous than composing a sonata or writing a novel. However, even when I write it is most often to teach others. My own music is mostly hobby while I deal mostly with my students in regards to piano.

Of course, my grandest enterprise is to teach my own children. I scanned again Educating the Whole Hearted Child by Clay and Sally Clarkson. It is a foundational resource for homeschooling. Another little book I read was The Unhurried Homeschooler  by Durenda Wilson, a veteran homeschooling mother of 8. Here are some quotes I jotted down from the book:

“remember….our children have been given to us. With the exception of their Creator, no one knows them better than we do.”

“Learning thrives with gentle encouragement. Learning is snuffed out quickly under pressure.”

“we balance all four elements: head (book learning), hand (training, service), heart (character), and health. By doing this, we give our children a fuller educational experience.”

“Typically, fear is a big part of what causes us to feel hurried or stressed.”

BOOKS

You can view my yearly progress on my reading list. Here are the July summaries I haven’t already mentioned.

A Primary Decision by Dr. Kevin Leman and Jeff Nesbit
This was a fiction book written from an interesting perspective, a Christian psychologist who specializes in studying birth order and a politician very involved in Washington, D.C. I find birth order fascinating so seeing it put into story interested me. I read the first two of this series last year and found this to be a thought-provoking read when studying why we are the way we are.

Intervention by Terri Blackstock
An unplanned fiction book I picked up from the free shelf at the library impacted me as I thought about parents of those struggling with addiction. The suspense was classic Terri Blackstock but the personal angst of the author shone through in the story and brought tears to my eyes a time or two.

Missional Motherhood by Gloria Furman
This book was recommended to me and turned out to be much more of a devotional book than the practical book I imagined. I read it along with my devotions early in the month and copied quite a few quotes from it. Here are two convicting ones:

“we must understand this, dear mothering readers: delight in the Lord is not something that we can give to our children or disciples. We can only help teach it, suggest it, exemplify it and affirm it. Salvation belongs to the Lord.”

“Jesus is having mercy on your kids, for he put a priest in the next bedroom whose prayers ascend like incense before Him as you boldly approach the throne of grace and plead for your children’s souls.”

Different by Sally and Nathan Clarkson
This was such a precious book written by Sally and her son who has struggled with mental illnesses such as ADHD and OCD. They each describe what life was like from their unique perspectives. Sally has long been an expert like whom many homeschooling mothers aspire to be. Her honest struggles and learning experiences with parenting an out-of-the-box child were refreshing.

The Radical Marriage of a Runaway Nun and a Renegade Monk: Katharina and Martin Luther by Michelle DeRusha
This was good timing to read this biography of an unlikely couple since this is the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. Far from a rosy picture, the lives of this couple were filled with hardships. However, I found much in the spirit of Katharina to imitate and in the descriptions of Martin to show that he was just an ordinary man with an extraordinary will.

Color Me Beautiful by Joanne Richmond
Those who know me would think this an odd book for me to read. I picked it up from the free shelf at the library. I don’t wear makeup or color my hair, preferring the natural coloring God gave me. So, the only part of this book that was somewhat helpful for me was diagnosing my color palette as it relates to the clothes I wear. I found that a few of my favorite colors shouldn’t be worn next to my face for me to look my best. While it is nice to know which colors may look best on me, I doubt I will seriously change my wardrobe. This book was only a scan since I had to skip some of the irrelevant parts.

I wish you the best of Augusts as we enter into that pivotal month between the lazy days of summer and back-to-school routines!

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