I love reflecting on the blessings–small and big!–that are making me smile and lifting my spirits during each season. So, I’ve been making a list of “What I Am Loving” a semi-regular feature on the blog.
I encourage you to take a few minutes and think about what you are loving this summer. How is God blessing you? What small (or big) things are bringing you joy? You can write them down in a journal, post the list in a place to remind you of your blessings when you begin to feel discontent, or keep the list in your icon corner and regularly thank God for them.
What I am Loving this Summer (Social Distancing Version)
With this extra time at home, I, like many other Americans, have been able to spend more time in the kitchen. I’ve enjoyed making bread, cookies, cakes, and fruit crisps. We recently got some beautiful peaches at the farmer’s market that are just waiting to be put into a cobbler!
2. Games with my Kids
We are a game-playing family. Even (or perhaps especially) my youngest, George, who is only six years old, loves playing strategy games that are fun for all of us. Some of our favorites lately include Settlers of Catan, Dominion, and Carcassonne.
3. Setting the Table Beautifully
Now that I am at home more, I want to make my home a more beautiful, peaceful, and lovely place to be. One of the ways I am doing this is by paying attention to how I set the table. I purchased some inexpensive (and easily washable!) placemats, brought out all of my Fiestaware, and committed to using my cloth napkins at every meal. It makes such a difference!
4. Inexpensive Flowers
Something else that makes such a difference is having fresh flowers around the house! Our local grocery store has bouquets that are only $4 and last all week. It makes buying them guilt-free and easy–a staple on my weekly shopping list.
5. Homemaking Youtube Videos and Blogs
Along with this new interest in creating a lovely home comes a renewed interest in bloggers and Youtubers that focus on this subject. I have been particularly enjoying Jennifer L. Scott’s blog The Daily Connoisseur, the Youtube channel Inspired by Nikki, and Matushka Emily’s Charming the Birds from the Trees. Whenever I feel overwhelmed by the news or my social media feeds, I find inspiration and peace in these sites.
6. Family Evenings
It is nice to have quiet evenings together, knowing that no one needs to run off to a practice or meeting. We’ve been enjoying leisurely dinners, prolonged bath times, and (our favorite) family read alouds. Our current book is The Fellowship of the Ring.
7. Classical Music Playing All Day
In keeping with my peaceful home theme (!), I have been playing classical music from Youtube nearly all day, everyday. I particularly gravitate toward piano music, as I am a classical pianist. However, I’ve been branching out and listening to famous ballets (Swan Lake has been played many times) and cello music (so incredibly rich and comforting).
8. Beautiful Parks and Time in Nature
We are so blessed to live near beautiful parks with excellent hiking trails as well as a lovely arboretum. Because it is extremely hot right now in Texas, we like to do our outings very early in the morning. This way we beat the majority of the crowds as well.
9. Our New Home
If you’ve followed this blog for any length of time, you may have just wondered about my mention of Texas! Yes, we have moved! My husband graduated from Holy Cross seminary and we are now in Texas. After three years of living in campus housing (for which we were very grateful), it is nice to have more space to spread out and to feel that the place is “ours” (even though we are renting).
10. Book Club
Finally, I am now part of a Book Club! I have always wanted to join a Book Club but (a) never felt that I had time and (b) didn’t really have the opportunity. Well, that has changed. A lovely neighbor woman asked me to join a Book Club for the women on our street. Each month one person selects three potential books and the other members vote. We all read the winning book and discuss it together at the end of the month. We are currently meeting in the evenings in a backyard so as to observe social distancing.
What are you enjoying this summer? Share some blessings (small or large) that are making you smile!