Paying Attention: August + September

In 2019, I’m going back to one of my first loves: writing occasional blog posts about what’s going on in my life. My only goal is to reflect on each month and as it draws to a close, take note where my intentions and actions intersect. I’m calling this 12 part series, “The Art of Paying Attention.”

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I’ll keep these updates brief. They are mostly just for my own accountability and contemplation. Taking inspiration from Emily P. Freeman’s “What I Learned” series I participated in a few years ago and the act of “soulful listening,” I know this exercise will be valuable for me. I hope you also find some inspiration of your own.

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Each month this year, I am keeping my intentions (or goals) to no more than six or seven small but significant items that help me to live out what is most important in my life. Below are the intentions I set for August and September and a short note on how I found myself paying attention (or in this case, not).



the art of-3


In no particular order here are a few categories of highlights from August and September.

We were road warriors:

  • Broken Bow, OK for Ryan’s opportunity block leave
  • Gulf Shores, AL with our friends the Smiths
  • Myrtle Beach, SC (Claire and Kate drove to get new puppy Maggie
  • Nashville, TN (Ryan flew there and drove him his new-to-him vehicle)

I think we are close to 4,000 miles that we traveled as a family during these two months.

Books Read + Movies Watched at the Theater:

  • Run with the Horses (Peterson)
  • Teaching from Rest
  • City of Girls (Gilbert)
  • The Next Right Thing (Freeman)
  • Rocketman
  • Downton Abbey
  • Overcomer
  • Blinded by the Light


The Start of All the Things:

Since we found out our time was extended here at Fort Polk, it just felt right to dive right back in to being very involved in our community. It has felt full and fun and very people-ey. I’m grateful for all of the connection but going forward need to manage my margins better.

  • W.A.C.K. started back as well as kids’ fall Youth of the Chapel, lots of babysitting for Mae and Kate (including their babysitter’s course they completed), homeschool P.E. started, and Thomas is refereeing youth sports and drives us all almost everywhere we go.
  • For me, this fall I am leading FPU at Power Wednesdays at Main Post Chapel and leading Missional Motherhood on Tuesdays at PWOC. September also brought about our first Homeschool Moms Night Out that I’m organizing and I continue to host my monthly IF: Table.
  • Ryan is staying super busy with continued JRTC rotations as well as his weekly preaching and worship leading activities.


Other Miscellany: 

Life is good. The days and weeks are rolling by. During August and September other noteworthy events and happenings include our 18th anniversary, Kate’s 12th birthday, lots of lost sleep with a new puppy, the love bug and centipede apocalypse, updated family chore charts, Sunday lunches with our chapel crowd at the PX, college football, setting up and tracking our net worth on Personal Capital (my newest favorite app), Kellie and I starting our Advice Not Given podcast, and continued UNRELENTING LOUISIANA HEAT.



Paying Attention:

As I mentioned in the graphic with the heart, I failed to truly set written intentions in my journal as I have been practicing all year long. I’m not sure why other than time and focus just escaped me. I can definitely see why I flourish better when I have those intentions in writing.

This practice puts some definite boundaries and lines of margin in my month. I keep returning to those intentions and often will use them as a means to say no to the unimportant things. I have been realizing these past two months that in my effort to “have more fun,” and “be a yes mom,” I have overcommitted myself to the degree that I have not had or made the time for those things I tell myself are important: namely, a writing habit and daily exercise. 

I’m a big believer in “what you do everyday matters more than what you do every once in a while,” but things like exercise and writing have definitely been “once in a while” pursuits over these past eight or nine weeks. In my MM Bible study, we have discussed the “tyranny of the urgent,” and that idea perfectly encapsulates where my heart and energies have been.

I can’t go back and re-do August or September, but I can learn from reflecting on the overall feeling I get when I think about how tired and I am and why. There’s just been too much of a lot of things. I have always struggled to find that perfect balance of serving and leading coupled with rest and white space. I love to serve and lead and have plenty on the calendar to fill our days. I don’t love feeling physically tired and emotionally spent out. 

Moving forward in October, I plan to write out my intentions and then let them guide and lead me in how I spend my days. I hope to be able to write my October blogpost about how much returning to this practice has benefitted me. 

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