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Giving thanks - AC - always in July and August, the luxury of air conditioning is not lost on me.

Internet apparently, because we spent two days without it and I noticed - just saying.

Prayers that seem like they have been answered, but still waiting and watching to see what happens.

Right Now Media - John and I use this tool for our morning study together. I can't tell you how good it is to have access to so much faithful teaching. We find that a lot of the time what we are learning and hearing in our local church is running concurrently with the study we are doing in the mornings. Repetition is good for encouraging reflection and allowing scripture to write itself on our hearts. And for this blogger/writer, it has reinforced and encouraged me that the purpose of the blog is exactly what it should be - striving to love God and love others throughout our very ordinary days and years.

Outside my window - The sun is shining, it's a lovely day since the temperatures have dropped back down to reasonable. Whew, those 100+ degree days are more than miserable, and much of the country (maybe the world but I'm not much for watching or listening to the news these days so I'll take my husband's word for it) was locked into a system of record high temperatures. Yuck - makes me want to move to Montana.

The bird feeders need filled, the lawn needs mowed, and the garden needs a little TLC after the high winds knocked some of the tomato cages over. Mom's Midnight Marvel Hibiscus is in bloom - big time! We counted over 40 blooms on it last week and it looks like there might be even more now.

We're still working on getting an electrician to do the wiring and connection for the hot tub, but I'm still hoping we'll have it ready to enjoy when the really cool temperatures arrive.

Clothing myself in - denim capris, burgundy top, tennis shoes - because I want to be ready, for what I don't know, but whatever it is, I'm ready LOL. My dependable pony tail. I am, however, sporting some really cute earrings that my daughter made. She has stunned us all with her creativity making these gorgeous earrings. She is making every single pair herself, and they are all unique. Once she makes a set for launch, she moves onto new designs and new colors. Check her site out if you're curious.

In the kitchen - Things shifted a little last week. I very intentionally watched for sales on some items so we could stock up on what I know we use most, and also to create meal kits again. After I had the supplies, I got a little distracted and realized it wasn't sitting quite right with me for some reason.

I had some time to reflect and analyze and I think I have a better grasp on the direction now. There are still some meal kits in the freezer - not put together like I like, but the components are all there. It's full to the brim though and waiting for me to get in there and organize it better. I didn't want to do it when the temperatures would have been an issue with thawing, but I think I might have a chance to do it later this week.

Generally speaking, I realized that cooking for people truly is something that not all people enjoy, or are good at doing. The fact that it has always been somewhat of a love language for me seems to indicate that it is a divine thumbprint. I feel confident that I am supposed to be working in that gifting for the good of others.

Writing - Ouch! There hasn't been much of that, and it is seems that it's always the first to go when things get rough around here. I imagine that's my own doing, because most writers don't place much value on their deep desire to write if it's not winning awards or making a big impact somewhere. But something always bring my attention back to it and suggests that I keep at it, even if it's just for me and an audience of One.

I bought a couple more books and started listening to one on Audible - Writing Down the Bones. So here I am, back at the keyboard persevering if only for my own sanity.

I can't remember where I heard this recently, but it caught my attention and I nodded my head emphatically in agreement - much of our writing is more about documenting than creating. This, so much this! Most of what I want to write is about documenting our stories - mine and our family's. Our childhood stories and their's. My children want this from me as much as I want to give it to them. It's what helps me not give up the whole idea of writing when I feel like maybe I should. Stories are important - they matter - they play a part in so many ways for the direction of our lives. We have all been impacted by the stories of other people.

I have some new goals that, if successful, will result in more regular posting here on the blog, and some progress on a story I have had on the back burner for a long time.

And as a side note - I'm often working more on the design of this blog space than on content - I think that's more avoidance than anything. One of the things that I recently changed left me feeling "unfinished". This photo has been on the header of my blog for a long time now, and removing it was one of the recent changes. I didn't want to remove it really. I just can't get it to look the way I want (I wonder if that is symbolic...), but it will likely reappear at some point. Why? Because is really captures one of the important aspects of the blog. When a reader comes here I want them to feel like they are part of a conversation, perhaps over a cup of coffee at a local coffee house. It's obviously just a virtual meetup, but I really want it to welcome you, the reader, to a place of comfort and encouragement. Somewhere you feel safe and hopeful, a little relief from the troubles of your days. I'm simply sharing my own ordinary life stories; my experience, strength, and hope. When you see this image, please be reminded that this is my goal.

Reading - If there is very little writing happening, there is even less reading. I did intend to resume the book I was in the middle of when the internet went out, but then we discovered we still own a DVD player and plenty of DVDs. I'm not giving up on this though. Hope springs eternal.

Watching - Suits. Suits, suits, suits. And I love it. Also, Outlander as the new episodes are released, but who enjoys that now that we have experienced bing watching entire seasons or series in a single weekend?

Listening - The aforementioned Writing Down the Bones; Adele; some of my favorite podcasts when I am able, which isn't very often. Some have gotten "old" and I have lost interest in, some have explored topics I'm not interested in but I'm pretty sure future topics will catch my interest, and some are relatively new and I enjoy them from time-to-time (That Sounds Fun with Annie F Downs).

Making - Those meal kits, and space in the house so I can resume sewing when the mood strikes. The weather tends to affect what things I do with the little spare time I have available. The extreme temperatures - hot and cold - both spur me to return inside for projects. Mild temperatures beckon me outside to enjoy the backyard as much as possible before winter returns and makes deck sitting much less inviting.

Camp - We enjoyed our trip at the end of June even though it was a bit challenging for a variety of reasons. It turned out that John, Josh, and Rachel all three had patches of poison ivy of varying degrees on their bodies. I ended up with a nasty rash of my own, but it was not poison ivy. It was every bit as miserable and itchy, but I think easier to treat once we discovered what it was - yeast infection in those areas that overlap, ugh. This is one of those moments when you realize why being overweight is about more than just the way you look.

I digress... we had intentions of checking on a golf cart when we arrived back home, but as it turns out the place we wanted to look at them is not open on the weekends... and it's two hours away. So that put a hold on that.

The spraying John and his brother did in our lots seems to have had a big impact - the weeds and poison ivy are dying back.

We switched gears a bit in how we want to prepare our little home away from home for our family. Rather than campers, or make-shift cabins, we want to build tent platforms that include storage so we can have fully equipped tent-camp spaces for each family unit. We're not talking roughing it in the woods - we're talking glamping :-)

Caregiving - Mom has had a difficult week again. I noticed that her foot was swollen a bit and the doctor ordered an ultrasound to rule out DVT. It didn't rule it out, it confirmed that there is a significant clot and blockage. We are waiting to hear what the next steps are from the doctor, because we're in a catch 22 between blood thinners and the clot. Vascular surgeons said they didn't feel she was a good candidate for an IVC, which is a filter of sorts that is placed to capture the clot if it breaks apart and moves toward her lungs. So, this week I have made sure there is nothing on the calendar that I need to reschedule if she needs a procedure or more testing.

The week ahead - I miss my people, my kids and my grandkids. I'll be working on a way to gather so we can enjoy some much needed time together. The school-aged kids will be returning to class before you know it. Three grandkids will start kindergarten this year - some at the local public schools, some at home.

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