Here we are at the end of another month. Time stood still from March to June but feels like it is beginning to move again. The buzzwords that are still circulating sound pretty much the same: new normal, social distancing, wear your mask, COVID-19, a spike in numbers, and my new buzzword, the “new different.”
July feels like July in many ways. It has been “summer hot” here in Ohio with temps in the 90s and high humidity. I saw the first signs of the grass turning brown, which is another sign of summer in the Midwest. We had a good downpour the other day but we are experiencing more dry days than wet ones. There are still beautiful blooms and the wildflowers are holding their own. My tomato plants are lagging behind, but in my defense, I planted them a little bit late.
I haven’t done one of these posts in about a year but felt called to jot down a few thoughts. Join me for four somethings and I hope you will add your own in the comments.
Something Loved in July
I’m going to begin by saying I can’t pick just one thing. I hope you will indulge me.
The month of July was a time for family. My kids, grandson, and I gathered every weekend to hang out, eat, and laugh. No agenda, no fancy meals, and no time constraints. The time was exactly what it needed to be every time.
The second thing I loved doing in July was baking. I am an Enneagram Two and proud of it. Read more about that HERE. I enjoy doing things for my people and baking is one of those things. So even though the meals were never planned out a sweet treat accompanied each gathering.
We live in a time of unrest and uncertainty. I challenge you and I’m challenging myself to take time to do those things we love anyway. God calls us to live life to the fullest and time with my family is one of those ways that I do that.
Something Read in July
I read a lot of somethings in July. Most of my book reading leans toward fiction, but I always have non-fiction books going at the same time. Reading has been a restorative activity for me especially during the shelter in place.
I am currently working through The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander. Every other paragraph has me getting fired up at the injustice that is prevalent in our country. It is a powerful and convicting read and I highly recommend it.
The second nonfiction that is on my nightstand is Jennie Allen’s Get Out of Your Head: Stopping the Spiral of Your Toxic Thoughts. I am not only reading the book but I am going through the bible study with a friend. I love the practical and spiritual ideas outlined in the book to take your thoughts captive.
Finally, I have read at least four fiction books throughout the month, but one of my favorites is Katherine Reay’s latest book, Of Literature and Lattes. I have read all of her books and this is one of my favorites. If you have never picked up one of Ms. Reay’s books and you are a lover of all things Jane Austen, I would highly recommend her books.
Something Treasured in July
Every Tuesday and Thursday throughout the month of July I stopped what I was doing at 10 A.M. to meet with a group of amazing ladies for Bible study. I fired up Zoom and we each meandered in with our coffee ready to talk about Philippians. The sweet gathering provided multiple reminders for me of the importance of focusing on God and His Word and the blessing of community.
I love knowing that community is found in real life and online. It doesn’t require fancy or staged–just people with willing hearts to talk and listen.
Philippians was the perfect book of the bible to study for this current time. To hear Paul say that he is “rejoicing” as he sits in prison provides a perspective that I realize I need. Remember:
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. (Philippians 4:6)
It’s hard to believe that August begins this Saturday. As hard as 2020 has hit us with all of the ups and downs, it does feel like the summer is flying by.
After lots of prayer, I need to pause from writing, I am taking the month of August off. The best part of this is that I won’t have any specific deadlines so I can let my mind run free with whatever ideas come my way. Since I am taking a break, the Tell His Story linkup, will also be on hiatus.
Besides the upcoming break, I am getting away for about six days to the mountains with some of my kids and my grandson. I cannot wait for a change in scenery and the chance to just soak in God’s beauty. Follow me on Instagram to catch my photos.Join me on the blog as I share "Four Somethings" from the month of July. Plus some very exciting news!! #newpost #TellHisStory #linkup Click To Tweet
Finally, the most exciting piece of news is that I have a new book coming out in November. The best part of shelter in place this year was the time I devoted to finish up the writing and begin to put the other parts into place. The book is called The Advent Narrative: The Life You Didn’t Know you Were Already Living. I cannot wait to share it with you.
My knowledge of Advent is what I knew from my childhood. God took my limited knowledge and has grown what I knew about the four weeks of Advent and changed my perspective to what I believe now. Advent is a time of preparation and waiting for the arrival of Jesus. It is not just four weeks out of the year but a lifetime of leaning in and leaning on God through our challenges and celebrations. It is the celebration of the life we are living right now, which spans the time between Jesus’s birth and when He will come again. I can’t wait to share more.
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Congratulations on your upcoming book, Mary! That is so exciting. And I’m so glad you are taking a blogging/writing break. I did that in July and found it so refreshing. Blessings on you, my friend.
A new book! So exciting! I can’t wait, Mary! Enjoy your month off and time in the mountains!
The New Jim Crow was very challenging to me as well. It opened my eyes to injustices at a whole new level. Hope you’re enjoying time with your grandson–love the photo of you and him and the joy in both of your faces!
Mary, that pic of you and your grandson is priceless … I keep going back to look at it; it just makes me happy! I am reading “Of Literature and Lattes” now too … Katherine Reay is one of my favorites. Many blessings as you take a well-deserved writing break … I hope it’s refreshing in every way.
Thanks for sharing. I have “The New Jim Crow” and want to read it as soon as I finish two other books!! I just love those photos of the little one laughing good! And maybe over a book no less!
Caring through Christ, ~ linda
You will have to let me know what you think of The New Jim Crow when you start reading it. I love the photos of my grandson too. Pure joy!
I’m eyeing one of your book recs! And congrats!
Which one? Thank you for cheering me on.
Congratulations on finishing your book Mary! And have a restful break. We do need space at times to let our minds run free. And have a wonderful trip to the mountains. As you know from my Instagram feed, my favourite breathing spaces are in the rockies, so look forward to seeing yours!
Thank you, Lynn! I am looking forward to freeing my heart and mind space. I know you love the outdoors and just so you know the Rocky Mountains are more majestic than the Smoky Mountains in Tennessee but beautiful in their own way.
Enjoy your break Mary! 😀
Thank you, Jennifer! Blessings!
Hi Mary! Congratulations on your upcoming book! And double-Dibble yay for a mountain vacation. I pray God refreshes your spirit with time away from writing and your usual surroundings. I look forward to reconnecting when you return. Love in Christ, Julie
Thank you for these sweet words. Time away will be just what I need to renew. The mountains are always restorative. I can’t wait to see how God shows up.
You know I’ll grab that book the minute it is available! Have a wonderful August – enjoy your precious family and O! that Jack is a d o r a b l e!!!
Awww, thanks! I’m glad I have your support. I think my grandson is adorable too.
Congrats on your new book! And for the book recommendations. Cooking and spending time with my family are two of my favorite things too.
It seems we are like-minded souls. I hope you have a wonderful August.
Thank you for the encouragement to do things that bring joy. I NEEDED that! By the way- your face with your grandchild–that’s pure joy!!!
Time with my grandson is pure joy. I’m glad to know you were encouraged today. Thanks for stopping by.
Oh Mary, congratulations on your new book! I look forward to reading it! And, I am praying that you August pause will be such a time of refreshing and renewal with the Lord. May His grace be so abundant for you!
Your words and encouragement mean so much to me. Thank you for your prayers as I pause in August and get quiet to hear from God.
Mary, how exciting about your book! Time with family is precious! I was able to have my oldest 2 grandgirls over to spend the night, twice in a week! LOVED IT!! I can’t believe they are 9 and 5 already. They are such a huge joy in my life. I keep saying, I can’t believe I have a grandchild that is almost in double digits in age, feeling old 😂 Enjoy your time off!!
Two grandchildren! What a blessing, April especially having them stay overnight. I agree that time with family is such a gift. Thank you for being here today.
Mary, love this post, and especially the photo with your grandson! So precious! Many blessings for your time away in August!
Good to see you here today, Beth! I sure do love my grandson. Blessings to you too.
Excited about your upcoming book, Mary! Enjoy your break.
Thank you, Sarah! I appreciate your excitement over my new book.
Mary, love the photos and congratulations on the book! So exciting!
Thank you, Karen! I know you love time with your grand babies too.
I adore the photo of you and your grandson ❤️! Congratulations on your new book baby—how exciting! May your month away be just what you need to feel refreshed and doubly blessed.
I love that photo too. I can’t stop smiling when he is around. I can’t wait to share more about my book. It definitely feels like I’m birthing a baby. 😳. I appreciate you, Anita. I hope your time with family and your travels home refreshed you.
Times with family are so blessed. Your grandson has the cutest smile. How exciting to have a book coming out! Have a wonderful time on your break.
Thank you for all of these kind words, Barbara! Time with my family is always the best. I appreciate your voice and presence in this community.
Oh, that smile on his precious little face.
Your well-planned time off.
Your new book.
I leave here inspired, friend. Have a wonderful August. You’ll be missed …
Jack is the best! He always makes me smile. I would appreciate your prayers as I put lots of details in place to finish up my book. Thanks for a,ways being here. 😊
Ahhh, Mary. I love your Four Somethings. And those photos of your grandson? Absolutely adorable. He looks like quite a happy fellow! The translation you shared of Phil 4:6 was so simply and beautifully put. I loved that.
I hope your coming month is restful, restorative, and refreshing!
Thank you for cheering me on. I’m looking forward to the time to step away and refresh.
I love how much joy my grandson exudes. He is the best.
Your retreat to the mountains sounds refreshing. I hope it is that and so much more for you and your family. May Gods’ presence be with you and may you hear his voice loudly for whatever direction you seek. He is faithful!
I appreciate your encouraging words, Yvonne. I’m looking forward to the time away and also the quiet time to hear from God. Blessings to you!
Your new book … exciting news for you and us all! I so enjoyed Brave Faith. May you have a wonderful month of rest and good times with your family. Blessings!
Thank you for your kind words, Joanne! I need the head and heart space as I finish up all the details for the book.
I am.so happy for you! Enjoy your time with family and savor every minute of your break. Looking forward to hearing about God’s agenda for you in the coming days.
And your book… How exciting!
Thank you for always cheering me on. I’m excited about the upcoming break but even more excited about my new book.
Congratulations on your new book! Many blessings to you!
Thank you for these kind words. Blessings!