Summer’s here!

summer
summer
Image source: Google

Today is the first day of summer (you can get great summer deals today, including a free small blizzard at Dairy Queen), when it’s the longest day of the year in the U.S. and the shortest day of the year for people in Australia and residents south of the equator).

Heather, Andy, and their kids
Heather, Andy, and their kids

Our daughter Heather, her girls, her boyfriend Andy, and his kids, took off fast today for a much-needed break from work and a vacation in Branson, MO. It was a surprise for the kids.

There’s lots to do in Branson, although I joke to Ray that it’s “an old people’s place” with country hick singers and the entertainment shows (he loves it). However, Branson has beautiful scenery at Table Rock State Park and nice shopping and restaurants at Branson Landing.

Heather made a fun scavenger hunt at her house, where the kids looked for clues all over the house, until they got to the last clue which read that they were going on summer vacation in Branson. She is such a fun mom! The kids loved the scavenger hunt!

Me & Leah at our home for Thanksgiving 2017
Me & Leah at our home

Today I went to lunch with our youngest daughter Leah. When she was still living at home, she and I would go to lunch every two weeks when Ray was paid.

This was our mom-daughter special time together. After she moved out, I wanted to continue the tradition. Leah now stays busy working, taking her violin lessons, drawing her art, and doing stuff with her friends. We still try to go out every couple of weeks for our “mom-daughter” time.

A Moment's Pause Art Print
A Moment’s Pause art print
Copyright 2018 Leah Jones

You can follow Leah on Instagram @leah.merae to see the art she’s working on recently from daily prompts. You can also check out and buy her art at her Society 6 online store (Leah Merae).

I try to do lunches with Heather, too, only she lives much further away (an hour), she works more than full-time hours, and she is constantly busy, but we see each other when we possibly can.

Eden & her family
Eden & her family

Our middle daughter Eden stays very busy too, working 3 jobs, but she and Ray regularly text and video chat. We drop by to see them at times, since they and Leah live down the street from us in Butler. 

Heather, Eden, and Leah
Heather, Eden, and Leah

While our three precious daughters stay on the go every day and live their own, busy lives, I’m still trying to adjust to the empty nest. (I digress from the first day of summer, but I’m going with the writing flow for now.)

I’m not going to lie. It’s hard. Real hard. The house feels so empty at times. (My marriage isn’t what it should be yet, though we are in Christian marriage counseling now.)

insomnia
woman with insomnia
Image source: Google

At night when things are often too quiet, I lay down, wrestling with insomnia again, and then the mom guilt attacks me. The regrets. The painful ache in my heart, missing their beautiful, sweet faces and their physical presence here.

The haunting, condemning thoughts of, “I should have done more fun things with them” or “I shouldn’t have yelled at them so much” or “Why was I so focused on a clean house instead of just enjoying my time with them more?” Sometimes I miss them so much.

These days I do stay busy with my speaking and writing books. When I’m in between books, I get so restless, and feel like I’m just going to absolutely come out of my skin from boredom and anxiety. Today at lunch, Leah wisely told me, “You need to find new hobbies, mom.”

burger & fries
burger & fries

“Like what?” I asked her in between bites of a juicy cheeseburger and french fries drowned in ketchup. 

Creative things like painting or playing a musical instrument. For example, right now I’m learning to make origami.

Nancy Wilson of Heart
Nancy Wilson of Heart
Image source: Google

I told her that while origami is cool, I don’t want to do that and that I don’t know how on earth to draw or to play an instrument. The only instrument I’ve ever wanted to learn how to play was piano (which I quit my lessons as a child) and the guitar, so I could pretend to be Heart’s musician Nancy Wilson.  But I wanted to play bass guitar, not rhythm. I never learned how, and now I have no desire to be a rock star.

“What else can I do?” I asked my child who is wise beyond her years.

Whatever I want, she said. And Leah thinks that anyone can learn to draw or to play an instrument, no matter what your age is. It’s not too late to learn something new!

Cliffs of Moher
Cliffs of Moher
Image source: Google

Here are some things I DO want to do–this summer:

  • Spend time with God and our family;
  • Travel somewhere new;
  • Start my walking/jogging routine again (pray for my self-discipline, puh-leeze! I’ve gained all my weight back!)
  • Drink more water and continue healthy eating (cut carbs and sugar dramatically, more salads and fresh veggies);
  • Restore our marriage;
  • Possibly write a children’s book with Leah illustrating the art on the front cover (she’s thinking about it!);
  • De-clutter my office (tame the paper tiger!);
  • Go horseback riding somewhere;
  • Have some much needed down time at the beach, my place of rest and refilling;
  • Visit my family and friends in different states;
  • Go on another train ride;
  • Speak at a women’s conference (several times would be great!);
  • Lead at least one person to Christ, hopefully more;
  • See God moving in our family, drawing us closer to Him and one another;
  • Visit the mountains; 
  • Ride a hot air balloon ride with Ray, drinking champagne;
  • Have roses bloom in my home garden;
  • Grow more Christ-like, in the fruit of the Spirit.
  • Laugh more. 

These are just some of the things I’d love to do. What about you? Share your comments below.

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Reward yourself for hard work

Got my hair done-yay!
Got my hair done–yay!

Today, after nearly a YEAR of waiting, I got my hair done–yay! (Colored, blonde highlights, and trim) I feel like a new woman! The Bible says a woman’s hair is her glory. (1 Corinthians 11:15) I believe it! Although hair isn’t everything (it’s the heart that counts), it affects a woman so much when her hair doesn’t look good. I now feel so much more attractive and better about myself. 

hairdresser meme

This appointment was to reward myself for my hard work, writing the last book God told me to write, Metamorphosis: Transformed From Despair to Hope (for sale at Amazon here). Whenever you meet a goal, you should reward yourself for your accomplishment! Make sure it’s something that you love. Today, mine was getting my hair done and eating Mexican!

The Y Factor
The Y Factor Hair and Nail Salon

I enjoy chatting with my hairdresser, Yvette at The Y Factor, in Butler, MO, where I live. She’s an outgoing, friendly Sanguine red-head who talks and laughs a lot. She’s also successful and very knowledgeable about business, so I like talking with her for success ideas. 

chips and salsa
chips and salsa

Afterward, my husband Ray and I went to eat at El Charro, the Mexican restaurant here in town, for me to get my chips and salsa fix (I’m addicted!). I hadn’t eaten lunch today, so I was hungry. I told Ray that I felt like I could eat a horse! He said out of the side of his mouth that he’d be sure to keep me steered clear of any pastures. 

horse meme

My cat Natalya acted like she hadn’t seen me in years after I was gone today. Ray said while I was at the hair salon, she sat at the back door, staring at it and meowing, until she finally resigned herself that I wasn’t coming home for awhile and climbed into bed with him as he tried to sleep, following his work shift. She was glad to see me when I came home. (It’s nice to be so loved!)

She is a very needy cat. I constantly pet her! She’s so sweet, cute, and funny, and she makes me laugh.

Natalya my cat
Natalya my cat

She is now in my office, occasionally meowing at me, so in a little while I need to get off here and pay attention to her and pet her!

“Time spent with a cat is never wasted.” –Colette (author, Gigi)

Beth Jones, Speaker & Author

Over the last couple of days, I’ve been working on my website theme to include a sunflower header. I’ve changed the website frequently yesterday and today. Whenever I get bored, restless, discouraged, or some other intense emotion, I start changing my website theme. I become intently dissatisfied and then obsessed.

Woman entrepreneur at laptop
woman entrepreneur at laptop

As I ate my chips and salsa today, I talked to Ray non-stop about my website and business. He patiently listened and watched me devour my food. Then he wisely told me that people don’t really care how pretty a website is; they are simply looking for good content and a variety of interesting things you can offer them. So true! (But I still like pretty websites!)

This is a new responsive, minimalist WordPress theme called “Freedom.” Do you like it? 

My goal this year is to begin studying marketing for my speaking and books and do whatever else God wants me to do. I want to be aligned with His purpose for my life and follow Jesus. What about you?

“Following Christ isn’t something that can be done halfheartedly or on the side. It is not a label we can display when it is useful. It must be central to everything we do and are.” –Francis Chan, Crazy Love: Overwhelmed By a Relentless God

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Still time for your (God’s) bucket list

pumpkin
pumpkin

This year has sped by, hasn’t it? Again.

The older you are, the faster the years go. You grasp at time, but it rushes through your hands like turbulent rapids in a river, and there’s no stopping it. That’s why it’s important to be present in the moments each day and to savor your time with loved ones. To live intentionally.

rapids
rapids

Christmas is around the corner and the new year. I think it’s important to live each day fully, and there is still time to get things accomplished this year. What things?

Writing a to-do list
Writing a to-do list

Whatever matters most, what is important to you personally–and to God. I highly recommend reading the book What If God Wrote Your Bucket List? 52 Things You Don’t Want To Miss.

family pic
family pic

 

coffee pic
coffee pic

 

fall decos
fall decos

 

For me, that would be:

  • Using my spiritual gifts for God and living out my purpose daily;
  • Working on healing my marriage to Ray;
  • Staying connected with our 3 beautiful daughters and 4 precious grandkids (soon to be 5!);
  • Having my “coffee with God” time each morning, praying, journaling, & reading the Bible;
  • Walking/jogging at the track and eating healthy to become fitter;
  • Enjoying this new fall season (pumpkin scented candles, mm; pretty sunflowers decos);
  • Traveling to new places;
  • Being an example of Christ to all those God brings across my path each day.

What about you? What is left on your bucket list that you’d like to do before this year ends?

fall trail
fall trail

 

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