Looking Back | September.

What a difference a month can make. I wrote my August Looking Back post just before heading next door to share a totally spontaneous girls night out by my neighbor’s pool. just four of us – very comfortably distanced, catching up, it felt like a game changer (September 2 – popcorn and and an adult beverage). Sara arrived a few days later and then I started playing tennis. Three things. I know one of them was HUGE (still not sure Sara’s gonna brave the travel for a Christmas trip) and we reclaimed our bubble with Katie and her family. and maybe that’s enough. October is gonna be a test, isn’t it?!

1. What am I celebrating?
+ we are all still healthy.
+ Sara’s visit.
+ completing our quarantine and getting to rejoin the bubble with Katie’s family.
+ we rolled out a Presbyterian Women’s scholarship at my church. 18 months in the making. a real team effort. (also, I am really enjoying my role as “advisor”.)

2. What surprised me?
+ see that opening paragraph.
+ just how much good the tennis could do – for my head, my heart, and my body.

3. What voices am I listening to?
+ Sarah and Beth on Pantsuit Politics, Anne Bogel on What Should I Read Next, Kendra Adachi on The Lazy Genius, Emily P. Freeman on The Next Right Thing, Brené Brown on Unlocking Us … these ladies keep me grounded and going.

4. What did I make?
+ I finished two sweaters (you saw them here) and that is it. October’s FO’s are likely to be even smaller (literally, I have to sew the buttons on a baby cardigan and it’s done … and maybe one sweater for me.)

5. What was the best thing I watched?
+ I wrote last month about our Homeland binge. We did finish it up with Sara and watched all of the final season in the few nights she was here. It was intense. and really good.
+ After she left we finished the latest season of Yellowstone – yikes! (seriously, that’s what I recorded in my journal), watched some cooking shows and then binged through David Chang’s Ugly Delicious Season 2 … it wasn’t much of a binge because it’s just four episodes, but y’all it’s really good!

6. Read?
+ I finished 12 books – and I still have a few updates to add to Goodreads.  Six of them were non-fiction, and I shelved five as “spiritual formation”. You’ve heard about my favorite Grateful already. The fiction was outstanding, too. Charlotte’s Web’s full-cast recording is amazing. and inspired this photo the day I listened.

can you see that huge web? I looked for a word, but didn’t see one. do you?!

I also finished Their Eyes Were Watching God, The City We Became and On Beauty. (and my TBR is still full!)

7. What am I working to leave behind?
– (maybe) the self-judging tapes that tell me I’m too old to try something new.

8. What do I want to focus on in the month ahead?
+ making plans for my fall/winter wardrobe … still! (one more month and I’ll be done! …hopefully!)
+ plans to join a tennis team for the winter season.
+ being present to the joy. I might not find it everywhere, but I can find it somewhere. (ditto from last month)

9. What’s something I’m reconsidering as a result of the last 30 days?
+ saying a hard “NO” to anything. the tennis question taught me that I need to to keep myself open to whatever comes and consider … maybe saying “yes”.

10. What is one thing I’d like to start doing in October?
+ getting back to a more regular centering prayer practice.
+ sending real mail (I bought pretty stamps back in August and have used just a few of them).

Is there One Thing you’re planning to start this month?

13 thoughts on “Looking Back | September.

  1. Always such good food for thought here. This month, I’m really–really–excited to be starting a 10-month long spiritual practice group with 8-10 other people from my church, and co-led by our senior minister and ministerial intern. Our Zoom ‘retreat’ to begin is this Saturday. I imagine I’ll be sharing a little bit about it on my blog at some point. But for now, I can say that deepening my spiritual practice in a more formal way is something that I’ve wanted to do for a long, long time–so when this ‘fell in my lap’ I was truly grateful!

  2. Such a lot of positivity and riches here – delighted to see how prominently tennis features in your photo line up :). Finishing twelve books is a pretty great total too. It must feel very good being back in a family bubble, even if it’s tinged with a little more caution. We are keeping ours going too, with one eye on the rapidly rising infection rate here – worse than in the Spring at what we thought was the height of the pandemic. Having plans for the future that are within your own control sounds very steadying. One thing I’m planning to getting my creative spaces really organised so that it is easy to start/pick up work. Sending warmest good wishes for your new church venture.

  3. I love all the tennis pictures! I’m glad to hear that you’re all still healthy. So much to read, so little time — but it looks like you used your reading time well in September 🙂

    PS – I don’t see any words in the web… but what a great shot!

  4. I think my favorite photo from the month is on Friday the 4th — love seeing that sweet face in addition to the usual happy faces! The web in that photo is spectacular, and I’ll admit that ever since I read Charlotte’s Web the first time as a child, I’ve always looked for words (but have never seen any).

    Like you, I seem to have amassed a good collection of pretty stamps, so I’d like to send more snail mail to friends this month. I did a big bunch of postcards to voters last month and might do another round.

  5. So many smiles and tennis photos in September! You really seem to have found “your thing” in tennis, and that is a wonderful thing. And joining a tennis team … wow, good for you!
    P.S. I always looks for words in webs, and I think that sometimes I just might see one (if I squint just right and use my imagination)!

  6. I’m so glad you are letting go of that pesty tape! (“Too old” my a$$.) Despite all the “bad stuff” swirling all around us, it looks like you’ve found some very good ways to find joy in your days. XO

  7. I want mail!

    thank you for the podcast recs. I am behind on my usual ones (I’ll blame it on the retired guy around here). I hope to get back to listening on a regular basis.

  8. Stop thinking you are too old for something new! Stop it right now! I am giving myself permission to not take on anything new for the month of October. I’m adjusting to my new work situation and I feel like I’ve earned the right to rest until November 1st. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

  9. I thought I was too old to wear camo and two of my friends set me straight. I’ve got myself a pair of LuLu workout tights and a casual pair for around the house and they are great (black camo not green). Here’s to tennis and…piano! 🙂

  10. I love real mail and getting hand written letters, pure simple joy! My sister (lives in Wisc.) have written letters to each other for years. Sometimes the letter exchange is daily, weekly and or monthly, but no matter the volume or time between our letters, they are written, sent and so appreciated when opened and read!

  11. It was a full month for you, and filled with some wonderful events and new experiences! That is huge in this pandemic time! I read nine books in September–definitely a record for me, but we were away for two weeks, and I didn’t even take out the crafty projects I took with me. Just read whenever I got a chance, and took advantage of Sarah’s library to read two books she had just finished. I took September off from tracking my progress on my OLW, and have found it’s hard to get back into a daily habit again.

  12. Family photos really are the best. You all look happy and healthy. The photo is gorgeous. What a beautiful photo. I am not seeing the web but like many other things, I know it is there.

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