How to Enjoy and Challenge Yourself this June

How to Enjoy and Challenge Yourself this June

Hello, June…Hello, Summer!

June is one of my favorite months!  Besides marking the halfway point of the year, June also just happens to be my birthday month!

School’s over, Summer starts and the day’s rhythm changes. If I’m not careful, I’ll either tilt too far into inertia or over schedule my summer days. Neither is good. 

Knowing myself, I’m creating and challenging myself with a June Bucket List to try and balance these two extremes. On this list I’m challenging myself in following categories:

  • Resting
  • Creating
  • Listening
  • Reading
  • Giving

I like these categories because each provides a space for an area in my life I need pay and give attention to. While bucket lists are fun, I find it sometimes stresses me out to create and check off all the “fun” activities. 

      June Bucket List

      1. Resting| Unplug at the Beach

        Sea, Salt Water & Sunrises

        We travel a lot, but this trip is special because once we get to the beach, we unplug and chill for the week. No outlet mall shopping, no amusement park or mini golf games, just a stack of books, grilling meals and walks to the pier and back. 

        2. Creating | #LetteritJune Challenge

        So much fun to practice and see other’s work!

        Have you noticed you become better at a skill the more you practice it?  I love calligraphy and Jenny Highsmith  provides a monthly lettering prompt for all to join and practice their skills. 

        I love seeing others’ interpretation of a quote or phrase and I love trying out new styles or techniques. You can follow Jenny here on her InstaGram and you track my #letteritjune progress here on Oak Grove Social’s InstaGram. 

        3.  Listening | 7 Days of Still Moments

        image via

        If you’ve read any of my posts it’s no secret that I’m a huge fan girl of author Emily P. Freeman. 

        Emily recently published on her blog this post and her thoughts and feeling about hearing God’s Word read aloud during worship resonates deeply with me. 

        I miss hearing God’s Word during the more contemporary worship service I attend. Emily is offering a free 7 Day Still Moments audio that comes into your email box. 

        In these 7 still moments Emily invites the listener to intentionally listen and then reflect on the questions. You can sign up to receive the 7 audio files here

        After finishing this 7 day still moments, I plan to continue to read aloud Scripture and then spend time reflecting on the Scripture for the rest of June. 

        4. Reading | June Library Haul

        Recommended by Anne Bogel of Modern Mrs. Darcy

        Poolside and beach reading are the ultimate indulgence!  I’ve already shared the Summer Reading Guide link here and am challenged to read my way through this stack in June!

        5.  Giving | A Surprise

        Strawberries are the best!
        It’s my birthday month and I’ve been given so much that this year I’d like to give. During June I’ll be giving in small ways to others.  

        I won’t be sharing it here, but it will be a daily focus on giving to others in celebration of my birthday!  It’s so much fun to do random acts of kindness as well as just give someone an unexpected gift of time, food or something handmade. 

        How do you celebrate June and Summer?  Do you have summer bucket list?  I’d love to know what you’re planning on accomplishing this month!  Join me in the comments!

        For Your Weekend | Memorial Day Weekend Edition

        For Your Weekend | Memorial Day Weekend Edition

        Before we celebrate a three day weekend, let’s stop and remember why we have this upcoming Monday  holiday. 

        Many soldiers over our nation’s history have given their lives for our freedom. If you’re ever in Washington, DC, make time to visit Arlington National Cemetery.  There’s a Metro stop right at its entrance. 

        I’ve visited Arlington several times.  I’m never quite fully prepared for the physical sight of acres of white soldiers’ tombstones on gently rolling hills. 

        While often used as a set backdrop, these tombstones are real.  And more likely than not, you’ll come across a funeral in progress, a sobering reminder that soldiers are still dying for our freedom. 

        So pray for those families who have lost their family member. Give thanks for our freedom. 

        The Tomb of the Unknowns, Arlington National Cemetery
        So enjoy our freedom and celebrate it.

        Here are your weekend links!

        Summer offically begins with a stack of awesome books!

        I religiously read Anne Bogel’s blog  Modern Mrs. Darcy.  Anne publishes a summer reading guide and I love her recommendations! 

        Grab your own copy of her 2016 Summer Reading Guide here.  

        Help Parenting Teenagers!  Last week I tipped y’all off to a new favorite podcast, The Lazy Genius, and I have to highlight an episode I listened to this week about parenting teens.

        Kendra chatted with Meg Duerksen for almost 90 minutes about dealing with a rebellious teen. I loved this real, encouraging conversation that parents need to hear! I’m so glad Kendra didn’t cut off the conversation at 30 minutes.  Just real honest advice from a mom of five who’s lived it and living through it still. 

        Coldplay’s on Snapchat!

        end of Coldplay’s concert in Barcelona

        I’m a Snapchat junkie, goofing with their silly filters more than a grown woman should be!

        Exhibit 1: My abuse of Snapchat !

        When I found out this week that Coldplay is on Snapchat and documenting their stadium concerts, I flipped out!  If you love Snapchat and Coldplay, you’ll flip too!
        Hope you have a great Memorial Day Weekend!

        7 Things That Are Saving My Life Right Now

        7 Things That Are Saving My Life Right Now

        I’m joining Anne Bogel of  Modern Mrs. Darcy in sharing what’s saving my life right now in the throes of Winter!

        I agree with Anne that February is the cruelest month and I’m excited to see what others share that keeps them sane during the winter months!

        Sunfilled days during Winter save me!

        So, here’s my list!


        Homemade Taco Seasoning
        1.  Good Cheap Eats Taco Seasoning Mix. I find awesome recipes all the time on Jessica Fisher’s Good Cheap Eats blog but was skeptical about her taco seasoning mix. I had tried other DIY taco mixes but hadn’t liked the results. 

        But Jessica’s recipe rocks…it’s simple and makes enough for several meals (a bonus).   In full disclosure, I use regular chili powder (couldn’t find chipotle chili at my local grocery) and I substituted onion powder for the onion flakes ( had powder but not flakes on hand).  It’s still awesome with the substitutions!  I love Mexican fare and having this taco mix on hand really saves my life right now!!

        2.  Ice Glazed Frozen Chicken Tenders.  Continuing with the food theme, the frozen chicken tenders save my dinner prep life!!  The tenders cook up so much faster than the frozen chicken breasts and a bag gets me through two meals!  #winning

        3.  Walgreens App. I have a ton of photos held hostage on my iPhone.  I used to wring my hands to try and get a photo book together, beautifully curated of course!  With the Walgreens App I can quickly upload my most recent pics and choose the store location for pick up and within an hour they’re ready! There’s usually a discount code too.  I then display my recent photos on a simple string with small clothes pins!

        Mexico on the left & Costa Rica on the right!

        4. Traveling to a sunny tropical destination! Don’t hate me, but winter does affect our family’s moods and so we made a decision to travel to a guaranteed sunny destination during winter!

        This year we traveled to Mexico over Christmas Break and Costa Rica two weeks ago. Spending time in a warm sun filled locale is a wonderful remedy to the cold grey days of winter. 

        5. 100 % Pure Lanolin for Chapped Lips.  Winter brings on dry skin for many but for me it affects my lips the worst. I might even have a bad habit of licking my lips, even in subzero weather. Last year I highly recommended Dr. Lipp’s Nipple Balm (I know, that name!) here in an earlier blog post. I had received a sample in a Birch Box. But when I went to order a full size, the sticker shock drove me to find an alternative…because the only ingredient is 100% lanolin!

        I saw where others recommended Lansinoh HPA Lanolin.  And you’re right…that’s a product for breastfeeding mamas but I bought a big tube of it at Target and it’s exactly the same thing!! What I love about lanolin is that it creates a barrier and keeps my lips soft, even hours later!  It’s also perfect for dry cuticles and skin.

        6.  Podcasts!  I’m late to the game but I love listening to podcasts while on a long drive, flight or doing the mundane household chores. My favorites include:

        • The Simple Show
        • Happier
        • Stuff You Should Know
        • What Should I Read Next (Anne’s New Podcast!)

        7. This quote:

          “O, while you live, tell truth, and shame the devil.” -William Shakespeare 

          Shakespeare always said it best! For some reason this quote deeply resonates with me and daily motivates me.

          What’s getting you through these winter days?  I’d love to hear from you!  Comment below! Or join the link up here!

          For Your Weekend:  Dogwood Blooming Edition

          The gorgeous dogwood lined driveway is my Great White Way (actually it’s my parents’ driveway) and at its peak but the constant April showers have knocked off some of the gorgeous blooms!  Nonetheless, it’s Friday and here are some links for your weekend!

          I was inspired by Voskamp’s article, so I wrote out her quote:

           Let your enemies bring out the best in you.  

          -Jesus (Matthew 5:43) via Ann Voskamp

          I’m on my way to celebrate with friends who are officially adopting their toddler boy today!  They’ve had their son since 3 days old and he is now 2 1/2 years old. It has taken our legal system this long to finally make it official but God is good!  Adoption rocks!

          Hope everyone has a great Spring weekend!!