When the scarlet cardinal tells
Her dream to the dragon fly,
And the lazy breeze makes a nest in the trees,
And murmurs a lullaby,
It is July.

– “July” by Susan Hartley Swett

As I’ve gotten older, it has become harder to pick a favorite month. I’ve learned to savor so many delights in each season! I can’t bear to prune my bolting oregano; the honeybees are in flowering herb heaven. Lately I’ve been picking herbs for my breakfast each morning. I get my workout done, the kids all settled, the laundry started, and I head out into the garden in my bare feet. Going out to hunt for my daily polyphenols with the honeybees—and see what grew overnight, which is a lot in these hot months—is a gift for my nervous system and makes me praise Him! I have a couple of eggs with whatever looks good – bunches of basil, climbing spinach, rainbow chard, and, yes, a few oregano flowers. I blend my Equip Prime Protein shake (chocolate with a scoop of the chocolate collagen, too!) and toss a few chocolate mint leaves in the mix. I love June; I love July; I love all the months for their distinct delights.

A favorite of the kids this season is picking blueberries at a friend’s farm. I don’t enjoy the process of making jam, but I do it because I LOVE the memories each jar unlocks, especially as we open our last jar somewhere in the chill of February. The “pop!” of the lids in winter instantly reminds me that summer is coming again soon enough.

My mom’s recipe is simple: sweet berries, a squeeze of lemon and orange juice, and a few slices of citrus peel—and that’s it! The key is to make small batches and stir constantly so the fruit doesn’t burn as it cooks down and sweetens.

June highlights:

— The zinnias are here. Life feels complete, somehow, with their colorful presence.
— I completed homeschool planning; praise Him. This is always my deep work task for the year. Sarah will continue with her new school, and Josh and Grace will dig into 4th and 7th grade. Did I mention I’m co-teaching a Shakespeare class this year at their homeschool school?
— My PowerSheets goals were extra focused in June—perhaps my simplest Tending List in years. After May, I need a month to listen to the Lord, learn (I read several great books and completed courses of various kinds!), and renew my mind in scripture as we reach the mid-year mark. It was fruitful.

— I promised I’d report back on our marriage retreat to Primland Resort in Virginia, and I’m so grateful to share it was life-changing. Primland is beautiful. We had an unfortunate first night with a carbon monoxide detector that wouldn’t stop beeping from a low battery, but our tiredness was eclipsed by the kindest staff and epic views. The best part of the trip, though, was our conversation. We went through the open-ended questions from The 7 Principles for Making Marriage Work (affiliate link).

We’ve gone through these questions before and they are always a powerful springboard for us! It took us a whole four days to get through all of them, many of which brought up difficult subjects we needed to work through, but that’s precisely the point of investing in these times away together: time to work through it without the regular tasks and pressures of parenting. For us, special needs parenting takes the majority of our energy each day, and it has made these times away extra valuable for our marriage and the health of our family. We talked, cried (mostly me!), laughed, worked out a lot, hiked, took time for our individual dreams and goals, set goals as a couple, a family, and individual goals, and we broke through some walls. Ari literally broke that CO2 monitor off the wall, but we moreso broked through proverbial walls. 🙂

Other Primland highlights: the lobby decor is epic, the food and service were a delight, the “moonshine storytelling” was something I would have put in a Southern Weddings shoot, and Rahim at the BBQ barn was one of our favorite people to meet. There were lots of animal sightings, too! A black bear, mountain bunnies and songbirds, and several deer on the golf course were fun to see.

Things we wouldn’t do again: the spa. The treatments were wonderful, but the spa itself is in need of renovation. The steam room was moldy, and they burned incense in the lobby—not the healthiest for the lungs. Skip the spa and enjoy the trails and views instead!

Also in June:
— I started a book writing training program to help me learn a system that helps break through writing barriers. I’m very grateful for this, as I’ve often struggled with the process. I’ll complete the coursework through July and start a 90-day book writing sprint in August. I have started to collect notes with their method, and I have forty-six pages like this! It’s been so freeing to focus on the process instead of the results at this point. Little by little…

— Ari joined Instagram. Y’all heard it first. Get ready.

Ahead in July: We’re headed to Colorado next week to visit my brother, and I’m taking a few friends to Carillon for a wellness retreat at the end of the month. I’m also set to complete my NASM certification, and I’ll be working through the writing course. Most of all, though, it’s time to make some summer memories with our kiddos!

My July PowerSheets goals grew from my 2024 Goals here.

Your turn! What are you looking forward to this month? I’d love to hear!

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  1. Casey on at

    Love hearing this update! This trip away sounds so wonderful, and this writing course sounds so interesting. Always grateful for how you’re digging in and inspiring us.

  2. Maggie on at

    Thank you so much for sharing, Lara! I would LOVE to hear more about the book writing training program you mentioned! I am looking forward to harvesting calendula from our new herb bed, celebrating my niece’s birthday, and a girls’ trip to Hobby Lobby. 🙂 Also, digging into work projects and catching up with handwritten letters!
    You have been such a blessing and inspiration in my life! May our heavenly Father bless you with a fruitful July!

    • Lara on at

      I’m using the One Book Millions method program and really enjoying it. He has a lot of free trainings, too!

  3. Alisa keeton on at

    Would love to know which book writing program you used. I’m always learning

    • Lara on at

      One Book Millions method – it has been a wonderful writing program so far!

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