September 2020 goals

1 September 2020

Hello to my favorite month, September! It’s when we got married, that back-to-school freshness is thick in the air, and the weather in New England is my absolute favorite (it’s not too shabby in NC, either!). August was wonderful to our family, and there’s so much to look forward to this month, too.

On my calendar this month:
— The first day of fall! We’ll bake apple cider scones for our family and June’s teachers, a tradition we started four years ago.
— Our annual camping trip with the Rays
— Our eighth wedding anniversary!

What I’m loving right now:
— I don’t have a ton of seasonal decor (even for Christmas!), but these wicker pumpkins (one more size here) were too good to pass up.
— I’m late to the party, but John and I watched The Last Dance (on Netflix) while on vacation in Connecticut and it was excellent. It might be my Enneagram 5 showing, but give me a well-done look at almost any subject and I’m hooked. Michael Jordan is a FASCINATING human, the storylines are compelling, and the editing is so good. I’ll dock a few points for strong language but otherwise I thoroughly enjoyed it.
— We aren’t beyond the realm of full-on parental supervision yet with the ages of our kids, but I’m glad that there are a growing number of options to help facilitate the kind of “free-range childhood” many of us grew up with. This article lays out several of them.

As a reminder, you can find allll the things I’ve loved over the last few years neatly organized right here!

What I read in August:
The Giver of Stars | This came highly recommended (and was my August EFM book club pick!) but I thought it was good, not great. The characters felt a little two-dimensional all the way through, and Alice’s husband and father-in-law were so awful that the first half of the book was kind of hard to read for me.
The Paris Wife | This novel was enjoyable, but knowing only a little about Hemingway and his first wife, I felt a general sense of dread hanging over me the whole time I was reading, knowing that I didn’t know what was going to happen but that things wouldn’t end well. If I had known Hadley’s life turns out in the end, I think I would have perked up a little :) Also, I assume the more Hemingway you’ve read, the more interesting you’d find this book! (I’ve read very little.)

Revisiting my August goals:
Begin reading Mark with John
Book our camping trip for this fall (Now just praying for good weather!)
Sort through my SCC secretary responsibilities and make an easy-to-follow yearly checklist
Watch Just Mercy with John now that I’ve finished the book (The movie was great – but the book is 1000 times better. I think I’m going to write a post about both to convince any of you who haven’t dipped your toe in yet to do so! :))
Buy a new handbag (Done! Went with alllllmost the same thing, just with a longer strap and in navy.)
Edit June in June, Volume 5 (Done! Worldwide premier coming soon!)
Complete four more Advent ornaments (FIVE! The ball ornament, mitten, stocking, tree, and star!)
Post all three parts of my photo organization guide (Parts one and two are live; part three will post later this week!)
Clean out downstairs craft supplies once kids go back to preschool (Oooh I am SO HAPPY to have this done! Here’s a before and after.)
Do something fun with at least one friend couple (With two, actually! :))
Mock up a design board for our upstairs bathroom (Not only mocked up, but progress is underway!)
Ride our stationary bike Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays (This experiment helped me ride more than last month, but sometimes I used the excuse of it not being a M, W, or F to not ride, which was counterproductive. Trying something new this month!)

September goals:
— Film Sheptember, Volume 2
— Read a marriage book in honor of our anniversary
— Complete our upstairs bathroom renovation
— Complete four more Advent ornaments
— Ride 50 miles on our stationary bike or out in the wild
— Add plants to the master bathroom
— Begin family “by-laws” in a Google Doc (more to come on this!)
— Adjust the styling of EFM’s H1 headers so I can use them!
— Send a care package to a former babysitter who’s a college freshman (ideas for that here!)

Alright, let’s hear it: who wants to fight me on The Giver of Stars? :) Otherwise, I’d love to hear your favorite month of the year (and why!)! OR your favorite marriage book!

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Victoria Bouchard
September 1, 2020 7:36 am

Love those pumpkins! Thank you for sharing!! I abandoned the Giver of Stars. It was just ok and too long to keep trudging through. I am not a fan of Fall. I am a summer girl (and live in FL) so I am hanging on to summer with a death grip. September is peak hurricane season so it is definitely not my favorite month. I personally really love June but it’s my birthday month and it might make me biased even though I am really not that into my birthday haha! The only marriage book I have read is The Five Love Languages and I am sure you have read that. I would be interested to hear about some others you have enjoyed.

September 1, 2020 7:39 am

Just Mercy *is* my favorite book I’ve read all year! Excited to read more of your thoughts on it. Bryan Stevenson is one of my personal heroes, and he is also an excellent writer. I read it back in March, but have recommended it to so many people over the past few months.
I also really enjoyed Such A Fun Age and The Dutch House! Both excellent, thought provoking works of fiction.

September 1, 2020 8:14 am

I LOVE The Giver of Stars, as you know, and I wish you loved it more!! My mom also told me that my great-grandmother was a traveling librarian in rural Ohio during that time period, which gave me an even deeper affinity for this novel. I already can’t wait to re-read it because I loved it so much!
My very favorite marriage book, hand’s down, is The Meaning of Marriage by Tim and Kathy Keller. I recommend it to everyone — not just newlyweds but anyone who is single, engaged, newlywed, married for 5 years, or married for 50 years. In fact, it’s definitely time I read it again! It’s filled with so much profound wisdom.

September 1, 2020 8:30 am

A few of my favourite books on marriage and relationships have been “How to be Married: What I Learned from Real Women on Five Continents about Surviving My First (Really Hard) Year of Marriage” by Jo Piazza, “Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage” by Elizabeth Gilbert, and “How to Fall in Love with Anyone: A Memoir in Essays” by Mandy Len Catron. The third book is by the same author who wrote the 2015 New York Times essay “To Fall in Love with Anyone, Do This”.

September 1, 2020 10:19 am

My favorite book I’ve read this year isn’t about marriage, but it is about relationships — specifically the relationship between a grandmother and granddaughter. It’s called Nobody Will Tell You This But Me, and it’s the sweetest (and funniest, and saddest) memoir:

Abigail Gray
September 1, 2020 12:11 pm

I actually felt similarly about The Giver of Stars (and my mom did, too!) so you are not alone. September is my favorite month of the year, too – for all the reasons you listed above except the marriage anniversary part. :)
I am not yet married and haven’t read any books on marriage, but I have two recommendations based on previous books you’ve loved: A Place for Us by Fatima Farheen Mirzha and Tell Me More by Kelly Corrigan. They are very different — A Place For Us is a novel about a Indian immigrant family living in California and really beautifully explores what it means to belong (or not) in your family. Tell Me More is a non-fiction sort of essay collection (ish), and while some sections were more meaningful to me than others, I was in tears by the last essay with the way Corrigan describes steadfast love. The writing is phenomenal in both.
I know you’ve got reading plans through 2020, but perhaps a couple to consider as you make your 2021 list, if they appeal! :)

September 1, 2020 4:37 pm
Reply to  Abigail Gray

I really Enjoyed a Place for Us! I thought it was so interesting to see combination of culture and family and how it impacted the characters as adults. I started Tell me More but didn’t get too far before losing interest. Maybe I’ll try again or at least read the end!

Abigail Gray
September 2, 2020 8:48 am
Reply to  Kristin

Completely agree, Kristin! I am so glad you are a fellow fan of A Place for Us! I also thought the storytelling from different perspectives felt more seamless than in similar books. Impressive the author was only 26 when she published the book! And I definitely think the points that resonated in Tell Me More resonated deeply and made it worth the read for me, but there were definitely essays where I lost interest! I hope if you pick it up, you like it :)

Abigail Gray
September 2, 2020 8:45 am
Reply to  Em

Yes, your thoughts capture Tell Me More very well! The points that rang very true were worth the read for me :) I also think pieces of the essays resonated more deeply because of the pandemic and separation from a more “typical” summer with family. I hope you love A Place for Us when you get to it!

September 1, 2020 4:11 pm

I always look forward to your monthly updates and feel very inspired by them! For a marriage book, I recommend The Mystery of Marriage by Mike Mason. I think it would be a great book to read in honor of a marriage anniversary!

September 1, 2020 7:09 pm

Aaahh, I just finished „The Giver of Stars“ last night and stayed up way past my bedtime to finish it. I actually enjoyed it so much, I just ordered it for a friend of mine. Now I‘m second guessing, ha!
Favorite month is May! Spring is my favorite season, it’s the month peonies bloom, the month we got married and the month summer break begins here, haha (I guess very opposite reasons for why you love September :-)). Our daughter even got her middle name Mae because I love May so much!

September 2, 2020 4:05 pm
Reply to  Em

My husband’s cousin has a Lilly (Liliana) and Rose (Rosemary) and dog Daisy! And brother Harvey :) I think you can do whatever you’d like with May/Mae or any name! Mae was on my short list for girls names too.

September 2, 2020 4:07 pm

Can I ask how you “read” your books with John? Either the book of Mark or a marriage book? Do you read aloud together or read separately and discuss? I’d like to do something like this with my husband but we’ve never done anything like this before! Thank you!

[…] aired in the thick of quarantine and gave us something to look forward to in those long weeks. Also The Last Dance. I’m as surprised as you, […]