Mid-Year Review & Summer.

Wow. I cannot believe it is already July 25. Time flies! This summer has been one of the most wonderful, crazy times in my life. I have made incredible memories with some of my favorite people and I am so thankful for this season of preparation.

Last time I blogged, Zach was about to move into our new apartment. Long story short, that is no longer our apartment due to some unforeseen circumstances and we have another new apartment on the other side of the building. Let’s just say this one is free of smoke damage and smells like heaven on Earth in comparison. I’m excited to spruce up our little home and make it ours…but that’s going on the back burner for a few weeks.

We are exactly FIFTEEN DAYS away from becoming husband and wife. It is an exciting time! Zach has been doing a really fun countdown on Instagram using an app called Over. You can see the countdown and other wedding preparations by searching for our hashtag: #meetthehalls. While there are a few other people who have used it, we liked it too much to care! You can also visit our wedding website for fun details, stories, and pictures.

We are also coming up on all of the “last minute” projects that no one tells you about that you really can’t do any other time before the two weeks before the wedding. I guess if I was an organized freak it would all be done… but it just hasn’t happened until now. I know what needs to be done, and it will get done. I’m not stressed, just ready to be married– and our marriage is all that matters at the end of the day 🙂

So, before further wedding craziness ensues, I thought I would take a moment to update the blog and reflect on my goals for the year. I think there may even be a few to check off as complete!

1. Develop healthy habits: This is a continued process. I am definitely eating much better, but still lacking in exercise. I am considering a Couch to 5K program with a few teacher friends so that I can have accountability. I am pushing myself to exercise these next two weeks before the wedding, but not trying for any crazy goals. I definitely thought I would be farther along in this goal by the middle of the year, but I am praying that marriage will only motivate me more!

2. Be intentional with relationships and community. I consider this to be a total WIN this summer. I really feel like I have had some wonderful quality time with my family and friends during showers, vacations, meals, and just simple times of conversation together. That is what I love about summer; we can all come together and just be for a little while. I just got back today from a mini vacation at the beach with friends and I feel rejuvenated and ready for the next two weeks. (Ask me if I’m ready again tomorrow and I’m not sure what I will say… but today, I’m good!) I love people and it’s definitely been a “people” kind of summer.

3. Reduce time spent on social media to 30 minutes per day. I have not done as well with this goal during the summer due to my additional “free” time. I will be taking a social media hiatus from August 10-14 while we are on our honeymoon and I truly look forward to the mental break. Nothing but the sun, sand, good food, and my husband. It will be incredible to be unplugged for that time together.

4. Blog twice a week. I’m beginning to think that twice a week is a little excessive. My life isn’t that interesting. While I want to capture special moments and share them, I also want to preserve some memories without broadcasting them. That’s what I’m also starting to feel about social media… sometimes less is more. I’m not trying to say that my current hap-hazard blogging tendencies are what I strive for, but I would be happy with a solid post every other week. I think I will adjust the goal for the second half of the year.

5. Dig deeper in the Word. There was a fun series at church this summer called “Your Verse” and different leaders in the church shared about a verse in Scripture that has heavily impacted them. It was really powerfully and life-giving. One verse can spark a whole conversation or transformation in your life. I want to continue striving to dig deeper into God’s Word to learn more about myself as His child, as a teacher, and, in two weeks, a wife.

6. Organize my life. This is about to go to a whole new level as I begin transitioning my belongings to the apartment. I am doing a full clean sweep of my bedroom as I filter through my possessions. It’s been pretty nostalgic to say the least. Some things are staying to keep the bedroom feeling cozy, but most of my “stuff” will be leaving this week and I will be living with the bare necessities to lighten the to-do list after the honeymoon. I also look forward to getting back into my classroom in a few weeks and re-organizing that space.

7. Weekly schedule: I sat down to write this and realized it’s silly to try to accomplish until after we settle into married life and my typically work schedule.. otherwise it’s pretty futile. Hopefully by the end of August I will have this checked off the list.

8. 9 books in 12 months. I’ve been on a reading kick over the summer. SO fun. Here is what I’ve read since my last post: the entire Divergent series (that’s 3 books) and The Nesting Place. I’m currently halfway through Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald which I am really enjoying. Once I finish that this week, I will have read 4 out of the 9 books on my list and 4 extra books. So I’m technically one book away from reaching the goal… and I’m still aspiring to go beyond that (by finishing the books on the list and reading additional books). I believe I can do it! If anyone has a recommendation for a good book to read while we are in Jamaica, let me know 🙂

I also have read AMAZING things about Let’s All Be Brave:Living Life with Everything You Have, and I’m getting it on my Kindle soon. Yippee!

Still to read on the list: It Starts With Food, Margin, Crash the Chatterbox (need to finish), The Book Thief, and Sacred Marriage.

9. Contentment Challenge: DONE. Phew. That was hard. But so worth it. I’m all about less stuff and more joy. Bring on the joy- especially in the simple things.

10. Complete my first year of teaching with a positive outlook and learner’s attitude: DONE. Was it a perfect year? Nope. Was it a great first year? Absolutely. I love my job and I am very excited to return to MHS in the fall. I have a great class load ahead of me and I am pumped to start a new school year with fresh faces and a new last name! I still have a lot to learn so I aim to walk into my second year of teaching with that same outlook and learner’s attitude so that I can grow even more in my craft.

11. Celebrate marriage and togetherness. Zach and I aren’t even married yet, but this has definitely been a summer of celebration and togetherness. We have spent a great part of the summer with our family and friends celebrating all that God has in store and it has been incredible. It’s only going to get better in the next few weeks when everyone comes together to celebrate our marriage on August 9. It is going to be such a special day, even with its imperfections.

12. Adjust life matters for marriage: This is going to be a long process when we get back from the honeymoon as I move forward to change my name and address on everything. Everything in our control is falling into place and God is handling the rest.

13. Be less busy. Take time to breathe. I’ve tried really hard to take little breaks and short vacations this summer to allow myself some breathing room, but there has also been a lot going on. But it’s a learning process, and I’m getting there. I will always seek improvement in this category of my life.

I really hope to post one more time before the wedding, but I find that to be a lofty goal. We will see 🙂 If not, next time you hear from me I will be a married lady. So crazy! I hope everyone who reads this is having a wonderful summer and is taking the time to make memories with their families as well. In celebration of the upcoming wedding, I would love to know what your favorite part of weddings is. Feel free to share!

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