Stone Soup for Five: {Week 23} summertime BBQ tips for introverts, gardening, and developing perseverance

{Week 23} summertime BBQ tips for introverts, gardening, and developing perseverance

Hey! It's been a while since you've heard from me.  Quite a few people have reached out to me to make sure I'm still around and breathing.

I am.

But it's been rough.  Nothing serious in my life has happened.  In fact, some pretty awesome gifts from God have happened (summertime, summer break, garden boxes, seedling starts, BBQs).  But, I've been struggling with focus and overwhelm.  I'm still off social media, but I'm realizing that's not the complete answer to regaining focus.  The complete answer is:

it is going to take work.

I still seem to excel in ways to fracture my focus and short circuit my thinking.  That has lead to rough quiet times.  You know, those times when you sit down with your Bible and coffee and read a couple verses, then think about how you need to water the flowers and buy yellow jacket traps and find yourself on Pinterest looking up "How to string white lights over your picnic table without any nearby trees."

That's my life lately.

Then the weeks pass, and I realize how much I haven't gotten done, how parched I feel with my time in God's word, and how I really have nothing of value to say on the blog.

That's how the last couple months have been.

So I'm praying for more focus, and I'm going to continue to work at things that help me develop patience like gardening (seeds take FOREVER to sprout, and just when I think all my seeds must be from failed lots, one tiny sprout  bravely peeks up) and writing.  I'm still plugging along through Hebrews, slow but sure.

This year planted my seedlings in egg shells.  I saved a couple dozen shells, filled them with potting soil and planted seeds directly in them. 

Mr. Measure is building garden boxes this summer too.  We have a wild, dry slope in our side yard that is almost 100% sun from morning to evening and it has always been a weed/berry patch with a terrible attitude.  This year we're taming the mess over there with garden boxes!  I can't wait to get rich soil in and grow some produce.  (We'll be using Square Foot Gardening again, my tried and true favorite way to garden.)  We'll build a total of three of these units, resulting in six boxes.  One will be a compost bin, and hopefully one will be a berry box!

Disclaimer: I usually am bored with gardening by about the end of July, when it seems like the battle with squirrels and slugs and heat/watering is overwhelming... but I'm trying to practice perseverance in a variety of ways and this will be yet another way to work on it.


I'm still reading (though never as much as I should be), and my Empty Shelf is slowly filling up.  Follow me on Goodreads for more specific reviews.  So far this year my favorite biography is  Robert Murray m'Cheyne.  Give it a few chapters at the start, it takes a bit to get going.

Speaking of reading, I'm almost done with Peace Like a River, and if you are looking for a great novel for summer, grab this one.  It's set in the 1960s in winter (so you feel cold reading it).  It's a story about a family, a self-defense (or not?) shooting, and their travel across cold, frigid states. But the great thing about this novel is it is written by one of those novelists who crafts such amazing sentences that every once in a while you have to re-read one.  Pick it up if you have a chance, I think you'll love it!

A friend (who checked in with me to make sure I was still here) told me she's doing a Praying the Bible video series by Donald Whitney.  If you're looking for a refreshing way to pray, this is a great method to learn.  Just watch one video a day and try it for a week!


And, if you're thinking about hosting a summer BBQ this summer, here's a tip to help even the most introverted people feel comfortable (especially if it's at the beginning, one of the WORST times for introverts where we feel awkward showing up on time when only a few people are there).

We have a big white fabric table cloth (super cheap at Ikea, or Amazon) and a big selection of Sharpies.  When your guests (and those awkward introverts) come in, make them "sign in" on the table cloth.  We always tell our guests to sign and date or doodle or draw.  This gives the introverts something to do and helps keep the uncomfortable moments brief.  Sometimes you get to see what artists you have in the group!

We had a group of 12 students over last night.  They were from the Co-op class I taught for High School this year on Worldviews.  Can you see they know each of the six major worldviews by memory?  So proud!

We've had these table cloths for over two years now and it is so fun to get them out each time and remember. They've been through holidays like the 4th of July and Memorial Day, graduation open houses, summer BBQ, teen get together parties, and many birthdays!  If you are worried about the sharpies leaking through (they will) just put a cheap plastic shower curtain or dollar tree plastic tablecloth underneath.

As always, let me know what you think and how you are doing in the comments.  I'd also love to hear your gardening tips especially for the battle against slugs and squirrels!


  1. It's so good to have you back here, Kari! I've missed your posts and have often thought of you, hoping you were okay (I'm glad to know you are!).

    We are going through some mid-grade, on-going trials (think transportation, cars, and schedules) combined with high-grade stress with my husband's employer, and the changed responsibility and obligation often leaves me physically and emotionally depleted. The other day a friend really spoke into that by sharing that she realized that even when she felt frazzled and dry she was encouraging herself to do things anyway rather than waiting until she felt better (which she had tried but not found the relief she was looking for). It encouraged me because I was kind of waiting on things, too--I haven't felt like I was getting much out of Bible study, and maybe I should take a break. I don't think of scripture as quickly or as often as I think I should. Yet..I've decided to just keep going for the time being, accepting this season as it is, even though it's not where I want to be or stay. This season is testing my faith and challenging some core beliefs I hold...I would love to pass the "test" and have the Lord bring me out on the other side.

    So, all that to say, I identify with many of the things you're saying. I don't have any ready answers, but I do agree that it sometimes boils down to grit and hard work--yet the ability to do that ultimately comes from the Lord, too. The Lord is holding you (and me) together with Him. I'm praying that He helps you to stay strong in this battle and gifts you with special evidences of His love for you.


    1. Hi Krista, I love what you friend said about doing things anyway. I need to remember that. Just do the next right thing.... which I haven't been doing. Thanks for the reminder!


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