Spring has Sprung

Ah, can you tell I’m back to work? The silence here is telling of life these days.

Stress, worry, stress, and worry.

When that happens I retreat into a shell, only tackling what absolutely must be done (and cleaning, always cleaning because that I CAN control).

With the longest winter ever, returning back to work, figuring out child care, a jobless and very stressed husband, [trying] to pay bills and buy groceries, health problem after health problem for each member of our family, and a baby who is having separation anxiety I have been dealing with my own mental health.  For a while there I was scared that I was actually starting to truly be depressed.  I noticed the signs of anxiety, the feelings of hopelessness and loss of control, the inability to control my thought processes.  There were several times I thought about making a doctors appointment – our physician is a strong advocate for mental health and screens for it with every visit, sometimes discreetly and other times bluntly but I have ALWAYS appreciated that.  With every snowfall I felt the pressure more and more, and I began to understand why many people struggle in the winter months.  I also began to understand why it’s important to get outside, stay active, and eat healthy in every season – something I DID NOT do this winter.

Anyways, with the much anticipated change in weather I feel the fog lifting, the anxiety dissipating, and my thoughts focused less on the negatives and much more on the positives.  With the changes in my mental clarity I am also beginning to make and implement plans to get healthier because that is also something I can control.

Frankly I’ve been wondering if this day would come again, I’ve thought about it often. About how my desire and passion for healthy living was put to the side as I dealt with a very difficult 1.5-2 years of health issues and then a complicated pregnancy and finally the recovery from that pregnancy and [ungraceful] transition to a mother of two.  Even my love of cooking had faded and I really only cooked out of necessity.  I still tried to eat balanced and definitely stuck to my convictions with feeding my children.  We still mainly eat fresh food but our budget has shrunk drastically and so the quality of food we can afford has also suffered as a result.  Since I have such strong feelings about food I have really struggled to want to cook or eat the food we can afford to buy.  I realize that fresh is always better than processed but it’s still been a significant struggle for me and has had a huge impact on my motivation to live a healthier lifestyle.

Having said all that, I feel as though I am finally in a place that I can start to make some small changes for my health.  I’m not making any grande plans that will be hard to keep with but something I do want to eventually end up doing is following the Autoimmune Protocol.  I don’t think I can implement it all in one shot but I am going to try and implement it little by little.  I also hope to get more active – walk A LOT, stretch and maybe get some other simple strengthening exercises in.  I’m at a disadvantage right now because I’m having some major back issues but hopefully it all clears up quickly and doesn’t affect me long term so I can get going! Something else I need to get back to doing is seeing my chiropractor – I was lucky enough to find an incredible chiropractor before getting pregnant with Eden but with such a hard pregnancy and very limited finances I had to stop going but I know I need to start up again soon.

You also know that gardening season has begun and so that is a major source of mental health for me and I’m so excited for this years garden.  I’ll be sure to post about it often!

Did you struggle this winter? Give me some simple healthy changes you think I should be implementing! I’m all ears!

Abundant Living

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I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and praying about living abundantly.  If you’ve been here for a bit you’ll know that my One Little Word for 2018 is Abundance and that it’s less about having MORE and actually about appreciating what we already have.  It’s less about the physical and more about my mindset.  A couple weeks ago as I was praying through this I had such a clear message placed on my heart, I wrote it out on a piece of paper and left it to resonate for a while and I think it’s time to share it here.  I pray that it blesses you.

In times of hardship we tend to just “survive” to just “get by.”  We don’t live our best life and feel as though that’s an impossibility, we feel trapped because our circumstance is unable to change and so we accept defeat.  In our acceptance we probably make poor choices which don’t line up with how we “wish” our lives could be.

I’m using “we” here very lightly – maybe you can’t relate to this at all and I’m sorry if I’m clumped you into what’s actually my own reality or I guess what WAS my reality.

I spent the last 3 years in a poverty mindset.  I was working as hard as I possibly could just to keep our heads above water financially and because I was just barely making it work I thought we were poor.  That mindset that was initially only applied financially eventually trickled into all the areas of my life.  I came out on the other side quite literally broken thinking there was no other option and that it was just an inevitable consequence of my circumstance.  My question after reflection is: what if there was another option?  What if changing my mindset from thinking we were poor to thinking we had everything we needed could have changed the outcome?

Is it possible to be living a seemingly unbalanced life and still thrive rather than just survive? When our circumstances are not what we had hoped can we change our mindset to accept them and learn to live well within them?  Can we dig deep, work hard and get to the other side stronger, healthier and happier rather than beaten, broken and barely alive?

If we can (I really think we can!) what is the formula?

While I don’t pretend to think I have this all figured out, there are some things I think will definitely help.  These are things I’m going to try my best to adopt into my life:

  • Daily “me time” of at least 30 minutes.
  • Daily prayer and surrender – acceptance of what is.
  • Compromise – we can’t do it all, pick your priorities and let the rest go.
  • Accept the sacrifice and know it’s temporary, stop feeling bitterness towards it.
  • Find a tribe, confide in them and accept help from them rather than isolating yourself.
  • Eat well, sleep well and make time for movement.
  • Use oils daily for emotional, mental and physical wellbeing (the Abundance oil pictured above has been very helpful!)

I would love to hear your thoughts on this and if you have anything to add to my “formula.”  This isn’t an easy journey to abundant living but I’m convinced it will be worth it times a thousand!

Refresh and Renew

Hello Friends!

Happy Wednesday!

I know it seems like I have been gone for a while BUT actually I’ve been working away at updating this space.  I’ve updated the information that was outdated on each page. I fixed up the menu at the top and made sure each post was categorized correctly.  I know on first glance it doesn’t seem like anything has changed but I’m feeling much better about this place.  It’s like decluttering a room that you’ve been procrastinating forever.  I thought about switching up the theme but I still quite like the minimalist design so I’m just going to keep it for now – thoughts?

So take a look around, familiarize yourself with the new content and let me know if you have any questions or blog post requests. I have some in mind and some in the works so stay tuned!

Ciao friends!

Peppermint Almond Chocolate Bark

Recently Young Living got the go ahead in Canada to label a select few of their essential oils as food grade. Though in the US they have been able to label them this way for quite a while.

This opens up so many more possibilities on how to use the oils! Though the label is different the actual oil inside the bottle is the exact same so if you have the oil from before you can still use them this way.

I’ve been on a chocolate kick lately and have seen several versions of this recipe floating around the Internet. It’s not my first time making chocolate, but I normally use cocoa butter and cacao etc. This time I just wanted a fast and easy recipe and I thought it would be fun to try out some essential oils in it too.

This took me less than the time it took to make a cup of tea – I know that because I made it while waiting for my tea to steep. I usually have a bag of this in the freezer and grab a piece or two whenever I’m craving chocolate (usually daily!).

So without further ado:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 2 tsp coconut oil
  • 1-4 drops peppermint vitality essential oil
  • Handful of crushed almonds
  • Sea salt (optional)

Directions:

Melt chocolate and coconut oil together. I prefer to use the double boiler method but putting it in the microwave in 30 second increments and stirring after each time also works.

Once melted add the peppermint oil to taste. I love lots of peppermint flavour so I added 4 drops.

Line a cookie sheet with wax or parchment paper. Pour out the chocolate and spread with a spatula. Top with almonds and sea salt if you want.

Put in freezer for 30 minutes.

Take out break apart and EAT!

2018 Goals and Intentions

So now that I’ve reflected on 2017 and I’ve chosen my one little word for 2018 I thought it was time to set some solid goals and intentions for the year.  I’m not planning on setting any huge goals, or having a million intentions and goals.  I’m trying to keep it very simple but I do like to have something laid out to guide the year, a plan of sorts – Type A personality at it’s best!

I’m letting my word ABUNDANCE guide my intentions and goals for the year.  This year is going to be very big and busy for us.  For the first time in four years we will be a two income family, we have a lot of catching up to do financially and so that is a huge part of what our year will be as a family.  I’m feeling seriously conflicted about this part of our year (I’ll be blogging that soon!) and so in an attempt to release some of that stress I’m really trying to establish some healthy practices that will help me cope with the busyness and stress and that is what my intentions are born out of.

I sat down and wrote out some intentions for my Body, Mind and Soul.  Here’s what I’ve come up with:

  • Body – I intend to place value on my body, to love and nourish it and treat it with respect by:
    • Eating food that fuels and benefits my body.  Stop sabotaging my health and wellbeing for the short term satisfaction of eating food that does not benefit my body.
    • Starting to move my body daily.  Do activity that I enjoy and builds strength.
  • Mind – I intend to grow my mind, to slow the negative inflow and replace it with positive by:
    • Stopping the endless scrolling.  Put my phone down, engage in the present moments.
    • Decluttering online.
    • Reading and writing daily.
  • Soul – I intend to recognize my soul as a valuable and meaningful part of my being, to nourish my spiritual being by:
    • Daily Bible reading.
    • Daily prayer/meditation.

I really think all of these intentions will be very beneficial to my wellbeing in 2018.  I feel like I’m at a bit of an advantage in being able to anticipate my struggles as I return to work and the busyness of work/life balance since this is the second time!

My goals are small, and I think attainable.  I hope to achieve more than this but I want to keep this list short and simple keeping in mind that I’m also building a business on the side which keeps me very busy in the downtime of my days.   Here’s the goals I’ve come up with so far:

  • Have zero credit card debt and have paid down other debts by Dec 31, 2018.
  • Be 100% gluten free.
  • Knit at least 1 garment for each family member (already started on mine!)
  • Learn how to sew (FOR REAL this year!)
  • Revamp the blog to reflect current life (happening this month!)
  • Complete One Second Everyday video (LOVING this app this year!)
  • Only buy sustainable, ethical clothing for my wardrobe (and local when possible), thus beginning a real capsule wardrobe.

That’s it!

I know we are only 8 days into this year but so far I’m loving it! Have you set any goals or intentions for your years? What about a word to guide you? I’d love to hear them!

One Little Word 2018

TO THOSE WHO USE WELL WHAT THEY ARE GIVEN, EVEN MORE WILL BE GIVEN, AND THEY WILL HAVE AN ABUNDANCE.  BUT FROM THOSE WHO DO NOTHING, EVEN WHAT LITTLE THEY HAVE WILL BE TAKEN AWAY. MATTHEW 25:29

Well, It’s now Jan 2 and I’m late on getting out this post – but better late than never!

December snuck up on me, and went so quickly that by the time I realized I hadn’t even THOUGHT about picking a word for 2018 it was already half way through the month.  Then I felt overwhelmed and wondered how I was going to pick a word on time, and almost in an instant a word came.

ABUNDANCE

It instantly resonated with me and initially I was thinking of the physical manifestations of abundance, namely health and wealth.  Those are the two things I desire the most right now in life and so naturally those were the two things that came to mind right away.  As I mulled over this word, ABUNDANCE, I had this deep feeling that it wasn’t just about money and physical health but so much more.  Yes those are my two biggest “needs” at this point, and we as a family are believing for those still but there’s more than just believing.

I want to live ABUNDANTLY in every area – in motherhood, marriage, career, mental, physical, spiritual.  I want ABUNDANT living to permeate every part of my being – but here’s what I’m coming to know and understand – to live ABUNDANTLY we must abandon those things that keep us away from ABUNDANCE.  My mindset must change from a poverty mindset to an ABUNDANT mindset.  I’m not just talking about monetary poverty, I believe my generation has grasped on to this idea that we don’t have enough (money, health, talent, courage, time….), we are constantly grasping for more instead of being satisfied with what we do have.  I think this keeps us from enjoying the day to day life, it pushes us into a place of comparison (which is known as the thief of joy).  We take for granted what we have been blessed with in this moment and instead of being blessed with more we just work ourselves into what we believe we have (less health, money, talent, courage….).  It’s like a self fulfilling prophecy and I am ready to break the cycle of this in my life.

Instead of saying:

  • I can’t…
  • I won’t…
  • I don’t have…
  • I am lacking…
  • I’m not…

I will say:

  • I can
  • I will
  • I have
  • I lack nothing
  • I AM

I will live in faith that I DO have everything I need.  I will be far more generous knowing that what I have been given was meant to be given to those around me.  I will no longer hoard time, money, love, joy, I will give freely in faith that what is given will be returned in ABUNDANCE.

So, as I move from a year of rest to a year of serious hustle I hope to be daily reminded that a poverty mindset keeps me from living a full and balanced life.

ABUNDANCE

I’m ready for you.

One Little Word 2017 Reflection

December 31, 2017.

How did this day get here so quickly? Where did 2017 go?

I’ve been reading and following some others who have reflected on this year and I’m seeing a mix of reactions to the past year.  Some had an incredible year, and others had difficult years but what I have noticed is that regardless of how the year was everyone has been grateful.  Some grateful for how wonderful their year was and some grateful for the challenges and lessons they brought.

I am definitely in the latter category – the year was difficult, far more difficult than I was anticipating yet I am so grateful for 2017.  We welcomed a beautiful baby girl who is our miracle girl.  She is feisty, determined, stubborn, and so so sweet and she fits perfectly into our family.  It’s safe to say she is so loved and so adored by us all.  We watched and followed as our now four year old grew and matured and learned so much.  His deep desire for knowledge is inspiring, his drive to learn is what spurs me on daily to live as a present parent and teach him what he wants to know.  Truly our schooling has been 100% led by him and he has advanced leaps and bounds.  Every goal I set for our homeschooling journey has been hit and it’s only because he has so desired to learn.  Carlos finished his schooling despite so many obstacles that would have stopped many in their tracks and made them quit.  His perseverance in the face of trials has always been inspiring for me.  Truly, he is incredible and if anyone can inspire you to chase your dreams and crush your goals, it’s him.

As I watched my family have an incredible year I tried so hard to follow in their footsteps.  I had so badly wanted to reach so many goals, to accomplish so much and it seemed the harder I fought the less I accomplished.  Last year at this time I felt the Lord was asking me to use REST as my guiding word for the year.  I honestly didn’t anticipate just how much rest I needed.  I didn’t realize how broken and worn down my body and spirit was.  I didn’t realize how much I needed to stop and rest.  Quite literally I spent this year in deep rest – almost like a hibernation.  The first part of the year was spent resting, having a baby and resting more.  The second part of the year was me feeling like I was ready to go, to accomplish, to be productive and being shut down every time I tried.  I fought hard against REST, sure that my body was ready to GO.  Maybe my body was but my mind, my heart, and my soul needed more rest, more reflection, more intentional attention.

When I look back at the year, I’ll be honest, it’s a hard pill to swallow.  It’s hard not to be disappointed, and not to dwell on that disappointment.  It’s hard to not feel like it was a “year wasted,” but I know those are lies designed to make me feel inadequate.  The truth which I’m reminding myself of minute by minute is that my year was EXACTLY what I needed.  The truth is that my year was orchestrated perfectly to give me what I needed – time to REST.  I’m thankful for the challenges of parenting two children, for the joys of watching those children grow and learn (even when that means more challenges for me).  The truth is I was stretched in ways I wasn’t anticipating, I discovered parts of me that I wasn’t proud of.  The impatience, need for perfection, the struggles for control – all things that came out and tried to rule my life.  I struggled to fight against those things, I struggle(d) to know my worth and adequacy.  I struggle(d) to mother in the midst of being faced with my worst self.

Yes, 2017 was hard for me, but it was necessary.  I was forced to rest in the hands of my Father, to search for and know His truths in my life.  I was forced to cling to a God who knows and loves me and I’m going into 2018 with the knowledge of these deep truths:

  • I am worthy
  • I am adequate
  • I am beautiful
  • I am enough

The beautiful thing about my truths, is they are your truths as well.  So whatever your year brought I hope that you can also cling to these truths.