April 1 Check-In

Whew! April 1 already! Spring is here and it is glorious.  We are in the full swing of the start of gardening season.  Lots to clean up thanks to not properly getting ready for winter and lots to plant (that’s the fun part!).

Before we get there let me do a bit of a check in.  We’ve finished the first quarter of the year and I think more than any other year I’m feeling pretty good about where I’m at goal wise.  Momentum brings with a certain type of motivation, one that doesn’t necessarily come every single day but over the course of time it’s consistent.

Let me catch you up, it feels like it’s been forever!

Truthfully February wasn’t an awesome month, but I think it was like that for a few families.  Between the Polar Vortex and two separate illnesses in our house we only left the house a handful of times. It was long and lonely for us but it also meant I got some things accomplished that had been on my list for far too long.  March flew by and brought the sunshine and happy days! We celebrated my baby girls second birthday with my parents which was so good.

So what have I been up to goal wise?  So much! To see what I’m hoping to do in 2019 check out this post.

  • Investing in hobbies was something I took seriously in March – meaning I maybe spent more than I intended ha! I bought yarn and fabric, I bought many many plants and purchased lots of pens.
  • My hobbies have expanded drastically!
    • In February and beginning of March I sewed two outfits for my little girl.  I also purchased materials to begin sewing for myself.
    • I gifted a lettering class to one of my close friends and we attended together.  It’s definitely not something I’m naturally gifted in or good at BUT I enjoy it and I’m going to practice lots over the next 100 days for the 100 Day Project (I’ll post more on that later I hope).
  • In book reading I’ve become an overachiever.  February I did only read one book but March I read 7!!! I didn’t even know that was possible and I definitely was not aiming to overachieve but I’ve cut back a lot on my phone time and I’ve been having a lot of trouble sleeping due to pain.  Those two things combined means I’m getting a lot of reading done.  Maybe I’ll do a bit of a round up this month.  I’m really not a great reviewer of literature but I feel like the more I read that better I’m getting at understanding what I’m looking for in a book and what I don’t like.
  • I honestly can’t remember if I did a self care act in February but March I think I could name a couple.  One was getting a full day alone with my parents – that hasn’t happened in years and years and we did nothing special other than run errands and repot plants but it was still wonderful.  The other was getting out for an evening with a friend for a little birthday bash at one of my favourite local businesses.
  • I haven’t purchased any clothes the last two months and that is a bit of a disappointment because there have been many things I think I would like but I just haven’t been able to commit.
  • Transitioning to plant based has been more difficult than I anticipated only because I have zero appetite and the only things I really ever eat because of it are full of carbs and quick.  It is still very much on my mind and when I can muster up the motivation I do prepare lots of veggies.
  • We really haven’t done much adventuring yet because we’re really not into cold but I hope that changes now that it’s warming up.

I think that’s it! I do feel as though my word COMMIT has been huge for me this year.  I’ve started and continue to be diligent with a budget, I’ve committed to my hobbies, we’ve been far more consistent with our homeschool.  Overall I’m feeling pretty great about it!

How are your goals going so far this year? Have you been checking in with them periodically?

 

On Being Consistent

This month and especially this week I’ve been trying my best to be consistent in my actions.  I am typically very inconsistent and I lack a lot of self-discipline.   I notoriously start things and rarely complete them – whether that’s a craft project, diet, exercise routine or simply establishing a routine.  I think my word COMMIT goes hand in hand with being consistent.  When you commit to doing something there has to be an element of consistency to see that thing through.

This month I’ve committed to establishing and following a budget and have so far been consistent with using that budget.  I’ve committed to getting our office in order, getting papers organized and filed, getting tax documents in order, and finishing any unfinished paperwork that needs to be done (that ridiculous GST number I’ve never got rid of from 9 years ago and avoid filing the zero dollar claims each year because #procrastination),  I’ve accomplished most of that list. This week I’ve committed to snacking less at night and beginning to exercise in order to get my body into better condition. It’s only been five days but I’ve cut back on the snacks and done three days of very light exercises.  I’ve committed to being more routined in our day to day life – being less go with the flow (because that usually leaves me feeling unproductive and lazy) and more structured.  I’ve also committed to getting into a real school routine to get us ready for September when Ezekiel officially starts Kindergarten homeschool.

All of the above commitments have lead to more consistency and discipline.  There are definitely days that have been harder to follow through on and I’ve had to pep talk myself to get through them.  Usually if I get myself into the shower and ready for the day before 9am I am able to push aside the voice in my head that is fighting the discipline and consistency.  There have been far more benefits than struggles though and I am so happy with the results.  Consistency in action has lead to

  • a calmer household
  • children who are more cooperative and happier
  • fewer fluctuations in moods for me
  • large jumps in learning and confidence for Ezekiel
  • more free time that actually feels like relaxation because I’m not thinking of what I “should” be doing
  • more productivity and less agonizing about the “to-do” list
  • feeling a load off my shoulders and in control of parts of my life
  • less fear about what’s to come

Discipline is definitely a learned behaviour and it’s not easy but it’s so so rewarding! I’ve got miles to go to get where I want to be but I’m learning to focus on one baby step at a time so I don’t get overwhelmed and freeze with intimidation.  I’m excited to see the progress I make this year and the impact it will have on mine and my families lives!

Live in the Grey

Hi friends! I want to tell you a story, it’s long and it’s mostly because I need to do a little more processing but here it is.

Yesterday I stumbled upon an Instagram post of someone expressing their disgust with the recent news of New York’s change of law on late term abortions. Initially I skimmed and internally nodded my head in agreement because I generally don’t believe in abortion (this isn’t a post for or against abortion stay with me). Then against my better judgement I opened the comments and started reading. When I did that I drug myself into an entirely different world. A world that seems to be full of black and white views, hate, and lack of empathy just to name a few (on both sides of the topic). I was immediately thrown into the grey of the subject, the extraordinary circumstances, the what if’s, and the buts because I used to be a very black and white person but along the way I developed a realization that love lives in the grey. The grey is very uncomfortable though. The grey says I don’t really believe what you are doing is right and it might go against every single core value I possess but I understand why you did that(said that, believe that etc). Don’t get me wrong, there are still many many topics and situations where this is so so hard and seemingly impossible for me to do, but I do think that if we can throw ourselves into the grey areas of life we will find that love lives there. Also, hear me when I say this: Living in the grey does not mean you don’t take a stand for what you are convicted of, it only means putting away your need to fix something or argue someone to your side and instead saying “I love you anyways.” Jesus definitely had black and white views but also definitely lived with people in the very messy middle grey area and that’s the kind of person I want to be.

Now here’s the other part of the story:

Last night I was fortunate to get a girls night out for a really good friends birthday. We were discussing TV and I mentioned how my sensitivity to news and the terrible things happening in the world has grown to the point that I find it difficult to even read a news article. I mentioned that I didn’t feel like I NEEDED to know everything happening in the world. My friend responded by saying she had felt the same but is now becoming aware that maybe she should know so that as a Christian she can join in a solution (this is highly paraphrased). Enter the abortion post, I used the example of that abortion post because of the initial way it had made me feel – anxious and upset. Then we had a long discussion about it, the ins and outs. I took the devils advocate side I think because of my knee jerk reaction to the hate I had been reading in the post. It was a very civil, respectful discussion but I could not get it out of my head. I’ve been thinking about it ever since and more than anything I’ve been thinking about how as humans we need community. We need community to help us hash out these hard parts of life, to help us process our own internal battles. Without that discussion last night I would have let myself dwell in the toxic feelings of others. I would have become upset and then put it out of my mind without properly processing how I actually felt about it. It is because I felt I had a safe space to verbally dump my brain even though most of what I was saying wasn’t actually how I truly felt that I could then have a clearer mind to think about and wade myself through the messy middle. Community is so so necessary and it’s something I’ve been missing for a really long time (for many reasons but myself being the biggest obstacle). Yesterday was vital for me to realize that as amazing and incredible the online community I have is, I still need a real life, face to face community and I think we all do.

Moral of the story?

Love people in the messy middle and get yourself into a safe amazing community of people.

❤️

Now for More Me

I started this blog with the intent of sharing the ways I attempt to live a more slow and simple life.  I was making huge changes in my life by way of clean eating, exercising, mindful parenting and the like, and I was passionate about it all.  I wanted to share all.the.things.  Yet somewhere along the way life ebbed and flowed, I felt less passionate, less inspired to share and less desire to write.

That brings us here, to right now.

I’ve had a blog for YEARS – I started one in high school as a project in either 2001 or 2002.  I continued blogging on and off but this blog is the first blog I’ve had that was supposed to be intentional with it’s content.  When I started it I dreamt of having a calendar full of ideas, generating content and “making it big” in the blog world.  Obviously none of that has happened!  I’m actually continually surprised by the little bit of traffic I get considering how lack-lustre my efforts have been in recent years.

Here’s what I’m beginning to understand about myself:

  1. Writing is something I love to do.  It’s therapeutic and necessary for my own internal processing.
  2. I really don’t do well with constraints, limitations, expectations etc. in writing but more so just generally in life. When I write I want the freedom to write whatever flows out of my fingertips.

So it is with all of this I come today to say – I’m going to write whatever and whenever I feel like it.  I’m not going to limit myself to “simple living” and I’m not going to be paralyzed by the completely made up need for a content calendar.  I’ve never been good at being anyone but myself and I’m not sure why it’s taken me this long to realize this.

With the amount of time I have on my hands I think I’ll be here more often – but again I’m not going to promise or commit to anything at all!

I hope you are all having an amazing weekend, I look forward to more sharing of ideas and stories in the near future!

Ciao!

One Little Word 2019

It’s that time again!

I was finding it really difficult to think about what word I was going to pick for 2019.  The obvious one would have been something related to health but honestly I’m ready to not have 100% of my life focused on my health.  Of course that’s always something that’s on my mind but 2018 was bombarded with it and it’s just enough, you know?

The last couple months I’ve been acutely aware of something I struggle with.  It’s not something I’ve ever pinpointed as a weakness in my life previous to the past couple months.  I struggle with committing to and finishing things.  It’s typical of me to start something really strong and passionately and it’s uncommon for that commitment to last any large length of time.  It’s beginning to be something that I lament and wish was different.

So.

2019 is the year to COMMIT.

When I am about to embark on something – whatever it may be – I will be committing to see it to completion or commit to a specific length of time depending on the situation.  Of course, as is the case every year with my One Little Word this will take on it’s own life but I look forward to seeing where it will take me.  I am looking forward to the growth I’ll experience and the further insight into my inner workings.

On top of my One Little Word I’ve come up with a “Bucket List” of goals for the year.  Today as I was driving home from an appointment I began to feel the pressure of a New Year.  Being on social media there are a plethora of posts all about goals, resolutions, and hopes for the new year and all of them great.  I tend to feel pulled to include everyone else’s goals in my goals because of course they seem like great ideas! However, I realized today that just because a goal is a good thing for someone doesn’t mean it’s a good thing for me in this moment.  So, instead of adding to my list today like I was tempted to I left my list as it was last week when I wrote it.  I’m going to enter 2019 with an overall intention to be the best I can be each day.

So with my One Little Word of COMMIT and my intention to be the best me I also hope to check each of these things off my list:

  • Invest in hobbies – don’t be afraid to spend money on a hobby.
  • Learn two new skills/hobbies – hoping for it to be sewing and pottery.
  • Show gratitude and be generous in everything – keeping with my hope to be abundant minded.
  • Invest in relationships – put myself out there instead of shy away from the commitment.
  • Go away on a date weekend at least once – I hope twice.
  • Do more exploring with the kids – mountains will be visited more often.
  • Read a book a month – starting with Educated by Tara Westover.
  • Transition to mostly plant based – been feeling this shift for the last 4-5 months.
  • Invest in clothes – I have two pairs of jeans, a handful of layering tanks, a couple sweaters and that’s basically it apart from my pyjamas and sweats.  It’s time to make this change.  It will be largely ethically made or homemade clothing and I’m going to be checking off this list:
    • 2 Jeans
    • 2 Lounge pants
    • 5 Tanks
    • 2 Blouses
    • 2 Casual Shirts
    • 2 Long Sleeves
    • 2 Sweaters
    • Undergarments
    • 1 pair of runners
    • 1 pair of sneakers
    • 1 pair of Birkenstocks
    • 1 pair of Rainboots
    • 1 pair of Winter boots
    • 1 pair of dressier shoes – I hope Poppy Barley
  • Do one self care act a month – could be something I spend money on or could just be an afternoon away from the kids.

That’s it.  I feel like I’m keeping it fairly simple and attainable – maybe I’m getting the hang of this!

Happy New  Year friends.  I pray that 2019 is everything you need it to be.  If you are using a word or setting resolutions or goals I would love to hear them!

2018 Reflection

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Well it’s been a minute or two since I’ve been here.  I only wrote 7 blog posts in 2018 and truthfully I wanted so badly to write more but my capacity to do so was just not there.  I needed to step away from constant evaluation, my brain was (is) in such a fog that processing life was incredibly difficult.  I couldn’t make sense of my current life, my day in and day out.  I lived in a dichotomy of hating not being able to work but also feeling very blessed to be with my babies day in and day out.

The pain I now live with is unlike anything I’ve experienced.  Not too long ago I was claiming that I could deal with chronic pain, that it didn’t change my life or what I was able to do and accomplish.  I’ve had pain as long as I can remember and it was true that it didn’t greatly impact my life.  This new pain though, it’s stronger, more intense and greatly impacts my life.  I’ve been humbled and have gained a new perspective and compassion for those of us living with invisible illnesses.  The pain definitely seemed to take over my year and if I allow it it could steal the blessings and joy that 2018 also brought.

I’m not about to let that happen.  So here’s what 2018 brought into my life that was amazing. I’ve been able to watch my toddler grow and develop, I’ve been able to be by her side and she hasn’t had to deal with as much separation anxiety as she would have.  She is highly attached and us being together has made her year much more comforting.  She’s growing into such an amazing and hilarious little girl and it’s been such a privilege and blessing to watch that happen so closely.  I’ve also watched my five year old learn and explore and imagine and create and have been astounded at his capacity to learn and his passion for learning.  We’ve embarked on homeschooling and I’d be lying if I told you it went amazing, we are still learning our rhythm and figuring it out but it’s definitely been a blessing.  I’ve learned to live in the moment, to adapt my need for control, to trust in the One who holds me close, to live despite challenges, to dream bigger, to crush fears, to pursue the life I desire, to accept help, to lean on others, to be humbled, to slow down.

My one little word was ABUNDANCE and 2018 did not bring much of the ABUNDANCE I was hoping for but it did bring an ABUNDANCE of blessings in the midst of challenges.  When I re-read my One Little Word post for 2018 I still resonate with everything I wrote. This year was the first year I continually had my word in the back of my head, I thought of it often but was usually sad at the thought of it.  Perhaps I am a step closer to where I wished I would be, though I haven’t even come close to that place.  I am still learning to let go of my poverty mindset, to switch my thinking but I do think that 2018 helped on that journey.  It’s a lifelong journey, not one I imagine I will actually arrive at but it’s time for a new word and time to focus on a new journey.

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!