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.

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.

March – One Little Word Update and Lent

I’m entering March in amazement that I don’t have a baby to cuddle yet.  I’m at peace though, although I’m ready for this babe to come I’m ok with whenever that is going to happen.

With February gone (and boy did it fly by!) I thought I’d do a bit of an update on my one little word and what I’m doing this month to try and rest.  February I tried to incorporate meditation to my daily routine as well as a spending freeze.  Neither went perfectly but as I  was reflecting I realized that none of this is to achieve perfection, but to gradually better myself.  I did meditate over half of the days but never found a perfect routine – I’ll continue to meditate and try to get a routine going that works.  Of course with adding a newborn to the mix I’m sure this is going to take a while!  The spending freeze also was not a complete success (again) but much better than January – an improvement!  More than anything it made me very aware of what I was spending and where it was coming from.  My goal this year is to become and stay credit card debt free.  In a few days I’ll be able to officially say I have no credit card debt.  The trick is to keep it that way.  Sounds so simple but with a household on one very small (and about to get a lot smaller) income sometimes there are things that just have to be bought and the only way to do that is with a credit card.  The real challenge is deciphering wants vs needs and making sure that if I do need to charge something to the credit card that it is 100% needed.

Now for March.

I thought it was fitting that Lent this year started on March 1.  When I realized that I thought I could try and combine both my goal of resting more and of giving something up for Lent.  One year for Lent I completely gave up social media.  I thought about doing that again this year but then I realized that I wanted to do something that was actually long lasting beyond just Lent.  So I came up with limiting my phone time.  It’s a conversation I see a lot around social media and amongst my friends – the amount of time spent scrolling and looking through various apps on our phones has gotten out of control.  For me it’s really sky rocketed since being home on modified rest.  I’m often bored and to try and combat that I just look at my phone.  It was getting to the point that I would have to charge my phone twice a day just because I was spending so much time scrolling for no reason.  It was distracting me from really engaging with Ezekiel, it was making me procrastinate on things that are actually productive, it was numbing my mind.  When I was out standing in lines or waiting for appointments I’d scroll and scroll and scroll.  I had stopped engaging with the world around me as I stared at my phone engaging in the cyber world.

As I was thinking about this I tried to come up with something that would be sacrificial, encourage rest and realistic for long term.  I don’t want this to just be 40 days and then back to mindlessly scrolling my phone.  So I came up with limiting my scrolling to 3-15 minute sessions.  The first being after waking up, while drinking my morning coffee (if Ezekiel is still asleep).  The important part here is that it is not while I’m laying in bed right after waking up, it’s at least 30 minutes after waking up, giving myself time to think about my day and set my intentions for my day.  The second being in the afternoon while Ezekiel is either napping or having his quiet time.  The third being after putting Ezekiel to bed but at least 1 hour before going to sleep to ensure that my phone is not the last thing I’m looking at during the day.  Notice that all of my designated “scroll” times are when Ezekiel is not around to see it.  I don’t want him to grow up thinking that mommies phone is more important than what he is saying or doing.

I’m on day 2 of implementing this and it is actually way easier than I thought it would be and has already had such a positive impact on my day.  Yesterday I was at a long appointment that had several minutes of waiting at various points and instead of scrolling my phone I read a book.  Then I had several errands to run and while waiting in those lines I looked around and engaged with what was happening.  Again, while at home and not doing anything instead of pick up my phone to scroll, I read a book, baked an apple loaf, knitted, made supper.   It felt freeing and when I was scrolling it made me more aware of the things I was actually interested in seeing and what is important to me – there were certain people that I’ve been praying for specifically whose updates I wanted to see and so I scrolled quickly through photos and accounts that weren’t important to me to find the ones that were.  This was instinctive but was eye opening.   Today I am at home doing not much of anything because I am so exhausted from what I did yesterday, it’s a bit harder to not just pick up my phone but again it’s been so rewarding.  Right now my phone is still quite close to me at all times because I have to use the contraction counting app on it but that’s the only app I open outside of my designated “scroll” times.   I have the sound on in case I have a call or text message (which are NOT off limits during this) and then I mute it overnight.

I’m looking forward to seeing how much more impactful this is going to be in my life!

One Little Word Check In

As part of my One Little Word (R.E.S.T.) this year I’ve decided to intentionally focus on one thing each month that will help me to dig into resting.  I recognize that this year is going to be full.  With adding two people to our household – one being introduced to Canadian culture for the first time and the other being a newborn who will need a lot of care and attention – it’s bound to be crazy and at times stressful.  So resting is even more important for me this year, it will be absolutely necessary for my health in every way.  My mental, spiritual, and physical health will all need to be nurtured and paid attention to.

January I decided I would do a “spending freeze”and not spend any money beyond groceries, medications and gas.  I wanted to be able to not stress about money and wanted to start the year off with responsible and healthy spending.  Well that was a complete and utter failure.  I brought it on myself by not planning properly.  I didn’t look ahead at the month and anticipate expenses, and so necessary (and super expensive) things like car maintenance came up and because I hadn’t budgeted or anticipated for it I ended up feeling like a failure.  After that I just threw it to the wind but at the same time I always had this nagging in the back of my head.  So instead of completely giving up on my financial goals this year I am picking myself up and trying again in February.  Today I sat down and mapped out a budget that included expenses that I could anticipate.  My knitting obsession was included in the budget so that I didn’t feel like a failure when I know for sure I would give in and just go buy yarn.  I also know that I have a ladies date day with some friends that will cost money so that was included.  Lastly this month is seed starting month and I need a few extra supplies, so I built that in to the budget.  I’m ready to be financially free this year and I am determined to make it work.

Instead of just use my January goal for February I decided to keep on going and also focus on meditation as planned.  This summer I started practicing meditation in the early mornings but once I got pregnant all of that fell to the wayside.  I know that there are so many benefits to meditation and I am looking forward to including it into my prayer life as well.  Mentally I know that I will need an outlet and a coping strategy when things get overwhelming this year.  If this pregnancy goes as predicted that stress is probably going to start soon with a babe born a bit too early (although we are trucking along very well so here’s hoping the predictions are wrong!).  I know that I am going to become obsessive over certain things like pumping enough breastmilk to meet the demands of a growing preemie and getting the house ready for two new people.  On top of that I know I will be stressed about splitting my time between home and the hospital.  I am hoping that being intentional with meditation and learning coping strategies to deal with stress will help me to recognize my stress early and take time to deal with it instead of push it aside.  I rarely feel stressed mentally but I have come to realize that although I don’t feel it mentally I am still stressed and my body eventually manifests the stress in other ways.

I am so looking forward to this year, to being able to have the capacity and time to focus on becoming a happier, healthier me and in turn becoming a happier, healthier wife and mother.

One Little Word 2017

Christmas is over and I’m feeling all sorts of emotions over it.  On one hand I’m sad that I don’t have my pretty tree up anymore.  I’m sad that the anticipation and Christmas with a toddler is over.  On the other hand, I love the new year, I love the new start and everything that comes with it.

This year especially we have a new start as our family grows.  Not only are we welcoming a brand new baby, but we will also be welcoming my husbands first son into Canada around the same time.  A short time after that my husband will start to work in the area he’s been studying for the past two years (and another 2-3 years before that he was studying English just so he could get into the program).  So 2017 is going to be a big big year.  I’m not huge into changes – yes I love fresh starts and new beginnings like the New Year, but these big changes and new starts that are coming are a bit over the top for me.  I like routine and predictability.  New borns are easy enough to deal with, beyond exhaustion and the normal newborn challenges you get to pick the routine as a parent to some degree.  You get to decide how that first year will go and from that a routine is eventually formed and it’s usually within your comfort level. Add a full grown child into the mix with their own ideologies, and ways of doing things at the same time as getting used to a newborn and a little bit of anxiety creeps in.  Then add a husband with a whole new routine and the unknown of where or when a job will start and my routined predictable life gets thrown out the window.

When I think of each of these situations on their own, none of them cause me any anxiety.  I can break them down, rationalize and deal with the changes (in my head of course).  If I put them all together into a timeline and how fast they will all happen, I get a little overwhelmed.

2016 was nothing like I had wanted or imagined.  It started with a lofty goal and dream that quickly got brushed to the side due to multiple health issues.  That dream is still on hold and I honestly don’t know if I’ll ever pick it up again.  The health issues that the year started with are still there and not figured out, although they did start to improve slightly in the summer.  Then, enter pregnancy and EVERYTHING that entails this go around and I feel like I spent the year barely surviving while trying to juggle family life and working like crazy to keep our heads above water.  Of course there were a lot of good times and good memories, Ezekiel grew in every way possible and seems to get more and more amazing with each day.  We are beyond elated to have been surprised with a pregnancy and cannot wait to meet this little one (well we can wait until March!).  We had a few little day trips and a couple longer trips that were all fun and worth it.  I discovered just how much I really love growing things and my gardening hobby grew a lot.  So yes 2016 wasn’t easy, but it also wasn’t terrible.

My one little word for 2016 was INTENTIONAL.  If you go back to this post you can read how I broke down that word into how I was envisioning it to work into my life.  When I read through that post again the other day my initial thought was that I had completely failed to work “intentional” into my year.  Yet as I reflect on 2016 I see that I was quite intentional in a few areas.  My health being the first, I finally allowed myself to recognize that something was wrong and I spent the first half of the year at appointments and tests trying to figure them out.  I had started to exercise again more regularly with walking.  I was intentional with my health.  As a mom  I was very intentional with Ezekiel and continue to try to be just as intentional – this one is simple for me, it’s actually just my parenting style.  I was also intentional with gardening and making sure that I was prioritizing my hobby into my life because I realized how much JOY it brought me.   I was intentional with my time off of work, I cut back my working days a lot and made sure that I prioritized time off with family and I allowed myself to not feel guilty about it or anxious about it.  So although my one little word didn’t get worked into my year like I had imagined it was still a year of being intentional.

When I was thinking of what my word would be this year it wasn’t hard to realize where God was guiding me.  December has been spent with scares of pre-term labor and other pregnancy related complications which has landed me on modified rest.  It was and has always been one of my biggest pregnancy related nightmares and here I am on week 4 of rest (with hopefully 10 more weeks to go).  Ironic that the last two years have been spent on high speed just trying to survive and finally I literally have no choice but to stop.  It was a rapid stop, one that almost gives you whiplash.  Once I settled into resting I realized that this is exactly what 2017 needs to be.  Not literally sitting and doing nothing, but making REST a priority in my life.  It will come in many forms and ways and I’m not going predict or theorize how it will happen.  What I will say is that I’m going to be reminding myself often that 2017 is about RESTING.

Have you made resolutions or picked a word for 2017? I’d love to hear them!