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!

2019 Check In

 

Well, we are almost half way through February but honestly it feels as thought 2019 has been here forever.  Anyone else feel that way? I usually don’t relate a lot to January being the longest month of the year but this year it really felt that way! Despite that, I think we had a pretty good month around here.  Nothing huge or spectacular but nothing memorably terrible either – so that’s a win!

Health wise my back seems to be progressing in the wrong direction, but I’m feeling at peace with my health team.  I’ve also been doing a lot of my own research on possible solutions (there’s not really any, and nothing is straightforward) and physicians who are more specialized in Marfan syndrome (the condition that predisposes me to all these issues).  Though my research hasn’t led me anywhere that gives me more hope, it’s helped me secure my feelings of peace about the physicians who are already working on my case.  In the last two weeks I’ve also become uncomfortable with my sedentary lifestyle that has been necessary but that has contributed to weakness and muscle loss as well as a 20 pound weight gain.  I’ve expected weight gain from the beginning but I was already 20 pounds heavier than my most comfortable weight when this all started so another 20 pounds on that makes my body feel much more uncomfortable to me.  Of course my diet has also been a huge contributor to the weight gain.  I’m not sure if there’s anything I can do about the sedentary lifestyle but I’m giving some serious consideration to increasing my pain medication frequency to accommodate some light exercises.  I’m also trying to make small changes to my eating habits – limit my after supper snacking, eating more salads and drink more water are the ones that come to mind right now.  Food has been difficult during this time because aside from my back issues I’ve also had a lot of GI issues popping up that we’ve been trying to deal with and figure out.  Loss of appetite, intense heartburn, and food aversions have been the biggest issues that has led to poor food choices just to get some food into my body.  Some of those have gotten significantly better so it’s time to COMMIT to making some changes to my habits.

In terms of my one little word and goals I have for 2019 I feel as though I’ve made a pretty good start.

  • In January I read 2 books (goal is to read one book per month): The Knitting Circle by Anne Hood and Educated by Tara Westover.  I recommend both, they were easy reads and really good stories.
  • For self care I got out of the house for an entire evening for some much needed girl time.  It was perfect and I’m so glad my husband nudged me to go when I was feeling doubtful that I should.
  • I have also made some clothing purchases! This is huge for me because spending money on clothes has been really hard for me to do in the last several years.  Making sure that I’m buying as much ethical clothing as I can has made me a lot more mindful of how and what I purchase.  Instead of just going out and checking items off my list to get it over with, which is what I would have done in the past, I am researching and thinking about decisions for days (sometimes weeks) before making a purchase.  Given that these items are much more expensive than fast fashion items I’m also going to be trying to take advantage of discount codes and sales which makes the process slower as well.
  • I have yet to get started on any new hobbies which actually makes me irritated with myself.  I have everything I need to start sewing and for some reason (fear of failure? Not wanting to go through the learning curve? Wanting things perfect on the first try? Having no one to hold my hand? All of those things most likely) I haven’t yet started.  I’ve made a lot of excuses that are truly not valid, so it’s time to just COMMIT.
  • The transition to plant based has been up and down.  I’ve tried more vegan products and meals and have enjoyed them but I’m not making any huge drastic changes (see above paragraph haha) beyond picking up new vegan food items each time I go to the grocery store.  I know it’s a long drawn out process but it seems more sustainable to me than doing an all or nothing approach.
  • One thing that’s not on my goals list (because every year I add it and every year I fail miserably) but that I’ve finally made the jump and COMMITTED to is a budget. This will probably be a whole other blogpost but I’m feeling really good about it and feeling much more in control and at peace with my finances and it’s only been a couple weeks!

OK, this is a lot longer than I anticipated! I don’t know if I can keep up a monthly check in but I think there is value in taking some intentional time to look at where I am versus where I want to be.  Seeing the small steps I’m already taking is encouraging and takes away some of the overwhelm I often feel when thinking about big goals.

Tell me how your 2019 has been going!

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!