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!

God is here, He cares and He’s in control


The past couple weeks I’ve had so much more time off than I am used to.  Last year for most of the year I would regularly have one day off sometimes 2 and if I was really lucky I might be able to take a long weekend off.  Now with the change in my job situation I have 3-4 days off at a time and it is glorious! I’m still a bit stressed about a lack of shifts at work but I’m counteracting that stress with being very intentional with my spending and time.

For groceries I try and make our meal plans for the week out of what we already have here.  It takes the question from “what do I want to make for supper?” to “what do we have in the house that I can make for supper?” It’s really amazing what you can make – whole nutritious meals – with what you already have on hand.  It does require a small amount of creativity and improvisation sometimes but 90% of the time it works just fine.  Over the last year I’ve transitioned most of our foods to organic when possible which means that it is more expensive to buy.  Admittedly we spend quite a bit of our budget on food but when I’ve thought about this recently I can’t imagine not buying the quality we buy just to save money.  So that means I just need to make some sacrifices else where – no more buying daily coffees (it really helps that I bought myself a Chemex last year), I think twice even three times before buying ANYTHING (do I need it? Do I really need it? Will I use it this week? – if not then I don’t REALLY need it).

Along with being careful about our food budget I’m finding on my days off that I’m just not going out all the time.  On my days off before I would be out and about, usually spending money somewhere.  The past couple weeks I’ve only wanted to stay home, I can’t even think of something I’d like to do instead.  I was thinking about this this morning because when I talk to new moms I always say – “make sure you get out everyday, even just for a walk.  It’ll be so good for your mental health.” I wondered where I was mentally because I have no desire to leave the house – it’s usually a red flag for me.  I did a quick self evaluation of my own mental health compared to a few weeks ago just before writing this post and the difference really is night and day.  Mentally I’m in such a better place, instead of needing to go, go, go and do, do, do I’m content to just BE.  I think mentally and physically I’ve just been subconsciously using this time off to recover from the past year of insaneness.  I’ve been soaking in every second I can with Ezekiel and usually just staring in wonder at the creation he is, thankful for each moment spent with him.  Oh I still have so much to do even at home and slowly I’m tackling those projects (2 years of filing oy!) but I am just so content.

Sometimes we need to be forced out of what we think is the best situation for ourselves in order to see how destructive it really was, or maybe it’s not completely destructive but there’s something so much better out there.  I’m so thankful for the past year – even though there were so many difficulties.  In the day to day moments I really enjoyed what I was doing and most importantly I was able to provide for my family.  I expanded my knowledge and experience as well as learned new things about myself (clinic nursing is not my favourite, I still want to pursue my dreams etc.).  It’s hard to see the 360 degree view when we have our blinders on to get through the days.

There’s a theme in my life (and in yours) that I keep seeing time and time again.

God is here, He cares, and He’s in control.