Posted in Uncategorized

A Portal to Discovery

I moved a lot growing up (and since getting married for my husband’s job) and there were two places we’d check out first to get settled into a new location.  First, as people of faith, we’d find a church which would be our surrogate family in our new location.  This last time almost three years ago, I was really struggling with hormone issues I didn’t know about and it felt like chronic fatigue, anxiety and depression.  The playgroup and moms’ group at the church down the road was a place of acceptance and care where I could recharge and connect with other moms a while with my kids under the care of some grandmotherly-type volunteers.

The second place we’d find was a library.  I believe libraries, too, are key for a healthy community.  It’s a place where you do not have to have anything to offer, and yet be given so much.  There you can find tools for life, productivity, and your interests in the self-help section, or just some fun entertainment or serious research. I used to joke that I need a wheelbarrow for every library trip…but now I just got one of these carts and let the book-grabbing spree begin!  What most people don’t know is that the library is a richly experiential place too, with clubs, classes, and opportunities for even things like 3D printing or fishing!

When I was a kid, I used to listen to Adventures in Odyssey, a radio broadcast where fictional characters would learn life lessons by climbing into something called the Imagination Station and traveling somewhere, maybe back in time to a historic event, and seeing for themselves.  To me that’s what the library is as well.  A portal to discovery, awakening the imagination and possibilities.
(By the way, several of my friends work at libraries, and they’re some of the coolest people around because they are passionate about discovery, too!)

I made the following video to share my excitement for our real-life imagination station.  In my opinion, it is the best trick in the bag for moms.  Rainy day?  Whiney kids? Need a change of scenery?  Trying to save money but have the urge to shop? Trying to be a minimalist but want all the books and things?  The library is the solution! Give your kids an experience, and give them the keys to their own entertainment instead of trying so hard to entertain them yourself!  Get them to love books and learning so they can be equipped to cure their own boredom.  And that can start even before they can read!  Picture books are a wonderful imagination-prompter.

You may be surprised what is waiting at your local library!

Posted in Day in the life of a mom, Featured Inspiration, minimalism, Ponderings about life

Still Learning

While I enjoy being creative with the video editing itself as I attempt this Youtube channel endeavor, it has been a struggle learning the right way to store the videos (and not lose all my many hours of edited videos.  *sigh*).  My phone quickly runs out of storage, so my husband showed me how to use the network storage.  However, if a video I’ve used in Shotcut is no longer where it was originally accessed when editing, the edited video shows up as missing, and the Shotcut file won’t play.  Heartbreak, truly.  Oh well, live and learn.  The beat goes on!

Here’s the channel intro I did, and a few other videos are in the editing/planning process.

My favorite part, as always, is my dog Kody (he’s a 4-yr.-old chihuahua-shitzhu mix) wanting to be in the spotlight on my lap or racing around at the end of the video.   But the Fabric Magic embroidery project/Instant Pot part was also a lot of fun.

Posted in Day in the life of a mom, Mental Health, Ponderings about life

From Survival Mode to Creative Zone Again

When life was just about day-to-day survival and I wasn’t feeling very creative, I knew I needed to do something to get un-stuck. Four years of deeply wading through the weight of everything that was keeping me in survival mode, praying for hope and joy despite my circumstances, and trying to discover what my unique purpose was, and something finally started to grow in me.  It started with me determining to let go of anything that was weighing me down.

First, I got some counseling to uncover the root of my anxiety and start working on better ways to cope with stress.  Soapbox moment: I wish everyone thought of counseling as normal and ok, like a tuneup on your car, instead of viewing it as a stigma. (BTW, if you think you just can’t afford a counselor, there are sometimes scholarship programs available.  You might have to do some digging, but you’re worth the effort! There are also low-fee options like TalkSpace, $25 for a month and be able to text a counselor when you need.  Michael Phelps shares his experience with therapy here: at Talkspace ).

We all have issues (like the pressurizing problem of perfectionism) and limiting beliefs. It’s not a mark of failure, but of wisdom to ask for help to get you optimized.
and having an unbiased individual to help sort them out is kind of like hiring a professional organizer who helps you declutter and put things in a more ideal setup.  

Speaking of which, back before I ever heard of Konmari, I thought I needed to get my house organized, because my mess was overwhelming me.  That ushered me into the idea of decluttering, which ushered me into the realm of minimalism (which, for me, isn’t a strict set of rules, but rather the idea of not keeping more than I can deal with without overwhelm, and only what adds value and beauty to our lives.)  Which is where I am now, trying my utmost to live intentionally.

Intentionality changed me from somebody who could barely peel herself out of bed in the morning at 8 a.m., who dreaded the sound of busy little bodies awake before me (although I love them dearly), and had little to no structure in my day to someone who is awake closer to 5 a.m., who has goals for the day and longer term, and a plan to achieve them.  It changed me from someone who thought it would be a good idea to exercise to someone who regularly walks a mile (and sometimes my kids do it with me).  It changed me from someone who thought I’d like to paint more to someone who gets out the paints and creates.

Intentionality starts with better habits, which create momentum.

As a SAHM, recognizing I’m the CEO and in charge of the way my life and home works has been key to changing what I didn’t like and what wasn’t working.  We all have the same amount of hours in our days, so learning better time management (essentially self-management) has been essential for awakening a dream in me.  Putting plans  into place for better health and productivity has reduced overwhelm and given me the space to be creative.  I feel less like I’m surviving and more like I’m on my way to truly thriving creatively again.  My dream is being able to encourage others to do the same, because it’s powerfully and literally life-changing.

Leave a comment (scroll allll the way down on this post) sharing your dream and one thing you could do to get started on it!  If you don’t have one yet, share what’s weighing you down from getting there, and if you have a step to take to overcome it today!     

Posted in Day in the life of a mom, Mental Health, Ponderings about life

When Creativity gets Squashed by Survival Mode

When dealing with postpartum anxiety and depression and then adrenal fatigue and chronic exhaustion, I was stuck in survival mode.  Survival mode is not a great place for creativity to thrive in, or even show up.  A handful of days are that way now, occasionally, when I get insomnia or something else incredibly stressful comes up.  But for the most part, things have improved so much that I marvel at the contrast.  Maybe the following sound familiar to you, and I just want to give you hope that it doesn’t have to stay that way!

Some people have lofty aspirations, but at my lowest point, I just wanted to be at a place where I could be able to wake up easily not feeling exhausted and look forward to what lay ahead.  Where I wasn’t wishing each day was over because I barely felt like I could make it through.   I longed to know what being motivated and enthusiastic felt like again.  I didn’t want to be so overwhelmed that I might have a panic attack, and look like a fool when asking somebody to come just be with me and my kids because I couldn’t deal with life.  I wanted to enjoy food and not feel awful no matter what healthy thing I tried to eat.  I ached to see a light at the end of the dark tunnel within my health journey.

(I am going to pause a moment and acknowledge that some health journeys are a continuous tunnel without much light.  Although keeping hope alive is important, I know some issues are chronic, unrelenting, and desperately painful without any probability of reversal.

If you’re in that place, know your pain and your story matter.  I truly believe many of life’s most valuable lessons come from the most painful things, and you may unknowingly be the one teaching others what perseverance looks like and giving others in a hard situation the courage to go on, too.  Reach out if you feel like you need someone to help hold you up, pray for, and encourage you–you don’t have to go it alone! We were made to connect!)

I grieved for the vibrant, creative and energetic girl and woman I had once been.  I was LOW.  So I did what I normally do to cope with challenges: I read (which is hard to find time to do as a mom, right?! But I made it happen).  I was reading some inspirational mom book and it said something about having a passion or dream apart from the daily grind of parenting.

I had this numb sort of reaction, like, “That’s nice for some moms, but I can’t even imagine being in a place where my mind be able to fathom having a dream.  And besides, I don’t know what my dream would be.”  (But I do now.  More on that later.)  Have you been there?  Don’t be there alone.  Feel free to comment and share if you are in survival mode, or if you’ve discovered your dream.  What got you from survival mode to creativity again?

Posted in Gluten Free, healthy diet, recipe, saving money

Goals, Gluten-Free Living and My first YouTube Video

I recently posted about productivity and goals.  I set an achievable goal for myself for January, but I was a little doubtful of my ability. I feel mostly confident in the creative world…except when it comes to technology. I challenged myself to learn some basic video-editing on Shotcut. Well, my geek hubby keeps elbowing me happily about joining the dark side (I don’t know about that–computers frustrate me still. Oh, and since filming this portrait-layout instead of landscape, I have learned a thing or two about how YouTube works, and my next videos will definitely be more professional.)

Anyhow, as a recovering perfectionist who knows both I and my work are not perfect, I’m going out of my comfort zone and sharing the results of my effort although I cringe at the idea of possible critical viewers. This is a video I made sharing what I wish I knew when I first started the gluten-free lifestyle. I made it because some friends have been wanting to go gluten-free but find it really overwhelming, so I tried to cover the basics, from what types of GF flours to start with for baking, other meal options (including pre-made), best shopping options, and how to thicken sauces. (See show notes for more details.)

Feel free to share with friends you hear of who find out they have a gluten sensitivity and are feeling overwhelmed. If I can help someone on their journey, I feel like a little bit of my health trials are being redeemed for good.

YOUTUBE.COM
Skip trial and error as you enter the world of Gluten Free living! Here I share with you the best GF flour blend…