Tuesday, July 31, 2018

A Loving Kindness Meditation ~ On Evening Bliss

Take a moment. Close your eyes.  Breathe deeply.  Let it out.  Tell yourself... 

~May I be filled with patience~
~May I have kind eyes~

~May I show others me~
May I be strong~
~May I be filled with faith~
~May I be consistent~
~May I be filled with calm~
~May I be peaceful and at ease~

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Health, Fitness, & Diet ~ That Kick in the Pants

So my last post about this topic I mentioned a kick in the butt.  You see, I have been working out, trying to eat overall better, and trying to get things in other areas a bit more grounded and flow better.  I started working out and putting more focus on diet just after A was born.
I was setting goals, reaching them and at the end of June 2017 I was only 7 pounds away from my biggest goal set.  To be 155 by the time A turned 2.  I set that goal when I looked at pictures after his first birthday and baptism.  I knew I could get there.

As things go, I stopped using the scale to measure and focused on other areas to show progress.  I stepped on the scale over the Winter and was blown away by the number and how far from my goal I was.  It had gone up, way up.

I knew I hadn't worked out as consistently with it being Winter and was less active overall.  I knew food changed because in Winter, in Minnesota, comfort food is so nice on the cold long days.  So I expected it to be higher, but not as high as it was.

Then in April while at the dentist my blood pressure read higher than my usual normal.  I chalked that up to having just had a coffee shortly before going and the extra caffeine added to my system.

Fast forward to June 2018.  Back at my usual yearly doctor appointment, I stepped on the scale.  I felt defeated.  I was nearly 20 pounds heavier than the year before.  All that work I had done leading up to 2017 since my youngest was born and here I was back at 6 weeks post birth weight.

I was frustrated leading up because no matter what I ate, no matter what activity I did, I couldn't change the scale number and the number on the tape measure.  Pictures showed no changes either.  I could no longer go off clothing sizes as my indicator of success because I had pants as small as XS up to size 10 depending on the type of pants, length, cut, etc.  Shirts weren't any better, small up to large depending on the shirt.

When the nurse told my blood pressure and I noticed that it was still high, that is when I got the courage to say something to my doctor.  We talked over  what had been going on and any changes.  The only change I made in the year was by going on a birth control pill.

The thought never occurred to me that my weight would go up, let along by that much.  Or it would affect my bp because it had never affected it negatively before.  But as pregnancy and having kids does, it changes your body in a lot of ways.  You may not know the change until you go back to doing something the way you used to.

So, we began with the obvious and easiest thing to try.  Stop taking birth control because that was the only big change I had made and do a recheck in 3 weeks. 

I stopped taking it, did my usual working out, trying to eat better and waited for three weeks to go by.  The only other big change I did after my appointment was I stopped drinking pop and frappes daily, which I had been trying to do for a long time.  This doctor appointment helped give me the much needed push to find the willpower to resist them.  A much needed change on many levels (I will go more into this on another post).

Three weeks later I faced my recheck, with kids in tow.  If I could get my bp to go down and have kids in tow when they were doing the recheck, while answering a thousand questions coming from both kids at once, then I would win this.

My bp was back to my usual normal and my weight was down by 4 pounds.  4 pounds may not seem like a lot, but for the fact I couldn't loose anything no matter what I tried and it had only been three weeks, I was happy.

It is hard to make changes sometimes, even when they are needed.  Sometimes we just need that little extra wake up call, that little extra push, that kick in the pants.

This one made me make some much needed changes.  This one gave me the courage to speak up about my health with my doctor and the frustrations I was feeling.  This one gave me the willpower needed to make some better daily habits happen.  This one gave me the creativity to find a workout combo I really do enjoy and can do easily anywhere.  This one was the catalyst for other changes that I am working on too. 

I encourage you to find your kick in the pants that you need to make the changes needed, to move forward.  I also encourage you to talk to your doctor with your frustrations and health concerns you have.

Share you story.  What was the catalyst for the much change you needed face?

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

A Loving Kindness Meditation ~ On Saying Yes to You

Take a moment. Close your eyes.  Breathe deeply.  Let it out.  Tell yourself...

~ You are worthy and allowed to take time for yourself~
~To fill your tank~
~Letting go of the guilt, and truly immersing yourself in the moment~

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Let's Talk Goals

We are half way through 2018.  Midway through is a good time to take a look any goals that you set at the start of the year.

How do you set your goals?  Track them?  How often do they get forgotten about? 

I will admit, I set goals.  It is what I do.  I like to see my progress and like to check things off lists sometimes.  But I also have to admit, as the days go by, some of the goals get set aside.  Why?  Because sometimes circumstances change and the goal just doesn't fit, sometimes I forget about it, and sometimes I find that it just doesn't fit as I am going along.

The bigger goals I break out a little into mini goals to help keep moving forward.  Sometimes I set rewards to keep motivated and sometimes I just let reaching the goal be the reward.  It all depends on how long it will take to reach the goal.

This year I decided to try and set some goals in most areas of my life.  Physical health goals, emotional, spiritual, mental, dreams, business, writing, reading, lifestyle.  I also added some much need to-do list projects to my goal list in hopes that they would get done.

When I set them at the beginning of the year I also set the intent to re-evaluate in March.  Well, March came and went, now it is July and I decided to look at what I wrote.

I realized I failed.  I didn't re-evaluate.  I didn't meet a bunch of them because, well, because I forgot about a lot of them or was actually further behind than forward on some.  Had I checked in in March would I have been further along on them?  Maybe, maybe not.

There are some that I have been working on, sometimes battling, for a while now.  But it wasn't until recently that stuff aligned to give me that swift kick in the butt I needed. 

About a week I ago, I pulled the papers out where I wrote them.  A little uncertain because I knew things weren't quite where I had hoped for back when I had written them.

As it turned out, there were quite a few I could actually check off because they were done and I didn't realize it.  Some I could just cross off entirely because it wasn't a part of my journey any more.  Some I started out strong on and then when I wasn't seeing results I let them go.   And some didn't fully begin to even start working until I got the swift kick in the butt (so to speak).

Chances are, had I re-evaluated in March, some of them may have been crossed off too soon because I wasn't seeing the results .  So there is some good in waiting, but also to keep putting certain goals back in because down the road may be better timing.

I believe that I am in a much better spot, inside and out, today than I was when I first made the goals to re-evaluate than I was in March.

I feel I can tackle these with more focus and more intensity where I need to.

So, have you checked in with your goals recently? 

One of the things I took away from me from a workshop I went to four years ago was the idea of an end goal.  What do I want it to look like at the end of a certain goal.  Then I can set the pieces in motion or break them out as needed to be able to work towards them.

Time to look at mine and do some re-evaluating, resetting, and putting the pieces into motion that are needed.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Forgiveness & Grace ~ Apologizing to Your Kids

For the longest time, when we work through apologies with our kids we try to work through them in the following way:
  • Say I am sorry and sorry for what
  • How can I fix it?
  • Do you forgive me
I have come to realize as well, that this is something I need to do as well.  So when I err, let my frustration or impatience get the better of me, have to change plans quickly I offer my apologize.  It isn't always easy, especially to admit we were wrong.  But even as parents, as adults, we too make mistakes and sometimes we need to apologize.

Last night was one those moments.

Last night, I was tired.  I have not being sleeping well again.  When I don't have restful sleep often enough, my patience is less and my frustration goes up more quickly.  I was tired and by the end of the day, after my kids were in bed, my patience was gone.

So when my oldest came out of his room, after being tucked in and told goodnight to, for the third time I was a bit irritated.  Why?  Not because he came out, but because he decided at that moment he was incapable of closing his bedroom door after having gone to the bathroom.  He battled me on it, begged me, told me he couldn't do it, but he wanted me to do it, but he didn't want to all from the top of the stairs which are right under his brother's room.

I lost what little patience I had mustered and I yelled.  Yes, I yelled.  I don't yell often, but it does happen.  I don't like it and neither does anyone else around me at the time. 

I told him that I was not going to close his door for him because he was perfectly capable of doing it himself.  He told me yes.  After the back and forth I told him to go to bed and if he didn't want to close the door himself it would just stay open for the night.  I was not going to close it.  After a bit more I yelled, he stomped back to his room and closed his door (nicely surprisingly).

Fortunately my youngest remained asleep during this whole time.

As I sat on the couch, letting things go and letting calm in, I knew what I had to do.  I had to apologize and ask for forgiveness.  I knew he wasn't asleep yet (I could hear him playing with stuffies in his room).  So I took a deep breathe, went in, and chatted with him.

I chatted with him like it was no big deal.  I apologized and told him why I yelled, that it wasn't the right thing.  Before I got to asking for forgiveness, he looked at me with a smile and said "I forgive you mom".  Laid down and said goodnight.

I was in awe of how much grace this 5 year old had just given me.  We had the conversation with such ease. 

Apologize and ask for forgiveness.  Such a little thing, but can make a huge difference in the way things go.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Nurture ~ Acrostic Poem


Never forget to nurture yourself & your needs

Unraveling the stresses, the guilt, the negative emotions, letting yourself

Release, rest, rejuvenate and be able to rise, feeling full after

Taking time to trust, to talk, to do the things you enjoy,

Utilizing the things that fill you up & nourish you, bring you the energy you need

Readying you to rise to face the day

Each day ~ enlightened, energized, and ready to embrace what is in front of you

Friday, July 13, 2018

Health, Fitenss, Diet ~ Sharing My Journey with You

I have been asked several times what my "secrets" are for my weight loss and diet journey.   I haven't said much, just a few things here and there.  I have been thinking about writing on this topic for awhile now, but just haven't seem to be able to always find the words.

You see, health, fitness, and diet are as unique as the individual going through it.  But there are some things that can be learned to help one grow in their knowledge that does cover all.

I am going to share with you my journey up until now and keep adding to it as I continue down this path.

Some of you may be able to relate, some may not.  But I hope there is something you can take away from it all somewhere along the way.

This journey really ramped up about 2 1/2 years ago, but it goes back further than that.  So I am going to use one day during the week to talk about this topic from my own personal experience and journey.

I encourage you to follow along and to share your thoughts and experiences along the way.

For the time being, the titles for these posts will start off with Health, Fitness, Diet and follow up with what the main theme is from the post.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Saying Yes to You ~It's Hard Sometimes, But Worth It

Recently I wrote about taking time for one of the pieces in your life's puzzle, your marriage.  Another piece I made mention of is the piece that is you.  Remember, it started as you.  Then got married.  Then grew your family.

Sometimes in the mix of all that, well, we sometimes loose sight of who we are and taking care of ourselves gets placed on the back burner while we take of the others around us and the other responsibilities we have. 

You need to take care of you.  Yup, you heard me.  You need to take care of you.  It is an important piece to the puzzle.  You can't fuel others up and fill them up without taking time to fuel you and fill yourself up.

How many times do we make excuses to set us aside?  I don't have the time, our schedules are always busy, no one to watch the kids, and so on.

Did you know you can still take care of yourself even if the kids are around?  You can say yes to you, the things you enjoy.  Of course it is easier to do sometimes when you are alone.  But think about it.  During the day, where are times you can say yes to you and your time that is needed?

It doesn't have to be long.  Sometimes 5 minutes is all it takes.  It may mean that you have to put the remote down, the social media down, the online games down.  I know, it's easy, accessible, and just sort of becomes habit.  I have been known to zone out to a couple hours at nap time or in the evening watching NCIS reruns. 

While yes, this is nice sometimes, aren't there other things that you enjoy?  What gives you energy?  Make a list.  And while you are at it, divide your page into two columns.  Write the things that give you energy in one and in the other, write the things that zap your energy.  I know, laundry and dishes aren't always energy boosts for most people, but there are just some things that have to get done.

I got the idea to write out the things that give me energy and the things that zap it from an Abundant Mama Project activity.  After writing my lists out, I decided to take it one step further.  I decided to find ways to decrease the amount of time on those energy zappers to the point where the task is done more quickly, I don't do it, or have changed my perspective on the activity.  As for those things that give me energy, I made the decision to set a time in the week for them.

I also listed out the chores while I was at it, because for me, while they don't give me energy, they also don't zap it either.  But gone left undone for too long can cause issues in itself.

I put all into a schedule.  I took the things that give me energy and put something to each day of the week, at least Monday through Friday.  I figure I would leave the weekends open and see where they lead.  The chores, I did the same thing.  I broke them out and gave them a schedule for a day during the week.

By doing this, it helps me fuel up and fill my tank each day.  It also has helped cleaning and chores to get done weekly, but not feel like a struggle.  Though I do laundry on the weekend, I try to have it washed early in the week and pick a night or nap time while watching TV to fold it.  Now, I have to admit, the kids stuff gets put away rather quickly, however I have a tendency to leave the basket full of my own and hubby's stuff in our room.  At least it is clean, out of the basement, folded.

None of this is a fool proof method.  There are some days where I just set it all aside and zone out to TV and social media during my downtime.  There are also some days where I try to incorporate what fuels me into the activities we are doing as a family or the activities I am doing with kids.  Added bonus, both my kids love to just sit and color.  Both also love to be outside.  A lot of times they want to create their own world, which means I get some time to do my own thing.  So either I join in or I do a chore that needs to be done or I find some way I can yes to me during that time.  Even if it means a few sips from the now cold coffee that I have given up on trying to reheat and drop a few ice cubes in it to make it an iced coffee.

Saying yes to you can be an activity that has a cost, like a coffee shop stop, purchasing something you've wanted, or pedicure type things or it can just simply be sitting on the porch while the kids play happily and you do your own thing.  It doesn't always have to come with a price tag. 

For now: reading, being outside, creative time, writing, exercising are a few things that fuel me.  So those are the things I try to incorporate each day of the week.  Not necessarily all of them every day, but they all get added into my week.

Since doing this I have noticed a lot of things.  I have noticed my attitude has begun to change, more positive.  I, most nights, sleep better.  I feel more connected, more grounded.  My perspective has shifted, I get to have me time (even with kids in tow).

How about you?  What brings you energy?  What drains it?  How can you find time for yourself each day, even if it is only 5 minutes (down the road, try to add more time on to it)?  What do you do for you to take care of the you piece to the puzzle?

Take the time because you deserve it.  You are worth it.  Take the time because it will benefit everyone.  Make it a priority, even if you have to schedule it.  Down the road, it will become natural and a part of your daily flow and balance.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Ease ~ Acrostic Poem



Each day you

Awake, take a deep breath in,

Set yourself for the day, and

Embrace what is to come

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Life is Like Puddle

Life is like a puddle, you can either:

Carefully, strategically walk or step around it,
Sometimes staying dry and in the clear, sometimes leading to sinking in the mud

Try to leap over it as far as you can, maybe missing it completely or catching just the edge

Just walk right on through and continue on

Slow down, get your footing, and step where you easily can

Run through it with a big splash, turn around and do it again

It all depends on the moment, the season we are in, the path we are on

Making Mistakes, Learning, & Letting Go of Perfect ~ In Ourselves & Our Kids

We all mistakes.  It doesn't matter how young or old we are, we all make them.  These are the words I was saying to my oldest.

Sometimes it may be one mistake in a moment, sometimes many in that moment.  But we all make them.  Why? Because we are always learning and growing.  Mistakes are a part of that process.  What matters is how we handle those mistakes.

What do we do with them?  How do we respond?  What can we learn from them? How do we move forward?  How do we take what is needed from the experience, learn from, and let it go?

All the mistakes, along with the successes, are what make up our journey.  We can either pile them up on our shoulders or lay them down as stones on our path.

If we choose to place them on our shoulders, then one of two things can happen.  If we pile only mistakes on our shoulders then we begin to feel weighted, unworthy, undervalued.  We begin to let more fear, guilt, worry, anxiety in and our inner negative self critic begins to get too strong a foothold and won't let go easily.

Or if it is only successes we pile up, then we begin to have an unrealistic view of reality.  Our ego gets a bit of a big head and pride rears it's head.

So, instead, let's place them all...all the mistakes...all the successes....under our feet, helping to guide us on this journey.

Not always easy, I know.  But this all got me thinking or well, what my oldest said to me got me thinking.  You see, he told me he doesn't want to make mistakes, hates them, and won't make them anymore.  Which then lead to him saying he wanted things to be perfect.

For a moment, I wondered where he picked this up.  I know I try to make things perfect, but I am learning that perfect doesn't really exist in the sense of our expectations and to be okay with that.  We can plan, dream, try to set things up to be "perfect" but in the end, there are things that don't go quite right and we need to be okay with that sometimes.  Now, that is not to say that there aren't moments that are perfect, where everything seems to come together just right, have a good flow, good timing and in any other circumstances wouldn't have happened.  But to have everything be "perfect" all of the time, for everything, in every way, that just isn't how it goes.

I don't like making mistakes I told him.  No one does.  But what matters is what we do when they happen.  Because you know what, it is going to happen.

He told me he still doesn't like when they happen.  

I know, neither do it.  What is important is that we really try our best.  If we make a mistake, we fix it.

This, for the time being, ended our conversation. But I know the topic will come back around again.  It is my hope that I can help teach my sons to lay down their success and mistakes under their feet and help guide them over this terrain, so that one day they can look at those spots in their lives and see how far they have come.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Take the Time ~ Savor the Moment ~ Go on the Adventure

My kiddos knew strawberry season was coming up and were looking forward to the chance to go and pick our own.  We were able to go this past weekend.  Saturday, the day was hot and opted for an adventure to Sillwater because of timing once everyone was ready for the day.  So Sunday looked more promising.

We told the kids if it is raining we may have to find something else to do.  Well, it was raining, but the berry line said they were still open.  Despite the rain and the voice in the back of my head telling me we should just change our plans to avoid disappointment and the fits that succumb to that disappointment usually, we agreed to give it a try.

And like my youngest said, "if we can't because of the rain, no biggie.  We will find something else to do".  A few weeks back we had been invited to go berry picking with friends, but opted to pass as I didn't want to navigate two kiddos picking by myself (A's first time actually picking) or the mud from the day of rain before.  At that point the kids said that was fine, A wanted to stay home anyways, and they both wanted to go when we could go with daddy.

The gates were still open when we arrived and the rain was starting to pick up.  We got ourselves set up for picking in the rain and head to the entrance in hopes we could still sneak in before they closed up due to rain.  As luck would have it, we were the last group of to get to go out in the field.  Smiles and all we road the tractor ride.
We made quick work of picking just in time to start heading back as the rain really began to pick up.  Second to last tractor ride group back and a decent amount of delicious strawberries in our baskets.

Despite the rain, we still tried anyways.  I don't know what the kids liked more, picking berries or riding on the tractor ride.  But what I do know is that both kids were thankful for it that night when we did prayers. 
Sometimes we just have to take in the moment and savor it.  We knew going in plans could change if they closed before we got there.  But we got to pick berries and even had time to make shortcake to enjoy with them when we got home. 

Added bonus, a day later, despite the heat, we went for a short walk around our block to check out the blackberries in our backyard.  There was enough ready to fill a couple of small containers and there are still many left to ripen for picking later in the week. 
Sometimes we just need to lay things aside: the chores, to do lists, etc. and just take in the moment.  Take in the timing of nature, the timing of the season.

Take the time.

Recharge ~ Acrostic Poem


Release, and find rest & rejuvenation

Ease emotion, enter energy

Change control, become more centered

Have hope

AMP it up, become alive again

Revamp by recreating rituals & routines

Give grace, get gratitude

Each day's end begins anew, envelope yourself with excitement