Create Spaciousness in Your Soul

I was listening to The Next Right Thing podcast episode 2 , and I felt inspired. Emily P. Freeman talks about “soul minimalism” and how we need to take time to rest in God, even just five minutes.

I’ve been feeling stressed and overwhelmed. When I get that way I tend to try harder and harder. But then I burn out. Because I’m carrying burdens that God didn’t intend for me. When your body is aching and your mind is racing and it wasn’t because of an unexpected emergency or something of that nature , it’s time for some rest. It’s time to stop for a moment .

What is the goal of the five minutes?

There is no correct way to do this which is why it’s so hard for go-getter types to do this. Just set a timer for 5 minutes , lay down , and close your eyes. By doing this you are making space in your soul for God to come in and carry your burdens. You stop doing. You realize everything will still be waiting for you when you are done. God is with you.

But I don’t have time

A wise priest once said at mass that if we feel like we have no time to pray that we actually don’t have time not to pray. The same goes for resting. When we get to the point of such stress and overwhelm that we are saying “I don’t have time I don’t have time” that is EXACTLY when we need to stop.

But I have kids

So do I. You can take 5 minutes before they get up, when they are taking a nap, after they go to bed, while they are watching TV or incentive-ize it and offer a reward for giving you 5 minutes. Or teach them how to do it too. That would be a great lesson!

Now I feel more overwhelmed

Emily P. Freeman said this can happen. But doing this more often will help decrease and slow down all the worry in your mind. Just keep doing it.

Don’t fall into this trap

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you will feel completely better after taking this moment of rest. That’s not the point. The point is realizing that it’s okay for you to stop doing for a moment. The whole world doesn’t depend on you. You are not God. Give yourself a moment to rest in Him and be His child. That’s what you are, afterall.

Intentional but Simple Self-Care

I don’t know about you, but when I think of self-care I think of spending money and buying something for myself, or taking a bubble bath, or painting my nails.

But I think there’s a better way to get the most out of your self-care time. You have to consider your life wheel. If you are someone who is on top of personal grooming, taking a bubble bath isn’t going to impact you the same way that it would for someone who neglects this area. You have to pay attention to your feelings because they will clue you in on where you may be put of balance. For instance, I have been feeling inadequate and comparing myself to other people when it comes to work done for money. I was listening to the Clutterbug podcast and she was talking about making yourself proud and honestly is was exactly what I needed to hear. She said we need to take small steps and do things that make us proud. It could take 10, or 15 minutes. I recently started homeschooling so I feel good about where I’m at as a mom and teacher, I have also been spending time on my home and decorating recently which is great, but I’ve neglected money-making opportunities like selling things online, blogging, my podcast , etc as well as being taking time to be social. I also got off track with exercise in the past week because of the poor air quality here in California. So taking Clutterbug’s advice , I made a list of small things I can do to feel proud. That’s why I’m writing this blog post right now.

Instead of “I feel sad so I need to watch a movie…”, you need to think deeper. It turns out the best self-care isn’t always resting and pampering but sometimes it’s producing something or helping someone or creating something.

Grace For Hard Times

Many of us are embarking on a new (or newish) journey this fall, whether it is homeschooling, distance learning or keeping our kids safe in a school environment. Or maybe we are starting a new job, a new goal, or a new commitment. I don’t know about you but when I start something new and it’s hard, I feel like I’m failing.

Like I’m not cut out for this.

Like I want to quit.

But thats normal, right?

God’s Voice or Someone Else’s?

When we start something new all the self-doubting happens and it ain’t nothin’ but the devil. Here’s a quick way to see if you should listen to these voices:

The voice I always hear is the one that rushes me. I often feel behind and push myself to hurry, hurry, hurry.

Balm to the Soul

Today I was watching the Do it On a Dime YouTube channel (I love it) and she was making an episode about distance learning. She talked about how she had such a hard time with it starting last March even though she has a master’s degree in teaching and she was beating herself up about it. But she heard advice from someone (I don’t remember who) that said find a picture of yourself when you were little , like age 5 or younger. Now say the same hurtful thoughts to that little girl, go on, berate her. Tell her :

Who are you to think you can do this?

What are you thinking?

You’re not capable !

You should know better because you have a degree!

If you were any good you’d be better at this.

But I bet you can’t. I bet you can’t talk to her like that. Because she is precious. She is adorable. She is a child. And you my friend, are a child too. A child or God. This is the way God sees us. So I got out my picture. I spoke to the little girl how I talk to myself. I said :

You are doing so good

You are trying so hard.

This is so hard but you can do it.

You’ve got this.

And I cried. It was like a drink of cool water after being thirsty for so long. In came God’s grace, God’s peace. God’s healing for my wounded soul.

More beautiful quotes

Who doesn’t benefit from more encouraging words? (Can you tell words of affirmation are my love language?)

My Summer 2020 Favorite Things

Just for fun here’s a list of my favorite things that I’ve purchased or enjoyed this summer.

Alexa Dot – I got this for my husband’s birthday gift and he’s really enjoying it. We hooked it up to smart light bulbs so we can turn some lights around the house on and off.

Soap holder- I got this at Dollar Tree and it’s working great to hold my sponge in the kitchen sink

Dollar Tree command hooks – I’ve been using these everywhere around my house. Inside kitchen cabinets, in the kid’s bathroom so they can reach their towels, in the kid’s bedroom so they can reach their bathrobes. It’s perfect for them!

City of New Orleans song – this is just such a feel good song.

Clutterbug podcast – I always get so inspired by her podcasts. Also her new show is awesome too!

Blogging on my phone – this has been crucial in me being able to blog more. The WordPress app is awesome. Right now to make blogging easier since I’m so busy it’s the only way.

Schwann’s – I was going to have a meal prep party to get me through the newborn phase but then something called Covid-19 happened, so I rediscovered Schwann’s.  It’s been so nice to have delicious frozen food delivered!

Your Blue Flame by Jennifer Fulwiler – this book is super inspiring and it will make you want to pursue your dreams.

Our quiet time shed- my husband and I got an insane deal on a shed. We wanted one so we could have a place to go to chill out and have some quiet time to read, write, workout, etc.

Antique Compote Serving Bowl- I saw this at an antique shop and my husband went back and got it for me.

My herb garden – I’ve never been good with plants but this time around I’m really trying to learn. It helps that my plants are always in my sight right above my kitchen sink. I’m growing basil, oregano, mint, parsley, and rosemary. Outside I have some green onions. I had cilantro and lavender but they both died sadly.

In Awe by John O’Leary – this book inspires you to live a life of wonder and remember what is essential around you.

Fabulous50s workout videos – I found these on YouTube. The lady who makes them is Australian and she has such a lovely accent. It’s intended for women over 50 but I don’t care I just really enjoy watching her.

Ninja blender- our old blender bir the dust so we had to buy a new one and we wanted to make sure it was good quality. enter the Ninja blender. We got it at Costco and let me tell you the name is so appropriate. There are three blade. THREE. This thing is a ninja, people. After making 10 million frappuccinos in my life having worked 11 years at Starbucks, I know a thing or two about blenders. I highly recommend it!

This quote –

Dollar Tree craft supplies – Dollar Tree has really amped up their craft section, check it out! I made this :

If Something’s Not Working…

I’m about to start my journey as an official homeschooling mom.

I’m nervous.

I’m excited.

And I’m a little overwhelmed. I have perfectionist tendencies and I’m always trying to find the perfect routine. But routines are supposed to bring order and peace not stress and anxiety. So if something’s not working…

Make a List

It’s not time to shame and blame yourself. It’s not time to try harder. It’s time to be objective about your time.

List all your basic duties and overestimate how long they take to give yourself grace. Lately I have been feeling like I’m falling behind on my duties so I decided to do this.

You’ll Be Shocked

Guess what? Even without including time for cleaning the house (not tidying , dishes, laundry I’m talking about scrubbing and vacuuming) it said I need 3.5 more hours in my day.

3.5 more hours. 3.5 MORE HOURS! THAT’S INSANE! But it also makes me feel better. I know that it makes sense why I feel stressed. Because i *actually* am doing a lot.

Here’s What You Gotta Do

So what to do? I need to base my daily schedule on the reality of the day. If things are missed that need to get done that week I will allot time on Saturday as my catch-up day. I used to have the whole weekend freed up because I got my work done in the week but my life is different now. I’m homeschooling and I have a new baby. Time to adjust.

It’s Not All Up To You

I heard recently something like “when did we start working for our kids instead of with them?” AMEN SISTER! Remember Little House on the Prairie? Mrs. Ingles didn’t run around doing everything while her kids relaxed. They worked with her according to their capability.

I will also delegate more things to my kids and consider a meal planning service or cleaning service as my budget allows. I also need to decide what truly needs to get done weekly and what can be done less frequently. I always miss cleaning my car and I feel bad about it. Well maybe it’s time to schedule a day once per month to do it. Same thing with meal planning , detail cleaning, decluttering etc.

Grace

I also plan on leaving ample wiggle room and white space to give myself grace. No more rigid schedules. I have kids. I need a routine. When this is done we will do this, then when that’s done, we will do this. We will, however, break for meals. Also, I will allow screen time as I see fit. If it’s before 3 pm I will make sure it’s educational and ask my kids questions about it. I will use it at a tool so I can get some focus time or as a reward.

Funny Thing is…

After one day of doing things differently I actually feel like I was MORE productive and far less anxious. I had mental space to delegate things for my kids to do and didn’t feel overwhelmed teaching them about it. I even took them to a park (not playground it’s still Covid-19 lockdown sadly) which I didn’t plan originally. I had time to do fun things like browse Thredup. I had some time to rest. I prepped dinner for the next night. I call that a win, my friends.

Mix and Match to Create Your Own Diet/Fitness Plan

Like many people, I would like to lose some weight. And I am not one of those people who starts a new diet and then in the first week they lose 15 lbs. I’m lucky if I am extremely faithful to the diet and I lose 1 lb in two weeks. It doesn’t matter if I am trying Paleo, keto, calorie restricting or intermittent fasting.

Which brings me to the purpose of this post. I think it’s beneficial to create your own plan for fitness and weight loss . Combine different philosophies and mix them all together and you will probably come up with a plan that will last long term because it will cater to you as an individual and it will coinside with your nature.

My Plan

Remember I said I have a hard time losing weight? My theory is my body goes into starvation mode after calorie restricting for so long so my weight loss plateaus or I actually gain weight. If we lived in cave man times this would be great for survival.

But we don’t. So it’s just annoying.

So what I am doing right now is:

  • Metabolic confusion – 2 high carb days and 5 low carb days. Wednesday and Saturday are my high carb days.
  • Unavoidable exceptions – if there is a celebration or surprise or some other unexpected occurrence, my rule is that I will fast until from dinner until lunch time the next day, and make that day a low carb day.
  • On low carb days I try to be as close to keto as possible but maybe allow one fruit or 1 slice of whole grain bread. If I have carbs its minimal and it is a whole grain or fruit.
  • I track my food in my fitness pal. On low carb days I eat 1450 calories. High carb days 1750.
  • If I am having a super stressful day I will let myself go over my calories. If I haven’t kept track all day I just try to make healthy choices and follow the tricks in “French Women Don’t Get Fat.” I eat small portions . I drink lots of water. I move my body. I eat dessert but moderate amount. If I am out to dinner I only eat half of it’s a large portion.
  • I do a HIIT workout on high carb days and a regular cardio or toning workout on low carb days.
  • I only weigh myself once a month. This keeps me from getting discouraged when the scale doesn’t budge or even shows weight gain.
  • I plan to reward myself with a small gift for my weight loss milestones . Something that will reinforce positive behaviors and habits I am trying to cultivate int my life. For example, I just bought a morning routine audiobook.
  • Even when calorie restricting I try to be balanced in my food choices. I learned this from a dietician when I had glucose intolerance. Each meal should have a protein , starch, and a either fruit or dairy. I can always have as many non-starchy vegetables as I want. On low-carb days I just choose starches and fruits that have fewer carbs.

Does it work?

So far, yes! I lost 6 lbs my first month. My plan is sustainable and suits my lifestyle, my temperment, my personality and it tells me actions to take when the inevitable happens. It prescribes how to handle setbacks and failures without getting derailed. It allows me to focus on my progress and not feel bad about not being perfect. It has flexibility and I actually like it. If it’s time to have a dessert I can do so without guilt because I have already decided when it’s time to have a dessert.

When Anxiety Strikes – Make a Plan

As some of you know, I am a person who suffers from anxiety. Sometimes I even have panic attacks. I believe sometimes medication is necessary. I currently take an anti-depressant that helps with anxiety. No shame in that. But pills aren’t magical. I still have to take responsibility for the action aspect of managing my anxiety. That’s where a making a plan comes in handy!

But first…

These are just my experiences and do not replace the advice of a professional. Therapy is great so if you need it, get ir. If you aren’t sure if you need it , get it. It will only benefit you. Please also know that after taking a pill and executing a plan, you still might not feel better for awhile. That doesn’t mean you are doing something wrong. Feelings take time to pass. Name your feelings, accept your feelings, and take heart knowing that they will move through you. Your ego will try to tell you that you will always feel this way and that there’s some there’s something wrong with you and you are the exception to all the good advice so you are just doomed to feel horrible forever. Yuck! That kind of self-talk ain’t nothing but the devil.

Benefits and Automation

Making a good plan is a great place to start on your path to feeling better. Not only will some or all of these actions affect your brain positively be releasing stress-reducing hormones, they will also distract you. Here are things i put into my plan. Your plan may need to be tweaked depending on what is causing your anxiety, but most of these actions can be automated. I like to make a little index card that in “laminate” with packing tape and cross things off with a dry erase markers as I complete them.

Example

  • Call a trusted friend. This will make you feel relaxed, feel reassured that you aren’t alone, and maybe even make you laughed. It will also help you overcome any shame you may be feeling.
  • Pray. Pray for healing. Sit with God and tell him all you worries. Release them into His hands.
  • Play. Create. Color. Go swimming. Play with a child. Bake something.
  • Do a grounding exercise.
  • Take a nap.
  • Meditate
  • Watch something funny. I recommend Jim Gaffigan.
  • Exercise . Dance. Just move your body.
  • List worries, then facts.
  • List worst-case scenarios and what you would do if they happened
  • List things you’ve been through to remind yourself or how capable you are.
  • Go to bed early, get more sleep
  • Delete unnecessary tasks, delegate things you don’t have to do, delight in the tasks you do have to do.
  • Give yourself grace. Eat the cookie buy the shoes. Now isn’t the time to be rigid. Don’t go buck wild and binge or run up your credit card. But it might help to eat a cookie even if you are on a diet. And buy a new pair of shoes even if you are on a budget. When the battle is harder, the needs are greater, remember? You have real NEEDS right now. You aren’t just sloughing off duties and being irresponsible. You have probably been acting TOO responsible and working TOO hard. That may be why you are out of balance. Time to take a break! My ego wants to tell me “see you can’t lose weight.” And “see you can’t reach financial goals”. Instead of being realistic and remembering the path to success has ups and downs. As human beings we have real needs that we can’t always anticipate. You have to view these downs on your path as a time when you need extra fuel to keep going.
  • Go out in nature and just take it in. Walk barefoot, feel the air, notice the movement of the trees and the sound of the birds chirping.

What are some things you do that help you with anxiety?

Dear Grandma, You’ve Made a Difference

You deserve to know how you have contributed to my life. Throughout my life you have taught me many things, some directly, many indirectly – learned through your example.

The Comfort of Home

When I was a little girl your house was a magical place with beautiful roses, yummy things in the oven, and treasures to discover. A grandmother’s house from a storybook. Beautiful antiques, family heirlooms,  bookshelves built by my grandfather. You have lived there my whole life. Your house is my second home. It always looks basically the same and smells the same. You may not realize how important the home you and Grandpa made together is to every single person in our family. How important you are and the impact you have made on so many.

Me when I was a toddler at your house.

The Value of Faith

You have taught me about faith, hope and how to be resilient through your example. You have been through some hard things. Unexpected twins, three young babies at once, 15 years of caring for your husband with a brain tumor and his untimely departure. Through it all you have kept your unwavering faith. Even when your vision started to fade you focused on what you can do to make your life better. You stay vibrant by listening to audiobooks, radio, staying interested in other people’s lives, and  puttering in your garden.

 You always have had this magnet on your fridge and it shows that you live your life this way:

 Christ is the Head of this house ; the Unseen Guest at every meal; the Silent Listener to every conversation. 

There you are to my left when I was pregnant with my first baby.

The Gift of Hospitality

“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”

Raplh Waldo Emerson

You have always been an excellent hostess. For my whole life almost every birthday, Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Easter was at your house. You always insist that we pray a blessing over the food. Your hospitality was not always just about throwing a great party, though, you opened up your home to me, my sister, my cousin and countless other people. Sure you needed a little extra money but you could have charged far more. You wanted to share the blessing of your home with others, and you have always created a sense of belonging, comfort, and safety.

Easter time! I was probably 8 or 9 here.
A selfie of us when I lived with you.

The Beauty of Music

You always have some beautiful music playing whether it would be from a musical, something classical or some hymns. You often sing along which is joyous to hear. You introduced musicals to my sister’s and I when you would have us over at your house. Thank you for this gift. Many of my peers have never seen any of the classics and I have had teachers surprised by my exposure to the classics. You have helped me become a more cultured, well-rounded person through your love of music. You celebrate music when you invite those in our family with musical gifts to play and sing around the piano. This is an extraordinary thing. My husband was amazed when he saw that our family does this. He thought it only happened in movies! Most families these days are far too sarcastic and cynical to engage in such a way and spend their time in front of a screen. Thank you for upholding this tradition.

Queen Grandma

I hope you know how loved you are and the beautiful legacy you have created. A closely knit family of eternal beings. You have devoted your life to family and relationships and it shows. Thank you for your beautiful contribution to all of our lives. In my heart you are elevated to the status of a queen. I love you Grandma.

You with my first baby.