Get Up and Do Something (Even if You Feel Inadequate)

Do you ever feel that you are failing? That you aren’t enough? I know I do, and I get these kinds of thoughts often as a person who suffers from anxiety. But I don’t think living in fear is God’s plan for me or anyone else. Remember the man by the pool?

John 5:8 Then Jesus told him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.”

Let’s reflect on this for a moment. Jesus was talking to the man by the pool, who would see all the other people getting water in the pool, and he was paralyzed by his thoughts and beliefs about who he was. Jesus saw him wallowing in his pity and told him to get up!

We all have lies we believe about ourselves that come from the devil himself. They may sound like:

  • I’m not pretty enough
  • I’m not naturally (insert virtue here)
  • I’m not good enough
  • I’m not enough
  • I’m not capable
  • I don’t have anything to give
  • I don’t have time
  • I’m too fat
  • I’m too thin
  • My kids aren’t well behaved enough
  • I’m not doing enough for my kids
  • I should work outside the home
  • I should be a stay-at-home mom
  • I should certain life milestones done by now
  • Too many people are already doing it
  • No one is interested in this
  • I’m not pretty enough
  • I need to wait until (…)
  • I don’t have the right tools yet.

Some of us need to hear this message, some of us don’t. Some of us are Marthas, some of us are Marys. And at different times we need different things. But I think we can both agree that if you have been venting about the same thing for years and years, and you can change it, but you are afraid, it’s time to “get up”! We need not be capable, only willing, Remember Mary’s fiat?

Image result for mary's fiat

I certainly have all of these limiting thoughts going through my head from time to time, especially when I’M TIRED. I put off creating this blog for some time because I was waiting for the perfect circumstances to arrive. I was believing the lie of “you can’t blog until you have 2 + hours a day of completely uninterrupted time and have a regular baby sitter in place”. I was comparing myself to other moms online who had regular childcare, and while that would be great, it isn’t possible in my current circumstance. Thankfully, I found a mom who inspired me to write when my kids were asleep, and another mom who would just write for 15 minutes at a time. From these two women’s separate circumstances, I was able to tailor my writing to a schedule that works for my life. It doesn’t matter that my life doesn’t look like someone else’s.

You see what I want to tell you is you can do it. You can get up. You can change your life. You can’t change everything but the good Lord has given you many gifts and talents, and please don’t bury them in the ground. And when you don’t use them, you must know that you are not only short-changing yourself, but also those closest to you. For example, Jennifer Fulwiler said that she dedicated her first book to her grandfather, who died shortly thereafter. Had she not got up, and got writing, she would have denied her grandfather that beautiful gift.

So specifically, what can you do?

Before you give up completely that you can ever be happy with you life, try to get the basics in, then see how you feel. Then you can REALLY determine if certain things are unchangeable. Do things like:

  • Pray
  • Go to confession
  • Seek spiritual direction
  • Read spiritual books
  • Read the Bible
  • Watch spiritual videos
  • Sleep
  • Eat properly and regularly
  • Attend to any anger issues you may have
  • See a friend regularly for coffee, set a recurring date
  • Take time for your personal interests even if it’s 10-15 minutes
  • Practice gratitude

These things will all help you get in touch with who God created you to be, and see your life in a different way. You will gain the clarity you need to start changing what needs changing. You will realize you might have everything you need to do what you need to do, you just need to do it. So get up, please. Stop saying I can’t, and say with God, I can.

So get up, please. Stop saying I can’t, and say with God, I can.

I think we can all be such perfectionists about the call to use our time, talents, and treasure to build up the kingdom of God. We get an all or nothing mentality. So, we do nothing. We waste away staring our phones,the TV, or computer.

I just had a revelation though.

What if we just did SOMETHING. It doesn’t have to be perfect, and you don’t have to discover what exact talent you should be using, just do something. And keep doing somethings. And do as many somethings as you can. Maybe you will discover your blue flame, maybe you won’t, or maybe your blue flame is a bunch of little somethings. Like Saint Therese. But please, do something!


How to Konmari Kid Stuff

So, have you guys started watching Marie Kondo’s new show on Netlix? Well, I have. I may or may not have already watched the entire thing…so, what?

once upon a time shrug GIF

Before we begin

First of all, if this is your first time konmari-ing, you may have thoughts during the process like:

  • How did I ever let my home get like this?
  • Why did I waste all of this money?
  • I can’t get rid of these things, because I spent good money on them.
  • But so-and-so got me this thing, they would be upset if I got rid of it.
Sound familiar? It’s okay. Take a deep breath and proceed anyway.

There is hope

Also, I want you to know my house is quite tidy. It gets messy all the time, but things have a home and it’s easy to reset. But I wasn’t born that way! Oh no, just ask my sister, whom I shared a room with for 18 years.

Left, my sister and I am right next to her. This was my birthday party with some friends circa 1998. Good times!

I have always been a hoarder and a creative-type who loved posters and drawings all over my wall growing up, and the top drawer of my dresser was full of who knows what and it barely closed. I never got rid of a single stuffed animal. But,I was always interested in organizing, I just didn’t know that you had to de-clutter first. I am learning and practicing on a regular basis, and you can too.

I am learning and practicing on a regular basis, and you can too.

A few pictures of my previous konmari adventures.

Now for the kid stuff…

Here are some tips and tricks to help you navigate going through all the kid stuff! Also, one great thing about the konmari method is you will find you probably have all the space and storage products you need, because you will end up having so much less stuff. Let’s go!

  1. Do it as a family on a weekend day you are all home.
  2. Have someone to hold you accountable (I am weird with toys)
  3. Remove the toys you know are their favorites.
  4. Don’t ask your kids what they want to keep, because they will say everything , instead find two items that are similar and ask them to pick between them. Ask, “which one do you want more?” This truly worked so well with my kids, ages 2 &3. I thought there would be resistance on their part, but when I approached it this way, it all worked out.
  5. Explain you are sharing your things with others who may need it.
  6. Immediately put it in the car. Otherwise the clutter will re-enter circulation.
  7. Do kids clothes on your own.
  8. Store seasonal items elsewhere (contrary to konmari advice )
  9. If you are saving the clothes your kids grew out of, in the hopes you will use them for future children, think about going giving some away to someone in need, who could be using them now.
  10. Try to store toys in their closet, or some other closet in smaller containers, by type and only get a few out at a time. You will see you actually can walk across the room again safely, and it will make cleanup much simpler and playtime more fun.

Instead, find two items that are similar and ask, “which one do you want more?”

Take a look at that pile! And this is when I only had one baby!
The containers you see here are from Dollar Tree.
This is a hamper that I already had the was no longer being used.

So tell me, do you have any tips and tricks for de-cluttering your children’s items?

Currently Enjoying January 2019 and Where I Have Been

If you haven’t noticed, I haven’t posted in awhile. That’s because we have all had terrible colds and, Christmas. My husband was on Christmas vacation , which was such a blessing, but it also meant we weren’t on our usual routine. December was all about Christmas preparations and doctors visits. I think we went to the doctor 5 times and to the emergency room once (!). My poor son hurt his ear.

Aside from telling you where I have been, I just wanted to share some things I have been enjoying lately.

Guide to Catholic Home Education

My new homeschooling friend let me borrow this book. I’m loving it so far! It is answering all of the questions I have about homeschooling.

How To Manage Your Home Without Losing Your Mind

This book is brilliant. For anyone who struggles with home management but loves projects that have a clear start and finish (artists are usually this way), this book is for you. Even though I have made much progress in the area of home management, it helped me understand why my brain works the way it does and why cleaning and organizing have been such a struggle. Also, check out her blog!

Having a Laundry Day

I now have a laundry day instead of doing some laundry every day as I posted here. I got the idea from the book I just mentioned above, and I decided to try it out as an experiment. I must say I love the sense of completion that doing all the laundry in one day has, and I love not having to think about it the rest of the days. I feel as though I have more time and I don’t have piles of clothes that need to be put away.

Image result for laundry day


The Dad Project
Image result for dad project podcAST

I’ve really been enjoying this podcast – I found it from Kendra Tierney, the blogger of Catholic All Year. Her husband is one the “”podcasters”. I really like what her husband has to say about creating a family culture and avoiding the craziness in the teenage years by starting the way you want to finish. They start discipline with their children as early as when the baby can crawl – wow!

Ben Shapiro Interview with Bishop Baron

With these two brilliant guys together, you know it’s got to be good.

How To Blog For Profit Without Losing Your Soul

This book was recommended by a blogger I found online who didn’t want to pay the high price for “The Elite Blogging Academy”. Apparently it has all the same information! It’s on my wish list.

Sourdough Roast Beef Sandwich

Quick recipe for a great sandwich. Sourdough, horse radish spread, roast beef, smoked Gouda, spinach, tomato, red onion. You’re welcome.

Some other interesting finds:

Very compelling conversion story.

Saint Names Generator– Jennifer Fulwiler created this cool site that helps you find your saint of the year.

Taylor Marshall Goals- I loved this post and especially the podcast he did about goals. He makes a good point that you should set goals in areas you need to work on, while maintaining where you are doing well.

Our New Nativity Set

You can find it on amazon! Just click the image.

False Eye Lashes

I got some false eye lashes at Grocery Outlet of all places and I have been having fun with them. This isn’t the exact brand I got but I like these and they are a good price. I recommend trimming the inner corners for a more natural look.

Netflix Shows
Image result for series of unfortunate events season 3

I greatly enjoy mystery and fantasy and just great stories and this show fits the bill.
I’m a huge fan of the Konmari method so you can bet it didn’t take me long to watch the first season of this show. It inspired me to “konmari” my kid’s toys which is difficult for me; I got rid of 3 bags!
Layering
I have been enjoying layering sweaters and dresses over my chambray shirt, as well as over my black turtleneck. It gives my outfits a quirky vibe while at the same time adding warmth.

What about you? What have you been enjoying lately? I’d love to know in the comments below!



Balance In The Chaos of Family Life: Is It Even Possible?

chaos family balance

The Search for Balance

Family life is so chaotic, especially this time of year, but we are committed to learning how to balance “it all”.

My husband is a dad, Special Ed teacher, Grad student, singer, and runner.  I am a mom, blogger, artist, and walker. I also occasionally meet friends for coffee…by myself.  My husband and I go on dates from time to time, and sometimes have someone over for dinner. Our home is constantly one mess after another but it is simple to reset (due to organizing systems I have set in place) even though we have two kids and a dog.

In other words, we are busy. And though we don’t have it all figured out, I wanted to share some things we have found that help us achieve some kind of balance.

How We Do It

First of all, we embrace a “a progress not perfection” mindset. For example, if it’s 8 pm and it’s time for me to blog and the dishes weren’t done yet, oh well. That was all I could do today. I truly work on not beating myself up about it. Honestly, it’s a great lesson in humility.

Image result for litany of humility

I Put the Big Rocks in First

Here’s a story I heard at mass about how we should use our time, talents, and treasure. I learned you have to put the big rocks in more. What I mean by this is, we prioritize.  When I think about my next course of action, I try to think in terms of reality and not what my schedule says, (this is so hard for me) and do the next right thing based on my circumstances. So many things in life are important, but they are not urgent every single day. This quote helps me to  have peace when I didn’t accomplish as much as I set out to:

“Let God tend to the hopeless-looking things…You can’t get everything done in a day, nor can you get any part of it done as well as you’d like it; so, like the rest of us, you putter at your job with a normal amount of energy, for a reasonable amount of time, and go to bed with the humiliating yet exhilarating knowledge that you are only a child of God and not God.” – Fr. Walter Farrell, O.P.

 

I Check My Emotional State

If little things are starting to bother me that my husband, children, or even dog do, it’s probably a red herring for the real problem: I’m in need of self-care. It could mean I need to eat something, take a nap, drink some water, call a friend, do some exercise, or do something creative. Usually, if I stop and think about what I need, and take action, I feel much more in balance. In fact, that’s the best way to know you have balance – check how you are feeling.

I Keep a Schedule

I have a Mother’s Rule, my daily schedule which I update on a regular basis. I view it as a guideline of which to live out my goals for my faith, myself, my husband, my children, and my work. I block out my time and leave plenty of margin for activities like meal times or bed times. I want you to know that I normally don’t complete every single thing on my schedule. I fail every single day. But that only makes me rely on God more. I am only human, after all. And life happens. And sometimes I get distracted.

I Reflect

I try to reflect on how I am doing in my vocation on a regular basis. Besides going to confession and doing an examination of conscience, I also think in practical ways how I could have been more productive or attentive on any given day and apply that to the next day.

 

I’m Learning to Surrender to My Husband

This might be one of the most important things that keeps everything in balance. I have to stop myself from trying to be super-woman and doing everything and controlling everything. I have to say “I can’t” and let my husband see my vulnerability and receive his help and gifts graciously. This is very hard for me, but this book has been life-giving for our marriage and family.

We Believe Our Marriage Comes First

If my children interrupt me, or my husband, when we are talking, we try to teach them to wait and say “excuse me”. We want them to know how to respect us and the bond we share. I set aside time each day to be available for my husband. Am I perfect about it? No, but as with any goal I have, I am more likely to get closer to it when I put it on my schedule. I try to write my husband a love letter every Sunday and we go on a date night at least once a month, we are blessed to have in-laws who are willing to do that for us.

We Use Technology to Help us Reach Our Goals

Sometimes my kids watch more T.V. than I prefer, but it is for the sake of my sanity. The rest of the time I do my best to involve them in chores and other activities. It’s all a matter of balance. I have an app on my phone that reminds me of certain habits I am working on. It helps me stay accountable to my goals and not forget to keep in touch with friends and family.

We Prioritize Every Family Member’s Health, Not Just Our Children’s

My husband and I have set up our home life in such a way that each of us can have some dedicated, uninterrupted time on a regular basis. This is for our mental and emotional health. For our physical health, I usually take walks with my kids or dance around with them. I try to keep track of what I eat on myfitnesspal. I don’t skip meals unless intentionally (i.e. intermittent fasting). I consider it my duty and responsibility to stay sound in mind and body for the sake of serving them. My husband goes on a run during his work day. I meal plan and do Walmart grocery pickup.  We take care of our spiritual health by praying, attending mass, and making it to confession as often as we can. We sleep trained our children so we would all be able to have adequate sleep. I take a quiet time each afternoon alongside my children. All of these things together help us manage the stress of such a busy life.

We Are Always Growing

My husband and I don’t stay stuck in a rut. While I am definitely the self-help junkie of the two of us, he is definitely committed to growing as a person. I’m always reading books, working towards goals, tweaking my routine.

I Protect My Peace

I say “no” based on the commitments I have in my schedule. I know what those commitments are because I have a schedule. I have already discerned that I cannot forgo quiet time without bankrupting myself emotionally. I say “I can’t”. (For example, I can’t do the dishes when I have a headache.) I let myself take breaks. After dinner, I go directly to the bathroom and take a shower. That way I get one before I am too tired to do it. I don’t ask my husband to watch the kids. I just say “I’m going to take a shower”. He’s smart. He realizes that means he will be watching them. And guess what? Everything is okay without me.

We Nurture Friendships

Recently, both my husband and I have set up a recurring meetings with one of our closest friends, he sees his friend on Wednesdays after we put the kids to bed, and I see my friend on Thursdays. We are also slowly becoming more hospitable and opening our home more often to friends and family for visits. I make a habit of reaching out to my friends, just to say hi and see how they are, even if it isn’t reciprocated 100% equally. The way I see it, if I miss them it’s my responsibility to say hi and not wait around for them to do so. I also accept that if I want to have a vibrant social calendar, I need to be prepared to be the one doing the inviting 99 % of the time, it’s just reality. We are all so busy and it is so hard to be intentional. I can’t make people invite me, but I can invite them! It’s not so much about what you get from social interactions as it is what you give.

We Do “Special Time”

We try to spend one-on-one time with each of our kids. It could be simple like just reading a book together, or going on an ice cream date. The idea is that each of our children gets some individualized attention so they know how special and precious they are. Do we do this everyday? No, but since it’s on our radar it happens more often than if it wasn’t a goal to begin with.

Even though we are busy, we feel as though we do have a sense of balance

So as you see, the way we make all of things work is both being blessed but also through being intentional. You can have it all, but you have to let go of perfectionism and you have to understand that all the things you want to have in your life may not happen every single day, but over time. You have to accept that most of the time, you will be off track and life will be a roller coaster ride with ups and downs, but when you have your goals set, you will still be going the right direction, and you will still be making progress.

5 Reasons to Start a Blog (and how I did it!)

I think anyone who is passionate about anything should start a blog and here’s why:

  1. The world needs to hear what you have to say. Even though there are a million blogs, there is only one YOU and your voice is unique.
  2. It’s a great creative outlet.
  3. Something you say could brighten someone’s day or even change their life.
  4. You can share your work, whether that is art, recipes, music, etc.
  5. You have a space to share things more in depth and meaningful than just a quick post on social media., like your experiences and your faith journey,

When i started my blog, I just used a free version of WordPress. After writing about 20 posts, I decided I wanted to have income earning potential on my website and knew I needed a domain. I compared prices of different web hosting services. All of them had some kind of promotion and according to my calculations at the time, there really wasn’t much of a price difference between them. So I decided to go with Go Daddy, because of a recommendation from a friend.

Now I want to share something with you. I had been wanting to purchase a blog domain for a few months but I felt too afraid to do it. I didn’t want to invest any amount of money in something I might completely fail at. I finally just decided to do it anyway. I shared this because I know many of you may feel the same way. Afraid to invest money in yourselves, your business, etc. You don’t have to wait until you feel 100 % about it. You can do it anyway. 

To get a domain and Web-hosting service for a few years it came out to about $250.  The blogging platform I use is WordPress. And I have discovered there are all sorts of YouTube videos that help you set up things like Google Ad Sense (to make money when someone clicks on an ad), and Google Search Console (which helps you see how searchable your blog is on Google). I have found that watching how to do something on a YouTube video is easier for me to understand than Googling it and reading about it.

For blogging ideas, you can write about anything! Recently I told someone they should start a blog, and they said that they worried they would run out of things to write about. But that’s not true! As long as you keep living your life and reading books, you’ll always have writing material.

I have so much to learn about blogging but I am glad I started one and I’m already so glad I did. Do you have a blog? Leave a link to it in the comments below and I’ll follow you!

5 Clues For Uncovering Your Blue Flame

In Jennifer Fulwiler’s new book “One Beautiful Dream” she talks about having a blue flame. (Also this book may be the best book I’ve ever read. Just sayin’. Get.It..Now )

What is a blue flame? It’s something that you have such burning passion for that if it were a flame it would turn blue because it’s at such a high heat. For Jennifer , it’s writing. It is a gift or talent that energizes you but that also can bless others.

But what if you don’t know what your blue flame is? What if you feel like you have no talents? Or you can’t pinpoint a main talent among your many talents and interests? I have been confused in this way , but I’m discovering their may be clues to help you discover it:

  1. What causes you to straighten up in your chair because you are so excited to talk about it?
  2. What are you always researching/ reading about?
  3. What do people tend to notice about you?
  4. What do people ask you for advice about?
  5. What do you feel drawn to do whenever you have some uninterrupted time?

For me it boils down to self-discipline – especially time-management / routines which includes organization because being organized affects your mental state which will help you save time and implement your routines. I could talk for hours about routines. I could name 10+ books I’ve read on the subject. When I have free time I watch YouTube videos about it. People have noticed when they visit me my house looks well managed even though I have two highly active toddlers and that I am well dressed and have makeup on. I’m always analyzing how I could make things run smoother in my life to better serve others, take care of myself and my household. Self-discipline truly is essential for a life well-lived . A life lived with intention.

So what do you think your blue flame is? Do you have more than one? Let me know in the comments below!

How I Lost 56 Pounds

See the source imageI gained quite a bit of weight having 2 babies back to back, which is totally normal and understandable. The only thing is, that weight can be especially hard to lose – especially when I’m not being mindful. Even right after my babies were born, I hardly weighed less than when I was pregnant and breastfeeding only produced a small loss of weight. And I tend to fall in to these mental traps:

  • I’m not eating THAT much
  • I don’t snack, so why am I gaining weight
  • I’ve been good all week so I can indulge all weekend
  • I don’t need to track what I eat because I just know and tracking is annoying
  • I’m not making progress so I may as well give up because, what’s the point?

Instead of accepting reality – the reality is that what I was doing didn’t work for some reason and I need to move on to something different. I had to accept overeating only 300 calories a day (which is VERY easy to do) is STILL overeating and will contribute to weight gain.

I’ve tried Paleo. I’ve been Vegan. I did the Keto thing. All of them work, and all of them are great, by the way, but not for me. And that’s okay. You have to find what works for you, your lifestyle,your budget and your personality. I really wanted Keto to work for me because the science behind it makes perfect sense, the only problem is with two toddlers around I have carbs all around me and I can’t afford to create two separate meal plans. So, I decided to keep it simple. I track my food on my fitness pal, and I walk. That’s it. Oh, and, I cook, clean, tidy, and chase two toddlers and a dog all over creation. No big deal.

Run Running Away GIF - Run RunningAway Running GIFs

I also joined a fitness group on Facebook where I had to weigh in each week. This really helped me be accountable and stay on track with my plan. I also learned that if the scale shows no change, or hardly any change I have to look at the scale like this:

Benwyatt Parks And Rec GIF - Benwyatt ParksAndRec Stick GIFs

and remain faithful to my plan anyway! Eventually I will get to where I need to go, even if the progress is slow. Ultimately, being faithful is what has helped me, not being perfect. 

This App Will Help You Create Balance

 

Accountability is Key

Recently, I came up with some new work/life balance goals I want to focus on – blocking out time for blogging, time for prayer, time for family and friends, and time to waste with my husband. But I decided I really need help with accountability. I was successful in losing almost 30 lbs because I had accountability.  I was in a fitness group on Facebook where I had to weigh in every week. Without accountability, I am lost. I am the type of person who will do my best not to let anyone else down, but when it comes to letting myself down, it’s easy.

See the source image

 

So, I wanted something similar for my current goals and I found this app:

Balanced

5 things I love about this app, it:

  1. Is easy to use.
  2. Shows me how well I’m done in each area.
  3. Helps me to create balance in my life by bringing up tasks that should be next according to the frequency I’ve set as a goal or because I’ve neglected it.
  4. Regulates recurring tasks so I don’t have to put them on a to-do list Every. Single. Day.
  5. Keeps me making progress and staying focused on my goals – the things that I’ve identified I need to work on, not the things that have already become habits.

What are your favorite apps? How do you create balance? I’d love to hear in the comments below!