Self Care

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Over the past few years I have heard women toting on self care. It is defined as the practice of taking action to preserve or improve one’s own health. This I have done poorly over the years. I like to push until my body crashes which in turn helps no one. If you have been with me over the years you may recall my on and off again battle with health. A few years back it was discovered that my body rejects certain foods to the point of shutting down and I am on a continual battle with candida overgrowth. I have found when I eat within my somewhat restricted diet I function well. I have energy, the aches subside, the mind clears, and I can breath deep without pain. I have come to love to eat simply and by no means feel deprived in any way. Fast forward to a few months ago and I was struggling to get out bed most days and loosing weight at a rapid pace. I kept on wracking my brain on what I was eating that was throwing my whole system out of whack. Well it seems I somehow contracted babesia, a tick parasite that dwells in and then devours your red blood cells. The treatment that my dr choose for me takes months and on some days leaves me feeling less than stellar. This by no means is a whoa to me post. This is a post about teaching myself that self care is important not only for me, but my loved ones. I can’t be the mother, wife, nor friend that I want to be if I don’t intentionally take steps to care for myself. Some ways in which I am taking steps to self care are simple and some may seem frivolous yet they excite me. What I do know is that every person has the ability to do something in their life that can improve your health. I strongly believe this applies to not only physical health, but also mental and spiritual. I’ve already mentioned a quite few this month that lead me on the right path such as limiting my time online and severing the cord to my phone, giving myself time and space to dream again, ordering my steps in such a way that keeps me from becoming easily overwhelmed, keeping our home somewhat minimal helps limit the visual chaos, being intentional on how we handle our money, moving my body without stressing it, and my favorite way is to stretch my mind through reading and podcasts. All the latter sets me on a path that reduces stress, keeps my mind active and my body in motion.

A few more intentions that lead to my very own self care... 

  • Spiritual health is highest on my list as I know without the helping guidance of God I would not be where I am today

  1. I pray daily

  2. Make a habit to try to read my bible daily. Normally first thing in the morning works best for me.

  3. We play worship music every morning as everyone wakes for school. Cuts down on fuss time considerably.

  • Rest is key for me to function wholly. This I have struggled with for quite some time, almost with shame. Now I embrace it as part of a must in order for me to function in a healthy way.

  1. I have had to learn to listen to my body before is crashes. If I’m finding it hard to focus or my body starts tensing up I know a crash is coming.

  2. After taking into account said alert then I rest. Sometimes it can’t be immediately, but I can always intentionally go to bed much earlier. I no longer wait months, weeks, or days to listen to what my body needs, but take cues immediately and adjust.

  3. Naps are my friend on lazy weekends and no-one balks, because my family knows what the cost is when my body has had enough.

  • Being intentional with how I order my week let’s me build in time for self care. Granted I realize not everyone can plan their own schedule quite like I can, but what I think is necessary is finding your own schedule and seeing where that self care can be built in whether it’s a day or just an hour here and there. Keep in mind this is a loose ordering as kids sports, travel, and the unexpected are always present, but this rough draft allows me space to not go overboard daily.

  1. Mondays I dedicate to myself at home. I focus on items that set me up for a better week ahead, aka being intentional with keeping my stress low for the next seven days. Whether that’s writing blog posts for the week or month, digging deeper on podcasts or sermons that I need to hear again, do a home project that needs wrapping up, and some days it’s just a time to recharge and do much of nothing.

  2. Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s I dedicate strictly to my freelance work. All meetings get stacked and I focus 100% on the work at hand. I do not focus on anything else so that way I can give that person or company my best work and energy.

  3. Thursdays shift week to week. Some days I need an extra work day if I can’t complete my task at hand well during the prior days. Some days I visit with a friend. Some weeks need a little extra rest especially if I know we are shooting a wedding the up coming weekend.

  4. Fridays are dedicated to my husband. His off day is on a Friday so we have day dates then normally end with a weekly grocery store run. We then wrap up the night with family time, except for the first Friday of every month. That is set aside for a scheduled girls night out.

  5. Saturdays again shift depending on time of year. Some days are family cleaning or yard days. Some days we get outdoors or take a day trip. On those cold rainy days we may do movie marathons. Then other days we shoot weddings although we try to space them out greatly.

  6. Sundays we head to church and let the rest of the day go where it may lead.

  • Physical health can go into so many facets, but I like to keep it simple as a I can.

  1. Doctor Visits ~ Remembering to go to the dr not only when I am sick, but the other times too. Yearly, now every 6 months after I received a less than favorable result, the Mr and I go on a date to the dermatologist. We also go the eye dr. Jealous yet? I then see my primary dr yearly for labs and such to see how my body is reacting. The dentist I see every 6 months and stack it with kid appointments. Finally it’s important to see your GYN every year ladies. This I have faulted on greatly since I am no longer in the baby years. I called a few weeks ago after thinking I just skipped a year and soon enough I was told I have missed the past three. I know it is important and hope to do better. Hoping putting it here will be the force I need.

  2. Chiropractor ~ I have been seeing mine for a few years now after having severe jaw/ear pain for years. He has since relived the pressure and we are on a maintaining schedule. I go twice a month. When certain parts of my body freeze he gets them moving again without me having to relay on pain relievers any longer. Chiropractic also helps keep toxins from building and has in turn helped with my overall health. I have experienced such favorable results that for the last year I had been bringing the kids once a month. I only wish I knew more about chiropractic care during pregnancy.

  3. Skin care ~ I try to keep all our beauty products with as little toxins as possible. When I do wear makeup I have found the Beauty Counter line to work best, you can read more here. To keep my face fresh and hopefully young I use Tata Harper. I have been using her products for years and I classify them as an investment, but one I find worth taking. My dry, cystic acne prone, skin thanks me. Plus she is a kindred South American who now lives up north not too far from where I spent my adolescent years.

  4. Eating ~ as I have said my diet is somewhat limited and I have grown to love it that way. We keep it simple most nights with a meat or fish with a side of vegetables. Over the years I have been able to reintroduce potatoes, rice and some gluten free grains so they make great sides here and there. I drink this cinnamon tea with a vengeance when I grow weary of only having water. I stay away from most sugars including being light on the fruits category. Sugar causes a candida flair up like no other and my body rejects eggs quickly. I have to be mindful to always have a quick gluten free bar on hand incase I get stuck where food isn’t readily available as not many fast food options are viable for me. We also cook extra at night so I can have easy lunches during the day. Currently a few of my favorite products are by kite hill, theses noodles by cauli’flour foods, and these cookies by sweet loren’s are my go to for when in need of a good cheat on the weekend.

Now does this seem like a long list, well it is. I find that in order to do self care well it needs to be weaved within our daily lives. It is not just a moment that makes all things right in the world, but is made up of many small small moments. This is also a practice I want Ellie to adopt as she gets older. I want her to know it’s okay to take care of herself and not live a life fully burnt out at all times. I want her to especially know that it takes intention to get there. Do you practice self care? What are your favorite ways that speak most to you? Would love to hear the simple ways and the indulgent. I just made myself an appointment for dermaplaning. I have a few friends that swear by it and I thought it would be worth a try.

tata harper photo sources: clarifying cleanser | clarifying mask | resurfacing mask {perfect for all skin types} | purifying cleanser {apply it dry} | retinoic nutrient face oil {use when my cheeks feel extra dry} | hydrating floral essence {use throughout the day} | reparative moisturizer

Getting Lost in the Story

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Ever since I was a child I have loved to read. I would get lost in a book for hours on end. Nancy Drew may have been my favorite then, but now my tastes range a much larger spectrum. One evening when the Mr was describing a part of who we are to a group of folks he stated that he likes to work on his intellectual side and I am driven by my soul. I thought this could not describe me any better. So as I share a few of my favorites that I go back to again and again you will see a pattern of books that feed my soul. Some in a practical way, others are words to get lost and then found in, and some are just light and fun although those I normally check out from the library. The ones that have potential for me to read over and over are bought and normally underlined or highlighted throughout.

books that are worth more than one read:

  • The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Mari Kondo . I wrote more about how the book influenced me here, but was worth a mention again on my favorites list.

    • “To truly cherish the things that are important to you, you must first discard those that have outlived their purpose.” pg 61

  • The Art of Possibility by Rosamund Stone Xander & Benjamin Zander. This book my husband recommended and I could not agree more. Perfect for any leader, communicator and or boss. It spurred me in ways that left me looking at how I perceive myself, how I can treat others better, and gave me a shift in my everyday perspective. It is one of the only none spiritual books I have listed, but it stirred my soul none the less.

    • “There is no such thing as bad weather,” he used to say, “only inappropriate clothing.” pg 64

  • Free Fall to Fly by Rebekah Lyons. This book was recommended to me by Trina McNeilly who we will also get to in a second. It follows Rebekah’s life when anxiety and mental health hit her hard. It’s her fall through it and I could feel myself within her words. She gave me my “me too” moment and I will forever be grateful for this book in the season I needed it most. Her second book is just as powerful, You are Free.

    • “The roller coaster returned. Just as life was looking up, the floor was dropping out from beneath me. This relapse meant something was here to stay and my will alone would not be strong enough to change it.” pg 124

  • Chasing Slow by Erin Lochner. This book put into words all the feelings I could not pull apart. I found my story tightly wound around hers as she spoke on days of blogging and what we now call influencers. I found the drive to be more intentional and the drive to step back. Her words make me want to stop and ponder.

    • “there is only today, with holes in our pockets, with time spilling out. We cannot keep it for tomorrow. We cannot mend our seams to hoard, save carry.” pg 146

  • La La Lovely by Trina McNeilly. She may have been one of my first blog friends along the way. We both had a deep love for design, home and making life beautiful. I also believe at some point we all got lost along the way. She tells a story of her own that reminds me to look for the beauty even when it seems hidden.

    • “We grow out of so much in our teens and twenties. We are herded by peers, culture, and authorities. We are told to grow up, to “be this” and to not “do that.” We are eager and willing to leave our younger selves behind, and maybe of us do it in search or a more sophisticated version of ourselves. When we do reach the ends of our thirties, we are no longer trying to grow up or out but into who we were always meant to become. And it’s here we realize that, perhaps, we are not all there. We have left who we were behind.” pg 277-278

  • Present over Perfect by Shauna Niequist. Let me start by saying that EVERY single book she has put out I have devoured and her last one was just the same. She writes in such a way that you feel as if you are hearing her story directly from her over coffee. You can easily imagine her life with her kids and husband as your own and I think that is what makes her books so powerful.

    • “This isn’t about working less or more, necessarily. This isn’t about homemade or takeout, or full time or part time, or the specific ways we choose to live out our days. It’s about rejecting the myth that every day is a new opportunity to prove our worth, and about the truth that our worth is inherent, given by God, not earned by our hustling.” pg 128

  • Girl Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis. Ya’ll I’m about to be real honest. I almost didn’t read this book, because of the title. It wasn’t as poetic as I normal gravitate towards and seemed like maybe it was meant for the younger generation, but here I will tell you I was so very wrong. This book is for every woman in every stage of life. I have so many good one liners that it was hard to choose one, but I think this one says so much…

    • “Friends, it’s not about the goal or the dream you have. It’s about who you become on your to that goal.” pg 69

  • Unashamed by Christine Caine. This book I could not help but read without hearing her Australian accent. It almost added to the need for me to really lean in and listen to what I was reading. This book is also tear stained. Christine has a back story that is hard, my back story if I focus too long can grieve me of moments lost. This book helped me look at it right in the face and set my grieving of a lost childhood into a space of healing and freedom to not hide my story but wear it as a success story.

    • “sometime shame can be out of sight and out of mind for days, or even years - only to sneak up from behind, knocking us off our feet.” pg 176

  • A Simplified Life by Emily Ley. This book was recommended me to by a friend when I was sharing my new journey and she said this book sounded like all that I was feeling and still putting into words. She was right. I read it on a day and am about to read it again. It is a practical guide on how to achieve that so called simplified life.

    • “Have you ever noticed how much a (perceived) lack of outfit choices affects your attitude throughout the day? Many of us have closets bursting with options, but we still feel like we have “nothing to wear.” Our wardrobes are filled with clothes that don’t fit, look too worn, require lots of ironing, or aren’t trendy anymore. So we keep on buying and stuffing our closets and finding ourselves bummed at our choices. Who wants to sort through that every morning.” pg 28

  • Becoming Mrs Lewis by Patti Callahan. I know I haven’t mentioned any so called fun reads, but this one fits into that category and I will still read it again. It’s a fictionally story, with plenty of truth intertwined, on how Joy became Mrs. C.S. Lewis. I found myself laughing out loud at times and had the hardest time putting it down. "

    • “A sense of calm so pervasive I didn’t recognize the stillness inside. It might pass - the need and fear might rise again as old and familiar comforts. But deep down, I knew the Truth now.” pg 325

Have any great books that I should put on my list this year? I love a good light read and those that speak to my soul.

Get Moving

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I have come to realize something about myself, working out is not my thing. I do LOVE the idea of it. I dream of having a runners high and having great strength with arms to prove it. If you have been around this blog for any amount of time I am sure you have read my always well meaning goals of “this being my fitness year”, every single year. I don’t like to be cold, I don’t like to be too hot, I don’t like not breathing. Recently I had a minor procedure on a mole that came back with less favorable results. The Mr tagged along when I had to get my stitches removed from my shoulder and she mentioned that I may need to lay off working out my upper body for a bit in fear of the wound opening back up. The Mr couldn’t help but laugh and exclaimed the truth of it all, being that I am the least active person he knows. At first he got the side glance, but then I quickly knew he was just stating a fact and me wearing work out gear does not indeed mean that I do work out. He has lived by my side for the last 15 years and seen my attempts to work out and my abruptly stopping. Directly from that appointment we went to the store and I bought myself a apple watch. I bought it to get away from my phone more, but it quickly did more than that. I realized that computer work days left me with taking less than a thousand steps a day. On a day that I thought I was being pretty active I found to have barely 3,000 steps. Did you know for a healthy lifestyle an average person needs approximately 10,000 steps a day? The Mr gave me a told you so look, when I “discovered” what he already knew. I know for a fact that I have to move more if I expect my body to work in the near future. This in turn made me think about ways I can achieve said goal. This time I did not aim high by claiming to want to sign up for a 5k, I did not enroll in cross fit classes that I know my body can not handle for long, what I did do was make realistic intentions for myself. I am hoping by starting realistically it will lead to that addiction to move like so many have, but for now I will be sensible with my abilities and have step contests with my daughter.

My intention is to walk 3 days a week:

  • I listen to a good podcast or two and walk a minimum of 30 minutes 3 days a week

  • Too cold? I go to our local mall and walk with the folks that have me by a decade or two without shame

  • Too hot? Haven’t gotten there yet, but assume my local mall walking will still apply

  • Gorgeous day? I will take it outside and make it a family walk

  • Want to catch up with a friend and I know they are decently active? Instead of meeting for coffee how about we walk and talk.

  • Stairs have become my best friend

Do you enjoy working out? Born that way or self made? I really do need to know.

*dress by everlane