Hello, happy, happy Monday to you. It’s Labor Day here and we’re taking full advantage of our long weekend … swimming, U of A football game, hiking and lots of family time.
I have a new layout to share with you. My goal is to post a new layout each Monday. I’m trying to get more organized and actually plan my blog content and stick with the plan.
Anyway … here’s a new layout I created for The Daily Digi using a kit from Jenn Barrette that was included in the August edition of The Digi Files. For this layout I couldn’t help but highlight the photo, since it’s absolutely adorable. The photo fills the whole 12×12 page and then I just added a few embellishments and journaling in the white space. Super easy page, but it’s easily one of my favorites.
Slipper style: Father and son edition. Some day soon, your little feet won’t be so little any more and they won’t fit perfectly in your daddy’s feet. But you’ll always fit perfectly in his heart.
I’ve never met a bowl of ice cream I didn’t like. I’m pretty sure I could eat ice cream for every, single meal. But … that’s also not the healthiest choice, right?
I had surgery in May to remove pesky growths (thankfully they were benign). I had a second surgery in June because of complications related to my first surgery. This has been a tough year for me physically, so I’ve made it a priority to say yes to making healthy choices.
The most important healthy choice I’ve made is to exercise daily. Yep, every day. We (Mike and I) alternate between running and walking each day. We started doing the Couch to 5k Program, which has been helping us run more and do so without killing ourselves or getting burned out.
We’re wearing FitBits to make sure we get at least 10,000 steps each day. All this exercise has made me feel more relaxed … it sort of wears me out and helps my mind to relax. It’s also helped both of us lose a little more weight, which isn’t a bad thing.
Making healthy choices becomes addicting. When we first started, we committed to walking, hiking or running a mile a day. At the time, that was all we could manage. We’ve quickly worked up to about 3.5 miles a day, but when we’re short on time we are just happy to get out there and so whatever we can – something is ALWAYS better than nothing. Don’t let a lack of time keep you from exercising. Start small, it will make a huge difference.
Once we started exercising daily, I wanted to make better choice when it came to the food I eat. I’ve rededicated myself to a gluten free diet, which helps with my arthritis. I’ve also been limiting my daily caffeine intake and upping my water consumption. I’ve gotten to the point that I crave water and don’t need or what much caffeine.
In the next few months, we’re planning on working up to running a 10K, with the ultimate goal of completing the Tucson Half Marathon in December. We’re also going to continue tweak our diets to add more fish and healthy proteins to our weekly menu plans.
What healthy choices are you making? Any suggestions on how to make those choices stick (that’s kind of where I’m at …. working hard to make my changes stick)?
One of my goals is to say “no” more often and be extra thoughtful about when I say yes. “Say Yes” is a new series featuring the things or experiences I’m saying yes to and why. Each Friday, I’ll post about what I’ve been saying “Yes” to and what I’ve learned in the process.
For a million reasons, I have gotten lazy when it comes to friendship. When my life was a little out of control and I was struggling, I consciously isolated myself from anyone outside my home. It was easier to hunker down than to reach out, explain my situation or make an effort. My default is loner mode, but with that comes loneliness and frustration.
Last month, when my dear friend Sarah invited to me to a girls’ weekend at the beach I said yes. I have been making an effort to say yes to opportunities to cultivate friendships and connections. A few years ago I would have made an excuse as to why I couldn’t go. I’ve been guilty of hiding behind excuses for a a very longtime. No I can’t go to lunch, I’m too busy. No I can’t go to book club, I have to make dinner. No, I can’t meet for coffee. I have way too much work to do. I think we make time for the things that we want to make time for. And I was afraid of connection and opening my heart to others, so I didn’t want to make the time.
Back in 2011 I went to an amazing retreat, and it was then my heart began to open to the possibility of deep friendships. I boarded a plane to Oregon not knowing a single soul at my destination. I was scared. But I went anyway. And I was blessed to meet some of the most amazing women. I went back to the same retreat in 2012, 2013 and 2014. Each year, I’ve made new friends and deepened the connections I made in years past. Saying yes to friendship has opened a door to my heart I was convinced that I wanted to keep closed.
It wasn’t smooth sailing at first. I kept a lot of would-be-friends at arms length. Truthfully, I didn’t know how to be a good friend. But as soon as I let a few special ladies a little closer, my heart softened to the potential. Having friends to lean on, laugh with and share your life with is awesome … and I’ve been working hard to change my hermit ways.
For me, saying yes to friendship means: going to book club; breakfast and lunch dates; sending little letters and goodies to kindreds around the globe; making a bigger effort at sending and responding to emails; sending texts when I’m sitting around with nothing else to do; and of course saying yes to special weekends with awesome friends. Each day I’m trying to find new ways to say yes to friendship since without a doubt saying yes the last few years has enriched my life beyond measure.
I’m beyond grateful I said yes to Sarah. I’m so thankful I got on that plane and headed to the beach. Spending a weekend at the ocean with some really awesome women filled my bucket. We relaxed.We laughed. We told stories. We took pictures (a lot of them). We ate. We exercised and strolled on the beach. I look forward to more weekend like this. I look forward to sharing my secrets with these awesome ladies. Without a doubt, they make my life better. Saying yes is so worth it.
If you’re on the fence about friendship and making an effort …. say yes. You’ll be rewarded in countless ways.
One of my goals is to say “no” more often and be extra thoughtful about when I say yes. “Say Yes” is a new series featuring the things or experiences I’m saying yes to and why. Each Friday (starting this coming Friday), I’ll post about what I’ve been saying “Yes” to and what I’ve learned in the process.
Hello! How’s it going? I’m pretty stinkin’ great. I have a quick layout share today. This is one I did for Simple Scrapper and features one of my favorite photos from our summer adventures. We went to the Grand Canyon with my sister Amy and her family … and it was awesome. I love the Grand Canyon and I always love hanging out with my family. Cooper and Shelby adore their cousins, so it was awesome for everyone.
I can’t say I’m much of a nature person. Most of the time, I prefer hotels over camping. But there’s something about the Southwest that makes my heart skip a beat. The red rocks. The cacti. The tower rocks and jagged canyons. This nature is home.
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“No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world.” – Robin Williams
It’s been a little more than a week since Robin Williams lost his battle with mental illness. The news of his death cut through me in a way words can’t adequately describe. I haven’t be able to stop thinking about him, his disease and the struggle he faced.
I’m bipolar and suffer from acute depression. My highs are really high. My lows are unthinkably low. I’ve always know something about me was different, but when I started having trouble getting out of bed, when tears soaked my pillow for no clear reason and when as an adult I fantasied of running away from my life … I knew I had to do something.
I don’t know what Robin Williams went through. I’m not sure how he felt. But I do know how the feeling of hopelessness can eat you up, slowly gnawing away at any peace and normalcy you desperately crave. I know what it’s like to stare at a darkened ceiling planning your escape from the life you can’t fathom living. I know what it’s like to have tears pour from your eyes and no idea what’s crushing your soul an causing you immense pain and sadness. I know what it’s like to be unable to sleep as you flutter through the darkness on a heady high, though manic moments that convince you that you’re capable of doing anything you put your mind to.
I have a good life. I have a good family. I have beautiful and amazing children. I have a great education. I have a great job full of adventure and excitement. I have some of the most precious friendships with kindreds across the globe. My life is so good. From the outside, there’s nothing that should cause me to be so sad. But that’s just it, it’s not my life that makes me sad. It’s my mental illness that does. I have a disease and that disease makes my heart hurt, the tears flow, the frustration bubble, the manic moments fly by … But it’s a disease, just like diabetes, cancer or high blood pressure.
Why am I sharing this little secret about myself, you might ask? It’s simple: if one person reads this and feels less alone, then it’s worth it. If one person reads this and feels less shame, then it’s worth it. If one person reads this and asks for help, then it’s worth it. It’s taken me nearly 40 years to be comfortable with who I am and it’s time I used my voice + story to help those around me. It’s scary to “let it all hang out.” There are people who read this blog who don’t know me in real life. They might very well judge me. Some of my co-workers and business colleagues read this blog. They might very well judge me. Heck, my family reads this blog and they might be embarrassed or ashamed of my coming out. So be it. I’m will not let shame dictate the choices I make and neither should you. You are more than your mental illness. And you deserve to speak your truth.
I’m not a professional when it comes to treating mental health issues. I would never profess to know everything about it. What I do know, is what works for me.
I take medication. Over the years, I’ve gone on and off medication to treat my illness. My doctor tells me this is very common with bi-polars. When you’re feeling great, you feel like you don’t need your meds. As soon as you go off them then you spiral out of control. I’ve done this, and I know now that I can never do it again. Just like high blood pressure, this is a disease I’ll deal with for the rest of my life, which means I’ll be taking my meds even when I feel awesome (like I do now). I also use alternative methods, such as acupuncture and essential oils, which have proven to be super healthful.
I’ve built a team to help me. I have a psychiatrist and I see him every three months. These regular check ups allow me to check in with him and myself. We chat about how I’m feeling; how life has been going; and how my medications are working. We make changes as needed. I also have family and a few friends who know my whole story. These are people I can lean on and turn to in my time of need.
I practice flow activities. I seek out opportunities to loose myself in activities that take me out of my head and out of my life. Painting and creating are flow activities for me. I pour myself into them and nothing else exists while I’m in creative flow. It allows my mind to take a break and I connect to something beautiful and peaceful.
I exercise. I don’t love exercise and even though I do it almost every single day, I still don’t love it. However, I often joke that exercise “keeps my crazy at bay.” And in all seriousness, it does. Moving my body and working up a sweat are incredibly therapeutic. Everyone benefits when I exercise, as I’m calmer and more focused.
I fill my mind and body with goodness. For me a wandering mind can bring dark thoughts. I make a point of keeping myself busy and filling my mind with goodness. I read a ton. I listen to podcasts. I seek out things that are interesting and uplifting. In the same vein, I watch what I eat. I follow a gluten free diet and try to eat a minimal amount of processed food. For me, garbage in equals garbage out. So I’m thoughtful as to what goes in my mouth and mind.
I set goals. If I don’t have something to work toward, I can get lost in the chaos of life. Setting regular goals has helped me to look forward and not wallow in mistakes and sadness. Right now, Mike and I are training for the Tucson Half Marathon in December. We also set a goal to read 50 books on 2014. Those sorts of goals help me stay focused and I take small steps to achieve them each day.
I write. I write to work out my feelings. I write to tell stories. I write to connect to others. I write to purge myself of the yuck when it starts to simmer and bubble over. I write because it makes me happy. I write because it sets me free.
You’re only given a little spark of madness. You mustn’t lose it.
There was a time that I was ashamed of my disease. I was embarrassed I wasn’t like everyone else. I no longer carry shame with me. My story may not be ideal and it may be a tough story, but I’m not broken and I have value in this world. I suffer from a disease that will not define me. Instead, I focus on my truths: I’m a good mother. I’m a great wife. I’m a hard worker. I’m a loyal friend. I’m a creative soul who loves paint, paper and words.
I’m proud of the woman I have become. I’ve lived a full and good life thus far, and will continue to thrive as I manage my health and illness. I’d be lying if I said I don’t have bad days. I do. There are days I crawl back into bed and can’t for the life of me figure out why I feel so miserable. But those are the days that I’m constantly reminding myself “Hold on, the light will come.”
If you’re struggling, hold on. The light will come. Reach out. Ask for help. Know that you matter and though your struggle is hard, it can get better. It’s hard work, but you are worth the work.
Hello! I’m so excited to share a little home improvement/decorating project I’ve been working on. Shelby wanted to overhaul her room. It’s been the same powdery pink since we bought the house more than seven years ago. She’s going into 5th grade and wanted something more mature.
The whole process of updating Shelby’s room has been so much fun, but also a little frustrating. Shelby definitely has an opinion about things and we don’t always agree. We both had to make some compromises when it came to her new room, but I also had to remind myself that she deserved a larger say in the outcome, since it is her space after all.
Since this has been quite a process, I wanted to share what I learned:
Take your time. Since we were excited, we both wanted to quickly push the makeover ahead. Luckily, Mike is quite level headed and made as take our time. We picked paint. Prepped the room for the new color. And then spent a weekend purging, organizing and painting. The result? A clean, well-painted canvas we could slowly start playing with.
Next, be thoughtful. We have been super thoughtful about everything that we bring into the new space. If Shelby didn’t totally love it or need it, then it didn’t make the cut. This has created a clean, minimalist space that’s both stylish and tranquil.
Compromise is key. For decisions that didn’t matter, I let Shelby have 100% control. That way when more important decisions came up (ones that hinged on location of outlets, ceiling fans, etc), then I had more leverage to make my case and drive the decision making.
Let it go. There are some things Shelby and I will never agree on. For those things, I had to let go. It’s her room. It’s her space. I really shouldn’t care that much, so I’m (trying) to let go of my own agenda and support her choices. This is a great exercise for the future when we’re going butt heads over a lot of things (hello pre-teen years).