You may have noticed that I suddenly stopped blogging. I needed a break to spend some time doing some self care. Also, both of our laptops from college died so that made things difficult. But here I am! I am not sure how much I am going to commit to blogging, but I do want to do more.
So what have I been up to since October? Well, a lot of things! I want to share with you the 16 things I’ve been up to to say sayonara to 2016, and the 17 things I want to work on to welcome 2017.
I have been working on my daily routine. When I’m not focusing on the baby, I am fitting in cleaning, organizing, other household responsibilities, daily prayer, and overall just getting my sh!t together.
With the Advent and Christmas seasons I have been loving the little and big ways I can make our home more beautiful. We have an Advent wreath on our kitchen table that we lit with dinner to remind us of the season we are living out. I kind of want to have a candle out for all the seasons, maybe a crown of thorns with a purple candle during lent, and just some greenery with a white candle for ordinary time. So I’ve been spending my time doing that and hanging up and placing out other little beauties. It really feels like home.
We have been opening our doors to loved ones, from inviting a guest over to dinner, to having 20 people over for a Friendsgiving feast. It has been a blast. I love hosting and sharing our lives and helping relationships grow. (Plus it keeps me accountable with cleaning.)
We have Jesse Tree cards from Blessed is She that I hung up on a string with clothespins, and I also did something similar with our Christmas cards. I also used an Advent journal from Blessed is She to help me enter into the season. Putting out the nativity sets were fun. Two are gifts, and one I got for Zelie that she can play with. It’s adorable.
5. Life Coach
I’ve seen quite a few counselors and never really found any of them to be compatible. I was looking for actions to take along with processing, but I didn’t really receive that. Through a Facebook group I found someone sharing that she is a life coach and was offering free trials, so I sent her a message and gave it a shot. I call her biweekly and we talk about how I have been doing and what I can do to do better. We also try to find why things are a certain way and how we can change them for the better. Every time we call we reevaluate, see what works, see what’s not, then make another plan. I love this because it is looking ahead, but also living in the now, and also being realistic. It has been so great for me. If you are interested she is still looking for client and is offering a free trial!
6. Prioritizing enjoyment
If all I focus on are my responsibilities, I’m going to run myself into the ground. So I have been trying to do more things that I enjoy. If I get a bunch done, I will sit down and knit or read a book, or do whatever project I am working on.
I have always thrived on this. When I was a little kid I wanted to be an artist. I always looked forward to art class in school. Every day at home I would spend probably an hour in my room working on something, knitting, writing, or some other craft or project.
8. Mom time
I realized that I actually haven’t been truly alone since having Zelie. I was either with the baby, or on a date with Peter, but I was never by myself. Recently on a Saturday, Peter took the baby for the day to his parents five minutes away, and I had the home to myself to take a long hot shower, pamper myself, pray with no interruptions, and paint. Whenever Zelie was hungry, they came by and I could nurse, then back to me-time. It was glorious.
9. Eating less processed food
We hardly eat out at all anymore, and when we do, our guts really feel it. We still have mac and cheese or frozen pizza here and there at home, but the focus at home for dinner is protein, grain, and vegetables. I have been feeling so much better overall.
10. Drinking more H 2 O
I feel like I have tried everything to drink more water, and I finally found my system that has been working for a couple weeks now. I got a Camelbak water bottle with a straw so that it’s easier to drink for me. I put a drop of lemon essential oil in it during the day to add some flavor, and a drop of orange essential oil at night. I’ve been averaging about a bottle and a half a day, all because of this adorable app called Plant Nanny that let’s me know when my little plant needs water. He looks sad when he’s thirsty, so it’s been helping a lot.
11. Essential Oils
Speaking of essential oils, I got the Young Living Essential Oil Starter Kit from Haley and it has changed my world. Zelie has only been sick once in her lifetime, and I feel healthier and happier. I add a drop to some fractionated coconut oil and apply to the bottoms of my feet and the back of my neck, and sometimes my temples, sternum, belly, or spine. My favorite oils currently are lavender and orange before bed, thieves if I am not feeling well, and a couple blends called Stress Away, Joy, or Peace and Calming that I use during the day when I’ve just about had it. When my neck feels tense I apply peppermint. I love to clean with lemon or lavender (or both!) If diluted enough I even feel comfortable applying lavender, orange, or thieves on little Zelie! The kit comes with a diffuser so I’m usually diffusing something during the day, typically something floral, citrus, or a mental health blend. If I think there’s a bug going around I just add a drop of thieves. It has been great for me as an alternative to chemicals and medicines (not a complete replacement, I still take an antidepressant and some vitamins/supplements). Please talk to a health professional about essential oils first. I am not an expert in any way.
12. Less Insta
It is sad but also very relieving to say that I have been on Instagram less. I have notifications set up for the accounts I want to continue to keep up with, and I once in awhile post a photo that I think is artsy enough. Before I used to feel so much pressure to post an artsy photo every day, and it was just too much for my mental health.
13. Mental Health
I have been working on this a lot in many different ways. I’ve been ignoring it and just stuffing it away and avoiding it and hiding from it and doing everything I’m not supposed to do to treat it.
My life coach suggested the Strengthsfinder test and when I decided to take it, it was super eye opening! My top five were:
1. Woo (like woo hoo!)
So basically I am a huge social bug and crave it. I am also a big dreamer, am typically easy going and living in the now.
15. Learning more about myself
So by taking the Strengthsfinder test, I was reaffirmed that I do want to lead retreats. I love getting to know people, being in and leading small groups, having deep conversations, hearing both the unvoiced and voiced, and trying to be hopeful and positive.
16. My Dream
When we have a house, it will be on a couple acres so that I can plant a retreat center. I want to have a regular 3 day retreat similar to Kairos, maybe once a season, or if popular enough once a month. For those who don’t want to take a whole weekend, there will be a coffee shop/art studio/common room for people to come and just take a day to pray, retreat, and be creative. There will be a chapel. There will be paths, and hermitages, outside for people to have a silent retreat, and to experience God’s creation more intimately. I want a place for a rosary walk and a path for the stations of the cross, and it’ll all just be amazing and so so lovely. I will still be able to stay at home and possibly home school if we feel that is the best option for our family, even while planning and running retreats. Another detail that I want with this place eventually is for it to run on suggested donations. That way if someone is unable to pay but still needs a retreat, they are able to come. I take silent retreats at Pacem and they do this and it is so so beautiful to me.
Now to continue into the new year, these are the 17 things I want to work on to welcome 2017.
1. The Arbonne 30 Day
I will be doing a sort of cleanse to help my body remove toxins, build my gut, and prepare for future pregnancies in hopes that I don’t get as sick again. I will be having a protein shake for breakfast with an apple and some oatmeal or Cheerios, and another protein shake for lunch with some veggies and rice. I will have tea instead of coffee with NO SUGAR. (*cries*) I am convinced that all of the sugar I’m consuming (especially this Christmas) is hurting my immune system. There are also snack bars offered and fruit chews to hold me over until the next meal. I will also be drinking Young Living’s Ningxia Red, which is basically a super juice that is also so delicious. Dinner will probably be what we’re already doing, but less gluten, processed food, and acidic food, and more alkaline. I know a couple people who have done it and swear by it and now do it once a year. I’m really excited to start feeling good again.
I am picking a word for the year, and I have decided that I need to remember that I am Beloved.
I also want a saint this year to pray for me and guide me. St. Therese is the winner. I will be reading her writings and also her mother St. Zelie’s writings.
I will continue to drink more water and make sure that I am prioritizing enjoyment.
I want to do something creative each day just like I used to. I got a sewing machine for Christmas (YAY!) and will be doing lots of sewing projects, knitting, painting, and doing whatever other projects and decorating.
I will be working more on my routine for cleaning and other responsibilities. I try a do a load of laundry each day (unless not needed), wash a couple dishes whenever I have five minutes, wipe down sinks and counters regularly, vacuuming at least once a week, sweeping and mopping at least twice a week, and picking up the living room/kitchen table/and bedrooms after I wake up and before I go to bed. It’s actually working out for the most part, but I’m still looking to improve.
7. Health and Wellness
I am excited to continue trying new essential oils and eating healthy after the Arbonne 30 Day!
I will be hosting a Blessed is She brunch in this month and then possibly hosting something regularly afterwards for the local Catholic women to grow in community together.
I want to read more. Sometimes I feel like my brain is turning to mush hanging out with an infant all day. I’m thinking just a book a month so that I can actually achieve my goal. I’m for sure starting with Fantastic Beasts that I got for Christmas. I will be doing St. Therese and St. Zelie’s writings, and we’ll go from there!
11. Less TV
So originally I had this thought of not having a tv in our home, but I am realizing the reality, and Peter’s brother gave us his old tv. We watched all of The Office this fall and winter (hilarious) and now that we’re done with that, we’re only going to do a movie once in awhile. I think staring at the screen every night was making me crabby.
12. Less social media
So I already cut down on Instagram, but I just love Facebook. I’m afraid it is really making me stressed all. the. time. So it’s time to go. At first I was thinking once a week but now I’m thinking once or twice a day. I think it will help with my mental health a lot and give me some freedom.
I love social media but it makes me feel really discouraged and insecure. To be honest with you, ever since I was a little girl, I have always questioned whether people even like me. I am not entirely sure why, but that lie has been destroying me for so long. It’s finally time to do something about it instead of having breakdowns about it when I can stuff it down anymore.
14. Living with purpose
I know that I am called to be a stay at home mom right now, but I have been feeling a lot of pressure about getting a job. Some people think my life right now has no purpose or fulfillment. I know I won’t be at home forever, but it is what is best for our family right now. I do have purpose in what I am doing. I do feel fulfilled. I am helping my husband and daughter be saints, and that is a job that God has given to me.
Being sick the first nine months of marriage was so so hard for us. We were expecting the typical year or two of a honeymoon phase and we only got about 3 or 4 weeks. We feel gypped and that it’s not fair. But to be honest I was very stubborn with God and wanted things to go my way and I refused to become holy the way God knew would be best for me. So this year I am wanting to love my husband better and have God in the middle of it more, no matter what He knows is best for us.
A lot of times I just crave being alone. Zelie is the most beautiful thing I have ever witnessed, but moms need their mom-time. With nursing and her wanting to play and climb on me I feel over-touched by the end of the day.
17. Finish school
One thing that has been so hard for me is finishing school. When I was sick I tried to take advantage of the times I could sit up to eat and shower, otherwise I was laying down a lot and that makes it hard to read and take notes, especially when you have a chronic headache. Now that I’m not sick anymore I have been trying to use my time to keep the home clean and organized when I’m not taking care of the baby. I’ve done a tiny bit of studying, but I honestly haven’t done much at all. We have decided to have someone come over a couple times a week for a couple hours to play with Zelie while I can study. I’m really excited for this opportunity to learn more again. I love learning and want to learn the rest of my life.