Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Good Mornings = Good Days



Yesterday, the kids' school had a PD day, so we didn't have to get up in the morning at any specific time.  I didn't have to make any lunches.  And I got up even earlier than usual.  Sleeping in does not make me feel good.  It sometimes gives me headaches.  What does make me feel good, however, is the quiet peaceful house early in the morning.  Just me, a mug of tea, and a twinkling Christmas tree.

It has taken me years to get back to this point of being able to wake up before my kids.  Even after they consistently slept through the night—even twelve or thirteen hours—they would wake up the instant I set foot outside my bedroom door.  Talk about frustrating!  All I wanted was half an hour of quiet time to myself, yet every attempt I made resulted in kids waking too early, and possibly being cranky all day.

Now, though, they can both read a clock.  At least well enough to determine what hour it is.  My 5-year-old sometimes gets the minutes and hours mixed up.  On weekends, when they are told to sleep, or play quietly in their rooms until 8:00, he'll sometimes come out at 6:58 or something, saying, "There's an eight on my clock!"  So I shoo him back to bed and he goes reluctantly.

Since the start of the school year, I've begun to add purpose and routine to my early mornings.  The first thing I do, after (usually) making my bed and coming downstairs, is put the kettle on (just call me Polly), then make my daughter's lunch for school.  I have only missed this on one day, and then I had to scramble to throw something together last minute before we ran out the door.  I don't intend to forget again.

Once my tea is steeped, and the school lunches and snacks are all packed away, and any homework or other school paper signed, I sit down with my bible and my hot tea—next to the Christmas tree these days.  A couple of months ago, I joined the Hello Mornings challenge. The purpose of the challenge is to build habits around three things: spending time with God, planning your day, and exercising.  I still haven't worked out the daily exercising habit, but the other two are going well.  When the 6-week challenge was over, I wasn't sure I would keep it up.  But my motivation now comes from a different source: an audience.

You see, when I finish my tea-making and lunch-packing, my husband is still home.  He likes quiet in the mornings too, so he doesn't interrupt the peaceful start of the day I need.   Unless he needs his shirt ironed, which I actually love to do for him.  But when the challenge ended, I had a choice.  It was the first Monday after, I had my tea in hand, and since he was using the computer, my choices were to grab my iPhone or grab my bible.  Well, I couldn't have Kevin seeing me slacking off, after six weeks of devoted devotions, now could I?

I'm still working on building other habits into my routine, because when I have a good, productive, peaceful early morning, I have a much better day.  I'm much less cranky.  And I have more patience for my kids, who seem to take positively forever to get dressed, eat breakfast, brush their teeth, and put on their outdoor gear.

And apparently, judging by today, I'm much more motivated to put my thoughts into a blog post when I've had an early morning.



Friday, 7 November 2014

Soaking it in


I have no words.  Nothing to share.  I'm empty.  At least that's how I've been feeling lately.  Not empty in a depressed and despondent way, but more in an "I need to be filled" way.  Which is a good place to be.  So I've been soaking in good things.  As if I'm dying of thirst.  I listen to back-to-back episodes of the Inspired to Action podcast as I fold laundry or cook dinner.  I just can't get enough of the advice and experiences shared by host Kat Lee and her guests.  I want to be a better mom.  I crave this.  And so I soak it in.

Have you ever been there?  So desperate to learn, to grow, that you feel you need to absorb as many good things as you can?  My column for FellowScript was a struggle to write this time, because I feel that right now I need to fill myself up before I can share and write.  But I wrote about my long-proven obsessiveness—voraciousness, I called it.  And at the moment, I'm obsessed with motherhood and marriage encouragement.

Podcast episodes I've been listening to:
Inspired to Action Episode 60 - Automating Motherhood with Kellye Peters
Inspired to Action Episode 57 - Learn to Say Your Best Yes with Lisa TerKeurst
Inspired to Action Episode 40 - How to Harness the Power of Habits (This one made me tear up...simply because I feel so lost in this area, and for a second I felt like I'll never be able to form the habits and routines that will help me get the most out of each day...or because of hormones)

Music I've been listening to:
Jen Stanbro, and my extensive collection of CCM Christmas CDs that I won in a giveaway one year.
(more about music in another post, maybe), and my daughter's christmas play.  She has speaking roles in both the church play and the school play.

What I've been reading:
Hello Mornings Challenge
Mom in the Mirror, by Dena Cabrera and Emily Wierenga (Emily Wierenga lives in the same province as me! And from what I've read and listened to from her on podcasts, she seems to be so sweet and caring, and I kind of hope I bump into her one day.)

What I've been watching (admittedly, not as edifying as it could be):
The Bletchley Circle
Midsomer Murders
All eight Harry Potter movies.  Yep.  I'm a nerd.  I actually didn't get the eighth one watched before my husband got back from a week visiting family on the other side of the country, so it's still on my to-do list.  And don't be surprised if I start speaking with a British accent.  I'm already thinking in British slang.  No one can beat the British for slang!




Saturday, 1 November 2014

Review: Adore Me #bustygirlproblems



I've hesitated to write this post, because, well, writing about my underwear might be a little TMI on a blog read by many of my friends and family (including my brother and ex-coworkers).  Although I've done it before (complete with photos).

I just couldn't keep this to myself.  Being on the busty side of things, yet otherwise small-ish, I've had a horrible time finding bras that fit.  I don't even bother shopping at the usual stores here, since they don't actually have my size.  Or if they do (like VS) they cost an arm and a leg.  So I took a risk and ordered one online a couple of years ago.  It fit perfectly!  But I haven't been able to find anything else comparable in price without paying a LOT extra for duty and shipping (comes with being Canadian).

Then I found Adore Me.  Hello, pretty bras? That actually fit? And don't look like the horrible white boxed bra that my mom bought me when I first started needing one?  That one was probably bullet-proof.

I have now ordered three from Adore Me, and I have to say, they have earned a loyal customer.  For the price and quality and colours!  I'm probably now a little bit addicted.   I loved the first one, from the second I opened the box.  And instantly felt grown up for wearing an actual "set" for the first time ever.  The second one I ordered didn't thrill me at first, but I think it was because I just wasn't used to the style.  I've since adjusted to it, although I still may move the straps in a bit.  I can't wait for number three to arrive!

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed are my own, and I received no compensation whatsoever for writing this post, not even free product.  Although the Adore Me links included are referral links, so if you sign up and buy something, I will get store credit.

In other news . . .



Thursday, 9 October 2014

Loving THIS Nest



I wrote this mid-August (with my phone, using one thumb).  I've since dealt with my mountain of junk in the laundry room (thanks to my husband's gentle prodding), and the kitchen has been reorganised and decluttered. The closet full of baby clothes is still waiting.  I'll have to stock up on podcasts and tackle it.



*****

I've been in a slump lately. Maybe for the past two years. I've been mired in discontentment and envy and maybe even bitterness.


I've forgotten that when I do things for my house, I love it more.
I've forgotten to take the time to do things for myself.
I've forgotten to take pleasure in beautifying my surroundings and instead focused on all the work that was staring me down.  That I just kept putting off because it was so overwhelming.

I never felt like I was caught up on the housework. Even when the house was clean, those nagging bits of remaining chaos disturbed me. The unused junk hiding in the kitchen cupboards, the seriously scary laundry room (that's not Mount Washmore...that's the beginning of Hoarders Peak!), and the closet still crammed with baby stuff and my baby is five years old.

I have just realized that maybe home decor isn't a luxury item in the budget. Maybe it is a necessity. Even birds put thought and care into their homes, as temporary as they are. They don't skimp on this year's nest, saving what they really want for the next one.  That's what I've been doing. I've been focusing on all the ways this duplex of ours is flawed, rather than on its beauty spots, or ways to improve it.

Slowly, I have been starting to put care into my home again. I was trying to be frugal and so I stopped finding this homes potential. But my sell-the-excess-so-I-can-get-what-I-really-want plan has made me realize that I can make this house beautiful. It can feel finished. And I now have a few dollars of leeway. I can buy that perfect thing that is exactly what I needed instead of hemming and hawing over whether I can really justify it and I could probably make something like that and what would Kevin say?

I recently bought some of those tie-on cushions for our kitchen chairs. I wasn't going to, because the were $13 each and I needed four and that's over $50... But then I remembered that I could use my stash, and my living room rug had cost less than half of what I planned for. So I bought them guiltlessly. Along with a couple of other things.

My rug makes me smile every time I look at it. My kitchen chairs, which were slightly too low for the table are now just right, and the annoying paper towel roll is now securely mounted in a cupboard and off the counter.

So, do you love this year's nest?  Or are you waiting for the next one?


Monday, 6 October 2014

A Season of Quiet



I was going to send my resume to a new publishing house here in town. But I didn't.

I was going to join The Nester with an October 31-day series. But I didn't.

I was going to have the first draft of a novel written by now. But I don't.

Instead, I find I'm desperately in need of a season (or two) of quiet. I've always been a something-and. A mom-and-writer-and-editor, etc. and although I haven't actively consulted God about it, I feel he's nudging me to strip away any extras.

I've never allowed myself to just be the simplest version of me. I'm always adding things to my life, and not juggling them very well at all. I've already cleared my life of most extra activities and commitments, but I find I haven't yet cleared my head (and I still have a couple of commitments that I can't wait to be finished with). I still want to be that famous novelist or busy editor or viral blogger. But why? I need to take a step back from even these possibly-God-given desires and rest. So that's what I'm planning to do.

I want to be just a mom.

Just a wife.

Just a homemaker

Just a friend.

Just for awhile.

I need to figure out the basic tenets of who I am supposed to be and what I want out of life. Then maybe I will know exactly which book I need to write. Maybe I'll be able to eke out some kind of household routine and start enjoying my home and being hospitable. Maybe. But even if none of that happens, maybe I just need to be still and know. I will continue blogging as I feel led, so y'all get to come along on my journey to stillness.