life lived thoughtfully

the middle days of rest.

so we’re halfway through the social media fast. and it turns out that i’m still not missing social media itself. but i am finding out that i have been putting a lot of my “stuff” to the side in favor of avoidance via instagram/facebook/twitter/etc. yikes, how’s that for an intro?

the “stuff’ i’m specifically talking about is the general betterment of myself type stuff. you know, taking charge of my life and organizing it, getting my home on a better running schedule, actually giving thought to simplifying the stuff in my home and my heart, being a more engaged friend, PRINTING OFF PHOTOS OF MY SECOND BORN. see, i know that i want to do all this stuff. i know it because it’s on lists everywhere. i have lists on my phone, in notebooks, on my computer, and they all say variations of the same thing. and yet. and yet when given an hour at night to either pull out my computer and organize my photos and files while watching netflix (mostly productive), or to mindlessly scroll facebook and instagram while watching netflix (literally could not be less productive), i have always been choosing the latter. and why? do you know how much joy it would bring me to have photos printed out and in frames? ALL THE JOY. do you know how much happiness i would feel if i could finally say that i had effectively simplified my home and made it more efficient, happy and healthy? ALL THE HAPPINESS. but i don’t do it.

i don’t do it because i would rather just see the finished product of other people who have done it than put in the work myself. i think there is a fear of starting something like this self-improvement if there is a chance that it’s going to take a few tries. i’m the type of person who wants to do something one time, and i want it to be right the first time. i have always hated the idea of rough drafts. always. why make a rough draft when you can just write a good paper on the first try? why waste time doing something if you’re just going to have to do it again? in college, i would regularly write midterms and final papers in one sitting. and i’d get As on them (so in my defense, i’ve had some reinforcement on this particular belief…) it makes me feel good to see others’ end results without the rough drafts because i can live in this fantasy where SOMEDAY i’ll start this same effort and it’ll be easy to get the same results. i can just keep pretending that no rough drafts are needed, just like in college. but deep down, i know that this process will require trial and error, and that’s why i never start.

does anyone else have this same weird hang-up with rough drafts? or is it just me? please let it just not be me…

so i guess i’ve learned some pretty substantial stuff about why i do the things i do from this experience so far. this week is the week that we are supposed to take action on some of our thought process of restoring our rhythms and setting our non-negotiables for our lives, by actually getting rid of some of the clutter. so it’s a DO week instead of a THINK week, and i’m actually very excited. i feel like i need homework on this stuff because i’m clearly type-a enough that i don’t want to not finish an assignment. the difference now is that i’m recognizing that there is going to be trial and error, and i’m trying to welcome it, and be aware that all of this work is going to carry over into my whole year. in fact, i want it to carry over into my whole year. that’s how i’m going to change my habits and my weird perfectionist avoidance tendencies. i’m also working on how to fit social media back into my life in a way that won’t allow me to use it to avoid as much anymore. because i can’t unknow that part of myself now, so i have no excuse to let it happen anymore.

i truly thought that most of this process would be figuring out a better social media schedule for myself, not that i’d discover this known but deeply forgotten truth about myself. that in and of itself has made this process worth it.

now, i did have other goals for this work that i wrote about in my first post, so i want to update about those as well. can’t forget about the stuff i started!

here is what i hoped to accomplish during the month:

  • i want to build a new daily routine for myself, from the time i wake up to the time i go to bed. i want it to be thoughtful, realistic, and something that gives me purpose, because i’m learning that more structure might be good for me. i’m slowly but surely developing this. i have been good about giving myself 20 minutes of quiet awake time in the morning, with coffee, to ease into my day. i’ve also been getting myself and the kids dressed, teeth brushed and ready for the day at the same time, which is good for them as well as me. my nighttime routine has been more focused on what needs to get done, and on more productive endeavors lately too, which has made me feel great.
  • i want to work on renewing relationships, both within my family and my friendships. i’ve not been as mindful of the people in my life as of late, and i want to change that. this includes my husband and friends far and near. i’m still working on this. i’ll always be working on this.
  • i’m hoping to renew my passion for blogging with the new inspiration and space in my brain. i’ve missed it a lot, but even when i’ve had the time to do it, i’ve felt totally uninspired to do it. i’m hoping this rest from the norm will jumpstart my creativity in a positive way. i’ve been doing so much thinking, that actually, most of my extra brain power has been spent on the exercise itself, but i can see how doing a good job on this endeavor will pay off in this space soon.
  • i want to come out of this feeling like a more engaged, energized mom. i have two amazing kids who are growing up faster and faster, and i want to take the time to watch it happen with minimal distractions. i really have been feeling like a better mom this month. i have more patience, i am doing a better job spending quality time with the kids when i have it, which gives me some leeway to let them play on their own while i cook or clean because their mom tank is full. so we’re all happier lately, and i credit it to how focused i’ve been in my interactions with them.

once again, thanks for sticking around for this long! i appreciate that some of you read along with my strange, rambling trains of thought. let me know if any of you get me on this rough draft thing, help my feel like i’m not alone in my crazy.

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the first days of rest.

“take rest; a field that has rested gives a beautiful crop.”

– ovid

it’s been three days since i deleted my social media apps from my phone, and oh boy, is this going to be a game changer.

for those of you not following me anywhere else (like instagram/twitter/facebook), i made an abrupt decision at the end of december to do a social media cleanse. i like to think of it as a fast, because cleanses are not really something i’m into, and the concept of fasting – periodic abstaining from something for the benefit of your inner self – speaks more to my soul. i made the decision to take a “rest” from social media after giving some thought to what i wanted my 2018 to look like. what i realized when i really sat down to take stock of my life, was that i felt stagnant in almost every single area – work, family, friends, inspiration. nothing felt bad to me, it just felt stuck, like it was all moving along without me somehow. i’ve never taken a break from social media before…ever, so this was a big decision for me, especially considering how many of my friendships use it as a main form of communication.

but as of january 1, 2018, i signed off from all social media, and haven’t looked back yet.

i’m following the rest retreat being put on by amanda at homesong blog, because i felt like i needed some direction and structure to this effort, or it would just feel kind of pointless. so far, it’s been a really good decision. it’s given me an outline for how to do this in a thoughtful, productive way, instead of just muddling along on my own. i have made some exceptions to a full social media fast; for example, i will be checking in on instagram every friday to share a photo (and probably an insta story) along with some thoughts on the process, and to see what you all have been up to over there. i have also picked pinterest back up (on my  computer only, not my phone). i find that when i’m feeling uninspired, pinterest is an amazing tool for me to start feeling creative again, whether in my home or my style or my blog. i haven’t touched pinterest in MONTHS, which is pretty telling for my current state of uninspiration, so it felt right to actually start again as part of this fast. this might feel counter-intuitive to some, but it was right for me.

(pillows || fluffy pillows || blanket || diffuser)

i’ve only been doing this for a few days, but it’s been much less difficult than i thought it would be. it’s a weird feeling to go to your phone by habit, but not really have any reason to be on there. it makes you realize how often you look at your phone just to kill time, or because you don’t want to think about whatever is happening, or just to distract your mind from any substantial thoughts. it takes a total rewiring of your brain to change your instincts to not pick up your phone in between activities.

one thing that’s made it easier for me has been to create a space for myself to spend time in during the evening instead of just sitting around scrolling instagram. currently in our lovely, tiny house, i don’t have an office space of my own. there are plans to create one for me this year, because having my own area as a home base has been a dream of mine for a while, and i’ve got big ideas for that. in the meantime, i’ve made a little nest for myself on our bed (pictured above) with lots of pillows, a cozy blanket, my laptop, a journal, a couple books, and my diffuser. it’s been wonderful to take time the last few days and actually do some focused activity like reading or blogging without the constant distraction of my phone. do you guys know how long it’s been since i’ve made time to read a book?? so long that i’m embarrassed to say it, so i won’t.

(sweatshirt || joggers || slippers)

[this is the most ridiculously comfortable outfit, and i will be wearing it in my nest a lot]

like the quote at the top of this post says, “a field that has rested gives a beautiful crop”. i’m hoping that through this social media “rest”, i will come out on the other side more inspired, more fulfilled, and with a better “crop” to offer to my family and my community. i’d also love to share what i’m learning through the process, and how it is helping me achieve that goal as i go.

here is what i’ve learned from my rest so far:

  • it’s kind of ridiculous how much more time i have on my hands during a day when i’m not wasting it watching people’s instagram stories or snapchats at random points throughout.
  • it’s been easier than i thought it would be, but if i’m being honest, there have been a couple of times where i’ve gotten a bit itchy to check what’s going on out there on instagram (facebook and twitter, not so much).
  • i don’t miss twitter at all, and i’m realizing how much rage it actually caused in my soul, for no reason.
  • i miss instagram the most, because i’ve made it a lovely place for myself, but i’m starting to think of better, less wasteful ways i can spend my time there.
  • i feel like a better mom already, because if i’m on my phone, it’s for a reason, not just to escape the constant noise my kids have a tendency to make. (although it turns out they make less noise when i pay more attention to them…)

here is what i hope to accomplish during the rest of the month:

  • i want to build a new daily routine for myself, from the time i wake up to the time i go to bed. i want it to be thoughtful, realistic, and something that gives me purpose, because i’m learning that more structure might be good for me.
  • i want to work on renewing relationships, both within my family and my friendships. i’ve not been as mindful of the people in my life as of late, and i want to change that. this includes my husband and friends far and near.
  • i’m hoping to renew my passion for blogging with the new inspiration and space in my brain. i’ve missed it a lot, but even when i’ve had the time to do it, i’ve felt totally uninspired to do it. i’m hoping this rest from the norm will jumpstart my creativity in a positive way.
  • i want to come out of this feeling like a more engaged, energized mom. i have two amazing kids who are growing up faster and faster, and i want to take the time to watch it happen with minimal distractions.

if you made it this far, thanks for sticking around. it’s not the usual humorous, light fare you find here, but i’m hoping that it sparks some conversation either with others or with yourself about how social media is presenting itself in your life right now. i want to hear in the comments if you’re feeling more like me, with the burnout and stagnation, or if you’ve made a really great place for social media in your life. i’d also love to hear tips on how you manage your social media addiction use throughout your day…i need them!

lots of love, i’ll see you back here soon!

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life lived thoughtfully. volume four.

i got in a car accident on thursday night and nothing happened to me.

i was on my way to meet a friend for a long-overdue tea, and while i was starting to move again after being at a standstill on the highway, my car was rammed from behind by two other cars, the final piece in a three-car sandwich. but nothing happened to me.

the car behind me, the one in the middle, no longer had a back bumper and the front bumper was completely cracked and shattered, while my back fender merely suffered two scratches. but nothing happened to me.

the first car, the one that came barreling down the highway into a line of cars standing still, the one that was being driven by a girl two years younger than myself, that car was totaled, the front completely crumpling in on itself and rendering it unable to be driven. but nothing happened to me.

the girl driving that first car, based on how fast she was going and how sudden the impact was, was surely on her phone leading up to the impact, and was lucky to be alive and walking around, because we’ve all seen what happens in the commercials imploring us to put our phones down. but nothing happened to me.

how did nothing happen to me? that’s all i could think as i drove my car away, unscathed. and it made me realize, we don’t always know why things happen or don’t happen to us, at least not right away. sometimes the “why” isn’t always ours to know at the time of the happening. sometimes it’s not ours to know for a very, very long time.

i’ve been thinking a lot about THE PLAN lately. that greater plan that we feel like we should have control over, but we actually don’t have any control over. you know the one. i’ve said it before and i’ll say it again – i don’t do well with not knowing the plan. patience is a virtue i am still fighting to possess, and the phrase “give me grace” is always in my prayers. because i want to just KNOW the plan and then make it happen for myself! is that too much to ask?

i am constantly fighting to trust that His plan is better than mine. that His plans are so big that i can’t possibly begin to imagine what He has in store for me. because why would i ever be chosen to do great things when there are so many others that could do it better? i have a hard time imagining what i could bring to the table that someone else couldn’t.

and then i remember this wisdom:

trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding | proverbs 3:5

it doesn’t matter that i don’t yet understand the “why”. my understanding isn’t important at this time. placing my trust in Him and the plan He has for me is the important thing. deep down i know that if i trust the life and the gifts i have been given, i will do great things. it’s true that nothing happened to me in that accident; but there is so much still waiting for me ahead.

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life lived thoughtfully. volume three.

can we get honest here for a moment? like, really, truly, honest?

i have not been myself this last month. i’ve flaked out on friends (sometimes with reason, sometimes because i’m terrible), i’ve let balls drop that i normally would not, and i’ve been a less than stellar wife.

i’ve had things not turn out as planned, and been disappointed in myself and things happening around me. and i’d like to say i responded with grace and a lot of patience, but i didn’t. i responded with a cranky attitude and far too many bad moods to mention for fear of you all seeing me in a different light.

my husband has taken on far more than his share of things to make up for where i’ve been lacking, and his life hasn’t been any easier than mine…we’re partners living this life together after all. but while he’s been living it thoughtfully, i’ve let my thoughtfulness get lost in the shuffle.

so there is no story this month about buying coffee for the car behind me, no thoughtful metaphor on how happiness can be found by doing things for others. just some real talk about how sometimes, even when we try to focus on it, thoughtfulness is not easy or welcomed. i don’t want to be one more person talking about how all you have to do is make thoughtfulness a priority and it magically changes your life to make you a better wife + friend + mom + person. it doesn’t. the journey to a life lived thoughtfully comes with progress that can sometimes be backwards.

advent-life-lived-thoughtfully

but we can still take that journey. instead of being discouraged, i’m turning towards a fresh start in this advent season, this waiting season. time for more focus on how i can offer up my disappointment as a sacrifice to that holy one who offered Himself up for us. if He can be born a child in a manger, i can surely do the dishes with a happy heart. if He can die for me, i can be content with my disappointments, knowing that there is more ahead planned out for me.

here’s to finishing out the year on a better note. a more thoughtful note. here’s to ending 2015 with the happiest heart i can.

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life lived thoughtfully. volume two.

hi. how are you all? you good? i hope you’re good. i’m doing great, thank you for asking!

as i cozied up to write this post (pumpkin beer and chocolate in hand), it was kind of a trip to look back at the last month with this “thoughtful” lens on. i mean, october was a fairly uneventful month, all things considered, but when i try to find the little pieces where i was maybe a little more present or a little more engaged, there are so many! i think this whole #lifelivedthoughtfully thing is working!

one the best kickstarters for me in this has been the #morethanaframe community on instagram that is back for its second round. started by cassie and amber, it is just the best tool to help you sit back and reflect on how to view the ordinary parts of your life as extraordinary. it really helps me slow down in my day to day to see where the special moments and reflections are happening, and sometimes that’s all i need…to slow down and look around.

one of the happiest times had to have been halloween weekend. that was the weekend that i got to see both of these things happen:

baby-shark-costume

great-grandpa-holding-baby

my grandpa turned 90 years old on halloween, and i got to see my daughter hug her great-grandpa. let’s be clear, she is not a hugger, so this hug lasted for about three seconds, but it happened! how cool is that? how cool that they get to know each other? to be able to see that in my life is something that i hope i never take for granted. i may not have gone to any parties or eaten my body weight in candy (probably for the best), but this halloween was one for the record books.

i’ve also been focusing a lot more of self-care since i realized that i hadn’t been focusing on it at all. and it’s been great! for me, that means making time for working out, and for writing, even when Mister Man is traveling. if that means i haul miss Amelia to the gym childcare on one of my days home with her, that’s what i do. if that means saving the dishes until later so i can work on a blog post or a journal entry, that’s what i do. i’m trying to get out of my own head a little bit so i can do what recharges me. i’m always better when i’m recharged. if i get too burnt out, i tend to get a little cranky (read: bitchy) and frankly i’m not much fun to be around. do i feel bad if Amelia cries when i leave her in the child care? yep. do i feel guilty for not cleaning like i should? you bet. but if it means i’m a better mom and partner at the end of it? worth it.

magazine-computer-fall-decor-blog-flatlay

self-care-making-time-for-the-gym

i don’t know what these posts will look like in the coming months. they might be photo essays, they might be reflections, if i get real zesty, i might just throw a vlog in there (would that be the weirdest? if i vlogged?). whatever it ends up looking like, i want it to be a place where i can assess how i’m doing with this thoughtfully lived life i’m trying to create. there could be some times where i haven’t done so well, and i want to write about those too, because it’s real and it happens.

you’re all pretty amazing people, so if you have any suggestions for how you live a thoughtful life, i always want to hear them. i can always use some inspiration with things like this. strength in numbers can never hurt, right?

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