Beauty In The Busy

Finding beauty, laughter, and thoughtfulness in my busy day-to-day life.


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Chill Pills

When someone I’m with is freaking out about something, I can usually be counted on to tell them to “Take a chill pill!” This is perhaps not politically correct from a mental health perspective, but since I myself take daily anxiety meds, I’m allowed, right? OK, not really. But anyways, I do think it’s important that everyone know what their most effective “chill pills” are, and I’m not talking about Xanax or Ativan. I’m talking about the things that we can do for ourselves to help ourselves relax, take a load off, and go to our happy place.

Here’s a list of my favourite chill pills, likely missing some things, and in no particular order, because that’s how I roll:

1. Knowing what you love to do and carving out the time to do it.

Have a hobby! It can be as common (knitting! baking! gardening!) or as completely random (making pet rocks! playing the ukelele!) as you want. Who cares? It’s just something you enjoy doing whenever you do it. In a previous post, I said that I believe that the key to success is finding a healthy balance between hard work and relaxation/fun time. Working hard is a necessity to get by in this world, and it builds character, grows hair on your chest, yadayadayada. However, making sure to carve out time every day for rest/relaxation and FUN is equally important, in my opinion. It keeps you young, keeps you smiling, and why not enjoy life as much as possible? It’s short. Squeeze the enjoyment out of it!

baking-meme

2. Take care of yourself physically: Exercise, eat well, and get enough sleep.

Well, I don’t have issues getting enough sleep. I LOOOOVVVES me my sleep. I usually fall asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow, sometimes fall asleep while watching TV, movies, or reading, and there are few things in life I enjoy as much as a spontaneous afternoon nap. Okay, so, seriously, I might have sleep apnea and I’m going to get that looked into! But I digress.

Exercising regularly and eating healthy don’t come AS easily to me, but I’m doing so much better than a few months ago! As a result, I feel better, not just physically, but emotionally. Every little change you make counts!

smoothie

3. Take care of yourself emotionally: see the doctor and get counseling if you need to!

Seriously, if you’re feeling down in the dumps for more than a few weeks, thinking thoughts that are scary or just “not you”, worrying, obsessing, etc….take care of it! There is so much more understanding and support when it comes to  mental health now than there used to be. There are so many ways you can get help and I speak from experience when I say that getting help can CHANGE YOUR LIFE. Stop dilly-dallying and trying to tough it out on your own, and go talk to someone already!

therapy

4. Take care of yourself spiritually.

Who or what feeds your soul? Seek it out! I’m not doing great in the churchgoing department at this juncture in my life for a variety of reasons, but I’m working on getting back in that groove. For now, praying remains my happy place. I find peace while talking to God. I also find serenity when surrounding myself in God’s creation. For others, it might be reading Scriptures or meditation. Whatever it is, don’t forget:

soul

5. Foster relationships with family and friends.

Few things are more satisfying than a meal, old stories, and lots of new laughs shared with family and/or close friends. And just as important as having someone to share good times with is having a couple of trusted shoulders to cry on when need be. Don’t let your world shrink too much; always leave room and time to share yourself, and be there for those you love. Loneliness sucks. Gaining and maintaining relationships may take some effort, but it’s always worth it.

My long-time friend and fellow blogger!

My long-time friend and fellow blogger!

6. Teach your kids independence.

Life is tough and sometimes we grown-ups need a break! And sometimes we parents forget that our little ones are growing bigger and more capable by the day. I teach my children how to help out around the house not only because it benefits them in teaching them life skills and responsibility, shapes their character, and keeps them busy and out of trouble, but also because FRIG, why should Carter and I be doing all of this work by ourselves?! We certainly didn’t MAKE all this mess ourselves! LOL. But seriously, more hands make for lighter work. In our family, I often emphasize to the kids that we are a team and must work together! Not only are they expected to tidy up after themselves, but my kids also help out by setting and clearing the table, folding and putting away their laundry, keeping their rooms clean, putting clean dishes away, helping take care of the dog, etc. Some days I ask very little of them and they spend most of their time playing, or they have homework they need to do first and foremost, but every now and then, if we’re exhausted and having a rough time, I’ll just tell be honest with them about it, and ask that they step up more than usual and really help Momma and Daddy out. And they do! Not necessarily without some whining and struggle, but we always get past that eventually. And it’s great for all of us: a weight off our shoulders while we recuperate, and a chance for them to grow in responsibility and learning to care for others, and be proud of their accomplishments at the end of the day.

kids-doing-chores

7. Try to keep on top of daily chores.

We all need a lazy day here and there where we don’t do much, if anything, at all. But rare is the day that I don’t do at least SOMETHING in the way of keeping that omnipresent laundry moving through the system, and rare is the day that I don’t do a basic main-floor-tidy-up, or at least most of the dishes (sometimes I just can’t bring myself to do those last few disgusting pots and pans! Nothing wrong with a good overnight soaking!). Because when even the basics start to pile up, I will start to feel very overwhelmed very quickly. So for me, doing the bare minimum on a tough day is easier on me in the long run than doing nothing at all. Dishes+laundry+tidy=still sane!

laundry2

8. Give yourself a break!

No one’s house is clean all the time. A night of vegging out in front of the TV isn’t going to damage your kids for life. Screw the pot roast: we’re ordering pizza or having cereal for dinner! Sometimes you just have to pick your battles and let the non-life-threatening things slide while you catch your breath and enjoy some downtime.

keep calm

9. Escape!

One of my favourite happy places is anywhere but here. It’s not as terrible as it sounds, though.  Sometimes when I need to chill, the best thing I can do is get out of my own head and my own life’s problems altogether for a while: I’ll lose myself in a good book, watch some smut (because other people’s problems are so much more entertaining than our own!) or a good movie, or daydream/plan. And when I say plan, I don’t mean problem-solve, I mean, mentally plan that fantasy trip to Europe we’re gonna take someday…or that tour-the-country-in-a-mobile-home retirement plan that Carter and I chat about sometimes. Also, stepping out of the here and now can give you a little perspective! Like, while planning your dream retirement, you might think, “When I’m 75, I’m not going to remember hardly anything about what happened the year that I was 32!” Or when watching the Walking Dead, you might think, “See? Things aren’t so bad for me after all!”

reading

10. Get some fresh air.

I rarely feel better than I do when I’ve been outside, enjoying the sunshine and fresh air. I find it very grounding and humbling to get away from our petty people-problems and be reminded of  where (Who) it all comes from by surrounding myself with the greatness, the intricacy, and the beauty of nature.

beach

canoeing

nature

11. Something funny. Anything funny!

Humour is definitely the fuel that keeps me going sometimes. Don’t be afraid to be silly, and laugh at yourself! Sometimes when I need a quick emotional pick-me-up I’ll watch a funny sitcom, or browse the humour boards on Pinterest until I get the giggles. Never do I feel better than when I’m laughing, and it’s rare that I can’t find SOMETHING to laugh about.

jesus

So how about you? What are your favourite chill pills?

 

 

 

 

 

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New Family Member

Yesterday, we adopted a new addition to the family!

thea

Meet Thea! She’s a 7 week old border collie/blue heeler mix and she is ADORABLE.

I am in love.

cuddles

As we all are.

Before, Thea, we had Sara, an Australian shepherd, the sweetest dog I’ve ever known and the ONLY dog I’d ever owned.

sara

We were blessed to have her from puppyhood, for 7 years, until she passed away unexpectedly last summer due to bone cancer. We were broken-hearted. We didn’t feel quite ready for another dog right away, and then when we did, we knew we had to get a few financial ducks in a row before taking on that added responsibility again.

Yesterday was the special day. We surprised the kids.

pet store

Frog was still in a state of disbelief when I took this photo at the pet store later, picking up some supplies.

So, now our days are a little busier than they used to be, with crate-training, potty-training, obedience training, and cleaning up little accidents.

But more importantly, our days are also a little more cheerful and more filled with play than they used to be. A dog can bring such joy and love to a household, and we have missed that SO much.

Our family feels complete again!


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On Love….

In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, I’d like to share a little bit about the three loves of my life.

Carter:

carter

What can I say…I just love this guy so much! I can’t look at that face without feeling warmth in my heart.

I met Carter 13 1/2 years ago and my life was, without a doubt, changed forever. We’ve been through some very hard times, but I wouldn’t give up one second of it if it meant not having what we have now. People can change….relationships can change….life can change. Carter has proven all of that and more over the last several years, and he inspires me with his perseverance and triumph over struggle, time and time again.

Carter is an amazing husband. He takes care of me when I need him to, but he’s also big enough to stand back and cheer me on as I forge my own path. He’s hilarious, generous, smart, creative, honest, and real. If someone is in need, he’ll give the shirt off his back without question. He makes me laugh on a daily basis. He’s my best friend; I can tell him all of the good, the bad, and the ugly, and he loves me through it all. He truly is my life partner, my soulmate, and my team member through all that comes our way. He’s also an awesome daddy to our two kids…the other two great loves of my life.

gabriel2

Frog came into our lives in November of 2004. Our lives were never to be the same! LOL. This little guy is a fireball of energy and emotion. If he’s gonna feel it, he’s gonna feel it deeply. As a result, he is one of the most sensitive and kind-hearted kids I’ve ever known. He loves hard and cares ferociously. He’s also insanely intelligent…you can try, but you won’t get much past this kid. He shows amazing amounts of talent when it comes to athleticism and musicianship.  He can drive me to my wit’s end and back again several times in one day thanks to his ridiculous energy and will of steel, but just like his Daddy, I wouldn’t take one second of it back if it meant not having the honour and pleasure of being this amazing, gifted little dude’s Momma.

naomi

Kitten arrived in June of 2006. This little girl is such a joy and really made our family feel complete. She started out as a chubby, red-cheeked, easy-to-please, jolly baby. On her way out of toddlerhood, a will began to emerge that we had not seen coming! Today, at age 7, she is one of the most unique little girls you’ll ever meet. She’s incredibly fearless and independent. If she thinks there’s the slightest chance that she can do something herself, get out of the way…because she will! I don’t think I really knew what determination was until I saw this gal in action. She shows incredible talent when it comes to writing, drawing, and painting.  She’s a natural-born leader; no lack of self-confidence here! She’s also ridiculously sweet and affectionate. Not a day goes by that I am not blessed by being showered with kisses and cuddles.

dress up

Put the two of these little fireballs together and on a daily basis you will see at least the following: loyalty and affection, joined-at-the-hip playmates, wild adventures, and wicked sibling fights! These two may drive each other crazy sometimes, but they stick together like glue most of the time and they definitely look out for each other when they’re out in the big, wide world together. Trust me, if you have a problem with Kitten, you will have a problem with Frog, and vice versa. I hope they will always have each other’s backs, and tell them so constantly, because there are few blessings in life sweeter than loyal and loving siblings. (I would know!).

No matter what happens in my life, as long as I have these three in it, I will be a blessed and happy woman.

couple

family pics