Wednesday, April 26, 2017

I'm fine.

How often does this happen to you?

You run into someone... could be an acquaintance, could be a very close friend... and you ask, "How are you?"
And, they reply with the super vague, "Fine!"

It seems the closer you are to the person, the less likely you are to be happy about such a flippant answer.

But, let me give you something to consider.

As a mom of a child who has had a long battle with epilepsy, sometimes "fine" is all I've got.


Please don't take it personally.
It's really no disrespect to you.
It doesn't mean I don't trust you or that you are not close enough for me to be honest.
I'm not purposely withholding information from you as some sneaky judgment against you.

Often times there is just not a simple answer to that question. Kids with long-term health issues have such complicated daily lives that, especially in a store or a restaurant where I've run into you, I don't know what to share and what not to. I never know how many details people want.

Every parent with a kid who needs extra care has seen that look of terror in people's eyes when you start to share too much too soon and you realize too late that they were actually hoping things were just "fine."

And, do you want to know how she is or how I am or how our family is doing? Because none of those are mutually exclusive and ALL of those can be loooong answers.

If you really want to know, I'm happy to share. It's always a relief to have someone truly listen. I can put on the tea kettle or a pot of coffee. Just give me a 10 minute heads up so I can make sure my kids are also ready for a guest. (and bring donuts... or muffins... *wink*)

And, there are times when "fine" is the truth.


Every moment my daughter is not seizing on the ground, I am fine.
Every moment my phone is not ringing with school on the other end, I am fine.
Every day we get her out of her morning clusters in enough time to get to school on time not too late, I am fine.
Every day the red-tape isn't an issue and all the paperwork goes well, I am fine.
Every time I get to hear her giggle, I am fine.
Every day there isn't a new procedure or test or medicine to try, I am fine.
Every moment that her brother and sister are happy and feeling loved despite all of this, I am fine.


It doesn't matter what is going on with me most of the time.... I AM fine.

*NOT GREAT*

But, I'm fine.

The truth is, life is hard. We live in a fallen, pain-filled world. God didn't promise that life would be easy. He NEVER promised that He would protect us from more than we could handle. The exact opposite really. He confirms over and over in scripture that this life would be hard and full of challenges and He encourages us to face these things with courage and bravery, knowing He'd be right there with us, every step of the way...
"I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world."   Jesus speaking in John 16:33
"Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith,..."   1 Peter 5:8-9
"Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you."   James 4:7
     *See? It's our responsibility to actively resist the enemy.*
"I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living! Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!"   Psalm 27:13-14
So, I'm fine.

God is with me.
"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go."   Joshua 1:9
"He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds."   Psalm 147:3
Therefore, I'm fine.

I am fine.
   *promise*

So,... how are you?
-kt

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Simple Saturdays - Finish What You Started



This simple phrase has been a game-changer for me.

How easy is it, as moms, to start something but find ourselves pulled in a million other directions?



I mean, just when I finally get around to *fill in the blank* the baby needs changing,
which makes me notice that the garbage needs taking out,
which makes me see that the rug needs vacuumed,
that makes me remember that I shoved things in the closet and I should put them back where they belong,
and then the toddler spills something,
and that makes me remember that I didn't wipe the table off after breakfast,
and the dryer buzzed so I throw the clothes on my bed and see that my coffee cup needs to be brought to the sink,
where I find more dishes that need washing,
but the kids are hungry so I need to make lunch...

and on and on...

and by the time the day is done, I have a bunch of stuff started, the house is cluttered, but nothing is done.

*sigh*



Enter my life-changing new mantra: FINISH WHAT YOU STARTED.

All it really takes is a little self-discipline.
You have to be ok with not getting A LOT done.

BUT, you get the satisfaction of knowing you actually completed something.



Some days, all I get done are the basics (preparing meals, doing the dishes, and general tidying).
And, some days, THAT'S OK!

This even applies to all those amazing working mamas.



Tonya Dalton of The Productivity Paradox (and the creative genius behind inkWELL Press) mentioned recently in her podcast that multitasking isn't really as productive as we might think.

"Experts estimate that switching between these tasks, this virtual tug of war that's happening right now in your brain, it can cause a 40% loss in productivity. You want to know the worst part? You tend to be more error prone. You're working slower and less effectively. People argue that multitasking is more efficient. They say, "I'm getting more done." But are you, if you have more errors, and it actually takes you more time? The more errors you have, the more you have to go back and fix those errors, instead of handling it one time, and being done with it. It's not really that efficient. The next time you go to multitask, ask yourself this, "Which is more important? To be efficient, or effective?" Because you cannot be effective, if your brain is continuing with this tug of war. Doing two things at once makes you miss obvious things." 


If I'm really being honest, I'd rather do a few things well than feel like I've started, but haven't completed, anything.

Don't you agree?

So, tomorrow, don't stress yourself out with a giant to-do list.
Finish what you started.

I promise you'll sleep better.
-kt


Thursday, March 16, 2017

Rest

I figure that it's appropriate timing for this post since I started blogging regularly again at the beginning of the year and have since disappeared.

The last few weekends were crazy.

And, instead of stressing myself out to write something for all 5 of my followers, I decided to set an example of grace by showing myself some. Ha.

Plus, that first weekend was it was my birthday.

And, I'm tired.

Prioritizing sleep has been very important for me lately. The ironic thing about hypothyroidism is you can be completely exhausted yet unable to fall asleep. But, giving myself the opportunity to sleep is super necessary. And, as much as I hate to admit this, I get a much higher quality of sleep at night when I don't fall asleep to Netflix or Hulu. *insert sad face*



I am finding so much value in stillness and quiet. 

And, I don't just mean noise. But, quietness of heart and mind and soul, as well.

I try to take advantage of the quiet moments in my house so that I can quiet my heart and be more prepared for when the house gets loud and crazy again. Those moments are few and far between... and oh, so valuable. 

I am also trying to do so much more resting in the Lord and the unknown. Part of that simply looks like refusing to strive for the unattainable. So often I put more pressure on myself than ANYONE else does... including God. By showing myself more grace and giving myself more time, I also reduce the stress in my home. By not setting such unreachable standards for myself, I'm allowing my family to rest more, to enjoy our home, to just be.

(AND, one of the blessings of showing myself more grace and not filling up my schedule was that I had a whole day to work on curtains. Not the most glamorous of projects, but it makes our home so much nicer. I was able to hem our kitchen curtains, our bedroom curtains, and make curtains for our bathroom, bedroom and our girls' room! It's so fulfilling to have that off my perpetual to-do list.) 

Sure, I still want the sink to be empty of dirty dishes and the floor to be swept/vacuumed as often as possible. But, since those things are actually doable most days, it's ok! What's not realistic is to demand perfectly made beds and completely tidy, organized rooms constantly, or the opportunity to accomplish a bunch of tasks on my personal to-do list. There's no life in that. And, my kids are young enough that they're still learning how to do that anyway.

By being able to find rest in the mess (all the mess - spiritually, emotionally, physically, and in our home), we are learning how to really do life together. 

The time often comes for work. For decluttering. For teaching.

But, sometimes, all we really need is a rest. 

-kt

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Current Favs - March 2017

I've never really been one to embrace something simply because it's trendy.

If I take part in a trend, it's because I actually like it.

(Which is why I'm always a few months behind. Ha. I'm a BIG fan of leggings now, but it took me a looooong time to even try them.)

So, I thought I'd share some of my current favs with you.
These are some of my tried-and-trues.

Clothing:

As I'm simplifying everything, I'm finding that I'd rather have one nice thing (versus multiple cheap things) because then I always know where they are. I'm less likely to misplace something because I'm probably using it.
So, these slippers won. They are wonderful. TOMS recommends sizing down if you normally wear a 1/2 size. 7 1/2 TOMS fit me perfect so I got these in 7s and they fit wonderfully.



Sorry they are hard to see. It's the best picture I have.
You can find similar ones here discounted on Zulily today.

Makeup:

Several of my friends have talked about wanting to find a tinted lip balm because lipstick can be drying and lip gloss can be sticky.
I found it!
This stuff goes on light, is not sticky, and adds a nice subtle color. I got mine at our grocery store, but I'm guessing in more populated areas, they are easier to find.
This one is Burt's Bees Tinted Lip Balm in Rose.




Podcast:
The Memory Palace

There is just something about this guy's voice and the music he chooses and they way he tells these forgotten stories that makes me listen to every... single... episode. He takes a topic that most people would know a little something about and finds a nugget of history associated with it that most people have NO idea about. Plus, they're short. They usually are no more than 15 minutes. Look it up. Listen to it. You won't be disappointed.

Music:
Elevation Worship station on Amazon Prime. I've had to "thumbs down" several songs and there are a few songs I skip past, but for the most part, this is goooooood music. 

Food/Drink:
Pomegranate Tea with a few drops of Lemon Essential Oil and a half of a packet of Truvia. I'm obsessed. John even asked why I was having this drink every night now. Truth is, I'm trying to snack less at night and this is a good way to have something sweet, fruity and delicious.

Blogger:
I have loved Emily from Jones Design Co, for a long time now. She has beautiful free printables and as I'm getting more into watercolors and hand scripting, I definitely enjoy her posts. Plus, she's adorable and a fellow young mom. Check her out.

I hope you like these things as much as I do!
-kt




Saturday, February 25, 2017

Simple Saturdays: The Easiest and Yummiest Shredded Chicken Ever



This is absolutely the easiest (and one of the tastiest) recipes I make.



Four ingredients.

Chicken, water, onion salt and italian dressing mix.
That's it!



And, it's super versatile.

All I do is place enough chicken for our family in a slow cooker (this time it was one breast and 3 thighs, but it's totally your preference).

Add 1 cup of water (we need the extra moisture here at our high elevation).

Then, I sprinkle the chicken with a generous amount of onion salt and 1 package of this italian dressing mix. The whole packet.



If the chicken is frozen, I put the slow cooker on high for an hour before switching it to low.
It's a pretty standard slow cooker meal, so high for 4 hours or low for 6-8.

Then, shred and add more water as necessary.



Our favorite ways to have this are over rice or mashed potatoes or on rolls as chicken sandwiches.

My kids GOBBLE it up. All three ask for seconds, and thirds...

I like to double the recipe so I can do sandwiches one night and over rice or potatoes later.

Hope you love it, too!
-kt

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Spiritual Health

How I'm simplifying in order to flourish....

I'm finding that there is a lot of self-discipline needed to maintaining a healthy spiritual life.

I have to be intentional about setting my mind on things above (Col. 3:2), letting no unwholesome talk come out of my mouth (Eph 4:29), putting the Lord first in my heart, mind and actions (Matt 22:37). We are to rely on God for so much, but we have to CHOOSE that.

It is not an easy thing to do as a young mom, when so much of my time and mental energy are taken up by other things.

So, as I'm simplifying the rest of my life, this is getting a makeover, too.

Worship:

One of the best things I've done recently is finding some new Christian music that I actually really like.

I'm a little picky when it comes to music. My husband calls my favorites my "weird music."

Sure I still skip a song here and there on the Amazon Prime station, but I love the sound of Elevation Worship.

My kids are even starting to learn some of the songs. I love that they sing along with me.

Music is such an easy way to keep truth circulating in your home.

And, I'm back singing on the worship team at our church... which just makes me feel so, well, like "me". I get slammed with doubts and insecurities all the time. I have no formal training. But, I grew up hearing my mom sing the harmony parts while we were in our pew at church and that became a natural thing for me. I know I need to branch out and sing the melody more often and with more confidence, but that will come.

Bible Study:

This is another area where I can't stress enough that you need to FIND WHAT WORKS FOR YOU... so you'll be less likely to give it up.

Not consistently being in the Word over the last few years really threw my faith into a tailspin. If you are not focusing on truth, lies will sneak in and start to camouflage themselves as fact. It is vitally important to our spiritual health to be in God's Word and focused on who He is and what He is all about. You can't believe something you don't know.

What works for me is to pick a topic each month, find a Bible reading plan about it and read a few verses each day. My favorite lists have come from Rachel Wojo (who even includes cute little printables) and the Bible Girl. At the beginning of each month, I write the passages to read on each corresponding day in my planner so I have no excuse not to read it. It's sitting right there waiting for me.

Fellowship:

We've gotten back into a small group since we moved back to CO. It's VERY important to be in frequent contact with people who you trust to speak truth into your life. People who you can trust enough that when they call you out, you are able to listen instead of get offended. People who you know have your best interest at heart, even in the moments when the truth hurts. And, people who can celebrate life's victories with you and help to carry you through life's tragedies and challenges. We were made to do this life in community. Find your tribe.

(Two of my favorite books on this topic are Waking the Dead by John Eldredge and Kingdom of Couches by Will Walker. Both are books that I intend to reread very soon.)

Prayer: 

Again, self-discipline. And prayer. Ha.

I've literally been praying that God would make me into a person whose prayers are powerful and effective. That He would make me faithful to pray when I tell someone I will. So far, He's answering that. And, I'm grateful. I want to be a faithful prayer partner for people.

I've also started using a traveler's notebook and one of the inserts is dedicated to prayer. It helps when I write and it's very encouraging to have a record of God's answers!

I hope you can find something to take from this little list of things that are helping me.
Be encouraged.
-kt

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Simple Saturdays: Sunday Reset



A lot of simplifying my life has come down to setting myself up for success.

One way I do this is by having a few key things I do on Sunday nights.
I call it my Sunday Reset.



Basically it's a way to make sure I get these certain things done at least once a week.

I know Sunday is the Sabbath and I totally respect that. I do more of my "resting" on Saturdays. There are plenty of times when I end up doing this "reset" on a Monday because our Sunday was so great! (And, because my kids have Mondays off school.)
If you are uncomfortable doing this on a Sunday, pick a day that works for you and your family to do your "reset."

Some things you could do on Sunday to set up for a great week:
  • meal plan for the following week
  • read one chapter out of a specific book
  • water the plants
  • have the house tidy and clutter-free
  • put at least one good memory from the week in a "jar of joys"
  • vacuum    *I vacuum daily, but I like to make sure my week STARTS as dog hair-free as possible*
  • clean the coffee makers/diffusers
  • write a new memory verse on kitchen chalkboard
  • double-check calendar for main events to mentally prepare for the week
  • empty all garbages
  • ANYTHING else that helps you feel prepared
Doing these things on a weekly basis has been GREAT for me. 

I have a spot in my planner where I write the big ones to make sure that I get them done. 


Once again, you are getting a glimpse into the AMAZINGNESS that is inkWELL Press. 


Find what works for you and DO IT!
-kt