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Stop the worry. Start the JOY!

Lately, I have been paralyzed by worry. A lot of things in my life that are up in air. Transitions are eminent, whether I like it or not. 

I’ve been packing for our upcoming move, which was already stressful for me. Now, it turns out, we might not only be moving across town, but out of state! 

My husband decided to go back to school and make a change of careers, which changed everything. The plan is still being figured out. Meanwhile, bills are adding up, and we have less than a month to be in our new place. 

All of this led to a great deal of worrying for me. I was stuck. Each day I barely made it through my required tasks, then I was done. I gave up on my goals. Who has time to better themselves when they are being crushed by worry?

Then I realized, this is the perfect time to grow. It is time to trust in God’s plan. As someone who likes to have every little detail planned out months in advance, this is hard for me. But I know God’s plan for me is joy. 

For now, I will pray. I will allow my husband to lead our family. I will be supportive. I will be joyful. I already have my 3 biggest desires in laugh: a God who protects me, a loving husband, and a precious child. 

So even in this time of stress, I am going to enjoy all that I have to be thankful for. Even if this situation does not turn out as I wish, I will still have my God, my husband, and Miss J. That is all I will ever need, so I will trasure my time with them, even difficult times. 

I have found my key to joy in times of worry: trust in God. I think that is why so many people memorize Psalm 23

The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want…”

It emphasizes trusting in God because he will give us what we really want. 

So that is my focus for now. I am going to continue to be joyful and trust in God. The rest shall come in time.

Until next time…Look for the joy in your pandemonium!

Saturday Morning Laughs

Sometimes, you just have to laugh. 

Saturday morning used to be my designated laugh time when I was a kid. Poptarts, cartoons, and the comics in the newspaper delighted me each Saturday morning. 

Today, this Saturday morning, I decided I just had to laugh to.

I woke up before I wanted to, due to the sinus infection I have been fighting. Miss J wanted to play, so I got ready to head downstairs to drink a cup of coffee and watch my sweet baby. If I had to be awake early on a Saturday while I felt miserable, I was at least going to enjoy it a bit.

I threw the clean laundry in the dryer (which I was supposed to do yesterday, but I put it off because I wasn’t feeling well). Then, I brushed my teeth, changed Miss J’s diaper, and warmed up some coffee. 

Coffee always helps add a bit more joy to my day!

I sit down with my coffee, get the TV turned on, and feel ready to ease into my Saturday. That is when I notice Miss J picking up something strange off the floor by her puzzles. I head over to investigate.

It was poop. A chunk that filled up Miss J’s whole hand. Gross!

I rush Miss J to the bathroom, throw the offending item away, and get her hands washed. Thankfully, her face is clean. She had not tried to taste it yet. 

After I get her all cleaned up, I go back to where she found it. There I see some smeared on the floor. It came from the cat. I find our worst washcloth, and get to scrubbing. As I scrub, I find more tracks of it across the living room. I try to scrub those as well, but Miss J has decided she wants to help.

I contain her in her playpen, and listen to her cry at me as I continue to clean our carpet. The cat joins me and sniffs the spots I just cleaned. She doesn’t seem pleased that I cleaned up her work. 

Finally it is all clean. I toss the wash cloth in the trash, wash my hands, and calm Miss J. 

I put Miss J down on our clean carpet, and head back to my coffee. The coffee is cold. 

Sometimes, you just have to laugh. It is Saturday morning, so I guess now is my time to just laugh. In the moment, it was so frustrating. Taking a step back from it, I see just how comical it was. 

I hope you got some laughs from the joy in my Saturday morning pandemonium.

Until next time…look for the joy in your pandemonium!

Teething Troubles

Everyone knows teething is no fun.

This proved true for me when Miss J got her first tooth. She was inconsolable all day, no matter what I did. It was miserable for all of us.

Her next few teeth came snuck in without an issue, though. She did a lot of biting on things, but that was pretty much it. Maybe the first time was a fluke, and Miss J had just been scared because it was a new experience. Our little girl was her happy self now.  I started to think that teething wasn’t as bad as I had previously believed.

Miss J got her first 4 teeth in a span of about 2 weeks time. Then we had a 3 month break. Currently, it is time for more.

While I am glad that teeth numbers 2 through 4 came in easily, they gave me false hope that teething might not be such a difficult ordeal. That hope has been crushed over the past 12 hours.

Miss J tipped us off yesterday that new teeth should be arriving soon. She bit on her finger all day and started licking her top lip, just as she did while her last teeth came in. I got excited to see a couple more teeth up top!

Unfortunately, after those first few warning signals, she also started signaling that those new teeth were going to bring pain along with them. She woke up almost every 15 minutes overnight. Each time she was upset, but wasn’t soothed as easily as she usually is.

Once we get around to getting out of bed, she still isn’t her happy self. Exhaustion from of her lack of sleep last night stole my sweet happy little girl. Instead of giggling and dancing, she stares at me grumpily and clings tight to my arm if I dare try to put her down.

Since I woke up with her all night long, I understand at least the sleep  deprivation part of her teething experience. Thankness I had coffee to help my own mood!

In addition to being tired, Miss J is still in pain. Even when she is in my arms, she occasionally let’s out a wimper as the rubs her gums with her finger. I wish I could take away her pain!

We have a great collection of teethers that help to some extent. For the most part, though, Miss J just wants comfort from her Momma.

Some of our teething toys. The baby banana is probably our favorite because it doubles as a toothbrush!

I scrapped my plans for a productive Monday. Today’s to-do list now only holds one item: comfort Miss J. 

Where is the joy in dealing with a teething baby? The joy is in the comfort. As I write this, I am cuddling with my precious girl and relishing how she reaches her hand up to stroke my cheek as she nurses. My heart sings with joy. 

“…you will have pain, but your pain will turn into joy.” -John 16:20

 In other news, my goals from last week went well. I am going to keep them the same for this week. I still want to put a lot of focus on being more gentle, and continuing to eat breakfast with Miss J each day.

The rest of my life is still pandemonium. We traveled a lot over the weekend, so I have a suitcase full of dirty laundry. And a mailbox full of bills. And a refrigerator full of…nothing. 

Here is what really counts, though. My arms are full with my sweet baby, and my heart is full of joy. That is all I could really ask for!

Until next time…Look for the joy in your pandemonium!

Tired Momma

I. Am. Tired. 

And thankful for being tired. I am worn out from a great weekend visiting my family, celebrating my Godson’s first birthday, and lots of play with Miss J. Thank you God for my tiredness and reasons for being tired. 

Our cat is tired too. Wish I could get in a cat nap!

Let’s just jump in with a check in on goals from last week.

1) 3 types of reading a day. (2/3) I my spiritual reading everyday and read to Miss J everyday, but didn’t do an ounce of leisure reading for myself.

2) Have a glass of water everyday and wake up by 7:30. (3/3) I stuck with this one!

3)Focus on patience with Miss J 2 days of the week. (1/3) Didn’t have 2 dedicated days, but I feel I deserve at least 1 point for the moments that I really tried to exercise patience.

4) Continue packing 1 box a day. (0/3) Nope. This week was our anniversary, and we went out of town over the weekend. I was busy, and this just wasn’t a priority. 

5) Spend 1 hour a day in time dedicated to my husband. (3/3) Yep! I love it. 

9/15 for the week. Not the best, but I still feel like it was successful. I still grew a little bit, and I still have more to grow. Which brings me to…

Goals for this week:

1) Gentleness. With myself. With my husband. With Miss J. With others I happen to interact with. A few of the different reflections I have listened to have let me see that my life has been filled with maybe a bit too much pandemonium. I want to try to bring about a gentle atmosphere in my life over the next week.

2) Eat breakfast with Miss J everyday. I am going to finish the last step since I have been working on this over the last couple weeks and I am almost there. I am already getting up early enough and have been eating myself. Now, I want Miss J to join me!

I am going to stick with just those 2 goals this week since last week I aimed a bit too lofty, and goal #1 is pretty big. 

That is all for today! Keeping it simple. Because I’m exhausted. Here’s​ to being gentle with myself.

Until next time…Look for the joy in your pandemonium!

In the Weeds

The past few days, I have found myself getting frustrated a lot.

Miss J keeps yelling no matter what I do.

My husband can’t seem to listen to what I tell him.

The internet is too slow.

The cat is being needy and getting into everything.

Or maybe it is me.

What if I am the problem? I seem to be the one having the issues with each scenario.

The more I consider the possibility that I am the problem, it seems more like a probability than possibility.

Now what?

On a closer analysis, I realized something. 

My husband used to talk to me about something back when he worked in the restaurant industry. He would tell me about times when he or his coworkers were “in the weeds.” This was their code for being overwhelmed or having too much going on to the point that they just shut down. 

I am in the weeds.

In the weeds…so many dandelions along our walk!

How can I be in the weeds when it is just me and Miss J all day? I’ve already discussed how I am working on what I want to do to help Miss J with whatever she needs. That seems pretty simple.

That is true…If only it were the case. It is not just Miss J and me. It is also my phone– and the rest of the world that it opens up.

I determined that I am in the weeds because I am constantly being bombarded. Information, conversation, and quests for attention all pop up as little notifications on my phone incessantly all day long.

Today, I put a stop to it. 

I opened up each of the apps on my phone that vie for the most attention. Then I changed the notification settings so that I am not alerted to every little thing. Now the notifications will only pop up in-app instead. My train of thought will no longer be sent off of the rails by my phone.

It has been 3 hours since I changed all of the settings. I already feel more joyful! I can focus on my goals and Miss J. 

My mind is more at peace and my frustration has dissipated even though the cat is still being needy, and my husband still misses some of what I say, and the internet is still slow, and Miss J is still yelling. 

Turns out it was me! Thankfully, it was an easy fix, and enabled me to find so much more joy in my day. I am looking forward to an even better tomorrow!

Until next time…Look for the joy in your pandemonium!

Catching Up

Hope everyone had a joy-filled Easter!

Last Monday, I discussed how I love Mondays because I am rested and motivated. This Monday, I am felt more like I was drowning. 

I started the day already behind. Spending Easter out of town with family was wonderful, but it put me very behind on all of my tasks. I started the day with not only all of my usual tasks on my to-do list, but also unpacking and photo editing. It seemed like almost too much to get done!

It can be a struggle to remain joyful on catch-up days with too much to do, but it is possible! My trick is to follow the little one’s lead and do just a little bit at a time.

Miss J wants to play with her trinkets from her Easter basket? Unload a few dishes from the dish washer.

She wants to nurse? Pull the laptop up and edit a few pictures with my spare hand.

She yawns and rubs her eyes? Put her in the stroller so that I can get my jog in while she naps. 

Springtime brought some beautiful flowers with it for me to enjoy on my jog!

And so on. Just a little bit at a time, it all gets done. Because there is so much on the to-do list, there is usually always something productive I can get done while still keeping Miss J happy! 
Even catch up Mondays are pretty great.

Plus, I get to check in on my goals!

I’ll start with a reflection on how last week’s goals went.

1) I did finish my library book, even when I realized it was due a whole day earlier than I thought! ✔

2) I was also able to eat breakfast each day. Sometimes ✔

3) I dedicated Tuesday to being patient when Miss J needed my attention. This one was hard! It was also so, so rewarding though. I am going to expand on this goal in the upcoming week.✔

4) I packed even more than the 1 box a day I aimed for. I just got on a roll! ✔

Four for four- not bad! 

For this week:

1) 3 types of reading a day. Morning spiritual reading. My choice reading. Reading to Miss J. I want to hit each at least once daily, even if only a page at a time.

2) Have a glass of water with breakfast daily and wake up by 7:30. This will lead me closer to a healthy breakfast with Miss J daily. The glass of water will slow my breakfast down a bit. Plus I have noticed feeling a bit dehydrated lately, so this should help with that! I will also have to be up by 7:30 if I am going to have time for Miss J to join me. This is a step in that direction. 

3) Focus on patience with Miss J 2 days this week. I gained so much from the one day I really focused on this last week, so I am going to step it up to twice this week. They say practice makes perfect!

4) Continue packing 1 box a day. I also want to try not to spend too much time on this. I really jumped in last week and maybe went a little bit overboard. The whole point of 1 box a day is not to get overwhelmed!

5) Spend 1 hour a day in time dedicated to my husband.  Our anniversary is coming up, and I am seriously so blessed to have my husband. I don’t want to take him for granted! I want to spend 1 hour for him. I will put the phone down. I’ll stop focusing on checking tasks off my list. Then, I will be free to really listen to him talk about work, or listen to him tell me a story he read on the internet, or watch TV with him, or give him massage. He deserves that hour of my undivided attention. 💓

Each of these small steps help me to live an even more joyous life! What goals do you have?

Until next time….Look for the joy in your pandemonium!

Just for ME!

I spend a lot of my time with Miss J.

I stay at home with her while my husband works. Even when he is home, Miss J still nurses, and never figured out how to take the bottle. On top of all of that, she will only sleep on me, so even nap times do not afford me any alone time.

Now, I love spending time with my sweet little girl, but all that time with her can make it hard to be patient.

Fortunately, I have found a secret to staying joyful without having time to myself. That secret is having activities that are solely for me! As long as those activities are all mine, it’s alright having Miss J tag along.

Currently, I have 2 main activities that are all my own: reading and running.

Reading

Reading has been a favorite activity of mine since the day I learned how!

My bookcases are my prized possessions! Here is one of mine (I have a few) filled with just some of my many books.

As a kid, I loved fiction. I can still get deep into a good fiction book, but now it is mainly non-fiction topics for me. I just find so much that I want to learn about. I pick a topic and delve in! 

Right now, I am reading all about home education philosophies since I am becoming more and more interested in homeschooling Miss J (and any of her future sibilings) when the time comes. I went a little crazy searching for book suggestions on the topic, and put a hold on any that my local library had. Here is what happened:

Current books I have checked out

I might be in over my head!  I am definitely enjoying the reading, though. I usually try to get my reading time in while Miss J is sleeping on me.

Running

My “well loved” running shoes. I spent years trying to find a pair that worked well for running in. I finally found these. Unfortunately, a few years later Nike redesigned this shoe and I am not a huge fan of the new design. I am currently on the lookout for a new pair that works well for me!

I gained my passion for running when is was in 7th grade. My best friend joined cross country, and my dad had done cross country when he was in highschool​. I figured I would give it a shot…Even though I had no idea what it was!

When I told my dad I wanted to join the team, he took me to a track near our house and had me jog around it. I was drained after the first lap. How on Earth was I going to race 4 times that distance?!?Somehow, I did. I have loved it ever since!

I ran cross country and long distance track from 7th grade through highschool. In college, I ran cross country for the first year (my school did not have track). After the first year, I decided to pursue running solo instead of on a team. The reasons why are a long story…for another time.

I participated in a few marathons, half-marathons, and other trail running events. They drained me, but brought me so much joy all at the same time.

When I got pregnant with Miss J, I started walking instead. Since having her I have alternated days. One day I walk while “wearing” her in a baby carrier. The next I put her in a jogging stroller and go abck and forth between walking and jogging. I jog until I get tired, then walk until I am ready to jog again. Pushing that jogging stroller is hard work! 

Reading and running bring me joy.

They are my “just for me” activities.

Yet they help me to be better in all of my roles. 

They help me to have more patience with Miss J. They allow me to be loving to my husband when I get annoyed that he gets “free” time away from our daughter and I. They remind me of all the joys God has in store for me when I meet Him one day.

Do you have activities “just for you?” I would love to hear about them!

Until next time…Look for the joy in your pandemonium!

Marvellous Monday!

That is right! Recently, I have been looking forward to Mondays.

The Lord really knew what he was doing when he prescribed rest on Sundays. It sets me up for truly marvellous Mondays. There are two reasons for this:
 1) I am rested. 

Resting on Sundays refreshes me. I fill my soul with family time and prayer on Sunday. I let go of worry and give myself a break from pretty much all of my chores. 

2) I am motivated

When I restrict doing any work on Sunday, I sometimes have to just be okay with a little more pandemonium than normal. There are extra dishes in the sink and more toys on the floor. Simply restricting myself from fixing these messes for one day reminds me why it is so important to take care of them the rest of the time.

For these reasons, I enjoy my Mondays!

This is also why Mondays are the perfect time for me to set goals. Here are some of my goals for this week:

1) Finish my library book due this week. I really like it, and it cannot be renewed due to a hold on it. 

2) Start eating breakfast at the tableand include Miss J. This is a big goal for me, so I am going to break it down over the next few weeks. This week, I want to start with just eating something at all for breakfast each day (I will start including Miss J another week).

3) Deny myself to give Miss J the attention she needs with patience. Again, this is a big goal. This week, I want to pick one day and stop what I am doing immediately to focus on Miss J when she lets me know she needs more attention. During that day, I especially want to work on remaining calm each time this occurs rather than getting worked up over having to pause my own activity.

4) Pack 1 box of things each day. We will be moving in a couple of months, which is a cause of anxiety for me. To help avoid some of that anziety, I am going to try to pack slowly. 

That is a lot for me to work on this week! I like to always start small to avoid burnout.

Goals bring me joy! Especially as a stay at home mom, they help me to see that I still have room to grow and continue to have purposeful activities to engage in.

I am joyful that I still get to grow each day, just like the beautiful flowers Miss J and I saw today when we were on our jog.

Those are my thoughts for today. Until next time…Look for the joy in you pandemonium!

Selfishness or joy?

Today was one of those days. 

I woke up early for an errand and felt surprisingly well rested. However, I cannot say the same for Miss J. I let her sleep as long as possible, but that was likely the wrong choice because it meant getting her diaper changed first thing. She greeted me good morning with a look of betrayal and a multitude of tears. 

After the rocky start, Miss J relaxed when I held her in my arms- her happy place. For the rest of the day, she refused to be satisfied anywhere other than that place of comfort. So much for my plans for the day; I am being held hostage by a 9-month-old.

Thankfully, she at least let me put her in her stroller for our jog.

Yay for the green grass along the way and that fresh cut smell! Little joys. Unfortunately this is a little joy that also result in sneezing and itchy eyes.

It is days like today that make me see that, before I became a Momma, I was so selfish

Before I was a Momma, I spent my days doing whatever I wanted. Now, my little one dictates most of my day. 

Before I was a Momma, I put off doing laundry. Now, I get frustrated because Miss J makes me stop folding the laundry to nurse her.

Before I was a Momma, I loved checking tasks off my to-do list. Now, Miss J rarely allows me to complete a task without needing my attention.

Before I was a Momma, friends and family spoke so highly of my patience. Now, I wonder so often what on Earth they were talking about.

When God blessed me with the gift of motherhood, he also blessed me with some unexpected joys. He blessed so many opportunities to lay down my own selfish desires– opportunities to focus on my sweet child instead of myself. 

In the moment, I struggle to see it that way. I throw my hands up with frustration that I only got one shirt folded before Miss J grabbed onto my leg, crying “ma ma ma ma ma…” 

Thankfully, though, that moment of frustration is really a cause for joy.

It is an opportunity to shed my selfishness. It is an opportunity to follow Christ’s command to deny myself. It is an opportunity to love. 

Today was one of those days. For this reason, my heart is full of joy.

Until next time…Look for the joy in your pandemonium!

P.S. Yes, I have posted 3 days in a row. Yes,my first post suggested that it would be unlikely that I would post with any regularity. I sick to my original statement! I have just been lucky to have the time, motivation, energy, and ideas 3 days in a row. 🍀 Who knows? Maybe I will be consistent!

“Mental Health Days”

The difference between my yesterday and today is like night and day. The dishes are done. Laundry is clean, folded, and put away. I ate a healthy lunch. I did my strength exercises, balance exercises, and went for a walk with Miss J. Miss J and I are both showered and in clean clothes. I have already edited all of my pictures from this past week and shared with family and friends on social media for my usual “picture Thursday.” I caught up on the spiritual readings I have neglected the past few days. I am so energized and refreshed! All of this is thanks to a few “mental health days.”

I was introduced to mental health days when I was a senior year in high school. My best friend was worn out. She let me know she wouldn’t​ be at school that day because she was taking a mental health day. She wasn’t sick, per say, but she was not feeling as mentally well as she could be. Her mom encouraged this practice of taking off for mental health days, and she was a teacher, so who was I to say anything? 

Since I learned if these so-called “mental health days,” I started taking them as well. The rules (for mine) are: 

1) limit them to times that I truly feel they are needed

2) do only as much as is necessary on those days

So, in other words, I am granting myself  a break from responsibility. When I was in school, I took the day off–from sports, work, whatever else I had going on. 

Now, I cannot really take the day off as a Momma. My mental health days look different. I allow responsibilities such as exercise, dishes, and laundry to slip. I say my prayers, take care of Miss J, and watch TV. Or sleep. Or whatever else will help rejuvenate me.

I spent the first half of this week taking mental health days. The days allowed me to refocus. After a break, it is so much easier to feel joyful during what some may consider tedious tasks. 

For the past 7 years, I have been allowing myself mental health days. I have learned just how legitimate they are. As your body needs rest when you are getting ill, your mind needs rest when it is exhausted of it’s joy. To quote Proverbs: 

“A joyful heart is good medicine.”

-Proverbs 17:22

Good medicine it is indeed!

Until next time…Look for the joy in your pandemonium!