Show up for Life

hope on. journey on.

Just Stick It

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You know that moment when you realize you are more like your mom than you thought? The other day while unloading the dishwasher, I quickly dumped the silverware into one big pile in the drawer, thinking that I would put them in their appropriate spots later.  A few hours later, my teenage son and husband walked in wondering who could possibly unload the silverware like this. I have to admit, I was a little annoyed. I remember my mom did that when I was young, and I always wondered why she just didn’t take the time to put them away, haha! Now I know. With 7 kids, SHE WAS BUSY!

There are many things we learn as kids, good or bad, that helps mold us into who we are as adults. It’s true what they say in life, that it’s the simple things that make all the difference. I think it’s the simple things that we most remember too.

My mom used to always put sticky notes up on her bathroom walls by her mirror or around it. Each note had a scripture, positive quote, or a note to herself about how wonderful she. She wrote these notes so that each day as she got ready or walked by she could see and read these notes to herself. I didn’t realize how amazing those notes were until I became an adult. When I was a teenager and feeling not so good about myself, my mom and dad would tell me to write some notes of what I wanted to be or how I wanted to feel. They said the more I read them, the more I would start to believe what they said. I am sure I rolled my eyes at the time. Recently, I took out the sticky notes again and decided that I needed some more visual affirmations in my life. I am a visual person, so for me to see and read something over and over helps my brain to soak it in. It has helped me tremendously to read that I am important, loved, beautiful, and that I am going to wake up and be positive and smile!

When I was pregnant with my last baby who is now almost 2, I was so sick, the entire 9 months. Each day was difficult to get through. Especially since this was my first pregnancy without my Mother. I decided early on in the pregnancy I would take one day at a time. I wouldn’t picture the entire 9 months, because that was too overwhelming. I started writing little notes to myself each day. Every night I would right 5 things that I did well that day, and I would leave it where I could see it. I cannot tell you how much this helped me to accept my situation, give myself some much-needed credit, and help me get through each day.

When my mom passed away, I took some of her sticky notes and saved them. How could I ever have known as a teenager the impact these little sticky notes would have on my life as an adult.

If you feel overwhelmed with life or down on yourself, this is one simple thing you can do this week. Write down how you want to feel about yourself, pick your favorite quote, or what you did good that day. Stick them all over. Your family may think you are crazy, but one day they will thank you. Write some notes for your kids or your spouse as well. This is simple, and a good way to start feeling better about ourselves.

We are all in this crazy, fun, adventure called life together. So my challenge to us all this week, is to get writing and stick the notes all over. Be sweet to yourself and realize you are loved, needed and special.

Hope On. Journey On.

Love,

Krista

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Balance

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written by: Angie

I love this photo that my husband took. As I looked through these photos of this talented ballerina, I am amazed at her ability to balance on any surface under any circumstance. It got me thinking about our lives and the ways we can get balance back into this busy world.

After I had my daughter, everything was out of balance. I was not in a good place. I will go into detail in a separate post, but it was Paisley’s birth that brought the anxiety, depression, and some pretty dark and scary days into my life. A few months after giving birth I was diagnosed with post traumatic stress syndrome and my Dr.  pretty much forced me into counseling, which I am forever grateful. I think everyone in the entire world needs counseling, it was so therapeutic and I learned so much about myself, and why I feel certain ways at certain times. I want to talk about balance and how we can achieve a balanced life. This is one of the biggest and greatest lessons I took from my sessions. There are a few major components to living a balanced life, they are Physical Health, Mental Health, and Spiritual Health. I like to add a couple of my own components to make 5 total. My additions are Self Worth and Relationships. In fact, you can add your own additional components that you believe will help you with a balanced life. The wonderful thing about balance and happiness is it comes from within and we are all different, therefore happiness is different for each of us. It’s really a simple choice that we all have each day.

Physical health, how is yours? Are you tired all the time? Do you have energy to accomplish all your daily tasks? How do you feel? Do you get sick often? Do you realize what a blessing it is to get out of bed each day on your own? Many people can not do that. To have mobile bodies, to be able to drive, cook your own food, and take your own shower. These are huge blessings that are taken for granted every single day. If you have a body that can exercise daily, then you better get up and start exercising. I don’t care if it’s 10 minutes a day. You owe it to your body. Your body spoils you, give it some love and take care of it. The second part of this is healthy eating. I’m a huge believer in balance when it comes to food. I eat everything {other than chocolate} in moderation. I’ve never been successful at completely giving up anything for good. I went a year with out sugar when I was 20, and I gained 15 pounds,  so I gave up the idea of getting rid of things for good. Food is such a delicacy. It’s gorgeous and so pleasurable! It is also the fuel that makes us move. If we look at food in a different way, than it is easier to make wise choices when it comes to food.

Here are a couple tips for healthy eating:

  1. Try juicing. The benefits are endless. Juice gives you energy, brightens your skin, and its packed with vitamins and nutrients.
  2. There are loads of recipes and healthy eaters online to follow. Check out these ladies on instagram and try a few of their recipes; @goldfenger and @bigcitydreamerblog.
  3. Find healthy foods that you enjoy eating. Just because kale is healthy and the rest of the world is obsessed with it,  doesn’t mean you have to eat it. I hate kale unless it’s in my juice. Find foods that are healthy that you actually enjoy eating, and then find recipes with those foods.

Mental health. How is yours? Are you constantly feeling low? Do you feel alone or do you feel like you don’t get the support you need from those close to you? Do you feel scared often? Are you constantly putting yourself down or saying negative things about your finances, career, friends, body, spouse, etc? If so, you need to work on the garden of your mind. Here are some ways to balance your thinking.

  1. Read a positive quote each day. Sounds cheesy I know, but it helps to start your day of with something positive.
  2. Clear your mind of negative thoughts with affirmations. I do these throughout the day, each day. Depending on what your going through and what you need mentally you can start with affirmations such as; I am worth it. I am living a life full of purpose. I am patient. I am full of love, etc. Affirmations are an incredible way to not only change your mind set, but to quickly change your mood and attitude. Just by saying words like peace and serenity in your mind will calm you down.
  3. Meditate and do yoga. Go outside and breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth as you concentrate on only your breath and nothing else, but the air flowing in and out of your lungs.
  4. If you are feeling these feelings daily, then I recommend getting counseling. You won’t regret it and you are worth the expense and the time.
  5. Write a gratitude list. I keep mine on the phone and add a little to it when ever I think of something I’m grateful for. Whenever I am down, I look at it and I am quickly reminded of how blessed life is.

Spiritual Health is a huge part of you, wether you believe in anything or not. Spirituality lives inside us all. Here are some tips to balance your spirituality.

  1. Pray. I don’t care if you pray to the stars or if you pray to God, just pray and pray hard and often. It will bring you peace, joy, enlightenment, and direction.
  2. Worship whomever or whatever you worship with all of your being. Don’t be on the fence with your beliefs. When you dedicate your whole heart to your belief system great and miraculous things happen.

Self worth. I added this one, because when I feel like a loser, my chain gets a major kink in it. Here are some ways to assist in your self worth.

  1. Write down all of your accomplishments. This could be anything. I consider growing a successful garden a huge accomplishment or even just getting the kids dressed, fed, and out the door on time. Be creative with this and don’t cut yourself short. You are constantly doing great things, so acknowledge all the awesomeness that you do.
  2. Look in the mirror and I say “I love you”. Even if you have to pull a Stuart Smalley and say “I’m good enough”, “Im smart enough”, and doggone it people like me”, then by all means do so. 🙂
  3. Thank yourself for all you do. Sometimes we don’t get thanked as often as we feel like we should. Your spouses, kids, friends, and co-workers might take advantage of all the wonderful things you do. Well, thank yourself and treat yourself to some chocolate. Give yourself a pat on the back for all that you accomplish today, it will feel good.

Relationships. This is a big one for me, when my relationships are out of whack it sort of throws everything of balance. Here are some ways to mend as well as strengthen relationships with the ones you love.

  1. Forgive and ask for forgiveness. This is a toughie for us all and it’s tough on both ends, but it is crucial for successful relationships. Forgiveness is what makes any relationship continue, because it will always be needed.
  2. Do nice things for those you love and give them your full attention. Turn off the phone and give your kids and your spouse some quality time. Erase your social media apps off your phone for a few days and revert back to living in the present moment with the ones you love most.
  3. Enjoy life with your friends and family. Spend time exploring this gorgeous earth. Be adventurous and get some dirt on those knees. Your kids will love it and your loved ones will always remember those adventurous moments.
  4. Write notes. I love sending and receiving hand written notes. There is something so inviting and warm about them.

Finding balance is a life long journey. Life is awesome.  Life wants us to be incredible, and life will always find ways for us to witness the incredible and to be challenged. Thankfully we were made to be challenged and we were also made to kick challenges in the bootie. You are awesome and I love you. Not even kidding when I say that. You are my brothers and my sisters and I love you.

Hope on. Journey on.

Angie

The 30 Day Mental Diet

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Let’s say you went into your Doctors office and had some tests done to make sure your body is working properly. If your Doctor discovers that you are lacking vitamins and minerals, or you are underweight or overweight, he would probably suggest a change in your diet to best meet your nutritional needs. We all know how important it is to keep our bodies as healthy as we can. Eating right, exercising, and getting the proper amount of sleep are things that we all know, and should try to live by. There are so many diets out there these days that it’s hard to even keep up with them anymore. Most likely you have been on some sort of diet at some point in your life to improve your body, but have you ever considered, or even heard of going on a mental diet? There is such a thing, and I think it may be the most important diet that you could go on.

The mental diet, is a diet that is strictly engaged in mind and spirit. I am asking you to try this diet for 30 days. For one month, you are not to accept a single negative thought. Now before you panic and say that’s impossible, I tell you it is. I am not saying you will not have any negative thoughts, because once you commit to this, you may have more negative thoughts than you have ever had. But what you must do is, refuse to accept any negative thought. They will surely come, but you must not let them take root in the garden of your mind. Some of you may be thinking there is no way you can do this, or that you aren’t negative at all, or you don’t think it will make a difference. To that I ask you, are you ever anxious, worried, stressed, sad, depressed, angry, frustrated, insecure, jealous, or self-conscious? If so, these emotions stem from what is going on in your head, and without consciously making an effort to notice why you feel this way, you end up thinking that’s just how you are, and you have no control over them, but you certainly do. You must learn to refuse to entertain any thought that gives you any negative emotion. Day by day it will get easier, and easier, until learning to refuse the negative thoughts almost becomes automatic to you.

When I did the mental diet, I took a little notebook and a pen and just carried it around with me all day. Every time I noticed a negative thought, I would write it down. This is what you must do too. Write each negative thought down, then you immediately turn that negative thought into a positive one. The key is to make it believable for you. If your thought is, “I will never get over this depression and anxiety, I will always be stuck in this dark place,” your positive thought shouldn’t be, “I’m not depressed and anxious, I am the happiest person alive, and the world just glows it’s so perfect.” That is not believable to you. A better positive statement would be, “Even though I have struggled with some anxiety and depression, I am finding the right people and tools that are helping me, and I am getting better each day, and soon I will be free from it.” That is positive yet believable. This will take some effort and time, but it will help you see and realize how your thoughts are affecting your life. Another method you could use is to put a rubber band on your wrist and every time a negative thought enters your mind, you snap the rubber band and then in your mind change that thought to a positive one. This will not be easy, but this is absolutely necessary. If you suffer from anxiety, mood swings, panic, depression, obsessive thinking, or any other mental state that does not make you feel good, then this is the first step to helping you to learn the skills needed to heal. You will be astounded by how much your thoughts are controlling you. You are training your mind to obey you, instead of you obeying it.

Until you can master your mind, you will never master your life. I cannot stress the importance of this mental diet. I never would have overcome my anxiety and panic, had I not taken this first step. I had no idea how my thoughts were controlling my life. We must break the cycle. Get a notepad, use the rubber band, whatever method works for you, take the challenge. If you are ready to break free from the chains of emotional and mental snares that bind you, then this is where you must start. You can do this. It will change your life. There is hope and healing ahead. You who are suffering, you who are tired, downtrodden, hopeless, fearful, or full of despair, there is light ahead. There is peace ahead. Recovery is possible, and I will help you along the way. Even if you see no way out, I tell you there is a way, I have done it. It takes effort, and some time, but it is possible and real. I will leave you with this quote from James Allen, “There can be no progress nor achievement without sacrifice, and a man’s worldly success will be the measure that he sacrifices his confused thoughts, and fixes his mind on the development of his plans, and the strengthening of his resolution. The higher he lifts his thoughts, the greater will be his success, the more blessed and enduring his achievements will be.”

Hope On. Journey On.

Jenna

Just Let Go

written by: Krista May-Sept09pics 085

So much about this picture makes me smile. The excitement on our kids faces as they anxiously await the moment they can release their balloon into the air, and watch it take off until they can no longer see it. The ease they have in letting go of a balloon, that for us as adults represents a goodbye to our Mother and Grandmother. This picture was taken at the end of my Mother’s funeral, four years ago. I have often wondered, in this life which consists of many challenges, how do we learn to let go? How do we move forward? We were recently at a family reunion with my husband’s family, and one night we all gathered as a family to talk about family history, and to learn more about each other. At the close of the night, my sweet Mother in law started telling us how her and my Father in law (who passed away) met, and a part of their history. I found myself fully embraced in this moment. I remember thinking, “I wish time could just stand still.” How many moments in your life have you had, where you were fully present? I mean where mind, body, and soul are truly connected to that moment.

If you are like me, this is something I have had to work on. I was blessed to grow up in a wonderful family. There were 7 kids. We had a great childhood, but it was filled with much difficulty as well. I found myself always planning ahead and operating in survival mode, and rarely living in the moment. I have realized that this is something I can control in my life. I can let go and live in the present moment each day. It’s a great feeling. If I find myself dwelling on a comment I said to someone, thinking about the way it came across, I tell myself to let go. If I start feeling anxiety, I let go.  If I am stressed because my to do list is so long, I simplify it and let go. Telling yourself to let go and move on, means you no longer think about it. It’s like releasing those beautiful purple balloons in the air after my Mother’s funeral. Once those balloons were gone, nobody said, “When am I going to get my balloon back?” They didn’t think about seeing the balloon again. Now, I know we have those tender moments in life that require a little more time, healing, and love that are needed to let go, but I know it is possible. I have been to the very bottom of anxiety and depression (which I will share more about on this journey). I know it is possible to heal. The strength and power in our body and soul is more than we can imagine. We all deserve to feel happy, loved, and important. Live in the moment today. Laugh a little more ,and let go of all the negative surrounding you.

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Hope On. Journey On.

Krista

Warning: Life is Not Fair

written by: Stephanieimage

I can’t tell you how many times I used to think this, or ask “Why me?” Why are all these bad things happening to me, and no one else? I remember my son Krew’s very first Easter. As I sat watching my nieces and nephews running around so happy looking for their easter eggs, I started feeling sorry for Krew and myself. Questions started flooding into my mind. Will I ever get to hide Easter eggs for Krew? Will Krew ever learn to walk? After we left, as we were driving home, I started to cry. My husband asked what was wrong, and I told him how I felt. Will Krew ever get to experience what most kids get to experience? Such a simple thing as running around the park and going down the slide, or teaching him how to ride a bike, or teaching him how to swim. Will I ever get to hear Krew tell me how his day went or say,”I love you mom?” The truth is  I don’t know. My husband looked at me and said, “Steph look at Krew, he is the happiest boy I have ever seen.” Of course I knew this was true, but it was exactly what I needed to hear.

I thought a lot about that after. One of my favorite quotes I have ever heard is by Norman Vincent Peale, “Change your thoughts and you can change your world.” I agree with this 100%. I am not gonna sit around and feel sorry for Krew or myself. Yes, Krew probably won’t get to experience what most kids do, but that is perfectly alright. Does that make either of us less happy? Absolutely not! In the big picture, none of that is truly important. Life may not always be fair, but life is what you make of it, and I think my life is great. Krew is one of the happiest boys in the whole world. He may not walk or talk, but he has a way of getting to people. He makes everyone around him so happy. He doesn’t care if he can’t do what the other kids can. I feel like Krew teaches me more than I teach him.

Happiness is the cornerstone to everything in life. Sometimes we think having a nice house, nice clothes, or a nice car will make us happier. But truthfully, these things are not what true bring happiness into our lives. True, real, and unending happiness stems from within, and not from worldly possessions. For me, family is what brings me true happiness. Seeing Krew’s big happy smile everyday makes everything worth it. Next time life brings you down, or you don’t think life is fair, try focusing on all the good and positive things that you have been blessed with, and take my Mother’s advice, and go eat some chocolate!

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Hope On.  Journey On.

Stephanie

Be Good to Your Body

Happy Weekend Everyone!

“To ensure good health: eat lightly, breath deeply, live moderately, cultivate cheerfulness, and maintain an interest in life.” -William London

Be GOOD to your body this weekend. Here are a couple of my favorite quick, easy, and healthy recipes.

Krista’s Favorite Pick-me-up recipes

Mint, Banana and Spinach Smoothie

1/2 of a mint leaf

1 frozen banana

Handful of spinach

1  cup of pineapple juice

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Put in blender and mix. Delicious & Easy.

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Granola

5 cups oats (quick or regular)

1 cup powdered milk

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 cup coconut

1 cup chopped nuts (any kind)

¼ cup raisins

1 cup honey

½ cup coconut or olive oil

1 tsp. vanilla

In a large bowl stir all dry ingredients together. Add honey, oil, vanilla and stir. Put on ungreased cookie sheet and bake @300 degrees for 30 minutes. Let cool on cookie sheet. This is so yummy by itself, in yogurt topped with fruit, or enjoy it with soy milk, almond milk, or coconut milk.

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Give your body good nutrition, you will have more energy and feel better.

Hope On. Journey On.

Krista

Don’t Go to Bed With Tomorrow

written by: Jenna lines_family_11122012_0052

When my daughter was 17 months old, she had a life threatening incident. To this day, it still proves to be the most terrifying moment of my life. It was by angelic grace that I even caught my daughter having the seizure, for it proved to be life saving that I was there to witness it. She was given CPR and flown away in the Medevac to the children’s hospital.  The memory of that ride to the hospital is etched in my mind forever.  I was panic stricken and begging God not to take her.  She would not wake up for 2 days, and she stayed in the NICU for a week. Extensive testing was done, and the doctors said she had two conditions that would both stick around until the age of five, and hopefully they would disappear after that. “Only four more years I have to worry and wonder if this would happen again,” is what I sarcastically remember thinking.  Four years seemed overwhelmingly long.  As my anxiety grew that week, a friend of ours came to visit our family in the hospital. I relayed to him and his wife how scared I was about her health, and this happening again . My friend looked at me and said “Jenna, you can’t worry about tomorrow . You can’t fear the future. You need to have faith and just live your life, and move ahead.” Moving ahead in times of worry, times of distress, and times of fear is incredibly hard.  But, at that moment, I knew that is exactly what I needed to do to get through this frightening time.

So many times in life we let fear take over. We worry about anything and everything. I know because I was an A+ worrier when I had anxiety. I was a “What If” thinker for a long time. What is this happens, what if this goes wrong, etc.  I would take my problems with me to bed at night, and let them brew all night long. This did nothing for me except zap my energy, and rob me from a much needed good nights sleep, and it just keeps repeating the cycle. The cycle needs to be broken.  Norman Vincent Peale said “The basic secret of overcoming worry is the substitute of faith for fear as your dominant mental attitude. Two great forces in this world are more powerful than all others. One is fear and the other is faith; and faith is stronger than fear.”

When you lay in bed at night, try to empty your mind from the days events. Do not worry and fret about what tomorrow may bring. Come up with a mantra that you would like to have manifest in your life, and say it over and over again. Start by saying I Am, and follow it with what you want yourself to be. I am peaceful. I am strong. I am courageous. I am full of gratitude. Whatever works for you.  Also, incorporate into your day at least 10 minutes of silence or meditation. Learning to quiet the mind will help to relieve some of the worry and stress that you have. You are strong and powerful.  No matter where you are in life or what challenges you may be facing, you have the strength and power inside of you to rise above and overcome.  Let faith wipeout fear in your life.  As the wise bear Winnie the Poo said, “You are braver than you believe, stronger than you see, and smarter than you think. ” Don’t go to bed with tomorrow. Live in the moment. Be grateful for the small miracles in everyday living. My daughter is 6 years old today and healthy and happy. Those 4 long years to wait went by so quickly, and I was grateful I got to witness every single second of them.

Hope On. Journey On.

Jenna