Category Archives: Changes
When you have moved thousand miles away from home you are excited. It’s an adventure. You are a little scared, yet you do it. You packed your bags and made this quantum leap into the future.
Now it is a reality.
You faced a totally new environment, new experiences, and new faces. You have people around you, yet you don’t know how to connect. You feel lonely and sometimes scared.
You see happy FaceBook and Instagram posts from everyone else. You do the same… You are trying to keep the appearances and you have no one to share your true feelings with. Yet too often you feel empty and alone, sad, scared and angry. The closest people in your life don’t get you. You don’t share this turmoil of emotions with people you left behind in fear of hearing “we told you so!” You continue to hide and the sadness wells up inside of you, taking over.
You ask the enevitable, “What’s wrong with me?” You want to snap out of these feelings of loneliness, sadness, and helplessness. You hate the feeling. You are used to be powerful and in control. You want to scream, and you want to cry. What is going on?
You are ok. You are going through inevitable emotions of a girl away from home. You will be fine. Feeling homesick will subside. It’s temporary.
You will thrive.
You will find more than just coping mechanisms.
You will rediscover yourself.
You will create beautiful friendships.
You will feel vibrant and alive in this new place.
Sometimes you just need some encouragement. Other times you need to read a book that will connect you with your inner strength. You may need a coach or a mentor to guide you through it. Whatever you choose, do something that will reconnect you with your strength, reconnect you with the power of God in you.
You have it. Only a gutsy woman would do what you did.
You will thrive!
Much love on your journey.
I am no stranger to “spring cleaning”, regardless the time of the year. End of August and beginning of September are the best times for “back to school” organizing. For many moms whose children are still living at home it is a welcome move from unorganized chaos of the summer to a schedule-based school year. For those empty nesters whose children just left home it is time to stop crying and begin enjoying the freedom- and space. Trust me.
Regardless of what your situation is decluttering may be just the thing you need to get a fresh start. By doing so you undoubtedly will gain a new perspective on your surroundings and future actions. It is hard to approach new beginnings when weighted down by baggage and clatter, be it physical or emotional.
When you are facing changes in life, are scared and vulnerable sorting things out may need to start in your closet.
Do you hold on to emotional baggage? How about stuff in your closet? Do you keep a few thing with tags still attached because you just can’t let go of them? Are you also afraid to let go of friendships that don’t make you feel good any more? Did you accept hand-me-downs you didn’t really like (and never wore!) because they were free and you could not refuse the temptation? How about other temptations in your life, do you give in easily? Can you say no to requests that will sure put you over the top? Are you afraid to express your true feelings to your family members because you don’t want to hurt them? Do you still have that skirt you got on clearance three years ago? Even though it was a little too tight it was cute so you got it hoping to lose weight soon. Does it fit you now or have you gained a few? Do you still hope to lose weight? That’s good, but a thing you don’t realize is that a skirt is a silent reproach of your conscience: you can’t do it, looser!
Can you recall everything you own? How about in just one category? Do you remember every pair of jeans you own? Every blouse and dress? Can you access them easily? If the answer to every question is yes than congratulations, you are a minimalist and you may stop reading now. If, on the other hand, just reading about clatter in your closet makes you anxious it is high time for you to do something about it.
This month I will walk you through a few simple steps. Please don’t get carried away and try to clean and organize everything at once- you may burn out and quit altogether. That is not what you want, right? Let’s start with clothes. Decide what you will do with the things you will let go of. Give away? Donate? Sell? There may be people who appreciate vintage and want what you no longer need. You, on the other hand, will learn what you truly need.
You may be blessed to afford beautiful expensive designer clothes. Even if you spent a lot of money on such things do you still love them? If not, one by one separate them from the things that still bring you joy. You may choose to donate them. In this case you may want to locate designer boutiques that may give you better tax credit for you items than regular donation places. Another option is selling them. But only consider selling if you definitely WILL do it! Don’t create a pile of things you will eventually sell if it will never happen, it only creates more baggage and clatter that will weigh you down emotionally.
After you made a decision about what you are going to do with discarded things have some fun! Pull out every skirt or pair of pants you own. If you have dig for it, that’s ok, just try not to get distracted and start organizing your photos or other non-clothes items, that’s a no-no at this step. This is a week to deal with clothes only. Pull every item out, take it in you hands and ask yourself if this thing still excites you. What are the reasons you may want to keep it? If you think “It may fit me eventually if loose weight”, ” I can wear it to work in the garden”, ” You can barely see the stain, I’ll wear it around the house”, ” It’s sort of cute”or “I wore it in 1982” that is not it. Does it make you happy? Do you want to wear it tomorrow? This week? To a next party? You have to love it to keep it, otherwise it should go into a “letting go of” pile.
May be someone would love it more than you do. Count your blessings that you were able to afford clothes that gave you please to wear them. Then free yourself from them with gratitude. After you are done with all skirts and pants by using this approach you will move to a next category: sweaters, dresses, scrubs, dress shirts. At the end you will most likely cut your belongings in half. Bag the items you don’t want to keep. Nearly organize the things you chose to keep so they are easily reachable. As for the things you bagged, try get them out of your living space within a week, the sooner the better.
Good luck and happy cleaning!
Embracing imperfection is a center of Japanese art form/technique of kintsugi.
Kintsugi stands for “golden repair”. A few hundred years ago when a valuable bowl or a vessel was broken it was sent to be repaired. An artist mixed resin or lacquer with gold and used it as glue. The result of such restoration? A “new” piece of art with unexpected and intricate veins of gold running through it.
You may feel like a broken vessel, pieces scattered everywhere. You are not whole anymore. You may be hiding this brokenness in shame, afraid to admit this imperfection.
God can restore our imperfections and brokenness just the same. He has the power to reshape our lives and make them beautiful again.
When our lives are repaired our stories become examples of God’s handiwork. You can be masterfully restored to a joyous, full life. Our “cracks” filled with pure gold of wisdom and understanding, beautiful in its imperfection.
Now not only we can be used again, we become true masterpieces.
“Yet you, Lord, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.” Isaiah 64:8, NIV
A friend of mine shared a joke:
It’s good to be a caterpillar: all you do is eat, eat, EAT, EAT, than roll yourself up, sleep, sleep, sleep, than wake up as a beauty!
Don’t we wish it was a case for all of us?
I want to share methods I successfully used in the past. All lead to weight loss. I love to eat, so as many I often gained quite a few extra pounds in winter. I accumulated a few go-to strategies when I need to loose some weight and stay healthy for the future. Now I would like to put them on a list. I did that for my anxiety remedies and I am glad I did. Over time I have tendency to forget things I used in the past. When someone reminds me I am very grateful. Many of my friends who love food and are not blessed with super-fast metabolism have tried many of these methods. Please remind me if there is something I missed but you like. Here is what I remember I successfully tried in the past:
– Calorie counting. It was a good approach to realize how much I was actually eating. It helped to learn calorie contents of my favorite foods and I still remember some of them. I have a book with lists of food and calories and there are apps for it. Some restaurants provide calorie contents, but I try to avoid eating out when I diet- too much temptation. When I first tried to count calories I realized how Much I underestimated the amounts I ate! I need to consume no more than 1500 calories in order to loose weight and 2000 calories a day to maintain healthy weight. This method is very time consuming and a few people told me it causes them anxiety. We don’t want that! But for others it was a very good tool.
– Food and exercise log/ journal. I pulled it out to look at my old notes and see what I did and how it worked. Even if not journaling every day making entries now and then are beneficial. For a few days now I have been writing what I ate, keeping an exercise log as well. I am also back to weighing myself every morning. I thought I will not do it this time, but it was a habit for so long- I think I’ll keep it- I like numbers after all.
– Cleanse/fasting. This method worked, but I don’t want to do it again now- it is too harsh, I think. I may go on a liquid diet one day a week or at least for half a day- I’ll see. I like juicing and drinking water with lemon or apple cider vinegar. Or I mix powder of dried vegetables into a drink (green powder). I am back to rotating between a green drink, water with lemon or apple cider vinegar in the morning. Sometimes I sip it throughout a day. They are alkaline and because my stomach is very acidic I try to counteract that.
There is also different kind of fasting for spiritual purpose, but I will write about it some other time.
– Juicing. Various juices are beneficial but some can be harmful in large quantities. Actually any dieting can be harmful- I did consult my Naturopathic doctor in the past. I like to juice fresh organic fruit and vegetables but not every day. I remember my mother saying to be very careful with beet juice- I’ll need to look up why. There are numerous books on juicing and receipts on the internet to choose from.
– Smoothies and shakes. I like them only need not add too much fruit, protein powder or nuts- it all adds calories event though healthy overall. I’ll make them richer in the main tangency phase, but not yet.
– Green powder- a good substitute for juicing when I don’t have time.
– Adding more vegetables to my diet in all forms: raw and cooked is a great way to healthier eating. My favorite comfort food ingredient is potato, but I mix it with plenty of non- starchy veggies and some meat in a stew or soup with lots of spices-yum! I often share recipes on Facebook, as many of you know. Please share your healthy recipes.
– Psyllium husk. On occasion I add it to water for a filling drink with basically no calories. It also is a good way to eliminate toxins. To avoid constipation I use a tea spoon of powder in a glass of water no more than once a day. Some detoxifying kits are sold with laxatives in them but I am not a big fan, even though I used them in the past.
– Desserts. Apples, blueberries and oranges is what I switched to last week. Good-bye chocolate candy, I’ll miss you! But I still crave chocolate. Dark chocolate is better, but now I am not going to have even that. Today I mixed cocoa powder with some hot water with stevia ( I also used a little honey in the past). The mixture was quite bitter and some would not like it, but it was a good enough substitute for me.
Fundamental for success is self-discipline. It is also good to have accountability.
Joining Weight Watchers or another group is a great option because it gives support, accountability and the feel of the community. I have not tried it personally but heard good things about them. A few times I joined my friends in weight-loss competition and it was fun and got competitive.
Good luck on your quest for health and vitality. I am praying for my friends and readers.
We love to make New Year Resolutions, don’t we- new year, new hope, new beginnings, fresh start…
Every time I can barely squeeze into my jeans after the holidays my first resolution is, you’ve guessed it, to loose weight. I’ve been there before, numerous times. I can be disciplined until I get sick. I had a cold that would not completely go away for over a month. I could not work out much and my eating habits were slipping- when I am not feeling well I need comfort food. In the past stress at work and at home in December took its tall and I would roll into a new year much heavier than I was in, let’s say, September. I need to do something, and I need to start now.
I know what works and what does not. I remember the hardest thing for me always was to actually start the program and stick to it. I often tried to apply many drastic changes all at once: go on a strict diet or cleanses and excersise a lot. It did work and I did see results in 2-3 weeks, but the first couple weeks were brutal, with muscle pains and that horrible feeling of hunger after cutting out sugar and all refined carbohidraes from my diet and not eating much. Drastically adding huge amounts of vegetables left me bloated. I also think when I was younger my system was less susceptible to such stress of major detox, but now that I am older I am not looking forward to pushing my body to the limits rapidly.
This time I am going to implement small changes in the beginning to ease into it- especially because I was sick. But by the end of the month I expect to get on with a health program.
I know I need to completely cut out sugar and all sweets and breads and pasta right now. I become addicted to them and I know I’ll feel much better if I clean my system from this stuff. I will allow myself a little honey as a sweetener with sprouted bread, but only after a few weeks.
Ultimately I would go back to working out half an hour daily. I like to peruse various videos on YouTube- there I can find anything and have a workout I feel like doing on a particular day. But if I jump into it full force I’ll be in pain, so for a couple of weeks I’ll take it easy. I have been walking daily and doing only a few exercises at a time for about a week now and I feel some changes. I feel my muscles, but they are not aching as they would if I had begun full- blast workouts. I am coming back, but slowly.
It is usually difficult to get back on truck after overindulging in sweet, greasy, yummy holiday foods. Often I can stay clear of that or eat a little at parties over the holidays, but because I was sick on and off for over a month I medicated myself with food…
When I was not able to comfortably fit into my largest jeans- yes, the ” muffin top” and all- it was a major wake-up call. And to think that in November I was doing so well that I was shopping for smaller clothes… Yesterday I was dressing for a party and realized that my choices were quite slim as only a couple outfits fit right. But I can’t just stop eating for a week and work out for an hour every day- not this time.
I am not doing it just for vanity but for my health as well. I don’t want to go with hopping on scale every morning this time, my goal will be to fit in my smallest jeans. This particular pair is waiting to be put on in March. Lets say March 30. It seems realistic. In order to do it I need to:
Walk every day for at least 20 minutes. Having a dog helps to make this part a reality, I only have to make sure I don’t delegate. I’ll put on my walking clothes as soon as I wake up and get out of bed- robe and fuzzy slippers are allowed in the morning no more! I will start doing YouTube videos tomorrow for 15 and then 20 min a day, a week later going for 30 min a day.
I am done eating sugar and white bread (refined carbs) as of right now. I will cut down on dairy products, especially cheese. I will not deprive myself of food but gradually eat more vegetables. I know I can not be hungry as it may raise anxiety and I don’t want that. So my plan is small steps but steady progress.
There are other changes I would like to implement this year, but I’ll talk about it some other time. One thing at a time is good enough.
I would love to hear from my friends about their New Year Resolutions and have partners on this journey. For many of us small steps are the best approach. Also, if your usual New Years Resolutions list of 25 items has a tendency to never materialize you may want to consider only 2-3 things to focus on. Good luck and God Bless.