Second Half of 30 Days of Introspection

Also known as when I did a little name dropping of some awesome inspirational local peeps… anyway I carry on. You can read the first half HERE. This is post 2 of 3.

Today on day 16 I thought long and hard about who inspires me. Not on a grand untouchable level but every day… Who inspires me to become a better me…

There is the obvious… 3 times a week I go to R.I.P.P.E.D class at the YMCA. Each and every person there inspires me to push myself. But I have to mention a couple directly. Hallie is a master instructor and has inspired me to stretch my limits. Janet Dickinson inspires me every day with her ability to give me confidence to be louder and stronger in class. I could name so many names in class… Kaylin, Lay, Chun-Yin, Nicole you all inspire me.

Every day my children inspire me to learn new things, try new things, to see the world differently. Like Trinity and Emanuel who got their second stripe on their orange belt yesterday.

Kenneth Sheldon Johnson inspires me to live and love more fully. His work on his own mental health has made me driven to advocate not only for those who are suffering and healing but also for those who support.

This is just the tip of the inspirational iceberg in my life. If you are reading this post chances are you have inspired me. I wish I could list everyone but it honestly would quickly become EVERYONE.

So my hope and goal as I go forward in my journey of 30 days… And forward in life, is to be an inspiration. That something I do or say can inspire you in some small way.

Thank you for inspiring me to become an ever better version of myself.IMG_20181019_183211_732

Day 17 of introspection and I went from considering my inspiration to reaching a goal that took me 9 months to accomplish.

I am sure anyone who has known me since school or my “baby having years” is as shocked as I am as to how much I now enjoy my time working out. Though in hind sight the lack of interest in things like running could be explained by lacking certain proper articles of clothing.

Here I am 39 and almost 1/2 (go me!) and over the moon because FINALLY I have managed 7 days of activity in a row. Walking, classes, swimming, elliptical… I did it!

It wasn’t a marathon, there is no medal or massive public win… No photo finish except for my personal screen shot.

But I think acknowledging my success like I do my workouts on Instagram gives me accountability. It also allows me to say… I did this! I kept active in the face of cooler days and cranky kids. I have changed my lifestyle and it is good!!

How about you? Any personal successes to brag about? Cuz I would love to cheer you on!!IMG_20181020_205321_373

Day 18 of self examination has me sitting quietly. Sometimes you don’t realize how much noise is in your life. And not just the children or life in general.

I expose myself to a lot of social media noise. Time spent on platforms like Facebook or Instagram is not always a productive or even positive influence on my life.

I take great care not to compare my life. The choices I (and Kenneth Sheldon Johnson) have made has led to a lifestyle that is not mirrored much by those around us or connected to us online.

Many of my interests do not line up neatly with people. I can pick and chose an interest and find a corresponding friend but an evening at home for me is often not the height of fun for other people.

I believe this is true for most of us. It is easy to fall into the trap of watching what others do or say. We watch and lurk and get wrapped up in lives in a way that is much like watching soap operas.

So I am committing to decrease my time online. The connection social media affords me to distant friends and family is precious, but so is my time. Not everything I do needs to be shared.

So please enjoy my highlight reel this week. I promise to share my journey and my photos as usual but I also promise to walk away more. To see the fall colours and read a good book.

How about you? I ask as I am assuming YOU are currently lurking around to read MY post. Want to join me in not joining me for as much time on social media?IMG_20181021_213432_805

Day 19… In a rather odd twist, as I disconnect from Facebook today I feel more connected.

Feeling connection here in Minnesota has been a struggle since I moved here. My life in Canada was filled with connections often forged over more than a decade. My family mostly lived mere hours away. There was a connection to the history, to the stereotypes, it was home from birth.

Here it has not been as simple. Friendships are mostly new, the shared memory of this place is full of events and experiences I just don’t have.

But over the weekend to resolve an issue I was able to connect with people in a network I don’t think I have yet properly appreciated.

I have connection. I have friends I can count on, a place I feel secure. Even in a more visceral on the internet sense I have people that are like a daily coffee date with messages and sharing. By cutting back on my social media surfing and sitting quietly I realize… While Minnesota may never be capital “H”ome it had already become a place where I may just belong.

How do you connect? Do you feel a difference between Home and home? I plan to honour my connections by appreciating them and connecting right back.IMG_20181022_184807_765

 Day 20 I had a chunk of time to examine myself as I faced one of my greatest (somewhat irrational) fears… It says something when a place of nightmares for you has a lobby that is nicer than any room in your house doesn’t it? Everyone has fears… Rational, irrational, minor and major. Facing them has always been a monumental challenge for me. I tend to fall on the side of shy and cautious with things new or scary.

Facing fears is liberating. It often triggers growth and sometimes a touch of pride.

I know that my going to the dentist minor to many people but for me… This is a fear that had become deep rooted over the years. I have just one more appointment next week with Kenneth Sheldon Johnson by my side. His poor hands…

Today I realized that I manufacture my fears into something much scarier than the reality. That does not diminish the importance of my fear, just helps me realize maybe I can face them with a little more confidence.

How about you? Have you faced a fear recently? I want to celebrate with you if you did and offer my hand to hold if you are on your way to.IMG_20181023_174248_484

Day 21 and I indulged. I admit to have multiple weaknesses… Yarn… Bags… And books!

Don’t we all have weaknesses? I find that in my weakness sometimes comes strength. My yarn becomes gifts, my books knowledge and growth… The bags are just cute and mostly functional.

I have decided that finding strength in all aspects of my life is an admirable goal. From yesterday’s fear comes pride in accomplishment today. From the random balls of yarn in my room grows gifts made with love. The stories I will share in my new books will bring new knowledge and hopefully a joy of reading to my kids.

…. I will get back to you on the bags…

How about you? Indulgences? Weaknesses? How do they translate into strengths.IMG_20181024_231953_284

Day 22 and I am implementing some of the skills I have learned in my month of listening.
Ken had a 5 am emergency work call that woke me up. Then my own racing brain had me up for an hour.

After seeing Ken off to drive his friend Jeff to the airport the twins and I admitted that a late night and early morning meant we were exhausted.

So all 3 of us took an hour nap on the agreement that after the nap we would be productive again.

One guilt free nap coming up. We left lists for the other 3 to work on, which they mostly did, and a nap was had.

What about you? Have you listened to yourself today and fulfilled a need you might otherwise have ignored?IMG_20181025_114920_438

Day 23 and I celebrated…a new season of R.I.P.P.E.D class with all sorts of new moves to learn, delayed birthday dinner with the man in my life who is now a handsome 41, and a shopping trip to Victoria’s Secret where coupons added up to 85.00 in savings!

Sometimes I think I forget to celebrate. When someone asks me how my day has been the mind jumps to issues and upsets. Well today my response was “my day was good” and now if you asked me… Well my evening was awesome.

Celebrate the little things. We celebrate every little completion in our classroom no matter how delayed. You started, you did the work, you faced the struggles, and you succeeded.

Today I started my day, I faced my challenges, and I succeeded!

How about you… How was your day? Share your successes. I will cheer you on!IMG_20181026_215409_604


Day 24 of my inner journey and I delved deep to find my inner extrovert. Promotion is not my forte, but with the right friend I can get by.

There is a little of an ego boost when someone loves something you created enough to purchase it!

I am not, by nature, outgoing in situations where I am out of my comfort zone. Today I stepped out and made contact. And tomorrow I will do it all again (from 12-6 if anyone is in the area).

There is great merit in pushing your limits. Even if it is just talking to more strangers in 8 hours than I usually do in weeks!

How about you? Introvert or extrovert? Pushed any limits today?IMG_20181028_152329_206

Day 25 and introspection was a bit on the back burner. Though I did practice my communication skills and promoted the heck out of ShandaiMade (seriously check out her products, quality AND an awesome selection… Go see I dare you!).

I also got to enjoy time with someone who has known me forever… I mean since the 90’s!!! How amazing that we ended up back in the same state after we left the same small town at different times!

Do you have a friend who shares your passions? Who can sit with you and discuss all sorts of random things while you both work on your version of that passion? I do!!!

Thanks Shandai Kurylo-Blackthorne for a weekend where for hours at a time I was so much more than mom and spouse (not that those aren’t amazing things). I was an artist and a creator with someone who shares my passion to create. What a weekend!!IMG_20181028_212818_459

Day 26… I walked out the door and one of my teenagers said “Mom, I can’t believe you went outside in that!” So not only did I go out with confidence in pants that were bound to get noticed but I freaked my kid out too!

Today I said… I like this… And I wore it not only out the door, but to my class. At the one location where people do know my name!

Confidence is cultivated and grown, as is that butt… I work hard on those glutes! I told my kids if you love an outfit and it covers the necessary bits… Wear it and own it, embarrassment only kicks in if you let others dictate your style. And more often than not, the people who frown will never see you again anyway.

How about you? Anything you own that you wear with pride that is unique or fun? I may just have to get the mermaid pants next… Maybe???IMG_20181029_215245_933

Day 27 and I didn’t have to look inwards very far today. #3 of 3 dental appointments today and I faced my anxiety.

It is so hard to play calm and mature and parental when my brain is running on anxious energy.

We all have anxieties… Some more than others. I am reminded how lucky I am when once I pass through the anxiety inducing event am able to come back down. My anxiety appears before an appointment, when I have a new situation I am unsure of to deal with. Once the issue is resolved or event passes my anxiety diminishes.

So many friends and family are not so lucky. Anxiety can affect your entire life. It can interfere with relationships and destroy confidence. And when you cannot come down off of anxiety easily it can be so brutal. I have had it explained as when you simply exist in an anxious state and eventually don’t know anything else.

Tonight I am off kilter, overly emotional and half of my face may just hate me. But… I survived and my anxiety is melting away. I am lucky, not only did Kenneth Sheldon Johnson hold my hand the whole time, but no one laughed at my fears. I felt supported and respected. And now my anxiety can take a flying leap… At least until February’s 6 month cleaning.

How about you? How do you manage your anxiety? Or does it manage you? Feel free to share, I know you are awesome and would love to help try diminish your anxiety if I can!!

Photo of one of my support crew. Who have me a post dentist snuggle.IMG_20181030_204001_951

Day 28 and today I lived in the moment, I was silly and let things go. We took the afternoon off school, ate a lunch that was more desert than anything else, dressed up and played in the leaves.

It has always been a struggle to just flow through a day. The back of my mind voice likes to shout: “But that is not productive!!!” Sometimes I need to give myself permission to just enjoy…

Not every day has to have crazy mad productivity. Not every day has to have a completion. Not every day has to match the perceived productivity levels of xyz on social media or ABC of my own exacting ideals.

Sometimes you just have to play in the leaves, take photos in costumes, and eat way too much cake, pumpkin pie, and jello.

How about you? Did you flow through today? Take some time to be silly? Smile a real smile? Cuz I did!!!IMG_20181031_220955_591

Day 29 of my personal introspection journey and my month of digging deep is coming to an end. I have learned a lot about myself, but tonight wasn’t about me.

Tonight was all about being proud of my second oldest as he got his blue shirt and had his first hour as an assistant swim instructor. Gavin will be volunteering 3 days a week at our local YMCA!

They are growing up so quickly, my preemie twins. Zander took the hour to swim with me while we peeked over at Gavin helping out Echo’s class.

Add to that a request from both to shave the beginning mustache they seem to be cultivating and I am really seeing the men they will one day become.

I so absolutely privileged in my ability to homeschool my kids. I get a daily front row seat on so much of their lives. It isn’t for everyone, but for us… It is amazing.

It is moments like these that offset the teenage angst coupled with mouthy comments and gangly limbs.

I just needed to share… Thank you Lino Lakes YMCA for this opportunity. Thank you Wes for the suggestion and thank you global village for helping me do my best for these man children. Woo!!!IMG_20181101_200436_698

Day 30 of my introspective adventure. 30 days of listening to myself and looking a little closer at what I truly need.

Today I needed a nap, so I set the kids up with simple tasks and took one…

Today I needed to get in my workout, with my class cancelled for the night I got myself ready and motivated and went on the elliptical for 30 min while Echo dances.

Today I needed to feel pretty so I brought my new splashy pink lip colour and fancy space leggings to wear to date night.

Today I listened to myself and I found joy in my day, rest in my afternoon and fun in my evening with Kenneth Sheldon Johnson.

Tomorrow I will reflect on my reflection but tonight I will craft and watch British murder mysteries and enjoy my evening as best I can.

How about you? How has your day been? Has your last 30 days been insightful??IMG_20181102_221746_143


Happy Halloween

Ok so total catch up before the 1st… not likely, but some posts… this I can do.


Well another Halloween is done and dusted. This year may have been the last one the twins trick or treat at. They are growing up so quickly!20181031_141750

Echo’s costume was a combination of a Ren in the Glen (Post to follow on that fun time) purchase, and a tail made by Ken from faux fur we picked up at Joann’s. Bam – an adorable unicorn.20181031_141856

Trinity went smart and asked for a Koala onesie she could then wear as pj’s.20181031_141907

Emanuel went classic as a pirate.20181031_141930

Zander and Gavin did a repeat on their wizard as they humored mom.20181031_141955

This year part of Zander and Gavin’s schooling is to plan the themed meals for Echo. They seem to lean on the side of deserts. We may need to discuss balance next!20181031_121135_HDR



We decorated jars for candles.20181031_153005

And of course the pets dressed up too…IMG_20181031_171717_037




We had a lovely light afternoon and then in the evening were off to the Novak’s to trick or treat with Aidan (Stan Lee). It was great fun and a huge haul!!

The whole group

The whole group



Of course, the evening ended with the big parent candy sort.20181031_231628


Not bad for a Halloween that seemed to creep up on us. We only got the pumpkin carved 2 days before!!20181029_212418


I even dressed up… well sort of. I had bought an amazing hat from a local vender… Three Bears – Fun Fur Accessories HERE. Paired up with a few pieces I had on hand, Ken felt it was very… Russian Mail Order Bride… I felt is was deliciously warm. In fact, I ordered a special order matching Muff from the same woman!!! 20181031_142134


And now for some spare photos!20181031_170357



30 Days of Self Discovery

NOTE: this would have been recent had not the Thanksgiving and Christmas season kicked my crafting butt! Anyway, now those who missed my time on Facebook and Instagram can finally get a peek at my month of introspection. 

I recently finished a 30 day journey I suddenly decided to take in the beginning days of October (2018). See, I realized that I really am being hard on myself for the sake of an ideal I am not sure is relevant or even the real me. This started me on the thought that maybe each day I should stop and listen just a little more closely to myself and my needs.  In response to this I started actually responding to those needs with actions that I decided should NOT be mired in guilt or embarrassment.

How best to do this? Why, share on my social media platforms (Facebook and Instagram), of course. So for many people this is a rehash or at the very least, a consolidation of something they have followed along with for 30 days. So sit back and enjoy my collection of introspective posts and the photos I included with them. Well, the first 15 days (half of it).

Day 1IMG_20181005_124153_475

Day 2 of being kinder to myself… Took Sink Kitty’s example and ran a bath, told the kids they could have an ice cream if they let me forget about parenting for 30 min. Breaks are important. How can my kids learn how to take one if I penalize myself for self care moments?IMG_20181005_124223_648

Day 3 of listening more closely to my entire being without harsh judgement. After running errands I made a pillow nest… Turned on background tv on the iPad to cancel out the kids’ gaming, and took a nap. We really punish our entire self with lack of sleep.

What about you?? Did you do something you normally would have felt guilt over but is a good thing today?IMG_20181006_202700_977

Day 4 of sensitivity to self training… I made my mom’s dip, went to R.I.P.P.E.D class and celebrated Thanksgiving. The day was good!20181007_182803

Day 5unknown

Day 6 of contemplating need… Slightly ill kid so I set an example. 3pm afterschool nap together. I am seeing a trend. I need to release the guilt I feel when I take an afternoon nap. One hour does not make my day a failure. You??IMG_20181009_223715_463

Day 7 of being better to myself for the betterment of myself… I went to one of my favourite places, did one of my favourite activities and then surrounded myself with some of my favourite things.

For those of curious minds…

YMCA (duh)
Worked out (surprised myself how much I have grown to love and need this nearly daily)
And now for the hidden picture/can you spot list: Cheezies, crochet, good book, documentary, tall glass of water and even a few friends (not pictured)

How about you???IMG_20181010_195454_365


Day 8 of self examination I examined deeply how truly privileged my position in life is even by my location of birth. It is not an easy watch… It really shouldn’t be… And not for young kids but City of Joy is an amazing documentary about the plight of women in Congo.

Have you watched this? Would you watch this? Want to talk about it with me?IMG_20181011_191141_885

Day 9 of listening to myself actually required ignoring myself (well a noisy portion).

With no license getting to things is work. Tonight I ignored that part of me that whined about cold and dark and effort and geared up 3 of my kids for the 2 mile walk to the YMCA.

We walked there in light and home in dusk. We didn’t miss dance class and I threw myself whole heartedly into R.I.P.P.E.D class.

We succeeded because I ignored my feeling of can’t to acknowledge that I truly don’t know what I can do until I try… And wear the appropriate warm gear to do so.

How about you? Do you have to silence that voice of inability sometimes? Do you stretch your limits and learn more about what you CAN instead of accept you maybe can’t?IMG_20181012_200412_235

Day 10 of looking within had me making a different kind of nest.

There is nothing so renewing than surrounding yourself in your favourite hobby. Especially when it includes soft fluffy yarn. Throw in a virtual tour of a bff’s new digs (love you Karyn, so happy for you) and a furry companion and my soul is both less homesick and feeling warm and fuzzy. I even assembled 3 amigurumi and am well on my way to finishing the main portion of a hat.

How about you? What activity brings you joy? Are you at peace in place or an active hobbyist???IMG_20181013_182411_957


Day 11 of making time to really realize what I need and I actually continued a pattern I set in place well over a year ago.

I am a huge advocate for working towards a healthy mind AND body. It isn’t easy, results are not instant or even visually obvious but the effects ripple out like a stone dropped in a still pond.

This is the face of a post R.I.P.P.E.D class sweaty and exhausted me. My instructors at my local YMCA are inspiring and the people in my class a joy.

Have you found an activity that gets you moving? Tests your limits? Makes you work? Wanna join me Friday or Sunday at 5pm or Monday at 7pm? I have guest passes!!!IMG_20181014_210649_167

Day 12 of my challenge to listen better to myself actually required me to listen to a very intelligent friend. (Love you Karyn) She reminded me that while it is all fine and good to save things it is actually often better to savour them properly now.

How many things do I save for the perfect time? Agonize over when I should open this treat or use that special paper? Is it not more of a proper thank you to someone when they gift me something special (see image below) to enjoy the moment of use more than worry about its perfection?

How much of my life gets tied up in the hunt for the perfect moment to do or use xyz? Life is full of opportunity. Time for me to take the opportunity to enjoy the gifts and love I am given. After all that enjoyment is rather perfect in and of itself!

How about you? A candle you never burn gathering dust? A snack uneaten risking expiration? Want to join me and take a moment to enjoy them properly?IMG_20181015_144959_405

Day 13 of listening to myself has been a day of acknowledgement.

How many times a day do you take a feeling or a thought and shove it aside? Push it away or refuse to actually take the time to examine, accept and acknowledge it?

Today I sat down and thought about how I do often feel like I am out of the loop with things. One of the natural consequences to not living in the thick of friends and family. This time I made time to actually ruminate. (Not wallow, mind you) I bet there are people in my life who feel that way about me… I had to accept that I am also responsible for that emotional distance (2 way street right?).

Today I gave myself a moment to be a little sad that I am not back home helping a dear friend move. To realize that someday in the future I will be at her door with a housewarming gift and a hug.

I acknowledged the good too, we dropped everything and took in fall in Minnesota with a walk and some leaf raking. I made time to balance out my acknowledgments of feelings and thoughts that may not be the most uplifting with a moment of sunshine and colour.

I didn’t change anything but my way of thinking. It always amazes me how in some cases that is enough to lift my spirits and give me some perspective.

What about you??IMG_20181016_150105_137

Day 14 of listening closer to myself… Today I remember and appreciate.

Today – October 17th, marks 3 yrs since the passing of a fellow twin mom. 3 years of life where her kids are being raised by others. Her babies will have to depend on pictures and videos and stories told by others to supplement their memories of their mom.

So today I appreciate… I appreciate that I am privileged to raise my 5 children. I appreciate that I am given the opportunity to receive the hugs and kisses as well as discipline and challenge my babies.

I think I lose that appreciation sometimes in daily life. When I am exhausted from playing referee or frustrated after a day of slogging through difficult schooling I forget. I forget how amazing the fact that I have these 5 beings to help mold and to love can be.

So today I remember and appreciate. This house is full and I wouldn’t have it any other way.IMG_20181017_165627_877

Day 15 of looking within to improve the whole and today I created.

And to make it all sweeter I created and completed for others. I special 4 piece commission had the final end tied today. Last night a prayer shawl for the Catholic church had its ends woven in.

The ability to give back and to help others. To make someone smile by simply using a skill I learned and honed. That reads success to me.

Tonight I move onto other projects… Christmas is coming and I really should start some gifts.

Do you have a hobby that brings you a sense of fulfilment and joy?? I would love to hear about it!IMG_20181018_155044_459

 Check back soon for the second half of my journey! I promise NOT to take a month to post it!
This entry was posted on 08/12/2018, in Uncategorized. 2 Comments