Tag Archive | Minnesota

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

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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

 

Welcome Grandma, Down from the Great White North…

But just for a week. Which I can tell you, her dog Gypsy did not approve of. I heard tell of a minor hunger strike when cookies were snitched from meals but the actual dog chow left untouched! It was a lovely week full of a good balance of activity and rest.20170404_134102

Grandma started off smart – she hooked the kids on some puzzle game apps so they could all play together. Always a good plan, especially since they were FREE. Couple that with watching dog rescue videos together and much time was spent in quiet enjoyment.IMG_20170404_152623_521

20170407_112120We took Grandma to the YMCA twice this visit. Once to watch Trinity and Emanuel in karate and meet their Sensei.IMG_20170413_222319_460

The other time to come for our Sunday night swim. Mommy got in her exercise class, and the rest got quality pool time with Grandma letting Daddy off the hook!IMG_20170409_182842_996

20170409_18390720170409_193406Our big field trip was to the Mill City Museum. A family favourite and fun for Grandma to see some Minnesota history first hand. She and Ken took the twins up in the big elevator that walks you through the history of the mill as well as its partial destruction.20170407_130947

20170407_13183120170407_13243220170407_135035IMG_20170407_135840_62920170407_14142220170407_13384720170407_132037Grandma asked to go to two specific places to eat – Culver’s, which we went to the night she came. She had never been, we simply could not let that stand!IMG_20170404_182631_533

The second place was a brunch with adults only to Perkin’s. This was followed up by a lovely stash of bakery goods purchased by Grandma that came home for the kids to enjoy. We snuck over to Joann’s while we were out. Good food AND good shopping (with coupons of course).

It was a decadent brownie.

It was a decadent brownie.

Grandma also COOKED a couple times – we got to taste her delicious homemade spaghetti sauce. With meat in it! AND she made taco soup. A new one for all of us, but one that everyone but the girls (no surprise) enjoyed. It was beyond delicious. So of course, I must share the recipe! HERE20170406_130918

Mine is without crunched up nacho chips.

Mine is without crunched up nacho chips.

She came bearing gifts… Canadian snacks… well lots of Canadian things. Including a colouring book for the 150th birthday. She also brought us some Gypsy puppies to add to our teddy collection. We had some small tokens for her.IMG_20170404_155142_971

My early birthday gift to mom, a pin.

My early birthday gift to mom, a pin.

We had hair braiding parties.IMG_20170410_220135

And Grandma spent special quality time with all the kids. It was so lovely for them to have one on one (though the twins opted to go together) time with Grandma and fully get her hooked on Caribou coffee.

Mix in a couple nippy spring walks to the park and Grandma got a taste of early spring in Minnesota.20170405_104230

We also pulled out movies and popcorn to make sure we had some quality cinema time. Kubo was well enjoyed.IMG_20170405_010349_384

Grandma took special care braiding up Emanuel’s hair. It was nice to have a week of no hair in the eyes. Though friends said it was very… basketball player! IMG_20170405_210629_766

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Since Easter was right around the corner we also did some egg decorating.IMG_20170409_145459_677

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Ken and I snuck away for some quality YMCA time… well he sat, and I went to class.IMG_20170407_180036_180

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It was a terrific visit. Sit back and enjoy the excessive, but happy images! Thanks for the visit Grandma!20170410_125226

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Divine Grace Experienced…

It was requested that parishioners write up their own experience of the Grace of God for a book for Lent. I agreed to do so and wanted to share my own experience here as well. Of course first I defined God’s Grace (like a good student)… I used the Wiki definition found HERE. The portion I used:

Grace in Christianity is the free and unmerited favour of God as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowing of blessings. Common Christian teaching is that grace is unmerited mercy (favor) that God gave to humanity by sending his son to die on a cross, thus delivering eternal salvation.

Now, I can’t say for certain it is the Grace of God that led me to the conclusions and actions below… but it is an experience I still hold as something akin to a release in order to receive.

The grace of God is defined as the free and unmerited favour of God. I have never felt that grace as much and as clearly as I did when we finally decided to move to Minnesota from Alberta, Canada. God’s grace is not what we deserve, but a reflection of what we need, what will help us to become a more whole person. It is this gift that myself and my husband fought so hard against.

For months we fought tooth and nail to stay in Canada with the friends, family and familiarity of life in my birth country. It was not until we released our wants and listened to the direction of God that we began our big move. When we let go, the grace of God allowed us to transition. With this grace the process which usually takes many months was completed in 2 weeks. Passports, packing, goodbyes and the journey were all seamlessly and successfully accomplished.

Without this laying of our worries and path at God’s feet we would not have been where we needed to to help my husband survive his worst bout of depression to date; not been nearby when others needed our help. Rather by the grace of God we were where we needed to be when we needed to be. This gift has enabled us to have a fuller life and is a blessing.

This is what I have given to my church to share, and now given to you to also have a read. I think that no matter what we like to put some sort of reason or structure to chaos. Reason to the unknown, reality to the unreal. All I can say is, right now, I am here where I seem to need to be. Who knows what the future brings. DSCN1565[1]