Tag Archive | R.I.P.P.E.D

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

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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

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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!

What I Learned About Myself in 3 Weeks…

So it is common knowledge that I got a tattoo the week after our 17 year anniversary. What surprised me is what I learned about myself in the three weeks healing time afterwards.

Day 2 and the beginning of the healing process.

Day 2 and the beginning of the healing process.

  1. Well I definitely don’t wear my heart on my sleeve, it is on proud and vibrant display on my left calf. And I hope people ask me about it. As the wife of a man who has been diagnosed not only with severe depression, but also CAPD, I found my symbol in his fight to control and manage his illnesses. The depression is represented by the semi colon or body of my butterfly. A more and more common symbol of depression and mental illness, it is a constant reminder for me of how I will never truly grasp how close I came to losing my husband and love of my life for ever on 2 separate occasions. Had he chosen to end his story instead of continuing on, my life, and the lives of my children would be very different right now. I have often spoken about how I feel the need to be an advocate for mental health awareness. Two helpful links – Project ; and in case you need help in knowing what to say  Make It Ok.org. Maybe one day someone will see my butterfly while I work out, or on a walk… or even peeking out in a fancy dress and ask me and I will have the chance to listen or share. If I can share my story, Ken’s story and help someone find help or become a source of support… icing on the cake. The other half of the butterfly is a wee bit obvious – maple leaf, Canada: you can take the girl out of Canada, but my origins are a massive part of my personality.Project-Semicolon-760x410
  2. Altering my body permanently was neither as earth shattering or life changing as I expected. Granted when I first got it done and posted it up on Facebook my little corner of the world shared its opinion and got excited. Some were impressed, some quick to admit they would never do the same, others wanted explanation of the image and many were surprised. But, the greater world, life in general… a blip on the radar. And you know what? That was more than OK! I love the reminder that some ink on my body was nothing more than a personal choice that I would now live with forever (proudly I might add). What was way more important is that my own children are super proud of their mom! It was an opportunity to remind them of the struggle dad has with his own mental health, and that it is OK to be sad, to need help. But they also need to be aware that mom really wants them to tell her… any time, any place, and if not her any responsible adult. Needles and healing and a choice that is permanent was simply that… a choice I made. Not the end of my life, though Ken was quick to tease me about his tatted up wife and how much of a rebel I was!IMG_20180704_125226_971
  3. Keeping my legs covered for 3 weeks seem to have given me the permission to embrace colour. My sari skirts were a bit of an impulse buy (Ken edit: If you call agonizing over a purchase for 3 weeks an ‘impulse buy’) if a bit difficult to pair up with shirts on hand, but for 3 weeks I have been colorful. Since some of the skirts only matched some crop tops I purchased recently belly baring became commonplace. It is a movement from worrying about fitting in, matching my clothes to my “life” and into comfort and colour and embracing the fact that I love brighter feathers. Plus, they make a lovely swish when I walk and I have always loved swishing and twirling since I was a little girl – why should that change now?20180628_152211
  4. Baths make me calmer and 3 weeks without that has been a bit of a struggle. I am not a girl who loves a hot shower, give me a long soak to relax away the tension and frustration of a long day anytime. The kids also enjoy the respite from mom after lunch when I took my lunch break. Maybe I really am more mermaid at heart than I like to admit? 
  5. That little square of skin is now the softest skin on my entire body, I swear! Lotion lotion lotion. Washing and lotion, no sun and then the itching. No one mentioned how high maintenance this small patch of skin would be, but worth it! Self care is so important, and this was a reminder to me that maybe I need to pay more attention. When you have to alter your life to look after a single body part… like my time spent on what we thought was my hip, but is now believed to be a slightly slipped disk from when I almost fell in the winter. The reality is I am growing older, and in order to do so gracefully and healthily I need to be more aware. Yoga, workouts, long walks, R.I.P.P.E.D. classes at the YMCA… they take on an even greater meaning when looked at from the perspective not of losing weight or strengthening up but of self care. Taking time for a nap without guilt (seriously I have to convince myself, idleness in my mind, becomes laziness or neglect… I have a very hard time just taking a moment and stopping), spending a few extra minutes working on your appearance and standing tall with confidence that you look awesome. I am learning more and more about these moments. I love myself, my insides and outsides, the family I have created, the life style I live. It is flawed and confusing and at times difficult but it is all amazing. The life I live, the appearance I put out there in the world is all proof that I love myself. That I take the time to care for myself and the ones I love. 

    No filter, not needed. Just hard work and comfortable in my own skin!

    No filter, not needed. Just hard work and comfortable in my own skin!

  6. I like feeling a little the rebel. Granted, many see me and my family as a bit more than a “little” rebellious with our large family size and homeschooling, or my lack of ability to drive and my insistence that we celebrate both Canadian and American holidays PLUS Chinese New Year. Ok… so I was already a bit of a rebel, but having a tattoo… that feels like a “cool” rebel. All that other stuff is more necessity or not a choice but a calling. I CHOSE to get a tattoo, I CHOSE the design and then had one of my oldest and dearest friends not only hold my hand through it all, but take pictures AND help with the design. Who else could be so lucky but to have someone who is basically a sister also be an amazing artist who can take my crazy ramblings and make something amazing on paper?? Thanks again Shandai! You ROCK! They say it takes a village to raise a family, well it sometimes takes friends to help create the perfect family unit too. I have been doubly blessed with an amazing community AND friends who are family to round out the flesh and blood relatives we were born with. (Plus Shandai is pretty cool, rebellious and all round awesome herself)

So there you have it, 6 things I learned about myself all from 30 min of tiny needles, ink and the hand of an amazing artist at Rose in No Man’s Land. I can’t say I won’t go back… My butterfly may need something sweet to land on yet. But for now… My heart is out there, open book. Ask me, share your story with me, read my story here (just search the word “depression” in my search box), my heart is open and I have found that sharing is so much more than simply caring. 

All healed up!

All healed up!

Choices Made, Changes Result

Well, June seems to have been my month of change. There will, of course, be a month overview post WHEN I finally catch up this darn blog, but I feel like I should just jump in and share my stuff.

Anyway, I finally caved and dealt with the hair that I totally fried dying it a year ago (remember the blue hair? Yah, not my best adventure). Sadly it was over bleached in places so there was no fixing it, I grew it as long as I could and then went into the salon. I chose a place referred to my by Renee, had a loose image of what I wanted and threw in a lot of trust. Snip snip and my curls are back, one product and some scrunching and my look is done. Simple enough that even I can do it, and my hair skills are… sad!!!IMG_20180616_110030_865

This coincided with a VERY busy weekend – our anniversary – number 17, and Father’s Day. This year our present was special and already introduced… Check out Momo HERE.20180616_161359

We went out to dinner the night before, Broadway Pizza and kept it low key. Choices had to be made… spendy night or kitten. No brainer right? My original plan was to head out to a hotel for a night, but Ken is in the middle of a massive project that also cancels our July 4th plans. Maybe in the fall we will sneak in a tiny get away? Any sitters offering???20180615_183356

20180615_191338Father’s Day was also a rather quiet day. There was a kitten to enjoy and Ken’s wanted quiet. He also made a cat post for Momo. Which OF COURSE had us to Home Depot for some small random things and Ken and the kids making Momo her own scratching post. We celebrated Dad by enjoying time together, quiet moments and working with our hands. OH and No Name steaks and brats for dinner. YUM!IMG_20180624_221509_950

My birthday was on the 24th! It fell on a Sunday so of course I ended up at the YMCA to workout with my usual R.I.P.P.E.D. class. In the morning Renee and Chris came over and spoiled us with birthday pancakes! And Renee got in some kitten snuggles.IMG_20180624_124123_869

20180624_114649I got in my own snuggles and nap.IMG_20180624_223436_333

And ended the day with poutine made fresh by Ken. It was an amazing day. 39 feels absolutely amazing.IMG_20180624_221214_795

Now for the final big change… I finally found the right image for myself and jumped in with both feet. My very first tattoo, and it is very meaningful to me. I chose to go with a semi colon (a symbol for depression) butterfly with maple leaf wings (Canada, of course). In honor of Ken’s and many of my friend’s struggle with mental image and of course my own roots which are deep in Canada.IMG_20180618_201838210

Even better – Shandai, who has been with me since high school, been involved in so many of my big changes and fun choices, was able to not only help design but take me and basically hold my hand while I had it done. I couldn’t ask for a better partner in crime.

This is the face of a kitty put out cuz I felt the need to play with my niece

This is the face of a kitty put out cuz I felt the need to play with my niece

And the face of my niece when I had the audacity to pet the cat! I couldn't win!

And the face of my niece when I had the audacity to pet the cat! I couldn’t win!

And the artist and staff at the tattoo parlor – Rose in No Man’s Land Tattoo and Piercing were amazing. I could not have been happier with Marx Berry. Amazing! And a lot less painful for the most part than I expected. No regrets here… except for 2-3 weeks of no shaving a portion of my leg in the middle of summer. Oh well, worth it!IMG_20180618_200050837_HDR

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So June has been my month of actually doing some things I have not only wanted but at times been a bit scared to do. And funny enough, my kids are super PROUD of me getting the tattoo and the day after told EVERYONE at the YMCA that Mom had a new tattoo… I joked with Shandai, good thing I didn’t get it in an intimate place!!! What a month!IMG_20180624_134932_352