My first attempt at Faith Journaling

 

My art faith journal
My art faith journal

Today, I tried something new for my early morning time. Today, I decided to go into my new art studio and do something. Since I know myself and I know that decision making is hard for me – and nearly impossible at 6am – I determined last night before bed that I would try my hand in a little faith journaling.

I took a class about faith journaling last week with Nicole (www.nicplynel.com) at a local art studio. It was exactly what I needed to get the spark of inspiration going. I’ve been wanting to start quiet-time Bible studying, as well as more artsy stuff in my brand-spankin’ new studio, so what better way than this? I’ve not started either endeavor for the simple reason that I could never find the “perfect” time or the “perfect” space, and I’ve been afraid to not have the “perfect” outcome.

But, it’s #NoExcusesJuly, right? And perfection is overrated.

So this morning, I quietly made coffee and crept down to my new space. I put on some soothing “nature” music, and started reading the introduction of a book I had bought ages ago studying the book of Isaiah. Why that particular book? To be honest, I don’t know. Months (years?) ago, verses from Isaiah would pop up regularly – enough for me to notice and realize I should probably look into what God’s trying to tell me. So, I bought the study book, and it sat on my shelf ever since. Last night while deciding where to start my faith journaling journey, this book popped into my head. Well, that was easy.

I didn’t even get through the introduction before a verse or two jumped out at me. Go figure. I made myself stop reading after the intro, not because I didn’t want to continue, but because of time constraints due to my early risers. I didn’t even make it into the “meat” of the study yet, but I knew that if I kept reading, I’d run out of time to play with my new art journal from the class.

And do you know what I realized as I got down to my last 10-15 minutes to play before the kiddos would start looking for me? I need to replace my paints. I guess years and years of non-use tends to dry things out! But I didn’t let that stop me! No excuses means no excuses! (insert face of determination) So, instead of painting, I just used my watercolor pencils. With a limited amount of time, it’s not much, but it’s a page that’s no longer blank. Do I love it? Not really. In fact, I didn’t even want to post the picture. But it’s a start, and right now, that’s what I need. A start.

I imagine my pages will get brighter and more appealing as I go along. Hopefully I will be able to spend more than just a few minutes at a time as well. But, for now, I’m happy with just one quiet morning a week, all for me, my art supplies, and my Bible for inspiration.

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…In quietness and confidence is your strength… Isaiah 30:15 NLT
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Mid-month check-in

Photo Credit: Google Images
Photo Credit: Google Images

Well, it’s about halfway through the month. Have you been taking part in my #NoExcusesJuly challenge? If I’ve inspired even just one of you, I’ll call this a success!

To be honest, I’m a little surprised that I’ve stuck with it this long. The accountability factor is HUGE! By me posting most days on Facebook, I’m forcing myself to do things I’d typically (very easily) talk myself out of doing. Plus, there’s Hubby with his no mercy approach, reminding me about my “no excuses” goal.

What have I been up to this month? Well, so far, I’ve gotten up early each weekday morning and have consistently gone for a run 3 days a week. That’s probably my biggest accomplishment thus far. I’ve also managed to do little things that I may have talked myself out of in the past…. I’ve cleaned up my kitchen each night, even when I really didn’t want to. I’ve gone to a yoga class that I’ve been putting off for months because there was always an excuse not to go. I’ve finished projects around the house that I’ve been delaying. All in all, it’s been a successful month! And we’re only half-way through!

So, why did I start this challenge for myself? Well, I have goals that seem hard to reach when I look at the end result. This challenge is helping me to break it down and take my baby steps, and it’s keeping me consistent. For example, I’ve always wanted to be a part of the 5am club because I know I will be so much more productive if I use these early morning hours. I started setting my alarm at 6am, now this week I’m at 5:50am, next week I’ll go down to 5:40, and so on. Baby steps will get me there! Also, I’ve had a goal for years to be able to easily run 3 miles. If you’ve noticed on my Facebook updates, I have been working my way up. I’m at about 2 miles now without too much trouble. Do I plan to be up at 5am and running 3 miles by the end of this month? Nope. But this month is helping me to stay accountable to those goals I set for myself, little by little. Can I reach those goals maybe by the end of August? Yes, I think I can, because I’m not allowing any excuses to stop what I’m already doing. In fact, now that I’m on a roll with these few things, I will be looking into other areas that I want to improve and start adding them to my list of baby-step changes.

So, how about you? What have YOU been doing this month, or, if you haven’t jumped in, what can you begin doing right now to make some positive changes in your life? Remember, baby steps + no excuses = results!

An art studio for me!

I’m giddy as a school girl! Why? Because I have a space to call my own within my house! I have my own haven. A cheerful nook. An art studio of sorts. (Granted, it’s in the laundry room, but I’ll take it!)

I have some before and after shots for you. Pardon the quality and lack of editing – I took them from my phone and was just too excited to upload them to care. And, I still haven’t figure this whole making-a-blog-post-look-pretty thing, so they are not centered or grouped together or anything. They’re just there. And that’s ok.

So, our basement is unfinished, other than a couple of walls here and there. It’s been on the list of things to do in the house since we moved in 6 years ago. *Hopefully* it will get done within the next year, and slowly but surely little bits have been getting accomplished. It started with some storage shelves in the back room, and then Hubby got himself a workshop set up in the furnace area.

Well, Hubby wanted me to have a space – a spot to escape if needed – and so the laundry room idea was born. Our laundry room space it pretty large. I always envisioned a bathroom in there eventually. But it was drab and boring and, well a laundry room. But, what better place to call my own? No one would want to step foot into a room dedicated to a chore, right?

We began the idea sometime last year. Hubby painted it a bright, obnoxious green (my choice) because I wanted to cheer it up a bit. At the same time, he added some wire shelves under our staircase for storage of odds and ends. I don’t have any pictures of the original, unpainted space (that I can find), but I do have pictures from before the floors were done!

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Here’s a view of the shelves under the stairs. Full of crap.

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See? Green. But a happy, cheerful green!

In the nook area that you see above, there used to be an ugly yellowish/orange-ish countertop with nasty cabinets underneath. (We ripped those out right after we moved in.) So, this space just became another area to collect even more stuff. BUT, with a little work and a direction, it has potential. First, we needed to do something about that floor….

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Hubby working on filling a leaky crack he found in the concrete floor, after removing the old vinyl flooring. Because nothing is ever easy in this house.

Hubby put in some some wood-look vinyl sheeting we found on clearance (because it’s a basement, and we’re cheap). It looks great with my green walls! Then he added a countertop that we found as an as-is piece at Home Depot, and he made some shelves for storage of my supplies. Today I decorated with items I bought exactly for this purpose a long time ago to make it cheery and less basement-y, and…… Voilà!

{{Happy Dance}}
{{Happy Dance}}
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Here are the shelves Hubby made that serve a dual-purpose – storage space with plastic tubs to keep my supplies organized and support for the countertop.
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Yep, that’s my washing machine on the right side….
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I decided against a door. I may change my mind and get one that locks if the kids find me….
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A better picture with the flooring and the walls and it all tying together. Love!
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And then there are these shelves. Yep, still full of crap. Eventually, they will be emptied and all of our crafting supplies will be on them, because our future finished basement will have a crafting space for the kids! (Not in my space, of course.)

I’m so excited to have this space for myself! I’ve been wanting to get back into my artsy stuff for a long, LONG time. (Little known fact: I was an art major in college for a year. Seriously!) And now, I have the space to do so without it being in our living space and in the way. And without little people grabbing at my stuff.

It’s not completely finished yet. Hubby still wants to add trim, and I still have to clean off those shelves under the stairs, but it’s a huge improvement over what it was! And now, there is no reason for me NOT to make time for myself down there and dabble a bit!

Another project crossed off the list! #NoExcusesJuly

Attitude of gratitude

My back deck is amazeballs for stretching after a run. It's quiet and peaceful and just perfect. Til the kids wake up.
My back deck is amazeballs for stretching after a run. It’s quiet and peaceful and just perfect. Til the kids find me.

Day three of my #NoExcusesJuly and so far, so good. It helps that the weather has been gorgeous for running and yard work. And it also helps that Hubby won’t let me wuss out with his #NoMercy approach. And while I feel awesome, I know there’s a lot of month left. Good thing for accountability, huh?

So, this morning I got up and out of bed for my run. (By the way, typically today would be the day I’d quit because after running Wednesday and yard work yesterday, I knew I’d barely be able to move today and I’d be exhausted. But, I kicked that excuse the curb before I went to sleep and told myself I had to do it!) So anyway, I’m jogging along, listening to the birds, and feeling really good – which is a little weird for me, but whatever. So, I start talking to myself (in my head of course – can’t have people calling to have me institutionalized) because I can’t figure out how to get my music on my phone to work (stupid technology). And I’m all, hmmm, what should I be thinking about on this beautiful morning? Dreams? To do lists? Coffee?….. Gratitude? Wait, what?!? God, did you hijack my conversation with myself?!? Cuz let me tell you, at 6:30am while running, gratitude and thankfulness are NOT what is going through my head. Typically my head-talk is more it’s too early, I want bed, my legs hurt, I can’t breathe, I hate running, whine whine whine groan and so on. Obviously, this gratitude thing was not my idea. But, ok, I’ll run with it. (Ba-dum-bum)

So, I started to think about what I was grateful for at that moment. And you know what? My answers surprised me. I realized I was thankful for being healthy enough to run – I had legs that moved me and lungs that work and the drive to actually do it. I realized how thankful I was to have a loving husband that supports me and sticks with the decision to allow me to continue to be a SAHM so I can go out for a morning run, even though it means he has to work his butt off to do so. I realized how thankful I was to live in a neighborhood that is safe for me to go out early in the morning – alone – and run without fear. I realized how thankful I was for the time alone just for me.

Talk about deep thoughts! And I hadn’t even had coffee yet! (Usually my pre-coffee thoughts consist of merely random babbling and incoherent mumbles.)

So, this #NoExcusesJuly may be more than I realized. I may actually grow during this process and find out a lot more about myself than just my level of willpower.

Who knew?

No Excuses

No Excuses
Photo: Google images

July is going to be a big month for me. I’m making it my new start. My clean slate.

I have a bad habit. In fact, I’ve nourished this habit so well that I honestly don’t even realize how often I do it. It has become second nature and automatic. It’s been years in the making, so breaking it will be hard. I’ve justified it and became enabled by it, but it’s gotta stop.

I make excuses.

They start out innocent enough….. Oh, it’s raining. I guess I can just go to the grocery store tomorrow…. I was up with the kids again last night, so I really should stay in bed to try to catch up on extra sleep…. I know we should be eating healthier but it’s so expensive sometimes. It’s just easier to do it this way for now…..  I can just clean the bathrooms tomorrow, we aren’t having anyone over anytime soon anyway.

This trend has been my life for a long, long time. No wonder I get very little done, eh? I can talk myself out of doing virtually anything with just a little reasoning. But you know what I’ve realized? Reasons are just excuses to make lazy seem ok.

Did you catch that?

Reasons are just excuses to make lazy seem ok.

I’m not saying reasons don’t exist. I’m saying reasons shouldn’t be stopping us from doing what we need to do.

I’ve fallen into the trap of Stay-At-Home-Mom Syndrome. My brother-in-law used this phrase to describe what happens when a stay-at-home mom falls into a rut. There are no deadlines, so there are no real pressures to get things done. There is no boss watching over us to make sure the work gets done, so we just put things off. There’s no real issue with appearance because our kids don’t care if we’ve showered or not, so even that gets put on the back burner. After all, as Scarlett O’Hara says, tomorrow is another day! Unfortunately, that’s the mantra I’ve been living with – tomorrow is another day – for years. It’s just going to be the same things tomorrow as it is today, so why bother?

You know what? I’m kinda tired of it. I want to have a house that isn’t an embarrassment when people stop by. I want to have a daily routine that involves taking care of myself. I want to get into healthier habits, for myself and for my kids. I want my business to take off and give me the dreams I see in my head, but….. I’m too tired. It’s too hard. I don’t have time. I don’t know how. The weather is bad. It’s too nice outside. I have a headache. It’s too far. It’s Tuesday. And the list goes on, and on, and on.

Time to get off that hamster wheel, folks. And I’ll be the one to jump first.

Here’s the thing. All of my excuses – every single one of them – comes back around to me. I am my own worst enemy and I constantly sabotage my own efforts. But if I’m honest with myself, I can see what my “reasons” are really saying:

I’ll just do it (whatever “it” may be) tomorrow. -I am choosing to be lazy.-

I can’t get my business moving/I don’t have time to focus on my business right now because of x, y, z. –I am choosing to not make my business a priority.-

I can’t believe the car broke again – just our luck! We’re never going to get our debts paid off. –I am choosing to have a negative attitude.-

I just don’t feel up to it today. I’m too overwhelmed by everything. I don’t even know where to start. –I am choosing to let my past issues with depression and anxiety get a foothold in my life.-

I can’t get up early to run, I’m too exhausted. I hate meal planning, I can’t get a good system in place. -I am choosing to stay unhealthy.-

I can’t start this project or do that thing or learn this skill, I don’t have time. I’m already running around like crazy as it is! -I am choosing not to manage my time wisely.-  

Basically, I am choosing to stay in my rut. I am choosing to hang out in my pity party. Puts a different perspective on it when we realize virtually nothing on the outside is a factor, doesn’t it?

 

“If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way; if you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.” – Jim Rohn

 

Just because I want something doesn’t mean squat unless I actually take action and do something about it. And for that to happen, I have to choose to beat the living daylights out of silence my inner whiny girl. Cuz really? She’s annoying. And sometimes, (ok, probably frequently) she sneaks out of my mouth. And the only way to silence her is to just do it. Whatever it is. Get up early. Go for that run. Make that phone call. Scrub that floor. Find the silver lining. Whatever it is – it must get done. No more excuses. The choice is all mine.

July is No Excuses month. Wanna join me?

#NoExcusesJuly