personal happiness

hyggelig months. kind of.

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What I typed in January:

Since I’m not on Facebook anymore, and I’m kind of slowing down from everything in general, I thought it would be good to start writing blog posts again. When I have time. Usually during the child’s nap. Or one of the many snow days we’ve had so far this month.

I haven’t really reflected too much on my previous words [of the year], but wanted to check in with y’all and let you know what I’ve done, changes, and feelings I’ve had.

If you remember, this year’s word is hygge.

In January, I have:

  • Completed a jigsaw puzzle.
  • Read books.
  • Watched several movies.
  • Played in the snow. And the leaves. And the mud. And the ice. And sun.
  • Stayed off Facebook 90% of the time, thus, stayed off my phone more.
  • Picked up some knitting needles & yarn to start a small project. (Did not finish…)
  • Not spent as much money. I didn’t buy anything extra or unnecessary.
  • Played some board games with my husband.
  • Carried a Rubik’s cube around. For me and the child. (You’re never too old for that, right? Maybe? Oh well.)
  • Drank cups of tea, and warm water with lemon/honey/cinnamon for health.
  • Attended my women’s small group (new study – Armor of God!).

The child also spent the first weekend of January in the hospital; we brought him to the doctor, confused that he wasn’t walking/putting weight on his leg. The doctor sent us to the ER. We spent all day at the ER, and an overnight in the Children’s hospital. There was a lot of waiting. A lot of waiting. The child was happy and cheerful, which I am so grateful for. The times he was napping, my husband and I were just sitting, waiting. I know it was hard for him to wait. It was hard for me too. But oh, what a reminder to be still and know that He is God! In the end, he was diagnosed with transient synovitis and sent home with some Motrin. I am so thankful that it was just a strange, treatable infection in his hips, but it was definitely worrying.

And then there were all the school closings! And unexpected snow days! And more rest. And sledding and snowmen and catching snowflakes with our tongues. And as quickly as the snow came, it melted away to 50 degree, rainy days. Only to snow again the following week. Crazy. When I was a child, I always wished I was in a place where the weather was different nearly every day. …..I think I got my wish!

Along with this, I have been feeling a shift inside myself. The more I dive into God’s Word, the more the world I live in breaks apart into tiny pieces and fades away because the things we see just don’t matter. The colors we have chosen to paint our walls with, the dishes we use, the clothes we have, the decorations (or lack of) on the front door, the cars we drive, our jobs, it just shatters into pieces….. replaced with a blanket of white. A blanket of peace and truth and grace. God. These…. things don’t matter. I need to remind myself of this. I need to remember this. I need to remember this that I had remembered and held onto just a few short years ago. Shed myself of the expectations that others… and let’s face it.. our selves.. have placed on us. Mascara has been tossed in the garbage. No more of that. You’re getting me, stripped down. Focused on taking care of my body, simplicity, etc. etc. Not sure how to put this into words.

What I typed in February:

Well. After that last thought in my previous paragraph, I stepped away from writing this post and there was another shift. A not so good one. I went back on Facebook a little bit this month. I started falling into discontentment again. The child got sick, I got sick (flu + pneumonia, actually, for the first time ever). Husband got sick. I fell behind in my housekeeping, my work, my schoolwork, my bible study, life in general. Right now, I feel like I’m swimming against the current, more and more things piling up. More bills. More sickness. More repairs needed. More messes. The further forward I go, the more I feel like I’m slipping back. I’m in a slump right now. Just feeling blah. I am overwhelmed and worn down. Trying to do everything at once. Trying to keep up. Not sure where to begin. Trying to shake this feeling that life has been consistently falling apart ever since we moved to Kentucky. There has been so much good in our lives, but I am constantly blinded by all that is not good. Trying to push that aside and just focus on the good. I don’t know. Februaries have never been my favorite months.

Now, it is March. Today:

One week in this month and I already feel a lot better than I did in February. Still coughing, and my own health not feeling 100%, but not as bad as it was. Someone rear-ended me the other day when leaving work, so that was fun (not). At that point, I was nearly numb to the incident because, well, let’s just keep adding more stuff to my plate, right? There’s nothing I can do but react calmly, and deal. January was definitely hygge. February, not so much. March? We’ll see. I do feel that positive shift coming back, though. I no longer feel behind in life. I have been writing down all my thoughts and plans for this month in lists and calendars. Things feel a little more organized again. It was 60 degrees a couple days ago and the following morning, we woke up to snow on the ground. Kentucky weather is funny. It keeps me on my toes. Life keeps me on my toes.

books read so far:

The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking
Chasing Slow by Erin Loechner
There’s No Such Thing As Bad Weather by Linda McGurk
The Book of Hygge: The Danish Art of Living Well by Louisa Thomsen Brits
Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World by Kristen Welch
Hygge: The Danish Art of Happiness by Marie Tourell Soderberg
Nomadland by Jessica Bruder
Moo by Sharon Creech
…and of course, Llama Llama Red Pajama and God Bless You, And Good Night.

movies watched so far:

Little Miss Sunshine (2006)
Dukes of Hazzard (2005)
Moonlight (2016)
Spotlight (2015)
Get Out (2017)
Dunkirk (2017)
The Breakfast Club (1985)
Semi-Pro (2008)

How has your year been so far?

Much love, Laura

faith · personal happiness

rest. be. breathe.

Sometimes I feel like I’m not doing enough with my life.

As if I’m not doing the things God intended for me to do.

As if there’s so much to do that’s not being done.

As if I’m not inspiring anyone anymore.

I have this mental to-do list in my head of the things I want to do, create, write, etc. right now. Somehow I think I have to do everything right now. Because life is short.

I know so many creative and successful people: artists, performers, photographers, musicians, entrepreneurs, writers, and the list goes on.

They are all doing, inspiring, creating, now.

Often, I look at myself, with nothing to offer but a few meager words that I cant even find the time to write anymore, and think I have nothing.

And then I have the tiny human that soaks up all my time and energy.

I have been thinking back to that time when I wrote three blog posts a week, guest writing on other blogs, meeting other writers for coffee and beer, and a had steadily growing following. (Do you remember one of the first blogs I had? Why did I let that domain go!? It’s now available for over $3k.) I was growing as a blogger, creating connections, writing things people wanted to read, and sometimes, getting paid for it! Had I stuck with that, who knows where I would be now? But now? I don’t know if I even have 5 followers and I haven’t written much in the last couple years. I faded.

But then I read Chasing Slow by Erin Loechner and remembered why I stopped blogging. I had reached that point where words weren’t enough anymore. Instagram was growing. Social media was flourishing. There was, well a lot of work in maintaining an image and a presence.

I didn’t want to work on it. I didn’t want to create a perfectly styled photo that hid the mess. I didn’t want to spend an hour on a stupid photo. I wanted to have a real life with meaning.

So I left it all. I just wanted life as it was.

“[F]or just one second, look at your life and see how perfect it is. Stop looking for the next secret door that is going to lead you to your real life. Stop waiting. This is it: there’s nothing else. It’s here, and you’d better decide to enjoy it or you’re going to be miserable wherever you go, for the rest of your life, forever.”

― Lev Grossman, The Magicians

And I realized why I had this shift…..

Because Jesus was all I needed to focus on.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.[a] Because of the joy[b] awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.  Hebrews 12:1-2 NLT

I stripped off the weight of  being a perfect vegetarian. Having less stuff than someone else. Having rainbow everything to ‘show’ that I was a ‘hippie.’ Needing to juice every morning. Needing to knit something every day. Needing to be consistent to grow my readers and followers. Needing to have perfect, inspirational photos on my Instagram feed. (Note that need is actually “need” as it is not a real need.)

I left the constant feeling of “need” and just looked to Jesus.

Jesus is calm. Peace. Strength. Protection. Rest. Love.

Still, there is a part of me that is sad at the lack of current creative outlet. It’s hard. It’s hard to find time in between work and preparing meals and taking care of the house and raising a headstrong, curious child and taking online courses and studying the bible and working on my marriage and staying connected as much as I can with the people in my life. Knitting gets discarded in a cloth bag in the back of my closet that hasn’t been used in years. My hula hoops are tattered, in the back of another closet. My juicer sits in the pantry, untouched for even longer. My garbage overflows with discarded plastic packages of convenience.

But I have been reminded that this is just a season. A season in which the only thing I need to worry and focus on is my family, especially raising my child, the relationships I have with others, and my work.

For everything there is a season,
    a time for every activity under heaven.
A time to be born and a time to die.
    A time to plant and a time to harvest.
A time to kill and a time to heal.
    A time to tear down and a time to build up.
A time to cry and a time to laugh.
    A time to grieve and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
    A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
A time to search and a time to quit searching.
    A time to keep and a time to throw away.
A time to tear and a time to mend.
    A time to be quiet and a time to speak.
A time to love and a time to hate.
    A time for war and a time for peace.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

The creative outlets can wait. The creative outlets will come back. They’re just hibernating right now. Rest. I will continue to be. Be the wife I need to be. Be the mama I need to be. Be the friend I need to be. Be the follower of Jesus I need to be. God has plans for me. Always. And I am perfectly fine and wonderful just as I am, where I am, in this moment. And that tiny human? He needs me right now. Just as I am. To just be there.

Just be. Just breathe.

Those phrases I love so much, yet forget to really understand.

Breathe.

Be.

That’s more than enough.

And how fitting that it is the season of winter; a season of rest and hibernation.

Keep my eyes on Jesus.

Rest.

Yes. Time to rest.

Be.

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