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{7 qts} my thoughts on a simplified life

Friday, January 19, 2018

1. I just finished the book by Emily Ley A Simplified Life. 



I will start this by saying that all these opinions are mine and I'm not being endorsed in any way. This book is so beautiful to look at and very easy to read. One of my favorite things in the book were the questions and journaling pages.This allows you to dig deeper into that chapter and how you can use the information to change your life. It was very helpful and the funny thing is it allowed me to pinpoint things about myself that I knew but didn't exactly realize...confusing or you know what I mean? 
Anyway...here we go

2. "No matter what space you're in, you have the power to make your space provide the rest and connection you deserve."

The first chapter was Simplified Space where she talks about not only cleaning out your house but simplifying it. I did this last year using another book so I pretty much knew the jest of it. However this book had a different approach. The questions in the book really made me see how important it is in my life to have a beautiful looking/appealing home. I've always enjoyed decorating and making my home clean and peaceful but what I realized is, not only is it something that I love but something I need in my life. I need beautiful spaces to make my heart happy and make my life easy even in the stressful moments of everyday life. When my house is clean and organized it makes the days where the kids are freaking out and dinner isn't really turning out how I wanted much more manageable for me. Instead of being ashamed of this I can take pride in it. 



our new couches, rug and throw pillows that took me a week to settle on

3. "Developing a signature style is key in simplifying both the pieces you own and the time it takes you to select an outfit every morning."

I have never thought to give my style sense a name. Or even to identify it but as I was cleaning out my closet, I noticed that the items that I always go to are pretty much the same style. So the question is then why in the world do I buy things that stray from this style? I really enjoy shopping...especially for clothes. I will find myself in a store thinking "wow maybe I'll try this" buy it and then never wear it. My closet become overpacked and finding something to wear was hard. By writing down what my style is comfort meets style meets simple going through my closet and finding things that did not fit this guideline was easy. Getting rid of clothes I bought hoping to wear one day was no big deal if it didn't fit in my set style. I probably got rid of half {or more} of my clothes. Some I am donating and some I am sending off to thred up. Now when I open my closet everyday finding something to wear has been shockingly easier AND I'm wearing clothes that I hadn't in awhile because they were hidden behind clothes that I didn't like.

4. "Creating special traditions and memories for our family is like food for the soul. They'll become the heartbeat of your life."

My new favorite thing in my kitchen. Sign from World Market 

The third chapter was Simplified Meals. Making memories with my family is something I live for. Hey, it's the reason I started blogging in the first place! I love creating, capturing and preserving memories. Mealtime doesn't have to be any different. For so many years...I'm talking SOOOO many years...mealtime has been stressful. My kids are pretty picky while my husband and I love complex delicious meals. I've been making 2 even 3 dinners for almost as long as I can remember. It's hard and beats me down every.single.day. I long for the days that we can all sit down and no one complains about the food. Or picks at it. Or takes forever to finish eating because it isn't ideal. The question here is why am I waiting? Why can't all that begin now, today? Emily Ley's Simplified Meals chapter might have been the most lightbulb over my head chapter. One thing my kids do love are traditions. They love routines. Why not make our meals into a routine, something they know is coming and can look forward to. Emily suggest having themed night dinners like Taco Tuesday and Pizza Friday. She also stresses that on busy days make sure you are planning an easy dinner to prepare. There is no reason for moms to stress themselves out about dinner for no reason. I'm not lying when I say that as I was reading this I was like duh???!!!

So here is our weekly meal plan
Monday: something in the Instant Pot
Tuesday: eat out {it's our busiest evening}
Wednesday: Crockpot meal
Thursday: Taco Thursday
Friday: Pizza take out
Saturday: Dinner on the grill
Sunday: a big, well prepared Sunday dinner

I created this because it's what works for our family and my schedule. Make it yours by looking at your calendar and commitments and working around them, not against them. 


5. "That is where simplicity is found: in committing to what's important and giving yourself permission to have margin in your life."

2017 was my year to simplify my schedule. This year I wanted to take it even farther and slow down. 2 years ago our family was WAY TOO OVERCOMMITTED. My kids wanted to try a new activity and as long as there was an open time slot on our calendar I filled. They were playing multiple sports, multiple clubs and life was insane. No one was happy. They would beg me to just go home. I thought that I was doing the right thing by allowing them to try all the things they were interested in but in reality I was taking away so much from them in the process. Less time as a family meant more time arguing with each other. Less time learning and talking to/from each other meant growing apart. It was sad and things had to change. My new rule is 2 {sometimes 3 when seasons overlap} activities per season. I am lucky in that they all do gymnastics at the same time/same place so that activity is not a pull on our calendar at all. Other then gymnastics they each get one more activity. The boys are currently playing basketball {same time/team} and Amelia is in dance. By cutting back on activities I was so shocked at how open our afternoons/evening became. The bickering became less and we could actually sit down and talk to each other. Do they still ask to do stuff...all the time! I just remind them they get 2 activities and they understand. It also makes them look at their lives and see what's really important. The last thing I want for them is to become adults who are overcommitted and have a hard time saying no. 
I also let go of FOMO. When the boys started school I felt like I needed to involved in everything. Funny thing is...I didn't. I was so afraid I was going to miss something if I wasn't there volunteering. I had to come to terms that yes I will miss out but does it really matter. Getting off social media really helped me overcome FOMO but more on that later.

What's better then a blurry picture of brothers playing basketball 😂

6. "Two enormous ways you can take care of yourself are eliminating your overwhelm triggers and giving yourself the gift of brain space."

Can I get an amen??!!

In the book Emily asks you to list your overwhelm triggers...the things that get you. I'm not ashamed to admit mine:
after school
bed time
morning routine

These are the time that I find myself on the verge of losing it or let's be honest really losing it! How can I look at these and change them? What can I do to make these triggers go away?

When I looked at these times I noticed that my mind is usually racing a hundred miles a minute. I'm not completely focused on the tasks or my kids because I'm multitasking in my mind what's coming next or what I need to do. I decided that by engaging with my kids I could eliminate some of the anxiety these times bring me. After school my kids get in the car and it's immediately a million questions from them and it completely exhausts me. I was honest with them about these times of day and how they stress me out and asked them to help. Now they are allowed to ask me 2 questions about the evening none of which are what's for dinner. I can't tell you how much this has helped. Bedtime I decided to get the big boys to come in the room when I put Amelia to sleep to listen to stories and then we pray together. After praying I ask them to mention an act of kindness that they saw another sibling do. We just started doing this and man, it's a routine that's going to stick. It's been so nice seeing them recognize kindness in each other and I've also noticed that they are more inclined to be kind because they know the others are watching. After I say goodnight to Amelia, I put the boys to sleep and am taking turns staying in their room talking for about 15 minutes. Cameron and I also take turns doing this and it's nice for then boys to have a chance to talk to us about whatever they want. Sometimes they talk about school, sometimes it's about a cool sports game they watched and sometimes it's about their future dreams. They really look forward to their every other night chatting sessions as do I. As for the morning routine, that's a work in progress 😉 
Find your overwhelming triggers and think about ways you can change it. My changes are all simple things but they have made a huge impact on my outlook of these situations. And if your kids are old enough talk to them about it. My boys appreciated me sharing these things with them because it made them feel grown up plus it allowed them to help me make things more peaceful around the house. If mama isn't happy no one is right?! 😊

7. "Not everything you do in your life needs to be shared publicly." 

4 years ago I left Facebook. One year ago this March I left Instagram. 

Social Media was VERY hard to let go of. VERY VERY VERY HARD. The only way I could take control of my time in my life was to quit cold turkey. Now that I'm off it I've never been happier. Leaving Facebook was a huge step for me. I found that many of times I was on it I could have been spending time with my kids or husband, I could have been reading books but instead I was reading arguments or about people bragging about how amazing their lives were. Really...no ones lives are that amazing. Let's be real, there is nothing real about social media. Nothing. I knew that leaving Facebook would be against the norm but I also knew that the way it made me feel was awful and I had to do something. 
So I grabbed onto Instagram. Instagram was harder to leave then Facebook. I loved instagram, all the beautiful pictures of people and their kids and their beautiful homes...I loved everything about it. Until last spring break. I got the flu and was so sick in bed during spring break. I found myself checking instagram literally every second that I didn't feel like dying. Seeing everyone and their families and all the fun they were having on vacation made me feel very depressed. As I laid their feeling sick and sad I asked myself what in the world was I doing? Why was I allowing social media dictate my feelings? I deleted the app off my phone and then about 5 months later turned off my account and never looked back. Am I missing out on things...absolutely! Do I care...absolutely not! My life has become so much more full without social media. I started reading more blogs and interacting with people that way. It's been a wonderful transition. I have to mention one thing that helped was that my husband is not on social media...he thinks it's crazy. We also don't want our kids on social media so it's our duty to lead by example. 
When I first left SM we would be out doing things and in my head I thought, I need to get the perfect picture to post. I would catch myself and feel disgusted. That need to share, share everything had been ingrained in me so long that even when I wasn't sharing I thought about it. In my personal opinion I think social media is going to have serious ramifications on society and I want nothing to do with that. I want real interactions with people. I want to send text, make phone calls not message over facebook. I want to take pictures of my family to create memories for us not to get a certain number of likes.  I know these thoughts are very far from the norm nowadays. When people ask me if I saw something on Facebook and I tell them I don't facebook they look at me like I've lost my mind. It's okay. I don't care. I haven't lost my mind...I got it back after many years of social media trying to steal it from me.

Overall this book really challenged me to think in a way I hadn't been. It really asked me to look at myself and make the changes within myself so that I could better serve my family. I highly recommend it. Let's all try to live a little more intentional.

Linking up with Kelly!

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