Happy New Year (again)! There's something about a fresh start to the year that has me excited! I have to say I am so happy to say goodbye to 2013. It was not the best year for me. Without going into too much detail, I went through some health issues that have caused me to make some major changes in my life. I found out that I am gluten intolerant and fructose intolerant so the most significant change I have made is to my diet. It has been a long road of trial and error discovering what I can and can't eat. I had many, many days last year where I just felt sooooo sick and couldn't do much of anything. You might remember me posting last June how I was experiencing vertigo. Well, that vertigo lasted the better part of four months. It was not a fun time in my life and it caused a lot of anxiety that I am still trying to process.
I spent a lot of time praying and trying to figure out what God was trying to teach me through all of this. I came to the conclusion that God wanted me to be more intentional in how I was spending my time. I have always been a "go, go, go" type of person and I firmly felt God telling me to slow down. I don't need to do everything. I don't need to be superwoman or supermom. I don't need to be "crazy busy". My kids don't need to be involved in every activity or have play dates all the time. (They are only four and even still, we need to be protective of the activities they are involved in). I don't need constant obligations that take me away from where I am needed most.
What I have discovered is what I do need!
1) I need regular dates with my husband and time discussing our life as a family.
2) I need to stop and PLAY with my kids. Be less distracted and more engaged.
3) I need to take care of myself. Eat small meals consistently throughout the day and focus on protein. I need to moderately exercise - I just can't handle high impact exercise. Completely cut out gluten and sugar (or at least learn to suffer the consequences if I indulge.)
4) I need to start my day reading God's Word. It helps my focus and gives me strength for the day. This fall, I also became a part of a women's Bible study group. I had not participated in a Bible study since before the girls were born. It's been a much needed experience for me and I really enjoy our discussions.
5) I need to continue making healthy meals for my family. I love to cook and bake and my new diet has been great for helping us to eat better. I am making more changes to what we are eating and trying a lot of new recipes and modifying them to meet our needs.
6) I need to be okay with saying, "No!" Part of saying "no" includes saying it to myself.7) I need to be okay with staying home. I can't focus on what I need to do if we are constantly gone.
8) I need to read books again. I have always been a voracious reader but somewhere in the last year or so, I stopped. The past few months have been full of reading and I have loved it. (Along with great fiction titles, I have been reading a lot of Christian parenting books and learning so much. Books I wish I had read two years ago!!)
9) I would like to pick back up hobbies I used to enjoy - crocheting and embroidery. It's been way too long since I have made anything!
10) I want to take better care of what we have been given. We have some rather simple improvements we want to make to our home - painting, etc. and work more on organizing/purging/maintaining our things. Less is more! And maybe leaning towards being a minimalist is not a bad idea.
11) This year we will be making a major decision on what to do for the girls' first year of school. Part of our discussion has been about homeschooling. I knew that if we even considered homeschooling, I would need to prioritize my life even more.
I don't necessarily consider these resolutions for 2014 but rather goals. And I began implementing almost all of them this fall. I cannot even begin to tell you the difference making these changes have made in my life. I am much happier, more focused and less stressed! My husband has noticed a much improved change in my attitude towards him and my kids that came mostly in how protective I am of our time. I want to focus my life in terms of QUALITY instead of QUANTITY. Part of that focus included me resigning from a couple design teams. I am continuing to design for a few companies because I do really enjoy it but keeping my commitments to much less. I will weigh any future opportunities if they come about and see how they fit into my life.
I want to do less WELL instead of more at a hectic, crazy pace. I would love to share more about my journey at a later date and maybe do more recipes and reviews of books I am reading in a future blog post. Even though it took a health scare to wake me up and give me a reality check, I am thankful to God for every valley He brings me through. He has shown me time and time again that He is faithful and that His plan is much better than any I have for myself.
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