A couple of years ago my book club read "One Thousand Gifts" by Ann Voskamp. The first time I read it, I deeply appreciated her commitment to writing down the small daily moments she was grateful for. When I finished reading, I put the book in my library- a place reserved for books that carry life nuggets I want to savor. A few months ago, I read the book again, and took away another nugget- When Ann wanted to rush through a moment, worry, overthink, or simply complete a to-do list; she learned to slow down, hit pause, and let God speak to her heart instead. With God's help, she learned to simply soak up the beauty of God's masterpiece, to appreciate the life she was blessed with, and to let God lead in the more difficult situations. She became a woman rooted in purpose and living in lightness.
Ann did not scroll through social media to find a trendy solution. She did not allow her worries and anxious thoughts to take over. She did not scramble through her to-do list day after day in hopes of a slower day tomorrow. No, she CHOSE gratitude and laid each day before God, sought the beauty of His masterpiece for the day, and asked Him to guide her steps.
This is a book I will definitely read again and again, because I will never get tired of hearing the message to live fully and be led by God daily.
Here are a few simple things I do (or I'm in the process of incorporating) in order to be more intentional with my days:
1. Dive into Scripture + Prayer Daily
Have a conversation with God- Sharing the intricate pieces of my life and also the simple joys of the day.
2. Keep a Gratitude (Simple Joys) Journal
3. Reduce the Number of Social Media Platforms for my Business + Time Spent on Each
I like to call this "old soul" living. (Where would you like me to show up most consistently- Facebook? Instagram? Newsletters? LinkedIn? The Blog? Let me know.)
4. Hit Pause + Hear God's Truth in All Things (Do My Best + God Will Always Do Even Better)
Especially when I have a busy day, unexpected events arise, overthinking happens, etc. Knowing I am doing the best I can and God will always do even better than any of my attempts, helps me put moments into perspective.
5. Start the Day Slowly + End the Same
Carving out the time to savor the gifts God gives to me every single day. (My marriage, my family and friends, Dillbean, changes in season, simple luxuries, leisure activities, etc.)
How will you slow down and savor the opportunity to live fully? I would love for you to share your thoughts with me! Also, I am going to be reading "One Thousand Gifts" again SOON, so if you would like to join in, please leave me a comment or send me a message!
Our family had an absolutely wonderful time this past Mother's Day Weekend! Every year, my mom heads to the local greenhouses, spends hours strolling through the luscious green aisles, and hand-selects her floral arrangements for her flower baskets and beds for the summer. This year was a real treat, because my father, hubby, and I had the pleasure of going with her. It was absolutely wonderful!
We decided to make our plans for Saturday and the day actually turned out to be a bit brisk, but truly, this only made the experience more enjoyable. It felt so good to leisurely wind through the green plants and vibrant hues of the flowers; the warmth of the humidity trapped inside the canopies welcoming us into the next greenhouse we entered.
For the ladies living in the Black Hills' area- We visited Gage's Gardens and Beck's Nursery in Spearfish, SD. We also love Jolly Lane Greenhouse and Nachtigall's Greenhouse- both located in Rapid City, SD.
We spent hours looking at all of the different options and combinations of plants, and finally found the few we loved. Even our hubbies enjoyed the experience- A big THANK YOU to them for wheeling around the wagon with our selections inside!
Mom found her pairings for summer planting, and Tanner and I learned a lot about a few plants safe for our little kitty, Dill. (If you need a detailed and reliable list of toxic/non-toxic plants for cats, checkout out the ASPCA website.) It was a fabulous adventure for this plant lady!
What made the day, of course, was the time taken to cherish a mom, my mom, who brought me onto this Earth and has shown me nothing but love and care every single day. Although, I truly do believe, every day is a mother's day, don't you agree?
Happy every-day-is-a-mother's-day wonderful ladies!
I have heard the question before- "Are you a morning person?"
I always want to answer with a resounding, "Yes, I am!"
There is something so beautifully elegant about being a person who wakes up to watch the sunrise; the kind of person who has reflected, completed half their to-do list, and had a nice chat on the phone before the rest of the world has opened their eyes. I want to be the person who gets to savor each and every morsel of the day I have been given. I want to soak up the sunrise and watch the sunset on my days. I want to be one of those "morning people." Perhaps you agree with me.
The reality is I have worked as a barista on-and-off for a good third of my life. I love the idea of being the first one at the cafe; listening to the sounds, inhaling the aroma, and savoring the first sips of that first morning cup of Joe; and connecting with the individual's who, like me, want to savor every moment of their day. Obviously, being the morning barista, I know what it means to wake up at 5 A.M. I also know what it feels like to wake up at 5 A.M. You would think it would be as I described above- beautiful, elegant, reflective...
For me, it's painfully difficult, unnatural, and sadly, not me. I have learned over the years I am a 8-9 hours of sleep per night little lady. I am also someone who likes to go to bed around 10pm-ish. Any earlier and I feel "rushed" to bed rather than "settling into" bed. This means 6-7 A.M. is my ideal time to open my eyes and begin my day. This also means I will miss most of the sunrise, and start my reflection, to-do list, and conversations along with the majority of the world.
So where does this leave me when I answer the question- "Are your a morning person?"
I now embrace my routine and the endless simple joys I am finding in my mornings. I have made a few small changes in order for my morning to feel like that of a "morning person", and I can honestly say I treat my 6:30 A.M. wake up time like that of a 5 A.M. one.
Here are a few things I am embracing in my mornings (Maybe you will enjoy some of them too.):
+ Opening the blinds before bed, so I can feel the warmth of sun on my face as it rises.
+ Having an 8oz glass of water on my nightstand to enjoy before I even get out of bed.
+ Having my coffeepot automatically set (a faux pas in the barista world), or having the espresso machine ready- making my morning cup of Joe effortless.
+ Taking the extra time to pamper my face and enjoy the simple acts of a self-care routine. (Love the scent of lemon or grapefruit first thing in the morning.)
+ Connecting with my husband while making breakfast or simply enjoying our morning cup of coffee together before we dive into work.
+ Spending a few minutes in prayer or reading scripture.
+ Choosing/or not choosing to dive into a 15-minute yoga practice. (I get to choose and I enjoy the spontaneity of the morning practice.)
My answer: Yes, I am a morning person.
I am a morning person who wakes up rested and excited for the day. I move slowly when I wake up and savor the precious moments found somewhere between sunrise and 9-5. I love my mornings for what they are, and I wouldn't have it any other way.
Are you a morning person?
Walking- an everyday simple pleasure that I always look forward to. Do you?
The hubby and I love a good stroll. Whether it is in the morning before church, or at the end of a long day; we cherish the simple activity of walking, talking, and cherishing the present moment before us.
This season (spring/summer), we have decided to make it even more of a point to embrace this gift we love so much! So far we have incorporated walking into our Sunday mornings before church (green juice in hand), this past Saturday by taking a stroll through Canyon Lake Park (a personal favorite of ours), and an all day adventure visiting the local shops of downtown Rapid City (pit-stops at Vita Sana, BH Vinyl, Mary's Mountain Cookies, Karma, Antiques Mall, and Revival to name a few). It felt so good to reconnect with our downtown neighbors while soaking up a little sunshine!
Where are a few of your favorite places to walk?
And do you have a simple pleasure you would like to incorporate into your lifestyle on a regular basis? I would love to hear what it is!
Here is to celebrating life and embracing a few more simple pleasures my friends!
Last week I hosted the first official BP Spring Cleaning Lifestyle Challenge! It was an opportunity for women to come together via social media and support each other in making small lifestyle changes whether they were near or far. I absolutely LOVE that we have the ability to connect on a global level don't you?
The women who participated had so many creative swaps from artificial light vs. natural light, toxic care products vs. natural, and artificially sweetened ice cream vs. homemade cashew dessert! I was so impressed with the women who chose to show up and participate! (Hats off to you!)
Today, I want to share the three basic concepts I look at when it comes to spring cleaning my lifestyle... just in case you could use a little spring cleaning too!
1. Declutter/Detox- What is one aspect of my life I would like to declutter or detox? When I think about decluttering the lifestyle, I pinpoint what keeps me from growing. Just like environmental and food toxins dive into our cells in our physical body; toxic relationships, environments, or time commitments integrate into our lifestyles and start breaking down our potential to savor the sweet simple moments.
Here are a few areas to look at when detoxing your lifestyle:
+ Toxic Friendship/Relationship- Is someone constantly being negative, dramatic, rude, or inconsiderate? Perhaps you have a person in your life who simply doesn't contribute positively to the relationship.
+ Items that No Longer Serve a Purpose or Foster Joy- Are there items in your space simply accumulating dust, adding to your visual and mental clutter, and no longer contributing to the lifestyle you want to live?
+ Tasks and Commitments Weighing Down the Schedule- Do you have tasks on your plate that you are holding on to simply because you committed to them two years ago? What activities are you doing simply to please others at the sacrifice of your own peace of mind?
+ Environmental Chemicals and Food Toxic to Your Body- Are you putting anything in or on your body that is doing more harm than good?
+ Negative Thoughts
2. Organize/Restructure- Are there places in my lifestyle that if I simply restructure the tasks/items or organize them a bit, they will cohesively build off of each other rather than fight against one another?
Here are a few examples of organizing areas of your lifestyle:
+ Making Your One-Hour Weekly Work Meeting a Two-Hour Monthly Meeting- You will use the meeting time for efficiently if you know you are only meeting once a month versus weekly.
+ Establish Carpool For Your Kids- You share the responsibility of getting them to school with other parents which opens up a couple hours for you each day.
+ Moving Items Around In a Space- The space better serves its purpose for you.
+ Bringing Like Friends Together- You can all meet together rather than always scheduling separate commitments for each. (Of course, 1:1 dates are still lovely sometimes too.)
+ Creating a Plan For Meals- Using how busy your schedule is for the week and selecting wholesome foodie options that will help fuel your busier days.
+ Plan Complimenting Plans with Your Spouse to See Friends- You have more time together alone.
3. Flourish/Nurture- What areas of my lifestyle do I truly enjoy and how can I continue to grow/highlight these areas? Which aspects of my life make me feel whole, make my heart flutter, and cultivate joy?
Here are a few examples of nurturing areas of your lifestyle:
+ Faith- Do you place your foundation on faith in God? Do you show up to meet with Him daily? How can you make Him more of a priority in your life? How can you cultivate a deeper relationship with Him?
+ A Person- Is there someone who truly and unconditionally loves you? Do they help your grow in a positive direction? How can you spend more time with them? How can you show them you appreciate them and how they make you feel?
+ A Hobby- Is there something you enjoy doing so much you lose track of time when you do it? Perhaps make time in your schedule to do this activity daily.
+ Traditions- Are there certain traditions that foster the woman you aspire to be? Perhaps it is getting a fresh bouquet of flowers for your space, shopping the local farmer's market, or cooking a family recipe.
+ Quiet Reflection or Creativity- Do you find clarity when you take time to reflect, read scripture, or pray? How can you create more time and space for such things?
+ Whatever fosters faith and feminine lightness... focus on and cultivate such things.
Spring is the perfect time to embrace a little detoxing, organizing, and flourishing. Just as a space loves to be spruced up, a lifestyle does too. How will you spring clean your lifestyle this season? I would love to hear your plans! Please comment below or send me a message!
Happy spring cleaning my friends!
The struggle is definitely really ladies. I know, because I have seen it creep into the conversations I have with my closest friends, clients, and even in the whispers of a coffee shop. As women, we are finding it difficult to communicate. We discuss the annoyance of one word answers, receiving the silent treatment of friends, or even the heated disagreements shared between significant others. What’s the deal? Why is the art of conversation so difficult when it could be such a gift?
Think of it this way, if we could learn to communicate more effectively with one another, we would have the gift of understanding (not necessarily agreeing), of listening and our words being received, and a place to move forward from. Add to this the nuances of learning new ideas, exchanging experiences, and being fully immersed in a single moment of conversation; and it makes me wonder why some find themselves trudging through the process of conversation as if they were marching into war. What gives?
The realization of this struggle among women made me think about my own conversations. What makes me drawn to a conversation, what makes the communication shared between my husband and I successful, and what do I appreciate about the people who communicate well? What is this art of conversation and how do we embrace it?
Then it occurred to me-
My husband and I communicate about communicating; this is what makes our conversation feel more like an art and less like pulling teeth. Let me explain.
Black-and-White Conversationalist (The Concise)
My husband is a black-and-white kind of guy. He likes to give an answer clear and concisely in order to provide a solution, voice an opinion, and give direction. Not a bad quality to have as the man of the household. If your husband possesses this quality, respect that he wants to be clear and concise, not fuzzy, with his answer. We could use more of the “let your yes be your yes, and your no be your no” mentality today.
Colorful Conversationalist (The Expansive)
I, on the other hand, love a deep conversation. I like the color in a conversation that threads in between the black and the white. I want to know the “why’s”, share all the stories of the day, and explore an experience fully through words. Just like the black-and-white conversationalist has their strengths, the colorful has perks as well.
However, when you get a concise and an expansive type together, the conversation may lead to frustration if you do not recognize the value in each.
Communicate about Communicating
My husband and I have found the trick to communicating well with one another is the simple idea of understanding why we communicate and the value it holds for each of us. If I mention a thought I was mulling over throughout the day, Tanner might respond with an “I can see that,” or a “Yes, I agree,” or even a simple “Let’s do that”. If I was expecting an exploratory conversation- you know, those ones where you share a glass of wine, enjoy a few appetizers, and watch the sunset on the patio kind of conversation- his short answer responses may be a bit frustrating at first. However, being the expansive communicator, it is my job to speak up. When I want a deeper conversation, all I have to communicate is “I want to create a conversation. I want to explore this idea with you.” This lets my husband know I appreciate his response, but also gives him the signal that I simply want to explore it further FOR FUN.
I want to embrace a passion of mine- the art of conversation- with him, just as I might want to visit a museum, take a walk, or watch him play billiards. The conversation, for me, is the activity.
My husband knows this about me; I enjoy a good conversation, but he would not know this if I did not communicate it. If you find yourself talking with someone who has a different conversation style than you, simply talk about that simple fact, and what it would mean to you to have the type of conversation you would like to have. Often, it is about acknowledging the value you place on conversation for you to have a truly beneficial and positive experience with communication.
This is just one situation in the world of communication. Whenever you bring two different conversation types together, how the conversation takes shape will be unique to the people entering into it. The takeaway is whether you need more or less from a conversation, communicate it; and be willing to listen to what makes a conversation meaningful for the person on the other end. With respect, compromise, and appreciating the value of the art of conversation for everyone involved; you will be well on your way to embracing the conversation well.
Enjoy the art of conversation lovely lady. It can truly be a beautiful experience.
Cold temperatures and windy days- If you ask me how I feel about them, my gut-reaction would be… Not great.
I have to be really intentional about incorporating moments of gratitude, self-care, and activities that bring joy to my life during the winter months. If I don’t, you will definitely see me dragging my feet as lethargy begins to take over my body and mind. I will be walking in the chilly fog of winter, setting my sights on being unproductive, and a season of “hermitude”. You may think I am being a bit dramatic, but truthfully, I am not.
The cold season really does impact me if I let it.
As I thought about my perception of winter, it occurred to me that I must also share with you how this same perspective relates to your lifestyle.
We have two options in this life we have been blessed to live.
Option #1- We walk around in the fog of relationships, work stress, poor eating habits, and the bitterness of not enough time and too much to do.
Option #2- We choose to actively and intentionally participate in striving toward a lifestyle focused on God, our unique set of talents, and the simple moments God gives to us to enjoy on a daily basis.
These are our options. I think sometimes we get stagnant in the lives we live and allow the “weather” to dictate our feelings and our decisions for longer than it should.
So today, I want to encourage you to select Option #2 and take one action in your lifestyle today. It may be simply cancelling an obligation you only took out of courtesy, or it may be a bigger decision you need to consider making.
Choose not to let the physical weather or the weather of life dictate how you will live today. Get out of the fog and live the lifestyle you were born to live.
Yah, cold weather can definitely make me lethargic if I let it; but today I am choosing to see the beautiful white colors of the season, embrace the scent of crispness, and appreciate the preparation of the Spring that will come from this. Yes, I am choosing to not be worn out by the weather.
What option will you choose?
Every year I set about selecting one word I can come back to whenever I need a little reminder of the growth I would like to see in the year that lays before me. This year the word is "embrace" and I want to share a little bit about what this means for me and my 2019 lifestyle changes.
Over the years, I have learned that your strengths can also be your weaknesses. The very attributes that make you the All-Star of what you are good at, can also hinder your growth and ability to experience life to its fullest potential. Recognizing this, I knew that as I was navigating my word selection process, I wanted to challenge myself to grow "against my strengths". Wait, what? Let me show you what I mean.
A Few of My Strengths- Organization, Planning, Creating Schedules, Routines, Introspection
These strengths are what I rely on when it comes to my business, the flow of daily routines and goals, and my ability to be reliable for those that matter most to me. However, these strengths also inhibit my ability to enjoy the messy and creative pieces of life (unless its the structured kind of creativity- ie time carved out in the studio), may cause me to overthink various situations, and leave little room for impromptu events and moments.
It is not that our strengths are negative attributes (actually quite the opposite- They are our unique set of God-given talents), however, if you do not shake up your strengths from time to time you miss out on fully embracing the life you have been gifted.
So... Although I am carrying my strengths into the new year (I will still be maintaining somewhat of a daily/weekly routine, setting goals for my business, and navigating thought-provoking conversations), there are a few things I am challenging myself with for 2019. I will be sharing the detailed lifestyle changes in a later post, but here are the highlights:
Make Goals- But- Don't Create All the Solutions
Have a Schedule- But- Allow Messy to Happen
Be Business-Minded- But- Let It Build Naturally From My Lifestyle
Be Introspective- But- Shutdown the Overthinking
Choose to Grow Always- But- Allow It to be Organic
Have a Plan- But- Take Time to Hit an Unexpected Pause and/or Detour
Have a Direction- But- Pray for God to Lead
Live a Meaningful Lifestyle- But- Know Not Everything Needs to be Intentional
In a word- EMBRACE- life and the life moments that make it so special. Although I will always have a plan, a direction, and a heart and mind for growth; I need to remember to embrace the moments that are often undefined, messy, and just plain lovely to experience.
Here is to embracing the year and this life my friends!
If any of these resonate with you, and you would like to jump on board, send me a message, call, or simply connect with me!
(Oh, and hey, if you want my nifty little process for finding your word for the 2019 year, let me know by dropping a comment or reaching out to me on any form of social media!)
Happy New Year lovely lady!
How present are you?
Be honest. Are you able to immerse yourself in the present moment and experience the sensations, conversations, and the people around you fully?
Let's say for a minute you are able to put the phone down. You are able turn off the electronics, and commit to the event in front of you. You do your part in creating conversation starters, and you even help set the table. When the host asks you to help distribute gifts, you do that too. Oh, and you spend hours picking out the perfect dress, the perfect gifts, and the perfect wine for the occasion. This sounds pretty perfectly present doesn't it?
But if I am being honest with you, this is what I may arguably term "faking present."
Many women have certain expectations for themselves when they attend an event. They run through the experience in their minds, setup the perfect situation, environment, and conversations, and then spend the entirety of the event following through with the performance of said "perfect event". After the event, they contemplate whether or not they fulfilled the expectations of the experience.
When we do this to ourselves, we are putting limits on our ability to be fully present. Yes, it is nice to experience the moment without all of the technology, and yes the ambiance can definitely set the mood for an evening, but there is one more thing you can do to perfect the art of being present....
If you are the host- Once you have finalized all of the plans, let the rest go. Allow your guests (and yourself) to be drawn to where they want to go naturally. Let the conversation lead where it may. Let small imperfect moments be sweet gems rather than mental dramatizations to be dealt with later. See the evening as an opportunity to experience those closest to you exactly as they are.
If you are the guest- Follow any directions given in the invitation (such as Black Tie), but then after that simply show up fully yourself. It's okay if it takes you awhile to settle into the crowd and start a conversation. It is okay if you enjoy the food so much you treat yourself to an extra hor d'oeuvre. And it is okay if you spill something on that beautiful dress. If you can truly embrace these moments for what they are, they become gifts of your ability to be fully present.
As we enter into the Holiday season, it can be tempting to "plan our experiences" (as if that were possible). I encourage you to take a different approach. Have fun enjoying the process of creating an event, picking out the details, and then relax and embrace. Don't plan how you will show up....
Simply show up.
This is how you perfect the art of being present my friends.
*If you struggle with simply showing up, I would love to hear from you! Send me a message and we can discuss our potential work together one-on-one.
Here is your Autumn Reminder for the week...
Get back to your roots.
As the weather cools, the ground becomes cold, the air dry and crisp, and the leaves fall from their hammocks. These particular not-so subtle changes remind me of departure and lack of security. They suggest everything is in a constant shift; and ebb of flow of sorts. Although this may be true, I also find myself reflecting on what is happening underneath the surface. The things we do not see.
You see, the roots of those trees; those trees with their leaves changing color and falling to the hardened and cold soil, their roots remain strong. They contain warmth and energy, growth and security for the trunk (the core) of those very trees.
What if we used Autumn as an opportunity to get back to our roots, our strength and security, our loving God?
Roots of Family & Friends- Think slow dinners and nights spent in with those you love and who love you unconditionally. Think deeply rooted conversation around a table, sipping wine and breaking bread. Thinking subtle touches of warmth and moments to cherish.
Roots of Culture- Think your story and those that came before you. Think community and the history of the city you live in. Think creating depth and understanding of your lineage. Think about how beautiful having this connection to culture, to history, is.
Roots of Passion & Purpose- Think spending hours doing what you love; those things that resonate with your heart. Think intentionality and purposeful work. Think reconnecting with like-minded individuals who just "get it" when you mention living a life of meaning and following where God leads.
Our roots are strong my friends. They are strong in a way we may not often understand, and quite possibly, do not take the time to remind ourselves of. Autumn is an opportunity to dive into our roots.
Let's create warmth, connection, and security with the "stuff that people cannot see".
Dive in and dig deep to find your roots.