Fighting for Joy: 5 Ways to Find Peace

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This is what it looks like when I launch a new blog, finish an eBook, and move all in the same week. It's strange that the magical mess makers are conveniently missing from the photo. They're like ninjas.

At the end of the day, Matt swoops in like a knight in shining armor and has the entire thing gleaming in 15 minutes.  Oh how I love him! I breathe a weary sigh of relief and retreat to a quiet spot for a few minutes. Until the little tribe finds me. They always find me. 

But the funny thing is...when I am in the midst of the tornado of daily life and high heels are flying and dogs are chewing the heads off the toy goats...it's so difficult for me to remember that my knight is on his way. I forget that I have someone who saves the day. Every day.

Because my eyes are on the current crisis. 

It's similar to me & Jesus. During the hard days, I sometimes forget I have a savior who is ready and waiting to hear my cries...catching every tear. And believe me, there are tears. From mama and children. So much more now that we have THREE little loves. Three times the happiness, three times the feelings!

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A few days ago I read this in Psalms 55:6-8

Oh, that I had the wings of a dove! I would fly away and be at rest.
I would flee far away and stay in the desert...

I would hurry to my place of shelter, far from the tempest and storm.

I can so relate to that. Wanting to fly away to a quiet place...to gather my thoughts. Because I'm desperate for peace.  

And when mama ain't peaceful...ain't nobody peaceful. Can I get a holla from my mama tribe?! You know what I'm talkin' about.

It's a war in my mind. I am fighting against discontentment, overwhelm, and fear. I know Jesus desires the BEST for me. But the enemy is busy busy busy whispering lies. Recently, the lies have been:

"You can't finish all you have set out to do."

"You aren't a good enough mother."

"See how messy your house is right now? You're a failure."

I feel those thoughts creeping in. But I know it's not Jesus. Because it's not TRUTH. What lies are you believing today? Pinpoint them. And fight.

Fight for JOY.

And when you find the truth, make a plan. Want some suggestions? Here are 5 ways to find peace in the midst of chaos.

Root down. 

Fill your mind with encouragement. Read scripture (Psalms are my favorite). Read inspiring words. Blogs you love. When your spirit is strong and bolstered...when your roots are planted DEEP into contentment and abundance, you are much more apt to handle the day with joy and ease. Preferably, this happens before the day begins. But at this season in my life, with kiddos in our bed who magically wake up when I leave...that isn't happening much. Squeeze it in whenever you can. Analyze your life for any joy-takers. News sites. Toxic people. Poisonous thoughts. And stop indulging.

Breathe deep.

Literally. Breathing is a huge stress reliever. I will often go all day without a deep cleansing breath. Add a few sun salutations while you're at it. During meltdowns of the little girl variety, I will hold them and remind them to breathe and will have them do it with me by mimicking my own breathing. Because when you are flipping out...you sometimes need help getting back down off the ledge. 

Fill up.  

Self-care is a buzz word that you hear a lot lately. But it's much more than a buzz word. It's essential to your sanity. Take a bath. Create art. Photography. Watch your favorite TV show. There is no one perfect way...everyone has their own unique way to re-focus and wind down. But the key is to MAKE TIME. Even just a 10 minute soak in a hot tub with a glass of wine will do wonders for you. Slap on some Spotify, throw in some Epsom salts, oils, and light candles. Insta-spa! If you haven't read this piece by MaryBeth Bonfiglio...do it now. It's powerful and reminds me to be IN MY BODY daily. **It does contain strong language and ideas that are breathtaking and beautiful but different than my own truth. And that is why I love her so. I enjoy considering and understanding other spiritual journeys. It bolsters my own walk and makes all of us real and lovely to each other.

Plan escape.

It's so important to take regular time away for just you. Schedule it. Protect it. Enjoy it with no guilt. My favorite mini-escape lately includes a coffee in my hand while thrifting and spring rolls eaten in my van in the parking lot (where it's quiet!). If it's feasible for you to take a weekend away...do it! I try to do it a couple times a year (lately with nursing baby in tow). Create a sacred space in your home that you can retreat to. Even if it's your nightstand with candles and books. Lay on your bed and ESCAPE. Or a closet with a pillow. You can make any space sacred in that moment.

Dance more. 

I'm a big fan if the mid-afternoon dance party. You cannot remain stressed to the max when you are moving your body! Whether it be hooping or dancing on the coffee table to Let It Go (any other Frozen fans in the house?!)...you will release the tension in your muscles. It's a good thing.  Music is a powerful mood enhancer! Turn it up! The louder the better. Make a soundtrack for your life! Bonus: Dancing also initiates laughter. Laughter is essential. Don't go a day without it.

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Be intentional about fighting for your joy today. Do things that fill you up and bolster your spirit. Love YOURSELF...talk nice and allow yourself to rest. All while nourishing and caring for those around you.


What are your favorite self-care secrets?
Share them in the comments...
Let's encourage each other with ideas!
 

 

Create an Outdoor Space You Love

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Today...one of my favorite friends, Natalie, is sharing 5 easy steps to creating the outdoor space of your dreams! Pay attention y'all...this lady knows her stuff! I'm inspired!

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Hello & welcome! My name is Natalie. I find joy in the everyday moments & share them on my blog. I am happily married to my husband & together we have a family of two sweet pups & a flock of chickens. We have a deep passion for living fully & simply in our home. We cook from the harvests of our garden & prefer old things to new.

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I was so excited when Sara asked me to feature one of our favorite spaces in our home- our front porch! I believe everyone should have a cozy, colorful spot for drinking coffee in the early morning hours & gathering for a meal with loved ones in the summer months. Today I am here to share some inexpensive, fun & colorful tips on making your outdoor space a little more delightful!

1. Lighting & Rugs

The first day we moved into our home, I hung twinkle lights on our paint-chipped porch. I love the soft mood of outdoor lighting in the evenings while enjoying a meal made from scratch. You can purchase string lights at Target & most big box stores for less than $15 a string, but I purchased several strings of lights at a thrift store for under $2 a box. Wait until after the holidays & most outdoor lighting goes on sale. You can also use christmas tree lights for the same effect.

I also believe what's beneath your feet is key to adding a colorful, fun feel to your outdoor living space. Just as you enjoy an accent rug underneath your couch or kitchen table, a rug under a bench, swing or metal chair outside provides a funky feel. I thrifted both of our rugs for under $10 each.

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2. Bright Furniture

Both of the pieces above were found at yard sales for less than $3 each. With a can of spray paint, I added a unique spin to our outside furniture. The key is to have furniture that is comfortable & serves your hosting needs. You can always update the furniture with a bit of paint!

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3. Table of All Sorts

The key to really living in our outdoor space is having a table where we can craft, read books, browse magazines & enjoy a delicious meal together. On most nights, you will find us outside on our porch eating dinner or talking about the day's events. We don't have a television in our home, so a lot of our time is spent outdoors, which we love & cherish.

We actually found our table for free in a friend's backyard. I cleaned it up, painted the top & used some inexpensive wooden chairs we already had. If you don't have space for a full size table, a metal or wooden coffee table beside a chair would work wonderfully for holding your favorite drink & a good book.

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4. Colorful Accessories

Oh, we love adding whimsical patterns & punches of color to our outdoor space! I recently purchased the colorful flags from party city for under $5. Homemade bunting & prayer flags are great options, too.  We also enjoy adding crocheted blankets to our bench for cool evenings & throw pillows to chairs. We thrifted & handmade most of the blankets & pillows for our porch & I love that about this space.

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5. Plants

I believe plants should be in every room & what better place than your porch! We love adding hanging pots full of flowers & terra cotta pots of beautiful succulents. I love getting creative with pots. We turn old & rusty barrels into planters & hollow stumps into the perfect spot for growing mint.

With a small budget & a bit of creativity, you can have a front porch that is just as functional & lovely as your indoor living room. If your outdoor space does not have a roof, you can still have a green space full of potted plants with a handful of colorful chairs for hosting!

A big hug & thank you to Sara for allowing me to share with you one of our favorite spots in our home!

And now...we want to see YOUR outdoor space! Post your photos to Instagram with the hashtag #createaspaceyouloveoutside.

A note from Sara: Be sure to check out Natalie's blog (it's one of the few I read on a regular basis!) and her Etsy store. I am OBSESSED with her film photography postcards. I use them for letter writing, decorating the top of a gift, for framing...you name it.

Natalie is graciously offering a 25% Etsy discount to my blog readers! Use the code LIVEWILDLY25OFF for the next week.

Have a happy Friday everyone!

Baking Up a Storm

I have been spending a lot of time in this here corner of loveliness...it houses my baking corner and my bulk goodies. I have longed for a space like this forever...and oh how grateful I am to finally have it.

There is just something so wonderful about having everything I need right at my fingertips...and yet not cluttering up the kitchen. It's inspiring to see them all on display and  it makes assembling recipes so easy!

And so...we have been baking up a storm...in the snow storms :) We love baking something warm and delicious inside while the snow is falling outside.

Bella is an excellent helper and always offers to help with any baking task...we've been learning a lot about numbers and measuring through this.

I like to call this beauty "My Precious". I LOVE having a full size oven again. Love love love. And it's gas. Which makes me insanely happy. I think I would rather cook over a fire than an electric stove!

Our muffins must always be eaten with hot tea! I recently re-stocked my favorite tea, Rishi's Citron Oolong...so I'm a happy girl. The muffin that we tend to make the most around here is the Delightful Banana Nut Muffins from The Garden of Vegan. It's one of my most requested recipes from from friends and family...so I thought I would post it here!

Delightful Banana Nut Muffins Cookbook: The Garden of Vegan By Sarah Kramer and Tanya Barnard

1 1/3 cups whole wheat flour ½ cup dry sweetener (I like rapadura or turbinado) 1 t baking powder 1 t baking soda ½ t salt ¾ cup ground flax seed ½ cup chopped walnuts (optional) 2 bananas, mashed 1/3 cup olive oil 1 t vanilla extract 2/3 cup soy, rice, or almond milk

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sweetener, baking powder, baking soda, salt, flax, and walnuts. In a small bowl, combine the bananas, oil, vanilla and soy milk. Pour the liquid ingredients with the dry and mix together gently until “just mixed”. Spoon into a lightly oiled muffin pan and bake for 15-20 minutes. Makes 12 muffins.

On the day of our big snow, Bella decided that we simply must have a muffin picnic in front of the fire, and so we did! Such sweet memories I have with my girls.

And lastly, my friend Ellen gave me a yummy recipe for Sunflower Seed Cookies...and of course we made them right away! They were SO GOOD. Although, I think it had something to do with the copious amount of sugar in them :) You can always cut back or add alternative sweeteners if you're so inclined. They can also easily be made vegan.

Sunflower Seed Cookies Serves/Makes:   4 dozen

Ingredients: Cream together: 1 cup butter or Earth Balance 1 cup sugar 1 cup brown sugar 2 eggs or egg substitute 1 teaspoon vanilla

Blend in: 1 teaspoon baking soda 3/4 teaspoon salt 1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour 3 cups oatmeal 1 cup sunflower seeds

Directions: Mix together well. Drop onto greased baking sheet. Bake at 350 F for 8-9 minutes.

For more yummy muffin recipes, check out my food blog, Happy Foody, under the muffin category. If you're a fellow muffin lover, be sure to check out this great article on "How To Make the Best Muffins Ever". It's a goody.

Next I'd like to get into baking homemade bread. I've done it before...but I would especially like to make sourdough and english muffins, along with some crusty, hearty soup breads.

If you have a tried and true recipe...please share it below! Also, please share your all-time favorite muffin recipe so I can stop making the same one over and over :)