Are You Too Busy?

Are You Too Busy?

Family. Work. Church. Activities. Kids. Meetings. We all know how busy life can be. But how do you know if you’re TOO busy? My friend taught me an important lesson. A very convicting, honest lesson. As a minimalist, my attitude about basic abundance extends to my calendar. I say ‘no’ quite frequently to events or activities and guard my family time fiercely. Even so, the ‘Mom’s Calendar‘ on my fridge fills up quite easily. How do you choose what to say ‘no’ too? Do you compose a family mission statement? This is a great idea I’m currently working on, from Kristen Welch in her book, ‘Rhinestone Jesus‘. The idea behind it is FOCUS. Does going to this activity/event/meeting fulfill my mission statement? If you know your purpose, the fullness of your calendar will be irrelevant. My friend is a prime example of this. Her heart is big. She exudes God’s love in all that she does. A few weeks ago, she was driving near our church when she noticed an elderly woman struggling to shovel the end of her driveway. A frail, old woman, shoveling our heavy, Canadian snow. Even though my friend was on her way to drop some of her kids off at a sporting event, she pulled over and went back. Turns out the woman was desperately trying to get to the store to renew her heart medication prescription. Hello? The kids piled out of the truck and together helped the sweet, old lady to get out of her driveway. My friend also offered her phone number, in event of future snowstorms. That’s showing God’s love....
Wheat Free? Not Me! Here’s Why…

Wheat Free? Not Me! Here’s Why…

Two, very-long weeks after we started, our family’s wheat-free experiment has come to an end. The goal was to increase our quality of life – to be healthier, more alert and fit. So yes, those things might have occurred. But at what cost? Call me a quitter. Call me a failure. But I have my reasons… We don’t have to – None of us are Celiacs. Although I can’t deny that wheat does affect our bodies in other ways, there is no physically violent reaction to it that forces us to stay away from it. I don’t like being in the kitchen for most of my day – Going wheat-free requires an awful lot of work. I don’t mind cooking, but I don’t love it enough to do it four hours a day. Yes, there are great recipes to be found but each requires a lot of preparation. I not only had to cook a full-on supper every night (no easy nights like pancakes) but I also had to cook at lunch time every day too. There is no plopping a loaf of bread on the table and having the kids make their own sandwich. Lunches had to be prepared meat, salads and other sides. We like to eat out – One thing about being a minimalist means finding a few things you really enjoy and focussing on them. Our family really enjoys eating out – not at fancy sit-down restaurants, but at take-out places where you bring your food down to the river and enjoy the scenery while you laugh and eat and enjoy each other. Sure, there...
Goodbye Wheat = Goodbye Anxiety? I’m About to Find Out

Goodbye Wheat = Goodbye Anxiety? I’m About to Find Out

Although I hid it for many, many years, it’s no longer a secret that I’ve struggled with anxiety my entire life. As a kid, I remember nights where I would lay on the sofa with my head on my dad’s lap when I couldn’t sleep because my head was swimming in a way I couldn’t describe. As a teen, I spent as many as two nights a week vomiting before bed because of nerves. In my twenties, fear of going places for dread of an attack started to set in and take a regular hold. By my thirties, there were weeks on end where I couldn’t bring my self to go to Wal-mart and going to church meant sitting near the back. Public seating in any location always required an aisle seat where I could have more ‘space and air’. Conversations with others in crowded foyers or at parties often resulted in my ‘smiling and nodding’, pretending things were normal while inside my mind was sinking, struggling to stay afloat. It was only when I was about thirty that I learned what I struggled with was anxiety. Giving it a name seemed to help, but I still lived in shame and didn’t start sharing with my closest friends about it for another couple of years. Now, a lot of people know. And I’ve found out I’m not alone. The healing journey has been a long process for me. For a long time, I struggled with guilt. As a Christian, should God not heal me? Is my faith not strong enough? Maybe I need more exercise… maybe I need less...
How To Achieve Balance In Your Life

How To Achieve Balance In Your Life

We all know when our lives are out of balance. We can feel it in our bones and see it in our stress levels. This past month, I’ve let myself get out of balance again. I can be on the ball with the homeschooling schedule, but  be behind on my office work.  I can have days where I get lots of work done, but then my daughter feels neglected. I can remember to eat healthy and exercise, but… okay, I haven’t remembered to eat healthy and exercise lately. Sigh. It happens to all of us. So what can we do about it? How do we get in balance? Here are some tips: Define what needs to balance -Remember that we are not just physical beings. We have a spiritual side, an emotional side, and an intellectual side. Remember to include all these areas when trying to balance. For me, a balanced life includes time with God, time with my family and friends, homeschooling, office work, writing, housekeeping, eating healthy and exercising. Take some time right now to make a list of your own priorities. Take a second look at your list – How long is it? You can’t balance 30 apples on a scale that is meant to hold 20. Don’t be afraid to cut some things out. Minimalism runs deeper than just getting rid of your things. Bring it to God – This could easily be the first point. Commit your lives to Him and let Him lead you. He will show you what needs to be balanced and what needs to go. Start Your Mornings Right –...
Why Netflix Is Costing You More Than You Think

Why Netflix Is Costing You More Than You Think

Gone are the days of $5 movie rentals. With Netflix, you can get unlimited access to a number of movies each month for just under $10. What a deal! What a steal! Or is it? Netflix may be costing you a lot more than you think. A few months ago, I was trying to find a certain foreign show on the internet only to discover it was not viewable from my country. Then I remembered Netflix. Sure enough, they had the show. Since our family has never signed up for it, we could get a trial month for free. Perfect! I could watch the show I wanted and then cancel. Except Netflix doesn’t want you to cancel. They are banking on the fact that you won’t cancel once you sample their wares (isn’t that what drug dealers do?) and they are usually right. But they didn’t get me. A couple days after I watched my show, I browsed through the other offerings Netflix has. The reality donned on me. I no longer have to go to a video rental store – the video rental store is right in my house! And therein lies the problem. Here is what I discovered about Netflix, and why it costs more than you think: It’s Too Accessible – There are all kinds of movies I would never rent from a video store, and now I’ve invited them all into my home.  There are genres and topics that go against my faith… and if I sign up for Netflix, I’m paying to have them delivered directly to me (whether I watch them or not)....
When Did I Become So Boring?

When Did I Become So Boring?

Tonight, I looked in the mirror of my soul and saw someone I didn’t expect. Boring Mom. Boring Wife. Boring Friend. Where did this mundane person come from? I used to be fun. I used to laugh more. There used to be an adventurous spirit somewhere in this cautious, fearful body and I’ve done some pretty courageous things. I’ve travelled to strange places. I’ve fired guns, rock-climbed and preached to prisoners. Fixing cars with my bare hands, racing friends on the highway and driving down deserted country back roads in the middle of the night were all common activities. Now, I make sure I’m in bed by 10, my seatbelt is always fastened, and I stick close to the speed limit. I always wash my hands before eating and I always follow the rules. I know – it’s the safe thing to do. I’ve matured. I’m a mother. Call it being responsible. But it’s boring. What happened to me? I confess to being a minimalist – to live with less and live the abundant life. But am I? Is this abundance? Is waking-up-and-realizing-it’s-Saturday-so-I-have-to-clean-the-toilets, living life? Don’t get me wrong – I LOVE being a wife and a homeschooling mom. I do find significant fulfillment in both these roles. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with knitting, following rules or having safety awareness. The problem is I’ve stopped living. I’ve given in to the fear. Little by little, the fears and anxieties I’ve faced over the years have crept in. Instead of facing them and ‘doing it anyways’, I’ve let them win, one-by-one. And now I’m boring as I sit in...