My Personal Battle with Perfectionism

24
Aug
2015

My Personal Battle with Perfectionism

I felt God speak to my heart, “It’s time.” Time to share a bit more about me and some areas of growth I am pursuing.

You see, I have an issue with perfectionism and it has impacted my life significantly in the past five years. For those who understand this issue, it can easily be put on the backburner, you can make excuses for it, but the real thing is – it never goes away.  

It sucks your life, your joy, your creativity, and your energy.

It will stay and haunt you until you cannot take one more minute.

I broke about four months ago, where I was desperate to get some help. At that time I didn’t have a name for what was going on – I just knew I was at the bottom. I wasn’t quite sure what the issue was. I just knew I was overwhelmed, I expected too much of myself, that I was never satisfied with my work – both personal/at home and professional. I was driven to work a lot and I found less time for fun.

I began my journey with a wonderful Christian counselor who calmly shared with me that I was experiencing some big issues with perfectionism, in addition to a few other issues involving shame and guilt. This took a few sessions, but it was like someone spoke life into my soul.

I knew I had tendencies towards perfectionism in my life, but I never understood the degree to which it was impacting me negatively – very negatively.

I know I cannot be the only one. I pray that by sharing some of my story here I may help another mom who is struggling and does not know where to turn, doesn’t know what the issue is, or feels like she is alone.

I have been on a journey the past three years of helping my body return to a state of wellness – and things have been going amazingly well. In fact, just last week I had a diagnosis from my doctor of “Lupus in remission”. I could hardly speak and was a blubbering mess the entire day because I’m so thankful for God’s faithfulness in His path for my life.

It seems that one of the final steps of this journey is to really dig into this messy emotional baggage that has plagued me for years, stifling my ability to move forward.

Ladies, this is hard, exhausting work. Some days I come home from an hour of work at the counseling session and I feel like I have run a marathon and just want to go to bed. But I push on.

I have learned a few things that I wanted to share. Perhaps you might find a few of them helpful in your own walk. 

God Is Here – ALWAYS!

Even when I am exhausted and feeling hopeless that I can change the behavior that is embedded in my being, I am reminded that God is a redeemer and can change anyone. I sit and read Scripture reminding me of this instead of allowing the enemy to continue to dictate the lines of my self-talk. His GRACE for me is something I need to remember to apply to myself – GRACE for myself.

Change Is a Process

As with anything, it seems like you can take one step forward and then you fall two steps back. I have to remember this is all a process. Reprograming my way of thinking. How I have viewed myself, my life, and my actions for 48 years now has to be re-programmed. It is not going to happen overnight and I need to be thankful that is the case. It wouldn’t last.

Lessen My Expectations

This one is the main area of struggle for me. I set unrealistically high expectations of myself and others, and when I fall short I can be extremely hateful towards myself. When others fall short, especially those closest to me, I can be downright ugly. I have convinced myself that nothing more than perfection is ever good enough. It is and has been paving the road for me to be chronically stressed, exhausted, and burned out.

Rid Myself of BAD Words

The worst words I can have repeated in my mind are “have to”, “must”, “should”, or “should have”. The use of these words tend to ramp up my anxiety and we all know where that can lead us – in trouble.

I have to be very cautious of my words – now more than ever. I need kind words for myself. “I’ll do the best I can” – that is one phrase I am learning to use to replace some of those other words.

Have More FUN!

Oh my word, this is so hard for me. But I must be intentional about finding more recreational fun in my life and cultivating more pleasure.

I read an article and it said this, “Perfectionism has a tendency to make people rigid and self-denying. Your own human needs get sacrificed in favor of the pursuit of external goals.” 

OUCH, that is true for me. I rarely will break away to enjoy the simple fun things my body and mind truly desire. Each day I have to intentionally focus on making some time for leisure and fun.

Celebrate Small Victories

I tend to overlook things that I do that I just feel are normal things.

So beginning today I am starting a Weekly Five Goal list – and I will be sharing it on the Facebook page every Monday. Maybe you will join me. It is really very simple: you choose five things that you would like to accomplish during the week and make a public statement, thus helping with some accountability. But for me, it is also making it public so I can celebrate myself when I achieve the mark. This is an area I do not excel in, finding joy when I accomplish things.

So jump over to the Facebook page later today and check out my weekly goals for this week. I encourage you to join me – just pick five things that would be beneficial for you to accomplish this week and add them in the comments. You will be encouraging me at the same time.

Ladies, this time in my life is a time of great struggle to overcome this beast of Perfectionism. My insides are full of shame and guilt, yet I am looking forward. I know I can be healed and the Lord can help redeem me in this area.  

I just have to be available to hear and to be changed. I appreciate you allowing me to share my current battle with you all.

If you or someone you love may be experiencing some issues like this, I encourage you to find a Christian counselor who can help you navigate this journey. I have also found some helpful resources from Brene Brown as well – The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are, as well as TED Talks she has done. Your Bible is another amazing source to find help.

Healthy Freezer Meals with Wildtree

17
Aug
2015

Healthy Freezer Meals with Wildtree

Dinner – it’s almost like a bad six letter word! Planning, preparing, and cleaning up after meals are some of the biggest tasks and biggest headaches for homemakers.

I enjoy changing things up once in a while and recently I was part of a Wildtree Freezer Meal Prep Workshop at a friend’s home where a group of us prepared 80 freezer meals for her church for families in need. The concept was brilliant.

So I began to ask some questions and I learned that Wildtree is a company that has a complete line of unique herb and spice blends and mixes that are a perfect fit for my desire to live a healthier lifestyle. You can provide some unique and very healthy meals that taste great, are quick and easy to prepare, and do not have hydrogenated fats, preservatives, artificial flavors, and additives. Many of their spice mixes and blends are also gluten-free – a huge plus for me!

I decided to put together my own “Freezer Meal Prep Workshop” and I got my family involved. I ordered two freezer meal bundles – the Paleo Perfection Freezer Meal Bundle and the Crockpot & Grill Freezer Meal Bundle. These two bundles would provide 10 meals each – so a total of 20 for my family – and I had leftover spice mix and blends to use again in the future.

A Few of the Things I Loved

I was provided a complete printout which included a complete shopping list of all the items I would need from the grocery store, an instructions sheet (clearly indicating what items needed to be placed inside each gallon size Ziploc bag), a meal inventory sheet to keep track of my meals after they were made and in my freezer, and also bag labels to place on the meals.

All of the Provided Instructions

My family of four kids, my hubby, and my son’s girlfriend all contributed to a process of only about two hours to prep and put together these meals. It was a complete family affair – which was really good for everyone to see the depth it takes to prepare meals and get dinner on the table!

Preparing the Meals

Preparing the Meals

We had fun and in the end I had 20 meals in the freezer to use during our busy summer months.

The Finished Meals

I also love that I still have some spice blends left and can easily look up additional recipes to try on their website – I just click the Wildtree item I have, a meal type, and it will display my options. It makes exploring new recipes with healthy ingredients even easier.

I purchased the bundles on my own to have my family do all the work, but you can actually host a party with friends and do the same thing! What a fun idea to share meal prep with your friends and everyone goes home with healthy freezer meals done and you’ve shared a fun evening together.

Here is a brief rundown on how that works. You can contact Britta (who is my local rep) and she can hook you up with purchasing a bundle for your family. If you prefer to host a workshop yourself and are not in the Seattle area, go to the Wildtree website to be put in touch with a local representative.

What a Wildtree Freezer Meal Workshop Is All AboutWe have not gone through all our meals yet, but a few of our favorites so far from the Paleo bundle are: Slow Cooker Chipotle Chicken and Dill Chicken with Vegetables. Our favorites from the Crockpot & Grill Bundle are: Easy Skillet Jambalaya, Southwestern Turkey Burgers, and Oktoberfest Brats.

6 Great Tips For a Healthy School Year

13
Aug
2015

6 Great Tips For a Healthy School Year

Back to school for many means back to the wilderness of stuff that children carry around! I am on a journey to care for my family’s wellness in more holistic and natural methods and I wanted to share a few ideas on how you can give your child the best start to their school year.

1. Promote Calm and Reduce Stimulation

In today’s fast-paced world, parents are overstressed, children are over-scheduled, and everyone seems a bit frazzled, which leads to everyone suffering. A child’s body has the same response to stress that an adult’s body does – their cortisol and adrenaline rises. When this elevation in stress hormones is sustained, their immune system’s response can be lowered. 

It’s important for children to have lots of downtime, time for creative play, and simply times of rest. A busy body needs to take a break every now and then for the immune system to thrive. I love to incorporate quiet time during the day – just time for everyone to take a chill – eliminating the constant stimulation that can be so taxing on our bodies.

2. Consume Fruits and Veggies

Fruits and vegetables are great sources of vitamins and minerals, as well as other nutrients to boost your child’s health. Having them in your daily menu will help the body to use those nutrients to function at its best. Keeping these items in lunchboxes and also incorporating them into after school snacks will give the body what it needs.

3. Make Hygiene a Way of Life

Washing their hands with soap is a very good start. Always do it before having meals, after using the bathroom, after playing, and after handling pets. We love our Thieves Waterless Hand Sanitizer because it doesn’t have Triclosan. Regular antibacterial hand sanitizers, which contain Triclosan, are not what I want to be using on my kids. Triclosan has been linked to endocrine disruption, hormone regulation disruption, immune system function disruption, and skin irritation. Keeping things clean and sanitized doesn’t technically boost immunity, but it’s a great way to reduce stress on your child’s immune system.

4. Get Enough Sleep

Lack of sleep can lead to stress on the body. Having a good bedtime routine in place will allow enough downtime to get everyone settled and relaxed before it is lights out. If your child enjoys a bath or shower in the evening, it can work to your benefit by calming the body down. Reading, having story time, and sharing a little bit about your day are all ways to connect before bedtime. Allowing children at least 8-10 hours for a good night’s sleep is beneficial for their body. We love a little Lavender Essential Oil in the diffuser – perfect to reset the body for rest.

5. Do Exercises or Outdoor Activities

As the days get shorter it is even more important to get everyone outside to exercise and get some fresh air. Playing outside together as a family can be fun and engaging and build strong relationships, but it also provides the benefit of fresh air and will increase your child’s endurance. Playing soccer, hiking, and swimming are examples of exciting activities you can enjoy together. This will also help with a restful night’s sleep.

6. Maintain Your Child’s Gut Health

Probiotics are the friendly helpful bacteria that naturally occur in our guts. They promote a healthy digestive tract, help us to digest food, assist in toxin clearance, and keep our bodies in balance. When this bacterial balance becomes disrupted in children, we can see changes in a child’s ability to maintain normal health.

There is also research done showing how temperament can be affected by gut health – this is something every parent should read up on. I would suggest looking for a great probiotic that you can give to your child daily. We take Young Living’s Life 5, and love it.   

Simple habits, right? Yet, you probably don’t recognize how important they are for your child’s overall health and wellness. Let’s get everyone off to a successful start to the school year!

5 Ways to Help Your Child Succeed in School

10
Aug
2015

5 Ways to Help Your Child Succeed in School

You do a lot to get your kids ready for school – buying school supplies, making lunches, and enforcing bedtimes. It is a transition and I love sharing how we have done it over the past 18 years in our home.

But there’s more to helping your child succeed in school than No. 2 pencils and a coordinating outfit. It’s just as important that students arrive at school with a positive attitude and enthusiasm for learning.

If you were to ask school teachers how to make sure kids walk into the classroom ready to learn and perform at their best, I know the five tips below would be on their list!

1. Fine-Tune Your Morning Routine

A well-oiled morning routine is extremely important; one that starts the minute a child’s feet – and yours – hit the floor. It’s when we are rushing and doing things last minute that stress starts to mount, arguments happen, and kids can get upset. (We recently began using this timer with my five year old – we had the pig timer, but this is much better for time management!)  This is carried with them into the classroom and the day begins on the wrong foot.  I am sure you have had mornings which you can attest to this – I know I sure have.

You can help make mornings less stressful by making sure everyone gets a good night’s sleep and by organizing as much as possible ahead of time. Pack lunches the night before and lay out clothes. Have your kids fill their backpacks and line them up by the door. It’s amazing how attention to these little details can help the morning go more smoothly.

Finally, don’t forget the most important item of all on a winning morning agenda: a good breakfast. Keep healthy cereals (this is one of our favorite gluten-free and organic cereals that won’t break the bank!) and fresh fruit on hand, and stock your refrigerator with proteins that are easy to prepare.  

I like these Healthy Egg Muffin Cups that I can whip up and put in the freezer – put a few in the toaster oven to heat up and you’re saving time and getting some good nutrition in.

2. Teach Self-Reliance

Every step of the educational journey should take your child closer to self-sufficiency. As he gets older, he’ll need to make more and more decisions on his own, and you want him to be ready. Your child’s early school years provide the perfect opportunity to work with his teachers to help him learn to take responsibility for himself. 

Think of some tasks your child can handle: gathering and emptying wastebaskets from around the house, making his bed, or unloading the silverware from the dishwasher each morning. Taking responsibility for simple tasks like these will pay big benefits down the road.

Teachers often find children using excuses like, “My mother forgot to…” or “My mother didn’t…”. It is best to start to let your kids be responsible for themselves. They have to stop thinking their parents will swoop in to fix their missing assignments and low grades before the report card comes out.

When children take responsibility for their own learning, they will work to earn good grades rather than waiting until they receive bad grades to make studying a priority. Parents should encourage their children to become more independent learners as they get older but recognize that it will take time for them to become truly self-reliant.

3. Set a Good Example

Many teachers agree that reading to your child is one of the most important things you can do to help your child be prepared for school. Reading to a child instills a love of reading – the basis for all learning – and opens a child’s imagination.

Make sure your children see you reading if you expect them to. Why not read the same book as a family and start an at-home book club or read around the dinner table?

4. Support the Teacher

There may come a point in your child’s education where you disagree with his teacher on some issue. That’s fine and not unexpected – people are bound to have different perspectives. The important thing to remember is not to talk negatively about the teacher in front of your children.

If you have an issue with a teacher, talk to the teacher or school administration privately. You don’t want your child to get the message that you think the teacher doesn’t know what she is doing. A child may lose respect for a teacher, which can contribute to behavior problems. It can also lower a student’s interest in school.

A positive attitude about school must be communicated at home. Keep a dialogue open between yourself and your child’s teacher through emails, scheduled meetings, even informal hellos and goodbyes at drop-off or pickup. Students must feel that parents and teachers are a team with them.

5. Don’t Diss Homework

In many homes, the very word “homework” is met with a groan. Stop to think about who makes the first complaint about homework. Is it you, the parent, or your student? As a parent, you help shape your child’s attitudes about education. That’s why it’s so important to keep a positive attitude about homework, as with all other things school-related.

Homework is a valuable aid in reinforcing what kids are learning in class, and it teaches responsibility, as well. It also helps develop positive study habits for the future, which we all want to see happen!

It’s best to create a homework schedule or have a plan in place and a designated area to study. Help teach your children how to plan out long-term assignments and break the workload into parts so they will be completed on time.

The Rest of the Story

30
Jun
2015

Here is part two on my Big Vacation Adventure  where I am going to share (as Paul Harvey said, “the rest of the story.”)

I was cleared to leave the clinic and continue on with our trip. My husband and I decided to go ahead and try to meet up with the cruise ship in one of the next ports of call, instead of either 1) going back to Venice and wait for the date of our return flight  2)  just fly home directly to Seattle immediately.  That meant, my husband had spent several hours at a local travel agency reserving flights and a hotel just incase I was cleared to leave after the colonoscopy – he did a lot of work while I sat in the hospital bed.

So off we went on what could be described as our very own version of The Amazing Race!  We took a taxi to the airport on Dubrovnik.  We had a wonderful taxi driver who stopped at an overlook to allow me to see the famous walled city – which I missed when I didn’t go on the excursion a few days earlier.  It was the perfect way to start our adventure!  (You can se my nice bandage from my IV on my wrist).  

Bye Bye Croatia – we flew from Dubrovnik to Athens where we overnighted at an airport hotel.  I was so relieved to have a private room and my own bathroom!  It was pure bliss.

We woke at 3 AM the next morning to take another flight from Athens to Santorini, where our cruise ship was to dock at 7 AM.

Once in Santorini we took a cab to the cable car station, took a ride down on a cable car and then took a tender to our ship.  (All this while carting our luggage!)

I was examined by the ship Dr. to make sure I was truly cleared for travel and then welcomed back on the ship!  The crew was really excited to see me and really surprised.  I guess when most get off the ship due to illness, they do not return!

We got back to our cabin, dropped our bags and were off to catch up with our group to experience an excursion in Santorini.

We had a great day seeing the sites of Santorini and had an amazing lunch with friends (who were really glad to see us back!)  The view was breathtaking!

The rest of the trip was wonderful and fairly uneventful – except for a delay in returning home due to late flights.  But it was amazing and one we will remember for a long time.

So what do I feel God was teaching me on this side trip that wasn’t planned?  

Certainly many more things than what I can list, but typically I like to have things planned, no surprises and organized.  It is tough when the cookie crumbles…. and that is what happened on this trip.

1.  I can count on God to be faithful – no matter what.  PERIOD.  I believe this in my heart, but when things get rough for me, I often let the world hunker down in my soul, rather than keep HIS word there.

2. The most comforting words you can utter when you are in pain – both emotionally and physically are  JESUS.  I repeated that one amazing word over and over again, countless times.  There is power in that word.

3.  My husband is amazing and he can take care of me – I don’t always have to be the big strong in- control gal.  I think this was a key lesson in our journey, I allowed my husband to fulfill his role to be my provider and he did it so well.

4.  I can enjoy things – even when things go extremely haywire – I don’t have to have it all planned out perfectly, I can rest in just moving forward without all the answers.

5.  God is faithful – yep, that one again….. even though this ‘adventure’ cost us unexpected medical bills and the cost of additional travel expenses to catch up with the cruise…..we arrived home to two different unexpected checks to cover all the additional expenses……. amazing.

6.  I need to let loose and go with the flow more – I have taken this into consideration since I have returned and I know it will change how I view my daily life and my notoriously long to-do list. 

Sometimes a girl just needs to have fun and go with the flow and trust things will work out.  :-)