10 Things I Learned This Spring

Emily P. Freeman, podcast queen of my heart, has a beautiful practice she’s carried on for years: listing 10 things she’s learned each season. Sometimes the lessons she lists are deep and spiritual, sometimes light and fun, but always interesting. She invites people to join in every three months, so at the end of last summer, I did, and loved the practice of it. I fully intended to carry on each season, but then life happened, and all the lessons felt long and heavy during fall and winter.But now it’s spring, life is good, things feel lighter again, and I’m ready to start (publicly!) listing the lessons once more, in all things big and small.

1) We can only do a few things well at a time.
Ann Voskamp once wrote, “You can do it all, you just can’t do it all at the same time.” I completely love that, because our culture constantly pressures us to do it all. In my opinion, the term “Super Mom” is one of the worst titles ever, because it glorifies a woman who is stretched very, very thin. Why do we consider it a desirable thing to be stretched thin?! Some women look like they can handle it all, but I definitely can’t, and I’m not very good at faking it.
This spring, after reading Essentialism, I made a list of what I want to do well. It was short: Be a wife, be a mom, improve my health, and love Jesus. That’s a lot. Right now, there’s not room for very much more. Making that list was a moment of realizing I was doing too much, and my Big Four were suffering because of it.
So this was the spring of saying no to some things.It was HARD, because they were good things. And there’s a fear that good chances won’t come again – say no now, and be passed over the rest of my life. But I gave it all to Jesus, and decided to trust that He has good things in store for my future, as He does in my present.Saying no is tough, but slowly my life started to feel more manageable and enjoyable than it had before. It actually feels really good to be very clear about my purpose in this season of life. I want to be fully present.
2) How casts are made.
Anika broke her wrist three weeks ago, and although there’s been some disappointment and pain involved, she’s been pretty great about the whole thing.Nobody in our family has ever broken anything before, so it’s been an interesting experience. I did not know how broken bones are set. I didn’t know you can pay $10 to make a cast waterproof, or that fiberglass casts start off as a roll of material that is unrolled on your arm, and fully hardens after an hour. The things you learn…

3)Balance bikes are the greatest parenting hack of all time.

Everett has LOVED his balance bike, and we always felt it was great for him to have, but when we bought him his first regular bike this spring, we were amazed – he hopped on and rode off down the street. No fear on his part, and Ben didn’t have to spend hours doing that backbreaking, crouching run down the street holding the bike steady. The learning happened so gradually for Everett on his balance bike, it was the most painless process imaginable. We are all huge fans of the balance bike!!

4)Winner’s has a natural personal care products section.
That whole store is fun to wander through, and you never know what you’ll find. But for some reason, I’d never ventured into the natural section. I found a bunch of my favourite products, at fantastic prices! I will be back.
5) A teenager is super fun to watch teeny bopper movies with.
(Okay, I knew this one before, but this spring brought new delights!) Ben has always teased me about my cheesy taste in movies, but I have persisted nonetheless. After years of enjoying chick flicks alone, it is loads of fun to enjoy them with a daughter who shares my love for cheesy teeny bopper movies and TV shows! We’ve thoroughly enjoyed “Heartland” together, and this spring, Netflix has come out with some great movies – “The Perfect Date” and “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” got us through many hours in the hospital while waiting for a new cast, in the best way possible!

6)Ben loudly proclaimed his love for me to the wilderness before I ever knew how he felt about me.

Even after being married for almost 19 years, Ben still surprises me with stories I’ve never heard from our dating years. His memory is very patchy, and you never know what will suddenly surface!This time, his memory was jogged because a friend of his from college became our interim pastor last year, and they’ve been hanging out. Ben casually mentioned that it was on a camping trip with David, during the very early days of our relationship, that he confessed his feelings for me to his friend, and David said, “I think you should shout it to the wilderness!” So Ben, my super private, close-holder-of-emotions husband, went and yelled “I LOVE KENDRA!!!” into the woods.

I was in complete disbelief as he was telling me this, partly because it sounded so out of character for Ben, and also because HOW HAVE I NEVER HEARD THIS BEFORE???!!! This is the joy of being married to someone with an unpredictable memory! When I hear these new angles to our love story that I’ve never heard before, it feels a bit like getting the DVD of a favourite movie, and getting to watch deleted scenes and all the bonus features!!

*Also, I feel the need to clarify that Ben remembers things I CANNOT – like phone numbers and stuff like that. It’s not like he’s completely absent minded, he just forgets certain things – things I think is super “important”, like what we were wearing on our first date!

7) “There is an immense difference between TRAINING to do something and TRYING to do something.” (John Ortberg)

I love this quote, because I need to remember the grace that comes when we practice something, and don’t expect ourselves to know how to do everything right away, the first time we try. We train, and that takes time, and that’s a good thing!!!

8)”You don’t change the world by writing a self-help book, or by being an influencer – you do it by dealing with your own crap so that you change the trajectory of your life.” (Christine Hassler)
This is another quote I’ve been chewing on for a few months. It’s so powerful! I love the idea that we can make an impact by changing our own direction. We can’t change others, or force anything to happen for other people, but they will be touched by the impact of us dealing with our own junk.
9)When to use borrow/lend
Apparently I should have known this already, but I don’t remember learning it! And I never use the word “lend”, oddly enough. I just use “borrow” for everything! Now I know – “borrow” when you’re talking about asking for something, “lend” when you’re talking about giving it!
10) “The best changes are made gradually over time.
This one comes from my muscle therapist. He asked me recently if I noticed my pants fitting differently, and I said, “No, why?” He said I should be able to feel that my legs are more muscular. I told him that because I live in stretchy yoga pants, and because I have been working at strengthening my body FOREVER, changes have happened so gradually, I haven’t noticed any change.He said that was a good thing, because it’s the kind of change that will stick. I prefer fast, flashy, dramatic change because it’s so much more exciting, but it is good to remember that the little changes we make every single day will get us somewhere, with time. Hang in there, because those little positive choices are not wasted!!!
Speaking of small changes over time, when I sat down to write this list, I didn’t think I’d learned anything significant this spring. But when I look over that list, I have to say, my life is better with these 10 new things in it, however small they might be! I’m glad I learned them! Onward, to summer!
What did you learn this spring?

Kaylia Turns 10

Kaylia had her birthday last week. On the day of her party, this is where we were at:

The next day, I asked her, “So, was your party as good as you hoped it would be?” She sighed dreamily, and said, “It was even BETTER!!!!”

I feel like that is a very accurate example of what life is like with Kaylia – always full of elaborate ideas, but completely overjoyed with the smallest, simplest things. It doesn’t take much to make her very happy. Hers is a life of extremes.

She lives in the most colourful, imaginative world in her mind, where anything is possible and everything is beautiful, and my biggest challenge as her mom is helping to navigate through the emotions when her world collides with reality.

Kaylia leaves behind her a trail of paper, glue, tape, and fabric scraps. When she’s not producing elaborate craft projects or Lego creations, she is curled up with a book in a nest of pillows and blankets, or she’s playing with friends, moving all of her sewing projects and painted rock collections outside to build elaborate setups on our front step. I was not surprised to find pieces of felt in my flower pots. I don’t know what their purpose was, but I’m guessing some kind of toy had a bed or nest or den in my plants.

Kaylia has the softest, kindest heart. She can coax Everett to come around to any idea, no matter how stubborn his mood. She is a faithful and devoted fan of her big sister, and is always a willing listener and cheerleader.

Her thoughts run deep, and she is constantly surprising us with what surfaces after she’s had enough time to process things.

Her plans for the future include getting married, having kids, homeschooling them, and teaching art lessons in her home.

Whether that comes to pass or not, I am quite sure her life will include all the colourful dreams and creativity that she can possibly fit into it.

Ten years with our sweet girl! It’s always an adventure.

A Short, Honest Answer for the Question “How Are You?”

Pet peeve: When people ask how you’re doing, but they don’t actually want to know. Like those people who call the question over their shoulder as they’re walking away from you, and are obviously not sticking around to hear your answer. That feels inauthentic to me.

So does responding “I’m fine”, when I’m not, but it’s the socially acceptable answer. Usually, I’m the person who will answer the “how are you” question with about 10x more information than anyone wants to hear, because I’ve spent years trying to figure out how to be authentic without sharing way too much information.But recently, I heard an answer which I love. I was listening to a message by Bruxy Cavey, and he was talking about the difference between being honest and being open. He said that honesty is for everyone, but openness is for a close group of trusted friends. Some things just don’t need to be shared with the general public, but everyone deserves honesty.

The answer he gives when someone asks how he’s doing when things are hard: “It’s been a rough week, but I’m processing it with some close friends. Thanks for asking, how are you doing?”The reason he answers this way is because he’s honest about not being fine, but he’s also setting a boundary for how much he’s willing to share, outside of a few close friends, and he quickly shifts the focus of the conversation off himself. Such a great answer.My life has been fairly great since hearing this beautifully authentic response, so I haven’t had the chance to try it out yet, but I’m looking forward to having an option for those times when “I’m fine” doesn’t cut it.

How do you answer the question “How are you doing?” when you’re not doing fine?

Mother’s Day Favourites

When I was in junior high, I had a notebook where I wrote down all my future plans for my life. I wanted to get married, and have a peach wedding, with hundreds of peach roses everywhere. My husband and I were going to have there children – two girls and a boy. Their names we’re going to be Rebecca, Rachel, and Ryan, because it seemed like a cool idea to have their names all start with “R”.So the peach roses and all the “R” names didn’t happen, but that was never the important stuff anyway. Sometimes it feels pretty crazy to remember all over again that right now, at this very moment, I am living my dream life. Everything I wanted most has happened, and even though my life is far from perfect, it is mostly perfectly wonderful.To celebrate Mother’s Day yesterday with my mostly perfectly wonderful family, we went to a greenhouse, a park, and ate the Vegetarian Baja Burrito Bowl from Taco del Mar, which is my absolute favourite cheap/healthy thing to eat. It was a good day!

What’s Important NOW?

I recently finished reading Essentialism (which was really good!), and there are a lot of ideas I’ll be chewing on for awhile yet. But there’s one question in particular that keeps coming to my mind these days: “What’s important now?”Greg McKeown writes about being on a business trip and getting back to his hotel room after a long day. He was feeling scattered and frazzled, and didn’t know how to unwind because of everything on his mind.So he asked himself, “What’s important now? What do you need to do to be able to go to sleep peacefully?” Once he asked that question, he was able to determine exactly what to do in order to feel grounded again. After he took care of the most immediate, pressing concerns, he was even able to work ahead and prepare for the next morning.

“When faced with so many tasks and obligations that you can’t figure out which to tackle first, stop. Take a deep breath. Get present in the moment and ask yourself what is most important this very second — not what’s important tomorrow or even an hour from now.”

A few days ago, Ben took the kids to the park after supper, while I finished cleaning up the kitchen. It had been a rough day for me, because I had a lot on my mind, and I was thankful for a bit of time by myself.I knew I needed to do something to deal with my jumbled thoughts, but I was tired, and my first inclination was to scroll around on Instagram for awhile because it would be mindless, and maybe I could just forget about what was bothering me.But suddenly that question popped into my head – “What’s important right now? What do I need to do to feel peace?” As soon as I thought of it, I knew the answer was completely different than doing something mindless. I needed to spend some time journalling, to get all my thoughts out, and then I needed to exercise, because I knew I’d feel better if I did.Asking that question made my next move very clear, and since then, I’ve tried asking myself some version of it, whenever I feel myself getting anxious or flustered:What do I need to do to feel ready for tomorrow morning?What do I need to do to feel like my house is under control?What do I need to do to feel better about this situation?I heard once that asking yourself questions is helpful because your mind feels the need to answer, which can get it out of the usual thought patterns it might be stuck in.Instead of my thoughts running away with how stressed I feel, or how everything seems negative or overwhelming or whatever, asking myself what my next most important step is can produce a clear course of action that really does make me feel peaceful.Do you have any questions you ask yourself to find clarity?

Weekend Favourites

I was walking past the computer the other day when I suddenly noticed that Anika was deep into my blog post archives, back in the days when Kaylia was a baby, we were living at camp, and our life was so different, it feels like a very long time ago!

She called Kaylia and Everett over to see the pictures, and it made me so happy to see that after all this time, my family is still enjoying the time and effort I put into recording all those memories. It made me take just a few more pictures this Easter weekend, for that day ten years from now when we’re looking back at this time of life!

It was such a beautiful spring weekend, and we had a great time relaxing, doing crafts, and hanging out at my parents’ house yesterday. We are so ready for this weather, and it just all feels good. Everyone is healthy and happy and the sun is shining – it is easy to be happy in spring!

I hope you had a great weekend!

Share the Love

Every once in a while, I like to round up a bunch of things we’re enjoying around here to share with all of you! (And affiliate links are included for your convenience!) I love it when other people share lists like this, so I’m passing on the favour.:) Here’s my list of things we’re currently enjoying:

Swiffer sheets for dusting.

I learned this tip from one of my very favourite podcasts, “The Lazy Genius” – she’s funny, smart, practical, and her name is Kendra, so you can’t go wrong! Every single episode has some awesome tip for cleaning or grocery shopping or something practical, and she lives up to her slogan: “Helping you be a genius about the things that matter, and lazy about the things that don’t.” She is so smart and intentional!

Anyway, she shared in an episode that Swiffer sheets normally used for mops actually make incredible dusting cloths – better than microfiber cloths or, whatever else you use.

I had bought a box of those sheets from Costco for our little Swiffer vacuum, but we don’t use it that often, so the box was lasting forever. I decided to give her tip a try, and could not believe how well it worked!! Kendra was right. Even if you don’t have any other Swiffer products, get those sheets! They actually make me WANT to dust, and I have never liked dusting. But suddenly I’m dusting EVERYTHING, and it is so satisfying.

*Another tip from Kendra – dust the toilet before you clean it – it’s so much easier to clean if you don’t have to keep wiping around all the soggy dust particles. Why have I not thought of this before??!!

She has podcast episodes on a ton of great topics – right now I’ve downloaded episodes about keeping the car clean, spring cleaning, and dealing with sickness, on my podcast app. I’ve also enjoyed her episode on cleaning out the fridge, making lunch, creating your own marinades…. So many good ones to enjoy! Check her out here!

FREE video series: Grocery Savings Made Simple

So by now, probably everyone who has ever read my blog knows how much I love the online course “Grocery Budget Bootcamp”. Tiffany from the blog “Don’t Waste the Crumbs” will be offering it again this year in a couple of weeks, but she’s also sharing a FREE three-part video series, starting this week, called “Grocery Savings Made Simple”. I always find her budget and grocery tips super helpful and practical, so I’m a fan of any series she puts out!

Head over here to sign up for her free course, or over here for Grocery Budget Bootcamp!

The Final Table

While we’re talking about food, I have to share that Ben and I got hooked on a cooking show on Netflix this winter, much to our surprise!! I would never have thought that possible, but this was such a good one! We’d watch it when our kids were in bed, but they’d always ask about it in the morning, and got so interested, they started watching it on their own!

Amazing chefs from all over the world teamed up against each other, and whoever made the “worst” dish was eliminated (but seriously, even the worst dishes looked amazing!). Each episode featured food from a different country, which was really interesting, and things got very intense as the chefs had to make dishes they’d never tasted before, during a tight time limit. It was fascinating to watch them perform under pressure, and inspiring to see the dedication to their craft. It made us want to learn how to cook really well!

 

 

 

 

 

Essentialism

I haven’t finished reading this book yet, but I’m really enjoying it! It’s about doing less, so that you can do things better. It’s making me examine what I’m saying yes or no to, and given me the courage to cut some things from my life that were taking up energy I really wanted to spend elsewhere.

 

He writes about how most people choose to keep many things going at the same time, but nothing moves along very quickly, because all things have to be kept moving. Instead, we can choose what is most important, and go really, really far with that one thing instead of a little way with many things.

I’m inspired to be much more intentional, fully present, and committed to the few things I choose to spend my time on. It’s very freeing, and I love the picture he paints of intentional living.

Blue Light Blocking Glasses

I heard about blue light blocking glasses years ago, and always thought they sounded like a good idea, but never got around to buying any until this winter.

My naturopath discovered that I’m getting far too much blue light, which surprised me, because I don’t spend a lot of time in front of computer or TV screens. But what he explained was that a lack of sunshine during the winter, along with too much artificial light of any kind, can lead to an imbalance.

He asked me to pick up a pair of blue light blocking glasses, so we ordered a couple of pairs from Amazon, and for $20, it’s a quick fix. Immediately, we noticed a big improvement in our sleep (and I had thought I was sleeping well before already!)

 

 

Because we were so impressed with the difference they make, we ordered enough for the whole family! Kaylia has always taken a very long time to fall asleep, but when she wears her glasses in the evenings, she falls asleep about an hour earlier.

Apparently the health benefits go far beyond good sleep – hormones, circulation, even weight gain can be affected by what kind of light is hitting your eyes, so getting outside more, plus protecting your eyes from artificial light can impact your health in significant ways. Getting healthier from wearing a cheap pair of glasses sounds like an easy win to me! I’m in.

These are the glasses Anika and I ordered, and here are the adorable kids glasses we got for Kaylia and Everett.

To read more about why blue light blocking glasses are good to wear, head over here.

Life Church Series on Habits

I listened to this message series recently, and it was really good. I love anything that has to do with habits, and I especially liked hearing a church address the topic.

Craig Groeschel does such an amazing job of sharing practical ways to build habits in our lives, and addressing how much we as Christians need strong habits to grow in our relationship with God.

I read somewhere recently that teaching our kids spiritual disciplines and strong Christian habits will carry them through the times when they don’t feel very spiritual. Habits can be what ties us to Jesus even during times when he feels far away, and takes the focus off of emotions so our actions can be deeply rooted in our spiritual practices.

I love that idea, so this series seems like an important one to me.

That’s it for today! But I’d love to hear about anything you’re enjoying right now! Any good books or podcasts or recipes or clothes or ANYTHING you’re loving that you’d like to pass on? Share the love!:)

Choosing Peace During Uncertainty

Yesterday, I shared the exciting news that Ben has a new job, but if you’ve ever taken a huge leap of faith, then you’ll know there’s always a story lurking behind a neat and tidy announcement.

Today I want to share a bit more about what we’ve been going through the last few months, as we’ve waited, prayed, and tried not to agonize over the whole process.

Late last fall, Ben decided to resign from his position as Executive Director of the Steinbach Chamber of Commerce. It was a hard decision, for many reasons, and it was a stressful time. He had some ideas about what could come next, but we didn’t know if anything would pan out. There was a lot of uncertainty and financial questions, and all the kind of stuff that makes me very anxious, because I do not have Ben’s gift of embracing the unknown as an adventure. He was excited, and I was a mess. I went through a bad stretch for a few weeks, and things felt very dark. My health took a big hit from the stress, and I was struggling badly to get my footing.

But one night when I was kneeling down to pray about our situation, it became extremely clear to me that something needed to change. I was so incredibly miserable and desperate, and I reached a point of just knowing I couldn’t go on dealing so poorly with the stress of it all – not now, not ever. I was suddenly overcome with an intense desire to be free from the thought patterns and worry habits that have controlled me for most of my life.

Suddenly, I got this very clear, kind of strange picture: I saw a bubble, like the kind our kids blow in the summer, that floats aimlessly on the breeze, gently bobbing around until it finally twirls over the neighbor’s fence and disappears. Our family was in that bubble, bobbing along, without a care in the world. I could see everything passing by us, but it felt a bit distant, because we were safe and sheltered and separated from it all by that bubble.

Photo by fotografierende from Pexels

And just like that, the fear and anxiety were gone. For weeks after, I bobbed along in that bubble. My thoughts and emotions were changed in an instant, and it took absolutely no effort for me to stay in that place of peace and calm trust.

I’ve never felt that way in my life, and it was heavenly. I never wanted it to change. I bobbed right through Christmas, amazed that life without a paycheck could be so relaxing!

Then January hit, and my bubble burst hard. It was a harsh return to handling things the old way, and it was terrible. For two weeks, I tried to get my bubble back, but it was just gone. It felt as though God had removed His protection from me, and I was disappointed and confused. But one day as I was praying about the whole thing, I realized that God had never removed it – silly me, in all my humanness, had somehow gotten the idea that I didn’t really need the bubble so much anymore. Surely once Christmas was over, Ben would quickly find a job, and this hard time would soon be over. I had climbed out all by myself.

When I realized this, I knew I didn’t want to handle stress the old way, on my own. I was ready to climb back into my bubble, and there I stayed. I’m still bobbing along. Sometimes the temptation to take things into my own hands and get lost in worry comes creeping back, but the more time passes in my bubble, the less appealing the old way feels to me. I can usually catch myself pretty quickly when I start down that path, because it feels so panicky and miserable. I try to spend time praying and getting my focus back on God’s protection and provision, and off we go again. There’s only room for one day at a time in the bubble!

That may sound ridiculous, but it’s what’s working for me right now. Or maybe it sounds too easy, and it is and it’s not, at the same time. I have to be hyper-vigilant about staying in a good place. If I let my guard down for a moment, I’m sucked into the old mess, but if I stay focused, I can stay in my beautiful, safe bubble. In the beginning, I think God was just gracious with me, and I could stay there without trying, but now it takes effort. Overall, I’m learning that it’s much easier to stay there than to try to get back there after the damage has begun.

It’s hard to explain it without it sounding too simplistic – although we’re called to faith like a child, so maybe it’s okay for it to sound very simple. And maybe it sounds like I’m trying to be oblivious to real life, but it’s not that, either. It’s more like a visual reminder for me, in my head, to protect myself from mentally running too far into the future. The bubble is about staying in the moment, and trusting that God will carry us where we need to go. I still have rough moments, but I’m learning to choose peace instead of worry.

Now, while all my lessons in bubble floating were going on, God was up to something else. On the morning of the very same day Ben resigned from his job, a man from our church was on vacation, taking a stroll with his wife. He had started a consulting company two years previously, and had been on his own journey of trusting God, as he developed a company focused on leadership training and team building.

As Darrell and Elaine walked along that morning, he said to her, “I think God is leading me to get a partner.” And that afternoon, Ben happened to email Darrell to say he had resigned from the Chamber.

They met for coffee numerous times those first weeks, but I was not excited. Out of all the employment options Ben was considering, this one scared me the most, because it didn’t involve a regular, dependable paycheck. It was by far the riskiest option, and it was the one Ben was most drawn to. He would come back from coffee with Darrell, bursting with ideas and enthusiasm, and I would pretend to be interested until I just couldn’t fake it anymore, and then there would be tears and panic. (Obviously, I was a very lovely, supportive person to live with during that stretch!?)

Part of the reason I was so nervous was because Ben was so excited about something that felt very unpredictable. He’s talked about this kind of opportunity ever since he got his Masters in Leadership years ago, and it’s what he’s wanted to do most. But we weren’t planning on it happening right now. It was always a dream for the future, when we would hopefully be more financially stable, and our kids would be older. Yet here it was, and I didn’t want him following a dream. I just wanted a regular paycheck, so we could feel safe and secure – not in a worldly way, of course, just a practical way, I’d tell myself.

But Ben’s enthusiasm did not disappear, so one day I prayed, “God, if you want this to happen, change my heart.”

And then I promptly forgot about praying it, because I knew it would never happen!

Fast forward a couple of months, along with all of my bubble dwelling, and one afternoon, Ben and I were driving around running errands, discussing his employment options. He had kept moving forward in discussions with Darrell, but after awhile, he began to get cold feet. “It’s the riskiest option,” he said. “Maybe it’s best just to forget it.”

And then I forgot about this being the moment I’d been waiting for, and instead of agreeing with him, I passionately responded with something like this: “Ben, it’s your DREAM!!! It’s what you’ve wanted to do for years, it’s exactly what you’re gifted at, and who cares if it’s risky!!! We’ll find a way to make it work in the beginning until things get easier. When you look back in 20 years, you’ll wish you would have done it. We should just trust God, and go for it!!!!!!”

And suddenly, after months of not thinking about it, that desperate little prayer popped into my head, and I thought, “Oh my goodness, who am I, and what am I saying???!!!” The miraculous had happened, and my heart had changed.

From that point on, I was in. As a friend said, “This whole thing smells like the Holy Spirit!” And that’s really how it felt.

It wasn’t an easy decision process, though, because it was a big decision to make, and Ben loves to take a looooooong time making up his mind, but none of that bothered me very much, in my bubble. I just had peace because I knew it would all work out somehow, and then finally it did.

Ben and Darrell officially became partners just over a month ago, and God is good, and I want to stay in my bubble forever! We feel really blessed and thankful to Darrell and Elaine for their part in this process. They opened up the business they started from scratch, and we’re excited to experience this adventure with them.

So that’s what we’ve been up to for the last six months – a lot of growing, transitioning, and learning to trust. It’s been hard, rich, and very good. There’s still a lot of work and trust that needs to happen, but right now, we celebrate the start of something new and exciting!

To see what Ben is up to, check out the SCOPE website.

Ben’s New Job!

We’re walking around here feeling like our load is much, much lighter these days, because Ben got a job! It’s been quite a journey over these last few months, and it feels like I’ve been waiting to write this post for a long time, to share what God has been doing. I’m so delighted to finally be able to do so!

Late last fall, Ben decided to resign from his role as Executive Director at the Steinbach Chamber of Commerce to explore new opportunities. It was a hard decision, for many reasons, and it was a stressful time. He was excited about a number of potential new directions, but we didn’t know if anything would pan out. There was a lot of uncertainty and financial questions, and all the kind of stuff which makes me very anxious, because I do not have Ben’s gift of embracing the unknown as an adventure. He was excited, and I was a mess. I’ll post more tomorrow about what God’s been teaching us during this past season of waiting, uncertainty, and trusting Him to lead us.

But for today, I’m excited to share that Ben has recently joined SCOPE Leadership Development as a partner with Darrell Kehler, who began the company just over two years ago. SCOPE has been growing, and right around the time Ben resigned from the Chamber, Darrell was considering expanding. Just over a month ago they shook hands to finalize months of discussions.

Ben has talked about this kind of opportunity ever since he got his Masters in Leadership years ago. It didn’t happen in the way we expected, but it’s exciting to see how God has worked out the details.

If you happen to know of anybody needing a team of the best consultants ever, you can check out their website right here, or head on over to Facebook. Be sure to follow their page to see some of the exciting things they’re up to!

How to Stop Overthinking Things

I was listening to a podcast recently called “How to Stop Overthinking Things”, which was basically made for me. It came at the perfect time, too, because I was actually right in the middle of overthinking something, and this podcast saved me.
There were two tips in particular which I found most helpful:
1) Stop thinking and start writing.
I’ve heard this before, but I keep forgetting how helpful it really is. I’m the kind of person who has to get everything out, but usually it’s in the form of verbally venting to Ben. Poor Ben. He doesn’t need to hear all of that. Writing it out helps me to get it out into the world, without the world having to deal with it. I’ve actually avoided journalling for years, though, because it depresses me to have a bunch of beautiful journals filled with my lowest moments. So I’ve recently started something we’ll call “Dump and Junk” – dump it all out on paper, and then throw it away.
I have many gratitude journals that I will keep forever, because those are filled with beautiful thoughts and memories which make me very happy, but when venting thoughts, there is no need to hang onto those.
2) Give yourself a time limit.
Chalene Johnson shared how she gives herself half a day to think about something. No more. After that half day, it’s time to stop thinking and move on. It will only get you into a negative spiral if you let it go longer.
This was exactly what I needed to hear in my current episode of overthinking, because I was stuck deep in the muck of nothing useful. I had made a big mistake a few days before, and although I’d apologized, and I’d prayed through the whole thing and knew God had forgiven me, I couldn’t forgive myself. I kept going over and over it in my head, beating myself up for not knowing better.
There were some very helpful moments of realization at a few points along the way, and I feel like I learned some valuable lessons, but I had moved past anything helpful, and was just dwelling on it in an unhealthy way.
When I listened to the podcast, the time limit hit home for me. Take the lessons, and move on. Be okay with making a mistake, and try again next time. If I get too bogged down by one mistake, I’m not focusing on the fact that I’ll have another chance to do better in the future.
Of course, the thoughts wanted to come creeping back in, but I kept telling myself, “Time’s up! I’m done with that, and I’ll do better next time.”
I feel like it’s giving me permission to be a work in progress, and sets some useful boundaries.
Do you have any strategies to stop overthinking?