anchored in light

anchored in light

A lifestyle blog about finding light in every avenue of life

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Steps to Minimalism



If the Marie Kondo fad is any indication, I’m not the only one who is looking to become a little more minimal. I read Marie Kondo’s book last year just after I had Everly. I felt like I’d been surrounded by clutter the whole time we’d lived in our 500 square feet, one bedroom apartment and admittedly most of the clutter was mine. I’ve been dragging around boxes filled with notebooks for years and odds and ends of things that I couldn’t let go of. Having Everly made me want to start everything fresh. I wanted to be the kind of person that could pack everything I owned into a few boxes and move somewhere brand new or stick them into storage while I went off traveling if I wanted to (an idea that has been rolling around in my brain since I read a book in high school about a lawyer who did just that). I wanted to stop being the kind of person that was so attached to my things.

So, after my first quarter of goals related to Connection, my new goal for this coming quarter is to focus on Minimalism. I’ve already gotten rid of so many things, but I still have a lot of boxes that I know I don’t need. Although, going through my clothes has reduced me to maybe 5 shirts…

So here are my personal steps that I have taken, and plan to take, to get myself closer to minimalism.

  1. Capsule Wardrobes. I’ve been working on curating clothes that I love, that I can mix and match, and that aren’t so many pieces that I don’t use all of them. Weirdly, my mental obsession with capsule wardrobes came from my daughter’s wardrobe packaged into 3-month increments. Also weirdly, putting together outfits for her with colored pants has given me the confidence to try out something other than blue jeans. Watching these videos from Hailey Devine (this links to her Fall Capsule wardrobe video, but I'm sure it will automatically start playing the other ones after you're done) last year really made me want to take steps to make it happen for myself. However, I don't have an unlimited budget so it's been slow going for me.
  2. Quarterly Konmari of all my possessions. Even though I went through everything that I owned before we moved last July, I’ve already gotten rid of so many more things since moving here. I find that there are things that I may not be ready to get rid of now, but I am ready to get rid of in a couple of months.
  3. Digitizing all my papers. Papers are my real kryptonite. As a writer and a hand letterer, I just tend to have a million notebooks (also, I’m guilty of buying notebooks just because they are pretty when I have a dozen half-finished notebooks at home…). I find myself irrationally believing that I will re-read them someday, even when I know that I’ve never done that before.
  4. Only 5-7 “to do”s for the day. I know this may not sound like minimalism, but for me it is. I feel like when I expect myself to do less in the day it allows me to focus on accomplishing the things that really matter and be present in the rest of my day that has nothing to do with my to-do list.

If you are looking to get closer to minimalism, I highly recommend reading Marie Kondo’s book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. It really has changed my life.

If you have already taken steps toward minimalism, I’d love to hear what they are! Thanks for reading! :)

Pin ThisShare on TumblrShare on Google Plus

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Waiting Spaces





Recently I was reading an Instagram post by Sadie Banks. If you don’t know her or follow her, she often writes about infertility. In the specific post I read she mentioned waiting spaces and I went from feeling like I couldn’t really relate to her to knowing exactly what she meant. Waiting spaces are something that we can’t get around or really control. I remember when I was waiting to get married. I’d been in waiting spaces before, but it wasn’t until Brian and I had decided that we wanted to get married, but couldn’t get married, that I really understood the struggle of being in a waiting space. I often compared our inability to get married to being infertile. We’d only dated for about two months when we decided we wanted to get married, but we didn’t get engaged until 5 months later. I remember watching friends who met their significant other after Brian and I had already decided to get married get engaged before we did. Engaged and MARRIED before we got engaged. It was so painful for me to watch that. Specifically, I remember coming home from a bridal shower for a good friend while we still weren’t engaged and just crying. I thought that would be that last waiting space that I would ever have to struggle through because I thought that once we were married I would just be so grateful that we were finally together and sealed forever that it wouldn’t be so hard to wait for babies or for whatever else we might need to wait through.

I was wrong. We’ve been through some waiting spaces since we got married. Waiting to get jobs. Waiting for a house. Waiting for a baby. None of those waiting spaces have been as painful as waiting to get married, but the sting of them hasn’t been lessened by the fact that I had to struggle through a waiting space before. I am in a waiting space right now. We’ve been planning to buy a house for more than half a year now and planning to live in my Mom’s house for six months while we looked and paid off some debt. Well, six months have passed and we’re still here!

Waiting spaces are going to be in each of our lives. We have no control over when they might crop up or how long we’re going to be in them. We need to live through the waiting spaces, instead of just wishing and waiting for them to be over. Here are some things that help me through waiting spaces.

  1. Make goals that are unrelated to whatever you’re waiting for. Instead of saying, I’ll do this if I get what I want, or if I don’t get it by the time I wanted it, just do it. Waiting could mean days or weeks or months or years. Keep Moving Forward no matter what you are waiting for.
  2. Lean on your support system. Whether that be your friends, your family, your spouse, your significant other, or your God. I feel like the hardest part of waiting spaces for me have been when I withdraw into myself and don’t share what I was feeling. The secrecy of it always seems to make it worse.
  3. Serve others. I’m not saying that you should push down your feelings and just pretend that everything is ok so that you can serve others, but I often find that serving others helps me move through my feelings rather than sitting in them.

Keep moving forward. You’ve got this.

What has helped you get through waiting spaces?

Pin ThisShare on TumblrShare on Google Plus

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Why You Should Put Your Bucket List on a 10 Year Plan



It’s no secret that I’ve always thought that I was going to die young (although I really REALLY hope that I grow old), because of that I made a bucket list in college and put it on a 10 year plan. Honestly, none of us know how long we’ll be around. To quote Gandalf, “it is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” We may not know how long we are going to be around, but we can decide how we are going to live while we are here, whether that be 5 years, 50 years, or 5 days. I don’t want to get to the end of my life and wonder what I could have done with it if I hadn’t been waiting for something to happen so that I could really live.

Given that, I think it’s important to sit down and really decide what is important to us. For me, it’s important to me to become that best person that I can and to take the best care of those around me that I can. So while the bucket list I made in college had things like, “Read 1000 books” or “Go Skydiving”, my bucket list today looks a little different. Now it has things like, “Get Brian working from home”, “Buy our own home”, “travel with my family”. Not that those other things aren’t things that you should want to do, but they’re not where my head is these days. I made that list thinking I might not ever get married or have children, to me that was what was important for me to do if I didn’t have those other things that I wanted (although, get married and have children was on the bucket list as well).

Putting your bucket list on a 10 year plan ensures that you are always working toward the things on your list. It makes you be more proactive, rather that hoping for a “someday” when you can do the things that you want. Not only that, but if you cross everything (or, even most of the things off), you can make a new list and enjoy even more.

I think we all want to be the kind of people that DO and don’t just DREAM. So make a list. Dream as big as you can. Then work to make it happen.

What’s on your bucket list? How can you make it happen in the next 10 years?


Pin ThisShare on TumblrShare on Google Plus

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Ways to Watch Less TV



This year I've been trying to work on connection. I wanted to consciously connect to the people around me and make sure that they were the real priority in my life. One of the ways that I've worked on this is cutting down on the TV that I watch. It's an easy out for me from connecting fully the present and being creative enough to think of something else to do. While there have still been a few days where the TV has been on almost constantly, I feel like I've done so much better. That being said I thought that I would share a few tips and tricks to help cut down on your TV consumption if you're looking to connect more as well.

1. Make a To-Do List
This may seem obvious or silly, but for me, if I don't have written down somewhere something that I should be doing it's easy for me to go into auto-pilot and turn on the TV. Every morning I try to think of the day and what I want to accomplish/what my day would ideally look like. I use both my planner and my phone to make a loose schedule for my day (nothing gets me to shut down faster than to pin myself down too tightly to a schedule).
I recommend the app SWIPES for to-do lists because it's easy, free, and you literally get to swipe things off your list, which is pretty satisfying.

2. Block out a certain time where you aren't allowed to watch TV
For me, I block out the morning. If I can get through the morning without watching TV then I'm MUCH more likely to skip it in the afternoon. Then, if I decide to watch TV in the afternoon, I haven't spent my whole day watching and since I'm naturally more productive in the morning, usually my to-do list is already done!

3. Find Podcasts or Radio stations that you like to listen to
Listening to Podcasts this year has been a game changer for me. I never really got what the hype was about and never found the time to listen. However, sitting in total silence while I play with Everly is actually more distracting to me at times than listening to something. It feels *too* quiet and somehow lonely, even though I know I'm not alone. Listening to someone talk helps me feel like it's more than just me.
Personal favorites at the moment include: What We Said and Dear Hank and John

4. Try to get outside every day
This is something that isn't always possible, due to weather (my rule is that if it's above freezing, we go out for a walk; if it's below freezing, we stay inside). However, when we do go out, it always makes me feel more like doing "real" things other than watching TV. Being outside helps me feel like I'm making memories and connecting not only to my family but also to nature. I'm really looking forward to spring and hiking, we just need to get a decent carrier for Everly.

All of these combined together have worked really well for me. Plus, watching less actually makes me enjoy it more when I do sit down to watch because I feel more at ease with myself and what I've done with my time.
How do you cut down on your TV? What are your favorite Podcasts? I'm always looking for new good ones!

Thanks for reading!

Pin ThisShare on TumblrShare on Google Plus

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Poems of Motherhood | July-September



This year saw me
a mother
a wife
a new creature
2019
will see me something new
again

We are almost to a whole year! The years truly are short. I thought that I’d sum up a few months and get us right on track to put out poems of motherhood that are more current. Maybe once a month? Quarterly? You guys let me know what you think.


7/6/18

We offer up our bodies
to motherhood
letting it take our slim waists
our time
as we grow a tiny human inside us

then we place everything else
on the altar of motherhood
our freedom
tying ourselves down 
to the wants and needs of 
the same baby that ripped its way out of us

yet, 
the pain,
the loss of time, 
the radical change that leaks into every facet of life
gave me more than it ever took



7/9/18

This one is for all the mothers
who never got to decorate a nursery
who sit with empty cradles and empty arms
for those who ache when they see happy mothers
with brand new babies on their chests.
for those who put away the baby clothes for the last time
for those who never got to open them in the first place
this one is for all the mothers at heart
different shapes and sizes
ages and situations
but mothers,
just the same


7/13/18

You’ve awoken the lion in me
pulling her whiskers with your tiny fingers

she stands between you and the world now
sometimes
you won’t understand why she stands to the side
lets the world knock you down
or,
lets you jump into rivers that almost take you alive
then balks at a puddle
protects you from the wind


7/18/18

My hair is magic 
for you
it swings
you fiddle with the ends 
plunge your hands in and knot them tight
you hold onto it when you nurse
rub your eyes with it when you’re tired
put fistfuls in your mouth when you’re on my hip

I imagine it smells like home for you

so I’m not sure I can bear to cut it
not when magic will be harder and harder to find
as you grow
I made the hair
I made you
so it must be like it’s a part of you
as much as
it’s a part of me

7/18/18

You are 6 of the 7 dwarves
Happy, most of the time
Occasionally Sneezy (usually at least twice)
Dopey, Grumpy, and Sleepy are like conjoined triplets
popping out of you at the same time
most charmingly, you are Bashful
smiling and looking away


7/25/18

Today I witnessed Motherhood
the old kind
past the newborn glow
the joy of watching new discoveries
past toddlerhood and childhood
past teenage years

I witnessed the love of a mother
whose baby had outgrown her arms
who could walk and talk and drive and live alone her own
but who still needed to snuggle up to her chest
know that feeling was Home. 



8/8/18

Last night you woke up
crying out
I could have sworn you said “mom”
it seemed like you had a nightmare
I pulled you out of your crib
let the heat of my skin lull you back to comfort
safety
back to sleep
it means so much to me
to be the lullaby 
without saying a word

And apparently, I didn’t write many poems in September. Or any really. Which makes me kind of sad, but it is what it is. I journaled. So there’s that. Anyway, thanks for reading!
Pin ThisShare on TumblrShare on Google Plus

Thursday, January 3, 2019

New Year Resolutions 2019 | First Quarter Goals



There is something that is so hopeful about looking at the New Year as an opportunity to make some changes and to step closer to being the person that I want to be. I start thinking about New Year's goals long before the New Year hits. This coming year though, I thought I would try something a little bit different. Instead of choosing one word for the entire year, or making goals for the whole year, I thought I would break it down into quarters. A year is a long time and it can be intimidating to think that I have to do something for a whole year (even though the year tends to fly by these days). It’s much easier for me to think about doing something just for today, or just for a week, or month. So by breaking it down into quarters, I thought that I could more easily focus in on a few things, work on perfecting those through 3 months and then reassess and make new goals.

So, while I’ve tentatively chosen 4 words and goals for at least the first quarter, I’m only going to tell you the first set, in case I need to adjust when the next quarter hits. So if you too are someone who gets intimidated, or overwhelmed thinking that you have to commit to doing something for 365 days, think about maybe breaking things down a little bit.


Quarter 1: Connection

I chose the word connection because I think that connection is something that we are all really looking for in life. What I really want is to connect with those I love and make them feel like they are important and valuable to me. I want to create and nurture real lasting connections, not just the “junk food” connections. When I say junk food connections, I mean things like spending time with my daughter, but looking at my phone, or caring more about likes and comments than I do the things that people who actually know me say to me. I want to take the connections that I already have made and make more them deep and fulfilling. So, in an effort to connect here are my goals for January through March.

-Go on a hot cocoa date
-Consistent date night weekly and a weekly couple council
-Go on a winter walk
-Make snow angels with Everly and Brian
-Write 20 days out of the month
-Participate in Incowrimo (that said, if you want to be my BFF, put your name and address here and I’ll send you a handwritten letter. Possibly in the month of February, but maybe after if a lot of people sign up :) )
-3 temple visits
-Make dinner for someone once a month
-Prayer Journal
-Book Club
-One new capsule piece
-Journal 5 times a week
-2-4 blog posts a month
-Blog Newsletter
-2019 Dawn Nicole Lettering Challenge
-One dinner party
-Plan my “night out”

Each of the goals that I chose focuses on connecting with someone, whether that be family, friends, my God, or myself. Honestly, blogging is as much for me as it is for those who read it. I love to talk to people who read my blog, partially because it makes me feel like I’m making some kind of difference, but mainly because blogging is a form of connection for me. 


I’d love to hear what goals you have for the next month, the next week, or the next year! I’d especially love to hear if you have chosen a word to focus on. Drop them in the comments or send me an email! I’ll send a little something to a random commenter :)

Also, if you want to read/hear more about New Year's Resolutions, here are some of my favorite blog posts and podcasts about making New Year's Resolutions this year.

Pin ThisShare on TumblrShare on Google Plus

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Our Breastfeeding Journey | 9 Months In



I wasn't planning to write this post. I figured that I had made it to 6 months, I had things down. Everly was getting enough from me, we knew how to latch, and all that Jazz. I was a breastfeeding pro!

Oh how little I knew.

So here we are at 9 months. 9 months of breastfeeding and it has been so different than what I thought it would be.

First, the switch to solids. Everly took to solids like a duck to water. She eats and she eats a LOT! It seemed like a lot, but it wasn't until my mom looked into it that I realized that she was eating a lot more than other babies her age. But, I didn't worry too much about it. Everly started sleeping through the night (I credit that partially to solids and partially to sleep training and partially to Everly for just being an awesome baby.).

When we switched to solids I just nursed her before I fed her and went along as normal, because she was going down at 6:30, I would pump once for the milk for her bottle before bed and called it good.

And that worked for a while. Until I realized that I wasn't pumping out very much. I decided to get more dedicated to pumping. I would pump twice after she went down. I would pump between feedings. I remembered from when Everly was a newborn that 8 times was the magic number. So I tried to hit that number, between pumping and nursing I was hitting 8 times. Nothing seemed to be changing. So I started pumping after every nursing session. Admittedly, nursing has gotten shorter and shorter as Everly has gotten older. I just assumed that it was because Everly was a more efficient nurser. I didn't ever think that it could be because I was making less milk. When she was down to 3 minutes or less a side I was concerned, but not overly so because if I pumped after I still didn't get anything.

I drank more water. I ate 4 lactation cookies every day. I pumped and pumped and prayed.

Nothing changed.

Everly got teeth and started biting me.

I thought that maybe this was my sign to start pumping exclusively. I thought that I'd get more milk because I'd be pumping for 15 minutes every time, and I wouldn't get bitten.

I tried that for a day or two.

I read articles about babies self-weaning that assured me that babies do not self-wean before a year. It was probably a phase that I could choose to work through or not. I chose to continue to work through it. Through all of this I knew that Everly hasn't been gaining weight (although she did seem to be getting taller). I got more and more depressed about it all. I wanted to be a good mom. Good moms feed their babies only breastmilk for a year. That's what I'd been told over and over and over.

It got to the point where I considered using formula to supplement and my sweet husband put it on the list to get at the store. Then he saw the cost and decided to hold off. I felt like I'd failed. I felt like if I didn't succeed, my baby would suffer and I would be costing us all this money.

I fell into a deep hole of depression where I seriously didn't want to do anything. I had been working out by running three times a week and doing yoga three times a week, but I couldn't get myself to do yoga for more than a few minutes. All I wanted to do was curl up in a ball and stare at the wall. And that's about all that I did when my baby was sleeping. Besides pumping that is.

I wanted to make it to Everly's 9-month appointment so that I could talk to the doctor about it (honestly I think that Pediatrician appointments for your first baby are spaced WAY too far apart.) I wanted to make it to her 9-month mark so that I could say that at least I had made it to 9 months.

I did not make it to 9 months. I knew that I was making about 10 ounces a day. I knew that Everly needed 16-24 ounces a day. So finally I told my husband to buy the formula anyway. I mentally prepared myself to feel worse than I had in the weeks leading up to this decision (which, by the way, I thought about constantly and made the decision about 10 times before we actually followed through).

Miraculously, once that formula was here I felt so much better. I still planned to nurse so I knew that she'd be getting antibodies from me, but the pressure to be her sole provider of milk was gone. I didn't freak out when I pumped out just under an ounce every time I pumped. I knew that Everly would get what she needed.

So we are currently on day two of formula. I have to nurse Everly in dark quiet rooms now because otherwise I can't get her to stay latched long enough to get a single let down (we had to start doing that before the formula as well). But we are still nursing. I wish that I could go back and tell myself that formula wasn't so bad. I wish I could go back and tell myself that even if I hadn't tried so hard to up my supply, that it would still be ok to choose to supplement with formula. I wish I could tell myself that fed is best, and really believe it.
Pin ThisShare on TumblrShare on Google Plus