More Myself

Let’s go back to 2001 when the album songs in A minor came out. I remember sitting in the backyard of a friend’s house. There were about ten of us sitting around. I don’t recall if it was late spring or early summer, but it was chilly. I was talking with a friend of a friend about cd’s we had purchased recently. I was that person that looked forward to what new cd I could buy each Tuesday. For whatever reason I had bypassed buying songs in A minor that week. This friend of a friend could not stop raving about it. Guess who headed to Target soon after to pick it up? The whole cd was just as good as her first single, Fallin’. I recently grabbed the cd and have been listening to it in my car. Her voice is just as smooth now as it was back then.

I have bought almost every cd of hers since songs in A minor was released. Those albums I do not own on cd I have certainly listened to now via Spotify or Apple Music. There was no question of purchasing her book, More Myself. Reading her book was like watching VH1’s Behind the Music or watching the extras on your favorite movie- only better- the book is always better. I believe that most celebrities understand that privacy is not the same for them as it is for “normal” people. I believe that they have a right to not share parts of their life with the rest of the world if they do not want to. I am so glad Alicia decided to write this book. It provided insight into the music she has created. It shows how hard she works. Her positive energy flows through the pages of this book just as it does on her Instagram page. The sense of calm that radiates from her voice when you listen to her sing live ran through my veins. I connect with her wanting to grow and improve. On page 254 Alicia says “I want to know who I am and accept ever part of that identity. I am frightened and I am fearless. I am weak and a warrior. I am uncertain and I am confident. And by learning to embrace the paradox in all of it, I am more myself.” How powerful.

I hope that someday I can be present at one of her concerts. I think tears of joy would flow from soul.

Quarantine Day 4

Hello World! Oh my goodness, you have changed drastically. This is the first time I am sitting down and reflecting over it and I am certain it is not the last. I am not going to let my mind travel to the statistics. They are quickly changing. If I think too deeply about the negative stats my anxiety kicks in. My head wanders to the what ifs. I can’t go there. That does not mean that I am not aware or that I am in denial. To keep this quarantine as positive as I can at home I have to focus on the good. I check on the news throughout the day, but then I try to focus on the positives. Below I am sharing a few of them.

I am continuously in awe of how some books come into our lives when they are most needed. I downloaded Oprah and Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth Podcasts a while back, I don’t recall when, but I tried to listen to the first one and then put them on the back burner- I just wasn’t read for “it”. I was visiting with my hair stylist a couple of weeks ago and she suggested I read Tolle’s book by the same name. Once I got home and Googled him I made the connection with the podcasts. I ordered his book and couldn’t get into the first chapter quick enough. I was on the verge of tears! It was like something opened up inside me. I am only on chapter 2 as it is not something I can rush through. I felt this way with How Yoga Works too. I am going to provide you with Oprah’s quote about the book:

Winfrey calls the book ‘a wake up call for the entire planet, one reader at a time. It helps us to distance ourselves from our egos…and to open ourselves to a higher self…It helps us to stop creating our own suffering and obsessing over the past and what the future ought to be, and to put ourselves in the now.

“Wake up call for the entire planet.”

“It helps us to distance ourselves.”

What more of a sign does a person need?

Ok, enough of the heavy feelings. Let’s talk about what has gotten us through the past 3 days. Yes, it is has only been 3 days. So many more ahead of us I am certain.

• Uplifting Apps: Spotify, Podcasts, YouVersion Bible, Calm •

Find some new music to listen to on Spotify. It lets you find pre made mixes of music depending on what mood you are in or you can make our own “mixed tapes”. Acoustic Pilates, Kindie, Dreamy Vibes are a few that have been on rotation. Kindie is a nice mix of kid friendly music that won’t drive a parent completely nuts. Armchair Expert is one podcast that is guaranteed to make me laugh. Even if Dax Shepard has a serious topic to discuss with his guest he still find a way to bring you to out loud laughter. You can find podcasts on any topic. Simply Google a topic. YouVersion Bible app has been great. I have tried different Bible studies over the past year. This gives you various Bible studies depending on the topic and depending on how long you want the study to last. 5 days? 7 days? 21 days? It is so versatile. You can do them with friends or alone. I am so thankful I learned about this from a new friend at work. I downloaded the Calm app for the second time. I downloaded this just before the COVID-19 outbreak. It gives you daily meditations, calm music, sounds to sleep to and simple yoga guides. It is all things calm.

• Keeping the kids busy: Daily Devotion, Legos, Educational Websites, Play

It has not been easy to juggle working from home, making sure kids are happy and just not letting the current state of the world freak me out. I know our schools are working on a plan with more direction and school work. This may make things easier or it may make it more difficult. Probably both. Another change and we will work through it. For another week though, the kiddos will do a daily devotional reading followed by drawing a picture and writing about what they learned. Emmy’s kindergarten teacher did a 30 Days of Lego Play challenge that both girls have found to be fun. If you follow Instagram watch for #30daysoflegoplay. We have access to the following websites for educational play:

Prodigy math game

Lalio phonics game

Reflex math game

Abdo online library

Audio children’s books

They are also reading some each day. Stella is reading Star Girl and then we plan I’m watching it on Disney+. We do what we can. We have to be patient with them and ourselves. After all, many of us are not professional teachers. I am most certain that we are to learn patience from the COVID-19. I have lost my cool the past few days, and more than once. But I quickly crouch down to their level, tell them we are in this together and that we will get through this. I remind them this is not easy for any of us. We make sure to apologize to one another. We are working on respect. It’s a work in progress for us all.

Move

Get outside if it’s nice. We make it a goal to get out twice a day. We were not successful yesterday as we only made it out in the afternoon. Fresh air is good and this is not the time to get lazy, at least for us. It’s a time to focus on health. Try the Aaptiv app, FitBit premium has some great videos, FitOn is free and has videos. Search YouTube fitness videos. There are options. Just make the choice to move!

As our family finds things that work I will make sure to share. We are in this together. Besides patience and being present I am most certain that the higher powers above want us to work together. I pray for your health- mind, body and spirit. *hugs+

2020 Vision

Today the date is January 12, 2020. It has been 12 days of reflecting on what my vision is for 2020. I loved last year how I had laid out goals for different passions within my life. Reading, art, moving, self empowerment and the 7 challenge. Why did I love ALL of those goals? They all were focused around things that I love. Even though I tried to scale down my monthly goals, there were a lot of goals each month. I didn’t achieve all of them, and they even tapered off as the year went on. I learned to be ok with that. I learned a lot about myself in 2019. I learned about why some of those goals were more important and why some were not. This year, I think it has to be less. Less in a way that may turn into more. More meaningful that is.

I decided to go with a phrase this year.

BE PRESENT.

Being present should rein in all of the important things that I need to focus on. I am hoping this will help strengthen the person I am and strive to be. The person that makes me strong for those that around me. God. Family. Friends. Co-workers.

Here are the things I want to focus on and more BE PRESENT with:
Faith

Family

Food

Workouts

Strengths

BE present IN FAITH

Daily reading of the Bible

Monthly Bible study

No judgement of people

BE present WITH FAMILY

Make eye contact

Less multitasking

More hugs

More silly times

More freedom

BE present WITH FOOD

Healthy food

Proportion

Intermittent fasting

Ayurveda practices

MyFitnessPal app

Be present WITH WORKOUTS

Cardio that is good for me

Weight training that strengthens m back

30 minutes a day/ 5 x a week

10,000 steps a day

Be present WITH STRENGTHS

Discipline

Input

Relator

Responsibility

Intellection

Learner

Belief

Developer

Arranger

Individualizations

2019 brought a lot of joy back into my life. It created space to be ok with what is important to me. 2020 is going to be a good year.

The Year 2019

Everyone has been reflecting over the past few days as 2019 came to an end. I have too in my head and have not known where to start. I even felt at one point, why write about it? My answer? Write about it for me. Write about it for those that will read it. Write about it to document your past. Talk about it, just in case it helps someone else. So here I am and it’s January 1, 2020.

Born in 1982, I have now lived in 5 different decades, 2 centuries and 2 millenniums. I am not certain if I would have thought that deeply about it had it not been floating around Facebook and Instagram. Goodness gracious. I feel like I have seen a lot, however, my grandfather-in-law passed away last week at the age of 92. Think about what he saw! I graduated high school almost 20 years ago. *almost hyperventilating* It doesn’t feel like that as I remember it so clearly. My best friends are still from that time in my life or shortly after. Maybe that helps with that feeling.

Since getting married in 2011 life has had it’s ups and downs. Marriage is not easy. Moving to a new town was not what it was cracked up to be. Being a mom is difficult. Throw those 3 things into a 10 month span, it was a rocky ride. A rocky ride that didn’t settle down. Until 2019 that is.

What happened in 2019? Let me back up a ways. I had a doctor tell me late in 2017 that I was normal. The overwhelming feelings I was having was normal. Nothing was wrong with me. She prescribed me some medication, yet didn’t think I needed it. She was right. I tried it. It made me feel tired and I quickly tucked it away knowing it was not right for me. She referred me to a counselor. This counselor was amazing. She too, said that what I had experienced was normal, that the rocky road I had endeavored would have caused a lot of people to feel the way I was. Sad, overwhelmed, exhausted, feeling heavy, and not knowing what else I could do. I felt alone in this town. I saw her many times and it helped me become aware. This awareness taught me that I was not alone. I had to go with my gut and take time for myself. I had to put distance between me and some people in my life. Without going into too many more details, details that I promised I would not share, I had to make some decisions. I had to speak my mind in a calm and direct manner and make some decisions. 2018 was a long year. A long year of reading books by Rachel Hollis and Jessica Turner. A year of discovering the Enneagram. It was the start to realizing for myself that I am ok to be me. I am ok to know what I am. I am ok to know that I am normal. I am ok to know that I am not asking too much.

2019 happened. Right at the beginning lightbulbs were turned on in our home. It was like the universe shifted. We, or I, but really, we, waited out the storm. I was blessed to attend two courses through my work on leadership. Again, my eyes were opened. I was not alone. There were tools to help me and others through our troubles. We just have to be open to them. We have to be open to change. Not everyone is and that is ok too, but, some changes have to be made to remain healthy. Thanks to Brene Brown, thanks again to Jessica Turner and to Elizabeth Gilbert, I was brought back to life. These authors speak very powerful words!

Now, don’t get me wrong. 2019 still had its downs. It was not peachy keen all the time. However, with hard conversations, keeping an open mind, acknowledging people’s differences, and because of the hard work I put into studying myself, it was less overwhelming. We are still climbing this newer steep hill, or at least, in my mind we still are.

Towards the end of 2019 I took a new job. One that caters to my strengths. I am excited to test how this works out for me in 2020. Now, if someone reads this from my new place of employment, they may have caught the word “test”. I am not going anywhere. Testing my strengths at this job has already proven how it lifts me up. Focusing on my strengths has worked for me. I am not fighting a part of my life like I was. I can’t wait to dive more into this topic and share what I learn. I am fascinated with how others work. How do we help others find their light? I ponder what the world would be like if we all realized how to be our best self, how to acknowledge our wrong doings and lift each other up.

I welcome the new year and all that it will bring. The good and the bad.

Curiosity Leads To More Books

We have all heard about the dog that gets distracted by a squirrel. Or someone gets lost down a rabbit trail. Well, I get distracted by shiny objects. Or, maybe I can call it being curious. I took the Gallup Strengths Finder test this summer. Input and intellection were two of my top five strengths. Both talk about reading to become more knowledgeable about subjects so I can relate (another top five strength) to others. That would explain how I read two totally random books this year. I started them this summer and finished them both just recently. Kennedy Ryan’s writing encouraged me to read White Fragility and Come As You Are.

I have always been interested in other cultures. Our heritage, our race and our upbringing helps shape us. Whether we embrace it or shy away from it. Often times, Kennedy has her characters intertwined in interracial relationships. I am a Scandinavian woman living in the Midwest. I grew up listening to gangsta rap and watching Boyz n the Hood. I am far from the world 2Pac lived in. So very far away. I came across White Fragility by Robin Diangelo as I tried to find a book that discussed living as a minority. I listened to the audiobook version. It changed the way I tried to prep myself to explain race to my girls. I thought I was going to teach them that they should treat others all the same. I realize I was not preparing myself to say the right words though. They need to acknowledge the differences we all bring to this world. We are all unique. We have our ancestors. We have all struggled in some way or another. We may have different skin colors, speak different languages and maybe have a different God. What we all deserve is love, kindness and respect. That is what I have always prepared myself to say to my kiddos. This book helped me come up with the right words. This book made me feel shame. It made me feel sad and angry. It was not an easy read, however, I hope that it opened up my eyes and my heart. I hope that it helps form me into the loving human God wants me to be.

Come As You Are. Far from any book I have read before. I tell you though, I plan on providing this book to my girls when they near adulthood. It’s “far too much” for a teenage girl to read, but I wish I would have known what a “normal” woman’s sexual health is like. There is no normal. That is the thing. I read about Kennedy Ryan’s strong women characters with sexual confidence and desire. Far from this girl right here. I am not like those girls. I am hardly a rated R version *sigh* all I am going to say is I highly suggest this book. For the hubby’s out there, not a bad one to read to gain some perspective.

To wrap this up, I am amazed at where by brain wonders these days. I am amazed that I go to read a mindless romance novel, which I am so thankful for, and I turn the page wondering what is the best book to educate me on random topics.

Thank you for the many talented authors out there. Ryan’s latest work, The King Maker, is another great piece of art.

I joined Weight Watchers

(Almost) every morning as I sit down with my Start Journal (thanks Rachel Hollis) I list out my 10 goals.

One of them is to be 10 lbs lighter.

One of them is to be a healthy eater.

For as long as I can remember I could eat what I wanted to and stay the weight I wanted to. I was highly active in dance through my freshman year of college. I then sought out running and bought memberships to gyms. I love to workout. Til this day I would call it a passion. However. More often than before I fall out of sync. More often than before it’s not a high intensity workout. I try though. I keep trying. That is important.

The scale is not budging. Monday morning as I couldn’t sleep I pondered what to do. What do I have to do to make the scale budge? I googled options and I joined Weight Watchers.

Once I returned home from a work trip I was all in. I have to be. Why am I doing this? Why am I not accepting the scale’s numbers? I know I can be healthier. I know I can be stronger. I know this will help me feel emotionally better. I know this will set an example. I am needing accountability. I am needing a system. Here is to accomplishing a goal.

Of Mess & Moxie • Week 4

Is there someone you are having a difficult time forgiving? How would forgiving them change your life?

I wrote a post about forgiveness about a year ago. I think at this point I am going to reference you to that post for this question. Pick up the book, Everybody Needs to Forgive Someone, by Allen Hunt. It is a great book to walk you through this often times difficult task.

If you could fan girl anyone who would it be? Why?

Jen Hatmaker referenced that one of her friends text messages her friends whenever she thinks of them. Friends of mine occasionally get snail mail from me. That is the way I fan girl them, as Jen calls it. I wish I would be better at picking up the phone. In this season of life it easier and less frustrating to write a quick note than it is to play phone tag!

I have to share a story. I had a co-worker that put a pack of tea near my desk. I thought it was a different co-worker. When I found out who it was for real she asked “who else puts little notes on your desk randomly”? It dawned on me. She put a note on my computer when it was my birthday last June. I had no idea who did it, but that post it note with those kind words still is posted on my bulletin board. When you think of someone, share those kind thoughts. It may just make their day *wink*

What were your teenage years like? What were YOU like?

The teenage Kirsten was much like the adult Kirsten is now, just younger, fitter, more brain power and less wrinkles! *laugh, smile* the years were filled with spending time with girlfriends, a boyfriend, dance team practice/performances, working at County Seat (a clothing store that no longer exists) and The Limited Too (now Justice), driving to Detroit Lakes to spend a day at the beach, and the occasional family time. Family time was not purposely avoided, I loved my family and enjoyed spending time with them, but life was busy! My parents adored my friends and welcomed them into our home. As I entered my teenage years two of my best friends were created. Til this day I don’t know where I would be without them.

What was I like, though? Much like now, I was quiet. I always felt like a follower. As I look back there were subtle signs of a leader peaking through that shy and introverted girl. At that time I thought leaders had to be extroverted, loud, crazy and popular. I didn’t realize there were different types of leaders. All I wanted to be was a positive influencer, a rule follower, a nice person and a motivator. I hope that is the way I was perceived and I hope that I radiate those same vibes as an adult.

I have to leave these questions with the following facts though. Embarrassing? Perhaps. Things that make me smile? For sure! I loved gangsta rap, still do. I will drop the kids off at their catholic school and listen to 2pac or Warren G as I leave the parking lot. I loved loud thumping bass. This deserves an eye roll, although, I still love when my speakers “rattle” a little. I am sure I could come up with some more embarrassing moments, but I will leave with those for now.

What has your experience with suffering looked like? And recovery?

This is a difficult question. Suffer is a big word with deep meaning and one I don’t take lightly. One can loose loved ones to death, go through heartbreak, live through violence, be lonely, and suffer in so many other ways. I have lived through some of those. Losing grandparents due to age, having a friend commit suicide, gone through hardships with loved ones and breakups. The suffering that I have gone through seems normal. There is so much suffering in the world. Life has been good to me. I pray that if you are suffering that you have people that love you and hug you. The support is needed in times like those, that is the beginning of your path to recovery.