Thursday, June 25, 2015

Minimalist in the Making-Part 2

Over half of my wardrobe is gone, and it feels really good.

I'm serious. 

As you read in my last post about becoming a minimalist, you know that there have been some significant changes in the size and quality of my wardrobe as of late. 

For example, instead of having a closet of 200+ items and two full dressers packed in tight; I now have a closet which holds a comfortable 60 items. This isn't just 60 summertime shirts, or just my dressy clothing I would like to hang up. No. This is the crux of my wardrobe. Every tank top, cardigan, blouse, hoody, running zip up...(you get the picture) is included in the 60 items. The only clothing I have outside of my closet are, undergarments, socks, swimming attire, everyday pants/ running bottoms, dresses and coats. Ok, so that list may sound longer than it should, but all of that fits in 4 dresser drawers (not overflowing) and a small downstairs closet. 

I don't want to give you the impression that I am stopping here. Yes, I have gone through and completed phase 2 as I would call it, but there is still more work to be done before I would consider myself a true minimalist. 

Allow me to explain. 

The Minimalist Phase Break-Down. 

Phase 1: The initial thinking process of desiring change and forming an action plan. 

Phase 2: The first major sweep, where you eliminate the most significant amount of clothing. 

Phase 3: The evaluation of what's left and what still needs to go, finding your style. 

Phase 4: The replacement of core items that are crucial to your everyday style, but aren't currently in good quality (ie: your one pair of jeans that has washed out knees and needs to go, but not until you buy a replacement pair) 

Phase 5: The second minor sweep, where you really get serious about this. All necessary items have been replaced, and you've had time to gauge what your true style is. All things you are still not wearing, or don't fit within your style, are tossed out here. 

Phase 6: The long term minimalist plan. The size and quality of your wardrobe is where you want it to be, and now comes the true test. Embracing this new lifestyle and sticking to it. 

*Just as a side note, these phases were completely created by me, there is no studied philosophy to these phases or set in stone, This is how you must do it, lawI am simply sharing this with you so that you might have a clearer picture of my journey and also for you, if you find it helpful in your own life. I can only speak for myself, but whenever I am faced with a new lifestyle that sounds intriguing, it is extremely hard for me to just make it happen, unless I have a process laid out for me. In the rare case that you might process like I do, your welcome.  

So let's address the thing you may be in question over. Phase 4.

But Lindsey, I thought you were reducing your wardrobe not replenishing it?!? 

Yes and no. 

The items that I am replacing, are just that, replacements. The old will still go away. I realize that life happens, you journey through different seasons, and one in-particular that endures 9 months and guarantees  a wardrobe shift. (NOT announcing anything here, just forward realistic thinking.) So yes, the minimalist tag, doesn't mean I'll never again buy a single item of clothing. It also doesn't condone buying (still less than before) clothing just because It fits my style and I love it. Rather, if there is something that is a true need, not want and I've spent time considering all of the things, I will buy it, and with no regrets. 

I feel the need to mention here, that even though I have "ban" myself from the sales rack rush, that doesn't mean I will only buy expensive things from downtown boutiques. 

That would be very counterproductive. 

I desire to increase in good stewardship. I'm not entirely sure what that will look like in every circumstance from here on out, but I do know that the desire is there and that is what I will be striving for. Shared success in this area is welcomed! 

And so the journey continues!

I'm truly thankful that you stopped by, you're welcomed back anytime! This life is a constant journey isn't it friends? I'm glad you chose to journey with me today, through this part of the woods!


Friday, June 19, 2015

Whole30 Day12- Things I'm Learning

The other night I was congratulating Chase on making it through day 7, one whole week! His response was, "Can we just not talk about it.?"

Ok, I get it.

All I can say is that he loves me something fierce and he's also not a quitter. Overall I think we are managing pretty well. We've survived the moody days, and utter exhaustion from last weekend, which was actually rather intense. I am hopeful that our best days are yet to come. Even though it has taken time for our bodies to adjust, I have already seen improvements in our energy levels this week and in my digestive system. I haven't taken medicine in 13 days and my body seems to be adjusting better than expected! This may not sound like a -shout it from the roof tops- sorta thing, but if you know my history, it's definitely more like a -scream it from the mountains- celebration.

I'm thankful.

A few things I'm learning and admitting after (nearly) two weeks:

-Olive oil is a weekly purchase.

Do we appear oily? I think we've gone through more olive oil in the past two weeks, than our entire married life to date. One reason being that I'm making our own dressings and sauces. I guess we were getting some of that from the store bought dressings before, but I'm still amazed at how quickly the bottles are disappearing! It feels really good to have found my space back in the kitchen though. Even after this thing is all over, I hope to still try and make most of our dinners from scratch, with whole30 foods; which will inevitably mean, bring on the EVOO!

-Larabars are indeed like candy.

Oh my goodness.

I waited until day 5 of the whole30 to have my first larabar, and I'm sad I waited that long. I really do love them, especially with my black coffee. My favorite flavor so far is apple pie. I am a cinnamon and apple girl all the way, so the apple pie larabar was an easy first try, and it didn't disappoint. You could be reading this and think I'm crazy for likening larabars to candy, but after going without any sugar (besides fruit) for almost two weeks, they really are the closest thing to candy I can find! Seeing that I'm so fond of these bars, and they aren't the cheapest thing to buy, I may attempt to make my own this weekend. A couple of friends shared their success in making homemade bars last night, and it was just the thing I needed to give it a try.

Disclaimer: If I start to smell like pureed dates, forgive me, but at least you'll know my tummy is happy and pockets full. I'll share too!

-Fruit infused water is delicious.

Why oh why have I neglected to drink my water like this for so long?!? Sure I will put a lemon or lime in my water every once in a great while, but why not strawberries, blueberries, oranges, watermelon, mint, cucumber, basil, raspberries and more? I'm loving my water and so are my taste buds. I do realize that I may be extra excited to have fruit infused water, because plain water is my one and only other drink of choice at the moment; but I think this will be one of those ongoing life changes for me post whole30. As you can see I'm starting small with the lifestyle changes, but a change is a change no matter how small, right?

-Shh..We are having ice-cream.

Ok, so let me explain. I know in the whole30 book it talks about not trying to recreate processed foods with whole30 compliant ingredients, but we cheated and it feels good! Chase finished up his last class for the summer last week and I really wanted to celebrate him and his accomplishment, especially since he pushed through the exam while we were on day 6. (detox drowsiness)  So I went off the beaten path and made ice-cream. If you are on the whole30 right now and don't find this helpful for your journey, please skip through this next part, because I am about to tell you how to make this celebratory ice-cream. :)

Ingredients: frozen bananas, cashew butter, and coconut milk.

Throw them all in the blender and blend together until combined and the consistency of soft-serve. I added a little bit of cinnamon to mine, and Chase gave it a thumbs up, so it must be good right? Either that, or he loves me more than I realize!

I guess this is the part where I share a few photos from my kitchen this week for your own inspiration!

(blurry, sorry) Almond crusted fish, overtop roasted asparagus

Spaghetti squash, topped with avocado pesto and chicken, next to a kale berry salad
Chicken fiesta salad with homemade guacamole and salsa

Berry fields salad with roasted broccoli and cauliflower and balsamic vinaigrette

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Minimalist In The Making -Part 1

Well Hello there, and HAPPY Saturday!

I thought today might be a good day to share with you, how this whole wardrobe re-do came about and where I am in the minimalist process so far. If this isn't your deal, I totally understand that! Read on anyways, you might be encouraged to steer away from the mistakes I've made and avoid some of the struggle I've faced. 

 Three things you should know about my becoming a minimalist journey:

1.)  I haven't always thought this way.

 For as long as I have been buying my own clothing, I have always shopped the sale rack first. This is a good thing right? Well, I'm just now starting to learn maybe not. And in my case, probably not. 

Instead of going shopping with an agenda and list of needed items, I would just wander over to the sales rack and if I saw something I liked, I would get it. No questions asked. I was proud of myself for getting such a good deal, and I was excited to wear it for the first time. 

Only the first time. 

That's the problem, After years of functioning this way, only "splurging" on a few good quality items that were core to my wardrobe, and snagging everything else off the sales rack or bought on a whim because the color was in that week; has left me with a closet of clothing pressed together so tightly that the hangers can't move and a dresser packed to overflowing. The very worst part, is that I wasn't even wearing half (if not more) of the clothes, because guess what!?! I didn't really even like them. How could I possibly like all the things, especially the ones I never really tried on in the store, or if I did, It was quick and I wasn't even fully focused on how it fit or made me feel, just that blasted sales sticker. 

 Ugh... this is the part that hurts the most. The re-living my mistakes and being reminded of all the poor decisions I've made. Change is never completely easy. I am learning that there is value to the hard parts of change. The hard reminds me of where I came from, and stands as proof that I am indeed changing. There is still more un-doing and re-training that need to take place. Along with that will come new opportunities to make better choices and certainly times of "what did I just do?" I won't get it right every time, but my hope is that the "uh-oh" moments will lessen dramatically. 

I confess this all to you, because I want you to know that I've been a bad steward my friends. I want you to see my foolishness for what it is, and I don't want to sugar-coat the repulsive. I also want you to know that I desire to live intentionally and steward well the things that the Lord has entrusted to me. He has shown Himself so faithful through all of my yuck. He has revealed my sin for what it is and now it's up to me, to move forward from here.  By sharing this with you, I welcome you into the accountability process. Just knowing that the community around me is aware of my desire for genuine change, will help push me in the right direction. 

2.)  This has been a LONG time coming. - Not an overnight "switch-a-roo"

Three years. Yup! It has nearly been three whole years of processing in this area. I guess you could say that it has been that long since my eyes have been opened to the flaw in my habits. Before that I never even recognized that my shopping habits were all that unhealthy or problematic. I would just joke saying, I have a coat problem or I have a thing for dresses and its an issue. laughing it off as I purchase yet another item that I half loved and really didn't need. 

I was sharing with a dear friend the other day (who is on this journey of better stewardship with me) how the most painful things to get rid of, are those items that I've purchased post-marriage. I seem to have less angst tossing out clothes that I've accumulated as a single person, than those I have bought since becoming a Mrs. 

I think this is true for two reasons. 

1. I bought those items on my own, I was the only one who had to deal with the weight of my decisions, and didn't buy out of the money earned together. 

2. I bought those items further in the past, so it feels a little easier to console myself, knowing I did actually maybe get a little bit of use out of that wasted money. (Still trying to justify, I know! obviously still growing! :)

Again, I sit here all bottled up and feeling that buyers remorse all over again! Sigh, life is a process, I'm thankful to be growing, but the weight of my poor decisions feels heavy today. 

The Lord has been whittling away at me for a while now (talk about patience and faithfulness!). In the last month I have been pushed into action after a long season of heart shifts and mental turn- arounds. I'm thankful to finally arrive here, in this space I find myself today; but I'm still in need of much growth! Praise the Lord, that the evidence of heart change is finally tangible, it pushes me to dig into a deeper desperation for the Him. 

3.)  So far, I feel much more liberated than restricted. 

This is the exciting news! 

As I began to sort out my clothing and try to figure out how and who to give all these clothes to, I was amazed that there might possibly be some good to come out of all my bad. (God's kind of in the business of redeeming things, even my crazy clothes saga!) With my new lenses of stewardship on, I've tried to weigh out how I can be intentional with the "getting rid of process" of course the easiest thing would be to bring garbage bags stuffed with clothing to the nearest donation center and call it a day, but I sensed that even though it would be good in and of itself, it might not be the best plan.

I've decided to do a few different things, consignment, donation and hand-me-downs (to a few friends I'm close with and happy to pass them along to). I will go into more explanation in my next post about this process and also what my closet looks like today and where I want it to be in the coming months; along with my plan moving forward and how having less clothes has actually made me feel liberated rather than restricted. This is the stuff I'm really excited and passionate about, so stay tuned!

But for today, however you are taking in all of this pent-up craziness I am throwing at you, thank you for hearing me. For listening to my journey. I'm grateful that you care enough to know where I'm at in this season. I care for you too! 

I really do. 

I would absolutely love to hear from you and what you are facing or challenged with in these days. Or even answer any questions you have for me about my journey. I truly hope my transparency blesses you in some way, even if it's just a reminder that we are all moving forward and have things to work on. 

Enjoy the rest of your weekend! 
See you back here soon.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Whole30 Day 2- Things I'm Learning

Well, we have made it two whole days now on the whole30 and so far so good. Here are a few things I am learning/observing so far.

-I like to cook! It isn't that I haven't cooked in the past, it's just that the whole meal planning/"what sounds good to you?" thing has been overwhelming to me in the past. With so many options, I tend to get in a rut easily and make the same 5 meals on repeat. Cooking with less ingredients to choose from has been a breathe of fresh air! I have to use more creativity and I am trying new recipes which I'm  having fun with; but check back in with me on that in approximately 28 days, my answer is subject to change. 

*side note- I made homemade mayo tonight (Never thought I would say those two words in the same sentence) I was amazed at how easy and entertaining it was to make. Adding to my "to make again" list.

- I'm a pro at reading the "Ingredients" list. Also quite disgusted by how L.O.N.G. some of the lists can be, and how many things I can't pronounce. 

-My dishwasher has been busy. Cooking more from scratch with lots of veggie chopping and dressing making does add a few extra dirty dishes, but it really isn't that bad and I'm thankful for our dishwasher!

-I'm drinking my coffee more slowly.  Without all that cream and sugar, I am sipping instead of gulping and therefore enjoying the natural coffee flavor a bit more. Also, organic canned coconut milk makes a really great froth and I like it! 

-Using LOTS of garlic. I love garlic! before whole30 I rarely took the time to mince fresh garlic, but now I have my garlic out and ready to mince on a moments notice and it does enhance the flavor significantly.

-Drinking water isn't a chore. Now that I don't have other beverages to grab when thirsty or a stick of gum to chew when my mouth feels dry, or a mint to pop in when my breathe isn't up to par (see previous observation) I am voluntarily drinking more water! and I am really excited about that, because normally I am forcing myself to drink and it feels more like a chore than a privilege.

Alright friends, I suppose I will end here for tonight, I'll leave you with a few pictures taken from my kitchen in the past two days. Enjoy! Hope it has been a great Tuesday! 

Monday, June 8, 2015

I'm In Process

It's been a while.

If you are still reading, bless your dear heart! I am here. I feel like a broken record that has been left to repeating itself for months on end; but in all sincerity I am here, I adore each of you who choose to check back in and in a little while, I'll have more to offer you than just the broken record version of myself.

Really. I promise.

Somehow we are now ushering into the summer season and with it a slightly new schedule for me, which I'm grateful for. My days have been filled up lately, with so many good things, but I welcome this slight shift in my week.

I'm constantly working through what it is to be a good steward of all the things in life, and as of recent I've begun to act on the wave of change that is sweeping over me. My desire is that through all of this active change I will come out a better steward of some fairly important things God has entrusted to me. Let me also note, that this is the first time in a long while that I am on the front side of change. What I mean is that I am the driving force here. This time the change isn't happening to me, but the changes taking place, are the affect of what's happening in me.

This is new territory and I am learning with every step, every teeny tiny baby step ( I mean have you seen how fast newly walking babes walk?!?!).  This is a S.L.O.W. moving movement my friends!

I'm in process and I'm ok with that.

If i'm completely honest, this movement of change has felt liberating. Not at all because of me, but because of HIM! I'm so overwhelmed by the Lord's moving in my heart, I have No words to express just how overcome and undone I am becoming.

He is showing himself to me in deep ways, ways that illicit a need for change.

What sort of change you ask?

Well goodness me, I'm so glad you asked! Because I have pictures to help answer your question!

She Reads Truth. 

Have you heard of their ministry? If you haven't please go now and check out what they are passionate about! I've been so blessed by the hearts of these women and their call to make much of Jesus by encompassing the mission statement " women in the word of God, everyday." 

I am currently studying the women of the Bible, starting with the Old Testament, and I must tell you how refreshing it is to plant myself in The Word of God everyday and be in tears by the end, in silenced awe of how Magnificent He is!

This little wooden storage crate might not look like much to you, but to me it represents space to create. I have been whittling away at getting my home "office" set up and useable; and all of the lovely little colorful cards you see were stacked and stored in a box before being placed in this. The cards were neat and tidy yes; but functional? no. I'm thankful for little things like a container to hold cards, because it aids in my ability to be creative and pushes me to explore the gifts God has given me. That may all sounds a little over- the- top, but for me, if I can't see in front of me what I have, I will become a worse steward of those things, forgetting what I already have to work with and buying more when I already have plenty!

Which brings me to this huge pile of hoarding! 

I am at my breaking point. Seriously. You have heard me talk before about our closet situation with owning an older home, and the struggle to fit everything in, while being somewhat organized. Well, enough is enough is enough. No longer am I compliant to fill and fill and fill my closet full of things I half like or that sort of fit.

In the last three years I have slowly weeded through clothes from my high-school days, getting rid of things that were obviously no longer suitable for my wardrobe (doesn't everyone do this?). Sure pat me on the back, but not for long, because I have replaced those items and then some. LOTS. I'm not proud of purchases that I have made on impulse or out of a want for more. 

There is so much that has pushed me to my breaking point and maybe I can share that another time, but in a nutshell version, I'm here telling you all of this out of a desire to be a better steward with my money, space, and time. If I desire to give Him all of me, than I need to start doing just that. 

There will be more on this wardrobe shift. This isn't just your typical clothing purge. This is a new way of life for me, if I don't want history to repeat itself, then I must make some intentional choices. So stay tuned if you are curious, I am taking notes through this process and can't wait to share them with you!

Have you heard of it?

I had seen whispers of this on social media and mention of it from a friend or two, but never really researched it for myself, until a couple of weeks ago that is. You may or may not know that I struggle with some significant digestion complications, and because of that I have spent the last 5 years seeing Drs. and specialists in hopes to get to the bottom of it all.

For the most part I feel pretty good. Running has been a huge blessing for me in all of this, and I'm thankful that it has been such a help, but there are still days when I just know things aren't working in my body as they should. Even with several shifts in dietary consumption ( gluten and 90% of dairy taken out) I still take medication to aid in my digestion upset. This isn't all-together awful, but what if there was a fairly easy way to function more fully without the medication?

Enter whole30.

We started today.

Chase and I are committing to ourselves and each other (and now you) to see this whole30 plan through to completion. I'm taking notes in this area of my life too, and documenting the process, so check back in for more specifics of how the plan works out for us. I'm hopeful that eating only whole foods for 30 days will help level some of the unrest in my system. If that isn't the case, I'm ok with that too. So what, the worst thing that happens is that we eat only good for you foods for 30 days and then move on from there? Hardly seems like a "worse case scenario"to me at all, count me in!

What I'm mostly thankful for though, is a husband who is willing to jump into my world for a month and do this thing with me. He has always been a steady support in my health journey, but this, this whole30 thing, has taken his care and love to a whole (pun intended) new level!

There you have it! This is a bit of what I have been up to as of late. How about you? What is pushing you in your life today? Are there things you want to change to? I'm always up for a little companionship on the journey! I'd love to hear from you!

Wherever you find yourself today, whatever you are processing, I hope that your day has been blessed in a significant way!