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36 Things that I have Learned Over 36 Years …(About Myself and Life)

Happy

 

It was my birthday a couple of weeks ago and it got me thinking. What have I learned over the past 36 years? What makes me, me? What is important to me? I have learned so much on this journey called life. I am shaped by my friends and family but mostly from my own thoughts and decisions. I have a long way to go but I also know that I have come a long way over the years. I have to say that the 30’s are pretty cool!

This is what I came up with.

 

 Life

important

~Every now and then it is good to stop and look at how children see the world. Remember how it was to be a child and look at life with a sense of wonder and adventure without any jaded opinions?

~I am not perfect nor am I vain enough to think that I am even close to perfect. I make mistakes. I stumble. I fall. Some days I am a big bundle of mess. I am darkness and I am light. We are beautiful souls despite our faults. We are as unique as the snowflakes that fall from the sky.

~We cannot buy happiness. We’ve heard it a million times. It is not found in a box, on a shelf, online or in a store. Stuff will never fill that void. In fact it will make us feel more empty. True story.

~I have a low tolerance for excuses, for myself and for others. We all have the same 24 hours in a day. Figure out what is a priority to you and what makes you happy. We can make time for the things that we really want. (AND we do not need to do everything all at once.)

~Appreciate life with all its quirks and blessings. It all happens for a reason. If you don’t stop and enjoy it then at the end what was the point? Just when you think that you are getting the hang of it those damn gray hairs start poking up in your head. With all stages there are positive and negative. No point focusing on the bad.

~Practice gratitude. It is one of the best ways to find contentment. Humans are often discontent. We want what we don’t have. When we stop and remember all that we do have then suddenly our way of thinking turns around. Things like health and relationships all mean so much more than material things.

~We are taught to conform. Media is prevalent in our world. It is everywhere that we turn and we follow what we are ‘supposed to’. Go ahead and question people. Research all that you can. You may just be surprised at what you find out.

~You can’t keep up with everything and that is ok. We get caught up with trying to stay up to date with everything, experience everything, and not miss out that we forget that we cannot do or have it all. Enjoy the part of life that you can savor; that slice that is meant just for you!

~Sometimes you just have to lighten up. Throw caution to the wind. Be silly. Dance in your living room. Sing at the top of your lungs. Laugh really loud. I can’t imagine that anyone has regretted any of these things.

 

Relationships

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~Marriage/relationships are work. So if you are not ready to work at it don’t bother.

~Love YOU. The most important thing that you can do is love yourself. If you are always searching for a better this or that then you miss out on your great self as it is. COME ON women we all are beautiful in some way. Embrace that and teach your girls that it is ok to love yourself as you are, right now!

~To me the most important qualities of a mate are honesty, trust, and a sense of humor; without those things it will be a long road ahead.

~Always date your partner. Never stop. Dates are so very important to keep the fun, the love and the fire burning. Remember why you fell in love in the first place. I love to try new things with the hubs. Take some time daily, weekly, or at least monthly to enjoy each other’s company. You won’t regret it!

~Stop and take the time to show others that you care. Love isn’t always enough – actions are another way to show and say thanks or proclaim love.

~Learn what your love language is. Seriously. Once you know these things you and your partner can become more fulfilled. You will have that ah-ha moment. www.5lovelanguages.com

 

Friendships

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~Life is short. Don’t waste time worrying about what other people think. I am not sure at what age this happens but there is a time in your life when your don’t give a damn switch is turned on and you really start living your life how YOU want to.

~I used to be the sheep. I would follow what everyone else was doing because I thought that was what I was supposed to do not to mention I was a people pleaser. All that did was make me overwhelmed and unhappy. Now I am ok to create my own unique path.

~Not everything is intentional. I used to get so disappointed with people thinking that they would intentionally hurt me. Now I know that we just all think and do things differently. Their actions were not always for the purpose of intentionally being hurtful. It is ok to let people go. Everyone comes into our life for a reason. Remember the good times and as Shawna says send light and love.

~Stop with the comparison game. This can be a toughie. I have some very inspirational friends that I look up to and admire. I also know that we all have our shit to contend with. Lift each other up instead of cutting each other down.

 

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Self-Care

Be yourself

 

~Be yourself. Always. Seriously. Though you may want to fit in with everyone it is much more fun to be you. The people that are right for you will stick around.

~Many people think that loving you and putting yourself first is selfish. WE cannot give fully to someone else if we cannot give to ourselves first. This quote from Mastin Kipp says it all, “Self-love is not all about “me, me, me”; but it starts with “me” so that we can build a strong “we”.”

~My Mom always said do everything in moderation. I still use that rule today. I think if you want to be lazy for an afternoon – do it. If you feel like watching that crazy reality show – go for it. If you want a cookie – have one. But don’t waste your entire week. Don’t watch hours of TV every day. And don’t eat the whole batch of cookies. Don’t deprive yourself from the things that you enjoy just do it all in moderation.

~Slow down. Life is most enjoyed when we can stop and savour it at a leisurely pace.

~Your past is not your future. You cannot change your past so focus on the present. We all do stupid things at one time or another. What is important is that we learn from it and move on.

~We all are so different in personality. I think it is important to learn about yourself so that you know why you are the way you are. Learn about what things make you happy, make you feel better, and fill your ‘love tank’. Once you learn these things you are better prepared to face the world. I sometimes literally want to hide away from the world – I enjoy social situations in moderation and I am very shy around people that I don’t know well.

~Weird is the new cool. It is better to be different and happy than to conform to society’s norm and be bored and uncomfortable.

~Love life’s simple pleasures. Is it nature you connect to? Music? A good book? Do whatever brings you clarity and joy!

~When you are tired it is your body’s way of saying it is time to rest and take a break. The world won’t tumble down around you if you commit to less and take a day for you. Swallow your pride and repeat after me, “I cannot do it ALL.”

 

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Health & Nutrition

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~I challenge myself every week. I like to push my body and see what I can do. It is the best natural high ever.

~Slow and steady wins the race. There are very few weeks that I do not work out at all (I can count them on one hand). I take a break only when my body is hurting and needs some recovery time. I workout at least twice per week, every week. If I were to try and go hard working out every single day I know that I would not stick to it and be disappointed in myself.

~I am addicted to events. It all started with the Walk to End Breast Cancer in 2006 and since then I have participated in The Underwear Affair, the MS Bike Tour, the Relay For Life, 3 Mud Runs, a Colour Run, Zombie Run and have even created an event with my best bud. These events keep me training all the time.

~Eating healthy is important. Meal planning has saved my ass many times even if I plan it the night before. I do not always eat what I am ‘supposed to’ and I don’t care. I make a point to intentionally enjoy whatever I eat no matter what the nutritional value is. I hate it when people eat something and then say I shouldn’t have eaten that. What good does that do? They obviously wanted it in the first place.

~I will never give up cheese, chips or bacon. That is all.

~I can honestly say that I have never, ever been on a diet. I don’t believe in any of them. Making proper food choices and educating yourself is one of the best things that you can do. Proper nourishment can reverse the effects of disease, decrease body fat, improve your mood, keep you energized, and leave you feeling fulfilled.

food

 

Work

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~I think that there are pros and cons to all jobs. I am not saying that you have to settle. I just think PERFECT jobs are fictional. We should not hate our jobs but there is a big part of us that chooses how our experience will be. Keep learning and make yourself better through your connections and interactions. You never know who you might inspire.

~If you want to learn something make a mistake. Not on purpose but when we make a mistake it sticks with us, we learn from it and we move on. It betters us as people.

There are certainly things that I want to work on. I want to specifically work on forgiveness and giving my children more undivided attention. There is ALWAYS room for improvement. Just goes to show how much we grow and change and even mature. (Yes even me!) I really enjoyed making this list and finding some wonderful quotes and pictures to share. (kinda a nerdy passion of mine!)

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Thanks for joining me!

Blessings,

Krystal

The Hug

calvin-hobbes hug

I was never much of a “hugger” – it just wasn’t something we did growing up. We showed affection in other ways, and I was OK with that. I always felt loved.

Then there was a blind date… We both belonged to a dating service – which, back then, was done for you by interviewers, pages of questions and some big computer in the back somewhere that sent a letter (in the MAIL) to you to invite you to call each other. He called me. I was ready to give up on this dating service thing and I was his first “letter”. After I heard his voice, I had to meet him.

We agreed to meet in a local pub we both knew. He was surprised to find me drinking a beer because he’d never met a woman who drank beer before. That city boy had never met a farm girl before ;P We talked like we were old friends. About everything. All too soon, the evening wore on and I had to leave (I was a single mom and I had to work in the morning!) He walked me to my car…and then it happened….

He HUGGED me.

His height made it perfect for me to “fit” into his chest. His leather jacket smelled so good, with just a hint of cologne somewhere in there. I completely melted into his embrace.

I went to work the next day, exclaiming to all my friends; “He hugged me! He hugged me!” Eyes rolled, especially when they heard that the hug was the only physical contact we had. My nurse friends had been hoping for much more for me! LOL! The older & wiser office manager smiled, knowing that there was much more to the hug than the physical. And she was right….I married that man who became my friend who hugged me first before anything else.

I hug a lot more these days. I hug him all the time. My kids, as many times as I can get them to let me.

These are some hugs I wish for:

  1. My Gramma – I was always in too much of a rush to get going to pause at the door of her welcoming home and give her a hug. She would have let me.  I will see you again
  2. My sisters – because I just don’t see them often enough. Our time together in Mexico was so awesome. Like when we were kids.
  3. My friend Kristi – she needed one yesterday, and I missed it
  4. My best friend Krystal – we are so comfortable with each other, but it’s not something we do. Maybe we should.
  5. My brother-in-law – to show him that he was loved and that there IS hope.
  6. My friend Lindsay – around her big pregnant belly to wish her well as she journeys toward motherhood for the first time
  7. Another friend Stacy – as she struggles to let go of her oldest son as he flies off away from the nest so far away across the country
  8. My aunt – as she bravely faces cancer treatments and a new reality
  9. My friends Lori and Kristen – just because I miss them
  10. My friend Shauna – I got to hug her the other day, but today, especially, I would like to hug her again
  11. That stranger I forgot to smile at – as she wondered if anyone loved her. I should have shown her that I do

What hugs are you wishing for? What’s stopping you?
We all know someone who needs a hug. Love them through it.
.

This post was inspired by the people in my list above and prompted by This Week’s Writing Prompts

Mama’s Losin’ It

Sometimes You Have to Just Go With the Flow!

adventure

 

It was Saturday morning; I had just finished a run. The sun was beating down on this beautiful summers day. I drove to the grocery store to pick up supplies for pickling the 40 pounds of cucumbers that I was to pick up later in the day from the U Pick farm. I was thinking of all of the things that I ‘should’ do this weekend to catch up as summers coming to an end. Then my phone rang. It was Shawna. “I have an idea”, she said. Uh oh, I thought. Usually when she says this it is some amazing plan for the business that also means a lot of work! 😉 It wasn’t about work though. She was heading up north to pick up her kids that had been staying at her sister’s all week and she was wondering if I wanted to come along with my kids. She said we would have a road trip and head to Jasper and do some exploring. Whatever we wanted to do really. My immediate response was I can’t because I have to pick up these cucumbers and get them all done up before they spoil. I have so much to do! I was thinking of  school supplies that I still had to get, yard work etc. She knows me well and said I will give you a few minutes to think about it. She must have sensed the panic in my voice! After several texts and phone calls with her and my hubby, we figured out how to make it work. Hubby encouraged me to not stress and just take one thing at a time. Shawna patiently listened to my concerns of just leaving all of my plans and as always she jumped up and said “I can go get your veggies” (which were out of town) “while you pack and get ready”. Still feeling a little hesitant and excited I started to get us ready. My daughter got her and her brothers stuff. I was still all icky from my run and hadn’t even showered. Anyways as you can tell I don’t do spontaneous or unplanned well. My OCD just doesn’t work that way!

What I wanted to share was that sometimes you have to just go with it. Take a chance or you miss out on things. Don’t wait for the ‘right’ time or to get caught up.

 

This was once instance where if I would have stuck with my plans I would have missed this:

 

How blessed were we to be able to enjoy this beautiful Canadian land?!
How blessed were we to be able to enjoy this beautiful Canadian land?!

 

And this… quality time with my young ‘uns!

 

How lucky were we to be able to enjoy this beautiful Canadian land?!
A great experience to share with my kiddos! 

 

 My favorite stop along the way. Sometimes we get so caught up in getting to our destination that we forget to enjoy the journey along the way. Not this time though. We had plenty of stops to enjoy nature’s beauty. 

 

What is it about waterfalls that is so magical?
What is it about waterfalls that is so magical?

 

And let’s not forget my favorite quote from the entire weekend from my little guy! 

 

A quote from my 7 y.o.
A quote from my 7 y.o.

 

 And I can’t forget our actual destination.

 

From 30 degrees celsius to 8 degrees on the ice. So pretty tho!
From 30 degrees celsius to 8 degrees on the ice. So pretty tho!

 

So… what did I learn from letting go of my schedule and throwing caution to the wind?

  • Not everything needs to have a detailed plan.
  • Sometimes you have to trust your heart and listen beyond your mind.
  • When what you really need slaps you in the face. Go with it. 
  • Adventures can be found anywhere. 
  • We can learn things from children of all ages.
  • When you can’t think clearly at home. It’s time for a get-a-way.

Thanks Shawna for knowing just what I needed and for the memories! And thank YOU  for coming along on my adventure!

 

live

Seven Steps to a Simpler Less Stressful Holiday!

I see many people fluttering about at Christmas time. People that are looking for the perfect presents. People wondering if they have bought enough for everyone on their very long list. There are those that feel that if they don’t have dozens of ornate cookies for Christmas then they have failed in some way. Let’s not forget about all of those holiday parties that we are supposed to attend. Before we know it all of our days are booked up and we haven’t done anything that WE really wanted to do. <Insert sigh>

Maybe I think a little less conventional, but isn’t Christmas supposed to be about the meaning and not the stuff? Don’t you want to spend time with the people that you care about most? Those that make you happy? Is anyone going to care, let alone remember that you spent a little less money this year? The most precious gifts that I have received have been kind words, hugs, time made for me, and beautiful hand made gifts that I will hold on to my whole life. These gifts bring me joy every time I think about them. All of these things have a memory and a story behind them. They are special.

How can we get away from the nagging thoughts that if we don’t have a Martha Stewart perfect (ugh I hate that word) holiday then we are a failure? I want to let you know that you can. Rebel with me friends! Here is how we can have a holiday cleanse. Lets’s ditch the guilt once again and get on with living. Let’s start REALLY living our lives the way that we want to with those that we care about.

Simple Step 1:

Be grateful for all that you have. If I were to choose three things right this minute they would be; 1) health 2) the people in my life 3) the opportunity to live somewhere where I can freely voice my opinion. Once we reflect on all that we have we will desire less. Our cupeth really is quite full. There is always something to be grateful for, even in our darkest moments.

Simple Step 2:

When it comes to gift giving let’s simplify our list. Very few of our childhood memories revolve around gifts that we have received. I have always remembered kind words, handmade items prepared lovingly for me, and of course the gift of time. In today’s society time is the most precious gift that we can give each other. Spending time together gives us invaluable memories that we can hold forever.

Some of my most favorite gifts:

~a surprise weekend away that my hubby planned from start to finish. He gave me the gift of quality, romantic time just the two of us!

~my blankets that my mom made (I appreciate the time, effort, and love that went into each stitch.)

~my quilt made from Shawna. (Again there was a ton of time that went into it and it’s beautiful.) I display it in my living room so that I can see and use it every day!

~last year Shawna gave me a tin of inspirational quotes (so creative!) and made us a certificate for a lovely meal at her home. Little does she know that one of these days I will take her up on that!

~I also love the Christmas messages and letters. They are rare but I have a couple of friends that send a neat snapshot of their year!

~Friends/family have taken our kidlings so that hubby and I could have a date or a night away. This is such a precious gift. The gift to reconnect to your spouse is priceless because when our marriage is running tickety boo then everything else seems to fall in place.

Joshua Becker reminds us about what those precious gifts are. Instead of spending hundreds of dollars on physical items here are 35 gift ideas that won’t easily be forgotten.

*And seeing as I am on the topic I also think that it is a good idea to explore gently used options. Shopping locally will also help keep those unique stores alive. Both will leave less of a mark on our earth.

Simple Step 3:

Just say no! You do NOT have to attend every party, every Santa Claus appearance, every cookie exchange. Do the things that bring you joy. Isn’t that what the season is supposed to be about anyways?

Simple Step 4:

Plan. Plan. Plan. A clear, concise plan will keep you on track for getting what you really want out of the holiday season. Make a list of everything that you want and make it happen. If you have a family how about discussing it over a nice meal? Take everyone’s suggestions into account and then decide from there what you can do. I guarantee everyone will be happy to have some input.

Simple Step 5:

Lists. I just LOVE lists. 😉 I even got an excellent app for my phone this year to keep track of the gifts that I wanted to get for everyone. It is called Better Christmas List. It was $1.99 and my favorite features are  it creates separate groups for family, friends, work etc. and it sets and tracks budgets for groups or people! Cool beans! By making a list it will help you stay on track for what you want to get people and save the bank by letting you know where you are at with your budget.

Simple Step 6:

Budget. This is important. Christmas spending can easily get out of hand. Shop within your means. If you are on a tight budget then give a homemade certificate. How about invite your friends over for a nice meal, offer babysitting so they can go on a date, girls day out? The possibilities are endless and what a great way to make memories together!

Simple Step 7:

Declutter. When we get rid of the extra ‘things’ we save time from not having to move them, clean them or think about them. Get rid of the broken items, the duplicates, things that no longer have a use and that you don’t love. Clear away space wasting items to get ready for the festivities!

May you all have a joyous, safe and healthy Christmas. Cheers. Xxxxx