Wednesday, May 27, 2015
It's very hard to make decisions based on love if your heart has become hard and full of bitterness. The lack of gratitude hardens a heart, so the best medicine for getting cured from bitterness and discontentment is gratitude. When we thank God for something and choose to put our trust in him it softens our hearts so that we are open to love again.
Changes in life can be incredibly painful, often even more painful if we fight against it. On the other hand change also has the ability to open us up, to open life up, and to get us to where we needed to be. When life is great, say thank you and celebrate! When life is bitter, say thank you and grow.
Tuesday, May 26, 2015
I used to be one of those women who had a closet full of clothes but you would still hear me say "I've got nothing to wear!" I thought deciding to own less clothes would make me feel a bit deprived but surprisingly I haven't felt like that at all. I find it's very freeing to live with less stuff in general. My closet is very organized now that I have less clothes in it and I always have something nice to wear. I'm able to get ready in half the time that I used to spend on getting ready, since I no longer have to try on many different outfits.
My goal is to live with only 50 pieces of clothing, counting all my clothes, accessories, shoes and jackets but not counting my socks or lingerie. Today I stick to only seven different favorite accessories. I have two different pairs of shoes per season and two jackets per season. I have about 14 different pieces of clothing in my capsule wardrobe for each season. Some of my clothes I wear during more than one season. My two blazers for example I wear all four seasons of the year, the same goes for my workout clothes.
Having less clothes means I consume less and live greener, I save money and can afford higher quality pieces of clothing. I don't have to do a lot of laundry since I have so few pieces of clothing in my closet. My favorite thing about having a minimalist closet is the freedom it gives me in life. I want to live free!
Monday, May 25, 2015
We're all just living. We keep so busy we don't think much beyond it, but every once in a while, there is a moment. A moment of silence, an opportunity to discover something greater.
The lakefront is my Day Spa during the spring. After many long and cold months I'm fully enjoying the warmer weather that allows me to hang out by the lake for hours. This weekend we spent our Sunday afternoon hanging out on the beautiful lakefront with family. Few things are as relaxing as strolling through the park and sitting by the water listening to the waves rolling in and the birds singing. Lake Ontario is one of my favorite things about Toronto!
Today about half of all marriages don't last. If we want our marriages to last we are going to have to invest some time and energy into staying in love. I find that many people still believe that marriages should work on their own, and that if you have to work at it that's a sign that you are with the wrong person. If we are looking for a perfect person to share our lives with then this way of thinking makes sense, but chances are "the one" won't be perfect. We all have our personal "issues" and when two people with issues marry each other there will be problems. I think the better approach would be if we all decided we are going to educate ourselves about how to solve problems in romantic relationships, rather than trying to find a person to marry who doesn't have any issues.
My husband and I have friends who have promised each other to attend at least one marriage conference every year. Most cities offer some type of marriage conference a few times a year where couples can learn about how to stay in love and build a strong and happy marriage. I know another couple who have many kids and therefore decided that they will take one vacation a year just the two of them. I'm convinced that happy and healthy marriages require both planning and real effort. You don't get a great marriage by luck, you build a great marriage.
My husband and I have decided that we will read at least one book about marriage per year as one of the many things we do intentionally to build up our marriage. This year we chose the book: "From This Day Forward" by Craig and Amy Groeschel.
Saturday, May 23, 2015
This short video made by the jubilee project is so wonderful! I love how the kids and the old lady in the video view their bodies. We all have a choice don't we? We can choose to expose ourselves daily to the narrow beauty ideals that are found in media and the culture and accept them. If we are constantly looking for faults on our bodies we will probably find them, but if we choose to look at ourselves through a different lens we will see something entirely different. We will start to see the unique beauty that each one of us have, and we will become appreciative of our wonderful bodies. It all comes down to a choice, we can embrace ourselves (and others) or dislike our bodies. I choose to be comfortable in my own skin! :)
Hawk Nelson's song "diamonds" is one of my favorite songs to listen to in the middle of the struggles of life. It's comforting to be reminded of the fact that it's often in the fire that the most beautiful changes happen. I wish I could say that this isn't true, but looking back at my life I can't disagree with that fact. I have definitely learned a lot more from the uphill battles in life than I have learned from the days that everything is great.
I didn't understand why it's so important to not use people and break someone's heart until I experienced my own first heartbreak. I didn't think that it was that important to always show everyone around me appreciation and respect, until I experienced others treating me without appreciation and respect. I definitely come to God more often and pray more when I'm in the middle of a struggle than I do on a good day.
Although I don't like the struggles of life I know that I wouldn't be who I am today if I had not gone through what I've gone through in life. It's often in the fire that our character is refined the most. God has his way of creating beautiful diamonds out of all that dust. If we stay strong through our struggles and don't give up we will come out on the other side of each struggle more beautiful than we were before.
Tuesday, May 19, 2015
I love hearing stories about people's faith journeys. It gives me so much hope when I hear about how God has picked people up from dark places in their lives and brought them back into the light. Everything is possible with God, he can change things that we cannot change on our own, knowing that gives me peace and hope for the future.
Remi's story is about what it can be like when your life falls apart in an instant and the struggles that comes from trying to make a life for yourself when you are missing a father figure. It's also a story about hope and about how God never leaves us alone, He is always there to guide us through life if we only choose to listen to his voice.
Road trips tend to include a lot of not so healthy eating so now that I'm back in T.O. I'm ready to get back to more healthy foods again. In this video my favorite Canadian nutritionist Joy McCarthy shares with us a few tips for foods that will keep our bodies healthy. I want to be kind to my body and do my best to give it what it needs to stay strong! :)
Saturday, May 16, 2015
Today is my first day back in Toronto after a one week long vacation. My husband and I decided to take a road trip down south this spring. It became a road trip through seven different states in total; New York, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Maryland. We spent a few days at Myrtle Beach,SC but unfortunately tropical storm Ana made the weather a little less enjoyable than we had expected so after a couple of days we headed up north to Virginia Beach,VA. The weather in Virginia was great during the two days that we stayed there. We got to swim in the ocean, sunbathe and enjoy some great food at the restaurants in Virginia Beach. Now I'm rested, a little tanned and happy to be back home in Toronto. We made it home just in time for Victoria Day weekend in Canada.
The kitchen is the next room in our house that is in need of some serious uncluttering. I can't wait to transform my kitchen into a more minimalist kitchen. The amount of stuff I have in the kitchen right now constantly end up making the kitchen a mess. I have too much canned food in the cupboards that have been there for more than two years and that I will probably never use or eat. I have too many different pots that take up a lot of space and I really only use about one third of all the silverware and cups that I own. Alexia Foxx' video has inspired me to tackle the kitchen next.
Today I watched Craig Groeschel interview Carl Lentz and Kevin Durant about what we can do to grow spiritually. Just like with anything else in life spiritual growth doesn't happen by itself, we need to work at it. Kevin Durant suggests reading your Bible at a regular basis, praying and making sure you surround yourself with good people in your life. The right relationships are important if you want to grow.
Carl Lentz explains that dishonesty is one of the most common problems that hinder us from growing. Sometimes you can find an attitude among Christians that is like: "show your best,hide the rest". If we aren't honest about our struggles we can't overcome them. We have to start by being honest and admitting to ourselves and others where we often fail, once we know our weaknesses we can work on those areas and become better. Nobody is perfect and that's okay! :)
Craig Groeschel gives us the advice to choose one word that sums up the goal we want to reach this year. If we try to reach many different goals at the same time we often fail, but if we narrow it all down to just once word it's a lot easier to succeed. I like this advice. When I thought about this strategy I decided "outreach" is going to be my one-word-goal for the rest of this year. I've been spending a lot of time on acquiring more wisdom and knowledge for the past three years, now I want my focus to be on reaching out to those who are in need. I'm so excited to see what new opportunities God will bring into my life in the year to come. I'm ready to put my passion to use! :)
My favorite workout in the spring is going for a hike. I love exploring new trails and enjoying the beauty of nature. Southern Ontario offers many different conservation areas and provincial parks that are great for hiking. Hiking is a great way to relief stress and find peace at the same time as you get a good workout.
Monday, May 4, 2015
Eunice Hii gives us an inspiring TED talk about Millennials, their interest in following their passions, and how this is viewed by older generations who want millennials to conform to their way of life. I love what Eunice says about passion and purpose. Unless we connect our passion to a real need in the world it becomes useless, but if we manage to connect our passion with a purpose we have a change at contributing to the world at the same time as we do work that we really enjoy. :)
I have to admit that I have never bought the magazine Today's Parent before. Last weekend I was looking through different magazines at Chapters as usual when I suddenly saw the cover of the may issue of Today's Parent. I can't even begin to describe how awesome it was to discover that Today's Parent had chosen to put real women on the cover of the may 2015 issue. It's so wonderful to see a magazine take a step towards encouraging women to embrace and celebrate their natural beauty instead of hating their imperfections.
It's so great to read messages like "Celebrate You!" instead of the usual "How to look younger than you are" at the cover of a women's magazine.
We can't really escape the fact that our accepted cultural ideals set the standard for how we view ourselves. The good news is that if this natural beauty trend continues to be promoted in media little baby Estelle (pictured above) might not have to grow up in a world that is as superficial in the future. I hope that all women (not just Moms) will embrace natural beauty in the future so that together we can build a better culture, where eating disorders start to decline rather than increase.
This is how Jessica Birak describes her view of her body in the may 2015 issue of Today's Parent:
"I had an eating disorder when I was 15. I was gaining confidence in how my body looked when I got pregnant at 22. I had rock-hard abs and no cellulite, and I seriously thought I would go through pregnancy completely untouched. When I got big, red stretch marks all over my belly, I cried for a week. After I had my oldest, I sometimes felt very insecure-I lost the confidence I'd gained. Then, six months after my youngest was born, somebody asked me if I was expecting. It sunk me. I thought it must mean I'm ugly because my stomach has a little paunch. But I realized it was ruining my day because my idea of beauty was defined by something unrealistic, something superficial."
I find it so sad that so many of us women have perfectly healthy bodies that work, that take us around town every day, but still we hate them or at least we don't find them beautiful. We think that we are the problem, but isn't it time we realize what the real problem is once and for all: the unhealthy ideals we are fed daily. I'm ready to throw out all the magazines and other influences in my life that make me dislike myself rather than celebrate my body!
You can read many inspiring stories in the newest issue of Today's Parent about how these women used to dislike their bodies and how motherhood changed how they view themselves. These women all discovered that there is a greater meaning for why we are given our bodies, our bodies have the ability to produce life. After all, that's one of the most beautiful functions our bodies have, we are not only beautiful objects walking around on this earth, objects that we constantly need to criticize and modify. Our bodies deserve more respect and loving care than that, we deserve more love than that! Let's stop objectifying ourselves!
One of my favorite Christian bands right now is Elevation Worship, their songs always manage to lift my mood and help me refocus when I'm having a bad day. Life is full of struggles and obstacles that we have to overcome, you can't really escape the struggles but you can find ways to make it easier to get through them.
Music is one thing I like to use to motivate myself to continue to fight the good fight and not give up, even on days when all I want to do is quit and throw in the towel. Good books and documentaries are other things I use to stay motivated.
Lavendaire is another inspiring young woman who has embraced minimalist living. This is a video where she shares a little bit about why she wants to live a minimalist lifestyle. She also gives us a few tips on different sources where we can find out more about minimalism, like the blog by The minimalists. Enjoy! :)
I've been writing two different blogs for the past six months. The Futuristas is the name of my first blog where I have been blogging about topics like beauty, minimalism, identity, happiness, finding your passion etc. The Life Of Love is my second blog where I have been blogging about my faith, love, relationships, my passions etc.
This spring is a special time in my life because me and my husband are expecting a new addition to the family in a few months. At the moment I'm feeling both happy, excited and nervous at the same time, but mostly I'm super excited to get to become a Mom soon! :) I'm also aware of the fact that I will soon have a lot less free time on my hands so updating two different blogs will no longer be doable. That's why I have decided to merge my two different blogs into one today.
You will now find blog posts from all the different categories I like to blog about under one roof. Today my blog The Futuristas is moving in with The Life Of Love. This move will save me a lot of time in the future and hopefully you will continue to be inspired by my blogging as I enter a whole new stage in life. :)
Last Sunday me and my husband got baptised! I'm so excited about life at this point of my journey! :) I'm thankful to God for drawing me towards himself over the past 7 years and for teaching me about who he is. He never gave up on me but continued to work through all my skepticism and unbelief and piece by piece he let me see who He is.
I'm so excited to get to join the one billion people who are already following Jesus on this earth and join in the work that God has employed to all His people; to love God and to love others as yourself. I'm excited to see where God wants to lead me in life and how he will use me as a part of his great plan; to heal all the broken people of this world through His love. I can't wait to see what great adventure God wants to take me on next. :) I've never been more excited for the future than today!